Friday, January 19, 2007

Union of the snake

The SNP could finish ahead of Labour as Scotland's biggest party in May, yet still fail to form a government. They will lack the numbers for a majority and it could be that the Lib Dems will not want to help them into office because of the SNP policy on independence.

In a piece on the health of the Union, the Times's Peter Riddell says that would “well suit” SNP leader Alex Salmond, allowing him to “play the part of the aggrieved victor”.

Depressing. Frankly dignity in opposition is a pretty crap consolation prize for floating voters - in this case floating voters who might, heaven forfend, back the SNP because they think it will give them better schools and hospitals.

With a charismatic leader at the helm - say an Alex Salmond or a Dafydd Wigley, who can unite the coalition of pragmatists and romantics identified here by Dafydd Elis Thomas – party members might temporarily overlook the power/independence dilemma.

Facing the electoral reality that there is no appetite for independence here in Wales, the Plaid leadership has kicked the issue into touch. Party leader Ieuan Wyn Jones wants to convince voters he has a plan for government and the ability to deliver it. There is no mention of the I word in Plaid's Change for the Better document, published this week. The document aligns itself with Aneurin Bevan and Lloyd George: radical, reforming politicians who got things done while in government.

I'm sure I am reading too much into the booklet's omission of Plaid icons like Gwynfor Evans. Plaid's Cardiff HQ – Ty Gwynfor – is named after him. But there is no mention of him when readers of Change for the Better are invited to send the party their policy ideas. They are told to direct their contributions to “The Policy Development unit, Plaid Cymru, 18 Park Grove”.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, but Plaid Cymru supporters have a major electoral dilemma which no reporter in Wales has dared to mention, namely that if the Tories fail to win Aberconwy, then the chances of Wigley coming back into the Assembly as an AM, nver mind First Minister, are gone forever.

The Tories will get three seats in North Wales whatever happens - the issue is whether they are first past the post or regional.

However, if Plaid Cymru win Aberconwy, Wigley will most certainly not get enough regional votes to be elected.

Who would you want in the Assembly if you were a Plaid Cymru supporter in Llanrwst? Gareth Jones - the 68 year old ex haedamaster who did little in his time as AM - or Wigley, a giant of Welsh and Plaid politics?

It is a question they may well to ask themselves and whether tactical voting to get the best man into the Assembly may well prove the way forward.

Ironically, the Tory candidate - Dylan Jones-Evans - is a welsh speaking, enterprise oriented, pro devolutionlist - as much PC as Tory.