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Leanne Wood, Bae watch (September 2016)

(September 01, 2016)

Bae Watch; with Leanne Wood

Leanne Wood AC/AM

Politics has seen a number of shifts in recent months. After remarkably little change in May's Assembly elections (the Rhondda being the notable exception), we have since had the vote to leave the European Union, the resignation of a Prime Minister, the unopposed coronation of another and bitter, public infighting in both the Labour Party and UKIP.

And in an attempt to get some attention on a quiet news day, one of Wales' chief Brexiteers flags up the question that some people, caught up on a wave of anti-politics, anti-establishment, might vote to get rid of the Assembly if the 1997 vote were held today. This is opportunistic British nationalist tosh. It is a transparent attempt to win over UKIP voters, but it is crass and it does not stand up to scrutiny.

Since the 1997 referendum which set up the Assembly, support for the principle of devolution has grown. The 2011 referendum which gave the Assembly law-making powers saw all but one constituency voting to strengthen the Assembly. People voted yes two to one. Polls have since shown a considerable proportion of people want to further strengthen our devolution.

I live in the Rhondda. Like many valleys communities, coal and other jobs taken away by a remote and uncaring Tory government in the 1980s are yet to be replaced. Now, as then, the Tories have no mandate here in Wales. People in communities all over Wales are angry and rightly so. If they are angry because they have had to wait too long for an ambulance, or if their son or daughter can't get a decent job, then it is the government in the Assembly - and Labour have either run or led that government for the entire time we have had devolution - that must be held to account for their failings, particularly in their failings in the economy, health and education outcomes.

No politician should be complacent. Turnout for elections to the Assembly have been woefully low. Is that down to its inadequate clout? More people vote in elections to the much more powerful Westminster elections. A more powerful Assembly would allow for greater policy differences between the parties. If turnout is a concern, Welsh politicians should be pushing for Wales to take more responsibility and powers. A bold approach is needed now, not more tinkering around the edges. We need our national institution to be equipped with the means to tackle the problems people face, to make real differences to the lives of people in Wales. And we need a government in that Assembly that has the ambition, intelligence and guts to take Wales in the different direction that we now need to take.

People throughout this land should be outraged at any suggestion that we go back to the days when the über-establishment Tories ran Wales on remote-control. Younger people may not remember the days when Wales was ruled over by a Secretary of State with no interest or knowledge of the country they were meant to represent. Wales has never given a mandate for the Tories to govern here for good reason. Few countries in the world would question their own right to govern themselves. It would be turkeys voting for Christmas if Wales were to start down that road.

While politics has dominated the news agenda over the past few months, I cannot miss the opportunity to congratulate some of Wales' best ambassadors - our athletes. The Wales football squad, led by manager Chris Coleman and supported by all his backroom staff, caught the imagination of a nation with numerous outstanding performances that got them to the semi-final of the European Championships. The same goes for the Welsh athletes who achieved significant success in the Rio Olympics. Llongyfarchiadau i chi gyd / huge congratulations to you all.

Our footballers and Olympic athletes have shown what can be achieved when confidence, full focus and dedication is put into achieving a goal. Welsh success on a world stage shows what is possible for this nation: we are now third on football's European stage and globally, on Olympic medals per head of population, only New Zealand finished higher than Wales.

In the coming years, Wales will face many challenges. Welsh sports stars have shown us what is possible. If we can apply some of their positivity, bravery and confidence to the political world around us as well as in our personal and family lives, I've not doubt we can overcome the challenges we will face in the months and years ahead.

Leanne Wood,
Leader of Plaid Cymru and Assembly Member for the Rhondda, September 2016

Also from Leanne Wood:


Bae watch; June 2016
Bae watch; March 2016

Bae watch; December 2015
Bae Watch; September 2015

Bae Watch; June 2015

Bae Watch; March 2015

Bae Watch; December 2014

Bae Watch; September 2014

Bae Watch; June 2014

Bae Watch; March 2014

Bae Watch; December 2013

Bae Watch; September 2013
Bae Watch; June 2013
Bae Watch; March 2013
Bae Watch; December 2012
Bae Watch; September 2012
Bae Watch; June 2012
Bae Watch; March 2012
Bae Watch; December 2011
Bae Watch; September 2011
Bae Watch; June 2011

Leanne Wood's contact details:

     Facebook: Leanne Wood
     Twitter: @LeanneWood

cylchgrawn Cymru Culture magazine
Published by/Cyhoeddwyd gan:
Caregos Cyf., 2016

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