Plaid dragging their feet on independence

Acrobat finished searching my document. The find item was not found.

The document was Plaid's pre-manifesto, Change for the better; the find item was "independence".

In fairness, the word "independent" does feature twice:
"We will promote and maintain independent living for disabled people."
and,
"We will establish an independent National Commission on the Governance of Wales... releasing resources from bureaucracy for frontline services."

Not quite the pledges die-hard Plaid supporters would've been hoping for.

Yesterday, the independence debate went national, with the BBC's Newsnight hosting a more full and frank discussion on the subject than I've ever heard on mainstream TV. The 'Welsh question' was notable only by its absence.

In this week of constitutional argument and self-reflection, Plaid have kicked separatism into touch, while the SNP have it written in warpaint across their foreheads. Welsh nationalists may wonder if it's been a missed opportunity.

Plaid's leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones, was forced to clarify his position in the Western Mail. He said: "We have always understood that while the long-term aim of the party is independence, we want to see constitutional change taking place incrementally."

So why isn't this in the pre-manifesto, in black and white? The document sets out Plaid's aims for a decade, including a referendum on a Scottish-style parliament by 2011. Are we to assume, then, that independence isn't a Plaid priority for at least another ten years?

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posted by Blamerbell @ 2:17 pm,

10 Comments:

At 6:04 pm, Blogger Ted Jones said...

The key point is that ‘Change for the Better’ is a visionary statement in preparation for the forthcoming Assembly Elections. Therefore the major policies contained have to be ones that work within the current pitiable constitutional settlement. There’s little point harping on about Independence in the Welsh context as it isn’t imminently on the cards. The situation in Scotland is totally different as they are ready to embrace the next stage in their national political development.

With regards your blog on the recent BBC Independence poll, some BBC journalists in Scotland questioned the impartiality of the poll as it favoured a unionist response. 20% for Wales in that context is a formidable result.

You should take part in the Change for the Better online survey at www.changeforthebetter.com – at least Plaid are trying new and innovative ways of engaging with the electorate.

 
At 6:12 pm, Anonymous Alun Davies said...

The whole thing's pretty pathetic. Plaid have produced a confidence trick and not a manifesto.

It promises the world - but not a single costed proposal in sight. They talk of increasing public expenditure and cutting taxes. There's primary schools kids out there who could do better.

If they want to be taken seriously they need to do two things.

Firstly come clean on independence and tell the truth to the Welsh electorate. And secondly produce a manifesto that is a programme for government - and not a wish list for opposition. There's little point in visionary statement if you're no idea how you're make it a reality. People want solid proposals not Santa Claus style promises.

Finally - I wonder if Ieuan Wyn will be campaigning on his so-called opposition to nuclear power in Wylfa? I doubt it.

Again - another lesson in honesty.

 
At 6:33 pm, Blogger bethan said...

We are a Party in favour of Independence. There's nothing to hide in that respect. We want to win the next Assembly election therefore we are proposing new, exciting policies. There's no point in trying to engage with the likes of Hain and Alun Davies, who are obviously too engrossed in scare mongering to be positive about anything.

 
At 7:41 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

Are they policies now? I was under the impression they were policy aspirations.

"There’s little point harping on about Independence in the Welsh context as it isn’t imminently on the cards."

How do you achieve such lofty goals *without* 'harping on about it'? Do you think people will simply wake up in 2012 and be ready for an independent Wales - with scraping through the devolution vote by the narrowest of margins still a not too distant memory?

 
At 10:54 am, Blogger Ted Jones said...

"It promises the world - but not a single costed proposal in sight."

As an aspiring AM Alun you should do better than that. 15 of the main pledges were costed. I note neither of the other parties have produced any costings for their proposals. I am led to believe the Tories don't even have a pre manifesto.

A fair point blamerbell about making the case for independence. The SNP due to the constitutional settlement gained in 1997 have been able to fight the cause. In Wales the powers of the Assembly are so pathetic, the isle of Alderney has got greater autonomy. In that context the logical campaign is to fight for a proper Parliament with full law making powers for Wales. The real question is why don't the London parties support giving the people of Wales a choice on a full Parliament. All the polls to date point to a clear majority in favour of greater powers for the Assembly.

 
At 11:11 am, Anonymous seren said...

The whole thing's pretty pathetic. Plaid have produced a confidence trick and not a manifesto.

But it's not the manifesto, is it? It's an outline. I'd be more inclined to listen to Davies if he wasn't a member of a party that was so ingrained with lies, deception and corruption that its leader is facing criminal charges.

On the more substantial point of Plaid's reluctance to talk about independence - it's not good enough for the leadership to talk about it as a long-term aspiration.

20% want independence without any kind of campaign. A majority of Welsh people want independence or a full parliament (much the same thing in my book), according to the polls.

Plaid's timidity is unwarranted. It should state boldly that "We want an independent Wales and, as a stepping stone to that aim, we want greater powers now."

 
At 12:19 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

"We want an independent Wales and, as a stepping stone to that aim, we want greater powers now."

If that's what you want, that's what you should say. Seems pretty straightforward to me. Why all the smoke and mirrors?

If you look at the 1999 manifesto, the wording on aspirations for a full parliament was virtually the same as this latest document. And where did that get you?

 
At 9:09 am, Anonymous seren said...

Well, I'm not leading the party ;-), I'm just an ordinary member. I suspect many more members would have liked to see the leadership be bolder in their advocacy of independence.
To be honest, I think it's a reaction to the years of being battered by the media and the political establishment. It's made Plaid's leaders overly cautious and defensive.

 
At 6:39 pm, Blogger Glyn Davies AM said...

Seems to me that Plaid are taking a realistic approach to 'independence' in preparation for coalition after May. Much as I hope that Plaid will not rule out some sort of coalition with the Welsh Conservatives, I could not sign up to an 'independence' agenda. Do Plaid want to stay on the sidelines for ever - and this is the same question I ask those members of my party who say they could never work with Plaid or the Lib Dems.

I do think there is a possibility of other parties signing up for a referendum on a Scottish style parliament in 2011 - and this seems a sensible ambition for Plaid. It may be that Laboutr will be the only party to oppose this (personal view!)

 
At 6:04 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

"Seems to me that Plaid are taking a realistic approach to 'independence' in preparation for coalition after May."

You don't give up, do you?

 

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