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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Raising the profile

Labour AM and Deputy Minister, Leighton Andrews has been a busy politician this week, popping up all over Wales and making headlines.

Having been in Wrexham today I was unable to get the Western Mail* so had to settle for the Daily Post. There on page two, accompanied by a photograph of Leighton that made him look like he was auditioning to be one of the Blues Brothers, was this report on a speech he gave to Trade Unionists in Colwyn Bay last night.

Leighton told his audience that Labour can only regain crucial seats like Clwyd West by “being on the side of hard working and aspiring individuals and families.” He also said that the party needed a period of renewal, warning: “Crowing about our achievements won’t win us future elections. People want to hear about what we are going to do, not what we’ve done."

Well, yes but it might take a bit more than that. In fact as the polls currently stand it may take a miracle or at the very least for Gordon Brown to metamorphose into an entirely different sort of Prime Minister. Anyway, I digress, because once I did get my hands on a copy of the Western Mail back in South Wales, I found this article.

Apparently, Leighton is addressing another set of Trade Unionists tonight and this time he is going to blame the credit crunch on 'corporate greed'. Well, yes again, but Leighton cannot wash away Labour's responsibility for the economic mess we are in with a single convenient sound bite.

When he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown built an economy based on credit. He encouraged the public to 'spend, spend, spend' when what he really meant was "borrow, borrow, borrow". He failed to seize the opportunity when times were good, to prepare for the rough times we are seeing now. He helped to lay the foundations of our present downturn.

Leighton's lack of originality in both speeches will not concern him. The important thing is that he is being seen and heard both in the media and by an important part of Labour's electoral college. With reports that Huw Lewis has been spotted addressing Labour activists in Mid and West Wales too, there is no doubt that the starting gun has well and truly been fired on the Labour Party leadership. All we are waiting for now is for Carwyn Jones and Andrew Davies to enter the fray and we will be eagerly counting down the days to Rhodri Morgan's departure.

* I went into the Spar next to the office of Ian Lucas MP and Lesley Griffiths AM, where I was told that if I wanted the Western Mail it would not be with the other newspapers but by the magazines. I could not find one anywhere. I did not dare look on the top shelf.
Before making any speeches perhaps all politicians should read Larry Elliott's 'Fantasy Island'. Written before Northern Rock it predicted what has happened over the past few months.
That leighton Andrews had his photo in the kite as well. Kite havenay got a clue what he was up to in Carmarthenshire but the council sent it to be printed and there it was..
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