Thursday, 13 December 2018

Ein Gwlad…walking with Dinosaurs, Stags ad men of the 1950s…. A book review of Gwlad! Gwlad?: An Invitation to a Party

Yesterday I read “Gwlad! Gwlad? An invitation to a party” by Alan Gwyn Job. I have long observed the formation of an indigenous political right wing party within Wales. The book at times made me cringe, laugh and yes at times become fascinated with the drama, the ego of the participants and of the “engaging tone” of the inner dialogue of Aled Gwyn Job. I cannot   help feel that the Psychotherapist within me noted how much the book was a personal journey of meaning. Its quite clear that process was more psychological than political. I feel that the formation of Ein Gwlad was more significant to the author as a means of creating a personal identity. Its rather rich to accuse the feminists he fears as narcissistic. I am afraid that he should read a good basic guide to the principles of both projection and displacement.

Like many men in his age group and background he fails to understand the significance of male power. He often like a certain UKIP generation is frightened of strong women and perceives the “Me Too” movement as an emasculation of men. Like many of the founding members of Ein Gwlad they just don’t get it. Those of you who know Jac o the North`s rants about `wimmin, greenies and lefties` find a softer but still echo within the book and in the subtext of the steering committee of Ein Gwlad he claims the following on page 9 

“The lack of female input into proceedings was very noticeable. And would become a recurrent theme in group discussions over the next few months” Earlier he says the party is predominately “middle aged and male” in another section he states “Men have traditionally been the leaders, taking the lead in war, diplomacy and politics, because of biological imperatives. Women on the other hand, by nature and more nurturing and caring and have a different set of skills entirely.”
I saw the unreconstructed male in Aled and indeed in Neil McEvoy with this description on page 34 “suddenly the door burst open in a scene that any Western would be proud of. Neil McEvoy swans in adorned in his trade mark Cardiff top, accompanied by what seems to be a set of burly minders”
On page 35 we here that “Neil tells me that George Thomas used to come along to his boy’s soccer club in Cardiff and he can remember being bounced on his knee on one occasion”
The therapist in me speculates  particularly on this point as I wonder about the origins of social conservatism, an attitude to women and a certain response to the LGBTIQA agenda that Neil is allegedly prone to.

On an earlier page Aled hints at an almost conspiracy over the Carl Sargeant affair. Yet does very little to appreciate the nature of male power and of patriarchy in general. He does nothing to analyse his own background and describes characters with huge egos one of who the Big G claims I hope figuratively the existence of a warrior gene. I smiled when he described Jac as “dapper and cool” then there is also a reference to the fact that he would provide a “simultaneous translation service at a “discount price” (page 8)

Other individuals such as Ioan Richard is described as someone who would “test patience to the limit” (page 10)

And takes ten minutes to explain “in ten minutes a point that could be made in two”. He further said on the same page I like how several people claimed already to have stablished a political patty “There is a quiet despair on people faces as Ioan goes on and on” I felt the egos battling it out each claiming to have already established a political party ranging from the Ultra-Right Sovereign Cymru Party to Iona’s own monstrosity of a party. 

On page 15 we find a rare picture of Royston Jones who is appointed Treasurer and known to more of you as Jac O the North. He ends his pen portrait with the sentence (page 16)
“From now on the Welsh national interest must take precedence over everything” I suspected that was what Royston was thinking when posted his Steve Bannon video upon his blog, tweeted the fascist outlook of Viktor Orban and stood up for the Confederate Flag in South Carolina. I could not help thinking that the party would tale anyone who would support Welsh independence and then even involved members of an indigenous Welsh far right my own research over the Summer found former skinheads like Chris Piper of the Welsh Defence League sniffing around the independence movement in both “Yes Cymru “and in Ein Gwlad in particular
Pages 18 and 19  tells us of  one Merrion Morris a Presbyterian Minister who becomes General Secretary of the party . The visit of this individual to Northern Ireland is described as is the link between the Presbyterian Church of wales and that of Northern Ireland the political manifestation of whom is the Democratic Unionist Party.  The author comments on “their genuinely held opposition to gay marriage and abortion” (page 18). As I read on I feel more and more uncomfortable about the social discourse within the party.

