Why Plaid Cymru needs a new Chair this year

Dewi Evans

Dewi Evans, candidate for the position of Plaid Cymru Chair

I remember the absolutely electric feeling of Gwynfor Evans defeating Labour in my home town in Carmarthen in 1966, when the shockwaves from that win were felt across Wales and beyond.

That win came just a year after Capel Celyn was flooded to provide water to Liverpool, with Welsh MPs powerless to stop it. That was the wake up call when we stood up as a nation and made it clear we weren’t going to be pushed around.

We are doing it again now. That feeling of excitement is back. Cofiwch Dryweryn murals and Independence Marches are taking place across the country. Once again we are standing up for ourselves.

But this time we’re not looking to win our first seat for Plaid Cymru. We are on the verge of winning a National Election to our Welsh Parliament – the Senedd.

I want Adam Price elected as First Minister of Wales in May 2021. I supported his nomination and canvassed on his behalf.

Recent election results have been encouraging. In this year’s European Elections, for the first time ever, Plaid Cymru achieved more votes than the Labour Party and the other mainstream political parties.

But this is no time to be complacent. There are some issues in Plaid that must be addressed to give us the best chance of winning that 2021 election.

Under the surface Plaid has experienced numerous operational problems, all of which could have been avoided. In 2017, scores of members left Plaid in Llanelli. Some were expelled. Plaid’s candidate in Blaenau Gwent, who came within 650 votes of winning Aneurin Bevan’s old seat, has left the party.

I’m not happy with the public things he’s said since. But we can’t lose candidates in winnable marginal seats.

Conflict management

Cardiff West has also been a running sore. Despite Neil McEvoy turning the Labour First Minister’s seat into a Plaid – Labour marginal at the last Assembly Election he has been expelled from the party. The current Chair, who I’m standing against, was the main complainant!

Conflict is ‘resolved’ through divisive expulsions and personal arguments. That is not the way that the Chair of the party should behave. The role of the Chair is to bring people together, not tear them apart.

Can we afford more expulsions, more resignations, more conflict? I don’t believe we can. It’s why we need another Chair, someone who can ‘do listening’ not ‘do dictating’, a Chair who values the contributions of all members of our Party.

‘More of the same’ just won’t do. Dare I say it? We need a Chair with an effective bedside manner.

Any vibrant organisation is likely to encounter differences on policies and how to implement them. That’s both necessary and healthy.

What is not healthy is when differences get personal, and members are expelled for being in the ‘wrong’ group or on the ‘wrong’ side of the debate.

We can only win by working together. We have a clear and public aim. Independence for Wales, We need independence from those hapless and hopeless ‘unionist’ parties currently making fools of themselves in Westminster and across the world.

But Plaid Cymru lacks an effective system of conflict management and conflict resolution.

Participation

So how do we fix this?

We need to really value the opinions of our members. We, the members, sustain Plaid. We are the resource that funds our party. We need our members, all of them, to deliver a sovereign Wales, an independent Wales.

The more we engage with our members, the greater their participation and the greater the opportunity to increase our membership. This could also improve our financial resources.

As a party we need to trust our members to do the right thing and make the right decisions. We can do that through a better platform to make our voices heard.

I was astonished to be told by one of our most senior officers that we just don’t liaise with our members. We do not seek their views on topical issues. We have no effective structure in place that allows liaison with groups; teachers, farmers, health staff, business people, trade unionists, on a regular basis.

I would establish regular surveys with our members; easy to arrange with the benefit of 21st century technology. Those surveys can assist our party spokespeople in the Assembly, helping them develop policies that represent our party.

Many of our members cannot get to the Annual Conference in Swansea to vote. This means that nurses and health care staff working weekends, farmers with heavy workloads, parents with young children, members reliant on public transport, members where money is short, are all excluded from the democratic process. That’s not fair. That’s not right. That needs to change.

As Chair, I would aim to get all our members are able to participate in future internal elections, with the use of online voting (and a postal vote for the few not familiar with newer technology). That’s how internal elections should take place in the 21st century.

We must also invest in our staff. We have excellent staff. They need better support with regard to training, attendance at courses, time to study. That’s been the norm for healthcare professionals like me for decades. We need to apply the same support for our staff. Let’s ask them what skills they need to do an even better job and then make sure they get them.

