Wales can, and Wales will, win

Here is Leanne's speech at the Plaid Cymru Conference this afternoon ... and it was definitely a good one.

     

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34 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's not working for me here....but it may be my computer.

Cibwr said...

It was good.... often wondered why the cooperative party is affiliated to Labour, given that speech you would have thought its home would be in Plaid.

maen_tramgwydd said...

Not working for me

maen_tramgwydd said...

Worked on the third attempt.

An excellent speech!

MH said...

Sorry to hear that people are having trouble with the video. If anyone still can't get it to work could they please let me know what the problem is (Is it totally white? Does the intitial picture display, but not play? Can you see it on the Vimeo site if you click the Vimeo logo?)

Alternatively, the full programme is here on iPlayer, starting about an hour through.

Anonymous said...

It's working today.... I am 14 September 2012 22:54

Anonymous said...

I thought the Plaid narrative was that we needed indepdendence to be weathier. Now were saying we'll sort out the economy first - despite having less eceonomic leavers than a county council - and then go for independence. Doesn't this line undermine the reason we want independence. We'll never be successful with the present constitutional restraints.

M.

Anonymous said...

... be taking this line Plaid are also swallowing and strengthening the Brit nats narrative that independence and 'consititional' aims are a diversion from the 'important work of creating jobs'. Labour could have written this narrative. Yes, independence is nice, but we can't afford it yet, it's a minority sport for the Welshie chattering classes.'

Shouldn't Plaid be saying we need independence to rebalance the whole Welsh economy, create a counter weight against London domination and priorities our economy by our needs and strengths? Isn't that the whole point of it?

M.

Anonymous said...

M raises some very good points.....i was frankly disturbed by adam price stating in his otherwise excellent piece in the guardian that 'we cant afford independence now'....as it is a comment which might perhaps give rise to the unfortunate impression that our long term goal of independence for wales is some how put on hold until the welsh economy is in a healthier state...and while im confident that is not the impression adam or anyone in the plaid leadership intended to give such comments only serve to play into the hands of the unionist parties who have always argued and indeed always will argue that wales 'cannot afford independence'....

we should not allow the unionist parties to determine the ground on which the arguments for self government for wales take place ...a key plank of our case should always be based on the belief that wales is a nation and it is the right of the people of every nation on the earth to determine their own nation's future..so the welsh have the same right to self government should they want it as the people of any other country......and we should make it clear plaid cymru unlike the unionist parties will always give them that choice.....

im also in no doubt that it is only following independence that it will be possible to make really significant changes and improvements to the welsh economy. As the fact of the matter is that we in wales are suffering the terrible legacy of decades of exploitation and 'underdevelopment' by the british state - with wales, its people and its resources used to serve the interest of the british state rather than used to serve the needs of wales and its people....for example does anyone for one moment seriously imagine that if wales had by now enjoyed a few decades od of independence we wouldnt have a direct rail link between north and south wales? that it hasnt occurred is simply because it was not in the economic interests of the british state to create such a link....a state of affairs which the unionist parties to their shame have always been happy to accept.

as for the unionist spurious 'cant afford independence' arguments well if they wish to go down that road we should point out that the british state's independence should cease tomorrow as the uk's economy is an absolute basket case and currently running a national debt comprising two thirds of GDP.....

on leanne's speech itself i thought it was her best so far as plaid leader, containing a number of interesting initiatives to develop the welsh economy even under the existing devolution settlement....something which none of the unionist parties is remotely interested in doing of course....

Leigh Richards
swansea

Anonymous said...

Slightly off topic - any people going up the the Independence Rally in Scotland this Saturday in Edinburgh http://www.ourscotland.net/ Should be good.

It would be a crying shame (and embarrassment) if there were no Welsh flags flying there?

Plaid Youth organising anything? Plaid centrally?

Any one going up from Cardiff area?

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid Adam is right. People say "well the UK is a basket case as well" but that's not the point- an indepedent Wales' balance sheet would be significantly worse. People will not vote to become poorer. That's why the idea of placing economic progress first is correct. For that we will of course need more economic levers and in my opinion more investment in education and skills. I think Plaid has done well to explode the myth that Wales is too small to be independent, but the main reason people oppose it now is because we are too poor. Saying we will become even poorer is not going to cut it. Additionally, a prerequisite for any constitutional change is that Plaid Cymru needs to perform better in elections.

Anonymous said...

with respect anon no one here is advocating saying to the welsh public that wales 'will become even poorer' following independence...quite the opposite in fact, as its clear that its only self government that will enable us in wales to seriously develop our economy and try and close the gap that exists between our economy and much of western europe....certainly no british government or unionist party will do this or is interested in doing this....it is something we in wales are going to have to do for ourselves.

also UK debt levels currently stand at one trillion pounds (a thousand billion) it is inconceivable that the balance sheet of an independent wales could be anywhere near those enormous proportions....so the old arguments about wales not being able to 'afford' independence dont hold water....but yes you are of course correct when you point out that plaid needs to perform better in elections if we are to bring about further meaningful constitutional change for wales....

