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Leanne Wood: ‘Seeing Labour as a vehicle for independence is delusional’

07 Oct 2021 3 minutes Read
Leanne Wood. Picture by Plaid Cymru

It is “delusional” to see the Labour Party as a “vehicle for independence”, Leanne Wood has claimed.

The former Plaid Cymru leader, who used to be the MS for Rhondda, has said Labour’s MPs in Westminster would “block on any kind of constitutional development”.

In a frank interview with Aaron Bastani for Novara Media, she said that she does not believe Labour will deliver a federal UK either, arguing “we need to look outside the Labour party in terms of devolution”.

She pointed to a meeting in 2014 with Owen Smith, who was Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Wales at that time.

According to Wood, in that meeting Smith sided “with the Tories in opposing the devolution of policing”.

Leanne Wood said: “I don’t believe there’s anything about Labour in Wales, or its strategy, or its talk about a federated UK, that would be delivered.

On Labour’s MPs from Wales she said: “Everything I’ve seen would indicate they would put a block on any kind of constitutional development. That’s what has happened all the way along.”

On the meeting with Owen Smith, she said: “I was in the room when he was siding with the Tories in opposing the devolution of policing. I have no faith in them. I know the MPs from Wales and I know how unionist some of them are. Mark Drakeford can say what he likes, but it will never be delivered.

“Seeing Labour as a vehicle for independence is delusional really.”

‘Different’ 

She added: “Labour politicians in Cardiff are different to those in Westminster, that is clear from the rhetoric […] but in order to get constitutional change, there has to be a Labour government at Westminster that wants it, and the MPs from Wales have to be on board.”

“How are we going to see any movement unless the leader of the UK party is persuaded by it,” Wood argues. “It’s just not going to happen.

“So we need to look outside the Labour party in terms of devolution. That’s why I think there was a missed opportunity [in the May elections] to support independence-supporting candidates by the movement.

“Labour has done a good job of making a constitutional offer that sounds attractive. My concern is that the offer hasn’t had sufficient scrutiny and doesn’t stack up.

“This is a debate we need to have, not just within the independence movement, but more widely with the Welsh public.”

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Grayham Jones
16 days ago

Leanne Woods is Wright the Labour Party is part of Union and the Labour Party have been a Disgrace to the valleys of wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 and the people in the valleys still vote for them we in wales have got to stop being little Englanders and be proud to be welsh kick all English party’s out of wales that’s the Tories Labour and all Brexit party’s it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 start fighting for your children and grandchildren future in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 and Plaid Cymru 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 have got to stop getting involved with British politics and start fighting… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
16 days ago

She is right, remember it was labour who strangled devolution at birth in Wales, giving us less powers the Scotland and N Ireland,
and people like Kim Howells, who opposed devolution and said we would see the “Balkanisation” of the UK, when the Serbs were murdering thousands in the former Yugoslavia, just to scare people, and try to stop devolution, oh and Peter Hain, who said Wales should never have control over the water industry in Wales.

Mark
Mark
16 days ago

That snake, oily smith, did more than side with the tories about policing, he’s responsible for a hell of a lot more than that, him and Carwyn.

Arwyn
Arwyn
16 days ago

Leanne is spot on. Lab4indyWales are a sideshow. So long as their leadership puts the party into elections on an Unionist manifesto, Unionism is precisely what voting Labour will produce. Sadly all my hope for YesCymru has gone too – it’s a distraction. Only winning elections is going to deliver independence. So join Plaid Cymru folks and buckle up for the ride. And yes you’ll need to hold your nose at times – no person will be in full agreement with their party 100% of the time. But here’s the point – imagine if the 25% or so of the… Read more »

Arwyn
Arwyn
16 days ago
Reply to  Arwyn

-2 already!

I’m right though.

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
15 days ago
Reply to  Arwyn

Yes you are, if you want independence above all else to vote for a party that wants it too even if you don’t agree with it 100%. Until that happens we will not get near to it. ukLabour in wales is and will be an unionist party

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
15 days ago
Reply to  Arwyn

Yes you are absolutely right I never join parties for many reason but in the afternoon of the 12/12/19 I joined Plaid as I could see what was going to happen after the lib dems and labour gifted an election to the English nationalist fascist Tory party. I was not wrong.

Philip Jones
Philip Jones
16 days ago

Two words – Kinnock Bryant. Trust them ? Ha ha ha

Rob
Rob
16 days ago

Once Labour are back in government (whenever that will be) they will become less enthusiastic for further devolution, and dare I say it so will public support for independence. In all honesty we are not going to become independent before Scotland does. In 2007 when Labour signed the One Wales Agreement with Plaid Cymru, Labour MPs were deeply sceptical, however once the Tories returned to power in 2010 they conveniently came around to it. So in some ways Wales having less MPs after the next election whilst at the same time having a bigger Senedd could actually be a good… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
16 days ago

English Labour in 1979 with social hypocrite Neil Kinnock & Co basically sacrificed Wales to Thatcherism & Conservatism by campaigning against devolution resulting in 18 years of Tory scorched-earth policies that devastated Wales & Welsh communities resulting in mass unemployment and death of the coal industry putting thousands of hardworking men & women on the scrapheap. Then in 1997 under Tony Blair’s premiership, New Labour deliberately scuppered Welsh devolution so it would flounder by giving it no actual power hoping the public would call for its scrapping. They even admitted it once that because the vote was close limited the… Read more »

Richard
Richard
16 days ago

Jim Griffiths, Cledwyn Hughes, ,, Elystan Morgan , Gwilym Prys Davies, John, Morris, Lady Megan, Tudor Watkins, Tom Ellis , S O Davies, Lord Maelor and Goronwy Robert’s – etc —//all real Examples of Labour MPs in Wales who fought tooth and nail for Wales national governance structures and fair play for the language – all have equivalents in today’s a Labour Party in Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 The trouble is that even with most holding Westminster ministerial roles they were always shouted down by a larger faction mostly from the eastern valley heartlands . Today while the message is more subtle… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
16 days ago

For all the labour party finger pointing at the Tories, let us not forget what Labour did following the Aberfan disaster, lead, by none other than mamy’s boy, Lord Tonypandy George Thomas.

