I'm the Hen Ferchetan. This is my take on the world through the eyes of Wales. While mostly about Welsh politics (that most famous of dour topics!) I try to scatter some humour around, but I doubt anyone but me will find it funny! Have a read, and if it bores you then feel free to never come back!

Monday, 28 April 2008

To Speak or Not to Speak?

Recent discussions have brought my old pet-peeve to the fore - the culture of parties acting like a block and not an individual. The Cynical Dragon lashes out against Plaid for being against the St Athan project stating:

Ignoring the 'school of death' rubbish, are Plaid Cymru really standing against an £11bn investment in Wales? Of course they are.
Um...no they're not. Plaid supports the St Athan project. What the Dragon is doing is mixing the personal opinion of one politician (Jill Evans) with her whole party.

Peter Black, being a politician himself, has no such confusion. He clearly understands that Jill Evans' stance is her own opinion. He also points to a similar incident over the Aerolink Wales exhibition, which was welcomed by Ieuan Wyn Jones but criticised by Plaid Councillor Gwenllian Landsdown (she is now also the Chief-Exec, but was just a Councillor when she criticised the exhibition). He finishes his post on the matter with this line:

Although the two politicians are perfectly entitled to express their point of view, this lack of discipline and inconsistency within Plaid surely militates against them becoming a serious party of government.

"Lack of discipline"? What are Plaid supposed to do, bring out the old slipper when one of their representative disagrees with the party line? It's clear that Peter Black is a believer in the "follow the leader" type politics which is so prevalent at the Assembly, where politicians vote with their party not with their own opinions.

Have you ever watched AM's voting? It is the most predictable event on earth - they will all follow the party line like sheep. While this is mostly true about all politicians, at least in London MP's will rebel if they feel strongly about something - has that ever, once, happened in Cardiff? That's a serious question and I would love to know if someone has the answer. Has an AM ever voted against his party line, apart from when they've been give a free vote (such as the badger-cull)? Is there actually any point in our AM's turning up to vote? It would be easier, and just as honest, for the four leaders plus Trish Law to meet in a side-room and declare which way their voting block will go.

I may not agree with Jill Evans' stance - but I would have been disgusted if she'd have kept silence over an issue that she feels so strongly about. The same goes for Gwenllian Landsdown. We vote for politicians not political parties.


David said...

The 'Dragon' isn't mixing up her opinion with Plaid's.

The Party originally welcomed the move, then after badgering by Jill they announced 'reiterates Plaid Cymru’s opposition to privatisation, including that of military training'.

So are they supporting the Academy or opposing it?

Hen Ferchetan said...

Supporting it - have you ever seen a quote or headline saying otherwise?

Jill Evans' motion asked Plaid to oppose the Academy - they did not vote in favour of the motion.

I actually agree that privatisation of the military is a very (very) dangerous route, doesn;t mean I'm against the academy.

(And I note that your reference to privatisation only appeared in the comments later, not in the main post)

David said...

The St Athan project is a privatised military training centre. If you're against privatised military training how can you be 'for' the centre?

PS my original post didn't have 'privatised' in it (although the quote from Jill Evans did and that what inspired the post).

Hen Ferchetan said...

"If you're against privatised military training how can you be 'for' the centre?"

I am against the Iraq war, but I still believe that we should probably equip the soldiers that are there. (i.e. make the best of a bad situation).

The line of thought there I guess is:

No war in iraq better than well equipped soldiers in iraq better than ill-equipped soldiers in Iraq.

We didn't get the best option so we should work for the second best option. Same reasoning works for the Academy.

Non-private Academy is better than a private academy which is better than no academy.

The first wasn't on the table, so the second best is accepted.

The National Council had a chance to vote against the Academy and they didn't do so - that should be the answer you'r looking for.

Anonymous said...

Are you a Plaid Cymru member HF? I only ask in case I have to correct my blogroll ;)

Hen Ferchetan said...

I am not a member of any party ordovicius. I have been a member of a party in the past (student days) but am no longer. I guess it's fair to say that my votes in recent years have gone Plaid's way though.

I just love a good argument, whatever side I'm on! I just have a big pet hate of politicians following party lines instead of their own opinions.

Anonymous said...

four plaid AMs went against the party line on a coalition with the Tories. Not a vote but still possibly the most significant rebellion in assembly history. And they got slated for it.