[SPEECH MADE AT THE END OF THE ANTI-RACISM DEMONSTRATION IN ABERYSTWYTH, 4 Jul 2016]
Mae hi wedi bod yn amser rhyfeddol o gyffrous, a rydw i am ddechrau trwy sôn rhywfaint am sut rydw i’n teimlo.
We live in interesting times, and I’d just like to start by saying a little about how the events in the last few weeks and months have made me feel.
First of all I am angry.
Angry that over the last few months we have had a national ‘debate’ characterised by misinformation, half-truths and distractions. We deserve better. A real democratic process requires better.
I am hurt by the hatred, racism and xenophobia that has dominated the referendum campaign, and that it now appears as though this has been legitimised by a majority vote to leave the UK. This is not okay.
I am saddened that now, so many thousands of people in the UK – people in our communities – our friends, our families and our neighbours – not just EU nationals, but people of colour and ethnic minorities, must feel so unwelcome in our country, in the UK and in Wales.
And finally I am worried – because the future is so uncertain. No-one set out an idea, or a plan, for what a UK outside the EU looked like, of how it would work. We already had so much to work on, to campaign for – but now many things we took for granted are under threat, are not guaranteed, and there so much work to be done.
- In response to this, the Green Party has called immediately for:
A democratic process of negotiations over Brexit. This means a general election where each party lays out its plans for Brexit so that we have a choice over what kind of future the UK has outside the EU.
- A parliamentary vote and a referendum on the terms of Brexit – so that not just one small group is in charge of the negotiations, and of creating our future.
- Protection of the free movement of people, workers rights and vital environmental legislation.
- An emergency law which guarantees the rights of non-British nationals already living in the UK.
These are the immediate steps, but we must also work in the longer-term.
In truth, the situation we find ourselves in is not new – many things have come to the fore during and after the referendum campaign, but the narrative has been built over a much longer period of time.
Inequality – both globally and locally within the UK, has been on the rise for decades, as wealth is more and more concentrated in the hands of the few, and the vast majority become poorer and poorer. And we have, on the most part, swallowed the narrative constructed mainly by those few that are rich and powerful surrounding this situation. This narrative has been building and building – the idea that there is simply ‘not enough to go around.’ This is simply not true! There is plenty – for each and every one of us in the UK, and for others who wish to live here, but this story has justified the whole austerity project, and has opened up an avenue for fear-mongering, finger-pointing and scape-goating.
We must not let ourselves be divided and conquered in this way.
Countering the austerity and xenophobic narrative and replacing it with another story will not be easy. We need to work together, to stand united to make a different story for our future.
Which is why I have joined others in the Green Party to write an open letter to Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Farron, and Leanne Wood, urging them to explore how we might best rise to the challange posed by the vote to eave the UK. We have also launched a petition, to use public grassroots backing to urge parties to respond. We think now is the time for progressive parties to work together.
Mae’n rhaid i ni weithio gyda’n gilydd ar gyfer:
- Democratiaeth well.
- Cymdeithas cyfartal.
- Ac yn erbyn hiliaeth a senoffobia.
The bottom line is that it is as it has always been: in order to challenge power concentrated in the hands of the few, we must work together:
- For a better democracy.
- For an equal and fair society.
- And against racism and xenophobia.
Diolch yn fawr.