Welsh Labour gets single shout out in Keir Starmer speech
The Labour Welsh Government received a single shout out in Keir Starmer’s speech to the Labour party conference today.
Despite Labour being in power in Wales for 20 years, the Welsh Government was only mentioned in a single sentence of the 7,000 word opus which lasted 90 minutes.
“Look at what our fantastic metro mayors, mayors and local authority leaders are doing and let’s hear it for the difference Mark Drakeford and his team are making in Wales,” he said towards the end of the speech.
A few minutes later, in support of retaining the Union, he quoted Gordon Brown who said: “When a Welsh or a Scottish woman gives blood…she doesn’t demand an assurance it must not go to an English patient.”
Scotland was mentioned at slightly more length, as Keir Starmer said that the nation “is in the unfortunate position of having two bad governments – the Tories at Westminster and the SNP at Holyrood”.
“When Nicola Sturgeon took office she said she wanted to be judged on her record,” he said. “These days, with the poorest in society less well-educated and less healthy and the tragedy of so many drug-related deaths we hear rather less about the SNP’s record.
“The SNP and the Tories walk in lock step. They both exploit the constitutional divide for their own ends.”
England was also only mentioned once, despite the fact that many of the policies announced, such as on education and health, would only apply there.
Those included recruiting 8,500 more mental health professionals and ensuring every school has specialist support and communities have mental health hubs. He also said that Labour would launch the most ambitious school improvement plan, including ensuring children leave school with good qualifications and who are ready to work.
Keir Starmer faced hackles during the speech from some Jeremy Corbyn supporters but replied saying “shouting slogans or changing lives, conference?” to which he got cheers from the audience.
There were also jokes, such as when he quipped: “My dad was a tool maker, although in a way so was Boris Johnson’s.”
“It’s easy to comfort yourself that your opponents are bad people, but I don’t think Boris Johnson is a bad man, I think he is a trivial man,” he added.
“I think he’s a showman with nothing left to show, I think he’s a trickster who has performed his one trick.”