2017 was the year that groupthink silenced free speech at the Assembly

Neil McEvoy

Neil McEvoy, AM for South Wales Central

The National Assembly went into recess this week, ending an explosive year for me personally and the Assembly as an institution.

One suspension as a Councillor and two suspensions from the Plaid Cymru group later and I’m an independent Plaid AM.

My crimes were to be overheard by a council eviction officer saying “I can’t wait to restructure the Council in 2017”.

That was enough to be off the Council for a month and out of the Assembly group for several weeks. They didn’t need to suspend me, but groupthink prevailed.

Groupthink is defined as occurring when a group values harmony and coherence over accurate analysis and critical evaluation.

It leads to dysfunctional decision-making and discourages any disagreement with the consensus.

Just asking what’s wrong with selling council houses so long as the money is used to build new ones was enough to suspend me, for a second time, from the Plaid Assembly group.

This suspension will last at least six months, depending on whether my appeal in March is successful.

People who defied the UK Government’s whip on the Brexit vote this week don’t get such punishment.

But In the groupthink of Labour and Plaid, the sale of council houses to working class people has to be ended, regardless of anything that could be put in place to help people buy their home and then build new ones.

I went against this groupthink and now I have to take the consequences.

Tragedy

Many politicians have been suspended this year, but none for so long and for something as trivial as questioning a housing policy, while still voting with the party line.

A lot of the other suspensions were related to claims of sexual harassment. The atmosphere became almost mob-like.

So much so that, at that time, a politician offering for a journalist to stay at his flat while they were out drinking suddenly became news.

And within that atmosphere, three complaints by women against a Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary – which were not investigated, proven, deemed serious enough to go to the police or even written down – were enough to sack him.

Four days later Carl Sargeant took his own life.

Offensive

Despite that horrible tragedy, the groupthink shows no sign of ending.

This week Gareth Bennett was banned by Elin Jones, the Presiding Officer, from speaking in the Assembly chamber until he apologises for an intervention he made on human rights.

I could barely hear what he was saying at the time because of all the jeering coming from the Labour/Plaid benches.

What I did hear was strange, and at times quite offensive towards ethnic minorities and transgender people.

But I think it’s important that he has the right to speak; and that’s coming from someone who is of mixed race.

In part of his speech he said:

‘There is only so much deviation from the norm that any society can take before that society completely implodes.’

But it was his deviation from the norm and the groupthink of the Assembly that has led to his ban on speaking.

Sacrifice

That’s ironic but it’s also dangerous. Those same people in the Assembly who virtue signal about diversity cannot tolerate any real diversity of thinking.

Virtue signalling has a bad connotation on the left now, and has become bound up with the far right. But the description of it, by James Bartholomew who coined the phrase, says:

‘I described the way in which many people say or write things to indicate that they are virtuous…

‘One of the crucial aspects of virtue signalling is that it does not require actually doing anything virtuous.

‘It does not involve delivering lunches to elderly neighbours or staying together with a spouse for the sake of the children. It takes no effort or sacrifice at all.’

In effect, virtue signalling means showing how right on you are, without actually having to do anything that really helps anyone.

Virtue signalling creates a sort of smug satisfaction and, make no mistake, the Assembly is a very smug place.

Silencing Gareth Bennett gave an opportunity for politicians to fire off tweets and hashtags about all the things they’re against.

They’re anti-fascist, anti-hate, anti-transphobic. And political parties with Assembly groups that are exclusively white/exclusively non-Muslim get to show how anti-racist/anti-Islamophobia they are.

There’s no need to walk the walk when you can just talk the talk instead.

Free Wales

We’re getting to the point where we need to have a serious discussion in Wales about the right to free speech and what we actually stand for.

It used to be that students would be in the vanguard here but many now prefer to campaign to no-platform people with opinions they don’t like.

Those that do want to defend free speech seem to have few options on the left.

Things have got to change. The quote wrongly ascribed to Voltaire really sums it up: ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’.

I don’t like what Gareth Bennett says but I will defend his right to say it.

I see Plaid Cymru and the Assembly as a vehicle to a free Wales, where free speech, free expression and free association are fundamental rights, all guaranteed through a Welsh constitution.

Looking at the current direction of our Assembly it seems we’re going to a much darker place.

One where groupthink, virtue signalling and deviation from the norm can lead to natural justice, duty of care and due process being completely abandoned.

We have to get off this path and that’s what I’ll be working towards in 2018.

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67 Comments

  1. Very well said. I was was truly disturbed by what happened to Gareth Bennett, since it signals a dark authoritarian streak within the Assembly which I hadn’t suspected. If elected members aren’t allowed to express opinions held by their electorate in the main elected chamber, then something is very, very wrong.

    • I agree with you totally, Eos. Who gets to decide what is free acceptable speech – the Establishment? Orwellian times ahead I think as the “accusers” aren’t going to stop.

  2. I share some of the sentiments here, notably about the shocking treatment of Carl Sargeant, but Gareth Bennet has said repulsive and inflammatory things and Neil M shouldn’t hitch his wagon to this man. He should keep doing what he does properly, which is fight Labour and stick up for ordinary people. Writing an article defending the likes of Bennett when there are so many better causes to take up that would make Welsh politics better is a bit bonkers. Sorry Neil – this is from someone who wrote to Plaid in your defence telling them to reinstate you asap and even promote you. This, on the strength of your other cases and your campaigning.

    If you really want to rock the boar why not say what you know about the people being the Sargeant persecution? Rather than defend a racist. I know the difference between free speech and hate speech, and Gareth Bennett is responsible for a fair amount of the latter.

    • He’s not hitching his wagon to Gareth Bennett. He’s hitching his wagon to free speech. Gareth Bennett has been responsible for saying a lot of bike things- his saying that immigrants were responsible for more rubbish on the streets led to even another UKIP member standing down as a candidate, and you have to go some to offend someone like that. But that is immaterial- you should not ban someone from seeking in the assembly because of what they have said, or because you do not like them. Only for what they say in an assembly, which should have to be a very extreme and restricted number of things. He should not have been banned for what he said. The common tendency of people to say “you are on the side of Gareth Bennett” for saying that, is itself very worrying.

      • He hasn’t been banned from speaking. He has been banned from speaking until he apologises and then he will be free to speak again. I believe that Elin Jones is right in making that call because if Y Senedd doesn’t exist to protect the rights of all citizens of Wales, then what is it good for?

        • Why should people apologise for saying what they think. Why are there so many undemocratic people like you around. The beauty of politics is that if you don’t like what someone says you don’t vote for them.

  3. I am not defending his dreadful views in any way. I state that. I spoke against him in the debate. I couldn’t deal with all he said at the time, as I couldn’t hear it. His views exist. Expose them for what they are. Banning him has made him a martyr and has breathed life into a dying political entity.

