Start ad­dress­ing Wales as it re­ally is

Western Mail - - WM2 -

UN­LIKE Clay­ton Jones (Let­ters, De­cem­ber 2) and Gwyn Hopkins (Let­ters, Novem­ber 21) I was not im­pressed by Patrick McGuin­ness’ ar­ti­cle claim­ing that a lack of self­con­fi­dence is keep­ing peo­ple from sup­port­ing Welsh in­de­pen­dence (West­ern Mail, Novem­ber 16).

When Plaid Cymru is not do­ing well at elec­tions there is a ten­dency for some na­tion­al­ists (not those who stand for the As­sem­bly and Par­lia­ment) to crit­i­cise the elec­torate for not vot­ing for them. The late Rhobert Ap St­ef­fan wrote a mem­o­rable let­ter to the West­ern Mail ex­press­ing this view af­ter the 2010 elec­tion. This is hardly the way to gain votes.

On the is­sue of win­ning sup­port from un­com­mit­ted vot­ers Plaid Cymru is prob­a­bly the most in­com­pe­tent party in Europe. Only a few weeks ago Ron Davies was com­plain­ing in this news­pa­per that too many peo­ple re­garded Plaid Cymru as a party for Welsh-speak­ers. Na­tion­al­ists have no-one but them­selves to blame for this prob­lem.

Na­tion­al­ists also suffer be­cause of this coun­try’s di­vi­sive and un­pop­u­lar English-lan­guage tele­vi­sion ser­vice. How­ever, the wil­ful re­fusal of Plaid Cymru’s lead­er­ship to ad­dress the fact that the party can­not get its mes­sage across to many hun­dreds of thou­sands of view­ers who choose not to watch BBC Wales is, if not ab­so­lute proof, cer­tainly strong ev­i­dence that Plaid Cymru has no in­ter­est in in­creas­ing its vote be­yond Gwynedd and Dyfed and is as much of a re­gional party in this coun­try as the North­ern League is in Italy.

Welsh na­tion­al­ism will never be­come a truly na­tional force like its Scot­tish coun­ter­part un­til na­tion­al­ists stop ad­dress­ing Wales as they think it ought to be and start ad­dress­ing the coun­try as it re­ally is. Gwyn Mered­ith


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