24/02/2016 The Wales Report


24/02/2016

What will the EU referendum mean for Wales? We hear from Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood. And what are the challenges facing community energy projects in Wales? With Bethan Rhys Roberts.


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are drawn - but just how different is the political landscape in Wales

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today compared to the last referendum on Europe?

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We ask Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood how her party would run Wales

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as we look ahead to May's assembly election.

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Is Wales doing enough to harness its renewable energy?

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Good evening and welcome to The Wales Report.

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The EU referendum has been described as a once in a generation decision -

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and true enough, the last time the British people were given

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the choice was over 40 years ago in 1975.

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Back then, Wales, along with the rest of the UK,

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voted overwhelmingly to stay in what was then called

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There are signs that Wales has become more Eurosceptic since then -

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a recent surge in support for Ukip here could translate to Wales

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being the only devolved region to favour Brexit.

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I'll be talking to two people who were there for that first

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referendum in 1975, Lord Peter Hain and economist Patrick Minford

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in just a moment and you can join tonight's conversation on social

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media - something not possible in 1975.

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The hashtag is thewalesreport. But first we go back to the future

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to see what we can learn from that vote 40 years ago.

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And just a warning - there are some very serious flares

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Yesterday Mr Wilson made a recommendation that we should stay

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in the common market. Let me finish. I think I have got the message. Too

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much detail, far too many statistics. There is a good deal of

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confusion. From politics to fashion sense many things have changed since

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1975 but one thing is the same. The old journalist trek of going on the

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streets to get opinions of the people before the vote. I would like

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the country to stay in, it would be better for all of us. It is a shame

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because I have seen what the EU has done to less well off

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Germany gets richer and other countries get food.

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Germany gets richer and other ending up the same way. It is a good

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thing. may sound familiar Wales is a

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different place and in recent years there are

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different place and in recent years increasingly Eurosceptic. There may

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be two reasons. Many people in Wales increasingly Eurosceptic. There may

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do not realise some of the benefits that come from membership of the

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European Union. They do not realise that some of the European Union

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funded projects in their Kennedy have been supported by the European

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Union. Then there is the more political dimension. The mainstream

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parties have traditionally been in favour of remaining within the EU is

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now in recent years with the rise of Ukip what we see is a party

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now in recent years with the rise of a different message, something

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different to offer, and they have been trying to persuade

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different to offer, and they have of Wales for many years that they

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may be better off without of Wales for many years that they

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This is set in a different context. Europe has changed dramatically. 28

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member States today. Just nine European community members in 1975.

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The UK is a totally different place. In the 1970s the impact of drawing

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from Europe on our battered economy was at the forefront of people's

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minds. But times have changed and the British economy is now one of

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the strongest performers in Europe. Devolution has transformed the face

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of British politics. Wheels voted overwhelmingly to stay a member of

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the European community back in 1975. -- Wales voted overwhelmingly. Topic

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opinion since then has been in favour of remaining eight member but

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it recently we have seen a change in public opinion. Ukip is expected

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it recently we have seen a change in get seats in the assembly in May.

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There has been a change in public opinion. The terms of the debate may

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have changed but 40 years on we may still see familiar faces on the

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campaign trail. While we can all learn from history does not always

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repeat itself. Joining me now is

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the economist Partrick Minford and Labour's

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Lord Peter Hain. Let us go back to 1975. The end

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campaign had all the party leaders, all the money, all the media. It was

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not a fair fight. Unlike this one. It is a different fight this time.

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What is mainly different is that then we were 14 to stay in Europe

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having only been in the few years. Now we have been in over 40 years.

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We have seen the benefits of huge investment from outside Wales coming

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into Wales in order to benefits not just from the opportunities in Wales

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but to be part of the single richest market in the world, to trade our

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services into the rest of the European Union. Why would we want to

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leave? He won an election on the basis of a referendum. It is a huge

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gamble. It is. The situation is different from 1975. We are now a

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successful economy and Europe is not looking good at all. In those days

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we were the sick man of Europe and Europe was successful. We hoped to

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improve our performance by joining. Now the boot is on the other foot.

