Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Rainbow Warrior

I have waited a while before commenting on the various options open to Plaid and to the internal debate within the party about what happens next. However the time for silence and reflection is over.

Plaid enjoyed a fairly successful election night and the fact that even at their height the Tories cannot overtake us in terms of seats, or even get that close, shows we are firly established as the second party in Wales. So what next?

I find the whole debate quite difficult for one reason only. Although I am not a socialist I often find myself in agreement with the "socialist" wing of the party. In 2003 I spent a lot of time, and money, helping Helen mary Jones in Llanelli (i was living in leicester at the time) and many of the friends I have made in the party are now amongst those who favour a deal with Labour.


I cannot for the life of me understand why it is that people I otherwise have the utmost respect for would prefer to see a Labour first minister rather than a Plaid one. Let us not delude ourselves that there is another choice, following the "no deal" approach favoured by Jill Evans and others (the Peter Black approach :) ) is effectively making a choice of a Labour first minister over a Plaid one and gaining nothing in return.

Going cap in hand to Labour asking for a couple of cabinet seats and a referendum on a partial parliament is deeply unattractive and will send out the wrong message about our party. We urge the people of Wales to have the confidence to shake of britishness and have our own government yet when faced with the choice of leading a government or playing second fiddle to labour the left want the second fiddle option. Its a left wing version of the "welsh cringe". Horrible to behold in people you admire.

A deal with Labour will deliver nothing of value. Rhodri Morgan willl be gone in two years so any long term promises he makes are worthless. It was Labour policy in 1979 to support the Yes campaign in the referendum yet virtually the entire Welsh labour party campaigned against it. The notion that the Labour "campaigning machine" will be thrown behind a "yes" campaign which if successful would reduce the number of MP's Labour sends to Westminster is laughable. Labour will promise much and deliver little just as they did in 1979.

The likely arrival of a Tory government in Westminster will perhaps concentrate the minds of the so called "nationalist" wing of the Labour party. It would be in the interest of a Tory government to have a Welsh parliament and reduce the number of MPs from wales, it would be in the broader Welsh interest to have a parliament to protect it from the worst access of a Tory westminster government and enough people in welsh Labour will see that.

So a "rainbow" it must be. I detect a growing appetite in the party for government and frustration amonsgt activists as to why it is taking so long to deliver. For those that foam at the mouth at the prospect of the Tories supporting a Plaid first minister I ask them do you have a serious alternative? the answer thus far is none.

Social democrats and Christian democrats work together in many parts of europe. The Tories in wales are now much closer to a "christian democrat party" and Plaid is very much in the Social Democrat tradition. The "socialist" left in Plaid is I suspect not as socialist as they proclaim anyway. Is their vision of an independent Wales one in which the state controls every aspect of life? Or is it the one the rest of us share where a government ensures basic needs are met, cultural and language diversity is encouraged,that there are not huge gaps in wealth between individuals, that the market is policed effectively and the environment protected. The vision that all in Plaid can sign up to and not just socialists.

8 Comments:

Blogger Penddu said...

My inital reaction to putting the Tories in power (albeit as junior members of a coalition) was of disgust.

But over the the last few weeks I have slowly turned, and now want nothing to do with Labour - We need the Rainbow to break the mould of Weslh politics

2:08 AM  
Blogger cymrumark said...

Welcome aboard...lots of people have made the same difficult journey.

Just to be pedantic the Tories are of course putting Plaid in power as they are the junior partner.

5:43 AM  
Blogger Activist said...

'On several key questions Tory MPs are deeply divided. For instance, against the view of Mr Cameron, just 46 per cent of Tory MPs agree that gay couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples, with 54 per cent disagreeing. For comparison, 83 per cent of Labour MPs and 92 per cent of Lib Dems agree.

Similarly, there is a 52 to 48 per cent split among Tories on whether “the diverse mix of races, cultures and religions now found in our society has improved Britain”. By contrast, 92 per cent of Labour MPs agree, as do all Lib Dems surveyed. And while Labour MPs are virtually unanimous (94 per cent) in agreeing that “one of the things that would most improve life in Britain today is people being more tolerant of different ethnic groups and cultures”, that is the view of only 67 per cent of Tory MPs.

The survey also shows that if you scratch beneath the surface, MPs from the two main parties have very different views on public services. Roughly nine out of ten Labour and Lib Dem MPs agree that “if we were starting with a blank piece of paper and designing a health system for scratch, we would still create something very much like the NHS”, but only two fifths of Conservative members agree.

Private schools appear as a sharp dividing line. More than four fifths of Labour MPs (85 per cent) believe “it would be better for the country if everyone who sends their children to private schools chose to send them to state schools instead”, a view backed by only 7 per cent of Tory MPs.

I have yet to be convinced that the Conservative Assembly Group is much different than their Parliamentary counterparts on such matters.'

The survey is from the 'Times' and the last comment is Peter Black. Are you sure you want to put people with these attitudes into power in Wales? We know that so far in the Welsh Conservatives we at least have a creationist, a homophobe and a fox hunter. Plaid's decision on this will be a statement on Plaids values.

I have a huge amount of time for the achievements of Plaid Cymru being a firm believer in the social values of Wales and the need for more self determination to provide a platform for them.

