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Leanne Wood, Bae watch (March 2017)

(March 01, 2017)

Bae Watch; with Leanne Wood

Leanne Wood AC/AM

As I write this column, we are in full swing preparing for the Plaid Cymru spring conference, which is held this year in the city of Newport. The week of conference is often the busiest time of the year, when finishing touches are put to speeches, a succession of media interviews are held and conference visits are finalised. The main focus for this particular conference will be the forthcoming local elections. The last time we held a conference in Newport was 2008 and it preceded a good local election result for the party. I'm hoping this is a good omen.

All over Wales, Plaid Cymru is standing a strong slate of candidates. In my patch in Rhondda Cynon Taf, we have a great roster of candidates who are taking the fight to Labour in their once impregnable heartlands. The opening of a Plaid Cymru office in the centre of Pontypridd for the RCT campaign is a sign of our intent and ambition in this campaign. After the Assembly election result in the Rhondda, it is clear there are no areas in the valleys where Labour cannot be challenged. They seem to realise this and are resorting to some desperate ploys. This is a sure sign that they are rattled. While our rivals resort to dirty tactics, we will continue with the positive campaigning and relentless door-knocking that saw us reap the rewards and deliver the change that was needed in the Rhondda.

I get lots of messages about a whole host of questions, but occasionally I'll receive something more personal. Recently I received a patronising email about my accent. The crux of the message was that I should tone down my natural dialect as it makes other Welsh people “squirm” whenever I appear on the television. I'd normally ignore a message like this, but on this occasion I decided to share the email on social media to make the point that far from looking to moderate my accent, I will remain proud of it and of my background growing up in the Rhondda. Anyone with a problem with the Rhondda accent (or any other strong Welsh accent for that matter) can ‘stick it.’ The post seemed to strike a chord with many people as it quickly garnered a lot of attention and was soon picked up by the likes of the BBC. There are serious issues here. I've since been contacted by people who have been turned down for jobs or promotion because of their accents. It is another form of class prejudice. I only hope that the attention this has received will show people from Wales that they should challenge anyone who says they should tone down their accent to mask their background. This applies to people from all parts of the UK.

We took a trip down memory lane with the BBC Wales programme, Wales in the 90s. The first part was screened earlier this week and focused on political matters. The 90s was in many ways a defining decade for our nation. It was the decade that led to the creation of the National Assembly for Wales. Before that, our affairs were entirely dictated by Westminster and its Wales Office. Had the referendum vote been lost it would have set our nation back decades, perhaps irrevocably so. It is perhaps no coincidence, but the decade also saw the nation develop a level of confidence we had not seen before in my lifetime. This led to a cultural explosion of bands and acts that far from trying to hide their roots, embraced their Welshness and carried it with them proudly. One of my favourite lines from the programme was – "if you are confident in your own culture, you can be more open to others'." Something to reflect on today!

Leanne Wood,
Leader of Plaid Cymru and Assembly Member for the Rhondda, March 2017

Also from Leanne Wood:


Bae watch; December 2016
Bae watch; September 2016

Bae watch; June 2016

Bae watch; March 2016

Bae watch; December 2015
Bae Watch; September 2015

Bae Watch; June 2015

Bae Watch; March 2015

Bae Watch; December 2014

Bae Watch; September 2014

Bae Watch; June 2014

Bae Watch; March 2014

Bae Watch; December 2013

Bae Watch; September 2013
Bae Watch; June 2013
Bae Watch; March 2013
Bae Watch; December 2012
Bae Watch; September 2012
Bae Watch; June 2012
Bae Watch; March 2012
Bae Watch; December 2011
Bae Watch; September 2011
Bae Watch; June 2011

Leanne Wood's contact details:

     Facebook: Leanne Wood
     Twitter: @LeanneWood

cylchgrawn Cymru Culture magazine
Published by/Cyhoeddwyd gan:
Caregos Cyf., 2016

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