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Plaid Cymru review suggests English name change to Welsh National Party

17 January 12 18:08
Ieuan Wyn Jones

Plaid Cymru should consider adopting the Welsh National Party as its English name, according to a party review.

Commissioned after disappointing results at last year's Welsh assembly election, the review says Plaid needs to deal with a perception that it is a party for Welsh speakers.

It says Plaid should be clearer about its goal of Welsh independence.

There has been a "lack of clarity" over Plaid's constitutional policy, it says.

The review by party grandees started after Plaid lost its status as the assembly's second-largest party and slipped behind the Conservatives at last May's election.

They heard feedback that Labour presented itself as the Welsh party while Plaid was seen as the Welsh speaking party.

On the potentially controversial name change, the review says: "A question that needs to be considered is whether or not the party adopts the name Welsh National Party as its English name. It is suggested that the party considers this matter."

It says Plaid needs to "clarify its understanding of what it means by decentralised socialism" and differentiate itself from what it calls the "statist approach of the other parties and in particular the Labour Party".

Plaid should set out a "route map" towards its constitutional goal of an independent Wales within the EU - an ambition formally adopted as party policy last year.

Constitutional goal

Failing to articulate the party's vision might give the impression that Plaid is not prepared to discuss its principal constitutional goal "which, in turn, can give rise both to confusion and suspicion regarding the party's constitutional agenda".

The findings of the review - led by Plaid's economic policy adviser, Eurfyl ap Gwilym - comes as four candidates bid to succeed Ieuan Wyn Jones as leader. Mr Jones announced he would stand down in the wake of the election.

Mr Jones told BBC Wales that the proposal for a new English name was "one small sentence in a substantial report" that recommends changes to the party's direction, structure and messages.

The review - called Moving Forward - says 2011 "was a year both of achievement and disappointment" when Plaid lost seats in the Senedd, but also as Wales voted in favour of direct law-making powers for the assembly.

Plaid AM Jocelyn Davies, one of the six review members, said: "While Plaid Cymru has set the political agenda in Wales over many decades it has not capitalised on the increase in Welsh identity and the growing support for the people of Wales having greater control over their own affairs."

She said Plaid was in danger of having "magnolia policies - offend no-one, excite no-one".

The lack of electoral progress has been a "major problem" with "no sustained political or organisational effort" in seats where Welsh speakers are a minority, the review says.

It makes 95 recommendations, include suggestions to improve policy formation, building coalitions with other parties, campaigning and the party's structure.

Plaid said it would not publish the report online, but hard copies would be sent to members who would also be able to download it from a private area of the party's website.

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