When not doing Plaid Ifanc work, how do you spend your time?
In a nutshell, homebrew beer, family time and work! I’ve also taken up rock climbing to try and be a bit more active and get out more.
You’re hosting a special dinner and you get to invite any four people in the history of the world to join you. Who are the four and why?
Firstly I’d bring my mum, there’s not a lot we agree on to be honest, one of those things that is constantly debated is which of us got the other into Plaid – more on that in the next question – but I don’t get a lot of time spare in my busy life, so spending time with her is a bit of a rare thing.
Secondly my daughter – if I went for tea with my mum and didn’t bring the grandchild I’d be in big trouble!
Thirdly, Mums mum. She died before I was born and from all accounts was a strong Rhondda lady that ran a stall on Ponty Market, it would be nice to meet her, give her a chance to meet her great-great granddaughter and give my mum the chance to catch up.
And finally, Leanne Wood. Mainly because it would be a great conversation to listen to, generations of women who have lived in different parts of the Rhondda – I’d be interested to see how different perspectives are.
What made you join Plaid Cymru?
My earliest memory of Plaid Cymru was around 1999 – ‘cool cymru’ was in full swing – the rugby world cup was in Cardiff, the assembly opened, welsh music artists were in the top ten and it was cool to be Welsh. A few years earlier labour were going to replace their county councilor who was stepping down and unless it was challenged then it would just go ahead. My mum had always said to me ‘There should always be a choice’ and because of this she put herself forward as an independent candidate and a bi-election was called. She won – the next few years had dotted memories of community centers being opened and youth group Christmas concerts. The interest in politics had been sparked! Fast forward to the 2005 General election. As a 13 year old – I wasn’t that interested in politics, but when plaid periodically popped up in the media, it was all things I could get on board with… MP Adam Price leading the campaign against the war in Iraq, more devolution, better funding for NHS and Leanne Wood getting expelled from the Assembly for calling the English Monarch her name.
So when there was a school mock election, I couldn’t wait to vote for the candidate that stood for Plaid. The list of parties was announced – Labour, LibDems, Conservatives, Monster Raving Loony Party… but no Plaid. The rules were that all candidates needed to be in Sixth form and none of them wanted to be the candidate for Plaid, so that was that… I couldn’t vote for the Part of Wales, in a mock election, in Wales.
After some discussion with two supportive teachers – one Welsh and one Irish, it was put to the head teacher that I should be allowed to stand as the candidate. I took part in radio interviews, went to the count and visited the BBC TV studio in Cardiff – I took my mother and this was where she got into Plaid too. I didn’t win – but I did get it into my head that politics was where I wanted to be and helping people was what I wanted to do. I got involved in my local branch and I’ve been Plaid ever since. The rest, as they say, is history.