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Monday, September 21, 2009

So long and thanks for all the fish

Well it was good whilst it lasted but now I have to get onto the road, leave Liberal Democrat Conference behind, and get back to Cardiff Bay where I have an Assembly Commission meeting this afternoon discussing, amongst other things, the future of the bi-lingual record of proceedings for Plenary meetings.

The Presiding Officer has already trailled that there may be a compromise on this issue and Betsan Powys has had a stab at guessing what it may be. I am not in a position to comment until after the meeting especially as decisions have not yet been taken.

I attended the first Liberal Democrat press conference yesterday at which Kirsty Williams dealt with questions on the St. Athan debacle and also on Nick Clegg's announcement that a Liberal Democrat Government, which has delivered a proper Parliament for Wales, will then proceed to merge the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Office into one Cabinet post as part of a general scaling down of big Government that will save £1.82 billion. This time they asked us first.

It seems to me that this sort of reform will resonate amongst voters and assist us in selling difficult decisions on public spending by demonstrating that politicians are prepared to take some of the pain as well. Also it is just ridiculous to have so many UK Ministers when Liberal Democrats are commited to enabling the Nations and Regions of the UK take many more decisions at a local level and on a democratically accountable business.
Remember that minorities need their freedoms of expression, it's what democracy is about, so the translation process is more important than its rate of use, there should be a record of unique requests for translated documents to monitor usage, there could be a point in time where the translation process will need revision.
"So long and thanks for all the fish." You had me worried there Peter. I thought you were going to announce that you were packing in blogging or, perhaps worse still, doing an Adam Price on us. Mind you, if you disappeared for twelve months you would actually be missed. Hee! Hee! Hee!

Are you leading the Welsh Liberal Democrats yet? You should be. You are wasted in that Welsh Assembly but your blog more than makes up for your own impotency (political that is). Hee! Hee! Hee!

The Welsh language is beautiful but this must be balanced against what the public can afford. It all comes down to grown-up and mature choices. Do we need (as opposed to want) all documents translated - or would the money be better spent on the NHS or, dare I now say it, student tuition fees? After all, everybody in Wales can now read and write English. It is called being civilised. Hee! Hee! Hee!
The Office for the Nations is a good idea, and hopefully will present a stringer united front for the Celtic nations than the current 3 offices manage.

That said, whilst we must go through the mations for the Welsh language, can anyone assure me that no-one in Wales has died because of the cost of translation? I suspect the bill for that is higher than most may think, and that funds which might otherwise support frontiline services are being siphoned off.

Only a question, mind ... :o)
What do you think of Rhodri's traffic lights, Peter?
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