First Minister tells Tory MS to spend ‘less time’ on Instagram in testy exchange
The First Minister has told a Tory MS to spend “less time” on Instagram in a testy exchange in the Senedd.
Mark Drakeford was responding to being asked by Tom Giffard, a regional Senedd member for South Wales West, about they way Welsh Government controlled social media accounts were being used to promote Wales on the international stage.
The Conservative politician claimed that WalesDotCom social media accounts had “only had one original post in the last three months” and suggested that this made Wales look “closed for business”.
Drakeford replied by saying he was in “no doubt at all” that Giffard “spends more of his time looking at those social media posts than I do”, and suggested that he spends a “little less time trailing Instagram and a little bit longer looking at the world around him”
He also claimed that the Welsh Government is “busy every day in making sure that Wales is promoted abroad”.
Tom Giffard said: “As we look ahead to the St David’s Day celebrations in a few weeks’ time, I took the trouble earlier this week of reading your written statement in advance of last year’s St David’s Day. I was delighted to read that your aim then was to use our ‘National Day to support delivery of our International Strategy, with its key ambitions of raising Wales’ profile on the international stage’.
“I remember from Plenary last week that this year’s plans are similar as well. But in that written statement, you mentioned that most of this work would be publicised via the @walesdotcom Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages. Indeed, much of Wales’s international publicity is supposed to be done via @walesdotcom.
“But, First Minister, are you aware that, as of this morning, those same Twitter and Facebook pages you mentioned last year as being an integral part of your international strategy have only had one original post in the last three months, and the Instagram page has only posted once since September? How exactly are we selling Wales to the world ahead of our national day as a place to work, study, visit and invest when we look closed for business?”
‘More of his time’
Mark Drakeford replied: “Llywydd, I’m in no doubt at all that the Member spends more of his time looking at those social media posts than I do.
“What I can tell him, of course, is that the Welsh Government, through the international strategy, is busy every day in making sure that Wales is promoted abroad and that we use our national day as a platform on which we can do more to make sure that the profile of Wales, opportunities for business in Wales, the work of our arts organisations, our sports organisations are known across the world, and that the profile of Wales is strengthened accordingly.
“Llywydd, even in the last month, across the world, Welsh Government offices have been doing exactly that: a Welsh event in Washington with Study in Wales and Welsh universities, making sure that opportunities to come and study here in Wales are properly known and promoted in the United States, and face-to-face meetings in our Brussels office resuming, particularly around the plan to have a meeting of the CPMR—the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions—here in Cardiff in March, bringing delegations from across Europe to our capital city.
“Our Paris office supported a Welsh trade mission to the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris in December. Our middle east offices have been, of course, focusing on the World Expo event in Dubai, and in Japan, our office has led an offshore wind investment event that has led to 10 Japanese companies expressing an interest in making investment here in Wales.
“Perhaps if the Member spent a little less time trailing Instagram and a little bit longer looking at the world around him, he would recognise all the things that go on all the time to promote Wales on that world stage.”
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