Leigh Richards

Anonymous said...

I agree with Leigh!

It's up for the Brits to say Wales is too poor to be independent. We're poor because we aren't independent - that's why we want independence!

How do Plaid expect to win the independence debate without ever making the case for it?

M.

Anonymous said...

Leigh- as a proportion of GDP out deficit would simply be much too large to manage, and I'm not a deficit hawk at all. The only route I can see out of the crisis is through investment. I cannot see a route at all through austerity and cutting back Welsh public services. I do think though if we gradually acquire more powers- no easy task in itself- independence will become much more popular. As things stand I don't see why it would be in our party interest to go into and election calling for a referendum on independence. People will react more positively to self-government and getting more powers.

Anonymous said...

M. The main argument people use is "how would we pay for it". Plaid has never ever explained that, ever. Leanne Wood is suggesting we should have more economic activity to pay out way. We won't ever win an independence referendum on the grounds of Wales' current economic performance. Adam Price is 100% right and it's about time we were a bit more hard headed about things and selling real policies.

Anonymous said...

some well argued points from anon 15:19 and 15.22...and i do appreciate where you are coming from on this anon but like i said i think it was a mistake by adam to use the phrase 'we cant afford independence now' because that is exactly what our opponents have always said and always will say....so i sincerely hope this does not become the accepted view of plaid cymru on this matter as i fear we risk digging a real hole for ourselves if we are not careful.

Im not advocating that plaid should go into the next welsh general election in 2016 calling for a referendum on independence as part of our manifesto but nor should we shy away from the issue of independence either....and if scotland should of course vote yes in 2014 the situation in wales with regards to welsh public opinion on this issue might change markedly...only time and events will tell...but yes of course gaining more powers for wales in the meantime is imperative.

regarding how a self governing wales would start to pay its way well the late dr phil williams wrote a number of detailed papers on this matter...admittedly the last such paper (the welsh budget) being in 1998, while the thorny issue of how much of a 'subsidy' wales does or doesnt receive from the british state was the basis of eurfyl ap gwilym's now legendary spat with paxman of course...

while this article (if MH will permit to include this link) is also worth looking at i think when discussing the subject of welsh independence and the 'affordability'
question...

http://www.welshindependence.net/2012/07/what-price-independence-mabon-ap-gwynfor.html

Leigh Richards
swansea

Anonymous said...

Anon 15.22 - I'm not debating that, but Plaid are in danger of giving the impression that 'Wales is too poor to be independent' and I can't see how Plaid (who would be the most proactive government in the Assembly) could turn around an economy with no lever at it's disposal.

M.

Anonymous said...

Leigh- "i think it was a mistake by adam to use the phrase 'we cant afford independence now' because that is exactly what our opponents have always said and always will say" .

I disagree, though I respect your views. What Price said is 'we can't afford independence now...let's make it an option in the future", which actually our opponents have nebver said.

I think we (i'm a supporter) are in a good position to take advantage of Scotland voting 'yes' because everyone knows Plaid Cymru wants to see an independent Wales. But we need to also get into a better position in the event of Scotland voting 'no'. The need for greater powers for Wales will remain, whichever way Scotland votes. If we are simply about 'let's have independence right now' and nothing about governing Wales in the meantime, we would suffer a crushing blow in the event of a Scottish 'no' vote.

Eurfyl was superb in his spat against Paxman, as you say! But his argument (which was correct) rested on the fact that you can't improve the Welsh economy by simply slashing public expenditure, and that actually Wales needs "our fair share" of expenditure, which we aren't currently getting. If you think about how underfunded Welsh transport is, or Welsh education, we need more investment going into those areas, otherwise the Welsh economy will continue to underperform. Eurfyl was spot on and i'm a huge fan, but he wasn't making an "independence now" argument, he was saying about investing and being fairly funded so that we can become gradually less dependent over the longer term. A very different approach to Scotland where they are already fairly funded and could afford independence tomorrow based on their oil revenue.

I am also a huge fan of Mabon ap Gwynfor and think he would be a great politician. He makes some great points but again is fundamentally wrong to say- " The simple truth is that the UK cannot afford to be ‘independent’, yet there is no doubting that it is". This is true but Wales can afford it even less, that's the point. Nobody could dispute that the UK is seriously bust, but GVA suggests that Wales would be even worse off than the UK. Scotland would stay about the same as it is now. There is a direct relationship between GVA and taxation, and GVA in Wales is simply not good enough.

