Friday, 31 December 2010
2011 - the year for a revolution in co-operation?
Over the last two years, Plaid Cymru has issued a number of papers and carried out a series of events aimed at consulting people in Wales in preparation for our manifesto for next year's Assembly elections. Hundreds of people have participated in one-day conferences focussing on climate change, security, communities, town centres and more. I participated in many of these events where there were often lively, informative and stimulating discussions.
Some common themes have emerged. Energy and food security must be planned for. Jobs are essential, particularly in those areas which have suffered from economic decline since the devastation of Wales's heavy industry. Difficult economic conditions coupled with public sector cuts means that long term planning is needed if the parts of the Welsh economy are to avoid becoming depressed.
Over the coming weeks, I will be publishing a 'greenprint for the valleys', a specific set of proposals which aims to pull together the themes from the consultation days into a long-term plan to create jobs which prepare us for the future. By aiming for self-sufficiency, can we create our own markets and capacity to start a revolution in renewable energy, home energy efficiency, public transport and food production? Can we utilise existing government initiatives like feed-in tariffs and youth training schemes as well as public sector procurement and encourage the formation of co-operatives to create jobs to do work that will benefit our communities in the long term?
With responsibility for the plan laying with someone with a seat at the Welsh government table, the plan should be implemented in a pilot area covering the most economically deprived communities within the EU Assisted area known as West Wales and the Valleys. In the run-up to the Assembly elections I will be taking the proposal to the different valley communities to hear to peoples' views. In the longer term, I hope that successful aspects of the plan could be rolled out throughout Wales.
Can people be motivated to get involved in a plan to turn-around local economies and communities? Are people up for thinking about an alterative to Cameron's 'Big Society' here in Wales?
If you would like an advance copy of the consultation 'greenprint', or you would like to be kept informed about the meetings planned for the valleys, or you would like more information about Plaid Cymru, please send an e mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.