Independence: coming soon to a nation near you?

Apart from Edwina Curry brandishing the Big Brother three as "slags" on Question Time, the highlight of last night's political television was Plaid's Deputy Leader, Rhodri Glyn Thomas, squirming under pressure from Rhun ap Iorwerth over his party's alleged lack of ambition.

As we've been discussing here lately, Plaid seem reluctant to spell out their attitude on independence as part of their election campaign, much to the irritation of some of their own activists, who think the recent poll showing 20% support for separation should have had the party shouting a little louder.

The electorate is notoriously sceptical about a lack of political frankness - it's the reason why Labour are in freefall over Iraq, and why the Lib Dems have failed to properly recover from the messy removal of Charles Kennedy. Fact is, there's a real tension between increasing powers of governance for Wales, and nationalist attitudes towards independence.

Just this week, Plaid "welcomed" the contract to build a super military academy in St Athan. But in an independent Wales, those 5,000 jobs and £14 billion pounds of investment would surely not be welcomed by a Plaid government, whose defence policy would lean towards establishing a non-interventionist Europe-wide force. And with every giant military academy in Wales, the prospect of independence is weakened and the infrastructure of union strengthened.

In today's Wales there's a fine balance between the Welsh and British aspects of our governance and identity. It's not yet clear whether Plaid are willing to take the short-term risks that could tip the scales in their favour in the long-term.

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posted by Blamerbell @ 11:01 am,


At 11:25 pm, Anonymous dave ashcroft said...

It seems a Plaid leader with a backbone is one of those endangered species Attenborough tracks down in Borneo.

It's doubly frustrating because Plaid has unveiled some excellent policies over the past year that are both radical and credible.

If they had the courage of their convictions they would reap the reward, rather than caving in to the first media hostility or opposition baiting.


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