I hate to sound like i'm talking Wales down but i'm a very rational and logical person (not saying you're not). I'm also optimistic though. I think if we were much more realistic and in line with public opinion on independence, we would perform better as a party.

Anonymous said...

M. says- "Anon 15.22 - I'm not debating that, but Plaid are in danger of giving the impression that 'Wales is too poor to be independent' and I can't see how Plaid (who would be the most proactive government in the Assembly) could turn around an economy with no lever at it's disposal."

My understanding is that we would demand economic levers and in fact have already made proposals. I don't think Plaid is saying keep the Assembly's economic powers as they are now. If they are, they are seriously wrong. But i'm pretty sure they want a fair funding settlement and then control over a load of taxes.

If Plaid actually said 'Wales is too poor to be independent' as you accuse them I would welcome it as long as they added '...but we want Wales to become wealthier" or if not wealthier, a better or more just place. Because this is probably how most people in Wales feel. I think that Plaid has not been in line with public opinion enough, and it's not a left-right issue, it's an independence-devolution issue.

It also goes without saying. There is no prospect of an independence referendum ever happening unless Plaid Cymru is in government in Wales. Plaid Cymru cannot be in government without an economic and social policy. The party has too often put the cart before the horse. It honestly makes my mind boggle when people say 'Plaid hasn't been clear enough about independence', Plaid talking about independence has been the main thing that has cost us votes and put people off.

BUT I completely support Syniadau and believe that people who want an independent Wales are those who most truly care about our country. I see no sense in denying an independent Wales, I just want more realism about it and for us to be closer to public opinion. I don't agree with saying "independence is a mirage" but I would agree with saying it isn't on the table right now. I am a huge supporter of Leanne Wood, not Dafydd El.

This is what the Labour party would most fear. If Plaid simply said we are the party of Welsh interests. We would back independence when it was in Wales' interest. If we stopped scaring people off, and actually became an electable force, then they would be worrying. I am very keen on maintaining the current social spend in Wales and investing our way out of decline, rather than cutting our way out of it.

Aled G J said...

Personally, I can't see why Plaid Cymru can't promote the improve the Welsh economy meme and Independence meme concurrently. Why not adapt Elin Jones's line during the leadership election, and say that we would wish to introduce a referendum on an Independent Wales within ten years, and that in the meantime we will focus on improving the economy to build up towards that?That would be both an ambitious and realistic message at the same time.

The problem with saying let's not talk about independence at this stage until we get a better economy, is that once again the debate gets stifled and the real advantages of independence( small supportive state, cultural identity, social capital, renewed sense of national enterprise and innovation) will just not be presented to people at all! I would like to see Leanne making use of some Plaid Cymru politicans to pursue the Independence line quite forcibly over the next few years. With fast moving developments in Catalonia, Scotland and the Basque Country, we just can't afford to be left behind in this debate!

Anonymous said...

I think Aled G J has said it more elequently than me. (though, I wouldn't tie myself to Elin Jones 10 year rule). Say we want independence, outline how independence would be better than what we have now but go into the election saying what is achievable within the 5 years of government.

I also think it's time to consider if Plaid should insert a call for a new referendum in the next Assembly elections. Though, this depends on what happens in Scotland of course.

M.

Anonymous said...

doesnt surprise me that it it seems to have gone largely unnoticed by what passes for a media in wales but today is the 15th anniversary of one of the most significant dates in welsh history....here's reminder of that historic night...hopefully this video wil also serve to remind us all of how far we have come as a nation in that time...but maybe of how far we stil have to go also.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ha8o7Gd6HY

Leigh Richards

Anonymous said...

OK - I think we're all on the same side here. What I'd like to see Plaid say every time and in every Q&A is that Wales is weak and poor because we haven't been independent. Had we have been independent we would have seen more dividends from coal and we'd have prepared better for its demise (to give one example).

Lets get Labour talking Wales down, saying Wales is too poor to be independent, saying that Wales couldn't be independend. We'll see they come off worse and that they have nothing to offer instead only the same old thing. Lets take the battle to them.

M.

Anonymous said...

Yes, take the fight to labour (the enemy of Wales). Let them say Wales is poor after nearly 100 years of labour council rule.

Ambiorix said...

Has anyone read this article’s comment on Leanne Wood?

http://robintilbrook.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/is-plaid-cymrus-new-leader-anti-english.html

Anonymous said...

thankyou for bringing this to our attention Ambiorix...

the english democrats are a tiny extreme right wing group which under tilbrook's chairmanship has accepted dozens of former members of the nazi BNP into its ranks..among them the notorious fascist and former BNP elections coordinator eddie butler...the ED also has links with european fascist groups like the greek golden dawn and the serbian neo nazis Obraz....

there is of course nothing in leanne's comments in the guardian which could in any way be construed as anti-english....

