What is it about MPs in Pontypridd and art? Now don’t get me wrong I like a good painting or a bit of sculpture as much as most people, although I can’t say it quite stirs me to the extent of a red jersey diving over the line. But all things in perspective please.
First we had Kim Howells waxing lyrical about the joys of art (despite his occasional frustration with conceptualised bullshit) and the need for a gallery. Although his suggestion that one of the Assembly buildings be converted because he was at a loss as to the purpose of the Assembly did little to endear him to those who believe in devolution.
Now it is the turn of Owen Smith. Fresh from his failure to get any movement out of the WRU on reintroducing regional rugby, and with some egg on his chops following the collapse of the precinct plans not long after he had assured everyone that everything was fine, he has a cunning plan.
Now that the developers who were to provide a stunning new precinct for high class shops such as Poundland and bring shoppers flooding into the town have gone bust what should happen to the site? Owen thinks maybe a “contemporary Welsh art museum,”
He then delves even further into the realms of conceptualised bovine excrement with the suggestion that
“Although a private site, I'm sure any developer would be interested to hear what local people would like to see on the site and all ideas should be considered,"
Is he serious? When we can’t even get the Council to consult with the public over what it is they want then why on earth should a private developer? And given the reaction on the street and down the pub so far the majority of local people seem to think he has lost the plot just slightly. Questions as to the colour of the sky on his planet have apparently been asked in many quarters.
Maybe the opinions of local people have been coloured by the offerings they have so far been given in the name of art – such as the Unity sculpture. Or maybe they think that giving all the existing problems an art gallery comes pretty far down the list of what the area needs.