BBC sent out number of identical questions to the four hopefuls to become the new leader of Plaid Cymru and has published their answers on four separate web-pages – which makes comparison difficult.
Additionally, when you cut out the fluff (a disease most British politicians seem to be plagued with) we can make fast and useful comparrisons of their postions.
Below are the 6 BBC questions and the abridged answers below for easy comparison:
Q: Why did Plaid go backwards at the last assembly election?
Dafydd Elis-Thomas: Lack of ‘electability’ – not credible enough.
Elin Jones: Lack of ambition and clear national vision.
Simon Thomas: Our message was confused and not getting through.
Leanne Wood: Not forward looking enough.
Q: Is it true, as Eurfyl ap Gwilym says, that some Plaid candidates and spokespeople need to pull their socks up?
Dafydd Elis-Thomas: My socks are made in Wales.
Elin Jones: Yes we need to work harder and be more focussed.
Simon Thomas: I do think the whole party has to up its game.
Leanne Wood: Yes – No member of Plaid Cymru is exempt!
Q: How can Plaid strike the balance between calling for independence and avoid “appearing to be interested in constitutional matters only”?
Dafydd Elis-Thomas: Sustainable development, effective use of natural resources.
Elin Jones: Wales needs more powers to create a fairer society and stronger ecomony.
Simon Thomas: Fight for the control and ownership of our natural resources.
Leanne Wood: Focusing on the economy and jobs.
Q: Do you expect to see an independent Wales in your lifetime?
Dafydd Elis-Thomas: Yes
Elin Jones: Not sure.
Simon Thomas: Yes
Leanne Wood: Yes.
Q: After years of trying to promote the party as representing everyone in Wales, why did the review find there was still a perception that you are perceived as the “Welsh-speaking party”?
Dafydd Elis-Thomas: Excuses are made for a lack of real political engagement.
Elin Jones: Ours is a vision for the nation, not any one constituent part.
Simon Thomas: Plaid’s message needs to be heard in a different accent.
Leanne Wood: I’m not sure.
Q: Should Plaid be called the Welsh National Party in English?
Dafydd Elis-Thomas: No, “the party of Wales” is better than “Welsh National Party”
Elin Jones: It’s not important. It’s a matter for the party as a whole.
Simon Thomas: No, the party already has an English name – the party of Wales.
Leanne Wood: No – it’s mere cosmetic change.
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So who’s the winner? Here’s my take:
1 point for Dafydd for his Welsh socks
minus 1 point for Elin for waffling on an independent Wales in our lifetime.
minus 1 point for all 4 candidates on being too conservative not open to reconsidering the party name in English.
(When you consider the fact that the name of the party is possibly the only thing a majority of voters know about Plaid Cymru, or consider when it comes to marking their X, the name could be the single most important factor. This is a case of the candidates not seeing the forest because the trees are in the way.
Additionally, the current use of the term ‘Plaid’ for Plaid Cymru, or in other words, a singular ‘Party’ or more accurately in English – ‘The Party’ – has some creepy Staninesque overtones.)
Final tally – Dafydd narrowly wins with the humour factor! But none of the four rocked me with their vision or inspired me with their drive and ambition. Seems like they have spent too much time in committee-land secure in their fortress called the Assembly. As a result they start to sound like their masters – the bureaucratic chieftains.
What do you think?
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If you want to read the entire transcripts the BBC links are below:
The candidtes have their own websites;
(I have been unable to source a website for Simon Thomas. If such a website exists please put it in the comments section below)