Spring Conference Speech – Ffos Las, March 23rd 2012

The Polarising Union

Gyfeillion, mae’n fraint ac anrhydedd i mi i cael eich croesawu chi i Shir Gaerfyrddin ac i Ffos Las, cwrs rasio ceffylau mwyaf newydd ynysoedd Prydain. Fel Aelod Seneddol dros Carwe, mae wedi bod yn bleser gweithio gyda tim Ffos Las, Dai Walter a staff y sefydliad – ac edrychaf ymlaen i ddyfodol disglair i’r fenter. Hwn yw un o gyrsiau mwy modern y byd rasio, gyda cyfleusterau arbennig ar gyfer cefnogwyr a chystadleuwyr.

Fel nifer o gymunedau De Shir Gaerfyrddin, mae’r ardal hon wedi cael ei chreithio gyda’r diwydiant glo brig. Yn wir, hwn oedd safle maes glo brig mwyaf Ewrop. Dyma’r fath o fentrau anghenrheidiol sydd angen i adfywhau ein cymunedau.

Mae’n briodol ein bod ni’n cwrdd ar y safle yma oherwydd heddiw gyfeillion, rydym yn croesawu arweinydd newydd Y Blaid i’n annerch. Fel aelodau rydym wedi cael rhas tri ceffyl ysblennydd, a hoffwn talu teynged i’r tri ymgeisydd am y ffordd adeiladol wnaethon nhw ymgyrchu dros y misoedd diwethaf – ac yn enwedig i Leanne am ei buddugoliaeth.

Leanne, rwy’n edrych ymlaen yn fawr iawn i’ch gwasanaethu chi dros y blynyddoedd nesaf sydd i ddod ac i gyd weithio gyda chi i sicrhau dyfodol gwell i’n cymunedau a’n pobol.

Gyfeillion, roedd y ras arweinyddol yn dangos mae ond Plaid Cymru sy’n cynnig gweledigaeth clir i ddyfodol ein gwlad. Mae’r etholiad wedi ein adnewyddu fel Plaid. Mae’r dyfodol yn un gyffrous. :Plaid Cymru yw polyn totem gwleidyddiaeth Cymru. Ni yw’r Plaid sy’n gosod agenda gwleidyddol ein gwlad – gyda’r pleidiau unoliaethol yn dewis dawnsio i’n cerddoriaeth ni oherwydd ei diffyg gweledigaeth hwythau.

Yr esiampl pennaf wrth gwrs yw Prif Weinidog Cymru. Rwy’n teimlo yn aml y bod ei ddatganiadau yn ‘copy and paste’ o’r hyn y mae’r Blaid hon wedi cyhoeddu rhai misoedd yn gynnarach. O fformiwla Barnett; i bwerau ynni; tal a budd-daliadau rhanbarthol; i dreth Twm Sion Cati. Yn wir pan mae’n dod i faterion sydd heb eu datganoli mae fel bod Carwyn Jones yn ceieio ei orau glas i fabwysiadu agenda gwleidyddol Plaid Cymru. Yr unig broblem wrth gwrs yw nad yw ei gyfeillion yn San Steffan yn cytuno. Mae Ed Balls yn erbyn diwygio Barnett, o blaid lefelau budd-daliadau rhanbarthol, nid yw o blaid treth Twm sion cati chwaith. Llafur wrth gwrs wnaeth cyflwyno tal rhanbarthol yn y sector gyhoeddus i weithwyr llysoedd. Nid yw Aelodau Seneddol Cymreig y Blaid Lafur o blaid datganoli pwerau ynni. Yn wir mae’n well gyda’r Blaid Lafur yn San Steffan adael y pwerau yma yn nhwylo y Ceidwadwyr yn Llundain na phlaid ei hun ym Mhae Caerdydd. Dychmygwch gyfeillion dyna terfyn eu huchelgais – mae’n well ganddyn nhw ymddiried yn y Tories cyn ymddiried yn eu hunain i fod a gafael dros y grymoedd yng Nghaerdydd. Wel ein neges ni i bobl Cymru yw y bydd y blaid hon – Plaid Cymru – wastod yn dewis hunan-lywodraeth i Gymru dros gael ein rheoli gan lywodraeth Geidwadol yn Llundain. Ni yw’r unig Blaid sydd yn cynnig y dewis hwnnw. Fely dywed Alex Salmond ‘Home rule with independence beats Tory rule from Westminster anyday’!!

Yn wir, pan mae’n dod i faterion megis polisi trethiant, budd-daliadau, cyfraith a threfn, darlledu a phwerau sylweddol dros ynni – er gweitha ei grand standing gwleidyddol nid yw Prif Weinidog Cymru o blaid datganoli pwerau i lywodraeth e. Ar bob un o’r meysydd yma mae’n well gan arweinydd llafur yn y Cynulliad adael y penderfyniadau i David Cameron.

