Congratulations/llongyfarchiadau on your election as the new leader of Plaid Cymru. Right, that’s enough back-slapping – as you well know there’s much work to do and not a moment to waste. Straight away you have initiated a much-needed root and branch reorganisation and revitalisation of the party, the creation of a programme for government and a route map towards the ultimate goal of independence for Wales. Meanwhile you have been doing the tour of broadcasters, newspapers and media outlets, giving interviews, getting yourself visible and banging the drum for Plaid. This is a good start, but it can only be the prelude for the onerous, demanding tasks that lie ahead. In this blog post I just want to add a few words of advice, drawn from my own experience across 40 years campaigning as a socialist and Welsh republican.
If you don’t know this already, you soon will: the British State, with all its immense resources and all its outriders, servants, agents, shock troops, bovver boys, trolls, stooges, propagandists, apologists, tools, instruments and vast panoply of assorted handmaidens and lackeys, will stop at nothing to destroy you if there is the slightest suggestion that you might succeed in your aims. The reason for this is quite straightforward and you really need to understand it fully. Welsh independence is about far more than freedom for Wales itself, vital as that is. Welsh independence would, by definition, mean the end of the UK, the end of GB, the end of ‘Britain’. Scottish independence, although momentous in its own right and certainly a savage blow to the UK, cannot ever have quite the impact that Welsh independence would. We were England’s first seizure by force, first colony and first piece in a jigsaw that eventually covered the planet; only when Wales is unshackled will the appalling monster be finally slain. That is the thrilling main prize, significant far beyond our own borders. That is the giant, delicious, juicy cherry on the cake of our autonomy that would have them dancing in the streets from Buenos Aires to Beijing, Brisbane to Banff, Bangalore to Berlin. And, precisely because Welsh secession from England is so very very crucial and world-shattering, you must brace yourself for an onslaught. You are going to have to be a hero.
You’ve already got them worried. The British Nationalist keyboard warriors have been flooding the chatrooms, message boards and below-the-line comments with their ignorance, misinformation and outright hostility to the very idea that there is still such a thing as Wales. You scare them Adam and that’s a good sign. But this is mere flim-flam compared to what will be unleashed if Plaid starts to build momentum among the people of Wales and really look like a threat. It is not sensationalism for me to recommend that you hire security guards at your home and wear a bullet-proof vest when out and about. We are, after all, talking about the most murderous State in the entire annals of recorded history: they will stop at nothing.
I do speak from experience. In my years of activism in the trade union movement, for instance, which in the grand scheme of things hardly amounted to a flea-bite on the UK’s fat flabby filthy fetid arse, I had to contend with phone-tapping, false imprisonment, burglary, physical attacks, threats and intimidation. And even now, a harmless scribbler in his dotage, barely creating a ripple in the remote backwaters of the internet, I have had to grow accustomed to a perpetual barrage of cyber attacks and menacing emails. This is what they do. How else do you think the oldest rogue State on the planet has survived so long? Not just by laundering the proceeds of international crime, by harbouring the robber baron fat cats, by founding and enabling the evil military-industrial complex, by propping up tyrants and crypto-fascists, by dealing in armaments and destruction, by stoking universal debt, poverty and planned obsolescence, and by slavery, robbery and mass murder – but also by ruthlessly crushing what Thatcher memorably called “the enemy within”. Be careful Adam. Be very careful.
I notice that your initial approach is the charm offensive: don’t frighten the horses; kill ’em with kindness. In one interview you even came out with “I love the English”. Well, Adam, perhaps this is an example of the strategic wisdom you learnt at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University when you took a break from UK politics eight years ago, and who am I to argue with the political scientists and scions of academe? I would only remind you that your “love” for the English is entirely unrequited, so pursuing that path too assiduously will lead to a dead end. And, as a terrible warning of where such one-way sentiments always take a Welshman, let me just mention one person: Dafydd Elis-Thomas.
We all loved Leanne Wood, mainly because she’s lovely. She did a lot of important, excellent work as Plaid leader – not least raising the profile of the party from total invisibility. But the fact is that the single defining moment of her six years as leader was her appearance on the UK general election debates with other party leaders in 2015 and the moment she sprang into life when Nigel Farage said something typically odious, bigoted and stupid about people with HIV. Up to then she had been becalmed, robotic and innocuous; suddenly she was the feisty, passionate, spontaneous Leanne of old. I cheered her on, but it was only afterwards I realised it had taken a minor, non Welsh-specific issue to get her going whereas the little matter of the ongoing 900-year ransacking, exploitation, subjugation, annexation and oppression of Wales left her entirely unmoved in comparison. The point is this: the leader of Plaid Cymru has one duty only, to fight for Welsh freedom. That is a big enough job to keep anyone more than fully occupied for a lifetime without getting side-tracked down the primrose path of here-today-gone-tomorrow, irrelevant identity politics. Such issues appeal because they’re a soft option way to signal liberal values and flag up progressive virtues, but they have absolutely zero bearing on the big picture: the plight of Wales. Don’t make the same mistake Adam; keep your eye on the target. And here’s a suggestion: make it a golden rule never, ever to mention your gayness. Why? Because firstly, sexuality is the least interesting and least informative thing about a human being, and secondly because a middle-aged bloke talking about such adolescent fluff is really, really off-putting – and I say that as a one-time ‘gay’ man.
This leads me to my final point. Leanne was lovely, you are charming, Plaid is civilised, inclusive and decent, all’s well with the world and God is in his heaven…but hang on a minute…this approach, this attitude, this outlook is not only completely inappropriate; it is not going to change anything. Wales is in mortal jeopardy – just listen to that piece of stinking shit on the UKIP benches in the Senedd if you need proof. Our one and only planet is in mortal jeopardy – just read this week’s IPCC report into man-made climate change if you need proof. The entire enlightenment project is in mortal jeopardy – three words will suffice here for proof of that: President Donald Trump. In this context, being ‘nice’ isn’t just pissing into a hurricane, it’s positively irresponsible. What Wales needs is fire, anger, rage, rebellion, sedition and revolution – or else we’re finished. You need to put spanners in the works. You need to give the British Nationalist imperialists a taste of their own implacable, hate-filled rhetoric. You need to take the fight to the bastards, thump the table, bash heads together, wave the Draig Goch and, yes, wage fearless war on the British, the very worst people on Earth.