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The problem is that Europe is a bureaucratic entity. We have no

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influence ultimately on the qualified majority voting for the

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single market. It brings in regulations that are hostile to our

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free-market traditions here. It is trying to become a superstate in

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order to create this architecture to deal with the problems of the euro.

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It is now threatening as in quite a big way. Peter says it is a great

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thing to be part of Europe. We have to remember that this single market

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as a protectionist organisation that raises prices to the British

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consumer. Back in 1975 the in the campaign was criticised for being

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scaremongering. There is a danger of that again in this referendum on

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both sides. There is a lot at stake. Half our trade is with the rest of

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the European union. I cannot believe how Patrick and others just brush

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this aside. There are around 200,000 jobs in Wales that are dependent on

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being part of that giant treating block. In 1975 it was the Battle of

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shopping baskets. It was about the economy. Is this going to be about

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the economy or is going to be about immigration? The big issue is

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self-government. It is trying to become a superstate. The British

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have always wanted self-government. They want control of the borders and

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economy and they have a system called democracy which the EU does

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not have. But is the main thing it is about. As for all these vaunted

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advantages of being in the EU, this is nonsense. It is nonsense began on

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a clean because studies show the reverse is true. You want the Norway

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model? I do not. I want featuring outside the EU. Back to the global

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market that we once had in the 19th century and early 20th century. This

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is harking back to a golden past that does not exist any more. A

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golden future. You should be in favour of competing in level markets

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globally not inside the protected market of the EU. We use the giant

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power of the European Union to negotiate trade deals with China and

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India and the rest of the world. We have the strength of Europe to do

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that. We would have to negotiate individually as a single and ice

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with Britain. That would weaken Wales and the UK and leave us

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isolated and alone. And all sorts of ways. Security, borders, prosperity

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is all tied up with our neighbours, the European Union and Patrick is

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offering no clear alternative nor the other she wants to get out. It

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is a leap into the dark. We do not know what the future holds.

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Self-government will be set our own relationship with this mammoth

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declining dysfunctional body on our borders. We have a new relationship

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with them and we approach the world market as a self-governing three

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cheating nation. Trade agreements as a red herring. I could explain to

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him but it would take too much economics to explain to him why he

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is wrong on this. If big announcement at the Vale of

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Glamorgan. 750 jobs. We are in the European Union. It is irrelevant, he

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says. For many businesses it is irrelevant. We are committed by

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Europe. Even though many of our companies do not sell to a Europe

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which is a big problem, our labour market is regulated, industry is

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regulated. The structure of the economy is warped by European

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protectionism. We influence those decisions. Britain is very

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influential. I have been there. We are protected by those regulations

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when they trade with other countries. A taste of things to

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come. Thank you. Before the referendum of course,

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there's the small matter As part of BBC Wales's How Wales

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Works season The Wales Report is speaking to the main party

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leaders in Wales to find out how they'd run things if

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they won power in May. We've spoken to Ukip

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and the Liberal Democrats and over the coming weeks we'll hear

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from the Conservative and Labour leaders.

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Tonight it's the turn of Leanne Wood, the

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leader of Plaid Cymru. Her party is hoping not just

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to bounce back from its worst ever performance in an Assembly election

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in 2011 but to form the next Dr Bela Arora from the University

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of South Wales takes a look It is interesting looking at the

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project with Leanne Wood in Plaid Cymru. She has made gains that go

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back to the leaders debates in 2015. She will be hoping there is still an

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element where she can bounce on the back of that. But actually the fact

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that Plaid Cymru have been in discussions around building a packed

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in the election says a lot about the levels of the confidence. They

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realise that something has to change to give them that step change and

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help them move forward. This is an important time of change for Plaid

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Cymru. They have potential in terms of a solid support, a good base of

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support but they are looking for different ways to make extra gains.

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Let's look back at devolution so far. Labour in power for 17 years.

