SO, SHORTLY after Tubby Johnson’s crazily spun out resignation, Mark Drakeford amazes us all by going and doing the same thing.
The member for Cardiff West must know what he’s about. But anyone with a less finely tuned moral antenna may wonder whether double-dipping a carrot stick in a bowl of communal hummus is unquestionably a serious enough offence to warrant surrender of the Welsh Labour leadership.
Johnson had to be grabbed by the lapels by a torrent of overwrought Ministers before he’d give up his cosy illusion of lifelong weekends at Chequers. Drakeford, on the other hand, sped away after what was clearly a dark fit of social remorse.
There’s still of course the surprise that Mark chose to announce his departure on Radio 4’s Dead Ringers, not a programme necessarily renowned for its reverence towards politicians.
I have to say, though, that I can’t be alone in having been deeply moved by the dignity of his resignation statement.
“Citizens of Wales,” he said, with a stylistic nod in the direction of Julius Caesar’s Mark Antony, “I come to you with an apology. As I was watching the mass resignations over Boris Johnson’s misconduct, I realised I could no longer hold my tongue over my own indiscretions.
“Recently it has become known that, at a March hustings in Aberystwyth, I double-dipped a carrot stick in the communal hummus. As you know, I sincerely apologised, and prayed that we could all move on together.”
Then came the clincher. “But now I must address allegations that, earlier this year, I picked up a pack of digestives in the big Asda, then got to the nibbles aisle and decided I fancied some chocolate Brazils instead, but couldn’t be bothered to go back to the biscuits aisles, so just tucked the biccies behind the salted cashews and left the shelf-stackers to deal with it.”
For his droves of supporters, this will have been a confession either devastating or inconsequential, but one in any case delivered with the soon-to-be-no-longer First Minister’s trademark candour.
Now, though, there was the shocking coup de grâce. “As a result of these failures,” Mr Drakeford told the airwaves, “I shall be doing the right thing and stepping down from my post.”
As if this bolt from the blue wasn’t enough, there now comes an astonishing sequel, one showing undreamt-of generosity of spirit towards the tenant of 10 Downing Street soon to be packing his bags.
Following Tubby’s forced exit, it had emerged that a postponed wedding party for him and wife Carrie would not now be held, as planned, at Chequers, the grand 16th century country house set aside for prime ministers.
Realising that a new venue for this knees-up must now be found, and quickly, Mr Drakeford has, almost unbelievably, stepped into the breach and made Johnson an offer he’d be mad to refuse: unrestricted free use, for a whole weekend, of a rented caravan at Llangrannog.
Mark points out that its exposed clifftop location offers scope for entertaining an almost limitless number of guests in thrillingly unpredictable weather conditions. On top of that, the caravan’s facilities include an Asda top-of-the-range Uniflame Select 5 Burner and Side and Rotisserie Gas Grill for barbecues. Mark says he’s got the exact same model in his own back garden, and it’s very good.
With unparalleled empathy, he has even said he’ll drop by over the weekend to check on supplies of teabags and Mr Kipling French Fancies.
To cap it all, it now emerges that he had thought of offering Johnson use of his holiday chalet near Tenby. But, given an unresolved dispute over whether the place counts as a second home, he thought it best to spare Tubby potential involvement in any more scraps.
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