Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Ever Been Had? (continued...)

My mole at the BBC tells me that Plaid did indeed lodge a formal complaint with both the BBC and the Western Mail over the story about ‘Hayzell David’ and her ‘paper’ proposing a merger between Labour and Plaid.

The complaint was strongly rejected however by the Western Mail, whose Chief Reporter, Martin Shipton, apparently claimed that he had received the paper not from ‘Ms David’ herself, but from another source within Plaid. This source is regarded by him as being completely reliable.

Assuming that Mr Shipton is telling the truth (and the laws of libel preclude me from making any other assumption for the purposes of this post, although the little ditty which Chesterton wrote about journalists does float through my mind as I write), this seems to raise more questions than it answers.

I have not been privy to a copy of the ‘paper’ itself, but I am given to understand that ‘paper’ is rather a grand description for what amounts to half a side of A4, and that the ‘extracts’ quoted in Saturday’s Western Mail amount to virtually the whole of the said ‘paper’.

I am also told that the distribution of the paper was rather strange – although the Western Mail claims that it was written for the Women’s section, it was apparently not even sent to the officers of that section – although curiously it was sent to a number of male members of the party.

Given that, in comments to my previous post, the only reference anyone can find to the name ‘Hayzell’ is as a man’s name, what then is the basis of the Western Mail’s claim that this person is an ‘activist in the women’s section’, or that this paper is in any way connected with that section? It clearly fits the Western Mail’s agenda for this to be so, of course. The paper has previously attacked Plaid’s use of the Regional List seats to attempt to achieve a degree of gender balance, and is desperate to try and link the story in some way to the ‘Helen Mary Four’. I always hesitate before hurling an accusation of misogyny – but in this case my hesitation would not be a lengthy one.

The answer – the only answer possible – is that the link to the Women’s section is based entirely on the faith placed by the Western Mail on the unnamed Plaid source who fed them the document. So, is that faith justified? It doesn’t really seem to me that it stands up to any attempt to apply a reasonable degree of journalistic diligence.

If the paper was indeed written by a member of Plaid’s Women’s section, who for some unfathomable reason chose to write under a pseudonym, why would it not have been sent to the officers of the section? Any activist would certainly have had their addresses.

If the Western Mail’s reliable source was really anywhere near the centre of Plaid’s activity, then he or she would have known that the name was false, and that the paper would have zero credibility within the party.

Perhaps the ‘source’ was him or herself the author of the paper, and was trying to upset the applecart in advance of this week’s meetings to ratify the agreement between Plaid and Labour. But he or she would know that any future credibility with the Western Mail would be irreparably damaged as a result of such an amateurish attempt at deceit.

Alternatively, the source could him or herself have fallen for the hoax, and believed the truth of it in passing it on – but again, that would indicate that this source is someone pretty peripheral to the party’s activity, if they were so easily taken in by this one.

Expect the Western Mail to continue to defend the indefensible in their reporting of this story, publicly at least. But I’ll bet that there’s one ‘source’ to whom they’ll pay considerably less attention in future.


Anonymous said...

Shipton was the only one conned by this one. It was too outrageous. That's one journo whose cred has gone down the spout.

hafod said...

The entire document... misleadingly described as a paper by Shipton. All we need to do now is find out who can't spell ideological...


For decades the 2 popular socialist parties in Wales - Plaid Cymru and the Labour Party - have keenly fought for the same sector of the electorate. Labour, as the party of government for the past 10 years has become the focus of oppositon politics led by Plaid. Yet both Plaid strategists and progressive Labour planners realise that the long term aim must be to join forces as a popular socialist movement in a self-governing Wales.

Political careers and effort are being wasted in inter-party conflict when the idealogical enemy, Conservative, Liberal, UKIP,BNP etc are reaping the rewards. The 2 majority welsh parties are not giving best service to Wales if they are intent on mutual destruction. If eventual merger is desirable, and perhaps inevitable, now is the time to start. The parties are becoming aproximately equal in terms of activists, organisation and [non-union] membership in Wales. The cycle of inter-socialist conflict must be broken. United in effort, the coalition will be the first united socialist front to rule Wales.

It may be hard for many to bury the hatchet, but the opportunities are well worth it. All Labour and Plaid activists must look to the future. We must work to secure a better deal for Wales and a long-term socialist led government for stability and progress.

Hayzell David

Anonymous said...

It's not exactly the Zinoviev Letter but it was a real attempt to smear Plaid's left advocates of the red-green agreement. The linking in with the women's section is another example of the misogyny that has permeated much of the recent political debate.

Lenin Cymru said...

Good luck with the smearing Hayzell David. If that's the best you can do, you had better give up the day job.

alanindyfed said...

Red faces all round, and another failed terrorist attempt.
I am talking about the smear campaign of course but it is a political terrorist act. The fact that it failed so lamentably is to the credit of Ceredig and others who were able to detect the weaknesses in it and its lack of credibility.

Penbedw said...

Some of these Labour people opposed to the coalition seem a little hysterical, although not quite as virulent as Shipton in his recent endeavours. I expected more of Ann Jones, but some of the others are not the sharpest knives in the cutlery drawer are they? People like Karen Sinclair and Irene James wouldn't be missed if they disappeared overnight. At least Huw Lewis and Lynne Neagle will be able to console each other in the marital home as they are so fearful of jumping into bed with Plaid.

alanindyfed said...

I listened to the comments of Rhodri Morgan this morning in answer to phone-in questions on Radio Wales, and found him to be realistic and convincing. With goodwill all round we will see this coalition work for the good of the people of Wales, and not specifically for the good of the Labour Party. Rhodri Morgan, as well as Ieuan Wyn Jones have grasped the notion of realpolitik.

re·al·po·li·tik (rā-äl'pō'lĭ-tēk') pronunciation

A usually expansionist national policy having as its sole principle advancement of the national interest.

Posted by alanindyfed

Ceredig said...


Thanks for sharing the whole document with the world - or those who read Ceredig, anyway. It confirms what I was told - that to call it a 'paper' was really stretching the meaning of the word.

I agree with Anon that the only person taken in was Shipton. How on earth could a supposedly heavyweight (sorry Martin, but pun fully intended) journalist on what is sadly our premier national source of printed news have fallen for something like this, and given it the attention and credibility which he did? And how can his paper continue to defend him?

it's my party said...

And with such objective journalism, no doubt the Western Mail will even start selling copies in the north of Wales. Sorry, must have been blinded for a moment by a low flying pig.

Anonymous said...

alanindyfed said...
"I listened to the comments of Rhodri Morgan this morning in answer to phone-in questions on Radio Wales, and found him to be realistic and convincing."

Since when do we believe what politicians say?
We have to make up our own minds and avoid the spin in abundance now.

Ceredig said...

Yes, indeed, anonymous. Who would ever believe a politician? I remember the late, great Dai Francis once saying something along the lines of "What you need to remember is that cheating is a way of life for these politicians". At the time, he was referring to a Labour MP of the day. Plus ca change, as the French might say. Although I'm sure that he would never have applied the statement to the current honorable member for Aberavon.

But in a spirit of democratic pluralism, I can understand why some might want to apply the comment more generally, rather than restrict it to MP's - of any party.