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  • Araith y Llywydd, Cynhadledd Plaid Cymru, Venue Cymru, Llandudno
    Medi 10fed 2011

    Diolch i bawb am bob cefnogaeth i mi yn fy mlwyddyn cyntaf fel Llywydd. Mae llawer wedi digwydd!

    Mae hon wedi bod yn gynhadledd ddiddorol a chyffrous iawn. Rwyf wir wedi'i mwynhau! Rwy'n credu ein bod ni mewn ysbryd da fel plaid. Rydyn ni wedi cael blwyddyn ddiddorol a chymysg. Yr uchafbwynt oedd ennill y refferendwm, wrth gwrs. Rydyn ni'n gallu dweud gyda balchder ein bod ni wedi newid hanes Cymru. Ryda ni wedi ennill Senedd i Gymru am y tro cyntaf ers chwe chant o flynyddoedd.

    Yn dilyn hynny fe ddaeth siom yr etholiad. Rydyn ni'n barod i ddysgu gwersi ac rydyn ni wedi dechrau trafod y ffordd ymlaen. Nawr, mae'n gyfle euriadd i ni adfywio fel plaid. Dyna pam y trefnais gyfarfodydd dros Cymru i weld beth oedd calon Plaid Cymru, yr aelodau, yn feddwl - i chi gael eich dweud.

    Diolch yn fawr i bob un ohonnoch chi sydd wedi dod i gyfarfod neu ysgrifennuataf gyda'ch sylwadau diffuant ac adeiladol. Mae'n amlwg eich bod chi wedi meddwl yn hir am y sefyllfa hefyd.

    A dyna beth sy'n ein gwneud ni mor gryf - dyna beth sy'n mynd i sicrhau ein llwyddiant yn y dyfodol, sef ymroddiad yr aelodau. Mae gwir gyffro am y dyfodol.

    Ar ôl trafod gyda cannoedd o aelodau o gwmpas y wlad, gallaf ddweud yn bendant bod y blaid hon yn fwy unedig nag erioed. Rydyn ni i gyd eisiau'r un peth.

    Un o'r negeseuon cryfa' a ddaeth drosodd oedd y balchder o fod yn aelod o blaid sydd wedi cadw yn ffyddlon at ei gwerthoedd: cenedlaetholdeb, cymuned, cydraddoldeb a chyfiawnder. Mae gyda ni hanes hir o frwydro yn erbyn anghyfiawnder yng Nghymru a thrwy'r byd, ac rwy'n falch ein bod ni wedi edrych y tu hwnt i ffiniau ein cenedl unwaith eto yn ystod dyddiau ein cynhadledd. Ryda ni wedi dangos cefnogaeth i bobl Libia, Palesteina, De Swdan a'r Cwrdiaid. Rydyn ni'n blaid cenedlaetholgar, rhyngwladol.

    Another strong message is the case for independence, which was reflected in the motion adopted this morning. You want us to begin the debate about the long term future of Wales, to explore every aspect - the economic benefit in particular of course. For those who thought the economic crisis would sound the death knell of small countries striving for more autonomy, read this document: 'The Flotilla Effect'. It shows clearly that if Wales had become independent in 1991, all of us would be 39% richer than we are today. I commissioned this report by Adam Price and Ben Levinger to take a serious look at Wales and Europe at a time of serious economic crisis. That's what we have to be doing. We don't need or want a slanging match or scare-mongering over the imagined impact of independence. We want the facts and figures. The report confirmed what we in Plaid have long known, which is that countries the size of Wales can not only survive but can flourish. The size of Wales is not the problem; the only thing that limits us is our ambition. The research discovers that rather than being a hindrance to success, independence can be its catalyst. Size doesn't matter.

    Everyone has to prepare, whether we like it or not! Business as usual is not an option. The stunning victory of the Scottish National Party in May's elections has opened the debate on Scottish independence - which is a UK wide debate. Everyone will have to consider what will happen to Wales when Scotland wins its independence. Do you like the idea of being left in a United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland? Or do you want a Wales that is "small, sexy and successful" as Adam puts it? It appeals to me!

    Plaid has started the debate in Wales. And one of the simplest messages is that it is better to be a small independent nation than a small dependent one.

    And we have to start looking outside the UK context. Within the UK, we will always be a minority, always on the margins. But in Europe we are part of a huge movement for change. We can look at the success of our referendum against the backdrop of momentous events in Scotland, in Flanders and in Catalonia. Real constitutional change is happening and I will work with my European Free Alliance colleagues in the European Parliament to promote this agenda.

    In July, I was at a conference in Barcelona. I had a meeting with representatives of Barcelona Football Club to talk about its importance to the local economy as well as to the Catalan history and identity. During Franco's regime, Barcelona Football Club became a symbol of Catalan nationalism. Its slogan - written in huge letters across the stands in the stadium - is "More than a club". And Plaid Cymru is more than a party. We are a movement for equality, peace and social justice. Like Plaid Cymru, Barcelona is a football club owned and run by its members. Incidentally, it is the most successful football club in the world!

    We are more than a party - we have to grow the national movement, community by community, month by month. We have a tremendous amount of work to do. Communities throughout the country are under threat from public spending cuts, unemployment, plans to build thousands of houses, plans to build dangerous incinerators or open more open-cast mining sites.

    I have the privilege of working with local campaign groups who have seen the threat, who are raising awareness, who have begun to mobilise, write letters, attend meetings, give evidence, speak publicly, who are becoming experts on issues such as planning and who then share this information with other groups. All over the country, there are community initiatives. We are rich in skills and talent, all developed while protecting our communities. And we have the same experience, skill and talent among our members - we have seen this again at conference this weekend.

    We have to use this talent and we need to use our whole team. The links between the Plaid Cymru family in community and county councils, National Assembly, Westminster, European Parliament and the party itself must be strengthened. We need to fire on all five cylinders. It's essential that we are working within and with our communities. I will be working flat out to elect more Plaid councillors in next May's elections. We are no longer in government at the Assembly but we are in government in several councils. Next May, we can put the party back into government at county level all over Wales. We have heard over the last few days, what tremendous difference Plaid councils make to people's everyday lives. They are on the front line in the battle to defend and build sustainable communities. I would like to thank them on behalf of all of us. I will be supporting you 100%.

    What we all share is that we put Wales first at whatever level and in whatever forum we are working. That is what guides each and every one of us. But let me repeat, our greatest asset is our members. You have a wealth of experience and expertise and I know you want to be more active and engaged. You want to play a major part in building and strengthening the party. An essential part of that is to build vibrant local party structures that are genuine hubs of the community.

    In the response to my letter, one member summed it up for me, and I hope she'll forgive me for stealing her line!, when she wrote: "I want to feel Plaid and to be Plaid." That's what it's about. Plaid is its members, its members are Plaid - we are a party led and driven by our members. That is our strength. That's why we will win.

    Jill Evans ASE

    Photo: Jill Evans