The theme of concentrating Plaid Cymru's fire will continue into the second day the party's conference in Beaumaris as its leaders portray themselves as ready to take over from Labour as the Welsh Government, rather than seeking to get back into coalition with their former partners.
Yesterday Plaid's leader, Leanne Wood, spent much of her speech attacking Labour's record on education. Today the party's leader at Westminster, Elfyn Llwyd, will accuse Labour of squandering the opportunity of the powers gained by the Assembly in the 2011 referendum.
The referendum signalled a change. But change has been frustratingly slow in coming under a tired and uninspired Labour government in Cardiff Bay.Time after time, Labour fail in their duty to the people of Wales by being too tied to their Westminster leaders. Labour MPs’ criminal decision to vote for a reduction in the EU budget which would cut structural funds and the CAP, as well as the betrayal by the majority of their members of the most vulnerable in abstaining on the welfare reform bill –serve to demonstrate whose priorities come first for the Labour party in Wales.
It is not Carwyn Jones to whom they are answerable, but Mr Miliband and the tired New Labour clique who seem to control him.
The Silk Inquiry will provide a fantastic opportunity to promote Welsh interests. The difference between Plaid and the other parties came out most starkly in their diverging contributions to this inquiry. For here again we saw the same pattern of Plaid on the front foot and the unionists lagging behind. We should probably send our submission to Labour HQ as well, just so that they can announce it as their party policy 10 years later.
Mr Llwyd will remind delegates that Plaid has asked the Silk Commission for devolution of the justice system to Wales, including powers over police, probation, youth justice and prisons. It also wants devolution of other powers including natural resources and energy; transport and broadcasting.
We view this as an opportunity for Wales to be more democratically accountable and in the driving seat of its own destiny. The road that leads from Silk will propel us into the next stage of our nation’s history. But Silk has tied Labour in knots – admittedly not hard to do. In the last few weeks, the Welsh Government has announced that it – finally – recognises the expediency of devolving justice powers to Wales. But as soon as Carwyn Jones announced this, he set obstacles to trip us up. Like a closing-time drunk, every time Labour take a step forward, they lurch back two paces.
The Prime Minister's call for cuts to EU funding show that he's 'completely out of touch with the needs of the people of Wales' according to Plaid Cymru's Parliamentary Leader. Elfyn Llwyd said the funding was 'vital' for the poorest parts of Wales.
It is clear that the Prime Minister is completely out of touch with the needs of the people of Wales. The same is true of the Welsh Labour MPs who recently voted with staunch right-wing Conservatives for a real-terms cut in the EU budget.
This funding provides some of Wales' poorest communities - which are also some of Europe's poorest communities - with vast sums of money.
A cut in the EU Budget will see the gap between the richest and poorest parts of the state would widen considerably. Inner London is by far the richest part of the EU while West Wales and the Valleys are among the poorest.
The Prime Minister has said that the European Union's cohesion and structural funds, which aid west Wales and the Valleys, need to be cut. David Cameron was answering questions in the Commons about EU leaders' failure to agree a new budget last week.
I am concerned that the Prime Minister says that there are savings to be made in cohesion and structural funds. He is aware that many areas of the UK, such as west Wales and the Valleys, enjoy receiving such payments. Is he saying that he can foresee a cut in that support?
– Plaid Cymru Parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd MP
There is a need for cuts in the overall cohesion and structural funds budget of the European Union. We should be frank and honest as a country in saying that, although there are regions of the UK that still benefit and should go on benefiting from structural funds, such funds should, on the whole, be for the poorest regions of the poorest countries. Britain’s negotiating position is different from that of many countries in that we do not go to Brussels and simply defend every penny that we receive; we try to seek an outcome that is right for the whole European Union.
– Prime Minister David Cameron MP
When west Wales and the Valleys got aid from the 2000-06 EU budget, it was thought it would be a one-off. But the current budget, covering 2007-13, includes1.2 billion Euros for the region. In 2014-20, the European Commission expects Wales to concentrate on advanced manufacturing and research.
There will also be help with improving transport links but the overall amount of money will depend of the size of the budget for the next seven years. The Commission insists that the aid must come from the European Union and that the UK Government should not run Britain's regional aid programme.
I noted yesterday how the shadow Welsh Secretary had raised new fears about a Welsh part of the British army on the floor of the House of Commons. He's not alone. An Early Day Motion tabled by Plaid Cymru's parliamentary leader, Elfyn Llwyd, has attracted signatures from all four political parties.
The fear raised by Welsh politicians is that the campaign to keep the Queen's Dragoon Guards has been successful but that the axe might instead fall on a battalion of the Royal Welsh. The wording of Mr Llwyd's EDM explains why that's a cause for concern:
That this House believes that The Royal Welsh should be retained in its current format; notes that the 1st battalion was formed to represent the Royal Welch Fusiliers and that the 2nd battalion represents the Royal Regiment of Wales following its merger in 2006; and is of the opinion that any attempts to cut The Royal Welsh would be detrimental to the status of the armed forces in Wales and would breach previous undertakings that these time-honoured and distinguished regiments would be supported in continuing to exist in this form.