Carwyn Jones: We haven’t got time to navel gaze over polling – we have got a country to run and an election to fight

Carwyn Jones

“But isn’t Welsh Labour worried by the poll?” It’s the question I’ve been asked a hundred times since Monday afternoon when a YouGov survey put us 10 seats behind the Conservatives in Wales.

Yes, the poll numbers didn’t make for easy reading. They were tough in the message they delivered to us a Labour Party about our position nationally and stark in crystallising the scale of the campaigning challenge we face in Wales over the next six weeks.

But, in all honesty, my mind was less on the poll itself and more on the practicalities of how we respond to it.  

It’s important to remember that we know how to fight – and win – tough elections here in Wales. In 2010 in the teeth of the worst global financial collapse in history, as well as in the 2012 local elections and 2015 general elections, Welsh Labour and its fantastic party members rallied against huge odds to win in seats right across the country..

Less than a year ago we deified predictions to hold on to 29 seats in the Welsh Assembly and stay in government. It meant that in at least one part of the UK where there remains a Labour government – taking hard decisions; protecting people and communities from Tory austerity and giving people a fair deal – and that’s here in Wales.

In Wales, we’ve built a stronger, public NHS with health and social care spending six per cent higher than England; more patients treated than ever before and over 90 per cent of patients saying they have good treatment.

In Wales, we’ve delivered a growing economy with record inward investment; nearly 150,000 jobs supported in the last Assembly term and high quality new jobs coming to Wales through major investments by Aston Martin and General Dynamics.

In Wales, we’ve also driven forward new momentum in our schools with GCSE results the highest ever, the poverty attainment gap closing at every key stage of education and a £2bn investment plan for new and refurbished school buildings by 2024.

And unlike the Tories, we haven’t been a government for one section of society.  There are no grammar schools in Wales and social care isn’t in crisis because it hasn’t been stripped of funding like it has been over the border. We’ve been delivering for every individual, every family and every business right across Wales.  

Simply put, we’re still in government in Wales because we’ve delivered for working people and their families.

This general election is a clear choice between a Welsh Labour Party which will stand up for people in Wales and a Tory party which is failing working people. It will be an election where I’ll be proud to talk about the things we’ve delivered in government as well as the things we’ll go on delivering over the next few years.

But it’s also crucial that we return our superb team of Welsh Labour MPs to Westminster on June 8. And though the political weather is tough nationally, the hard-working campaigners we have that make up our Welsh Labour MPs  will fight this election locally on the proud records they have built up.   

Theresa May wants to make this general election all about Brexit to avoid scrutiny of the Tories’ seven long years of cuts and failure. But Welsh Labour won’t let that happen. We will hold them to account on every doorstep in every town right across Wales for the choices which are leaving working families worse off. And we will fight this election on the simple campaign promise that we’ve stood on, and delivered on, before – “Standing Up For Wales.”

This election Welsh Labour will stand up for you and we will stand up on our record. We will set out how only a Labour government can deliver a Fair Deal for Wales where prosperity is shared, where public services are protected and where the next generation are given the best start in life. And we will make the case across the country, door to door, community to community, that only a vote for a Welsh Labour candidate will stop the Tories walking all over Wales.

And so the answer to the question is simple – in Welsh Labour we haven’t got time to navel gaze about the poll.  

We’ve got a country to run and an election to fight.

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