By Luke James
I had only read accounts from dusty books about summer schools being part of life as a Plaid Cymru member and patriot so I am excited at the opportunity to attend one this year.
After receiving the Cymru X email giving all young members of Plaid Cymru the chance to come along to the summer school in Bala from July 10th – 12th , and for the bargain price of £20, I wanted to find out more.
So today I headed for the depths of Swansea University library and managed to find the official programme for the 1962 Pontarddulais conference and summer school.
The 1962 affair was certainly longer than the weekend event this year; in 1962 the party met over 5 days to plan a way forward for Wales. I suspect this year’s event might be a little more informal minus the conference too.
The programme's youth report is encouraging with four new branches at Denbigh, Newcastle Emlyn, Monmouth and even Birmingham University having been established.
“The 1962 Youth Summer School will have greater emphasis on practical nationalism with loudspeaker canvassing…” and it goes on describing how the party intended to “furnish” its young activists with the information and arguments they needed to take the message of a free and fair Wales to the people.
And then I flicked through the motions and saw what this generation achieved.
The Penycae branch submitted a Welsh language television motion calling for the BBC to give Welsh language programmes earlier slots in the schedule. Now we have two Welsh language television channels with a broad and appealing output.
And again the Penycae branch raised Welsh in education at the ’62 conference, they talked about the decreasing number of children who speak Welsh in Wales, but now I live a stones throw away from a thriving Welsh primary school which is amongst hundreds.
I tip my hat to the Penycae massive.
And in motion 6, a short term programme for Wales submitted by the executive council stated: “The establishment of National Boards for Wales for Transport, Water, Electricity and coal” and “Establishment of National cultural institutions such as National Theatre, National Opera House, National Orchestra, National Art Gallery, National Sporting Organisation and Stadium” as priorities.
All of these things the youth of this generation fought for and won with the party, and what they won was the survival of this nation.
Now our generation and Cymru X must fulfil its role, by attending the summer school and learning how to fight political battles.
I for one am truly grateful to everyone in this party before us who have laid the foundations for our generation to win independence and a more prosperous nation for the people of Wales.
And remember just four years later in the 1966 General Election Gwynfor Evans was elected, the first Plaid Cymru electoral victory.
Afterwards Gwynfor said: “There’s new life here, there is a new generation rising in loyalty to their land. And the light we see today is not the light of a setting sun but the light of a new dawn and together in the next few years it’s possible for us to restore our national freedom and to set Wales once again where she should be – A free nation and a responsible member of the great community of nations in the world.”
So… who’s giving me a lift to Glan Llyn?
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