This column was published on the Llanelli Star on 16th December 2015
Wales can do better. That’s my simple motivation for getting into politics.
I am a passionate supporter of devolution and I played a leading role in the last referendum as Vice-Chair of the cross-party Yes for Wales campaign. But do I believe devolution has achieved all I hoped it would? No, I don’t.
Devolution has not yet achieved its potential.
There’s no reason why Wales can’t close the wealth gap with England, or lead the way in education. But there’s no point kidding ourselves, after 100 years of economic decline it's not going to be easy or quick; but we can do better.
We need ambition, and we need to always push ourselves to do more. We need to encourage everyone in Wales to point out areas where we can improve. I think criticism is a very healthy and helpful force for change. For my part, I won’t hesitate to point out where I think the Welsh Government can do better. But rather than cursing I’ve decided to try and play my part in doing something about it by standing for election.
There’s inevitably going to be a fair bit of criticism of Labour in the run-up to May’s elections. After 16 years in charge that’s inevitable, and some of it I’ll agree with. That’s why it is important that Labour renews from within, and it’s encouraging that there’s likely to be lot of new blood in the next Assembly. It is important that we have fresh faces in the Assembly, with fresh ideas and new energy.
It’s time we moved on to the next stage of devolution. We’ve established the institutions, now we need to deliver for Wales.