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‘He’s brought Wales to its knees’ – Telegraph celebrates Drakeford announcement that he will step down in 2024

29 Dec 2022 4 minute read
Mark Drakeford. Picture by CPMR – Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CC BY-SA 2.0).

The Telegraph has celebrated the First Minister’s announcement that he intends on standing down by the end of 2024, saying that he has “brought Wales to its knees”.

Writing in the newspaper Matthew Lynn said that Mark Drakeford’s “pitiful record” was all the evidence needed that “devolution is a disaster”.

The columnist listed a four-day week and universal basic income as examples, despite these not having been implemented.

“If ever a really bad idea is under discussion, you can rely upon Drakeford to champion it,” Matthew Lynn said.

“Over his four years in power, Wales has been turned into a laboratory for the kind of half-baked policy ideas that don’t usually make it out of the seminar rooms of second-rate universities.”

The Welsh Government’s bid to tackle the housing market by allowing councils to raise tax on second homes and narrowing the definition of a holiday let was another example, he said.

“Instead of embracing the money they bring into the country, the First Minister has pandered to the most narrow-minded instincts of his nationalist rivals by trying to bully them out of existence,” he said.

“At times, Drakeford has appeared to be waging a one-man war against any form of productive activity.

“During lockdown, he championed the kind of petty authoritarianism for which the pandemic was the perfect excuse.”

‘Pygmies’

Matthew Lynn added that Mark Drakeford’s greatest failure was a tendency to blame all of Welsh devolution’s ills on Westminster and the UK Government rather than taking responsibility himself.

“He is currently complaining that he is unable to pay striking nurses any more, because the UK Government will not give him the money,” he said.

“He is doing so while refusing to use his own powers to vary income tax, which might well enable him to pay for it himself.

“Drakeford represents the worst of devolution. He glories in all the trappings of power, but avoids any genuine responsibility.

“Over a hundred years, Wales has produced some of Britain’s greatest leaders. David Lloyd George, Nye Bevan and Roy Jenkins were all major figures, capable of reshaping the political landscape. They were reformers of vision.

“Devolution, however, has elevated political pygmies to positions of power and influence. Drakeford will leave behind a legacy of failure, whinging and division. Wales is capable of much better – and if devolution can’t produce more inspiring leaders, we would be better off without it.”

‘Preparation’

The First Minister confirmed earlier this week that he will stand down from the post by the end of 2024 at the latest – and hinted that he might only have a little over a year left in the post.

Mark Drakeford told WalesOnline that his successor would need about two years in the post before the May 2026 Senedd election.

It comes after he told an Al Jazeera journalist in Qatar last month that it was “time we elected somebody who looks ahead to the next 25 years”.

He added then that his plans were to stay in the role for five years, which would take him to the end of 2023.

“I’m in my fifth year as First Minister and I always thought that around that period of time was when it will be right to hand on to somebody else,” he told WalesOnline.

“In the middle of this term there will be a moment when the right thing to do is to make sure there is somebody who sees their political horizons not toward the end of the term but beyond that so that they can get themselves into the job, get themselves known to people, and begin to shape the way they think things could happen after that.”

Asked whether that meant stepping down in 2024 was likely, he answered: “I wouldn’t be ruling that out. I certainly don’t think I will be in the job beyond that.

“I had two years [before the election] and I think you do need that sort of period to work your way into the job, make sure people know a bit about you, and then there’s a lot of thinking that goes into any election manifesto preparation and all of that.”


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Kenneth Vivian
Kenneth Vivian
1 month ago

Drakeford will always be criticised by the English press because he is Welsh, labour, believes in Wales, successful and intelligent.

Rhy5
Rhy5
1 month ago
Reply to  Kenneth Vivian

successful?

Kenneth Vivian
Kenneth Vivian
1 month ago
Reply to  Rhy5

Certainly successful in riling and exposing opposition idiocy!

Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  Rhy5

Certainly succesful in moving the Labour Party in Wales further along the path of destiny for Wales and certainly successful is neutering Plaids’ rise but his lack of interest in the northern parts away from the M5 as well as taking on the mess of the Health Trusts and need for a genuine Trsnsport network …..well we cannot blame the Tories ( well not too much ) fkr that. Mark remains a decent, hardworking academic influenced by his love of research and genuine social care focus. A courtious manner, mixed with an ability to work with others however has been… Read more »

Riki
Riki
1 month ago
Reply to  Kenneth Vivian

Indeed, something unfortunately…he’s yet to realise himself.

Ivor Schilling
Ivor Schilling
1 month ago
Reply to  Kenneth Vivian

intelligent?

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
1 month ago

I love it when these barstewards squirm!!

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
1 month ago

What’s brought Wales to it’s knees is 800 years of ongoing English conquest. Yma o Hyd! Cadwn y mur rhag y bwystfil. Never surrender! Ymlaen mae Canaan!

Kenneth Vivian
Kenneth Vivian
1 month ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

Conquered? It is the English who were conquered in 1066, capituating its culture totally until freed by the Red Dragon in i485. The Welsh had fought on bravely for centuries to keep its language and distinctiveness – unlike the English and Anglo Welsh who now speak only Pidgin French. Does anyone understand pre 1066 language of England?

Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  Kenneth Vivian

Not sure where you learnt your history my friend but i suggest you sign up for a refesher !

It was the mixed mostly Saxon tribes of the south of there at Hastings …

….certainly not English in language or background.

Ieuan Evans
Ieuan Evans
1 month ago

Whatever the Telegraph prints the opposite view is correct. What a load of codswallop.

