Plaid Cymru’s spring conference opened at the Ffos Las racecourse in Carmarthenshire on Friday with a speech from Carmarthen East and Dinefwr Jonathan Edwards, who accused First Minister Carwyn Jones of ‘political grandstanding’.
Mr Edwards said that the Welsh Labour administration in Cardiff had ‘cut and pasted’ Plaid Cymru policies, such as calling for control of energy policy to be devolved to Wales. However Mr Edwards said that Labour at Westminster had helped the Coalition Government defeat Plaid Cymru’s bill to transfer the powers to the Welsh Assembly.
Mr Edwards added it was wrong to only blame only the Westminster coalition for Welsh economic problems saying that the ‘Blair-Brown’ regime had continued three decades of the same economic policies. Mr Edwards said this proved that Labour was ‘Tory lite’.
He said the Labour party in Wales was divided over calls for further devolution and that Plaid Cymru’s most powerful argument was parity with Scotland.
Later on Friday the conference will see the first speech by new leader Leanne Wood, who is expected to outline her plans for a “green industrial revolution” in Wales as well as restating her case on why Wales should become independent.
Speaking before the conference, Ms Wood said:
“We should develop the case for real independence now. And that is not constitutional change for the sake of it, but independence so we can address the major problems we face.
“At the moment we’ve got a law-making assembly here, but it doesn’t have the powers and tools it needs to fully transform our economy.
“It’s unrealistic to expect us to prosper when we remain in the situation we are in. We are tied to an economy that puts all its effort into growing around London and the South East to the detriment of everyone else. Unless we change that and take more control of our own destiny, then our economy won’t prosper.”