Professor Phil Williams

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The Independent Online

Phil Williams [obituary by Meic Stephens, 13 June] was at heart more socialist than nationalist, even though he nailed his colours to the Plaid Cymru mast, writes Tony Heath.

That was vividly illustrated on St David's Day 2001 when he attended the inaugural meeting of the Bevan Foundation, a left-wing think tank taking its title from Nye Bevan. At the launch in Tredegar he was spotted in the audience by Paul Starling, then the foundation's director, and welcomed with the words, "I'm glad to see Phil Williams here. He's a socialist." Williams smiled in grateful recognition. Had he lived he might have succeeded in curing Plaid's perennial handicap - an inability to bridge the divide between cultural nationalism in rural Wales and the radicalism that still informs the heavily populated south.