Wales’ best days are yet to come
As I write this, Westminster politics is in crisis. While much may have changed by the time of publication, a fundamental disease at the heart of the Westminster establishment will still remain.
That disease had set in long before Brexit. But the chaos that has enveloped the Palace of Westminster since 2016 has shown, for all to see, the fractures, the fraying, and the paralysis.
The truth, of course, is that the Westminster establishment has never cared about Wales. For decades and more, we have been ignored by a political class, to whom we barely matter.
But there is something happening in Wales. People are realising how little Westminster does for us. Indeed, that Westminster will always be content to ride roughshod over the Welsh national interest.
Brexit is the perfect example. Any version of Brexit would be a disaster for our ports, for our jobs, and for our agriculture and manufacturing industries. And yet here we are.
For us in Plaid Cymru, our raison d’être is to speak up for Wales and to defend the Welsh national interest. That has guided our response to Brexit, and it will always guide us in everything we do.
And while we are now living through these tumultuous days, Plaid Cymru will always hold an unshakable confidence in the spirit and the abilities of the people of our nation.
Wales is one of the most natural resource rich nations in the world, and we are – for now – part of a so-called United Kingdom which is, in fact, one of the world’s financially richest states.
And yet there are some 200,000 children in Wales right now who are living in poverty. There are families from Holyhead to Monmouth, from Denbigh to Tenby, who simply cannot make ends meet.
I know what poverty feels like. I was born into it. But my brothers and I were fortunate to receive a full grant to go to university, and to have a mother who scrimped and saved as much as she could.
No one should have live like that. No child should have to grow up like that. Especially in this – one of the world’s richest countries. It doesn’t add up.
That’s why Plaid Cymru thinks it’s time Westminster settled up. It’s not charity we seek, but justice. Justice for a century and more of neglect which has left us in this rut of poverty.
I recently called for a £20 billion Welsh Reconstruction Fund. That fund would represent £2 billion of additional spending every year in a decade of transformation.
Such a fund would allow us to invest in our nation – in our green infrastructure, in sustainable jobs, and in doing all we can to reverse the climate emergency.
That fund would also do a great deal to rebalance the economy of these islands which, for so long, has been unhealthily and unfairly skewed in one direction.
And when Plaid Cymru forms the next government of Wales in 2021, we will get to work right away. We’re not in the business of managing Wales’ problems; we’ll fix them.
The truth as we in Plaid Cymru know it is that there is nothing about Wales that makes us inherently too small, too poor, or too stupid to do better than this.
To those who look at the other independent nations of the world and question Wales’ ability to thrive as a nation taking its own place among them, we in Plaid Cymru say yes, Wales can.
To those who look at the families having to choose between heating and eating and the older people having to sell their homes to pay for care and wonder if Wales can do better, we say yes, Wales can.
And to those who see the world moving on and ask whether Wales can ever be a springboard for entrepreneurialism and innovation, we must say yes, Wales can.
Because as the nights grow longer and our politics seems equally dark, we in Plaid Cymru have no doubt that our nation’s best days are yet to come.
Within each of us who calls Wales home, there is a seed that needs nurturing, that will allow our nation to be the caring, innovative, green, and independent land we know it can be.
And that’s what Plaid Cymru stands for: a better Wales, a brighter Wales. One which we can all be proud to pass on to future generations.
Adam Price is the leader of Plaid Cymru.
With a General Election on the horizon, Bright Green is publishing a series of articles from progressive party spokespeople on how their policies would transform the country. This article is part of that series – all articles can be found here.
Header image credit: Madeline Norris – Creative Commons