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    12 May, 2005

    Plaid Cymru and the myths of defeat

    At Welsh Labour's conference in March, Peter Hain said that Plaid was the party of three leaders: Ieuan Wyn Jones in Cardiff, Elfyn Llwyd in Westminster, 'and Dafydd Iwan, in denial.' That seems to be a fair reflection on the Plaid Cymru post-mortem so far.

    Plaid has gone backwards since 2001. They lost nearly a third of their Assembly Members in 2003; their two flagship Valleys' councils in 2004; and possibly their most talented MP in 2005.

    After they lost the Rhondda, in 2003, they claimed we had spent £100,000 on our local campaign.

    After they lost Rhondda Cynon Taff Council, in 2004, they claimed we had spent £250,000 on the campaign. In fact, it was community campaigning that won it for us.

    Now, to deflect attention from their disastrous results, Plaid seem to be claiming that holding Carmarthen East and Dinefwr with an increased majority was a tremendous success because we had spent thousands there targetting Adam Price. There doesn't seem to be a link to the actual Western Mail story with Adam Price's claims that we had spent tens of thousands there. Sorry to disappoint them, but as far as I can see our candidate there just had a couple of visits and a few mentions in our press releases.

    They are also blaming the loss of Ynys Mon on the intervention of the independent candidate Peter Rogers. I think the high workrate and profile of Labour's Albert Owen has more to do with it, but if they want to remain in denial, that's up to them.

    Some of the Plaid members are wiser than this, and it may be they will have a thorough rethink. There are some suggestions that they are embarking on a painful internal debate . While they can be expected to do better overall in the Assembly elections, compared to the UK General election, I think they may well lose their place as the official Opposition in the Assembly next time to the Tories. They will be under pressure from ourselves, the Lib Dems and the Tories in several of their seats in 2007.

    Finally, I was entertained by the bar-chart used by Rhondda Plaid Cymru in one of their election leaflets, trying to show they were catching us up. It showed their vote going up from 21% in 2001, to 27% in the 2003 Assembly election and 35% in the RCT Council election in 2004. Just the small matter of the fall in their vote between 1999's Council and Assembly elections and the 2001 General Election and the subsequent assembly and Council elections. They ended up with 15.9% in the Rhondda this time: their worst Rhondda result since 1997, of course.

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    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

    Author's editorial policy: This blog does not publish anonymous comments, unless they are really witty and I like them. If you have something to say, then have the courage of your convictions and use your name or an identifiable alias. Even then I reserve the right not to publish comments that are malicious, defamatory, stupid, pointlessly cynical or boring. Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any constituent part or connected body.