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The Interview

Betsan Powys | 10:56 UK time, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

You must have been there yourself.

The job interview is drawing to a close. So far, you've done ok. You've answered all the questions put to you. You've not put your foot in it. You're not sure if you've outshone the others going for it but you've shown you know what is required to do the job and you've set out why you reckon you could do it well.

Then comes the final, throwaway question from them: Why do you want this job?

Edwina Hart, Carwyn Jones and Huw Lewis might be thinking just that this morning. First comes the news of the fire that will greet their baptism as Wales' brand new First Minister. It'll come in the form of the UK governmen'ts pre-budget report which will be delivered in parliament at 1230 GMT on Dec 9. The new Welsh Labour leader will have been in the job for around 24 hours before the Chancellor delivers "an update on public finances" - in other words, before they discover just how tough things are going to get.

Welcome to the job First Minister.

Their first challenge? To look at the unemployment figures relased today and respond in any other way than putting their head in their hands and wail. In Wales the number of people unemployed grew by 14,000 to 125,000 between July and September.

In the North East, in Yorkshire/Humber, in the West Midlands, the numbers went down.

In London, the North West, in the East Midlands, in the South East, the South West, they went up. They went up in Scotland and Northern Ireland by 4,000 - to 7.2% - but nowhere did they go up as much as in Wales. Here they went up by 14,000 - to 8.7%. In pure numerical terms, that's almost twice the rise of any other region in the UK.

There will be any number of stories hidden here - trends that are going up, not down, trends that are increasing but increasing more slowly than they might. But the bottom line is there for all to see. The same goes for the enormity of the challenge for the Assembly Government and its new leader.

Ah and then there'll be the All Wales Convention which reports next Wednesday. It'll be sitting in that handover pack Rhodri Morgan leaves on his desk for the next imcumbent of his office. To what extent he'll have left the decision for them to take, we'll have to wait and see but as the outgoing leader put it to journalists recently, if his successor doesn't want to make the decision, they shouldn't want the job in the first place.

So Mrs Hart, Mr Jones, Mr Lewis: why DO you want the job?

UPDATE: The Assembly Government have commented, though not on the unemployment figures as they have for the past few months. They've commented solely on the claimant count. That shows a smaller increase than in recent months, despite the big rise in unemployment figures. This is what they're calling "encouraging to note":

"Whilst it is important not to read too much into a single months figures, it is encouraging to note that the claimant count level in Wales has continued its downward trend. During the early stages of the global downturn, the claimant count was rising by around 4,000 per month - tailing off to around 1,000 per month during the summer. Today's rise of 300 - the smallest increase since the start of the recession - is an indication that the recession could be bottoming out, although we are not at all complacent and will continue to fight for every job and to maintain the skills of our workforce."

UPDATE

Come off it, we said. What about the unemployment figures?

"It is disappointing that the latest figures show a quarterly rise in ILO unemployment for Wales. This does not however reflect the position over the year (a comparison recommended by the ONS to remove some of the volatility in quarterly figures). In addition, the level of ILO unemployment does not take into account any changes in economic inactivity - a historically important indicator for the Welsh economy. The employment rate for Wales over the year (taking into account unemployment and inactivity levels) shows one of the lowest falls when compared to the rest of the UK - with Wales outperforming London, the South East, Scotland and Northern Ireland (amongst others)."

Comments

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  • 1. At 2:29pm on 11 Nov 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    Whilst it is important not to read too much into a single months figures, it is encouraging to note that the claimant count level in Wales has continued its downward trend. During the early stages of the global downturn, the claimant count was rising by around 4,000 per month - tailing off to around 1,000 per month during the summer. Today's rise of 300 - the smallest increase since the start of the recession - is an indication that the recession could be bottoming out, although we are not at all complacent and will continue to fight for every job and to maintain the skills of our workforce."

    Could that be because the figures are being manipulated by taking people off Job Seekers Allowance and Incapacity Benefit and putting them on training courses, part time low paid jobs that they have to take or lose the benefits.
    It is all to do with Lies, Damn lies and statistics. Which is what politicions are experts at and the media accept.

    That is why they don't want to concentrate on unemployment figures and only on the claimant count. Spin!

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  • 2. At 2:41pm on 11 Nov 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    I have just thought of something.

    Who ever gets the position of Leader of the Labour Party in Wales, will be the First Minister without having been elected by the people of Wales.

    Seems to be a regular thing with the Labour Party.

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  • 3. At 2:58pm on 11 Nov 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    Betsan if you want a true picture of the unemployed add the people who fall from the system after claiming jobseekers allowance for over six months and are expected to live on nothing because they can't find a job or the certificated sick that are being left penniless after failing a sick tribunal(Local CAB figures show not one case against the tribunal system has been successful yet )just because they can lift their hands
    or lick an envelope even jobseeker staff and doctors are disgusted by these latest measures.
    Or those denied benefits because they have more than £6,000 in the bank
    or have a wife working more than twenty hours a week.
    You said in an earlier blog that figures were surprising they are not just being manipulated in the Governments favour.Surprisingly BBC Wales spends hours of political time on constitutional matters but nothing on exposing the social injustice of life at the lower end of todays Wales.
    You people on your all expenses paid 'Cardiff safe' jobs want to get out into the real world and experience life at the blunt end.
    At least Huw Lewis is making poverty an issue and good on him.

