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To be fair ...

Betsan Powys | 16:24 UK time, Saturday, 6 February 2010

What has this conference been about?

In Nick Clegg's words 'one principle, one value, one hope, one aspiration' and in my words, one f-word: fairness.

This is how it goes: Labour have failed to deliver fairness over thirteen years in government, the Conservatives would never deliver it, Plaid can't deliver it.

Who will? The Liberal Democrats. On taxation, on public spending, the Liberal Democrats.

Kirsty Williams picked up the baton in her speech (Why does she pronounce part-eih and Swans-eih like that by the way? 'It's what angry Llanelli sound like, suggests a colleague.)

"The Tories never shared those values .They never got it. And Labour have long since left them behind". Plaid? They were squeezed into one angry section, dismissed as being "long on nationalist thinking, short on rationalist thinking" - dreamers-up of huge hikes in pensions that prove to the Liberal Democrats that Plaid could not deliver fairness either.

Was it me or did this speech from the Welsh party leader not position the party just that bit further to the left than past speeches? Having avoided the bear trap of abstaining in the referendum trigger vote on Tuesday, avoided being seen to stand with the Tories - a good thing in her party's view - perhaps the new-ish leader felt able to put her own stamp on things and know that she will take her party with her. She's got to do something. The Lib Dems scored well in 2005, very well. Iraq is back on the agenda but the Welsh leader must know she has a fight on her hands to secure the four seats she's inherited, let alone add to them.

The party could have done with her at last night's fringe event - a four party + True Wales debate on the future for Wales. Alun Davies AM, David Melding AM, Dai Lloyd AM and Mike German AM and Len Gibbs of True Wales addressing the Lib Dem faithful. "That's the problem with Welsh politics" said one of those faithful, "not enough middle aged men involved in it".

If anyone needed reminding that a yes vote on Tuesday doesn't mean a yes vote in a referendum, a snapshot of last night's line-up - eloquent as they were - should do the trick.


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