As expected, yesterday’s Republican protest proved less news worthy than a deceased New Zealander (the New Zealander in question being a sheep), then again, for most non-Welsh based news carriers, the same can be said of the ‘state’ opening as a whole. Perhaps that is where this non news worthy story should be left to rest, but, having (in quite an entertaining fashion) been taken to task by some Republican fanboys on my last witterings on the subject, it feels only appropriate to offer a response.
I think my main reservation on the so called Plaid protest, was that by staying away from the Senedd, nothing would be achieved, that no real impact would be felt by this token disappearance. Certain individuals have come back at me and suggested that by appearing at the ‘state’ opening, this would offer some manner of legitimating impact on the appearance of the Queen, that it would be an acknowledgement of her right to rule over Wales and its democratic institutions. What nonsense.
First things first, the protest was a farce. Indeed the most prominent Plaid member to not attend the opening, was not even protesting, party leader Ieuan Wyn Jones being away on holiday, and he was the only one to generate any lasting media attention. The rest of the Plaid republicans ended up holed up in a Cardiff cafe, feeling the warm glow of their collected sense of self worth, safe in the knowledge that the only people to pay any attention to their campaign, were those already supporting them.
The only way, categorically, the only way this protest would have had any immediate or long term impact, would be for the voices of Plaid to appear united in the face of the historical oppression of Wales, manifest in the presence of the Royal family at ‘our’ national assembly. By putting the issue in-front of the Queen, the First Minister, and the rare occasion when film cameras had the potential to broadcast our views to the world, there was a real platform to make this point known to everyone who wanted to listen, and those who didn’t. But no, for a whole ream of well stated pious reasons, the Welsh Republicans decided not to put their voice to the world, they put it to each other, over a coffee and soft lighting.
There-in lies the problem, the approach that the Welsh Republicans have taken since the Senedd came into being, hasn’t had any impact on anyone, especially not the voters, who if anything seem to be warming more and more to the Royal family. Perhaps it is because they only listen to each other, finding solace in those who heartily pat them on the back and say ‘well done, you are standing up for what you believe in’, blah blah blah. Perhaps taking on board the views of others might offer a little more potential to such political posturing. If you are standing up for what you believe in, then stand up for it. Don’t worry about whether people will dismiss you as being rude, or that you might lose voters, heck if your voters don’t agree with what you are saying, maybe you should be listening to the voters and attending such occasions, that being your job no? But if you believe in something, half as much as how some of these Welsh Republicans have been making out, then do something positive about it. Screw the consequences if it is really that important. If it isn’t, then shut up and move on.
Perhaps that is harsh, but in a world political climate where we have hundreds of people dying in an attempt to convey a political message, is it really too much to ask the Welsh Republicans in the Senedd, to step up and say to the English Queen ‘nice of you to come, but we really don’t want you here’, and maybe say it within range of a camera and microphone. Then you will convey a statement of intent that people will certainly hear, and maybe, just maybe, will actually listen to.