Education 'key' to Wales' success, says first
The key to Wales' success as a country depends on the education and skills of its people, says the first minister.
Carwyn Jones, in his new year message, said the assembly government would continue the task of building the economy to ensure "prosperity for all". He said there had been tough economic challenges in 2009 but "our core values of social justice have served us well". Other party leaders in Wales also addressed the "devastating" effects of the recession in their messages.
Mr Jones, who became first minister and leader of Welsh Labour little under a month ago, said he was "very proud to have this opportunity to serve the people of Wales".
"In 2009 we faced tough economic challenges, but our core values of social justice have served us well," he said.
"I was brought up to respect the idea of chwarae teg, fair play - and now we are able to ensure Wales' strong sense of social responsibility and justice guide our young democracy.
"By working together in that spirit we are weathering the storm, and during the coming year we will continue the task of building the economy we need to ensure prosperity for all."
He said that education and skills were crucial to the country's success and added that despite budget pressures "we are determined to strengthen still further the valuable work of our schools, colleges and universities".
However, Welsh Liberal Democrats leader Kirsty Williams referred to "devastating" cuts in Welsh colleges and universities - and talked of how the "story of 2009, for too many in Wales" was the recession.
"In Wales and in Westminster, Liberal Democrats are putting forward radical policies that can change Wales for the better," she said.
"A year ago, I suggested that 2009 would see a battle of ideas.
"I was wrong, in so far as it takes at least two parties to tango and, on all the major issues, Liberal Democrats have provided the only substantive contribution."
Ieuan Wyn Jones - deputy first minister and leader of Plaid Cymru, Labour's partner in the assembly government coalition - used his new year message to highlight what he called the "stark choice" that Wales faced in the UK general election in 2010.
Mr Jones said: "With the possibility of a hung parliament on the cards, only Plaid will be putting Wales at the top of the priority list in London.
"Be under no illusions, only Plaid will be demanding a fair funding settlement for Wales' public services at any negotiations.
"We will put protecting jobs, hospitals, schools and care services for our most vulnerable first."
Welsh Conservative assembly leader Nick Bourne also talked of the forthcoming UK election.
"This year has shown the Conservative Party to be changing too - and just how far we have come in the last 10 years," he said.
"Our victory in the European elections in June nailed the lie that Wales will always be Labour.
"The fact is, only the Conservative Party can beat Labour in Wales."
Comment: rather a rash comment, Mr Bourne?
Friday, 1 January 2010
Education,education, education - did we hear that before?
In Ireland Gaelic schools "gaelscoileanna" are enjoying a rising popularity. Just as in Wales the Welsh schools are very popular and have an excellent record.