Leigh Richards

Anonymous said...

"among them the notorious fascist and former BNP elections coordinator eddie butler..."

I know that he speaks a bit funny/gives a lot of praise to the England rugby team but that's going a bit far!

Anonymous said...

I know Eddie Butler isn't a nice person Leigh but for goodness sake....he used to be Welsh captain!

Anonymous said...

to avoid any further confusion....and to ensure a certain former wales captain and current tv presenter doesnt despatch his former team mates from the infamous pontypool front row to 'discuss' this matter further with me.....i meant this eddie butler

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddy_Butler

Leigh Richards

Siônnyn said...

I sat next to Butler (WRU) on a train once, and had a great chat with him. My impression was that he is a true patriot - and many of his programs support that. His program on the Tonypandy riots could have been an official Plaid propaganda film!

I do think that along with the message that Wales needs to boost its economy to be in a position to become independent, we need to re-state the fact that is the union that has made us so poor- and is making us poorer.

That Wales is governed by a unionist party that takes all its orders from London, and has promoted some very poor talent to the front row on the 'buggin's turn' principle (Hutt and Hart - and Lewis et al

However, I am do far very encouraged by Leanne's approach, and I thought this was a great speech.

Anonymous said...

I think it's crucial to express frustration that Wales is relatively poor compared to the rest of the UK because of the Tories and Labour. But then we need to offer an alternative and the only thing we can possibly aim for is a Plaid government in Wales. We can't even offer independence to the people of Wales without first having a Plaid government. At this rate I don't even think any further substantial devolution will happen without PC getting upwards of 25% of the vote. I think David Jones and Owen Smith will stitch up the Silk Commission between them.

To even get to a place where we have a quarter of voters supporting Plaid we would need to take so many changes. But without Leanne as leader reaching even modest success would in my view be impossible.

Most people in Wales want a stronger Wales within Britain. Bearing in mind that even going much stronger than Wales is now will disrupt vested interests such as MPs. If a left-of-centre party expressed a view for a stronger Wales and a changed union, that would be a major challenge to Labour. Talking about independence at this point doesn't challenge Labour because the Welsh people doesn't want it- but they might want it in the future if we first have more self-government.

Sorry if I sound a bit Rhodri Glyn, but Plaid Cymru doing better electorally is the most important thing for Wales. Leanne is 100% the only leader that can take us on this journey.

Anonymous said...

We are Watching :https://www.facebook.com/pages/Anonymous-Wales/154306687984725

Anonymous said...

MH

In a different matter - i see the Scots are going to arrange a second Independence Rally next September. There was not delegation from Wales at this one. I've seen plenty of Flemish flags at the procession in Edinburgh but no Welsh ones.

Can we start organising now to make sure we have an official (and supporters) presence at next year's rally?

We complain when others don't give us our do attention and then we don't turn up to make our voices heard when the opportunity arrives. (and yes, I'm as guilty as anyone). Any one fancy a Scottish trip! Put it in your diaries now!

Boyo Bach

Anonymous said...

Where are you MH!? We need you!

A quick question for people to start thinking about . It's obvious the Brit Nats are going to 'commemorate' the First World War.

All well and good. But the British state with their supporters in the British nationalist Labour, Tory and LibDem parties will manage an clever piece of political acrobatics.

Make the commemoration of the total waste which was the effect of British nationalist imperial policy sending thousands of Welsh men to a pointless war as a commemoration not against Britishness but as an attack on 'narrow nationalism'. That is, the state which sent us to war will try and point itself as a bulwark against narrow nationalism of Wales - which wasn't a state and had no imperial ambitions.

Are we going to lie down and allow a 4 year sea of Union Jacks - the Butcher's Apron - the flag which sent hundreds of thousands to kill and be killed - fly over Wales? Are we going to try and be 'clever' and say nothing? Are we going to hide behind some ersatz pacifism agains 'all nationalisms'?

Well being clever and not saying anything against the Brit nationalist fest over the summer worked out well didn't it?! The Tories now feel galvinaised by the sea of Union Jacks and are now clawing back on the Assembly's powers.

The British nats Labour Party is adopting 'blue labour' - British nationalism to you and me.

So, what are we to do. Do nothing, sit back, put our fingers in our ears and hope it goes away in 2019? It won't. This is a concerted attack on Wales. They will even remember the Irish rebellion as a big mistake and commemorate the Irish who wasted their lives dying for Britain and not Ireland.

Plaid and Welsh nationalists need to think and organise for this now. It's part of a concerted attack to undermine the Assembly and make us compliant Britishers - the kind of compliant Britishers who killed and died for Britian in 1914-18 with nothing to show for it.

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