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Thursday, August 24, 2006

A clean fight?

Martin Eaglestone actually covered this story yesterday, when he quite reasonably pointed out that Plaid Cymru's commitment to only using money from Wales showed a lack of understanding of the way in which many parties are part of a bigger whole, and strength is drawn from the inter relationships of the many parts. Plaid have recently received a large legacy which, Martin Eaglestone believes, came from property sales in England.

Personally, I believe that the electorate has long moved on from this sort of "I am more Welsh than you" politics, as is evidenced by the decline in the Plaid Cymru vote since 1999. This type of message is increasingly addressed only to the party's core voters and is failing to resonate with the wider electorate. Most people are more concerned with what the Welsh Assembly is going to do with its new powers than they are with the purity of its Welshness.

I thought that the comment by the Welsh Liberal Democrat Spokesperson was also apposite. He said: "Welsh Liberal Democrats are always happy to talk to other parties about positive campaigning. However, Plaid Cymru's attempt at negotiation by press release has betrayed their real intentions - an easy headline on a slow news day, rather than meaningful reform."

"Serious political parties work to achieve cross-party agreement by negotiation around a table - not through a megaphone to the nearest news outlet."
As usual Martin Eaglestone is wrong. Plaid have not receieved the said legacy and will not do so for some time. Part of the legacy does come from property in England part from property in Wales. The fact remains though that the money was left to us for use in Wales. Were the Welsh Lib dems to receieve a legacy under similar conditions our proposals would of course allow them to use it. The fact is that the three unionist parties in Wales are subsidy junkies dependent on their London HQs to survive.

At the last assembly election Lembit claimed on TV the Libs ran a "totally positive" campaign and was then handed a lib dem leaflet that demonstrated this was not the case. His face was quite a picture.

Under our proposals the sort of tactic used by Lib dems in ceredigion....taking a quote from a Plaid member and claiming his views reflect party policy when the opposite is true ...would not be used.
But he was right about it coming from property in England. The day to day running of the Welsh Liberal Democrats is not subsidised by the Federal Party but paid for within Wales, but that is academic anyway. It only seems to matter to a few nationalists.

The tactic which you describe in Ceredigion has been used by your party and others against us. It is perfectly legitimate.

The point is though Mark that these are not serious proposals, they are just publicity seeking gesture politics. If they were not then you would have started negotiations through usual channels and then made a joint announcement as we did on the anti-racist pact a few years ago.
"Personally, I believe that the electorate has long moved on from this sort of "I am more Welsh than you" politics..."

And yet you note bitterly that Plaid received moneys resulting from, shock horror, properties in england...
The "day to day" running may be paid for but your campaigning ...to the tune of £250,000 at the last assembly elections...is heavily subsidised.

As you point out its a big issue for our core vote.
No, I noted that Martin Eaglestone believed that to be the case and implied that it was inconsistent with what Plaid was saying. Personally, I dont care where they get their money from as long as it is legal, which of course it is.

As for the spending at the last Assembly elections I accept that we got money from the Federal Party but that is perfectly acceptable and legal. I cannot see what the issue is. We are a Welsh party operating within a Federal structure and as such it is perfectly legitimate to call on other resources as and when we need them and they are available.
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