You dont have to be Columbo to work out the question was clearly selected because it was designed to try and damage leanne and damage her party on prime time tv. Worse still the resident tory on the panel the Welsh secretary of state Alan Cairns was permitted to imply that Plaid was somehow involved in the arson campaign against 'holiday homes' in wales in the late 1970s - and without so much as a word of admonishment from the show's host.
For those who may be unfamiliar with this topic the problems of empty holiday cottages in rural Wales was a major concern in the late 1970s. Local people in welsh speaking communities were unable to get housing while scores of properties - often snapped up by affluent people from the south east of England - lay empty and unused for most of the year. As a result a group calling itself Meibion Glyndwr (Sons of Glyndwr) carried out a series of arson attacks on dozens of unoccupied holiday cottages in Wales. It's worth pointing out at this juncture the issue of unoccupied holiday cottages hasnt just been confined to rural Wales - it's been a problem in other rural parts of the UK too in places like Cornwall, Yorkshire and Cumbria (and sad to report that decades on it's still a problem).
The welsh arson campaign ended in the early 1980s and despite a massive police operation no one was ever arrested or charged for the attacks. But there was certainly no evidence linking anyone in Plaid Cymru to the arson campaign. Indeed some well informed people on the welsh political scene have long suspected the british intelligence services may have been behind the arson attacks as part of a wider campaign to damage welsh nationalism. If that sounds far fetched to some people dont forget that former intelligence operatives like Fred Holroyd and Colin Walllace have confirmed that MI5 were up to all sorts of shenanigans in the north of ireland in the 70s and 80s - sometimes with deadly results.
But any uninformed observers watching last night's Question Time might well have gone away with the impression that Plaid Cymru (an essentially left of centre party it should be noted) is a party which is only interested in the welsh language and whose members used to go around burning cottages owned by english people. And just to be sure the viewers at home 'got the message' there was a bizarre cameo from an audience member - obviously straight from central casting - labelling plaid 'racist'. I think we can safely say that with regards to Last Night's Question Time it was job done so far as british state is concerned, and it can surely only be a matter of time before we hear those 3 little words - 'arise Sir David'.
Given the shabby treatment their representatives repeatedly get on the show maybe it's time the left in the UK formed a pact and agreed to boycott the show? And with the 'randomly selected' QT audiences increasingly made up of kippers it would surely make sense for the programme's panel to follow suit? The show could hardly get any more right wing than it has become - and after yesterday's startling events in Strasbourg it certainly wouldnt be boring.