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Saturday, September 03, 2005

The faces of Janus

The Western Mail speculates this morning that the decision by Plaid Cymru to install a woman to head each of their regional lists will deprive the Assembly of a comeback by Dafydd Wigley.

More than 30 years after they both entered Parliament, the immediate future of Plaid can still be said to depend on Dafydd Wigley and Dafydd Elis-Thomas. For decades they have been mostly at loggerheads, largely as a result of their differences in style.

Yet together they stand head and shoulders above all their party colleagues at the Assembly, both in terms of political experience and popular appeal. If Plaid Cymru cannot find a way to ensure that these two great talents both have smooth paths into the Assembly in 2007, the party's decline as a significant force will surely continue.

There are of course other avenues by which Dafydd Wigley can secure his return, such as for example the number two slot in South Wales Central, which is to be vacated by Owen John Thomas. He may even do well enough to win the new marginal seat of Aberconwy if he was prepared to put his pride to one side and put in the work. What this article shows however is that the media's perception of Plaid Cymru remains one of a declining force. They believe that the only hope for the Party is to entrust its future in the two Dafydds and yet Plaid itself seems to be trying to put that era behind it. How this will play out in 2007 has yet to be seen.

What is also interesting about this decision is its impact on South Wales West. In this region the second Plaid Cymru member, Dai Lloyd, scraped back in as the fourth list member to be elected. His colleague, Janet Davies, has announced that she is to retire next time, however instead of Dai assuming the number one slot on the list, he will have to sit back and watch another female candidate installed above him. At a time when Plaid's support is slipping that may be enough to lose him his seat. That cannot be a comfortable situation for him.
I’m sure Plaid’s very own 007 will be bitterly disappointed about this decision.

Are you taking the hard or the easy option at the next election Peter? Are you going to fight a constituency seat or are you going to take the nice and easy, little work option of taking a seat on the list?
There is nothing nice and easy about fighting a list seat and it certainly does involve a lot of work.
I think you will find that in Roman Mythology Janus was not two faced but instead had the ability to see backwards and forwards in time. A better term might be the Norse God Loki who was able to be all things to all people-perhaps a better archtype for the Liberal democrats.
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