So it seems that the new Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science - Edwina Hart will also have Cabinet level responsibility for agriculture and tourism.
Ms Hart will be an extremely busy lady it seems - these briefs are some of the most important ones in the Cabinet, and whilst Alun Davies AM the Deputy Minister will take day-to-day responsibility for Rural matters it seems as if the seasoned politician Ms Hart has built herself quite a powerful empire.
So who is Ms Hart and who also is Alun Davies - the two people who will have the industry in their in-box over the coming years ?
|Edwina Hart AM|
Perhaps the article about Ms Hart by Willy Nilly over on Waleshome is a good place to start when he says that "Edwina Hart is a complex and intriguing politician who inspires strong sentiments in others – as strong as the sentiments she feels herself, perhaps. Maybe more than any other Assembly Member she has a public persona which does not leave people neutral and, in tandem, she is not a person given to neutrality either. Hers is a politics of instinct and truths – truths she is prepared to voice, often bluntly, when others prefer to deal in subtler shades of opinion. This creates rather a “marmite” political persona. Those who aren’t warm to her forget though her fundamental decency and personal kindness which she often extends to others in difficult circumstances. For Hart has a big heart, and this has shaped her relations with many of the patient groups she has worked with over the past four years."
Edwina Hart is one of the National Assembly's most assured and competent performers, praised from all sides of the Chamber. She sought the leadership post in Autumn 2009 and came second to Carwyn Jones in a contest without acrimony. In the appointment of the subsequent Assembly Government she retained the Health and Social Services portfolio, and remains one of the Cabinet's most senior members
|Alun Davies AM|
So on to Alun Davies - over to Willy Nilly at Waleshome again where he describes Mr Davies thus "Alun Davies is in many ways a model politician. Combative, committed, canny and even sometimes charming, he combines the zest for battle with the asides and anecdotes of a bon viveur. His background in a diverse range of industries and political roles gives him a depth and perspective that contributes to his world view.
One of the Assembly’s most natural orators, he speaks neither in code nor in muted tones. His interventions are often brutal and memorable. When Ieuan Wyn Jones was deemed by Davies to have been “economical with the actualite” around the Heads of the Valleys programme, the many panes of the Assembly building shook at their mutual rage."
Alun Davies entered the Assembly through the Regional List at the 2007 Election. The "Every Second Counts" campaign, urging Labour voters to use their second vote for the Party, was launched for this purpose - a rare attempt to use an entire political strategy to elect a single Member to a legislature. Perhaps this demonstrated how important the election of Alun Davies was to Welsh Labour. In the end, both Alun Davies and Joyce Watson reached the Assembly through the collapse of Labour in first past the post constituencies in Mid and West Wales.
Prior to his election Alun Davies was Director of his own public affairs company, Bute Communications, and he has a strong appreciation of the business climate in Wales. In the Assembly he has also developed a reputation as a hard defender of his party, never afraid to ask questions of others or take the fight from Labour to other parties. This has resulted in a high media and political profile for a new backbencher. His evident skills have led to extensive Committee responsibility including Chair of the Rural Affairs sub Committee (2007-09) and also, for a time, Chair of the Broadcasting Committee.
Alun Davies is viewed as one of the rising stars of Welsh Labour - not least because he began his political career in Plaid Cymru. As a student activist and then Communications Director in Plaid Cymru, Alun Davies was one of their most high profile activists from South East Wales, standing for them in Blaenau Gwent, and his defection to Labour in the mid 1990s was viewed as an act of betrayal by the party. Such is the enmity that it is arguable Plaid Cymru spent too long fighting his candidacy in Ceredigion in 2005 and not enough defending themselves from the Liberal Democrats, who took the seat from them.
His political interests include regeneration, education, public spending and constitutional matters, including the expansion of the legislative powers of the Assembly.
So this is the man to whom a meeting request has already been sent and to whom I shall present the views of the industry as and when I can - luckily - I often share a small quality drink from Wales with Mr Davies so I know he is already on the case - he is a committed member of the Assembly's All Party Group on Beer and the Pub !
Watch this space.....