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Thursday, November 06, 2003

Kindergarten or Debating Chamber?

That was the heading on an e-mail I received today regarding a Point of Order made by Labour's Blaenau Gwent AM, Peter Law. To be fair the silliness was started by Conservative, William Graham, in whose seat Peter Law is now sitting following the half-term reshuffle alluded to below. William, as sensitive as ever, was objecting to remarks by the First Minister on Tuesday that all the opposition parties had supported the Golden Goodbyes scheme for Councillors in the Local Government Committee last year. This ignored the fact that the scheme that was passed is now fundamentally different and instead of being a one-off substitute for a pension has become a glorified pay-off to encourage the "dead wood" on Councils to stand aside. William put it to the Presiding Officer that, "In the First Minister's remarks yesterday, he perhaps inadvertently suggested that I had fooled the Committee. That allegation cannot be true, as it would be impossible to fool people with such enormous political experience as Peter Law, Gwenda Thomas or the excellent Minister. Will the First Minister reflect upon his words?" The reply that William got is immaterial as Peter Law then stood up to ask " Further to that point of order, will you confirm that your officials sterilised this area after the Tories moved to the other side of the Chamber? Some of us are decidedly uncomfortable on this side, and I am sitting in William Graham's seat." Sometimes the question does have to be asked - "What is Peter Law for?"

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