Conference, I’m not the first Welsh Conservative leader to say this but the Senedd elections on the 6th May are the most important in Wales for a generation, writes Andrew RT Davies MS.
The pandemic has put Wales well and truly at a crossroads, laying bare the failings of 22 years of Labour-rule in Wales.
And as the great British vaccine story continues its roll out, the election will decide which road we take.
Wales can’t afford more of the same with a tired, clapped-out Labour Party that’s failed to deliver what Wales needs.
They believe they know best but fail to deliver the change Wales needs.
And they’ll let Wales down again with broken promises.
Key infrastructure projects promised again and again and then dismissed with the flick of a pen.
And when they think the people are wrong like voting for Brexit.
They try every trick in the book to overturn it.
They simply can’t be trusted.
They take Wales for granted.
But Labour isn’t Wales.
Far from it.
And as recent polls have shown, we have a huge opportunity to send them a message in May.
As the general election in 2019 showed, there is a different way.
There is a party that can be trusted to deliver change and deliver on its promises.
We delivered Brexit, and now we’ll get us on the road to recovery and build a better Wales.
This week, we outlined how we’d do it.
With new energy and new ideas, we’ll help Welsh families and businesses recover from the pandemic and 22 years of Labour.
We’ll build a better Wales by encouraging economic growth and working with industry to create 65,000 more jobs by 2026.
We’ll invest in green industries and help our tourism sector recover, so more families can benefit from secure, well paid jobs.
It’s not rocket science.
More business means more jobs, which helps people out of poverty and pays for our public services.
So that we can provide better healthcare for our people – by recruiting 1,200 more doctors and 3,000 extra nurses.
We’ll cut NHS waiting times so nobody has to wait over a year for treatment by the end of the next Senedd term.
We’ll embark on the biggest road building programme in a generation – so it’s easier to do business, get to work or see family and friends.
We’ll increase funding for every pupil in Wales for the next five years.
With 5,000 more teachers so Welsh children get the same opportunities as those elsewhere in the UK.
And we’ll work with our team of Police and Crime Commissioners to invest in more police and cut crime in communities across Wales.
And we’ll do it by working constructively with the UK Government.
Working with the Prime Minister, our excellent Secretary of State Simon Hart and the rest of their Cabinet colleagues.
Not abusing them, not against them. Not calling them awful.
The people of Wales have had enough of Labour’s childish games.
They want governments at both ends of the M4 working together, to maximise the benefits of our Union, and more opportunities for our people.
They want to unblock the nostrils of the Welsh dragon, and we need to be the Vicks Inhaler to make it happen, as Labour aren’t interested.
Labour would rather flirt dangerously with the nationalists, stoke up division and risk constitutional chaos.
They have no interest in getting Wales on the road to recovery, they just want to cling onto power.
We’ve seen already how Labour’s First Minister has regrettably flirted with the separatists throughout his short time in post.
For the good of the country and our economic recovery he must rule out any backroom deals with a party that is solely intent on tearing Britain apart.
Because whereas other parties want to divide us, our future economy depends on remaining a strong United Kingdom.
That will be the sole focus of the Welsh Conservatives.
Our economic recovery and rebuilding Wales.
No more powers, no more politicians, no more taxes. No more constitutional chaos.
That’s not happening under the Welsh Conservatives. Full stop.
We’ve been up front and honest. Labour need to be honest on how they see Wales’ future too.
A strong economic recovery in a strong Union…
Or a dangerous dance with nationalism that risks economic and constitutional chaos.
And do not be mistaken conference; the Professor in the Bay should not be dismissed lightly.
And after Nicola Sturgeon, Mark Drakeford is the biggest threat to the Union.
He’d throw Wales and the UK under a bus if it meant another five years propped up by Plaid Cymru.
We can’t afford to let that happen.
And that’s why every vote for the Welsh Conservatives counts on May 6th.
We brought down Labour’s red wall in 2019 and we’re going to need to do so again.
And we’ll do it by standing up to their reckless rhetoric with our clear, aspirational plan for recovery.
And we’ll do it by offering opportunities to all communities, in Mid, North, South, East and West Wales.
We will rebuild from the pandemic and fix the problems left by Labour.
Unlike previous Senedd elections, this time, change is possible.
And together, we can build a better Wales.
Andrew RT Davies is the Leader of the Welsh Conservative Senedd Group and the Member of the Senedd for South Wales Central.