Plaid Cymru is your party – it’s here for all of Wales

Rhun ap Iorwerth. Picture by Plaid Cymru. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Rhun ap Iorwerth

Caernarfon is of my favourite places in Wales, without a doubt.

And no, it’s not just because that from here you have one of the best views of Ynys Môn (although that helps).

No, there’s something about Caernarfon. The Welsh confidence in this town in the shadow of Edward I’s castle has always been striking to me.

Confidence is something that is so important. It’s something that we in Wales have maybe been lacking.

We’re regularly told that we’re too weak, too poor, too small or too stupid.

Building on that confidence in our nation is one of the main reasons why I decided to join Plaid Cymru, so that we could set a different course for our nation and offer a better future to everyone in Wales wherever they are, whatever their background.

But if I’m honest, our national confidence has felt quite sparse recently.

I don’t know about you but there’s a feeling that our interests as a nation is suffering blow after blow.

  • Our most disadvantaged people and communities are coming under attack after attack by Westminster governments. The cruelty of the Universal Credit system is proof of that.
  • Wales, the international nation, has been led to turn her back on European partnerships that have been so valuable to us.
  • The parliament in London is using leaving the European Union to undermine the power of the Welsh parliament.
  • Even Newsnight has joined in the game of undermining the confidence in our language and culture!

Even Labour and Tory MPs can’t be bothered to take their seats on the ONLY Westminster committee dedicated to discussing Welsh affairs. Shame on them.

But there we are, we will take their place, and for the first time ever, Plaid Cymru has TWO members of the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Select Committee.

Not only is it easier to doubt where we are going as a country in terms of the challenges we have faced, it’s easy for us as a party to lose confidence.

Yes, this year’s snap election was a challenging one. It was difficult to see Wales following British patterns – or to be more correct – English patterns of voting.

There was almost a feeling of being under siege. Feeling powerless.

Dedication

But remember in the middle of all this, a young lad from Llanbed, Ben Lake, was elected as the youngest Plaid Cymru MP ever, and the party went back to its highest number of MPs ever.

No, that doesn’t tell the full story of the election – it was a challenging one.

But Plaid Cymru in Ceredigion saw that there was a way of winning. With the right candidate, the right message, the enthusiasm, the energy…the confidence. Plaid Cymru won Ceredigion on the front foot.

And it’s on the front foot that we as a party will face the challenges of the future – united, disciplined, and with a clear aim.

I’m adamant that only under the leadership of a confident, committed, hard-working Plaid Cymru can we see this country starting to truly come out of her shell and reach for a better future that I know is within our grasp.

I joined Plaid Cymru because of its ambitions for my country. I looked to Plaid Cymru for its clear-cut dedication to seeking the best for communities in all parts of Wales.

I want Wales and its people to feel empowered to face the future with a new-found confidence, and a belief that we can take responsibility for our own destiny.

Setting our own priorities to look after our old and vulnerable, able to help our young people map out a better future. Wales – international in outlook!

Our future is built on strong links with our neighbouring countries in these islands and across Europe.

Oh, the stark contrast of that vision with the ‘shut-the-borders’, splendid isolation of hard Brexit Britain.

And that’s not to deny what happened in the vote last year – not at all. I accept the sentiment expressed through the ballot box that day, in that rush-job referendum, that gave little time for a real assessment of what was at stake for Wales. But I think people get it now.

As we look to the future, a newly confident Wales needs a newly confident Plaid Cymru – it’s YOUR party, wherever you are, IF you think Wales is worth something.

If our nationhood is something you value. You might have been born here, you might have moved here yesterday, you might speak Welsh, you might not… if you believe you have a stake in Wales future – let’s do this together.

Plaid Cymru is for ALL of Wales.

Momentum

And no, not everybody sees that yet. It’s our job to help people understand that. Our appeal can and must be broad. And it’s the country, not the party, that matters.

I just happen to believe Plaid Cymru has our best interests as a country at heart. This is about building momentum behind people and communities Wales-wide, not behind a political ideology.

When we as a Plaid group in the Assembly go about our business, under Leanne’s leadership, it’s all aimed at building up Wales, in prosperity, in education, culturally, our jobs, our life chances, our aspirations, our health.

I want to and I look forward to doing that in Government, but for now it’s our job as a strong opposition to hold Labour to account.

At the same time, we can even make some real gains. From opposition.

As Shadow Health Secretary, I know workforce planning is one of the biggest challenges facing the NHS.

It’s shameful that Labour running the NHS in Wales for 18 years has taken its eye off the ball to such an extent that we now face crises in recruitment and retention across so many parts of the health service, among Doctors, nurses and other health professionals.

That’s why I’m determined not to let up at all in our campaign for a new centre to teach doctors here in the north of our country.

