National Assembly Campaign Leader
Together our British engineers, scientists, explorers, writers, diplomats, entrepreneurs. armed forces and our sense of fair play have made a greater contribution to the world than any other country. We continue to set standards that other countries model themselves upon. Our constitution is admired the world over. The British are respected and others look to us to play a leading role on the world stage.
As we approach the new millennium the British identity is as important as ever. The British character that has shaped the past will form the future. Our sense of fair play continues to influence our society with the huge numbers of people who give of their own time to run charities, local institutions, clubs and a whole host of other worthwhile activities.
We will work hard to make sure that devolution does not become an instrument that undermines our British identity and leads to the break up of the United Kingdom.
Neither must devolution become a process that facilitates the creation of political union with Europe. The transfer of power from Westminster to Brussels would destroy our British identity and our British values. The transfer of further powers from Westminster to the Assembly would lead to the fragmentation of Britain making European federalism easier for the government to achieve.
The Welsh Conservative Party supports William Hague in opposing the single European currency during the next Westminster Parliament as part of our next General Election manifesto. We believe that the people of Wales should see the Euro operating in bad times and good before being asked to make a decision on it.
Conservatives want a dynamic independent Britain running its own affairs and not dictated to by Europe. We want to be in Europe but not run by Europe.
I want Wales to continue to play a full part in that dynamic Britain of the new millennium.
Welsh Conservatives believe in working for all of the people of Wales - those who voted no or did not vote in the 1997 Referendum as well as those who voted yes - fairness for North Wales as well as South Wales - fair play for rural communities and urban areas alike - working for non Welsh speakers and Welsh speakers - working for the elderly as well as the young - working for businessmen and women.
Conservatives in the Assembly will be guided by what is fair and reasonable. We will not tolerate cronyism, neither will we stand by and allow sectional interests to determine how money is spent. Every policy and action by the Assembly will have to pass the Conservative "fairness and common sense" test.
We will work for those whose interests are being overlooked. We will stand up to those who put their Party dogmas and political prejudices before the wellbeing of the people. The only Party in the Assembly who will stand up to New Labour is the Welsh Conservative Party.
We will be fair and positive in our approach. We will put people first - all of the people.
We will scrutinise carefully what the Assembly spends on itself Every penny spent on the Assembly and its members is money denied to public services ices like health and education. We will ill keep watch over public money and keep spending under control.
We are absolutely opposed to legislative and taxation powers being transferred to the Assembly. Any attempt to transfer such powers would be unconstitutional and we would demand another referendum.
We will also oppose any attempts to introduce "stealth taxes" by the back door in the form of rebanding properties to generate higher council tax, or underhanded increases in the business rates.
We will not tolerate "junketting" and "jet setting" at the people's expense. We will support what is fair and reasonable, and ensure that there are checks and balances to prevent "high living".
New Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Nationalists have raised expectations of the Assembly beyond all reason. We are told that the Assembly will solve all of Wales's problems overnight. It will not. Promises of a Welsh Utopia are as cruel as they are unfair.
Welsh Conservatives will be straight with the people of Wales.
Fair play for future generations
There is not an aspect of human activity that is not influenced directly by our environment. If the Assembly is to succeed in key policy areas such as health, education, tourism, leisure, and attracting new investment, it must address the problems of the environment.
To be fair to ourselves and to future generations we must guard the environment against a whole host of ills that are within our control.
We will constantly take advice from the environmental sector, both professional and voluntary, on what needs to be done and on the most effective means of maintaining and improving the environment. We accept the advice of advisors to the Government that the commercial release of genetically modified crops should be delayed until the results of Government-commissioned studies on their environmental impact are known and fully understood.
The improper disposal of waste is a blight on many communities and is a priority. We will encourage recycling and insist that local authorities provide adequate recycling facilities for everyone.
We must develop better flood prevention and flood warning systems.
We must examine the cost effectiveness of utilising renewable energy for small and large communities.
The Assembly will take over most of the responsibilities and functions of the Secretary of State including economic development, industry and tourism. Welsh Conservatives will ensure that the assembly gives priority to these key sectors.
Productive small and medium size firms are vital for the success of the Welsh economy. They are and will continue to be central to maintaining employment and increasing prosperity throughout the various regions.
The Welsh Conservative Party has always been the party of small business. We believe in expanding the freedom of the individual, supporting people who take responsibility for themselves and for others, and allowing them to enjoy the rewards of success.
We will make it a top priority to consult with representatives of business about the impact of the Assembly on the interests of business in Wales.
We will ensure that the Assembly does not place any unfair or unnecessary burdens on business.
We will actively support small firms in all regions of Wales.
Fairness throughout Wales
Welsh Conservatives believe it is as important a goal to match GDP and employment levels across Wales as it is to increase the Welsh GDP relative to the United Kingdom.
