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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Luddites?

The big subject of debate today continues to be yesterday's voting on the Government of Wales Bill motion. Despite there being 29 Labour members and 29 from the opposition, the Government managed to lose three key votes and were forced to vote down their own motion because it had been amended.

The reaction of their Assembly Members to this was a series of points of order in which they blamed the electronic voting system for their own inability to press the right button at the right time. I have heard all sorts of conspiracy theories including the preposterous suggestion that a vote was recorded on behalf of the absent Peter Law.

An e-mail was circulated from the Presiding Office this morning to tell us that extensive testing had concluded that there was nothing wrong with the system. This seems to be borne out by the fact that of those Labour members who were complaining that their vote had not been counted, none of them are recorded as "not voting", with the possible exception of Ann Jones on amendment 10. It is also apparent from the record of voting here that in some cases opposition members failed to vote properly as well. What is most interesting is that the failure of Cabinet members to vote properly seems to have been a deciding factor in all three lost votes.

All in all the conspiracy theories appear to be unfounded. However, if the Government are going to survive future votes they may want to put the luddites in their camp onto a crash course in how to use the Siambr computer equipment.
Comments:
You really can't argue with the Western mail's description of many AMs as 'mediocre' when some can't press a button to vote...
 
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