Monday, 13 September 2010
Last look at Plaid's conference.
The testing had certainly produced the right mix for the Plaid Cymru conference if optimism could run amok it certainly was amok in Aberystwyth. When politicians, as they are prone to, over egged things on the platform you got the distinct impression that the delegates in the audience really did believe that the promised land was just an election away. Perhaps its the sensory deprivation that you suffer in being locked away in a darkened room with other fellow travelers that allows even the mildest stimulation from the platform to create wild ecstasy amongst the delegate audience.
Now I’m very fond of Helen Mary and would gladly give her a standing ovation but surely not based on the results of last years general election results.
At a time when Labour was at its weakest, led by a prime minister seen by many as incompetent, Plaid Cymru failed to make any headway. They started the campaign with three seats and finished with three seats. None of their target seats were won. You could describe the result as many things but ‘proud’ is not one of the words that readily comes to mind. The question has to be asked, will they fare any better when conditions are not as favorable in the future. But hey, ho, who wants a dose of reality after all it is a party conference.
Although the delegates did have something to get excited about, their latest recruit, the former Labour Secretary of State of Wales, Ron Davies. Now having actually delivered them an embryo parliament he only had to turn up to get them excited and indeed it was so. A standing ovation was his before he opened his mouth. Expectations were high and to be fair he didn’t fail to deliver.
A note of scepticism was introduced by the ex-chair of the party John Dixon. In answering the debate on climate change he countered those proposing an amendment allowing for a Wylfa B, a move that would drive a coach and horses through Plaid’s avowedly anti-nuclear power policy. He wryly observed that Plaid if they passed the motion would be seen to be against anti-nuclear power stations only on sites that no-one wanted to build them on. How did such a sceptic ever become a delegate? Just for the record they did pass such an amendment.