I take more than a passing interest in Plaid Cymru. In part, its because I calculate that if my party are to feature in a governing coalition in the National Assembly for Wales in the foreseeable future, there would have to be some arrangement between our two parties. Its simple logistics - unless there's some political revolution of course! So imagine how disappointed I was to read this report of Adam Price's speech at the Plaid Conference this weekend. The Western Mail's David Williamson rang me for a chat about it as well.
I cannot fathom the strategy at all. At the very time when I would have expected Plaid to seek to influence Conservative policy (in that we have a decent chance of soon becoming the British Government) Adam seems intend on fostering enmity. How on earth does he think that will help Wales? I suppose he thinks it might help Plaid Cymru. And what possible grounds does he have for his assertion that we represent a 'regressive right' as opposed to his 'progressive left'. Just empty rhetoric. Its probably his response to the reductions in public spending that will be needed to restore the broken economy that Labour will leave behind. Perhaps he's one of the few in Britain who agree with the current Prime Minister that there's a choice between 'Tory cuts' and 'Labour investment'. Let him read this excellent article by Frank Field in today's Telegraph. Or is Frank Field dismissed as another of the 'regressive right'? And I have no idea from where Adam Price has conjured up the idea that David Cameron is to launch a 'war on the poor'. The clothes he seeks to drape upon the Tories are a very poor fit. It can only be the economically illiterate that fail to see that its those who have wrecked the British finances who are responsible for what must be done to repair the damage.
I was also surprised by the highly personal nature of the attack on Nick Bourne, Leader of the Conservative Group in the National Assembly. Two years ago Plaid Cymru agreed a 'programme for Government' with the Conservatives, (led by the very same Nick Bourne) and the Lib Dems (led by Mike German). The 'Rainbow Coalition' would have come to pass, if the Lib Dems had not deserted Mike at the crucial moment. It was Adam Price who negotiated on behalf of Plaid Cymru. It seems that he would have been very unreliable to work with.
Normally, when my team is attacked, the hackles rise in anger, presaging vigorous retaliation. But I just feel a sense of sadness and disappointment. I thought Adam Price was a rather more astute politician. The aspect of this sort of attack that does anger me is the underlying assumption that Plaid Cymru and 'the left' have some sort of monopoly on a love of Wales and appreciation of what makes Wales special. In the crucible of the conference hall at Llandudno, it may be that the delegates managed to delude themselves about this. But despite the best efforts of Adam to will it otherwise, there is love of Wales on the right of politics as well. I do hope that Nick Bourne and his team in the National Assembly resist the temptation - and join me in a dismissive, sorrowful shrug of the shoulders, and move on quickly to something more constructive. Something which benefits Wales.