Tuesday 18 September 2012

Swearing oaths

A story that is over an year old has just reemerged as from  nowhere. What and why?

First, the what. 

It’s about Leanne Wood the Plaid Cymru leader. No, not her conference speech last Friday, but about an oath she took on the day the Queen opened the current session of the Assembly last June. It was an oath expressing allegiance to Welsh republicanism. Taken in, the appropriately named, Mischiefs wine bar.

It was in a meeting held under the auspices of Balchder Cymru a radical nationalist group.
Now a film of the event was placed on youtube at the time. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ffBpnIWHRA&feature=relmfu). 

But at the time the story was drowned by the preoccupation in the media with Ieuan Wyn Jones, the then leader of Plaid Cymru, deciding to take his holidays and missing HM's visit.  

At the time  Leanne Wood's oath swearing seemed to be a passing footnote in history. It was dismissed as the usual suspects showing their leftist credentials

But, of course, the world turned upside down. Against the odds this radical, oath taking republican became Plaid Cymru’s leader. And as consequence her past became of interest to her political opponents. So a bit of oath swearing between consenting adults becomes in the hands of a practitioner of the black arts political dynamite.

But the puzzling thing is why did her political opponents decide to use it now. Which opponents we don't know, but the finger of suspicion points to Labour. They've  form in using their opponents past to cause havoc. And indeed it's Labour that have been using the social media to spread the story.

It’s not a surprise that they’ve trawled the web to find this damaging story, but the surprise is that they’ve chosen to use it now. 

Now we're all used to political parties trying to spoil each others conferences. Indeed some more cynical of the press corp thought that last Friday’s event organised by the  Welsh Government to celebrate our Olympians was an attempt to steal the limelight from Ms Wood’s conference speech. 

But to push this story after Plaid’s conference is inept. Surely it would have been more effective to keep it in the cellar and brought out at a time when it would have done some real damage to Plaid. Election time, comes to mind.

At a time when Labour's riding high in the polls and there is little sign that Plaid Cymru under Ms Wood’s leadership is making any headway, why now? Unless, of course, that  there's some private polling that shows that Leanne Wood is more of a danger than seems apparent to the rest of the world.

Of course, there could be another more sinister explanation. It may not be Labour at all. The culprit could be  someone from Plaid Cymru itself. There have been mutterings of  disenchantment with her leadership. As Harold Macmillan once said your opponents are opposite, your enemies sit on the benches behind you. It might yet again be proved to be a very apt in this context.

There is a lesson here to all ambitious politician, be very careful who you share a platform with. Today’s comrades in arms, could be tomorrow’s liability. 


  1. Do you really think that this will hurt Ms Wood? I think the damage is very limited. Might even win her a few votes.

  2. What's the problem. Seems to do Leanne a world of good.

    There was a lot of talk about the Jubilee etc but really, 'we all love the royals' because we want to see Kate's tits.

    Leanne's stance seems more sensible and grown up and balanced than the fawning Labourites.

    Let it roll! Hope the video goes viral.

    Well done Leanne for showing some guts.

  3. Leanne gave a great conference speech, the only party leader to bring forward positive ideas for Wales' future.

    Another futile attempt at Welsh-bashing by the Western Mule and lickspittle Labour, the party of failure. The WM's circulation has plummeted in recent years, and it's getting increasingly desperate in its attempts to create news out of nothing.

    Leanne is the best leader Plaid has had for more than a decade. She has the potential to give Labour a run for their money in Wales, and they know it. I don't for a second believe your silly conspiracy theory.

  4. 'Well done Leanne for showing some guts.'

    Now get your tits out please!

  5. I must admit that if I didn't read this blog, I would never have found about this story. So if I never knew about it, I can't imagine it will damage her at all.

    A month or two ago I would have said it may have come out of Plaid Cymru. But in fairness, the party has become more united partly because both LW and others in the party have given in to each other; and I think this is a good thing. I predict that this "unity" will continue until the EU elections, and what happens then is dependent on how well/badly Plaid do.

    As a result I think that there is some internal party polling. I shall leave it at that. When is the next opinion poll out?!

  6. I don't see how she has done anything wrong. This was before she was leader and she was attending a republican event in her region. She would have been with Ian Titherington who noted at the time how some people used the event to express wrong views.

    I also object to kp's comment, don't see why Gareth should have allowed that comment, it's puerile and adds nothing to the debate, though it's his blog not mine.

  7. I try not to censor remarks as long as they're legal. I agree, however, that KP's remarks didn't add greatly to the debate. I took it to be a vain attempt at satire given the controversy over the Middleton photos.

  8. the meeting was not under the auspices of Balchder Cymru it was organised by the republican group d2w, but i agree that this show leanne wood to be a person of principles and will only do her good!!!

    1. Wasn't it organised by Republic Wales - a sub-groups of Republic.org.uk?

    2. no nothing to do with republic wales, except they were invited to speak but it was put on by actual welsh republicans, by d2w.

    3. The event was neither organised by Balchder Cymru nor Republic Wales.

      info:— cbayrday@gmail.com

  9. If swearing an oath on the constitution is considered damaging to a politician, the other party leaders must be quaking in their boots. I have it on good authority that they have all sworn oaths to uphold monarchism and expressed loyalty to the Queen of England.

    I wonder when the Western Fail will expose them.

  10. Assumedly anything said against the Queen on Twitter, Facebook or blogs like this one can, as of today, be regarded as an act of treason.

    God Save the Queen!

  11. @Dedeiax - a "bizzare oath" if ever there was one.

  12. What Gareth has failed to mention is that, at the event, there were anti-English speeches and the group, Balchder Cymru, supports the FWA and thinks has held a parade for the two men (who they say are "martyrs") who blew thsemlves up while planting a bomb on the ve of the investiture of Charles as Prince of Wales.


  13. Hmmm so not swearing oaths about the Queen is wrong, but swearing at Police Officers and telling the plebs to know their place is excusable.

    Welcome to modern Britan