Adam Price, Leader of Plaid Cymru
You and I are privileged to live in one of the most beautiful nations on earth.
From the summits of Snowdonia to the kaleidoscope terraces of Tenby, from the beautiful bays of the Gower to the breath-taking Brecon Beacons.
Wales has always punched above its weight – small yet mighty. As the workshop of the world, our slate and coal-powered the engine of the Industrial Revolution.
But it’s the still untapped potential of today that should excite us all.
Wales is a nation rich in natural resources. The entrepreneurial spirit of our people lives on in a long list of pioneers and inventors. Our language, culture and scenery are renowned worldwide.
But our hands are tied. So many decisions affecting our lives are made by another parliament in another place. Westminster’s relationship with Wales is of denial – denying us investment and denying us our democratic right to decide matters for ourselves.
The grotesque inequality of the British state can be summarised by the plan to spend £5billion on restoring the Houses of Parliament – that’s equivalent to 1/3 of Wales’s entire budget – while 200,000 Welsh children live in poverty.
Welsh MPs make up just 6% of the House of Commons yet the other 94% get to decide on how matters relating to the economy, justice, broadcasting, and defence impact Wales.
Nearly 250 billion litres of water are exported from Wales each year, but we don’t get a penny in return.
Wales has 11% of the UK’s rail network but gets just 1.6% of the investment. Westminster just isn’t working for Wales.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. By insisting that decisions affecting Wales should be made in Wales, we can have a truly accountable government driven by the needs and desires of the people of Wales. That is what true democracy looks like.
On Wednesday, I was proud to join my Plaid Cymru colleagues in holding the first debate on independence in our Senedd. The question was not on whether Members supported independence itself, but rather whether they supported the principle of Wales being allowed to decide on its own constitutional future.
While it saddened me that the motion was rejected, I was struck by the wave of optimism following the debate – we are no longer swimming against the tide. Momentum is with us.
Independence is the normal state for 193 countries in the world. 62 countries have gained their independence from the UK and not one has looked back. After gaining its independence from the United Kingdom, Ireland went from being one of the poorest parts of Europe to one of the most prosperous.
If they can do it, why can’t Wales?
Independence doesn’t have to be a party-political issue – the richness of the cause is its diversity. But there comes a point when the only way of making is possible is by voting for it.
Come next May, come what may, I will be standing as the only pro-independence candidate for First Minister.
If enough of you say ‘yes’, we can build the new Wales together.