Leanne Wood says she had to deal with ‘more than her fair share of narcissists’ while Plaid Cymru leader
Leanne Wood has said that one of the main stresses of being Plaid Cymru leader was dealing with internal strife within the party – including “more than my fair share of trying to deal with narcissists”.
Speaking with Adrian Masters on Face to Face she said that the “points of stress” while leader were really the “internal problems”.
“When you’re dealing day in day out with people who just seem to want to wreck the organisation and the project without contributing anything positively, that stuff can be really draining and energy-sapping. And so that aspect of leadership I don’t miss at all,” she said.
“Politics attracts people for different reasons you know? Because it’s a game of power it sometimes can attract narcissists. And I felt that certainly in my time as leader I had more than my fair share of trying to deal with narcissists.
“And the problem is, you know, you’re tied up with complaints procedures, these things take time, and a lot of effort and resource goes into it – when it really should be going on the things that are important, the campaign and on the issues that matter to people out on the ground.”
Leanne Wood was the leader of Plaid Cymru between 2012 and 2018, before being ousted in a leadership challenge by the current leader Adam Price.
Her time as leader also saw two members of the Senedd, Lord Dafydd Ellis-Thomas and Neil McEvoy, leave and be ejected from the party.
She went on to say that she considered her time as a leader a success electorally but “in terms of party discipline” she was not successful.
Asked by Adrain Maters how dealing with internal problems within Plaid Cymru affected her as a human being, she said it was “just horrible”.
“You’ve seen some of the ways that politics is discussed on social media,” she said. “And when that’s happening within the organisation that you’re trying to run and lead it can be quite debilitating.
“Thankfully that seems to be a problem that’s in the past for Plaid Cymru now. I hope that remains the case.
“But in other organisations – for example in organisations around the independence movement, for example, there have serious, serious problems with just certain individuals, bad-faith actors who just seem to come in with a wrecking ball and they’re not there to work together with others and build a movement, which is what I’m all about.
“They can cause serious damage and it does cause mental health problems for people as well. I’ve seen many many activists, particularly women, walk away from politics altogether because they can’t cope with that kind of behaviour. It’s horrible.”