Welsh Secretary of State, Cheryl Gillan spoke at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester today. Good speech. Even made a reference to her "popular PPS". Popular with some I thought. Anyway I think its appropriate to share the messages.
Opening line was important - a commitment to the union and our work in Wales, Scotland and N Ireland.
Rightly, since it was her annual speech to what are often referred to as the party faithful, she outlined some of the Coalition Government's commitments to Wales since last year - £1 billion investment in rail electrification, £60 million in superfast broadband, 52,000 lower-paid out of income tax altogether already, and lower Corporation Tax as part of a package of help for business. She also spoke of her delivery of a referendum on law making powers last March, something for which I believe Cheryl deserves the highest praise. I just do not think that Peter Hain would have delivered it - or even wanted to deliver it.
Inevitably there was a bit of mild opposition-baiting - but very limited. Essentially she was telling Labour in Wales that now they have the powers, they should get on with it, not drag their feet, blaming others, complaining about what they have not got.
There was quite a bit about the Welsh economy, which is not in great shape. The Welsh Government are too timid in this area, upon which so much else depends. We would like to see a more dynamic approach to Enterprise Zones. A focus on job creation must underpin all we do, both as MPs and AMs.
The Sec. of State said she will soon be announcing a commission to look at how the Welsh Government gets its money, and how to make Welsh ministers more accountable for the money they spend - an end to power without accountability. This was perhaps the most significant part of her speech. Again, there is no way Labour would deliver on anything like this.
Another important line (in my opinion) was "We will make every effort to work with Ministers in Cardiff to achieve what is best for Wales". Her PPS takes exactly the same view, and thinks this a good line to finish on.