Every Sunday, we here at Gwydir will put together a roundup of the previous week’s news – we’ll be looking at the stories that dominated the headlines both in Wales and across the UK. If you have a story you’d like to see feature, make sure you email email@example.com!
A New Face in Cardiff Bay
Former Assembly Member for South Wales East Laura Ann Jones was confirmed to be returning to the Senedd last week following the tragic passing of Mohammed ‘Oscar’ Asghar. As a former AM, the new MS lost her seat in South Wales East in 2007 and was second on the Welsh Conservative regional list in 2016.
Oscar was first elected to the Senedd as a Plaid Cymru regional list member in 2007 before joining the Welsh Conservative in 2009. As both the first Muslim Councillor in Wales and the first BME Member of the Senedd, Oscar was no stranger to breaking new ground and our thoughts go to his family at this time. Perhaps it’s time to start looking at a Wales National Cricket team after all.
No love lost between Drakeford and Johnson
First Minister Mark Drakeford set out all guns blazing this week, criticising the UK Government for being “utterly shambolic” over plans to end quarantine for travellers coming to the UK from certain countries. Drakeford, previously seen as the calm and measured devolved cousin to Nicola Sturgeon’s more temperamental regime up north, has rarely been this angry at Westminster in public but it appears has finally had enough at what he sees as the political dithering emanating from Westminster.
It would perhaps not be too wise to just criticise the UK Government’s response, however. The end of the cruel, and often nonsensical, ‘Five Mile Rule’ was also announced last week with the people of Wales now allowed to go further than ever before (well at least compared to the last three months). Along with a raft of other lockdown changes, Walians are now allowed to partake in the ‘social bubble’ scheme which will come as a great assurance to families kept apart by the coronavirus. Regardless, Drakeford’s comments show that the battle for Cardiff Bay is well and truly on with only (?) ten months before voters go to the polls.
This week, Plaid Cymru…
In what we might as well make a recurring column, Plaid Cymru’s Sahar Al Faifi was back in the news this week. Last week, we summarised what is possibly one of the worst months for a Welsh political party in many a year, June for Plaid was frankly nothing short of abysmal. The saga of Sahar Al-Faifi continues with the intervention of the British Board of Deputies; far from accepting the apology Al Faifi offered after her last brush with anti-Semitism, the Board has called upon Plaid to expel the prominent activist although the party appears to be reluctant to announce any further measures until their internal investigation has completed.
On a final note, we here at Gwydir would like to apologise for rating Plaid’s monthly performance as D- last week. A number of Plaid members have since got in touch to say that this was far too high and it’s something we’re only too happy to correct.