.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Monday, April 28, 2008

Two faced

Plaid Cymru has been criticised for facing two ways over an aerospace exhibition which was previously criticised by the party as a showcase for arms dealers but is now being praised by party leader Ieuan Wyn Jones.

The Aerolink Wales exhibition at Glamorgan cricket’s headquarters in Cardiff involved major players in the aerospace industry, including Airbus UK and BAE Systems. It was organised by Aerospace Wales Forum (AWF) which is part-funded by the Welsh Assembly Government:

Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones, who is Deputy First Minister and Minister for the Economy and Transport, welcomed the event, saying: “The aerospace industry plays a vital role in the Welsh economy with more than 180 companies employing more than 25,000 people. Aerolink Wales attracts global companies and provides a superb networking opportunity with the one-to-one business meetings providing an unrivalled opportunity to meet key buyers from these companies.”

But when the same event took place in the same location two years ago, it was strongly criticised by local Plaid councillor Gwenllian Lansdown.

Ms Lansdown, who is now Plaid’s chief executive, said at the time: “Even if there are no legal powers to stop this event taking place, at least we can raise our objections. I’m appalled this took place in Riverside.”

This is becoming a bit of a problem for Plaid Cymru. They are in danger of sending out a mixed message on economic development issues at a time when a large part of the Welsh economy is dependent on jobs associated with the military.

The development of a military training academy at St. Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan is a case in point. Despite being welcomed by Plaid's leadership in the Assembly there is still significant dissent within the party as to whether it should be coming here at all. Plaid Cymru's Vice-President and sole MEP, Jill Evans has been in the forefront in criticising the project.

According to this report she recently joined Assembly Member, Leanne Wood in a protest march, which called for the scheme to be abandoned. Although the two politicians are perfectly entitled to express their point of view, this lack of discipline and inconsistency within Plaid surely militates against them becoming a serious party of government.
While I don't know enough about this exhibition to agree with either Landsdown or IWJ - but the last sentence of this post annoys me quite a bit.

"Although the two politicians are perfectly entitled to express their point of view, this lack of discipline and inconsistency within Plaid surely militates against them becoming a serious party of government."

This is a prime example of the political culture that turns so many people off. The idea that you have to follow your party whatever your own opinion and conscious tells you is quite sad. Unfortunately this culture is much more prevalent in the Assembly than in London. In the 9 years since the Assembly started, I wonder what % of votes have ended with the parties voting as a block?

I remember when Peter Law left labour he suddenly started voting completely different to before - a sure sign that he was following orders before and not voting in what he believed.

At least in London you get rebel MP's voting with their conscious and not their whip - such a thing is pathetically rare in Wales.

While I may not agree with Jill Evans - I'd have been disgusted if she stayed silent on this seeing as how she has been a prominent pacifist all her life.
Plaid seem to be running around like headless chickens at the moment.
A Lib Dem accusing other parties of lacking discipline is a complete joke. Let us ignore your attempted leadership coup last week and the two coups in two years at wesrtminster. On policy a large section of your westminster party defied a three line whip last month on Europe. In the Assembly issues such as bTB have left the Lib Dems completely split.

Your Assembly group is so split that that you have become more of a coalition of independents as opposed to an organised political party. That final paragraph is a joke Peter.
Are we supposed to believe that when you distributed leaflets supporting the idea of keeping neurosurgery services in swansea even though your own Health spokesperson wanted to move it to Cardiff you and the lib dems are not a serious party of government.

Please Peter try and show at least a little consistency in your posting!
Twm, it seems that in your eagerness to rebuff my post you have been making things up. I am not aware of any attempted leadership coup last week and I do not know of any other Lib Dem who does either. There is a significant diffence between having a disgreements on matters of conscience within a group and actively undermining ones own Minister, especially when those doing the undermining hold senior party positions. That never happened when the Welsh Liberal Democrats were in government.

Che, there has never been Welsh Liberal Democrat policy on neurosurgery. Both Jenny and I took up the interests of our own constituents and fought for them. That is what we were elected to do. Again that is different to undermining ones own Minister.
I recall a similar fuss during last year's Assembly elections when IWJ couldn't quite explain why he was for nuclear power on Anglesey but against it everywhere else.
talk about undermining your own party didnt Lib Dem front benchers recently resign because of Nick Cleggs leadership (or lack of it). That Peter is cause for concern
Ok then Peter, then putting aside the amazing admission that the Lib Dems had no policy on neurosurgery (what does that say about fitness to govern?), what about your views on flouride here: http://peterblack.blogspot.com/2008/02/fluoride-state.html, and the official Lib Dem policy back in 2003 to support local flouridisation, eg

"The Liberal Democrats agreed there was a case for fluoride, but insisted the policy should not be imposed nationally from Whitehall.

Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb said: "Local communities must have the power to decide if and when they want fluoride in their water supplies." BBC

All parties and democracy are healthier when members have room to debate and disagree.
Che, the frontbenchers resigned from their position because they did not agree with the Party's policy on a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. They wished to be released from collective responsibility so that they could vote according to their conscience. That decision had nothing to do with Nick Clegg's position as leader. It was also a proper and principled way to proceed and one that Jill Evans should take note of.

Anon: there is nothing exceptional about a party not having a policy position on every proposed health reorganisation. I agree that members should have the right to disagree but when you are in government there needs to be some discipline especially when dissent involves senior party officers.

As for fluoride, this is a devolved policy matter. The Welsh Lib Dems rejected a motion calling for the fluoridation of the water supply in Wales. I spoke against that motion and my blog posting for once is entirely consistent with party policy in Wales. As it happens it is also consistent with Norman Lamb's utterances on the English position because he says that it should be up to communities to decide for themselves.
How exactly are the Lib Dems' ex front benchers (who I very much admire for standing up for what they believe, just like Evans) any different from Jill EVans?

You say that she should note their way as the "proper way" of doing things-well seeing as how Jill EVans has no cabinet or shadow cabinet to stand down from, and since she is not bound by collective responsibility of being a minister what should she have done?

How exactly is a Lib Dem proper and principles when they oppose their party's position but a Plaid member doing the same shows a lack of dicipline and inconsistency?
They are different because the Lib Dem MPs accept the need for party discipline and recognise that you cannot act freely when bound by collective responsibility. Jill Evans may not be part of the government but she holds a senior position in Plaid. Clearly, when she is in conflict with the policy of a Plaid Minister in such a public way she is undermining him and her party.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?