Together we can build a new Wales in this new year

Adam Price. Credit: Euan Cherry/WENN

Adam Price, Plaid Cymru Leader

Mud-splattered, tired and cold, both sides embraced after giving their all.

For the players of Llangefni football club it was 90 minutes of hard battle. For one supporter, life itself is an uphill struggle.

Unperturbed by the standing water beneath her feet and as the floodlights were slowly fading, so was any sense of hope for her. The mounting pressures of running a small business and employing staff meant money was scarce and the future uncertain.

She cried. I felt ashamed that this is the Wales we have become. This wasn’t how I envisaged my year ending.

We embraced as I vowed to fight for her. I asked her to believe that the future of our nation can be better than its past or present.

Igniting hope in the face of fear is the major challenge of our time.

Two decades ago, devolution ushered in the promise of change – a flexible, pliable, transformational settlement that would give our languishing nation the uplift it needed.

20 years in Wales is a lifetime – people here live shortened lives – we want to live in a haven of hope more than anyone.

We’ve become tired of waiting. Waiting for an operation, waiting for the foodbank to open, waiting for a train that isn’t overcrowded; waiting for hope.

I understand the appeal of “getting Brexit done” –  a seemingly immediate ‘solution’, the silver bullet in a land where dreams are shot. Brexit was the wrong answer to the right question – a collective kickback against a British Union which has held us back not had our back.

We now face the fight of our lives. We can go one of two ways. Either we die on the drip-feed of Westminster or we become a Wales reborn – answerable to ourselves, blaming no one, working for all.

In fewer than 500 days we will decide which path we take. We will elect the next Welsh government and a new First Minister. It’s either the ‘yes men’ or the ‘Yes Cymru man’ – the leaders of London parties, or the leader who longs for an independent Wales.

Voting Labour hasn’t kept the Tories out in Westminster and hasn’t solved Wales’s problems.

Voting Labour won’t rid us of the British state’s shackles or the years of managed decline.

To paint a different picture, we need to change the frame. So, who will it be?

 

New Wales

Left and right, leave and remain must now be the political poles of the past.

Wales or Westminster – that is the choice facing our nation. Prosperity not austerity, hope not despair, independence not dependence.

I don’t want to be First Minister for the power or prestige – were that to be the case I would have joined a London party.

I want to be First Minister because I’m itching to see Wales realise its potential. I want every young person to have the opportunities I had – to make that journey from council house to the House of Commons and onto my own national parliament.

I have to be able to return to Llangefni next May and tell the football fan that her life will change for the better. We’ve stood on the touchline for far too long watching the teams in blue and red fighting it out, rather than fight for Wales.

The devolution dividend has been more drift and decline. Labour have spent 20 years squandering opportunity and becoming the masters of mediocrity.

So, to the woman in Llangefni, the man in Llandaf, the child in Llannon and the grandparent in Llanbrynmair I say this; together we can build a new Wales.

There is nothing wrong with Wales that Wales cannot put right. That is why Plaid Cymru is offering a new hope for the new year.

Wales and its people have the answers, let’s now all work to put them into action in the months ahead.

Blwyddyn newydd dda.

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Arwyn Lloyd
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As a long time Plaid voter and twice member, I have two thoughts on this piece. 1. Brexit was not a kickback against the British Union. An unreal analysis and obviously erroneous conclusion. If you proceed with that line of argument you will likely come in third place to the Tories. Brexit is a project of the economic libertarian hard right. It stirred up blood and soil English nationalists and married their themes to the discontent of those who felt left behind. It activated the same “left behind” in Wales because they have a notion of Britishness that it was… Read more »

Ernie The Smallholder
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Ernie The Smallholder

Wales is in a simular situation as the 3 Baltic states were to the USSR. Wales is divided into 3 parts by the fact that the rail network is not connected within Wales with a change of lines only at Shrewsbury. The Baltic capitals were well linked to Moscow but not very well between each other. Both the UK and USSR systems were centralised with a single propaganda network. The Baltic states are 3 separate countries but they worked together to get their independence from their centralising power, so I’m sure we in Wales can do the same. We must… Read more »

Arwyn Lloyd
Guest

We also need to move from some of the old negative tropes to a more positive vision. IMHO we should move towards a position of constitutional reform in order to ensure better governance so as to make for an improvement in the Welsh economy and thus better living standards and services. Put that under the umbrella of a union of British Nation States and it could be a credible vote-winning proposition. One obstacle however is that the Welsh electorate has a dim view of the current Welsh Government and would need some persuasion on the connection between self-determination, better governance… Read more »

John Ellis
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John Ellis

Better north – south rail links would certainly help to develop in Wales a greater sense of overall nationhood rather than identifying primarily with the part in which you happen to live or were born and bred. The snag, now as in the past, is Wales’s recalcitrant geography which favours west to east communication rather than north to south; carving railways across mountainous terrain is difficult and thus hugely expensive. I remember hearing that the very ambitious Manchester to Milford Haven railway project in the Victorian era, which would have linked Wales from south-west to north-east, ultimately failed because the… Read more »

Jonathan Gammond
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Jonathan Gammond

Surely in the 21st century, we should be able to find means to link the different regions of Wales together other than technology invented two hundred years ago. The question is what are those 21st century means and do we want them?

