Nationalism ‘inherently right-wing’ and incompatible with socialism, First Minister says
The First Minister has said that Welsh nationalism is an “inherently right-wing creed” and that people must choose between it and socialism.
Speaking to Nick Robinson on Radio 4, Mark Drakeford was quizzed on whether independence for Wales would be worthwhile in order to avoid Conservative UK Governments.
“Have you never thought, over the years, the decades since, been tempted to think maybe we have a real chance of achieving the socialism we want in Wales by being nationalist?” Nick Robinson asked.
“Margaret Thatcher was in power for all that time as heavy industry was being run down if not destroyed, even now is there not a bit of you that thinks – we could have avoided dominance by an English Tory party?”
Mark Drakeford replied that he’s never been attracted by nationalism.
“In the end, I think it’s an inherently right-wing creed that operates by persuading people that they are because they are against what somebody else is,” he said. “And I think in the end that is a deeply unattractive creed.
“Rhodri [Morgan, the former First Minister] used to say that Margaret was the greatest recruiting sergeant for devolution. But if you try and work out why people in Wales rejected devolution so strongly in 1979 and were willing by a small margin to endorse it in 1997 it was the experience of those long years of Thatcherism.
“And for me, devolution is the best of both worlds. It allows us to remain part of the United Kingdom and draw on the strength of being part of that collective whole. But it puts decisions about what happens in Wales in the hands of people who live in Wales.
“I’m a fierce supporter of devolution. But I also want Wales to be part of the wider collective in which we have that big insurance policy which the United Kingdom provides in which we pool our resources and we redistribute them out to where the need is greatest.”
Mark Drakeford said that he had grown up in the 60s in the Carmarthen area during the time of Plaid Cymru leader Gwynfor Evans’ victory and had chosen very early to be a socialist instead of a nationalist.
“The start of almost every day of my school life was people bring in roadsigns that they had collected overnight, and depositing them in different rooms in the school,” he said.
“But it meant that I had to face very early on really the choice between whether you were a nationalist or you were a socialist. And by the time I was about 14 I had already decided that I was a socialist.
“That the accident of geography, the chance of birth that you’re born in one’s particular spot on the planet, is less important – much as being Welsh matters to me, and it matters to me deeply in terms of the language and the history and the culture and so on.
“But in the end, the interests of working people in Carmarthen are the same as the interests of working people in Canterbury, or other parts of the United Kingdom, and that’s a more important bond.”
Nick Robinson asked the First Minister about his decision to move out of lockstep with the UK Government on how the lockdown was enforced in Wales, including different rules on travel away from home.
“I agree that that is at the more vivid end of the differences between us,” he said. “We have made a very firm decision here that we ask people to stay home and if they leave home, if they’re able to, they stay local.
“And local is very important to us because we think it’s a very important tool in the armoury to stop the spread of the virus. The people who come across our border may not have heard, because they aren’t focussed on what is happening in Wales, that things are different here.
“So using our motorway signs to make sure that people understand the rules and that they’re in a part of the United Kingdom where that rule happens to be different was I thought just a sensible way of making sure that people understood the position that they would be in.
“Our police are regularly having to stop cars that are travelling to second homes and explain to them that that’s not an essential journey, under our regulations, and persuade people to go home. And once you’ve explained to people what the rules in Wales are, they’re very happy to – very willing to follow the rules.”
He said that the only thing he and Boris Johnson had in common was that they had both learnt Latin, and he said he would “have a go and see where it takes us”.
“I want a relationship of respect with any Prime Minister,” he said. “We’re very, very different people. It’s almost impossible to think of people who are more different.
“The Prime Minister a very English figure, public school, all of those sorts of things, and I’m a Welsh-speaking Welshman from west Wales.”
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Im sure Mark is aware that even Marx and Lenin believed in every Nation’s right to self determination. The people of Wales have that inalieniable right – and there’s nothing right wing or incompatible with socialism about independence for Wales
Agree, everyone should read some Julius Nyerere, first president of Tanzania on nation building.
My dude!…I first came across him in a Adam Curtis documentary. Good call, man.
