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WITH Plaid in disarray, it must be tempting for members to look at the success of the Scottish Nationalist Party in Holyrood with a touch of green-eyed wistfulness.

This column thought it might be fun to suggest some questions Ieuan, Adam, Dafydd, Dafydd, Alun, Dafydd, Elin and co might ask if they decided to write for advice to Britain's most successful Celtic nationalist: Alex Salmond.

Dear Alex,Apologies for the e-mail out of the blue, We know you're busy untying some of the knots in a 304-year-old union, but we just wondered if you could spare some time to answer a couple of questions from a fellow Celtic nationalist party.

How did you do it? Not the "let's have a referendum on independence" bit so much, although that could be nice if it wasn't for the money problem. Just the other part where you managed to completely rewrite the political balance of a nation.

People in places like Swansea and Llandudno say they're just as fed up with Labour and the Tories as they do in Glasgow or Aberdeen. It's just we can't seem to stop people voting for them. You - forgive us for being awestruck - seem to have won the trust of people throughout Scotland and overturned a century-old political order. You said it yourself in your victory speech. "To win this historic breakthrough... needed the trust of the people: all of the people."

Masterful stuff Al, brilliant oratory. Adam listened to it on the internet in America, where he's gone back to university to work out how to obliterate Labour, and he went weak at the knees. He's even started writing his own victory speech for 2026.

That's more than half. You've got 69 of Holyrood's seats. That's a bigger percentage than Labour have got here, and they're walking round saying it's almost impossible to get more with the electoral system. Adam thinks we need to start talking about independence like you. We're all a bit scared of him because he talks so loudly, so he's probably right. But what do you think? At first we thought we ought to stop talking about independence because we wanted to win support across Wales, not just in our heartlands. The thing is, some of us think that's probably still right. Our union with England is a lot older and more complicated than yours, and we're not sure if the people are ready to talk about independence.

But we'd like to be able to present ourselves, like you've done, as the best party to take Wales forward in whatever form the Welsh people want. Like you, we're centre left, in tune with the politics of our people and untainted by Iraq or Afghanistan, Westminster cuts, Blair, Brown or Thatcher.

We should be onto a winner. The problem is, we went into government for a while and lost support - you went into government and gained support. Is it you Alex? Is it your personality and charm... the ability not just to get on Newsnight with Paxo, but to make him laugh as well? Your deputy Nicola Sturgeon doesn't seem to have any problems with him, either. Do you both fancy becoming honorary Welsh people Meanwhile, good luck with Scotland. for a few years to help us out? Any tips you can give us Al would be great. Down with the Westminster lot, eh!

Yours, in awe, Your imaginary fans in Plaid


Alex Salmond
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 19, 2011
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