Welsh Labour: 'Big man' Carwyn Jones aims to stand tall

Welsh Labour conference analysis
By Daniel Davies, political reporter, BBC Wales

Image caption,
A giant poster of Carwyn Jones dominated the foyer at Llandudno

Carwyn Jones says when he knocks on doors people tell him he is taller in real life than he looks on the telly.

As if to prove the point, a 23ft image of the first minister standing alone towers over the foyer of the Welsh Labour conference in Llandudno.

The task for the party activists under his watchful gaze is to make sure he can stand alone after the Welsh assembly election in May to make sure he does not need a coalition partner to keep his job.

With a minority SNP administration in Scotland and a Conservative-led coalition in Westminster, it is has been left to Welsh Labour to carry the flag for the party in government.

But it has needed a coalition with Plaid Cymru to do so.

Polls suggest Labour has clawed back support with the electorate since the inconclusive elections of 2007 forced it to make a pact with Plaid.

Mr Jones kicked off proceedings in Llandudno on Friday night by trying to link an election victory in May with a Yes vote in next month's referendum on the assembly's law-making powers.

Without winning the referendum Labour will not win the election, he said.

Image caption,
Carwyn Jones is looking to form a Labour-only administration in Cardiff

What is more, he portrayed both votes as staging posts towards the ultimate prize of a Labour victory at the 2015 Westminster general election that will put Ed Miliband in Downing Street.

Taking his turn on the conference platform, Mr Miliband said May's election was an opportunity for Labour voters to send a message to the rest of the UK.

But to do that Welsh Labour must win and Welsh Labour's leader has made it clear what winning means to him - getting a majority of the assembly's 60 seats so he is no longer dependent on Plaid.

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