- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Categories: Blog, Feature
Welsh football is enjoying a golden spell. As I write, Gareth Bale has been shortlisted for the Ballon d’Or, Fifa’s men’s footballer of the year award. He is the only player from the home nations on the 23-man shortlist.
More importantly, Bale is part of a men’s Wales team that is unbeaten at the top of its Euro qualifiers group. I went to watch our gutsy 0-0 draw against Bosnia-Herzegovina last month. What impressed me was how hard the players worked for each other. Bale exemplified the team’s determination. He’s not just a mercurial talisman – he tracks back, makes hard tackles and works his socks off for the players around him. “Gorau Cwarae Cyd Chwarae” – “Best Play is Team Play”. That is the Wales national football team motto. It is the message stitched on the badge of every player and they are certainly living up to it.
The FAW’s newest campaign is “Stronger. Together”. I think that is a fantastic motto for politics, too. The best way to change things is through co-operation. It is the thinking behind my Not in My Name campaign. For the past three years, I have teamed up with the Women’s Institute to engage men and boys across Wales to speak out against violence against women. The campaign’s focus is White Ribbon Day, 25 November, when men are encouraged to pledge never to commit, condone or remain silence about violence against women.
In Carmarthenshire I work with Carmarthen Domestic Abuse Services (formerly Carmarthen Women’s Aid), Hafan Cymru and Carmarthenshire Domestic Abuse Forum to promote the message. Individuals like Carmarthenshire Council leader Kevin Madge and local men’s organisations support the campaign. On Monday, 24 November, we will be holding our third annual Carmarthen Candlelit Walk to remember women who have lost their lives as a result of male violence. If you would like to join us, we will be assembling at the Market Clock Tower at 5pm. We will make the short walk to the Guildhall steps in Notts Square, where there will be speeches and refreshments. For more information, contact Carmarthen Domestic Abuse Services on 01267 234725 or 01267 238410.
Sport is a great way to bring people – men and women; boys and girls – together. I am delighted that later this month Scarlets Rugby Club will play a special match highlighting the White Ribbon campaign. We have also been supported by the WRU, Cardiff City and other football clubs and Cardiff Devils.
Stronger together is also the founding principle of the trade union movement. Earlier this month, the death at 91, occurred of former Labour County Councillor Howard Jones of Pontiets. He was well-known throughout Wales as a stalwart of the National Union of Mineworkers. He was chairman of Dyfed from 1993 to 1994, and chairman of Carmarthenshire from 1997 to 1998. Dyfed is no more and the once anthracite-rich Carmarthenshire coalfield is a memory of the past. Nevertheless, people like Howard Jones are still an inspiration to us who believe Gorau Cwarae Cyd Chwarae.