Letter from Wales: £400,000 for a man snoring in a telescope!

by Julian Ruck

Skint UK? Ed Balls’ scrutinising of every pound? Don’t be daft this is the Arts Council of Wales!

And as if the £400,000 of tax-payers’ money for a Welsh contemporary artist to strut his stuff (no disrespect to said artist) at the Venice Biennale isn’t enough, it took the CEO of the Arts Council of Wales, one Nick Capaldi and six of his ACW cronies to tag along and hold his hand!

But what about the expenses the taxpayer has also forked up for? Following my FoI requests (12,13, 17th June 2013) it turns out we have paid  £260.00 per night for hotels and a damn your eyes to LateRooms.com and a brew of Tetley in a Venetian back alley.

Apart from Mr Capaldi’s £1,981.20 (for 4 nights), we have a real beauty: Professor Dai Smith, chair of the ACW not only claimed £1709.49 from the tax-payer for his three day Venetian jolly but his own book “Dream On” (you can say that again!) published last May, was also paid for by the tax-payer. Oh and he doesn’t like “nutters” like me scrutinising his artistic efforts either, I’m told.

Here are the expenses for the rest of ACW’s party-goers:-

David Alston (£1636.77 for his 4 nights) Arts Director ACW;  Louise Wright (£1569.85 for 4 nights) ACW Commissioner for the Biennale no less; Eluned Haf (£1638.51 for 4 nights) ACW Director of Wales Arts International; Sian James (£1,964.77 for 4 nights) ACW Press Officer and not forgetting Osi Rhys Osmond (£1687.16 for 4 nights), an Arts Council Member and Chair of Advisory Committee?

Now you may be thinking why all these people are needed for a quick few second turn on BBC Wales’ Today programme. Jobs for the boys time again perhaps? The usual old suspects again? You would also be forgiven for wondering why it needs 7 people to do the same thing and enjoy an expensive city break at tax-payers’ expense, while they are at it?

Classic devolved Welsh replication of jobs maybe?

CEO Nick Capaldi was quoted as saying about the Venetian visual art extravaganza, “It’s the Formula 1 of the visual arts world, in that a Formula 1 racing car has little in common with the family hatchback other than four wheels and a steering wheel”.

Excuse me? Sorry to disabuse you Nick, but right now many people in this country are struggling to keep a four-wheeled pram on the road and  you’re also dead right about the exhibition having little in common with the family hatchback man in the street – most of them are out there trying to hold on to a job.

But why should you worry, or your fellow tax-payer gravy train passengers? None of you are personally paying for it all. Wonderful!

I must point out here that the budget for this event was bigger than previous years. Seriously. Where the English Arts Council has taken some serious hair-cutting the Welsh artistic identity is apparently sacrosanct. Apart from the telescopic snoring man, a table covered in clothes pegs, an iron and a desk lamp is more important than let’s say, a good few computers for failing Welsh schools and children.

The arrogance, the unmitigated insensitivity and self-righteous pomposity of the Arts Council of Wales just plain beggars belief, and who funds it? Yes you’ve got it, the Welsh government, which in turn means no scrutiny, no accountability and do what you like.

How these people have the nerve to stand in front of a television camera with their hands in the tax-payer till while they are at it, and spout their elitist delusions is utterly beyond me.

People in this country are struggling, benefits are being cut as are essential services but Welsh Labour seems to think that £400,000 of tax-payers’ bucks for a bit of visual art and some high-brow pontificating is all just dandy.

God help the Welsh, god help Wales.

PS It has just come to my attention that Literature Wales (a sister quango of the Arts Council  of Wales and fully funded by it) is staging another book festival at Dinefwr castle next year.

Following Fo I requests, the 2012 book festival received £65,000 from the tax-payer. £15, 321.33 was the net amount received for ticket sales. £54,908.94 went to pay Welsh writers, poets, artists etc for fees and travel. £7,964.94 went on “running costs.”

I make that a £48,000 (near enough) loss to the tax-payer. Nothing like razor sharp business acumen is there? But then, it’s only the tax-payer forking up.

