At the heart of Plaid Cymru’s politics is the idea of self-determination, of democratic empowerment, of sovereignty lying not at the top of a pyramid but with the people at its base .  And it applies to parties as much as to nations.  It’s our grassroots which keep us true to our values and our vision, that make us radical and relevant, that make us Plaid Cymru gyfan, not just the Party of Wales but the party of Cymru For All.

With this in mind Plaid Cymru will be launching this week the most wide-ranging member consultation in the history of the movement.

‘The party of ideas’ is a label which is often affixed to Plaid Cymru and unfairly, spun by our opponents into a claim that we are only interested in winning debates, not elections. This says more perhaps about our opponents than it does about us.

I never have and never will apologise for leading a party brimming with creativity and political imagination. Ideas spark the mind and feed the soul, they inspire and motivate, and critically they not only empower us to visualise a better Wales but to work to realise it too.

It’s our party’s ideas which are, right now, part of our nation’s programme for government thanks to the Co-operation Agreement achieved by Plaid Cymru, that will improve the lives of families and communities in all parts of Wales. By guaranteeing free school meals for all primary pupils, free childcare for two year olds and taking radical action to tackle the housing crisis, we have listened to people’s concerns and acted on them.  We are more than the nation’s think-tank.  We are a movement for change, for economic justice for our people and democracy for our nation.

Now, we want to listen to your ideas on the future of Wales and our role in realising it.

That is why this consultation will be seeking members’ input and ideas on the broadest range of issues ever put to the Plaid Cymru grassroots. From party organisation to the route-map to independence, no other cohort of Plaid members has ever had the opportunity to shape their party’s strategic priorities in such a way.

By asking the right questions - meaning not always the easy ones - the aim is to capture the membership’s collective insight, knowledge, and experiences to inform a comprehensive strategy designed to make the party work sharper and smarter. 

It is only right that we ask the same things of our party as we do of our country. As we hold up a mirror to ourselves and ask who we are, what we stand for, where we want to go and how we get there, we can agree on what’s important to us. 

How do we design a fairer, more inclusive, thriving party ready and able to govern a fairer, more inclusive, thriving nation?

Independence and Europe, balancing building the party with building the nation, electoral goals and political cooperation -these are just some of the topics on which we are consulting members. 

By the time of the next Senedd election in 2026, Plaid Cymru will have celebrated its 100th birthday. Now is an appropriate time for us to take stock - recognising the challenges we face and preparing for new opportunities - and ask what Plaid Cymru’s contribution can be as our nation takes the next steps in its journey. 

With the date of the next referendum on Scottish independence set for 19th October 2023, there is a renewed focus on the UK’s constitutional future and a need to accelerate the discussion surrounding how Wales’s fate will be decided too. As the Tories continue to trample all over our parliament’s powers and undermine the devolution settlement at every opportunity, we must ensure that Wales’s story isn’t written for us.

The purpose of this discussion therefore is not to look inward, but to look forward. If we are to succeed in convincing our fellow citizens to support our vision and persuading them to join us in realising it, we need that vision to be clear among ourselves. 

I hope therefore that as many members as possible will take part in this consultation, to discuss, debate and decide democratically the best way forward for Plaid Cymru in the years ahead. 

On our journey to independence, it’s as we link arms and hearts and minds we move forward, designing the map and building the road as we travel.  Because there is only one way we will get there. And that’s together.