Monday, October 01, 2007

Come and join us

So the 'influential' Nick Bourne has told the party faithful at Blackpool that he wants Plaid Cymru supporters to "come and join us". Now I'm rather in favour of this idea. After all its the path that I followed myself some 30+ years ago, having once voted for Plaid in my youth. The basis of Nick's invitation is that Plaid has given up its right to be called the 'party of Wales' because it chose to go into coalition with Labour rather that lead a 'rainbow coalition'. This may be a reasonable pitch, but its not what would have appealed to me all those years ago.

My approach would be based on what did influence me. I'm a fiercely proud Welshman - but I'm not a 'socialist' and I'm not a big state, 'Government knows best' man. In short, I'm a Welsh Conservative. I'm still very keen to see the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru govern together - but I know that it could never work if the National Assembly had tax raising powers. I'm not even sure it would work if the Assembly had full law making powers - unless Plaid Cymru dumps its socialist baggage. I just think our best strategy is to behave as a genuine Welsh party, committed to the Welsh Language and culture - but to keep on emphasising that we are not a 'socialist' party. A fair few hitherto Plaid supporters may well be tempted to accept Nick's kind invitation.

9 comments:

Dai Twp said...

As a non-partisan observer I would say he still has a bit to go dragging the rest of his party (outside of the Assembly) to this pro-Wales, pro-devolution view point. This is perfectly illustrated by David Camerons's refusal to make supporting legislative powers for the assembly official party policy. Which by the way is highlighted by the fact whenever Nick Bourne talks about his support for law making powers he has to stress that this is his personal view and not that of the party. Not to mention David Davies's latest outburst on the subject.

Anonymous said...

nothing wrong with this strategy but both the you in the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru are playing into Labour's hands, they are the real bad guys in all of this surely.

Glyn Davies said...

Dai - Fair point - but what is important for us is the direction of travel. I do believe that a full law making Parliament will be come party policy at some stage - but there is still some talking to be done on this.

anon - another fair point, but it is an unavoidable situation. It would be great if all centre/right voters supported the conservatives. We would be contenders for power - and have a much stronger 'Welsh' cultural base to our party. I have to believe it could happen. Couldn't maintain my interest in politics otherwise.

Dai Twp said...

I'd agree that it would seem that the Tory party are moving to a more pro-devolution standpoint. However I would say that the real fight people like youself face is persuading the Tories outside of the Assembly and outside of Wales of your view. Maybe Nick Bourne's speech was aiming to take the first few steps in achieving in this, since by attacking Plaid he highlighted to those in his party that there are votes there for the taking if the Tory party move to a pro parliment stance. Quite clever I suppose. Sort of killing two birds with one stone. But as an outsider looking in I'd say he's still going to have a hell of a fight trying to get it as official party policy. I think you'd still get pretty long odds on a commitment to a law making parliment being on a Tory Maniffesto if you were a betting man.
Until it is though I can't see many right leaning Plaid voters putting their cross in your box as it were.
It is intersting that Cameron does seem to be advocating English votes for English issues in some sort of English Grand Commitee. As where exactly does that leave Wales in the present arrangement. If he goes through with this idea he may end up supporting law making powers for the Assembly by default.

Valleys Mam said...

Half of Plaid are conservative any way.
The socialist side is only strong in the southern Valleys.
We may well see a swing to the tory party in the next election ,from old plaid blues who cannot take the shcmoozing with Labour.
Wonder how the disillusioned socialists will go

Glyn Davies said...

I think we all agree about the potential. I am content to let David Davies (and others) have their say. They are entirely logical in their arguments - but I do think it is becoming a minority opinion in the party. It needs people like Nick to lead opinion without trying to force it on dissenters. The 'English' question is what will eventually make a full law making Welsh Parliament the only logical Conservative response.

Aberavon & Neath Liberal Democrats said...

It was announced this morning that two councillors in Barrow have resigned the Conservative whip and joined the Liberal Democrats. No further comment needed.

Ordovicius said...

I think you still have a very very long way to go before you can seriously contemplate attracting Plaid votes.

Glyn Davies said...

Sanddef - I agree with you, but we have made a good start. Direction of travel is right. A lot of Plaid supporters are going to really think about it because of the deal with Labour. I can only tell you that I have a very warm welcome from poeple in Montgomeryshire who have traditionaly voted Plaid.