On its website it claims 2500 visitors turned up last year. Well, taking a mean £50 per ticket, that’s 300 odd people showing up by my estimate, rather shy of the 2500 claimed, I think you will agree.

In other words, most of the “visitors” were paid by the tax-payer to attend. Literature Wales has been contacted to explain this discrepancy but at the time of writing no such explanation has been forthcoming.

No doubt next year’s event will receive an increase in funding and yet again to hell with austerity and financial crashes.

This is Wales, and if you ask me it’s about time the two Eds took a serious look at what is really going on here, because all the above is merely an extremely sharp tip of a damned great iceberg.

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85 Responses to “Letter from Wales: £400,000 for a man snoring in a telescope!”

  1. Clr Ralph baldwin says:

    True Labour, steal from the rich….and steal from the poor, well at least that’s as close to equality they actually reach.

  2. Danny says:

    Labour Uncut persists in allowing this talentless, limited individual to contribute to its website. Oh dear.

    I know it guarantees you a bit of attention and about 50 comments every time one of his diatribes is uploaded, but please try and have a little bit more class. This isn’t the Sun. The 50 comments that will inevitably follow will not be quantified as sound debate, more like petty squabbling which will involve Mr Ruck refusing to address any key points that prove the fact that he is stupid, and instead retort with insults that lack the maturity to even feature on a high school playground.

  3. Edd the Duck says:

    This letter promoted me to look at the Arts Council website
    ”What we do.
    Our vision is of a creative Wales where the arts are central to the life of the nation.

    Our priorities are:
    supporting the creation of the best in great art
    encouraging more people to enjoy and take part in the arts
    growing the arts economy
    making Arts Council of Wales an effective and efficient business

    As well supporting and developing high quality arts activity, some of the activities that we perform day to day are:
    distributing Lottery funds
    providing advice about the arts
    sharing information
    raising the profile of the arts in Wales
    generating more money for the arts economy
    influencing planners and decision-makers
    developing international opportunities in the arts
    promoting small scale performances in local communities

    Our job is to ensure that the contribution of the arts is recognised, valued and celebrated.”

    Well celebrated indeed but would anyone from the Arts Council like to comment on any international achievments as a result of this event and also comment if lottery funds as a priority source of lavish funding were used as it would seem Venice can be a very expensive place to stay depending of course on the venue within the capital chosen by the delegation.
    JR’s letter is an eye opener for anyone with a half decent telescope.
    Your comments are invited.
    Edd the Duck

  4. comeoffit says:

    Danny…. all this noise you’re making suggests you’ve got something to hide. I always welcome freedom of information requests! Particularly if they rock the boat of talentless self serving Welsh poiliticos/’Quango riche’ types who’ve been picking the public purse whilst hiding behind the race/language card for far too long. Make me ashamed to be Welsh the lot of them!

  5. To Danny,

    ‘A little more class?’

    You might just try making a comment that addresses the issues I raise, instead of pouring out personal insult.

    I am sure readers would find this far more uplifting and classy?


  6. To Ed the Duck and Comeoffit,

    Thank you both for your positive comments, it makes a change from the usual Trollish nonsense my Letters encounter.

    For some time now, I have found it extremely disappointing that my fellow countrymen seem to be so indifferent to what is happening in Wales.

    I can only conclude that this is largely down to Wales having such a monstrous public sector and a private sector that is so dependent on tax-payer subsidy.

    In othere words, the Welsh are scared to death of speaking out in case they lose their jobs.

    Sad but true.


  7. alan jones says:

    Wales is one of many countries to enter Venice biennale. Shock news! Failed and bitter writer publishes rant on website. Not such a shocker.
    Labour uncut are becoming a laughing stock.

  8. “£54,908.94 went to pay Welsh writers, poets, artists etc for fees and travel.”

    May I ask for a clarification, Mr Ruck? Is that amount specific to the Welsh contributors – that is, does it exclude folk such as Tom Wrigglesworth, Andrew Motion, Gillian Slovo, Josie Long, Tyler Keevil, Lucy Caldwell and others?