Gynhadledd, mae’n anghyfrifol ac yn llwfr i ddweud eich bod yn gwrthwynebu polisiau os nad ydych yn bodlon cymryd cyfrifoldeb dros y materion hynny eich hunain. Mae addewidion gwag Prif Weinidog Cymru ac ymateb y blaid Lafur yn Llundain yn dangos mai nid trwy newid lliw Llywodraeth Prydain i blaid sy’n arddel union yr un agenda gwleidyddol mae achubiaeth pobol Cymru – ond trwy adeiladu ein systemau democrataidd ein hun. Gwichain o’r cyrrion yw ymateb Prif Weinidog ein gwlad i bolisiau Llywodraeth Prydain – nid sefyll cornel ein gwlad.

A wyddoch gyfeillion bod Cymru yn allfori trydan, ond eto mae 30 y cant on pobol yn byw mewn tlodi ynni a mae pobol Cymru yn cael ei cosbu gyda’r billiau tanwydd uchaf yn y Wladwriaeth Brydeinig. Gyfeillion mewn cenedl ynni gyfoethog fel Cymru ni ddylai unrhyw person byw mewn tlodi tanwydd. Fel canlyniad rhydym fel Plaid Seneddol wedi bod yn ymgyrchu i ddatganoli pwerau dros polisi ynni gan gynnwys pwerau cynllunio pwerdau ynni. Cyflwynais deddf i’r perwyl hyn ym Mis Chwefror. Beth oedd ymateb y Blaid Lafur tybiwch? Lladd y ddeddf yn ei gam cyntaf.

Wythnos wedyn wnaeth Prif Weinidog Cymru apelio i ehangu bwerau Llywodraeth Cymru dros orsafoedd cynhyrchu ynni o 50MW i 100MW. Dyma be mae Llafur yn gweld fel sefyll lan dros Gymru – am ddiffyg uchelgais – fel dywed DJ Williams:

“Os gellir dweud fod hawl ddwyfol i unrhyw beth ar y ddaear, yna gyda’r Cymry y mae’r hawl i dir Cymru, nid gydag unrhyw berson estron pwy bynnag ydyw ef.”

Mis Mai gyfeillion fe fydd pobol Cymru yn ethol cynghorwyr sir. Yma yn shir Gar, fe fydd pobol y sir yn cael cyfle i gael gwared o’r ‘closet Tories’ – yng ngheiriau Peter Hain – sydd wedi dominyddu gwleidyddiaeth y shir hon am degawdau. Efallai dylai rhywun wedi ddweud wrtho bod cynghorwyr ei blaid wedi bod yn cadw y ‘closet Tories’ yma mewn grym am yr wyth mlynedd diwethaf!

Ac am weinyddiaeth haerllug sy’n bodoli yma yn shir Gar rhwng yr annibynwyr a’r blaid Lafur. Yn anwybyddu mandat etholiadol Plaid Cymru, fel grwp mwyaf y cyngor shir, i chwarae unrhyw rol blaenllaw ar y cyngor. Mae’n anodd credu bod yr annibynwyr a Llafur gyda’i gilydd yn atal Cynghorwyr y Blaid rhag cadeirio pwyllgorau scriwtini.

Gyfeillion, mae pobol shir Gar yn wynebu cyfle ym mis Mai i gael gwared o Meryl Gravelle unwaith ac am byth. Dyma’r fenyw wnaeth galw y sawl oedd yn protestio yn erbyn colli ei gwasanaethau iechyd yn Llanelli yn ‘rabble’. Dyma arweinydd cyngor wnaeth cwestiynnu ethic gwaith y naw mil o bobol sy’n gweithio i’r sir. Nid yw’r person yma yn deilwng o’r cyfrifoldeb o arwain ein Cyngor Sir – ac mae’n warth bod y blaid Lafur fel gwas bach yn ildio iw meistres tro ar ol tro.

Mis Mai mae yna gyfle i bobol shir Gar ethol Gweinyddiaeth newydd i arwain ein sir dan arweiniad Peter Hughes Griffiths. Mae gan y Blaid tim ardderchog o ymgeiswyr o safon uchel yn barod am yr her o arwain ein Cyngor. Rwyf wedi bod yn ymgyrchu gyda nifer ohonynt yn barod – ac edrychaf ymlaen i gydweithio gyda chi ar ol mis Mai pan fydd y Blaid yn arwain y Cyngor a fyddwn wedi cael gwared o’r closet Tories a’u cefnogwyr yn y blaid Lafur er lles pobol y sir fendigedig hon.

