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Consitutional change essential to create route to a better Wales, argues Professor Laura McAllister

This was one of the key messages on Wednesday the 22nd of November as Professor Laura McAllister delivered the annual lecture of the Welsh Political Archive of the National Library of Wales.

Over 150 people listened to the Welsh Political Archive's prestigious annual lecture which was first held in 1987, and this year took place at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture.

In her lecture titled Reason not rancour: a route to a better Wales, McAllister gave an analysis of contemporary Wales, the urgent need for constructive change, offering ideas on creating a new contract between the people and the state.

McAllister, who is Professor of Public Policy and the Governance of Wales at the Wales Governance Centre, Cardiff University and co-chair of the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales, said in her closing summary:

“Tonight, I’ve offered my broadest possible analysis of leadership; arguing for a posture of confidence as we try and tackle the challenges facing Cymru. I’ve called for nothing less than the reinvention of Wales based on the belief that we should shift our mindset.”

“I would respectfully offer up our impending Independent Commission report as a blueprint to help frame the political and constitutional change necessary for the other improvements we need. Because constitutional change is part of the tool kit for a better Wales not a self-indulgent project. There is a route to creating a more politically literate citizenship within the new fit for purpose and more autonomous Welsh political system that they deserve.”

“In it, people have far more voice and agency and they take part, not just in elections but in civic life more generally and taking on public and community roles - whatever they are- is normalised and expected. All of this would be embedded in a open culture of scrutiny and accountability where there are no favourites, no monoliths politically, culturally or economically, one where pluralism and diversity in every sense including cognitive is celebrated, and there is a healthy and voluntary turn over of leaders and representatives.”

“And I hope that tonight’s lecture has summed up the direction of travel we need, to the next stage where I want us to be as a nation…and that is a globally mainstream Wales, freed from its trepidations and timidity, a confident, equal, prosperous Wales.”

McAllister’s research focuses on Welsh politics and elections, devolution, electoral reform, and gender in politics. She was recently elected as UEFA Vice President and member of the Executive Committee.

Rob Phillips, The Welsh Political Archive, National Library of Wales, said:

"We are very proud to be able to welcome Professor Laura McAllister to deliver this year's lecture at such an interesting time in Welsh politics. The lecture is the pinnacle of the Political Archive's calendar and especially this year as part of the Archive's 40th celebrations. The lecture will be an opportunity to look forward to future developments while we celebrate the great political collections in the Library which preserving the history of Welsh politics for the benefit of the people."

The Welsh Political Archive was established in 1983 to coordinate the collection of documentary evidence of all kinds about politics in Wales. It collects records and papers of political parties, politicians, semi-political organisations, campaigns and pressure groups; leaflets, pamphlets and other printed ephemera; posters and photographs; websites and tapes of radio and television programmes.s

Previous lecturers for the Welsh Political Archive include Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos, Lord Roberts of Conwy, John Davies, Lord Bourne, Jeremy Bowen and Professor Angela John.

Following the event the full lecture text will be available on the National Library of Wales website, along with previous lectures.


** Mae’r datganiad yma hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg **


For more information, requests for interview or media offers please contact:

Rhodri ap Dyfrig, Head of Marketing and Audiences, National Library of Wales / 07521 761762



About the Welsh Political Archive


About the National Library of Wales

The National Library of Wales is one of the great libraries of the world. Located in Aberystwyth, it is the home of the story of Wales.

Opened in 1907, the Library is the centre of research into the culture and heritage of Wales and the Celtic nations. The purpose of the Library is to make our culture and heritage accessible for everyone to learn, research and enjoy. We are a legal deposit library, which means we are entitled to a copy of every print publication in Britain and Ireland, but our collections also include the following

  • 7,000,000 feet of film
  • 250,000 hours of video
  • 7,000,000 books and newspapers
  • 40,000 manuscripts
  • 1,500,000 maps
  • 150,000 hours of sound
  • 950,000 photographs
  • 60,000 works of art
  • 1,900 cubic meters of archives

You can search the collections online and can find further information along with a list of resources on our website.