Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Would the last Conservative in the Assembly

Bizarrely a Tory-tabled amendment placed before AMs in the Assembly yesterday got only one vote in favour. Why would the Tories abscond on one of their own motions, leaving North Wales AM Mark Isherwood as the only Conservative to vote in favour?
I think I can shed some light on this. Mr Isherwood was, a Tory AM told me, "the only one paying any attention". Frightening.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Trust the First (Minister)

Go here and click on Rhodri Morgan's link. Someone has tampered with it, and anyone in dire need of the First Minister's biography will instead be encouraged to gamble away their Euros at a German online casino, like a Premiership footballer who, bored in Baden Baden, finds himself with too much time on his hands between Ecuador and Portugal. He fancies his chances.
Who is responsible for this internet sabotage? I swear I never did nuthin.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Brian's button blunder

"It's just as well Wales isn't a nuclear power," one of Tiger Tales' growing army of readers writes.
"Because Brian Gibbons might have just started World War III."
Our correspondent refers, of course, to Brian's button blunder in the Assembly chamber yesterday.
AMs cast votes by pressing a button on their desks. It's very confusing. One button is red and the other is green.
And sadly poor old Dr Gibbons, the Assembly Government's Health Minister, had the misfortune to press the wrong button yesterday.
He was voting on an opposition-tabled demand for a public inquiry into the ambulance service.
The Government, which opposed the idea, would have won the knife-edge vote and torpedoed the inquiry had all Labour AMs pressed the right button.
But they didn't, and thanks to his unwieldy digits Dr Gibbons became the first politician I know of to trigger an inquiry into himself by pressing the wrong button.
When I caught up with him I asked if he was embarrassed. "What do you think?" he replied.
One minute he was angrily denouncing an inquiry into the beleaguered ambulance service. The next the minister was sheepishly admitting his mistake to the rapturous applause of opposition AMs.
But he wasn't the only Labour AM to get it wrong. An Assembly Parliamentary Service spokeswoman said Jane Hutt, Dr Gibbons's predecessor as Health Minister, did not vote at all.
Never mind. At least the Government can stuff the inquiry with a yes man and hope for a white wash.
Hang on. They can't do that either because the Labour AM for Swansea East, Val Lloyd, voted against her group on a separate amendment to create a cross-party panel to choose the inquiry's chairman.
Perhaps Dr Gibbons was dazed by the stunning beauty of Catherine Zeta Jones who he met earlier in the day. She was in Cardiff to visit a children's hospital.
This isn't the first time people have voted the wrong way I understand. But Presiding Officer Lord Elis-Thomas is always quick to dismiss complaints about the voting system. I think it's fair to say he has more faith in the computers than he has in some of the politicians elected to use them.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Not at this address

AMs should this week receive invitations from Welsh Secretary Peter Hain to his summer reception on July 25.
However the invitations have been put in the wrong envelopes.
Rhodri Morgan's has gone to Lib Dem AM Peter Black while, we're told, Mr Black's has gone to Tory AM Glyn Davies. Plaid AM Dai Lloyd was shocked to find an invitation for Brynle Williams when he opened his.
"Maybe it’s fancy dress and you have to come as the person whose invite you receive?," a Lib Dem source says.
Sadly not. The Wales Office says it's a "clerical error".
I'm reminded of the Tory MP who sent me a Christmas card postmarked January 2006.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Morgan responds quickly to sighting of Tony Blair on Severn Bridge

First Minister: Clear Red Water this is.

(Thanks to one of Tiger Tales' many thousands of readers for this alternative caption to this wonderful piece of photojournalism)

Morgan finds solution to smoking ban delay

First Minister: Oi you, put that fag out in my Wales.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Politics is rubbish

Blaenau Gwent is preparing for by-elections following the death of its immensely popular independent AM and MP Peter Law. Labour hopes of regaining the former stronghold were boosted by the first poll in the constituency. It shows people are considering splitting their vote – voting for Mr Law's widow Trish (who is running as an independent for the Assembly) AND Labour Westminster candidate Owen Smith (the lobbyist for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer who hopes to fill NHS founder Aneurin Bevan's old seat).
Having followed both candidates around Ebbw Vale market in the rain, I got the impression that a lot of people were considering voting both ways. But a split ticket will probably become less likely as the campaign drags on.
The election will be both an interesting test of Labour's popularity vs. the-name-of-the-Law, and an opportunity for Rhodri Morgan to regain his Cardiff Bay majority. But such lofty politics turns on the earthiest of issues. The most pressing concerns I heard up there involved the lack of “ash men” (local parlance for refuse collectors) in Aberbeeg.

Morgan's hair-brained scheme

AMs are being encouraged by the Liberal Democrats to donate books to a charity auction. They will be sold to raise money to buy cows for a school in Lesotho. Welsh Lib Dem leader Mike German says his Tory counterpart Nick Bourne has offered to sign a copy of Das Kapital. But Rhodri Morgan has donated Haircutting for Dummies. The book offers tips on “Spreading your Farah Fawcett-like wings”. This picture illustrates why the hirsute First Minister might find value in such a volume.