Gyfeillion, ryn ni’n byw mewn amseroedd cythryblus. Mae’r drefn economaidd neo rhyddfrydol a chafodd ei cyflwyno wedi chwyldro Regan a Thatcher a’i mabwysiadu yn grefyddol gyda’r blaid Lafur wedi methu yn llwyr. Ond mae’n bwysig nad ydyn ni’n twyllo ein hunain i feddwl bod ni wedi ennill y dydd -ein bod ar fin cychwyn cyfnod newydd o wleidyddiaeth flaengar gyda chydraddoldeb ar frig yr agenda a lle bydd y niwed sydd wedi cael ei neud i’n cymunedau dros y tri deg mlynedd diwethaf yn cael ei ddad-wneud.

Yn anffodus sdim byd gwell gan y dde gwleidyddol nag argyfwng economaidd er mwyn gwthio ei agenda o leihau buddsoddiad llywodraethol. Maent yn gweld y sefyllfa bresennol fel cyfle euraidd i ddinisitrio gwasanaethau cyhoeddus; lleihau rheoleiddiadau dros y sector breifat; tanseilio y wladwriaeth les a lleihau hawliau gweithwyr. Dyma’r agenda sy’n dominyddu gwleidyddiaeth San Steffan o dan ymbarel a elwir yn gyfrifoldeb ffisgal.

Gyfeillion, does yna ddim rheswm economaidd dros lleihau diffyg cyllideb y Wladwriaeth Brydeinig ofewn pedair blynedd. Wrth gwrs mae angen cydbwyso cyllid y Trysorlys – ond gyda’r ddyled Brydeinig yn cymryd dros ddegawed i aeddfedu does dim rheswm synwhyrol i geisio gwneud hyn o fewn cyfnod Seneddol. Y ffordd i fynd i’r afael a’r sefyllfa yw i fuddsoddi mewn is-adeiladedd i sicrhau galw yn yr economi sydd yn creu swyddi a gyrru tyfiant cynnaladwy economaidd. Dyma oedd y syniad tu ol i’r rhaglen ‘adeiladu dros Gymru’ oedd gan y Blaid yn yr etholiadau Cynulliad blwyddyn diwethaf.

Sgrin mwg yw’r oes o ‘austerity’ i alluogi y consensws asgell dde ymysg y pleidlaiu yn San Steffan i barhau ai criwsad ideolegol. Y peth brawychus i gofio yw bod 88 y cant o’r torriadau eto iw cyflwyno.

Friends, the alternative to the austerity cuts our people are now facing won’t come by changing the colour of the government in London. Our communities have been ravaged by three decades of neo liberal economics that has polarised wealth at an unimaginable scale. The official opposition are led by the two Eds – Balls and Miliband. Sometimes I’m not sure in which order, but that misses the point.

Both Eds of course were key players of the Blair-Brown regime. Starting off as senior advisers before entering government. It is no surprise that the Labour party have already ruled out overturning any of the Tory/Lib Dem cuts.

It’s an incredible situation which comes as a result of a political strategy based on triangulation. The problem with Labour thinking is that they base their political position on being Tory light – placing their compass slightly to the more progressive side. Is it little wonder that Margaret Thatcher once proclaimed that her greatest achievement was New Labour?

You have to ask what’s the point of the next Westminster election. The personalities at the helm might change but the trajectory of political travel will be more or less the same.

Luckily there is a progressive group in Westminster made up of Plaid/SNP and Green MPs and Dafydd Wigley and Dafydd Ellis Thomas in the Lords. With Scottish independence we are going to lose six MPs so as a party we need to increase the number of Plaid MPs in Westminster. It’s going to be a big challenge for the party and our job is to convince the people of Wales that a vote for Labour will herald more of the same and the only possible salvation is the growth of our political institutions in Wales.

And that journey is moving quickly. The magnitude of the Yes vote last March took everyone by surprise. I remember in the week before the referendum Tory MPs telling me that they thought that the ‘no’ campaign would prevail. Westminster was a great place to be after the result just to see the expressions of anguish on many a Tory and Labour MP. The scale of the yes vote means that the game has changed.

In the immediate aftermath of the referendum as we know the UK Government launched the Silk Commission looking at the constitutional question. Its first phase is looking at financial accountability for the Welsh Government – the transfer of fiscal powers.

This is a very important process and I congratulate the Plaid team for the huge amount of work has been put into placing before the commission some very practical and pragmatic ideas.

But what about Labour – the governing party in Wales? They couldn’t even be bothered to submit any evidence. It’s a disgrace that instead of engaging proactively with a process aimed at improving the lives of the people of Wales through better governance – Labour are nowhere to be seen. The reality my friends is that they are split down the middle between their warring factions. They are not in a position I am afraid to lead our people through these dying days of the British state. Over 60 per cent of the people of Wales support Tax varying powers for the Welsh Government. They understand that the only hope for our communities is that our own government is control of the key job creating leavers. Labour’s no economic devolution policy is completely out of tune with the aspirations of our people.

