Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Opposition mocks Twitter reshuffle

Details of a reshuffle by Wales First Minister Carwyn Jones were sent out via Twitter, prompting derision from some quarters

An ambitious attempt to publicise a government reshuffle in Wales via Twitter was branded a "digital disaster" for its slowness.

The Welsh Assembly planned to give a tweet-by-tweet account of a cabinet reshuffle, but the move was criticised due to lengthy pauses between postings.

But the Welsh Assembly's ruling Labour government hailed the reshuffle, adding that jobs and growth remained a priority. It meant it would continue to "grow the Welsh economy and create a country of opportunity and social justice".

The highest profile change has seen Professor Mark Drakeford brought in and given the health portfolio. But while Labour's emphasis was on the substance of the reshuffle, critics focused on the means of conveying the message.

Lengthy waits to learn a cabinet minister in the Labour government would keep their job was greeted by some Twitter users with derision. The Conservatives were quick to comment on the 21st century approach, with a Conservative spokesman at the Assembly saying: "This reshuffle has gone from digital to analogue in the space of a few hashtags.

"A #Twuffle may be embracing digital technology but the boredom set in as fast as a retweet. We should have had speedy updates and significant announcements. Instead we've had awkward silences and average changes. The deck chairs may be shuffled - but this Labour ship is still sinking." Another spokesman added: "It has been a digital disaster."

Wales First Minister Carwyn Jones began by appointing Prof Drakeford as new health minister in a brief public tweet. The appointment is the biggest job in the Welsh cabinet with the man in charge responsible for a budget of almost £6 billion. Using the @WelshGovernment address, it stated: "Breaking: Professor Mark Drakeford appointed new Welsh Government Health Minister."

Over more than two hours the full picture of how the new cabinet would look after the reshuffle gradually took shape, while a statement listing in full all the changes stemming from the reshuffle was later issued via email. "One new Minister has joined the cabinet; academic in the field of social policy and former Chair of the Health Committee, Professor Mark Drakeford has been appointed Health Minister," it stated.

"Former Health Minister Lesley Griffiths has been appointed Minister for Local Government, with responsibility for Government Business. The First Minister has also created a new refocused Communities and Tackling Poverty portfolio under Huw Lewis, which will renew the Government's efforts in tackling poverty, creating opportunity for all and mitigating the worst effects of the UK Government's welfare reform agenda.

"Former Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant becomes Minister for Housing and Regeneration; former Deputy Minister for Agriculture Alun Davies has been appointed Minister for Natural Resources and Food, while Former Environment Minister John Griffiths becomes Minister for Culture and Sport."

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