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Who will rid me of this troublesome Lord? Plaid Cymru’s dilemma

Lord Elis-Thomas fails in bid for party's top job to Leanne Wood.

Lord Elis-Thomas fails in bid for party’s top job to Leanne Wood.

Local Party back Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas

After a debate in Porthmadog the local Dwyfor Meirionnydd Plaid Cymru constituency party backed their Assembly Member Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas to remain their candidate in next May’s Assembly election.

Opinion was sought of the local party about the AMs future following his criticism of Plaid’s election campaign and strategy.

But the controversial Lord is not out of the woods yet, the circus now moves to Plaid’s National Executive Committee, which meets in August.

The governing body has the power to de-select him as a candidate. Despite him already  been chosen by his local party as the Plaid candidate to defend his Dwyfor Meirionnydd seat in the 2016 assembly elections.

What are the heinous crimes levelled at that the good Lord? Sub-ordination. Not toeing the party line.

He criticised his party’s general election campaign. Accusing it of not been focused enough on Wales and ridiculing its over emphasis on parity with Scotland.

He also thought that tactically if the EU referendum was held on the same day as the Assembly elections it would increase turnout and help Plaid. His leader Leanne Wood disagreed. Hardly a hanging matter.

 History of friction

There is a history of friction between Leanne Wood and Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas. She was instrumental in him loosing the chair of the Assembly’s Environment Committee for criticising her spring party conference speech in which she said a vote for UKIP was “a vote against Wales”. He described the attack as “facile.”

But it was his criticism of the general election campaign that probably got him into his current mess. It’s what got the  party’s hierarchy so agitated that they want to see him punished.

But as this Almanac has previously pointed out the party made no gains and came fourth the UKIP in the national vote. See http://welshpolitics.co.uk/2015/05/plaid-cymru-fail-to-make-a-breakthrough/

Despite Leanne Wood having considerable radio, television and press coverage on the UK stage the party made no headway at all.Plaid should reflect on this rather than shoot the messenger.

Plaid Cymru ought to take stock at the implications of getting rid of the troublesome Lord. If the former President of the party ceased to be a Plaid candidate and stood instead as an independent that would become the focus of the election campaign. Surely not an outcome even the most vitriolic critic of Dafydd El would want.

In such circumstances Plaid’s election campaign would be de-railed and Wood’s ambition of leading Plaid into government would certainly seem a very hollow claim indeed.

It’s not the Lord that should be under the lash but whoever embarked on this foolhardy attempt to undermine one of Plaid Cymru’s elder statesmen.  Madness indeed.

He’s an asset to his party despite occasionally being off message. His party would be the poorer without him and Wales’s politics would be a lot duller if he left the stage.

Better he be in the tent pissing out, than outside…

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