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Friday, November 11, 2005

The oldest swinger in town

There has been a lot of discussion about the infamous Blackberrys that were issued to each Assembly member. Shortly, after I used mine to blog from the chamber an edict arrived from the Presiding Officer forbidding such activity. This was despite the fact that the PO himself had been observed referring to his device whilst in the chair the previous day.

Dafydd Elis Thomas is fairly computer literate. That is not something that can be said about Mick Bates. Mick is well known for his love of Bob Dylan, his infectious enthusiasm, and for generally being the oldest swinger in town. On Wednesday however, he confessed that his age was catching up with him and that as a result he was having trouble mastering this new-fangled technology:

Mick Bates: No doubt that is welcome. However, I am sure that you are aware that the average age of a councillor is 57 years. Being 58 years of age, I know the challenges that new technology can bring. Just last week, I received a BlackBerry. I was training, and I still have a long way to go before I understand it. Many councillors receive no training at all in new technology. What steps will you take to ensure that councillors in Wales have access to the necessary training, so that they can best serve the communities that have elected them?

Sue Essex: I was not aware that 57 was the great dividing gulf between those who can do and those who cannot; if so, I am in trouble. I have just said that we have a members’ charter. I do not know whether it includes IT, but I suspect that it would—most authorities now include that early on in inductions, but I will make sure and get back to you. If it is BlackBerry tested, I will check that out.

Kirsty Williams on the other hand had much baser matters on her mind. Having suggested only five weeks previously that the Economic Development Minister needs a prescription for viagra before entering negotiations on his department's budget, she was now comparing him to a lovesick teenager:

I note from this statement that you refer to a partnership between yourself and the Ministry of Defence on at least four occasions. In doing so, Andrew, you appear to be almost like a love-sick teenager in the school playground, except that the object of your interest simply is not interested. The MOD is simply not interested in your grand plans for this particular site. You have to take some responsibility for your inability to sell this project to your Westminster colleagues. Time and again, you tell us that this is an example of Labour in Wales working with Labour in Westminster. What happened this time, Minister? You were in the perfect position to safeguard these jobs and to build on them for the future of these communities, but you have not been able to do so.

Later on she abandoned any pretence at subtlety and confessed that he was just one big turn-off:

I hope that you will take away the message that saving energy is the single most important thing that we can do to help Wales. It will reduce bills for pensioners, cut costs for business and public sector operators such as schools and hospitals. If you could convince people to turn off—which perhaps you do every time you get up to speak in the Chamber—that would be the greatest service that you could deliver to Wales.

Andrew Davies is used to insults in the chamber but these are of a wholly different class.


Comments:
Clearly Kirsty's comments were an off-the-cuff comment, but do you think that "..saving energy is the single most important thing that we can do to help Wales.." represents Lib Dem economic development policy ?
 
Ithink it should be a major plank in Liberal Democrats energy policy!
 
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