The Welsh Nation Putting Wales First
How a Plaid Cymru government will improve our nation by Leanne Wood AM
t has been a good few weeks for Plaid Cymru as we reached a deal about the Budget, held a successful and inspiring Conference and know that Wales will soon be able to hold an income tax powers referendum. We will have to wait to see whether the Welsh Government grabs hold of this opportunity to improve the Welsh economy. Despite a grim overall budget, we secured a £100m package of improvements in a budget deal with the Welsh Government, involving the Liberal Democrats. Our Close to Home Care package will help people recover more quickly outside hospital, unblocking beds and treating people more promptly in our health service. Local authorities will be encouraged to work with the health service in the interests of better, quicker services to people and reducing waiting times. Plaid Cymru is committed to leading the next government of Wales. We announced many ideas at conference and received hugely positive feedback. Plaid Cymru is calling for the establishment of a non-profit Glas Cymru-style entity, Ynni Cymru/ Energy Wales, which would buy gas and electricity at wholesale prices and then sell directly to Welsh consumers and businesses. The profits of the Big Six energy companies have gone up by 73 per cent in the last three years, and people in Wales pay more for their electricity than customers in England and Scotland. We need a
long-term solution to this, not a shortterm fix. I announced at conference the intention of a Plaid Cymru Government to reintroduce rent controls in the private sector. In Wales, over the last year, rents have risen by well above the UK average. The Party of Wales will also strengthen the planning guidance for local authorities so that they must consider the impact of new developments on the Welsh language. For far too long we have seen house prices spiral way out of the reach of local people. That is why we will introduce legislation to give local authorities the power to introduce controls on second homes in designated areas of Wales to relieve pressure on the housing market and identify how we can best use our new stamp duty powers. We will help 83,000 businesses with a rateable value of less than £15,000 a year by cutting their rates. 73,000 companies will pay no business rates at all - a move that will secure tens of thousands of jobs. We need urgent action on health. The Government must aim to change consumption patterns if
there is to be any hope of halting or slowing the obesity crisis as well as boost resources for healthcare. The Welsh Government I will lead will introduce a sugary drink levy of up to 20p per litre – that’s 7p on a can. We will employ a thousand more doctors with the money raised, bringing Wales up to the UK average and reducing the need to take services further away from people. This is Plaid Cymru’s alternative to hospital centralisation. It is my ambition, over the two terms of a Plaid Cymru-led government, to take this country from where we are now - near the bottom of every performance league table in Europe - to the top ten in income per capita, in literacy and in maths. It can be done by putting Wales First.
If you agree, make sure you tell everyone you know. Spread the word. Plaid Cymru is on the move. Ymlaen!
Spirit of the Sixties at Aber conference writes Chief Executive, Rhuanedd Richards Many constituencies have responded extremely positively to this and have risen to the challenge. Some have decided to revive the target of canvassing five streets a week; others are holding weekly street surgeries.
laid Cymru’s Conference in Aberystwyth was the best for many years. There was a new bounce in the Party and it was reminiscent, for older members, of the spirit of the 60’s.” That’s how our Honorary President, Dafydd Wigley, described our annual conference in Aberystwyth last month. There was indeed something special about the event – a sense of energy, and excitement for the future. Was this as a result of the bounce from the by-elections in Ynys Môn and Penyrheol? Was it because Conference was open, for the first time, to all members to attend and vote? Or did this clear sense of direction and focus stem from the fact that there were so many newlyselected candidates in attendance and so many new policy ideas shared and announced? It was no doubt a combination of all of these factors, and it was very satisfying to see members, executive observers, external organisations and journalists comment on the progress that has been made and to notice the healthy esprit de corps. To be honest with you, we as staff were rather nervous as to how the decision to open up conference to all members would work, particularly as there would no longer be official branch and
There have also been appeals for members to support constituencies who have hosted Super Saturdays to reach more people within a short space of time. constituency representatives. We were concerned that although many people would support the principle of Conference being open to all, not enough members would feel the responsibility to attend. The doubting Thomases at Tŷ Gwynfor were once again delighted to be proved wrong. Attendance was higher than usual, with our registration figures showing terrific support from members in the North, Mid and West and South Wales Central regions in particular. We look forward to seeing even more attending from South Wales East and South Wales West, as well as from communities across the nation and beyond, at the 2014 Spring Conference in Cardiff on March 7 and 8. The Spring Conference will of course come ahead of the European parliamentary election.
