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Leanne Wood, Bae watch (September 2013)

(September 01, 2013)

Bae Watch; with Leanne WoodLeanne Wood - Senedd


This year, 2013 has been billed as the 'year without elections', but for us in Plaid Cymru it was anything but. Fresh from pounding the streets for May’s local council elections on Ynys Môn - which had been delayed since 2011 because of internal council strife - Party of Wales activists and supporters returned to the island to join our local teams there to campaign for the Assembly by-election. Former party leader Ieuan Wyn Jones was standing down to take up a new position as head of the new Menai Science Park.

A lot was a stake. Had Labour won the seat, it would have meant their minority Government would have had a majority overnight. The government party had a lot to lose, which is why, apparently, they threw everything at the contest, with the First Minister and other cabinet ministers there on a number of occasions.

In the end, it was the Plaid Cymru candidate, Rhun ap Iorwerth, who stormed to victory, with 12,601 votes; a majority of more than 9,000 votes. The Party of Wales campaign promoted a positive vision for the island which prioritised the economy and jobs. People responded to our positive message with warmth and more positivity. I am very much looking forward to welcoming Rhun to the Plaid Cymru Assembly group and to working with him in the Assembly.

I must also give a special mention to the excellent effort put in by local party activists and for the Penyrheol by-elections for Caerffili County Borough Council and the local town council, held on the same day as the Ynys Môn by-election. The Caerffili by-election came about following the untimely death of party stalwart Anne Collins. I am pleased to say that both Steve Skivens and Michelle Britton won the council seat and town council seat respectively, both doing Anne proud, by ensuring her proud legacy as a community champion continues with victories for the party.


International affairs have been pressing over the summer, with events in Syria escalating dramatically. In a conflict that has been characterised by shocking levels of bloodshed and brutality, the chemical attack in Damascus last week was a new low. It triggered a co-ordinated response of rhetoric from either side of Atlantic by Obama and Cameron, that was reminiscent of what we heard from Bush and Blair in the lead-up to the Iraq war: essentially 'trust us, we have the proof about weapons to justify military action.' Plaid Cymru politicians, at that time, didn't fall for the false assurances of Blair and Bush before Iraq in 2003. They were right to be sceptical. The Party of Wales will not be drawn in by the macho posturing of the Bush/Blair successors.

It should go without saying that Plaid Cymru utterly deplores the use of chemical weapons and indeed all weapons used on civilians. No one could fail to be reviled by the horrific images of dead children laying in the aftermath of this abhorrent act. If and when conclusive proof identifies the perpetrators of the attack, the full weight of international law must be brought to bear. However, at the time of writing, this conclusive proof has yet to be found. All diplomatic and humanitarian efforts to resolve the crisis have yet to be exhausted - where is the 'peace conference' that was promised for the Spring in Syria? Furthermore, what efforts are being made to bring international pressure to bear on Russia to bring Syria to the table?

This is a very fast moving situation; as was demonstrated by the Prime Minister's abortive attempt to secure a vote in the House of Commons for military intervention. Within a few hours, the situation had changed - a few hours are a long time in a crisis like this, so some of what I write here could be out of date very quickly. Some things will remain, however, and one of those is that Plaid Cymru is wholly opposed to military action in this case. We believe it would only prolong the conflict and lead to further bloodshed and uncertainty in an already volatile and fragile region. With estimates ranging anything between 100,000 and one million fatalities, the Iraq war proved yet again that combatants only form a minority of the lives lost in major battle. We simply cannot allow the same mistakes to be made again.

Leanne Wood AC/AM, 1 June 2013

Also from Leanne Wood:
     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



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