True (and nice to see it typed I might add), but so sorry you are missing his point. The first minister hasn’t said that Socialism is incompatible with Independence for Cymru but that Socialism is incompatible with Nationalism and that he doesn’t agree with Cymru leaving the “United Kingdom”. The thing is, I don’t think people who want and independent Wales are all strictly nationalists. I think we need a new word that describes people who want a Independent Cymru and want a “Wales First” situation, after all I haven’t come across anybody saying “Wales only for the Welsh” (and… Read more »
‘It’s no good being an Independent Cymru if all that was to happen was a weird copy of the old ways etc etc’.
But what if Wales as an Independent country voted democratically to be a ‘weird copy of the old ways’ etc. It’s not desirable but if it happened then that’s okay. Because it would have been our choice. Having said that i’m 100% certain we would NOT vote that way.
But Independence is what counts first, last and everytime. And then i’m personally okay with whatever the outcome.
Lenin usually has a quote somewhere in his voluminous writings that can support the views of either side in the never-ending debates on the left of politics:: ” The proletariat cannot pursue its struggle for socialism and defend its everyday economic interests without the closest and fullest alliance of the workers of all nations in all working-class organisations without exception.” and ” workers who place political unity with “their own” bourgeoisie above complete unity with the proletariat of all nations, are acting against their own interests, against the interests of socialism and against the interests of democracy.” versus “our programme… Read more »
Marx was the dream, Lenin the nightmare, Stalin …hell on earth!
Tricky stuff, J. Small bust of Lenin still in Turku, Finland, in small tribute for Independence, whereas we are still in
“And for me, devolution is the best of both worlds. It allows us to remain part of the United Kingdom and draw on the strength of being part of that collective whole…
…But I also want Wales to be part of the wider collective in which we have that big insurance policy which the United Kingdom provides…”
They want to have the responsibility but not the accountability. They want to be able to play government but not have to deal with the major ramifications if they screw up.
Drakeford is seriously confused…. or he knows exacly what he’s doing i.e. stirring!or inddeed both! It seems that his 2021 Senedd election campaign has started!
The big insurance policy is the part that gets me, we should be striving for prosperity not hand outs.
Labour wimps like hermit crabs moving into Gwynfor’s old shell
To state that you have to be right-wing to be a nationalist is absolute tosh. To believe in your country is all-encompassing and doesn’t matter if you’re left, right , centre or anywhere in between. The term nationalist has always annoyed me because it’s used by those against independence to portray those pro independence as extremists.
To anyone brought up in Wales, to strive for a free independent nation should be the most natural aspiration
‘’…. I also want Wales to be part of the wider collective in which we have that big insurance policy which the United Kingdom provides in which we pool our resources and we redistribute them out to where the need is greatest.” Wonder 1 Is the FM really saying that all those now independent countries left the British Empire and none have asked to return? He seems to think that the interests of working people in Canterbury -England are the same as in Canterbury-New Zealand according to the FM Correct Answer- people’s desire for self determination 2 Does the FM… Read more »
Uk is a right wing nationalist construct and he clings to it
I was working for OXFAM when I first realised that Wales was a colony of England and I was only too well aware that the anti-colonial struggles for national liberation were overwhelmingly left-wing so I have to ask him whether he knows much at all about what he is talking about ? He sounds more like an old-fashioned Stalinist. Has it ever occurred to him that the British Empire was created by England and that Wales was its first colony?
Are Fanon, Friere, Althusser and many many socialist writers right wing (according to Mr Drakeford)? They wrote of the psychology of historical domination by another country and of its ills. They advocated self determination . The paradigm of colonisation is a fit to the situation that we have in Wales
For a few moments lately, he seemed to come alive, but basically he is one who kneels.
What I just said in a nutshell JH.
FM is too cowardly to go for independence,wants tobeEnglish,New Labour camouflaged Tory!Boring and not to bright,Bring back old labour!
Much of ‘Old Labour’ was no less viscerally opposed to devolution, let alone independence, than the Tories. I have to assume that you weren’t around in the 1970’s!
I was………….and so was my hair!
So we’re both in a similar position on that issue!
Nationalism or normalism? It is normal to want to stand on your own 2 feet. It is normal to strive for a nation to have a sovereign parliament. It’s a bit rich for a multi-property owning man, living in a million pound house to preach ‘socialism’ to the masses. The WNP is looking forward to knocking Labour off its perch in Cardiff West.
So Mr Drakeford has a mansion and a property portfolio?
