Good to be back
As I hurried off to Neath speculation about Peter Hain's successor was rife I see.
Right surname but wrong job as it happens. Mr Murphy it was but Paul Murphy - Torfaen's MP and the man some had expected to emerge as spritual leader of the anti-referendum-on-further-powers campaign, let alone an anti-further-powers campaign.
Instead he's back in cabinet, back in charge of a 'smooth transition' of powers to Cardiff, just as he was in 1999. Those are his own words by the way unless my ear-piece was playing up.
As he's pointed out already tonight he was no fan of devolution back then but he did his job. Now he must do it again and work with the Assembly Government - a coalition government he never, ever wanted to exist. His job, he says, is "not to frustrate anybody". Colleagues from the opposition benches seem to want to believe him. He is, they say, a gentleman. 'What you see with Paul is what you get' says one, suggesting only in the tone of his voice that he wouldn't have chosen those particular words to describe his predecessor.
Should they be surprised that Paul Murphy has already said he agrees with Peter Hain and does not believe "there will be a referendum this side of a General Election"? (I'm relying on ear-pieces and dodgy satellite links again but I'm pretty sure that's what he said).
No of course they shouldn't.
And it's not just colleagues from London, or from other parties who will wonder what lies ahead. Things weren't rosy in the Hain/Morgan garden - that much was obvious. What of Murphy/Morgan?
By the way just as Peter Hain's day couldn't get any worse, it did. As his agent and ever-loyal former agent arrived at Mr Hain's constituency home to greet the media, they tried a clever manoeuvre and reversed straight into the lamp-post at the top of the drive.
That damage, at least, can easily be put right.