THE NEWSDESK: More AMs – it’s top of voters’ wish list, right?
4:10pm Monday 4th March 2013 in News
IS ANYONE still surprised by the public’s inability to turn out for elections or give a damn about what politicians say?
If they are, take a look at some of the online comments about last week’s idea – that we should increase the number of Assembly Members from 60 to 80.
Presiding officer Rosemary Butler made the call in her submission to the Silk Commission examining whether further powers should be devolved to Wales.
The Newport West AM said an increase in AMs would be part of a “strong and clear constitutional settlement for the assembly and the people of Wales”.
And she added: “Given the weight of responsibility resting with the institution, and the unavoidable scale of the workload faced by members, I am in no doubt that the number of Assembly Members should be increased from 60 to 80.”
Now I know that Mrs Butler does excellent work in her constituency and as presiding officer, but statements like these will do nothing to endear her to the electorate.
Because, to quote The Smiths: “It says nothing to me about my life.”
Process, process, process – why are politicians so seemingly enamoured of their process?
One can argue all one likes about slashing the number of Lords or MPs to pay for it, or the benefits of a greater number of eyes on other public spending: people on the street just see more jobs for the self-appointed elite while the rest of us are struggling.
If there is a case for an expanded Assembly, there surely is no worse time to make it.
I see little public appetite for anything which does not directly address what we care about – jobs, paying our bills, caring for our pensioners, making sure our NHS is fit for purpose.
Politicians – if you want us to turn out and vote for you, start talking to us about the things which matter to us.
● The decision on what it puts in a new Government of Wales Bill which would be needed for any substantial changes to the assembly’s powers or structure, including new members, will be made by the UK government.
It is expected to release its submission to the Silk Commission this week.
Give trip few hours and they’ll be bickering
WANTED: a man and a woman – possibly a married couple – for a 501-day journey to Mars and back which would start in less than five years.
The privately-financed mission, expected to cost upwards of $1billion, is the brainchild of Mars Foundation founder Dennis Tito, a multimillionaire who in 2001 paid $20million for a trip to the International Space Station.
He said he will pay start-up costs for two years to begin development of life-support systems and other technology.
The aim is to take advantage of a rare planetary alignment that would allow a craft to loop around Mars, coming as close as about 150 miles to the planet’s surface, before returning to Earth.
The launch window for the mission opens on January 5, 2018.
The next opportunity is not until 2031. The spacecraft will have about 600 cubic feet of living space available for a twoperson crew. The craft would recycle air, water, urine and perspiration.
Much of the time would be taken up with maintenance and science experiments.
Once the spaceship is on its way, there is no turning back.
“If something goes wrong, they’re not coming back,” one organiser said.
Mission planners say they would like to fly a man and a woman, preferably a married couple who would be compatible during a long period of isolation.
Insert your own laughter here.
Someone who has never cohabited with a member of the opposite sex must have come up with that one.
“Houston, we have a problem...
the toilet seat is up AGAIN...”
I think that as men are supposedly from Mars and women from Venus, mission control would be better off looking for blokes in the first blush of a bromance.