Wales

Borrowing, budgets and badgers

  • 4 December 2012
  • From the section Wales
  • comments

They've done it again.

On the day one 'b' - next year's budget - is signed, sealed and delivered thanks to the deal between Labour and Plaid Cymru and the Welsh government reveals a plan to - another 'b' - borrow to pay for infrastructure projects they could otherwise not afford, it's yet another 'b' that dominates First Minister's Questions. Badgers.

I missed it. I'm tempted to utter another word beginning with 'b' - broadcasting, that is.

Because in the chamber, Carwyn Jones came under pressure for giving his personal go-ahead to an attempt to prevent the broadcast of a repeat episode of soap opera Pobol y Cwm last week.

I won't go into the detail - you'll find it here - but it's about a whole host of 'b' words. It's about badgers, an accusation from a fictional farmer that the government doesn't have the "backbone" to cull them and a real-life complaint to the BBC and the watchdog, Ofcom.

In the chamber Mr Jones stuck to his guns. All three opposition parties stuck the boot in. He was accused by Kirsty Williams of making Lord Leveson's point for him, of trying to "protect your government by censoring a public service broadcaster" on the very day the report into press standards was published. Plaid's Simon Thomas wondered if Mr Jones had seen the programme before complaining. He had - and the script.

Mr Jones was not for turning. No other soap opera "ever in history" had included such direct criticism of the government, he said. There had been no right of reply. That was wrong. Cries of "The Archers" went up around the chamber. Andrew RT Davies wondered whether the FM might have his sights on Gavin and Stacey next for suggesting the M4 is less than perfect.

I'm told those on the Labour benches didn't seem that keen to join in.

While we all await the outcome of those official complaints, listen to my colleague Vaughan Roderick's take on the debate - and join in.