"The arms that you wield now are not such as your forefathers wielded; but they are infinitely more effective, and infinitely more irresistable" ~ Cymru Fydd leaflet, 1890

Monday 19 August 2013

Video - The Great Debate

It will be no great surprise that Wales is decades behind Scotland when it comes to politics. But this video from 1995 shows clearly the gulf between the devolution Scotland was just about to receive and the devolution that Wales is still trying to achieve. Tax raising powers is probably the most obvious of these.

The debate betwen Alex Salmond and "Baron" Robertson also highlights the gulf between our nationalist party and Scotland's nationalist party. But before anyone in Plaid takes this as a slight it also shows the gulf between the SNP and Labour. The old cliché of "if this was a boxing match" is obvious from early in. And if I am to use another boxing reference it's a pleasure to watch Salmond in this old debate in much the same way that it's a pleasure to watch Muhammad Ali dance around his opponent, invite attacks before leaving them on the floor wondering what the hell just happened. I would recommend everyone watches this but at around 50 minutes not everyone will so I will mention some key moments below.

The first thing you'll notice is that Salmond is targetting independence. Not devolution or full national status (whatever that means) but full independence. Almost 20 years later they are still maintaining the same stance. Another thing that hasn't changed is Labour's scare stories. In fact they are using the same arguments they used nearly twenty years ago and the audience finds these just as laughable then as they do now. Labour's one and only policy that "we're not the Tories" hasn't changed, although Tony Blair had only been made leader of the party the year before but the words "a new Labour" are clearly heard.

One of the highlights of the video is towards the end when questions are invited from the audience. A lady asks Salmond and Robertson what their second choice is. And what an amazing question this was to ask in a pre-devolution Scotland. The first choice of Salmond is independence with devolution being a begrudged second best and, as he puts it, status quo is abysmal. But when Robertson is asked what his second preference would be he is left a gibbering wreck as he desperately tries to not admit to favouring the status quo. This I must add is after Salmond has goaded him several times over a previous slip where Robertson admitted if he thought devolution would lead to independence he wouldn't support it.

It's no wonder no one from the Better Together campaign has the balls to agree to a live debate with Salmond. Even with the fact that actually they had voter support on their side Robertson came off a very distant second best in a debate where he wouldn't admit what his second best is. Now that the SNP has a landslide winning majority in a system that is not meant to give one party a majority (as mentioned in the video) they'd be lambs to the slaughter.

Hat tip to the always impressive Wings over Scotland for this video. I would suggest that this be made compulsory viewing for every single member and politician in Plaid.

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