Lucky boy …
Wanting to stand on your own two feet is very normal and necessary. But the purpose of that would then be to walk. So as things are , who’ll be paying for the crutches.?
So English nationalism in Wales is left wing? Got it ……..
Drakewell’s insipid, incompetent – terrified of annoying London! – management team believing the future lies in the third sector, wind turbines, the Cardiff city state, hippies, granny farming, saturation tourism, low wages, statism and gesture politics probably explains why I was never attracted to socialism.
And if socialism in Wales has as its standard-bearers the Labour Party, that over 20 years has run Wales into the ground, and Plaid Cymru, where most people’s nightmares become party policy, then socialism is in deep, deep trouble.
Thank God for that!
We must resist this stalinism………On his logic he is basically claiming that every brave colony that freed itself from English exploitation is “bad” …. what an oddball…Stalin would be proud
And MUD……………………..glorious MUD! Nothing quite like for whitening the blood!
Did you borrow granny farming from me 😂
I do not have anything in common with a right-wing English nationalist working-class person in Canterbury who believes in UK imperialism
I think you should take a trip to Canterbury and talk to a few folks, might open your mind a little.
I am picking my jaw up from the floor, I really trying my best not just to throw abuse towards Drakeford. Is he really trying to tell us that Cymru/Wales is better off being dominated by another country, I mean show me where and when the language, culture and history has had parity with england when discussing the UK and of course Cymru/Wales has had spectacular success under his unionist government of WM lapdogs. Hey we just have to look at Charlie Evans’ article admitting how bad we are doing whilst part of their union. Every single person I know… Read more »
Mark drakeford does not seem to accept that Wales is in a colonial relationship…. I realise that a lot of so-called socialists are actually ruthless Stalinists… And it was actually the original left-wing anarchists who were fighting against communism
Sorry not “communism” I meant to say colonialism .. big typo!
2 can be the same , just ask the peoples of the Caucasus and Central Asia who put up with this cruelty for 70 or more years.
I don’t agree with what you said but you no doubt support Plaid? In which case I wish you good luck and hope that you get a referedum, become independant and make Wales into even more of a success than it is now.
I support an independent Wales and I’m a socialist. I’m waiting for Wales’s Labour government to introduce some actual socialist policies: everyone in every job gets paid the same wage; necessities of life such as housing and food are taken out of the private sector entirely; ‘democracy’ means more than having the opportunity to vote. I would support Welsh Labour if it had socialist policies it actually carried out.
This is the guy Plaid will be helping to re-elect by standing against Neil McEvoy in Cardiff West.
You can be for Independence and be a nationalist AND be a socialist at the same time! In fact the reason I want to be independent is because I AM a socialist and because I see that this government we have in Westmonster, does not give a fig about the poor and disadvantaged in England and even less about the poor and disadvantaged in the devolved nations. The Irish have been Nationalists and socialists in the Republic for many years now, so it is not a new snd unheard of thing. I have no idea why anyone would say that… Read more »
Contrary to Drakeford, Socialists can and do support an independent Wales. What Socialists will never support is a free Wales. If you don’t know the difference you are a part of the problem.
Wait…. I don’t know the difference, please enlighten me and others what the difference from free and an independent Wales means.
The irony of course is that the socialist visions of independence espoused by Plaid Cymru makes independence and Welsh nationalism meaningless.
Drakeford – as always a very shallow analysis and a politically middle-of-the-road apologist. He says Wales can get the best of both worlds – where is the evidence for that over the past 50 years? 100 years? When his peers were taking down road signs in radical protest he chose socialism – why? Cowardice perhaps? He’s living a delusion which keeps Wales looking at its boots begging for crumbs & grateful for scraps. Is he a socialist? Not one of any conviction and therefore a waste of time for every true socialist and Welsh nationalist alike. The emptiness of his… Read more »
Mark Drakeford is a British Nationalist.
Yep and so by his own words a right-winger
Mark Drakeford must beblind to reality. If Wales had independence it would surely have a socialist government. Labour supporters have voted for a British labour party knowing full well that they would rarely get a socialist party in power. When will they see the light. Voting patterns over decades have shown that Wales would return a socialist government. However, I do worry that the competing factions for independence are also just as blind. They forward petty arguments as to which pro-independence group holds the true path. Throughout the history of Wales (read up on John Davies’s brilliant book ‘The History… Read more »
As for a free Cymru getting a socialist government, I hope not, but expect so. The point is that we could be free to choose who we elect and how our nation is shaped. Separatism can be from a nationalist perspective. Or a socialist one. Or, like I espouse, without political ideology. (Politics is a spoke in the wheel along with culture, economics, religion (or lack of)).