We are desperate for doctors, we need to give more opportunities for young students from Wales to study medicine in Wales. But Plaid Cymru has a plan.

Nearly forty percent of all medical vacancies in Wales are here in the north. This has to be addressed for the service itself, for the staff, and of course for the patients.

It’s also hugely costly. Betsi Cadwaladr is finding it impossible year after year to stay within budget. In the last financial year, agency staff costs – including locum doctors and agency nurses – soared from £33m, to over £40m.

That’s just here in the north. Health boards Wales-wide are spending millions of pounds every week on agency staff. And at the same time agencies are profiting.

Well, let me announce that a Plaid Cymru government would want to take the profit out of agency staffing.

As Health Secretary I’d make sure we have a not-for-profit model for supplying agency doctors and nurses, as we build up the longer-term resilience and sustainability of our full-time workforce.

Complacency

I came into politics not only knowing that there’d be challenges ahead… but because there were challenges ahead.

It just so happens some of those challenges have deepened since then. But all that means is that Plaid Cymru has to be even more determined to step up to the plate.

Labour’s complacency and lack of any real vision for our country is taking us nowhere. The Conservatives at Westminster show time and time again they care not one bit about our welfare or  what’s in Wales’ interests.

We in Plaid Cymru – the party of ALL of Wales – have to offer an alternative to the people of Wales.

An alternative government they can trust and believe in.

Caernarfon Castle just up the road was one of Edward I’s Iron Ring of castles. His idea was to bring the story of Wales to an end.

It says a lot that this Labour government planned to celebrate that Iron Ring at Flint Castle. But just like the ring was ditched, Labour’s rule in Wales WILL come to an end.

It’s a matter of ‘when’. And it’ll come when we’ve convinced enough people to put their trust in Plaid Cymru.

It really is that simple. It’s important to remember our history as a nation – but our interest is in the future. The story of Wales is only just beginning. We can be authors of our own destiny.

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18 Comments

  1. That’s guite inspiring.

  2. John Sweeney

    Yet again no mention of independence Why not? If not Independence Party, Just Labour lite Shameful

    • CambroUiDunlainge

      I think they’re leaving it to Yes.Cymru… which is a good idea as it keeps their politics away from the movement. Problem is it does require Plaid make some kind of progress… which it is not. But last thing anyone wants is Plaid’s failures to blow back onto Yes.Cymru and the Independence movement. Maybe the only thing they’re doing right. Though maybe I’ve putting to much faith in Plaid having a real plan there.

      • Rhun ap Iorwerth

        Hi. I don’t usually comment on comments on my comments, as it were, but here goes. By way of background… I’m a Yes Cymru member; I gave up what was a decent career to serve my community and country and to promote Welsh nationhood; I believe Wales should be a self-governing/sovereign/independent/mature/free/normal country… any of these descriptions is OK by me, but the label isn’t important – it’s what Wales can be, and the control we have over our own destiny that’s important to me.

        We’re on the same side, here, surely? I really, really don’t mind if you didn’t like my speech. That’s cool. I even messed up the delivery of one bit at the end (d’oh!), but that really doesn’t matter either in the big scheme of things. If we can’t allow freedom of expression in how to achieve what we seek for Wales, we may as well give up now.

        I happen to believe in trying to persuade people, and bring them on a journey with us – explain what I mean about my ambition for Wales – that it’s the opposite of being a reclusive, inward-looking Wales, for example. I recognise that the next steps in our constitutional journey scares many people, and I want to try to reassure them and win them over. . Others prefer to be more direct. That’s fine by me, and there’s a clear difference between Plaid Cymru the political party (that seeks to win people’s trust to govern, as part of the nation-building project), and a campaign group like Yes Cymru.

        Let’s remember that the building of alliances will be crucial to Wales’ progress as a nation. Fall out over basics now, and it doesn’t bode well!

        There. Diolch.

        • CambroUiDunlainge

          Thankyou for taking the time to respond.

          I’m not advocating Independence supporters turn fire on Plaid. The issue is that as Plaid is currently the only Nationalist party any policies it has – such as its EU stance which by slim majority is against the Welsh public could reflect back on Yes.Cymru. Last thing anyone wants is there to be all these left wing socialist welsh speaking pro-EU tags attached too it. I’d say the same to many nationalist movement. Arms length from politics… let it do its thing until the time is right.

          As for your question whether we are on the same side… I’m pro-Wales. I was not born a Socialist, I chose to be one. But I was lucky enough to be born Welsh. It comes first. Being pro-Wales means I accept that Wales has many political alignments and opinions but we all face the same problem. Above you said Plaid is a party for all Wales… but its EU stance prevents that being a reality. As does it being left-wing. Being pro-Wales and for all Wales includes right wing nationalists, left wing, chicken wing, Remainers, Brexiteers, Welsh speakers and English speakers.