This is all part of the Leader’s aim of holding a million conversations with the people of Wales by 2016. For those of you who are busy on the doorstep, sharing Plaid Cymru’s message that it’s time to put Wales first, I know that your hard work will make a tremendous difference. If, however, you have not been contacted by your constituency about helping out in the campaigning effort, please get in touch with us. There’s plenty of work to be done and we need your help. Finally, as we listened to some terrific keynote speeches at this year’s Conference, one thing we didn’t realise at the time was that within a few weeks our Group Leader in Westminster, Elfyn Llwyd, would be announcing that he won’t be seeking re-election in 2015.
That campaign is well under way in constituencies up and down Wales.
I know that after spending over 21 years being a leading voice for Wales in Westminster, this hasn’t been an easy decision for Elfyn.
As members, you should be aware that your constituency has been set a target for the minimum number of votes it should deliver in that election.
I am also sure that given his tremendous experience, he will be inundated with requests in future to contribute in other ways to the progress of our nation.
A reward scheme is in place to ensure that areas which work hard will be given additional support in the run-up to the Westminster and Assembly elections.
Elfyn’s mantra and Plaid Cymru’s aim has always been to strive for the very best deal for Wales and we should never settle for anything less.
Dafydd Trystan Davies to chair Plaid Cymru P
laid Cymru’s Assembly candidate for Cardiff South and Penarth, Dafydd Trystan Davies, has been elected to chair Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales. He won the support of party members at the annual conference in Aberystwyth.
thesis on the Welsh Economy and Globalisation.
Cymru, whether or not they are party members.”
He said: “I’m delighted to have been elected chair of Plaid Cymru, and my aim is to build on the strong foundations left by my predecessor, Helen Mary Jones.
Dr Davies chairs the prizewinning social enterprise, Cycle Training Wales. He is also a director of the recycling charity, Too Good To Waste, and a board member of the sustainable transport body, Sustrans Cymru.
A Higher Education Registrar, he is a former university lecturer and Chief Executive of Plaid Cymru. Before his election as chair, he was the party’s national treasurer.
“I have a very important role to play as a voice for members in the party, bringing together the volunteers across the country and linking them to our elected members and professional staff.
Aberdare-born Dr Davies, who lives in Cardiff with his wife, Lisa, was educated at Ysgol Rhydfelen and Aberystwyth University, where he gained a first class honours degree in international politics and was awarded a PhD for his
“I am keen to engage with our young members, to ensure a higher percentage of women candidates and to attract people from all backgrounds to The Party of Wales. I want to hear from those who are interested in contributing to Plaid
A keen marathon and halfmarathon runner, he recently ran the Snowdonia marathon and was a marshal for this year’s Cardiff HalfMarathon. Anyone wishing to get in touch with Dafydd can contact him at email@example.com or on 07966 705890. You can follow him on Twitter @dafyddtrystan.
Congratulations to Manon Roberts of Aberystwyth , the winner of the Plaid Cymru 2013 National Raffle, drawn at the Annual Conference. Manon generously contributed £1000 of her £2016 prize to Plaid Cymru Ceredigion and is spending the rest of her winnings on a trip to Murcia over the New Year.
