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ARE Plaid about to surprise everybody, and launch a bold campaign to win hearts and minds over the border next year?
The Electoral Commission have just approved two new party descriptors for the party: ‘New Wales Party’ and ‘Plaid Cymru Newydd.’
These descriptors can be used during election campaigns, and of course the Welsh Election is now less than 6 months away.
But bizarrely, the new descriptors cannot be used in Wales, and will only apply in England according to the Electoral Commission.
Perhaps the EC have let the cat out of the bag as to one of Plaid’s secret election plans for next year.
The Welsh name for England (Lloegr) does in fact mean ‘y tiroedd coll’ – (the lost lands) – and it would certainly be a very interesting story if Plaid were to campaign over the border next May.
Perhaps there would be many English voters who would prefer to be part of a ‘New Wales’, than be slow cooked in Boris Johnson’s oven ready deal for England.
And maybe Plaid’s alliance with the Unionist Parties, the Lib Dems and the Greens at the 2019 election was indeed a foretaste of their greater ambitions for the party than merely little old Wales itself.
But, the truth is likely to be more prosaic unfortunately.
The Electoral Commission seem to be caught up in the middle of a running battle between Plaid and Neil McEvoy concerning names for next year’s election.
McEvoy’s original name submission for his new party (Welsh National Party) was refused by the EC as being too similar to Plaid’s.
He’s now resubmitted ‘Welsh Nation Party’ (WNP) which is being considered by the EC.
Plaid decided to counter this move with their own NWP ‘National Wales Party’ descriptor.
It now appears that the Electoral Commission believe voters could be confused between WNP and NWP on the ballot papers next year.
Thus ordering Plaid to limit it’s use of their NWP tag to England alone (where McEvoy’s outfit is not running).
It’s a sorry tale all round.
The Electoral Commission is very London-centric, and it makes no sense that this organisation has control over the Welsh election process in such a way.
But the gamesmanship between Plaid and McEvoy over the respective names of their parties is also very off putting.
You would think that the emergence of a new national party would be welcomed as a way of enhancing our democracy.
Instead it’s being mired in a ‘political class’ row over names, which has no relevance whatsoever to your average voter.