The mood darkens even more as I read on. On page 26 we can a clear illustration of the populist roots of this party. I read Orban, Trump and Farage in the last paragraph of the pen portrait of the “Big G” we find this curious claim “Like someone who has searched their whole life in a pursuit of the right religion. I feel like at last I have found my true home with a party who echoes are truth, honesty and openness and a loathing of political correctness and control by elitists and empirical forces. Ein Gwlad has arrived to wash away those things that have kept us captive for so long” In essence this summary reveals the entire project. It will undo all of the liberation that has occurred since the 1960s. It will put back women, gay people back to the 1950s. Back to a time when they knew their place. It says the simple truth yet the Trmpesque members of this party desire. I suspect also it implies a while male dominated Wales. 

This is further spelt out on page 30 where Aled Gwyn Job sketches out the Five Cs of the Party programme. These are Cultural Nationalism, Collectivists, Conservatives, Conservationists and Cosmoplitan Its an odd programme and its so male and full of UKIP lite ethos.
On page 56 we get to the real nub of the issue. It’s a confused pastiche of half-baked ideas. I have seen so much of this recently. I found it extensively used during the Plaid leadership campaign and amongst men of a certain age and outlook. I quote in detail
“We are in the midst of a huge media story. The `Me Too¬ story which has exploded on the media following revelations about the sexual misconduct of the power Hollywood Mogul Harvey Weinstein…. there’s a sense that all men are being tarred with same brush., with little or no nuance allowed. Modern feminism seems to have taken a dark turn”
He continues “Are we indeed entering, a phase where there is a wish to even criminalise all male sexual imitative?” 

He seems confused to the simple fact that all he really need to is ask a simple question. I am sorry Aled perhaps the key to forming relationships is simply to ask a question to the woman you find attractive. Its that’s simple and she will either say Yes or No.
On page 58, Aled, goes on to defend Trump’s decision to place Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.  And dismissing the words of Professor Christine Ford. On page 59 we get a clue to his own concerns where he comments

“that a video message from Lisa Angharad…. who calls me a middle aged misogynist who has lost the plot”. Ironically he describes this as his “own trial by media”. its most revealing how this male discourse runs with the party and how it links to Trump. Kavanaugh, Weinstein and Job.
I often wonder exactly what insights he has both into himself and others when as he says on page 79  “I find myself taking a few services as part of my New Leaders course with the Presbyterian Church of Wales” on page 85 we have quote despite all of the social conservatism that he reveals “That we are neither Left nor Right but just Welsh” I  rather think that’s short for male white and patriarchal. He goes on to draw links with the Five Star Movement that is now in power with the alt right figure of Matteo Salvini. The following page 86 indicates the Euro scepticism and raises the problem of migration. We can clearly see here what he means by Welsh... 

 Page 94 shows Aled claiming that as he is “his own man” and suggests that he has not married or achieved a long term relationship that it gives him time and “an opportunity to devote some time to an enterprise like Ein Gwlad.” I guess that’s perhaps who so few women can put with a group of middle aged men who occupy the Steering Committee of the party. As his says on page 95 “is Ein Gwlad indeed a substitute for the missing love interest in my life?”
On page 150 we read the following “Royston’s decision to resign from the steering committee left a big gap obviously.”

