Wefan Gymraeg

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A Vision for Scotland and Wales

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This Joint Conference of the Scottish and Welsh Liberal Democrats notes that:

  1. Our political system has failed to hold Governments across the United Kingdom accountable, and has increasingly failed to provide: political, social or economic fairness for our country and our citizens; competence, probity or trust in our leaders; and public confidence in the institutions of our democracy
  2. The lives of too many people are scarred by poverty incomes, poor health and lifestyles, lack of economic and personal opportunity and housing challenges
  3. Longstanding structural economic imbalances between the richer and poorer parts of the United Kingdom have been made worse by neo-conservative economic theories, and over-reliance on a few sectors such as financial services
  4. The international standing of the United Kingdom has been damaged by the populism, disdain for the Rule of Law and international treaties, poor relations with other world leaders and the cuts in international aid which have marked the tenure of the current Conservative Government.

Our vision is of a country where wellbeing is underpinned by a vibrant economy based on enterprise and fair employment practices. We wish to see a society where security and respect is afforded to all residents regardless of background, supported by a fair and clear way of paying for investment that includes taxing wealth and property. We wish to see a country founded on environmental sustainability where the journey to zero carbon is characterised by a just transition. We believe in self-government for Scotland and Wales within a Federal UK, within the EU, and within the wider international community.

To implement this vision, conference asserts that:

  1. The constitutional structure of the United Kingdom requires fundamental reform to enable it to serve the needs of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the regions of England in the future.
  2. Such reform must be based on principles of federalism, partnership, fairness, mutual respect, subsidiarity, and the establishment of a written constitution.
  3. The aims and purpose of the United Kingdom, and its nations and regions, should be set out in a Federation Agreement, embodying a social contract that ensures:
    1. the delivery of personal liberty, opportunity, physical and economic security, environmental sustainability, and justice for all our citizens;
    2. the fair taxation of income and wealth and closure of the loopholes which meantime permit massive tax avoidance;
    3. the sustainable delivery of high class public services;
    4. rapid movement towards environmental sustainability and net zero targets in a way that spreads the costs of this fairly;
    5. respect for diversity and creativity;
    6. investment wherever necessary to raise education, early years provision and parenting skills to levels where functional illiteracy and innumeracy are eliminated and aspirations flourish; and
    7. enhancement of the dignity and wellbeing of individuals and their right to develop their talents to the full
  4. The economy is a means to shared prosperity rather than an end in itself, social justice should be central to how it operates and a broader concept of civic capitalism should underpin our economic strategy.
  5. One of the core missions of Liberalism should be to harness the power of the State for the benefit of those most disadvantaged in society, and to ensure that each individual has an equal chance to realise his or her own potential.
  6. The Scottish and Welsh Parties have a particular duty to use their powers to the fullest extent to widen the life chances of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in Scotland and Wales. They should seek and campaign for political, economic and democratic reforms that enhance the public good, wellbeing and constitutional standing of Scotland and Wales.
  7. Scotland and Wales are best served by the UK being in the European Economic Area (EEA), re-joining the Single Market immediately, and the European Union at the first practical opportunity (recognising the need for sustained public support for this).

Conference notes that the Scottish and Welsh Parties are both developing their future strategies and believes that these should aim:

  • to develop and maintain a broad, radical centre-left political strategy for our parties, enabling the Liberal Democrats and Liberalism to exert growing influence in local, national and federal government;
  • to use the vision set out in this motion as the basis for a distinctive narrative which supports all of our campaigning;
  • to campaign for, and to build, wide civic and political support for a federal partnership between the nations and regions of the United Kingdom as the lynchpin of much-needed constitutional reform;
  • to identify the groups of voters most likely to be attracted by our message, and demonstrate clearly how radical Liberal policies can benefit our people;
  • to use the Scottish and Welsh Parliament voting systems more effectively, targetting the Regional List votes of electors some of whom may have supported another party with their constituency vote
  • to apply all of this in our approach to forthcoming Council elections, which are important in themselves and a crucial staging post towards the next Holyrood and Senedd elections; and
  • to refocus our mission, campaigning in all our communities for Liberal Democracy and individual and community empowerment.