Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Happy Anniversary

We love anniversaries in journalism. It's 40 years today since the Prince of Wales was invested, if that's the right phrase.

It's two years this week since Labour and Plaid Cymru coalesced in Cardiff Bay. It's two - very long years - since Gordon Brown succeeded Tony Blair.

It's approaching the first anniversary of the last Welsh Conservative news conference at Westminster (or maybe it just feels like that).

It's 10 years today since power was devolved from Westminster to Edinburgh and Cardiff.

That means it's also the 10th anniversary of the Wales Office, where Peter Hain - Secretary of State for more than half that time - says they are busier than ever before.

Ten years ago, on what we could call D-Day, Mr Hain was a junior Welsh Office Minister. One day he was making key decisions on Welsh schools, the next he was metaphorically twiddling his thumbs as the education brief, along with others, was transferred along the M4.

The artist Mumph drew a cartoon of Mr Hain and a fellow junior Minister playing battleships in the power-free zone that their department became. It may have been a slight exaggeration, although those present at the time recall a surreal post-devolution atmosphere before Welsh Ministers found a new role at Westminster.

In those days, if anyone mentioned LCOs you might confuse it with a breakfast cereal or supermarket. These days they are the stuff of casual conversation in pubs up and down the land. Well, perhaps not.

The 10th wedding anniversary is normally marked by presents of aluminium or tin. I'll leave you to come up with suitable gifts for the Wales Office on its big day.

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