Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Western Mail Despair.

Been Christmas shopping today - so didn't read the Western Mail until this afternoon, when I stopped for coffee. Wish I hadn't bought it. Its the most despairing issue I've read for a long time. The front page made me spill my cappuccino, given over completely to an editorial that Nick Bourne should go. I don't think I can bring myself to make any further comment on this stuff. Hugely important to me, but the danger of being misread is too great.

Page two and three are just as bad. I was appalled to read of politicians attacking individual AMs of opposing parties. This is nuts. I regret making a negative comment about an AM claiming for a wreath on expenses on my blog. Wish I hadn't. I accept that it was my opinion, but I don't think any political party should be throwing stones at others - just answering for themselves. Today's attacks are directed at Labour AMs, Andrew Davies and Alun Davies. Alun's asked for it of course, because he's been putting himself up to attack Nick. This sort of behaviour will come back to bite him - hard I hope. But I really cannot see anything amiss with what Alun has supposedly done.

At least there will be long-term benefits flowing from all this. Firstly it will introduce a super-prudent approach to expense claiming by politicians (in Wales anyway). When the expense claims that are the subject of today's furore were claimed, it was not thought they would be made public. The searchlight thrown by media examination will prove an effective astringent. And secondly, I cannot see anyone opposing the recommendations which Sir Roger Jones' committee will make about what is an acceptable expenses regime. We should reach a position where the public know and approve of what expenses are available to AMs. And hopefully, we'll never see another edition of the Western Mail like today's.

15 comments:

P-Man, C-Man, W-Man said...

On the plus side, those two sacks of popcorn should be arriving any day now.

Anonymous said...

… and on the down side a Howler is probably on its way to you (from Nick Bourne’s office) … probably time to hide – y don’t u slip in some sheep manure, get in a nice car (with a rear light on the blink), trouser/pants free and get pulled over – take some heat off your leader!

(In Harry Potter, a ‘Howler” is a “bright red letter sent to signify extreme anger”).

Anonymous said...

I try to avoid buying the WM as well, but I usually end up buying the WM on a Thursday in addition to the Glamorgan Gazette.

The standard of journalism is pretty appauling in the GG, spun beyond all recognition!

Look at the hangings in Bridgend, although other counties in Wales have higher rates of male suicide, the Media Wales group have chosen to highlight this, which may or may not have contributed to the problem.

The GG is also very heavily biased towards Labour, to the detriment of the other parties in Bridgend, and probably contributed to the Labour Party regaining control in Bridgend in May this year.

Glyn Davies said...

anon 1 - I thought a 'Howler' was a sort of very noisy monkey. They are an attraction at Fota Zoo in Cork.

And I was in a rather beaten up landrover, and I was fully equipped with underpants, and it was cattle slurry that I slipped into. and I'm supportive of Nick!! In fact you didn't get much right.

anon 2 - I speak as I find, and I find Martin Shipton, David Williamson, Matt Withers, Sally williams, Madelaine Brindley (the people I've worked with) to be fair enough. No complaints myself. Over the years, when I've had stick, I've deserved it.

Mal Yates said...

I don't think I can bring myself to make any further comment on this stuff. Hugely important to me, but the danger of being misread is too great."

I'm pleased you've woken up to this. Your blog and comments in the Western Mail have caused a lot of damage to the Conservative party. I wonder what your fellow Conservatives think of you.

Anonymous said...

Yes one party's politicians criticising another. It's almost like they are meant to scrutinise each others work..

Glyn Davies said...

Mal - I'm surprised that you think my musings should have caused damage. I'm usually told the opposite. It would be a help if you gave me a bit more idea of what opinions have caused this damage. While commenting on issues of the day, I make a real effort to help the Conservative cause - but I know there are those who do not think any candidate should have personal opinions at all.

anon - fair point. Normally, I'd agree, but on this issue, its not party but individual, and there's too much glass around for any party representatives to be throwing stones.

The Half-Blood Welshman said...

Having met the gentleman concerned, any damage to Alun Davies is fine with me - as long as it gets him out of public life faster!

Anonymous said...

well it looks likes the coalition is on again in powys with the Powys independents and the Montgomery independendts about to take control !

what are your thoughts on that ?

Col North said...

Let's be fair to the Glamorgan Gazette. In today's edition all the AMs get a slating. They also all make the situation worse by their own comments. Alun Cairns even claimed £382.50 for a subscription to free newspaper in the Vale. A little strange since he might live in the Vale but he doesn't represent the Vale in the Assembly. What is also strange is that Cairns who lives very close to the Assembly and also has a flat in the Bay claimed more for mileage than Dai Lloyd who lives in Swansea and who it seems went home very night. As for your friend Carwyn, Glyn take a look at its column where he argues that he is out of pocket because he is an AM. If he is the future Leader of Wales then God help us. Questions also need to be asked about the civil servants in the fees office who seem to have not asked any questions about the claims. How can they justify paying Peter Black £273 73 p for an upright vacuum cleaner? The man should learn to use a computer and look for the bargains on the internet. Sadly the loser in all of this is the Assembly and democracy in Wales.

Glyn Davies said...

Half Blood - ironically, Alun is one of the most secure AMs in the Assembly. The only way his position would be threatened would be if the Labour Party won Presceli Pembroke in an Assembly election. Paul Davies is too good for there to be any possibility of that.

anon - I always thought that was the obvious solution, but its never looked on because of 'personality' issues. Must admit I'd be surprised if this were to be the case. I know Councillors are discussing this, but I'm not convinced that there is a will for any change.

Col North - I agree with your last line. I'm not going to criticise any of the particular expenses, but I've commented before that I think the whole thing has been handled appallingly. It has wrought huge long-term damage on the National Assembly, and I'm not sure that many of the AMs can see it. The truth is that most members, including me, will have claimed expenses that many people will disapprove of - but all properly approved. Its only if the claims were based on false information that it becomes a resigning matter. But it was just not acceptable to publish this information without a willingness to answer the questions that the media and the public wanted to ask. Having moved publication from Monday to the Friday, it was madness not to have spokespeople ready to meet the press at the same time as they were launched. There must be many AMs absolutely fuming about the way they are being portrayed.

Shook up P-Man said...

Peter Black got £273 73p on expenses to pay for an upright cleaner. Surely not?

Mal said...

"Paul Davies is too good for there to be any possibility of that."

Mr Davies is an enormous disappointment. Another nationalist Tory.

Glyn Davies said...

Mal - Paul is very proud if his Welshness. He has great committment to the Welsh Language, to Welsh culture and to developing the National Assembly into an effective institution. This makes him a pround Welshman but does not make him a Nationalist. I'm a fan.

Anonymous said...

"I'm a fan."

I'm not.