To me the entire bedrock of nationalism is ‘I am better than you’ – ‘my family is better than yours’ – there’s a terrible sense of entitlement there. Why? Because most supporters of nationalism tend to be white, middle-aged, and middle class. (Hello Jac!) As the Smiths once put it: ‘They mean nothing to me in my life’. Good luck to Drakeford – this may yet prove his finest hour – I support a party that fights for EVERYONE in Wales, no matter who they are or where they’re from.
I don’t recognise the person you are talking about. I’m old, post 70, born and raised on a council estate though did manage to receive a university education twice! I support independence totally simply because the economic, cultural, social, linguistic and historical realities are that Cymru has actually been impoverished by the forced union under Westminster rule which, should one care to, is soon proven by reading Welsh history written by the Welsh not the version proffered by the British State. It is a myth that Labour fights for everyone. I’m an ex member who, with my wife, left that… Read more »
Well said, Mr. Coslett!
Mark Drakeford: ‘’…. I also want Wales to be part of the wider collective…”This is said in the context of socialism! Oh the irony! On what planet is the UK a collective?? I don’t recall that Castro wanted Cuba to be part of the wider collective of the USA – and he really did govern a socialist state. Cuba contributes to world efforts directly in its own right e.g. in science and medicine and is at the forefront of Covid-19 assistance to many other countries in terms of doctors, nurses, and equipment – and is an independent country that stood… Read more »
Call what you’re doing ‘socialism’ if it makes you feel good, Mark, it’s actually colonial management. Your inability since the age of fourteen to see that you could have been a socialist and pro-independence has made you blind to the ever-growing threat to Cymru’s culture, language, community cohesion, and its uniqueness as a nation. The credibilty that you acquired recently in your stand against one form of colonialism, namely the use of second homes during the pandemic, has now been thrown down the toilet. Bechod!
REAL devolution or else independence.
Drakeford says: “In the end, I think it’s an inherently right-wing creed that operates by persuading people that they are because they are against what somebody else is,”. This argument could equally be used against some socialists “I am against them because I am a worker and they are bosses”, “because I am a socialist I hate capitalists”, “I support the common man and oppose the elite”. My experience of Nationalism in Wales is the opposite of Drakeford’s picture, most supporters of the national cause that I have come across are positive about Wales rather than negative about other countries… Read more »
Mae e’n gwneud Ysgol Gramadeg y Bechgyn barchus i swnio fel St Trinian’s. Yn ôl cyn-ddisgyblion eraill, doedd dim modd mynd ag arwyddion ffyrdd mewn i’r ysgol. Mae’n rhaid ei fod wedi cael hunllef yn ofni y byddai rhaid iddo wneud safiad dros rhywbeth. Ar y pryd, wrth gwrs, roedd y Blaid Lafur yn Sir Gaerfyrddin yn ffiaidd yn erbyn Gwynfor a dyma fe’n datgelu ei fod yn un o’r mob hynny. Cywilydd arno.
I think there are two types of nationalism and he’s confused one with the other.
Right wing nationalism is where the dominant ethnic group feels like the minorities are gaining parity and see it as a bad thing like what happened in the 30s in Germany and to a lesser extent with Brexit.
The other is where a people want to be their own country and not be ruled by a majority who view the world very differently.
To label something ‘nationalist’ ergo ‘inherently right-wing’ is such a lazy political observation. Both Ghandi and Milosevic were labelled ‘nationalists’ – were they both ‘inherently right wing’? Same for Hitler and Mandela. For one there is the sense of entitlement, of superiority, being born to rule over lesser souls. For the other is the desire to stand and be allowed to look others squarely in the eye as an equal. Drakeford is not stupid, so one must conclude that, like many Labour ‘socialists’ this labelling is convenient disingenuity.
