I have to keep on reminding myself. Never get on the wrong side of Alun Cairns. He reminds me of Dave Timmis, who played scrum half with me at Shrewsbury in the 1970s. Always harrying , sniping, probing and as soon as my opposite number at open side got a bit 'cocky', Dave was through the gap like a ferret up a drainpipe. Well, yesterday, Alun's ferret shot up Carwyn's drainpipe and bit him in his soft spot.
The ocassion was the Conservative Party's Minority Debate which was worded thus
"To propose that the Nation Assembly for Wales recognises that mitigating the impact of climate change is the most important challenge facing the National Assembly and believes that this must become the first priority of the Assembly Government"
We intended it to be an opportunity for all parties (including mine , of course) to make a powerful statement about a committment to mitigating climate change. But, largely as a result of some ill-considered comments by Rhodri Morgan about climate change the day before, the debate degenerated into 'knockabout'. Carwyn was trying to embarrass my party because of our scepticism about the capacity of on-shore wind is deliver the answer, when Alun struck. Something along the lines of
"Minister, you are extolling the virtues of wind power. Yet, in a public meeting in Bridgend before the last election you told hundreds of people that you were against wind power. Don't you think you should apologise"
With Carwyn, you can always tell if you have landed a direct hit. He comes out fighting, and lashing out in all directions - creating as much dust as he can to obscure his discomfort. But we weren't fooled. Alun had nailed him. Carwyn was reduced to a riposte that Alun was not at the public meeting, which Alun tells me is completely untrue. And the gist of Carwyn's response was that time has moved on - always a weak defence. He's lucky that Labour's gerrymandering of the electoral system has prevented Alun from standing against him in May's election. Carwyn's political career could well have floated away on the breeze.