Jim Dunckley

Candidate for Mid and West Wales

My name is Jim Dunckley, and while I have been a member of Yes Cymru since 2016, I have been politically active for 30 years, a lifelong Republican and supporter of Welsh Independence. Last year, under the old constitution I was nominated for the position of Secretary of YesCymru, and have actively supported the current radical changes to Yes Cymru’s structure.

Where many of my friends and colleagues have supported these changes, some still have concerns about democratic and financial accountability, and I am sensitive to these concerns. Consequently, as part of my candidacy I have proposals to tweak the new structure in the short term, and in the medium term to push for further measures to hand greater power to the grassroots members of our organisation.

While I believe I have a number of attributes that I can bring to the new Board, I am fundamentally a campaigner and have campaigned on a large variety of issues over the years, starting my political life as a member of Cymdeithas yr Iaith under a Tory government in the early 90s, to being a member of a Socialist Republican party - Cymru Goch - in the mid-90s and attempting to build a united front amongst the fractious Welsh Left. While I am a Republican, I see the value of compromise and in 1997 campaigned with thousands of others for Cymru's first elected body since the revolt of Owain Glyndwr - the Senedd.

In the early 2000s I was part of the "Anti-Capitalist" movement which started with the "Battle of Seattle" in 1999 and spent some years travelling Europe where I worked with many activists of varying persuasions and picked up a great deal of campaigning and organisational experience. I applied this knowledge to local community campaigning back home, particularly environmental campaigning ranging from protecting greenbelt land as part of Local Development Plans to fighting large scale fossil fuel projects such as a high pressure gas pipeline supplying LNG to the UK. Nowadays I am active in my local community of Haverfordwest, and organize regular community events. I am also Secretary of my local Yes Cymru group.

My Current Work

In terms of my working career I believe I have a number of professional attributes that I can bring to the table as a candidate for the post of Director.

In my current job in local government I work as a “Common Land Officer”, maintaining a register of common grazing rights. As a key aspect of my work over the past 9 years I have worked extensively with hill and lowland farming communities in areas such as the Preseli and Cambrian Mountains, developing conservation grazing projects. Securing funding and project management are central facets of this work.  Administrative aspects of this work entail the development of policies and procedures, report writing and briefing senior officers and elected members on key issues.

Ongoing training is also an important feature, including in sensitive areas such as Data Protection and Risk Assessment. Enforcement is also a consistent facet of my work, and I am known as a skilled negotiator.

Alongside my professional work, I am also an active volunteer locally.  I am Secretary of a local residents group, covering the third most deprived ward in Pembrokeshire, and was until recently a Town Councillor. As a Town Councillor, I was bound to observe good governance by signing up to a Code of Conduct and to declare any personal or prejudicial interests I may have on key agenda items. I served on both the Management, Estates and Strategy Sub-committee on Haverfordwest Town Council and also the Personnel, Policy and Finance sub-committee and worked with my colleagues on the Town Council to negotiate, set and manage an annual budget of around £250,000 per annum.

As both a Town Councillor and a sitting School Governor for a local Primary School I have also been obliged to occasionally attend to highly sensitive staffing and disciplinary matters, necessitating discretion, sensitivity and a good working knowledge of employment law and procedures.

My Aims on the Board

While the most important thing is taking a steer from the grassroots of an organisation set up to campaign for Welsh Independence, there are a few things I would like to see the new Board of Yes Cymru implement. Some are small but important changes. Some are a little more radical…

  1. Implement a proposal in the Bylaws to re-elect a third of the Board every year. This will make the Board more accountable to the members, but also ensure continuity with more experienced members, as the current proposed term is three years. I am also keen to ensure that members know how money is being spent in Yes Cymru, and that collective decisions are made when it comes to major financial spend.
  2. Yes Cymru is now a Limited Company. A little further down the line, I would like to propose that Yes Cymru becomes a Co-operative, which works within the same structure as a Limited Company anyway. A Co-operative structure will hand full ownership to the members, as each member will have a share, and every share will carry the same democratic weight, whether members pay £2 or £20 a month.
  3. Push for an urgent review of Yes Cymru’s membership system, which needs to be overhauled, and has been a major issue for the organisation in recent months. Groups, the bedrock of Yes Cymru, have I believe a key role to play in such a review.
  4. On a more political note, push for a new Indy March this year. This is particularly important in light of the new Policing Bill, which aims to curtail the Right to Protest. We should directly challenge this undemocratic piece of Tory legislation and show that the right to protest will be protected and upheld in an Independent Cymru.

I hope I can count on your support!

I’r Gad!

Political affiliations: None