Jane Dodds: Welsh Lib Dems will create a Wales where everyone is equal and nobody is enslaved by poverty

Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds gave her keynote speech to Federal Conference yesterday. She talked about the need to tackle poverty and isolation in Wales and for action to save the planet from climate change. Here is her speech in full.

 

These have been hard times for us all.

Covid has dominated our lives over the past year; Personally, professionally, politically.

We have all needed to find extra resilience, additional emotional resources, extra bandwidth in our efforts to get through these times. A year when we lost people. When people lost jobs and livelihoods. When loneliness became an even bigger killer and when Welsh small businesses were brought to their knees.

But Wales is aa resilient nation. Welshness through the centuries has been more than just a political or legal identity. It has been a way of life, a state of mind. Our community spirit has inspired the greatest social reformers who have transformed Britain.

That Welsh community spirit extends an unqualified thank you to our delivery drivers, our shop workers, our pharmacists, refuse collectors, teachers, and social workers who have worked on through the pandemic.

That spirit is what drives us to action as Welsh Liberal Democrats. It also inspires us to set out a progressive and inspiring vision for the Wales we want to see.

That spirit is what drives us to action as Welsh Liberal Democrats.

That is why the Welsh Liberal Democrats will be putting Wales’ Recovery First. At the heart of our recovery will be:
🧠Mental Health;
💷The economy;
🌿 The environment;
👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 and your family.

We will create a Wales where everyone is equal, where no one is enslaved by poverty, ill health or circumstance. We will not tolerate poverty and we will push hard for positive change in all we do – particularly when it comes to saving our planet.

Did you know that in government, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have used our influence to double the number of affordable homes built in Wales, with £1.5 billion spent on affordable homes in the past five years? That’s £1.5 billion worth of housing we’ve delivered – that you’ve delivered.

And with our fantastic Education Minister in Kirsty Williams, we’ve achieved so much.

Kirsty has stood up for our pupils and teachers throughout the pandemic, ensuring no student’s results suffered due to time out of the classroom. Kirsty has funded free school meals outside term time, ensuring no child goes hungry while school is out, and she has delivered a revolutionary new Welsh Curriculum, with modern teaching for a modern Wales.

That’s the value of the Welsh Liberal Democrats being in government. Now imagine if we weren’t there. A minority Conservative government propped up by Abolish and the Brexit Party – rowing back on devolution? Probably.

That’s the value of the Welsh Liberal Democrats being in government.

Instead, imagine what the Senedd could achieve with a bigger Welsh Liberal Democrat team, building on Kirsty’s legacy. Our candidates next year are incredible. All of them bring their own unique experience, with the drive and determination to fight for Wales’ future. We cannot allow the Senedd to operate without a Liberal voice. With our Liberal Democrat Candidates, Wales won’t just recover, it will bounce back, stronger than before.

My pledge to you is that the Welsh Liberal Democrats will put the wellbeing of our people and planet first.

We will balance the needs of our people with the needs of our planet, and concentrate on the jobs, housing and healthcare we so desperately need. We will put recovery first. We will put Wales’ future first.

For this to happen, we need teams in your towns, constituencies and regions – delivering leaflets, speaking to voters on the phones and sharing our message online. So let’s go out there and get our fantastic candidates elected. Let’s go and put recovery first!

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8 Comments

  • Brad Barrows 20th Mar '21 - 6:33pm

    Even if the the Liberal Democrats were to form a majority government in Wales, it will be unable to create a country where no one is enslaved by poverty because the Welsh government does not have the powers to achieve it. Sad, but true.

  • “We will create a Wales where everyone is equal”.

    Wow. As Tommy Cooper used to say, “Just Like That !!”

  • 2% in the Welsh polls, its meaningless.

  • GWYN Williams 21st Mar '21 - 5:17pm

    “Our candidates next year are incredible. ”
    This may very well be true but the Welsh Senedd election is on 6th May this year.
    @theakes The 2% is in the regional seats. In the constituency of Brecon and Radnor, Councillor William Powell is mounting a powerful defence of the seat. The Welsh Liberal Democrats need to focus like a laser on holding the seat.

  • Doing two and a half times better than 2% in the Scottish regional Polls. On 5% in fifth place behind the Greens.

  • Gwyn, Indeed it looks like Brecon and Radnor is key to the party’s future in Wales. Hundreds if not thousands of Lib Dems from all over the UK helped turn the corner in B&R in the By election – a victory so sadly squandered by Jo Swinson in her rush to a quick General Election. Given a year or two of ongoing Boris incompetence as PM trying to sort a Brexit deal parliament would have agreed with and hard work locally by Jane, we could have used B&R as a cornerstone to rebuild in Montgomery and Cardigan once again.

    As it is we need to win it, just to survive. If we have no MPs or AMs in Wales, the party will be a total joke in the principality and it would be almost impossible to envisage any combination of events that would result in us gaining any seats in future.

  • It’s a nice speech and I’m sure it’s sincere – but we need a better pitch than this. Something this vague and inoffensive is not going to win votes – we need to be talking about issues that make voters sit up and think, or feel rather, ‘I’m a liberal’. Our attitude needs to be to go at Plaid and the Tories (in Wales AND Westminster) and grip them around the throat. We certainly don’t need sitting councillors/Senedd candidates tweeting about their concern for local bus services as if that’s going to sway voters on social media.

    The latest YouGov poll has us at 5% in the Constituency vote and 4% in regional – that might be enough to scrape a regional seat in Mid and West Wales, but it’s not encouraging.

  • Question Time is in Wales this week. It seems we’re seen as less relevant to the national conversation than a Baroness who once lived in Wales and a rugby referee. If that doesn’t tell us something…

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