Labour Assembly Member and the Deputy Minister for Communities, Huw Lewis, laid into the Welsh Nationalist Party Plaid Cymru at a recent session of the Welsh Assembly for “knee-jerk anti-Labourism, cloaked by the populism of knee-jerk anti-Americanism” and using “the dreadful issue of war to recruit supporters from the left, who, it feels, are disillusioned with Labour on the issue of Iraq.”
He added that “Many on the Welsh left saw all along the fascist criminality of Hussein’s regime. Campaigners like Ann Clwyd pointed to the horrors of genocidal policies against the Marsh Arabs, and the use, many times over, of weapons of mass destruction against the Iraqi Kurds. However, whereas campaigners like Ann have remained true to their convictions, and, post-occupation, have supported the struggle of those who would deliver democracy to Iraq, there are those that have abandoned their natural allies on the Iraqi left to indulge themselves in Blair-bashing and the worst kind of unthinking
Huw Lewis also quoted Baram Salih, the former Prime Minister of Kurdistan, and a graduate of Cardiff University who said ‘Like those who shunned us in the eighties- ‘us’ being the Kurds- our former friends find the martyrdom of the Iraqi people to be an irritant. They avert their eyes from the grisly truth of our suffering while claiming concern at the human cost of war’.
Huw continued: “Abandon the Iraqi left now, by howling at Blair, while neglecting to face the reality of what must be done to achieve democracy and, in reality, you advocate turning that country over to the oppressors of women, racial minorities, trade unionists and democrats of any stripe. There have rarely been harder choices for the soul of the left in Welsh politics than those that face us now as fanatics crawl like maggots over the body of Iraqi civil society.
However, think for a moment where the counsel of Plaid Cymru and its fellow poseurs would lead us. Between now and January, Iraqi election workers, at risk to their lives, will show great courage as they try to act as midwives to democracy and a new era for their country.
They will do so in the hope of attaining freedoms for their people that we take
for granted. Perhaps, one day, they will campaign for the removal of a democratically elected leader without being placed in fear of their lives-a privilege that Leanne and her party already enjoy. I just hope that they will have a better cause than the abandonment of those seeking freedom for the sake of headlines. Plaid Cymru’s record on foreign affairs stinks to high heaven.”