Leanne Wood: Welsh Socialist and Republican. Feminist.

Leanne Wood has been elected Plaid Cymru leader by the party faithfull. Interesting choice as she’s from outside the party’s Welsh language heartlands and is very radical from anyone’s perspective – anti both Labour and Conservative UK fiscal policy (favours a Keynesian approach), very green (favours a green revolution) and has a left wing politics that she developed during Thatcherism.

Also she describes herself as a political activist rather than a politician. So far so intersting, but what is most striking is that she describes herself as a feminist on her Twitter biog which reads:

Plaid Cymru. Welsh Socialist & Republican. Environmentalist. Anti-racist. Feminist. Valleys.

Which is remarkable in itself, as calling yourself a Feminist still isn’t a fashionable thing to do. The Lib Dems may have had Kirsty Williams as leader for a while now, but never has she identified herself so strongly with a set of ideas (as fierce and as fearless as she seems). Here’s a fascinating insight on the Institute of Welsh Affairs website to how Plaid’s new leader sees Wales’ future:

A combination of legislation and public education has changed acceptable public attitudes towards racism, sexism, homophobia, disability. It remains socially acceptable to ridicule and discriminate against people who speak Welsh. Our vision is of an inclusive Wales, where all of us who live here have the right to live in a society which is as equal as we can make it.

Lets hope it pans out.

On another note, I blogged on Linda Grant yesterday for the Inspiring Women blog. Because she is one. click here to find out more!

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4 thoughts on “Leanne Wood: Welsh Socialist and Republican. Feminist.

  1. Esther Nagle says:

    Reblogged this on Inspiring Women Online for International Women's Day and commented:
    As a proud supporter of Leanne, I was thrilled to switch my phone on today, look at Facebook and see my timeline full of nothing but friends celebrating her well deserved victory! So I was delighted to see this blog from feministboyfriend, who is rapidly becoming one of my favourite bloggers!

    My own thoughts on Leanne’s victory, and what this means for Wales, will come soon….

  2. Esther Nagle says:

    Reblogged this on Ystrad and Gelli Plaid Cymru and commented:
    As a proud supporter of Leanne, I was thrilled to switch my phone on today, look at Facebook and see my timeline full of nothing but friends celebrating her well deserved victory! So I was delighted to see this blog from feministboyfriend, who is rapidly becoming one of my favourite bloggers!

    My own thoughts on Leanne’s victory, and what this means for Wales, will come soon….

  3. Neil says:

    Very interesting. Does she really think people ridicule and discriminate *against* people who speak welsh? I think it’s the opposite way round to be honest, but I’m not complaining about it – that’s exactly how it should be.

    In my experience there’s far greater social discrimination in modern Wales against those who don’t speak Welsh, an obvious consequence of the various acts of parliament and assembly measures that positively discriminate against non-welsh speakers, for example regarding employment in the public sector or education / curriculum matters. Without the protracted and hard-fought campaigns that led to these, yr hen iaith could undoubtably have been pushed off the cliff by the hegemony of the english language rather than re-emerging into the vibrant force it is now, so I accept discrimination against me as an inevitable outcome of my own lazy choice to live in wales but not speak welsh fluently. Any right I have not to be discriminated against pales into insignificance against the right of welsh speakers to their heritage.

    “As equal as we can make it” is a tricky phrase to get to the bottom of isn’t it? Nice soundbite, but in reality by getting involved in issues of equality the state will inevitably have to weigh the rights of one group against the rights of another and make a decision, and we just have to hope they get it right more often than not. To be honest, whilst Ms Wood may be in the right camp on the language issue, I’m not convinced she’s giving us the right reasons.

  4. Cymraeg is always an interesting one! In terms of public sector provision, obviously there’s cases where jobs could or should be bilingual so that services can engage with everyone. But there’s a danger with legislating on everything as non-Welsh speaking may feel their nationality isn’t recognised or isn’t an acceptable model. As a Welsh speaker though must admit that I love being able to communicate with the Council in Cymraeg down in Cardiff! Not sure if it would happen without legislation?

    It seems Leanne Wood is pretty gung-ho on the issue. Although she’s a learner, when I’ve heard her speak Welsh she’s been very good.

    Intrigued by what you mean about the right reasons?

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