Sprechen Sie Deutsch?
I do or at least, I did. My degree was in German and I can still just about get by. The Prof didn't like my accent - far too Austrian apparently - but he understood me, I understood him, I did ok.
I don't, however, pretend to understand that other German - Mike. Yesterday he's asked by the lobby whether he intends to stand as group leader or not? At the second or possibly third time of trying, we get somewhere. "I've come to a conclusion in my own mind".
Good. But he wasn't telling us what that was. Bad.
I went for the honest approach. What does 'coming to a conclusion' really mean? I, for one, am lost. Did he mean he'd made up his mind either way? No, not quite. He's "99%" certain he's made up his mind. And the 1%? That's the official size of Lib Dem leader wriggle room I suppose.
Does the group know what your conclusion is? "I think they do" said Mr German. Now given there's only six of them and he counts as one, it can't be that hard to let the other five know can it? But he'll let everyone know at the Lib Dem conference in Aberystwyth next weekend. Nice try Mike but we can't all be there so here's my best guess as to what's going on.
Mike German intends to stand and wants to stay on as leader until some time in 2008. At that point Jenny Randerson takes over for the rest of the term. Come 2011 Kirsty Williams will be ready to go for it, her children that much older, the sins of the 'rainbow wrecker' long forgotten. Mick Bates is on side. You've heard of family-friendly hours at the Assembly? Well this seems to be the Lib Dem version of family friendly leadership tallks.
What of Peter Black? As this blog has already picked up, he isn't behaving like a man who's about to back down. Perhaps he can see the danger of having a 'lame-duck' leader, followed by a 'caretaker' leader before the real one who's going to stick around for a few yeras finally takes over. Perhaps he just wants the job and thinks he's the best man for it.
Now all he needs is a nomination.
Where might he get one of those? Step forward Eleanor Burnham. Her hat was in the ring but now it looks as though she'll have to decide between backing Peter Black to put up a fight or fall in line with her four colleagues.
What's a woman to do? Especially one who, as I was told some time ago, has her eye on a job in another House, one that involves ermine and posh titles? What's it to be Eleanor?
Now back to the CSR. Time soon for the well-read Wales Office tops to start spinning.