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Leanne Wood, Bae watch (June 2012)

(June 01, 2012)

Bae Watch; with Leanne Wood

Leanne Wood - Senedd

Some readers may be aware that I was recently elected as leader of Plaid Cymru. After an exciting campaign which revitalised the party, the programme I put forward received a strong mandate from party members in a 'one member, one vote' election. With three strong candidates all bringing their own strengths, we managed to come out of the campaign with party membership up by 25%.

The local elections campaign began almost immediately. We ran an enthusiastic campaign, fielding more candidates than ever before in around 570 seats. An opinion poll taken in February by Yougov showed that Labour was in the ascendancy and that Plaid was in same third position we had slipped back to during the 2011 Assembly elections. The February poll was backed up by another taken at the end of April. In the end we finished in second place as the Tories and Lib Dems fell much further than the polls predicted. Although we won 25 new seats, including taking some from Labour in the Rhondda, 66 of our 205 councillors disappointingly lost their seats.

We know from the recent internal review that Plaid Cymru needs to overhaul our organisation and structures. That work has begun. Our membership remains high and the need for a strong Plaid Cymru is as obvious as ever. I am planning a summer programme of visiting festivals, shows, events and businesses. I have started putting in place new Policy Commissions which will grapple with the major challenges facing Wales in the context of the current economic crisis.

It was good to have the opportunity to talk about some of this during an appearance on the BBC's Question Time programme recently. It is sometimes hard to see how the context is relevant to Wales or the devolved nations, given the London centric nature of the questions. I was grateful for the feedback and enjoyed the platform. However we are way beyond the time for a high-profile Welsh equivalent of Question Time. A fortnightly or even monthly programme would fill the gap that's there at the moment. The Assembly recently published a report on the future of the Welsh media, which clearly illustrated the scale of the problem – so few people have access to Welsh politics. Where are the ideas for the solutions?

No individual or single party has all the answers when it comes to looking for solutions to Wales’ problems. That is why I have called for a 'United Welsh Alternative' – for progressives to come together to find out what we can do in practice to build an alternative. Can we develop a Welsh Plan B? Unfortunately, some people don’t think so.

Compass Cymru have agreed to help organise a conference to bring together progressives who want to do more than just send an anti-cuts message to Cameron and Clegg. Watch this space for an announcement on an event in the autumn.

In my early days as leader of Plaid Cymru I have seen at first hand many of the obstacles our party is facing; a weak Welsh media, a historically strong Labour party, and a big slump in the economy. Despite these obstacles we are determined to provide answers for Wales which will draw on the talent and strength of our people and we are optimistic that Wales can develop as a nation in the next few years and that we can build Welsh democracy, as well as the Welsh economy. A lot of work needs to be done, but Plaid is ready for the challenge.

Leanne Wood, 1 June 2012


Also from Leanne Wood:

     Bae watch; March 2012

     Bae watch; December 2011

     Bae watch; September 2011

     Bae watch; June 2011

 Leanne Wood contact details:


     Facebook  Leanne Wood

     Twitter  @LeanneWood


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