Cur Pen yr Unoliaethwyr
Tue. September 13, 2011
The recent interventions by Murdo Fraser, David Melding and Rene Kinzett about the future of the Tory parties in their respective countries is interesting. I and others, including forward thinking Labour party members, have advocated that following devolution political realignment is inevitable at some stage – where the Westminster party structures are replaced with Welsh parties reflecting the nationalist – unionist dynamic in Wales as well as the traditional left v right.
Murdo, David and Rene of course are only advocating half the job as their proposed new parties will remain unionist parties. For genuine realignment there will need to be a party of the right that advocates greater political autonomy for Wales. The inherent contradiction of the Labour party in Wales with its warring unionist and nationalist wings could be resolved with the creation of two distinct Welsh parties. Carwyn Jones might profess to stand up for Wales, but he is only able to do so when his MPs let him!
If there is any doubt about what I’m saying look at what’s happening in Scotland.
The Unionist parties face two possible models currently operating in Europe. In Germany for instance the CSU in Bavaria has a formal working relationship with the CDU in the Federal Parliament. Whilst in Belgian the various parties have completely different entities operating in Flanders and Wallonia.
The current Unionist party structures have attempted to deal with this issue to date via the branding of their parties. Knowing the great desire in Wales for more political autonomy, the Labour party and Conservatives stamp themselves as Welsh Labour and the Welsh Conservatives. A deliberate strategy aimed at masking the fact that they are London run, London backed political entities.
Carwyn and Andrew RT do not lead their parties in Wales, they merely lead their respective National Assembly groups. The leader of the Labour party in Wales is Ed Miliband, and David Cameron leads the Tories. In reality Peter Hain and Cheryl Gillan are senior to the leaders of both main unionist parties in the National Assembly.
Neither Labour or the Tories have separate accounting units from their HQs and therefore effectively both parties use money from outside Wales to buy Welsh votes at election time.
The issue is complicated by Electoral Commission rules which allow parties several name choices for electoral purposes. Under these rules Labour and the Tories are able to portray themselves as distinct Welsh parties. This is deeply misleading and inevitably skews voting intentions. The media in using these terms are effectively acting as propaganda agents for the two main unionist parties.
Plaid should add to it’s listed of entitled names ‘Plaid Cymru – the only party worth voting for at this election’. If the media are to be consistent with the rules they are currently applying for Labour and the Tories they would have to use it. In stark contrast to the branding of the unionist parties it would also be factually correct.
I look forward to being introduced as Jonathan Edwards, ‘Plaid Cymru the only party worth voting for’ when I do my next TV or radio interview.
Welsh democracy would be far better served if the Tories and Labour lived up to their branding and became genuine Welsh parties.
(The Lib Dems are a different case as they are a federal party. I have no issue at all with the use of the term Welsh Lib Dems.)
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