Wales politics

Plaid Cymru: Elin Jones says 'we need to work harder'

Elin Jones
Image caption Elin Jones: a 'passion for Wales to be a successful, independent country'

In the second of our pieces by the candidates in the Plaid Cymru leadership election, Elin Jones answers our questions.

She is one of three Plaid AMs vying to succeed Ieuan Wyn Jones.

The contest comes in the wake of a review commissioned by the party after last May's assembly election.

Led by Plaid policy adviser Eurfyl ap Gwilym, the review made more than 90 recommendations and covered everything from the performance of key politicians to the party's name.

We have asked the leadership candidates for their assessment, and they will all be published in coming days.

Click here to read the answers of Dafydd Elis Thomas, and Leanne Wood. A fourth candidate, Simon Thomas, was in the running, but he later withdrew.

Q Why did Plaid go backwards at the last assembly election?

The last election was a disappointment for Plaid Cymru and we will learn lessons from it.

However, it is not unusual for support for political parties to ebb and flow and our top priority for last Spring was to secure a Yes vote in the Welsh referendum, which was achieved resoundingly.

For the future, we need to be more ambitious for our communities and provide a clearer national vision to improve the well-being of our people and promote their economic prosperity.

Q Is it true, as Eurfyl ap Gwilym says, that some Plaid candidates and spokespeople need to pull their socks up?

Yes we should all pull our socks up. We need to work harder and be more focussed in our work than we have ever been.

There is a responsibility on our shoulders to make the case to the people of Wales that decades of dependence on successive Westminster governments have not served us well and that so much more could be achieved for our communities if decisions on our economy, society and environment were taken in Wales.

Q How can Plaid strike the balance between calling for independence and avoid "appearing to be interested in constitutional matters only"?

My passion is for Wales to become a successful, independent country.

My obsession, however, is not with the constitution. It is with the people.

Creating a fairer society and a stronger economy for our people can only be realised if Wales gains the powers to plan our own future.

Q Do you expect to see an independent Wales in your lifetime?

How long I live is unknown to me, but gets shorter by the day!

I am clear that two consecutive election victories for Plaid Cymru could trigger a Welsh independence referendum and could happen as early as 2020.

However, it will be the people of Wales that decide on the future direction of Wales.

I want to see Wales as a successful, independent country and it will be my job as Plaid Cymru leader to build a greater consensus throughout Wales that such an aspiration is both achievable and desirable.

Q After years of trying to promote the party as representing everyone in Wales, why did the review find there was still a perception that you are perceived as the "Welsh-speaking party"?

We are a party for all the citizens of Wales and everyone has an equal say in the future of Wales.

If people are ambitious for Wales and their community, then there is place for the in Plaid Cymru, no matter where they were born, or what language they speak.

Ours is a vision for the nation, not any one constituent part of that nation.

Q Should Plaid be called the Welsh National Party in English?

The name of the party is a matter for the party as a whole, not just a leadership contender.

A change of name does not signal a change of electoral fortune, and no-one should be naive enough to think that it would.

In our internal party review, there are recommendations of far greater importance, than merely a name change.

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