I'm embarrassed to see that I haven't blogged since June! I honestly didn't think it had been that long, but I guess it's better to only write when you have something to say, rather than blog for the sake of it.
Since Leanne Wood's announcement that she is going to fight a seat rather than go for the regional list in the 2016 election, I've been meaning to write my support for her decision. I think it's a bold and confident move. Some are calling it brave, but I disagree. Brave suggests risk and sacrifice, and that's not how I see this decision. Rather, I see it as indicative of her growing confidence as a leader. A confidence that she can lead Plaid Cymru to win a majority in 2016.
Labour twitter geeks were quick to dismiss such a suggestion. They joked that she must be fed up of being Leader to risk her position in the Assembly, and seem to genuinely believe that the status quo will be upheld for eternity. This is a dangerous way of thinking. No matter how 'safe' a seat may seem at the moment, no party should ever take people's support for granted. It's insulting to the electorate, and makes a mockery of democracy. Nobody likes a person that gets too big for their boots – and that certainly extends to politicians and political parties.
But, back to Leanne’s decision. From my perspective, I think it’s inspirational as someone who’s also hoping to be elected to the Assembly in 2016. The truth of the matter is that Plaid Cymru can only win a majority if we keep our current seats and win new seats, especially ones in North East Wales and South Wales (as was done in 1999). To do so, we need the best possible team of candidates across Wales and we need to fight each and every seat, with an aim to win not just challenge. Regional seats alone will not give a party a majority, which is why it’s crucial that we gain new ground. And who best to start off that winning streak than Leanne herself. Though constituencies haven’t started selecting yet, I think it’s safe to guess that she’s likely to go for a seat within her current region. Labour hacks who suggested she’d go for Arfon certainly raised a few laughs, but were way off the mark!
To some, her announcement may seem like a gamble but to me, it’s a necessary move. Standing still isn’t an option, and if we are to become a party of Government, we need to be bold and dare to dream. Leanne believes in the Party, and believes that she can deliver change for Wales. Her decision is therefore a logical one. She believes we can win new seats, and that she herself will be able to do so. We don’t want the same thing happening to her as happened to Nick Bourne last year, as the Conservatives won more constituencies and lost out on his own regional seat!
Slowly but surely, excitement is building within Plaid Cymru as we look towards 2016. A quiet revolution is taking place within our ranks, as confidence begins to grow. With three and a half years to go, Leanne is instilling all of us with a belief that a better Wales is possible. It’s just up to us to be ready to deliver it as a majority Government post May 2016.