Plaid Revert to Type as a Parochial Pressure Group; It Is a Great Political Irony That with the World Economy in Crisis and International Solidarity the Solution We All Seek, Nationalist Parties in Britain Are Increasingly Looking Inwards, Says Mick Antoniw AM

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), October 20, 2011 | Go to article overview
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Plaid Revert to Type as a Parochial Pressure Group; It Is a Great Political Irony That with the World Economy in Crisis and International Solidarity the Solution We All Seek, Nationalist Parties in Britain Are Increasingly Looking Inwards, Says Mick Antoniw AM


IF lost ground and a lost leader were the headline legacy of Plaid's Assembly election campaign, the subtext - articulated most clearly by their King over the water, Adam Price - was the doubt about their very mission and the reversion to a simplistic cry for freedom (or independence and separation, as they more prosaically put it).

So, in Wales, a battle anew for the leadership and a battle rejoined for the legend of an Independent Wales. In Westminster, baser politics altogether as deals are cooked up behind closed doors between Plaid's MPs and the Coalition Government over mutually beneficial changes to the voting system: an attempt to gerrymander the system in their shared, partisan, self-interest.

And shameless black propaganda too, such as the "helpful" suggestion that Labour in Wales should split into unionist and nationalist wings with the latter joining them in a new Welsh coalition to run Wales. Dream on.

What the nationalists have never understood is that Labour's beliefs rise above the narrowness of nationalism's identity politics. Our objective is the creation of a fairer and just society for all - irrespective of colour, class or creed, certainly irrespective of boundaries or national alignment. As the capitalist crisis deepens Labour looks outwards for global solutions whilst Plaid confirm their myopia, reverting to type as a parochial pressure group.

The Liberal Democrats in Wales endeavour to seek some relevance to their existence and the Tories focus on those issues which they hope will allow David Cameron and his coalition partners to berate Wales with. In Wales, as we attempt to get to grips with an outdated and unfair financial formula, the Silk Commission comes together to examine the issue of financial responsibility, to be followed by constitutional issues possibly leading to further devolution. At the same time alongside the Silk Commission the Welsh Government will continue to negotiate funding and the issue of borrowing powers.

Whilst all these fragmented debates take place and devolution throughout the UK gains a momentum outside any ideological framework, we are missing the big picture and avoiding asking the important constitutional questions.

What is the future of Britain? Is break up inevitable? What do the peoples of the United Kingdom want Britain to look like in 20 or 30 years time? In the early 1970s we had a more mature approach to such issues. A Royal Commission under Lord Kilbrandon was set up to examine the future structure of Wales and Scotland. It was a masterly and considered analysis of the aspirations of our people and provided a framework for change.

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Plaid Revert to Type as a Parochial Pressure Group; It Is a Great Political Irony That with the World Economy in Crisis and International Solidarity the Solution We All Seek, Nationalist Parties in Britain Are Increasingly Looking Inwards, Says Mick Antoniw AM
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