What I’d like to see in Plaid Cymru’s manifesto when it comes to defence and foreign policy.

On 22 May, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak fired the starting pistol for the UK’s  2024 general election, to be held on 4 July.

This means each political party will finalise and publish its manifesto, the document that will tell the public what policies they’d vote for and provide a mandate for—or not—in this election. 

As a Plaid Cymru member, I’m looking forward to reading my party’s manifesto and seeing what it offers for the people of Wales. As someone with an interest in foreign policy and defence, I’m especially keen to read thePeace and Securitysection of their manifesto. 


This article is the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the UK Defence Journal. If you would like to submit your own article on this topic or any other, please see our submission guidelines.


As a political party, Plaid Cymru tends to be mostly a left-of-centre party which  is also pro-Welsh independence, pro-European Union and tends to draw inspiration from Ireland, so can be considered to favour  

nonalignment/neutrality more than membership in NATO when it comes to defence and foreign policy.

One guaranteed policy in the manifesto will be its  objection to nuclear weapons and any nuclear weapons being based in Wales and I’d expect an objection to national service to be in there as well and I hope  that the policies I suggest in the rest of this article might be in there as well or  adopted in the future. 

Welsh troops to be based in Wales

One of Plaids long standing policies is for the regular battalions of the Welsh regiments to be based in Wales. At the moment, none are, as they’re all based in England. From 2028, the 1st Queens Dragoon Guards (the Welsh Cavalry) will move from Swanton in Norfolk to a revamped Caerwent barracks near  Chepstow. They’re to share this facility with the 1st Battalion, the Rifles.  

Plaid Cymru should demand that the UK government change this and base the  1st Battalion Royal Welsh Regiment at Caerwent instead. 1 Rifles can move to  Tidworth in England, replacing 1 Royal Welsh. They should also demand that the UK  government base the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards in Wales when they are not performing ceremonial duties in London. These regiments could then be brigaded together as part of a UK Army Brigade. This would allow troops from  Wales much more of an opportunity to have a career within Wales. 

As the Royal Navy doesn’t have a regular presence in Wales, Plaid Cymru  should demand that the UK government establishes that. Wales only has a reserve presence in HMS Cambria in Cardiff with a subunit in Swansea. Basing  a River class batch 1 Offshore Patrol Vessel in Wales could remedy this lack of presence. It should also seek the goal of it primarily being crewed by Welsh  Royal Navy personnel, allowing them to have a Royal Navy career within Wales. 

Manifesto powers for Senedd Cymru 

The Senedd Cymru and Welsh government should be the bodies deciding how much money is allocated to Wales for defence spending in the Government Expenditure Revenue Wales (GERW). At the moment, it’s decided by population, which means that Wales is close to – and in the future will be allocated – over  3% of GDP in the defence column in GERW, the NATO level is 2%, and the European average is 1.4%. This helps inflates Wales’s deficit as part of the UK, which is often used in the argument against an independent Wales. 

Plaid Cymru should also include in its manifesto that recruitment from Wales for the UK Armed Forces be devolved to the Welsh government with a focus that troops from Wales be assigned to Welsh-based units as much as possible, to lessen thebrain drain’/skills exodus that Wales experiences with the Welsh units not currently based in Wales. The recruitment contract has been held by the company Capita since 2012. Like so many privatisations, it’s not been a great success. 

A policy I’d also like to see is Plaid seeking to get more engagement between  Welsh military units and the Defence Force of Ireland as part of ongoing strengthening of the relationship between Wales and Ireland that both governments are undertaking. 

Support for Ukraine and Palestine 

Plaid Cymru should be demanding that the UK government increase support for Ukraine to help them liberate their country from Russian aggression and commit to spending 0.25% of GDP on support for Ukraine as suggested by the Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and that Welsh arms factories concentrate  solely on supplying arms to Ukraine and that the UK government engage with  Welsh companies to supply aid to Ukraine. 

The party should also be demanding that the UK government guarantees no companies – especially companies from Wales – are sending arms to Israel, commit to a ceasefire in Gaza and follow Ireland, Norway and Spain in recognising Palestine as a state. 

As supporters of Welsh independence, in the end, the goal for a pro-independence party should be a Welsh Defence Force/Armed Forces and an independent foreign policy as a sovereign state. Plaid Cymru should be looking to elaborate on what that could look like under its leadership. Such a vision can be used as a challenge to Westminster – showing that Wales can have a defence and foreign policy that benefits its citizens and forces that focus on  Welsh security rather than purely Westminster-centric goals. Plaid Cymru must show its vision for an independent Wales in all areas of life in its manifesto and beyond. 

This article was written by Jeremy Brookman and was originally posted in BylinesCymru.

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Lazerbenabba
Lazerbenabba (@guest_826368)
16 days ago

The usual bizarre Plaid Cymru ambitions for an idependent Welsh army and I thought that the SNP were bonkers..

