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Plaid Cymru councillor quits the party and rips into its National Executive Committee

13 May 2024 8 minute read
Dai Nicholas

Martin Shipton

A councillor has resigned from Plaid Cymru, launching a blistering attack on the party’s National Executive Committee and ending its majority control of Carmarthenshire County Council.

In a letter to council leader Darren Price, Cllr Dai Nicholas, who has represented Llandybie since 2017, wrote: “This is to inform you that I can no longer stand back and let the Plaid Cymru National Executive Committee tell me how to think and what to believe in, and totally ignore the feelings of the grassroots of the party and indeed the local and county Plaid Cymru members.

“I am resigning as a member of Plaid Cymru and will now stand as an independent councillor. I believe there has been a systematic failure to learn from past mistakes, and we as a party have failed to follow the long-held Plaid Cymru principles that are driven by the grassroots members, who have for far too long been ignored by senior party executives who have ploughed on with an agenda that, to me, smacks of career politicians showboating.”

Disenchantment

He went on to outline a number of reasons for his disenchantment, firstly referring to the replacement of the Westminster candidate chosen by members for the 2017 general election:

“Whilst this is now an older matter, the total failure to read the mood, listen to local Plaid members in Llanelli, parachute Mari Arthur in, and discard the hard-working Sean Rees was a huge mistake, and to this day we fail to acknowledge it. We totally misfired and saw a devastating election result.

“Surely the fact that he only lost a close election by a vote in the county elections pointed to a good support base for a truly Llanelli-centric politician who has become a successful and much respected Independent councillor commanding a large majority.”

Cllr Nicholas then referred to the ousting from Plaid of Jonathan Edwards, the MP for Carmarthen East & Dinefwr, after receiving a police caution for a common assault on his wife. He wrote: “The total mismanagement of the suspension of Jonathan Edwards MP in my opinion brought disgrace to the party. He was clearly, and under party rules, given a 12-month suspension and, after taking the necessary steps asked of him, was to be allowed back into the party.

“But once again, the NEC ignored grassroots opinions and letters of support from Plaid councillors and executed what I can only describe as a kangaroo court. At least the chair, [former MS] Alun Ffred Jones, stuck to the long-held Plaid Cymru principles and resigned keeping his honour intact.”

Leanne Wood

Cllr Nicholas also referred to statements made by former party leader Leanne Wood in which she claimed Plaid Cymru’s internal procedures were ”failing women”. He stated: “Why was Leanne Wood not suspended after her public outburst three days before the last county elections? Surely she was aware that this would cost hard-earned votes, but no, this was overlooked and left candidates like myself to defend the party on spurious claims on the doorstep instead of capitalising on the positive things we and the party had done in the previous five years. Surely evidence of double standards?

“I am not in any way misogynistic; the last three managers I have worked for in my career have been female, and I never gave their gender a second thought and have always had a mutually beneficial relationship with those managers based on equality and I can assure anybody that this is the way I lead my personal life and treat all genders as equal.

“This is why I fail to see why [former MP] Elfyn Llwyd was denied election to the House of Lords when he had won more than double the votes of the next candidate. Had it been close, I could at least have tried to swallow it, but to ignore a democratic vote, however it was sold after the event, is surely a blight on the democratic process. This shows the warped and weak administration of Plaid Cymru. I believed Rhun ap Iorwerth was a good choice as party leader, but I’m afraid he has blown it with this debacle and has clearly now lost any credibility.”

Despite getting the most votes in an internal party election aimed at picking a nominee for a peerage, Plaid’s former Senedd group chief of staff Carmen Smith “won” because the NEC decided the top nomination should go to a woman.

‘Farce’

Cllr Nicholas wrote: “Having said that the electoral process for the House of Lords was a farce, why are we still offering candidates to this undemocratic and archaic institution? The old excuse, I suppose, of wanting to be at least around the table, but for what? Crumbs?

“I cannot stand back and be a part of the ridicule that the party is now exposed to by being represented by Carmen Smith in London. The voters will not forget we have chosen someone who, although she has a positive voice and a new perspective of being young, I personally fear she is totally out of her depth with a lack of life experience and knowledge of any political landscape; she has never even fought a community election or had any meaningful role in local or national politics.

“And I don’t believe having an internship fresh out of higher education with a European politician counts. But of course the coup de grace in this whole episode is that she worked for and was a lobbyist for Bute Energy [which plans a controversial network of windfarms across mid Wales] , the very conglomerate that seeks to do a ‘Tryweryn’ on our rural communities with no fiscal return for our communities and no long-term local employment gain.

“No matter how much we try, we can’t untangle ourselves from Labour now that it suits us and an election is looming. It shows us to be a totally disingenuous party based on clinging on to some scraps of power at the cost of our principles. We backed them on the 20mph farce and again forced policies that blight the farming community and other actions that we now try and spin away from.

