This article was originally published in the Sunday Times.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it”.

Words widely attributed to Abraham Lincoln, declared the 16th US President 160 years ago.

At a time when the hollow words of the Prime Minister echo around the hallowed halls of Westminster, we in Wales also have the opportunity to be the founding mothers and fathers of our nation reborn.

Last Saturday, at Plaid Cymru’s virtual special conference, party members formally approved the pledge that a Plaid Cymru Government, able to command a majority in the Senedd, would hold a referendum on Welsh independence within its first term of Government.

This pledge is historic.

For one, it makes Plaid Cymru the only political party contesting the 2021 Senedd elections with a commitment to hold an independence referendum within a clear timetable.

And, for the first time, independence and its timetable will be on the ballot paper in a Welsh General Election, reflecting the growing confidence in our ability to run our own affairs.

We find ourselves at a moment of great transition. As others pull up the drawbridge, there is a window we can throw open to the world and welcome it in.

It’s time. It’s time to take off Westminster’s blinkers and replace them with our Welsh internationalist lens - making friends, forging alliances, and developing relationships on these islands and beyond.

It’s time to be confident and free. Small but resourceful. It’s time to do it our way not as we’re told.

Because something is happening in Wales.

The last two polls on independence put it on its highest support in history. A recent YouGov opinion poll reported in the Sunday Times suggested that 31 per cent of Welsh voters want an independence referendum in the next five years, put those against on 47 per cent, and those who don’t know on 22 per cent.

Membership of grassroots group Yes Cymru has grown exponentially – hitting 17,000 members last month. 27,000 people have signed its online pledge backing Yes in a referendum on Welsh independence.

An argument once derided as a pipe dream has moved firmly from the margins to the mainstream.

With an independent Scotland and a united Ireland ever more likely by the end of the decade, Plaid Cymru believe that the people of Wales deserve an opportunity to decide whether they too want to choose that independent future. 

Any retreat from our desire to put the future of Wales in the hand of the people of Wales would betray our values, harm the future of our young people and would amount to paying homage to an increasingly hostile Tory Westminster Government.

Constitutional guidance won’t come from others. We have to look to ourselves.

That is why in government, Plaid Cymru will build upon the formidable work of the Independence Commission by passing a Welsh Self-Determination Act creating a statutory National Commission which will oversee the process leading up to the referendum.

We will replace the redundant rule Britannia blueprint with the red, white, and green imprint of our own self-rule. Eradicating poverty, driving out intolerance, tackling ill health and investing in our greatest asset, our people, will be our new deal for a new Wales.

We don’t want to win independence just for independence’s sake, but for the sake of the thousands of families whose futures depend on Wales becoming a better, fairer, more equal nation.

We want to win independence so we can eradicate poverty.

We want to win independence so our people can lead the longest, richest, fullest possible lives.

We want to win independence so this green land we love can become an engine of progress for our own people and a beacon of hope in the world. 

And the most important word in that sentence is “we.” We can do this.  Wales can do this.

While the chill of winter still lingers, the great Welsh spring is approaching and for Wales, the best truly is yet to come.