Image c/o Cambria Politico
The hilarity surrounding Hain's Obama moment continues, this time ensnaring the Welsh Secretary and the First Minister of Wales who - according to Hain's "exciting new Labour supporting website" - had given the site these glowing endorsements:
"This brand new political website is definitely one to watch!"
- Rt Hon Rhodri Morgan AM, First Minister for Wales
"I welcome this important new initiative. We must not surrender the internet to our opponents."
- Rt Hon Paul Murphy MP, Secretary of State for Wales and Minister for Digital Inclusion
The BBC's Vaughan Roderick asked the First Minister a few awkward questions concerning that endorsement during a news conference yesterday:
Vaughan: "Do you regret giving a quote to the website and have you asked the people behind it to apologise to the Deputy First Minister?"
Rhodri Morgan: Let this be the only further question on the website. Look, let's be clear. There was no advance authorisation or awareness on my part or the Secretary of State's part or Labour Party Wales' part of the plans to develop this website. None whatsoever. So the website was developed by a team of Labour supporters as a way of getting into new media engagement...a lot of excitement after the Obama election victory and everyone says "oh isn't it brilliant the way they've done the new media engagement the way they've got all these websites springing up from everywhere" and you know they've had a go at doing it. Now,you know, we were not aware they were doing it, didn't approve the contents, weren't aware of the contents, style or anything whatsoever. So you know that's all I can say.
Vaughan: But you gave them the quote. You gave them the quote.
Rhodri Morgan: Pardon?
Vaughan: You gave them a quote. They quote you on the website.
Rhodri Morgan: Yeah, but its very naughty of the BBC to imply that quote could be construed by anybody as implying approval or endorsement of the content or the style of the website. Since I haven't seen it or read it or had any foreknowledge of it it is very very naughty to imply that the content or style of it has in some way been endorsed by me. Now it hasn't nor by the Secretary of State nor by the Labour Party Wales. Now that's it. This is not about the website this morning. I've said what I've got to say and I've criticised the media for implying I'm associated with this content. I am not associated with this this content and that's it as far as I'm concerned. OK. Least said soonest mended. That's the only question on the website. I'm not going to say any more about it. This is not about the website. this a government press conference not a party press conference, ok?"
The gravitas is killing me.
UPDATE April 2nd: Pants On Fire
It turns out (surprise surprise) Rhodri Morgan actually did have "foreknowledge" of the website. Compare and contrast:
"There was no advance authorisation or awareness on my part or the Secretary of State's part or Labour Party Wales' part of the plans to develop this website. None whatsoever".
Paul Murphy is described as being "livid", but then that's nothing new.
Meanwhile Peter Hain maintains that the site is:
"a daily must-check website for anyone who wants to know what's really going on in Wales. It is a brighter kind of blog, a rare commentary in the digital age that is not mired in the pettiness and nastiness of many other blogs in Wales and elsewhere."
Compare and contrast.