I was pleased to see that Kirsty Williams' response to the Labour/Plaid draft Welsh Assembly budget today was a reasonable, measured one.
At the moment, the political debate nationally and in Wales, is rather loud, rather angry, and is some cases rather hypocritical.
The old Punch and Judy style politics of the old, despite the talk of a 'new politics', remains. That for me is down to the Labour Party who can not and will not accept blame for the economic mess that they bequeathed the country back in May. Until they accept responsibility (which of course they won't) then I will take anything that they say on the state of the economy with a whopping great pinch of salt.
But here in Wales, they have got to set the spending priorities along with their Plaid Cymru coalition colleagues in the Welsh Assembly. They've done so today and they've been very reasonable I feel in spreading the pain across the various departments.
Her response has been measured but she has rightly stated where the Cardiff Bay coalition should have done better. She criticises the Labour/Plaid coalition on not bringing the Pupil Premium into place in a Wales where education spending, per pupil, is £530 lower than in England.
She also states that “Despite the drop in unemployment announced in today’s figures, the economic recovery is still fragile. In these circumstances, it beggars belief that the economy and transport department that should be driving the Welsh economic recovery has faced some of the biggest cuts".
I totally agree with Kirsty on this point particularly. What I am most concerned about from today's announcements are the significant cuts in capital and infrastructural spending. Without firm, economic building blocks, Wales' future will remain fragile. Here in west, rural Wales, it is a particular concern.
With a constructive, open and workmanlike attitude, it is our responsibility in opposition as Welsh Liberal Democrats to state where we disagree and what we would do differently. I'm pleased to see Kirsty Williams doing this in such a way today.