Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between a bitter
fool and a sweet fool? Lear Act I,4,663
In 1976 the distinguished Welsh Historian Glanmor Williams introduced me to a book by Norman Cohn called ‘Europe’s Inner Demons’. It dealt with a paranoid response by members of radical movements of liberation during the 15th century. Today many strands of thoughts and observations began to coalesce around Yes Cymru, Ein Gwlad and the organisation “Propel” chariot of Prince Neale McEvoy exile of Plaid Cymru and aper of the methods and outlook of the Right wing Populists of Europe and America…a sort of Trumpeteer and Farageist of the Welsh identity. An indivudual who delivers the approach and methods of UKIP through the medium of Welsh.
I was alarmed through news from my contacts a few months ago. They told me of the Far Right sniffing around the Welsh National Movement and little has been done to remove this anxiety.
One of my Dire Wolves went as far to allege that the “Central Committe” of Yes Cymru could not agree to the proposition thar their aim was to establish a democratic Wales. One is tempted to ask if an undemoctic and authoritarian independent Wales would be an acceptable half way house. Another little bird told me allegedly that one individual on the “Central Committee” of Yes Cymru was asked by others..(since my August Thermidor piece) ..exactly who had he been talking to…such were the concerns circulating through the Welsh Social Media. It seems that paranoia seems the only explanation.
Captain of our fairy band,
Dr Dilysis here at hand,
And the youth, mistook by me,
Pleading for a lover’s fee.
Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!
Midsummer`s night Dream III,2,1147
I would suggest that the new “Central Committee” to be elected on Saturday should read Norman Cohn”s excellent book. Much psychological insight could be gleaned from it. I am also told too that Dr Dilys Davies might well benefit from this …
I heard a fascinating description of the reaction of certain traditionalists to the proud claim of Leanne Wood that she was a Welsh Republican Socialists. My source told me that the face of certain of them resembled that of a face that would sour milk. This vignette I consider illustrates a strand of the mood music surrounding recent events in the Welsh National Movement and it’s component parts.. And that is a fear of the left and of a progressive social outlook.
Of course tben my thoughts began to travel in numerous varied and wide spread directions. Then my thoughts settled on the case of Dr Alan Sked Frankenstein like creator of UKIP who was consumed by his creation. My thoughts tben roam to a certain parallel with another founder that of Hedd Gwynfor founder of Yes Cymru who like Sked no longer belonged to the organisation that he had founded. Of course the only similarity between these two individuals lay in the act of creation and then in the leaving of the creature begotten.
On October 9th Nation Cymru featured an article by a former executive member of Yes Cymru who argued that the Organisation was making errors and turning inwards upon itself. My ears pricked up and the similarities between Sked, UKIP and these events became more and more apparent. We have heard of numerous expulsions.Twitter had many interesting speculations upon this yesterday and accusations of poor Constitutional methods began to emerge in the excellent Nation Cymru article. Indeed the movement of the AGM of Yes Cymru date from Saturday to Saturday via a Tuesday at 11 am alarmed many people even more. Perhaps the use of the descriptor “Central Committee” did little to shake off the impressions of smoke filled rooms and darker interests operating behind the backdrop of the Welsh National Movement. It is indeed interesting that only five of the original ‘Central Committee: of Yes Cymru still are in post from the original twelve or thirteen that established the organisation. Oddly these events seemed sadly reminiscent of Stalinist like activities of the 1930s. Indeed the organisation seems to have shut down it’s Aberystwyth branch and it’s LGBT group that supported it’s aims.
Max Wallis partner of Anne Greagsby who has been expelled from Plaid for Transphobic Comments argued in a screen shot somewhat oddly that the trans issues got in the way and distracted from the central issue of achieving an Independent Wales. Indeed this was a rum coincidence . Of course I make no accusation of causation perhaps I simly hint at correlation but you must decide. Some one said on ‘ An Independent Wales that Anne is a “Proud Catholic” and I get a clear suggestion here that the a socially conservative subtext clearly exists and that this dynamic pair desire a free Wales that is a socially conservative one in terms of identity.
It’s certainly odd that anyone to the left of Jack o’ the North seems to be leaving Yes Cymru or indeed be expelled . The issue of course could be coincidental but I will give you the screen shots and you must decide.
My Little Birds, Dire Wolves and Faceless Men brought me fascinating indicators and screen shots of these events. I suspect an apparent trajectory of mutual aims is developing between Ein Gwlad and the organisation “Propel”. Was there indeed or are we witnessing an attempt to take over Yes Cymru by the forces of the populists and of the right? . You must decide because I cant….
Its very odd that these events only became clearly seen after the attempts to remove and in the final regicide of Leanne Wood. It’s odd now that I detect stirrings of the criticisms of the left that were once aimed aimed at her are now beginning to be used in a similar way at Adam Price. Perhaps the role of Mab Darogan was but a projection.
Wouldn’t it be odd if the stirring up of the Welsh National Movement and it’s supporters happened but a few months before a third Welsh Investiture? You might think that but I could not possibly comment. Support for independence is rising and it is indeed strange that it should happen now. Simply ask who would gain from this? The answer stares back at you..it’s not difficult .
Some years ago the aims of the Welsh Republican movement offered some valuable insights and direction to the establushment ofan Independent Socialist Republic. Odd that 50 years from 1969 these events should occur once more Very odd indeed…
Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?
Yes Cymru was a worthy organisation and may yet be again. Perhaps Ymlaen Cymru may be a better transposer of these aims . The events that have occurred since August are most disturbing and give a real cause for anxiety..
