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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Plaid fight dirty again

Things are getting heated on the campaign trail with Labour wheeling in the big guns to wind up Plaid once more and the Nationalists responding with a completely untrue and unfounded slur at us.

When I read this article in the Western Mail, I did have a lot of sympathy with the view being put by Adam Price that Derek Simpson was taking his union blindly into the campaign on the side of Labour, despite the fact that many of his members do not vote Labour and of those who do a large number will be sitting on their hands on May 3rd because of their disillusionment with Blair and others.

I can also see how this continual accusation that Plaid will join a Tory-led coalition might irritate them, after all a number of them are socialists who would rather eat fire than serve under a Conservative First Minister. I have sympathy with that viewpoint myself.

But what was Adam Price talking about when he alleged that the Liberal Democrats are 'anti-socialist and anti-Trade Union'? It seems that it is OK to throw negative and untrue accusations around when it is Plaid Cymru doing the throwing, but not when they are on the receiving end. They can't stand it up 'em as Corporal Jones might have said.

It is true that the Welsh Liberal Democrats are not socialists but we are a party of the left and are happy to work with other parties in the best interests of Wales. It is untrue to say that we are anti-Trade Union. In fact a great many of our members are Trade Unionists. I was one of the founding members of the all-party PCS group in the Assembly, working with the civil service unions of which I used to be a member in a previous life.

The more I analyse the language that Adam Price uses the more it seems that he believes himself to be some sort of class-warrior, occupying the principled high ground, whilst those around him fail to meet his high standards. He is a 1970s throwback who does not fit well into 21st Century Wales, happier on the picket line than exercising power for the good of his fellow citizens. He really needs to cool it and start fighting this campaign on the issues.
Frankly I think you're being a bit touchy. The Lib-Dems were hardly the target of his comments. And his language hardly requires analyzing. He's talking as a socialist to a socialist electorate.
Liberals are not socialists, and are ideologically opposed on the means, if not some of the ends.

So I'm happy with being called anti-socialist, although that's not the defining aspect of liberalism.

Anti-trade union is false. Liberals support the right to free association. Opposition should come when greater rights are given to unions than other groups, or unions seek to force their agenda on others. Then it becomes a matter of some classes against the masses as Gladstone put it.
The whole point of a union is to force its agenda. Actually the whole point of ANY political movement is to force its agenda.

If your opposing unions merely because they're doing what they are set up to do then "anti-trade union" is not false, it's true.

Whether the Lib Dems as a whole are anti trade union is a little more complex of course
There is a difference between 'forcing an agenda", that is actively promoting it from the front, and "forcing an agenda on others".

I do not accept that Liberal Democrats are anti-union or that they are seeking to prevent unions doing the job they were set up to do, which is to represent their members.

I find the suggestion offensive.
Anti-socialist is a term I believe that Mike German used recently.
I look forward to you substantiating that claim. However, he certainly did not say we were anti-Trade Union, because it is not true.
There was admittedly an "anti-syndicalist" strand in the old Liberal party, but I doubt whether it was ever dominant in modern times. One has only to think of David Lloyd George settling, by negotiation, the Taff Vale railway dispute.

Any lingering doubts about trade unionism were swept away when the merger with the Social Democrats took place. One of the first things which the Liberal Democrat party did was to defend trade union rights at GCHQ, Cheltenham.

- Frank Little
I gave your "class warrior" a chance to sign a pledge on "No Tory coalition" at Plaid's conference in Caernarfon and he declined. He tried to rubbish the idea, and then returned to his conference to say he would talk to the Conservatives - whither the days of the class warrior !!
He ain't my class warrior Martin.
Does this pledge include the Labour Party? Or do they have an escape clause?
Plaid are in free-fall. I used to wonder what the point is of the LibDems. Labour are the party of working people, Tories are the party of big business and Plaid we're the party of Wales. Now they've watered down their commitment to independence, and shy away from talking about the Welsh langauge, they have no purpose. Campaign for a Welsh parliament - that's what LibDems want. Campaign for a new langauge act - that's what LibDems want.

Let's hope the people vote the donkeys out next month and put more LibDems in the assembly.
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