In this instance Mr Drakeford’s proposition is absurd, since there are numerous instances of strongly nationalist political movements which have an unambiguously socialist agenda. Some are successful – Castro’s in Cuba, for instance, which has broadly succeeded despite all that the USA has thrown at it over sixty-plus years – and some capsize through their own failure to master their challenges, as seems to be the evolving case in Venezuela tight now. And closer to home rhe fiercely nationalist Sinn Fein has achieved power-sharing in Northern Ireland on a largely left of centre platform. Mr Drakeford’s been performing better than… Read more »
It seems as though he’s trying to contribute to the negative perception surrounding the word nationalist, a word often heard muttered by the BBC and those loveable royalists such as Paxman in a whiney negative tone. I think socialism would very much be at the heart of an independent Wales. He has the audacity to say “pool our resources and redistribute them out to where the need is greatest”? Is he referring to the barnett formula? Or maybe buying PPE which was meant for Wales?
Such a confused position and full of contradiction (not to mention a particularly narrow and passé interpretation of ‘nationalism’, which wears blinkers for the nationalism inherent in the so-called ‘British’ state). Is it OK to be ‘patrioric’ about the language, after walking away from the crucial campaign of civil disobedience which won back for Cymraeg the privileges he can now boast of? That was not a choice between nationalism and socialism, as the battle was for one of universal rights – the Labour Party in Wales then (and too often still) was just siding with the ‘status quo’ of an… Read more »
Wow, I’d always heard rumblings that he was a terrible thinker (as well as speaker). Here is the perfect example of the inherent weakness of any given political ideology – his answer was derived entirely from the socialist viewpoint and not objective reasoning.’ Do you want independence? No, I’m not a nationalist’ . That’s what years of living within the rigid confines of an ideology does to you, every answer is on the tip of your tongue, ready to be spat out, whether it makes any sense or not. There are plenty more inconsistencies in his utterances that we should… Read more »
If Nationalism is incompatible with socialism perhaps Mark Drakeford can explain to the Welsh people how the Scottish National Party has virtually wiped out the Labour Party in Scotland. All that is left of it is a skeleton that changes its leader more often than I change my shirt! What is he saying about the thousands of former Labour Party members and supporters who flocked to the SNP after the 2014 Referendum? They say with one voice, “I did not leave the Labour Party, it was the Labour Party that left me.” Arm in arm with the Tories, Labour whooped… Read more »
Very disappointing comments. In particular around being part of UK as an insurance policy. Even though UK richest area in world we still have amongst the poorest people in Europe in Wales which meant we received additional funding from EU in an attempt to correct the imbalance. However with a Tory UK government looking to make cuts again following covid 19 be in no doubt that things will continue to deteriorate in Wales unless we unite against the cuts. The poorest will continue to pay the price. As a socialist I too battle with the term nationalist but as mentioned… Read more »
I have to disagree with Drakeford on this. I think the problem stems from attempting to gather all those who desire independance for their country into a single group as Nationalists. I think there are two prominent groupings. 1/ The “Imperialist Nationalists” who have a desire for their nation to dominate other nations, with prominent candidates being the supporters of the English Establishment. 2/ The “Internationalist Nationalists” where the desire is to join International Organisations to co-operate for the benefit of all. Welsh Nationalists fall into the latter group. Our tradition in Wales is to value joint community action more… Read more »
Go back to the ‘all bananas are fruit’ statement. Nationalism is not about isolatoin, hatred, sectarianism or any other negative concept. It is about a sense of self determination working in conjunction with other societies, nations, peoples. If Mark does not want this, then he should have the courge to say so and not hide behind his weak generalisation
What utter nonsense. Road signs in the classroom at Queen Elizabeth Grammar school for boys at Carmarthen. Past headmasters of the school would be devastated if they realised that the First Minister of Wales had stopped to such inaccuracies to defend his irrational analysis. There were few of us who were pupils at the school in those days who were campaigning for bilingual signs. He was not one of them. Yes, some of us were Cymdeithas yr Iaith activists. But road signs in the classroom? I should know. I was one of them! I think he should apologise for the… Read more »
The problem with Wales is the labour party and the people that have made a very good living that belong to the labour party and the socialist agenda that suits them but they don’t believe in. you have only to look at lord Kinnock. lord Hain lord Murphy and many others. How many have these people have had a job in the real world outside the public sector or the over manned third sector. Yes of course Wales should be a proud independent country with high living standards for its people but it will never happen while people vote for… Read more »
Loving your land and its people is a straight good, nothing wingish about it. Far from pitting you against other countries its an essential requisite to understanding other countries love of their own character and destiny. Like self love and loving others. Labour and Tory’s history is in class war, one part of the people having irreconcilably opposing interests to the other part. Canvassing brings this home, nearly all the tory and labour voters you meet are voting out of hate or fear of the other party. Its based on what you own and consume defining happiness too. A party… Read more »
Oh well done Drakeford you straw man every socialist out there who happens to be a nationalist like my self.
