Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Team Talk

EQUALITY Minister Jane Hutt said a strange thing on Tuesday when reflecting on the need for everyone in Wales – including miserable journalists – to celebrate the Commonwealth Games success of gold-medal winning swimmer David Davies.
“It's nice when Team Wales can include the media,” she said.
Naturally everyone here is very proud of David, who is one of Ms Hutt's constituents. But what exactly is Team Wales? And how does one join? Do we have to line up against a wall while Rhodri Morgan picks a team, leaving the rubbish minsters, swimmers and journalists on the sidelines?
Reporters were not able to pose these supplementary questions as Ms Hutt had to dash off after a very brief briefing.
Team Wales is the name of the Welsh team at the Commonwealth Games. Why the Welsh team cannot be called “The Welsh Team”, or any other grammatically correct variation, is another question Ms Hutt was not asked.
But there is another group rejoicing under this name. This Team Wales is invoked by the Welsh Assembly Government when things go wrong. No announcement of job losses can be made without Economic Development (soon to be Enterprise) Minister Andrew Davies summoning Team Wales.
Team Wales is like the A-Team of the Welsh economy, springing into action at times of crisis to perform the economic equivalent of turning a rusty old combine harvester into a tank. My best guess is that this Team Wales is meant to describe the cooperation between the Assembly Government, councils, quangos and enterprise companies.
To which Team Wales is Ms Hutt referring? It's all very confusing, and just goes to show how an aversion to grammar could lead to the nightmare scenario of journalists swimming for Wales in Melbourne while swimmers are asked to attract inward investment.

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