.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Question of the week

In times of crisis a government relies on its junior Ministers and backbenches to offer it support in the chamber. Often this can take the form of helpful interventions on opposition members, pointing out inconsistencies in their argument. At other times it will be speeches or questions. Occasionally, however this helpfulness can overstep the line and come across as just plain sycophancy.

Now, nobody would ever accuse Huw Lewis of sucking up to Ministers. He is after all an intelligent and independently minded politician. Nevertheless, his question to beleagured Culture Minister, Alun Pugh, yesterday did more to undermine the Minister's position than anything the opposition could have said:

Huw Lewis: I congratulate you, in passing, on the way that you have stood up to opposition attempts to sabotage your promotion of social justice in the arts and arts spending. I particularly welcome the interim appointment of Dai Smith as chair of the Arts Council of Wales.

Will the Minister outline the role that he sees for the arts and culture in the development of the Heads of the Valleys strategy, which must have at its core not just purely economic outcomes, but a permanent improvement in the quality of life in our communities?

Alun Pugh: That is a fair point. Communities along the Heads of the Valleys are certainly in need of substantial public investment. I am very clear on that. On the appointment of Dai Smith as the interim and temporary chair of the Arts Council of Wales, I can think of very few people in Wales who could bring the combination of his distinguished academic record and his accomplished management expertise to bear.

Up until this moment nobody had even considered that the bungling way Alun Pugh has handled the appointment of the interim chair of the Arts Council might have anything to do with social justice. Most people had just put it down to the fact that he was out of his depth.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?