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Sunday, July 27, 2008

High drama

I have just returned from a weekend away and had big plans for today. As part of those plans I had intended to have blogged by now but as ever events got in the way.

As will become apparent when the Assembly Commission publishes details of member's expenses, I have been renting a flat in Cardiff since the beginning of this year. Previously, when I needed to stay over I booked into a hotel but the additional workload generated by the Government of Wales Act 2006 and the new Committee structure was making this arrangement more and more untenable.

When I had been staying over half a dozen times each term it was a more effective use of public money to stay in a hotel. Now that I am staying over once or twice a week the renting option becomes more economical by comparison. As the place was already furnished I have also avoided having to buy furnishings etc.

Anyway, I got to the flat today with the idea of dropping off my stuff and then going into the Assembly to do some work only to discover that while I was away somebody had tried to break into it. To be precise they had smashed down the door but had failed to steal anything as they were disturbed, presumably as a result of the burglar alarm going off.

The Police had secured the flat but as a result that meant that I was unable to access it. I then spent the entire afternoon liasing with my landlord, a local locksmith and the police. Just to top off the day I had decided after the weekend that I would no longer pay the extortionate amounts charged by hotels for internet access. Accordingly I went out to buy a dongle, a mobile internet modem. This of course mean't that I used up the rest of the day on the phone to the help desk getting it to work.

It never rains when it can pour. Now I have a load of work to do which I was hoping would be behind me by now.
To save taxpayers money, why not use a blackberry when you are in your flat??
Because a Blackberry is limited in its application and does not lend itself to research etc in the same way as a laptop.

However, just to clarify your obvious misunderstanding I paid for the dongle and the internet time out of my own money and will not be seeking to claim back the cost.
More to the point why do you need to rent a flat or stay in Cardiff overnight. We are only approx 45 minutes away from Cardiff and thousands of people commute to work every day. Why are you any different? Perhaps its because we mugs - the tax payer are picking up the bill.
I do not benefit from this arrangement in any way. At the end of the lease I walk away and the asset remains with the freeholder.

As it happens it is an hour's journey but that is not the point. In term time AMs do not work a standard day. We will often be in the Assembly at 7am and work solidly up to 8.30pm or much later. Two hours travelling time there and back is a lot of work that can be done in Cardiff, especially when we have to be back in the Assembly early the next day.

I would rather do those two hours work than drive home, collapse knackered into bed and then drive back again first thing the next morning and allow a backlog to build up. It is a purely practical arrangement.

Having said that I still try to minimise overnight stays. I would rather be at home.
It's like I keep telling everyone, Peter Black is a very honest and hard working middle aged soul. I was only conversing with the middle aged bugger this morning on Facebook - he's up like the proverbial lark and was alredy about to attend a meeting - the 'man is a beaver' (line paraphrased from BBC's RED DWARF series). Seriously, I often work through the night and see Peter online - he sleeps some 7 hours a night - and then he's off to the coal face. He deserves to be the next leader of the Welsh Lib Dems. Peter Black should replace that Charlie, Mike German ASAP.
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