It doesn’t matter who the next First Minister is, this Government is rotten to the core

 

Llyr Gruffydd. Picture by the National Assembly (CC BY 2.0).

Llyr Gruffydd AM

Imagine a country where the First Minister threatens its Parliament with legal action and a ‘toxic atmosphere’ exists within the government.

Imagine that same government cutting grants for school children as child poverty increases.

Imagine an alarming decrease in the number of GPs while demand soars. Imagine an increase in zero-hours contracts in a low-pay economy.

And, to top it all off, imagine surrendering a nation’s hard-won powers to the Conservative government in Westminster.

They’re the highlights – or perhaps lowlights would be apter – of the Labour Welsh Government’s record over the last fortnight.

It’s symptomatic of a party that’s been in government for too long and that has grown tired, complacent and stale. The agreement this week to relinquish devolved Welsh powers to Westminster showed where their priorities truly lie.

The very party that has, for so long, sought to portray itself as the champions of Welsh devolution have sold Welsh powers down the river to Westminster – with the Conservatives and UKIP united in singing their praises.

Our fledgeling democracy is still fragile and our parliament is still young and yet to fulfill its potential.

Our Senedd is not yet 20 years old but the UK government in Westminster is doing its very best to roll back its limited powers. Far from standing up for Wales, this Labour government is now aiding and abetting the Tory power grab.

Let us not forget this ‘dodgy deal’ between Welsh Labour and the UK Conservatives – at the expense of the Welsh people – was executed by the man who would be the next First Minister, the Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford.

Wales needs is more than a change of First Minister. Wales needs new ideas, new policies and – more than anything – a new government.

Wales has so much unrealised talent and potential to unlock. Our country deserves to be led by a party that recognises this and will prioritise unlocking that potential.

Wales deserves to be led by a party that respects the democracy of its parliament and can transform our nation into a modern, successful country.

A new First Minister will not offer Labour a fresh start. They are all tarnished by their appalling record in government.

And on Wednesday we will see this record tarnished further when Plaid Cymru will force a vote in our Senedd on the agreement between the Welsh and Westminster governments on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.

Assembly Members will then have a choice – protect Welsh democracy or yield to Westminster.

I am not a betting man, but I’m confident we will see Labour AMs line-up shoulder to shoulder with UKIP and the Tories to back a deal that weakens our young democracy.

So let’s see where the priorities of this Welsh Labour government really lie.

Let’s see who really has the steel and the vision to lead Wales onwards.

And let’s see who really stands up for Wales.

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