I have searched for new leaders for LWD leader of the Month, for October, although earlier winners could have made strong cases again. The winner for October 2020 is Mark Drakeford, First Minister of the Welsh Assembly
As the month ends, Dr Fauci continues to make courageous statements urging more attention to be paid to medical opinion for public safety during America’s increasing Coronavirus crisis. He continues to receive cystic dismissal for his remarks by President Trump.
Then there is Marcus Rashford who adds to his remarkable year influencing political change by scoring a hat trick coming on as a second half substitute in a Premier League game for Manchester United.
However, for his cool and courageous efforts leading Wales into its ‘firewall’ against the virus, the award for October 2020 goes to Mark Drakeford, Leader of the Welsh Assembly. His patient daily presentations have contrasted with the the hyperbolic efforts of the Prime Minister and his media spokespersons (or surrogates, to use the North American term).
Writing in the Guardian, Welsh exile Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett describes the impact of his leadership:
‘On Friday [October 23, 2020] Wales began a two-week national “firebreak” Covid lockdown in an attempt to give some breathing space to its health service, which risks being overwhelmed by the rise in cases. It has not been without controversy – a ban on supermarkets selling non-essential items was criticised over the weekend. In the English press, the first minister, Mark Drakeford, and the Welsh government have been labelled as “clowns” who are trying to turn Wales “into a wartime, command economy: East Germany, except not as efficient, and with more sheep” (note the tedious xenophobia).
‘The criticism over the essential items rule is less about lockdown and more about what individuals consider “essential” during times of crisis (the government has now indicated that supermarkets will be allowed flexibility – hardly the actions of a Soviet dictatorship)’
In concluding, Coslett notes
‘Covid-19 has given Wales a glimpse of what self-determination and autonomy could look like, and it’s inspiring. In times of great fear and uncertainty, having politicians that you feel you can trust is no small thing, and is not easily forgotten’.
Llongyfarchiadau. Da iawn, Mark Drakeford. [Congratulations, Well done, Mark Drayford]