The dogs bark and the caravan is set to move on in the row about Huw Thomas and Mike Parker in Ceredigion.
Huw Thomas was the lead story on BBC Wales' news bulletins last night, and we heard that he had apologised for remarks made on maes-e back in 2006 when he suggested that a good way to deal with people driving around Wales displaying English flags on their cars would be to throw Tippex on the vehicles. He had also made disparaging remarks about 'chavs' and referred condescendingly to a shop assistant as 'Stacey'.
Viewers had to take this on trust because Huw was not willing to appear in front of the cameras.
For his part, Mike Parker was happy to talk to take a few minutes out of canvassing to talk to the BBC. "I'm not interested in trying to smear other candidates. This election is about tackling the LibDems and their incumbent MP for their record as a part of the coalition government," he said.
And that was that. Almost.
The consensus among commentators is that it is wrong to dredge up things that people said and wrote years ago in different times when they were younger and not thinking about future careers in politics.
And they are surely right, but it goes further than politics.
The rise of Facebook, Twitter and other social media means that daft actions or comments people made when they were young could well come back to haunt them in their future working lives, with PR managers scouring social networks when recruiting. Just a couple of weeks ago, for example, a teenager was expelled from a local
school after posting pictures of himself and his private parts online.
To a lesser extent the problem existed before there were social media. I knew someone who was caught switching price labels on two pots of jam in a mini-mart as a student. With a criminal record in his early twenties he found that his career choices were limited.
It would be nice to think that politicians would give this problem careful consideration in the next parliament because it is a ticking time bomb for huge numbers of young people.
But back to Huw Thomas.
What triggered this week's events were attempts to smear Mike Parker and distort what he wrote in an old magazine article by someone operating through the pages of the Cambrian News.
Huw Thomas was very quick to demand that Mike Parker should be removed as Plaid's candidate, saying:
“These outrageous and deeply offensive remarks are exactly the sort of
poisonous rhetoric you’d expect from Ukip, not a party that claims to be
progressive and left wing.
“There should be no place in our politics or our society for such divisive and hateful language.
Now, these remarks were made just days ago, and they look very much like a deliberate attempt to mislead the public. Not only that, but Huw Thomas was joined in the attack by various Labour big guns, including Peter Hain and Leighton Andrews.
A week before that the victim was Nicola Sturgeon over remarks it turned out that she had never made.
There have been no apologies to either Mike Parker or Nicola Sturgeon.
Writing on Golwg360 a couple of days ago Ifan Morgan Jones was quite critical of Mike Parker:
O dderbyn bod y Cambrian News wedi camddehongli Mike Parker, ni ddylid
neidio i’r casgliad ei fod ef yn gyfan-gwbl ddi-fai chwaith.
["Having accepted that the Cambrian News misinterpreted Mike Parker, we should not jump to the conclusion that he is completely blameless either"]
A day later he was defending Huw Thomas: "if he is guilty of anything, it is hypocrisy and perhaps a little political naivety". Huw has nothing to apologise for let alone resign for, Ifan says, perhaps momentarily forgetting that nobody from Plaid had called for Huw Thomas to be sacked.
And Ifan is right if you view Ceredigion in isolation, but to see Ceredigion in isolation is naive. The problem is that next week it will be somebody else's turn to be singled out by Hain, Andrews and the rest of Labour's attack machine. Smear, attack, delete tweets which turn out to be embarrassing and then repeat the process somewhere else.
The dogs bark, and the caravan moves on.