The Hut: Why It Matters

Christopher Harries

Yesterday I wrote a piece regarding the First Minister’s accommodation during the coronavirus crisis and that article generated quite a reaction on social media. In light of that reaction, I thought it might be apt to explain why.

Le me be clear, I am acutely aware of how hard it has been for individuals to be separated from loved ones and family at this time. Being based in Cardiff but from Pembrokeshire originally, I had months without seeing my two elderly grandmothers, siblings and parents. To add to the mix, my eldest sibling gave birth weeks into lockdown and it was months before the family saw her or the child. So naturally, I am sympathetic of Mark Drakeford being separated from his family and loved ones.

Now The Prydain Review sought to highlight the living arrangements of the First Minister due to the language used. Maybe it is pedantic but, the description of his accommodation as a ‘miniature hut’ was intended to invoke a particular image in the mind of those listening. Such phrasing I would argue was intended to invoke an image of Mark Drakeford enduring a barely habitable spartan form of accommodation whilst leading Wales through this crisis.

Would this revelation have been as newsworthy if the First Minister had disclosed that it was a converted annexe at the bottom of the garden? While the type of structure may not be that important in the grand scheme of things, this story demonstrates the careful attempt to craft an image of the First Minister and the willingness of the Welsh media to embrace this without question.

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