          So you tell me. Are we on the same side? Because you may or may not agree with me, many nationalists may or may not agree with me… but Plaid as a party is incompatible with that vision. I really wish it was though – inclusive and understanding of all our people to be – as you said – a party here for all Wales.

          Diolch yn fawr, Rhun. Regardless of ideological differences its nice to see politicians in the trenches.

  3. “It was difficult to see Wales following British patterns – or to be more correct – English patterns of voting.” with over 20% of the Cymru population being English and growing what do you expect!

    • I was brought up in England (in Essex). Over the last forty years I saw how the English tories ran down local communities, losing local jobs and productive businesses until each town became a residential ghetto where people from outside moved into and travelled over 100 miles daily for work!
      Another example in England is the Isle of Wight: previously a politically liberal place where again local jobs were lost, retirees were moved in from outside outnumbering locals, changing the political and social landscape to Tory!

      I moved to Wales because there is prospect that the country of Wales is, and will remain a balanced country;
      I, like many here do not know where England is now going but I have lost confidence in its politics of growing isolationism and feel less connected with it since brexit.

      Wales has in Plaid Cymru the political will to be a strong independent stable sovereign nation.
      Wales needs the strength that Plaid Cymru will provide in its dealings with the EU to provide the best for Wales.
      Yes Cymru must put its full support to Plaid Cymru which itself must embrace the broad independance movement on a party political level.

      Plaid Cymru is the only true voice the people of Wales has.

  4. Eos Pengwern

    I wish I could believe this – in fact, the stuff about Wales itself, as a country, I strongly believe – but as for Plaid Cymru its credibility was totally shot from the moment that it started collaborating with Labour in 2007. Labour has been the ruination of Wales since it first started gaining traction in the early 20th century, and no party that allies itself with it can possibly claim to have Wales’ interests at heart. It’s time for a new nationalist party that’s untainted by that devil’s bargain, and my hope is that something comes out of either Yes Cymru or the new venture to form an alternative nationalist party to supplant Plaid Cymru.

  5. Dafydd Thomas

    Rhun, you say that Betsi Cadwaladr is finding it impossible year after year to stay in budget. Well what do you expect when the housing policy is to build more and more houses specifically for elderly people from England, who need lots of health care. At the risk of overstating the obvious housing policy needs to have regard for services, and anyway we know from studies that these retirees come here with no regard for funding their health requirements. They also need social care and their state pensions are allocated to Welsh expenditure. What other country in the world accepts so many elderly immigrants relative to the population? Address the Cause not only the Symptoms.

  6. The Bellwether

    Of course one must admire and agree with everything written in the article above.
    The solution to Welsh ‘confidence’ is in the Diaspora. Putative Prophets, like Rhun ap Iorwerth, are never ‘recognised in their own lands’ so appeals, incentives, demands must be made to confident (and economically competent) Welsh people in far flung corners of the earth to come back and sort things out. This is what the Irish and the Scots have done and are still doing.
    Making it easier for young people to stay would help as well. Sadly, many, if they have anything about them, take the first train out (as I did).

  7. Jonathan Edwards

    Rhun, you say “Wales should be a self-governing/sovereign/independent country”. You need to be clearer, because of the implications.
    “Indepdendent” is fine-sounding but is vague.Probably better to combine the fine-sounding and the recognised term and say “independent sovereign State.”
    Independent Sovereign
    LIke Ireland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Finland? They all broke away from various independent sovereign States and became independent sovereign States themselves, recognised by other independent sovereign States. This is very hard to do. Fine for Wales to have a party that aims for this. Could be like the SNP and Scotland and get to 40%+ in the polls. But in Wales such a party would be small. It is not clear to the people of Wales understand that Plaid wants Wales to be independent (sovereign State). You do. I do. But Plaid fudges this. Really, Plaid is so tiny, it might as well come out and seek an independent sovereign State. No London party will support this. You will not get much “building of alliances”. But so what? Plaid being small already can live with staying small, but clear and committed. What is there to lose? Surely this is what you mean by “confidence” – not merely a reduction in being “scared”.
    Self-governing
    Is not the same as being an independent sovereign State. So is Wales self-governing? No. It has a structure set by London, which conquered Wales. Wales has not had a Consitutional Convention since the time of Hywel Dda. It has never written its own Constitution. It can legislate in very limited fields only. But it is seriously realistic to aim for self-government. The British Empire has permitted self-government many times in history. From 13 now 50 US Colonies/States, to Australian States, Canadian Provinces. Ireland after WW1, Yes, one should ask the question, can we build and alliance to get this? Well, we can try. Ask Labour. Ask Tories like Andrew Melding AM. What LIb Dems there are would be fine. But here’s the key, the big one. Will Labour (the big potential ally) do it? Hand on heart, Rhun, will they? That is your problem. If after a sincere effort you personally conclude that Labour won’t made an alliance – stop trying. And do this before Plaid goes further down the plug-hole, please.

