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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The social life of an Assembly Member

Yesterday's Plenary was dull in comparison to recent meetings. In particular the recent pattern of minority party debates leading to Government defeats was broken, following the tabling of a motion by the Tories that was so bland that even Labour found it within themselves to vote for it.

Given that half term is almost upon us a bit of fatique on the part of the various parties is forgiveable. There was an element of winding down in some members' contributions and even references to leisure pursuits of the sort that single out politicians as unique. Caerphilly AM, Jeff Cuthbert started it all off by telling us about his choice of evening companions:

Jeff Cuthbert: First Minister, do you agree with me that the statement made at last night’s annual awards of the Heating and Ventilation Contractors’ Association—[Laughter.] I do not see what is amusing about that. It was an excellent evening to award apprentices—[Interruption.]

This was a matter he referred to again today, when it was obvious that he still could not see what had caused the merriment amongst opposition members. Personally, I think it was the monotone way he related the tale that made it funny, as if he were duplicating a Monty Python sketch, but enough of the Spanish Inquisition for now.

When it came to sum up the Tory debate on nurse-led walk-in centres, David Melding also had his mind on leisure pursuits, this time it was golf:

David Melding: I cannot remember how many golf clubs you can have in a golf bag—I think that it is 14—but the Minister is a seven-club golfer at present, which is probably being generous. He does not have a driver or a putter, which puts him at a disadvantage.

One wag suggested that perhaps the Labour Health Minister was wielding a red wedge but as somebody who agrees with W.C. Fields that a game of golf ruins a good walk, the whole dialogue was lost on me. What I did understand however was David's backhanded compliment towards his colleague, David Davies AM MP:

My great friend, David Davies, referred to ‘brass primates’; I am not quite sure whether he meant bishops or our simian friends, but it was a typically robust contribution, which ran the risk of stimulating pedantic Labour opposition to our motion. However, thankfully, that did not come about. The consensus that has been established has survived even one of David’s purlers as far as a partisan contribution is concerned. We are very proud of him for the way that he can put our case so directly.

Clearly, if oratorical performance is a factor in the Tory leadership contest, then the wrong David Davies is standing for election.

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