Monday, 6 February 2012

Whose toys are these?

Now there are three. Contenders for the job of leading Plaid Cymru.
The field for the leadership of Plaid Cymru suddenly narrowed with the shock withdrawal of Simon Thomas.  In a deal done in one of the smoke free rooms of the Assembly he agreed to withdraw and back Elin Jones. 
She in turn accepted him as her deputy on a joint leadership ticket. How quite that works with no there being no contest for deputy leader is a bit puzzling, but there you have it, that’s politics.
So what does the joint leadership ticket offer. Well, Thomas maintains that his campaign was based on three key beliefs.
“Firstly, that it was time for the party’s leadership to move down the years to the post devolution generation.
Secondly, that the party should be led from its centre of gravity, which is itself left of centre in the European political tradition, and
Thirdly, that I could be the leader to meet those two aims and increase the appeal of the party in all parts of Wales.”
He almost admits that his late entry has disadvantaged his campaign.
“Achieving the third in a crowded field has been more difficult. As the most recent Assembly Member in the contest I have had a lot of ground to cover and make up.”
So without saying it he’s cutting his losses and throwing his efforts behind Elin Jones.
“I believe that by combining our experience, talents and different types of appeal we can work together to give the party the kind of direction and leadership it clearly needs.”
So what are we to make it all. 

Well, clearly both candidates have been alarmed at the impact of Leanne Wood. She has certainly hit the campaign trail with dynamism and drive. The almost daily celebrity endorsement of her campaign has become a bit of a ritual. Party big wigs like Adam Price, Jonathan Edwards, Dafydd Iwan have all endorsed her. 

With her simple populist messages she has captured the support of many of the younger members of the party if the twitter traffic is anything to go by. Her appeal has also caught the eyes of the “English” national press. Her campaign certainly has had a “buzz” about it. The other candidates have seemingly been sidelined by the energetic start she’s made.
The hustings will start to even things up and the more experienced of the contenders will start to shine. Indeed there was a hint of that in the press announcement this morning when Simon Thomas said that 
One thing is for certain, Plaid Cymru will not achieve government or electoral success by playing Fisher Price politics with people’s hopes and dreams.”
When pressed he denied that he was thinking of any candidate. Yeah, Simon.
So the campaign is taking the gloves off, no more nice guys, we’re out to win. 
They firmly dismiss Dafydd Elis-Thomas by implying he’s had his day. 
“The leadership should go to the post-devolution generation.” 
And they dog whistle Leanne Wood as being immature by references to Fisher Price, the toy company.
And what does the dream team want for Plaid. According to Elin Jones,
“We want to turn Plaid into a modern, 21st century political party, providing the only creditable challenge to Labour in Wales. We want to see Plaid Cymru govern Wales again and ultimately ensure its transformation into a successful, sustainable, independent country. Our political ambition is bold and radical, but it is also relevant to people’s everyday lives and hopes.”
So there you have it, they want to be bold and radical. 

My vote will go to the first politicians that announce their intent  to be timid, cautious and prudent. 


  1. "..they want to be bold and radical"

    Not quite the adjectives I'd use to describe them.

    I think EJ might just have shot herself in the foot.

  2. Btw Gareth, shouldn't it be, 'Whose toys are these?'

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