Tuesday, 29 April 2008

A little ado about what, exactly?

Yesterday’s Western Mail had a story about Chris Bryant drawing attention to an apparent inconsistency between two senior Plaid Figures. According to the story, Ieuan Wyn Jones welcomed this year's air show at Sophia Gardens, whilst two years ago, Plaid’s Chief Executive, Gwenllian Lansdown condemned a similar event at the same location as being a showcase for arms dealers.

Bryant claimed that this showed a major inconsistency. Ordovicius explained this apparent inconsistency in terms of the elapsed time between the two statements – two years ago, Lansdown was not the party’s Chief Executive, and Jones was not in government.

I think this misses the point. The two people seem to have been speaking about two very different events. Jones was welcoming an exhibition promoting the aerospace industry because of the jobs in that industry in Wales. Lansdown, on the other hand, was condemning arms sales. Both positions are entirely consistent with long standing Plaid policies.

The problem is that neither the story nor any of the reaction tell us what sort of event it really is, and without that information, it is impossible to judge which reaction is correct. But if a Plaid leader were truly to be welcoming arms dealers to the Welsh capital, it would be an astonishing betrayal of previous Plaid policy. So - which of the two descriptions of the event is correct?

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