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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Adam speaks and a nation holds its breath

So far the response of the Welsh blogosphere to Adam Price''s lecture to the Institute of Welsh Politics in Aberystwyth has been a resounding silence. Even the Plaid bloggers seem a bit too embarrassed to do any cheerleading.

The Western Mail of course has gone a bundle on their favourite son. What will they do when he goes off to America? But the comments on their website are not so generous with one contributer suggesting that the Plaid Cymru MP is a 'one-eyed separatist' whilst another suggests that the 'guff' delivered in the lecture is the 'equivalent of taking crack for an impressionable and insecure Welsh nationalist.'

I would not go so far though I have to confess that I found the contents of the lecture to be bizarre and factually suspect. The size of the chip on Adam Price's shoulder grows bigger by the day and now that he does not have to seek re-election he does not seem to care how much he shows it off.

Adam's basic premise that Wales is a post-colonial country that has not yet thrown off the yoke of colonialism would not be recognised by the vast majority of the population. He says that the 'deepest legacy left by English imperialism on Wales is psychological'. "In political terms," he says, "we develop a begging bowl mentality, because we have become resigned to the reality of our own domination." He goes on "we abdicate responsibility for our own future because we doubt our ability to act constructively and change our situation."

Obviously, Adam has been listening to contributions by Plaid Cymru Assembly Members in the Senedd, where anything that goes wrong is the responsibility of the Westminster Government, whilst the difficult decisions they are being forced to make on the budget is all the fault of the Barnett formula.

Adam goes on to elaborate on the Welsh nation's 'profound sense of inferiority', and 'lack of confidence' which he says has produced a 'deep insecurity' that lies at the heart of Wales' "still tentative" embrace of devolution and its rejection of political independence.

So there we have it. According to the unofficial leader of Plaid Cymru, the whole independence agenda has stalled because the Welsh people are too 'psychologically scarred' to embrace it.

Talk about being in denial. I would not be surprised if many in Plaid Cymru agree with me that a prolonged spell in America is exactly what Adam needs right now.
He is right we do expect the English to keep us and we have done for hundreds of years, without full law making and tax making powers the welsh Assembly is another one of these jobs for the boys and girls, waste of money and a waste of time.
If we separate out the noise of party-political mud flying back and forth, I think Adam Price's points are bang on. We are a colony, and we do have a colonised mentality. Our cousins in Scotland and Ireland have far more confidence than us.

It should also be remembered that it was only in 1993 that a 400-odd year old piece of legislation designed to criminalise the Welsh language was partially (and only partially revoked).

It sometimes takes an outsider to point out things we don't like to confront. As someone who originally comes from outside Wales Peter you obviously have one view. Others, such as George Monbiot have a different view. After reading Eduardo Galeano's "The Open Viens of Latin America" Monbiot was struck by the parallels between the economic underdevelopment of latin America and Wales. Having read the book myself now, so am I.

We are being held back, and the biggest barrier is our own fear of an unknown future.
Adam Price was a little bombastic with the language of his lecture but the premise was right.

Wales's destiny lies in her own hands, we can't run back and forth to Daddy Westminster forever.

There has to be something better than what we have now, it just isn't working for Wales and never has to any real effect.

Even if that stops at a primary law making Senedd, we can't ignore it and hide behind subsidies, cultural distractions and fatalism anymore.
Your right Peter Plaid bloggers are ashamed to mention Price and his....oh wait there Ramblings blogged on the speech a full hour before you claimed they had not. FAIL!
Price is Price, vindictive, out of date, doing his best to create a vision of political intemperance where none exists, he wants to be a big fish, his only option is to find a small pond, he is as relevant to the future of Wales as dragons of mythology.

