Adam Price, Leader of Plaid Cymru.
Last week I was elected to lead Plaid Cymru. Tomorrow I will give my first speech to our conference as leader.
For some, I hope I am familiar. But to those to whom I am not, let me introduce myself: I was born in a council house in Carmarthenshire. The son of Rufus, a miner and Welsh champion boxer, and Angela who moved to Wales from Worcester.
I grew up in the shadow of the miners’ struggle. A struggle which shaped the politics I retain today.
At 31 I was elected to the House of Commons. Within a year of taking my seat I uncovered dodgy dealings between Tony Blair and international steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal.
Shortly after, I led a campaign to impeach Mr Blair following the invasion of Iraq – the first-time impeachment had been attempted in Britain for over 150 years.
In 2010 I stood down from Parliament and headed to the Kennedy School of Government in Harvard, before taking up a role in an innovation foundation.
But the pull of Welsh politics was too much and in 2016 I was humbled to be elected once again to represent my home patch of Carmarthen, this time in the National Assembly for Wales.
From council house to House of Commons and from Harvard to Cardiff is not a well-trodden path, but I now face the biggest challenge of my political career – leading the Welsh national movement.
As the first openly gay man to lead this party and indeed any party in Wales and the UK, I am a modern, inclusive leader for a modern, inclusive Wales.
A modern, inclusive Wales that is stuck with an outmoded government in Cardiff and an exclusive one in Westminster.
Labour’s stranglehold on Wales must come to an end if we are to shun the shameful, unacceptable, and seemingly perpetual path of decline – the disgrace of falling life expectancy, the scandal of the collapse in educational rankings, the ignominy of the sick man of Europe status of our economy – and instead chart a new course.
And here comes the good news – I am confident that we can compose a new future for a new Wales.
Labour will not be its author. And nor will it be written for us in the marbled halls of Whitehall and Westminster. It will be written in the streets and shops, the pubs and rugby clubs, the homes and hearts of our nation.
It is only Plaid Cymru, the Party of Wales, that believes our nation can be prosperous. That it can be confident. That it can be self-governing and successful.
Some may shrug off our hope as blind optimism. I say to you that a successful, independent Wales is not a far-off, unachievable aspiration. It is a firm, near-term, realisable goal.
The prize is too great to surrender to the naysayers. The prize of a new Wales.
So, our message to the Welsh people – the message I will tell my party’s conference tomorrow – must be simple: Yes Wales Can.
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