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Good to see Wales Office keeping busy; SPIN DOCTOR.

Byline: edited by Matt Withers

A WRITTEN question was posed to the new-ish Welsh Viceroy Paul Murphy by a Conservative MP last week, wanting to know how many entries on the online encyclopedia Wikipedia had been created or edited by ministers, special advisors and communications officials in his department.

The answer? "None," said Mr Murphy (right).

But somebody in the Wales Office has been busy on the site, as a quick search on the website Wikiscanner, which reveals who has been editing what, shows.

Hence we know somebody in Mr Murphy's office edited the entry on Bargoed so that it was described as a "small, shabby Welsh Valleys town".

And somebody in the supposedly politically neutral department also edited the section on Plaid AM Bethan Jenkins to include several negative details, while changing Tory leader Nick Bourne's entry to include the facts that the Conservatives are "consistently rated as the Assembly's hardest working, most effective group" and that Mr Bourne "is a tireless campaigner for our rural communities". Good work!

ANOTHER week closer to Rhodri Morgan shambling off into the sunset, another week closer to Labour electing a new leader.

Counsel General Carwyn Jones (right), long-time favourite to succeed Rhodri as First Minister, thinks it's too early to start speculating about the leadership.

Presumably, it wasn't too early last May when, as it looked likely a 'rainbow coalition' of Plaid, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems was about to be formed in Cardiff Bay, forcing Rhodri out of office, Mr Jones signed up the First Minister's former special adviser Cathy Owens to run his leadership campaign.

ARARE bit of good economic news in these depressing times: a major operation is moving to Wales.

Sadly, it's the BNP, who have taken a break from publicly squabbling with each other to move several arms of its operation to a mystery North Wales location, including its online shop, Excalibur, and its newspaper, Freedom.

The party's Wales Regional Secretary Bill Murray - who we preferred in Ghostbusters - says: "This development, on top of the number of candidates and activists we now have, has put Wales in general, and North Wales in particular, well and truly on the map."

He's right, you know.

Nobody had heard of Wales before a far-right newspaper with a circulation of hundreds moved here.

CURLING up on the sofa to watch Spin Doctor's favourite TV programme, Five's excellent financial advice show It Pays To Watch!, we were delighted to spot the weekly celebrity having his bank balances audited.

For it was none other than Lembit 'Bow Wow' Opik, MP for Montgomeryshire and partner of one-half of chart-averse novelty pop act The Cheeky Girls getting a thorough going-over.

He admitted to being "completely rubbish" with money, and is still not 100 per cent back on track after nearly going bankrupt in 1997 after a business venture went sour.

It really is a mystery why one of Nick Clegg's first acts as leader was to strip Lembit of his Business and Enterprise role in what was emphatically not a demotion.

IT was role reversal time in London last week, and not just because Wales were stuffing England in their own backyard.

Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan, the Children's Minister, was addressing an audience of gays and lesbians.

Meanwhile, Rhondda MP Chris Bryant was representing Parliament in a politicians' rugby match against the Assembly.

"We've swapped lives," observed Bryant.

"Only for an afternoon," replied B rennan.


ROLE REVERSAL: Kevin Brennan
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 10, 2008
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