Welsh Conservatives criticise Gorsedd honour for Mark Drakeford – ‘blatantly political’
The Welsh Conservatives have criticised plans to induct the First Minister Mark Drakeford into the Gorsedd.
Mark Drakeford will be honoured by Gorsedd Cymru “on behalf of all key workers and volunteers” at this year’s National Eisteddfod in Ceredigion, on Friday morning 5 August.
The honour of being inducted into the highest ranks of the Gorsedd is reserved for the winners of the key Eisteddfod prizes and those who have made a significant contribution to Welsh life.
But the Welsh Conservatives called the choice “blatantly political”, suggesting an “apolitical representative” might be a more appropriate, less provocative choice.
They pointed to the fact that year’s National Eisteddfod has received £600,000 in taxpayer funding from the Welsh Government.
Commenting, Welsh Conservative and Shadow Culture Minister Tom Giffard MS said: “I’m really surprised that the Eisteddfod has engaged in such a blatantly political move like this.
“This is a nationally respected and loved cultural institution whose patrons will be disappointed that, instead of focussing on Welsh language and culture, the serving First Minister is being honoured for political reasons while the Eisteddfod is in receipt of a significant amount of public money.
“If the Eisteddfod really wanted to honour the public servants who got us through the pandemic, maybe they should honour them directly or, at least, an apolitical representative – this would be more appropriate than the provocative choice of the First Minister who let down key workers.
“After all, Mark Drakeford’s so-called dignified and careful leadership resulted in the highest Covid death-rate in the UK, a nightmarishly long NHS waiting list, and the blocking of a Wales-specific Covid inquiry – the Bereaved Families for Justice Group would be a better choice for this honour.
“Also, I’m not sure prioritising more politicians in Cardiff Bay over the NHS, school, and the economy can be considered a suitable path to address the needs and concerns of Wales like the Eisteddfod says – unless that is the explicitly political view of Eisteddfod bigwigs.”
Revealing that the First Minister would be honoured yesterday, the Archdruid, Myrddin ap Dafydd, said: “The contribution of our key employees over the past two and a half years has been tremendous, and we at Gorsedd Cymru want to show our appreciation and express our thanks to each and every one of them, who did so much for us all during the pandemic.
“Therefore, it’s a great pleasure to announce that our First Minister, Mark Drakeford will be honoured by the Gorsedd on behalf of all our key workers and volunteers at this year’s Eisteddfod.
“In welcoming the First Minister to the Gorsedd, we’ll thank him for his dignified and careful leadership through the difficult years of COVID-19 and the lockdown periods, and for creating a suitable path to address the needs and concerns of the people of our country.”
Responding to the invitation of Gorsedd Cymru, the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, said, “It is a great privilege for me to receive this honour on behalf of Wales’ key workers. They did so much to help us all during the pandemic.
“It’s important that we thank them for their heroic work during a difficult period for everyone”.
The First Minister will be honoured by the Gorsedd at 11:00 on Friday 5 August on the Eisteddfod Maes. A list of the others honoured by the Gorsedd is available here.
These names were originally published in July 2020, but due to COVID-19, have been unable to be honoured until now.
The Ceredigion National Eisteddfod is held on the outskirts of Tregaron from 30 July – 6 August. For more information, visit the website.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.