Plaid in UK Elections – what next?

Over at Wales Home Daran Hill and Adam Higgitt discuss “Is Plaid in Crisis” As usual it’s worth reading the lot and the comments but pertinent from Darran is:

Essentially, Plaid spent most of the General Election moaning about the UK leader debates and then, in the cold light of election morning, realised they had missed the bus. The main reason the double decker sped past was the same problem that Plaid faces today: its core messages on voting for it to defend public services are the same ones used by Labour. On election day in Wales it was Labour’s version of that mantra – repeated in Buddhist chant by Peter Hain – that connected with the Welsh electorate. And judging by the recent opinion polls for ITV Wales, that remains the case.

and:

Finally, Plaid needs to move away from the cult of personality. For as long as I have watched politics in Wales, Plaid has looked for messianic figures. The Dafydd Wigley Effect is the most potent. For decades many in the party have wrapped their ambitions in a leader who, however capable, relinquished power in his party a decade ago. Alex Salmond may have made a comeback in the SNP, but the same has not happened here. Yet the party has failed collectively to move on and even where it has done so it has pinned its political aspirations too much on individuals and not enough on policies, progress and party development. When a party does that, it is bound to falter and suffer a crisis. This is exactly what is visible to all with the decision of Adam Price not to contest an Assembly seat next year. So many in Plaid – often those not in the diehard Wigley camp – have watched and waited for their chosen saviour to appear that they have stopped thinking about the party’s direction and how it builds on impressive outcomes in the 2007 and 2008 elections.

Adam more positive, but only just:

Yes, Plaid had a relatively poor General Election characterised by an excessive focus on its exclusion from the televised Prime Ministerial debates. Arguably, it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans that a party committed to seceding Wales from the UK can win only three rather than five seats in a Parliament of 650 odd, but I’m prepared to concede it has an effect on morale and that all-important sense of momentum.

I’ve done enough whining about those debates myself but can’t overestimate the marginalisation they caused both for Plaid and the SNP.
So what to do?
1. We need a Britain wide party to contest UK Elections.
2. This party should be an alliance of the SNP, Plaid and the Greens.

    Positives

1) Practically on the +ve side we’ve done it before with great success – in 1992 Cynog Dafis won the old Ceredigion and Pembroke North seat with the formal support of the Greens.
2) In Scotland the Independent Green Party believes in Scottish Independence.
3) In Europe we are all members of the The Greens–European Free Alliance
4) With 10 MPs and a Britain wide presence we surely could not be excluded from those blasted debates.

    Negatives

Not many really mostly organisationally:
1) The Greens have one organisational unit covering that strange country – EnglandandWales.
2) It would take a while to organise an effective candidate selection process in Wales and Scotland.

,

  • Drumlin Rock

    Dewi, what if your a Welsh Nationalist who loves driving petrol guzzling sports cars and flying all over the world? in other words they are completely seprate ideaologies a forced marriage world dosn’t do either parties any good.

  • Gregor

    Drumlin Rock; how are they completely separate ideologies?

    Look at the Greens and the SNP in the Scottish Parliament, or indeed the Green/SNP/PC in Westminster, or the Greens/EFA in Europe. They work very well together.

  • Dewi

    “Dewi, what if your a Welsh Nationalist who loves driving petrol guzzling sports cars and flying all over the world?”

    We haven’t got many of those – under Cynog Dafis’s philosophical influence Plaid is pretty well ideologically matched with the Greens as our membership of the same European grouping supports.

  • Rory Carr

    I didn’t realise that Jeremy Clarkson was Welsh, Drum. Hasn’t Wales suffered enough already without that?

  • McCarthy Óg

    A Britain-wide anti union alliance would be a good shout. I’m sure there’s plenty of English people floating about who don’t favour continuing the union. I don’t know much about them, but the English Democrats could get on board. It could easily create a better force for dissolving the union in the general election than for individual parties to run.

  • Drumlin Rock

    I just don’t like the mixing of two very strong ideologies, i could put it the other way, what if your a Welsh green integrationist? merging nationalism and environmentalism could seriously alienate the non-nationalist majority from environmental issues, you don’t want to end up like here where the perception is Unionism = right of centre politics and Nationalism = left of centre, often wrongly.

  • Drumlin Rock

    Your right Junior, if they combined their vote at westminister they would have how many votes? lets see there are 28 “others” out of 650 seats, 8 of them are DUP, so thats down to 20, 5 or SF who dont take seats so down to 15, there is Sylvia and Naomi, so your down to 13, wont include the Green guy just yet, makes it 12, made up of SNP, PC & SDLP. youve got some alliance there mate!

  • Dewi
  • Dewi

    “…merging nationalism and environmentalism could seriously alienate the non-nationalist majority from environmental issues, you don’t want to end up like here where the perception is Unionism = right of centre politics and Nationalism = left of centre, often wrongly.”

    Now you are confusing things even more by equating enviromentalism with being left wing….

  • Dewi

    Did you pluck the Green, SNP, Plaid electoral coalition out of the sky or is they a real argument going on about it?