    • it’s perhaps interesting to note that it has been suggested that one of the reasons for the rapid ascent of the extreme right in the former GDR was that the kind of hateful politics extreme right espouse was completely suppressed by the authorities, (along with much other opinion that deviated from the official SED line) and so festering below the surface for 40 odd years before exploding the way it did in the 90s. It wasn’t the only cause of the social strife in the east of that country, (whose economy was completely destroyed overnight when parity of exchange between the West and East German Mark was established, thus making GDR products two and a half times more expensive) but it was partly because the east did not deal with it’s Nazi past that it had to be dealt with after reunification.

      If we can’t hear the vile opinions of people like Bennet, then how in earth can we begin to formulate our own ways of opposing them? I for one am unwilling to trust that all on the Left are operating in my best interest rather than taking care of their own agenda, (which would tend, if not intentionally, to lead to a political environment just like that of the GDR). I don’t need someone else telling me what to think, or ‘protect’ me from the sometimes vile opinions of others. I also resent being told that expressing an opinion is not PC, who gets to decide? Whilst I subscribe to the best intentions of what PC is about, (for elimination of doubt, I refer here to political correctness) I am often struck by the way that PC is misused to silence legitimate debate.

      I also wonder about all this groups within groups business, such as minority groups within political parties. Whilst I can see that the intention is to try to be fair to minorities that these groups are set up, I often feel that they are merely a way of marginalising the problems that are the impetus to these groups being set up in the first place. If the whole organisation were working as it should, then there would be no need of these groups whatsoever, and instead of solving the problems of, e.g. black and asian people, women etc, they tend to perpetuate the problem as the issues can be neatly sidelined. The various groups then become a symptom that all is not well with the organisation. I was a member of one organisation that ostensibly had a robust Welsh language policy, but it turned out that when it came down to the nitty gritty, English predominated over Welsh significantly, especially where some members had complained about the need to use Welsh at all. I resigned from that organisation, but not before someone, with well meaning intentions, suggested establishing a Welsh (speaking) caucus within that organisation. My response was that I was fundamentally opposed to that kind of thing, as it marginalises, and ghettoises issues that should be mainstream and an embedded part of any organisation that sees itself as in any way progressive. I was especially miffed, as that organisation seems to pride itself on virtue signalling about everything else under the sun in terms of intersectionality, (I have no issues whatsoever about intersectionality, it is definitely the way to go) but that intersectionality didn’t seem to embrace the Welsh language, and as such Welsh speakers were once again marginalised and reduced to being second class citizens in their own country, basically because a few white settlers got upset over the need to respect the Welsh language. My position is that Welsh and English are equal, and there is NO argument for prioritising English over Welsh, except in cases of dire emergency, i.e. cases of life or death.

      There are increasing signs that people in Wales are getting more and more fed up with politicians who seem to spend more time dealing with things that are really pretty much non-issues, or things that could be dealt with quite simply rather than dealing with those pressing issues as to why Wales is failing so badly. Perhaps, if Wales wasn’t such a dysfunctional place, the issues that our politicos seem so het up about, wouldn’t be issues in the first place, as people would have the resources, the means and the education to deal with them.

      • Sibrydionmawr – you wonder about groups within groups well a variation on that theme is the proliferation of spinners, lobbyists, PR quacks and other hot air merchants flouncing about and around Y Cynulliad . Welsh media have maintained a relative silence since Carl Sargeant’s premature death, respectful or fearful ? No probing of issues at all, very accepting of the sub judice treatment demanded by Y Cynulliad, where the problem’s roots are found ! Even more pertinent perhaps is the relative low volumes from the twitterati who in the days prior to his death was near meltdown with all sorts of unjustified bullshit – no evidence, no statements, just the kind of loose babble that often passes for “fact” in the Twitsphere.

        All these peddlers of spin have gone into a silent huddle, shitting themselves because among them will be found some of the power and influence-crazy lightweights who thought they were onto a good thing but when it overheated they realised they weren’t kitted out to deal with burnt fingers ! Silly girls. Check out Guido, that malicious Anglo propagandist who has from time to time unearthed some little gems that our local media fail to locate, or were reluctant to get their hands dirty. He homes in on a group of the “well connected and influential” the kind whose output has slumped dramatically over recent weeks. Wonder why ?

  4. Kathryn Pritchard Gibson

    I wholeheartedly agree with what you say Neil. Your messages can however, as you know, sometimes be taken out of context, exaggerated, and used as a stick with which to beat you. Shake your head and stay focused. Your voice is needed. Karl Sergeant was a good man- a politician who understood and cared about the people. His death was unnecessary and could have been prevented if he had been treated fairly. Politics is a nasty game- but it needn’t be so.

  5. I know you’re not defending his views, my point is that there are better free speech causes to get behind than Gareth Bennett, who is, as well as a man of repulsive views, a useless, clueless politician. I don;t think it has breathed new life into UKIP. And those views need to be challenged, yes they do, and I suggest banning people who spread hate from a Senedd debate is actually quite a good way of challenging them.
    Anyone – like you – who has worked at grass roots politics level knows that one of the reasons these shitty views get traction is that they’re tolerated and made ‘OK’ by the BBC etc not questioning them.

    • The best way to defeat the ideas of groups such as the BNP is to invite them to BBC’s question time program. Then people could hear and see how repulsive the views of that party really are.

      Well played Nick Clegg for asking the BBC to do this.

  6. Hardly Anyone knew he made those views known until he was banned. Classic error when dealing with UKIP. They gave them oxygen. Frustrating to be frank. Democracy also serves as a pressure valve. Fascistic views exist. Demolish them with reason, not an iron heel. I understand your view Cofi, I just disagree.

  7. I agree with almost everything too. The only thing I have my doubts about is whether free speech should be 100% free, no taboos, nothing off-limits, no holds barred? That’s what it has to mean, doesn’t it? If not, if there are lines that cannot be crossed? Where are these lines? Who decides where the lines are? Who holds the lines? Who decides when a line has been crossed? What constitutes hate speech and when does free speech become hate speech? Can free speech be used as an excuse for hate speech or hateful speech? What if an AM (or anyone else for that matter) wanted to campaign to decriminalise paedophilia? What if someone in the Senedd spoke at length about how ‘ridiculous it is that women should have the same rights as men’? What if people felt that Welsh language speakers should have fewer rights than English speakers? Oh, wait, that kind of speech already abounds, with impunity. I can think of a hundred such things that come under ‘free speech’ in as much as it is just an opinion, it is just one person’s personal views, it’s ‘harmless’ or ‘lunacy’… ‘not to be taken seriously’. Perhaps many people think that people expressing such views would be quickly deselected or, at least, not elected next time round? One would hope so and certainly, with the extreme example above I’m sure that would be the case. But there are many, many other damaging views, cruel views that marginalise and disenfranchise individuals or groups – usually minorities, but not always, as is the case in the ongoing battle for equality for women that would not result in someone not being elected (see Trump). People with cruel views are not always punished politically, very often they are rewarded. These people do make it into power and they are given platforms from which they can influence and embolden others with similar views and axes to grind. Maybe I find it difficult because I was brought up to believe that it’s not OK to say whatever you want. That I should consider other people’s feelings, should always endeavour to not be rude and that I should think before I speak. But not everyone has this filter, or they do but their fears or hatred overrides the filter. I think it is a lot more complex than just arguing that free speech is somehow sacrosanct because, evidently, there HAVE to be lines that should not be crossed. Ever. Yes?

