• Betsan Powys
  • 5 Jun 07, 11:39 PM

Just finished the programme but before I go home a promise that in the morning we'll do our best to put up on the blog all the comments and questions that came in tonight. No, nothing goes to waste here.

What struck me? A pretty strong hint from Carwyn Jones that the Assembly government may put a stop to hospital reconfiguration for one thing.

And that while Ieuan Wyn Jones seemed to start cautiously enough - prepared to accept signs of Labour 'reaching out', not immediately joining in with Nick Bourne and Mike German in the head shaking and condemning - he ended the debate sounding pretty hostile to Labour. Carwyn Jones' answers weren't good enough. It's not good enough that Rhodri Morgan wasn't there. It's not good enough to say that another Minister will have clear answers on hospital reconfiguration and nurses' pay. It's not good enough that tomorrow's legislative programme hasn't been discussed with the other parties beforehand.

What were those odds on the rainbow coalition taking over? 50:50?

By the way the man from the Uber-Ministry of Education, Culture and the Welsh language does a pretty good impression of his leader when the cameras are off too ... Must have been watching him very, very closely!

Rolling up the carpet

  • Betsan Powys
  • 5 Jun 07, 02:56 PM

So now we can all get on with it.

The party to celebrate Welsh democracy went smoothly. In fact it's probably the only thing to have gone according to plan in Welsh politics over the past few weeks. A proper state opening for a proper institution? Yes, I think we got the message.

The red carpet's been rolled up and I've just seen them wheeling it away - until the next time. There are a couple of Pickfords lorries outside being loaded up and Eleanor Burnham's hat is, I hope, safely back in its box.

I liked the diplomatic response from the little boy stuck in the middle of the crowd outside who was asked whether he saw the Queen. "Well ... most of her" he said.

I did try to see whether her Majesty was looking at anyone in particular, even one side of the debating chamber in particular, when she wished AMs "insight, wisdom and patience" as things move forward. No luck. I suspect her speechwriter thinks everyone could do with a good dollop of all three over the coming weeks and months.

Tomorrow the Assembly will elect a Business committee and how things work here in future will become a lot clearer once we have one of those.

We already know that some plenary sessions will last longer from now on and that they'll be shared for the first time between government business and non-government business. I panicked yesterday when someone asked me about the 'opposition database'. What on earth was it and why didn't we know about it? Did Martin Shipton and the Western Mail have a copy?! Panic over. He'd actually said something about 'opposition debates' - and yes, we know about those and look forward to seeing how they're used.

One thing that won't be used? Red ministerial boxes. We wondered whether our Ministers might even get green ones but the message has just come back: no boxes. Too expensive and impractical apparently.

In the meantime I need to get on and concentrate on tonight's debate programme - still being billed this morning as starring the four party leaders. It's more like three leaders and a would-be but still worth watching I hope.

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