Go 'rainbow' and you will be finished in the South, opting to be a narrow party of intolerant cultural nationalism in the North. I never imagined that a party for the Welsh people would once again expose vulnerable people to Tory ministers just to get a nominal First Minister who would actually be a puppet depending on Tory votes for his every move.

11:28 PM  
Blogger cymrumark said...

Activist.

As ever you talk about things external to the all wales achord. If the Plaid led government does something homophobic or bad for the economy or reintroduces fox hunting or sells off the NHS etc you will have grounds for complaint.

We are looking at a centre left programme which will help sort out some of the mess Labour have made.There is nothing in the programme which suggest it will be a government of "intolerant cultural nationalism" . The Tories are supporting Plaid into government not the other way round.

I am not interested in what the Tories private personal attitudes are I am interested in what policies would be produced by a coalition government. They are set out clearly in the acchord. What must be frightening for Labour people is the propect of a new government which inno way resembles the image Labour are trying to portray.

Plaid got a good vote in South wales despite Labour saying Palid and the Tories would work togetehr and our acceptence this might be needed. I doubt very much we will be "finished" anywhere by this agree or by a "red green2 deal for that m,atter. It would take us a lot longer to recover from a Red/green deal that went right than it would a rainbow that went wrong.

Peter Black does not want to govern with anyone he wants to spend four years trying to find some point for the continued existence of the Welsh Lib dems. As we all know they exist to provide the rest of us with amusement I am not sure what he thinks they would achive.

2:15 AM  
Blogger Activist said...

Mark,

I assume you have no experience inside government. As ever you assume ministers can only do what is in the 'accord'. This is factually incorrect. Most ministerial decisions are Executive and Tory Ministers will not need votes in plenary or agreement of Plaid counterparts. Plus there is nothing to stop measures additional to the accord. All governments must implement far more than stated in manifestos.

Finally the views of Tories in the survey were public not private. If Plaid has no interest in the values, views and principles of coalition partners I am truly frightnened for Wales. Thank goodness there are enough principled people in Plaid to fight this drift to the right.

4:23 AM  
Blogger cymrumark said...

As I have no idea of who you are i have no idea if you know more or less than I do about government.

I remain at a loss to see what terrible right wing things Tory ministers will do. Give some specifics of what you think Tory ministers would do that would be so terribly right wing.This so I can remind you in twelve months when none of these things have happend.

Of course only people on the far left have principles. In your world those of us who in real life are centre left but in Plaid terms on the right obviously have none.

My principles include a willingness to work with people from very different backgrounds to my own. My experience of this in many areas of life convinces me that this generatres exciting results.

I admit to a deep seated loathing of the Labour party, although I have many friends in the Labour party. This is based on years of experience of Labour in power in leicester hackney and other places.

When the far left in my party echo the Labour non-sense that the Tories are some sort of political untouchables all we do is reinforce Labours key message ie "we may be rubbish but the Tories are wicked and evil".

The Rainbow will govern well to the left of the Blair brown monstrosity. For example we will not use private companies to commission NHS services as is being done in england nor will we use PFI to build hospitals because of the well documented problems this brings.

You will have to learn a new tune if the rainbow takes over. You will have to attack us for what we actually do not what you imagine will happen. Labour got their worst share of the vote since 1918 singing the same song that you are doing now. Doesn't that tell you something?

5:53 AM  
Blogger Garenig said...

Plaid Cymru exists because Wales is different to England. Why therefore is the debate largely around two Imperial Parties in England? Surely Plaid members of all people should be cogniscent of many of the differences between these nations and further as a decentralist, community orientated party, its members should be aware of and respect the differences in the interests of the communities in which party members live. The British parties are different in Wales. To some degree that is because of the existence of this party and its effect on membership of the British parties. It is also because of the range of history that our communities have experienced. I recognise that the coalition that best suits candidates in one constituency may have an adverse effect in another.
There is no Welsh Labour - its Welsh wing is Plaid Cymru. Labour in Wales consists of British Centrists and British Federalists. There were no Welsh Conservatives before this century, but with Plaid Cymru commited to Welsh Left and Welsh Centre Left and Centre the Welsh Centre Right (and it does exist) has to choose between the company of the Welsh Left or the British Centre Right.
Lib Dem interests lie at present with their four local authority leaders, but that will change once the local authority elections are over. Priority wil then pass to their MPs who face Conservative challenges (2), Plaid Cymru (1) and Labour (1).
Irrespective of our choice coalition it may be in the Lib-Dems best interests to undermine each albeit for different reasons.
It is Labour's best interest now to split Plaid off from the All Wales Accord, and to wait for the opportune moment to break up the partnership before the next Asseembly election.
Whatever we choose we should not count on either coalition lasting the distance.
As to the morality issue, each member in a primarily first past the post election is equally entitled to seek support from others to form a government. Trish Law has the same moral right to be First Minister as has Rhodri Morgan - she just starts 25 votes down with 30 to find.

10:09 AM  
Blogger alanindyfed said...

"Is their vision of an independent Wales one in which the state controls every aspect of life? Or is it the one the rest of us share where a government ensures basic needs are met, cultural and language diversity is encouraged,that there are not huge gaps in wealth between individuals, that the market is policed effectively and the environment protected. The vision that all in Plaid can sign up to and not just socialists."

This will not happen - we will not get state bureaucracy which to me is also an anathema. There is a new dynamic at work. Your hopes will come to pass, have no fear.

2:08 AM  

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