Today the new leader of the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru reiterated her offer to work with Labour and ruled out any co-operation with the Welsh Conservatives in local councils or in the Welsh Assembly. Leanne Wood, who belongs to the socialist wing of her party, said in an interview with the BBC that co-operation across party political boundaries had to be based on shared values and that Plaid certainly shared many values with the Labour Party.
Her statement, coming close to the local elections in Wales, will create problems for some local councils where Plaid councillors have been working with their Conservative counterparts to bring about much needed change for local residents. Wood who seemed to categorically forbid Plaid councillors to work with their Conservatives colleagues has thus completed the shift of her party to the extreme left.
The immediate beneficiary of this move is the Labour Party under Carwin Jones, whose Labour government has failed so far to present a legislative programme and who maintained a low profile since his re-elections last year. Jones, whose party does not have an outright majority in the Welsh Assembly, can now count on Plaid votes in the Assembly without offering the nationalists anything in return.
As many of Wood's colleagues across Europe can tell her, ruling out political co-operation with specific parties can only reduce the party's flexibility for future party political negotiations and worsen her party's position with the electorate. As Wood makes her party increasingly indistinguishable from the Labour Party, voters across Wales will ask themselves what the point of Plaid really is.
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