Wednesday 17 January 2007

Plaid and the i-word

Originally posted by Huw Thomas on the 'Chanticleer' blog.

Within this poll result, which indicates strong Welsh support for the Union, is a statistic that Plaid Cymru should really be capitalising on.

20% of those questioned - yes, one in five - support the call for an independent Wales.

Yet bugger me if any reference can be found to independence on any Plaid blogs, campaign literature or even in back-room briefings.

Without self-rule even being on the political agenda for Plaid, they appear to have the support of 20% of voters. Which begs the question - what on earth are Plaid doing?

They go on the defensive whenever the I-word is thrown in their direction, and stand like rabbits in the proverbial headlights whenever a politician or journalist raises the word.

Consider the SNP: they have consistently lobbied for independence, and make no bones about dressing it up in jargon like European federal status, or whatever Plaid are calling it this week.

The SNP have kept independence on the political agenda, and now look set to romp home in the Scottish elections. Support for independence in Scotland stands at around 12%.

Meanwhile, down in the Bay, Plaid have made a shambles of opposition in the months leading up to the elections, they have been walked over by Labour during budget negotiations (and doubtless will be taken for mugs again in any coalition talks), making them look weaker and less fit for office than ever before.

Everyone knows Plaid is about independence, but it's still a dirty word for a party who now prize seats in the valleys above their fundamental ideological ambitions.

How on earth can Plaid be taken seriously when they fail to see a giant neon arrow of support pointing at the policy they seem so keen to shelve?

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