We will ensure that the expanded Welsh Development Agency places a high priority on developing and strengthening indigenous business.
We will direct the WDA to seek new projects with higher added value output thereby improving the level of GDP.
Welsh Conservatives believe that active farming is the most important ingredient of a thriving rural economy. Without the family farm the Welsh way of rural life including our culture would be destroyed.
Farmers look after the countryside which everyone else enjoys. Tir Gofal is a disappointing successor to Tir Cymen because of underfunding. We believe farmers should be rewarded fairly for their stewardship of the countryside.
The "right to roam" is a matter for individual farmers and those who wish to access their land. Legislation that would dictate to country people, who are fair minded by nature, would be unfair and unnecessary.
Farmers want to be treated fairly - nothing more - and that is what we will demand for them.
Welsh farmers face undercutting from cheap imports which do not meet our high health and welfare standards. The Government should halt imports of all food whose production methods would be illegal in this country.
It is unfair that farmers have to pay inspection charges which are not levied elsewhere. Meat inspection is a public health issue, not a farming issue.
We believe that our farmers face unfair competition and that better information should be provided to consumers. Labelling regulations should be changed to ensure that food products labelled as "British" have been grown here and not simply processed here.
The unnecessary ban on beef on the bone is a scandal. It should be lifted immediately.
We believe the Assembly should do all it can to provide assistance with marketing Welsh farm produce. Welsh agriculture is the jewel in the Welsh economic crown.
Fairness in education means allowing governors, parents and teachers to determine the running of their school, It means giving parents the freedom to choose which school they want their children to attend. We believe schools should receive all of the money to which they are entitled including the budget for school transport. It is not fair that local education authorities retain money for bureaucracy which should be spent on children.
We believe the private sector should be encouraged to take over schools where it can offer improvements and provide free education.
We believe that every school in Wales should provide Welsh lessons up to GCSE; but we also believe it is fair that parents, who think compulsory Welsh lessons during the two years of preparation for GCSE is not appropriate for their children, should have the right to decide whether or not their children should continue to be taught Welsh.
We believe that more children should be encouraged to pursue Information Technology to GCSE level. The links between schools, Colleges of Further Education and business needs to be encouraged still further to ensure that employers can influence the skills children need by the time they look for work.
We will oppose any attempt to abolish 'A' levels or sixth forms.
We believe it is right that gifted children should be treated fairly by offering them opportunities to develop their talent to its full potential. We would introduce a National Scholarship for talented children to attend private sector schools which have established a reputation for excellence in sport. the arts, music as well as academic performance.
Fairness in education also means treating teachers fairly. Teachers who consistently raise standards deserve fair reward. Teachers who consistently fail must be replaced. We believe that the entire structure of teacher recruitment, training, careers and salaries should be reviewed to ensure fairness both within and without the profession.
It is not fair that local authorities are playing politics with the elderly. Residential and Nursing homes in the private sector are not being paid a fair rate for the services they provide whilst places at local authority homes are more expensive. The rate at which Residential and Nursing homes are closing means a crisis is imminent. Local authorities are putting political dogma before the care of the elderly. We believe elderly people who made sacrifices for today's generation deserve fair play and the best care that is available.
Many hospital beds are occupied by elderly patients ready for discharge. We believe that Social Services should contract with private nursing homes to receive elderly patients who are ready to go home - especially at weekends when social workers are not available to receive discharged patients in their homes. This has the added benefit of freeing up hospital beds and helping to reduce waiting lists and waiting times.
Fair play for the carers
We value greatly the contribution of carers and the voluntary sector in the wellbeing of those in need of care. We will implement a National Carers Strategy with the following priorities:
A flexible respite care programme to provide carers with a much needed break; Services and advice for carers who combine paid work and caring, and advice for former carers who want to return to paid work;
A scheme to provide designated carers support staff in each local authority area (possibly through the voluntary sector).
Fair care for the children
We believe that children in care deserve a better deal - improved quality of care, higher standards of education and support when they leave. Protection from abuse is a priority. The monitoring of services and independent inspections should be paid for by the Assembly and not by local authorities so as to guarantee the integrity of independent inspectors.
We are determined to eliminate the corruption and mismanagement in local government that is sadly all too common in Wales. Local authorities dominated by one political party have tarnished the good name of many other hard-working councillors. We shall insist on more rigorous scrutiny, inquiry and accountability to restore confidence in local government and other public institutions. In particular we believe that when a planning authority gives to itself a planning consent it should be called in by the Assembly to ensure that the authority has acted properly and fairly.
We believe that Council Tax should be fair and are determined to prevent local authorities from running away with people's money.