  9. Darren Almond says:

    Ruck, don’t you feel its a little poor form to complain about arts council grants when you applied for one for your own festival and got rejected. Would you be writing the same thing if you had been successful?

    Anyway, pretty much every country, including the likes of Afganistan and Iraq, enter Venice everyother year. I don’t see how the Welsh are doing anything out of the ordinary.

    Plus, I can’t really accept your figues seeing as in your last article you had to revise your headline figure by £2,000 when someone corrected you in the comments. You mention a lot of numbers but never back them up with proof.

  10. To Campbell,

    The £54,908.94 was used to pay all artists, writers, musicians, comedians et al, regardless of race, colour or creed.

    Indeed, I was offered a fee to attend the Penfro book festival (tax-payer funded) in September. I told the organisers that if I attended, they could send the fee to the Sally Army.

    As it happens, I won’t be there. I’m out of the country rallying around Europe in a Gilbern – the only Welsh car ever made and a little beauty. Mind you, even the manufacturers of Wales’ only sports car went bust!


  11. Another week, another Ruck rant that looks as if it’s something the Daily Mail spat out. And once again I’m genuinely confused. Does he think that public money should never be spent on the arts? If he does, why doesn’t he say so?

    Or does he feel the money should be spent on something other than the Biennale? If so, what? And does he really understand what the Biennale is?

    I’ve been to most recently. This isn’t a few statues in a park. It’s a massive international showcase of global culture, with a worldwide following and a lot of influence. Australia, for example, thinks it important enough to invest AUS$6m in its pavilion (http://au.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/892887/what-price-australias-new-venice-biennale-pavilion).

    It’s fair enough to ask what these things cost – and arts organisations ought to volunteer that information without having to be asked. But Ruck really needs to make clear if he’s saying there should be no public money for the arts or not. Otherwise this just becomes one more Mail-style rant designed to get people going on the back of ‘what about the workers?’ populism. I’m sure the EDL would run the whole piece like a shot, without a single word changed.

    That said I prefer Carpaccio and Bellini when I’m in Venice. Modern art isn’t my thing and I often find elements of the Biennale boring, pretentious, pointless and utterly incomprehensible.

    Which brings me to a suggestion. Perhaps for the next Biennale Wales could save money by putting Julian Ruck in a glass case with a microphone, a case of cheap grappa and an endless supply of pork pies then stand back and see what performance ‘art’ comes out of that.

    Perhaps if a public subscription was opened for this to happen it could go ahead without costing Wales a penny in public money.

  12. To Darren Almond,

    Now, when did my company apply for an arts grant, exactly? Let’s see your evidence for yet another idiotic and unsubstantiated claim.

    Kidwelly Festival Ltd made no applicaions for any arts grants, full stop. Let alone having one rejected.

    It was funded totally by two people with private money. Mine and a co-investor and I defy you to prove otherwise.

    You people really do get more and more desperate with your farcical smears don’t you?


  13. To Darren Almond,

    PS They are not my figures.

    They are the figures provided by the Arts Council of Wales following a number of F of I requests. In which case, may I suggest you address your concerns to them.


  14. stevemosby says:

    Julian –

    “It was funded totally by two people with private money. Mine and a co-investor and I defy you to prove otherwise.”

    No takers for this, then? http://www.kidwellyefestival.com/sponsors.html

    Look, David is quite right. While there – of course – needs to be transparency about the way taxpayers’ money is spent, you need to be clearer about your position. Is it that money should never be spent on the arts at all? Do you simply object to specific projects it is being allocated to? Or do you believe, despite all evidence to the contrary (Kidwelly made a £50k loss, didn’t it?) that you could organise the finances better? Because those are all very different arguments, and at the moment, your position is confusing.

  15. John P Reid says:

    danny you want to ban anyone who disagrees with you, why don’t you stop reading L Uncut, I’m sure Socisalist unity might be more your thing, at least it’ll double it’s readershiop,

  16. alan says:

    Can Ruck clarify the relationship between his rants and his rejections by Welsh publishers? Can he also clarify he did not approach his local council or wales arts organisations for support?

