Drakeford launches formal Welsh leadership bid with strong socialist solidarity pitch

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Mark Drakeford AM launching his leadership campaign

Earlier today, Welsh Labour leadership candidate Mark Drakeford AM formally launched his campaign for the leadership of Welsh Labour at a community centre in his constituency saying he is a “21st century socialist” like his mentor and former boss Rhodri Morgan.

Drakeford also expressed strong solidarity with the party’s UK leader Jeremy Corbyn, reminding his audience that he was the only member of the Welsh cabinet to back Jeremy Corbyn in 2015 and that he had “no regrets“.

Mark Drakeford also spoke about the “distressing and draining” time members of the Labour group at the Assembly have faced since the tragic death of Carl Sargeant and the need to reunite and rally them.

The full speech can be downloaded in Welsh or English at the end of this article, but some key extracts are below in both languages:

If I am First Minister, I want to lead a Wales where Government invests in the conditions in which wealth is created – investing in people and in places. But for me that is common wealth, the wealth to which everyone makes a contribution and from which the fruits are then shared out fairly for all.

Inside Government, for 10 years I worked in the office of the then-First Minister, Rhodri Morgan as his main special adviser. It provided me with a unique insight into what it takes to be a First Minister, the pressures which that office brings, and the possibilities it opens. Being First Minister is unlike any other job in Government and I know from the inside.

Since becoming an Assembly member myself, in 2011, I have been Labour’s Health Minister and today, am the Minister for both Finance and Brexit. Whoever is the next First Minister will face the pressures caused by the longest and deepest period of austerity we have ever known. She or he will also take up office just at the point when the Brexit negotiations finally come to a head. Labour’s next First Minister will have to be able to grapple with those enormous challenges from the moment of election – there will be no time to learn on the job.

Everything I have done in taking three budgets through the Assembly, and in dealing with Brexit since June 2016 make me as well prepared as possible to do this job on Labour’s behalf.”

Os mai fi bydd yn Brif Weinidog, yr wyf am arwain Cymru lle mae’r Llywodraeth yn buddsoddi yn yr amodau sy’n creu cyfoeth – buddsoddi mewn pobl ac mewn cymunedau. Ond i mi, cyfoeth cyffredin yw hwnnw, y cyfoeth y mae pawb yn cyfrannu ato a lle mae’r ffrwythau yn cael eu rhannu yn deg ymhlith pawb.

Y tu mewn i Lywodraeth Cymru, bum i’n gweithio am ddeng mlynedd yn swyddfa’r Prif Weinidog, Rhodri Morgan fel ei brif gynghorydd arbennigol. Rhoddodd berspectif unigryw i mi o’r hyn y mae’n ei olygu i fod yn Brif Weinidog, y pwysau sydd yn dod fel rhan o’r swydd honno, a’r posibiliadau y mae’n eu cynnig.

Mae bod yn Brif Weinidog yn wahanol i unrhyw swydd arall yn y Llywodraeth, fel y gwn o’r tu mewn. Ers dod yn aelod o’r Cynulliad fy hun, yn 2011, yr wyf wedi bod yn Weinidog Iechyd i Lafur ac heddiw, dwi’n Weinidog dros Cyllid a Brexit. Bydd pwy bynnag fydd yn Brif Weinidog nesaf,  yn wynebu’r pwysau a ddaw yn sgil y cyfnod dyfnaf o gynni yr ydym erioed wedi ei weld.

Bydd hi neu ef hefyd yn dod i’r swydd yn union pan fydd trafodaethau Brexit yn dod i fwcwl. Bydd yn rhaid i’r Prif Weinidog Llafur nesaf, allu ymdopi â’r heriau enfawr rheiny o’r eiliad gyntaf yn y swydd – bydd dim cyfle i gynefino. Mae pob un peth yr wyf wedi’i wneud wrth fynd a tair cyllideb drwy’r Cynulliad, ac wrth ddelio â Brexit ers mis Mehefin 2016, yn fy ngwneud mor barod ag sy’n bosib i wneud y swydd hon ar ran Llafur Cymru.”

Download the full speech in Welsh/English

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Welsh Labour members consider Mark Drakeford an easy choice over his more centrist opponent, but until recently the ‘electoral college’ election system was expected to make it hard for him to win. However, the recent decision by a special conference in Cardiff to switch to the long-awaited OMOV (one member, one vote) system has drastically improved Drakeford’s chances.

Mae aelodau Llafur Cymru yn ystyried Mark Drakeford fel dewis hawdd dros ei wrthwynebwyr mwy canolog, ond tan yn ddiweddar roedd hi’n disgwyl fod y system etholiad ‘coleg etholiadol’ yn mynd i wneud hi’n anodd iddo ennill. Fodd bynnag, mae’r penderfyniad diweddar gan gynhadledd arbennig yng Nghaerdydd i newid i’r system hir ddisgwyliedig UAUP (un aelod, un bleidlais) wedi gwella cyfle Drakeford yn sylweddol.

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  1. Not being Welsh I confess that I’m not really arsed about the Welsh Assembly. No disrespect intended.

    For me, the Welsh (Westminster constituencies that contain them) seriously need to get the likes of (but especially) kincock, smith & bryant out.

    Rodents like them are austerity apologists (amongst other things) and do Wales a disservice.

  2. The trouble is he is part of the Welsh establishment having been in office for years. The standard of health, education and transport/communications in Wales is the lowest in the UK. Welsh Labour has been too much of a servant to government in London cutting their budgets all the time and trying to cover up for it.

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