Translation of "Bournewatch (4)" by Vaughan Roderick
I have flu and so Bournewatch is happening from afar today.
Fortunately Betsan's keeping an eye on things. Glyn Davies, Peter Black and Bethan Jenkins have also made valuable contributions.
One of Bethan's points is especially appropriate.
"I used my discretion, and more or less thought 'What would the public be happy with AMs claiming, within reason?'"
Exactly. As Glyn points out, how on earth did Nick Bourne and Brian Gibbons, both of whom earn £90,000 a year, believe it was OK to claim five pounds for light bulbs (Nick) or £16 for a bouquet of Remembrance Sunday flowers (Brian)?
To be fair to our politicians there's one thing worth bearing in mind here. All these details were released as a result of freedom of information claims launched by the BBC and the Western Mail. Because of that some of them date back to 2006/2007. So referring to the current economic climate whilst judging our Assembly Members is unfair. Maybe there is more justification (a little) for claiming an iPod two years ago than there is now.
This brings us back to Nick Bourne and another pertinent point, this time raised by Peter Black:
"There is no doubt that the Tories seem to have come off worse from this latest publication of expenses. This is partly because they have made some unusual claims but also because of the dissatisfaction within the Conservative Group about Nick Bourne's leadership and the fact that some are using his expenses as a stick to beat him with."
All true. What must be remembered is that Nick knows, or at least thinks he knows, those on the front bench and within his party who are plotting against him. His failure to take disciplinary steps against them proves how precarious his position is. Will anything take place before Christmas? I would say 60:40 against.
Translation by Dewi Dau