was originally published on this site
Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.I get it. The European elections in May are probably the most pointless in the history of Britain. Certainly it’ll be the case if Brexit happens. Vote for an elected body that the United Kingdom will (let’s assume this for now) leave in October. What’s the point of that? Why bother?
So a lot of people will probably not bother to vote. And this is dangerous for democracy.
In Wales of the four available seats opinion polls suggest that Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, formed when UKIP moved to the right of Ghengis Khan will win two of them, Plaid Cymru one and Labour one. You can see why this will happen. Most people will react in the way I suggested earlier and not bother to vote. But Brexiteers, those people who belive in it to the point of fundamentalism will. And so whoever they will vote in a general election they’ll vote for Farage for this one.
If the poll results are shown to be correct those who want Brexit will see as a vindication of their cause and will go on to the mainstream media to be bang on about just leaving the EU in October in whatever the form it will be. No matter what the economic damage to families across this disunited kingdom turns out to be.
So in Wales it is important that Plaid Cymru battles against Farage and the more polished face of right wing politics. I do believe that Welsh politics is slowly moving into a war between these two forces and that the two main Unionist parties are slowly losing their grip here. This really is just a small battle in the greater fight for independence. But it’s still a battle.
Therefore this is what I believe Plaid Cymru should do:
1) Make the case that whatever happens in the Brexit negotiations Plaid Cymru is the party best served to represent the interests of Wales in Europe:
We were after all supposed to have left the EU and discovered the joys of living in pre democratic Albania in March, then June and now the end of October. All of this because of the fundamental flaw in the entire referendum that people were voting for the destination when the route to get there was not clearly explained.
So no one can be sure whether we will be leaving in October (or indeed whether there will be a second referendum – though this is unlikely at time of writing). But whether we do or not Plaid Cymru needs to say that neither the Brexit Party, Labour and certainly not the Tories will work for Wales during this period. No one elected as a Plaid Cymru MEP will treat it as a long continental break before the break-up.
The other parties will follow their London HQ views whatever it’s effects on Wales. Plaid Cymru will work for the Welsh interest only. It’s important that this difference is highlighted.
2) Make the campaign not just about the EU:
I have seen an article via Twitter that suggests The Brexit Party will replace the NHS with private health insurance. Now whilst that may be more honest with regard to the Health Service after Brexit than that infamous bus it’s still a relatively quiet position in relation to everything else.
Plaid should make the Brexit Party’s position on other policies clear. Make it not the people’s party as it would like to make out. Highlight the unpopular aspects behind the smiling mask of Farage’s face.
And Plaid should not be afraid to speak about independence in these elections. That it is Plaid and only Plaid that offers the true and viable alternative to the fundamentalist right wing or the tired mainstream unionist parties.
3) Personalities are important too:
I’ve made it clear in this blog that I voted for Leanne Wood to be leader of Plaid Cymru and was disappointed (still am) that she lost. I wish she was leader now.
That having been said Adam Price is not only the leader of Plaid Cymru and also the leader the well. After all what’s the alternative for Wales? Farage? Mark “Jeremy’s disciple” Drakeford? Chucky Cairns? The Leader of UKIP Mr Creepy and the unknown inconsequential shadow moving slowly across the country that is the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats?
So it is the case that The Price Is Right for Wales. When he speaks there is a man who is leader of his party and not beholden to another across a bridge. He will need (as I’m sure he will) to campaign across Wales to emphasise the point.
4) Have a separate campaign targeting the youth vote:
Anecdotally the policy of independence is gaining traction amongst the young people in Wales. Plaid Cymru should use the election as a try out for general elections in having a separate campaign amongst them. It is they who do not as a rule follow the Tories but will be less influenced by the history of Welsh Labour than their incompetent present.
Their votes are important. Not just in May but also for future elections and a referendum on independence.
As I said it’s a small battle in the fight for independence. There will be greater confrontations to come. But it’s still a battle to be fought.
Until the next time.