The Plaid Cymru conference, which I attended over that last two days was interesting for a number of reasons, not least that you got the feeling it was a conference of a party in opposition rather than government. The party members seemed to be far more interested in slagging off Labour, who are their partners in government in Wales, than critiquing the Tories or LibDems. Perhaps it is because Plaid regards itself as a rival socialist party to Labour. And therein lies its main electoral problem.
In Scotland, Alex Salmond has successfully created a broader church within the SNP. It is still a left of centre party, but it has dropped a lot of the anti Tory rhetoric and made itself more appealing to more nationalist minded right of centre voters. Plaid has made no move in this direction at all. Maybe it never can, but if ever aspires to lead a Welsh government it will certainly need, not only to widen its electoral appeal towards the centre and to the right, but also to break out of its northern and western heartlands. In south and eastern Wales Plaid has negligible support, barring one or two exceptions. What it actually needs to do is become a truly national party.
The conference itself was quite a fun experience. I spoke at a very lively fringe on blogging and was delighted to find out that such a huge proportion of the conference delegates seem to be avid readers of this blog. So to all those I met, thanks for making me so welcome and confirming Cardiff's status as one of my favourite cities in the UK.