By Williams Jac Rees.
Last week at Y Galeri, Caernarfon members and supporters of Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales gathered for the parties’ annual conference. ‘Forward Stronger’ was the theme as party leader Leanne Wood AM put to bed claims that she will be standing down from her position. She stated in her speech she intended to lead the party into the next Welsh Parliamentary elections in 2021 as Plaid Cymru’s ‘candidate for First Minister’ and said that Plaid Cymru had ‘the ambition to show a new way for Wales’.
Amongst the main talking points at the conference were not surprisingly: ‘Brexit’, the ongoing constitutional crisis in Catalonia, and the recent General Election results which saw Plaid Cymru increase its number of MP’s following the election of Wales’s youngest MP Ben Lake as the MP for Ceredigion.
Throughout the weekend the party also proposed many new policies that would be a key part of their manifesto going into the elections in 2021. Most notably Adam Price AM, Plaid Cymru’s’ spokesman for the economy and infrastructure announced ‘youth basic income’ for 18 to 24 year olds which would be the ‘most comprehensive package of support for young people across the entire world’ which would include support for higher and further education, a national citizen service, grants to support young entrepreneurs wishing to start up their own business in addition to a ‘guaranteed’ job.
Additionally, as part of her ‘All-Wales Agenda’ Leanne Wood proposed a ‘rail revolution, with plans to complete the electrification of the railway line to Swansea, which were ditched by the current UK Government. Whilst discussing Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union Wood also said, ‘remaining in the single market was the best scenario for the Welsh economy’ which was supported by delegates who voted unanimously to maintain Wales’ membership of the single market.
Plaid Ifanc, the parties’ youth wing also launched their National Survey which will be the biggest ever survey focusing on independence and what kind of country young people in Wales want to build. Speaking to Gair Rhydd, co-chair of the movement Sioned Treharne said ‘This campaign is Plaid Ifanc’s most ambitious project to date. We’re aiming high, and have set a target of 10,000 conversations with young people across Wales about our nation’s constitutional future.’ The report based on the findings of this survey will undoubtedly inform and further the national conversation about independence, and will inject new energy into the campaign for self-determination.’
Summing up the parties’ values and vision for Wales in an interview given to BBC Wales Dr Dai Lloyd AM said ‘No other party puts Wales, this nation, at the heart of its raison d’etre. Nobody else cares to this extreme degree about the future of Wales, its people, its economy its vision or its place in the world’. Only time will tell if the people of Wales agree.