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The 'Fascist Party' in Wales?

8 August 2013

Richard Wyn Jones

A new book sets out to weigh the charges levelled against Wales's nationalist party, whose party members were for decades alleged by many to have held fascist sympathies.

'Y Blaid Ffasgaidd yng Nghymru: Plaid Cymru a'r cyhuddiad o ffasgaeth' ('The Fascist Party in Wales: Plaid Cymru and the accusation of fascism') is written by the Director of the University's Wales Governance Centre, Professor Richard Wyn Jones and published by the University of Wales Press.

The book casts new light on Plaid Cymru and its leaders during this historical period in which they were confronted with a charge that would sully the name of any political foe.

Professor Richard Wyn Jones said: "Ever since I've been politically conscious I've been aware of the accusations that there was something dark in the history of Plaid Cymru. Looking into them seriously, however, suggests to me that the accusations tell us more about Welsh political culture than they do about the actual history of Welsh nationalism.

"The fact of the matter is that Plaid Cymru had fewer illusions than most in the 1930s about the dangers of fascism and totalitarianism. It's also apparent that leading members of the Welsh establishment worked together in the war for years to try and destroy the reputation of the party by linking it to Hitler and the fascists, with most of their arguments reflecting the deeply unpleasant anti-Catholicism that used to be such a feature of Welsh life.

"It is particularly ironic that one of the leading accusers, Thomas Jones, one of the key movers and shakers in mid-twentieth century Wales, had himself visited Hitler and lobbied consistently in favour of appeasement policies."

Helgard Krause, Director of the University of Wales Press, added: "This is an incredibly thought-provoking exploration of a particularly explosive subject which has divided opinion for over eight decades. For the first time ever, an entire book is devoted to confronting the allegation that pre-War Welsh nationalism was besmirched by elements of fascism. Richard has succeeded in writing a very measured and lucid deconstruction of this period and the political controversy it inspired."

'Y Blaid Ffasgaidd yng Nghymru: Plaid Cymru a'r cyhuddiad o ffasgaeth' (The 'Fascist Party' in Wales: Plaid Cymru and the accusation of fascism)was launched at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Denbigh in Cardiff University's pavilion.