Friday, 15 February 2008

What Do They Expect (2)?

There has been a lot of adverse reaction from supporters of a Welsh-language newspaper to the lack of funds being provided by the One Wales government. But what do they expect?

It was surely obvious to anyone reading the One Wales agreement that it contained more commitments than would actually get funded in what was inevitably going to be a tight spending round. And if some didn't see it in the agreement itself, than surely the way in which the budget was deliberately made obscure indicated an attempt to hide a funding problem.

From some reactions, it is clear that some people thought that the very fact of having Plaid members in government would somehow change the way things worked - that everything listed in One Wales would actually be delivered. That was never going to happen; the only questions were how soon that would become obvious, and which particular items would cause the rosy tint to start fading.

I don’t think the coalition is in any danger – yet. Plaid members’ traditional loyalty to their leadership has some way to run at present. But if the members start to believe, en masse, the suggestion put forward by Vaughan Roderick, that the leadership is deliberately abandoning any attempt to maintain the idea that Plaid is just the political wing of a wider movement, then a day of reckoning will come at some point.


Normal Mouth said...

Vaughan makes a very good argument. I've no doubt that if PC are jettisoning their nationalist baggage it will alienate a number of traditional supporters. But it is undoubtedly the right thing to do.

Ceredig said...

“But it is undoubtedly the right thing to do. “

Right from whose viewpoint? These aren’t just traditional supporters; they’re the people who fund and run Plaid. Blair was able to risk alienating parts of Labour's core supoort, because he had a stable of tame millionaires who would fund the party; I don't think that Plaid have that luxury.

And if Plaid did jettison their 'baggage', wouldn't a lot more people start to question what they were for?

Normal Mouth said...

Wales is already in a post-national movement scenario. Whatever happens from here, Wales will have her own tier of government and with it extensive autonomy. She may even have independence one day.

Plaid now needs to conclude the phase of agitation for national recognition/autonomy and turn itself into a party that can credibly present itself as a modern party of government. From my perspective that means becoming a mainstream European social democratic party. I've no doubt that IWJ recognises this and is intent on doing it.

It has happened before, when CYIG were cleaved off from the party. It shouild happen again. Blood and soil nationalism is just so 19th century ;-)

Ceredig said...


In principle, I agree with you - up to a point anyway. But I think you're a little premature.

Had the referendum on a parliament been held and won, then it would be possible to argue that the essential rationale for Plaid had been, more or less, accomplished, and a change of direction justified. But prior to that point, and with a coalition partner which still looks, at the least, 'shaky' on the question of that referendum, such a strategy looks to be, as Sir Humphrey might say, 'very brave'.

My second area of doubt concerns whether Plaid should then become a 'Social Democratic' party. That is unquestionably in line with the natural instinct of the leadership, but the field looks a little crowded to me. Surely Labour, the Lib Dems, and even, arguably, some elements of the Welsh Conservatives, are all trying to occupy that ground already. Isn't there a need for someone to be offering some sort of alternative?

Normal Mouth said...

There is clearly room to stake out a distinctive position on what used to be called the left-right divide. I argued as much a while back. I'm just not sure there's value in occupying a position on the national question that is, in essence, moot nowadays.

seen it all before said...

be wary of Labour people telling Plaid Cymru what to do, both Normal Mouth and Adam Price seem to be on the same wave length on many issues at present, that alone should be sounding alarm bells with Plaid but sadly they are not willing or able to listen.

as for the Social Democracy bit, its a total red herring, this is about being back in Total Control in Wales pure and simple and Labour are playing a very clever game.