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Vaughan Gething: How will Welsh Labour change under his leadership?

Vaughan Gething with his son Isaac at Cardiff University
Vaughan Gething with his son Isaac at Cardiff University

At the Welsh Labour leadership results event, party activists could barely complete a sentence before two words came tumbling out consecutively: general and election.

Their eyes rising towards that horizon within a beat of Vaughan Gething's victory being announced.

The gathering, at Cardiff University, had the vibe of a weekend coffee morning, informal and relatively low-key.

Said beverage was available from flasks on a table, with the wannabes and their supporters mingling freely.

Mr Gething's wife, Michelle and their nine-year-old son, Isaac, happily chatted to reporters - Isaac savvily clutching a book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, in case dad's work thing on a Saturday dragged on a bit.

Mr Gething senior represents a generational and presentational leap from his predecessor Mark Drakeford.

Labour's new leader here relishes the public stage and appears determined to have a punchier presence.

He talks of wanting to see a "confidence" in Wales's self-expression.

And yes, his high rhetoric is in marked contrast to the studious, former academic Mr Drakeford.

Within minutes of his victory, the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was on the phone to Mr Gething.

Both men are aware Labour's long governing record in Wales will be further scrutinised before polling day.

And, like all long governing records, there is plenty that critics can pick away at.

The bigger picture

It will be interesting next to see how Labour in Wales responds to Mr Gething as their new leader.

There was a lot of talk this weekend about the "Labour family". But things felt pretty scratchy in those moments after the announcement.

The loser of this vote, Education Minister Jeremy Miles, brushed past us reporters asking for a word without so much as offering public congratulations to his rival. He left pretty sharpish out of a back door.

Mr Miles later managed to type the words "I congratulate Vaughan" on social media, but rather spikily in the same post observed that in politics "trust must be continually earned".

This sounds rather like a barb at the biggest flashpoint of the leadership contest.

Mr Gething has found himself struggling to escape questions about a £200,000 donation he accepted from a company owned by a man twice convicted of environmental offences.

Vaughan Gething walking to the podium after being elected as the next First Minister of Wales
Jeremy Miles, on the right in a navy suit, applauds as Vaughan Gething walks past

Privately and publicly, senior Labour figures have pondered what this says about their new leader's judgement.

And despite the wads of cash his campaign had, he only just won. Mr Gething told me donations were "an indivisible part of modern politics".

On that point, he's undeniably right. Just ask Frank Hester and the Conservative Party.

Finally, there is a bigger picture point worth pondering after all this.

In recent weeks, there has been an angry political conversation involving race and religion.

Politics finds its expression - articulating, reflecting society's concerns and hopes - in a myriad of ways.

And within a few days there'll be a black Welsh first minister, as well as a British Asian Hindu prime minister.

A British Asian Muslim First Minister of Scotland, Humza Yousaf. Plus, a Catholic First Minister of Northern Ireland, Michelle O'Neill.

The biographies of these leaders - as well as that wider debate - all portraits of the contemporary United Kingdom.