Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru Westminster leaders
Wales is battening down for a winter election: wearily braced for weeks of chaos and cacophony, caught in the path of the storm and political tempest. There is no safe harbour on the horizon for our little ship of a nation, unless we steer ourselves away from Westminster’s self-induced foul weather.
But for that to happen we need you, Plaid Cymru supporters. I know many of you have volunteered already, from stuffing envelopes to knocking on doors. Staff too working every hour under the sun (and moon) to deliver the events, briefings and information we rely on.
The difference you are making may feel incremental, but as a team we make an immeasurable impact.
As the Leader of the Westminster Plaid Cymru Group, I can know every Plaid Cymru placard planted and leaflet posted, door knocked and phone called, is the reason that Wales’s voice heard in Westminster. It is not just the MPs that thank you, but the thousands of people across Wales whoser voice we amplify, whose corner we fight, whose interests we defend.
We do this because we cannot let the false prophets of the British right and left use Wales as their political adventure playground once again, and – if allowed to get away with it – walk away content that we’ll accept our bit-part in their poverty mockumentary.
Who now even believes PM Johnson when he implores to ‘get Brexit done’? This is nothing more than a sleight of hand to move to the next stage of the never-ending politics of distraction, and to blame someone, anyone, for the failure of a Westminster establishment that has served careers rather than communities for too long.
This is no time for sofa psephologists. This is a time not for analysing the grim misery of the status quo, but for being a part in the energy of change, the politics of realising potential.
Just when you think Westminster can’t throw any more at us, here comes yet more chaos and malfunction. And we are ready, once again, to do whatever it takes. The applied politics of street campaigning is what Plaid people do so well. And for that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Wales needs you to do what the Tory and Labour social media algorithms can never bankroll: the quality time of face-to-face human contact. How else will we bring about the defeat of the unseen digital manipulators save by the sincerity of the spoken word? Hope speaks out across barriers, and our perseverance in finding words to express our vision of the future will reach new people and new audiences.
Just as many people in Scotland sensed the flick of a switch during the independence referendum of 2014, so too this summer new people in Wales suddenly saw the British state through the lens of the Yes Cymru rallies.
We know Westminster isn’t fit for purpose: our job is to direct that frustration and dismay away from the slogans of pundits who neither serve nor benefit Wales, and offer a clear path to an alternative, self-made nation.
We are too long under the hand of a Labour Party who have been happy to take our votes, promise the policies of social equality in Westminster and apply the policies of abject managerialism in Cardiff.
And as for the Conservatives? Why would we play the part of the chorus in the siren song of those rightwingers who’d teach us the words to the funeral dirge of our own manufacturing and rural communities?
Yes – there will be frank exchanges of views with die-hard Brexiteers and Great Britaineers, but this is our shot at taking back the streets from those who would divide and rule us. We have a vision of a better Wales: of economic, social and health justice. Of shouldering responsibility for our own futures and the futures of our children. It is for us to break the vicious circle of dependency on a Westminster elite, remote from our experiences and remoter still in its self-regard and priority of self-interest.
Remember why you got into politics? To make a difference and to serve your community and nation? Because the sense of injustice cries out for what is wrong to be made right.
Whatever your skills: door-to-door campaigning, telephone canvassing, social media interaction. Please, now is the time to join in. This will be an extraordinary election: we will need to work in a new and extraordinary ways. Both what we’ve done so well in the past, but also in news ways, to reach new people and new generations.
It’s safe to say that Plaid Cymru reaches out with a heartfelt plea for support at each and every election. There’s always the message: this is the big one, the one to make the difference for our nation of Wales. The one to stand up and be counted.
But it has never been truer than now.
Because now is the time to make our own future.