Monday, 17 September 2012

Plaid at Brecon

Party conferences are getting tame. Where are the young turks that challenge the party bosses and push parties in directions that cause maximum discomfort to the party establishment? 

Plaid Cymru’s conference was such an affair. With monotonous regularity motions were carried unanimously. What ever happened to debate? 

It seemed to be in the best tradition of the old eastern blog when delegates raised their collective hands at the leaders bequest. In this case Helen Mary Jones.

It was all so, very, very, cosy. The “hwyl” has been taken out of politics. Certainly plenty of sincerity, but shouldn’t there be a bit of passion. 

Despite the party adopting a motion “unanimously” to bring the voting age down to 16, conferences like this ain’t going to get them rolling in the aisles with excitement about politics.

It is still a party that want’s independence, sometime, eventually, in the fullness of time.  But mention of the “I” word was certainly not centre stage. But should the day come and a referendum is held all those sixteen year old’s will be allowed not only a say but a vote as well.

More powers for the Assembly was certainly a demand of Elfyn Llwyd's. He want’s the criminal justice system devolved to Cardiff Bay.

According to Llwyd we’re unique as a nation, but not unique in a nice way. "It is remarkable to consider that Wales is the only country in the world that has a legislature, but no legal jurisdiction of its own." 

So there you have it, the campaign to bring back Hywel Dda started in Brecon. 

Interestingly it was left to Dafydd Elis-Thomas to declare that the Union was dead. It has “run its course, on its way out of history”  To be replaced by what, I hear you ask, A European union of regions says he. Hmmm.

And what about the new leader, Leanne Wood. How did she go down? Well, its true to say she had a warm reception. 

She had a standing ovation before she spoke and she even had one when she’d finished. And the middle bit. Well, again it concentrated on economic matters. A little bit more flesh on her spring conference speech. Re-establish the WDA, of course it wouldn’t be called that.

Create our own financial system, not a resurrected Banc y Ddafad Ddu but “our own Bank of Dai.” Her new economic policy though is still very much work in progress. The work bit has started, now we await the progress.

The verdict on her first conference. Conference liked it and it likes her, which is no bad thing for a new inexperienced leader. They still have the faith that she’ll take them to the promised land of political power and even for some independence.  

Whether she’s making an impact in the wider Wales. We shall see. 

She ain’t no political heavyweight, yet.


  1. agree it was a lack luster affair, but will you be as disparaging and brutal about the other conferences and party leaders if they offer up the same drivel?

  2. I'd like you to be a bit more enquiring and questioning of everything.

    For instance, Elfyn Llwyd says that Wales is a country without a legal jurisdiction of its own. Well, perhaps so. But is there another country that exists solely because of the largesse of others? Indeed, is Wales a country at all in the more normal sense of the word.

    Such questions should elucidate most interesting answers. I always wonder why the press in Wales never dares to ask them.

  3. BBC Two UK showed John Wayne's 'She Wore a Yellow Ribbon' and BBC Two Wales had the Plaid Conference. I wonder what the viewing figures were ? Was Plaid more popular than Captain Nathan Brittles supported by that Boer War veteran Victor McLaglen?

  4. Thanks for the blog Gareth. I note that neither Betsan Powys nor Vaughan Roderick deem the Plaid conference to be worth a post.

    It'll be interesting to see whether the BBC Cymru Wales bloggers ignore the British party conferences.

  5. "But is there another country that exists solely because of the largesse of others?"

    Wales generates enough income to finance the majority of its own expenditure. Enough to fund the Assembly and everything that is devolved, for example, with a few billion to spare. But then we benefit from fiscal transfers to the tune of about £6bn, or i've heard £8bn.

    So it isn't good, it's pretty dire in fact, but we're also not "existing solely at the largesse at others".

    This is probably a depressingly common situation in underperforming "regions".