Finished off my day in Cardiff today by 'guesting' on CF99, the Welsh Language politics programme on S4/C. Fellow guest was Nick Bennett, who used to be a prominent Lib Dem but has found a much more useful role in society. Nick is a living demonstration that its possible to succeed, no matter how misguided a path one might have started out on. Presenters of CF99 are Wales' answer to Bill Oddie and Kate Humble - the Welsh political 'mastermind', Vaughan Roderick and the fragrant Bethan Rhys Roberts. And please don't tell me that's sexist. Its so late that my judgement could be going.
Only one issue tonight. His Lordship. And for once, try as I might, I cannot fathom what he's playing at. But I do know that I think he was wrong. This is what's happened. A Plaid Cymru Assembly Member, Mohammed Asghar, has invited all his fellow AMs to a reception, to which he has also invited the Israeli Ambassador. Now this is quite interesting in itself - the only Muslim elected to the Assembly inviting the Israeli Ambassador to an Assembly do. Interesting, but not obviously a problem - until his Lordship, the Assembly Presiding Officer, Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas stuck his oar in. He responded to the invitation by declining, because he so disapproves of the way that the Israelis are treating the Palestinians. If that's his opinion, fair enough, I suppose. But then he went on to hope that no other Assembly Member would accept Mohammed's invitation either. And to cap it all, he then sent a copy of his refusal by email to every other AM. In my understated opinion, this was somewhat 'incendiary'.
Dafydd El might say that it was a private email to AMs. All 60 of them. Pull the other one M'lud. Anyway it inevitably leaked out. Mohammed is standing his ground. He's been in hotter places than this. Mohammed it was who was almost blown up during an unsuccessful attempt on the life of Benazir Bhutto last year - before the successful attempt. Alun Ffred Jones, another Plaid Cymru AM went on the record today to completely disagree with Dafydd El. There wasn't any attempt to try to finesse things. Labour AM and wannabe FM, Leighton Andrews is pouring fuel on the flames. If this happened in any other party, we'd be talking about internal turmoil - but not Plaid Cymru. This is par for the course. At least no-one's resigned. Now what did I think of this. Well, if I'd received such an invitation, I might have accepted if I didn't have a previous engagement. Had I received Dafydd El's email as well, I would have cancelled any other engagement to make sure I could attend, hopefully the cancelled meeting being one with the Presiding Officer himself.
Bethan asked me and Nick if we thought this made Dafydd El 'not fit for purpose' - not suitable to be the Assembly's Presiding Officer. We both declared our support and admiration for the Machiavellian Meirionyddion. You see, what people outside of Wales don't realise is that Lord Dafydd El is unique, in that he can say almost anything and get away with it. The only danger is if the story goes world wide. I'm told its gone international - in France anyway. And tomorrow's Sun or Mail is running the story under the heading 'Lord Porkbarrel' in reference to the 8.3% pay increase. Could be a problem if it goes out on Al Jezzira though. Anyway, I'm told that the only reason he was crousty about it was because he had invited another prestigious visitor to visit the Assembly on the same day. Well that's understandable then. The Welsh word for 'colourful' is 'lliwgar'.