John Ellis
Guest
John Ellis

You have a point, but the question of just how and just what still hangs on in there. To cite just one example, the short air hop between Cardiff Rhoose and Valley was established as a quick and easy link between north and south, and has been hailed – at any rate by some – as a sharp idea and a success. But (a) Valley’s not exactly the most strategic spot in the north for an air passenger terminal and (b) in the context of curbing carbon emissions, do we really want to be extolling short haul air travel? One… Read more »

The Bellwether
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The Bellwether

Yes they’re called roads! With the advent of electric cars (and hydrogen powered lorries) and the ability to dig tunnels through mountains (like the Alps) there’s absolutely no need for air or more rail transport. They’re going to have to prise the steering wheel of my car from my cold dead fingers! How else am I going to get to out of the way places where I bird watch, fish, walk, holiday, socialise etc etc.
As to doing business, there is no need for meetings in the flesh. Video conferencing and email is quite sufficient.

John Ellis
Guest
John Ellis

I tend to avoid using the car these days, as far as I can. For a small hamlet well away from any major road, here we’re blessed with an unusually good bus service. As electric cars are as yet beyond my means, and in any case our corner of Wales’s north-east is decidedly deficient on charging points, the bus for now works for me. Well, most of the time! As to business – at least of the more modern sort – I agree that there’s less need for ‘face to face’ these days. But I was thinking more in terms… Read more »

The Bellwether
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The Bellwether

So are you saying that a ‘Valleys’ girl or boy has their Welsh identity shaped by living in the Rhondda, Aberdare area or Townhill in Swansea? I’ve known people in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and Patagonia who are more ‘Welsh’ in language and identity than most places here in Wales itself! no matter the geography.

John Ellis
Guest
John Ellis

Not quite. I’m saying, rather, that a lot of Welsh people have always seemed to me almost instinctively to see their Welsh identity through the lens of locality rather than in terms of the nation as a whole. That was true when I lived in different parts of the south years ago, and it appears no less true now that I live in the north-east, And that they appear to do so in a way that’s somewhat different from the way Englisnness is generally perceived by English folk. In the north-west of England where I grew up, for instance, there’s… Read more »

Jonathan Gammond
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Jonathan Gammond

The Baltic States were one of the more prosperous, economically developed and educated republics of the Soviet Union, having been more connected to Scandinavia and the rest of Europe for centuries economically and culturally, consequently they were in a better position to move forward following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Neil McEvoy
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Neil McEvoy

Nice prose, but a dishonest message. Adam Price went missing in action in Llanelli, Cardiff West & Blaenau Gwent, removing any prospect of Plaid advancing in 2021. The narrative of Plaid challenging to win the 2021 election is a lie. They cannot. Plaid AMs have enabled Labour since 2016 and the question is whether or not this continues up until the Senedd Election. In Cardiff West, only the coming new Party can defeat Labour’s First Minister, I hope to be the candidate for the new Party. Plaid’s attitude in such areas will be the real test of whether they want… Read more »

Meurig williams
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Meurig williams

I read your reply to Adam Price with interest. I would also be interested if you set our why you think Plaid has been a prop to Welsh Labour in the Senedd. Thank you.

Neil McEvoy
Guest
Neil McEvoy

Hi Meurig. I was first threatened with expulsion by Leanne Wood on 18.10.2016. The reason because I refused to support the Labour / Plaid budget deal, negotiated by Adam Price. I was in a minority of 1 in the Plaid Group, despite the others not knowing what was in 99.29% of Labour’s budget. Plaid enabled 3 Labour budgets to go through smoothly. Going back further, after the tied Jones / Wood FM vote, UKIP announced they were going to abstain on the next vote. All Plaid AMs except me could see no political value in Labour being put in by… Read more »

Gareth
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Gareth

“I was first threatened with expulsion by Leanne Wood on 18.10.2016”

Did you not threaten to leave the Plaid group during their first group meeting following the 2016 election?

Ben Angwin
Guest
Ben Angwin

I won’t call Adam Price dishonest. Only that Dafydd Benfras praising the House of Aberffraw in eloquent poetry did nothing to win a war.

Bloods (red) and Crypts (blue) used fight in my neighborhood in Houston. But then Latin Kings (yellow) came, and gave people jobs. So the people protected them against the police, and then they drove out other gangs. Because they gave people jobs. Welsh Labour’s actions got me a job last year that got me out of living with strangers and into my own flat. What jobs are you getting people, Adam?

Leigh Richards
Guest
Leigh Richards

I don’t know if plaid can win the next Welsh general election in 2021 – and form the next government of Wales – but I’m sure that you cannot win those elections Neil. We’ve already seen that ‘new party’ in action in the recent UK GE – Ein Gwlad – and they were humiliated, losing their deposit wherever they stood. And after their disastrous showing surely you can’t seriously be suggesting the creation of yet another ‘new party’?

