“Call Me Mark” – The Making of Drakeford

Christopher Harries

With parties jostling for prominence and a coordinated campaign underway to build the personal profile of the First Minister, you can tell a Welsh Parliament election is in the air…

Coronavirus has highlighted the effects of devolution and shone a spotlight First Minister like never before. Pre-COVID crisis, the identity of the First Minister was largely oblivious to the wider public. I suspect that before the crisis Mark Drakeford could have ventured from his home in the salubrious suburb of Pontcanna into the city centre and enjoyed relative anonymity. The Welsh Labour leader may now be facing a “new-normal” of his own.

While the profile of the First Minister’s office has been raised, on a personal level, he remains something of an unknown to the public. As the election for the Welsh Parliament looms closer however, Welsh Labour spin doctors are making a concerted effort to introduce the electorate to Mark Drakeford.

In recent weeks, we have endured Drakeford informing us of his love for cheese and painful spectacle of him playing Drake or Drakeford on the radio. In a somehow more bizarre twist, we have also learnt that the First Minister has been living in a hut at the bottom of his garden due to Coronavirus. 

Such efforts are being made because Labour are painfully-aware that Drakeford has about as much personal appeal as the cheese of which he speaks so highly. The First Minister desperately needs a PR boost, and frantic staffers are trying everything (and seemingly, anything) to make it happen.

Instead of jovial questions around food preference and which part of his property he is occupying this week, one would hope that the First Minister would be subjected to some real scrutiny by the media. Cosy interviews may lead to instant gratification for social media, but after more than twenty years of Labour governance in Wales, surely there is much more to answer for.

The Welsh media must resist the lure of allowing politics to become fixated on the individual. In the coming months, the debate should not focus on the individuals jockeying to be First Minister, but on scrutinising the policy platform on which they stand and the track record of their parties.

For the media to allow itself to get caught up in Drakeford’s “Call Me Mark” campaign would be a disservice to the people of Wales at such a crucial juncture.

Greetings from The Prydain Review

The Prydain Review Team

The Prydain Review came into existence from a conversation over several bottles of shiraz on St Mary Street, Cardiff. As the contents of the last bottle dwindled and the evening drew to a close, we talked about the paucity of media in Wales. 

By the end of the evening, we had resolved to add some much-need variety to the media landscape. To this end, we have launched The Prydain Review, intending to foster debate, advocate common values and give voice to the silent majority.

What to expect? Well, we hope that the future content on this site will be engaging and, when necessary, provocative. Our aim is not to advocate an ideology, but rather a set of instincts.

We want to take this opportunity to commit quite plainly that we, unlike other outfits, will not seek to engage and influence the public whilst receiving funding from government entities. In line with this commitment, we aspire to be transparent about funding and would welcome support from individuals based on our merits.

In terms of perspectives, we must confess that we are sceptical of devolution in its current guise, on the basis that the model is incompatible with the unitary nature of the United Kingdom. It is our opinion that the United Kingdom as a nation-state is the ultimate political reality and the parliament in Westminster should be fully sovereign. In keeping with this belief, we supported the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. 

As this introduction comes to a close, we want to thank you for visiting this page and hope you will return in due course. We also hope that in addition to returning, people will seek to engage with the page, both in comments on the article and with our social media pages.

Pob hwyl for now!