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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

A mystery of timing

You have to hand it to Rhodri Morgan, he knows how to create an impact. Finally sacking Jane Hutt as Health Minister on the first day of the new term was a masterstroke or was it? He had been under such intense pressure from the opposition and his own MPs for so long that the main question on everybody's lips was 'if he was going to give into these demands and not stick loyally with Jane Hutt, then why not do it earlier and save himself and his party a lot of hassle?'

Maybe Rhodri thought that doing it now it would divert attention from Labour's record in the run-up to the General Election and wrong-foot the opposition's preparations for the crucial spring term. Perhaps, he was ordered to do it by the Prime Minister after all. We may never know. However, the one part of the timing that puzzles me is why do it two days before an open cabinet question-time session?

There is certainly no better way to derail a public question time than to sack one of the Ministers involved just before, expecially when that meeting is taking place in her constituency. Rather ironically the Welsh Assembly Government has already forked out thousands of pounds of public money advertising this session in full colour in several newspapers. Included in that advert was a photograph of the whole Cabinet, poised to deal with the questions that the public were preparing to throw their way. The problem is that one of those pictured Cabinet Members, former Business Manager, Karen Sinclair, is no longer a member of the cast. So much for forward planning!

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