New name? Plaid should have checked

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Peter Black has been chronicling the utterly pointless debate waging in the Welsh Assembly about its new building’s monoglot name.

Personally, I think that Senedd is a perfectly fine name, speaking as someone who doesn’t speak a word of Welsh. It evokes a distinct identity which is absolutely what you want an assembly for a nation to do.

There is however a problem with monoglot names when the same word means different things in different languages. Thus, while “plaid” may well mean party in Welsh, but to most English speakers it means a particularly naff material that the Bay City Rollers (Scottish) used to have their trousers made out of.

It is a very odd rebranding exercise – an explicit attempt to move away from the nationalism that they are defined by but which remains unpopular while attempting to position the party to look like a halfway house between Labour (flower logo) and the Lib Dems (yellow). The resemblance to the bp logo (Peter Black again) is similarly unfortunate.

What this all amounts to is what we’ve known to ages: Plaid has a chronic identity crisis. At a seminar I went to six years ago, I remember getting into a very heated argument with a Plaid and SNP participant. Neither myself nor the Scots Nat could understand Plaid’s independence-not-independence policy and our colleague got quite irate attempting to explain it without the use of diagrams and a logarhithmic table.

This relaunch, I suspect, will be about as ignomious as Consignia‘s.

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