Dgt80
Guest
Dgt80

I thought gwlad filled the gap last minute because plaid refused to contest seats to appease the unionist lib dems

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

Come on, Leigh, Gwlad Gwlad didn’t want to contest the 2019 GE, and only did so as a matter of principle to give pro-independence voters an option, thereby saving Plaid’s blushes. They did remarkably well under the circumstances, and probably didn’t expect to win a seat. It will be too soon for independence to be an electoral issue in 2021, but Plaid Cymru must now accept that there will be two other pro-indy parties contesting the Senedd election, and that neither of them are tainted by collusion and failure as Plaid now are.

Plain citizen
Guest
Plain citizen

Sentimental waffle. What exactly are you going to do? No wonder politicians are held in such low esteem when they pick up big salaries and vast pensions for this rubbish. What specific measures do you want to implement? How will they work? Please let us know.

Huw Davies
Guest
Huw Davies

As I said yesterday : “Posturing as nationalists or indeed any kind of radical thinker while spending far too much time comforting the major enemy on the ground here in Wales – the Labour provincial government- is counterproductive and sends out a confusing message to an increasingly suspicious electorate.”

If Adam starts to practice what he preaches he will be taking a first step on a very long road. And he will need to make sure there are no diversions.

The Bellwether
Guest
The Bellwether

I have been reading the excellent ‘Welsh Saints on the Mormon Trail’ by Wil Aaron. The book describes, in their own testimony, the trials and tribulations of the Welsh on their exodus to the Wild West of the USA in the 1840-60s and their motivations for leaving Wales. It was the promise of a new land, Beulahland, freedom from grinding poverty and, most of all, religious oppression (by their own people!). Then, as now, Welsh political and social influence on England was non-existant. Wales was treated essentially as a colony; a source of industrial labour, coal, water and military/war fodder… Read more »

Huw Davies
Guest
Huw Davies

If he goes off in that direction he will definitely need to get his head examined. Ample evidence over recent decades that religious fundamentalism is the last thing we need, especially as there are very obvious social challenges that need human effort and action not some strange attachment to faith.

John Evans
Guest
John Evans

read gwyn williams the search for beulah land. some of us are ardent socialists and atheists, as such i don’t see the relevance of faith. faith is a road to anywhere you like. come back to the fold of rationale.

The Bellwether
Guest
The Bellwether

You, Mr.Evans, state that you ‘don’t see the relevance of faith’. Well, where has being ‘rational’ ever got Plaid beyond the small minority vote it has now? Faith in something, even something ‘irrational’ like a God, has always been a prime motivator of human endeavour.

John Evans
Guest
John Evans

yes misplaced beliefs have always been a prime motivator of human endeavor, but that doesn’t make them a good idea. Oh and being rational has kinda brought us out of the stone age. think about it.

The Bellwether
Guest
The Bellwether

Gwyn Williams, Professor of History at University College, Cardiff, was indeed a brilliant academic and entertaining writer and broadcaster. Thanks for the reference to his work on Beulah Land. Will look it up.

John Ellis
Guest
John Ellis

‘O Beulah land, sweet Beulah land! As on thy highest mount I stand, I look away across the sea Where mansions are prepared for me, And view the shining glory shore, My heaven, my home for ever more.’ Not thought of that for years! It was a hymn my girlfriend in my student days used to quote, which they sang in her chapel in Barry. It was a new one on me, but clearly seems to hark back to those days of migration. But you remind me that in my first month living in Wales, in the autumn of 1964… Read more »

The Bellwether
Guest
The Bellwether

The Mormon bible tells us that ‘Beulah Land’ is their version of ‘heaven’.
On another interesting historical ‘mystery, the ‘Gold Plates’ dug up by Joseph Smith (in 1820) on which the Mormon faith is based, may have come over originally with Welsh religious dissident settlers members of the ‘Lost Colony’ in 1587 on Walter Raleigh’s first voyage to Cape Hatteras in N.Carolina. Survivors of that colony buried the ‘gold plates’ treasure after moving North to Virginia and then New York.
Don’t you just love these historical fantasies!

John Ellis
Guest
John Ellis

Hard to imagine that the denizens of ‘Raleigh’s lost colony’ would have been wealthy enough to to have travelled across the Atlantic with a significant cargo of gold!

Though I seem to recall reading years ago that one of Joseph Smith’s companions when he dug up the plates acknowledged quite some time later that the entire enterprise was a fraud.

Not the first of its sort!

The Bellwether
Guest
The Bellwether

Ah yes! but the ‘gold plates’ were only thin leaves of 6 x 8 inches and fitted into a smallish cedar box. Along with the Angel Moroni’s sword which could have been worn externally to stab Indians. Oh and don’t forget the Urim and Thummim the google/amazon alexa device of those times.
Oh alright I give up. This is getting silly!

jr humphrys
Guest
jr humphrys

2019 GE; Welsh brexiteers 41% .
EU-leaning parties 57%.