Daily Archives: 24 February 2006

New name? Plaid should have checked

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.

A question of standards

We Lib Dems, we hate the Standards Board, right? Got policy to abolish it even. Some of us, notably Islington Council Leader Steve Hitchens and East Yorks Councillor Colleen Gill, have even almost come unstuck by them. We have good reason to be very dubious about their rulings.

So why – the fuck – are Graham Tope and Simon Hughes going along with today’s ruling to suspend Ken Livingstone? It is an absolute bloody outrage. For the record, he didn’t even make an anti-semitic comment. True, it was unbelievably crass and it is bizarre that he chose to not apologise and simply put the whole thing to bed, but that is a matter for the London electorate, but an unelected cabal of busybodies.

Iain Dale could well be right – perhaps Livingstone ought to resign and cause a by-election on this issue. Of course, we’d then fight the campaign on other issues, but if Livingstone went on to humiliate us (in the way that he utterly humiliated Hughes in 2004), that might well be justice.

Livingstone is, to be sure, about the worst kind of Labour politician going – as opportunistic as it gets, plays community against community, seeks to hide behind the autocratic powers granted him by the government and then attacks the GLA for failing to hold him to account – he certainly needs taking down a peg or five. But this ruling threatens every single elected politician in the country. A degree of solidarity is long overdue.