This is blackboard and chalk thoughts that appeared and felt dated and corporate . Even an injustice to those Countries who have moved on by their journey to independence. . Trying by insult to justify the ancient colonial land grabs and forced cultural mores at odds with existing and prevailing customs. This alone is the sign of a demagogue. The practices of integration often brutal , overpowering and a deliberately invasive. Once established the regime will by stealth and instinct practise subjugation. Those who control the media control the message and the mission. Many of the expressions of Mark Drakeford… Read more »
And they – the British – made us this way. They said “Go! Run!” after slashing our hamstrings.
Am more and more of opinion that much of these old arguments are now passed their sell by dates, what matters most is much a matter of if CYMRU/WALESif post Covid 19 will be able to afford ‘Independence’ or remain a colony of England, IT Companies or back in the EU or of a ‘dystopia’ managed by the grant funded ETERNALS (Y Crachach Newydd) there is not much hope for a Covid 19 socially and economically wasted and deprived country where the ‘nationalists’ just talk, talk and never fight back as they should have on the Severn Bridge or any… Read more »
Diolch. Yes, we must get out of the comfort zone, will look at Mondragon.
I take a two day break from reading this stuff and the first thing I read is Drakeford calling me Right Wing! He’s clearly seeing his chances for reelection diminishing.
So we’re to conclude from the R4 interview that as a young socialist Drakeford, the gains made for Wales and its language at that time, however meagre and hard fought, were achieved by the others in his school and had nothing to do with him. Not surprising but good to know.
There is nothing right wing and nationalistic about wanting something better for the country you live in and whether Drakeford believes in an independent Wales or not I believe events will eventually leave him behind. The affects of austerity, Covid-19 and Brexit have and will hit Wales hard and there has been and will be little support from Westminster. Excessive poverty and neglect over the next few years will finally make the Welsh people realise self determination is the only way out of it.
So there we are. This will be his pitch. We really must unite to put him and his fellow greasy pole climbers out of office.
” But I also want Wales to be part of the wider collective in which we have that big insurance policy which the United Kingdom provides in which we pool our resources and we redistribute them out to where the need is greatest”. I had to stop reading when I saw this comment. I wish i’d been eating at the time so I could have spluttered it all over the computer. Since when has Westminster EVER redistributed resources out to wherever the need is greatest ? The answer is never. That is precisely why Wales is so relatively poor. I’ve… Read more »
The First Minister is suffering (unfortunately like many of his/our compatriots) from Stockholm Syndrome.
Our pledge must be to educate our people so that they can be free of this crippling affliction, discard the Taff Cringe (Proud Welsh Butters …) and enable them and our country to stand on its own two feet. We don’t need England’s approval for any of this.
He’s nothing but a simpering, quisling waste of oxygen who talks out of both sides of his mouth. At once spouting “Recognising national differences equals fascism” b******s, alongside drivel on how Boris the quintessential Englishman and him the Welshman are diametric opposites.
Well, there’s no doubt that Plaid – still under the control of the inept Leannites – agrees with this. And they’ll be doing their very best to ensure this buffoon is re-elected next May, ahead of a candidate who supports independence. Couldn’t make it up.
How sad to see such uneducated and unsophisticated views on Wales being passed-off in the British media. Wales could do a lot better than having Drakeford as its First Minister.
Cake. Eat it. Drakeford is all over the place. Likes all things Welsh, doesn’t like nationalism. Likes to make separate rules for Wales, wants to remain part of the Union. Makes harsher Covid rules than England, wants English money to make up the shortfall. His hipocrisy, self delusion and disjointed ramblings would be laughable if he wasn’t doing so much damage to Wales as well as the UK as a whole. Welsh people, vote out this awful creature and vote in a straightforward Plaid leader, or otherwise give up the ill informed charade of devolution.