Strange Tale from Wales…

Chris Bryant, MP for the Rhondda, raised this strange business at Westminster.

Here’s the BBC report.: (it’s worth watching the video for a Bercow put-down…)

Labour and Plaid Cymru are locked in a row about dirty tricks over an assembly election campaign leaflet.
The leaflet, which attacks shadow Welsh Secretary Peter Hain, has been posted on the internet.
It calls on voters to deny Labour a majority and accuses Mr Hain of plotting behind the back of Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones.

…and:

Speaking in the House of Commons, Labour’s Chris Bryant accused the office of Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones of being behind it.
But Plaid has fiercely denied having anything to do with either the leaflet or a website called United and Welsh where it appears.
….The site says it is promoted by an “alliance of concerned citizens” who “believe that the Labour Party is not ready to govern alone at this election”.
The United and Welsh website was registered on 1 April to the same address as the constituency office of Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones in Llangefni, Anglesey. The leaflet appeared on a blog a day earlier.
Mr Bryant used a point of order in the House of Commons on Tuesday to allege Mr Jones’s office was behind it.
He said: “The website, it turns out, is not quite so anonymous, because it has clearly been produced by people working in the office of the leader of the Welsh nationalists, Mr Ieuan Wyn Jones, so I can only presume that since he and his office are now urging people to vote Conservative in constituencies in Wales that they intend now to be joining the government benches.”

The story was first released by Blog Menai (a Welsh Language Blog) who received a poster by anonymous E-Mail.
Betsan expands:

…The story quoted a spokesman for the group, whose members, it said, are “as yet unidentified”, but whose intention was to take adverts in local papers in the target seats.

This afternoon, April 5th, Labour MP Chris Bryant stood up in the House of Commons and accused Plaid Cymru – and specifically the office of its leader Ieuan Wyn Jones – of being behind the “mystery” dirty tricks campaign.
His evidence? A website, United and Welsh, which links to an image of the leaflet.
That website, according to a domain search engine, is registered to 45, Stryd Y Bont, Llangefni LL77 7PN – or Ieuan Wyn Jones’ constituency office. It was registered on April 1st.
Mr Bryant says this is evidence that Plaid Cymru is behind the campaign – and to take the decision to put that on the record in the House of Commons is a serious step to take. His words carry parliamentary privilege, remember.
He got short shrift from Speaker Bercow, who didn’t accuse him of “grubby electioneering” but made sure he used exactly those words anyway.
Plaid Cymru issued an immediate blanket denial, within moment of Mr Bryant getting to his feet. “This has nothing to do with Ieuan Wyn Jones, his office, or the party”.
As I said at the start, something very very murky indeed is going on here.
The chronology is important. The original leaflet appeared on the Blog Menai site on March 31. The United and Welsh domain was set up on April 1.

April fool?, a backfired over enthusiastic Plaid staffer?, a double dirty Labour blogger scam?…or is there really a mass movement?…

, , , , ,

  • Cynic2

    Perhaps it is. But then anyone can go online and register a website to anywhere they like. So where are the dirty tricks? And whose are they?

  • Dewi

    “Whose are they?” Don’t know…a few people are trying to find out…..

  • The poster may be a “dirty trick” but it does raise an issue about tensions between National political parties and their regional parts.

    I have argued within my own party (Conservative) that its Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish parts should become independent for a number of reasons.

    One of the arguments that I put forward was that there will always be “conflicts of interest” between the central part of a National party and its regional parts. The sort of control freakery being alleged against Mr. Hain in these posters is a possible example. I say “possible” because when you look at what has been written, there is very little of any substance. A few utterances from Peter Hain doesn’t make Labour unfit to govern alone.

    Perhaps the authors of the poster are a new “Welsh Tea Party”. Who knows?

  • Dewi

    Welsh Tea Party?
    Obviously based in the diaspora:
    http://www.interpatagonia.com/paseos/exquisita_tradicion/index_i.html

  • Rory Carr

    My rule of thumb on occasions like this:

    If dirty tricks abound
    Chances are
    There’s a LibDem around.

    I shall wait and see if it applies here.