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57 varieties

Betsan Powys | 20:12 UK time, Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Back from London and a trip which proved that most Labour MPs have retained a sense of humour after last week's thrashing in the local elections. Overheard:

"Ah yes, Torfaen - that famous Labour marginal."

"What happens when you've got a load of mad buggers (independents) in charge? It'll be officers' play-time!"

"Rainbow? You mean rag-bag don't you?"

"How's Rhodri going to sort this mess out?"

There's a distinct feeling among some MPs over there that Labour politicians over here are laying a bit too much blame at the door of 'national' issues, that councillors who hadn't been opposed and hadn't faced an election for a decade or more had simply forgotten how to knock doors let alone make a pitch if they weren't closed in their faces, that Labour politicians over there and over here are going to have to work out pretty quickly how to manage this "miasma" and that it would be nice to hear from Rhodri Morgan how he intends to do just that.

I'm pretty sure his response yesterday was along these ines: that he planned to leave coalition deals and decisions to Labour local councillors. Democracy had done its bit and now it was up to them to make it work.

There will be some who'll expect more strategic thinking than that, perhaps some of the same 'some' who think attacking the Liberal Democrats so consistently in the run up to the local elections did little to help their cause in areas where Plaid Cymru swept up the anti-Labour vote.

57 Varieties

I wonder if they'll be cheered by the news that the Local Government Data Unit is one of 57 new bodies that the Heritage Minister, Rhodri Glyn Thomas, is planning to bring under the Welsh Language Act.

In future the Welsh Language Board will be able to order all 57 - including the Bank of England, the Olympic Delivery Authority, the Royal Mail and the British Council - to comply with the Act and produce a language scheme so that Welsh and English will be treated equally "so far as is appropriate in the circumstances and reasonably practicable". The Act simply "does what it says on the tin" we were told, which given there are 57 new varieties of bodies listed today seems just about right.

One obvious question then: where is the Welsh Language Legislative Competence Order?

March 1st has come and gone (I have the school Eisteddfod photos to prove it)

Spring has well and truly been if not gone (daffodils dead-headed)

It might not be top of the agenda over there or over here come to that but it would be nice to know Minister: where is the LCO?


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