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Near misses and direct hits

Betsan Powys | 15:59 UK time, Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Yesterday I bet you all winced when you watched these shots of near misses on a level crossing at Llangadog.

Today I bet you would have winced had you watched First Minister's Questions. No near misses here, rather direct hits. Nick Bourne took the full force of asking the wrong question, based on the wrong information to a First Minister who swept him aside.

Why, asked Mr Bourne, had business leaders not had a chance to speak at the Economic Summit in Broughton on Friday?

Rhodri Morgan was picking up pace as he came down the tracks. What tittle tattle! He was in the chair himself and distinctly remembered inviting representatives from business to talk. Come on Nick, he goaded, you've got to do better than that. Balderdash!

Why oh why, asked Mr Bourne, had Jane Hutt, the Minister in charge of Lifelong Learning and Skills, not been at the Summit? Why wasn't she there to answer questions?

Then came the moment of impact. Bad news for Mr Bourne. She had been there. What's more she'd taken part, answered questions, the lot. A waste of two questions. 2-0 to the First Minister. "Poppycock! Not good enough Nick" he blared. The staunchest of Mr Bourne's supporters sank in their seats.

"When the boys have stopped arguing over who was or wasn't there ..." It was Kirsty Williams' turn. More bad news for Mr Bourne. Her questions were sharp, useful and scored direct hits. Had the Assembly Government talked to banks about the availability of credit? Had the First Minister made representations to the EU on state aid rules that govern the interest rates at which Finance Wales - who are there to help small and medium size businesses - can borrow? Would he do either of these things before the next Summit?

There was no answer from the First Minister.

Mr Bourne had his near miss before Christmas. Today's direct hit will have done nothing to make his position safer.

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