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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More Awards

Last night I attended the ITV Wales Yearbook Politician of the Year awards at Cardiff City Hall. All of the great and the good were there and the awards themselves hit all the right notes. They were gender balanced, geographically spread and every party was represented amongst the winners.

Ieuan Wyn Jones was the overall winner once more, but the night really belonged to Lord Roberts of Conwy, who was given a Lifetime Achievement Award. He served as a Welsh Office Minister for fifteen and a half years in the Thatcher era and was responsible for all the major advances in Welsh language legislation.

The only bum note of the evening was struck by Peter Hain, who delivered one of the most misjudged keynote speeches I have ever heard from a senior politician. Instead of entering into the spirit of the occasion, Mr. Hain was partisan and personal, attempting to make a series of lame and outdated jokes about each of the winners.

He described the air service to Anglesey as Ieuan Air, to Adam Price MP and Western Mail Chief Reporter, Martin Shipton, as the Laurel and Hardy of Welsh politics and made some allusion to campaigning with one of the winners and his wife, whilst trying to avoid horizontal rain and his compatriot's old girlfriends. He also made a joke at his own expense, telling us that one of the judges had been in charge of fundraising when he had been put on trial for a bank robbery he did not commit as a Young Liberal. There had been no worries about declaring donations in those days he told us.

To be honest it most probably looked better on paper, but by the end of the speech most people there were glad it was over. It was the main talking point once the dinner had finished. I do not know how much of the speech will be televised but if you get the chance watch it or tape it on Thursday night. The programme may also be available on the ITV Wales website in due course along with past Waterfront programmes.

Update: I have been reminded by another shocked on-looker of a joke in which Mr. Hain noted the award of 'AM to watch' by commenting that he had always thought that that was Laura Anne Jones. He also referred to Ieuan Wyn Jones' recent trip to India. He suggested that the Deputy First Minister had brought back some recipes because Helen Mary Jones is partial to a good conspiratorial curry.
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