WalesOnline used the Betteridges Law of Headlines this morning in asking whether the Welsh Government’s recent Covid restrictions had made any difference here.
Simply, any headline that ends in a question can be answered by the word NO.
WalesOnline have been avid supporters of Mark Drakeford throughout the Covid saga, but it appears that even they are now sensing the tide has turned.
The Prif Weinidog said his restrictions had to be put in place on December 26th, because a tidal wave of Omicron cases was soon to hit Wales.
Even though all the data from South Africa where Omicron first appeared some weeks previously had indicated that it was a milder version of delta, and much less of a health threat.
This is exactly how things have panned out in Wales over the recent weeks.
More embarrassing still for Drakeford is the fact that no restrictions were imposed next door in England – which saw almost the same drop in cases to the situation in Wales over the equivalent period.
A spokesperson for Gwlad – The Welsh Independence Party – said it appeared that a liking for control and micro management seemed to be the main driver for Welsh Labour.
‘It’s all very well for Mark Drakeford to say he’s keeping us safe, but his lack of empathy and concern for small businesses and the hospitality sector just shows what a narrow mindset he has’ he said.
‘It just betrays a privileged public-sector outlook on life, with scant interest or knowledge of the needs of small businesses which are the backbone of our communities here in Wales’
The BBC recently reported that pubs in Wales had lost an average £16,000 in takings over the holiday period, and it’s thought the hospitality sector is likely to take a year at least to recover.
The spokesperson added that even with some restrictions to be lifted over the next couple of weeks, the Prif Weinidog was doubling down on Covid passports at the very same time.
‘He’s now insisting the Covid passports are not valid unless you’ve had three jabs – which will cripple cinemas and theatres in Wales even further’.
‘There’s no justification for the Covid passports in the first place as Omicron – mild as it is – is spreading equally between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated; so they’re not a safety guarantee of any sort.’
‘But to insist on a harder, tighter Covid passport regime now makes even less sense, and makes you question his judgement even further’.
Mark Drakeford is also under intense pressure to allow a Wales Covid Inquiry to take place.
Although a knife-edge vote in the Senedd last week saw him having to rely on the casting vote of Y Llywydd to resist a Welsh inquiry, this one just isn’t going to go away.
The Unlock Wales group have said that if the Prif Weinidog refuses such an inquiry, the people of Wales should set up their own inquiry, meeting in town halls, pubs and theatres to discuss the relevant issues.
‘The people of Wales deserve their say on the past two years here. If the Welsh Government refuse to defend and justify their decisions publicly, then it’s only right that an unofficial people’s inquiry is set up’ said the Gwlad spokesperson.
‘It would be a huge step towards ensuring more democratic accountability here in Wales.’
Mark Drakeford now cuts a beleagured figure facing internal pressures in Wales and external pressures from next door.
With over a 100 rebel MP’s forcing Boris Johnson’s hand, England looks set to scrap all Covid measures shortly.
That could make life even more difficult for Mark Drakeford.