The SNP is more ‘brutal’ than Plaid Cymru, top academic suggests
The SNP is more “brutal” than Plaid Cymru, a top academic has suggested.
Professor Laura McAllister, of the Wales Governance Centre, was discussing some of the reasons why the Scottish nationalists has been more successful than their Welsh sister party.
She also said that the SNP has been able to establish a “broader platform” than Plaid.
The SNP has been in government for over a decade in Scotland, and it won 64 seats at the election to the Scottish Parliament, compared to 31 for the Conservatives, and 22 for Labour.
Plaid Cymru on the other hand, came in third at the Senedd election, with 13 seats, compared to Labour’s 30, and 16 for the Conservatives.
Professor McAllister told WalesOnline: “One of the things the SNP has done very well is be politically pragmatic – and a little bit brutal.
“You can make your own call on whether you want political parties to be as brutal as the SNP have been. Or you can say that this is the only way that you can usurp a major party’s hegemony like Scottish Labour’s.
“What I mean by brutal is that the SNP had one goal which was to take over from Scottish Labour and to govern in the new parliament and it set about making sure that actually happened as a precursor to an independence referendum.”
She also said the make up and origins of the parties has had an impact on their electoral fortunes: “The sort of civic nationalism that the SNP was able to drive, even before modern democratic devolution, but certainly in the run-up to the establishment of the Scottish Parliament, gave it a much more rational, balanced and broader platform than Plaid Cymru was able to use because of Plaid’s origins.
“Plaid was established to protect the Welsh language and culture and to protect Wales in a very general sense, all without the infrastructure of a semi independent state to give real credibility and credence to that.”
It was also suggested by Dr Jac Larner, research fellow at Edinburgh University and lecturer in politics at Cardiff University, that Welsh Labour have been a far tougher opponent than Scottish Labour.
He said the party in Wales has been able to project a distinct Welsh “identity”.
Professor Richard Wyn Jones, director of the Wales Governance, added that it has been much better at managing the issue of independence than the party in Scotland.
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It may appear “brutal” because SNP have been very effective in destroying Labour and keeping Tories cornered. Surely that should have been Plaid’s game plan but somewhere along the line leadership got sold on the “benefits” of getting into cosy deals and neutered themselves.
Difficult to compare Wales and Scotland. Plaid has been hampered by being seen by some as a Welsh speakers’ party. Gaelic is thoroughly marginalised in Scotland and is about to become so even in the Western Isles where very few pupils now arrive at school speaking Gaelic as a home language. The death of Scottish Gaelic as a community language has accompanied the rise of the SNP and if you suggested that speaking Gaelic makes you more Scottish to a Scot you be laughed at. Secondly, there is sectarianism, with an antipathy to all things Catholic (initially the Highlands, then… Read more »
In the 1959 General Election, Plaid got over 77k votes (up from 45k in 1955) while the SNP only managed 21k (up from 12k). So why have Plaid done so poorly over the next 60 years compared to the SNP? Or. perhaps, how have Labour kept their voters. Given that it is now very unlikely there will ever be another Labour government of the UK, are Labour in Wales the Welsh nationalist party without realising it? Labour has always seemed to hate the idea of a self governing Wales more than our being governed by an English dominated Tory party.… Read more »
I think the main difference is the role played by individuals. In 1999 Plaid got a slightly higher percentage vote than the SNP but on the whole their results were similar. By 2003 both parties had replaced the charismatic leaders from 1999 and both parties slumped badly in the polls. But after 2003 there was significant divergence. Both parties gained votes in 2007 but the SNP’s increase was much greater. I think that is partly due to the SNP bringing back the charismatic Alex Salmond and Plaid not bringing back Dafydd Wigley. This meant the SNP could govern with the… Read more »
The language issue and inherent conservatism (of the Welsh). Any country that votes for the same party for a 100 years is conservative. Scotland has been Tory, Labour and Nationalist all in the space of 60 years….quite an achievement!
BRUTAL – Does that mean SNP’s support of Self-Id and their Hate Crime Bill. Which means a man (XY chromosome) can self-id as a female, and then go to the female changing rooms in a sports center where a mother (XX chromosome) and daughter are. Then if the mother objects, she the mother will be charged by the police for a hate crime.
David, I would also point to another aspect of the current SNP’s brutality: the continuing vilification of a former leader by senior party members, including the first minister, after he was acquitted of all charges by a court. This man was the politician who took Scotland to an independence referendum without which the SNP and the independence movement wouldn’t be where they are today. Meanwhile the current leadership seems perfectly happy to forget about independence, appearing a bit too comfy in their jobs, while still behaving as if independence supporters owe them their votes. The brutality was to be seen… Read more »
Plaid just don’t oppose Labour enough i’m sorry to say.
Labours run in power hasn’t really been good at all, plaid haven’t really done much opposition though.
Pre election they were cosying up for a coalition which didn’t materialise.