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  • 4. At 3:19pm on 11 Nov 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    3
    thegnatswatter.

    Well said. I find myself agreeing with you on something.

    Except perhapes on Huw Lewis 'making poverty an issue' with his all expenses paid 'Cardiff safe' job along with his wifes. Good on them.

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  • 5. At 4:17pm on 11 Nov 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    4. Unfortunately we can't have a 'jobless' first minister but to have one
    that pledges to return to a socialist agenda with poverty in all it's forms as a priority appeals to me.

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  • 6. At 4:45pm on 11 Nov 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    5

    Do you realy believe we could ever return to a socialist agenda.

    There is too much greed and selfishness around today for that to happen.
    It is everyone out for themselves I am afraid

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  • 7. At 5:08pm on 11 Nov 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    6 Yes. The soup kitchens are on the way?

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  • 8. At 5:33pm on 11 Nov 2009, Simmo wrote:

    Re 6

    Agree - a very valid observation on our society there Alf sadly...

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  • 9. At 5:36pm on 11 Nov 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    6
    As long as they don't have to use their capitalist credit cards, which every poor person seems to have,to pay for it.
    Because I can't see our New Labour Government giving it for free.

    No matter how much Huw Lewis may have a Socialist agenda in Wales it will still be London controlling the purse strings.

    Until we are independant of course

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  • 10. At 6:00pm on 11 Nov 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    9
    Sorry I meant 7

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  • 11. At 6:42pm on 11 Nov 2009, West-Wales wrote:

    Not a fan of Rod Davies - but how refreshing on AM/PM today to have a different view from the Plaid/BBC Cymru perspective.

    As to the interviews - I got little out of it, no substance just waffle.

    While don't think any of them have what we need;
    Hart didn't have depth, or approachable,- bit aggressive?
    Jones confirmed my opinion, a suit with nothing in it,
    Unfortunately I missed Lewis, will have to catch up later.

    A worry is none of them (in fact no AM) seem to accept there is growing divisions in Welsh society, or that it needs to be addressed.

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  • 12. At 7:16pm on 11 Nov 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    I believe the interviews which are on the lead blog were meant to be an informal interview on the personal lives of the candidates. For which sometimes you can get a better insight into a candidate. I don't think it was meant to be taken in a serious vain with substance.

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  • 13. At 7:34pm on 11 Nov 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    Why arn't there more comments about the unemployment figures in Wales which are out today.
    Is it because past Conservative and present Labour Governments and their policies regarding Wales are to blame for it.

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  • 14. At 7:35pm on 11 Nov 2009, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 11

    I didn't see it, was it Ron Davies or Rod Richards?

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  • 15. At 2:35pm on 12 Nov 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    13. It could only happen in Wales a fully skilled workforce on the dole
    and a migrant workforce fully employed. As well as taking our jobs by undercutting our rates and working without safety they're given grants to start up businesses and rent accomodation can use the NHS and can even claim for family members back in their home lands.How does that improve our GDP?
    Politicians avoid the subject like the plague,those in work say that they
    work harder(bulls**t)and the benefits office and works and pensions cut
    the benefits of welsh workers to pay for it all.

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  • 16. At 3:05pm on 12 Nov 2009, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 15

    So there we have it - gnat just doesn't like foreigners. There's a word for that, but it probably wouldn't get past the moderators. And this after days of trying, unsuccessfully, of course, to portray Plaid members as being anti-English.

    It's funny, but it really isn't funny at all. Is that really authentic old-Labour? - even I would have to say, no, I don't think it is.

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  • 17. At 4:44pm on 12 Nov 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    16. So you don't believe in welsh jobs for welsh workers then?

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  • 18. At 5:10pm on 12 Nov 2009, penddu wrote:

    15 - It could only happen in Wales????

    I think you will find exactly the same situation in England. At least things look better in Scotland, where their government has the powers to actually do something.

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  • 19. At 5:21pm on 12 Nov 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    16. What about welsh jobs for welsh speakers then?

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  • 20. At 5:33pm on 12 Nov 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    15
    thegnatswatter

    You have a very relevant point there.

    But there again hasn't it been happening in Wales for a very very long time.

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  • 21. At 5:56pm on 12 Nov 2009, John Henry wrote:


    Out of interest penddu, your #18

    Where you write ..... At least things look better in Scotland, where their government has the powers to actually do something.

    What exactly can be done in Scotland ?

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  • 22. At 6:28pm on 12 Nov 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    Still very little comment on the unemployment figures.

    Come on guys, lets be having you

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  • 23. At 6:32pm on 12 Nov 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    19
    thegnatswatter

    I agree with you whole heartedly there should be Welsh jobs for Welsh speakers.

    Glad to see you are coming around.

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  • 24. At 7:37pm on 12 Nov 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    23. Where's FiDafydd gone? Homework? Or avoiding the question?

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  • 25. At 11:18pm on 12 Nov 2009, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 25

    It's quite clear who the juvenile is here! Perhaps that explains why he's confused threads - and I'm still waiting for a clarification. But perhaps that's just too difficult.

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  • 26. At 07:23am on 13 Nov 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    35. A quick glance through your log reveals who's the agitator but while you have bullied everybody who doesn't happen to agree with you
    throughout this blog you clearly don't like a bit of your own medicine.
    Now then back to the question do you believe welsh jobs should be for welsh workers? Yes or No.

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