Fifty days to the Senedd elections in Wales

In just 50 days time Wales will go to the polls.

It will be the first elections to our now renamed Welsh Parliament – Wales’ own Parliament.

It will be the first time the people of Wales have had their say on the parties since Brexit and the first time they’ll get to vote for parties on their taxation policies – an area only recently devolved to Wales.

No matter who you speak to in Wales, the number one priority that people have is what next after Covid? Our fantastic health service is stretched, our economy has stalled, and most people are frankly just a bit glum and fed up.

That is why at this election, Welsh Liberal Democrats will be putting recovery first.

Our recovery from Covid is not just a health matter; our recovery covers our economy, environment, our culture, our local neighbourhoods, as well as our place both in the wider world and here at home.

Welsh Lib Dems are fighting this election to put our recovery from Covid first.

Mental health funding needs to be increased. We need to support and train mental health first responders in our communities to help our neighbours, friends, families, towns, and villages recover from the isolation, depression, and loneliness many have experienced.

We need an Economic Recovery Council that is cross-party and cross-sector, which ramps up our support to businesses, the tourist industry, and hospitality. It starts by scrapping crippling business rates, listening to what our businesses need, and putting it into action.

We need to make sure any environmental gains are capitalised on and that we make our homes greener; 15-minute communities become the norm rather than the exception. We need to have a smarter travel plan based on electric vehicles, public transport and active travel routes. And at the same time, as we move forward, our people and our planet must come first.

The incredible gains made in Welsh education and delivered by Kirsty Williams must be built on to deliver better outcomes for our children and grandchildren so they are healthy, wealthy and can make the choices they want for their lives. Education is the key to a more informed next generation that embeds equalities and fairness.

Our environment must be respected with a commitment to spend more than the current 1% of the Welsh Government budget on decarbonisation. Citizens’ assemblies must be put in place in every community in Wales to plan for and deliver community-based green plans that are resourced and cross-cutting.

To make Wales a world-beating pioneer of green energy and initiatives, we need a Centre of Excellence that brings in and keeps the brightest and the best in research and development and really makes sure our seats of learning meet the needs of their communities.

* Jane Dodds is Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats

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  • Gwyn Williams 17th Mar '21 - 4:46pm

    As someone who works and lives in Wales, I hope that William Powell wins in Brecon and Radnor to carry on Kirsty Williams’ fantastic work in that constituency.

  • I hope he wins too – but ‘carrying on Kirsty Williams’ fantastic work in the constituency’ is not going to take the party anywhere.

    It’s not looking likely according to the polls – but we need more than a single MS elected. We then need to be bolder and put together a considered strategy to demonstrate our relevance across the whole of Wales, so we can win significantly more seats next time around.

  • The polls aren’t great, but seats are within our grasp. Take with a pinch of salt any of the seat predications as they’re all using a universal swing from 2016 and a lot has happened since then (referendum, two general elections, two new prime ministers and new leaders of every opposition party).
    In 2016 we were 2200 votes of from winning a seat in Mid and West Wales and 800 away from winning in Cardiff Central. 3000 extra votes in the right place and we would have had three AMs. It’s possible but we need to work for it.

  • Every year since 2010, some within our party have said to take the polls with a pinch of salt. Every year, the polls have either been accurate or we’ve actually done even worse. I don’t want to knock your enthusiasm, but the reality is that things are very difficult for us.

    Hopefully we have a strategy for trying to gain some regional seats.

  • Hilton Marlton 18th Mar '21 - 6:03pm

    Perhaps over the past 3 years the Welsh Lib Dems could have been putting their own party recovery first. Under Jane Dodds leadership there has been no obvious strategy to rebuild the party from its crushing defeat in 2016 and to turn it into a healthy campaigning organisation. This was her leadership manifesto promise in 2017. The Brexit years saw large numbers of highly motivated people join the party, but there is little evidence of this influx being nurtured, valued and empowered. The current state of the party would suggest the contrary. Too many good people in the Welsh party have become disenchanted. Low engagement figures in almost all WDL activities would suggest a high level of disillusionment and demotivation. I would hazard a guess that membership retention rates will be very low now we have left the EU. It did not have to be like this. It is endemic within WLD culture to blame others, but in setting the tone of the party, there is only one person who is responsible for this, and that is the leader. We need realism, not fantasy; we need selflessness and vision; we need a genuine concern for others, we need team building based on respect and a commitment to the values of our constitution. This really is the last chance for the Welsh Lib Dems to cling on to life, but sadly many won’t even notice if we die. For the Senedd elections in May, I fear all is lost, bar an outside chance of retaining Brecon and Radnorshire. Prof Awn-Scully is always frustratingly spot on with his predictions. Heart breaking, because it didn’t have to be so. Welsh Lib Dems have deserved so much better.

  • David Evans 18th Mar '21 - 6:54pm

    I must admit, the posts here are profoundly dispiriting. Hope, Hope and Ignore the polls sum up the first three. Hope and ignoring the polls got us into this mess, and is anyone at all taking our present predicament seriously, sum up the last two.

    If having our one AM in government for the last four years has delivered absolutely nothing for the future of Liberal Democracy, some people really have not been taking the problem seriously.

    Getting elected and doing your best in government is not good enough if you lose your seat and squander the chance for future members of Team Lib Dems to ever have the chance to do the same as the chance past generations of Liberals and Lib Dems gave you through their hard work.

    Liberal Democracy is for life and not just for a quick fix of government.

  • Lose Brecon and all is lost. Ceredigion is gone and Cardiff Central will return to safer Labour. We must focus major attention and investment into county of Powys.

  • There are one or two people trying in Wales, here and there, but no obvious statement of values, no visibility for the party, no credit Hines for the education ministry work (glossing over the fact that Kirstie voted with Labour to dump sludge from Hinkley Point all over the Cardiff and Vale coast) and also no party visibility in the bay … and yet, we do need a liberal voice – the alternative bloc being the tragi-comedy of right wing attention seekers elected originally as UKIP and now so fractured as for anyone barely to bother keeping up. Mark Reckless for eg had a list seat as UKIP and the. changed allegiance to ‘sitting with tories’, Brexit party (I think) and he’s now ‘close the assembly party’ – and some of the others have had nearly as colourful changes. You’d think he’s be finished but Wales is in a mood for change, and the Right have the best tunes it seems.
    I suspect May will see some surprises but no big surprise – Drakeford back, either with or without Plaid.

  • The Policing bill, the Fire Safety Bill (Tories voting for leaseholders to have to pay the costs of replacing unsafe cladding themselves), the Genocide amendment to that trade bill – just a few things the Welsh Party has had nothing much to say about in the last few weeks. We’ve done this for years and I just don’t get the thinking – It doesn’t matter if things aren’t devolved, we should be showing what our values are because voters aren’t going to know otherwise.

    The Welsh replacemet for Erasmus is something that will appeal to a certain segment of voters – we’ve got a lot of likes on twitter for a post about it in comparison to what we usually get, but I’m not sure many voters will have made any connection between the policy and the Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Minister who secured it on that alone.

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