Thursday, 21 February 2008

Sponsored absence

I will sadly forego the pleasures of the Welsh Liberal Democrat conference in Llandudno this weekend, although colleagues will ensure it receives sparkling coverage on radio, TV and online.

I did offer to stay away if their AMs sponsored me for the London Marathon, although that failed to persuade anyone other than Peter Black (thank you, Peter) to cough up. (It's not too late for the rest of them to dig out their credit cards.........).

The Welsh Lib Dems are billing Nick Clegg's visit (10am, Saturday) as his first national conference speech as leader. His graveyard slot is explained by other engagements elsewhere later that day.

The conference does offer the chance for AMs to jockey for position ahead of the expected retirement of Mike German as Welsh party leader later this year.

I'll leave it to others to run through the list of runners and riders, although one
political insider got in touch to point out that one potential candidate has been stressing her experience in legal issues.

Indeed, Eleanor Burnham, for it is she, has mentioned her past life on the bench no fewer than seven times since her re-election last May.

The phrase "as a former magistrate" sprung from her lips on July 10, 2007 (twice), October 17, December 5 (twice), January 16 and January 30.

Evidence enough to overwhelm those sceptics who assumed her leadership pitch would be based on her role as a qualified aromatherapist.

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