Page last updated at 18:10 GMT, Monday, 9 March 2009

Plaid MP tips future independence

Plaid Cymru director of communications Helen Mary Jones AM said now was the time to have the dialogue.

Plaid Cymru has launched a website to promote what it claims would be the benefits of an independent Wales.

MP Adam Price said walescan.com aimed to encourage debate and translate the "idealism" of many younger voters into a more realistic path to independence.

Mr Price predicted the "independence generation" would be leading an independent Wales "in 20 years' time".

The Tories said Plaid, as a party of government, "should be focusing on helping Wales through the recession".

A recent BBC Wales/ICM poll indicated 8% of voters wanted an independent Wales within the EU, and an additional 5% wanted an independent Wales outside the UK and EU.

At a news conference in Cardiff, Mr Price admitted there was a "credibility gap in one sense" on the independence issue.

"The truth is that people's hearts, I think, said yes, but their heads have doubts," he said.

Adam Price
Adam Price denied the site launch was part of general election preparations

"They have some serious questions that we need to address as a nation, as a country.

"What we are trying to do here is to have a dialogue around those questions."

"I think we will be in a position in a generation to have majority support," he added.

In an article on the site, Plaid leader and Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones wrote: "Plaid Cymru will no longer shy away from the sometimes difficult questions that arise from the party's long-term constitutional ambition."

The site includes a "busting the myths" section, seeking to counter arguments questioning Wales's ability to sustain itself successfully outside the United Kingdom.

With its Labour partner in the coalition Welsh Assembly Government, Plaid last year launched the All-Wales Convention to assess the level of support for giving the assembly full law-making powers.

The convention is holding a series of public meetings around Wales to give people the chance to air their views.

I doubt very much whether the hundreds of people across Wales who are losing their jobs everyday are interested in Plaid's ambitions of independence
Nick Bourne AM, Welsh Conservative leader

Its other key aim is to explain the present system of powers available to the assembly.

The coalition agreement between the two parties commits them to holding a referendum on law-making powers by 2011.

Welsh Conservative leader Nick Bourne AM said the website launch "says it all about Plaid's priorities".

"As a government party they should be focussed on helping Wales through the recession, " he said.

"I doubt very much whether the hundreds of people across Wales who are losing their jobs everyday are interested in Plaid's ambitions of independence," Mr Bourne added.

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams AM said Plaid should get its priorities right.

"At a time when people are more worried about their jobs, students concerned about how they will finance their education and little support for independence, this just goes to show that Plaid Cymru is totally out of touch with the people of Wales," she said.

There were similar criticisms of Plaid Cymru's independence initiative from Labour.

A spokeswoman said: "In Welsh Labour we are focussed on dealing with the problems and opportunities of today and winning the battle against the major economic problems in our communities, not an academic debate on independence.

"I am left (to) wonder who it appeals to, apart from a few hardcore nationalists and the leadership ambitions of Adam Price," she added.

SEE ALSO
Plaid leader defends fees plans
06 Mar 09 |  Wales politics
Majority back law-making assembly
26 Feb 09 |  Wales politics
Plaid rejects Welsh independence
22 Sep 01 |  Plaid Cymru
Plaid commits to independence
21 Sep 03 |  Wales

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