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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Two-bit Plaid try and rewrite history again

Nick Clegg was in Cardiff yesterday where he pointed out an essential truth that, as far as this UK General Election goes, Plaid Cymru are an “irrelevant, two-bit” party.

The response from the Nationalists' Ceredigion candidate was not just sad but historically inaccurate. He said: “The truth is that the Liberal Democrats offer about as much real change as the Tories. Plaid has already shown that, in a hung parliament situation, we can make a real difference. But we all know the Liberal Democrats’ history – when they’re facing the prospect of influence in government, they bottle it.”

The truth in fact is that Plaid Cymru will not have enough seats to make a difference, even when combined with the handful the SNP may win and their policies are largely costed on the basis of Alice in Wonderland economics and cannot be afforded. In contrast I expect the Liberal Democrats to increase the number of seats we win and to be in a position to put in place radical policies that look after some of the poorest in our society. These are policies that are part of a costed manifesto and which can be afforded.

As for our history in balanced Parliament situations, not only have we been in government once in Wales but also twice in Scotland. And we would have been part of the current Assembly Government if Plaid Cymru's Leader had not bottled the prospect of becoming First Minister and opted to play second fiddle to Labour instead.
Good Luck, Peter, a wind of change is blowing through Wales, the people have been fooled for too long by Plaid and Labour, the maths don't add up, but banker's bonuses do.
By my estimation, for every one percent gained by the Others (non Con, Lab, Lib Dems) on the last election, Plaid gain 0.1%.
Peter, it was the executive of the Lib Dems that were split on the Rainbow Coalition, wasnt Plaids fault, the Lib Dem members voted for the coalition.
No, the Welsh Liberal Democrat membership voted in favour of the coalition after the executive had failed to come to a conclusion. As a result when Plaid Cymru met to consider the issue they had two coalition proposals in front of them and chose the one with Labour. What I have said in this post is correct.
Was a bit of a mess really, i wonder if this has done the party damage when we come to discuss future coalitions?

"The truth in fact is that Plaid Cymru will not have enough seats to make a difference, even when combined with the handful the SNP may win."

You don't know that. The opinion polls currently show that there is every prospect of a result close enough to make the influence of Plaid and the SNP decisive.
i cnat believe you are still claiming that it wasn't the lib dems that cause the rainbow collapse. You are a lone voice peter. I am not even a plaid supporter. I voted Tory at the last election but it really undermines you as a politician to keep suggesting otherwise. I dont even think your own party believe you
Anon 2:44 PM: I have not yet seen an opinion poll since the election was called that actually records support for Plaid Cymru and the SNP so your assertion is not supported by fact. That just underlines their irrelevance. In any case experience shows that the Nationalists underperform at UK General Elections because people perceive them as irrelevant.

Jason: if you look at the facts instead of the propaganda they support my case. It is certainly the case that the executive vote caused the other parties to pause but the Rainbow Coalition was on the table and approved by the Welsh Lib Dems right up to when Plaid Cymru bottled it and went into playing second fiddle to Labour.
Not only did Plaid choose to play second fiddle to Labour (the LD muddle was unravelled before Plaid chose, so Peter is correct) but their recent manifesto shows how bankrupt they are, in terms of ideas as well as purpose. Plaid's great show-piece? To get the Barnett Formula reviewed so that Wales gets even more per head of population than England than it does now, with England footing the bill. Wow. Heaven help if they ever got close to independence on that basis! IMF bail-outs all round.

Am also unsure that PC and SNP will make very good bed-fellows in the event that they could enter a coalition with someone. PC are a weird hotch-potch of petty nationalists, national-socialists and christian democrats and can barely agree among themselves, let alone with the more mainstream and progressive SNP.
A fairer reading would conclude that Ieuan put the good of the country (stable, mandated government rather than a three party hash) before self-interest. Honourable behaviour you'd do well to learn from.

Momentum was everything during the coalition agreement. Becuase of your executives vote the Assembly elected Rhodri Morgan as FM and in that situation it would have been much mor difficult to form a rainbow.

