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Thursday, January 15, 2004

History for the politically correct

The Welsh Assembly has a statutory duty to promote equality of opportunity and quite a lot of members take that task very seriously, some would say too seriously. There are a number of members who think that we go too far. Whatever you think, the Assembly is the most politically correct body I have ever served on. So much so that when one particular Conservative Member became the Chair of a Committee, the female members, fed up of his constant use of Madam Chairman, insisted on referring to him as "Comrade Chair" for months on end. He got the message but still slips back into his bad old ways occasionally. The exchange in the chamber yesterday however, has to be the strangest case of political correctness I have yet come across. Naturally, the attempt to re-write history was made so as to do-down Plaid Cymru but still...

Leighton Andrews: Does the Minister agree that, while Owain Glyndwr's establishment of a Welsh parliament was a major achievement in its time and in its context, the nationalist project to try to remodel Glyndwr's parliament as a precursor to the Assembly is a historical absurdity? Does he agree, given that Glyndwr's parliament was not democratically elected, was not gender balanced, and that it comprised largely of Welsh toffs, that the institution-
Rhodri Glyn Thomas: Owain Glyndwr was a regional member.
The Presiding Officer: Order. This again is an interesting supplementary question.
Leighton Andrews: Does he agree that the institution in our capital city that Glyndwr's parliament most closely resembles is not the National Assembly, but the Cardiff and County Club?
Alun Pugh: It is important that we commemorate the anniversary appropriately, but on the other hand we should not get too misty eyed about what exactly the parliament was. You are right, it consisted entirely of men; it was dominated by the nobility, business interests and one religion; and its early agenda included setting up a Welsh army, a Welsh monarchy and Welsh diplomats. I can see why that agenda appeals to some Members of the Assembly, but it does not appeal to me.

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