Geraint Roberts

Candidate for Mid and West Wales

I come from Ystradgynlais in the upper Tawe Valley, and live here still with my partner and daughter. I was educated in Maesydderwen School, Neath College, and the universities of Aberystwyth, Lampeter and Cardiff. I have a degree in History and postgraduate qualifications in Education and Archaeology.
I work as a Welsh for Adults tutor, and have worked as a school teacher; as an Education Officer with the Brecon Beacons National Park; and as the Chief Officer of Menter Iaith Brycheiniog, the language initiative for South Powys. In the past I’ve done some labouring, played and taught traditional music, led outdoor activities and told stories.

I’m proud that friends and I piped in front of the AUOB Parade in Cardiff in 2019, and indeed have made some noise in lots of parades and ceremonies. Music is a great way to get people to talk and we’ve enjoyed playing a few songs and tunes on the street, in cafes and pubs on behalf of YesCymru. Let’s hope that we’ll soon be able to get out again to make music, as the Covid situation improves.

And so, why am I standing for the National Governing Body?
I was brought up in a tradition of working for my community, my nation and indeed the world. I have a fair bit of experience of volunteering and of working professionally with voluntary organisations. I was a Councillor on Ystradgynlais Town Council in my twenties, at the same time as being a player and Committee member of Ystradgynlais RFC – an unusual combination, even at the time!
I’ve also been a member of committees and boards such as those of Glasu (Powys Leader + European Funding Body) PAVO (Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations) Ystradgynlais and District Focus on Health, Communities First, Cymuned, and others.
I’m now a trustee of Ystradgynlais Welfare Hall, committee member of CLERA (Welsh Traditional Music organisation), Chair of YesCymru Cwm Tawe, and have recently finished as a representative on the YC Gweithgor.

What, then, have I learned from this experience?
• No mass movement can exist without a certain amount of disagreement between members, in some ways and on some subjects. Members must be willing to co-operate and occasionally to compromise, as long as fundamental principles are respected and adhered to.
• It is therefore vital to have common ground. The essence of YesCymru is Independence for Wales. It is vitally, absolutely necessary for us to be willing to work together with people from all political directions who agree with this basic principle, and who agree with our aim of achieving a fair and inclusive Wales.
• There is strength in unity. As I said in my speech to the EGM, when we look at our history we see very clearly what happens when the Welsh nation is divided. We split, we fall apart, we lose – every time. And it’s about time we took this lesson on board.
I’m proud to state that I’m a socialist, a nationalist, and an internationalist. I want Wales to be the best that it can be, for the sake of our own nation and for the sake of the world. This is how we can make the world a better place. I want a free, Socialist Wales. But…
But, YC must be a non-party-political and non-partisan movement in order to succeed. When we’ve won an independent Wales, it’ll be up to the people of Wales to decide in which direction we travel – and I have faith that it’ll be a better Wales.
And so, the task of YesCymru is to show that an independent Wales is not only possible, but essential.
How can we do this? More than anything I believe that we, the members, must be able to advocate independence knowledgeably, confidently and positively.
• We must understand exactly what Wales is like now, and (to an extent) how it could be. I would like to see YC providing materials for those of us who advocate an independent Wales. We need access to reliable information on more than one level – from the general to the specific.
• When research is already available, YC should bring this together and explain it clearly and sensibly. If there isn’t enough research in a particular field we must commission it from people who understand it thoroughly, so we can discuss issues confidently and credibly.
• What can we learn from other countries? What has worked and what hasn’t, and what does this mean for our own nation?
Some examples. We need to understand, and where appropriate suggest some options and possible scenarios (not policies), regarding:
• the present state of our economy;
• how our economy could be developed and how an independent Wales can pay for what we need;
• our use of Energy – how can we develop energy systems which work for the environment and our country;
• Water;
• Transport
• The Housing Market – the system as a whole, and not just second homes;
• The Health Service;
• The Educational System (including Further and Higher Education);
• Our History and Heritage – how is our story as a nation told, by whom and for what purposes;
• The physical legacy of our history – community ill health in our post-industrial communities, waste tips, unemployment but also amazing community resilience.
... and so on, and so forth.
People must be able to feel good about the independent Wales that is on its way. We should
• Create contemporary, attractive (and sensible) content for the social and other media
• Organise physical and virtual events to celebrate our identity and our cause
• Provide lots of opportunities so the people of Wales enjoy the road to independence.

Make no mistake, we’ve taken massive strides over the last few years. I was laughed at in school for saying Wales can be independent. Now, people who would never have contemplated an independent Wales have opened their minds.

A couple of years ago, in a café here in Ystradgynlais, someone (else!) mentioned independence. A friend looked at me.
‘You’d be all for independence, eh?’
‘Of course!’.
And the café’s owner looked thoughtful, and admitted, ‘...There might be something in that’. Maybe this doesn’t sound much to you, but it shows us how Wales has developed, has moved on.

And so, I ask you for your support, for the opportunity to help steer YesCymru over the next few, vital years.
For the first time in centuries independence is within our reach. Together, we in YesCymru can lead our nation to independence.

Political Affiliations: Member of Plaid Cymru