  • Dewi

    Not entirely absolutely out of the sky Mick but at aspirational stage…

  • Dewi

    Interesting all the same, although my experience of the greens in England, is they refuse all electoral coalitions of this type. Perhaps Plaid should sit tight because if David M wins the Labour leadership contest he will chart a NL course, indeed it would not surprise me if there is a double dip, he took the party into a national coalition. What ever happens on this, there is still going to be a space for Plaid on the left.

  • slug

    The Greens allying with Nationalists is a complete non-runner.

  • Dewi

    Why?

  • slug

    They are different political philosophies. Its absurd.

  • Dewi

    No they are not. Na na na na na…

  • Reader

    Dewi: This party should be an alliance of the SNP, Plaid and the Greens.
    Why include the Greens and leave out the SDLP? And do the Greens fit well in a grouping with the Tartan Tories?
    Plus, you have left out a possibility. “Respect” may spin off a separatist right wing. Would you consider aligning with them?

  • Reader

    Drumlin Rock: merging nationalism and environmentalism could seriously alienate the non-nationalist majority from environmental issues
    If the nationalist parties want to tuck themselves into a tiny corner of the political Venn diagram, why should you care? But I suspect there will be many nationalists who are far less complacent about the salami slicing of nationalist sentiment than Dewi seems to be.
    Dewi – Will the new grouping have agreed policies on immigration, abortion and defence as well as your implication that they would have an agreed policy on the environment?

  • Dewi

    1) SDLP don’t need a “British” dimension as have no real “British” competition.
    2) Allied with the SNP in Holyrood and Europe so yes.
    3) NOt heard of a “separatist right wing” Respect. What do they want separating?
    4) We’d agree a manifesto.

  • Gregor

    Tartan Tories? Eh? The SNP are the leftmost party in the chamber.

    If Respect spin off a right wing grouping, why would they want to be aligned with the left wing parties we’re discussing?

    It makes no sense.

  • Reader

    Gregor: If Respect spin off a right wing grouping, why would they want to be aligned with the left wing parties we’re discussing?
    Because the parties are temporarily left-wing but fundamentally separatist. Anyway, the right wing of Respect is socially right-wing. Economically, they could be as lefty as you like.
    Dewi: SDLP don’t need a “British” dimension as have no real “British” competition
    Is that an axiom from your point (1) in the introduction, or was there some reasoning for your original choice between Britain and UK? It seems to be an odd distinction coming from a separatist!
    The SDLP would surely add to your list of positives in the intro. Unless their demands for Road building make them insufficiently Green.
    And have you told the SDLP that you don’t think they are competing against unionist parties (unlike yourselves!). Some people might agree of course, except maybe in South Belfast

  • Gregor

    Temporarily left-wing??

    Temporarily??

    What utter gibberish. It goes right to their core as internationalist, social-democrat, democratic parties.

    “Separatist” is the most ridiculous label ever applied to parties such as the SNP. There’s no correlation between wanting to control your own foreign relations and having *no* foreign relations. It’s rubbish. The SNP don’t want Scotland to be like North Korea or other ‘separatist’ states, they just want to decide their own fate.

  • Dewi

    The point was in relation to the marginalisation of Plaid and SNP – in relation to the debates etc. There’s an ever so slightly different dynamic in politics in NI..

  • Reader

    Gregor: Temporarily?? What utter gibberish. It goes right to their core as internationalist, social-democrat, democratic parties.
    So you wouldn’t expect the SNP to vote out Callaghan’s Labour Government in 1979 and let Thatcher in, would you?
    Even now, they are anti-Conservative, Barnett formula junkies rather than being truly left wing. After all, the SNP seem rather reluctant to take on the new opportunities for devolved taxation.
    Are you over-sensitive to undertones in my use of the word ‘Separatist’? I believe I have used the word absolutely correctly. It’s hardly less attractive than some of the implications of the word ‘Nationalist’, anyway.

  • Reader

    Dewi: The point was in relation to the marginalisation of Plaid and SNP – in relation to the debates etc. There’s an ever so slightly different dynamic in politics in NI..
    If you want a critical mass to lever your way into the leaders debates, you need more bodies and more votes than you have now. Can you really say that your demands are more credible if you leave out the SDLP’s 110,000 votes and 3 MPs? It would also stop the SNP from having an absolute majority of your Nationalist/Green bloc, whether you count electoral votes or MPs

  • Dewi

    Don’t think the SDLP would be interested and would complicate negotiations..if a coalition including an NI party got a spot in the debates then that would not be fairon DUP, Sinn Fein, Alliance etc. It’s only the UCUNF experiment was such a disaster of implementation that more complaints were not raised this time….

  • Reader

    Dewi: if a coalition including an NI party got a spot in the debates then that would not be fair on DUP, Sinn Fein, Alliance etc
    Then is your plan fair on the Scottish Socialist Party; Mebyon Kernow; or the English Democrats? In any case, how can you be sure that the DUP (also populist subsidy junkies) wouldn’t want to join you? There is at least a case to be made that the DUP are Ulster Nationalists rather than proper unionists.