Mike Hedges: Why I’m voting Jeremy Miles for Welsh Labour leader
Mike Hedges – Swansea East MS
I will be supporting Jeremy Miles in the Welsh Labour leadership election. I am however concerned that only two candidates made it on to the ballot paper. I, when the vacancy was announced called for at least one woman on the ballot paper and the widest practical options for members to vote on but unfortunately, we only have two candidates.
I would probably have supported Jeremy Miles, but we needed the wider debate that more candidates would have engendered. When deciding on a leader I compare every candidate with Rhodri Morgan who I believe is the best First Minister we have had.
We know that a person with good political leadership skills will prove to be a successful leader because they can easily distinguish between success and failure. A successful leader has a visionary dream and understands how to turn his visions into success and to bring the public along with them. Below I Compare Jeremy against some of the skills required to be a successful political leader. The most important skill is to modify decisions that are obviously not working rather than sticking with them.
You need to communicate your vision clearly to your party and the wider public and tell them the strategy to accomplish each goal. To put it simply, if you cannot effectively communicate your message, you can never be a good leader. Words can get people motivated and make them do what is needed. If you are making effective use of them, you will also achieve better results.
Jeremy is an excellent communicator and skilled at getting ideas across to others. One of Jeremy’s strengths is that he is fully bilingual and can not only speak both languages but can also understand the nuances of questions in both languages.
Honesty and Integrity
Honesty and Integrity are the two main elements that make for a good leader. Leaders excel because they hold to their basic principles and convictions, and that will not be possible without ethics. Jeremy meets those criteria.
A leader should be capable of making the right decision at the right time. Leaders take actions that have a huge effect on people. A leader should think long and hard before taking a decision but stand by it once the decision is made. During Jeremy’s time as Education Minister, I can think of no incorrect decision he has made even with the benefit of hindsight.
The toughest thing a leader must do is convince people to follow them. This will only be done by providing a clear example, drive and encouragement. We look to them when the going gets tough and see how they react and deal with the problem.
Leaders need to think optimistically, and a leader should keep cool under pressure. A Leader will need to inspire colleagues and resolve every obstacle now and in the future. Jeremy has stayed cool under pressure as a minister, but the pressure of a First Minister is different to that of a Minister.
Focusing on core duties is vital for effective leadership while leaving the rest to others. It means empowering and delegating tasks to Ministers and others. If you try to micromanage a lack of trust can grow, and, most significantly, you will not be able to work on the critical things. Ministers should be provided with all the tools and help they need to attain the target and allow
them to bear responsibilities.
There needs to be a willingness to remove underperforming Ministers and to build a team Labour approach including Ministers, all members of the Senedd and the wider party.
Vision and purpose
Influential leaders have intent and vision. Not only can they imagine the future, but they also express their dreams with their supporters so that people can see the larger picture and understand where they are headed. A strong leader discusses why they are going towards the path that they are heading and reveal the approach and course of action to accomplish
the purpose. I believe Jeremy can do this.
None of the above should be read as an implied criticism of Vaughan Gething. I am sure different people addressing the same criteria will produce a different answer.
The new leader will face several challenges. Whilst the 20mph speed limit has widespread support on estates especially in short side roads, reducing the speed on A and B roads is much more contentious. A review of speed limits on these roads will need to be undertaken immediately.
The proposed Senedd reform will need to be reconsidered. Increasing the number of members from 60 to 96 brings the number of electors per member mid-way between Scotland and Northern Ireland. The electoral method of a closed lists and sixteen six member constituencies is generally unpopular. A review of the electoral system to be used needs to be carried out urgently.
Whilst I favour thirty-two three member constituencies others favour STV, the review and the legislation does not have to be completed by the
There needs to be a review of Budget prioritisation. Too many lines of expenditure are untouchable. We need a thorough review of what we want to achieve and why some areas of expenditure are not able to be reduced.
Too many people in Wales live in poverty due to low wages and very few guaranteed hours. We need to increase the number of higher paid jobs in Wales in areas such as financial services, professional services, ICT, and life sciences.
Finally, as health takes up a higher and higher proportion of the budget, improving waiting times and health outcomes will be what whoever is the next leader will be judged on.
I will be voting for Jeremy Miles and wish him well.
Nation.Cymru has also invited an MS supporting Vaughan Gething to contribute an opinion article.
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