Former ITV journalist Gareth Hughes has Blogged on the lack of any real debate at the Plaid Conference he writes...
Party conferences are getting tame. Where are the young turks that challenge the party bosses and push parties in directions that cause maximum discomfort to the party establishment? Plaid Cymru’s conference was such an affair. With monotonous regularity motions were carried unanimously. What ever happened to debate?I can't help but agree:But of course when Party's like Plaid do have a debate and a vote its journalist like Gareth who then write bylines on how the party is divided..
Still the Party conferences are nothing but a rally these days
Part of the problem ironically for Plaid is that because of the Assembly it now has a great deal more spokespersons who are elected to public office.
This means that they are given space to address the part faithful on their remit and its from them and not the floor where branches have drawn up motions and amendments on subjects.
In my days in Plaid conferences were exiting affairs motions were debated some resulting in a close vote or constitutional amendments just failing to reach the 2/3 majority to change the party aims.
Of course this resulted in paper like the Western Mail reporter at the time declaring that the Party was split especially if it was a Left-Right issue where his sympathies were with the latter.
Some times the Plaid Conferences were declared to be split even if the vote was 90-10 and only one person had made speech opposing the majority view
That speaker would then be quoted in the Mule as representing a sizable minority .
Mind you like all the Party's if the leadership didn't like the motion even if it was passed they would quietly ignore it
Something which was even worse in other parties especially Labour and the then Liberal party
Still members had a feeling that they had some say in policy and they weren't just there to applaud speeches from the leadership.
Gareth Hughes therefore may be right about the lack of debate but he and his journalist colleagues must take a great deal of responsibility for this.