We'll keep a welcome in the hillside (well hidden)

UEFA hold a ceremony to announce who will host the 2012 European Championships. It is one of the biggest sporting events in the world. Press from all over the globe are gathered. At the time of writing Google News has 353 articles on the subject from India to New York, South Africa and Malaysia. It is being held in City Hall Cardiff.

A star-studded audience holds its breath as the announcement is made. This is a heavyweight crowd. Literally. Ex-boxing champion Vitali Klitschko is backing the Ukraine bid along with Chelsea striker Andrei Shevchenko. Oh, and the President happens to be there too. Not to mention the Prime Ministers of Croatia and Hungary.

But Sports Minister Alun Pugh decides it makes more sense to pull out at the last minute rather than represent the government at this prestigious event. He's fighting a marginal seat and for him, that is what's important. Turns out First Minister Rhodri Morgan can't make it either so they send Deputy Health Minister John Griffiths instead.

So it's sporting legends, heads of state, the world's media and... John Griffiths.

The opposition parties are calling it an 'embarrassment'. For Labour, it's more of a sacrifice. I wonder if the voters of Clwyd West will reward Alun Pugh at the polls?

I'm off to Cambridge tomorrow for an old boys dinner. Posting will be sporadic and alcohol induced. So much the same as normal.

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posted by Blamerbell @ 12:40 am,

16 Comments:

At 9:09 am, Blogger Glyn Davies AM said...

John Griffiths is quite a good footballer if that makes any difference!

 
At 9:26 am, Blogger Marcusian said...

John Griffiths done a sterling job by all accounts, i dont know what all the fuss is about really. John has a great personal knowledge of football also...

 
At 9:30 am, Blogger david h jones said...

I like John Griffiths - it's nothing against him - it's a question of his position in government (ye, I know there is an election on etc).

It summs up the lack of vision and just ambition which has characterised 2 Labour terms.

Hell, I didn't even know Wales was hosting the event - this was an important event for the FAW and for the country.

 
At 10:04 am, Blogger Marcusian said...

Important but for very 'hollow' reasons, its all about Alun Pugh vs. The Western Mail this story.

Is it such a bad thing that Alun Pugh is out on the campaign trail instead of attending a dinner?

Im sure Michel Platini didnt mind, although John just told he didnt get a chance to meet him.

 
At 10:17 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have to agree. Alun is working hard in his constituency. He has done since he became an AM.
The Western Mail can't stand any form of criticism, and will run ridiculous stories. It is up to the opposition spokespeople to show a level of responsibility towards the nature of the story. They simply have no principles.

 
At 10:19 am, Anonymous der said...

I would prefer that real issues were discussed. Ones that really have an effect on our lives. This is scraping the barrel. No wonder the population at large is put off by politics. Besides, ideally we need to keep Labour away from the Ukranians....havn't they already adopted one foolish thing from that fledgeling democracy already....the assembly candidate rules? That's quite enough. :-)

 
At 10:26 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon - "They simply have no principles". Can you remind me who was using assembly post and notepaper for campaigning?

 
At 10:44 am, Blogger Pads said...

Looks like Labour missed a chance to appeal to the Polish vote in Wrexham!

 
At 11:04 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't really blame Alun Pugh he's just learning from the Grand Master of Gaffes Rhodri Morgan

He'll have plenty of time after the election to attend stuff, what does everyone else think?

 
At 11:32 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think Michel Platini has a clue who Alun Pugh is. Come to that, neither have most other people.

 
At 5:22 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

As I understand it, the FAW are keen to attract big European games to Cardiff. UEFA needs to be convinced that the government is behind projects like this.

I'm sure John Griffiths knows a lot about football and did a great job. But he is neither the Sport Minister nor the First Minister.

Only UEFA will know if this has any ramifications at all. But with so much at stake, it's easy to see why opposition parties are being critical.

 
At 7:34 pm, Blogger Marcusian said...

Blamerbell...

Do you honestly think that big european games were lost because of Alun Pughs absence?

I mean surely the FAW and Assembly government's record on hosting the FA CUP, Play-off final, Carling Cup, Super League, Speedway, the Tsunami Concert etc will be the main indicator...

What about Alun Pugh's responsibility to his constituents? This guy has been having stick off the tories for putting AM on his posters! So he is not allowed to be an AM but then he also has to put his 'ministerial' role ahead of his campaign??? People need to make their mind up...If he have had gone it would have been 'Pugh spends day away from campaign with VIP's'. I dont know Alun, but its unfair the way the Western Mail have been treating him...

I have spoke to John at length as i work in the same office, he said that he didnt meet the UEFA bigwigs, as there was a seperate dinner for the FAW and UEFA. It didnt matter who the assembly sent it wouldnt have made a blind bit of difference. Cardiff was just the place to announce the host for 2012, not a 'schmoozing' event bigging up cardiff for the champs league final.


It a crap story, storm in a slow welsh news day teacup...

 
At 11:43 am, Anonymous emad said...

Depends if we want to be seen as being ruled by small-time politicians or international statesmen really doesn't it? What is the point of having a Sports Minister then?

 
At 1:33 pm, Blogger david h jones said...

the more I learn about this event the more angry I get. This was a very important and historic event and Alun Pugh put his little ego in front of Wales.

I've just read that Wales are hoping to put in a bid with Scotland for the 2016 Finals - excellent. But had you been one of the UEFA bigwigs in Cardiff and heard that the Sports Minister couldn't be bothered to turn up cos he was canvassing to save his skin woul;dn't you be righ to ask how much wholhearted support will this country's government give to staging the Final?

I ust can't imaging the UK/English sports minister staying in Doncaster/Dorset/Brighton to do some canvassing (two weeks before the election) were a similar event held in London. Of course, the UK is a proper coutnry, Wales isn't for Labour.

Sorry marcusian, this isn't just a little thing it says volumes about the priority of 'Welsh' Labour.

 
At 4:46 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

"But had you been one of the UEFA bigwigs in Cardiff and heard that the Sports Minister couldn't be bothered to turn up cos he was canvassing to save his skin woul;dn't you be righ to ask how much wholhearted support will this country's government give to staging the Final?"

That is an obvious concern. Opposition politicians wouldn't be doing their job if they weren't voicing it.

 
At 5:31 pm, Blogger Marcusian said...

Blamie,

I agree that the opposition needs to be kicking up a fuss about such things, bloody hell its pretty much ALL Plaid do, but i think that the WM's feud with Alun Pugh has made this story far bigger than it deserved to be.

I dont like these 'snub' stories, including the one when Leighton Andrews accused the tory of 'snubbing' the CBI...its petty politics.

 

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