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Party of Wales Issues Invitation to Would-Be Candidates to Step Forward

12/11/2012

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has said her party will look to usher in a ‘new age of democratic participation’ for Welsh politics ahead of forthcoming elections.

At a lecture tonight hosted by the Institute of Welsh Politics in Aberystwyth University, Ms Wood will announce her party’s intention to invite applications from people all over Wales for its register of candidates for European, Westminster and Assembly elections.

Ms Wood will say the aim of the open door candidate policy is to “inspire people from all walks of life to put their names forward to stand and to serve.”

The South Wales Central AM will also call for a ‘Wiki-manifesto’ to be adopted by Plaid Cymru to incorporate ideas from people throughout Wales as to how to transform the country and overcome voter apathy.

During her lecture, Ms Wood will say: “I want us to feel a sense of excitement about what our own Parliament here in Wales can be.

"I want to be able to inspire people from all walks of life to put their names forward to stand and to serve.

"That is why I am now inviting people from all over Wales to apply now to join our register of candidates for European, Westminster and Assembly elections.

"I am pleased to be able to tell you that the party in Ceredigion is taking this to the next level and opening up its selection procedures to everyone who wants to stand regardless of their past experience of involvement in the party or in politics in general.

 
"There are plenty of situations vacant in Welsh politics at the moment where real leadership is lacking.

"So if you are interested, keep an eye out for the advert in the Cambrian News."

She will add: “Our democracy cannot be renewed from the centre, it has to be watered at the roots.

"No vision, however grand, of the future of Wales will work if it is imposed top-down on communities from Cardiff, London or the Moon.

"Not in health, not in energy, not in education. We want to be pushing decision-making as far as possible down to those directly involved and directly effected as service users and service providers.

"We want to turn our health service into a people-powered health service, with healthy living as the outcome of a process – and I must provide a jargon warning here....a process of co-production between health professionals and patient groups. 

"Plaid Cymru wants to see flexibility provided to teachers and to students to mould the national curriculum to include much more of what they want to study and how they want to study it.

"We want to enable local communities to find the best way for them to arrive at a carbon neutral, food and energy secure future, as I have proposed in A Greenprint for the Valleys.

"Government by remote control has never worked well – and it will not work at all in an age where it’s the people that now have their finger on that red button.

"I am convinced that we could well be on the cusp of a new age of democratic participation. There is a huge research agenda here, for this Institute, into the forms that new democracy should take.

As part of the drive to reach out to the people living in Wales, Ms Wood will announce a Party of Wales initiative to have a “million conversations” with the general public.

“We need to create space for a new conversation with the people at every level,” Ms Wood will say.

“That is why from today I am setting a goal of a million conversations – online, telephone or old-fashioned face-to-face between my party and Welsh voters between now and May 5th 2016.

"If we are to be the Party of Wales then the place to start is to listen to the people. Because it’s when we are not speaking that we learn.

"It’s not just new ideas we need to refresh and revitalize our democracy. It’s also new people. People from more diverse backgrounds.

"People with fresh insights and unique perspectives. With the widest experience and the broadest of skills.

"People who can challenge conventional thinking. People who can shake up a political system that has become too insular and self-serving.

"People whose passion is not politics per se but a desire to make a difference and people who want to see a Wales more successful than the one we live in today."