Dear Huw

We did it! Our brilliant plan worked!

Let’s take a few moments to wallow in the glory – it’s cool, the Anglican Communion positively welcomes self-indulgence (btw, next time you’re eradicating world hunger with the Bishop of Swansea & Brecon over a slice of walnut cake and a cup of herbal tea would you kindly relay this gnomic message to him: pencil cases are not girlish – John will know what I mean). Yes, we can give the humility a rest for a few moments and admire our stunning coup: I softened them up with scholarly subversion, purple prose, long lists, alluring alliteration and an adjectival avalanche; you moved in for the kill with rootsy man-of-the-people integrity. Now thingummy’s bathing his knife-wounds in warm salt water somewhere ghastly (Playa del Inglés, by the looks of it on his Twitter feed) and we’ve seized the capital!

Who would have thought it would come to this when we met way back in 2012? You were canvassing around your manor, I absent-mindedly opened the door without first checking through the spy-hole…ah…I remember it well…the boyish charm, the wondrous orthodontics, the cheeky wink. And then I looked up at your face. That aura of beatific contentment, like a Ceredigion farmhand who’s just found a couple of ceiniog in the slurry pit, told me you were very different to anything seen sporting a Labour rosette in these parts before. We clicked immediately. I informed you I was an unshakeable Plaid loyalist who would sooner be tickled to death on the soles of his bare feet by the fingernails of Fu Man Chu than ever vote Labour. You responded by saying you opposed petty, parochial nationalism in all its guises before gliding on to the house next door, tugging at the union jack boxers on the way. I made a mental note: this dude is destined for high office.

We had much in common. You were the wild Aber rebel who had jettisoned his past; I was the shy Gabalfa neurotic who couldn’t remember his. You loved your music; I had the complete works of Gnidrolog on vinyl in a box in the loft. You wore your spirituality lightly, free of constraining doctrines; I wore out whole thesauruses in a callow hunt for spoonerisms. We stood shoulder to shoulder against the incinerator (it got built) and in favour of preserving the University Settlement (it got demolished), and we both rode the rollercoaster of emotions that seems to be the eternal lot of us diehard fans of The Old Black & Green. We kept in regular touch, thanks to my role as membership secretary of the Glyndŵr Hughes Appreciation Society, and forged bonds that rendered me as thrillingly expectant as a blindfolded, shackled abductee in the back of a white van. I was in love – a four-letter word I only ever use advisedly and sparingly – and soon had the certificate to prove it after the GP signed me off with a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome. Not to worry, those attention-seeking suicide attempts came to nothing and my psychiatrist tells me I should be able to wean myself off the anti-depressants, alcohol and crack-pipe eventually. The quality of mercy is not strained.

Since then, you’ve risen without a trace. You won the profound ideological battle within Labour when your shock of shaggy black hair trumped whatisname’s wispy comb-over, and then wiped the floor with your leadership rivals as the stand-out candidate who was able to string a sentence together and didn’t look like somebody out on day release. Before long you were scrubbed up and delivering regulation sound-bites to camera like an old pro. And you’re not: you’re merely 31!

Ah…the good old days…but enough of this rosé-tinted nostalgia, there’s urgent work to do. And we can do anything we like since there won’t be any opposition from Tory leader Adrian Robson (he’s otherwise engaged getting second helpings at the pie shop), while poor Neil McEvoy is permanently crippled by a terrible handicap (my unstinting support and advocacy). Of course our first priority must be to erase all symbols of Cardiff’s embarrassing English subjugation. To that end, I shall be immediately renaming any thoroughfare or structure lumbered with any of the following names: Bute, Beauchamp, Callaghan, Churchill, Clare, Clarence, Clive, Despenser, Fitzalan, Fitzhamon, Gloucester, Herbert, Neville, Plantagenet, Scott, Tudor, Windsor, Wood, Wyndham, Duke, King, Prince, Princess, Queen, Royal, Dominion, Empire and Jubilee (that’s just the first tranche, further batches to follow). The allocation of replacement names is well in hand (for instance, ‘Bute’ will become ‘Dic’) and I’ve already decided where to put my statue (corner of Duke Street and Kingsway, I mean Thomas Street and Coal Road, in the middle of the corporation flower-bed near where the underground bogs used to be).

Remember, you can call me anytime, night or day. I’ve got an inkling you might need to when your honeymoon period eventually ends (that’s a week next Tuesday). A word of warning: while I applaud your resurrection of the genuinely iconic Russell Goodway’s local government career (after all, in the immortal mantra of LBJ, it’s better to have ‘em inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in), do be aware that it could backfire horribly. All it would take is one dodgy chicken liver & chorizo parfait at a City Region luncheon. Running Cardiff is not a three-dimensional puzzle – it’s far less complicated than that.

Heddwch yn ein amser