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Go West

Betsan Powys | 13:04 UK time, Saturday, 20 February 2010


Some news just in - Mark Drakeford has been chosen as the Labour candidate for Cardiff West for the May 2011 Assembly elections, where he'll be bidding to take over from the former First Minister Rhodri Morgan.

Mr Drakeford was widely seen as providing the intellectual underpinnings for the much vaunted "clear red water" strategy of differentiating Welsh Labour from New Labour.

And that clear red water strategy is certainly popular with the Cardiff West CLP members if the results from this morning's hustings is anything to go by - Mr Drakeford trounced the other two candidates - gaining 102 votes, to Ramesh Patel's 50 and Sophie Howe's 42.

Should he be elected, Mr Drakeford will find the life of an AM rather different to that of a special adviser at the very heart of government. Paying affectionate tribute during his farewell speech in the Senedd in December last year, Mr Morgan came up with this priceless anecdote.

"I also want to thank all the special advisers that I have had. The function of a special adviser is sometimes described as that of a spin doctor, but by and large, our special advisers have not been spin doctors but policy wonks out of the top drawer--professors of sociology, and suchlike.

"I will never forget one moment when Tony Blair was coming to address people in Wales, and making a major speech on Europe in the old library in central Cardiff. He was a little late in arriving, and so the person in charge of his security arrangements turned to me and asked to speak to my senior special adviser.

"I pointed to Mark Drakeford, a professor of sociology, who was wearing his usual sweater and pair of jeans, and after digesting the news that this was my senior special adviser, this chap went over to Mark and asked him, 'Where shall I position my team of rooftop snipers?' I did not think that he had quite understood what a special adviser was."

Around and about the Plaid conference just down the road from Transport House, a few delegates might have been hoping for a Ramesh Patel victory, following his controversial comments regarding Welsh medium education in Cardiff, but In intellectual (and sartorial) terms, it seems Labour plumped for the heir apparent.

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