Jocelyn Davies pays tribute to one of Plaid Cymru’s most irrepressible and committed activists, Glyn Erasmus, on the day of his funeral.
Plaid Cymru and Wales have lost a great champion in party treasurer and long term campaigner Owen Glyn Erasmus, who died suddenly last month. It was a death so unexpected in a man who looked so fit and energetic.
Always dressed in trainers, fast driving, fast thinking, fast tongued, Glyn was unique. Sometimes challenging, sometimes infuriating, sometimes right when the rest of us weren’t, he was the furthest thing from a Yes man you could ever meet, apart from during referendums of course.
“Why do you do it like that?”
“What’s your evidence?”
“Why repeat what doesn’t work?”
“Why are you ignoring that elephant?”
Glyn relished debate and took nothing at face value, usually deploying his it with a dry wit. He never cared about being popular. It was more important to him to challenge and engage. Even if you only ever locked horns with him on Twitter (@TheErasmo), you will know what I mean.
His background in engineering give him an understanding of processes and a zeal for examining facts and positions which some of us just seemed to fall into without the same rigour of thought. Glyn had the gift of a methodical mind that demanded a systematic, logical and organised approach to everything he did. So spreadsheets, data, reports and plans based on facts and knowledge was his expectation. He constantly challenged perceived wisdom and established methods, and was unafraid to ruffle feathers of those, regardless of their status, who prefer gut feeling over evidence. It made him an ideal candidate to act as national treasurer of Plaid Cymru, a position he held at the time of his death, as well as a huge asset in any campaign or any political office.
Every Party needs a Glyn. He joined Plaid when it was not the fashionable or career enhancing thing to do in the valleys of Monmouthshire and gave decades of service. Bouncing around, he was energetic and dedicated with his time, though he despised wasting any. He turned up for anything that supported the party and was always prepared to take on tasks from the most mundane to the most precise to get a job done fully and properly. It was all worth doing providing the outcome was worthwhile.
Many in Plaid will also know how important the younger generation of the party was to him. He was especially good at relating to and supporting the younger members – we might call it mentoring, but Glyn never would have – and many in public life in Plaid will have had support, encouragement and also some life lessons from him in establishing their political careers.
The Party which Glyn has left was certainly a much bigger family than the one he first joined in South East Wales decades ago, but there were bonds of political loyalty which still make it a special grouping. Yet he was never a sentimental nationalist or sentimental about the political family he had chosen.
His other – real – family was equally important. He married Carol in 1968, almost fifty years ago, and she was The Lady in Red of his ringtone for her. His love for her and his family was the emotional, sentimental kind, a total contrast to his political approaches. And he was incredibly proud of her, naming her regularly in his tweets in a way few others refer to private lives. His sons Owen and Simon were hugely important to this very personal man and caring dad too. But that was the essence of Glyn and none of us who knew him well could fail but be wrapped up in his joy when his first grandchild, Bronwen or “Broni”, was born just a year ago. The short time they had together was a beautiful part of his life.
We will all miss our unique Glyn and his friends and colleagues from within Plaid and outside stand with Carol, Owen, Simon and Bronwen in quiet remembrance today of a life lived well and lived for Wales.