His 8491 words, hot air suitable for Plaid written history for the unwary.
A fairly cursory post, hardley a full blooded defence. But it did not show up in my reader so I missed it.
The lecture is an interesting contribution to the development of the philosophy of Welsh nationalism. He seems to me to be applying the Marxist concept of'false consciousness' to the failure of the majority to embrace nationalism. The only trouble with this approach is that if you are not careful you end up like many 20th century Marxists actually despising the very people you claim to represent. I'm still also bemused by the idea that somehow not embracing nationalism shows a lack of 'confidence'. Even if you disagree with Adam Price's arguments it is refreshing,however, to see a modern politician trying to produce a philosophical argument. Although I must agree with you Peter when you question his selective use of history. It is true that R.T. Davies does argue that a form of nationalism did develop in the Middle Ages. But he also points out that thousands of Welsh men also took the King's shilling and fought for the English in Scotland, France and even Wales. Adam will also find that the majority of soldiers at Rorke's Drift were not Welsh. He should read Max Hastings on the debunking of this. I also found it intersting that whilst he mentions the English ironmasters and even the Butes ,he fails to mention the key part played in the coal industry by the Welsh speaking coalowners. Socialism in Wales developed as a reaction against not the ironmasters but the oppression of the coalowners and the failure of their fellow travellers in the chapels to speak out against the appalling conditions that industrialisation brought to the valleys of South Wales.
I think Adam Price is a brilliant politician, head and shoulders above most MP's from Wales. He speaks with an integrity, intellect and passion sadly lacking in most politicians these days.

Stonemason I cannot believe you actually counted the number of words in the speech...a word to the wise, dont take this the wrong way but I think you should get out more.
Adam is a man who is going to re-write Welsh history for the better.
What reason would you give for a people not grasping at the chance to run their own affiars peter?
I would not judge Adam from the loons that regularly comment on the Wales Online site.Some of them seemed to have a pathological hatred for Welsh culture (I exempt Stonemason from this criticism). I don't know what the content of Adam's lecture was but I would take offence at the accusation of cultural genocide as Anglo Cymreig (sp), I think RS Thomas would more accurately describe it as cultural suicide. Colonialism also I think is way off base as a deliberate policy of the English State. The Normans that came to Wales to set themselves up as lords of their own realms outside the direct jurisdiction of the English king. Even old Longshanks himself would have been happy to be a simple "Bretwalda".
Peter, Ramblings is considered a Plaid supporting blog and a post did go up earlier.

I think there are some issues here worth thinking about. Plaid Cymru has a tradition and history of radicalism and of breaking the mould, even to the point of electoral frustration.

As such, many nations have movements or parties like Plaid Cymru that advocate "liberation nationalism", rather than expansionist, imperial nationalism.

Plaid thinkers can ponder the African anti-colonial movements, the Palestinians, the Basques or even the Ukrainians. The party has a very rich and fertile global history to tap into.

The Liberal Democrats do not have a discernible ideology. It is difficult to understand exactly what they stand for, they don't appeal to class lines, national lines or any particular identity. That is why for example, you wouldn't get a Lib Dem making a contribution as passionate as Adam's.

There is of course a genuine Liberal tradition in Wales but it isn't clear why that tradition can't be expressed through Welsh nationhood and why it has to use a British electoral vehicle to seek representation.
Ramblings, if you read back through the comments you will see I have acknowledged your earlier post.

Your assertion that the Liberal Democrats do not have a discernible ideology is quite frankly nonsense. Liberalism is built on a strong philosophy that is as relevant to modern day Wales as it is to the rest of the UK. We have applied it in a Welsh context on a day to day basis and shown how it should be applied practically in successive manifestos and conferences.

In contrast nationalism is not so much an ideology as emotional tribalism. Plaid Cymru embraces a broad church from right wing conservatives to marxists. They are the most philosophically incoherent party in Wales, held together only by their promotion of the language and a nationalist agenda based on the sort of cod-history promoted by Adam Price in this lecture.

You should step outside the glass house before you start throwing stones.
Anon: "Adam is a man who is going to re-write Welsh history for the better".

I find this statement troubling. Anon, you should be careful about saying things like this.
Plaid's nationalism is based on citizenship, rather than on ethnicity, religion, or language, and is pro-immigration.

And you're vindictive and personal attack on Adam was benneath you. I expect better from you Peter.
So Adam Price alleges that the Welsh electorate are pyschologically flawed because they do not agree with him on independence and you accuse me of being personal and vindictive. How bizarre.
"I expect better from you Peter."

Having finally perused the said lecture. I found it a collection of history, conjecture,myth and just pure bunk. First of picking out quotes like "1000 year English Reich" by some English historian?? which historian, or did he just make it up. There was no deliberate state policy to liquidate Welsh culture. The truth be told that its not a case of cultural genocide but of suicide as the comment above said. I think the final point is if Price is trying to attract people to the national cause you accuse them being accomplices of genocide.
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