  17. I do wonder why you feel the need to address me rudely, Mr Ruck.

    But to quote you:

    “£54,908.94 went to pay Welsh writers, poets, artists etc for fees and travel.”

    Four hours and twenty-one minutes later:

    “The £54,908.94 was used to pay all artists, writers, musicians, comedians et al, regardless of race, colour or creed.”

    May I leave those two quotes without comment?

  18. To Mr Mosby,

    No sponsors came forward.

    I repeat, the Festival was funded totally by myself and a co-investor.

    And once again, I defy you to prove otherwise.

    I will not engage with you further, your history of intemperate comment, will I believe, be better served elsewhere.


    PS The Company accounts are available for all to see at Companies House.

  19. This is an outrageous abuse of the Welsh Taxpayer in a time of severe austerity, or any other time in my opinion.
    It is high time a person such as Julian Ruck has had the courage and timidity in the face of considerable personal hostility, even to the level of personal threat, to bring these FACTS to the attention of the Welsh public; as well as to the – powers- that be in Westminster who after all provide the arts funding Wales enjoys and that these people so readily, ‘sponge off ‘ with their misplaced sense of personal entitlement.

    Myself and others only marvel that it has been allowed to continue for so long unchecked.

  20. To David Hewson,

    I will not respond to you, apart from observing that on this occasion you are fortunate I am neither a Jew nor a Muslim.


  21. stevemosby says:

    Julian –

    “No sponsors came forward.

    I repeat, the Festival was funded totally by myself and a co-investor.

    And once again, I defy you to prove otherwise.”

    I’ve never suggested it was otherwise. But this is part of the point, isn’t it: that it’s remarkably hard at the best of times – never mind in an age of austerity – to find businesses willing to subsidise activity within the arts. As you have found. So the choice is often between public subsidy (or, indeed, investment) and not holding such events at all. I would suggest that such events often generate additional financial value to footfall alone, but that, regardless, they have social and cultural benefits that are hard to measure in terms of money.

    I’m simply asking you to clarify your position – the philosophical basis, really, from which you’re approaching this issue. If you don’t wish to reply to me, others may also find it helpful. It’s difficult to address your points without it.

  22. Art is in the eye of the beholder. But when not many people actually see the art but everyone pays for it is it worth it? Art is good and is something that people spend money on in good times. But in lean times, art is not so important. In good times it can be self funding, but in lean times it shouldn’t take money from taxpayers when that money would be better spent on nurses, disability benefits, etc. The only people who benefit from public art are the artists themselves.

  23. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Should have been a kaleidoscope…….

    I am sure that the two Eds are extremely happy with a constant 25- 30 seats for the Labour at Westminster, the South East paying for the “home countries fiasco” and Welsh Conservative and Welsh Lib-Democrats lining up for their turn in a coalition with Welsh Labour Party in the Senate for their 15 minutes of fame.

    Things will not be too rosy though if Scotland becomes independent.

    Boris perhaps is sowing the seeds of an independent London or South East?


    Where will it all end?

    “Things can only get better”…………

    The north of England will become the English home country. Cornwell will become the independent Celtic state of Kernow and the the South east will become the British southern confederation of the home counties and the Midlands…..the monarchs speech on Christmas day will become absolutely surreal.

    Welcome to the Dis-united Kingdom of Britannia……….

    I was looking at how a one party “home country” state works in the UK.

    “Despite occasional noises off in Westminster and apparent attempts by Labour there to derail the whole idea, we refused to let it go! The referendum would not have happened without the presence of Plaid in government. We can rightly claim the credit for that.”


    After one month of minority government, talks between Ieuan Wyn Jones and Rhodri Morgan resulted in the One Wales agreement between Labour and Plaid Cymru, which gives the Government a majority of twenty-two. The agreement was criticised by some members of the Labour Party as too conciliatory towards Plaid Cymru’s nationalist leanings, especially in that it included a provision requiring a referendum on full law-making powers
    The agreement has been seen variously as a first step towards independence, a sell-out on Plaid’s part that props up a Labour government, and part of a wider shift towards nationalism in the British Isles.