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Why do you think they have been in power for 17 years? Why have you

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failed to the persuade electorate that you offer an alternative? They

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have not held power alone, they have been coalitions as well. But the way

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that the electoral system is configured is helpful to the support

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that Labour have in the concentration of seats that they

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have across the south Wales belt. But that does not mean it is a

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system that is not impossible to break through and given that we have

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not had any single vote cast yet and that polls have got it wrong,

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particularly in last year's election, I would say that nothing

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is inevitable about that result. In 2011, you slipped back. Devolution

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could have been a platform for you to grow and grow. You slipped back,

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why was that? We have been a junior partner in

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why was that? We have been a junior we managed to get a lot of things we

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wanted achieved achieved, but it is difficult for parties

:15:36.:15:40.

wanted achieved achieved, but it is gains in subsequent elections and I

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think we gains in subsequent elections and I

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the country before the party when we went

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the country before the party when we things are very different now. We

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have had 17 years of a Labour government and they are found

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wanting in so many areas. Our economy is weak, and when you

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wanting in so many areas. Our at the health statistics, the

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education statistics, we are failing in so many areas and people have a

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clear choice in this election, either to carry on

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clear choice in this election, continued failed model that we have

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had for the last 17 years or to do something different and Plaid Cymru

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is ready to offer that alternative and give the people an opportunity

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to do something different. You said you paid the price for being a

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junior partner in a coalition so you will not go there again? I am not

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going to will not go there again? I am not

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but I am not going to spend all our time talking about various deals.

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You have ruled out a deal with the Conservatives, you are not ruling

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out a deal with Labour? I have ruled out a deal with the Conservatives

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because ideological lead they are completely different to Plaid Cymru.

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Given the cuts they are making from London, it is difficult... Why not

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rule out Labour to? You paid the price, you said that. Why not say a

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vote for Plaid Cymru will not be able to proper Labour? I don't want

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there to be a coalition after the next election. I wanted to be a

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Plaid Cymru government and we have worked hard, put together a

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programme, we have got three ambitions and nine steps to achieve

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those ambitions in order to transform Welsh public services and

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the economy and that is what I want people be voting on. But they are

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sophisticated -- sophisticated now in terms of deals but the electorate

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would like to know in principle whether you would once again for

:17:37.:17:40.

radio with Labour and you are saying, maybe? I have ruled out a

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deal with the Tories, that is clear. Everything else is on the table.

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What it is ever to now is for the people to have their say in the

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election, and we should not second-guess or try to decide for

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them. So you might well end up propping up a Labour government? I

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want there to be a Plaid Cymru government, that could be a minority

:18:05.:18:08.

government, but I want is to go into this election with our programme and

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the extent to which parties will cooperate after the election is for

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people to decide. So why are we pushing for a pre-election deal with

:18:17.:18:20.

the Greens and the Liberal Democrats last week? I wanted to get to the

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point where we had the best possible option, the best possible

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alternative to another five years of a Labour government. We have already

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seen the damage that 17 years of Labour has caused for us. We must

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have an alternative for that now. You just said it is at the people

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and last week you were trying to do a deal before the election. But you

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have talked about transparency as well and what I was hoping to get to

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by talking to other parties was a programme that we can organise joint

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lead that gave us an alternative to another five years of Labour. I

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accept that given that those talks did not get anywhere, our job is

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going to be made much more difficult. Nonetheless, it is not

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impossible and there is nothing inevitable about this election

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result and I have got an excellent team and you will see when it is

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published, a fantastic, strong manifesto. We have done everything

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we can do in terms of offering that alternative. Now that people can

:19:24.:19:28.

decide what they want to do with the Welsh government. We heard about

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confidence and there, the fact that you are trying to do a deal ahead of

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the election, she suggests, she suggests there is not enough

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confidence there. Another thing, you are standing in the Rob Verbakel you

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are also standing on the list. Does that show confidence in you as

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leader of the party or do you need an insurer 's policy? I have every

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confidence in my programme and in my candidates and the reason I am

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standing in two areas is because that is the system and that is what

