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January 14, 2008


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Plaid-gate is a convenient shorthand and is immediately understood. It has been used by broadcasters.

All parties spent legitimate amounts in the Assembly election. Plaid used taxpayers money to top up their spending. If all Labour MPs had used all their communiction allowances in a similar way to the three Plaid MPs , Labour would have more than doubled their spending with an additional amount of £300,000 on top of the £250,000. That could well have changed the WAG election results. Hain spending was in an internal party election with no spending limit and the donations were legal and freely given not taken from the taxpayers' pockets.

Hen Ferchetan

Raised by you I might add (well, you and Lembit Opik!)

And please, continuing to call it "Plaid-gate" is quite hilarious. A quick search of google seems to show that you're the only person using the name. It's quite cute actually!

"Trying to buy votes in a public election"
Oh such strong words, but seeing as how Plaid and labour spent pretty much the same amount, doesn't that means Labour were "buying votes" too? Surely it's the "unfair" part that plaid did wrong, the "buying votes" is exactly what labour, Tories, Lib Dems and everyone else who spends money on their campaign do?

I like you recent post about Ron Davies by the way, I fondly remember the times when a minister resigned after doing wrong, even before the press got hold of a scandal. (Even if such honour did claim the scalp of the one Welsh Secretary who actually did put Wales first)


The argument for and against the new allowances divided the parties. Brownie points were sought by Plaid in denying themselves and other MPs cash to improve communications. The Tories did the same but have not claimed. Entirely reasonable. Plaid not only claims money they voted against but used it for electioneering. Trying to buy votes in a public elections in (unfair) competition with other parties is far worse that failung to declare legal donations in an internal party election.

Plaid-gate was raised again recently only when St Elfyn put the boot into Peter Hain.

Hen Ferchetan

As You both point out, the reason the Commons Officials allowed the adverts is that they did not KNOW thee was an Assembly Election on or that there was such a thing as Devolution. Now that fact is simply staggering to me.

As for Paul's request for thoughts on the MP's opposition to the funding then usuing it, I fail to see the point. I, although in the higher income tax bracket, support raising he tax on that bracket. Since the current laws of the land say its 40% though, that's what I pay.

I don't think the 3 MP's were clever using the money at that gtime, in fact I think they were damn right stupid in doing so. But it is nowhere near the level of stupidity, incompetency and criminality of Hain's actions. It seems the rest of the country see that the same way, but not you.


They got clearance from a commons official who did not know that the assembly election was taking place or the some of the issues of health and education were devolved in Wales. They did NOT get clearance for all the adverts as they appeared. Not for the survey in Hywel Williams' or for other differences.

Any thoughts on their opposition to the new allowance in order curry favour as guardians of the public purse. If they were against it , why did they claim it and mis-used it.

This was election cheating, because it allowed Plaid to spend more in a public election. Peter Hain was late declaring legitimate, legal contributions in an internal part election.


Did they lie?

"We recognise that all three Members took steps to seek to ensure compliance with the rules, but the advice given to them, in good faith, was based on incomplete information, as the investigation demonstrated."

What's that about the whole truth?

Hen Ferchetan

"Plaid-gate is far more serious than you claim having swallowed the spin that the the MPs have produced. That is not what the inquiry said."

Really? So are you saying that the Plaid MP's lied when they said that they had received clearence from Common's officials beforehand?

I'm not absolving them of guilt, they must have known that putting out adverts at election time was not in the spirit of the allowed payments - but whatever they did do, they did it openly without pretending otherwise. We can't say the same for Hain.


Hen Ferchetan. Plaid-gate is far more serious than you claim having swallowed the spin that the the MPs have produced. That is not what the inquiry said.

On cash for Peerages, Labour was caught doing something that all three major parties have done for the past 60 plus years. We were caught holding the parcel when the music stopped. But we had 100% of the blame dumped on us.

Hen Ferchetan

"All other parties have done far worse without having a crap storm dumped on them by the media."

Don't tell me you're going to throw around George Osbourne's half a million and what you like to call "Plaid-gate" again?

If either of those are down to incompetence it's the incompetence of the Common's officers for giving out such awful advice.

Throwing mud at the rest of the world is a rather sad tactic of defence - just look at John Mann and Kevan Jones.

Hen Ferchetan

"In the hstory of human wickedness this is minute 'crime' deserving no more that a 'tut,tut'."

But it's still a crime which, if the police and CPS carry out their duty under the law, will result in criminal proceedings and a conviction.

I agree that the punishment with be on the lowest side of low since it is a crime without a need for dishonest intent, but it still is a criminal conviction in connection with campaign finance.

But things do go much further than Hain being a criminal, his (claimed) lack of dishonesty means that his only excuse is utter incompetency. Brown has used that word himself.

Are you really happy for the Govenor General of Wales to be incompetent?


No it does not Johnny Foreigner. The description of shapeshifter was entirely justified for his action at the time. It might help that I am not a Hain groupie, but I am angry that a decent politician of integrity is being hounded by the media intent on driving him out of office

johnny foreigner

Does this now mean that political expedience has altered your previous description of Mr. Hain as a shapeshifter who liquifies every night and who sleeps in a bucket?

Has Mr. Hain finally solidified?

The Nation needs to know.


..and who or what has been harmed?
I meant to say 'harm' and not 'crime.' We commit breaches of crimes every day. In the hstory of human wickedness this is minute 'crime' deserving no more that a 'tut,tut'. All other parties have done far worse without having a crap storm dumped on them by the media.

Hen Ferchetan

"Still no answer to my plea on what crime Peter has committed."

Part 3, Schedule 7 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

It's a crime - whatever Hain's state of thought at the time, it's a crime. Be it a mistake or a big conspiracy, it's a crime.

Saying otherwise is just ignoring the law (brought in by labour!)


O.K. But this was an internal Labour Party Election. The reason for declarations is to ensure that parties do not spend excessively and unfairly in competition with other parties or are used to buy influnce.
No other candidate is bothered about this and most of the money was donated AFTER Peter lost - no attempt to buy influence from the deputy P.M.

In all the interviews I have done I have always repeated that it is a foul-up and he deserves a slap on the wrist. Trouble is that is all that is subsequently reported.

What's unjust and irritating are the double standards of the press. All other parties have got away with fiddles and deceptions that are far worse than Peter's. See past blogs.

Alwyn ap Huw

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda, Paul!

I don't believe that Peter Hain is a "sleazy crook". I have known him since we were both Young Liberals many, many, years ago and I have always respected his integrity if not his political opinions.

However, you cannot spin away the FACT, that Peter has failed to declare large donations to his campaign that he should have declared according to law.

In fairness to Peter, he has admitted that the way that the financial affairs of his deputy leadership campaign were handled was a bloody mess, he is doing his best to sort the mess out and he has accepted that he is ultimately responsible for the situation by not keeping a closer eye on what was happening.

If anything is going to save Peter's skin it will be his openness and honesty to the authorities and the general public about the shambles that he has found himself in. What is likely to condemn Peter is friends, like you Mr Flynn, trying to excuse and cover up the shambles.

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