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Love bombing

Betsan Powys | 17:57 UK time, Tuesday, 14 July 2009

In London yesterday I learn a new verb.

The word that's being used to describe the sometimes subtle, sometimes none too subtle wooing of the Liberal Democrats by both Labour and the Conservatives ahead of the General Election is "love bombing".

It seems no one has told Rhodri Morgan.

The First Minister has accused the Liberal Democrats of "over-egging" the story about International Business Wales officials claiming over £700,000 in expenses last year. To paraphrase he suggested they were on to a good story but they'd overplayed it by suggesting officials had flown first class when they hadn't. In fact they way they'd handled the information had been "repugnant".

Then again perhaps it's a clever double bluff ...


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  • 1. At 11:43pm on 14 Jul 2009, Ian wrote:

    It was a good story for the Libs but Kirsty blew it on Radio Wales this morning. By tonight, the fact that they had run the story was not even mentioned.
    FOI requests have their place but are not a basis for an effective political oppositon. The Libs could really be down to one MP in Wales next year.

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  • 2. At 05:55am on 15 Jul 2009, John wrote:

    What might have been interesting .....

    ..... what was the return on the money, the invested capital of 700,000 GBP.

    ..... a business would need to justify the expense with results.

    ..... does the government have different rules?

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  • 3. At 06:49am on 15 Jul 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:

    # 1 FOI requests have their place but are not a basis for an effective political opposition. The Libs could really be down to one MP in Wales next year.

    You are right of course but if we had more open government there would some real issues that an effective opposition could use to demonstrate that democracy was working.

    Now an FOI request for the Haines Watts report into the finances of the University of Wales Lampeter to discover what went wrong would be a good issue for the Libs, especially regarding the payment of expenses to officials.

    For some strange reason the Tories under "Professor" Nick Bourne will do nothing. There seems to be a "Groupthink" political consensus on this issue resulting in flawed policy decisions, serious job losses and the role of regulator under the Charity Act being taken over by the Charity Commission.

    If there is one thing worse than "over egging" its hiding it away in the cupboard only to emerge just before an election with education being a main battle field.

    #2 does the government have different rules?

    No they create situations to ensure there are no rules at all. Take that national institution the University of Wales given our money by a Quango the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales.

    What can you do to complain? Despite the requirements of the law to have procedures in place the answer is nothing! Like the wild west there is nobody with the courage to impose the law.

    What is Rhodri doing about it? Well he is sitting on a letter from the Visitor none other than HM the Queen bringing these matters to his attention. Why? Because it said nothing new.

    Which means its perfectly acceptable if its part of the same old corrupt culture and practice.

    Now that is what I call "Repugnant"

    Westminster is waking up to the problem and some in the DIUS Select Committee are calling for greater accountability and OFSTED/ESTYN style inspections.

    We hope the Enterprise and Learning Committee catches up soon.

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  • 4. At 11:56am on 15 Jul 2009, mapexx wrote:

    Betsan, ...

    My concern is, on top of the near three quarters of a million in expenses, is the other covert (so far)amount, spent on these ambassadorial ventures overseas. Salaries, rents, publicity, and all the rest to be taken into account.

    Just what is the total amount we are being asked to fork out?

    As others have queried, can the expenditure, in total, be justified by the returns?

    Surely there has to be a return of some times the outlay, to make it all worthwhile.

    Or is that really the case in regards this expansive, and possibly expensive Welsh consular situation?

    Or is the whole excercise just a promotion for the 'future' independent Wales we hear so much about from certain quarters.

    Put in the minds of those we are likely to deal with, from exotic locations, that Wales is some latter day Luxembourg or Latvia, Denmark or even Ireland.

    Otherwise, just what is the justification for these expatriot adventures?

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  • 5. At 12:40pm on 15 Jul 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:

    This is a step in the right direction for open government but what about others in public service especially those funded by the dreaded Quangos?

    A spokesperson for permanent secretary Dame Gillian Morgan said the expenses of politicians and civil servants were "clearly a matter of public interest".

    Dame Gillian's spokesperson added: "Any claim incurred on behalf of the assembly government must comply with strict authorisation and audit requirements.

    The Liberal Democrats said every Welsh taxpayer "deserves an explanation".

    They got that bit right but if they were looking for scandal to make a point then they need to look somewhere else! Try here...

    The assembly government said officials had to pursue viable business leads.

    They also have to pursue the reasons why this is doing so much damage to jobs and our economy at a time when they should be thriving!

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  • 6. At 00:48am on 16 Jul 2009, Ian wrote:

    All public expenses should be published and open for scrutiny. Many are probably justified but if the figures are hidden, then accusations will stick-however cynical.

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