Stirring things up within Plaid Cymru

The former party leader Lord Elis-Thomas has a track record on stirring things up within Plaid.

He told me earlier he has reservations about Leanne Wood's description of UKIP as a "vote against Wales" and a "vote against the Welsh national interest" when she addressed the spring conference.

On UKIP, he said: "A party which gets votes from ordinary citizens in Wales has to be taken seriously. It clearly represents a point of view in Wales.

"It's facile and assumes a kind of superiority that we decide who is Welsh and who is not Welsh."

I don't think there's any suggestion that Plaid are not taking the threat from UKIP seriously.

The fact that the attack on UKIP was so prominent in Leanne Wood's speech on Friday told its own story.

Raised the profile

Jill Evans' European seat is of huge political and symbolic importance for the party.

It's an obvious point but unlike the other parties, this is Plaid's only opportunity to get representation in the European Parliament.

Interestingly, Jill Evans said the impact of UKIP, and the prospect of an in/out referendum in the event of a Conservative victory in the general election, had raised the profile of the Euro elections massively.

Five years ago she took part in three hustings events, and this time round she is pencilled in to take part in at least 12. And on the doorstep she says many more people are aware of the issues.

From the party's perspective the challenge is to translate that interest into votes.

This was the first of the spring conferences in Wales. It was dominated by some hard-nosed electioneering as we enter an intensive phase in the election cycle.

Keep their distance

As soon as the European vote is over, there'll be the Scottish referendum and then the party begins its fight to keep its three Westminster seats.

After that we go into the assembly elections and this is where the anti-Labour rhetoric we saw from Leanne Wood comes into the equation.

Some senior figures in the party told me one of the challenges for them is to keep their distance from Labour in the minds of the public while still striking deals in the course of getting legislation and budgets through.

One told me that they feel there is a danger of the party being marginalised as the Tories and Labour battle it out in the general election, but also that there are opportunities to offer alternative proposals in the delivery of public services.

But that's further down the track.

The priority now will be the European elections and everyone expects things to be tight.

They're working furiously behind the scenes on the maths and some are saying it could even come down to a few hundred votes.