Welsh Labour’s unparalleled success over the last two decades will take centre stage in a major report released for the UK Labour Party conference today.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has been cast in the position of heading up a Labour initiative to promote the party’s successes as Labour go into the conference in Brighton divided.

Drakeford and party chair Anneliese Dodd have brought together Labour representatives in local, regional and national government across the UK to release a new report showcasing the “bold, ambitious and radical change that Labour in power is delivering”.

Stronger Together: Labour Works, released on the eve of the Labour Party conference, brings together examples of what the party describes as the “practical and ambitious work to build a fairer, greener and more secure future for the country.”

In the foreword of the report, Mr Drakeford, says: “When a political party has been out of power, at the UK level, for an extended period, the soul-searching is obvious and necessary.

“The temptation to look at the world through a Westminster telescope and to ask, repeatedly, “what went wrong?” is entirely understandable.

“Instead of focusing on the deficits, it [the essay] looks at Labour’s many success stories across England, Scotland and Wales.

“These successes are important for a whole host of reasons. In themselves, they demonstrate the vital difference that Labour can – and does – make, when in power.

“Wherever people have put their trust in the Labour party, it has been repaid many times over by the practical and authentically Labour actions, which only Labour can deliver.”

Mark Drakeford has become a bit of a poster boy for the UK Labour Party, held up by both the left and the centre as an example of where Labour works.

For too long, Labour members have focussed on the party’s divides and differences within, as opposed to celebrating its successes. All the while, Conservative governments have managed to rule through their own stormy waters.

While Mr Drakeford’s statement is strong on words and rhetoric, the essay risks being overshadowed by the storm engulfing Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership of the party.

The Brighton conference, which runs from tomorrow to next Wednesday, has been described as Starmer’s make or break moment.

His time in the UK Labour hot seat has been stalled by a lack of direction, questions about his leadership and the pandemic.

READ MORE: Is Starmer facing his Kinnock moment?

After a summer where he travelled the country meeting ‘real people’, his preparations for the conference have hit waves.

As the country’s eyes were narrowing on the UK Government’s ‘Winter of Discontent’, all of a sudden attention and energy turned to Labour party structures as party insiders made the case for internal reforms and the reintroduction of the electoral college for leadership elections.

Sir Keir himself was said not to be particularly interested in controversial rule changes that would reform the ‘one member one vote’ method of electing the party’s leader, but it caused a Twitter storm.

Although Labour MPs moved to support the move, party activists (many loyal to ex-leader Jeremy Corbyn) and politicians in Wales tugged at their hair in bewilderment.

In a tweet, Alun Davies, Labour Senedd Member for Blaenau Gwent, said: “This is the needless result of this nonsense…. Polarised arguments when we should be taking on the Tories.

“And people wonder why UK Labour can’t win elections. Pure political incompetence.”

Beth Winter, MP for Cynon Valley, tweeted: “There are reports that the Labour leadership wants to move away from One Member One Vote for leadership elections, handing huge amounts of power over to MPs.

“Members are the heart and soul of our party and must all have an equal say in the party's future.”

READ MORE: Labour, Wales, the union and the constitution

People here in Wales also pointed to the fact that Mark Drakeford was elected Welsh Labour leader on the one member one vote system. The same Mark Drakeford being held up the shining light of Labour success.

Mr Drakeford himself is a long supporter of the method of electing leaders. One again, clear red water between UK and Welsh Labour.

Then, earlier this week, there was Sir Keir’s mammoth 11,500-word essay on what he stands for and how he wants to change the UK.

Published by the Fabian Society think tank, Sir Keir sketched out many of the themes that are likely to feature in his all-important party conference speech, saying he wants Labour to be "Britain's bricks and mortar".

While some soaked up what was included in the essay, other eagle-eyed observers turned their attention to what was omitted.

First up, the word ‘Wales’, which features just once in the 12,500 words.

On ITV Wales, Starmer defended that fact, saying: “The essay is about what matters most to working people across the United Kingdom.

“Wales is deeply reflected in the piece because it is people in Wales who influence my thinking over the course of the summer. It has Welsh fingerprints all over it.”

The back and forth around how many times Wales should be mentioned has ensued on social media.

Some say it’s indicative of a ‘unionist party’ that thinks of Britain first and England second. Others argue that offence has been too easily taken.

Another omission from the essay were the words ‘Green New Deal’.

Championed by left-wing activists as a solution to the climate crisis and the creator of new quality jobs, many believe it should be at the heart of Labour’s vision for the UK.

There are pages dedicated to climate change, but the lack of a specific policy around a ‘new deal’ has raised eyebrows and suspicions, especially as Anneliese Dodds, chair of Stronger Together, referenced Labour administrations such as the Welsh Government and said: “We can choose a path to a greener, fairer and more secure Britain under Labour.”

Whatever is or is not in the essay, there’ll be even more scrutiny of Sir Keir’s speech.

The fact Mr Drakeford is present and also wooing on his own stage presents as much of a potential problem for Starmer as it does a vision for the party and its members.

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