However, in a message on Twitter from an activist within the party and received on September 11 I am told the following. “. It is true that Royston can be outspoken at times and a bit of a dinosaur - which is why we asked him to step down from our steering committee. He is still a member of the party but takes no active part in it”. I wondered if this explanation of inner Ein Glad politics lay at the base of this departure “like two stags on some windswept heath, horns locked together in mortal combat”. I don’t think I will ever think of Royston Jones in the same way…
In a further part of the conversation on Twitter I am told the following. I think it is fascinating in revealing the nature of the party  “It is fair to say that we secretly want Leanne to win...and if Adam or Rhun was in charge we may never have set the party up, although both open up options for us. We believe that an alternative nationalist party is healthy for democracy and will keep Plaid focused.”
I really enjoyed reading the book it tells me even more about the egos and the “stags” of Ein Gwlad. It tells me even more about the psychological journey of the author…when he states ““What is it about reaching middle-age that makes people of this sort believe they can change things? Is it a mid-life thing? Is it a mortality thing? Is it a man thing even?”

 I can’t help thinking that it would do them all good to contact the inner feminine and reflect at times how they all sound. I am reminded of unreconstructed males from the late 1970s and 1980s. In the picture at the launch of the Party I spotted a former Green party candidate. His views on Abortion and his attitude to both women’s sexuality made be reflect on the innate social conservatism that Ein Gwlad represents.

To all intents and purposes Ein Gwlad is a right wing populist party. Its problem is that in rejecting the analysis that both social science and psychology reveals it fails both ontologically and epistemologically to understand its true nature. They are naïve and fail to understand themselves a seed bed for unpleasant right wing flowering that is indigenously Welsh. It’s no accident that are a symptom of the far right appearing within Wales. I do not really think they understand that/. It’s no accident that the far right find it easier to hide in Wales and its worth pointing out that Nick Griffin of the BNP lived in mid Wales. Diversity is not Ein Gwlad strong point and the sub text of the book reveals dark and hidden prejudices

Finally, I must say I really enjoyed the book that Aled Gwyn Job has produced.  There was an enduring honesty about himself and his thoughts. I liked him very much in spite of my criticisms However as for the rest the Iona’s, the Big G`s and the “dapper Royston” I feel repulsion.  I know these characters having observed them over the last 30 years. The book fascinated me and its many revelations repulsed me as well.

At the end of Ifor`s review of the book I found the following comments.  Particularly the comments from one Lee Fulton. I leave them here as a commentary on the inner dialogue of the stags of Ein Gwlad and its men of the 1950s.
With leading members of ein gwlad saying its steering Committee 'doesn't need women' and that 'men have traditionally been the leaders' the party has been accused of being stuck in the 80s in its attitude to women - er is that the 1980s or the 1880s?

Well Lee Felton am glad to see your delusions are fading. But fancy having to remove your comment that Leigh was an alt. Still i know a good therapist in swansea who can help you with delusions. Problem is these "populists” are most prone to them. still I have ordered the book and look forward to reading the internal dialogue of Ein Gwld

Syncretic my arse! Semi-fascists more like. I think the catergorisations of women is very much inline with the philosophsy of "Kinder, Küche, Kirche". It's good to hear that young people have voted to stay away in droves - rejecting these Cymric Viktor Orbans.

Lee Felton
David (AKA Martyn John Shrewbury), do you actually know what a fascist is, or are you one of those social justice warriors that shout "facsist, fascist" at anyone or anything you don't understand??

Voted to stay away??? EG have only been around a few months, no elections, nobody's voted on anything yet.

 Finally, I have to say that there is a savage ontological insecurity haunting the stags and dinosaurs of this political party. They essentially wish a Wales that is male, white and pre 1960s. it is as if they wish to turn back the liberation of the sixties. The irony is that in rejecting the analysis of the social sciences they make opaque many things they would learn about themselves. This is both ironic, tragic and farcical as well. They clearly cannot see where they come from or where they are going or indeed the implications that rise from theirapproach.
This is crude populism in its rawest form. Its legacy will be to divide a progressive movement tor an independent Welsh state that is republican, green and socialist. This is a Welsh UKIP with all the characteristics of its parent. The only difference is that it is home grown in Wales and speaks through the medium of Welsh. Unfortunately, its creators fail to understand this point.
I refer you to another review written by Ifor Morgan Jones on the Nation Cymru page. I found that very interesting and gave me much to reflect upon. 

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