Welsh Labour launches Llandudno fight back

As Welsh Labour Party members gather in Llandudno this weekend, there's an interesting backdrop to the event.

Welsh governments in the past have been subject to strong criticisms from what we used to call Fleet Street.

But the sustained nature of the critical articles on the Labour Welsh Government from papers like the Sun, The Times and the Daily Mail is unprecedented since the beginning of devolution.

And that is the backdrop to which Ed Miliband and Carwyn Jones will be speaking later.

On Friday I asked Carwyn Jones whether it would be a party under siege or all guns blazing, and it was the latter.

The first thing they will do is describe it as a "Tory war on Wales."

Rough and tumble

The significant point here is that it's not a Tory attack on the Welsh government, but an attack on the country which will cause "collateral damage" for people who work in an NHS feeling demoralised because of the constant criticism.

He's trying to appeal to the dislike that people have of being criticised by outsiders in a patriotic kind of way.

I've no doubt that it will go down a storm with the party faithful who will enjoy the rough and tumble of an old-fashioned scrap with the Conservatives.

The question is whether it will have any resonance with those outside of the party.

Or will those outside the party, be they Conservatives or not, feel that it's not unpatriotic to be severely critical of the Welsh government's record in charge of health and education.

They may feel that they don't care where the criticism comes from so long as it leads to better services.

Another element of the Labour fight back we can expect this weekend will be what's been described to me as "setting the record straight."

Pretty brutal

Labour feel that there have been inaccurate figures bandied about over health.

They feel on particularly strong ground with regard to the record on cancer care and meeting the accusation that thousands of Welsh patients are going for treatment in England.

And it won't just cover health and education because the current row over who is going to pay for the electrification of the south Wales valleys is likely to take centre stage as well.

In a highly political attack, Carwyn Jones is going to open up another flank by claiming that the Conservative approach to Wales is the reason why there's a dispute over the payment.

I would expect things to get pretty brutal this weekend.

The general election is edging closer and it's going to feel like it.