THE BLOG

This Balanced Parliament Is Our Opportunity To Stand Up For Wales

25/06/2017 19:09 BST | Updated 25/06/2017 19:09 BST
Matthew Horwood via Getty Images

Some people consider a hung parliament to be a threat to the Westminster bi-polar norm. But for Plaid Cymru and for Wales, there is a wealth of opportunities in a balanced state of power-play.

We are faced with a situation where no party has a clear majority. This gives Plaid Cymru the chance to act on our opposition to Westminster's disastrous obsession with spending cuts, press for the strengthening of Wales's own Parliament and ensure that Brexit works for Wales - but this time with a stronger hand.

The balanced Parliament places a duty on all of us - no matter what party - to deliver changes that reflect the outcome of the election. While this is a rare opportunity in the UK, unwelcome and unwanted by the two main parties, it is commonplace in many successful democracies across the world. It obliges parties to work together to deliver for all political opinions from all parts of the UK. Surely this is democracy at its best?

Labour do not recognise this and strive to manipulate another General Election while they are riding high in the opinion polls. Who can say that this move will not mirror May's fatal error in judgement? Plaid Cymru is deeply wary of this. Fantasy politics aside, who really wants to see politicians indulge themselves in the heroics of a yet-another electoral campaign? Surely people want politicians to do their job by balancing and negotiating the opinions, needs and aspirations of diverse electorates in challenging times?

Plaid Cymru has a legacy of negotiating major concessions for Wales in previous balanced Parliaments. This includes securing hundreds of millions of pounds worth of compensation through the Workers Compensation Act 1979 for miners and quarry workers; millions of pounds worth of investment in Welsh transport, culture and economic development; and increasing Wales's representation on the EU's Committee of the Regions.

My parliamentary colleagues and I have the opportunity to make Wales matter. We are in a unique position where we have the chance to use our votes - which become all the more crucial in a balanced Parliament - to leverage the Welsh advantage. After decades of underinvestment and unambitious Wales Bills handing our country the crumbs off of the English table, this is our opportunity to force Westminster to sit up and listen to us. While London is the richest region in Europe, Wales suffers as the poorest of the UK countries, with 22% of people living in absolute poverty.

Brexit means that this Parliamentary session will be the most significant yet for the future of every nation in the UK. It has been a year since the referendum and the other parties are still squabbling about what their position on Brexit actually is. The Tories are at each other's throats with the Chancellor parading himself on television to criticise the Prime Minister's key soundbite of "no deal is better than a bad deal". It is only Plaid Cymru who have produced a strategy to ensure that we make a success of Brexit.

Plaid Cymru's five-point Positive Post-Brexit Plan will fight for the money, responsibility and respect that Wales deserves. We will make sure Brexit works for Wales and not just the financial services of the City of London. We will create the kind of Wales we want beyond Brexit.

The arithmetic of this Parliament means Plaid Cymru's influence is greater than ever. Plaid Cymru MPs will use this unique position for one purpose - to forward Wales's national interest. This means securing concessions from the debilitated Tory-DUP alliance, to get the money to keep the cogs of our economy turning; the powers so that we can take decisions into our own hands; and the respect to ensure that we can hold our head high as a nation and make sure Wales can succeed throughout Brexit and beyond.

The democratic reality is that the majority of the electorate voted for parties committed to remedying austerity, creating well-paid secure jobs and supporting measures that protect our environment. We can now work with each other to create real change and carve out a better way, through determined opposition to the Tories turbo-charged by the DUP. We will use this alternative politics in the balanced Parliament to score compromises which work for Wales, and to make Wales matter through Brexit and beyond.