    • The Americans have been grappling with these problems since 1791; it is generally agreed that free speech doesn’t extend to shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theatre (unless there is a fire, obviously), but apart from that the remedy to people freely speaking what you don’t like is to engage and argue using rational logic.

      People who are confident about what they believe and capable of defending it generally don’t have a problem with this. Those who try to shut down other people’s views using their legal power, as Elin Jones has done, are revealing either that they know, deep down, that their own views are wrong and can’t be defended (but don’t want to face up to the fact), or that they lack the intellectual capacity to make that defence.

      Elin Jones seems bright enough intellectually, which means I suspect that in her case it’s the former reason.

      • I remember seeing a TV movie some years ago that was about this very same issue, about how far does free speech extend. I wish I remembered the name of that movie, (I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it actually was, as ‘TV movie’ usually conjurs up ideas of degrees of direness). Basically the story is about a right wing politician who always sails close to the wind, but avoids crossing the line, and the movie explores ideas about that is free speech, and what is incitement, and how there is a very fine line, but that fine line is the crucial decider. We may not like what people say, but we need to be able to hear what they say in order to be able to make our own minds up about it.

        Before it was banned, I visited the site of National Action, to see for myself if it was as bad as painted. Rest assured, it was, but I was struck at how sophisticated it was, (sadly too many on the Left underestimate the intellectual abilities of many on the right, but then there are many on the Left who are as thick as two short planks). Vile isn’t a word I use often, but that seems a very apt work for the content of that website, and as a description of the kind of politics expressed by National Action. They’ve now have the martyr status of a banned organisation, something that won’t be wasted on the kind of minds behind National Action, and certainly the ban won’t affect how they operate. Through banning them, the government has made forced National Action underground, and it’s pretty certain that they will have a presence on the dark web. It doesn’t matter too much that the vast majority can’t access them, as they are not the kind that are interested in the knuckle dragging EDF boot boy types anyway, but to the more sophisticated, and ever so much more dangerous types for whom accessing the dark web will be routine anyway. At least whilst NA were accessible through their website, most people had an opportunity to see what they were up against, and to be able to formulate a way of countering them. Thanks to the government, we now have no way of knowing who they are, where they are, and if and when they are going to be in our areas.

        • It’s probably not the film you’re thinking about, but one that made a deep impression on me was Danny Kaye’s last film, ‘Skokie’ (made in 1981) which concerned a plan by a group of American Neo-Nazis to march through a Chicago suburb of that name where the population was largely Jewish. The Jewish community itself was split between those (led by Danny Kaye’s character) who felt that the march should be stopped at all costs and those who felt that maintaining free speech, even that of the marchers, was the best way to safeguard their own freedom and safety. As I remember (and it’s probably 30 years since I saw it), the film didn’t come down firmly on either side of the argument but identified the issues involved very clearly.

          The film came freshly to my mind earlier this year after the Charlottesville riot in the US earlier this year, where exactly the same issues arose.

          • Thanks for that, I’m now searching online for Skokie to see if I can find it somewhere. Another film that illustrates how fascism takes hold is ‘It Happened Here’ which was released in the early 70s, but made over a very extended period by a group of people, largely amateur, which is alternate history where Britain is invaded and subjected to niazification. The film was very contraversial at the time, as some of the people acting in the film were real fascists, and they were unscripted, i.e. expressing their true beliefs. At the time, many, probably predominantly on the left felt that it was providing a platform for those vile views, but the director deliberately encouraged them to express themselves, gave them some rope, so to speak. Some, (who probably didn’t watch the film, or who were just not paying attention) even thought the film was promoting fascism, when in fact it’s a powerfully anti-fascist film that explains how insidious fascism can be – the main character is a woman who is non-political who joins one of the movements aid organisations and a such is gradually sucked into it all before being told by a doctor friend, (who is a member of the resistance) how it all works and how one of the most pernicious aspects of fascism is that it can require acts of a fascist nature to combat it once it has taken hold. It’s a simple story, told from the perspective of an ordinary person who perhaps represents the majority of us who perhaps don’t want to be too involved in politics etc, (though the film makes the point that perhaps we should be more engaged in those things that claim to represent us) who tow the line, which can make us complicit in the actions of our governments without us really being aware how manipulated we are.

      • Thanks. How does one differentiate between free speech and, say, racism or homophobia in the form of verbal exchanges? All this would seem to suggest that the law should not protect people from others’ entitlement to say whatever they want to whomever they choose? So someone walking down the street must endure being called foul names because it is what someone else believes and they are entitled to express their feelings? Most people, even those that believe in free speech, would not think this is OK. So where is the line? Is there a line? Who decides where the line is? The law? Or is free speech just basically open season for everyone that wants to be vile to be vile?

        • The problem, of course, is that we don’t live in an ideal world and ‘hard cases make bad laws’. If there was a way of outlawing cruel verbal abuse without also outlawing the articulation of ideas, I’d be all for it – but no country that I know of has found a way of doing that.

          I expect that those who framed our current ‘hate speech’ laws (mostly the Conservative government of the 1980s and 90s who put in place the Public Order Act 1896 and the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act in 1994) were honestly trying to protect the innocent from harm. The problem is that they have become increasingly misused by those who wish to shut down debate by equating any sort of disagreement, however mild, with ‘hate’. As far as I can see from the reports that I’ve read (and the BBC video clip that I’ve watched), nothing at all that Gareth Bennett said in the Senedd indicated any hatred of anyone; he was simply (and coolly and unemotionally) making a legitimate point that privileges being extended to one small section of society are placing a much larger section of society at risk. Yet Elin Jones found it convenient to label it as ‘hate’ just so that she could close down any debate on the topic.

          There is therefore a choice to be made between two alternatives, neither of which are absolutely perfect. One is a society where speech is free and unfettered, and from time to time we’re all going to hear things that offend our sensibilities (and as an evangelical Christian I hear things calculated to offend my sensibilities all the time). The other is a society where arbitrary power is placed in the hands of a small clique who get to police what everyone else is allowed to say and think, and whose power can’t be challenged because to do so would necessitate saying and thinking the very things that aren’t allowed.

          We seem at the moment to be running headlong, and very largely unawares, towards the latter. It’s called totalitarianism, and it never ends well. However imperfect our Welsh political life may be, I’d assumed until now that basic good sense would prevent us from falling into that, and yet now I see that if anything we’re more vulnerable to it than other parts of the UK. I find that genuinely frightening.

          • That should be 1986 of course, not 1896; blast! This site really needs and edit facility for comments!

