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Plaid’s leadership contest is an opportunity to banish the nuclear elephant in the room

13 Aug 2018 5 minute read
Wylfa Power Station. Picture: Andrew Woodvine (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Cian Ciarán

Given the contempt shown by Labour for Wales after twenty years of rule, and the systematic neglect by successive governments in London, voters should be turning to Plaid en masse for the first time.

And yet what will they turn to find? A party in the middle of a leadership contest.

But if we must have a leadership contest, let’s turn it into a positive and clarify, if not solidify, the party’s message and policies with no compromises.

The Plaid leadership contest is an opportunity to banish the nuclear elephant in the room once and for all.

Nuclear power has to be and needs to be a central part of the debate during the leadership election. If not now, when?

This issue cannot be allowed to undermine the party, its current or future leaders any longer; it has become Plaid’s ball and chain.

How can we welcome voters old and new to believe manifesto promises or have faith in any single AM, MP or Councillor when the party is simultaneously against and pro one of the biggest issues of our time?

Nuclear power is a great distraction from Plaid Cymru’s progressive politics and progressive energy policies, a black hole sucking time and resources Wales doesn’t have, denying communities and the country a real chance of a sustainable and secure future.

How can any party simultaneously be pro-independence and seriously entertain or endorse any new nuclear build?

Accepting a new nuclear power plant plays right into Westminster’s hands. If independence were ever achieved, who would pay for the burden of waste management on the Welsh taxpayer for future generations to come?

A free but bankrupt and toxic Wales will be Westminster`s parting gift.

Wylfa Newydd is yet another example of English majority rule over Wales. Like Tryweryn, this is a Westminster decision being imposed on Wales.

Plaid fought them then why not now? We can’t allow a Tryweryn of our generation to happen again.

It is political will that is holding us back. Making short-term, short-sighted policy decisions will have long-term consequences that go against the party’s aims and ambitions, making any ‘divorce settlement’ near impossible.


That decisive moment on the question of nuclear for Plaid Cymru should have been twenty years or so ago when Wylfa’s legacy first began to be questioned.

So let’s learn from the past and dictate our own futures starting today and say no to their blood money and their bribes.

Wales is not a dumping ground. Wales is not a bomb factory.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood’s position on nuclear is clear: that we should disengage from self-interested deal-making, and not do business with those who continue to use Wales as a home for archaic and damaging technologies.

We need a leader who can look us all in the eye whilst leading the country down a path that will not be held to ransom by Westminster.

We need a leader who can look into the eyes of mothers of children with leukemia. For those who don`t believe there is an association, they only need to look at the German Government`s KiKK study which showed a 100% increase of leukaemia in children under 5 years for those living within 5 km of 16 nuclear power plants.

Negative campaigning and defeatist attitudes stagnate debate. Yet, questioning policy differences isn’t a personal attack.

The people deserve answers and to know where everyone stands. This can still be conducted in a constructive, fair and respectful manner.

But let’s not ignore or hide uncomfortable truths for another two years or until our counterparts expose the cracks in our ’shield’ come 2021.

Anyone who disagrees is damaging both Plaid Cymru and Wales as it compromises the long-term goals of both.


I recognise that this is not a single issue election, but nuclear has so many implications and encompasses so much in its wake; from job creation, environmental consequences, climate change, energy security, the economy, health, its effect on the Welsh language, the communities it envelops and, yes, also our independence.

Nuclear hits all of those possibilities hard. It’s far from being a single issue, yet one that could sum up our entire existence, if not survival.

Wales can begin to make a difference by joining so many other countries in leaving this old, tired and failing technology on the scrap heap of history.

If we articulate and express an anti-nuclear message clearly then I believe the majority of the Welsh people will stand with us seeing that we are a moral, principled and just party not one of career politicians in search of self-gain.

A party that has the best interests of the Welsh people and future generations at heart for now and ever.

Plaid Cymru can offer a future far removed from the nonsensically flawed Wylfa project, which is morally and economically unjustifiable and a crime against Wales’ children.

The language used in a leadership election suggests that there is a game being played out, but it’s not a game.

The outcome and direction of the party and what happens in 2021 could have a profound effect on all our futures; this is an opportunity to regroup and to strengthen.

The Welsh have always been good at infighting. Let not this be another example consigned to the history books.

The real battleground shouldn’t be within the party but outside and the struggle will be played out from Môn to Traws, in the Valleys and out West.

It’s a national struggle in which we can ill afford to have rival factions pulling in opposite directions.

The People united will never be defeated! In solidarity!

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