All change please!

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Vaughan Gething – don’t look at my record

It is interesting how politics plays out, when change seems to be the order of the day, but in the Welsh Government (WG) it means nothing.

Labour remain in power (as they have always been, although sometimes in coalition), and the party’s First Minister of Wales (FMW)Vaughan Gething, is still there despite losing a vote of no-confidence, amid disturbing revelations about his closeness to a questionable individual.

‘Oh, the shame of it!’

Anyone normal would have crawled under a rock in shame, but not Mr Gething.

Let us remind ourselves of some of the details.

He lost the confidence vote less than 12 weeks after taking office, following a series of scandals that have called into question his judgement and transparency.

This was on June 5, but he is STILL there, indeed campaigned for Labour in the General Election (GE). It has also become clear that Mr Gething has lost the backing of some in his own party.

“The media are against me…”

He has said he regrets the “impact”of his decision to take £200,000 from a company owned by a man convicted of illegally dumping waste, but at the same time appeared to blame the way this controversy has been reported by the media.

However he has crossed swords with the media before.

In August 2017, Mr Gething walked away in the middle of an interview on ITV Wales, when questioned by journalist James Crichton-Smith over his decision not to hold a public inquiry into Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMUHB), following allegations that an employee had sexually assaulted vulnerable patients.

Vaughan Gething was so upset at being a loser that he cried in the chamber, but critics said they’d never seen anything like it

He was in tears before the confidence vote was held in the Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru (WP/SC) last month, and commentators said they had never seen anything like it.

It was only in March that Mr Gething had made history when he became the first black leader of any European country (succeeding Mark Drakeford) as the FMW, yet after a succession of controversies it seemed that MSs (Members of the Senedd) had had enough.

Labour have faced derision online over what has happened

The main issue (although certainly not the only one), has been his connection to the man with a dubious past.

There have been months of rows over the donations to Mr Gething’s leadership campaign from the company owned by a man previously convicted of environmental offences.

The company is owned by David John Neal, who was given suspended sentences in 2013 for the illegal dumping of waste, and in 2017 for not cleaning it up.

It emerged during the recent leadership contest that Mr Gething had lobbied on behalf of one of Mr Neal’s companies, before his first run in 2018.

Hannah Blythyn was sacked by Vaughan Gething

In a separate row, Mr Gething found himself having to defend a message he sent during the pandemic, where the then-health minister told colleagues he was deleting texts from a ministerial group chat.

He later sacked Hannah Blythyn, alleging she was the source of a leak to Nation.Cymru (which, perhaps ironically in the circumstances, is partly funded by the Welsh Government [WG]).

The opposition want Vaughan Gething out

Opposition parties demanded evidence, which Mr Gething has declined to provide.

Two MSs were ‘off sick’ during the no-confidence vote, and this would not have been unhelpful to his opponents.

They were Ms Blythyn herself, and Lee Waters, the former transport minister who had previously called for the donations at the centre of the main scandal to be returned.

‘I wish I hadn’t done these things…’

So a change in government at Westminster doesn’t mean one for Wales.

Indeed ‘change’ is definitely NOT the order of the day for Mr Gething…

 

The memories of our Editor, Welshman Phil Parry’s, decades-long award-winning career in journalism (when commenting on major political stories was always paramount), as he was gripped by the rare disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order it now!

‘BUY MY BOOK!’

Regrettably publication of another book, however, was refused, because it was to have included names.