          • That of course is the nub of the matter: those that agree with Bennett will see it as freedom of speech, those that don’t will see it as hate speech. Personally, I don’t see how, in this instance, “privileges being extended to one small section of society are placing a much larger section of society at risk” and as far as I know no evidence was given to support this assertion. Maybe that is the test of whether something is legitimate and therefore protected by the right to free speech i.e. can it be proven? If not, one has to ask whether it is, instead, nothing more than one person’s hate, fears and morality trying to influence Government Policy for the purposes of disenfranchising one group of citizens?

            • I shall quote henacynflin below:
              “Nobody objects to free speech when people say things with which you agree. The time to defend free speech is when people say things with which you disagree. It is often difficult to do this but in a free and open society it is of the utmost importance and it is good to see someone like Mr McEvoy recognising this and speaking up. Well done.”

              It would have been much better if perhaps Elin Jones had asked Gareth Bennett to porvide some evidence for what he was saying, and the Senedd could have had a debate about it. If Bennett was in the wrong, this would have been made clear to all and we could have moved on. Instead, Jones took the totalitarian path. A dark day for Wales.

              • That’s my point. There has to be a line. And maybe one way of ascertaining whether a line has been crossed could be asking “is there proof”. If people know they have to provide evidence for their assertion maybe it will help everyone understand what is free speech and what is opinion, prejudice or hate speech? After all, what virtue is there in free speech if it can be used to rob people of other rights and freedoms? I don’t think it was a particularly dark day because I don’t think the Llywydd’s response (although heavy-handed) was any more outrageous than Bennett’s comment.

  8. I know Neil, we’ll have to disagree, but my essential point is that Plaid needs you and I’d be loath to see you spending your time on peopel like Bennett and falling foul of the party for people like him when there’s so much else to do.
    Also, it seems clear to me that UKIP and its views and the huge damage it’s done to public life, and our actual European-ness are a direct consequence of them being treated by media and politicians as if their views were the same as anyone else’s and needed to be put ‘out there’ just because they existed.

  9. I got halfway through Neil’s article and was actually thinking to myself, ‘bravo Neil, you are making a good argument without pulling the race/victim/virtue card as I have noticed you are prone to do’. Then I read:

    “But I think it’s important that he has the right to speak; and that’s coming from someone who is of mixed race.”

    Couldn’t resist could you! Do you really think that race should affect one’s tolerance of free speech?

    But by and large I agree with the Neil’s concern regarding the propensity of the Left to indulge in group-think and censorship. A society that curtails speech, and by extension thought, is a thoroughly illiberal and undemocratic society, more at home in oppressive dictatorships like North Korea than anywhere in the West.

    I read Bennet’s controversial comments in the Wales online site yesterday. From my recollection he seemed most concerned about the protection of girls and young women from men who decide to declare themselves as women and allowed access to girls’ bathrooms and communal showers. Or something to that effect. In response, the ‘right-on’ political class in Cardiff has silenced him for thought crime. I don’t know how it is in your neck of the woods but I suspect that here in the Valleys, support for UKIP has just surged.

    With regards to Free Speech, it is either without restrictions, or it is not free. Any limits and it is controlled speech.

    ‘Hate speech’ has come to mean views that our superiors disapprove of. It’s definition changes, usually expanding by the day.

    Intentional incitement to violence against an individual or a defined group is a whole different beast, and there are laws that deal with that.

    “In a free state, every man may think what he likes and say what he thinks” – Benedict de Spinoza 1670

    “If liberty means anything, it means the right to tell people things they do not want to hear” – George Orwell

    • credyd I was reading on and finding myself agreeing broadly with you until I came to …….”But by and large I agree with the Neil’s concern regarding the propensity of the Left to indulge in group-think and censorship.”
      Groupthink is not just a “Left” issue at Y Cynulliad. The whole institution is dripping with groupthink. There are people within Plaid and Labour who, at best, can only manage a pale imitation of socialism, pseudos at best but they can all manage to get under a fairly small groupthink blanket when it comes to flavour of the month ishoos ! I suggest that you dump the old linear left right model as that too is the result of over 200 years of lazy groupthink, see it in real world 3 dimensions and you will then come to see how big the stink from that place really is.

  10. I am perplexed You mention 3 Complaints were made against Karl Sargeant yet none were investigated by the police before he was sacked Were these complaints made at the same time- if so who orchestrated this? He was named but not his complaints Surely it would have been better not to name Karl until investigated thoroughly

  11. Diolch Cofi. I offered to mediate with Leanne and the Group at the start of November. I am still waiting for a full reply. I am just cracking on building Cardiff Plaid with colleagues. and trying to do that job in the wider region. It is unfortunate that us making Plaid popular in our Capital, through a team approach has led to suspicion amongst some leading lights. What we have done should make Cardiff a model to follow. For example, without quotas or positive discrimination, we have organically grown a diverse, positive, forward looking Party, to which our opponents find it very difficult to attach negative stereotypes.. Male, female, white, brown, black, faiths, no faiths, middle class, working class, old, young…it’s all there. A pity our diversity has never been given a platform by Plaid. Some of our bright young (and not so young!) things could really alter how Plaid is seen across Wales. They need a chance.

  12. I take your point Credyd, but people like me live with the results of hate. People who have never spoken to me, or never met me, judge me and dislike me, because of how I look. That is just the way it is. Hence, the inclusion.I actually find overt racism much easier to deal with to be frank. It’s the clever, colonial prejudice which is more difficult to counter.

  13. I was surprised that the Assembly has now descended to a politburo or North Korean style parliament where any dissenting voice from the group or establishment view is to be silenced or banned. I bet some of those who opposed his views would have liked to see him carted off to the gulag rather than debate them..

    Now he is seen as a martyr and a known face or name. Before the ban to be honest I had never heard of him, probably some of his constituents as well didn’t know he existed. Now I and they know there is a Gareth Bennett AM who represents UKIP who speaks out on sensitive issues. Well done Elin Jones.

  14. This has been discussed within the Transgender community in Cardiff and I’ve argued that the ban is over the top, it gives him publicity and prevents his views from being demolished. I would rather he gets to say them and then watch all the other AMs line up to destroy them in reply. I have also suggested that the community reaches out to him, that he be invited to a monthly support meeting to find out about the transgender experience in Cardiff and why support is essential – I doubt he will come (apparently David Davies MP was also invited but hasn’t accepted the invite) – at the very least he could listen and who know we might be able to change his views but banning him in the Assembly has just turned him into a martyr.

  15. Not Another Neil NcEvoy Fake Account

    Neil McEvoy defends Gareth Bennett for his blatant and despicable attack on a persecuted minority. Not so much a shock, after all, Mr McEvoy’s attacks on women are similar, e.g. his complaints about ‘fake’ accusations of domestic violence, when we all know the main problem is not enough women speak out agaibst their abusers.

