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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Heroes and statistics

An old favourite reared its head again in today's Western Mail - the Welsh heroes poll. Questions remain unanswered as to whether this internet poll was rigged or not. Culturenet Cymru have resorted to the reason of cowards - threats and smears. They are trying to kill the issue off by threatening legal action against the former employee who has offered evidence of a fix and they are seeking to smear me by claiming that I have some personal interest because that same employee once offered to revamp my website. As anybody can see no computer expert would want to be associated with the technical amateurishness of this site but even if David Jones had seen through his offer why is that relevant?

This smoke and mirrors tactic is not worthy of a publicly funded body and no Minister should stand by and let one behave in that manner. There must be accountability for the way that public money is spent and nobody should obstruct that. To do so is to undermine the democratic process. Yet the Culture Minister remains aloof from the whole process and seems unwilling to intervene to get to the truth. Even if Culturenet Cymru are found to be innocent of all the charges their behaviour has convinced me that they are not fit to handle public money and I will be campaigning to ensure that the Government comes around to that point of view.

On the statistics front I am still trying to get to the bottom of the £100 million crime fund promised by Labour in their Assembly Manifesto. We will have to wait for the draft budget before I can be certain how much is allocated to this cause and where it will be spent, however the omens do not look good. When I asked the Finance Minister for details of the fund she gave me seven budget heads that together make up the total. Further questioning however has revealed that on one of those items, Community focussed schools, there is in fact, no budget allocated at all.

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