Page last updated at 14:38 GMT, Sunday, 26 April 2009 15:38 UK

Murphy's sermon to party's soul

By Ciaran Jenkins
At the Welsh Labour conference

Paul Murphy
Paul Murphy addressed around 200 delegates at the conference

The final day of Labour's conference fell on a Sunday, so it was fitting that Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy took it as an opportunity to preach to the converted.

It was billed as an appeal to Labour's traditional "values and ideas".

And they came raining down like an April shower.

In the end, "values" beat "ideas" by thirteen references to ten.

"I'm proud that our party is rooted in these Welsh values of community and solidarity, values that our Prime Minister extolled on Friday," he said.

"Because Welsh values are Labour values. And just think of the Labour values that were born in Wales."

Around 200 delegates were seated in Swansea's Brangwyn Hall to hear Mr Murphy's sermon.

And they were buoyed by his appeal to the party's soul.

"We have to roll our sleeves up, get to work," he said.

"Treat people as people and not statistics, and do everything in our power to help those who lose their jobs get back on their feet as soon as possible.

"That is Labour in action - as opposed to Tory inaction."

'Welsh nightmare'

The congregation delighted, too, as the Secretary of State laid into Plaid Cymru, who are in coalition with Labour in the Welsh Assembly Government.

It contrasted starkly with First Minister Rhodri Morgan's speech yesterday, whose attack on Plaid was muted.

While Mr Morgan would only accuse Plaid of a "tactical blunder" in raising the issue of independence during this economic crisis, Mr Murphy claimed "Plaid's separatist dream" would result in an "isolated nightmare" for Wales.

Delegates filed out with the words "go forth and win for Welsh Labour" ringing in their ears.

"Good luck to you all," it ended, making electoral success seem less like a prophecy and more like a prayer.

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