Reprise: What Jane Dodds wants for the Welsh Liberal Democrats

This is a re-run of the article Jane Dodds wrote for us during the Welsh Lib Dems’ leadership campaign, setting out her hopes for the party.

I have to start by saying that I am not that happy to be standing against Liz Evans, a colleague for whom I have enormous respect.  My only comfort is that the Welsh Liberal Democrats will have a Welsh speaking woman from mid-Wales as their next leader.

I believe that the Welsh Liberal Democrats have the talent, the drive, the enthusiasm and the ambition to start winning again, but we need to rebuild the party.  We need more members, more councillors and to win seats in the Welsh Assembly elections in 2021 and in the next Parliamentary elections.  The Welsh party needs to work with the Federal Party to forge a relationship that helps us to transform ourselves.  And Wales needs the Welsh Liberal Democrats to offer real, meaningful, and Liberal solutions to the deep seated inequalities people face.

Progress has been too slow.  As a social worker, I have seen at first hand the inequalities in our society and the hardship suffered by people as they face a lack of good quality homes and a paucity of well-paid and full time employment. People in Wales have health services which are well below the standards in England, and we need improved access to mental health provision.  We need to sustain our support to our Education Cabinet Secretary in Kirsty Williams as she continues to deliver progressive policies to improve educational standards for Welsh children.

We need an economic plan that breathes life back in to Wales, and to put green policies and renewable energy developments at the forefront of our strategy. We need to be an outward looking Wales – welcoming refugees and helping those in need, as well as joining Vince and all other Liberal Democrats in challenging Brexit.  

I want to lead a party of social justice to address the five evils that Beveridge identified more than 75 years ago.  I want to lead a party that is radical and reforming.  I want to lead a party that is diverse and offers distinct policies.  We’re resilient, we’re determined, and we’ve got renewed energy.  I want to work with members to capture that renewed enthusiasm and to deliver change in our party and in our country.

A Leader in Wales is only as good as her team, and I believe the Welsh Liberal Democrats are a team that will go on to win.

Fydd y Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol yn mynd ymlaen i ennill.

(last line says “The Welsh Liberal Democrats will go on and win)

* Jane Dodds is Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats

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