What I want to know is what would happen to the Lib Dems if Nick Clegg went into coalition with the tories in westminster. The party in Wales couldn't handle the prospect in 2007 so would the UK party take it any better?

I think a hung parliament could be a complete disaster for the Lib Dems.
@Jason: I'm a member of Peter's own party and I believe him, because funnily enough, I was at that emergency conference called by the Welsh Lib Dems in 2007, and I remember voting along with the majority for the rainbow coalition.. only to watch with some disgust days later as Plaid members went into their own meeting to choose between everyone else, and Labour, and plumped for Labour.
Illtyd Luke: the reality though was that PLaid went with Labour because they thought they had a better chance of a referendum on further powers. Ironic now. There was nothing honourable about it. Self-interest abounded throughout.

Will: I accept that the momentum was interrupted but it was still possible to form a rainbow coalition. It was Plaid who walked away from that. I think we will wait to see what the voters decide before we speculate on the next Parliament.
The point that many correspondents here are missing is that there will be over 60 (hopefully far more!) Liberal Democrat MPs, from all over the UK, in favour of full devolution.
Plaid "opted" for coalition with Labour because there was no other option by that time. The Liberal Democrats Executive wouldn't back it. The fact that the Liberal Democrat membership later endorsed it is neither here nor there. The Liberal Democrats kept telling everyone who cared to listen that they had this famous "triple lock" system where any coalition HAD to pass three hurdles - (I believe) Assembly members, executive and grass roots. If it didn't pass them all then it was no deal.

Now a reasonable assumption from anyone with a normal understanding of English would be that the coalition failed because it had not been backed by the Executive.(one out of three parts). There was never any suggestion that the Executive's decision (or non-decision) could be overturned by the membership.

Furthermore, Mike German said categorically after the Executive meeting in Llandrindod that the Rainbow deal was at an end. I know you never cared for German but are you saying that he was lying when he said this? Even if he were lying, how would Plaid know that he was lying?

Nick Bourne is on record as saying that the Rainbow deal ended in Llandrindod. The only one in denial is you.

No matter how many half truths you repeat about this, they'll never amount to a whole one.
David, the only half-truths here seem to be coming from you. I understand how the fact that those advocating a coalition managed to convert a supportive Executive into a deadlocked one might give the other parties pause for thought but the fact is that the Welsh Lib Dem membership passed the rainbow agreement on schedule.

The so-called triple lock was always a progressive one, not an inclusive mechanism and it was always the case that it would be the membership that had the final say. The other parties understood that.

Plaid were also aware when they met to consider the two coalitions on offer that the Rainbow had the support of the Welsh Liberal Democrats. Your suggestion that it did not at that time is wrong and amounts to a liberal rewriting of history.

The fact is that when it came to a choice Plaid bottled out of leading a government in favour of playing second fiddle to Labour.
A View From Penarth wrote- "
Am also unsure that PC and SNP will make very good bed-fellows in the event that they could enter a coalition with someone. PC are a weird hotch-potch of petty nationalists, national-socialists and christian democrats and can barely agree among themselves"

Peter, are you going to allow someone on your blog to openly claim that Plaid Cymru contains Nazis?

In any case, the idea that Plaid is that diverse is a myth. They are a 'broad church' (isn't every party?) but in reality the ideological profile of Plaid is only about the same as the Lib Dems, and certainly is less broad than the Tories or the current Labour party. The left of Plaid is democratic socialists and the right of Plaid is social democrats and liberals.

I appreciate that this runs counter to the discussion and original post, but ignorance must be challenged wherever it appears, especially when it mentions 'national socialism'!
I am not sure that that was what was said or intended but you have now made it clear that it is not the case. I am not too sure about how close the ideological make-up of Plaid and the Liberal Democrats are. I would suggest we have fewer nationalists and socialists and you have fewer liberals.
Yes, I meant similarity in terms of scope rather than in terms of content.
On a very, very good day Plaid will get six MPs at the General Election in May, BNP around 10, UKIP will do very well at around 20 MPs

Who do you think will have the most influence? Plaid or UKIP?

In fact, I think UKIP will take nationalist votes off Plaid.
That result would be a very bad day for democracy but thankfully is unlikely to happen.
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