Speeches recovered from the Conservative party‚Äôs online archive More…

Bourne: 2007 will be a year of change for Wales

In his New Year message the leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the National Assembly Nick Bourne AM said:

"2006 was a year of considerable progress for the Conservative Party both in Wales and across the United Kingdom.

And I am confident that as we enter 2007, the next 12 months will demonstrate just how far we have come under David Cameron's leadership.

Week on week, Welsh Conservatives have outstripped lacklustre performances by Labour and Plaid Cymru both in the Assembly chamber in Cardiff Bay and, where it really matters, in the constituencies across Wales.

A fresh thinking, forward looking Welsh Conservative Party has seized the opportunity to change the Welsh political landscape.

The Conservative approach is simple - a positive, upbeat message offering voters greater choice in public services and more local decision making - in stark contrast to the centralising, bureaucratic, socialist style of government currently administered by Rhodri Morgan's Labour Party.

And we can already point to policies which will make real differences to people's lives.

- new incentives, such as business rate relief, for employers to provide flexible working times for parents and carers and new childcare facilities

- using European funding and moneys from the private and public sector to refurbish seaside resorts to attract visitors and promote UK tourism

- protecting the level of investment in agriculture, helping our dairy farmers and restoring the Tir Mynydd scheme to its former status

- supporting Post Offices by helping with business rates and an expanded Post Office development fund

- encouraging greater recycling and working with supermarkets to reduce the amount of packaging they use

- encouraging the rapid development of renewable energy technologies and help Wales lead the way by increasing our reliance on renewables - including tidal power, solar energy and biomass

- supporting an independent body to set annual targets to reduce emissions and monitor progress - taking the politics out of climate change

- review and revise the Welsh Language Act and establish an independent Welsh language commissioner to protect the rights of both Welsh and English speakers

May's Assembly Elections will be fought on these areas and others which resonate with every community in Wales.

And Welsh Conservatives are committed to promoting quality of life issues such as the public services, social justice and the quality of the environment.

Welsh Conservatives will back our NHS. It is our priority above all else. It's as simple and straightforward as that.

We want the NHS to succeed so that it can deliver timely, high quality care for all people.

We want an NHS that is universal, comprehensive, effective and free at the point of use.

Eight years of Labour government has taught us that high spending does not mean good investment.

They have completely mismanaged the NHS. Their meddling has resulted in unmitigated disaster.

This government lacks the strategy to revive our NHS and is holding it back.

But to prove to people that we are changing for the better we need to challenge perceptions of our party and our policies through action.

We will show people that we have the policies and ideas to provide a credible and viable alternative for Wales.

It is not just developing policies that matters. It is action. It is what we do that really matters.

We need to be less arrogant about what politicians can achieve. Everyone is capable of getting involved and making a difference to our communities. It is our social responsibility.

Conservatives are always realistic and practical. We will not bury our heads in the sand when it comes to securing the best for Wales.

What has become increasingly clear in recent months is that Wales is crying out for change.

The writing is on the wall for the Labour Party with just weeks to go to the Assembly elections.

Rhodri Morgan leads a tired, stale government which is yawning its way to electoral defeat on May 3.

Labour is failing in Wales and they are failing at Westminster. The people of Britain have put them on notice to quit.

Welsh Conservatives are gathering support in every corner of the country, but I accept that we must redouble our efforts to prove to people that we have the ideas, energy and will to change things in Wales for the better.

The people of Wales can make 2007 a year of change.

The Welsh public is tired of Rhodri Morgan and Tony Blair. People can make the Assembly elections a turning point in Welsh politics.

It is their chance to reject Labour's stranglehold on our country and set it on a different course, one free from arrogance, complacency, incompetence and control freakery.

Broken manifesto promises such as on free home care for disabled people and a lack of progress on public service reform means all too often Wales continues to limp even further behind other parts of the United Kingdom, given that things are far from rosy there.

Years of Labour rule have left us with countless problems to tackle across Wales.

- a growing wealth gap between Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom

- longer hospital waiting lists

- thousands of children leaving school without qualifications

- tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs lost

- average council tax bills twice that when Conservatives left office

- economic inactivity among the highest in Britain

- carbon emissions higher than when Labour came to power

Welsh Conservatives recognise that there are no quick fixes to the endless list of problems caused by this tired Labour government.

But we are committed to delivering a political agenda which will lead to a successful, prosperous and vibrant Wales.

In a year of opportunity and change, it is clear that there is only one real alternative in 2007.

And it is a challenge to which Welsh Conservatives are ready and willing to accept.

Labour lacks the energy and ideas to meet that challenge, while recent events have shown that Plaid Cymru is prepared to prop-up that failing party both in the Assembly and local government.

Welsh Conservatives are the only party which has categorically ruled out propping up Labour next year.

We will not do it now. We will not do it then. We will never do it.

The people of Wales are looking for a real alternative to this tired Labour government, not a variation of it.

Welsh Conservatives have gone from strength to strength in 2006. We are leading the debate about what is best for Wales.

We are speaking for every part of Wales, with policies that demonstrate our relevance and commitment to every corner of the country.

The people of Wales are crying out for change in 2007.

Welsh Conservatives are showing that we are more than up for the challenge."

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech