As Johnson blows public trust in the lockdown, Drakeford must now lead by example

Prrime Minister Boris Johnson (left) in yesterday’s speech broadcast on BBC One. Mark Drakeford (right), picture by the Welsh Government.

Theo Davies-Lewis

Being in lockdown for two months is by no means easy. Friends and family have been separated; people have died alone in horrible conditions; and care homes have been ravaged by this awful pandemic.
But the latest saga in this crisis has probably caused more outrage among the public than any of these things.

There are still many questions that the Prime Minister did not answer about Dominic Cummings’ visit(s) to Durham: How many lockdown rules did Cummings breach? Did he make more than one trip up north? Was it really the ‘right’ thing to do?

Boris Johnson has clearly made up his mind already. Case closed: Cummings acted with integrity and within the law, the Prime Minister told the British public in yesterday’s press conference. He is going nowhere, for now.

However, the public health consequences of such a decision are starkly obvious. The moral and political authority of any government minister giving instructions to the public is now completely diminished. If the UK finds itself experiencing a second Covid-19 peak this year, we’ll know where to find its origins. Don’t worry, though, we’re all in this together.

For the Welsh government, the news could not have come at a more critical time. The First Minister is set to announce the next review of Covid-19 policies on Thursday, after he steered Wales in a different direction to the rest of the UK earlier this month.

The Prime Minister’s actions last night will have implications for Mark Drakeford’s approach for the next three weeks. It is not incomprehensible to think that we will now see increased attempts to cross the border into Wales, risking the progress we have all made to contain the virus in our communities. After all, if the Prime Minister’s special adviser can travel over 250 miles, why can’t you visit your favourite beach in Ceredigion?

 

Watershed

But for the first time in the crisis, we should not be too worried for what this means for our communities. Despite the mishaps from Cardiff – including an early calamity regarding testing targets and Vaughan Gething’s infamous visit to the park bench (as well as his battle with Zoom’s mute button) – Mark Drakeford has made clear he will make the right decisions for Wales when it is right for our country.

Admittedly, he recently caused a stir with his comments on nationalism, but on the whole, our First Minister has been more forthright with separating Welsh and English policy than he cares to admit.

His aggressive approach has been necessary; due to the level of disinformation that has spread about restrictions across the UK’s four nations, Drakeford has had to assert the position of the Welsh government and in turn has criticised the policies implemented over the border.

While some say this is a watershed moment for the Johnson administration, it is more so an opportunity for the devolved administrations to separate their policies from each other. After all, the four nation approach, which Drakeford insisted recently he still supported, is now on a weak footing.

This means that the decisions taken in Wales are now even more important to navigating the current pandemic. The Welsh government cannot afford any mistakes for the rest of the month – that means no picnics on park benches, no drives across the country, and certainly no visits to castles.

As the English – and of course many others across the UK – lose trust in their UK government, Mark Drakeford should take note.

For weeks the public have obeyed the restrictions outlined by government, and a level of mutual trust has developed to ensure we are all doing our bit to limit the impact of Covid-19.

But if this crisis has shown us anything, trust is something that is hard-earned and easily lost. The Welsh government must now lead by example.

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Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

Of course the Welsh govt should do what’s best for Wales. It’s their job and what they got elected for. Their is lots of interesting data about now from many different countries and regions which should inform Drakeford’s decisions. We know Bojo doesn’t do ‘thinking’ by his response to recent events but evidence suggests lockdown doesn’t do much except concentrate and assist infection rates in hospitals and care homes, fresh air and sunlight kills the virus and reduces potential infection rates to nearly zero and the Swedish approach saves lives and doesn’t crash the economy as well as not causing… Read more »

mark
Guest
mark

If sunlight kills the virus why were very sunny countries like Italy, Spain and America so badly effected or do they have the wrong type of sun?

calley
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calley

Thats because even in places like that everyone went into lockdown and so cancentrated it to family groups and care and hospitals scientists and know for many many years that unless the virus is directly airbourne being outside is much safer as the virus is desperced by the air.

Huw J Davies
Guest
Huw J Davies

The simple answer is ‘Sunlight does little to kill the virus’! Dubai went into strict lockdown a month before the UK, when they’d had a few cases and plenty of sunlight. So the UAE didn’t buy into that urban myth. Our Government’s idea that the virus would vanish once the weather got sunnier was simply wrong and a bit of desperate fudging.

Not that this government is likely to admit they’d got something wrong. They would probably blame it on the wrong sort of sunshine or too much air pollution blocking the rays or some other Boris BS.

Plain citizen
Guest
Plain citizen

Good point, well made. I sound a bit stupid there don’t I?!

Huw Davies
Guest
Huw Davies

Have an uptick. Rarely does anyone concede a bit of stupidity on these pages or anywhere else. And boy we’ve seen some garbage written since Covid came among us !

Dan Mac
Guest
Dan Mac

It was their winters. America’s death rate per head of population is better then Italy. Spain or UK. infact makes our look appalling. Considering we assume they have no free healthcare. Just over twice the deaths but they have five times the population. It’s now getting warm in UK. Virus is disappearing at a rate no scientist predicted. Coincidence? Maybe . Hot weather now in Spain Italy etc… lockdown rushed thru…accepting tourist? Think they know something about warmer weather.

j humphrys
Guest
j humphrys

Loose Sweden: deaths 3,998 and per M=396.
Tight Finland : deaths 307 and per M= 55.

Why do populists keep getting it wrong? From Bunter to Trump to Bolsonaro. Is it a malfunction in the brain?

Roger
Guest
Roger

Because they are more concerned about the economy and how rich people are affected than the populace of their countries.

Chris
Guest
Chris

You do know that Sweden now has a 6% death rate compared to other countries.
The borders surrounding Sweden aren’t open because of it.
They let everyone out to mix and are now suffering because of it.

John Ellis
Guest
John Ellis

Sky News’s distinctly doom-laden ‘Covid’ warnings, which regularly precede or succeed the adverts, assert that the virus is unaffected by both heat and cold.

John Lumley
Guest
John Lumley

Drakeford and the Welsh Government backed by the Senedd must strengthen lockdown guidlines in Wales for at least next 3 week period. The justification for this would be the uncertainties introduced into the 4 Nations approach by the actions of Cummings but particularly by their endorsement by Johnsons’s failure to condemn him at the very least.

Were leaders of the devolved administrations consulted on Johnsons’s decimation of the lockdown guidance?

Drakeford should be bold and decisive:-

Increase fine for non-essential travel
Allow Police to impond vehicles
Regulate border crossings from/into England
Blitz advertising

At least in Wales we should all be in it together.

N. Rees
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N. Rees

Lock us down even further? What planet are you on? We need to get out of this, the virus isn’t just going to disappear, so protect the vulnerable and let the rest of us start getting our lives back to some kind of normality. The economy is in dire straights, jobs are being lost left right and centre. Wales being one of the more impoverished nations need more than ever to get people back to work! Taking necessary precautions of course. Mark Drakeford has taken a cowards approach to this ‘pandemic’. No guidance on potential dates and no hint of… Read more »

A long
Guest
A long

Agree

Ms H
Guest
Ms H

Spot on. TB is a pandemic we have lived with for years, covid will be around for a long time, another we will have to get used to living around. Lockdown further is damaging peoples mental health. I can go & work with colleagues for the NHS but cant visit family or fiance. Common sense need apply, if you get symptoms, isolate, if member of household gets symptoms…isolate. The economy needs to jump start again as you can bet your last penny Westminster wont bail us out for much longer as they come out of lockdown. Boris did his statement… Read more »

Mrs Audrey Jones
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Mrs Audrey Jones

The media have called for vaughan gething to resign for sitting on a park bench whilst his little boy eats some chips. A walk with his family is legal , a take away is legal ,a brief sit down? Ooh dear! Nothing to do with his race of course. As welsh we all know what prejudice is , do we have to indulge in it ourselves .? In comparison Mr Cummlngs actions look monstrous, their endorsement by the entire u.k. cabinet a sick joke.

Wrexhamian
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Wrexhamian

The fake news from The Sun about Gething’s walk in the park was indeed all about him being Welsh, as you say. It was triggered by resentment that the Welsh Government has had the temerity to follow a different course over Covid-19, with a ban on tourists visiting Cymru as a corollary.

j humphrys
Guest
j humphrys

The Welsh Conservatives must now “come out” and tell us what their position is regarding their REAL leader.
And do the Welsh Conservatives support the Welsh Governments position……………or Boris Johnson’s?

