Only in my backyard
Friday, April 20, 2007
I blogged recently on the fact that for the first time in well over decade, Plaid Cymru currently have no policy on nuclear energy.
But there are two things we know for certain. One is that Plaid's leader Ieuan Wyn Jones backs a new nuclear power station in his own backyard, the other is that Plaid's pre-manifesto (released in March this year) categorically states: "Plaid Cymru does not support nuclear power."
There's an obvious tension between these two positions. You can't be for and against something at the same time. The solution? Pretend you were never against it.
At a local level, at least, Ieuan Wyn Jones now appears to be using the absence of a policy on nuclear energy in Plaid's manifesto to justify his support for the replacement of the Wylfa plant in Ynys Mon.
The Bangor & Anglesey Mail reports that during a recent hustings on the island, Conservative candidate James Roach accused Plaid Cymru of double standards. He said: "It's interesting that within their manifesto Plaid Cymru disagree with nuclear power apart from on Anglesey and although I do congratulate Mr Jones' dedication to the island, I think that's plain hypocrisy."
To which Ieuan Wyn responded: "There's no mention of this in our manifeto." Adding, "I support Wylfa B on certain conditions."
It is an odd tactic, I must confess. Plaid clearly hope that they can be vague and non-comittal on the national stage while allowing their leader free rein at a local level. But this is just the sort of thing Plaid accuse the other parties of doing.
Of course, politics in Wales is such that anti-nuclear voters in the Valleys neither know nor care what's being said in a hustings in Ynys Mon. Politicians and their bods are all too aware of this. And as long as they can get away with it they'll continue to fight this election campaign on multiple fronts. After all, as one insider told me recently, "there's nothing wrong with telling people what they want to hear."
posted by Blamerbell @ 4:39 pm,
- At 5:27 pm, Marcusian said...
Its something i have been banging my little partisan drum about many times...Including on Iain Dales blog.
How many times have we heard the words Trident and Iraq come out of Plaid Cymru's mouth? All the Labour AM's i have spoken to were pretty much against both, but still have the take the flak. I just saw with my own eyes this happen to a Labour AM who visited a mosque. Someone was unhappy about the Iraq War, the AM stated he was against the war and even marched against it, but he had the decency to accept the retort that 'its still a Labour government so i wont be voting for you'.
Iueann Whinge Jones should have the same decency...Either he supports the Plaid policy on nuclear energy and takes this argument to his constituents. Or he breaks rank and states on the record he does not agree with the policy. Lots of Labour MP's and AM's have done this on Iraq and Trident, why cant Plaid?
- At 5:41 pm, hedd said...
I do not understand the point of this post Blamerbell. Are you saying that parties and partty members shouldn't change their minds? Are you saying that the manifesto should be exactly the same as a pre-manifesto? There wouldn't be much point in publishing a manifesto if this is the case.
Maybe after launching the pre-manifesto, and consulting with Plaid members and the electorate, Plaid came to the conclusion that there WASN'T an united view on the subject, and therefore that it shouldn't be stated one way or the other in the manifesto. I know of many Plaid members who support a new nuclear power station on Anglesey, and many that do not, therefore this shouldn't come as a great surprise. Personally I am opposed to nuclear power stations in Wales!
And frankly Marcusian, comparing this issue to the illegal war in Iraq that has caused so many deaths and destruction is frankly daft. Labour took Wales to war with Iraq based on the lies of Tony Blair. That is the truth of the matter!
- At 5:52 pm, Marcusian said...
No once again you dont understand my point. Its about process, Plaid accuse Rhodri Morgan and Welsh Labour as being the party 'of iraq and trident', but many AM's and Welsh MP's have gone on the record to disagree with this policy.
"Plaid came to the conclusion that there WASN'T an united view on the subject, and therefore that it shouldn't be stated one way or the other in the manifesto."
Much like Welsh Labour who with regards Iraq and Trident DONT EVEN HAVE A VOTE AND MANY OF THE AM's even marched against it.
You must see my point? Plaid want the welsh labour AM's to be culpable for Iraq and Trident, whether thats right is open to Debate. I want your Leader to be culpable for the policy of the Party he was LEADING at the time only a few months ago...it is about accountablility. Labour AM's are far less culpable on Iraq than Ieuann Whinge on his own parties pre-manifesto!
- At 6:44 pm, Ordovicius said...
Its something i have been banging my little partisan drum about many times
So Labour has a monopoly on being a two-faced party? Interesting.
- At 6:46 pm, Ordovicius said...
Much like Welsh Labour who with regards Iraq and Trident DONT EVEN HAVE A VOTE AND MANY OF THE AM's even marched against it.
yet they remain in the party. Either they are Labour or they are not Labour.
- At 8:16 pm, said...
You should have the decency to call IWJ by his proper name and attack his policies only rather than bastardise his middle name in an insulting manner....
- At 12:12 am, said...
Plaid policy on nuclear power has not changed. They are against it. IWJ has chosen to go against that for what I believe are critical economic issues on Ynys Mon. There are no plans to change the Plaid party policy.
I don't see the analogy with Iraq. The problem Labour has is that it pretends to be one party when it suits them and a separate Welsh pary when it doesn't. They can't have it boths ways and not expect to be pulled up on it.
- At 12:32 am, Marcusian said...
So what does party does Mr Wynne Jones want to be in when he goes against the party he leads policy?
I think Welsh Labour's obvious losses is going to be the penalty for Iraq...The Labour AM's never voted on the iraq war. I think its fair comment to try and maintain this viewpoint...Some of our greatest parliamentarians were at odds with their leadership- Tony Benn is an example.
Back To Mr Jones...