    I hope Plaid Cymru throw him out. He’ll probably join UKIP or the Tories then. He’s becoming more Thatcherite, if not even more right wing, every day.

  16. Recent times have witnessed a frightening rise in political violence and intimidation manifesting itself in increasing authoritarianism from all parties. Look how shabbily Neil McEvoy has been treated by his own party and Carl Sargeant by his ‘comrades’. There is a developing new understanding of fascism, not as the sole preserve of a tiny minority of extremists, but as an increasingly broad church. Observing with discomfort as the new breed of leftists repeatedly cast their net wider and wider, hauling in every dawdling Brexiteer and errant journalist not looking where they were going: denouncing, assassinating, twisting words into knots. Fascists, it seemed, were now lurking around every sharp corner.
    The hapless UKIPer mentioned the new, now taboo subject. Gender self identification. Now we must accept that ‘A male person is a female person on the basis of nothing more than their say so’ or you will be immediately found guilty of hate speech and being transphobic if you can get the words out.
    Questions must be asked as part of an open debate on how best we reconcile the rights of natal women with the needs of those who identify as trans. Yet these are the questions being actively and aggressively suppressed by trans activists, specifically because any exploration of them threatens to expose the founding lie: that a male person is a female person on the basis of nothing more than their say so – concerns highlighted recently by the case of Lily Madigan elected as the women’s officer for the Labour Party branch in Rochester and Strood in Kent. Madigan hit the headlines after arguing that Anne Ruzylo, a lesbian, feminist and trade unionist, a Labour Party women’s officer in a different constituency, should be sacked for being ‘transphobic’. Eventually the executive committee of Ruzylo’s local Labour branch resigned in protest at her mistreatment.

    Decisions are being made without consultation, and rules quietly changed by the back door, precisely because this new agenda is so totally reliant on ignorance for its approval and success. Sex as a protected characteristic is still enshrined in law and so these policies that prioritise gender identity must be implemented while the majority of the public still do not fully understand the implications, because those pushing them know full well that exposed to light and viewed in full glare, the majority would never agree. There is simply nothing to be gained from opening up the floor.

    No matter from which direction it comes, an increasing authoritarianism ought always to alarm free thinking people. Those who are so convinced of their absolute moral superiority and unquestionable rightness, they believe themselves entitled to use violence and intimidation to push their political agenda, are not those to whom we should wish to give more power.

  17. Well articulated in a balanced and sensible way Neil. It’s a shame that there aren’t more like you down in Y Bae, with a backbone and a sense of fairness with principles – who actually believe in telling the truth, rather than insincerely tickling ears for perceived short term gain. But isn’t this the nature of the beast? Playing political games of point scoring, bullying through ‘group-think’ and an inherent fear of being exposed as not treading that invisible line of correctness. It bears all the hallmarks of the political ‘old brigade’, espoused by the politics of yesteryear. ALL parties in Y Bae (and especially San Steffan) are the remnants of a political structure that is past it’s ‘sell-by’ date. The days of the politics of the 19th and 20th century are over. People are waking up and expressing their disgust at the way the established parties operate. You just have to look around you to realise that people are craving for an end to this oppressive madness, witnessed by the electoral earthquakes that took place in 2017, and it’s happening the world over. The writing is on the wall, people have had enough – simple as.

    We are within a hair’s breadth of getting engulfed by the society of the ‘thought police’. In the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), by George Orwell, the Thought Police (Thinkpol) are the secret police of the superstate Oceania, who discover and punish thoughtcrime, personal and political thoughts unapproved by the Party. The Thinkpol use criminal psychology and omnipresent surveillance (telescreens, microphones, informers) to search for and find, monitor and arrest all citizens of Oceania who would commit thoughtcrime in a challenge to the status quo authority of the Party and the regime of Big Brother. Does it sound familiar to you?

    I feel for you. This is something that has been creeping up on us for a few decades. Little wonder it has been labelled ‘POLITICAL correctness’ . I suffered the same fate as you, but worse – I had to resign in 2002 whilst a vice president within Plaid. Do you recall the treatment I received then for simply pointing out that Cymru was becoming the dumping ground for “oddballs, social misfits and society drop-outs” from England’s inner cities? A simple truth, which is by now common knowledge. It was known to most aware people within Plaid at the time, but due to the very things you mention in your post, Plaid went to hide behind the sofa, and threw me out to the wolves. I was labelled a racist, fascist, EXTREME right wing (a stupid label if ever there was one – what the hell is ‘left’, ‘centre’ and ‘right’ anyway?). This was despite the fact that I was married to an Englishwoman (some racist eh?), as you are of mixed race. However that does not even enter the heads of the ‘group-think’ mob.

    Keep up the good fight Neil. If the kitchen gets too hot in the company of the vacuous, then there are alternatives, within the new party that WILL be open, truthful and impervious to this dinosaur mentality of a bygone political era. If we continue to hold on to the shirt tails of these current political parties Cymru will continue to descend into the pit of poverty, despair and lost identity.

    Here’s the URL address for you: http://sccambria.com/NewParty/RegisterInterest/

  18. Jonathan Edwards Sir Benfro

    Are there such things as a political pendulum? Lets look at some of what is happening.
    McEvoy and housing
    Old-fashioned bullying by the clique which runs Plaid (fits “female pattern” definition, by the way)
    McEvoy and bullying
    Labour scored against McEvoy with classic complaints-culture goal. (Supported by Plaid qv)
    Gwilym ab Ioan and “oddballs, social misfits and society drop-outs from England’s inner cities”
    A lot of Welsh individuals build careers and quasi-businesses in the Welsh Third Sector in this field – see Jac of the North again and again. This is overwhelming evidence, but it makes a certain sort of Welsh politician very uncomfortable. Exposing it (I mean) not the abuse of the system and Wales which it represents. Strange, this. Inexplicable. The sin consists of rocking the Welsh status quo.
    Gareth Bennett and “Society faces “total implosion” if the “nuttiest elements of the transgender movement” are appeased,” BBC report.
    There! I have said the unsayable. But why can’t his words be out in the open? It is not anti-TBGT. It is anti “nuttier elements”. What is so wrong in saying that a group which does good can nevertheless end up doing harm if it become too nutty? Protestant Christians (virtuous on the face of it) who end up burning Catholics in Tudor England might seem to prove this proposition. But are we to be shot down for ANY critical thinking?
    Sexual Harassment and Carl Sargeant
    A classic case of an allegation being brought without clear definition or openness. And of accusation without any formal justice process. Which results in a death. Surely there is a warning here that allegations of sexual harassment cannot be bandied about unthinkingly – they have consequences, not all of them just or good.
    All the above are signs of our times. My point is that times can change and the pendulum may well swing at some point. Collecting this lot together tells me that it is high time there was a chance of mood and a return of reason.
    In society generally – mob rule is dangerous
    In the Assembly – Elin Jones you are starting to sound out of touch
    And in Plaid Cymru – badly needs that revamp.