John Ellis
Guest
John Ellis

I’ve e-mailed my MP and my constituency MS – both Tories – this morning to ask what is their stance on Bunter’s remarks of yesterday might be …

Ruth Price
Guest
Ruth Price

I think Theo Davies-Lewis may be Dusty Drakeford’s only fanboy.

While his loyalty is to the stinking union, Drakeford can do nothing for Cymru.

Philip Pitson
Guest
Philip Pitson

So is it now possible to travel to Cornwall without any symptoms of covid 19 ( not like Dominic Cummings who broke 3 of his own rules ) , he travelled mot than 10 miles ,traveled while infected possibly infecting others and attending a birthday party and i bet they are all back now so add total lies about why he went at least twice without any fines or sacking. So if i now travel to Cornwall and am stopped by police can i say Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson said its ok .

j humphrys
Guest
j humphrys

As Philip says, we know what people are going to say to the police now. But, something else: The Welsh National Party and Plaid Cymru must begin preparing for a snap election! Anyone curiously cruising the newsnet will know the general feeling in England is one of hurt and real anger, after their faith in the government has been shown to be unfounded. Once again Plaid and WNP get your people ready, as an election is probably on its way. Get Ready!!!

Sian Caiach
Guest

I very much doubt there will be a snap general election this year but if Boris and the Tories do fail to leave the EU at the end of this year we could in theory get Westminster, Senedd Elections, and the Police commissioners and English Councils, all at once next May [2021] but that probably depends on the virus more than politics. Without a good vaccine all bets could be off . Cummings is a useful smokescreen/time waster/negative publicity element at the moment but the Tories have the numbers to bluff it out. They don’t seem to mind their own… Read more »

j humphrys
Guest
j humphrys

Expected such a reply, but DC, aka “Rasputin” in lots of tweets, one from the official Civil Service (then wiped)
and raving anger from Tory constituents to their MP’s, that even hardened Brexit types have got the wind up.
Tie this to the second-in-the -world Covid list, Boris saying it’s OK, Cummings holding “his own press conference”
in the rose garden (remember he is an Adviser -this has never been done before); and England is livid! Prepare.

Gaynor Evans
Guest
Gaynor Evans

So will all those photographers up Cumming’s nose get punished for breaking the 2 mtr rule ??? For God’s sake move on !!!
The only reason we are being kept in lockdown here in Wales is because they have nothing much else in place.

Rose
Guest

Just makes you think, Boris been telling us the rules in the begining. But his side kick, gets off.

A long
Guest
A long

Drakeford done exactly the same protecting the health minister eating fish and chips

Eifion
Guest
Eifion

Be sydd o’i le ar fyta fish a chips?Cael mynd allan I nol bwyd ydan ni?

Steve Duggan
Guest
Steve Duggan

It’s good to see Welsh roads empty today – it does appear that the Welsh Parliament’s message -Stay at home- is being heeded. It remains toi be seen whether Johnson’s haste to reopen will produce another wave of infections. I suspect it will as there is liitle testing in place so no one knows the full extent of the virus across the country. When it does hits it is vital we protect ourselves here in Cymru or all our common sense will be for nothing.

John Ellis
Guest
John Ellis

Reported in today’s on-line ‘Independent’: ‘An English woman who was told by police her family could not lounge on a beach in Wales said she did not know Wales was not in England, and criticised officers in a foul-mouthed rant on social media. The woman drove 100 miles from the west midlands to (a) Gwynedd beach in Barmouth last Wednesday, but was angered after police told her she had to leave, reported Welsh newspaper “The Daily Post”. ‘In a video she posted on social media, the unnamed woman can be heard accusing officers of upsetting her child and asking: “You’re… Read more »

Welsh_Sion
Guest
Welsh_Sion

I know this is a little side-track, and is lost in the (justifiable) anger of a good many of the populace, but I’m surprised that it hasn’t been made more of by the legal fraternity. I trust Keir Starmer, being the former Head honcho at the CPS and a forensic lawyer will bring it up at the next PMQs One of the first things we learn on a Criminal Law course is that ‘motive’ is irrelevant to criminal law. Rather, a person’s conviction for a crime depends on them having mens rea (‘a guilty mind’) when the commit the actus… Read more »