I will establish a Campaign Office in the north of Wales. Restrictions prevent Plaid staff who work out of the offices of Assembly Members to campaign for the party, thus the need for a separate campaign office.

A political campaign office in North Wales would provide crucial help and impetus towards winning in areas like the North East and Aberconwy. For some communities, the nearest Plaid campaign office is just too far away.

Welcome

I’ve spent most of my career as a consultant paediatrician. I’ve given evidence numerous times in highly complicated court cases. I understand due process, I understand justice and I know how to work as part of a team.

I know how to interpret standing orders, ensuring that they are not used against individuals just because we don’t like them or because they have a different point of view.

I will develop an effective structure that will lead to the resolution of conflicts instead of the current arrangements that frequently make matters worse.

If you elect me as Chair, I will offer the hand of friendship to those who have left the Party. I will campaign to get an amnesty for those expelled. I will welcome everyone who can make a positive contribution to our national movement working towards an independent Wales.

We need to reach out to all parts of our nation.

Plaid Cymru can best make progress by recognising the rich diversity of our people and our members, and recognising their many talents. We won’t win through divisive politics.

Plaid Cymru is not a private club. It’s our vehicle for governing our country and delivering independence. It’s our nation’s most important political movement.

If you agree with me you will have the opportunity to vote for a new Chair of Plaid Cymru. I look forward to meeting you at Plaid’s conference on the 4th & 5th of October in Swansea.

Let’s win together!

Gyda’n gilydd y safwn ni.

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Max WallisKeith ParryIdrisWaytogoAnne Greagsby Recent comment authors
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Plaid member.
Guest
Plaid member.

You have no idea what happened in Llanelli, you only know one half of the story.
Llanelli has more members now than it’s ever had.
It would be helpful for the cause if you stopped mentioning the Llanelli so called ‘expulsions’, which you don’t have the full picture of.

Sian Caiach
Guest
Sian Caiach

I’m sure we’d all like to know the full picture and I’m also mystified about your recent Llanelli Rural Community Councillor defections to the Labour Party. Fire away!

vicky moller
Guest
vicky moller

Perfectly put, end the politics and practices of division. No more sectarian nonsense. Adam is showing the way in working with people and parties across the divides, humanity has no future unless we get over our addiction to conflict. A conflict resolver is very welcome as Plaid chair.

Liz
Guest
Liz

Lighten my heart reading your statements, I always believed we were an inclusive party, it saddens me to think people are being expelled just because they have an Opinion that not the some as some others, come on Plaid we are a grown up party now, on the verge of some thing great for our country..perhaps we need as they to fly our flag under a united banner !!!
I will be supporting you if I have the opportunity to vote…

Benjiman Angwin
Guest
Benjiman Angwin

Maybe I shouldn’t help Plaid since I’m with another party now.

But… guys, why are you having the public read articles about your factions?

It looks really bad to most people who are not Plaid.

Huw Davies
Guest
Huw Davies

Curiosity getting the better of you despite joining some other party. Or is it just a case of dipping the old oar in from time to time in the fond hope that it adds to the turbulence ?

jr Humphrys
Guest
jr Humphrys

SNP are complaining of smear tactics from same lot……………..

vicky moller
Guest
vicky moller

huw’s comment seems fair and supportive. Plaid is an open party or I will treat it as one. If we have internal disagreements why hide them? In this case those unhappy with expulsions tried the direct door route and talked quietly to those concerned but to no avail. Plaid is not owned by those in control, its a vision and a set of principles, its members think for themselves and are not a clique, thats why we en masse voted in a leader, |Leanne who the party needed although she was very different to most of the membership and then… Read more »

Ernie The Smallholder
Guest
Ernie The Smallholder

There is a lot of overlap between your party: Liberal Democrat and Plaid Cymru. The only main difference is that us in Plaid does not expect the UK can ever reform into the federal system giving the powers needed to the each member state even the way the EU operates today – To do that it would need a LD government in Westminster. Labour may accept a federal system, possibly Tories would want to return to the old centralised UK system. The EU is member state driven organisation. The UK is a top-down regime. What happens if the UK does… Read more »

Ernie The Smallholder
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Ernie The Smallholder

Would like to see more co-operation between Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats as our long term aims are that Cymru Wales and its people should have the powers it needs as a country and as a member of the EU.