The more I listen to the rhetoric of the Labour party in Wales it is clear their vision for Wales is one based on dependence and fiscal transfers from London. It’s a future based on managed decline. As we rebuild the party under the leadership of Leanne it will contrast severely with our vision of hope based on unleashing the potential of our people and our communities.

Friends events in Scotland mean that there has never been a more exciting time for the national movement in Wales. Whatever the Scottish people decide, be it independence or devo max, there are huge opportunities for us to secure a better deal for our country. We are even led to believe that if the people of Scotland vote no – and polls indicate a 90 per cent approval rating for devo max so it will be quite a turnaround – that there will be further changes to the Scottish settlement. No change in Scotland is therefore not an option.

But beware the dark forces of unionism. Despite the people of Wales and Scotland clearly embracing repatriation of political power from London, there continue to be those that would like to see a return to unitary Westminster control. The Scotland Bill currently going through the Lords contains provisions to return powers to Westminster from the Scottish Government. For the unionist parties – that gothic building on the Thames is sovereign. We say no, the people of our country are sovereign and it is they that will determine their own future.

The no campaign will employ all sort of desperate tactics over the coming few years. The latest is the astonishing claim by Ed Milliband that the British State is a redistributive union. I don’t often choke on my cornflakes, but I did when I read this!

The UK now has the fastest growing gap in income between rich and poor of any country in the European Union, thanks to Labour and the Conservatives. According to a study carried out by the OECD, in 1985 the richest 10% had 8 times the income of the poorest 10%. By 2008, after eleven years of a Labour government, the richest 10% had 12 times the income of the poorest 10%. These are a direct result of policies undertaken by the Tory- Labour tag team in Westminster.

GVA in inner London is the highest in the whole of the European Union at over 110 thousand pounds a year – whilst GVA in the South Wales valleys is amongst the lowest at just over 10 thousand pounds per year.

After three decades of increasing inequality we saw a Budget this week in which those earning more than three thousand pound a week were given a tax break – at the same time real terms pay cuts for public sector workers, an additional ten billion pound cut for the vulnerable and a tax grab on pensioners.

The British State is not a redistributive union – it is a polarising union that works in the interests of the economic elite. The only hope for our communities is to assume more responsibility for our future.

The most powerful message in Welsh politics is ‘equality with Scotland’. It was the battering ram of our referendum campaign last year. Change in Scotland will therefore herald further changes for our country. The unionist parties are already trying to say that somehow Wales is different to our Scottish cousins. Let them face the fury of the ballot box if they start making the case that we are in some way inferior, a second class nation.

What worries the unionist parties the most of course is that the whole constitutional process for the first time is outside their hands. The SNP in achieving their historic majority victory have been able to smash the cynical unionist veto that denied the people of Scotland a voice on their own future. Isn’t it ironic to see the unionist campaign in Scotland after all these years denying an independence vote now demanding one as soon as possible? Pwyll bia hi bois bach – the Scottish people will have their say in due course and your going to have to come up with something better than a campaign based on scare stories that has failed in every corner of the earth from Egypt, Palestine, the Americas, Ireland and India.

Do you know that when the United Nations was created after the Second World War it had 51 members. Today there are 193 members following the inclusion of South Sudan. At its height the British empire controlled a quarter of the worlds land mass and 20% of its population. Today the Britsh state only retains sovereignty over 14 territories and most of these are uninhabited. These facts seem to indicate that the trajectory of travel is only one way.

When you boil the unionist argument down to its bones, essentially what they are saying is that they are against the creation of a partnership of equals on these isles. This message will fail in Scotland in 2014 and will also fail in Wales when our turn comes.

Since 1997 we have come a long way as a country. Last years referendum will be seen as one of the most momentous landmarks in our history.

Gyfeillion I’d like to conclude by thanking Ieuan Wyn Jones for his leadership over the past ten years. Ieuan has played an invaluable role in establishing our country as a legislative democracy. It was he who forced the Labour party to deliver on the One Wales commitment to hold the referendum when Rhodri Morgan had yielded to Peter Hain’s spoiling tactics. We are an emerging state moving towards our self determination..

We are now entering an exciting new phase in the story of Wales and the national movement under the leadership of Leanne.

Events in Scotland mean that everything we have achieved to this date together has been leading to this point. We have the opportunity to achieve our dreams and ambitions. Its going to be a hard slog, but I am confident that Leanne will lead us to our destiny.

Friends, when the history of Wales is written, unionists politicians will merely be a footnote of our history. When we read about the creation of Hungary its Kossuth we remember. When we recall the unification of the Italian nation its Mazzini we read about. In the case of Ireland its figures like Parnell, Pearse, Collins and De Valera that come to mind.

It’s the activists of the national movement that will be the key figures in the history of Wales. Gyfeillion, if we work together I can assure you that our actions in life will echo in eternity!

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