Norm spoiling

Speech in Senedd on May 1st 2024 Llywydd, I’ve been struggling to process my feelings about the issues before us today. And this is a speech I would rather have avoided. Immediately on news of the donation coming out I said I thought it was unjustifiable and wrong. That’s a matter of record, and I have not changed my view.    £200,000 is a staggering amount of money, unprecedented in Welsh politics; and over four times larger than the £45,000 spending cap the Labour Party set to ensure a fair contest.   And the fact it came from a waste company with a conviction for damaging the Gwent Levels, at a time some of us were fighting hard to protect this sensitive area, really shocked me - genuinely.   The First Minister has said the donations to his campaign were checked and filed properly with the Electoral Commission and declared to the Senedd. And that there is no case to answer.    But the issue is not whether the paperwork was correct, it’s whether the judgement was correct.

Water problems

Speech to the Senedd on 24th April 2024 in response to the Climate Change, Environment, and Infrastructure Committee report on the performance of Welsh Water I’m very pleased to see the scrutiny of the performance of Dŵr Cymru. There is lots of goodwill towards a company that it is, as it says, for Wales and not for profit. But I do think that at times that goodwill has constrained the scrutiny and challenge that all organisations need. As the regulator Ofwat said to the committee, the not-for-dividend model “shouldn't excuse poor performance and it shouldn't excuse inefficiency”. I couldn’t agree more. Without the pressure and scrutiny of shareholders there is a particular need to ensure there is robust questioning of the company’s performance. I am not convinced that the model of scrutiny of the so-called Members of Dwr Cymru has proven itself. And there are questions to be answered by OfWAT too. It seems to me that the different model in Wales has not had the bespoke engagem

Transport for Wales 2.0

Speech to Transport for Wales senior management at Llys Cadwyn, TfW HQ, in Pontypridd on 6th February 2024 Diolch am y croeso a y cyfle. James Price and I meet regularly, and sometimes it feels like we’re in charge. But it really is a privilege to be in the same room as the people who actually do run transport in Wales. And it’s so nice to see people together. I’m still adjusting to meeting people in the flesh who I’m used to seeing online; I still can’t believe how short everyone is when I meet them! Apart from the ones I already knew were short, obviously (you know who you are). The worst thing about those mass Teams calls is that I can’t see people’s reactions to what I’m saying – to confirm that they are drifting off.  So at least I’ll know for sure today that I am boring you – the people in the room at least. It won’t stop me, but it gets rid of the uncertainty. I know we’ve priced-in that politicians' speeches will be insincere, but I really do mean what I say. And I