Putting Wales First

The Political Thought of Plaid Cymru (Volume 1)

Author(s) Richard Wyn Jones

Language: English

Genre(s): Politics

  • November 2024 · 304 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Paperback - 9781837721832
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781837721849
  • · eBook - epub - 9781837721856

About The Book

In this authoritative book, Richard Wyn Jones traces the development of the political thought of Plaid Cymru from its birth in the winter months of 1924–5 to the establishment of the National Assembly for Wales in the summer of 1999. With a penetrating study of the political beliefs of Plaid Cymru’s most important leaders – Saunders Lewis, Gwynfor Evans, Dafydd Elis-Thomas and Dafydd Wigley – Wyn Jones charts the party’s emergence from the political fringe to the threshold of a devolved Wales. The development of the party’s constitutional and economic policies is given close attention, as well as its attitude towards the Welsh language; and from a vibrant discussion on the nature of nationalism and nationalist ideas, Plaid Cymru’s intellectual development takes its place within a broader historical and international context. The result reveals Plaid Cymru in a new and sometimes controversial light.


‘Authoritative, rigorous, forthright, passionate – and utterly gripping.’
Cynog Dafis

‘This book combines a clear analysis of nationalist ideas in general with a masterful interpretation of the political thought of the main leaders of Plaid Cymru during the twentieth century. It is comprehensive, authoritative, and excitingly provocative in places.’
Meredydd Evans

'An original and insightful study, sensitive to the role of individuals in the shaping of Plaid Cymru while fully cognisant of the wider historical and cultural contexts. This book, by Wales’s leading political commentator and theorist, deepens our understanding of the motivations informing Plaid Cymru’s leadership and the political thought of the party more generally.'
Daniel G. Williams

‘This book is a masterly analysis of a party’s ideology’
Tom Ellis, Planet: The Welsh Internationalist

‘The first volume of his magisterial study of the ideology of Plaid Cymru.’
Meic Stephens, Cambria

‘Richard Wyn Jones' masterpiece will be a necessary handbook for everyone involved in planning the future of Plaid Cymru and plotting the future of Wales.’
Cynog Dafis, Barn

‘A magnificent book … truly innovative … breaking new ground in Welsh historiography.'
J. Graham Jones, Y Cymro

‘This excellent book is brim-full of innovative ideas and incisive observations … fresh, balanced, gripping.’
Robin Okey, Gwales


Preface to the English Translation
Chapter One. Nationalism, National Movements and Wales
Understanding Nationalism
Nationalism, the old and the new hen
Nationalism, the self and violence
National Movements
The development of national movements
The ideology of national movements
Wales – in the shadow of the firstborn
Chapter Two. ‘A passionate love of a stable civilisation’: The Saunders Lewis era
Seizing the agenda
Principles of Nationalism
Laying the foundations
Holding on
One language or two?
‘Three acres and a Welsh-speaking cow’
Dominion status
A flash in the pan
Chapter Three. ‘A reconciliation with her fair past’: The Gwynfor Evans era
I was rejected...?
The inheritance: the core ideas of ‘Saunders’ a ‘Gwynfor’
Fundamental policies: the inheritance and its evolution
The Welsh language
Economic policy
Constitutional objectives
Aros Mae
The End of Britishness
Chapter Four: More than Dal ati? The era of the two Dafydds
Turning Left: The End of the ‘Third Way’
Political philosophy
Radical Wales
A Parliament and Europe - again
Wigley, Ceredigion and the paradox of the 1990s

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Richard Wyn Jones

Richard Wyn Jones is Professor of Welsh Politics and Director of the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University.

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