    The plot thickens……….


    I am beginning to understand voter apathy in Britain today.

    Does anybody really know what’s going on?

    You can confuse some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time. It is now possible in the UK to confuse all of the people all of the time.

  24. To Mosby,

    PS The Kidwelly-eFestival might well have made a £50,000 loss, but the difference beween Kidwelly-e and Dinefwr is, that it didn’t cost the tax-payer a penny.

    And at least my company tried to put something into the local economy instead of taking it out.

    By the way, what do you contribute in tax?


  25. Edd the Duck says:

    Perhaps not a telescope but a financial microscope would be a more fitting tool. No comments yet from the Welsh Arts Council.
    On another matter I have to say a Gilbern is a seriously cool car JR and driving around Europe will promote many matters Welsh from a motoring point of view. A bit like Connie Fisher with her Gilbern Musical tour in Wales on BBC last year.Good Welsh publicity I would say.

    ”The arrogance, the unmitigated insensitivity and self-righteous pomposity of the Arts Council of Wales just plain beggars belief, and who funds it? Yes you’ve got it, the Welsh government, which in turn means no scrutiny, no accountability and do what you like.” Well said JR
    Are you sure you don’t originate from Dallas?

    Edd the Duck

  26. To Mosby,

    As for once, you have made a comment absent of silly spite, I will make clear where I stand on the issue of public subsidy for the arts – you might want to read the transcript of my public talk in Cardiff at the end of last year for a fuller explanation (see my blog – Welsh Writing Sucks, New York daily News).

    The argument I believe has been won, where subsidy for the arts generally is concerned.

    The arts provide cultural fibre to society and in many cases are of benefit economically.

    However, as with all things where public money is concerned, scrutiny and accountability must obtain. In Wales this is not the case.

    Millions of pounds of tax-payers’ money is spent on books that are simply not read by anyone – and I’m talking here English language titles. Millions go to art projects that no-one is interested in, millions go in bursaries to the same people, millions go to an elite few to indulge in an exercise in esoteric superiority etc etc

    Museums, art galleries, the opera, ballet etc etc all have audiences. All endeavour to provide some return for the tax-payer.

    In Wales this is not the case. The Biennale is all very well, but where is the Welsh audience? And does it merit 7 people from the Arts Council of Wales at £1500-2000 each for four nights at tax-payers’ expense?

    I think not.

    In the present financial climate this kind of funding cannot be justified. Indeed, it is an out and out disgrace.

    When it comes to cuts, Rubens is hardly likely to rise up from the dead and pay for a wheelchair, is he?


  27. stevemosby says:

    Julian –

    “By the way, what do you contribute in tax?”

    My fair share, of course. What on earth are you talking about?

  28. To Mosby,

    You delight in trying to catch me out.

    What’s sauce for the goose…….

    All the best,


    PS And note, I haven’t made hay out of the Horror Fan. The same restraint would be appreciated.

  29. stevemosby says:

    Julian –

    “PS And note, I haven’t made hay out of the Horror Fan. The same restraint would be appreciated.”

    Nor should you attempt to, as what he says is a lie. It is also irrelevant to proceedings, in the way that you being a serial plagiarist is not. So let’s not talk about restraint, please. If you think you have gunpowder, and that you can point in the right direction, feel free to try to give it to me with both barrels. You will miss.

  30. To Ed the Duck,

    Some levity for once! Good for you.

    The missus keeps a loaded shotgun at the side of the bed these days, just in case. It’s a menopausal thing apparently. She hasn’t shot me yet but you never know…..

    As for the Gilbern outing, myself and pal will be promoting Wales without a penny from the tax-payer.

    Now this really must be a first!


    PS The CEO’s of the Arts Council of Wales and Literature Wales have been offered a right of reply. Guess what?

    No reply.

    Neither indeed, have they taken me up on my invitation to be interviewed.

  31. “The Biennale is all very well, but where is the Welsh audience?”