Cymru Wales as a country does not want to conform to a ‘UK British standard’
– Enforced conformism is what all liberals are opposed to.

Yes, on independence Plaid may well want to join ALDE following on from Ireland’s FF party.

Huw Davies
Guest
Huw Davies

Hen bryd cael dyn a bach o synwyr yn hytrach na’r casineb sydd wedi bodolu yn sgil yr uniongrededd presenol

Idris
Guest
Idris

Those who still support McEvoy despite his long history of lies and intimidation need to think a bit harder. The man is a laughing stock and has zero integrity.

Anne Greagsby
Guest
Anne Greagsby

That’s really nasty and stinks of racism.

J R
Guest
J R

I’m undecided on what the future should hold for McEvoy. But regardless of your thoughts, Idris’ comment contains nothing that reads as racist.

Anne Greagsby
Guest
Anne Greagsby

Duh!

Max Wallis
Guest
Max Wallis

Curious that JR thinks to play Plaid-supremo, rather than let the membership decide.
Idris’s comment is a slanderous attack which abuses NationCymru’s policy of uncontrolled postings; perhaps it’ll have to be changed to censor personal attacks.

Lolly
Guest
Lolly

Sorry Idris didn’t mean to flag your post I agree

Waytogood
Guest
Waytogood

Do you know this gentleman personally? Has he would with you? Has he supported you? Well let me enlighten you idris, I know many many families Neil has supported and put his career on the line the compassion he has is priceless. I do know this man personally and professionally and I have never seen such remarks you have tried to smear his name perhaps you are paid for it! hiding behind a screen tapping away on a keyboard think 🤔 you need some education or even a life.

Idris
Guest
Idris

Clearly we have different values and insights. do you know about his history? He’s an AM so there’s information about him all over the place. It makes interesting reading! wikipedia is a good summary

Waytogo
Guest
Waytogo

I you think Wikipedia holds truthful info, you are a joke, but I have to be professional on here 🤬 listening when you have the time meet the person take the time to have a coffee, judging a person on what a site has to say or what lies the media pull out of the hat you need to wake up to the fact they love to make money through lies. Get out more, fresh air 😁

Idris
Guest
Idris

aherm I said wikipedia includes a good summary. Why am I a joke for pointing out the truth? just google him and ask why so many people have voiced concerns about his conduct. Patronising idiot

Max Wallis
Guest
Max Wallis

That’s your opinion of the (current) Wikipedia page, not the “truth”. A huge section under ‘controversies’ was added by “Llemiles” on 5 Sept. – that’s presumably you or a co-conspirator. Noteworthy that it selects recent hostile personal comments by Plaid AMs but not Leanne’s “impossible to work with him”. And ignores McEvoy’s exposure of the insider-contract given Deryn and the WG land-deal rip-off (Lisvane). An abuse of Wikipedia that’s of a piece with the misuse of the comment section of Nation.Cymru.

Nia Lloyd
Guest
Nia Lloyd

How refreshing. I welcome change of this sort. An inclusive party and not just from the inside.

andrea gibson
Guest
andrea gibson

I believe Dewi is a perfect candidate for chair. Dewi has the ability to see things from all perspectives and wants to find good solutions to problems. Dewi is balanced, reasonable, not authoritarian but is direct. Without doubt there is a faction that feels hurt or angry that Dewi has been put forward as a challenger but that is democracy. Dewi has the Party at heart and he wants to resolve problems and bring us together. Dewi believes, as I do, that we must reach every member and listen to their views. Not shut them down. Every member matters. I… Read more »

Meic Henry
Guest
Meic Henry

This is a useful statement. We need more balanced and lucid discussion of this standard.

Keith Parry
Guest
Keith Parry

I have said for many years for many years Plaid needs to copy the SNP. Have nothing to do with Labour and fight for independence. The SNP are on the Brinx of independence and have destroyed Labour. Where are we? We are propping up unionist parties and not campaigning for independence. If there is a general election before Christmas we will be killed stone dead. The party changed its head but not its body when Adam Price was elected. There is a party machine there Stalin would be proud of. Please elect Dewi Evans to get a broad based party… Read more »