  19. Notice my comment not being put up which rives the point.

  20. Nobody objects to free speech when people say things with which you agree. The time to defend free speech is when people say things with which you disagree/. It is often difficult to do this but in a free and open society it is of the utmost importance and it is good to see someone like Mr McEvoy recognising this and speaking up. Well done.

  21. Bennett made comments a member of a neo fascist group like Britain First would have been proud of – his comments were hate speech pure and simple and he would have been rebuked for such comments in any democratically elected chamber. He has banned himself with his nauseating attacks on trans people and minorities. It has been made clear to him that If he withdraws his comments will be called to speak in debates – so the ball is in bennett’s court on this matter. But very sad to read that neil seems to confuse free speech with hate speech. We should be proud of the fact in Wales there’s no place for hate speech in our senedd.

  22. Bennett made comments a member of a neo fascist group like Britain First would have been proud of – his comments were hate speech pure and simple and he would have been rebuked for such comments in any democratically elected chamber. He has banned himself with his nauseating attacks on trans people and minorities. It has been made clear to him that If he withdraws his comments he will be called to speak in debates – so the ball is in bennett’s court on this matter. But very sad to read that neil seems to confuse free speech with hate speech. We should be proud of the fact in Wales there’s no place for hate speech in our senedd.

  23. Spot on Neil! I speak as someone who is on the Left on economic matters but There has always been a regressive authoritarian streak with Labour. I remember when Blair was arresting anyone who protested outside the Houses of Parliament and when Walter Wolfgang a survivor from Hitler’s death camps shouted “Nonsense” at Jack Straw during a conference speech – he was roughed up by some bouncers. Plaid are hypnotised by Labour groupthink and they must snap out of it. We MUST remove Labour from power in the Senedd before they turn the entire nation into automatons. I am fed up of their virtue-signalling crusades – While Wales is propping up every league table in poverty, health and education. The Senedd is on the road to abolition if it does not start making itself relevant to the Welsh people.

  24. Am I to assume, that some people will say/believe, that in time (years/generation), it will be a “hate” crime to condemn peadophiles for their actions!!

  25. Feathers are flying on this one. Gareth Bennet was once a SWP member and then a Labour Party activist. Where will all these UKIP Senedd members go when UKIP winds up in March 2019? And what are they doing in a Senedd which has zero say in the politics of Brexit anyway.
    Perhaps it is the lack of Individuation and argument in the Senedd that leads voters to chose rebels against conformist drabs.

    The Senedd needs to act like a parliament, with backbench rebelsin every party, make another 40 ASes (no pun intended) and set up proper committees such as for Policing and Justice to debate the growing body of Welsh law. Maybe they will earn the right to devolve all Policing Matters to Cardiff and to grill our Police Commissioners. Its just the swish of a pen as we have seen in Manchester.

    As for selling off Council Houses… the cash was never reinvested was it. And mainly the better houses were bought, diminishing the stock. In reality the issues are of reducing council democratic control and a lack of new council housing building.

    Niel is right, he should be able to discuss these important issues, he is elected to discuss, debate annd decide and not just vote a party line.

  26. A reply to 1 of my trolls: I’m a Welsh Republican who rejects the Brit left top down “we know better than you what’s good for you.” Such people can usually afford their superior politics as a result of their Labour Party card. I’m against that corruption and for bottom up, community led solutions. I oppose élitism and want people to be given a fair chance in life to succeed. I want a sovereign Welsh parliament, because I want Wales to be given a chance. I believe in equality of treatment and strive to oppose racism, sexism and all unfair discrimination. The culture of false allegations is a cancer in the heart of Welsh society. More examples will come up in 2018. One final point is that I have been successful in building teams that have made parts of Cardiff the most successful areas of Wales for Plaid. Nobody has grown votes more successfully than us. In 2008, I was also the organiser for the Caerphilly Council elections when we took control. Threatening the status quo is the real reason some want to me my political demise.

  27. Spot on summary. I was always opposed to selling council houses, right up to the point that you raised the question. It has made me question my views and isn’t that thr role of good politicians. We should always be questioning our beliefs.

    I work with someone who lives in a council house in Powys. Somewhere he could never afford to buy a house, because private property prices have soatred out of reach. He has thought about buying it, but can’t afford to and now won’t be able to, but would like to have security in some sense for himself and his family. We do need to ensure that in areas where house prices have soured out of reach of locals who have lived there for generations, they can continue to do so. The third sector has failed in this, so far and can councils be trusted not to sell of properties anyway fir development purposes.

    I believe that mechanisms to buy should be considered, but with lots of safeguards to ensure that the people who buy them are the ones who are doing it to secure the means for them and their families to be able to continue to live and work in their own communities and feel secure. When councils are selling off so much of their estates for private property developers, who inflate local prices, it is anachronistic for the most deserving not to have mechanisms to secure their tenure in some way and also have the means to see their property value rise, giving them something that might enable them to one day participate in the private market sector – a legacy for their families in the future.

    The Thatcher free for all in the eighties was appalling, but there needs to something between that extreme and the one we are now choosing now, which is also a bit too extreme the other way.

  28. A really good article from Neil.

    As he says, it’s been a bad year for democracy at Y Senedd. His own spurious suspension from the Plaid group was engineered no doubt by the Sisterhood which has such a pernicious influence within the upper echelons of the party. Then we’ve had the bullying and whispering campaign against an AM, ( apparently led by lobbying groups who disliked his stance against lobbying) who subsequently took his his own life, after his own party sacrificed him on the altar of political correctness.

    And then this sorry episode. I am no fan of Lord Elis Thomas, but surely he would have dealt with this matter in a wiser fashion than this ridiculous one year speaking ban meted out to Gareth Bennett by Elin Jones.

    What really worries me about it were her comments about Bennett,’s ‘hateful speech’. His exact words ‘ nuttier elements of the transgender community’ do not strike me as being exceptionally vile and completely beyond the pale so to speak . So one is left with the conclusion that Y Senedd”s Presiding Officer believes that expressing concerns and doubts about the whole transgender issue is now ‘ hate speech’. Along with the implicit suggestion that the UKIP member’s comments were also formenting ‘hate: against the transgender community.

    Unbelievable.And very dangerous to boot.

    There is a very old and very wise Welsh proverb that Elin Jones would be well advised to consider over the next few days.

    ‘ Rhydd I bawb eu barn ac I bob barn ei llafar’

    ( Let everyone have the freedom to an opinion and for that opinion to be expressed’

    I do not wish to live in any Welsh democracy where people cannot express their opinions honestly- however uncomfortable those opinions could be to me personally. Democracy has to be a constant and open exchange of ideas, to keep all of us thinking, evaluating and engaging in public life. Otherwise Democracy degenerates into DIMocracy.

    One of the reasons why UKIP have gained a foothold in Wales is this perception amongst ordinary people that Labour/Plaid politicians in the Bay are completely removed from the everyday concerns of Welsh citizens.That they are more concerned about virtue signalling and patronising the Welsh public, and showing a a sense of disdain towards the view on the streets. The Euro referendum of 2016 being a classic example, where the Welsh establishment completely misred the public mood in Wales.

