Opinion

Why Plaid Cymru aren’t talking about independence enough

30 Apr 2021 4 minutes Read
A Plaid Cymru rosette. Picture by Plaid Cymru.

John Davies

The biggest story in Welsh politics before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world was the growing demand an independent Wales.

Thousands of Welsh people marched in Cardiff, Caernarfon and Merthyr Tydfil calling for Welsh independence, and the YesCymru movement has grown rapidly.

Why then is our country’s constitutional future virtually being ignored in the May parliamentary election?

I understand why the unionist parties don’t want to discuss the issue. The Conservatives have always been supportive of the United Kingdom. The Liberals have also made it clear that they do not support independence for Wales although their views are becoming less and less relevant.

The Labour Party is in a different situation with a small group expressing support for independence. Mark Drakeford obviously doesn’t want his party to look divided in any way during an election campaign and so keeping quiet on the subject is his best hope.

But what about our alleged nationalist party, Plaid Cymru. Shouldn’t they be leading the campaign and shouting loudly about the urgent need for us to be independent.

When asked of course they say they are in favour of independence. But where does it stands in their list of priorities? If you look at the party manifesto you will see it comes second from last in the contents list of thirty. Is that significant?

Judging by the attention that independence has received in the campaign so far, I would say it is. Plaids five main goals promise more teachers, more jobs, more affordable homes, more doctors and nurses and solving the climate crisis.

Very commendable ambitions that no politician standing for election would criticize. But how many of these topics would motivate thousands of our fellow citizens to march through our streets to demand policies that would make them a reality.

‘Opportunity’ 

This election should be an opportunity to tap into the country’s growing demand for independence and use it to drive the campaign forward. But no, Plaid Cymru is campaigning on ground just to the left of the Labour Party without learning any lessons from Jeremy Corbyn’s disastrous campaign in the last General Election in England.

It is now clear that Plaid Cymru does not have the desire or ability to respond to the demand from the Welsh people for leadership towards independence. They have positioned themselves so there is no danger they will have to implement their left-wing policies that do not appeal to most of the voters.

It is a convenient position however to be the only choice for the Labour Party if it needs an expendable ally to maintain the political system that has turned Wales into a one-party state in the best tradition of communist countries worldwide.

In my opinion Plaid Cymru has betrayed the Welsh nationalists and no longer deserves to be seen as their leader.

If Wales is ever to become a free country, it needs a political party that focuses its energy and time solely on achieving that goal. Independence must be at the top of its agenda and it must put the arguments for independence clearly before the Welsh electorate.

Many Welsh people are justifiably anxious about what the consequences of becoming independent will be.

The unionist parties prophesise that without the largesse of our benevolent neighbour we will not be able to maintain our public services or our standard of living.

Any party campaigning for independence has to present clear evidence that these doom-laden predictions are false. The possible economic consequences of independence must be analysed objectively, and the results of this analysis will have to be the basis of their campaign.

This analysis must include a vision of what an independent Wales could become. It should question the level of defence spending we will need, question whether Wales is receiving appropriate payment for the export of its water and electricity. It should explore the economic consequences of bringing all the apparatus of statehood back to Wales and of becoming a republic.

These are only some of the factors which will affect the prosperity of an independent Wales. It is the basic groundwork that a party which is campaigning for independence should be doing.

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Lolly Mountjoy
Lolly Mountjoy
12 days ago

TBF plaid can’t win here
they have said if elected they will have a referendum
lately all the opposition are giving the covid needs to be sorted independence now isn’t a priority
so let’s just get a plaid government and work on that
its more than the others are offering

Gareth Bunston
Gareth Bunston
12 days ago

If they put independence at the forefront of their agenda then they will stagnate as a party. Their core voters already support independence. Important as it is their main aim is to gather more voters based on what they can deliver now. A taste of what could be. Plaid and the conservatives are currently battling for second place and neither are likely to oust labour in one big swoop. Independence will only come if they patiently build support with a strong argument. It’s a marathon not a sprint

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
12 days ago

There’s an element of truth in the oft-stated claim that Plaid Cymru have sidelined independence as a priority in favour of other issues, some of which are of little or no relevance to the lives of ordinary Welsh people. This has certainly affected their credibility as a potential governing party, because they have come across since Ieuan Wyn Jones’ leadership as not really being serious about independence. But the issues being promoted in their current election campaign are highly relevant, and should attract electoral support. The party need to get this election done, on the strength of their current manifesto,… Read more »

David
David
12 days ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

Plaid Cymru is like the SNP while Gwlad is like Alba party in Scotland with Independence the number one issue.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
12 days ago

I think where the writer’s real ire lays is where they state: “They have positioned themselves so there is no danger they will have to implement their left-wing policies that do not appeal to most of the voters.” If the writer considers the relatively mild, and socially democratic policies outlined in Plaid’s manifesto, socialist, then they are quite clearly deluded. The writer then descends into pure fantasy when likening what they assert Plaid is doing to the former ‘communist’ regimes of central Europe. Anyone with any respect for the truth knows beyond all doubt that those regimes were anything but… Read more »

GARETH WESTACOTT
GARETH WESTACOTT
12 days ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

“…. likening what they assert Plaid is doing to the former ‘communist’ regimes of central Europe. Anyone with any respect for the truth knows beyond all doubt that those regimes were anything but communist, or socialist.” So, Padi, “…. those regimes were anything but communist or socialist” compared to what? What would you say is the ideal model of a communist/socialist state which we might want to emulate?

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
11 days ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

Unless I’ve missed something, Gwlad may be many things but they’re not proto-fascists, as far as anyone can tell. They seem to be about independence plus a right of centre economic and social agenda.

huwdavies
huwdavies
10 days ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

“Proto-fascist” along with a host of other terms have become default lingo for people too lazy to muster a proper critique. Historically the Padi whose comments I have read here and elsewhere does not fall into that “lazy” category so I am a touch surprised to see his description of Gwlad. That party, new to the world of competitive politics, contains some older wiser heads who have come to see that there are aspects of socialism and aspects of free enterprise that are worthy of adoption. My take on Gwlad is that they are averse to large scale monolithic socialism… Read more »

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
12 days ago

Strongly agree. AP marched his troops up to the top of the hill bearing the Yes Cymru banner. But he has bottled as the election approached. If he cannot articulate the case for independence clearly, loudly and unequivocally, how can he expect to move the dial on this issue. Or to be trusted on this in his own party.

Valerie Matthews
Valerie Matthews
9 days ago

Many say Wales is too small to be ‘Independent’ , look around the World at smaller Independent , successful Nations, Less population and thriving, So why not Wales?

Albert E
Albert E
5 days ago

I am looking and none I can find have the ball and chain of our economy, inward looking navel gazing and success!

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