Seal on by: now it's official

Image copyright bbc
Image caption The Welsh Seal is revealed

"Seal on by" was an appalling title for a blog entry but that was the best I could manage back in November 2009, when we first spotted that Wales was to get an official seal. You lived with it then and I'm afraid you're going to have to go with it again. Sorry.

No, the press office assured us back then, it wasn't THAT sort of seal and no, the First Minister wasn't going to be following in the footsteps of Johnny Morris by becoming the official Keeper of the Welsh Seal.

Two years - and a referendum later- the Queen has approved the design and the First Minister has just been presenting it to the cameras. Here it is then, the seal that will put on each Act of the Assembly as a sign that they've received Royal Assent.

As he put it safely back in its box, Carwyn Jones made it clear that there is one line of attack he has no intention of putting away: Wales is in danger of losing out because the UK government has fallen out with the rest of Europe.

"The UK Government's new position in relation to the European Union threatens Wales' national interest. My fear is that the UK will be isolated at the margins at a time when we should be at the centre of Europe driving economic debate forward.

"As I said in my letter to the Prime Minister earlier this week, since the onset of devolution in 1999, successive Welsh Governments have sought to work constructively with the UK Government in pursuit of those interests which, though devolved, are shaped by decisions made at EU level. Now, for the first time, I am seriously concerned about whether the interests of Wales can be advanced effectively in Europe by the UK Government.

"I am determined to do everything I can to ensure the interests of Wales are voiced loudly and clearly at a European level."

That means going to Brussels himself in the New Year "to forge closer relationships with the European Commission and key Commissioners".

Then came that other close relationship, the one between Welsh politics and rugby. What happened to the UK in Brussels a week ago, said the First Minister, was that "we left the field of play and moved into the crowd."

In returning to the Europe theme for the second time in a week, something seems to be emerging quite clearly: that the First Minister - a keen rugby tactician - feels attacking David Cameron may well be one way, perhaps the best way, of defending Welsh interests over the coming months.