Friday, October 26, 2007

This man is not a minister

Caption comp time ...

And can someone please explain why Carwyn 'Dr Dolittle' Jones has this poor kangaroo in a Burberry sack?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dismember for Preseli Pembrokeshire

Tory MP Stephen Crabb here says the United Kingdom is being "slowly dismembered and hollowed-out" by devolution. He also has a subtle dig at his own party's manifesto for May's election.
It is interesting, however, that his answer is not to roll back devolution - "Abolition of the devolved institutions is not currently saleable" - but more devolution. He advocates a law-making body for England, perhaps with its own First Minister.
Even if they don't all agree on the way forward, it seems all Conservatives can at least agree that some form of devolution is here to stay.

Quote of the day

Rhodri Morgan, on greeting a delegation from Timbuktu to the Senedd:

"We may not have won the Rugby World Cup, but this is a great honour."

Charity caption competition

A message from David Melding's office:

We are running a caption competition to raise funds for Children in Need on 16th November.

You are invited to print the photo, think of a suitable caption, write it on the back and return it to me (Sarah Sharpe, at DM's office), together with £1 donation for each entry.

There will be a prize for the winner!

Good luck and many thanks in anticipation of your support.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Just seen Plaid Cymru's "lines to take" for this afternoon's plenary business. They were accidentally sent to the Lib Dems. Always interesting to get a behind-the-scenes look at how political parties operate.
Saw rugby legend Ieuan Evans on his way into the Assembly this morning. Anyone know why he was here?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Two Bay, or not two Bay?

I just phoned the Assembly operator to ask to be transferred to an AM's office. She told me I needed "Colwyn Bay".
"But AMs' offices are in Cardiff Bay," I said.
"Yes, but the switchboard is in Colwyn Bay."
Having been transferred to Colwyn Bay, a lady with a north Walian accent said: "This is the information line and booking line."
It's all a bit frightening.

PS. The person I actually wanted wasn't in.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Just had a look at the House of Lords' expenses for 2005/06.
Assembly Presiding Officer Lord Elis-Thomas attended 21 times and claimed £10,861.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Deal or No Deal?

Writing about the comprehensive spending review yesterday was a bit of a nightmare. You spend ages preparing for it, doing all the maths, thinking about an intro to the story - then it all goes out the window when you try to reconcile the competing claims about what it means for Wales.
Government spending, you see, is a relative concept.
First out of the starting blocks is the Wales Office proclaiming that Wales is getting a 2.4% spending increase, which means an extra £4.3 billion from the Treasury, which means we have never had it so good.
Then comes the opposition with its claims that this is the worst settlement since devolution, that actual growth is much slower than the Treasury claims and that Wales is going to be worse off because the Government is massaging the figures.
Last but not least comes the Assembly Government with a "don't panic" message. It's "very challenging", says Finance Minister Andrew Davies. But he knew it would be and remains confident he will be able to pay for all the One Wales promises.
His budget will grow from £14 billion this year to £16 billion by the time of the next election. To put that into perspective, in its first eight years the Assembly's annual budget doubled from £7 billion. Good deal? Bad deal? The Treasury pays your money and you takes your choice.