"Quiet inward celebration" for ministerial anniversary
- 4 September 2013
- From the section Wales politics
President Kennedy's assassination; Thatcher's fall; Elvis's death: we often remember what we were doing when big news events occurred.
One year ago today, David Jones became secretary of state for Wales . Since you ask, as the reshuffle unfurled I was at the Olympic stadium watching the athletics during the Paralympic Games (there's a reshuffle most years but only one chance to experience London 2012).
"It's gone very quickly," the secretary of state said today, "and I think overall it's been an interesting year, and in many respects I think it's been a successful year. When you're sitting at the cabinet table, time does move very quickly."
In 12 months, Mr Jones has made headlines beyond Wales twice - for his choice of transport for the short hop between the Wales Office and Downing Street, and for the reasons he gave to oppose his government's move to legalise same sex marriage.
Within nine months of taking the job, he also found himself tipped for the sack in a September reshuffle.
Behind the headlines, he's been beavering away on the UK government's response to a report suggesting the Welsh government should get some tax-varying powers and has been instrumental in delaying that response until business and industry have been consulted on the merits of devolving stamp duty land tax to Wales.
"The Silk commission is something that's really dominated the first 12 months of my period as secretary of state, but there will be an announcement shortly," he said. (Ministers have given up tying announcements to the seasons - the Silk response was promised by the spring, then "in the reasonably near future", "in due course", "very soon" and now "shortly".)
For those who wonder how they'll fill their time once that response is delivered, Mr Jones is already looking forward to the next Silk commission report on which further powers, if any, should be devolved to Wales. "Of course next year we've got the Silk 2 recommendations on the other elements in its remit so of course there will be another period of Silk consideration next year." Put it in your diary now.
Mr Jones also highlight his role in pressing for a new prison to come to north Wales, a push for rail electrification in north Wales and working with the Treasury on proposals to upgrade the M4 in south Wales (the Welsh government might claim to be pivotal to this too).
"I think that it demonstrates that the Wales Office can make a substantial difference by ensuring Wales's voice is heard here in Westminster and that Wales is not overlooked when it comes to government spending."
And how will he celebrate the anniversary? "Until you walked into the office I didn't realise it was 12 months since I'd been appointed, so, no, I don't think celebration, I think for any politician to survive 12 months in the same job must be regarded as an achievement so that extent I think I'll celebrate but I'll have a quiet inward celebration rather than anything else."