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LET'S GETBACK TO OUR ROOTS.

Byline: By Phillip Nifield South Wales Echo

Labour needs to reconnect with its grassroots, Welsh Secretary Peter Hain told the Welsh Labour Conference.

Speaking in Swansea, he said that the party also needed to renew its relationships with the trade union movement.

He said: 'We Labour members are idealists. We want radical change and we want it now. The longer we are in office, the grumpier we get. But the longer we are in office the tougher it gets.

'So we have got to renew our party and bind the leadership back to the grassroots,' he said yesterday.

'We need also to renew our relationship with the trade union movement.

'When I think of trade unions, I don't think of a small group of leaders in the media caricature. I think of the millions of people who make life tick, who care for us, who rescue us. People who we need to build a closer relationship with, helping them to a better quality of life, and helping us as a party to stay in touch.'

He said that the party had to do more to ensure Labour's ambitions matched those of the people of Wales.

'With huge sums already being invested in our public services, the challenge is no longer just about money. It's about delivery.'

In a question and answer session, Mr Hain backed Home Secretary Charles Clarke's proposals to merge the four Welsh police forces into a single unit.

He said that it was necessary to cope with ever more sophisticated criminals, to tackle the threat proposed by terrorists and to deal with major crimes like the Soham murders without affecting community policing.

The Welsh Secretary said that he saw no reason why savings could not be made by the creation of a single force with funds released for frontline policing. 'We are doing it because we are living in a more dangerous world.'
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 25, 2006
Words:316
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