Thursday, 19 July 2012

End of term message

There’s always a step in the stride of a politician when there's got good news to declare. Today was such a day as the First Minister  kicked off his end of term press conference in some style. He has a new presidential style media briefing room. 

The room rose from the ashes of the flat that was ones the abode of such illustrious Secretary of States, such as David Hunt. He who, I hear younger readers ask.

Back to the good news.  Well we’re all going to be on a super fast highway by 2015. 

No, he’s not lifting the speed limits on Welsh roads. That would be grossly irresponsible as many of the roads have not improved much since horses drew carts along them. No, what he means is that we’re all going to be on fibre broadband by 2015. 
Even faster speeds than our Olympic athletes I’m assured. Incidentally, he will be visiting the Olympics to fly the flag for Wales. Well, not literally the flag ‘cos the dragon is not allowed but to represent us there as a nation. 
But back to broadband. The Welsh Government has signed a deal with BT which aims to deliver Next Generation Broadband to 96 per cent of homes and businesses in Wales by the end of 2015.
The agreement, depends on those pesky Europeans agreeing to it. But if they do, according to the government’s hype, it will make Wales a global leader in fibre broadband.
New fibre broadband will provide speeds that are approximately 15 times faster than those available in Wales today. There is some uncertainty as to what that means ‘cos from my school maths 15 times no speed is still no speed. But perhaps this high tech jargon does mean something else. When asked the First Minister assured that most wifi “not spots” in Wales would vanish. 
He wasn’t quite as reassuring about mobile phone signals in Wales, but that’s another story. And why would you want to speak to another human when you can play with your computer, anyway.
The cost of it all - £425 million. Creating 50 new jobs and 100 new apprenticeships and protecting 320 existing jobs. 
Talking of jobs. Controversy has risen on the activities of one AM who was moonlighting last Wednesday when his party wanted him to vote in the Assembly. Not only did he not turn up choosing instead to hand degrees out instead. He said if he had turned up he would not have voted with his party. The equivalent of raising two fingers to his new leader. For such he's had the whip withdrawn.

But Carwyn Jones, never one to allow grief to remain private, relished the opportunity to comment on Plaid's little problem.

Warm words were expressed about the qualities of Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas. His values were those of Welsh Labour, apparently. In contrast to the rest of the Plaid Cymru group that voted with those pesky Tories. 
It seemed like the first move in a courtship, but we were assured that the First Minister had not “personally” been in touch with the errant Lord.
Hacks have a habit of raining on a politician's parade. So they questioned the First Minister about health service configuration, cuts to you and me. His answer, they’re necessary, and of course, a better service would result as a consequence.
Finally, he and Cameron disagree about constitutional change in the UK. You may remember that the First Minister wrote to Cameron suggesting that a convention be set up to look at the constitution of the UK.  He never got a reply. 
But when he met Cameron last week he was told, nothing would happen until after the referendum in Scotland. Clearly, the Prime Minister and his government don’t believe in forward planning. It would qualify them for a job with G4S should they leave office.
Finally, just so that you know the slate backdrop in the media briefing room which replaced 1970’s kitsch that was previous Secretary of States’ flat, cost £4500. The lectern £1800. 

But being made of Welsh slate it will last for ever and there will be some mighty announcements made at that lectern in future.... Maybe.


  1. 'The cost of it all - £425 million. Creating 50 new jobs and 100 new apprenticeships and protecting 320 existing jobs.'

    pretty sure the ill fated LG factory in Newport created more jobs for less than that.

  2. C'mon Gareth - put your kneck on the line.
    Do you think Daf El will leave / pushed out of Plaid Cymru by the end of 2012, 13, 14 or never?.
    And do you seriously think that the rumours of him getting a Ministerial role are valid.

    BTW: the slate looks ridiculous - the government needs a new logo to pull these things off and have a more traditional looking one i.e a coat of arms. And also I was always told in art that when designing something, you should never use a different style font. I see this does.

  3. *neck not kneck! (sorry!!)

  4. On the slate, why does the Welsh language bit sit on top of the English language bit? Does it mean Welsh is the more important language in Wales.

    I'd have thought the other way around would have been more politically correct!

  5. kp - as I'm guessing you don't speak Welsh, and so don't find the need to do so, I'd say putting Welsh on top balances things out.

    That is, you can be a Welshman and not speak Welsh but you can't be a Welsman and not speak English. The English have won. Putting Welsh on top isn't too much is it?

  6. Unless Plaid start acting a lot smarter on the issue, they're in danger of pushing Dafydd El out of the party. But I don't see him making a comfortable home in a party that is the most authoritarian and disciplined of all the Assembly parties.