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Disturbing revelations that three senior Welsh politicians and a party chief of staff may have breached coronavirus/Covid-19 rules, throw the spotlight on tweets of one of them when he condemned people voting against the regulations, saying they “don’t give a damn about the health and well-being of our people”.
The Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru (WP/SC) member for Blaenau Gwent, Alun Davies, MS, and others, are understood to have consumed wine during a meeting in the ‘tea room’ area of the Ty Hywel building, which is attached to the WP/SC, following a full plenary meeting on December 8 – four days after drinking alcohol in hospitality venues was banned in Wales.
The Senedd Commission is now investigating.
But on Twitter over the last few months, Mr Davies appears to have taken a rather different position.
In one he slammed The Brexit Party for opposing coronavirus regulations, and in another after the scandal over Dominic Cummings visiting Barnard Castle, he said: “One law for them (the Tories). Another law for us.”
In a further tweet from last month Mr Davies said: “There isn’t a single Welsh Tory who appears to give a damn about all those people in hospital with Covid and all those people taking care of them. It really is the most appalling derelection of responsibility.”
But this is not the first time Mr Davies has made headlines for all the wrong reasons, and social media has often played a part.
He ‘liked’ a tweet attacking The Eye from contentious ‘comedian’ Huw Marshall. Yet Mr Marshall had made sick ‘jokes’ about a murdering gunman, used bad language to abuse other prominent politicians, was placed under police investigation and been severely reprimanded by a social media company, but now claims he is creating a ‘new national media service for Wales‘ called New Media Wales (NMW) and has asked the public for hundreds of pounds.
Yesterday Mr Marshall issued a ‘launch’ manifesto, but he is seen effectively as a frontman for the Newsquest Media Group which is the UK arm of the giant controversial American media corporation Gannett Inc. (and this has made many of his supporters uneasy, along with news that its behaviour has been highlighted by the NUJ) but for his ‘national’ news service, he plans to recruit just two reporters (see story tomorrow).
The tweet from him that Mr Davies ‘liked’ has now been ‘padlocked’.
It comes after the news that politicians apart from Mr Davies have incurred the wrath of Mr Marshall, one of whom was in Mr Davies’ own party
It was disclosed that on Twitter he had made extremely offensive remarks to two major political figures in 2013, and complaints after further comments led to the reprimands.
One of the insults seven years ago, was directed at the Labour MS and minister Ken Skates, with another hurled at the former Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black. After Mr Skates tweeted in celebration of a one-vote council by-election victory over Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru (PC) in Ruabon, Mr Marshall referred to him in his own tweet as a “gloating t**t”. Mr Marshall also described Mr Black as a “humourless t..t”and a “dull, tedious t..t”.
Mr Marshall’s use of social media has always been intense, and it appears Mr Davies is an admiring follower of his on Twitter.
Two people had died and a police officer lost the sight in both eyes when gunman Raoul Moat shot them, yet despite this on July 8, 2010 – with him trying to escape from armed police – Mr Marshall published a message on his Facebook (FB) site, reading: “Hi I’m a sexy 19 year old blond (sic) from the North East of England looking for some fun.
“My Mr Right should be a big strong ginger man with a fiery temper and a jealous nature, who also enjoys camping and writing long letters. If this sounds like you contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Another post read: “Moat reward… if he isn’t caught by next Wednesday, the rewards (sic) being doubled. It’s going to be a Raul (sic) over”.
But it is the attacks of Mr Davies as well as the people he has supported, which have attracted attention.
In 2005, while Labour’s candidate for Ceredigion, he clashed with Welsh actor Rhys Ifans at a Cardiff hotel over backing the Iraq War.
The police were called, but no charges were brought, and Mr Davies subsequently apologised.
After becoming a member of (what was then) the National Assembly for Wales in 2007, Mr Davies was criticised for claiming back mortgage interest payments for a home he bought in Cardiff five years before he became an Assembly Member.
In 2013 he was criticised by the cross-party Environment and Sustainability Committee for being evasive during a question session and giving contradictory answers.
In the Spring of 2014 he confessed to entering into a relationship with his own special adviser, Anna McMorrin (now MP for Cardiff North), and confirmed that as a result both had left their long term partners. Ms McMorrin was moved from her role.
In June 2014, the First Minister of Wales (FMW) at the time, Carwyn Jones, announced an investigation into a letter Mr Davies had written to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) regarding environmental worries over the proposed development of the Circuit of Wales race track in his own constituency. NRW had expressed concerns about the race track.
On July 8 2014 he was summarily sacked by Mr Jones following repeated written requests to his civil servants for the private details of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments made to opposition politicians. Mr Davies toured television studios with a prepared statement, but refused to take questions.
Even so he was clearly not chastened by these experiences, and in October 2018 Mr Davies was criticised for comparing councils who asked for extra funding to Oliver Twist.
Mr Davies started his political career in the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru (PC), and the man he endorsed in a tweet, Mr Marshall, also has a widely publicised link to this party.
In 1992 Mr Marshall stood as PC’s Parliamentary candidate in Cardiff Central, coming fourth with just 748 votes, however his plans to stand for election as a councillor were scuppered when it emerged that he had posted the so-called ‘jokes’ about Moat, and published the offensive remarks to politicians on social media.
Apart from politics, Mr Davies also has a background in Public Relations (PR) for the Welsh utility Hyder.
With his knowledge of PR, he might have been expected to have behaved a little better – especially as he is now under investigation for allegedly breaking the lockdown rules that he had criticised others for not following…
Our Editor Phil Parry’s memories of his astonishing decades long award-winning career in journalism (when following the rules was all-important) as he was gripped by the rare disabling neurological condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order the book now!