The bottom line: Plaid Cymru must make gains

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Meurig Parri
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Meurig Parri

Plaid’s problem is that it tries to compete with Labour in defending Wales’ interests. A laudable object, but impractical. I suspect many Welsh people want to see a redistribution of income by higher taxes on the highest paid. Labour – in government – can deliver on that. Plaid can’t. I suspect Wales would like to see a reversal of the botched Universal Credit arrangements. Again, Labour can deliver. Plaid – unless there are major changes to the devolution settlement – can’t. And the same is true of other things which would “defend Wales’ interests”; nationalisation of rail, scrap Trident, end… Read more »

Anhysbus
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Anhysbus

“I’ve never once heard Plaid come back forcefully with a vision of a co-operative group of self-governing nations working in equal partnership for the common good.
I can scarcely think of anyone I know in Wales who disagrees with that ambition.”

Is that not independence?

Leia
Guest

Great detailed ‘meaty’ analysis.

Andy Collins
Guest
Andy Collins

You say 28% swings dont happen in General Elections they did in Scotland & one day will in Wales. More likely to be preceded by Assembly surge but one day a straw will break the camel’s back. Plaid will be a force to be reckoned with. The question is when. It took 70 years for the national party of Scotland to live up to its name. The Party of Wales will be one day its Government. I hope its soon. Cymru Am Byth

Martin
Guest
Martin

That’s almost exactly what he said. Swings of that degree are more likely in the Assembly. And the Assembly is where Plaid would win government, not Westminster.

cambrouidunlainge
Guest
cambrouidunlainge

Problem with Plaid is… well lets take a look at their manifesto for the election… They are protecting our identity… they say it on the first page than that was that. Which identity is that? Welsh language? Culture? History? All of the above? Because a lot of people still feel they’re the Welsh language party. History defines our country, defines a static identity which we all share… The Blue Books, Owain Glyndwr, Capel Celyn – but I don’t see Plaid making that central to their campaign – and we’re talking acts throughout the last 600-900 years which show this relationship… Read more »

Neil McEvoy
Guest
Neil McEvoy

I’m not sure how the Cardiff local government results could be described as disappointing. We had a huge load of new candidates who achieved a 77% increase in vote in Cardiff West. We also got more votes than Labour as an average in the constituency. We won 3 seats, but are crucially now second in a further 20. We are also in striking distance in a further 5 seats. We are developing city wide now, not just in the West. Who could have imagined that 10 years ago? Cardiff Plaid will go into the next Council elections with a realistic… Read more »

iantoddu
Guest

In terms of the complex interchangeability of votes, having just voted for Jonathan Edwards, I know someone in this constituency who had been a lifelong Labour voter, but lost confidence in them. So he switched to Plaid over the last couple of elections for various things. It was the natural party for him to switch to – a Welsh speaking Welshman, Welsh to his bones in other ways, he automatically switched to Plaid, especially as it is strong in the area. But for this one he is saying he will vote for the Tories. When I asked why, his reply… Read more »

CambroUiDunlainge
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CambroUiDunlainge

“a Welsh speaking Welshman, Welsh to his bones in other ways” <<< Is that suggesting what it sounds like its suggesting? Also is the fact hes a Welsh speaking Welshman why hes not a big fan of Valleys born English speaking Leanne? (Who I am a fan of and thought did pretty well in the debate last night).

iantoddu
Guest

I don’t know. What do you think it is suggesting? He is Welsh, Welsh speaking, also Welsh in that he defines himself as Welsh and would not think of himself as any other nationality- hence Welsh to his bones in other ways. And no, the fact that Leanne Wood is not a native Welsh speaker from birth (she is a Welsh speaker) has nothing to do with it (I remember him having a go at someone for complaining about English speaking incomers to the area – not that I necessarily agreed with everything he said) and I can’t see why… Read more »

iantoddu
Guest

But if when Labour does badly, people will leave the Labour Party. The main people gaining from this will be either the Conservatives or Plaid Cymru. Whether you or I think Leanne Wood is good or not is immaterial- the election results show that people are not using Plaid Cymru as the main escape from Labour. The anecdotal evidence I gave is illustrative of what I have heard from such people- that they are not that impressed with Leanne Wood. People think she is a nice, good person- but this is not reflected in voting for Plaid Cymru, as that… Read more »

