THE Best Western Diplomat Hotel and Spa was the venue for a meeting of Plaid Cymru members, suspended local branch members, existing branch members and anyone else with an interest in joining a political group within Plaid Cymru as long as they don’t belong to any other political party operating in Wales.
It was left to Mary Roll to welcome speakers and around 40 guests who turned out this evening, Wednesday (Mar 28). Mary introduced herself as a resident of Llanelli town and someone who had joined Plaid Cymru 3 years ago having retired from a career abroad. She told the audience that joining Plaid Cymru was an obvious choice as she was brought up by a Welsh mother to be a committed Welsh Nationalist.
Speaking about the recent turmoil within the Plaid Cymru Llanelli branch she said: “Events in Llanelli fill me with astonishment and dismay following the suspension of the Llanelli Town Branch.”
Mary has been outspoken about the series of events leading up to the selection of Mari Arthur as the candidate for Llanelli in the 2017 General Election and the subsequent sidelining of Llanelli’s own Sean Rees.
Mary said that she believed that freedom of speech was the cornerstone of democracy and hinted at the numerous articles published in the Welsh media by saying that ‘no one knows anymore what is truth and what is fake news and that she believed that people were struggling with social media. She warned of the danger of what is happening at centralised government level.
She said “What we don’t need is a nebulas code of conduct invented by the few to control the many. Shutting down debate and the unilateral imposition of alleged discipline by those in power, which can be construed as censorship must not be allowed. Due process must under all circumstances be respected. Tyrants have tried to silence the Welsh nation for over a thousand years. I don’t want to be part of the generation that roll over.”
Sean Rees: was the first of the guest speakers. Making his comeback to local politics he began by touching on his love of Llanelli and its industry, culture and sport.
Sean said that he saw the challenges and the problems. He said: “If we want progress then we must be the change we want to see. Our communities are the bedrock of our nation. It is ten years ago I joined Plaid Cymru. During those ten years I worked as press and comms manager. I have worked alongside an A-team of dedicated people. I have spoken out on issues including mental health and the steel industry. My focus is representing my town as a town councillor. I enjoy engaging on the bread and butter issues. Improving facilities at Llanelli railway station. Retention of all existing services at Prince Phillip Hospital.
“We live in turbulent times. Even as we sit here tonight the political landscape is changing all around us. It can only be described a sad state of affairs. I could write a book on it all. Due to the sensitivity I am unable to go into detail at this stage. When individuals resort to personal attacks as keyboard warriors it is they who have clearly lost the argument. The Plaid Cymru we know is a party for all members. The problems surrounding the selection process should be subject to a full investigation.”
Next to speak was Neil McEvoy AM. He began by emphasising the need for respect for each other, the rules and equality of opportunity. Setting out his stall he said that it was not his job to take sides.
“Plaid should be a decentralised party where local members know best. It is not rocket science.”
Mr McEvoy then outlined his political career path from joining the Workers Revolutionary Party to the Labour Party and resenting Labour for being ‘told what to think’.
Mr McEvoy then turned his attention to Lee Waters AM whose name he could not recall. He erroneously claimed that Llanelli was represented by an assembly member who lives in Barry. (Mr Waters resides in Llanelli).
Speaking about Lee Waters the Cardiff AM said:
“He’s the one who’s going on about robots all the time. That’s all he talks about is robots probably because he is I would say a typical robot Labour politician, a nodding head programmed to do as he is told by his party regardless of the issue.”
Mr McEvoy had no time for Labour at Cardiff Bay. He said:
“I don’t think I really need to say how bad this Labour government in the Bay is and how Labour is selling us out continuously.”
Turning his attentions to mud Mr McEvoy claimed that 333,000 tonnes of mud from the Hinckley Point Nuclear plant is about to be dumped in waters just outside Cardiff. He claims that this mud will be washed all around the coast and reach Llanelli.
Mr McEvoy described the potential dumping as a scandal and a 21stcentury Tryweren. He asked the audience to help launch a national campaign to stop it happening.
Turning to the main event, the establishment of a new group within Plaid Cymru Mr McEvoy said that the group would be formed and named by the end of April 2018.
He said that the group would be based on three key principles.
1. Individual sovereignty
2. Natural Justice and due process
3. Free Speech
Describing the structure he said that it would be a private company limited by guarantee, run by its members in the interests of furthering the stated aims of Plaid Cymru and run by members not leadership.
He said that the new group would organise events and rallies and that members would be trained to go out and win elections.
The main aim of the group is to achieve sovereignty for Wales. Mr McEvoy said that he wanted ‘National Sovereignty’ and to ‘govern our own country’ and that he was ‘not happy to sit back and pay rent on this place to a government in London’.
Mr McEvoy called for an end to corruption and corporate lobbyists. A united Wales with a new economy with ports and factories trading with other countries and a Wales with a National constitution laying out rights and responsibilities of individuals.
“We must learn from our past and remember how industrious people have been we have to get together and do it for ourselves. I hope you are convinced that there is a need for new group in Plaid Cymru. We need to expose, oppose and replace this rotten Labour Government. We are not right left or bland centre, we are a grass roots up Welsh political movement.”