Rhydian Elis Fitter
“When we look back on what changed the independence debate in Wales, let us say it was this.”
These were the words of Plaid Ifanc member Daniel Roberts, as he revealed the movement’s most ambitious campaign to date in front of delegates at their National Council earlier this year.
Plaid Cymru’s youth movement has received increased attention in recent months. The level of organisation and commitment shown by its members, coupled with its modern, creative campaigning style, has led many to suggest that this collection of young activists may be the burst of energy that Plaid Cymru needs.
The idea of movement politics within political parties has seen a resurgence recently. There is certainly something to be said for the recent growth in importance of political movements which have both an undying commitment to their party, and a stubborn resolve to do things their own way.
Plaid Ifanc certainly fits this mould, and has won plaudits from far and wide for the dedication shown by the great number of members it sent to Catalonia to defend ballot boxes in this month’s independence referendum.
With no election scheduled for a few years (we’ll see if it stays that way), it can be easy for political movements to stagnate, to become comfortable, and to simply wait for the next call to go out and knock doors or put up placards.
Plaid Ifanc is determined to do things differently. That’s why, in Stiwdio 2 of Galeri, Caernarfon, at 4.05pm on Saturday, they will be launching their “National Survey”.
This survey is the biggest ever attempt to learn what Wales’ young people feel about independence.
The survey asks a series of questions, not only to gauge the level of support for a Free Wales, but also to develop an understanding of what stops people from getting behind the movement to create an independent Welsh state.
It will explore what really concerns young people in their day to day lives – those bread and butter issues that will constitute and enrich the vision of what we want Wales to look like in the future.
With its own dedicated website, and with volunteers already signed up the length and breadth of Wales to take this survey to the streets, Plaid Ifanc is confident that they will hit their target of 10,000 responses.
Imagine the difference that could make to our country’s national movement. The information gathered will present a unique opportunity for Plaid Cymru, and organisations like Yes Cymru, to further the independence campaign.
But these conversations with young people in every corner of Wales will also spark a new debate about our nation’s future.
Of course, as soon as the hard work of gathering responses begins, people will excitedly await the results of the survey.
One thing we already know is that there is a tendency in Wales, as in other stateless nations, for young people to be at least more open to the idea of independence, than the older generations. The data collected will be fascinating, whatever it shows.
Though the headline results of this biggest ever survey on independence might be the most exciting aspect of the campaign, the value of the hard work on the ground shouldn’t be underestimated.
Whatever the data shows, we’ll know that after 10,000 conversations, we’ll be closer to our goal than we were at the start.
There’s a real buzz of excitement within the Plaid Ifanc ranks at the moment about what this survey could achieve.
And while members are confident that the capacity is there to achieve the target of 10,000 responses, there is always room for more volunteers.
After all, the entire purpose of this exercise, at heart, is to bring more people into the fold of our national movement.
Are you a young person who wants our country to be free, proud, cultured, bilingual, equal, prosperous, and independent?
If so, get in touch with Plaid Ifanc and offer your support to what could be the biggest grassroots attempt to change the hearts and minds of our generation to date.