CambroUiDunlainge
Guest
CambroUiDunlainge

I agree with you about the progressive avenue Plaid appears to be taking. I was saying to a friend just a few days ago its like they tried to move in the right direction by choosing some one from the Valleys and ended up getting hijacked into an alternative Labour Party masquerading as a nationalist party and it literally feels skin deep at the moment. I think the leadership and direction is more than just Leanne Wood though. I think they focus to much on Socialism (even though I am a Socialist I guess) and Leanne’s go over Republicanism a… Read more »

Anhysbus
Guest
Anhysbus

I’d alos add that It’s hard to be seen as the alternative to Labour when so many elected members spend the next 5 years arguing for a coalition with Labour. It feeds in to the idea of vote Plaid get Labour and it also weakens our hand by making Labour seem like the lesser of two evils (even if it is)

Martin
Guest
Martin

Got some sympathy with that. Though in this election the Tories, not Plaid, have done the job of making Labour seem like the lesser of two evils. The Tory campaign is coming across as downright worse than Labour on policy, Prime Ministerial candidate and on competence.

Anhysbus
Guest
Anhysbus

” Leanne Wood is more concerned with being seen as an effective leader of progressive politics rather than being seen as a pusher of nationalist rhetoric – and that someone like Adam Price is more concerned with being seen as a prominent political thinker by some British/worldwide elite than in pushing nationalist rhetoric”

Completely true. until Plaid realize that Leanne is no demigod then there is no hope for the party. And I agree that Adam is simply not the person to take over the role after her

Martin
Guest
Martin

Unsure about this, but just goes to show how people can get a different message from the same leader. On TV she made a very direct attack on Welsh Labour to Jeremy Corbyn, which I thought was spot on and not cosy or “progressive”. She banged on about Wales, possibly too much. Framing her as not using nationalist rhetoric seems odd compared to the things she said on TV. But it all goes to show that different messages come out.

iantoddu
Guest

No, it doesn’t “seem odd”. It simply means that mentioning Wales is not the same thing as using Nationalist rhetoric. The fact that people complain at the mere mention of Wales does not alter this fact.

Tellyesin
Guest
Tellyesin

Nice clear analysis and interesting responses. I am so very fond of Plaid that I joined them. Only time I have joined a party and might be the last. I never used to be even though I am a Welsh-speaker, a republican and believe in “a co-operative group of self-governing nations working in equal partnership for the common good” first and Independence as an inevitable function of the devolutionary process. I joined last year post Brexit because of the absolutely appalling way the Labour Party failed. It saw a Tory Prime Minister resign, the lead of the Brexit team resign… Read more »

CambroUiDunlainge
Guest
CambroUiDunlainge

“yes and for those of us who don’t have Welsh as a language our culture has to show a proud Trade Unionist past and a cultural heritage across the world because we are not all Welsh speakers, we don’t all live in rural communities and we don’t all have to send our kids abroad because they have no jobs and nowhere they can live. but we do share all our cultures.” My point was Welsh language does not unite us all, and Plaid are still seen as the Welsh speaking party. Our history and culture unite us all regardless of… Read more »

Tellyesin
Guest
Tellyesin

Sorry, poorly put on my part. I should put it differently. you are right. Speaking Welsh is not all of us and we need to look at Wales as something other than the remnant of the roman province of Britannia. And yes the Blue Book sand the Welsh Not and all the other experiences inform who we are now.

JR
Guest
JR

Fantastic article.

However I think there’s one massive elephant in the room- the Plaid leadership.

