Friday, 23 July 2010

Moving further on

Most candidates who have fought and lost an election will be familiar, I am sure, with the way that frenetic activity and high profile turns into peace and anonymity almost instantly. People are apparently hanging on your every word one day, and ignoring you the next. C'est la vie.

The immediate aftermath of an election is therefore not the best time for reflection, nor for deciding what comes next. Putting a bit of time between myself and the election, coupled with a week away, means that I'm in a much better position to decide rationally where to go next.

This week, I resigned as National Chair of Plaid Cymru.

There are a number of reasons for this decision, mostly political, and some personal. It's not as sudden as it may look to some; it's something I've been pondering for some time, and after eight years in the role, some recent events have led me to decide that now is the time to make the change.

At a personal level, I have reached the point where I can no longer afford to put so much of my time into activity which generates no income; I need to refocus that time on activities for which I get paid. I've effectively been working on only a part-time basis since 2006 in order to put time and effort into campaigning in Carmarthen West; with that imperative removed, it's time for that refocussing.

But it isn't as simple as just the personal and it would be dishonest of me to pretend that it is; there are some significant political reasons as well. There are a number of ways in which I feel that the party has moved, or is moving, in a direction which I cannot support, but being a national office-holder has fettered my freedom to say so.

Even internally, my role has often been more about moderating and managing debate than participating in it. And whilst some people (hopefully) might regard me as having been a reasonably effective manager of the party, it was never the mechanics of party organisation which got me involved - it was about a different vision of the future. And in that area, I think we have a few problems.

Insofar as I have a contribution to make to political activity in the future, given my advancing age, I intend it to be very much more political than organisational.


Anonymous said...

I welcome this candour. Your political talents have taken a back seat while you've managed the party (very ably). Over the years your contributions to policy debate have always been at the radical edge. I look forward to seeing this receiving much more prominence in the future. Perhaps your opening salvo should be to define more explicitly those areas you identify as having difficulties. I suspect I know where you're going with this. If right I'm sure you'd find a great deal of support.

Cambria Politico said...

Probably a good move. There's only so much banging your head against a brick wall that anyone can take.
I hope we will see a more aggressive approach from you online in this blog. More informed debate can only help the Party.Pob lwc.

Spirit of BME said...

Mr Dixon,
Can I pay tribute to the managerial skill you bought to the post.There are very few with a managerial background in the Party and we shall see what the suede shoe- sorry, they have more money these days, summer cotton suit socialists will have to offer -Gawd help us.
Reflect and come out fighting.It might well be left wing drivel ,but quality drivel is what we have been missing of late.

Anonymous said...

John - haven't always agreed with you, though very often I'm inclined to ask the kind of questions I believe the media and public will ask and want Plaid to have the answers ready.

Having said that, I've always thought of you as a safe pair of hands - a compliment not an insult in any way. If you believed in a position I tended to believe it was a sensible option.

I'm not sure then what you mean with the direction the Party has taken - too left wing or too right wing ... or two timid? I look forward to hearing and reading more.

Pob hwyl yn y dyfodol. Mae'n rhaid rhoi amser i dy hun, dy deulu a dy waith hefyd.


Peter D Cox said...

I am not a member of Plaid so I only see the party from the outside, from where it looks like you've done a great job transforming its perception in the public eye.
I think it's sad, organisationally, that you feel that the role has inhibited your own political views. Perhaps the party needs to think about that and decide how it wants its leadership to work.
And if it decides that the Chairs role has to be more managerial than political, then it ought to be paid.
Looking forward to reading this in future ....

Royston Jones said...

Plaid moving to the right! Plaid shaking off the champagne socialism! Pigs flying!

That's the day I might consider re-joining. But I see no sign of it.

Anonymous said...

The party has become too managerial and bland. Nothing to do with a left/right issue, in my opinion. There is no debate anymore, it is too cautious.

Adam Higgitt said...

I've no idea idea about you skills as a party chair, but through this blog I've come to respect your approach to the issues, even if our conclusions differ, and your willingness to engage in a proper debate.

The Druid suggests your resignation is a huge blow to Plaid. My suspicion is that if you have a greater freedom to speak our within your party, and if those views carry weight, Plaid will become a more, not less, credible force.

Oscar Williams said...

As Treasurer that followed you I can sympathise with the restraints and frustrations imposed by party mechanisms ofany political party putting themselves forward as an united party. This does not exist if we accept the various biographies from leading members of what I would descibe simply as the London Political Alliances. The One Party Wales coalition in the Assembly has being fraught and I am of the opinion that Plaid is now being set up, in advance of the referendum and the 2011 election to be the fallguys, with Ieuan its main target,and responsible for not delivering the One Wales maniffesto. Also the decision to hold the One additional vote on the same day as the Assembly Elections, cost savings acknowledged, will detract from the WAG must be discussed at the Plaid Conferenece and the strongest representation made to the approptiate bodies.
oscar Williams

Anonymous said...

Pob hwyl John.