2021 Senedd elections
As a Plaid Cymru member since the aftermath of the 2015 Westminster general election, I can't pretend that Thursday's Senedd election was anything other than disappointing. Long-held dreams of Plaid in Government seem to be slipping further away, and the narrative can now so easily be spun as a rejection of annibyniaeth.
I've written in the past of my disappoinment in Plaid's leadership allowing trans-exclusionary opinions to circulate within the party, and whilst I'd love to have won Llanelli (which, far from the ultra-tight marginal changing hands every election, now looks almost safe for Llafur) the departure of HMJ is not exactly something I'm upset about. Indeed, she may as a parting gift have cost Plaid a seat in the North Wales region and denied Llafur their thirtieth seat . However, the loss of Leanne Wood is a bitter one for the party, the Senedd, and politics in Cymru generally -- it was Leanne's fundamental decency, so clearly in politics for the right reasons, that led me to join the party and proved so key in my own politics. I can only hope that she will return in time.
Annibyniaeth and Ffederaliaeth
This Senedd election is the first in which independence for Cymru was truly a "serious" issue. It was front and centre of the Plaid campaign, and the lack of momentum for Plaid will no doubt lead to opinion pieces on the stagnation of the movement.
This interpretation misses a fundamental truth: annibyniaeth is no longer just a Plaid Cymru matter. 51% of Llafur Cymru voters would vote for it. The pressure from the growing Indy movement has been enough to push Drakeford towards a platform of federalism -- a doomed one, but a stumbling half-step in the right direction and at the very least a recognition that Westminster simply does not work, that the United Kingdom is a failed experiment. Independence may now be a matter out of Plaid's hands, and that may be no ill thing -- if support within the other parties continues to grow, we may begin to have long-needed serious conversations about the hows, not the ifs; we may be able to treat Annibyniaeth as a foregone conclusion.
It's increasingly clear that no country in the United Kingdom shares its outlook with another. Labour's successes in the Bay will doubtless be brushed over by a London media too keen to tell the story of Starmer's failures in Hartlepool (a faulty theory even within England, given the council results!), but Cymru's rejection of crackpot right-wing parties and (as much as I'd rather it to have been Plaid) endorsement of what is ultimately a sensible centre-left Llafur Cymru keen on furthering the devolution agenda just further demonstrates the differences between Cymru and our neighbour to the East. Our manifestos aren't altogether that different, and at least Cymru is in reasonably safe, if boring, hands.
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