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Leanne Wood calls for end to left-wing disunity on Twitter after furore over podcast’s Taliban tweet

20 Aug 2021 3 minutes Read
Leanne Wood speaking to a member at the Plaid Cymru conference. Picture by Plaid Cymru

Leanne Wood has called for an end to left-wing disunity on Twitter, saying that it gives the enemies of the Welsh independence movement and others the impression that they are “weak, unfocused and split”.

The former Plaid Cymru leader was replying to criticism of her refusal to condemn podcast Desolation Wales after they posted a message and image comparing Welsh Labour to the Taliban.

In a Facebook post Leanne Wood took aim at so-called ‘cancel culture’, saying that it was weakening left-wing movements.

“The readiness to condemn people and then subsequently bully them on social media when a joke or statement they make is misunderstood is becoming more common,” she said.

“It has to stop because it is damaging to activism and movements. Too many good people have become afraid to make statements on social media and so are being silenced.

“I see many women, people of colour and people from working-class backgrounds being silenced in this way and walking away from activism. That is absolutely not good.”

‘Cancel’

The Desolation Radio posts had been condemned as racist by some on social media. Leanne Wood however defended the podcast against the charge, saying that the subsequent condemnation of them had been “horrible”.

“Yes, our movements have to work hard and be constantly vigilant to be free of racism, transphobia, homophobia, classism, misogyny and so on,” she said. “Is the best way to achieve that calling people racist when they are not?

“The furore on Twitter from some about a joke that has been argued to be poor taste from podcasters who make a good and sound contribution to Welsh progressive politics and the independence movement has been pretty horrible to witness. The same for the response to my refusal to condemn them (or “cancel” them).

“Was the original joke racist? No. There are plenty of memes comparing Johnson or Trump to the North Korean leader. Are those memes racist? Likewise, no.”

Some of Desolation Wales’ tweets about the Taliban

She also called on the left to work through their disagreements without resorting to arguing on Twitter.

“For unity to work without one ‘side’ having all their own way, there have to be spaces to discuss, debate and work through disagreements. That space should never be on Twitter,” she said.

“If the movement’s enemies see people in a movement openly and vigorously disagreeing, losing trust and denouncing each other, they know that the movement they oppose is weak, unfocused and split. That means they know they have won.”

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Mr Williams
Mr Williams
1 month ago

Leanne Wood is absolutely correct. If the people within a movement are divided the movement will not achieve its aims. While racism, homophobia, sexism etc. should always be challenged, it is never fair to accuse good people of hate when they are not so.

Karen
Karen
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

What you said.

Dim problem
Dim problem
1 month ago

In this case, when Leanne says “unity” means “stop criticising me for the nonsense I spout”!

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
1 month ago

What is LW signalling? She wants to join Labour and take as many as she can with her? Slash and burn Plaid for humiliating her in the leadership contest? Translation please.

Last edited 1 month ago by Cai Wogan Jones
hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago

Unfortunately Leanne herself was (and possibly remains) an user of the cancel culture in that she was intolerant of contrary or alternative opinions and analysis. There was a time when she stood for a range of ideals and aspirations and did a job of advocacy. Only she can tell us why she became more intolerant.

Jack
Jack
1 month ago

“The readiness to condemn people and then subsequently bully them on social media when a joke or statement they make is misunderstood is becoming more common,” – The ‘joke’ in question us comparing Welsh Labour to the Taliban, at a time when this is grossly insensitive. What have I misunderstood here?

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack

It’s ‘grossly insensitive’ and in poor taste, but nothing more. Certainly nothing to go over the deep end on. If there is anything Taliban like in all of this it is the intolerance of those who want to condemn and close down every debate that doesn’t conform exactly to what they arbitrarily think it should be, or some humour malfunction that they find offensive when it’s merely bad taste. Always keep in mind that no one has a right to not be offended. There are limits to this, of course, but this is where a sense of proportion is needed.… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

” It’s not our opponents we need to consider here, (though no doubt they look on in glee) but those ordinary, middle-of-the-road voters who could be persuaded and who we need to reach out to. Think about how they might perceive our movement.” Those 4 lines sum up the key message that should be internalised by each and every hysterical participant in the recent internecine squabble within YC. The frequent, inappropriate use of words like “safe spaces”, “……..phobes” of every shade and description, fascist, etc etc made YC and the wider indy movement look seriously juvenile and too immature to be… Read more »

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

We all need to work together. There are bound to be differences but we should all remember the one goal – independence. Set differences aside, if that sometimes means accepting someone else’s view – so be it. I stressed this before, there are too many warring fractions. In particular Plaid and YesCymru need to work together, the political base and the popular base. Do we really want a future of poverty for our children just because we couldn’t work together?

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

Agree for the most part. Understanding that the idea of independence sits separately from political allegiance is the key to gaining it – it is a principle, not merely a political aim. Where I can’t agree is the idea that Plaid and Yes should work together – Plaid have (necessarily) an idea of how Cymru should gain independence and how that will look. Yes simply advocate for indy, regardless of how it looks or takes form. By working directly with Plaid, Yes would be tied to a particular vision of indy. What would be the point of Yes in that… Read more »

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
1 month ago
Reply to  CJPh

Agree 100%.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

Not forgetting those who vote Labour. Let’s not forget that half of those who support independence voted Labour in May’s election. It’s far too easy to forget Labour’s strong nationally focused wing.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

Absolutely. I have posted before at my amazement, when my Labour activist brother suddenly mailed me “Have joined Yes Cymru”. No explanation, as that’s the type he is. “You think, therefore you do.”

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

Diolch byth common sense.

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago

For ‘unity’, see ‘hegmony’.

“Not everyone agrees” is an insurmountable problem for those who have a fixed ideology.

Plus, as I have said before, it is lovely to see her ‘break’ from politics is helping rejuvenate her, readying her for a return. Her introspection, candor and willingness to learn for her mistakes and missteps is wonderful…

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  CJPh

For “irony” read “sarcasm” or vice versa, or have I misunderstood you ?

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Guilty. Leanne Wood could be a political force. She just needs to stay off Twitter for 5 minutes, get back to doing what she was known for (working for the people of her constituency) and maybe listen to some different philosophical positions. She is far from stupid, fully capable of doing so. She just needs a dose of humility and lay off the more authoritarian language – most left wingers look at her utterances and her positions on a range of subjects that matter more to the American coastal cities and university humanities departments than to contemporary Cymru and balk.… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  CJPh

Cywir. Agreed

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  CJPh

Everybody in the wide movement should stay off Twitter. Loads of people tweet stuff that has them apologizing, often within hours.

Last edited 1 month ago by j humphrys
GARETH WESTACOTT
GARETH WESTACOTT
1 month ago

She herself is guilty of what she now condemns in others.

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