Labour investing in Wales’ future
Leaving my constituency in Blaenau Gwent on Sunday, I might have thought that I was leaving Welsh politics behind for a week, but that could not be further from the truth. The Labour party is in the DNA of Welsh communities, and talking to committed delegates from Aberystwyth to Abertillery it is obvious that this is just as true now as it has ever been.
Welsh night on Sunday evening was a great opportunity to meet with some of the people who give so much for Labour across Wales. It was a brilliant chance to meet up with old friends from campaigns past and, with a by-election in Cardiff South and police and crime commissioner elections on the horizon, prepare for those ahead.
On Monday morning Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones spoke powerfully about the stark alternative Labour are building in government in Cardiff Bay. Carwyn and his government are shielding Wales from the dismay and destruction of the ConDem government at the other end of the M4. When George Osborne cut the capital budget by 42 per cent Labour had to take tough decisions, but they were taken according to our Labour values.
Labour is investing in Wales’ future, giving the Tory-led government a lesson in opportunity in action. Investing £75m in jobs has created opportunities for 12,000 16-24-year-olds over the next three years and, in contrast to Westminster, through competent management the NHS, which was made in Wales, is safe in Wales. Despite the tough economic times Labour in Wales has shown the Tories in Westminster that there is a better way.
Shadow Welsh secretary Owen Smith gave a phenomenal speech this morning, setting out how Labour used devolution to bring the country together while the Tories and nationalists try to use it to tear us apart. Coalition ministers may try to score cheap political points by talking down Welsh schools or hospitals, but Labour has governed for the people of Wales because of our deep roots in communities throughout the country. Owen is right: Labour is the true party of the union. Our movement has always been about strengthening the economic and emotional ties that unite people across these isles.
This week Manchester has truly been at the centre of Welsh politics. It has been a great opportunity to meet with old friends and new comrades. I am sure all our members are fired up to head back to Wales for the campaigns and battles that lie ahead.
Nick Smith is member of parliament for Blaenau Gwent, member of the public accounts committee, and member of the Progress strategy board
Carwyn Jones, Labour, Labour party conference 2012, Nick Smith, Wales