Delyth Jewell AM, Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for International Affairs and the Future argues Plaid Cymru is now the natural home of Remainers in Wales after the Euro Electins results pushed Labour into third.
Last week’s European Election results were proof that the tectonic plates of Welsh politics are shifting.
All over Wales, people responded to Plaid Cymru’s pledge to Make Wales Matter and voted for us in their tens of thousands, many of them for the first time ever. We’re grateful to every single one who put their trust in us and we hope that, in Plaid Cymru, they can now find a natural political home.
We recognise that Brexit is still an issue which divides communities. Our message in this election was pro-Remain, because we believe that Wales’ future is best served being in the heart of Europe. And we want to use the coming months and years to talk to people on all sides of this conversation, to make our case for Wales remaining in the European Union, but also to understand people’s concerns who disagree with us. We want to be the party of all Wales, and to bring communities together again. That can only happen if we talk to one another.
Politics is changing and it’s time to join together to reject politics that are regressive, insular and backwards looking. Hope for the future of our nation cannot come from personality cults or so-called political parties that stood for election without publishing a single policy on the issues affecting people’s lives.
Instead of the cynical politics of Brexit, we in Plaid Cymru want to offer people hope. We truly believe that the best future for Wales is one inside the EU as a nation in its own right.
What drives Plaid Cymru more than anything is the well-being of the people of Wales. We want to make the lives of the people of Wales better. We want Wales to be the best place in the world for health, social care, education and learning. We want Wales to have world-class infrastructure and transport and excel at jobs, finance and innovation. We want Wales to be a world leader in social, political and economic equality.
Decades of Westminster neglect have resulted in under-investment with one third of our children living in relative poverty. A mere glance at the Brexit chaos shows Westminster is not fit to govern or represent Wales.
The EU has done its bit in terms of investing in Wales. It is Westminster that has ignored us for generations and whilst the other parties now squabble amongst themselves about Brexit, Wales is being left behind.
It's time for change. We cannot continue to look to the Westminster parties for our future. We have to look to ourselves.
Imagine what an outward-looking, fair and progressive country, with all the democratic and economic levers it needs, where anyone who wants to be Welsh can call Wales their home, could contribute to the world. And imagine that Wales leading Europe - and the world, in tackling climate change by committing to moving to 100% renewable energy, tackling harmful pollution and plastic waste, and developing sustainable, green jobs. Imagine that Wales, free from hatred and xenophobia, welcoming those fleeing war and persecution with open arms.
We can choose that future if we want it.
From the very start of this Brexit nightmare, Plaid Cymru has been consistent and united on Brexit. We are an unambiguously Welsh pro-Remain, pro-People’s Vote party.
Our honest view has always been that that there is no such thing as a Brexit which is good for Wales and we believe that a growing number of people share that view.
Labour may have suddenly decided that they are for a People’s Vote. But let’s be clear: their so-called switch is nothing but a cynical reaction aimed at cauterising the haemorrhaging of support from their party.
But the truth is, following the European election, Wales now faces a choice of two futures.
On the one hand, there is the divisive, inward looking future of a British Brexit that would see Wales cut off from other nations in the EU no matter the cost to our communities, NHS and livelihoods.
On the other hand, there is the new, bright and better European future for Wales offered by Plaid Cymru which would see our communities, industry, and agriculture all thrive as part of a wider European community of equals.
The choice facing our nation is clear, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. It’s incumbent on us, now, to persuade the people of Wales which future we should embrace.