Friday, 24 July 2009

Gimmick or precedent?

It's too easy to dismiss the UK cabinet's little jaunt to Wales yesterday as a gimmick - but that doesn't mean it wasn't. It's certainly generated large numbers of column inches of publicity for the Labour Government in the Welsh press - most of it positive. Reading today's Western Mail, one could be forgiven for thinking that not much else happened in Wales yesterday.

The government and their spin doctors will undoubtedly be pleased with the coverage – but how will the public perceive it?

I think the jury's still out at this stage. If it's something which is repeated on an annual basis, then there's a good chance that it will be seen as an attempt to bring government a little closer to the people. And if every visit is accompanied by the sort of good news announcement that we had yesterday on rail investment, then perhaps we should encourage them to come once a month.

If, on the other hand, it ends up being a one-off in what must now be seen as the run-up to a General Election, then 'gimmick' would be the appropriate description, and it will be likely to increase cynicism.

PS – Am I the only one who found it odd that Wales' First Minister (based in Cardiff) should arrive with Brown, whereas the Secretary of State (based in London) was waiting to meet him on the platform?

PPS – Can't find it on the internet, but the photo on pages 4-5 of the Western Mail would make a superb caption competition. Hain's face as he reaches out to Brown's arm is an absolute picture. My entry is "Hey, I'm still here too".


Pelagius said...

Rather disturbing is the over the top welcome he received from BBC Wales staff. Have a look at their web-site slide show. But then, I always consider Llandaf to be BBC Labour in reality. These pix seem to prove it. Does anybody have any more shots taken inside Broadcasting House to confirm my thesis?

Spirit of BME said...

This a change to change the back drop.
The local tax payer has had to pick up the extra cost for security,(has anybody asked how much that was?) now, the real test would be ,if that sum was assessed before the visit and the good people of Cardiff asked to make a volintery contribution to cover it.I have a feeling in my water you may not have seen them.