Wales: The First and Final Colony – Extracts
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price will conclude the 2018 leg of his leader’s tour with a visit to the International Politics Hall at Aberystwyth University tonight, December 13, at 7pm.
Here are some key extracts from his new book The First and Final Colony.
We’ve comforted ourselves too long by blaming others for our misfortunes. The answer is to take our future into our own hands. And that means taking it out of the hands of the Welsh Labour Government, the most pathetic and ineffectual one-party state in the history of one-party states. Mediocrity for this Welsh Labour Government is something to be aspired to, and they can’t even manage that.
Which is why our nation is crying out for change in 2021. We have to win. Not for ourselves. Not for our Party. Not for the ordinary stuff of political gain. We have to win for Wales, for democracy and for our future. Because if Labour wins again and rules unchallenged for thirty years then everything we have won, everything we have fought for and everything we cherish is at risk. The stakes really are that painfully high.
But we will not create the Wales that we want by simply railing against the Wales that is. We need to paint a new Wales in the minds of our people with the most vivid brushstrokes of our imagination. Our Imagined Nation. We need to render a vision of what Wales by 2030 could be. A new vibrant, confident, successful nation built on the foundations of two terms of a Plaid Cymru administration. What could we achieve over the course of that decade? What tens of leaps forward could we make by 2030? We will all have our own ideas as to what that progress could be. That is the conversation we want to have now with the Welsh people.
First we have to win an election. And not one but two. And that will take discipline. It will take determination. It will mean putting aside petty differences and personal ambition to serve the common cause. A hundred years ago politicians in Ireland, Australia and Canada built their independence from the once-mighty British Empire step by courageous step. They had the discipline and determination and selflessness of those that had experienced the tragedy of war. Thank God we have not had to experience that burden. But we need to mirror the depth of their character.
What we need is ten thousand citizens of a republic of the mind, of a Wales already free, who will march together as comrades in a great movement of ideas. Our enemies are poverty, ignorance, disease, cowardice and selfishness. The enemy of those enemies is you, my friends and comrades, and our place is by each other’s side. We march shoulder to shoulder, in lockstep together, or we do not march at all. We have many miles to cover and we are surrounded on all sides by cynics and the sounding brasses of the self-important, the self-indulgent, the self-centred. We have to ignore those voices if we are to find our own. The only self there is room for in this movement is self-government.
Are you ready to add your voice to that greatest of all causes? To liberate this nation from poverty, from sickness, from ignorance and timidity? Are you with us? Are you with us? Then let the work begin.”
For twenty years, what passes for political leadership in Wales has failed the test of our times. Welsh politics has been an oasis of stasis in a sea-full of change. So many of our people have begun to lose faith in democracy, hope in the future and belief in themselves. Some have cheered on Brexit as enthusiastically as the crowds a hundred years ago cheered on those marching to the Somme. But now as then, as the dream of Empire sours, the Welsh nation, an even more ancient nation, begins to rouse from its long slumber. There is something happening in Wales. And it’s us. These moments, when history speeds up, when minds and hearts open up, when a nation begins to rise up, come along just once a generation. This is our moment. This is our time. This is our chance.
Now, in times such as these the first imperative is to be unambiguous. We have to be honest with the people of our country. There is no sustainable solution to the problems and challenges we face without Welsh independence. It’s only by owning our own problems that we will solve them, by owning our own opportunities that we will seize them, by owning our own dream – not Boris Johnson’s, not Jacob Rees-Mogg’s or Jeremy Corbyn’s – that we will ever turn our Welsh dreams into our Welsh reality.
Labour in Wales is failing and it will fall. The only question is who will be there to pick up the pieces. For the future of our nation, at this time, there can only be one answer to that question. It has to be us. Not us in the narrow sense of this Party, but us in the collective sense – represented by this Party – of taking responsibility for our own problems.
We don’t have to accept the inevitability of poverty, disadvantage and decline. Another Wales is not just possible but the urgent imperative of the times in which we live.
The paradox of Wales is that we are a rich country, in both material and non-material terms, which has been condemned to poverty of circumstance and of ambition, a rich country that has learned to be poor with a legacy of sickness, underachievement, under-investment and a lack of self-confidence in our very existence as a nation. British rule in Wales has left deep scars. By and large it has not been tyrannical but it has been grossly negligent, and left us without the necessary tools with which to achieve our potential as a nation. Unless we free ourselves from the dead hand of London then we will never get anywhere as a country and as a people.
Let not our politics be driven by hate, but by love: love for the land and the people we call Wales, but love also for all of humanity and the planet that is our common home.”
By Cynog Dafis: “Passionate, eloquent, analytical, inspirational… This is a First Minister-in-waiting who knows the score and intends to hit the ground running.”
“Plaid simply must win in 2021, to put in place a 10-year programme of national transformation, setting in motion also an informed national conversation on Wales’ constitutional status, culminating in a referendum on independence.”
Wales: The First & Final Colony costs £9.99 and can be bought here.