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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Plastic bags and viticulture

I have not blogged much about the goings on in the chamber since we came back, largely because the agenda has been a bit thin and people have been short on humour. It was a pleasant surprise therefore to find that trend being broken in the final session of term yesterday.

The fun began with what seemed like a perfectly innocent question on the Welsh Assembly Government's recycling policies from Eleanor Burnham. Nobody expected the follow up to turn into such a damning indictment of the evil plastic bag:

Eleanor Burnham: I am pleased that the environmental protection and waste management LCO will bring powers to ban plastic bags, because the devastating effect that they can have on the environment is frightening.

A vision of rampaging plastic bags destroying whole swathes of countryside came to mind, but was dismissed immediately. After all this is a serious issue. Nevertheless, an e-mail conversation ensued amongst some AMs as to which bags were the most pernicious. Was it Tescos or Morrisons? And what about those very fetching bright orange bags given out by Sainsburys? At least they are in Liberal Democrat colours.

As usual it needed David Melding to bring a little decorum to the proceedings with an eminently sensible question on viticulture:

David Melding: Mr Presiding Officer, I think that, inadvertently, I may be out of order, because I did not declare my lifelong interest in wine. [Laughter.] I am encouraged by that answer, but I wonder whether the Welsh Assembly Government would work with the United Kingdom Vineyards Association on the marketing of Welsh wine. There is no Welsh division of the association at the moment, and we are currently in with the west of England, which, although I admire the west of England, is quite distinct and different from Wales. One way that we could promote Welsh wine is by negotiating with the European Union to have Welsh labelling. That is currently not legal unless it is translated word for word into English. That might be one way of marketing our distinctiveness.

It was a very agreeable note with which to start the summer recess.
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