Here is the translation of the Blog below, that I have promised to a few people!
Last week, I was heartened to hear that Leanne Wood, Assembly member for South Wales Central, had put her name forward to stand in the Plaid Cymru leadership elections in 2012. Being of Rhondda stock myself, I know Leanne well, as my family hails from the same village, Pen-y-graig. And like many a young Plaid member, I’ll be behind Leanne one hundred per cent.
Leanne is a natural choice for many on many counts. Like me, she’s a socialist, a nationalist, a republican, a keen environmentalist, and importantly she has experience of life outside politics. Her experience working for the Probation Service and for Women’s Aid shows that she understands the serious problems facing many parts of our society. Those who doubt her skills in the Welsh language may be pleased to her that she has been hugely supportive of Cymdeithas yr Iaith campaigns – much more so than many a fluent Welsh-speaking AM from the West. Leanne’s vision for a Greenprint for the Valleys that would radically change the Welsh economy puts economic regeneration and green issues on the forefront of her political agenda. Moreover, Leanne’s love towards Pen-y-graig, the Rhondda and her nation sets an excellent foundation in her bid to become the leader of our national party.
I am aware that many of the more traditional members in Plaid Cymru will be dubious of Leanne’s ability to lead our party. Even though Leanne is learning Welsh, she is not a fluent speaker, and after all, Leanne doesn’t have a traditional, rural background. Leanne is a valley girl, an area where Plaid Cymru has succeeded in becoming a credible party of opposition but has not progressed to become a first choice for many voters. But that is the exact reason why I believe that she is what we need in Plaid Cymru. What is needed is somebody who can represent the interests of everybody in Wales – not only the farmer and the Welsh speaker, but also the hairdresser from Caerffili and the Nurse from Aberdare.
As a Welsh speaker, born and bred in the Valleys, (I represent both sides of the party in that respect!) I am convinced that Leanne has the ability to lead our party into victory in the Assembly elections of 2016. This is our opportunity to change the party – not to lead our party astray, as many more traditional members may believe, but back to the radical and nationalist values of Plaid Cymru. After all, it was in Valleys that the red flag was waved for the first time – and I hope that it’ll be a Valley girl that’ll be the one to restore the radical values of our party and our nation in 2012.
This is a blog by Emyr Gruffydd, the Chairman of Cymru X Caerdydd. These views are entirely my own.