In yet another shameless Private Eye rip-off, we are proud to begin another occasional series. This week it’s the diaries of Lee Waters, aged 42 and a quarter, as told to Y Cneifiwr.
Back from an exhilarating and historic spring conference in Llandudno. Lovely though the Venice of the North may be, it is not a patch on Llanelli where I may or may not have lived ever since I left the ranks of the Young Conservatives Young Labour.
I shall never forget the tear stained faces of all those rank and file third sector lobbyists and consultants as Carwyn told us that this was to be his last conference as First Minister.
It was a privilege to see history being made, and while it is too soon to form a firm view about Carwyn’s legacy to the nation, something tells me that he will not be joining Ramsay Macdonald, Gordon Brown and my old friend Aneurin Bevan in the Pantheon of the Greats.
Sadly his final term in office was marred by tragedy when he failed to appoint me to his cabinet, but he nevertheless leaves a towering legacy in the form of the Allotments Aspiration Order (Wales), the Landfill Tax (Administration) (Wales) Supplementary Order, and more recently the Wales Brexit Continuity (Abject Surrender of Powers) Bill.
Our thoughts must now turn to who will fill those very large shoes, and it is vital that we have more than two candidates and a proper debate. Mark Drakeford has left an impressive legacy in our NHS, and Vaughan Gething and Eluned Morgan would also have my support should they decide to stand. I am proud to pin my colours to their masts.
But perhaps it is time for a younger candidate from the progressive wing of the party, someone with a vision and ideas which will enable us to capitalise on the challenges of the white hot heat of the digital revolution. Do I hear the wingbeat of destiny calling on me to step forward?
Before all that, we need to address how we elect our leader. The current system and One Member One Vote both have their attractions. It is essential that the voices of our friends in the unions and AMs and MPs are given due weight. OMOV certainly has much to recommend it, but I cannot help asking why we would want to copy the Nationalists and give everyone equal voting rights.
On balance, I suspect that a combination of the current electoral college system and OMOV would be the best way forward.
There, I’ve said it. And now the brickbats will rain down on me for having the courage to make a stand.
As a member of the Assembly’s Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee, I take my duties seriously and spend part of my evening reviewing the output of S4C. Part of their recent peak time offering was a drama series featuring a woman vicar who talks to dead people, and a reality show in which various so-called celebs try to herd some pigs.
I ask you.
As an ordinary working class Llanelli lad I like nothing better than to sit down with a few cans on a Saturday night to watch Ant and Dec or Cilla. But what do we get on S4C? Siân Cothi driving a JCB. This may do it for the Nationalist elite, but I find it hard to justify supporting calls to stop more cuts to the channel’s budget.
Cue a deluge of online abuse from Cymdeithas trolls.
The Reform Think Tank names me “Reformer of the Week” following my speech to the Assembly in which I said that the advance of digital technology and automation is a force to be understood and harnessed rather than rejected.
Me looking into the future
This shows that you don’t need a flashy Harvard degree to carry out blue sky thinking, and while the Nationalists hanker for a return to the Celtic mists of the middle ages, my vision is for a revolution in education so that weensure that we’re preparing young people for roles that do not yet exist in a future we can barely conceive of five or ten short years from now. While I am a strong supporter of Welsh medium education, so long as it does not interfere with the rights of dog walkers, I couldn’t help noticing recent damning criticism from Estyn that two thirds of Welsh primaries are not up to scratch when it comes to being at the leading edge of the digital revolution. This must change, and we must embrace what we cannot yet know. Robots and virtual reality are the way forward, and will free up valuable resources. Who needs new roads around Llandeilo when we will soon be able to travel anywhere we like at the speed of light and in virtual real-time from the comfort of our own homes? In farming Welsh agriculture must embrace Big Data to transform how we produce food. When Mrs Trellis buys a dozen eggs in Porthmadog, a stimulating electronic buzz will prompt hen number 756342 at MegaFarm plc to begin a new supply chain cycle. Instead of condemning people to boring and repetitive jobs, robots will free up nurses and GPs in our health service. Nurses performing bed baths and rectal thermometer checks, and GPs carrying out prostate examinations will seem as old fashioned as Florence Nightingale and her lamp when RoboNurse takes over. And I’m sure that they could be programmed to be bilingual as well. This is how we will transform the NHS. But what will I get for setting out my bold and brave new vision? A torrent of abuse, that’s what.
Tory cuts and mismanagement of the Welsh NHS lead to an announcement by Hywel Dda that Prince Philip Hospital could be downgraded. I take to the streets with Nia who has just got back from a trip on one of our Trident subs.
Close Withybush and Glangwili if you like, I tell Mrs and Mrs Evans of Dafen, but hands off Prince Philip.
I make a note to tell Vaughan all about my ideas for RoboNurse, and stand by for the usual tidal wave of Nationalist attacks on my Twitter feed.
And so ends another week in politics. These are challenging times, and never has the country been more divided, which is why I seek always to be a bridge builder. It is therefore with a heavy heart that I note once again that the nationalists are cynically trying to bring politics into the future of our hospitals in the Hywel Dda region.
Meanwhile their banner waving and hysterical cyber trolls allege that Carwyn has sold Wales out to the London Tories for “a handful of magic beans”, whereas I know, because he told me, that he has secured exciting and as yet unspecified new powers in return for his statesmanlike consensus building.
And on that note I am sure that I have once again made myself a target for all those bitter and twisted nationalists with chips on their shoulders who have nothing better to do waste their time on Twitter.