Ed Miliband urges Welsh Labour to vote against 'dogma'

Media caption,
Ed Miliband: 'The results of these elections will send a message across Wales and across the UK'

Labour leader Ed Miliband has urged Wales to "send a message" to the rest of the UK at May's assembly election.

Mr Miliband said that under Labour, Wales' devolved administration could show a "better alternative" to the "dogma" of the UK government.

He told Welsh Labour's annual conference in Llandudno he believed in the politics of the "common good".

Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones told supporters that delivery and not strategy was his aim.

Mr Miliband said a vote for Labour on 5 May was a "vote for a different way".

He said: "Make no mistake, the result of these elections will send a message across Wales and across the United Kingdom.

"I want to see Carwyn [Jones] back as first minister in a Welsh Labour government in May. That's the best hope for Wales.

"And for Britain: a Labour Welsh Assembly Government showcasing with every decision it makes how there is a better alternative to the dogma of the Conservative-led government at Westminster."

Labour is using the conference in Llandudno to pledge it will "stand up for Wales", attacking UK government decisions such as the shelved plans for a military training academy at St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Making his second visit to Wales in a week, Mr Miliband said that in the assembly government - a coalition between Labour and Plaid Cymru - Wales had an administration that "understands the common good" and whose decisions were based on a "quite different vision - a Labour vision" to that in Westminster.

'Promise of Britain'

The planned rise in university tuition fees for students in England was "simply about individuals in a marketplace", he claimed.

Welsh students will avoid the hike under a subsidy being offered by the assembly government.

Everyone should care about whether bright youngsters can get into top universities regardless of their backgrounds, Mr Miliband said.

"That is the promise of Britain, the promise that each generation can do better than the last," he said.

He gave his support to the campaign for a Yes vote in next month's referendum on the assembly's law-making powers, attacking the Conservatives for accepting devolution "through gritted teeth".

The Tories were the "don't know party", he said.

"Or when it comes to Wales and especially the secretary of state: the 'I'm sorry I haven't a clue' party," he added, in a jibe at Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan.

'Real anger'

First Minister Carwyn Jones used his conference speech to unveil Labour election pledges, including a promise to double the number of children who receiving free nursery places and health visits through the flying start programme.

He said Labour would focus on delivery and value for money if it wins power in a fourth assembly term.

Previous administrations had paid too much attention to policy and process during the first decade of devolution, he said.

It was too easy for governments to turn themselves in a "strategy factory... creating an endless stream of strategies without there being any product at the end of it," Mr Jones said.

"I want this to change and change radically. Delivery will be the watchword of the next Welsh Labour government," he said.

Despite cuts to the assembly government's budget, he made clear Labour would not row back on flagship policies such as free prescriptions and free breakfasts in primary schools.

He attacked the Conservatives for their opposition to the breakfast scheme, which he said "ordinary working families" depended on.

In response, Conservative AM Darren Millar said the pledge to deliver was an admission of failure.

"Labour has had 12 years in government in the assembly, during which time the standard of public services has got worse," he said.

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