To be honest, Plaid Cymru’s results were not amazing. We were squeezed, like all small parties, by a resurgence of the old two-party system. Our good result in terms of seats made up for the fall in our national vote, mainly due to people sympathetic to Plaid voting tactically to ‘get the Tories out’ (and many of those young people).
Although many may have pinned their hopes in the Labour party for some kind of change, I will challenge anybody who will tell me that two parties gaining 82% of the vote is healthy in any democracy. Time and again, Wales has voted for Labour MPs, and time and again our communities have been failed by them.
Despite the long and gruelling campaign, I could not be prouder of my local Plaid Ifanc branch, managing almost 1000 telephone conversations in our target seats in addition to our days of action on the doorstep and delivering leaflets. Branches across Wales showed that Plaid Ifanc is an instrumental part of campaign activity throughout the nation, with many new active members showing their enthusiasm in places like Dwyfor Meirionnydd and of course, Ceredigion.
We are all delighted that we succeeded to elect one more MP to add to those we already had, and I’m ecstatic that 24 year old Ben Lake will be the youngest ever MP in Plaid Cymru’s history – and the first Plaid Ifanc MP ever to be elected.
Over the past few days, I have read many an article analysing and criticising Plaid Cymru’s performance, some articles calling on Leanne to consider or even relinquish her position. After an election, the Welsh blogosphere (and what is left of the Welsh media) blossoms with activity and ideas about how the National Movement should proceed, diagnosing every problem that Plaid Cymru faces and offering differing analyses of what went wrong.
One of our national hobbies in Wales is complaining – I have friends that could moan for Glamorgan. For example, the ‘culture of complaining’ in modern Welsh life is ever so perfectly embodied in the Welsh Language Commissioner, a public body facilitating people’s right to complain that they do not receive services in Welsh, yet getting very limited results in creating spaces where the language can be used naturally. Basically, we’ve got into a rut of thinking that it’s always for somebody else to ensure that things are done – it’s never down to us.
We know, out of experience, that it is action and dedication that will grow our nation. The ‘culture of complaining’, (or in Plaid’s case, the culture of criticising) is good at pointing out the problems, but doesn’t put into place the institutions, the organisations and the infrastructure we need in order to succeed.
So, do something for me. If you’re concerned that you have no Welsh nursery to send your kids to, set one up in the local vestry, like they used to in the 70s and 80s. If you’re complaining that you had no Plaid councillor to vote for in May, nominate yourself next time. If you complain that we have a struggling Welsh media, subscribe to a struggling publication, give up some of your time, and write for them. And if you’re lamenting about last week’s election, get involved, have conversations, put yourself forward for positions on a local or national committee and improve our national movement’s organising capacity.