Wigley's Blueprint for Welsh Nationalism; Ex-Plaid President Steals the Thunder as Leadership Contenders Vie for Support

Article excerpt

Byline: Martin Shipton

FORMER Plaid Cymru president Dafydd Wigley has stolen the thunder in Plaid's double leadership election by providing a new blueprint forWelsh nationalism in the 21st Century.

In an article specially written to coincide with the National Eisteddfod, Mr Wigley sums up what he sees as the key ingredients in building 'a harmonious, inclusive national community'.

His intervention comes as all five contenders for the top two jobs in Plaid - president and Assembly group leader - have been vying for support on the maes at Meifod, Powys.

In his article, Mr Wigley writes, 'Nationalism as a political reality exists in all countries. Its manifestations however will vary greatly.

'At its highest it represents practical patriotism, whether in the field of politics, culture or sport. It enriches the inhabitants of the country and enables that nation to play a full part in the international world. Without individual nations, there would - quite literally - be no meaning to the term 'international'.

'Nationalists are patriots who do more than pay lip service to their love of country. They seek to advance an agenda - political or cultural - which makes a positive difference.

'At its worst, nationalism can degenerate into racism and xenophobia - something which mercifully has been largely avoided in Wales - though not totally.

'Yet those who find it politically convenient to denigrate nationalism in Wales - and Plaid Cymru by innuendo and smear - will be the first to salute the liberating nationalism of other countries: the nationalism of Mandela's South Africa, or of the nations of the old Soviet empire.

'There are as many forms of nationalism as there are nations - indeed many more. For us in Wales the challenge is to harness our national consciousness in a way which enhances our civilisation, broadens our horizons and enriches the quality of life for the citizens of Wales. …