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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Plaid Cymru leadership debate gets personal

Signs that the Plaid Cymru leadership contest might be getting personal have emerged in a letter sent by environmentalist George Monbiot to his friends. In it he says that the contest might come down to a choice between Elin Jones and Leanne Wood, which he describes as a straight fight between old and new, brown and green, conservative and radical.

He continues: "I interviewed Elin Jones at length when she was minister for rural affairs. Though I quite liked her, I was utterly dismayed by her unthinking acceptance of the claims of farmers and fishing interests, her preparedness to trample environmental legislation on their behalf (including opening a special area of conservation, set aside to protect dolphins, for scallop dredging) and the pitiful incoherence of her attempts to justify her policies. Elin has also been the main champion of badger culling, again on behalf of the farmers. There are 3 million people in Wales, of whom 960,000 live in the countryside. There are 19,000 farmers - ie 2% of the RURAL population - but under her watch, theirs was the only voice that counted, and the remaining 98% of rural people were marginalised."

I wonder if Leanne Wood endorse those views? After all she was sat behind Elin Jones during the One Wales Government backing all of those policies.

N.B. Adam Price in his endorsement of Leanne Wood in this morning's Western Mail proves that being a research fellow in a prestigious American university does not prevent an individual from talking nonsense when it comes to historical precedents.

Mr. Price claims that "It’s looking likely that Plaid will soon have a woman leader, as well as a woman president, a woman chair and a woman chief executive – that would surely be a world-first." Well actually, no!

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have a female leader, a female President, a female vice-President and, until recently, a female Chief Executive. Not for the first time Plaid Cymru is playing catch-up.
The Welsh LibDems have got a way to go to catch up with Plaid in terms of Assembly Members.

By the way, what has happened to the LibDem policy on a federal UK?

I'm assuming that Clegg is endorsing Cameron's keep the status quo Westminster gravy train going, since he's now aboard. At least until the LibDems are annihilated at the next GE.
The Liberal Democrats continue to be in favour of a Federal UK and if we ever get a majority in teh House of Commons we will implement that policy. Dont confuse independence with Federalism though.

Naturally, we want to see the uncertainty over the Scottish Independence referendum settled asap and in a way that offers clarity. However, the constitutional position is unchanged in that irrespective of the result, any decoupling has to be done at Westminster.

I see you did not get your faulty cystal ball replaced at Christmas.
"Dont confuse independence with Federalism though."

I'm about as likely to do that as the LibDems are of getting a majority in the Commons - or anywhere else for that matter. How many seats did they lose at Holyrood to the SNP?

Btw, I believe that federalism in the UK context is a non-starter for a number of reasons, perhaps if you blog on it, I can set them out.

I thought Elin Jones spoke well at the SNP conference, but Leanne is my choice for Plaid Cymru's leadership.

I didn't particularly support Elin Jones' policies when she was a minister. I certainly oppose any badger cull.

I don't have a crystal ball, faulty or otherwise, but my intuition about the state of Labour and the LibDems in Wales leads me to believe that if Leanne leads the party, then its political opponents have cause to fear. You only retained your regional seat by a whisker, if my memory serves me correctly.

I'm not surprised therefore that you try to knock her in your comment - it's all to her credit.
"Adam Price in his endorsement of Leanne Wood in this morning's Western Mail proves that being a research fellow in a prestigious American university does not prevent an individual from talking nonsense..."

Can't argue against that. Apparently I am not worthy to meet the guy even though he said we would meet up when he was in Washington, DC... "Like it never even happened".

I didn't go to Harvard, maybe that's the problem.
have to agree with this statement in the WM:

"For Plaid to have a leader from the Valleys who isn’t a fluent Welsh speaker is just the kind of move that could give the party new momentum."

But the lady from the Valleys is left of left and so living in noddy-noddy land. cw
I cannot agree that dealing with bTB is just 'for the benefit of farmers'. I think it's the cows that get infected not the farmers, and probably about 98% of the Welsh population eat beef or consume dairy products. It's quite evident that George Monbiot (and yourself, Peter) have different views on whether a badger cull should be included in tackling the disease, but both of you are very aware of the same voting pattern by Leanne and Elin on this matter. As far as Elin being a 'main champion', that's blindingly obvious, too. She was the Rural Affairs minister. Doh !
Well you should take up your disagreement with George Monbiot, who said it.

As far as I am aware the voting pattern on the badger cull for Leanne and Elin is identical, which is a point I made in the main body of the blog post.

As for Elin Jones being Rural Affairs Minister, well yes but that does not mean that by virtue of that position she automatically needed to pursue a cull. That was her choice, for her own reasons. No other person in that post had pursued such a policy, so I would suggest the criticism of her as being the architect of this action is correct.
Actually, you are not correct Peter. The 'road to a cull' was started by Carwyn Jones when he was Rural Affairs minister prior to the 'One Wales' term. Much of the application studies which Elin uses to evidence the need for a cull was commissioned by Carwyn. Although it's true that Elin had the courage and tenacity to pursue the evidence, you are also wrong to say it was Elins' decision. The decision was taken by (two) votes of the whole of the Senedd chamber, both of which resulted in an overwhelming majority in favour of a badger cull.
Er no! carwyn may have commissioned the research but he concluded a cull was not necessary. It was Elin who changed the policy.

It was certainly her decision. the vote in the Senedd was on whether that decision should be nullified. It was not on whether the cull should go ahead. That decision was delegated to the Minister.
Good for you Peter, sometimes you just have to slug it out with folk who are not in possession of the facts. Elin Jones legacy will always be that she is a badger hater, as you say it was her policy which she persued in spite of overwhelming unpopularity, she has a lot to learn about politics before she can be trusted again.
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