Plaid Cymru leader offers his post-COVID-19 vision to the people of Wales
A year ahead of the Senedd elections (2021 Welsh Parliamentary Elections), Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price argues that the post Coronavirus crisis presents the best opportunity for change ever offered for ‘building back better’ the future of Wales and its people.
Because this crisis has affected everyone it could just possibly change everything. Coronavirus has thrown open a window and shown the fragility of so many of the things we truly value. It has locked us into our homes, short circuited our relationships with friends and family, crashed our economy, and placed untold pressures on our health and care services, and those that serve in them.
Our local authorities have seen their budgets slashed. Our care homes have been out-sourced and under-funded. And the so-called “four-nation approach” – lauded with naivety by Labour – has brought to the fore how Wales is always at the back of the queue when it comes to Westminster’s priorities. Blindly trusting Westminster when it dropped the WHO’s advice to test and trace was surely a terrible mistake.
Now as we contemplate coming out of Lockdown as a nation, it’s the time we unlocked our imagination too. The extraordinary experience which we have all shared these past weeks must become a shining light illuminating a new set of values and priorities for the way we want to live in the future. If the crisis has taught us anything it is this: the sign of a decent society is how we treat people at the dawn of their lives, our children; at the twilight of their lives, our elderly; and in the shadow of their lives, the sick and the needy.
We will need to put a new emphasis on what is called the foundational economy, the local provision of the basic necessities of everyday life – food, shelter, local transport, banks. We need to make our towns and small communities much more resilient in the provision of these essential services. We need a generational, transformational programme of investment in our social infrastructure – care homes, surgeries, schools, libraries and parks.
A year from today we can change the tide of our recent history. These first Senedd elections could provide the basis for the most radical new policy agenda ever offered to the people of Wales. For my party it will be a manifesto that has emerged directly out of the crucible of the coronavirus crisis. It will demand a fundamental new approach. It will be a chance to declare our independence from old ways of thinking and old ways of voting. The first step on the path to that most radical, transformational idea of all, Welsh independence itself.
Read Adam Price’s opinion article in full