The Socialist Unity Network
Got a comment? Why not email us with your thoughts?

Forward Wales conference report

Mike Davies

More than 30 delegates representing six branches attended Forward Wales's second annual conference on 13 November.

The conference was told by outgoing national secretary Wendy Paintsil that the party had achieved a lot in its first year with the campaign against stock transfer in Wrexham, the Free School Meals campaign and ongoing support from the RMT union. Limited resources meant that the party had not developed as much as some hoped, she said.

Delegates voted to amend the party name to "Forward Wales - the Welsh Socialist Party" to better reflect the party's political stance. The party's new councillor, Dave Bithell, of Johnstown, argued that the name change would be a positive step and that we shouldn't hide our politics. Clwyd South delegate Alwyn Humphreys said the present name was "wishy-washy" and felt the new name would align ourselves more clearly with the Scottish Socialist Party. Chair Norma Wedley countered that "everybody knows we're a socialist party. We don't need to tag it on the name". Despite some sharp exchanges, the vote was carried comfortably.

The conference also backed the view of one of its members, former Welsh Secretary Ron Davies,  who said devolution was "a process not an event". Ron attended as one of the five-strong delegation from the Caerffili branch. A motion pledging to campaign "for law-making and revenue-raising powers in a people's Parliament" was agreed.  The motion, which was passed unanimously, went on: "In the long-term, we fight for the greatest possible democracy for the people of Wales - i.e. the right to decide our own future."

Delegates also voted for hard-hitting measures on affordable housing, Welsh-language rights, the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq, public ownership of the Welsh rail network and a radical approach to environmental justice against big corporations.

The party also heard heartening news that its members in the Fire Brigade Union plan to take steps to win affiliation to Forward Wales at a branch and regional level.

A newly-elected National Executive has been given the task of developing policy further on drugs and crime, as well as a clear strategy leading up to a targeted challenge at the General Election next year.


November 2004


For Socialist Unity ~ For Internationalism ~ For Peace ~ For Justice ~ For Unity ~ For Socialism