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the system allows. When I first announced I was standing at the

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system was different and the rules have since changed. We have moved

:20:08.:20:12.

with the times. But if you were really confident, you would not need

:20:13.:20:17.

to be on the list. I have confidence in my programme, believe me, and you

:20:18.:20:22.

will see why when it is published. It is an excellent piece of work and

:20:23.:20:26.

it offers solutions to the problems people have identified

:20:27.:20:43.

in their daily lives. It has three areas, health, education and the

:20:44.:20:46.

economy, and we have listened to people in every part of this

:20:47.:20:49.

country, we have not been focused in one part of the country like the

:20:50.:20:52.

current government, look at the way they are spending on the M4, for

:20:53.:20:54.

example. I have been out to almost every community in this country and

:20:55.:20:57.

the programme is a reflection of what they told us. Aston Martin

:20:58.:21:04.

today, you surely welcome that. They are getting there, aren't they, on

:21:05.:21:08.

the economy, the Labour government? That is one piece of very good news

:21:09.:21:13.

but if that was set in the context of a 20 year economic plan which was

:21:14.:21:17.

designed to transform our communities, get people into

:21:18.:21:21.

high-paid jobs, it is news to be welcomed without question, but what

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we don't have with this government is that long-term plan and that

:21:26.:21:29.

joined up thinking which is why they need to be replaced. You are on the

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left of politics, it is a crowded place in Welsh politics, what is

:21:35.:21:38.

going to make you stand up with these politics -- policies in this

:21:39.:21:43.

election? They all stand for better public services, the Lib Dems last

:21:44.:21:47.

week, it is difficult to disagree with that. What is going to make

:21:48.:21:50.

Plaid Cymru standout now that you are sort of pushing independence

:21:51.:21:57.

away? Labour have already stolen a number of our policies. We have

:21:58.:22:01.

published them in quite some good time and with their pledges that

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they announced recently. First of all, we have seen a lack of

:22:07.:22:12.

ambition. I heard a number of their spokespeople almost saying, we are

:22:13.:22:17.

under promising, we are not really raising expectations, is what that

:22:18.:22:21.

says to me. What you will see when Plaid Cymru's manifesto is published

:22:22.:22:26.

is something radically different. It is a programme for transformational

:22:27.:22:30.

change over two terms of a government. It is achievable within

:22:31.:22:35.

the existing powers framework and the existing financial envelope, all

:22:36.:22:39.

of it is deliverable, but it is highly ambitious and it is designed

:22:40.:22:44.

to seriously up our game as a nation. You have made it clear you

:22:45.:22:48.

want to be First Minister. If you are not in May, what will you do? My

:22:49.:22:54.

political programme is a long-term one and it involves building up a

:22:55.:22:58.

nation and we are not going to do that overnight. This next election

:22:59.:23:02.

is a step towards achieving that. You are going to win it? You have

:23:03.:23:07.

said you are going to be First Minister. My project is a long-term

:23:08.:23:18.

one and I intend to see it through. But you have always said you will be

:23:19.:23:22.

First Minister in 2016. Are you saying maybe not now? I am going

:23:23.:23:27.

all-out to win this election and we should not write off the result

:23:28.:23:32.

before a vote is cast. But if it is not a good outcome for Plaid Cymru,

:23:33.:23:37.

what then? I am in it for the long game and we have got an awful lot of

:23:38.:23:41.

work to do before we turn around the Welsh economy and build the

:23:42.:23:44.

institutions that every nation has and we have got an awful lot of work

:23:45.:23:49.

to do in terms of our public services as well, our health and

:23:50.:23:54.

education. We will not rest until these problems are tackled and they

:23:55.:23:57.

are not going to go away just after the outcome of an election. So if

:23:58.:24:02.

you don't make any gains, Leanne Wood stays on? I am not intending to

:24:03.:24:06.

go anywhere. In some areas of Wales,

:24:07.:24:08.

communities have long been making the most of natural resources

:24:09.:24:12.

like the sun, wind and water But changes in Westminster

:24:13.:24:15.

to the way these projects are funded Llangattock Green Valleys

:24:16.:24:19.

is a community energy project in the Brecon Beacons,

:24:20.:24:25.

using local streams Its chairman Andrew Fryer tells us

:24:26.:24:27.

why he thinks these projects are important and how politics

:24:28.:24:32.

is getting in the way Lancaster is a village of about a

:24:33.:24:54.

thousand people based in the Brecon Beacons National Park, and being

:24:55.:24:59.