Gareth Davies
1 month ago

As long as the Tories are kept out of Wales it’s got to be a good thing. The Daily Torygraph is always so predictable 🥱

John Davies
John Davies
1 month ago

Typical Torygraph article, full of spite and slogans masquerading as ideas. If they are sniping at Drakeford in this petulant manner, he must have been doing something right.

If we really must go looking for “political pygmies”, look no further than the current Westminster Tory government. Sunak and Co do not look like a shining example of the virtues of centralised Tory government. Perhaps this bile directed at Drakeford is a rather feeble attempt to divert attention?

Last edited 1 month ago by John Davies
Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
1 month ago

Unfortunately, Mr Drakeford walked into this when he said he wanted Wales to remain the United Kingdom.

Is there any more proof needed that we need to be an independent nation ?

We should have our own political institutions, our own taxation system, our own financial centres, passports, law, courts, etc.
The Irish Republic has been successful since 1922, why shouldn’t we?
…. And they remain in the most successful union: The EU.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
1 month ago

It will need a Plaid Cymru government to make Wales a successful country.

The next first minister will be: Adam Price.

Lets work towards our future as a new independent country.

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
1 month ago

“next first minister will be Adam Price” wow are you on drugs lol- most of Plaid cannot be doing with him and want rid.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

I have no issue with the Telegraph criticising the policies of Mark Drakeford or the Welsh Labour Government, that’s just party politics, but to use this as an argument that ‘devolution is a disaster’ is completely disingenuous. It implies that we are somehow incapable of making decisions for ourselves.
Could we say that Brexit is a disaster?

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
1 month ago

The First Ministers of Wales and Scotland have become the betes noir of the right-wing unionist lobby, predicated on its visceral hatred of devolution. Said lobby is not going to shut up until devolution is toast, which isn’t going to happen, so it’ll never shut up. Reading such offensive ranting is anger-making for those who care about Wales and Scotland, but it’s little more than the whinging of scared and desperate people who have been shaken out of their arrogant complacency. They’re merely giving the gammons what they want to hear.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rhosddu
Riki
Riki
1 month ago

NO! English ancestors brought Wales to its knees. Oh how easily they forget. Something We should never do!

Argol fawr!
Argol fawr!
1 month ago

Wales successful when measured against, and in spite of disastrous tory governments and their Welsh wannaby clingons? A categorical YES. Dal yma!

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago

Columnists and client journalists who say ‘devolution is a disaster’ are terrified that Wales and Scotland are going to successfully expose the authoritarian brutality foisted upon us and demonstrate that li does not have to be this way. We CAN ACTUALLY be free of it.

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

Well, I’ll go along with that, and have felt it for some time. But we still need another united national party to press the Start button.

Jon Summers
Jon Summers
1 month ago

Love him or hate him, Drakeford’s response during the pandemic was a damned sight better than Westminster’s.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

The anti Welsh/Wales propaganda from our Torygraph hacks is coming thick and fast, and I emphasise thick. As usual these London based morons omit the damage done to Wales by their beloved English fascist Conservatives while emphasising how evil devolution is to blame for society’s ills with the sole intention of returning us back to direct rule as they fear little England is fast becoming a nobody on the global stage and want to return to the bad old days where England & Westminster could dominated and terrorise Wales with impunity as seen with the Welsh Not & Tryweryn. See,… Read more »

Kenneth Vivian
Kenneth Vivian
1 month ago

Step down? The House of Lord s is a few steps UP from the Senedd – or so any ambitious AM including the institution loving FM would have us believe

Kenneth Vivian
Kenneth Vivian
1 month ago
Reply to  Kenneth Vivian

God Save the King!

Kenneth Vivian
Kenneth Vivian
1 month ago
Reply to  Kenneth Vivian

An up tick emphasises irony or stupidity.

Kenneth Vivian
Kenneth Vivian
1 month ago
Reply to  Kenneth Vivian

Up tick shows lack of awareness for sard onicism

Glen
Glen
1 month ago

“Devolution, however, has elevated political pygmies to positions of power and influence”.

Well he’s got that bit right, the calibre of politician in the Senedd on all sides is woeful (not that they are any better at Westminster).

Charles Coombes
Charles Coombes
1 month ago

I thought he stood out head and shoulders above the weastminster tory and labour leadership.
It is the torygraph.

DevinPugh
DevinPugh
1 month ago

This guy was one of the biggest cheerleaders of the Truss government, and cheered on policies that were roundly hated by all of the UK public and which have stained the reputation of the Tories even in the eyes of their own middle English constituency. He spent the year arguing in favour of bankers bonuses and tax cuts for the highest earners. The most out of touch alienated kind of Tory His arguments against Drakeford are not about anything substantial, mostly just those things which would feasibly cause an impediment for people like him to use the country in whatever… Read more »

David Charles pearn
David Charles pearn
1 month ago

This from an English reporter for the right wing torygraph, Hilarious just concentrate on the mess the tories are making of the UK for goodness sake.

Richard Thomas
Richard Thomas
1 month ago

Embarrassing as usual from The Telegraph. Anyone would have thought they don’t support a party which recently chose a Prime Minister so inept they crashed the economy and had to be forced to resign in less than 2 months.

The original mark
The original mark
1 month ago

If this Lynn character thinks Drakeford and devolution is a disaster, I’d love to know what his opinion of Johnson, Truss, Sunak and Brexit is, but then again do I really care what a 2nd rate torygraph hack has to say about my country.

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