2010 has been a challenging year for many. There are some positive signs but the economic recovery will be slow and uncertain. The Liberal Democrats made the right decision to be part of turning things around in Government. Of course, in government, some decisions will be controversial, particularly at a time when there is not as much money as we would like. But having a stable majority government to steer us through difficult times is of vital importance.
Coalition government is a new experience for many in England. In Wales, as Scotland, it is something that we are used to and it is something that the public like more the more they see it in action.
Reports from the Party Leaders at the Year’s End
On Monday and Tuesday we heard from First Minister and Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones and Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones. Tomorrow is the turn of the leader of the Welsh Conservatives Nick Bourne.
ClickonWales wishes all our readers a prosperous and happy New Year!
The politics of compromise and consensus are not always easy. But Liberal Democrats can be proud of achievements from restoring the pensions links with earnings to cutting income tax for the lowest earners in society, to stopping the costly renewal of Trident that both Labour and the Conservatives has wanted.
So 2010 has been a year of extraordinary change in British politics with the end result that every main party is now in Government – Labour and Plaid Cymru in Wales, and the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in Westminster.
2011 is set to be an equally momentous year in Wales. Firstly, we will have the opportunity to vote in a referendum to ensure for the first time that laws that affect only Wales are made only in Wales. No one party ‘owns’ devolution but I am proud that this referendum is being delivered by the Liberal Democrats as part of the coalition agreement. The Welsh Liberal Democrats are united in our enthusiasm to go out and campaign for a ‘yes’ vote.
This and the referendum on changing our voting system are important parts of the UK coalition government’s commitment to changing the way we do politics. We’ll be campaigning for a ‘Yes’ vote in the second referendum too – to ensure that every MP has to achieve the votes of half his or her constituents to get elected.
Of course, the Welsh General Election will also take place in May. The Assembly elections will be a chance to review the record of the Welsh Government and ask why in areas like health, the economy and education, Wales is slipping further behind England. I will want the Welsh Liberal Democrats to campaign positively for the education and health service that Wales deserves and for the jobs and prosperity we so badly need.
It is a privilege to represent the people of Brecon and Radnorshire and to lead the Welsh Liberal Democrats. I hope to continue to fight for a better deal for all of Wales in Cardiff Bay.
For all of us, the coming year will bring both uncertainty and great opportunity. I am optimistic that a year from now, Wales will be looking forward to 2012 in good heart and in better shape. My very best wishes to everyone in Wales for a prosperous and successful 2011.