Support our Nation today - please donate here
Opinion

Hefin David: Why I’m voting Vaughan Gething for Welsh Labour leader

04 Jan 2024 5 minute read
Vaughan Gething MS – Inset: Hefin David MS

Hefin DavidMS for Caerphilly

It’s common to feel a sense of optimism as a year ends and a new one begins. But that hope needs to be founded in a realistic chance of change for the better. I feel that same optimism now as we choose, for only the fifth time, a new First Minister of our country.

Our next national leader needs to be someone tested in the fiercest heat. They must understand the challenges faced by those most marginalised in our society. They must look outwards with an ambitious plan for the future of communities across Wales and have the drive to make that prospect a reality.

And they must be ready to fight a must-win general election and work in partnership with a future UK Labour government to Wales’ benefit.

That’s why I back Vaughan Gething as our next leader. He knows what it takes to face those challenges and succeed.

Renew

Vaughan has already made progress on that promise, having secured the UK party’s commitment to re-patriate levelling up funds to Wales. As leader of our nation, he will immediately use the money for the expansion of apprenticeships.

Vaughan will strengthen and renew our devolution settlement, taking the people of Wales with him as he does so. Keir Starmer has already pledged that his incoming government will devolve more economic power than ever before. Vaughan has the formidable talent and credibility needed to make the most of that opportunity.

The value of experience can never be understated. During the toughest two years of the pandemic, Vaughan was there as Health Minister, alongside Mark Drakeford, leading our nation through the biggest crisis we have seen in our lifetimes. And he held fast to our Welsh Labour values all the way.

I recall preparing for my own constituency Facebook Live sessions during that time. People wanted answers. Vaughan was always on hand to ensure I had the latest information.

I particularly remember a local health and beauty business contacting me about restrictions to close contact that prevented them offering a core service when other very similar services were allowed. It was Vaughan who answered the call and made sure the rules were clarified immediately, that very afternoon.

It’s a small example but his actions made a big difference to that business and others like them.

And all the while, Vaughan had other pressures to contend with, including supporting his Mum who was vulnerable due to Covid. As a colleague, I’ve always found Vaughan to be supportive and understanding of the challenges we can all sometimes face, both personally and professionally.

Motivated

In recent times, the current Welsh Labour Government has been attacked by opponents for not listening enough to the public. While those attacks are politically motivated and largely without foundation, Vaughan has the ability to renew our bond with the people of Wales.

We must show clearly that being politicians means we are members of our communities. Vaughan is rooted in his constituency as I am in mine. We must use those close links to build policy with communities, for communities.

I am delighted for example that Vaughan will introduce community-led changes to the 20mph policy. We need an immediate review that will allow residents themselves to identify exactly where certain speeds aren’t working.

Thirteen long years of Conservative UK Government have seen the biggest fall in living standards in our history. In Government here in Wales, Vaughan has worked in lockstep with the trade union movement to protect livelihoods across the country. And he’s worked closely with his successor as Health Minister, Eluned Morgan, to defend the Welsh NHS budget from the worst of the onslaught.

No storm lasts forever and we will see blue skies again. When that time comes, a Welsh Labour Government led by Vaughan Gething will have ensured that resilient public services will be ready for the rebuilding of our economy, in partnership with a UK Labour Government.

There’s a great photo of Vaughan celebrating the result the night Wales voted Yes to devolution. How many people would have expected that a young black activist from that image could go on to become First Minister?

Values

Vaughan’s election would see Wales have its first Black leader. It matters that the people who run our government reflect the growing diversity of our country. We should be proud to say that.

Vaughan has the values and vision to deliver in the job and lead a devolved Wales into a new era. Most importantly, he has the experience. I will do all I can to see him elected as our First Minister.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
10 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Annibendod
Annibendod
1 month ago

No surprise there. Vaughan is on the right of his party and is known to be reticent about further devolution, let alone any meaningful constitutional change. Hefin is known for his online baiting of supporters of a Welsh State. It’s a good match!

Robert
1 month ago

This Hefin David: Hefin David was found by a watchdog to have breached the code of conduct when he tweeted a “vulgar and grossly offensive personal attack”. – Nov 2022
Who cares what he thinks.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
1 month ago

Anyone but Gething I would say. Incompetent doesnt cover it.

Annibendod
Annibendod
1 month ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

That too! 👏👏👏

Brian
Brian
1 month ago

Hef, if we were an independent country we wouldn’t have had ‘Thirteen long years of Conservative UK Government’ !!! Would we? It is time the Labour Party in Cymru started to work in earnest towards Cymru being a independent country. It is you who have subjected our country to austerity!!!

Annibendod
Annibendod
1 month ago
Reply to  Brian

It’s always a laugh isnt it, when Labour says vote Labour to keep the Tories out? Yeah, we’ve done that for a century now. How many of those years have the Tories governed Wales with no mandate courtesy of a majority built elsewhere and an electoral method which permits them to do this with only a minority of the votes cast even in the nation that actually does give them a majority? What the whole of the UK is suffering for is the democratic dictatorship of England’s biggest minority. What an utterly dysfunctional State! That Labour have no interest in… Read more »

Richard E
Richard E
1 month ago

Its not a matter of ethic background or sexual orientation but temprement and knowledge of all of non Metro Cardiff Wales plus an empathy towards our culture and both rural and urban communities..

Wiwergoch
Wiwergoch
1 month ago

Reading this article was rather like when you are 15 writing your first job application. I am good at this, good at that, stood tall when faced with many challenging situations. It all amounts to a vacuous character with absolutely no aspirations for Wales’ future.

Che Guevara's Fist
Che Guevara's Fist
1 month ago

A potential leader that states that tories are continually attacking devolution in Wales and perpetuates wealth theft from our nation is a member of a party that obsesses over keeping us tied to the very hip of a nation that perpetuates this problem…is neither the leader or party I want anything to do with.

Hey diddly dee, Plaid Cymru the party for me!

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
1 month ago

Even if Keir Starmer does deliver a better settlement for Wales there is no guarantee that England will not return the same Conservative government in a future election and that Wales will be in the same position as it is today.
Every Tory government has moved further towards extreme right authoritarism.

The only way to stop this is to vote for the party for Welsh independence
which is Plaid Cymru.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.