Dennis Reeves
Dennis Reeves (@guest_826379)
16 days ago
Reply to  Lazerbenabba

As a proud Welshman, I’d leave Wales if Plaid got their way…

..and Mr Brookman it’s ‘Swanton Morley’..at least show you can read a simple place name!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_826401)
16 days ago
Reply to  Dennis Reeves

Indeed. Robertson’s Barracks. Bravo. Due to close.

Dennis Reeves
Dennis Reeves (@guest_826404)
16 days ago

It as RAF Swanton Morley when I lived there in the 70s

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_826420)
15 days ago
Reply to  Dennis Reeves

Yes, transferred to the army years ago. Basic training for the RAF I recall.

Dennis Reeves
Dennis Reeves (@guest_826423)
15 days ago

It was the ‘Central Servicing Development Establishment’ when I was there plus 611 gliding school.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_826433)
15 days ago
Reply to  Dennis Reeves

Thanks, Dennis.

Sooty
Sooty (@guest_826462)
15 days ago
Reply to  Dennis Reeves

Also known as Swanton Mortuary, not a popular posting.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_826409)
15 days ago

It’s the British Army, we do not have Brigades based on nationality. There are also Issues with “These regiments could then be brigaded together as part of a UK Army Brigade.” I suspect Jeremy will be content with a change of role then too, as 1 RW is a Warrior AI Battalion. It makes ZERO sense to locate it with a LI Battalion ( Welsh Guards ) and a Light Cavalry Regiment on Jackal/Coyote ( 1QDG ) in Wales. And what is all this I keep hearing about with the left complaining of a “lack of inclusivity” and “creating division” and wanting… Read more »

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg (@guest_826637)
15 days ago

IBS?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_826651)
15 days ago

Infantry Battle School Brecon. Along with the ITC at Catterick a core part of Infantry training.

Ian M
Ian M (@guest_826712)
14 days ago

I bet you get IBS at Brecon🤔

WSM
WSM (@guest_826717)
14 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

Not with all those bracing hill walks and night navs. 😉 I just used to stuff my pockets with Mars Bars and winegums and crack on lol

Ian M
Ian M (@guest_826737)
14 days ago
Reply to  WSM

👍

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_826757)
14 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

😆

geoff
geoff (@guest_827041)
13 days ago

Good Morning Daniele! To the rescue with the facts in depth-thank you😀!
Jeremy Brookman is entitled to his views on how an Independent Wales should structure its Defence in the Plaid manifesto-in summary a policy to leave Wales essentially defenceless against any serious adversary. Imagine Great Britain regressing into a collection of mini states with an Independent Cornwall, an autonomous Shetland, and SNP led Republic of Scotland, all with their own (dis)Armed Forces pleading neutrality and left untouched in the event of a widespread conflict with the New Russian Empire….

Last edited 13 days ago by geoff
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_827078)
13 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Morning geoff.
As a proud Brit, the thought horrifies.
A rainy, cool summer here so far.

julian1
julian1 (@guest_827632)
10 days ago
Reply to  geoff

you forgot the people’s People’s Republic of Berkshire

geoff
geoff (@guest_827699)
10 days ago
Reply to  julian1

..and the 😀Regency of Rutland!

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_827728)
10 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Give them independence and then invade the next day! Saving the English speaking masses from persecution by the rulers…

😀

geoff
geoff (@guest_827757)
10 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

😉 Hello GB

Shane Ramshaw
Shane Ramshaw (@guest_826412)
15 days ago

One of the reasons people sign up is to get away from home, so I’m not sure just how attractive ‘Join the Army and see Newport” is going to be!

jjsmallpiece
jjsmallpiece (@guest_826463)
15 days ago

When I wore a blue suit, I agreed to fight for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Will troops recruited by Plaid make the same agreement?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_826594)
15 days ago
Reply to  jjsmallpiece

That is the ridiculousness of this argument.

You can’t have a committee (of governments) deciding how defence operates.

GR
GR (@guest_826526)
15 days ago

Demanding a greater Royal Naval presence in Wales, whilst seeking to withdraw from NATO as an independent country? Another nationalist wanting to have their cake and eat it with regards to the Union.

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece (@guest_826598)
15 days ago
Reply to  GR

I don’t hear Plaid complaining about RAF Valley and the local jobs the airfield generates. Maybe the RAF should close Valley and move pilot training back to England. North Yorkshire has 3 or 4 ex RAF training bases that are under used/recently closed – Leeming, Linton on Ouse, Dishforth, Church Fenton

Martin
Martin (@guest_826527)
15 days ago

Deluded, just like the SNP, oh well,

criss whicker
criss whicker (@guest_826551)
15 days ago

one word. No…

Mark F
Mark F (@guest_826601)
15 days ago

As well as other comments already made re RAF Valley etc, it would appear the author has totally forgotten about the “TA” units in Wales. The link below will show that there are quite a few units already there.
https://jobs.army.mod.uk/army-reserve/

John Boulton
John Boulton (@guest_826640)
15 days ago

Monty Python and the (Welsh) Flying Circus.

