This week I read the poem "Night and Morning" by R S Thomas. It mentions Caernarfon of course and it struck me as very much mirroring the situation of today's Wales. The first verse reads:
One night of the tempest I arose and went
Along the Menai shore on dreaming bent;
The wind was strong, and savage swung the tide,
And the waves blustered on Caernarfon side.
Wales has been battered by the waves of austerity and all the misery that failed policy has brought, by cuts in health, education, social services & benefits; job losses; we have an unacceptable level of youth unemployment; we have the ongoing task to try and combat climate change. - the greatest threat we face; and on top of all that, there are largely secret talks being held on a European - USA trade deal (TTIP) that threatens our public services and our hard won standards on workers' rights, on food safety and labelling, on the environment and much more. This is something that many people are not even aware of yet, because it has been done so quietly, but it will affect each and every one of us. Thank you to all the people and organisations that have contacted me raising concerns.
The UK government are very much in favour of this trade agreement and are happy for the European Commission to negotiate on its behalf with the US partners. This is not a deal being done in Wales's interests, which is why we have called for a halt to the talks until we can examine what it will really mean for the economy, the environment and jobs in our communities. How many times have we been told that proposed projects will create thousands of jobs? How many times do those jobs actually appear? You know as well as I do that these figures are often plucked from the air. We won't be fooled again.
The poem says "blustered". We are blustered by those political parties that take their instructions from London, that don't believe in Wales as a nation, that don't want equality for our people or our language. They have tunnel vision when it comes to Wales.
I see it like the Rhondda tunnel - a great story. The railway line linking the Afan and the Rhondda Valleys, including the tunnel under the mountain, was closed during the Beeching cuts in the sixties. Now there is a group campaigning to re-open the tunnel, not as a railway but as a cycle path, linking our valleys again. They literally see the light at the end.
Dyna sut y gwelwn ni Gymru. Rydyn ni am agor y drws, a gadael i'r golau lifo i mewn. Dyden ni ddim yn wangalon. Wnawn ni ddim setlo am yr eilradd, na'r drydydd radd. Mae'n rhaid i ni edrych allan - i edrych ar y Byd er mwyn gweld Cymru.
Gallwn ni ddysgu o wledydd eraill, a'i haddysgu nhw hefyd. Ein Gwaith ni yw adeiladu cymunedau, adeiladu'r economi, adeiladu heddwch, adeiladu cenedl llwyddiannus, cenedl gyfiawn
Ac er gwaetha'r battering hyn, yn ormes, ry'n ni'n gallu a r'yn ni wedi gadael ein marc ar y byd, weithiau mewn fford ymarferol. Mae canoedd a miloedd o bobol yn manteisio ar adenydd Airbus i deithio'r byd - fysau pobol ddim yn mynd yn bell hebddynt!
Rhay wythnosau yn ol mi es i Ogledd Norwy yn yr Arctic, lle gwrddais i ac aelodau o Senedd Sami. Mae sistem addysg iaith Sami wedi ei seilio ar sistem addysg yr iaith Gymraeg.
Yn Ewrop, y Cardiff Process - y broses o integreiddio'r amgylchedd i mewn i bob agwedd o bolisi Gallen ni fod yn falch o hynny.
Mae gennym mi gymaint o botensial. mae Plaid Cymru yn gweld hyn. Dy'n ni ddim am osod cyfyngiadau ar beth all Gymru ei gwneud. Rydyn ni eisiau beth sydd gan bob cenedl. Mae'n normal. Ydyn, rydyn ni yn wlad fach. Ond mae gwledydd bychain wedi bod yn llwyddiannus iawn.
Dwi eisiau gweld llawer mwy o enghreifftiau gydraddoldeb i'r Iaith Gymraeg - fel ei bod hi yn cael statws swyddogol iawn yn yr Undeb Ewropeaidd. Pam lai? Mae'n iaith swyddogol yng Nghymru felly pam na chaiff hi ei chydnabod yn rhyngwladol? Ac eto mae na wleidyddion yng Ngymru sydd yn erbyn hwn. Mae'r peth yn fy nrysu i yn llwyr. Mae ganddon ni gymaint o bobol ifanc sydd yn digon ffodus o fod yn ddwyieithog ond yn methu manteisio ar hyn i gael swyddi yn Ewrop am nad yw un o'i ieithoedd nhw yn cyfri fel iaith go iawn. Dyw'r Gymraeg ddim yn gydradd a Ffrangeg, Almaeneg, na Gaeleg. Dwi'n credu y dyle bob iaith cael ei trin yn un fath, felly my fydda i yn cario ymlaen i ymgyrchu dros gydraddoldeb i'r iaith Gymraeg. Ni ddyliai unrhyw un o bobol Ewrop fod yn eilradd.
Mae gyda ni statws cyd-swyddogol i'r Gymraeg yn Ewrop ond dyw e ddim yn ddigon. Rydyn ni am gael yr un peth a phawb arall.
The second verse of R S Thomas's poem reads:
But on the morrow, when I passed that way,
On Menai shore the hush of heaven lay;
The wind was gentle and the sea a flower
And the sun slumbered on Caernarfon tower.
It is idealistic to imagine that the sun would always shine in an independent Wales. We need the rain and the storms too. But it is about balance, about fairness, about making our own decisions. Until now, Westminster has decided the pace and the nature of devolution for Wales. We don't have the same powers and funding as Scotland. It doesn't make sense. Britain is multinational and all its nations should be equal.
So, we need to talk about independence and all its implications. We need to talk about improving the lives of people in Wales without putting limits on how we achieve that. We need to start talking about independence for what it is: the natural and normal state of most nations. It is only when we understand all the options that the people of Wales can make a real choice about their future.
I've been involved in many campaigns: against the Poll Tax, to shut Nantygwyddon tip, for S4C, to keep schools and hospitals open, to scrap Trident, and I'm sure you are too. In each and every one of those campaigns, people know the arguments, understand what they are calling for and what it means. They have got the facts and the figures. They have done their homework.
That's what happened in Scotland and in Catalonia when people voted on independence. They knew what they were doing and the magnitude of their decisions. They didn't take it lightly. It wasn't rushed and it wasn't a last minute offer to influence their vote. The debate was calm and measured.
It was people centred. Politics has to be people centred again. The economic crisis which made Greece the focus of the debate in Europe also ensured that the voice of the people of Greece was heard loud and clear. They voted for a party that would put their interests above all else. Plaid Cymru always puts Wales first. Always works for Wales. That's what we're for. That's why we're here.
Gwyn Alf wrote, "There is no historical necessity for Wales... for a Welsh people or a Welsh nation. Wales will not exist unless the Welsh want it. It is not compulsory to want it. Plenty of people who are biologically Welsh choose not to be Welsh. That act of choice is beyond reason. One thing, however, is clear from our history: If we want Wales, we will have to make Wales."
We need your support to win elections and ensure Wales's voice is heard at all levels. Because that's what counts.
We have the right and we have the responsibility to decide our own future. We have to make that decision ourselves. And we will. We can. Wales can.