So he is allowed to be leader yet cherry pick what policies to stick to and what to go against...? If he was a just a party member, or even an AM then i dont think it is an issue. But to lead a party yet opt out of its pre-manifesto is another matter all together.
I think he has made totally the right decision with regards jobs in his constituency, but he should have the good grace to say that it is at odds with his party policy and try and change the parties viewpoint. The Labour AM's have far less influence on the decision of Iraq and Trident than Mr Jones' on Plaid nuclear policy...
- At 1:14 pm, Mike Cridland said...
Well there we go a guy that puts his constituents before his party. I have to admire Ieuan Wyn Jones for that.
I recall in Cardiff when Labour councillors opposed a raise for Goodway some of them were deselected.
- At 4:22 pm, Blamerbell said...
"I do not understand the point of this post Blamerbell. Are you saying that parties and partty members shouldn't change their minds? Are you saying that the manifesto should be exactly the same as a pre-manifesto? There wouldn't be much point in publishing a manifesto if this is the case."
No and no. But silence doesn't address either of those things.
"Maybe after launching the pre-manifesto, and consulting with Plaid members and the electorate, Plaid came to the conclusion that there WASN'T an united view on the subject, and therefore that it shouldn't be stated one way or the other in the manifesto."
Political parties are rarely united on anything. If everyone had to agree before things appeared in the manifesto then you could write it on the back of a postage stamp!
The fact is that every other party has addressed this matter in their manifestos, as have Plaid on all previous occasions. It is a big issue and political parties (especially those aspiring to government) cannot shirk the big issues.
- At 3:57 pm, Respectable Citizen said...
On my blog, I explain why RESPECT oppose nuclear power on principle, but even if we accept Ieuan Wyn Jones premises about jobs/economy his argument in favour of Wylfa B is spurious.
RESPECT - KEEP WALES NUCLEAR FREE - BRIEFING #2
PLAID LEADERS ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR OF NUCLEAR POWER ARE SPURIOUS
The Leader of Plaid explains why their manifesto doesn't oppose nuclear power:
"The reason there is no reference to nuclear energy in our manifesto is because it is a non-devolved issue, with decisions taken at Westminster."
This was the same argument used by the Leader of Welsh Labour to justify his lack of position on Iraq. It attracted ridicule then & it deserves ridicule now.
It is also a little disingenuous. In both their 1999 and 2003 Assembly Manifesto's Plaid took a position on nuclear power - only in 2007 does it suddenly become a devolved issue that therefore doesn't require comment, many will suspect this is because the leadership has chosen to support Wylfa B.
We in RESPECT oppose nuclear power on principle, but even on his own terms, the leader of Plaid's arguments that he has to support a new nuclear power station in Anglesey due to jobs and the local economy are spurious and misleading. In this briefing Adam Johannes from Cardiff RESPECT explains why:
JOBS - NOT UNTIL 2020!
Plaid claims this about jobs. But Wylfa Nuclear Power Station in Anglesey is due to close in 3 years. The new nuclear power station - Wylfa B - won't be built until at least 2020! Yet we could transfer to renewable energy sources more cheaply in less than 6 years.
So these new jobs that Plaid tell us about are years away. What do the people of Anglesey do in the mean time?
Plaid also ignore the rich job creating possibilities of renewable energy. There is potentially huge employment for workers in the installation of a vast amount of marine current turbines and maybe even their manufacture according to research by FoE Cymru.
PLAID POLICY MAKES EASIER NEW LABOUR'S NEW PROGRAMME OF NUCLEAR POWER AND RESULTS IN GLOBAL NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION
The Welsh Assembly has resisted the UK government's interest in building new nuclear power stations in Wales. Ieuan Wyn Jones's u-turn on Nukes represents capitulation. It also facilitates New Labour's plan to embark on a new programme of building nuclear power stations rather than transfering to renewables.
Plaid are also encouraging nuclear proliferation, if the UK pushes ahead with it's nuclear programme then how can they argue that other countries in the world don't go nuclear? This increases the danger of another Chernobyl and increased pollution: Radioactive contamination from Sellafield can still be found in the Irish Sea.
The closure of Wylfa in 3 years will result in an electricity gap. How to fill the gap? The government want to continue down the nuclear power/nuclear weapons route. But nuclear power is massively expensive and relies on millions of pounds of tax payers money in subsidies. Plaid are closing the door to renewables filling the gap by supporting Wylfa B.
Plaid and New Labour want to spend 10 years building Wylfa B, a new nuke on Anglesey. But we could transfer to renewables much faster and much cheaper. Wylfa currently provides around 30% of Wales' electricity. Existing and proposed offshore and onshore windfarms could generate almost the same amount of electricity in less than 6 years, and tidal lagoons on the severn and Swansea Bay might be able to generate more electricity than Wales needs.
The prospects for renewable energy on Anglesey are actually pretty favourable, just off the Wylfa headland there's a very strong marine current flow, some environmentalists argue that massive amounts of renewable energy could be coaxed through underwater turbines - possibly rivalling the output of Wylfa. So the choice is a speedy transfer to renewables and educating the electorate, or copping out and arguing for a new nuke that probably won't be built until 2020 at the earliest and would rely on massive public subsidies and pave the way for more nuclear power stations.
There is potentially huge employment for workers in the installation of a vast amount of marine current turbines and maybe even their manufacture according to research by FoE Cymru.
So the choice is between cleaner, cheaper, more environmentally friendly job creating renewables or Plaid and New Labour's expensive, dangerous, unclean, unsustainable, polluting new Nukes.
RESPECT says make Wales a 'global showcase for clean energy' and demonstrate that nuclear power is unnecessary, unsafe, unclean and uneconomic.
PLAID CYMRU? - NO THANKS!
- At 9:33 pm, said...
wow... that IS a rant! world class lunacy!