I learned a new phrase this week : 'trendless fluctuation'. I heard it at a breakfast seminar on Wednesday and despite the early hour and torrent of bar charts, it's stuck with me for some reason.
I was reminded of it just now listening to Radio Wales' Called to Order. Not because I spotted a so-called 'trendless fluctuation' - and no, I doubt whether anyone other than a social scientist would be capable of that - but because I thought I spotted a very definite trend.
It kicked off down in Bournemouth at the Labour Party conference: pro-Plaid leadership spinning from Labour. Plaid Ministers had so far been, well, pretty impressive, said with surprise rather than reluctance. Ieuan Wyn Jones was conducting himself well. The inference here that they'd expected the man to be out of his depth but that so far, he was waving not drowing.
But Plaid Cymru as a party? Forget 'em. The snatched conversations over coffee and between fringe events suggested little had changed there.
I've spotted the same kind of inference from one or two Labour politicians since then and tonight on Called to Order, there it was again. Wayne David MP praising Ieuan Wyn Jones AM as 'a real diplomat', a man who is 'playing the part' of deputy leader of his country very well.
But Plaid Cymru as a party? Forget 'em. A party torn between the constructivists (good) and the destructivists (bad). Here's what he actually said:
"I think there's a clear divide now inside Plaid Cymru between, if you like, the constructivists - those people who want to engage in government.
Ieuan Wyn Jones is up in Westminster this week, you know, a real diplomat playing the part extremely well as deputy first minister.
And you've got the destructivists, if you like, those who want to, you know, fight against the establishment, end the defence training academy in St. Athan, that's Jill Evans MEP, and Adam Price, who wants to scrap the Welsh Office, have a referendum as quickly as you can and all the rest of it.
And there's a clear division, clear tension, now inside Plaid Cymru."
So as partners in coalition? They're ok. As a party that could actually lead the country? Pull the other one.
Does that work?
And has anyone else spotted the trend?