Elfyn Llwyd to stand down at next election
laid Cymru’s Parliamentary Leader Elfyn Llwyd has announced that he will be standing down as MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd at the next General Election. Mr Llwyd has been an MP for 21 years, playing a lead role in the campaign to bring about two new offences of stalking, and establishing a reputation as a tireless advocate of veterans’ rights. He was also one of the leaders of the campaign to impeach Tony Blair in the wake of the Iraq War and made an immense contribution to devolution and the constitutional future of Wales. Mr Llwyd said: “I am hugely grateful to the people of Dwyfor Meirionnydd and Nant Conwy for their support and loyalty over the years. “It has been the highest honour to serve my constituency, party and nation, but the time has come to turn my hand to other work and pursue other interests that I have. “Playing a role in such an exciting period in the history of Wales and Plaid Cymru has been an absolute privilege. “I have every confidence that the party will go from strength to strength and will continue to put the interests of the people and communities of Wales above all else.” Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood said: “Respect for Elfyn extends across the floor of the House of Commons where he has been a formidable parliamentarian and in the criminal justice system where he still practises as a barrister. “He has worked tirelessly for his constituents and the party since he was first elected in 1992. His
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campaigning work, seen recently in his representation of armed forces veterans and victims of stalking, has been exemplary. “His experience and tenacity will be missed by the Plaid Cymru group in Westminster.” Plaid Cymru Honorary President Dafydd Wigley said: “Elfyn has made a huge contribution and will be leaving with his reputation at its highest, his triumph in securing anti-stalking legislation having gained much admiration across the political spectrum and among campaigning groups outside Parliament. His departure will be a great loss to Plaid’s parliamentary group.” Lis Puw, who chairs the Dwyfor Meirionnydd Constituency Committee, said: “Elfyn has provided the people of Dwyfor Meirionnydd and Nant Conwy with excellent service over the years. “It is no easy task to establish a good name for yourself in Westminster, but Elfyn has certainly succeeded and will leave a legacy that the Party and the people of Wales can be proud of.” Plaid Cymru Chief Executive Rhuanedd Richards said: “Elfyn is a politician who works hard and who values the fact that our MPs have gained a reputation of being willing and able to ‘punch well above their weight’, as the Evening Leader once reported. “The Independent newspaper also once described our group of three in Westminster as more effective than all the Liberal Democrat MPs put together. “This is the legacy of Elfyn Llwyd’s leadership of our group in the House of Commons, and our 2015 candidates should remind voters of this when they are out campaigning.”
Plaid Cymru Credit Union Run by members for the benefit of members The Plaid Cymru Credit Union (UCPCCU) is a practical demonstration of the party’s philosophy of people co-operating in building a confident and independent Wales. UCPCCU is owned by its members and for over 20 years it has worked for members, their families, party branches & small family businesses. Saving money means that you have both something to look forward to and something to fall back on. The dividend paid for savings for 2011/12 was 2%. Subject to status, you can borrow up to £5,000 as a low-cost loan with no hidden charges or fees.
Join Plaid Cymru Credit Union — our national financial institution For more details go to www.ucpccu.org Click on ‘Forms’ and download and print the Application for Membership and Bankers Order forms. After completing them post them to the Credit Union Office.
Plaid Cymru Credit Union (UCPCCU) Tŷ’r Cymry, 11 Heol Gordon, Caerdydd, CF24 3AJ T: 029 2049 1888 www.ucpccu.org E: firstname.lastname@example.org Winter 2013
Canvassing in full swing for key by-election
anvassing is in full swing for a key council by-election in Cardiff to be held on Thursday, December 5. The Party of Wales is determined to win back a seat in the Riverside Ward, where we held all three seats quite recently. Local campaigner Lizzie Gould has been selected as our candidate. A lecturer and fitness instructor, she has been involved in getting the Council to deal with litter and fly-tipping in her area and has also been prominent in the campaign for the promised Welshmedium primary school in nearby Grangetown. The by-election follows the resignation of Labour councillor Phil Hawkins. If you can help with Lizzie’s campaign, contact Matthew Ford on 07590220620.
Steve and Michelle by-election winners
hile Rhun ap Iorwerth was sweeping to victory in the Assembly by-election in Ynys Môn, Plaid Cymru scored a double success, defending two council seats in Caerffili.
Steve, a former Assistant Chief Fire Officer, is Vice-Chairman of the Citizens Advice Bureau, a member of St John Ambulance and a tireless worker for the community.
Steve Skivens won the Penyrheol Ward on Caerffili Council, beating his nearest challenger, the Labour candidate, by 929 votes to 554 and Michelle Britton won a community council seat in a straight fight with Labour by 378 votes to 241.