DMJ
DMJ (@guest_826646)
15 days ago

Additional funding provided by the Welsh taxpayer, I presume.

PAUL ANDREW KISTRUCK
PAUL ANDREW KISTRUCK (@guest_826648)
15 days ago
Reply to  DMJ

… So really the English taxpayer !

Ian Skinner
Ian Skinner (@guest_826667)
15 days ago

we could base Trident at Milton Haven, that would make him happy

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts (@guest_826678)
15 days ago

These small-minded nationalist/separatist parties need to go away. We are better off remaining as the United Kingdom.

Ian M
Ian M (@guest_826714)
14 days ago

Utter claptrap.
Units “Brigaded together”? Regardless of their role?
More units in Wales? Read Daniele’s list.
Closer association with Ireland? What planet is this guy on?
BTW, I’m a veteran living in Wales, I’ll be deported if Plaid get in I suppose because I’m taking up a Welsh house.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_827570)
11 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

It wasn’t even exhaustive mate you’ve got SFSG at St Athan, 14 at Brawdy, Caerwent, Monmouth, Chepstow on the border, and those nice people down at PATA.

Ian M
Ian M (@guest_827589)
11 days ago

Exactly, wot you said😁

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_827729)
10 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

Retreat to the hills and fight a guerilla campaign!

Ian M
Ian M (@guest_827754)
10 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

🦍🦍🦍
👍🥷🏻
😂

WSM
WSM (@guest_826720)
14 days ago

“Provide more help to Ukraine” – 2nd place in the league table of handing out kit, money and training not good enough then sunshine?!? FFS.

Jonny
Jonny (@guest_826732)
14 days ago

As someone born in England but moved to Wales for uni so grew fairly close to the Welsh, this is so stupid… We are all better in the union, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in particular are MUCH better off in the union. Leaving the UK would be like brexit on steroids.

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts (@guest_826975)
13 days ago
Reply to  Jonny

As someone born in Wales but living in England, I agree 100%

Brom
Brom (@guest_826802)
14 days ago

Bizarre, I joined the army to see a bit of the world not be based where I joined up. As for the rest of it, if I’m understanding it right it’s along the lines of ‘Spend lots more money on infrastructure in Wales’ ‘Get rid of English people serving to defend us and just have welsh people in Wales’ ‘After you’ve done all that we’re leaving anyway and joining Ireland in doing bugger all with an ineffective defence force ‘ PLAID have been in bed with labour for years and have a share of the blame for the shocking state… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P (@guest_826887)
14 days ago

A delusion for Plaid Cymrus’s 2024 Defence and Foreign Policy….there you go. Fixed that for you.

Jon
Jon (@guest_826951)
14 days ago

Is there any reason not to base HMS Severn out of Cardiff? There’s a newish building for navy and marine reserves, also the Welsh URNU. Severn is often used for training anyway and it might not be that bad a fit.

Just trying to latch on to something positive here.

Last edited 14 days ago by Jon
Jon
Jon (@guest_826960)
13 days ago

The Welsh net fiscal balance seems to be nothing more than a political argument. It has nothing to do with what the Welsh actually pay as a proportion of anything. They don’t pay more per capita for defence than the rest of the UK, they pay less. They are just cheesed off because they think it makes them look bad. They are asking for the ability to fiddle the figures because someone told them a larger fiscal debt makes independence look less likely. Plaid have MPs in Westminster and members in the House of Lords. They need a UK agenda… Read more »

Tim
Tim (@guest_826969)
13 days ago

It’s called the British army and all regiments serve all over the uk your not going to get your own army why we give these crack pots any credibility I don’t know could u imagine if a part of France wanted it’s own army the French government would simply just say no at any hint of it trying to leave I think we are to soft on these idiots who want to break up the union

DJB
DJB (@guest_827112)
13 days ago

So Plaid Cymru’s defence policy has one objective. Relocate all the allegedly Welsh regiments into Wales. This is a political objective. It has nothing to do with the defence of the UK or the defence of Wales. You might as well have a defence policy that says we’ll paint all the Welsh vehicles Red. In fact such a defence policy would probaly cause less harm. These people are idiots.

Airborne
Airborne (@guest_827214)
12 days ago

What utter guff! Another protest party with delusions of military knowledge!

Challenger
Challenger (@guest_827664)
10 days ago

Base enough units in Wales to create a proto Welsh Armed Forces should independence (it won’t) ever happen essentially.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_827726)
10 days ago

Same problem as the SNP demands.
Ask any member of the UK Armed forces if they would transfer to a Scottish/Welsh only unit the answer would be no.
No career progression.
No Foreign’s
No prospects