My place in Welsh history - for pounds 150

It is rather wonderful being the leader of a great political party - and I recommend it to all
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AND SO I have finally done it. After years of dreaming about it and even more years writing about it as a journalist, I have finally formed my own party, the Celtic Alliance, and will be presenting myself and its radical new policies for promoting Welsh arts and sport before the great Welsh electorate in the forthcoming Assembly election.

It was all surprisingly easy, really. I rang up a nice man called Ron in Companies House about a month ago and registered my party for a mere pounds 150. Ron wanted to know if I had a logo, so I found a nice Celtic cross floating around the Internet and gave him that.

It is really rather wonderful being a leader of a great political party, and I recommend it to all. My details have been registered on some website, and newspapers such as The Scotsman ring and ask me how many candidates I'm fielding in Scotland. The BBC political unit wanted to know how many candidates I'm fielding in Europe.

Only this morning Bristol University wrote to me wanting a copy of my election brochure, which they want to house in their collection of election addresses, which "dates back to the 1890s and has proved to be of great use to researchers and members of the public". Ah so, a place in political history already. And all for pounds 150.

Then I had to put in my nomination papers, all signed by my wife, the Celtic Alliance secretary, complete with a pounds 500 deposit which I am extremely keen to get back. Again they were all very nice to me in County Hall, but you could see they were trying hard not to laugh when they saw my eyebrows disappear into my hairline on being told that there were no fewer than 40,000 properties in my constituency.

Clearly I then had to order some 40,000 brochures from my next-door neighbour, who just happens to be a printer, and they are now piled up in 20 boxes in my hallway. They cost me about pounds 1,400, but there is only the slimmest chance of them all getting delivered.

Every party needs a rosette, so another neighbour, the journalist and quilter Judy Stephens, ran me up a rosette the size of a large pizza, complete with my Celtic cross logo. The trouble is, when I've got it on and am out on my bike, I'm not sure if I'm canvassing or about to take off on a new crusade to win back the Holy Land from the infidel.

The bicycle is crucial to my media image of the little man fighting the big system. We at the Celtic Alliance are now frantically trying to set up a photograph of me on my bicycle looking up at Alun Michael's hi-tech battle bus.

The battle is not an easy one since my parliamentary constituency of Cardiff South and Penarth - which is also Alun Michael's constituency - is as strange as they come, stretching from the chintzy, well-heeled seaside town of Penarth through the wilder suburbs of Grangetown and Tiger Bay and the grim, working-class terraces of Splott, to the sprawling estates of Llanrumney and Trowbridge.

In some parts the residents are clearly worried about Molotov cocktails, since it is all but impossible to get anything through the letterboxes. I put one of my brochures into the hands of a four-year-old and told him to give it to his mother. This mite, who barely reached up to my knee, simply glared at me and told me to go and have sexual relations with myself. Or words to that effect.

There is a high level of apathy in these elections, but I am hoping the Celtic Alliance will break through all this with its bold and radical policies for reviving the artistic and sporting heart of Wales.

All Welsh artists have now been silenced, but I'm telling them that the Celtic Alliance wants to set up: a national publishing house to get our writers up and running again; a fully funded film centre so that we can start producing feature films; and a national theatre so we can get our playwrights working and our stars to come home. Only by means of a fully revived artistic life will we ever be able to form a national identity, I say.

The Celtic Alliance also has plans for the state to invest in Wales's three league soccer teams until they reach the Premiership. All this would be much more important to our psychological well-being, I say into my megaphone, than our Welsh National Opera receiving pounds 7m a year in arts subsidy so that its performers may sing in Italian or Czech to the chosen few.

How all this will play in the mean streets of Tiger Bay is anyone's guess. The mind of Cardiff South and Penarth is extremely difficult to read, but I am going to give it all a good punt and am extremely hopeful that the man in County Hall will at least give me my pounds 500 deposit back. But I'll probably get a good book out of it in the end. I will call it Gangrene Was My Valley.

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