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    05 January, 2007

    Assembly Campaign

    A fuller version follows of what the Western Mail and Daily Post quoted from my campaign committee speech yesterday:

    Do we really want to win again? Because if we do, then there needs to be a massive step-change in our campaign. If we do not raise our political game, then Wales could find itself living in a horror movie, with the Tories slipping in through the back door, or with the nightmare scenario of Labour having to negotiate either with the Liberal Democrats or Plaid Cymru.

    No-one in Welsh Labour has any appetite for a coalition with either of them. But if we want to avoid that, then we have to get serious about our campaign.

    We need a strong focus on Labour’s achievements in the National Assembly – economic growth and investment in public services. But our appeal must be based on more than that – we must set out a clear vision of where we want Labour to take Wales, and what we plan to do in our third term to achieve that.

    Our voters want to know that we are on their side – concerned about everyday issues like anti-social behaviour that afflict all our communities.

    There needs to be a tighter political focus, with all effort focused on winning a Labour victory. There is no point in new initiatives that cannot be delivered before May unless they are part of a wider Labour campaign for victory in May.

    We also have to re-focus our message. For the best part of ten months, we made it clear that Wales faced a real choice, between Labour or a Tory-led coalition. Vote Labour get Labour. Vote Plaid get Tory. Then for ten days in December, Wales watched the Tories and Plaid slugging it out.

    Plaid got away with murder following the budget debate. They contributed nothing to the budget but got a free run after it. They tried to take the credit for the budget but wouldn’t even vote for it. They believe they have undermined our message that they will ally with the Tories after the election.

    But nothing has changed. Ieuan Wyn Jones has refused to rule out working with the Tories after the May election. People must realise that a one-night stand with Ieuan Wyn Jones could mean a four-year arranged marriage with Nick Bourne.

    We need to spell out in detail what Wales would lose under a Tory-led coalition. And specifically, what it would mean for our communities and our voters.

    The truth is, and we must spell this out and hammer it home relentlessly

    - there is a continuing and real threat of Wales stumbling into a Tory-led coalition after May

    - voters cannot take a Labour victory for granted - voting Plaid or Liberal Democrat in seats which the Tories are targeting could let the Tories in by the back door.

    - That Plaid Cymru has never ruled out a post-election coalition with the Tories

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    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

    Author's editorial policy: This blog does not publish anonymous comments, unless they are really witty and I like them. If you have something to say, then have the courage of your convictions and use your name or an identifiable alias. Even then I reserve the right not to publish comments that are malicious, defamatory, stupid, pointlessly cynical or boring. Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any constituent part or connected body.