Green has always been very important. On this property we have

:25:00.:25:04.

got quite good scope for being Green. We have currently got a plan

:25:05.:25:12.

to build six hydroelectric schemes and those are fully financed. We are

:25:13.:25:20.

now looking at doing the rest of those schemes. The main natural

:25:21.:25:23.

resource is obvious either landscape and so we have hiked and we are

:25:24.:25:38.

ideally suited for hydroelectric. So this is one of the hydro schemes we

:25:39.:25:43.

have built. This is the smallest one. At the top you have got a small

:25:44.:25:49.

dam, only about a metre high, which catches the water and it goes down

:25:50.:25:52.

this pipe and it goes down the hill into the turbine house. OK, this is

:25:53.:26:02.

the turbine house and it is where the final transformation occurs from

:26:03.:26:07.

water coming down the pipe into electricity and the turbine down

:26:08.:26:16.

her, it is the generator in here. So we, in effect, sell all the

:26:17.:26:20.

electricity into the grid. That is not really meet our aim is because

:26:21.:26:24.

it means there is a lack of association between the provision of

:26:25.:26:29.

the electricity and buying it. What we would like to do is to pull off a

:26:30.:26:34.

mechanism for people to buy their local electricity. Many communities

:26:35.:26:39.

should get involved in doing this at some level or other. It is not just

:26:40.:26:46.

about building hydro schemes or wind schemes or anything else, it is

:26:47.:26:49.

about taking charge of your own destiny. Without a single doubt, the

:26:50.:26:56.

biggest difficulty that we have faced has been politics. The

:26:57.:27:04.

politics of renewable energies. It takes about four years from, this

:27:05.:27:10.

looks like a nice stream, being billed as a hydro scheme. In that

:27:11.:27:15.

time we could have seven or eight major policy changes. There is

:27:16.:27:18.

definitely a conflict now on this issue. The valley is one of our

:27:19.:27:28.

members and they are heavily involved. They have been successful

:27:29.:27:34.

in installing schemes. The scheme is owned by local people. How are you

:27:35.:27:41.

doing? Very well. Come this way. Why do you think it is that Wales has

:27:42.:27:45.

not taken this opportunity when somewhere like Scotland, which has

:27:46.:27:49.

been under the same Westminster regime, has managed to pull off the

:27:50.:27:54.

schemes. Scotland recognised the opportunity and in Wales we did not

:27:55.:27:59.

recognise that and Scotland set targets for local ownership of

:28:00.:28:02.

energy which led to more practical support from local authorities. What

:28:03.:28:07.

is the potential if more communities did what we have done? There is huge

:28:08.:28:12.

potential for communities in Wales. We have got the resources, we have

:28:13.:28:17.

got dedicated people who want to see this happen. The people involved

:28:18.:28:21.

have recognised the opportunity that is there but also selling energy to

:28:22.:28:26.

local consumers directly from local projects is the key thing because

:28:27.:28:30.

that really does benefit all the people in Wales because everyone in

:28:31.:28:34.

Wales has the opportunity to buy energy cheaper from a local source

:28:35.:28:38.

which is renewable and we can start to address some of the issues around

:28:39.:28:42.

fuel poverty as well. We really need to make that transition now and that

:28:43.:28:46.

should be in the next Welsh government Parliament.

:28:47.:28:51.

I'm joined now by Grenville Ham from the Green Party

:28:52.:28:53.

We see that project there about how cost effective is something like

:28:54.:29:11.

that? Typically they would pay back their loans in eight or nine years.

