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  • Araith gan Jill Evans ASE, Llywydd Plaid Cymru, Aberystwyth
    Medi 11eg 2010

    Gynhadledd, alllai ddim dweud wrthoch chi pa mor gyffrous yw hyn i mi a faint o anrhydedd yw e i mi gymryd drosodd yr awennau fel Llywydd Plaid Cymru o Dafydd Iwan - un sy'n cael ei barchu yn rhyngwladol am ei ymrwymiad dros heddwch a chyfiawnder. Mae ei eiriau yn ysbrydoli pobl o bob oed i ymgyrchu dros ryddid. Ar eich ran chi gyd, hoffwn ddiolch i Dafydd am ei waith fel Llywydd a'i gyfleu yn y geiriau yma gan Arwyn Groe:

    (Darllenodd Jill englyn wedi'i gyfansoddi yn arbennig i Dafydd Iwan gan Arwyn Groe)

    Dafydd, o waelod calon, diolch yn fawr.

    Mae'r misoedd diwethaf wedi bod yn eithriadol i fi. Gyda balchder mawr cefais yr anrhydedd o gael fy nerbyn i Orsedd y Beirdd yn Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Glyn Ebwy. Mae dod yn Lywydd Plaid Cymru yn hyd yn oed mwy anhygoel.

    Ymunais Phlaid Cymru yn 1977 yma yn Aberystwyth tra yng ngholeg ger y lli. Mae'r tair blynedd yr ymgyrchais yma yn atgofion cymysg o fy optimistiaeth ifanc dros Gymru a'r siom o'r bleidlais "na" a llywodraeth Thatcher yn dod i bwer. Pan ddychwelais adref i Rhondda yn 1980, fel y mwyafrif ohonoch chi, fe wnes i'r swyddi arferol o fewn y Blaid o ysgrifennydd cangen, is-gadeirydd cangen, cadeirydd cangen, trysorydd cangen, ymgeisydd cyngor...tan yn 1987, ces i alwad ffon gan Ysgrifennydd Cyffredinol Plaid ar y pryd hynny, Dafydd Williams, yn gofyn i mi sefyll dros Torfaen yn yr etholiad gyffredinol. Roeddwn i'n ddi-waith, ac yn dlawd, yn methu gyrru, doeddwn i ddim yn siwr iawn ble oedd Torfaen, a roedd yr holl peth yn codi ofn brawychus arnai! Fe ddywedais i na. Ond wedyn digwyddodd rhywbeth hyd yn oed mwy brawychus. Fe aeth y ffon unwaith eto, ac ar yr ochr arall oedd taran o lais yn gofyn i fi ail-feddwl oherwydd ei fod mor bwysig i Blaid ac i Gymru. Gyfeillion, pan mae Dafydd Wigley yn gofyn i chi wneud rhywbeth , chi'n ei wneud e! Fe ddywedais i "ie". Fe wnes i sefyll. Nes i ddim ennill. Ond roedd Llywydd Plaid Cymru wedi ffonio fi, Jill Evans.

    Ni allwn i fod wedi dychmygu bryd hynny y byswn yn dilyn ol-droedion y Dafydd yna hefyd, a chewri eraill, a dod yn Lywydd. Gobeithiaf y gallaf ddefnyddio fy lywyddiaeth i faethu cenhedlaeth newydd o arwyr ac arwresau Cymreig - er rwy'n amau y bydd fy llais i yn cael yr un effaith!

    But I have achieved something none of my predecessors could. I have made history today as Plaid's first woman president. With every respect to the men, it's long overdue!

    As many other speakers have said, we have an exciting year ahead of us. A "yes" vote in the coming referendum will mean Welsh laws being made in Wales for the first time since Hywel Dda. Laws made by the people of Wales for the people of Wales. This is the importance of our campaign ahead of us. This is not a time to be looking at how we can manage Wales but how we can transform Wales: how we can build a successful, sustainable, socially just nation. And we are part of a growing movement for change across Europe. We are a small country but in the EU, it's normal to be small. I often have to remind people that 6 of the independent member states are smaller than Wales. So why not us? Why not a country that is confident, and prosperous and just and humane?

    Plaid Cymru is the only party with ambition for Wales. That is our driving force - the reason we exist. We want to give the people of Wales the power to decide on their own future. We have our own vision of what we want and how to achieve it, working hand in hand with people in communities across the country.

    2011 is an historic year - if you can say that about the future! To borrow a CND slogan "If not us, who? If not now, when?" This is our time. Our moment. It's in our hands - all of us working together.

    As President, I promise you that I will be campaigning the length and breadth of the country to get more Plaid Assembly Members than ever before. I am issuing a challenge to all Plaid members and supporters to pledge to give our campaign at least one hour of your time every week between now and May. Just one hour to deliver some leaflets, to write a letter to the newspaper, to telephone some voters, raise some money...We can win next year with the hundreds of hours you can pledge week in week out. Maybe we'll have Christmas Day and St David's Day off! If you can't manage an hour then pledge what you can. Just fill in the form and leave it at the door and I'll keep in touch with you on my progress in the campaign as well. Your pledges will inspire others to sign up.

    Now, to avoid any misunderstanding, this is not a signal for those of you who put in an awful lot more than an hour a week to cut down. It's not a working time directive! To you, I can only express my deepest thanks and say please keep going, don't give up. And of course I'm not asking people to give only an hour - give as much as you can! But even if it is an hour it is worth so much. We can't leave anything to chance.

    Our greatest asset as a party is you, our members who are central to rebuilding Wales. The President is the voice of the members - I will be listening to and representing your views and will be a link between the members and the leadership team.

    But I want my presidency to be an exciting campaign - a mass movement to advance our cause. And set us at the heart of a wider liberation movement. I want to build on the work of Dafydd Iwan. We look different - and I can't sing - but our values and principles are the same.

    Standing here today I feel the real optimism I felt when I was a student here. I thought then we could change the world and guess what, I was right - we did. It just took a bit longer than we planned.

    We are still changing the world. We are a radical party. We want independence for Wales; equality for the Welsh language; nuclear disarmament; decentralised socialism; a sustainable economy...This is radical - but what could be more normal and natural than to want this for our nation.

    It's what Flanders, Catalonia, Scotland and other nations want too.

    There are three questions we must ask ourselves.

    If we are not for ourselves, who will be for us? To be ourselves is to believe in ourselves as a nation and as a people. To take responsibility for our actions and for our future.

    If we are only for ourselves, what are we? To be a Welsh nationalist is to be an internationalist, committed to our common humanity. I know that this movement of ours, long after we have achieved our freedom, will not rest until every nation in the world, from Palestine to Tibet, from the Kurds of Turkey to the Tamils of Tamil Eelam, every Catalan and Basque can stand as citizens in their own land, as full and equal member of community of nations.

    And I come back to the final question: the most pressing question of all: as we face another moment of decision in the history of our nation. If not now, when? Six hundred years ago Glyndwr convened hi Parliament. We have our assembly but a Parliament it isn't yet.

    If not, now, when? It must be now. Many a generation have dreamed of a parliament. But this generation will see the day. And the young people here today, and watching at home will take that banner of freedom forward into the future.

    I am deeply honoured to be President of the party. But it is the young that are the real leaders. The young will always lead us forward. They see Wales with critical eyes but hopeful hearts. While others see the world as it is, they see the world as it might yet be.

    This is our time. This is our moment. We can't let it slip away. Our nation, which is so proud of its past, now holds the pen that writes its future

    Jill Evans ASE

    Photo: Jill Evans