FOR most people who are not involved in the day-to-day running of our political parties, it is difficult to understand how politicians become so detached from reality, unable to see the woods for the trees.
Such is the case now when it comes to Plaid Cymru and how it has handled the not insignificant matter of Jonathan Edwards, the Member of Parliament for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr. He had been suspended from Plaid since July 2020 after he admitted to assaulting his wife.
On Thursday Plaid said he was being readmitted to its Westminster group. His wife, Emma Edwards — the victim in this sad incident — had to publicly denounce the move.
Since then, Mr Edwards’ rejoining of the parliamentary group has been put on hold, with the domestic abuse perpetrator saying he would not be rejoining in order to allow for a “period of calm reflection”.
Writing on his Facebook page, the MP described the assault that led to his suspension as an isolated incident. He wrote that he had enrolled on a domestic violence awareness course.
Mr Edwards also expressed concern that there was no space in public life for those who had made mistakes to show “genuine remorse” and criticised his treatment by some in the party.
Well, perhaps, during his time of reflection, Mr Edwards should perhaps study the statistics for domestic violence and its growing trend in Wales in recent years.
It would do well of Mr Edwards to reflect that he serves his constituency at the behest of voters. Should he wish to test their support, his resignation would be gratefully received — and he can stand as a candidate and defend his record in a subsequent by-election.
But there is also a lesson here for the party and its leadership. If, at some stage, Plaid is serious about forming a government or indeed leading an independent Wales down the road, then how it deals now with these issues is not a matter of personnel management. It is about principle — and making the right decision for the right reasons.
It’s as basic as right and wrong.
If Plaid cannot manage a party, it cannot manage a government.
And if Plaid cannot manage a county or even a constituency, just how does it think it would manage a country?