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It’s time for neglected Newport to be radical again

04 Apr 2019 4 minute read
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price (left) and AM Delyth Jewell (right) with Newport West candidate Jonathan T. Clarke (centre) and the ‘New Wales’ slogan.

Jonathan Clark, Plaid Cymru candidate for Newport West

It’s time for Newport to be radical again.

That’s my call as the Plaid Cymru candidate for the Newport West Westminster by-election.

Newport is Wales’ third largest urban area but being sandwiched in between Cardiff and Bristol has seen its economy continually neglected by the Labour and Tory governments at both ends of the M4.

While the Westminster parties compete to out-pollute each other with demands for the M4 black route to be built, Plaid Cymru are calling for a public transport revolution for Newport.

We know that the Metro is the only option that will save our environment, our time, and our money.

The expensive, damaging, and delusional proposed black route won’t solve Newport and south Gwent’s traffic problems or help the local journeys we make. We need real Transformative Public Transport reform for Newport. We need to invest in public transport and improve the existing M4.

We need work to start on the Metro, the railway stations, and the park and ride at Caerleon – Ponthir, Celtic Lakes, Llanwern and Magor and develop a regular rail service running into Newport from Ebbw Vale.

Our billions should not be blown on bulldozing the Gwent levels. We must demand an end to this nonsensical approach and choose an alternative which will actually deliver for us, the people who live here in Newport.

We’ll reverse the tide on rough sleeping in our city, not by punishing the vulnerable as Labour and the Tories continue to do, but by providing safe, accessible, and supportive services for everyone in need.

Our city’s history demands radicalism and our present demands action.

We can be justly proud of everything Newport has achieved.

For example, local businesses like Reseiclo Training are the backbone of Newport’s economy. The stronger these businesses are, the stronger Newport will be.

Reseiclo Training offers a service to adults with learning disabilities, mental ill-health, and autism spectrum disorder, giving them the opportunity to learn woodworking skills.

This not-for-profit enterprise empowers and supports every trainee by giving them real work experience.

I’m proposing a Green Jobs Revolution for Newport, taking full advantage of the city’s natural resources and unique coastline.

This kind of radical, community-focused project is exactly the kind of thing that can transform economies, communities, and individuals’ lives at a local level and is exactly the sort of thing we should all be supporting.

From our industrial past to our sporting future we have consistently punched above our weight, but we must now end the stagnation we’ve suffered under the dominance of a tired old Labour party, and chart a new course for our city.

Politics has never seemed so uncertain. Whoever wins this election will walk into a House of Commons already cracking under the weight of its own incompetence.

Brexit has exposed the total inability of the tired, old Westminster parties to get to grips with the issues facing our communities in Wales.

The architect of this mess, Theresa May is being abandoned by her Brexit builders, but is still being helped along by her trusty Labourer, Jeremy Corbyn. Make no mistake. Both Westminster parties are complicit in this chaos.

But we can send them a clear message in this election.

It’s time for Newport to be radical again, it’s time for us to be creative again, it’s time for us to demand better again.

We must all get to work, and forge from the fire of this broken British state a New Wales which will forever be remembered as having been built in Newport.

Together, we can build a New Wales, and we can lay its foundations here, in the heart of radical  Newport.

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