Tuesday, 18 January 2011
Road to independence?
“Plaid Cymru have nowhere else to go politically if the referendum is won but to go all out for independence.” This is a line that is been pushed in internal Labour party meetings in North Wales to encourage their members to work for and vote ‘yes’ in the March referendum.
An Independent Wales has not stirred the blood of Welsh voters. There has not been a great rush to re-commission Offa’s Dyke and cut off from those on it’s eastern side.
Aware of this Labour has always thought that ‘independence’ is a vote loser for Plaid Cymru. And who can disagree with their analysis.
Aware of this Plaid Cymru have played down this aspiration. ‘Independence’ is the word they dare not speak it’s name.
Intriguing how Labour is using the argument that the ‘No’ campaign is pushing, that a ‘Yes’ vote will be the slippery road to independence, to get their own members in North Wales to campaign for a positive vote. It’s Alice in Wonderland politics.
All sensible voters know that if they vote ‘yes’ on what, after all is a tiding up technical exercise, Welsh passports will not be issued the next day.
But is it true that Plaid Cymru will have nowhere else to go politically if there is a ‘yes’ vote in a few week’s time?
Undoubtedly the usual suspects in Plaid Cymru will be pushing that particular case. But there is no reason to believe that the leaders of the party will loosen their grip on the reins and allow this particular horse to gallop.
But if not independence then what? Well, it could be home rule. There is a perfectly reasonable case that could be put forward for Plaid Cymru to demand that powers be devolved to the Assembly on all domestic issues.
OK some of them would be controversial, but it is not beyond the wit of a political party to argue their corner.
Criminal Justice, broadcasting, both Holtham reports, energy, are all areas for starters that a case could be made for Westminster to pass the parcel to Cardiff Bay.
Plaid Cymru could legitimately start running with the Lloyd George agenda for Home rule a policy that incidentally was Labour’s own policy until 1945.
My hunch is that ‘Independence’ will remain very much a long term aspiration for Plaid Cymru. In other words it will be kicked into the long grass for many an year yet. In that same grass that Labour kicked its commitment to socialism.