Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Honesty isn't just avoiding lies

Just a few days ago, Dafydd Elis Thomas said that the deal between Plaid and UKIP to vote for Leanne Wood to become First Minister triggered his departure from Plaid.  At the time of that vote, Plaid denied that there had been any such deal, and even last week – in direct response to what Dafydd said – a Plaid spokesperson claimed that “Leanne Wood has made no approach to UKIP at any stage…”.  Then, yesterday, we had the story in the Western Mail based on an interview with Adam Price in which Adam stated very clearly that he had approached UKIP to ask for their support, which was forthcoming.
‘Truth’ in politics can be an elusive beast, and it is, just about, possible to argue that no-one has told any lies here.  There’s nothing directly inconsistent between the statement that Leanne Wood made no approach and the admission that Adam Price did; and if one defines a ‘deal’ as being something of a reciprocal nature, then if UKIP and the Tories were offered nothing in return for their votes, it’s possible to argue that there was no deal done.
However…  There’s more to honesty than merely avoiding telling lies, and to date, Plaid have striven to give the impression that the decisions by UKIP and the Tories to support Plaid’s nominee in that vote were taken independently and were not the result of any request for support from Plaid.  That impression has now been revealed to be at some distance from the truth.
Does it matter?  Well yes, it does matter to some of us at least if a party which claims honesty and transparency as virtues is revealed to be behaving in a fashion which is at odds with that claim; and it matters if that party then wants us to trust it on other issues.  It’s arguable, though, that this is just froth, and there’s a deeper issue here.
It is a fact of life that, in a legislative body where one party or group holds half the seats and the other half are split between three parties or groups, effective scrutiny will be improved if those opposition parties are willing to talk to each other from time to time, and – yes, even agree on tactics on occasions.  That doesn’t mean adopting common policy positions on what should be done, but it doesn’t preclude united opposition on things which all of them oppose.  It’s a negative approach to a government programme, but on an exceptional basis, there’s nothing wrong with the opposition uniting in that way.
The real problem that this highlights for me is that all of those concerned understand this reality but all are determined, for presentational reasons, to deny it, not least because all of them have, at different times, played the silly game of “he voted with her”.  And they play that game because they believe that we will swallow it.  So in a sense, it’s all the fault of the voters… 


Anonymous said...

Adam Price and Leanne Wood have proved they’re as cynical, opportunist and untrustworthy as every other welsh politician, its hardly news and Dafydd El slapped down Leanne over her trying to exclude UKIP from welsh politics before May’s elections which looks hypocritical, however these revelations play into the doubts and concerns many had and still have about the Leanne/Adam leadership axis of Plaid Cymru from the start.

They’re socialists first and nationalists second and it shows because there’s too much short term focus on elections, policies and the goings on in the Welsh Assembly and not enough medium to long term campaigning or planning for Welsh independence.

But having said all that that how many voters will remember this in the local elections in May, few I’d imagine and Plaid Cymru were never going to do that well anyway.

John Dixon said...

"They’re socialists first and nationalists second and it shows because there’s too much short term focus on elections, policies and the goings on in the Welsh Assembly and not enough medium to long term campaigning or planning for Welsh independence."

I don't quite follow your logic there. I agree with the bit about there being too much "focus on elections, ... and the goings on in the Welsh Assembly", (not sure what 'policies' was doing in there, though) but don't see how that shows that anyone is a socialist first and a nationalist second. Building socialism, like gaining independence, is a long term project, and focussing on the short term stuff is a sign that neither is being given much attention, not that one is being given primacy over the other.

Pete said...

I do wish that those who speak for Plaid Cymru would speak plainly. Some people would have been upset to know that other parties were approached to support Leanne but that is politics. It may be devious but hardly dishonest to let the Labour Party know the mandate to govern is not an automatic right in Wales. To be deceptive about such an approach can only bring grief when it comes to light.
That brings me to Dafydd El. I was a supporter of his many years ago although I began to worry when he spent his first pay check as an MP on a garish red velvet suit from Harrod's. I now find, after reading the report in the Daily Post, that he was nominated for Presiding Officer by Neil Hamilton. For him then to say that a deal with UKIP caused his resignation from Plaid, after he accepted the nomination and support of UKIP's leader is hypocrisy at it's highest.
Pan gyll y call, fe gyll ymhell.