Speech to the National Assembly for Wales
"This is an interesting document, although it borders on the arrogant.
It is all very well to talk about exciting commitments, but we need straight talking and good, reliable and regular services that perform well for the people of Wales.
Last night, I read the news that surgeons have claimed that English hospitals are not allowed to treat Welsh patients until they have been waiting for 18 months.
I have mentioned that previously in the Chamber. Tens of thousands of people are living in constant pain and suffering. Minister, sort out the NHS, please. Look after the people that all of us represent. Your priorities must be commended, but they are hollow, with no substance and results.
In order to get people on board, you must deliver. To give a few children school breakfasts in 50 schools in Wales is hardly a major achievement, and what is the cost to the taxpayer?
You promised to invest in improving school buildings. Many of our buildings are in a disastrous state of repair. I have seen that at first hand in many schools I have visited, including schools in north Wales, and if the health and safety executive was called in, those schools would be closed down.
We all debated the Clywch inquiry last week and heard about the terrible allegations. We must protect, nurture and encourage our young people—they are the future. We must not subject them to danger. That is non-negotiable.
You committed yourself, First Minister, to keeping your promises. Many have been made and broken, which include waiting lists and the crisis in farming, to name but two.
There is no such thing as a free lunch. The free prescription initiative will cost the taxpayer an astonishing £37 million a year. You spin the line well, First Minister, of giving something for nothing, but you do not provide the costings clearly for everyone to see that in this life, nothing is free.
I will offer you some advice, First Minister, on good housekeeping. Why spend £1 million of taxpayers' money on the Richard commission and ignore the findings?
Everything in the garden is not rosy: many of our roads and pavements are substandard and billions of pounds are much needed to bring them up to standard. The Wales Millennium Centre is to open across the road from here in November, but there is no car park.
The list of failings is unending. Perhaps you could follow in the footsteps of Mr Blair, First Minister; on breakfast news this morning he used the word 'sorry'.
Perhaps if you admit that all is not wonderful, you may get support from more people.
First Minister, you may wish to sign up to alternative pledges that Labour could be pleased to announce: increasing waiting lists to dangerous levels, putting many people's lives at risk; a gross shortage of affordable housing, GPs and dentists, especially in rural areas; council tax rising out of control; £55 million spent on an unnecessary new building for AMs; cuts in the agriculture budget; tuition fees looming in 2007; increasing class sizes; and more mini embassies and overseas junkets at high cost to the taxpayer."