This last week, I attended the official opening of Powys' new substance abuse centre, located at the Armoury Leisure Centre, in Welshpool. Its next door to the gymnasium where I hone my body. The honours were performed by Dr Brian Gibbons, Assembly Government Minister for Social Justice and Local Government. After his 'launch' speech, I was invited to contribute a few words to the occasion. I took the opportunity to speak well of Dr Gibbons. During my eight years as an Assembly Member, he was a political opponent whom I found it difficult to regard as such because of his easy manner and ready sense of fun. And of course he's Irish.
When he was appointed a Minister, I reckoned it was great news for the Conservatives. He seemed competent and personable - but had an accent so pronounced that voters wouldn't understand what he was saying! But we all became used to it. He will always be best remembered for pressing the wrong voting button in the debating chamber, and delivering a great defeat upon the Assembly Government of which he was a member. The debate had been based on an opposition demand for an inquiry into the Wales Ambulance Service. Brian, then Health Minister had presented the Government's case against it. The Government were expecting to win by one vote - but Brian's finger went awol, found the wrong voting button and an inquiry there was. I'm a bit miffed he didn't tell me he was standing down when we met this week. I'd like to have broken the news on this blog.
Mick Bates last week. Brian Gibbons this week. Who next?