Speech to Welsh Conservative Spring Conference 2004
"Good Afternoon Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I was delighted to be asked to open this part of the conference, entitled "Improving Life in Wales." I found this title very apt, as there are so many aspects of Welsh life which need to be improved since Labour claimed power in the National Assembly and in many Councils up and down the length and breadth of Wales.
What the Welsh people are saying now is "enough is enough". People have been tolerant, and have given Labour chance after chance, but now it has come to the point where there is no trust and Wales is facing crisis after crisis, especially in the Health Service, in the education service and the breakdown of the County Councils not just here in North Wales, but throughout Wales.
In North Wales, we are seeing an ever increasing drugs problem. Antisocial behaviour is on the increase. Police Forces are being stretched beyond their limits and there are ever increasing demands on the public purse, which people cannot and will not pay for indefinitely.
Bureaucracy has gone berserk. After 18 years of prudent living, we have now had to suffer 7 years of a democratically elected dictatorship that has squandered the well laid plans of the previous Conservative Administration. Here we are in ever increasing debt, and a Chancellor who thinks he can borrow his way out of the situation.
I am confident in saying that the Welsh Conservative Party is the party with the interests of Wales at heart, and the only party with the ability to deliver and maintain good standards of services across the board.
As a Member of the National Assembly for Wales, I am in a fortunate position to see how the establishment operates, but feel desperately unhappy at many of the decisions which are made for the people of this land.
What the people of Wales deserve is consistently good public services which are reliable and locally based.
What the people of Wales need are safe streets, local post offices, local doctors and dentists and good support mechanisms based in the locality they live in.
In my portfolio area of responsibility, we have seen very turbulent times over the past decade.
We have seen the agricultural community decimated by the worst outbreak animal disease in living memory the Foot and Mouth Crisis. We were denied an enquiry into this only to find out that 2 years later the evidence clearly points that this could have been avoided. This is a prime example of Blair fiddling whilst the rural community burns. The questions still need to be answered. Why was this allowed into the Country ? Why was a whole community decimated ?
As you will be aware, ladies and gentleman, tourism is Wales' largest industry and the effect the Foot and Mouth Outbreak had on the rural communities was so very severe and affected many local businesses.
I was pleased to read in the news this week that Bayer Cropscience has given up attempts to grow commercial GM maize in Britain. A firm, united and committed stance must continue to ensure Wales remains GM Free.
Wales is a place of natural beauty, and we have a very special landscape which has been nurtured by the farming communities in Wales for so many decades. We, as Conservatives, know the importance of protecting our rural communities, and a Conservative Government would ensure that farmers and their communities are given the due support needed to continue, enhance and promote Wales as a first class tourist base, as well as a thriving business Capital in the UK.
Wales needs to look at more localised food production for our schools, hospitals and other public buildings. We need to promote high quality produce which all communities will want to purchase and continue enjoying.
Unless rural Wales is protected, then Wales will become a poorer place.
Our aims are to help the conservation and enhancement of the landscape, environment and amenities of the countryside, towns and villages of rural Wales.
We recognise the importance of languages in Wales.
We aim to form and educate opinion to ensure the promotion of our objectives.
In my view, Agriculture, in general, needs a 10 year plan, which is written in conjunction with the farming communities, the unions and the supermarkets. The report needs to be one which everyone can sign up to.
The Welsh Conservative Party has a very exciting few months ahead in the run up to the Local Government and European Elections. In less than 75 days, we will see our excellent candidates fighting the seats up and down the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, and I look forward to seeing the Conservative Party making considerable gains.
The Conservative Party has recovered. We are now confident and believe in ourselves. We are proud to be Conservatives. There is still a tremendous amount of work left to do - but together we will go forward, with the common goal of representing the people of Wales. And representing them well.
Chairman, Conference. I joined the Conservative Party at the tender age of 18, and have been involved for over 37 years. And for those of you who are working out the number - this makes me 55 !
I am proud to represent our cause in the National Assembly for Wales.
For too long, Wales has had to endure a totally incompetent and useless Labour administration. The Conservative Party is referred to as the "official opposition" and the "most effective party" by other parties and the media. We have unity, we have unfailing determination and the will to succeed for the people of Wales.
The conference has been very exciting. People are happy to be here, and it has been a great opportunity for candidates and sitting politicians to talk about key issues.
Chairman, we are now ready for the battles which lie ahead. We are moving forward. In 1995, when we went out asking people to support the Conservative Party, we would often return home deflated. In 2004, I actually need to allocate more time when I go shopping in North Wales, as people want to talk. The electorate want to hear what we have to say which is a good thing.
Let's continue to work for a common aim.
On June 10th, we owe it to the people to win.
Diolch yn Fawr."