Plaid Cymru leader: “Politics is poorer if students don’t take part in it”

FRIDAY night saw the leader of Plaid Cymru, Leanne Wood, visit Aberystwyth University students. The leader of the party since March spoke at an event arranged by Aber’s Plaid Ifanc (Plaid Youth) about youth politics and her aspirations for her party in the 2016 Welsh assembly general election.

Wood announced an ambitious target of an outright win in the 2016 elections. Currently, Labour have 30 seats in the 60-seat assembly, compared to Plaid’s 11. She said she wanted to campaign on positive issues and doesn’t want to attack other parties. Answering a question, she said that there was no reason Plaid would have to distance itself from the Welsh language in order to gain support outside of Plaid’s traditional Welsh-speaking safe-seat constituencies.

The Welsh-learner from Rhondda focused heavily on economic issues in her speech, stating that the Welsh economy had “been in decline for 20 years” and she spoke about the establishment of an alternative local currency in Wales as a way to keep money circulating in the Welsh economy. In response to a question, she admitted that “people don’t know what [Plaid’s] policies are” and that Wales is currently behind Scotland in the path toward independence.

On the issue of independence, the party leader said that “[Wales] can’t reach its full potential and really thrive without independence” and that Plaid have no firm plan of how to react to the result of the Scottish independence referendum because “they are two different countries, [with different circumstances]”.

Wood ended the speech by thanking Aber’s Plaid Cymru Ifanc for the event and reaffirmed her party’s commitment to youth politics and young people, claiming that youth unemployment had increased four-times in the last year and “politics is poorer if students don’t take part in it.”