Michelle is a carer, who previously worked as a shop manager on the estate and who is well known for her charity work. The two councillors succeed the late Coun Anne Collins, a former Mayor and a councillor since 1985.
Paying tribute, Lindsay Whittle, AM, said: “Anne was a very special person – a true Welsh woman who fought oppression and spent her life helping others. She would be so delighted that we convincingly held both seats and that we won Ynys Môn.”
Date for your Diary
n event to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the first meeting of The Welsh Movement, which led to the formation of Plaid Cymru, is being held early next year.
The historic meeting was held in a house at Bedwas Place, Penarth, and the commemorative event is being held at the Windsor Arms, Windsor Road, Penarth on Tuesday, January 7 (7.30pm).
It is being organised jointly by the Plaid Cymru History Society and the Penarth Branch. Keep an eye out for further details in due course on the Penarth Plaid Cymru blog - http://plaidpenarth. blogspot.co.uk.
A busy time for Plaid Youth – and onward to 2016
everal members of Plaid Cymru Youth were in Scotland to take part in the recent march and rally for independence. The trip was organised jointly by Plaid Pride, the group for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans) party members and supporters and YES LGBT, the group for their colleagues in Scotland who are campaigning for a Yes vote in the referendum. Many of the Plaid Cymru crew who went to Scotland are also
members of Plaid Youth, and they were joined by Lindsay Whittle, AM, and Adam Price. The crowd, estimated by the organisers at 30,000, was addressed by a host of speakers from across the parties - the SNP, Labour, the Socialist Party and the Green Party. There was also plenty of entertainment in the form of music and poetry, including one act from Wales - Côr Dre from Caernarfon.
The highlights of the day were the speeches by the First Minister, Alex Salmond, and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. The Welsh visitors were over the moon to be welcomed from the stage and to have a “Bore da, shwmae?” from Hardeep Singh Kholi, one of the day’s MCs. There’s no doubt that this amazing group of people is ready for the fight ahead and we’re looking forward to victory in the referendum in September 2014.
Charlotte in London P
laid Youth’s National Chair, Charlotte Britton, attended the first meeting of the cross-party working group on the Voter Mobilisation Bill in Westminster. During the past two years, the percentage of young people in the UK who are ‘certain that they will vote’ has fallen from 44 per cent to 12 per cent,
which is tremendously low and of great concern to us as a youth organisation. Charlotte was invited to the event by Bite the Bullet, a youth democracy campaign which is drafting legislation to address young people’s apathy about politics.
Plaid Youth at Party’s Annual Conference good number of Plaid Youth discussion session was on Young for an Indian meal before joining A members were in Aberystwyth Wales: new generation, new the fun in the Marine Hotel. for the Party’s Annual Conference. expectations?, sponsored by A group from Cardiff, including new members of the Plaid Cymru Society at the University, came by minibus, and they were joined by members of other student societies from different parts of Wales - Swansea, Bangor and, of course, Aber itself. The Conference’s first
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Cardiff Metropolitan University. Charlotte Britton was part of the panel which discussed youth activity in politics and what politicians must do to attract more young people. Instead of attending the Conference Dinner on the Saturday night, a group of us went to the Shilam restaurant in town
Our thanks from all of us in Plaid Cymru Youth to Rhuanedd Richards and her team in Tŷ Gwynfor for organising such a brilliant conference. We’re all excited for the years ahead as we prepare for a Party of Wales Government in 2016 with Leanne Wood as First Minister of Wales. Ymlaen!
How to reduce fuel bills at home and on the road
Some practical advice from Vicky Moller and Climate Change to install solar hot water panels and wood heating in local homes.
