Wales

The story of a Plaid Cymru sacking

  • 13 March 2014
  • From the section Wales
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Leanne Wood didn't actually use the term "un-Welsh" in relation to UKIP in her conference speech last week.

Instead she said: "Your values are not the values of Wales. A vote for UKIP is a vote against Wales, a vote against the Welsh national interest. We cannot and will not let their ugly politics divide us in May."

However, a press release did use the term "un-Welsh" and it came at the same time as the controversy surrounding the tweet by the Plaid MP Jonathan Edwards, questioning whether Sam Warburton should be the Welsh rugby captain if he considered himself British.

UKIP, unsurprisingly, objected strongly to the patriotic nature of the attack from Leanne Wood.

The day after it became apparent that UKIP weren't the only ones unhappy with the rhetoric when I spoke with the former party leader Lord Elis-Thomas.

He said: "It is facile and assumes a kind of superiority that we decide who is Welsh and who is not Welsh.

"A party which gets votes from ordinary citizens in Wales has to be taken seriously.

"It clearly represents a point of view in Wales."

Party unity

His words were shrugged off at the time.

There was a feeling among some that a Plaid conference wouldn't be a Plaid conference without something controversial being said by their former leader.

Lord Elis-Thomas has been outspoken in the past and two years ago came close to facing official disciplinary action after he failed to turn up to a vote on health policy.

But clearly his reaction at the weekend was considered too serious to shrug off, as the latest events have shown.

His sacking is obviously a result of criticising his political leader after one of her biggest speeches of the year, but it's also a reflection of the need for party unity for Plaid at a critical time when all efforts are being put into retaining their seat at the European Parliament.

During the spring conference, I was told time and time again that it was going to be tight and everyone within the party had to pitch in to ensure Jill Evans is re-elected.

So in that context, you can imagine how badly the comments by Lord Elis-Thomas would have gone down with the leadership.