Richard
Richard
15 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

I think 🤔 you may be thinking of another G T !! Lord T was certainly widely reported to anything other than as you describe 🤔

Gareth
Gareth
15 days ago
Reply to  Richard

I am talking of the George Thomas Lord Tonypandy that used charity money (sent to the people of Aberfan from all over the world) to pay for the clean up operation following the disaster. The same Lord Tonypandy that has had place names and plaques removed in the Rhondda, due to certain allegations made following his death, when South Wales police started an investigation in 2014 against him. All I have said is well documented and in the public domain. I can post links if needed.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
16 days ago

She may well be right. However, for Wales to gain independence Welsh Labour has to be on board – Why? The Welsh public religiously vote for them and that does not look like ending any time soon. The party needs to cut its ties with the UK party and seriously look at Wales independence. Cosying up to the Union will just make us all poorer.

Dave
Dave
16 days ago

read the history of the protest party that is Plaid and then think about who gave us a devolved government and then realise who is actually planning for independence and then say #Lab4indywales is a joke at the end of the day Plaid has had a century to illustrate what their plan is and still they rely on welsh labour to lead the way.so reality check people vote Plaid if you like but don’t attack welsh labour ever because they will give us what we want because they are the only people that can.

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
15 days ago
Reply to  Dave

They will not fight for independence, they will fight with the tories for the union. How many councils in Scotland have Tory/Labour coalitions? 11 yes 11. The Labour Party are the Tory enablers, always have been and they will keep first past the post which means the tories will always have a route to absolute power

Dave
Dave
15 days ago

you seem angry about coalitions Gareth but if you look at the history of Plaid and the Tories you will see that there was almost a coalition between them in 2007 and also the writer of this article refused to rule out a deal with the Tories in 2018 so stones and green houses and that happened in Wales not Scotland.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
15 days ago

I share the frustration but pragmatism must rule. I have great respect for Leanne Wood and her presence in Welsh politics is missed. However, let’s be honest – Wales is not going to have a ‘revolution’ so change and / or independence will only come about through using the system we have. Plaid Cymru has not made the inroads or long term gains in the heavily populated areas of south east and north east Wales and will likely never form a single party government. Welsh Labour under Mark Drakeford, with excellent ministers like Mick Antoniw, is now a very different… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by Mr Williams
Gill
Gill
15 days ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

The problem with your argument is the descendants of Hain, Thomas, Kinnock are still in the House of Commons , but about ten times twper and HAPPY TO CONTINUE dismantling devolution.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
15 days ago
Reply to  Gill

Who particularly do you mean? You may be partly correct but I don’t see any other way to achieve change. I would be very interested in your alternative solution.

Last edited 15 days ago by Mr Williams
R W
R W
15 days ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

If people in Scotland had thought the same way as you in 2007, they would still be stuck with a Labour government in Holyrood today. Fortunately, enough Scots took a leap of faith to enable the SNP to form a minority government by winning one more seat than Labour. By 2011 they were able to form a majority government. If people continue to hold attitudes such as yours then we are destined to be stuck in an UK that is run by a BritNat Tory government in Westminster 75% of the time.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
15 days ago
Reply to  R W

The majority of the Scottish electorate have turned to the SNP, but Welsh voters haven’t turned to Plaid Cymru, so what do you suggest the way forward is given the situation we are in?

R W
R W
15 days ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

The reason why people in Wales haven”t voted for a majority Plaid government is because so many are entrenched in the belief that things can never change. Until people in Wales stop being subservient to Labour just for the sake of it, we will never achieve self-determination. That’s what people in Scotland started to realize in 2007. The people of Wales will need to do the same very soon otherwise I fear it will be too late for us to gain our freedom.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
14 days ago
Reply to  R W

It seems to me that you are blaming the electorate because they vote for Labour. My polite advice to you is to be less angry with the people and to offer an inspiring vision and plan of action that will make people want to vote Plaid. No country ever wished itself to independence. We need to be pragmatic and work with what we have to build with.

R W
R W
14 days ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

It’s not about blame, it’s about hoping that the penny finally drops for those who want indy but keep voting for unionist parties. However, my fear is that that won’t happen until Scotland votes for independence.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
13 days ago
Reply to  R W

So what is your vision and plan?

Mick Tems
Mick Tems
15 days ago

Come back, Leanne – how we miss you!

Crwtyn Cemais
Crwtyn Cemais
15 days ago

Mae Leanne yn llygad ei lle! ~ Leanne is absolutely right!

Dave
Dave
13 days ago
Reply to  Crwtyn Cemais

No she is not, as a person she is top notch but even Plaid has got rid

David Thomas
David Thomas
13 days ago

What did Leanne wood ever do for independence, she was voted out because her priority was turning plaid into a LGBT/womens issues niche political party. Bit rich of her coming out against labour now.

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