Posted: Sun 24th Mar 2024

A view from Sam Rowlands – Welsh Conservative North Wales Member of the Senedd for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Mar 24th, 2024 has invited the four North Wales Members of the Senedd to write a monthly column with updates on their work. You can find their updates – along with contributions from the Wrexham and Clwyd South MPs and MSs – here. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌‌​​‍‌​​‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌​‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌​​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌‌‌​‍‌​​​‌​‌‌‍‌​​​‌‌​‌‍‌​​‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​‌‌‌​​‍‌​​‌​‌​​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​‌‌‌​​‍‌‌​​‌‌​‌‍‌‌​​‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌‌‌​‍‌​​​‌​‌‌‍‌​​​‌‌​‌‍‌​​‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​‌‌‌​​‍‌​​‌​‌​​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​‌‌‌​​‍‌‌​​‌‌​‌‍‌‌​​‌‌​​

In this month’s column, Welsh Conservative Member of the Senedd Sam Rowlands writes:

So, Wales has a new First Minister.

Vaughan Gething has won the Welsh Labour leadership contest and will take the reins as FM this week.

I do wish him well, because his success will mean better outcomes and lives for the people of Wales.

It has hardly been the most pleasant of campaigns though, with alleged skulduggery around Mr Miles being denied a coveted Trade Union endorsement and Mr Gething receiving a campaign donation from the owner of a company that has been prosecuted for waste crimes.

It hasn’t exactly painted Welsh Labour in a wonderful light.

That’s not just a problem for Labour, but a problem for the whole of Wales given they have run the devolved Government in Cardiff non-stop since 1999.

I’d also suggest it raises questions about Labour on a UK-wide level. Keir Starmer has been very quiet about this contest, and given the state of the race you can perhaps see why!

Mark Drakeford has been shuffled off because his approval ratings have fallen through the floor thanks to a series of mishaps including the botched blanket 20mph rollout, but to be frank, neither of the contestants for his job have set the world alight.

There really hasn’t been much difference between the two men during the campaign.

It’s been steady as she goes, with both candidates seeking to minimise any public skirmishes.

As Education Minister, Miles has overseen a Welsh education system that PISA ranks as the worst in the entire United Kingdom. As Economy Minister, Gething has slashed funding for apprenticeships and is taxing Welsh businesses out of existence with the highest business rates in Great Britain.

You can well see why neither of them want to talk about their records in government.

In addition to their litany of failures, both have served in Drakeford’s cabinet loyally, going along with every policy announcement and initiative without question.

The disastrous 20mph policy that is slowing Wales down, the cack-handed Sustainable Farming Scheme which is punishing our farmers, Labour’s declining education system and the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board which is wracked with dysfunction are all part of the Drakeford-Gething-Miles legacy.

We desperately need someone who grabs the bull by the horns and fixes the serious issues I’ve outlined, and many more besides.

I wouldn’t count on any real change from the new First Minister, though and I really do worry that it will be more of the same. More of the same inertia that has riddled Welsh Government since it’s inception in 1999 and more of the same failed policies that is holding us back.

I am also concerned that we will be getting more of the same Cardiff-centric Labour Party that we’ve had for decades.

North Wales has consistently lost out thanks to this, and there needs to be a serious rethink so that people in Wrexham and the rest
of North Wales get the treatment and funding we deserve.

There is only one real opposition party against Labour’s ineptitude and incompetence, and that is the Welsh Conservatives. Plaid Cymru are happily serving in coalition with Labour, and the Liberal Democrats have also served as political
bedfellows in the Senedd.

I’m proud to serve as a Welsh Conservative Senedd Member, and will continue to oppose the folly of this Cardiff Labour Government, whoever leads it!

To finish, I’d like to wish Mark Drakeford well in his post-FM life. We clearly come from different sides of the argument on most issues, but he has been a public servant for a long time and being First Minister is not an easy task.  Good luck to him.

As ever, if you have any queries or issues, then please feel free to contact me by emailing [email protected]

Spotted something? Got a story? Email [email protected]

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