The sustainability of our economy, our social protections, our environment, our unique language and our communities will be central to both Wales and Plaid Cymru in the next twelve months. There will be important choices to make on health, on education, all determined by what happens to the economy. The choices we make will determine the future direction of our nation.
Looking ahead to 2013
This week the four party leaders in the National Assembly reflect on 2012 and set out their hopes for the New Year. Tomorrow we hear from from Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats.
So many citizens in Wales are affected by austerity. Fuel and food poverty are affecting more and more people as the cuts deepen and prices rise. There is a glimmer of hope here in Wales because we have the potential to take an alternative route, a way that can provide some protection for people from these vicious cuts. This means that we must take responsibility for the policy tools and levers which can help us to shape our economy, as well as to do the best with the resources we have. We can already do a lot to help create jobs through better local procurement. We can ensure our young people have the skills to take advantage of the opportunities of the future by improving our education system and by providing apprenticeships.
We need a strong economy so that we can continue to support those who are disabled, frail or vulnerable. With a weak economy that job gets harder. That is why jobs and the strengthening of our economy will continue to be Plaid Cymru’s number one priority in the year ahead.
It is likely that 2013 will bring more dangerous weather conditions, harshly reminding us of the continued need to address climate change. Wales has been too slow on this. It’s worth remembering that climate change disproportionately affects those with the least, both here and abroad. In whose interests is it to ignore climate change?
However, 2013 will be about more than grimly defending against those threats. Plaid Cymru wants more autonomy – more control over our affairs so that we can all live and work together in a better Wales.
Wales needs a team of people prepared to aim higher, people who are prepared to think outside and beyond the box to identify practical solutions to our problems. That is why we pushed for and secured investment for the development of our young people and it is why we will continue to press for investment in our infrastructure. These are the basic building blocks of our economy, of our future nation.
If Wales is to succeed then, we need more people involved. We can’t rely on the small numbers of people who are active in politics. We want to reach out to all those people who care about the future of their community and the future of their country. We want to be able to represent and articulate the range of views, ideas and opinions that can be found in communities all over Wales.
That is why Plaid Cymru want to see a new, participative politics. We have invited anybody with an interest in their community to put themselves forward as a candidate for the 2016 National Assembly elections. We will also be launching a wiki-manifesto which will gather opinions and ideas from all over Wales.
In the Party of Wales, we believe that another Wales is possible. We want a country where people are looked after and where the economy works for the people, not the other way around. Poverty isn’t inevitable. We can reach our potential if we recognise that we can achieve more together than we can alone.
This is a Wales where our communities, all the people who live here, our history and our special language are respected and supported – a Wales where no-one is left behind. Let’s make 2013 that year.