I warmly welcome the opportunity to take part in the debate on the constitutional future of Wales.
The needs of Wales as a nation are being addressed as never before in the run-up to the Welsh General election in May. Devolution, even in its current form, provides a forum for a debate on Welsh priorities in a Welsh context, but the powers are insufficient, and the leadership of Rhodri Morgan and his Labour administration is woeful.
As a party that believes that Wales as a nation needs all the powers at its disposal to flourish, independence within the European Union is our long term constitutional aim. As well as improving the lives of the people of Wales, it is right that Wales joins the world community of nations.
We have always adopted a step by step approach to constitutional change, and since sovereignty belongs to the people, a referendum will be held on every major change. The people of Wales have the final say on this.
Our aim in the next four years is to demand a referendum on a proper Parliament so that we can have the right to legislate and vary taxes without having to get the consent of Westminster. We will be challenging the other parties to join us in this campaign.
During this year's election campaign, the London-based parties will try to use independence as a political football to split the national movement. Our goal is clear, but out opponents will attempt to use it against us. This election gives us the opportunity to make a real difference and to help transform Wales.
Plaid is the only party that truly has confidence in Wales and the people of Wales. Labour claim Wales is too small and insignificant to fight its corner on the international stage. Talking Wales down in such a way is patronising and demeaning. We must build the confidence of our nation and offer the people the Wales a change for the better. Together we can achieve this goal.
Ieuan Wyn Jones AM is an Assembly Member for Ynys Môn, Plaid Cymru’s leader and the leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly.
Friday 9 February 2007
Independence within the European Union - by Ieuan Wyn Jones AM
Today Ieuan Wyn Jones AM, Plaid Cymru’s leader and the leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, explains why independence within the European Union is the long term constitutional aim of Plaid Cymru.