Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price visited a sunny Caerphilly County Borough today – with just two weeks to go until this year’s Senedd Elections.
Mr Price visited Caerphilly town centre at around lunchtime, where he was joined by Delyth Jewell, who is standing for Plaid Cymru in the Caerphilly constituency.
He later visited Pontllanfraith and Pentwynmawr alongside Blackwood Town councillor Rhys Mills, who is Plaid Cymru’s candidate in Islwyn.
Arguably the standout pledge in the party’s manifesto this year is the party’s intention to hold a referendum on Welsh independence from the United Kingdom.
But what else does Plaid Cymru stand for?
Caerphilly Observer caught up with Mr Price to get his take on some of the key issues at this year’s election.
The future of Wales
“We firmly believe that the only way that we’re going to be able to achieve our potential as a country is through independence.
“Wales has fantastic potential, but at the moment, we are hampered by the fact that we don’t have our future in our own hands – and that’s what’s driving our ambition for independence.
“So you think about the kind of country that we envisage for the future – quality jobs in every community; people individually being able to realise their potential; proper investment in our education system so that people’s life chances are improved; a transport infrastructure that delivers connectivity in every part of Wales; digital infrastructure of the 21st century – many things that we lack at the moment.
“But there’s nothing inevitable about these problems, they’re just that we’ve seen the Westminster government neglect us. We’ve seen a little bit of a lack of drive and urgency from the current Welsh Government.
“But all that can change – hopefully in a few weeks time, by electing a Plaid Cymru government, then building the path through independence to a successful 21st century nation, which is delivering better lives for all of our people.
“So it’s an exciting opportunity. Wales has fantastic potential, we’ve got great resources in terms of renewable energy.
“The green Industrial Revolution – we’re very well poised for that. We retained a good manufacturing skills base, and those manufacturing jobs are now starting to come back home.
“They were outsourced to other parts of the world, but things are changing, some of those jobs are coming back. And with new technology, the ability to deliver those products closer to home, and the fact that wages in parts of Asia are rising now, some of those jobs actually can come back home to Wales.
“And we’ve got a new wave of entrepreneurs as well – great young people with exciting ideas, and we can back them. So that’s why we are very excited about the prospect of independence because we can have those levers and tools that can back Welsh businesses, creating jobs in every community.”
How will Plaid deal with coronavirus?
“I think we’re in a very fortunate position now in Wales. We have the lowest levels of positivity of the other UK nations and so we’ve got a lot of headroom now to be able to relax restrictions at a faster rate.
“We’ve particularly been calling for gyms to be reopened because of the importance of mental health and physical health as well. We need to see a faster pace on that.
“We would be absolutely focused on avoiding the prospect of a further lockdown later in the year because of its impact on people’s mental health, and also the economy, so we need to be avoiding that at all costs.
“What we need on the economic side now is urgency and dynamism. We need to get our economy back up and running.
“Slow and steady has been very much the mantra on the public health side and we’ve agreed with that, but now we need to shift gear. As we’re coming out to the pandemic, the focus is shifting now onto restoring people’s livelihoods.
“We need an injection of energy and creativity and that’s what they’ll get with a Plaid Cymru government.”
Would Plaid go into coalition with Labour or the Conservatives?
“Certainly we would not go into coalition with the conservatives. We’ve absolutely ruled that out – there’s too far a political and philosophical divide between us.
“Our goal is to lead the next government of Wales. We think it’s really important because we’ve had the same party in power for 22 years and we think there’s a need for new ideas and new leadership, and that can only come with the election of a Plaid Cymru government.
“So that is our focus within this election – to win. We think the wind is in our sails, we’ve got the momentum and Wales needs change, so that’s a fundamental message.
“In terms of the relationship with the Labour Party, we’ve always said, because of our view that we do need a radical change in direction, then we’re not interested in being a junior partner as we were in 2007. We don’t think that will deliver the scale of change that Wales is going to require.”
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