    • Rhun ap Iorwerth

      Hi. Thanks for your comments. You misread a number of things. a) I’m clearly not saying Wales IS self-governing, but that I want it to be. b) Alliance with Labour? The alliance I was talking about on the question of Wales’ sovereignty, was between Plaid/Yes Cymru/other indidviduals and groups committed to building Welsh nationhood, not Labour. Labour is a unionist party. Individual Labour members/supporters (or those of any other parties for that matter) can come on board, obvs, and we need them to.

      I think the main point that I was trying to make was that I think it’s a serious case of ‘picking the wrong fight’ for supporters of Welsh independence to turn their fire on Plaid, the only party committed to wanting a sovereign Wales to govern itself! I’m a proud Plaid and Yes Cymru member!

  8. Capitalist and Welshnash

    Annwyl Rhun,

    Mae anghytundebau â chi gen i. Ond pan dreuliais noson a bore mewn cwmni flirtatious ag aelod Llafur, gwelais i fod gan lawer yn y Blaid Lafur chip on the shoulder go iawn am yr iaith Gymraeg, a rhoi Cymru’n gyntaf. Wedyn, aeth ymlaen a’ch sarhau chi’n benodol, a phwyleisio bod angen dod i ben â thlodi a bod hunaniaeth Gymraeg yn rhwystr i gydraddoldeb. So I decided bod angen arnaf i gefnogi Plaid yn lleol yn erbyn y Blaid Lafur nac ystyried ymuno â nhw er lles fy hun a rhyw fath o yrfa ar ben eu llwyddiant (despite their socialist holier than thou piety). I disagree with you on many things, but Cymru is more important than that.

  9. Jonathan Edwards

    OK Rhun, you convinced me. I think. Lets try some things and see if they fit. We try to build alliances with,….who?
    – YesCymru. A minnau’nn aelod hefyd. But bear in mind they (like Plaid) are leftish, and should be in not out anyway. Easy.
    – Neil McEvoy and 20/20? No brainer. Stop bullying McEvoy for merely fighting the good fight. Easy
    – Royston Jones’ following? Someone called them Welsh Ukippers which was harsh. But they are not exactly left- leaning. Ally anyway?
    – members of Labour for Independent Wales? Try to peel them off and get them on side? Fine.
    – Lib Dems? They are Federalist. Good, up to a point. Gets Wales self-governing.
    – Tories like Andrew Melding AM? Understands Federalism well because he went to William and Mary, Va. Would favour self-government/Statehood. Not really independence-minded though. Any more than the State of Virginia does.
    What strikes me straight away is that there is something wrong with the Statement of Aims in the Plaid Constitution. It is producing too narrow a clique. Need to widen the Aims, and ally with Yes.Cymru, 20/20, Royston & Co (as individuals, because the group thing is not going well. The Plaid-led Independence Front will not be big, but it will be bigger, and gutsier. It will have clarity and integrity and appeal, and logic and history on its side. It could get on the march and grow. With the confidence you want.
    Sounds good to me.

  10. I fin it remarkable that the editor of this site has allowed Jonathan Edwards to accuse Rhun of bullying Neil McEvoy when it is McEvoy himself who has been found guilty of bullying. What is even more remarkable is that Mr Edwards, who I believe is Mr McEvoy’s solicitor, was himself found guilty of bullying and sexual harassment by the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service in 2013!

    http://www.tbtas.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/hearings/727/Outcome-Posting-Edwards-amended1.pdf

    I suggest that the editor does more research before allowing comments, or articles, from such obviously flawed characters. The English media would have a field day if Neil McEvoy ever came close to real power and the national movement would be undermined and tarnished. We need people with impeccable credentials leading us to independence.

    • Hi John. Anyone who has commented before can do so without my approval. However, my reading was that Jonathan’s comments referred to Plaid Cymru’s attitude towards Neil McEvoy as a whole rather a direct accusation aimed at Rhun. It didn’t actually mean ‘bullying’ as in ‘work place bullying’ as you have interpreted it, but a political intolerance of his views. If Rhun feels differently of course I’d be happy to contact Mr. Edwards and ask if he could clarify his remarks.

      “I suggest that the editor does more research before allowing comments, or articles, from such obviously flawed characters.”

      If we didn’t allow comment by flawed characters we would not have a website! Let he without sin cast the first stone, etc. At the end of the day, Neil McEvoy is an Assembly Member, a position of power. The public need to now what he has to say for the good of the Welsh public sphere.

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