Leanne Wood AM, Leader of Plaid Cymru
This week I have resubmitted my nomination to lead Plaid Cymru.
In line with our party’s democratic principles, I am required to table my nomination to lead the Party of Wales every two years. This ensures that Plaid Cymru is always led by our membership.
As Leader, I have one overriding objective – to lead a Plaid Cymru government that begins our nation’s journey to independence, so that we can realise our potential as a country.
Westminster never has and never will deliver the solutions Wales needs. I believe there is a better way.
As a Plaid Cymru First Minister, I will deliver a programme for an empowered nation and an empowered people – for a future based on equality, dignity and opportunity for all.
That is why, on my re-election as leader, I will deliver a Pathway to Real Independence. Real Independence goes much further than national constitutional arrangements.
It covers the attitude, outlook and confidence people have when they are politically and economically empowered to determine the direction of their own lives.
I will set-up a national forum to discuss the steps we must take to end our social, political and economic dependence on Westminster.
With representatives from all walks of life, we will map out a future for Wales that doesn’t have to wait for Westminster to build our own, better society.
I got into politics to make a difference. I want to create a Wales where we don’t settle for second best. Where our communities grow richer not poorer. I want to see decisions about our country made in our country.
And, as the Leader of Plaid Cymru, I know that I can deliver on this positive vision for the future of our country. It won’t be easy, but I can promise, the party I lead has answers to the big questions our nation faces.
What is Wales’s place in the world? Where should the balance of power lie – Westminster or Wales? What type of society, economy and environment will we create for future generations?
As an initial step, I am commissioning a review of our energy policies – a full appraisal of the effects that Wylfa B and Hinckley Point could have on the communities and economy of Ynys Môn and Gwynedd and the south east.
Special attention will be paid to potential damage that nuclear development could cause to health, the Welsh language as well as our natural environment and overstretched infrastructure.
Labour and the Conservatives have both failed to show they have the answers. Both are complicit in delivering an extreme Brexit, costing Welsh jobs and wages.
They even colluded on a deal that will see our National Assembly weakened – with Westminster taking control over key powers relating to our environment, agriculture and state aid.
That is why I will continue to push the case for Wales to have an open and job-protecting relationship with our European neighbours and to bring back the powers that were so cynically handed to Westminster by Labour.
That is also why I will not enter into coalition with any party that stands opposed to our principles, values and policies.
Growing up during the 1980s in Rhondda, I saw first-hand the problems caused by political choices when Wales and our working-class communities were side-lined.
I knew then, as I know now, it doesn’t have to be this way. I know there is much more we can do to ensure people reach their full potential.
This not only means electing more Plaid Cymru representatives at all levels, it also means Plaid Cymru itself must better reflect all of the people of our nation.
For this reason, I will make sure our politics and elected representatives can properly reflect the diversity which makes up Welsh communities.
Raymond Williams described Real Independence as “a time of new and active creation: people sure enough of themselves to discard their baggage; knowing the past is past, as shaping history, but with a new confident sense of the present and the future, where the decisive meanings and values will be made.”
Inspired with a vision for a better future, we can build a nation shaped by its citizens. Giving hope and opportunity to those who have been denied it for so long.
Together, we will deliver an empowered people and nation, ready to take our future into our own hands.