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Friday, February 13, 2004


In all of the excitement of the launch of the Liberal Democrat Watch website and the privilege of receiving a comment from the Supreme Leader of the Green Party in Wales (see Thursday 5 February) I forgot to record two momentous events this week. The first of these of course was the 30th Birthday of Bagpuss - and he is still going strong. Bagpuss won a BBC poll of the most popular children's TV programme of all time in 1999. He was invented in 1974 by Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate, the creative team behind Pogle's Wood, Ivor the Engine, Noggin the Nog and The Clangers. Only 13 episodes of Bagpuss were made, even though it was on air for 26 weeks a year over 13 years. The BBC report that in the past four years, fans of all ages have bought up Bagpuss merchandise by the bucketload, contributing over £30m to the UK economy. All of these programmes of course were a major part of my childhood though I was a little old for Bagpuss.

The second event was the final abandonment of the plan to spend £750,000 on purchasing land next to the new Assembly Chamber so as to prevent a six storey office block overshadowing it. Putting aside the fears of one AM who told me that she was concerned that snipers would now position themselves in any new building and pick us off one-by-one (honestly it is true), I welcome the fact that we will no longer be wasting public money in this way. The sad thing is that this commonsense decision did not come from Assembly Members. It seems that ABP's sleeping partners in the ownership of the land saw the publicity, were alerted to the fact that it was to be sold, and vetoed it. Presumably, they considered that it might have a greater value in the future if they held onto it now. I suppose that the fact that Cardiff currently has 500,000 square feet of vacant office space did not impinge on their consciousness, but then they could always put luxury flats there and attempt to sell them to those AMs who want to live near to their work.

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