Dominating today's Wales on Sunday are two stories. Front page headline reads"What were you thinking - Moment of Madness". Not sure which of the central characters this applied to - Alun Wyn Jones or Montgomeryshire's Assembly Member, Mick Bates. Photographs of both men, and then the line 'Politician apologises for night on the tiles he can't remember'. Now, getting splattered is not against the law (even if it is a little unwise), especially with a new hip - so I was sort of entertained by what I was reading. But the biggest headline of all screamed out "AM in 'Drunken Abuse' shame" - Matt Withers' first paragraphs read "An Assembly Mmeber is being investigated over allegations of abusive behaviour towards hospital staff". After reading that, I realised that this was not an entertaining matter at all - and I bet Nick Clegg and Kirsty Williams don't think so either. The BBC have also waded into the story.
Because Mick represents Montgomeryshire, it was no surprise to me that I received calls from the media to comment. I wasn't that keen. But Matt had dug out a quote from me a few years ago where I said "Since he arrived here, Mick Bates has treated the National Assembly as an entertainment centre". At the time I was dismissed as a 'fuddy-duddy'. I think that was after Mick turned up in the Debating Chamber in a Santa suit - to promote the Newtown Santa Run. Great cause, but I did think it demeaned the National Assembly. Mick's most notorious trick was to give the Presiding Officer 'the finger' in the Debating Chamber. Unfortunately it was caught on YouTube. Must admit that I was highly amused by Mick's 'explanation' at the time. He said that he "was showing Rhodri Glyn Thomas which finger he should use to operate the Assembly's modern push button voting system".
What this could really be about is the hot competition for the Wales on Sunday's annual 'Buffoon of the Year Title'. Mick had won this for several years in succession, and we were all stunned last year when the afore-mentioned Rhodri Glyn Thomas usurped him, courtesy of an incident with a cigar. It was a bigger shock than Phil Taylor losing a darts match. It could be that Mick wants the title back this year so that he can retire undefeated in 2011.
Never let it be said that this blog is less than fair. I'm in agreement with Kirsty Williams about this. Lets find out exactly what happened before we throw stones. And anyway, there's a bit of me that wants to support a fellow-Montgomeryshire man in trouble.
UPDATE - If this morning's reports turn out to have any basis in truth, there is no doubt that we should all be outraged. Violence against hospital staff is an utter disgrace. But I still find it so hard to believe. I will await developments during the day, but its likely that this blog post will be removed tonight. There is no longer a shred of entertainment in this story.