Speech to Plaid Cymru September Conference 2010

There is no other party that can say that they have a more generous and a more loyal group of supporters than we have in Plaid Cymru, and we are eternally grateful for all that you do. 

So why am I asking you to do more here today?

Simply because we have a job of work to do. Everyone in Wales has a right to hear our message and share in our vision, and there is a duty on us to ensure that this message reaches every person in Wales regularly. 

In order to achieve this we need money, a financial investment but with priceless returns! In these austere days with the banks reluctant to pay interest on any savings, what better investment is there than an investment in Wales’ future? It is only Plaid Cymru that fights for Wales’ future and does so with a clear vision of how tomorrow’s Wales will look, the Wales that I am asking you to invest in. 

Let us remind ourselves of this vision that has been and still is an integral part of Plaid’s existence. 

The formation of Plaid Cymru at the start of the twentieth century was the start of the realisation of the dreams of thousands of people, offering a vision for a better Wales, where her people control her resources making the best decisions for the good of the nation. 

This is what Ifan Alwyn Owen, one of the party’s founding fathers said back in 192:. 

“I am more certain than ever for a National Party for Wales for I believe undoubtedly that it is through her, and only her will Wales secure a total measure of autonomy: I also see in her – after infusing the people with the national spirit – an excellent remedy to fight for total independence.” 

Or what about DJ Davies’ wise words in 1949: 

“…to create the will to co-operate in the economic sphere, something deeper and wider than class or economic interests is needed; and all experiences shows that there is nothing which can more effectively create that will, and produce a spirit which will express itself in constructive action and not merely in talk, than a living sense of nationality. The man who is without this sense becomes individualistic and anti-social, and tends to seek the immediate at the expense of the ultimate” 

Or indeed the words of Gwynfor Evans in 1953: 

“What is the main characteristic of Welsh Nationalism?

The desire to develop fully the whole resources of Welsh Society, morally, materially, and mentally. It is this that will give the best opportunity for every individual Welshman to live their life fully.

 “Her belief is in the value of the individual person, and it is the governmental aim of her policy to ensure an ample life for him. It is through a Welsh cooperative republic that he will have the best opportunity, and it is Plaid Cymru’s objective to establish such a republic”. 

These are the principles that made us such an unique and distinctive political force. These are the principles that stirred the national consciousness and caused the earthquake that shook Welsh politics from 1966 through to 2007. 

It was our dogged hard work that brought about the quite revolution that’s been happening under our noses here in Wales. From the creation of the Welsh Office, the Kilbrandon Commission, the forming of S4C, the Welsh Language Act of 1992, the Yes Vote of 1997, all of which have made Wales a better and a more equal place to live in, all these and much more was brought about because of Plaid. Just as we took inspiration and learnt lessons from the struggles of other nations, our successes have also given hope to numerous other small nations in their struggles for freedom. We are the real Welsh Internationalist Party empathising with all struggles for freedom throughout the world. 

Because we see things differently. We have a different perspective on things. A Welsh perspective. A perspective born out of cooperation, compassion, and a never give-up attitude, an attitude that against all odds we will do the best by our family, friends and community.

 You see, when certain Labour grandees say that they are comfortable with seeing people getting filthy rich, what we hear is that they are comfortable with seeing others living in desperate poverty. When they talk of the bottom line they see pounds and pennies, our bottom line is people and communities. When they talk of the manufacturing industry, we see living, breathing communities; when they talk of the agricultural industry, we see a way of life.

 Our spiritual leaders are neither Adam Smith, Marx nor Keynes. Ours is not the politics of material goods and the economy. We don’t exist to serve the economy. The economy exists to serve us. Ours is a greater wealth, the wealth of culture and community, people and heritage. That is what makes us a Nationalist party that has no imperial ambitions and does not see ourselves better than anybody else, but the equal to all and the servant to none.

 But, like an addict our nation is being kept in its place by state handouts and a constant drip-feed of British Nationalism;  a dependence culture, a belief that our very existence is dependent on England and Westminster. Like an addict, the thought of living without that drug is scary and we are afraid of the withdrawal symptoms if we stop; and like an addict we keep returning wanting more without realising that it is a false dependence, a dependence that has been perpetuated throughout the generations, from the Blue Books of 1847 through to the ever expanding modern Broadcasting Corporation. We’ve been told that we are useless so often that we have come to believe it ourselves – you just need to read the letters page of the Daily Post or the Western Mail, or the comments of Unionist political bloggers constantly telling us that we couldn’t survive, that without the English Taxpayers we would be starving and so on…You could say, in the words of some, that it’s been rammed down our throats! 

Everything that we have is being handed over to the British State, our wealth, our resources, our young men and women with a minority enriching themselves at the expense of our national identity and future. But like an addict it is ultimately only us that can do something about it. We need that self-confidence, the guts, and that strength of character to choose the path to freedom.

 This is the confidence that we need to show as a community and as a nation.

 It seems to me however that there is a pattern in Welsh Nationalism. In every generation we put our hopes, our faith, and our confidence in one person to lead us to freedom – Y Mab Darogan, ‘The Foretold Son’. But there is no one person that can lead us to freedom, there is no one person that will lead us to the promised land. If we want to see our vision realised, then it is only through cooperation, with everyone pulling their weight will we do so. We all have our part to play. When Lewis Valentine stood for election in Caernarfon in 1929 he did so with the support of 609 ‘Foretold Sons and Daughters’. When Gwynfor won this historic victory in 1966 he did so with the support of 16,179 ‘Foretold Sons and Daughters’. And when Dafydd and Ron raised their hands on that glorious morning in September 1997 they did so with the support of over half a million ‘Foretold Sons and Daughters’. All of us gathered here today are the foretold sons and daughters with our part to play and the ability to change Wales for the better.

We are members of Plaid Cymru because we have faith and confidence in Wales, in her people. Let us show that same faith and confidence in ourselves by contributing to the national struggle that faces us next year. 

What better way of finishing this appeal than with the words of Gwynfor Evans: 

 “Wales, living her own life with dignity, will take her due share in creating a just, stable and peaceful international order. Her greatest contribution to human welfare and civilisation, however, will be to create in the national homeland a fair society, a free society.”

These were the words of Gwynfor at the end of his book, Wales Can Win, and what better investment than in this burning vision!  Give generously to Plaid Cymru; Give generously to Wales; and together we can build a better Wales! 

Reading Material:

Wales Can Win – Gwynfor Evans

Diwedd Prydeindod – Gwynfor Evans

80 Cwestiwn ac Ateb ar Blaid Cymru (Pamphlet) – Gwynfor Evans

The Desire of Nations – R Tudur Jones

Towards Welsh Freedom – DJ Davies

Rhoi Cymru’n Gyntaf, Syniadaeth Plaid Cymru – Richard Wyn Jones

Small is Beautifull – Schumacher

Is Wales Viable – Leopold Kohr

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