    UKIP somehow managed to worm its way into Y Senedd by adopting this role of the underdog in Welsh life. Recently, following Brexit, they were slowly becoming increasingly irrelevant and there was every hope they could be wiped out by 2021.

    Now, thanks to Elin Jones’s ridiculous ‘ban’ they may well discover some second wind.Because, this issue of free speech is fast becoming one of the pressing issue of our time.

  29. Political correctness will confine free speech to the dustbin of history; room 101…

    • Let’s be quite clear, there is nothing in essence wrong with political correctness. It’s when it’s misused to silence, to close down debate that it becomes an opressive thing. All political groups have their own versions of political correctness, with the Tories it’s something called ‘ideological soundness’ which can be equally oppressive. Indeed, any consideration of what political correctness really is would have to include free speech at the top of the list, for without this, there can be no democracy, which is kind of self-defeating.

      Unfortunately political correctness in it’s many forms has been hijacked by a few who regard their role to be that of guardians of what is morally acceptable, as if indeed they had any right to decide what is moral and what is not for the many of us who are quite capable of marking out our own path through life with our own interpretations on what is right, wrong, acceptable and unacceptable. We don’t need those who consider themselves to be our superiors to act as filters.

      What Bennett said in Y Senedd was pretty obnoxious, but that’s about par for what we would expect from such an obnoxious party as UKIP. However, it wasn’t hate speech, indeed, far from it, and the matter could have easily been dealt with by asking Bennett for supporting evidence for his assertions – that would almost certainly led to Bennett either being completely dumbfounded, or responding in a manner that would have made both himself and his party a complete laughing stock. A far more efficient way to deal with UKIP is to give them enough rope, and then marvel in how ridiculous they make themselves when they, as they inevitably will, hang themselves.

      Banning Bennett was an extremely stupid thing to do, but then, as we’ve come to see, our Senedd is full of idiots who think they are doing the right thing by banning, I just wish they’d pick on better targets, such as perhaps banning Westminster Tory rule from Wales!

  30. Right on “oh dear” for recalling that the Gareth Bennett storm stemmed from his raising the issue of “self declaring” one’s gender. His words actually referred to the “nuttiest” among transgender people as gaining sway. While I don’t like the term (does it not offend mental patients?), there are extremists who fail to address the evident problems of eg. men self-declaring so they can participate and win women’s sporting events. Or more seriously, men in prison self-declaring to get a move to a women’s prison and opportunities for sexual activity. Many would say self-declaring is inadequate – a settled view must be demonstrated, even preparations for physical operations. An Aussie weight-lifter had to reduce testosterone for 12 months and that was still insufficient.
    Transgender persons are largely willing to discuss the problems of self-declared imposters invading women’s “safe spaces”, including changing rooms. Terming the absolutists “nutty” might offend them, but free speech allows people to cause offence. I hope the law doesn’t change to give them protected characteristic status.
    What’s wrong is for Elin Jones proscribe this under the name “hate speech”. She can’t have intellectualised this, rather it’s “group think” shared by some contributors above. But it’s surely not for a neutral presiding officer to decide. Why did she not refer it to the Senedd conduct committee? Was she not also joining in the group-think that jeers at whatever UKIP AMs and Councillors say and wants to suppress his raising the issue of self-declared gender?

    • I strongly dislike the fact that you are pushing the argument that somehow there are imposters flouting the transgender issue, which in itself then creates unnecessary suspicions about people affected by this.

      I do however welcome the fact that you have the right to express them and we shouldn’t hide from the fact that you are not the only person who holds those unusual views and ideas.

      This issue needs to be discussed and we need to show that some who have concerns like you do, can have a voice – so that society can effectively move on with this issue and hopefully one day make it a non-issue.

  31. I find it ironic that Mr McEvoy, who has been found guilty of bullying behaviour, and his lawyer, who has been found guilty of sexual harassment, are complaining about bullying and sexual harassment in the comments section of an article about free speech – when McEvoy and said lawyer have been particularly litigious in regard to alleged libels committed against Mr McEvoy.

    So free speech it is – unless you want to criticise Neil McEvoy.

    Mr McEvoy is also “washing his dirty linen in public” when he openly discusses his feud with Leanne Wood. Is this really advisable and are these the actions of someone who wants to kiss and makeup?

    His barrister is insisting, and creating a narrative, that it is McEvoy himself who is being bullied, while McEvoy sits on the fence about which party he will end up in. Will it be Plaid, Plaid Cardiff, Plaid Newydd, UKIP or some other creation?

    Roll up, roll up, the McEvoy circus is in town. Ringmaster, clown, illusionist – three acts for the price of ten.

    • Bullying is bullying, regardless of who does the bullying. It has to be put in context. Accusation is one thing, providing evidence of bullying is altogether a different matter – as we’ve witnessed in the Carl Sergeant affair.

      If accusations of bullying or harassment are used as a weapon – without tangible evidence – then it is simply the word of one person against the word of another person. Not valid.

      However, in the case of Mr. McEvoy and his party, it is evidently apparent that he is the victim. Bringing up mere accusations about his own past is irrelevant. Each case has to be judged on it’s own merit, and supported by proof of evidence.

      Please don’t allow personal prejudice to cloud the issue.

      • But Neil McEvoy was found to have used bullying behaviour and his barrister was found guilty of sexual harrassment. Neither man appealed against these findings.

        A common trait of bullies and harassers is to claim that they themselves are the victims. If Mr McEvoy was determined to clear his name then, given his antipathy to keeping a low profile, don’t you think he’d have tried to do this? He must know that he has no chance of reversing the verdict hence his, and his barrister’s, insistence that it is Mr McEvoy who is being bullied.

        They are trying to flip the whole narrative and some nationalists, desperate for a Messiah, are falling for this ruse.

  32. 3 white middle class women decided I had bullied, because I defended a poor family from eviction. The eviction was unfair and I said I wanted to restructure the Council. That was it.

    I have not bullied anyone, but get used to gutter play ground tactics from people who don’t ha s the courage to identify themselves: organised trolls essentially. I’ll just carry on with the politics.

    • Why emphasise that the women who found that you were a bully were white and middle class? You seem a bit prejudiced.

      It is shameful that you are playing the race card, and claiming that you are black, when you are one-eighth Arab. Hardly much of a minority – except in your head.

