Such a thing has been blogged on before, Adam Price, the Plaid Cymru MP for Camarthen East and Dinefwr, has made calls as recently as June in the wake of the Tories topping the European Election poll in Wales. Whilst Plaid sits with Labour in the Welsh Assembly, this is something that some Plaid members are perhaps uneasy about, despite the ‘One Wales’ Government’s relative success in rebuffing the recession from hitting Wales hard.
Jim Jepps, who posts over at The Daily (Maybe), took to the Green Party’s Autumn Conference a motion that would have lifted the ban on Greens entering joint-lists with other parties in PR elections, unfortunately this was dropped from the agenda due to time constraints but I hope to see it come back to Spring Conference in February.
Whilst I am not a member of the Welsh Green Party, and any decision to enter into a formal alliance with Plaid Cymru or any other progressive force at the next Welsh Assembly elections in 2011 is the sole decision of the Green Party in Wales, I will spend the next few months to encourage a consensus in the Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW) that a coalition with Plaid is a necessity to resist the forces of reaction, be it from the Tories, UKIP, or heavens forbid, the BNP. As Adam Price has said, now is the time for a new plural politics of the progressive left.
Progressives in Wales have to take the fight to the forces of conservatism and right-wing populism. They have to take the political fight and the ideological one. In June’s European Elections Plaid came third in Wales with 126,702 votes or 18.5%, around 2% off from topping the poll there. The Greens took 38,160 votes, just narrowly beating the BNP, and increasing the vote by 2% to take 5.6% of the total vote to the BNP’s 5.4%. The combined Plaid and Green vote- 164,862- would have been enough to top the poll in Wales and perhaps deprive UKIP of the fourth seat and their first ever breakthrough in Wales. Before the election Plaid Cymru’s National Executive gave it’s blessing for the Greens to be approached to form a joint-list for the European Elections, however, because of the party’s ban on joint lists with other parties, the Welsh Green Party had no choice but to decline the offer. Had we formed a joint list with Plaid Cymru in Wales, and perhaps Mebyon Kernow in the South West, the Greens could have returned four MEPs rather than the two that they did. For the sake of Welsh national aspirations, and for progressive politics everywhere, the Greens must devote full attention post-General Election to working with Plaid and other forces to ensure that progressive Welsh voters have a clear choice in 2011: Progress or Reaction.
I am not in a position to suggest either the mechanics or policy aspects of such an alliance, but on the important issues regarding public services, a commitment to challenging climate change and an inclusive and tolerant Wales, Plaid Cymru and the Greens are in agreement. I would like to see Jim’s motion go to Spring Conference and supported by a fringe event with one or two Plaid representatives on a panel along with members from the Green Party in Wales on the theme of exploring co-operation between the two parties in Wales and how an alliance would look.
There is no room for complacency, a Tory victory in Wales in 2011 would be a set back for progressive politics everywhere, and would set Welsh national aspirations back for atleast a decade. Co-operation is a necessity.