Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Reporting Back from Conference

I’ve now returned from a very busy Plaid Conference at Aberystwyth. Betsan Powys’ analysis of the mood at Conference seems accurate. Debate on the Conference floor was challenging, open and informed. The overall mood of the party is optimistic about the future, but there was widespread concern with New Labour’s recklessness, the effects of the credit crunch and their failure to help people on lowest incomes who are worst affected. Ieuan Wyn Jones in his speech argued that Plaid are the main opposition to the New Labour/Tory consensus in Westminster. We need to increase our team of MPs in London so that we can run rings around Labour there as well as we are in the Assembly (thanks Don Touhig!). Dafydd Iwan urged Plaid to give young people a key role in the future of the party. He also argued that must maintain our radical spirit and hold on to our identity and values now that we are in government.

As Plaid’s Sustainability Spokesperson I was encouraged to see how prominently environmental issues featured in the Conference programme. There were motions on renewable energy, climate change and energy conservation. Sustainability must remain at the top of Plaid’s agenda. Oxfam is one group that had a visible presence at Conference and I know that in their meeting with Jill Evans MEP they were very supportive of the positions on the environment that we passed. They were also celebrating the fact that Wales has become a Fair Trade nation and being the first country to set percentage CO2 reduction targets.

It was a good conference, buzzing with enthusiasm and good ideas. It’s now down to our activists to go out and to the work on the ground. The talking is over – it’s now time for action!

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