“The failure to show leadership when addressing the issue of independence for Wales is glaring. Why has there not been a clear Plaid Cymru-led business plan put forward illustrating the clear cost of independence and showing the doubters the clear fiscal benefits to the future economy and its effects on the lives of the people of Wales? Our silence could be construed as not really having a plan and a grasp of any detail on how to deliver or, at best, hedging our bets to get votes from nationalists and doubters. I’m not sure we can really believe the electorate is that naive?

“And last, but not least, with closed list proportional representation, how can we be a part of a working party made up of current Labour and Plaid members with a token Liberal Democrat that will sit as judge and jury over pushing this undemocratic legislation through? The only reason I can see is to take the choice away from the electorate, slot in faceless party line career politicians and cling on to power as lap dogs of Welsh Labour, having our crumbs from the table and spouting about our wins in effecting policy, however admirable these may have been.

“In closing I can say that I genuinely wish the party well, and in Carmarthenshire we have good, honest, hard-working councillors and in the Senedd too, Cefin Campbell readily springs to mind, and I truly wish Ann [Davies – Plaid’s Westminster candidate for the new seat of Caerfyrddin] all the best.

“She is a champion of Llanarthne, where my father grew up, but I’m afraid the NEC is broken. I cannot defend our national policies any longer when constantly challenged by the electorate in my local ward. These are policies and actions against my principles and show arrogance by our party policy makers and that we clearly are being overlooked at grassroots level. This I find offensive.

“I hope that Plaid Cymru can get back to its core values and present itself to the electorate as the party of the future to win votes by having good policies and not having blunt edged power by hanging off Welsh Labour’s coattails, and that they get back to being a genuine party of opposition.

I will now live up to what my title says: I will be a councillor for the Llandybie Ward and serve the people who need my help, whatever party they support, and put my efforts into that, not supporting party politics when that party no longer stands for what I believe in.

“I also intend to work more closely with Yes Cymru in petitioning the Senedd to be the democratic voice of Wales and proving to the people of Wales that they have a grasp of the business plan that is needed in fiscal terms to be an independent nation. Currently I don’t believe we have the quality of business minded people to do so.”

Despite losing its majority, Plaid will continue to run the county council in coalition with the Independent group.

A Plaid Cymru spokesperson responded: “We thank Councillor Dai Nicholas for his service. As he makes clear, Plaid Cymru has excellent representatives at local and national level and in Ann Davies, a first-rate candidate for the upcoming Westminster election.”


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Tom
Tom
8 days ago

An elected politician that finally says what the majority of Plaid voters think! Yet he will be ignored and viewed as a ‘maverick’ by the party leadership.

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
7 days ago
Reply to  Tom

I am surprised he has not been accused of being a Tory.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
8 days ago

I know what you mean…Plaid is letting us down…

Beau Brummie
Beau Brummie
8 days ago

Can anyone point me to the current membership of the Plaid Cymru NEC?

The party website, and a Google search, have proved too difficult for me to crack …

Steve George
Steve George
8 days ago

Tone deaf response from the Plsid ‘spokesperson’.

richard
richard
8 days ago

Well, it was bound to happen. A party full of fellow-travellers and political squatters was bound to come to ruin sooner or later. The membership of the NEC? A mystery that must remain so.

Richard
Richard
8 days ago

A wake up call from a “ gyfaill “ is always worth listening to ……

Rhddwen y Sais
Rhddwen y Sais
8 days ago

Leanne Leanne Leanne

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
8 days ago

Liz and Mabon should write a new Plaid manifesto…one designed to navigate a precarious future…

wayne
wayne
8 days ago

The Penny is dropping, The mist in front of the eye’s is clearing.
The Loyal Nationalists are awakening, and realising they have been betrayed.
Plaid Cymru, The Party of Wales no more. The party has to go.

David
David
8 days ago

Has anyone read the manifesto of Gwlad (it should be the Plaid Cymru manifesto).

hdavies15
hdavies15
8 days ago
Reply to  David

Now, now. That kind of comment will bring out a nasty rash among the easily offended !

Non Davies
Non Davies
8 days ago

Cofiwch Dryweryn? It appears that recollections fade when the financial incentives are high enough and the regard for those most adversely affected correspondingly low enough. External energy developers are being heralded as the Messiah and one of the emergency services, such is their zeal to deliver is into salvation, such is their altruism. Scarring landscapes and communities with energy and money flowing out of Wales to benefit mutlinational venture capitalists at the expense of Cymru and her people. Hen Dro Sal Plaid

Geoffrey Harris
Geoffrey Harris
8 days ago

These comments are all very good but, you are all missing one very vital point, If not Plaid, then who? We need a Independence Party and Plaid is the only one. None of you can seriously suggest Labour or Liberal to lead us to freedom. We all need to gather together and make progress or else we will continue as we are for ever.

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 days ago

.. or the rank and file rebel and tear out the weakness that has infected the leadership group.

