In her keynote speech at the Welsh Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in Newport, Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats will said:
UK media attention
For years the Welsh Labour Government has enjoyed minimal UK media coverage, but Conference, things have changed. The chickens have come home to roost, and Welsh Labour doesn’t like it. Barely a day goes by when we don’t see another exposé on Wales’ public services.
For me, it feels really quite strange. I have an immediate reflex to jump to the defence of my country, no matter what.
It’s just so sad. We are such a great nation and we are so much better than those headlines. This isn’t what I want people to read about us.
Yet it’s not just sadness that I feel: it’s anger too. I know that some of these stories maybe motivated by a political agenda, but many are accurate and too often based on truth.
Our health service struggles like never before, our schools remain underfunded and underperforming, our economy lags behind the rest of the UK.
I am furious that we as nation are being portrayed in this manner.
Last week Carwyn Jones said these criticisms weren’t a war on Welsh Labour, or the Welsh Government, but a war on Wales as an entire nation.
How dare he take cover behind the people he is meant to lead. What kind of leader does that?
These headlines might hurt our sense of national pride, but we must not forget, it is Labour that is Wales’ weak link. Labour is holding us back, Labour – the weight around our nation’s neck.
Party of IN
Our message is loud and clear:
We are the only party of IN.
There is simply no point in voting Labour in the European elections, they are too scared to have a voice on Europe and squandered billions of EU funds.
The Tories are a mess. Cameron continues to pander to Euro-skeptics and to UKIP.
And then of course, there is Plaid Cymru – who want to have their cake and eat it. They cannot credibly call for Welsh independence yet proclaim they stand for Europe.
Plaid might be infighting and sacking people over attacks on UKIP, but the irony is, they have similarities: they are two separatist parties and both of them could take us Out of the EU. Plaid’s dream of independence could threaten thousands of jobs.
Yes they sneer at UKIP, but you don’t fight little England nationalism by trumping it with Welsh nationalism.
The people of Wales have a choice on May 22nd.
If you want Out – Then UKIP is the best way to go.
However, if you want to make a positive choice, to make a positive statement, then I urge you to vote for the party of IN: The Welsh Liberal Democrats.
Smack bang on the front of our 2010 manifesto was our promise to raise the Income Tax threshold to £10,000. This weekend, we have delivered on that pledge.
While Labour cut the 10p tax rate – clobbering Wales’ lowest paid workers with higher tax bills, we have done the exact opposite.
Because of the Liberal Democrats, 144,000 of the lowest paid workers in Wales will no longer pay a single penny of Income Tax and over a million people have seen their tax cut by £700 compared to what they paid under Labour.
David Cameron said the policy was unaffordable. Nick Clegg had to drag the Tories kicking and screaming to agree to it.
The Liberal Democrats are delivering for Wales, helping those on low and middle incomes and helping those that want to work and get on in life.
Welsh Liberal Democrats in Government
I spoke to you earlier about the Labour-Tory war. They paint it as a war because that’s their comfort zone. Education, health and the economy – these are all secondary to them.
The fact is, it’s not a real war. In truth the Tory Party and the Labour Party are hand in glove. For years those parties have conspired to ensure that politics has been about a false choice. A false choice between a fairer society or a stronger economy. For decades, our party has been fighting against that false choice. Nick Clegg has broken that barrier down, showing that the Liberal Democrats in coalition can deliver both a stronger economy and a fairer society.
Wales needs the same approach in the Welsh Government. Whether it is the Pupil Premium, the Health Technology Fund, the Intermediate Care Fund or our ‘More nurses’ bill, we have shown we are the party of good ideas.
The opposition, like the Government, are wedded to their ideological dogma:
Labour and Plaid are forever competing over the old ideas of left wing socialism. They can’t build a stronger economy. The Tories are planning to charge patients to use the NHS and to bring back grammar schools, they become more right wing by the day and can’t build a fairer society.
It is only the Welsh Liberal Democrats that can provide a true alternative; a progressive and inclusive party of Government that will put the people of Wales first: Bringing news ideas, Ambitious for our people, Hungry for Welsh success and anchoring our government in the centre ground. Building the stronger economy and the fairer society that the people of Wales deserve.