Fairness in housing
It is not right that agricultural land is being used up for new housing when "brown field" sites. are available. We believe that a national register of "brown field" sites should be drawn up, and that all local authority assets be assessed for compulsory disposal.
We believe that agricultural land is our environmental heritage, and a strategic resource whose rate of depletion is unacceptable. It is not fair to future generations to let this continue.
We believe it is fair that local authority and housing association tenants should have the opportunity to buy their own homes. We also believe that the entire stock of local authority houses should be considered for transfer to housing associations.
It is only fair that local communities represented by their town or community councils should have a greater say in local planning matters, It is not fair that local authorities should not consult or ignore out of hand the views of town and community councils. Neither is it fair for local authorities to dictate to town and community councils the outcomes they seek by manipulation of their Party machine.
Fair play for town centres
It would not be fair for local authorities to charge motorists for access to town centres. Many business people are already suffering from high business rates and out of town shopping. We want our rural towns and villages to flourish and prosper. A new "shopping tax" would seriously damage business and rural communities.
It is not fair on our holiday resorts and rural towns that Houses in Multiple Occupancy are allowed to proliferate to the extent that environmental and behaviour standards decline. Local authorities have powers to limit the numbers of HMOs and to close those which are not run properly. The Assembly must ensure that local authorities enforce their existing powers.
We believe that town centres should be "lived in". The private rented sector needs to be encouraged more to make flats available above shops and to develop "brown field" sites. We believe that "lived in" town centres are good for town life and good for business.
Our National Health Service belongs to the people not to the politicians. We believe that local people are best placed to decide local priorities, not Assembly politicians. We are determined to retain and strengthen the existing Health Authorities. Health priorities should be determined locally and not by remote politicians.
It is not fair that politicians fiddle the statistics to create the false impression that waiting lists are falling. Neither is it fair for politicians to decide what drugs a doctor may or may not prescribe. We will not allow political manipulation of the National Health Service.
We believe in local community hospitals. They are what the people want - care close to home.
Fair play for doctors
The General Practitioner Fundholders which the last Conservative Government introduced brought about a huge range of additional services provided at the local surgery. GP Fundholding is now being dismantled and Local Health Groups are replacing them. Family doctors are therefore being elbowed aside and decisions are being taken out of their hands. This is not fair to doctors and not fair to their patients. We will give back to doctors the right to run their own practices.
Fair play for nurses
We believe that the recruitment, training, career structure and pay for nurses needs to be thoroughly reviewed. The shortage of nurses and low morale in the profession requires action. The skill mix that is required these days and the increasing demands made on nurses makes a review urgent.
The condition of local and rural roads is a scandal and a gross unfairness to all motorists. We believe the Assembly must address the issue as a priority.
We will continue to encourage public transport but we are realistic about services in rural areas. It is unfair of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to drivers with higher fuel charges when there is no plan to offer any realistic alternatives.
We are committed to the construction of a road link from the M4 to Cardiff Wales Airport. We support the dualling of the relief road around Newport and the improvement of the road network west of Carmarthen.
We would support appropriate road improvements that would shorten the travelling time between North and South Wales and along the A5.
Fair play for our heritage
Conservative governments have done more to protect and promote the Welsh language and culture than any other government.
The Welsh language and its culture is one of the building blocks of Britain.
Our commitment to build on w hat has already been achieved is unswerving.
Fair play to non Welsh speakers
We believe that non Welsh speakers and Welsh speakers should be treated fairly by local authorities.
Gwynedd's policy of employing only Welsh speakers or those who give an undertaking to learn Welsh is unfair. It is unfair on non Welsh speakers. It is also unfair on the public who are entitled to the best services run by the best people for the job whether they are Welsh speakers or not.
The Welsh have always been a tolerant people and we believe that this policy of "linguistic apartheid" is counterproductive and threatens the social harmony of Wales. The Nationalists have gone too far and are now applying the "English Not".
The National Lottery set up by the last Conservative Government has made a huge contribution to sport and the arts at every level. We believe this should continue without political interference.
Sport and the arts will thrive only if young people are encouraged to participate and to enjoy rewarding recreations. We are committed to encouraging youngsters to become involved. irrespective of their particular skills, and to fulfil their potential.
We will support public and private sector initiatives that seek to involve young people in worthwhile recreations.
These concerns are well justified when one looks at the way that Labour and Nationalist controlled local authorities have behaved.
We recognize also that Wales is very different depending on where one is. North is different from South, East is different from West. There are Welsh speakers and non Welsh speakers, first generation Welsh people as well as those with a long Welsh pedigree.
We Welsh Conservatives want Wales to be a welcoming place for everyone where discrimination of any kind is not tolerated.
We want a confident, forward looking Wales proud of its heritage. proud of its unique identity and proud of its place in the free British family of nations.
These are the goals to which we will work.