Another day, another blistering attack on Nick Bourne's leadership of the Conservative Group in the National Assembly. The Welsh media are on a feeding frenzy. Today, its Matt Withers in the Wales on Sunday. Hopefully we can have a break from all this over Christmas, and see knives used on the turkey instead. But since the Assembly Group haven't even met to discuss the allowances issue yet, the whole circus is likely to start up again on the first week the Assembly is back in session next year.
Yesterday's coverage of what's being called 'iPodgate' in the Western Mail was based on of the opinions of Monmouth MP, David Davies, who was an AM himself for 8 years. What he was reported as saying was sensible - and what I would expect Sir Roger Jones' Committee to recommend when it reports in 2009.
The first suggestion that David argued for is a 'fixed amount' to be allowed for Assembly Members to pay for 'second homes' - but only for those who live too far away from Cardiff Bay to commute. Actually, this is not much different, in principle, from the current position, except that most people think AMs living too close to Cardiff qualify for the allowance. And of course there's the tricky business of agreeing what is a reasonable 'fixed amount'.
David Davies also calls for 'stricter rules' on what is eligible to be claimed as an office expense. This will inevitably form part of Sir Roger's Committee recommendations, and is sensible. But I don't think this will be as effective a control as publication of the details. The current hoo-hah will see to that. A question worth asking is whether the restrictions, the need for receipts and the publication regime should apply to MPs as well. Personally, I'd like to see MPs following the Assembly's requirements on a voluntary basis. That could be done tomorrow.