Welsh community bank founder not running for re-election to YesCymru committee
The founder of a Welsh community bank has announced he’s not running for re-election to YesCymru’s Central Committee.
Mark Hooper has said he’s not standing because he wants to “focus” his “efforts” on getting Bank Cambria off the ground.
The community bank for Wales, which is run by its membership, has been described by Hooper as a “an institutional brick in our self-reliant wall”.
In a statement on his website, he described grassroots pro-independence group YesCymru, which is fast approaching 20,000 members, as a “powerful political machine”.
He warned that this “comes with consequences and responsibility” and that the organisation’s growth over the past year has not come “without challenge or learning”.
In his statement he said: “In early 2020 I stood and was successful in the election to YesCymru’s Central Committee.
“In what will undoubtedly be recognised as a hugely consequential year for the movement, it was important to begin the process of preparing the organisation for important challenges ahead.
“A paid-up membership approaching 20,000 is a seriously powerful political machine, and this power comes with consequences and responsibility.
“The Committee have met only once in real life over the course of this extraordinary year, but very often virtually over zoom. I have tried to make all the meetings, but have sometimes found myself with fewer hours in the day than I need.
“As some may know, I’m heavily involved in getting Banc Cambria off the ground, and this has been intense work; work that will not let up over the next year or two.
“I have therefore decided I’m not going to be accepting the nomination to go forward for election again this year. Thanks to whoever nominated me, but I want to focus my efforts on getting Banc launched – an institutional brick in our self-reliant wall.”
He added: “I want to make it clear, I am wholly supportive of the movement, and the organisation – it has grown massively over the past year, and it has changed significantly.
“The change hasn’t been without challenge or learning. But that challenge and learning should be celebrated and not feared.
“In fact, the movement should encourage even more – that is the place where the winning line is – that is the place where we can have a better Wales for everyone.
“We need a movement that reflects the sort of Wales we want to see. A Wales that is positively welcoming to all and one where contributions are actively sought from those whose voice has too often been marginalised by those of us with privilege.
“I will therefore use my votes to support the candidates for the new Central Committee who will continue the work done over the past year, but importantly, back those who propose to go further and faster.
“I will be looking at the candidate profiles carefully, for both the portfolio and non-portfolio positions, and choose only those who seek to ensure widening participation and supporting the voices of everyone. I am looking for positive statements on inclusion, not simplistic soundbites.
“#AnnibyniaethIBawb has to be more than a slogan – I look forward to voting for those who will ensure Yes Cymru is the force of positive change that takes us towards an independent Wales that makes a lasting difference to everyone.”