Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.

×

Leanne Wood: Why I’m standing for the Plaid Cymru leadership

Leanne Wood AM sets out a socialist vision for Wales.

January 30, 2012
4 min read

If ever there were a need for a strong, radical government of the left in Wales, it is now. Despite  Plaid’s success in delivering and winning a referendum on law-making powers for the National Assembly last year, Wales is still bearing the brunt of savage cuts to public services and already-meagre benefits, all being carried out by a government the people of Wales didn’t vote for.

Labour has a minority government in the Welsh Assembly. It fought last year’s Assembly election on a claim that it would ‘stand up for Wales’. As the SNP government in Scotland stands up for its people and fights Cameron’s attempts to deny them self-determination, Labour in Wales is happy to simply sit and wait, hoping for another Labour government in London that will solve their problems, rather than set out a vision for Wales. Labour in Wales are a party happier with Tory rule than home rule. When its masters in London support the cuts, ‘Welsh Labour’ remains silent.

There is a clear need  for a strong, socialist alternative to the Tory/Labour cuts agenda in Wales. Plaid Cymru is in a great position to provide that alternative. Plaid Cymru can and should speak for those who face a daily struggle to make ends meet, such as those who face a choice between heating their home and putting food on the table. The majority in Wales who reject the cuts agenda deserve a voice. In the longer term, we must tackle the root problems in Welsh society and seek to transform our nation, not simply manage it, as the British parties have done.

After a disappointing election result last year and an internal review, Plaid Cymru now has an opportunity to reinvigorate itself. Members will soon elect a new leader. I have decided to put my name forward.

Our party has much of which it can be proud, including standing firm against Trident and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, delivering more devolved powers for Wales and providing an  alternative to the privatisation agenda.

However, we still have much to do. I believe the time has now come to build the case for independence – not for its own sake, but in order to break the cycle of poverty and a weak economy which has left our nation as one of the poorest parts of Western Europe. In the current economic climate, this need is clearer than ever.

Plaid Cymru is the only party that seeks independence for Wales. We know that there is a powerful economic argument for it, but we have not always communicated that case effectively. Only Plaid Cymru works to see Wales break out of its poverty and develop the inherent skills of our people in order to thrive and achieve our true potential. That ambition sets us distinctly apart from the British parties. I believe in our people, and am determined to offer leadership which fosters a sense of national confidence and ambition that is a precursor to renewed prosperity.

The next step towards independence means placing Wales in a better position economically. In the short term, we must insist on financial fairness; in the long term, we need to put in place a robust economic infrastructure that can shelter us from future economic storms.

Models from across the world show that we can create a thriving decentralised economy that is inherently Welsh, serving our people rather than the market; an economy in which co-operative and green ventures can thrive creating jobs for local people; an economy in which we can foster the enterprise of small businesses, community organisations and our workforce. Most importantly, a social economy that will distribute wealth fairly and combat crippling inequality. Devolving power and prosperity to our local communities is essential to ensuring true social justice.

There has never been a better time for progressives in Wales to be in Plaid Cymru. For those who believe in economic justice, ecological resilience, true democracy, a bilingual Wales and independence, Plaid Cymru should be your home. By standing for the leadership I hope to lead and inspire a chorus of thousands of voices articulating a vision for our country. A vision of our Welsh nation speaking out confidently for our unique values, as an independent country, playing a constructive role in a family of nations across Europe and the world.

Red Pepper is an independent, non-profit magazine that puts left politics and culture at the heart of its stories. We think publications should embrace the values of a movement that is unafraid to take a stand, radical yet not dogmatic, and focus on amplifying the voices of the people and activists that make up our movement. If you think so too, please support Red Pepper in continuing our work by becoming a subscriber today.
Why not try our new pay as you feel subscription? You decide how much to pay.
Share this article  
  share on facebook     share on twitter  

Labour Party laws are being used to quash dissent
Richard Kuper writes that Labour's authorities are more concerned with suppressing pro-Palestine activism than with actually tackling antisemitism

Catalan independence is not just ‘nationalism’ – it’s a rebellion against nationalism
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte argue that Catalonia's independence movement is driven by solidarity – and resistance to far-right Spanish nationalists

Tabloids do not represent the working class
The tabloid press claims to be an authentic voice of the working class - but it's run by and for the elites, writes Matt Thompson

As London City Airport turns 30, let’s imagine a world without it
London City Airport has faced resistance for its entire lifetime, writes Ali Tamlit – and some day soon we will win

The first world war sowed the seeds of the Russian revolution
An excerpt from 'October', China Mieville's book revisiting the story of the Russian Revolution

Academies run ‘on the basis of fear’
Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) was described in a damning report as an organisation run 'on the basis of fear'. Jon Trickett MP examines an education system in crisis.

‘There is no turning back to a time when there wasn’t migration to Britain’
David Renton reviews the Migration Museum's latest exhibition

#MeToo is necessary – but I’m sick of having to prove my humanity
Women are expected to reveal personal trauma to be taken seriously, writes Eleanor Penny

Meet the digital feminists
We're building new online tools to create a new feminist community and tackle sexism wherever we find it, writes Franziska Grobke

The Marikana women’s fight for justice, five years on
Marienna Pope-Weidemann meets Sikhala Sonke, a grassroots social justice group led by the women of Marikana

Forget ‘Columbus Day’ – this is the Day of Indigenous Resistance
By Leyli Horna, Marcela Terán and Sebastián Ordonez for Wretched of the Earth

Uber and the corporate capture of e-petitions
Steve Andrews looks at a profit-making petition platform's questionable relationship with the cab company

You might be a centrist if…
What does 'centrist' mean? Tom Walker identifies the key markers to help you spot centrism in the wild

Black Journalism Fund Open Editorial Meeting in Leeds
Friday 13th October, 5pm to 7pm, meeting inside the Laidlaw Library, Leeds University

This leadership contest can transform Scottish Labour
Martyn Cook argues that with a new left-wing leader the Scottish Labour Party can make a comeback

Review: No Is Not Enough
Samir Dathi reviews No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics, by Naomi Klein

Building Corbyn’s Labour from the ground up: How ‘the left’ won in Hackney South
Heather Mendick has gone from phone-banker at Corbyn for Leader to Hackney Momentum organiser to secretary of her local party. Here, she shares her top tips on transforming Labour from the bottom up

Five things to know about the independence movement in Catalonia
James O'Nions looks at the underlying dynamics of the Catalan independence movement

‘This building will be a library!’ From referendum to general strike in Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte report from the Catalan general strike, as the movements prepare to build a new republic

Chlorine chickens are just the start: Liam Fox’s Brexit trade free-for-all
A hard-right free marketer is now in charge of our trade policy. We urgently need to develop an alternative vision, writes Nick Dearden

There is no ‘cult of Corbyn’ – this is a movement preparing for power
The pundits still don’t understand that Labour’s new energy is about ‘we’ not ‘me’, writes Hilary Wainwright