      • I think, Neil, might be talking about prople like you…. Your post seemed to me, Pun, to have an element of racism too..no pun intended

  33. Jonathan Edwards Sir Benfro

    Dear Pun
    Here is the other side of what you have to say. Which was
    “I find it ironic that Mr McEvoy, who has been found guilty of bullying behaviour, and his lawyer, who has been found guilty of sexual harassment, are complaining about bullying and sexual harassment in the comments section of an article about free speech – when McEvoy and said lawyer have been particularly litigious in regard to alleged libels committed against Mr McEvoy.”
    You “find it ironic”
    “Ironic” = “using words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning”. Or loosely – something happens which was not expected. Sorry, but your use of the word “ironic” does not seem to convey anything at all clear. Let me help you out. You seem to find it surprising that people who, in your opinion, seem bang to rights, should nevertheless contest what has happened to them.
    But this is not surprising. Because we live in strange and dangerous times.
    McEvoy’s accuser made no allegation against him. His accuser was a dyed in the wool Labour politician with a grudge backed up by Labour apparatchiks. The prosecutor (Ombudsman) was a party political Labour appointee. The Judges likewise, all appointed by Carwyn. They included no man – a breach of the need for diversity. You are surprised that someone with backbone (like Neil) will not take this kind of treatment lying down? Why are you surprised? Is he just supposed to accept injustice? And why should he not accept that the system is for now unjust and fight on a political level, where people are more ready to listen?
    My accuser was a person who was gifted a business on a plate and made a complaint in order to steal it, which she did. She was disbelieved on the main allegation – not all that serious anyway. I was denied my legal representative. I had excellent grounds of appeal but was advised that I had no chance only because this was a sexual allegation and could not expect a fair hearing in the prevailing climate. I took the view that the best thing to do would be to tell the world about this kind of injustice. You say you are surprised that someone with pride and self-respect (which includes me) will not take this kind of treatment lying down? Why are you surprised? Am I just supposed to accept injustice? And why should i, like Neil, not accept that the system is for now unjust and fight on a political level, where people are more ready to listen?
    Which arises because we are all living through a period of Salem/McCarthy type hysteria. Where someone has now died.
    I suggest you watch what is happening in the US. A lot of this came from US campuses in the first place. What is happening in the US is a growing realisation that we cannot carry on like this. In addition to justified allegations there are unjustified ones and wild overreactions. Women are realising that in the end there is a limit to this sort of thing. Women will lose out because (rightly or wrongly) men will fear injustice, will avoid dealing with women altogether, shun women, not employ women or want to work with them. I do not want a society like that and neither presumably do you. So be very careful what you wish for.
    And one of our biggest casualties is free speech.
    For example – read or watch what Gareth Bennett AM says. He has a pedantic and awkward kind of style and I do not end up in the same place that he does.
    But fair play to the man, he is the only Welshman apart from Eurfyl ap Gwilym (Paxman) to put the BBC’s top interviewer (A.Neil) on the back foot. Who else in Wales can say that? Not Carwyn or Leanne.
    I don’t share Bennet’s conclusions but I would defend his right to say what he says. He makes any civilised nationalist strengthen and improve their argument. And it cannot be right for Elin Jones Llywydd to have the right to silence him. What does she thing is she doing?
    Expect a fight back. Ironic, as you would probably say? No, Pun, its inevitable.

  34. As Noam Chomsky said: “Goebbels was in favor of free speech for views he liked, so was Stalin. If you’re really in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech for precisely the views you despise–otherwise, you’re not in favour of free speech.”

  35. So you and McEvoy are innocent. I am sure that you have come across many men going through the courts who are innocent too. Prison is full of them. Rammed full of men who claim they are innocent.

    Your allusion to Trump is interesting. I was glad he won as he ended the rule of the warmongering Bush/Clinton crime gang. Unfortunately, it seems now that he is just another neoliberal Zionist stooge. But comparing Trump to McEvoy is ridiculous. Trump was not tainted to the extent that McEvoy is. When you have been shunned by the two largest political parties in a country, your refrain that “it’s not me it’s them” might chime with the credulous Cilmeri-ites but most voters won’t believe it. McEvoy plays the race card, the victim card and the gender card – the sort of identity politics that he so vociferously derides in his opponents. Trump was starting from a huge voter base – white working and middle class Americans who wanted to Make America Great Again – people who ignored the inconvenient truth of American Exceptionalism because their pay packets hadn’t grown for twenty years. In Wales, any nationalist politician is starting from a base of support that is 5-25% of the population. The only way we can achieve sovereignty is with a unifying figure and McEvoy is not that person. He has proved time and time again that he is more interested in Neil McEvoy than he is with working with other people. He is splitting the nationalist movement, pitting us against each other. He is attempting to build a personality cult centred on himself – an approach favoured by many of the world’s most successful despots.

    Royston Jones new party – which I support in principle – wants to jettison the left/right paradigm that has hamstrung Plaid Cymru’s electability. Bravo. So why would said party want to mire itself in the ishoo of the “men’s movement”? UKIP have claimed that electoral territory. Plaid Newydd’s voter demographic is becoming vanishingly tiny: members must 1. Want Welsh independence 2: reject left/right distinctions 3: oppose Cultural Marxism and Social Justice Warriors. This is a political dead end!

    I am sure that McEvoy will accuse me of trolling. Anyone who pseudonymously disagrees with him is a troll; but those who anonymously agree with him are thanked! The dictionary definition of a troll is “a person who sows discord on the internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory meassges with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response,” That covers many of McEvoy’s articles, tweets, posts and comments! Do any other politicians comment so frequently on their own articles? You’ll remember when, in 2011, McEvoy accused Women’s Aid of “publically funded child abuse.” Trolling, naturally. Only last week he had a twitter spat with Rachel Williams, a woman who survived a murder attempt by her husband and whose teenage son subsequently killed himself. This shows poor judgement; do we really want such a bombastic, egotistical person leading us to freedom?

    Plaid must hope that McEvoy disappears while Labour (who are very quiet on the McEvoy issue) must be hoping that he sticks around as he is damaging the Plaid brand – a seemingly misogynistic stain on Plaid’s electoral credentials. I’m sure he will always find willing acolytes to fund and service the cult of McEvoy but they will all, initially, be as blind to his obvious flaws as you appear to have become in the long term.

  36. Neil you are spot on once again.

    As a member of the LGBT community, it alarms me that such a tiny minority gets so much press and attention.

    Gender is not the same as sexuality.

    People are born male, female, or intersex. So that’s XY, XX, and XXY. Intersex is actually a condition and not a gender or sexual identity.

    A man who transitions to be a woman will never be a woman. She will be a transgender woman.

    A woman who transitions to be a man will never be a man. She will be a transgender man.

    I will call them their preferred pronouns, but they will never, ever ever be a member of the opposite sex as they do not have the necessary reproductive organs and biology and chromosomes will always have the last say. They are welcome to identify as being male or female socially, but you can’t deny basic biological fact.

    As for the nutcases who describe themselves as being non-binary, what’s to stop you from identifying as a doorstop or a sea cucumber?

    Things have got out of hand. We need to start dealing in facts and not feelings and the transgender community need to find their voice and make it a coherent one.

    Denying the right to express these FACTS is indeed lethal to democracy.

    Elin Jones blotted her copybook bigtime with her foolish decision and as a Ceredigion resident I won’t be voting for her again.