Reflections on the early history of the Irish Republic might also be of value. Are Yes Cymru and Ein Gwlad aware of the issues and personalities of Devalera and of Collins? . What price did the Irish Republic pay for independence from the British state gaining instead the social conservativism that controlled and dominated it for nearly 100 years. And it is only now finally that these forces of reaction have been removed …what indeed could Populism, Ein Gwlad and Yes Cymru learn from that? You will have to decide I don’t think that the answers will come from Royston Jones, Neil McEvoy and the Central Committee of Yes Cymru do you? Read the screen shots and decide.. social conservatism and the political right awaits you….
Before I post finally. i have a humch that some of the people expelled may include individualds from the Group Labour for an Independent Wales. I will keep you posted as Storm Callum hangs over Wales. I believe with the eys of the Storm hovering over Burry Port on Saturday.
Picture: Rhydian Hughes Iwan Rhys
Yes Cymru has a huge potential as a movement. Following a successful year, it needs to be careful it doesn’t take a wrong turn now.
At the AGM next Saturday, 13 October, there will be a vote on a motion to make substantial changes to the organisation’s constitution.
I have been asked by several members across Wales to write this piece, in order to urge as many members as possible to attend the AGM and vote against these changes which we believe would be a grave mistake. Here I will argue why.
Over this past year, Yes Cymru has had several successes:
- It has seen an increase of hundreds in its membership
- It is in a financially strong place for a relatively new organisation and improving quickly
- It has had some newspaper coverage and has been referred to in articles and speeches by pro-indy politicians
- It has attracted much attention and followers on its social media accounts (It’s Twitter account has just shy of 10,000 followers, matching that of the Welsh Conservatives).
Until very recently, I was a member of the Central Committee (CC), and I can vouch for the hard work and determination to the cause shown by all individuals involved there.
In passing, but of direct relevance to why we feel the need to write this piece, I have to mention something that has happened over the past few months.
Of the 16 members elected to CC at the 2017 AGM in Aberystwyth, five have been either suspended or expelled, on top of a total of five who have left their roles voluntarily.
Also, one CC meeting (23 September) was held where two CC members were not invited and weren’t given a reason; another meeting (6 July) was held with only 24 hours’ notice, at which two CC members were expelled from Yes Cymru and two expelled from CC.
We believe this is a worrying trend: a sign of a Committee not operating in a healthy manner, and not the way a transparent, inclusive organisation should be run.
It has been stated that Yes Cymru is a grassroots organisation, and this is a true reflection of how things have evolved so far, with local groups being set up the length and breadth of Wales.
Representatives from these groups have been coming together every few months throughout the past year, as a National Committee, together with members of CC.
They have been coming together to discuss and make decisions on national strategy and funding of local groups and campaigns, and to share ideas and local successes.
However, the motion to amend the constitution at the upcoming AGM will do away with the National Committee altogether.
This is just one of a whole raft of changes which, taken together, will substantially centralise power in the hands of only eight individuals, or potentially just five as I will argue below.
The attached Yes Cymru constitution sets out the current constitution, with the proposed changes in track changes.
I would like to bring to your attention some of the changes which would, in my opinion, be detrimental, if not dangerous, to the future of Yes Cymru, the main and clear theme being the centralisation of power.
If the motion is carried:
1.) At an AGM, if fewer than 80 members vote against a motion proposed by the Chair (and previously approved by CC), the motion shall be deemed passed (Par 24b).
So, as an example, even if there are 100 present at an AGM, with 25 votes for and 75 against, a motion decided upon by CC would still pass. This is ridiculously undemocratic.
2.) The Central Committee (CC) will decrease in size from 16 to 8 (Par 28), and will have the power to remove any member from CC without reason (Par 31).
In theory, this means any five individuals elected to CC in an AGM could then immediately decide to remove the other three.
3.) The National Committee will be scrapped altogether (Par 4d), and therefore local groups will have no formal channel to inform national strategy, nor will they have a say in how membership fees should be allocated to groups, if at all (Par 69b).
4.) Rules regarding if and when to hold an AGM will have been greatly weakened (Par 14). Note the inclusion of ‘Save in exceptional circumstances (as determined by the central committee)’, and ‘endeavour to’.
The need to hold an AGM no fewer than 10 months and not more than 16 months following the previous AGM has been scrapped, with the inclusion of ‘in each calendar year’.
In the context of CC recently choosing to hold an AGM at 11:30am on a Tuesday with limited notice, I find this worrying.
5.) Furthermore, CC will have the power to make any changes it wants to the constitution during the year, up until the next AGM.
So even if CC fail to get a certain motion to change the constitution passed at an AGM, it could go ahead and pass it anyway at its following meeting.
6.) The CC will be able to set up a company (Par 3m), rather than a company which is a charity as is currently the case, and will be able to transfer to that company the whole or any part of the association’s assets and undertakings.
There might well be sound legal reasons for this, around liability etc. But considering YC currently have a substantial pot of money in its coffers, and projections for this to increase rapidly over the next few years as membership increases, combined with decision-making powers potentially being centralised in the hands of as few as five individuals, this might be a cause for concern in future.
Yes Cymru has a bright future ahead of it and will, as long as it remains a grassroots, bottom-up organisation, play a pivotal role in delivering Welsh independence.
However, as I have set out here, it needs to be very careful as not to take a wrong, potentially dangerous turn at this crucial stage, with these misguided centralising proposals which would emasculate the ordinary members.
As asked of me by several members across Wales, I therefore urge as many members as possible to attend the AGM and vote against this motion.
The AGM is held on Saturday 13 October at Memorial Institute Hall, Porth Tywyn / Burry Port. Registration starts at 11am, meeting at 11:30am.