    Is that a serious question? The Biennale, like it or not, attracts around 370,000 visitors from all over the world. The Welsh pavilion sounds pretty interesting to me.


    By contrast your own attempt at running a festival promising to bring 20,000 to Wales was such a disaster it didn’t even last the weekend. You say you had no public funding for that — but you still haven’t said whether you sought any. And have you calculated how much you wasted of other people’s time and money with your ill-fated egotistical venture? Especially those small traders who fell for your bullshit?

    Here is one of many first hand accounts of your personal Titanic.


    And one wonders… have you paid the three tenors yet?


    Do you honestly feel someone responsible for a catastrophe like this is qualified to offer pompous judgements on one of the most famous and popular artistic events in the world?

  32. It beggars belief that some bloggers on this site are still whinging about the Kidwelly Fest., solely funded by Mr Ruck himself now that LIT WALES hashad the audacity to announce that they plan to stage yet another DINEFWR FESTIVAL in 2014 when last year’s was put on at a considerable loss, but with the taxpayer footing the bill of course , so no skin off their literary noses.
    This event is organised not with audience participation at thefore, but so that as many of the literary free- loaders here in Wales can get their fat reading fees.The likes of Tony Bianchi & Meic Stephens, both ex Arts Council employees ,as well as others like Peter Finch, himself ex CE ACADEMI to 2011 before it became Lit Wales, as well as Gillian Clarke and Gwyneth Lewis – National Poets of Wales already previously and heavily funded by the taxpayer for many worldwide joints to spread, “the word of Wales aboard
    { I quote G.C. here 26/06/13 Cardiff Poetry Awards]
    Yet what most offends my sense of social justice as LIT .WALES have continued to put on hold, and since 2008 the publication of an Anthology, The WHITCHURCH PROJECT that chronicled patient & staff experiences at the hospital collated over the 5/6 years by Phil Carradice and Briony Goffin ,but alas never seeing the light of day.
    These two writers were funded from 2007 to interview staff and patients of the Victorian Asylum in Cardiff and now due for closure , to record and then to publish these experiences. The contributions of many of those who contributed were not even acknowledged by Lit .Wales: I have been told personally by contributors.
    The Mental Health Services in S.E. Wales particularly here a’ Cinderella Services ‘ leads one to believe that the thinking behind this self interested delay by Lit Wales was a philosophy of ,’Let them eat Prozac’ , and we’ll use the funded on our, ‘usual suspects’ , their freebee trips abroad, readings and residencies.
    Where I ask myself as a writer myself born in here in Wales has the spirit of the collective , let alone any radicalism gone ?
    Answers please.

  33. Hewson,

    Firstly, I have said twice above, that no applications were made for arts subsidy.


    Secondly, no-one’s time was wasted. All contractual commitments to authors, comedians, artists etc were paid plus expenses (which included hotel accommodation and breakfast), apart from the Three Welsh Tenors who were cancelled and didn’t appear.

    Stall holders were compensated.

    To date, not one individual has come forward to back up your groundless accusations, apart from a shortlisted aspiring author who failed to win the ebook prize and to whom no money was owed.

    I would also remind you that the £10,000 ebook prize was also honoured.

    Where do you think more than £50,000 went, as confirmed by the accounts filed with Companies House? You will aso note that the credit file on Kidwelly Festival Ltd is without blemish.

    You are an extremely unpleasant individual Hewson, do please find someone else to hate.

    You have nothing.


  34. To Hewson

    PS Kidwelly Festival Ltd was under no contractual obligation to compensate stall-holders, but nevertheless it did.


  35. To Mosby,

    You are concerned about a lie?

    Sit behind my desk for day and you will become a consumate expert on the meaning of the word.


  36. stevemosby says:

    Julian –

    “You are concerned about a lie?”

    No. I was just pointing out that your plea-bargain of “I didn’t say anything about it, so please don’t say anything about me!” was risible. Go for your life. I’ll address any comment you make to me plainly and honestly. If only you could say the same.

