Sunday, 20 November 2016

A couple of extracts from my speech at 2016 MK Conference

It was great to see so many friends at the 2016 MK Conference and to see such enthusiasm for winning a better deal for Cornwall.

I am pictured above with some of the speakers at the 2016 MK Conference: Dr Joanie Willett (MK liaison with the European Free Alliance), Natalia Pinkowska (EFA Vice-President) and Plaid Cymru AM Steffan Lewis.

Here are a couple of extracts from the early part of my speech.

An army of practical visionaries

I must make comment that this year also marks the 50th anniversary of Gwynfor Evan’s stunning victory in the Carmarthen by-election of 1966.

When he became the first member of Plaid Cymru to be elected to the Westminster Parliament – and he delivered a breakthrough which forever changed the face of British politics.

Some years later, when I was a young student at St David’s University College in Lampeter, I was the Secretary of the local college branch of Plaid, and I was privileged to meet Gwynfor on a couple of occasions.

I found him a truly inspirational man.

And what I took from those meetings as a young man was two things.

First, he had a vision for his country as an inclusive, progressive, self-governing nation.

And second, he knew there was no “magic bullet”, no easy route by which he could achieve his aims.

But that he and other members of the Party would need to dig deep and work and work and work for Wales, if he was to succeed.

And that is why Gwynfor had a relentless work ethic to make things happen. Which he and his colleagues did. Setting Wales on a political journey for home rule, that is continuing.

At Plaid’s Conference last month, I was also struck by the words of Adam Price, one of Gwynfor’s successors as member of parliament for Carmarthen and now the town’s representative in the National Assembly.

He said that – at its best – a political party is “an army of practical visionaries, a movement of doers and dreamers that together get things done.”

How right he is. And how we, as members of Mebyon Kernow and the wider Cornish movement, need to rise to the challenge to become just that “army” which Adam has described.

Faith in the people of Cornwall

I am proud to be the leader of Mebyon Kernow.

Ours is a political party that unashamedly seeks to give political expression to Cornish nationhood … and to secure a better deal for all the people of Cornwall.

But I do not want us to be defensive in any way or to simply practice a politics of grievance. 

Because I have faith in the people of Cornwall.

I look out across our fine nation and I see men and women of heart and spirit, of conscience, of talent, of invention, of ingenuity, of great common sense ... who together, have the skills and the passion, and the where-with-all, to build a better Cornwall … but we need to wrestle political power from the deadhand of Westminster to give us the tools to do the job.

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