ow can we show the nation that there is a different future with Plaid Cymru? Plaid Cymru members achieve a lot but it goes unsung and unnoticed. Let’s change that and why not start with Welsh Nation reporting what people and communities are doing to help build the future we want? Here are some practical examples: Our community group in Pembrokeshire received a grant from the Department of Energy
We received many favourable comments. Youth leader Llew Jones said: “I have always wanted a renewable energy source, but had given up hope. The first night I felt I was having a bath in pure sunshine.” A farming family: “We haven’t used the dishwasher all summer. There’s no point with the free hot water. I’m recommending it to everyone.” Although this particular scheme has ended, solar hot water grants are now £600 for anyone, so a system should cost less than £3,000. They last as long as glass and pipes. Without any grants,
Jill Evans ASE | MEP 45 Gelligaled Road, Ystrad, Rhondda, CF41 7RQ T: 01443 441395 E: email@example.com
you can buy a high-tech kit for £1,000 from Navitron and install it yourself. Home-made ones cost even less. We now have the Plaid Power plan to look forward to in 2016. Leanne Wood has announced that a Plaid Cymru government would set up Ynni Cymru/Wales Energy to buy energy and sell it to the whole of Wales, undercutting the big six. The profit would be divided between avoiding price hikes and insulating homes. As she pointed out, the price cartels are failing us. We should take back power over power. We also helped to set up three electric car clubs this year in Pembrokeshire. Two had funding support; the third did not need it. The model could be a new way to complement public transport. The clubs are groups of neighbours who share one or more vehicles, book online and pay as they go. Destinations are visible to members, which helps with lift sharing. Non-drivers can get a lift and share the cost. Our cars, which are leased, are pure electric Nissan Leafs, and we had funding for charge points to be installed free at 12 homes. We would love to extend the model and help set up more clubs to help communities in rural Wales. Shared cars fuelled on wind, sun and streams - perfect for a nation with a lot of weather and meeting Leanne’s call to leave noone behind. There are plenty more examples of what Plaid Cymru members and supporters are achieving. Let’s publicise our progress and our potential!
jillevans.net youtube.com/jillevansasemep twitter.com/jillevansmep flickr.com/jillevansasemep
Further information is available at www. ecocymru.org or from Vicky on 01239 820971.
News of our campaigning MPs, AMs and councillors B
ethan Jenkins, AM, has called for unity amongst progressive forces in the fight against the bedroom tax when she spoke at a Cardiff rally. She said tenants in her area were being forced into increasingly desperate situations as they tried to make ends meet. Individuals, campaign groups and politicians, she said, should do what they could to mitigate the effects of the tax in the short term and join forces to oppose it at every possible opportunity. “The policy is fundamentally wrong, and targets the people in our communities who need the most
support,” she added. Meanwhile, Rhondda Cynon Taf councillors have backed a motion from the Plaid Cymru group calling on social landlords not to evict tenants who are in arrears because of the bedroom tax. Coun Pauline Jarman, leader of the Plaid Cymru Group, said that she was delighted that the Labour councillors had joined the Party of Wales councillors to back the motion. Assembly Shadow Housing Minister Jocelyn Davies said: “About 80 per cent of people affected by the bedroom tax have an adult with a disability in the
household.” She said thousands of families could be saved from the heartbreak of losing their homes if efforts were made to help them meet the shortfall rather than having to pay for eviction and relocation.
Beginning of the end of a universal postal service
onathan Edwards, MP, and Rhodri Glyn Thomas, AM, have branded plans to privatise the Royal Mail as the beginning of the end of a universal postal service. Mr Edwards said that privatisation was a threat to rural communities and the ‘one price goes anywhere’ guarantee. A Freedom of Information request has revealed that the Labour Welsh Government made no representations to the UK Government Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, opposing the plans.
Poorer households will be hit hardest by energy price rises
laid Cymru Assembly Energy Spokesman Llyr Gruffydd has warned that poorer households in Wales will be hit hardest by energy price rises, saying that they already pay about £100 more per year than better off households.
Households in Wales who pay for electricity and gas by credit or prepayment meters paid between seven and nine per cent more for the same amount of energy as households paying by direct debit last year. Customers who pay on credit paid an average of £1,362 in the south and £1,365 in the north for their combined electricity and gas bills, while pre-payment customers paid £1,357 and £1,343. Direct debit customers paid about £100
less, an average of £1,265 in the south and £1,248 in the north. Welsh customers overall paid the highest bills in Britain, with an average cost for south Wales customers of £1,310 and £1,298 for north Wales customers. Only people living in the south-west of England came close, paying an average £1,301, while the bills for customers in many parts of England were up to £50 cheaper.