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Friday, January 02, 2004

Happy New Year

It is amazing what the press ask of us full-time politicians. I have just been rung up by a journalist with the South Wales Evening Post to ask my opinion on Christmas television programmes. For the record I thought that all the channels offered boring, predictable and bland choices, but I am no TV critic, so why ask me? Of course this didn't stop me giving an opinion. Like all politicians I do not mind seeing my name in print and the more varied the experience the better in terms of name recognition.

Sometimes of course we can go too far and make ourselves look like total prats. No more so at Christmas when journalists are all under orders to provide three or more articles on anything they can think of to fill up the pages over the holiday break. Under this category I contributed to two such pieces. I provided comment to a parting shot by Richard Hazlewood of the South Wales Echo on the use of the web by politicians. I also responded to an e-mail from a Western Mail journalist on New Year resolutions. Now this was one of those e-mails that I answered more as a knee jerk reaction than anything else. Try as I might I could not avoid sounding like an anorak and when I saw it in black and white my fears in this regard were fully realised. Fortunately, I was not the worse. My response was "My New Year resolution is the same every year. 'Don't make New Year resolutions because as the Government demonstrates day after day, the setting of unrealistic targets achieves nothing.'"

Some of the best of the others with suitable awards are as follows:-

New Year Anorak was North Wales Tory AM, Mark Isherwood with his pledge to "defeat spin and dogma, to champion honest debate and delivery on the real issues of concern to the people...".

Motorist of New Year was Mid Wales Tory AM, Lisa Francis, with her plea for people, when joining the motorway, to let three people in from the filter lane" first. Glad to see that we are discussing the big issues here.

The award for the politician most-out-of-step with their party has been shared between, South Wales Central Tory AM, Jonathan Morgan, for his otherwise witty quest as a "pro-European" to "assist the French in drinking their wine lake" and his colleague from Mid Wales, Glyn Davies, who expressed a desire to spend more time in his garden so as to achieve "less and better government!"

My own colleague and Cardiff Central AM, Jenny Randerson, gets a special wishful-thinking award for her plea "that all politicians should answer the questions they are asked, not the one they wanted to answer." I shall be watching her interviews more carefully in future.

Finally, a too-much information award to Pembrokeshire Labour AM, Tamsin Dunwoody-Kneafsy.. She told the Western Mail that she wants to "convince the make-up industry to invent self-removing mascara" and to "stop going to bed with bars of chocolate - very bad for the bed linen". Scary!

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