:29:12.:29:17.

In terms of how much energy it produces? 50 or 60 homes here and.

:29:18.:29:33.

20%. Is this what we want across Wales that we all buy energy locally

:29:34.:29:40.

which are back at the moment it is not being bought locally, it is

:29:41.:29:44.

still being bought from the big energy companies. We are hoping in

:29:45.:29:48.

long-term we could buy from local suppliers. In terms of backing

:29:49.:29:54.

projects like this your Government is blowing hot and cold. Your Green

:29:55.:30:00.

credentials are all over the place. I do not think they are. There has

:30:01.:30:05.

been significant change since the general election and there are some

:30:06.:30:08.

things I disagree with. Community energy schemes, the Government has

:30:09.:30:16.

made an error in terms of ending the predetermination scheme and I want

:30:17.:30:21.

the secretary of state to look at that and reintroduce that. It is not

:30:22.:30:27.

just the amount of energy produced. Involving people in producing energy

:30:28.:30:34.

and reducing the carbon impact. It is the message it sends out as well

:30:35.:30:38.

as the energy it creates. We remember David Cameron, adopting the

:30:39.:30:48.

Green oak tree. It was a fat, not a genuine commitment. It was a

:30:49.:30:56.

specific issue. There was a lot of inevitability about what would

:30:57.:30:58.

happen. I have been warning about what would happen over the last two

:30:59.:31:04.

years. It was not a surprise, most of the changes, but I did not think

:31:05.:31:10.

that removing the certainty that enables community regeneration

:31:11.:31:13.

schemes to go forward because it takes such a long time to bring to

:31:14.:31:17.

fruition, that is one relatively small aspect that I disagreed with.

:31:18.:31:22.

Generally I would be supportive of the position the Government has

:31:23.:31:28.

taken. In terms of dealing with Government on all sorts of levels,

:31:29.:31:31.

licensing, crit capacity, planning issues, to get a scheme like this

:31:32.:31:38.

the globe is complicated. It is actually relatively simple. It is

:31:39.:31:42.

just that the process is congregated. If you start on a

:31:43.:31:48.

project like this your revenue could have decreased by 70% by the time it

:31:49.:31:56.

is completed. That has made it difficult to even raise finance for

:31:57.:32:03.

a scheme now. A big criticism of renewable energy is dependability

:32:04.:32:08.

and consistency, especially of wind power. Hydroelectric, that is the

:32:09.:32:15.

issue, is at a constant stream of energy? It is not. Under the

:32:16.:32:21.

licenses you could not work but what we do much nicely as when domestic

:32:22.:32:28.

and energy needs are at their highest in winter, Hydro

:32:29.:32:34.

historically always works well within the British climate. Would

:32:35.:32:39.

you welcome a Wales where everybody buys their power locally and

:32:40.:32:45.

community projects like this take hold? I do but to take a community

:32:46.:32:53.

scheme forward is more difficult than a commercial scheme because

:32:54.:32:59.

that company has got back up. It can risk a loss whereas a community

:33:00.:33:03.

scheme cannot. That is why on the point of approving a price that will

:33:04.:33:07.

be known to be available in three or four years' time was an important

:33:08.:33:13.

encouragement to community regeneration schemes and I hope it

:33:14.:33:17.

goes forward. Do you not acknowledge that politics does get in the way?

:33:18.:33:23.

Yes, politics get in the way of everything. Everything has to be

:33:24.:33:28.

done in a political context. You do your best to try to stop politics

:33:29.:33:33.

getting in the way as far as you possibly can. That is what I do.

:33:34.:33:37.

Thank you. If you'd like to get

:33:38.:33:39.

in touch with us, email us at [email protected],

:33:40.:33:44.

or follow us on social media.

:33:45.:33:47.

On The Wales Report with Bethan Rhys Roberts: the date is set, but what will the EU referendum mean for Wales? In the third of the programme's interviews with the main party leaders in Wales, we hear from Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood.

And what are the challenges facing community energy projects in Wales?


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