The Western Mail has made a big thing of an article it published today under this headline:
Gosh, I thought. Things must be quiet if these two men had time to write an article about Wales. There might be some good in them after all. And it would be quite a scoop for the Western Mail too, maybe they can halt their decline in sales.
So I read it, but something didn't quite ring true. Yes, they mentioned Wales a few times, but it wasn't really about Wales at all. So I googled one of the paragraphs and found that it was just a recycled version of a story that they had written for Politics Home last week:
Word for word, the story is exactly the same, apart from the fact that the words in bold have been rather awkwardly added to these four paragraphs:
The credibility the Government has earned by tackling the deficit is already benefiting millions of British taxpayers, families and businesses across Wales through consistently low interest rates.
With the Bank of England, we launched action to make loans and mortgages cheaper and more easily available, providing welcome support to families and businesses throughout Wales.
Last week we committed to the biggest overhaul of our rail system since the Victorian times – including electrification of the lines from Cardiff to Swansea and the Welsh Valleys.
But as coalition partners in these difficult economic times – as difficult perhaps as any our country or our continent has faced outside of war – we are totally committed to working together to 2015 to put our economy, and Wales’ economy, back on track.
It's a trick that's been pulled many times before, but we can draw these conclusions from it:
• First, that Osborne and Alexander were not writing for the Western Mail.
The paper is just trying to big itself up to make it look as if it's more important
than it actually is.
• Second, that Osborne and Alexander don't have any specific policies for
Wales at all.
Who knows, perhaps the same story will appear in other newspapers with tags like "across the West Midlands", "throughout the North East", "including electrification of the line to Sheffield", and "Scotland's economy".
Or perhaps not.
Somehow I think we'll find that only the Western Mail thought people in Wales would be gullible enough to believe that this was a story about Wales.