LW winning Rhondda is a great achievement. But apart from this, we’ve been fairly stagnant in terms of results elsewhere.

I therefore feel we need fresh leadership… somebody more charismatic (AP?) with LW as deputy maybe??

iantoddu
Guest

We need a leader in Plaid Cymru who is concerned with pushing Wales as a first idea. Pushing the nationalist agenda by pushing the nationalist rhetoric, as said in the article. Leanne Wood seems more concerned with being seen as one of the leaders of a coalition of progressive politics (something I agree with, but Wales should be foremost in what Plaid Cymru is pushing) rather than someone pushing a nationalist rhetoric. I liked Adam Price, and was happy to vote for him – but now he seems to have been caught up in wanting to be seen as a… Read more »

vicky moller
Guest
vicky moller

Appreciate the article. If you love Wales, Plaid has a future no matter what the election result. It is not optional, as other parties are. You can hate the rich and join Labour or fear the populus and join Tories or hate Europe and join UKIP and so on. Love of the land and the people is not a choice, it happens. However I also feel Plaid need a step change to prosper. Plaid has an embarrassment of potential leaders, unlike other parties whose embarrassment goes the other way. My view is that the party is too tiny and it… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

I’m a Plaid voter through and through and also consider myself a ‘progressive’. But the trouble with Plaid is that they see their main opponents as being the Tories. They aren’t. The places where Plaid needs to make gains are in Labour seats and Plaid must start positioning itself as being anti-Labour, which has run Wales into the ground (much more so than the Tories) in a century of arrogant misrule. Unfortunately, Plaid spends 3 or 4 weeks in an election campaign attacking Labour but then spends the rest of the 5 year term cosying up to them in the… Read more »

Anhysbus
Guest
Anhysbus

What he said ^^^^

Can’t agree more. There are some in Plaid who really should be in Corbyn’s Labour party

Leia
Guest

I agree – the tribalism between the left leaning parties towards each other is not helpful. I really wish we’d accept as both the UK and in the Senedd that there’s nothing fundamentally awful about a coalition. Plenty of succesful countries have them routinely. With that issue out of the way you might be able to reduce the constant “Arggh you must vote Labour because they’re the only way of keeping the Tories out” or “Argggh you must vote Tory or else you’ll get chaos” and be able to make sensible, non-fear-driven decisions based on policies not tribal party lines… Read more »

Dafydd ap Gwilym
Guest

My question, before I comment is, who is Jason Morgan?

Leia
Guest

I’d like to see Nation.cymru routinely linking to bio of their writers so we have some context – on the whole this is BETTER journalism – the comment threads are certainly more civil but bios of contributers would up the game further still.

Gary Jomes
Guest
Gary Jomes

Plaid in Llanelli dumped their local organiser Sean Rees, and imposed Mari Arthur, the result being several Plaid have not campaigned for her.

Llywelyn ap Gwilym
Guest
Llywelyn ap Gwilym

Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales? For too long Plaid has claimed to be the party of Wales, while demonstrably failing to connect with the majority, or even a significant minority, of the populace (look at the percentage of the popular vote that Plaid has secured at historic General and Assembly Elections). The local elections can be viewed as favourable (increasing support as Neil McEvoy rightly points out) or disappointing (given the backdrop of a then-imploding Labour party). However, the latest YouGov poll, for what it’s worth, puts Plaid on 8% of the popular vote next Thursday – which… Read more »

jack rees
Guest
jack rees

The local organiser in llanelli has failed in several elections. Why should he stand?

Jac o' the North
Guest

Plaid Cymru is either a national and a nationalist party or else it’s just a regional socialist party, forever reaching out to other ‘progressives’ at the expense of Wales and Welsh identity. It’s been the latter for too long. If the choice is replacing Plaid Cymru or losing Wales then the decision should be easy.

desdelguinardo
Guest
desdelguinardo

I’m still waiting for the Jac o’the North nationalist right wing front to come to fruition, but I think that he’s too busy writing his blog