    “Sit behind my desk for day and you will become a consumate expert on the meaning of the word.”

    The word “lie”? That’s such an open goal that it wouldn’t be sporting to trickle it in.

  37. Johnny B says:

    Ruck – answer the question about whether you SOUGHT funding for Kidwelly. Think very carefully before you answer.
    Very carefully.

  38. Grow up & get off your back sides stevemosby & hewson.
    What events have either of you actually organised in the arts?
    None I imagine: yet you just feed off others and spend your time, it seems to me ,writing this bullshit rather than your own ,I am sure, mind-blowing fiction.

    Keep on whinging at Julian Ruck ,and may yourselves get a places on the Dinefwr Festival ‘gravy train’ 2014.

    In my opinion, and I was actually AT the Kidwelly Fest. my dears you’d be better off baking cakes than writing this arrogant tosh. You must really be so bored that you have nothing better to do.

  39. Darren Almond says:

    Considering it said on his early articles that Ruck and his publishers did not receive any public funding until I pointed out an article that stated quite clearly that his publishers revived money from Camarthenshire council, I have a he is pretty used to making a U turns in terms of his statements.

    And as usual, Ruck you have failed to answer my question about the festival accounts. Don’t you feel it a bit rich complaining that you accuse others of not answering your calls for interviews.

    ‘…on this occasion you are fortunate I am neither a Jew nor a Muslim.’ What’s that supposed to mean?

  40. Johnny B says:

    Ruck – a yes or no answer will do

  41. Johnny B says:

    Ruck hasn’t actually denied or confirmed that he’s done time for fraud either, though he should tell us either way – yes or no answer will do.
    It would help clear the air, and if the accusations are wrong then it will be good to hear them denied.

  42. voice of reason says:

    Mr Ruck makes a simple observation about whether, in these austere times, it is right for so much public money to have been spent on this trip. That seems an entirely reasonable question to me. Had just two or three people gone it would have been a non story.

  43. To Darren Almond,

    I assume you are referring to the £500 marketing grant Dinefwr received from Carmarthenshire County Council three years ago, when it went into publishing?

    Hardly the millions of tax-payers’ money other Welsh publishers have received over the years, is it?

    Further, not one penny went anywhere near my books I assure you.

    If you call this a smear, then you had better get some advice from the Daily Mail or the Sun!

    Keep trying, you silly fellow.


  44. To Johnny B,

    Trying a different name again, are we Abell?


    If you believe otherwise, let’s see your evidence.

    As I have just remarked to David Hewson, please go and find somebody else to hate or see a psychiatrist.


  45. Johnny B says:

    Thank you. We will check.
    Now, did you or the Kidwelly Bookfest ever SEEK funding from local or county council or from Wales literary or Arts organisations?
    Yes or no will do.
    Did you SEEK money form these sources?
    Think very carefully before you answer.

  46. To Voice of Reason,

    Thank you.

    Julian Ruck

  47. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Couldn’t Nick Capaldi and his mates have applied for Venice Bienalle travel awards?


  48. v8boyo says:

    It is odd that Mr Abell hasn’t commented on this thread thus far for he is missed like a hole in the head.
    Johnny B
    Any comments on the letter?

  49. stevemosby says:

    Voice of Reason / Julian –

    Yes, it’s a reasonable question. I totally agree. So, what did they do? Why did they attend? Why was it necessary? Just quoting the expenditure seems pointless to me; we need more detail, otherwise it’s figures without context. Venice is expensive, so the figures don’t seem *too* outlandish to me in themselves. What were the people doing there? Julian doesn’t say. It’s difficult to know how to feel without more information. For all I know, he may have a point. Again, it’s difficult to know.

  50. Ed Parke says:

    To the writer / creator of ‘julian ruck’, a creative note: play slightly less on the sub-tabloid hate, it takes an already desperate character down a charmless route. I would be more inclined to keep him as the classic pub blowhard, a pseudo-Emmerdale meta-toff, detached from all realities barring the one he has created within the realms of his Walter Mitty-esque mind. Overall, I score you a B-, but there is potential.

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