We must take our unique values, Lloyd George’s values – liberty, equality, and community – values more relevant than ever and set a new agenda for progress in this century

It is easy to lose a sense of perspective when you are in politics. Martin Bell told me a lovely story. He was in his then constituency and a man accosted him.

“Don’t I know you? You are that TV reporter aren’t you?”

“I used to be. I’m your MP now.”

“Oh…you’re out of a job � I�m sorry to hear that.”

It is great to be back in Cardiff and I want to acknowledge and congratulate you on your excellent efforts in the general election and in particular the great success in winning Cardiff Central and Ceredigion.

This is a continuing record of success with the growing base in Welsh councils – with the leadership of four councils now – and real strength in the national Assemble for Wales. A strong base from which to advance.

Although I note from reading an article in The Journal of Liberal History that Wales holds a record for our party. In 1906 the Welsh Liberals achieved an electoral performance never seen before or since. Thirty-three of the thirty-four seats were won in that election by Liberals.

So that is a challenge to us all!

I am serious about my politics and so is this party.

I have always worked hard – as an athlete, as a lawyer, as a politician.

It took three elections to win my seat -I know the value of hard campaigning and hard work.

It took three elections to move from 4th place to 1st place.

Building up strength on the ground – taking control of the Council, recruiting members and energising supporters.

Winning through campaigning.

As you and I know there are no short cuts to success.

So I will use this – my experience, my authority, my energy – to work with you, campaign alongside you as part of a formidable team.

In every generation the shining talents choose one party to make their home.

We are fortunate that this generation has chosen the Liberal Democrats.

Under my leadership talent will be nurtured from all sections of the party in Parliaments, in councils and in Wales, Scotland and in the regions of England.

Working with a re-energised party we will break the old, failed, two-party system.

I am passionate about that, passionate about my politics, determined to lead this party, not for my own sake but for what liberal democracy can achieve.

We have exciting new opportunities as a party.

As Tony Blair fades from the scene � why would people turn to David Cameron, the new Tony Blair? As Tony Blair fades � why would people turn to Gordon Brown, the same old Gordon Brown?

I believe that one of Tony Blair�s worst legacies has been to drive values out of our politics. And now David Cameron is following him down the same road. Both of them offer a managerial and technocratic brand of politics, which forgets about people.

And Gordon’s contribution? Like a Sudoku puzzle he merely adds some numbers.

So we must take our unique values, Lloyd George’s values – liberty, equality, and community – values more relevant than ever and set a new agenda for progress in this century.

We must be the party of ideas, to re-awaken our stale politics and make the twenty first century really the liberal century.
That is why I have set out five key areas for our future direction.
First, I will pursue the war on poverty.

Part of this will be through a massive expansion of social and affordable housing so local people are able to buy and rent houses in their own communities.

Also we must lift those on the lowest incomes from tax and help women who bear the brunt of low pay, poor pensions and inadequate childcare.

We must make a reality of tackling the causes of poverty � with major investment and innovation to tackle health inequalities and raise educational standards.

Second, I want a democratic revolution.

Parliament, fairly elected, Commons and Lords, must hold the Government to account.

Here in Wales I want to see a much more powerful Assembly as the Richard Commission recommended.

Third, tackling the environment and energy crisis we face.

At home we must give a big boost to energy saving and use the tax system to encourage people and businesses to play their part.

Abroad we must work to persuade the United States to take climate change seriously and work with developed and developing nations to take positive action.

On energy we must invest dramatically in renewables and new technology so that we can reduce our dependence on oil and say no to nuclear power.

Fourth, I am determined that Britain must co-operate with other nations to ensure a safer and more secure world.

Make no mistake – I want to bring our troops home from Iraq as soon as possible.

But I am clear that that process should be driven by events on the ground in Iraq, not by arbitrary deadlines marked on a calendar in London.

So let us never lose our hard-won position as the party of credibility, authority and judgement on critical issues of foreign policy.

Fifth, I will reduce the power of the over-mighty state � with community services, locally provided, democratically accountable.

In short, here in Wales locally elected people responsible for local schools, local hospitals, local police and local transport.

Which means no to the nonsense of a single Welsh police force � the structure of policing in Wales should be decided by Welsh people and not by Whitehall.

As a fellow Celt I know it is time to trust people in Wales to make the key decisions about services for themselves rather than wait on bureaucrats in London.

My leadership – values and integrity, judgement and credibility.

Positive policies.

Waging war on poverty.

Cherishing our environment.

Promoting opportunity.

Defending civil liberties.

Championing equal opportunities.

Decentralising power.

Spreading democracy.

Playing a leading role in our world.

A credible, distinctive, principled party.

Working together, going forward.

Not looking inwards, but reaching outwards.

Not a debating society but a party of local and national power.

Liberal Democrats in Government.

Nothing less will do for Wales and Britain.