In these straitened times, it is always good to have another string to your bow. And with all this talk of reshuffling in the air, our First Minister wasn't slow in leading the way to show that he has many other talents.
It's a little know fact that Mr Jones is also an inventor extraordinaire and has been demonstrating his latest gadget, a hole puncher, on one of the shopping channels to much publicity and gasps of amazement. Just as well when talk of a reshuffle cropped up at FMQs. It was the leader of the opposition, Andrew RT Davies, who continued the reshuffle rumours off the back of a heated exchange about a rewriiten report which he claimed undermined public confidence in changes planned for the NHS in North Wales. A shiver went through the ranks as he named names about who he thought would be getting the chop after the festive season.
I asked you a specific question on the ability of people to have confidence in so called Independent reports. It's no wonder that with such lamentable defence over the weekend there were credible reports that you were thinking of reorganising your cabinet. And indeed most of that reorganisation was focused on the two ministers on either side of you. And you felt so threatened by it that you had to defend that reshuffle over the weekend. But you only brought the reshuffle till Christmas time, so is it right come January , many of your colleagues on that front bench are going to be stuffed?
Well, the two Ministers on either side of the FM were Edwina Hart and Jane Hutt. Could it be true? Surely not. And if so could either of them have a future on the shopping channel to look forward to? But the FM put their minds at rest and soon it was smiles all round. The FM told Assembly members that a reshuffle wasn't imminent. And blamed the Tories for starting the rumours in the first place. He then went on to defend his Health Minister on the earlier matter of the so called altered report
Ministers don't interfere when the National Clinical Forum and Health Boards are in discussion. If the Minister had done so, then he'd be criticising that as well.
Muttering under his breath RT sat down and it was then Plaid Leader Leanne Wood's opportunity to put questions to the FM. She spoke about the North Wales Child abuse case and gave her views about the role the media had played in reporting recent events. She then added that while many institutions have become discredited, our own new Senedd has created the role of the Children's Commissioner and she wanted reassurances that it was a role that would be sufficiently resourced to carry out his investigations.
I have asked the Children's Commissioner to keep an eye on the situation as it develops. I have also encouraged people to contact the Children's Commissioner if they have issues to discuss or evidence to present. We have a Children's Commissioner for a reason. Several reasons. And one of them is to ensure that when a situation like this arises, we have someone who is independent of Government who take forward such investigations as the Commissioner thinks is necessary.
It was then the turn of the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Kirsty Williams, who returned to the subject of the Welsh Government's reconfiguration of the NHS. In particular, like the Tories, KW wanted to discuss the report by the National Clinical Forum, which she claimed had appeared to be altered to give a more positive response to an LHB's reconfiguration plans. In particular she wanted to know if the Health Minister had been aware of what was going on ?
First Minister, people in the BBC lost their jobs this week because they didn't know what was going on on their watch. And hadn't got a grip on the situation. When will you and your Health Minister get a grip on this most controversial and serious reorganisation?
To which came the reply:
This is an example of some severe double standards. There is no doubt if the Health Minister had tried to intervene in any way, you would have called for her head for that reason. She has quite properly not intervened in what is an independent process.
To be continued next week, I'm sure.