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Tinker Tailor Soldier Minister

Betsan Powys | 07:30 UK time, Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Funny things, coincidences. Especially if you're a government minister.

You're all set to make an announcement ... and lo and behold, an opposition debate pops up on it a week before. Hospital cleanliness, for example. That was last week, with a major Welsh Assembly Government report on it due this week.

Or funding for a vital, and long campaigned-for drug, to give another example. All the plans were in place - we're told - for an announcement by the Health Minister next week on the Lucentis drug for wet AMD sufferers to be available across Wales, when the Conservatives elect to hold a full scale debate in plenary on it THIS week.

What do you do?

Better to bring the announcement forward, it seems, than be seen to be reacting to opposition pressure. So we duly found a written statement on Lucentis dropping into our inboxes yesterday.

But the thing about coincidences is they make you wonder.

Here's the Health Minister, Edwina Hart, wondering aloud: "In many ways, when I saw the Conservative debate had been put down for this week I thought oh, who's told them - and I've got my last meeting last Friday to sort out the policy. There's a little element of suspicion with me, but I shouldn't be nasty because really people have been lobbying all politicians about this issue, and at the end of the day I feel its not about lobbying, it's about doing the right thing.

Would she care to wonder any further about this particular coincidence?

Sphinx-like, she says, "Well, it made me smile a little, but at the end of the day we've had quite a few debates from them (the Tories) recently that are right at the heart of government policy that I'm about to announce, but um, that's the way the cookie crumbles, isn't it?"

Isn't it? Or maybe it can just sometimes be tricky keeping the lid on the biscuit tin.


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