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Jones: A bright future for Wales and for Britain

"Welcome to the second day of our conference.

This spring, of course, will bring the Welsh Assembly elections - and there is a feeling abroad that the Conservative Party are going to do rather well.

That feeling is not simply confined to us Conservatives.

At last week's Labour Party conference, a number of very senior Labour figures seemed to be very concerned that we were going to do well.

In fact, you can judge the degree of concern on the part of those Labour politicians by the extent to which they were rude about the Conservative Party.

Consider, for example, the First Minister, Mr Rhodri Morgan.

Rhodri spent quite a bit of his time last week and the week before warning of the dire consequences that would flow from a good result for the Conservatives on the 3rd May.

Not only did he refer to us in his conference speech being as "dangerous as a starving tigress on the prowl" (never one to fear hyperbole, our Rhodri), but he was also less than complimentary about David Cameron (who I am sure is deeply upset), referring to him as a "smoothie".

Well, fair's fair - if there is one thing that you can't accuse Rhodri Morgan of, it is being a smoothie.

"Woolly" and "fuzzy" are probably better adjectives.

And I am just talking about his thought processes.

Rhodri, of course, is notorious for making inscrutable pronouncements about one-legged ducks swimming in circles.

A couple of weeks ago, however, he surpassed even himself.

Speaking of global warming, Rhodri said:

"If our climate in Wales is going to be more like Spain's or South California's in the summer, then Spain will more like the Sahara. If that is the kind of climate shift we cannot avoid having by 2050, it will hardly be unhelpful to Wales".

In other words, Rhodri Morgan seemed to be saying that, on balance, global warming was rather a good thing.

Isn't it extraordinary, that whilst scientific opinion is agreed that global warming is the greatest threat mankind has ever faced in its history and when the Government's own adviser, Sir Nicholas Stern, has warned that climate change could cause the world economy to shrink by as much as 20%, Rhodri Morgan takes the view that, all things considered, it would amount to a useful business opportunity for Barry Island?

It makes you wonder - literally - what planet Rhodri is on.

At Llandudno, Peter Hain was in Tory-bashing mood, too - but he was much more in-yer-face than Rhodri Morgan.

Having on a previous occasion exhorted Labour to engage in a "bare knuckle fight" with the Conservatives, he told last week's Labour conference that the Assembly elections would be all about the Party's "age old fight against the Tories".

He urged Welsh Labour to "rediscover its socialist soul and its passion. Wales, the birthplace of the NHS. Wales where the red flag was first flown."

All good class warrior stuff - until you remember that the very same week, Mr Hain was appearing in soft focus on a lifestyle website, singing the praises of Agas and saying how wonderful they were for slow-cooking tuna.

It seems that Peter is a fan of bistro-style cuisine.

Peter Hain a class warrior?

Not likely.

He's not so much manning the barricades as backing the marinades.

Peter Hain, of course, regards the office of Secretary of State for Wales as something of a sideline.

He is also the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Indeed, he appears to have a great deal more affinity for the Province than for the Principality - only a few months ago he announced to Radio Ulster that the people of Wales would be "green with envy" at a financial deal he had done for the people of Northern Ireland.

Peter Hain's problem is that his heart is neither in Wales nor in Northern Ireland.

It is in the office of Deputy Prime Minister, to which he seems to be devoting most of his time, though his prospects of succeeding John Prescott - into whose shoes few people would wish to step - received a bit of a setback recently when his campaign plans were published on a website, complete with his assessment of various Parliamentary colleagues.

The truth is that Peter Hain wants to move on - he thinks he has outgrown Wales.

That is why he has turned from ultra-Blairite to über-Brownie.

And Peter Hain has a history of changing colour.

He was, of course, in the 1960's and 70's, a prominent member of the Liberal Party.

If he is capable of that, he is capable of anything.

Last week, we also witnessed the final appearance of Tony Blair in Wales as Prime Minister.

Again, he warned against the prospect of a Conservative victory.

Speaking, no doubt, with quivering lip, he said:

"There is only one thing you need to know about the Tories. That… where the interests of the few conflict with the interests of the many, they put the interests of the few first and the interests of the many last."

There speaks Tony Blair - man of the people.

In tune with the common man, from the beaches of the Caribbean to the olive groves of Tuscany.

Silvio Berlusconi speaks very highly of him.

What a nerve.

Tony Blair and his Government have elevated cronyism and patronage almost to an art form.

It is endemic in the way they do business.

And yet he has the cheek to accuse us of being for the few and not for the many.

Well, Mr Blair should hear this.

I'll tell him which people we Conservatives are for.

We are for the Welsh patients who have to wait many times as long as English patients for a hip replacement operation because Labour have screwed up the health service.

We are for the parents who can't find an NHS dentist to treat their children.

We are for the pensioners who dread the arrival of the Council Tax bill each year because they can't afford to pay it.

We are for the workers whose pension funds have been destroyed by Gordon Brown and his £5 billion a year stealth tax.

We are for the farmers who can't get a fair price for their milk.

We are for the country people whose village post offices are closing.

We are for the hard-working families across Wales and the rest of the UK whose taxes have shot up since Labour came to power while their services have declined.

We are for all the people whose town centres have become no-go areas because of violent crime.

That's who we Conservatives are for.

But the sad thing is that at one time the Labour Party was for the many.

The Labour Party did care.

We may have disagreed profoundly with the way that they tried to help other people, but we never doubted their sincerity.

But that was all destroyed by Tony Blair and New Labour.

They have sickened people with the shifty and cynical way they do business.

People who were conned into voting Labour won't forgive Tony Blair.

Because they feel badly betrayed.

They were told things could only get better.

But how much worse things have got.

What we say to those voters is this.

Don't let your disillusionment with 10 years of New Labour spin, hype and betrayal put you off voting.

Now is not the time to give up hope.

On the 3rd May, you will have the chance to deliver your verdict on New Labour's failure to deliver, both here at Cardiff and at Westminster.

On the 3rd May, you will be able to tell Tony Blair exactly what you think of him.

You can make the difference, by voting Conservative and starting the process that will not only remove Rhodri Morgan from office at Cardiff, and allow him to spend more time watching the ducks swimming in circles, but also begin the process of ridding Britain of the appalling con trick that is New Labour.

You can vote for the only Party that can get rid of Tony Blair - the Conservative Party.

And in that respect Tony Blair, Peter Hain and Rhodri Morgan are right.

There is only one choice - Labour or the Welsh Conservatives.

People should not be deceived into thinking that a vote for Plaid Cymru is a safe vote, because it's not.

Plaid want to tear Wales out of the Union and set it upon a road in which it would become an ever more irrelevant and marginalised region of an ever more powerful Europe.

And as for the Lib Dems - well, they are the Lib Dems.

No, on the 3rd May, there is only one choice.

Labour or Conservative. Failure or hope. A new future or a return to a wasted past.

So even if you have never voted Conservative before, or never even thought you would vote Conservative, do so now.

Make the difference. Vote Welsh Conservative for a change. A change for Wales and a new future for Britain."

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