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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Watching out for the 'bastards'

This morning's Western Mail (no link) proves that it is not just Government Ministers and other politicians who feel the strain of constantly being in the spotlight. The pressure also affects the spin-doctors who occasionally forget the golden rule of their trade - don't become the story.

It appears that the Labour Assembly Cabinet's media advisor, Cathy Owens, has put her foot in it again. Last week she was reported by the Daily Post as stating that Ministers would not countenance "Quebec-style" language laws in Wales, even though the Assembly Government understood that the Welsh Language Board was going through its "death throes". Responding to proposals by the Welsh Language Board to extend the rights of Welsh speakers, Ms. Owens said: "it's for elected politicians to agree the way forward for public policy in Wales. We are talking about a situation where English speakers have rights too. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas but no-one voted for the Welsh Language Board either."

Apparently, upset at the way her remarks were interpreted and anticipating that they would be used by the opposition in an attempt to embarrass the Government, Ms. Owens phoned a friend to vent her feelings. Unfortunately, the mobile she left a message on turned out to be that of the Western Mail's Chief Reporter:

Sent on Monday evening, Ms. Owen's breathless voice can be heard saying, "Hi. it's Cathy...It's a quarter to nine. I'm just leaving now. They're all bastards, all of them - not just the one journalist. I think I am going to start a book on how many times my name is mentioned on the floor tomorrow and....I'll speak to you soon. Cheers."

Nice to see that mutual respect still exists between special advisors and the media. Rather sadly for Cathy, nobody mentioned her name at all in the chamber yesterday. Still at least the Western Mail knows who she is.
Who voted for Cathy Owen??
Who voted for the creation of the Assembly?
The people of Wales!
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