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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

International Relations

I was rather bemused yesterday to hear Rhodri Morgan finally capitulate to Plaid Cymru's ridiculous demand for a Welsh seat in the United Nations by agreeing to to see if there were any precedents that might allow Wales to have its own ambassador at the General Assembly.

However, Plaid Cymru's success in winning over Labour to the idea of an international role for the Welsh Assembly was shortlived as the unity of their own members dissolved in the face of a controversial invitation.

South Wales East Plaid Cymru AM, Mohammed Ashgar circulated an e-mail to all members asking them to a reception with His Excellency Ron Prosor, Ambassador of the State of Israel on Tuesday 24 June.

This elicited an immediate response from the Presiding Officer to the effect that he is unwilling to accept the invitation to meet the Ambassador, because of his objection to the failure of the State of Israel to meet its international obligations to the Palestinian People of the Holy Lands. Both Bethan Jenkins, who posed the question to the First Minister and Leanne Woods concurred. As this e-mail correspondence appears to have made it into the public domain overnight I feel justified in giving details of it here.

The irony of course is that those who have argued so strongly for Wales to have an international role are now assiduously erecting barriers around any input we might have. You cannot credibly go to the United Nations and only agree to talk to some people and not others. What would be the point?

Cardiff Council Leader, Rodney Berman has it right. He said: "If AMs have concerns, as I do myself, about polices followed by the Israeli Government then surely it’s better to use this event to talk about those concerns rather than to put up barriers which can only promote further misunderstanding."

I was not planning to go to the reception but now I think I might.
Why were you origionally planning not to attend Peter.

Also I think you have attributed Ashgar's quotes to Rodney Berman. I am sure he will be pleased that you think he has it right mind.
I was not planning to attend because I had other commitments. The quotes I attrributed to Rodney Berman were taken from his press release.
Peter, I agree entirely with the sentiments you have expressed in your blog. While no right thinking person can condone certain actions of the Israeli government, simply refusing to talk to their representatives is not the way forward. Has the Presiding Officer forgotten his manners? or does he forget the importance of his office? or perhaps his own sense of self-importance blinds him to his duty to the people of Wales?
Seem to remember that Saunders Lewis tried to put Wales on the international map by having tea with Adolf Hitler in a vein attempt to gain independence for Wales when the Fuhrar was contemplating invading the UK in the spring of 1940, around the same time 300,000 members of the BEF were on the beech at Dunkirk.
Yes, Lewis (and some of the rest of Plaid) thought that Wales would be better off under the Nazis than the English!
Peter you are always very selective about your comments so I am somewhat suprised and dare i say it dissapointed in you that you would allow smear campaigns claiming Plaid (or any welsh party for that matter) would be in cahoots with the Nazi's.
Some of these comments suggest that all the time now spent in many Welsh schools at both GCSE and A level on the Rise of Hitler seems to have added very little to the sum total of historical knowledge.Hitler might have met Lloyd George in the 1930s but as my tea with Saunders Lewis the mind boggles. In any case discussing the attitudes of certain Plaid members in the 1930s has very little relevance to what should happen in Wales in the 21st century. It is just as irrelevant as quoting the comments of Attlee in the 1930s that a Labour government should introduce an Enabling Act similar to that adopted by the Nazis when they came to power in 1933. The real issue with the Bethan Evans comment was that it was totally irrelevant to the work of the Assembly and showed a rather immature student union approach to politics. It would have ben far better if both Bethan and Helen Mary had turned up yesterday to vote for your LCO which could have affected the way in which Welsh politcs is conducted in the 21st century.
I really don't think there's any way possible of getting away from the fact that Saunders Lewis was a Fascist, Hitler’s Number One fan, he was also an ardent anti-Semite; he hated Jews.

He was also a terrorist, an enemy of the state; he set fire to property on an RAF bombing range in Penyberth, Gwynedd, that’s an act of treason.

He also spent nine months at his majesties pleasure in Wormwood Scrubs for the aforementioned offence, making him something of a hero when he was released and returned to Caernarfon. And who says that the new 42 day detention ruling won’t create martyrs.

Now back to the modern day and Plaid Cymru, in addition to being Ast Llafur in the Assembly, they are also Nationalists, and very proud to call themselves Nationalists. People seem to have short memories, look what nationalism did to Yugoslavia in the early 1990’s with the ethnic cleansing and destruction that caused.
The presiding officer’s comments have made the Assembly look like a sixth form debating club. Though I know that his views do not represent all AM’s, he does represent the institution. I worked and campaigned for years on the issue of greater devolution to Wales, but at the moment I’m wondering why.
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