Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Euphamism watch

Here is a delightful example of how to combine political doublespeak with the British gift of making the best of a bad bunch.
On creating a "low-carbon economy", the Assembly Government's science policy, published today, says: "The geographical location of Wales means that it benefits from extensive marine resources, a high-wind regime, significant opportunities for forestry and energy crops and substantial rainfall."
In other words, the weather's sh!t.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Mandate with destiny

Fascinating comments by Captain Morgan in the chamber yesterday.
Pressed on how the new devolution settlement will work, he said Parliament will not simply “rubber stamp” all applications for law-making rights forthcoming from the Assembly.
Heads were already being scratched when the FM rose for questions yesterday, following Dafydd El's ambitious prophecy that the Assembly will make 18 such applications a year.
Interpret his words as you will. Perhaps Rhodri is trying to put the frighteners on the Lib Dems, saying that a coalition with Labour would give a better quality mandate - to use his phraseology - than the mandate of a Rainbow coalition.
The First Minister said: "When you put something you must show that it has been in your manifesto. You must show that manifesto has been supported in getting your majority here.
"Of course if it was a coalition government it would be manifestos I suppose.
"But really it's the quality of the mandate because that's what gives the authority to this body to say to Westminster this is what the people of Wales want."
He added: "We are absolutely clear that Parliament isn't going to simply rubber stamp every application that comes from this body."

Spotted in the Senedd

Less than a year old and shortlisted for design awards and it's already time for cosmetic surgery.

Friday, November 17, 2006

One in the eye for English

As a trainee journalist I once wrote a piece so overburdened by intellectual ambition that my tutor said it made him want to stab himself in the eye with a knitting needle.
In other words, keep it simple. It's the best advice I ever had.
The lesson sprang to mind this week when Labour AM Denise Idris-Jones made an interesting speech about culture - interesting, but there's a prize for anyone who can tell me what this means: “We use quality as our yardstick. We use it to evaluate the present and frame the future.”
Welsh culture is apparently essentially "quality based". I beg to differ.
Devolution has provided an outlet for some particularly odious jargon. Without doubt the best, or worst, example of this, and possibly the most heinous crime to befall the English language, is contained within the Welsh Baccalaureate. Its maths component is called "Application of number". I suggest the person who concocted this sentence undergo a course called "Application of knitting needle".

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Has Environment Minister Carwyn Jones got a photographic memory?

He has just recited his route to a quarry in Wrexham in astonishing detail to prove to Plaid AM Janet Ryder that he had been there, eliciting a round of applause from the Labour benches.

Perhaps it was one of those "you had to be there moments", but it was quite the most bizarre episode I have seen in the Assembly.

Meanwhile the below mentioned row between Dafydd El and John Marek spilled over into the chamber in what was quite the most embarrassing episode I've seen in the Assembly.

But both episodes are outdone in both regards by what I'm told happened in the Commons today - Jack Straw mime-hugging a hoodie.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Did I dream it?

On Tuesday, Presiding Officer Lord Elis-Thomas used his casting vote, in accordance with standing orders, to sink the Government's business statement because a vote of AMs was tied 29 all.
But he did so “with a heavy heart”, he said. Or I, and others, thought he said it.
A quick glance at the Record of Proceedings, the political equivalent of the Beano, shows the comment to be omitted.
How strange?
Is this another example of him falling out with his party over its conduct on the Assembly budget. Or perhaps I dreamt the whole thing.

Update: Dr Marek is not happy.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Where W treads, Rhodri dreads to follow

Not blogged for a while - been on half-term holiday, which I spent observing the run up to America's Congressional elections while visiting a friend in New York.
The bile which American candidates hurl at each other is astonishing. The defamation laws of this country would not allow it.
However, I was interested to note the average American is frankly fed up with the attack advertising. Many of them say they can't be bothered to engage with politics, or bothered to vote, because for them, politics merely amounts to a stream of very expensive television adverts in which politicians do their best to out-dis each other.
That sort of conduct doesn't prosper over here. Michael Howard's denunciation of Tony Blair as a liar flopped at the last general election. This despite the fact that many, if not most people, feel the Government was economical with the actuality when it presented its prospectus for war. We prefer – or at least say we prefer - our politicians to abide by the political equivalent of the Queensbury rules, not Fight Club.
And American politics has opened up a new dirty battle front – Wikiactivity. Candidates' staff log on to open-access encyclopaedia Wikipedia and doctor their opponents' entries. The New Yorker calls it 'astroturfing' – a phony grass-roots campaign.
Democrats are racing to victory because voters are using the election as a mid-term rebuke of George W Bush and his increasingly unpopular war.
Will Welsh voters do the same when they go to the polls in May? Rhodri Morgan must fear that they will. He said Labour failed to regain Blaenau Gwent earlier this year because voters "were angry about everything from pot holes to Iraq".