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
7 days ago

I understand where you are coming from but the reality is that 90% of the Welsh electorate still don’t vote Plaid Cymru after almost a Century.

Beau Brummie
Beau Brummie
7 days ago

The quest for a pure independance is a journey through the desert for a mirage. It’s not winning enough votes, and good candidates are being left stranded as the tides recede.

Alex Salmon’s quest was for Devo Max. It was a winning strategy once.

wayne
wayne
7 days ago

It’s time to remove your dark sunglasses Mr Harris. The Dragon is rising, Gwlad is the Phoenix rising from the ashes flying high in the quest for Independence. Fe Godwn NI Eto.

Rob
Rob
7 days ago

Independence yes, but before that Wales needs an economy. Tangled up with labour, it’s never going to happen.
Good for you Dai.

Steffan Gwent
Steffan Gwent
8 days ago

Once Jonathan Edwards MP made the choice of taking a police caution for domestic violence the writing was on the wall for his Plaid Cymru career. Votes have been held for NEC positions and supporters of Jonathan Edwards have lost.

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 days ago
Reply to  Steffan Gwent

Were those elections open to the entire membership or just the select few that were squeezed into a small hall ?

Steffan Gwent
Steffan Gwent
7 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Venue Cymru in Llandudno in October 2022 was where hustings and voting for the Plaid NEC took place so not a small hall and it was open to all members. I asked the Party Chair candidates if they would oppose or support a comeback for Jonathan Ewdards MP. It is fair to say that my question had a mixed response.

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 days ago
Reply to  Steffan Gwent

So the Party did learn something from an earlier shameful episode in Swansea ?

Keith Parry
Keith Parry
7 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Did it? It learnt nothing. Stalinists alive and well in control. The party is busy going nowhere. It has spent Twenty five years supporting Labour and has made no progress.
The lesson from the SNP is destroy Labour, destroy unionism. The new lesson from the SNP is do not get involved in minority politics of entry pressure groups be they Stonewall or Greens. Keep fighting for a Free Wales,

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
7 days ago

On the issue of Llanelli, Sean Rees would have pushed Labour all the way in the GE and would have turned Llanelli into a marginal constituency.
I would have been very confident that Sean would have unseated Lee Waters at the Senedd election but there again the NEC seems to think they know better.

Glen
Glen
7 days ago
Reply to  Johnny Gamble

Plaid’s best hopes in the industrial south was Llanelli and Cardiff West.
yet the party hierarchy sabotaged them both.

Mai
Mai
7 days ago

What an honest breath of fresh air. Plaid’s support base is not composed of ohh-so virtuous wokies with Marxist leanings who think all men are misogynists. They also do not desire to be in bed with arrogant and ignorant Welsh Labour Unionists. They, Y Werin, are decent people with good morals who share societal priorities that neither Labour or Plaid seem to see these days. They care about our country and its environment but aren’t anti-car, anti-farmer or profligate NetZero obsessed ideologues who duck all issues of an NHS that is causing suffering and shortening lives way too often.. Maybe… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 days ago
Reply to  Mai

Diolch am eich cyfraniad i gyd redeg gyda yr hyn a ddarllenais yn llythyr Dai Nicholas. Pur debyg fod yna fwyafrif o’r un feddwl allan yn ein cymunedau ond dan y drefn bresenol mae eu lleisiau wedi eu hanwybyddu gan y “criw dethol” sy’n gwneud cachfa llwyr o’n gwleidyddiaeth.

Mai
Mai
7 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

…y criw sydd yn iawn ac sydd yn meddwl yn gywir (gyda bysedd yn eu clustiau)… Llafur neu Plaid – neu hwyrach y ddau yn dioddef yn debyg o’r un gwaeledd..?

Ali Morris
Ali Morris
7 days ago

Plaid has lost its way and should stop sleeping in bed with Labour. He is wrong however when he fails to see that Plaid has failed women and is a party of misogynists that tries to silence women. What does having a male Plaid politician who admits to abusing his wife say to female constituents? What does a party who refuses a stall by a women’s rights charity at its national conference say to female constituents? Stop following the anti women, pro gender ideology stance of Labour and get to grips to what Welsh voters actually want.

Gaynor
Gaynor
2 days ago
Reply to  Ali Morris

What a load of rubbish. Women are the main managers of Plaid Cymru

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
7 days ago

‘No matter how much we try, we can’t untangle ourselves from Labour now that it suits us and an election is looming. It shows us to be a totally disingenuous party based on clinging on to some scraps of power at the cost of our principles. We backed them on the 20mph farce and again forced policies that blight the farming community and other actions that we now try and spin away from’. Perfect description of what Plaid Cymru has become under Rhun, with the 20 mph policy being an example of a party hedging their bets. It is great… Read more »

Will Jones
Will Jones
6 days ago

“The resignation of a Carmarthenshire councillor is a good sign” leanne wood

Phil
Phil
5 days ago

Da iawn Dai. I agree wholeheartedly with your comments.

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