As Assembly Members return, perhaps the most interesting story of the week was the verdict of the Standards Commissioner in respect of Leanne Wood AM calling a prominent and acerbic blogger an “Arsehole.” She did so in response to an attack by him on her colleague Delyth Jewell AM. For this action, Leanne has refused to apologise, and her group is standing with her, as are a number of other AMs.
The case is not isolated. Hefin David AM has also been censured for using the term “coc oen” during a Twitter debate. Unlike Leanne, he has accepted he did wrong and does not object to his censure. Yet, in both his and Leanne’s cases, they are basically low-level spats where the AM responded to antagonistic targeting rather than initiate anything.
The case has opened up a number of debates. One is whether the threshold of complaints is too low and whether any form of adjudication should be required at this level. Another angle is the fitness of the Standards Commissioner for his role. He previously came in for criticism for failing to deal with a video made by Gareth Bennett AM targeting Joyce Watson AM. Some people are now openly accusing him of sexism. Sir Roderick Evans’ chances of surviving in the role for the whole of this Assembly look very much thinner.