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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 September, 2004, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
'Practical' policies crucial for Plaid
Dafydd Iwan
Dafydd Iwan advocates practical policies to sell Plaid's message
Welsh independence is "meaningless" without policies to back it up, Plaid Cymru president Dafydd Iwan has told the party's annual conference.

Mr Iwan spoke about education, the environment and anti-social behaviour strategies to the delegates at the hall in Llandudno.

The party wants to concentrate on day-to-day policies.

Strategists want to move away from arguments about the party's policy on independence which have been prominent since Mr Iwan came to power.

He said: "Whatever our aspirations for the future of Wales and the world, whatever principles drive our policies, there is no meaning to them if we can't make a real difference to the living conditions of the people of Wales.

"What counts is people's rights to a health service and care as needed and not according to their ability to pay.

"People's rights to a suitable home for a price or rent that they can afford.

"People's right to a fair pension after a lifetime of work, people's right to a clean, healthy, sustainable environment, and an education system which prepares children for the world and gives them the skills they need to find work, and the right to live in safe communities.

"These are at the core of our existence as a party; improving the quality of life for the people of Wales - this is why Plaid Cymru exists."


The party would bring in more Welsh language provision in schools and link housing costs to local wages, although Mr Iwan admitted the policy was "fraught with difficulty", and look for more police patrolling in Welsh communities.

He said: "This marriage of the practical short-term answers to the real problems facing our people today with the longer term aspirations for the future of our nation is essential to the well-being of our party."

They cast the Richard report aside, and voted for a document which mentions everything but says nothing
Dafydd Iwan

As a Gwynedd councillor rather than AM or MP, he said there was no danger of him "forgetting the reality of life and the world".

"There is no purpose to any political activity if we are not prepared to get our hands dirty with the world as it is.

"It's ugly and beautiful, wonderful and dreadful, because this is the world we live in, and we must battle on to try and improve it.

"But keeping your feet on the ground and living in the real world does not mean you cannot keep the dream alive."

He also said Labour had "blown it" on gaining greater devolution for Wales and attacked their policy document.

"They cast the Richard report aside, and voted for a document which mentions everything but says nothing."

"They voted unanimously for a document which leaves Wales in a political vacuum."

Mr Iwan claimed Plaid's policies would mean higher public spending and more public-private co-operation.

He added: "This must be allied to a vision of a new Wales, with a form of government which gives us the tools to do the job without going cap in hand to London."

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