Letter from Wales: A land in the grip of the Crachach

by Julian Ruck

We all know that Wikipedia has to be treated with caution, but now and again it does come up with something that enjoys the virtue of both brilliant clarity and pointed accuracy.

Recently, I was drawn to a Wiki entry about the welsh Crachach.

The Wiki definition of “Crachach” is as follows:

“A pejorative term, it refers to those of the establishment in Wales who are thought of as snobs. Often welsh-speaking, they are found in influential positions in the arts, politics, academia and the media.”

Wiki goes on, “An anonymous Welsh poet was quoted in an article in the Independent as saying, “ The Crachach as we know it, has really been built up over the last 30-40 years when the establishment of Wales gravitated toward Cardiff. Its ruling elite, a lot of whom are related, when it comes to networking make the Masons look inadequate.”

And the Western Mail’s Carolyn Hitt, says “The older crachach can be fiercely nationalistic yet not averse to receiving gongs from the Queen. Younger arty crachach will always get their projects funded, however rubbish they may be. If the crachach had a coat of arms, its motto would be that old chestnut ‘It’s who you know not what you know and make sure you belong to someone on the committee’.”

To add substance to the above may I also point out, that a cursory glance at the head honchos of all Welsh institutions will be white, middle-aged and Welsh-speaking – many of them will also have translated their registered birth names to a Welsh language equivalent, and if there isn’t one then they will just make it up eg Lleucu Siencyn ie Lucy Jenkins (CEO of Literature Wales by the way, and there are plenty more of them) .

Bizarre I know, but that’s the Crachach (or Taffia as it is also sometimes referred to) for you.

Look at BBC Wales, full to the brim with sneaky top-job preference eg  Rhodri Talfan Davies Director of BBC Wales (ie Controller job re-named) since 2011, son of former Controller (1990-2000) Geraint Talfan Davies, grandson of Aneurin Talfan Davies, former Head of Programmes at BBC Wales (1966-1970), and finally Godson of Menna Richards, former Controller of BBC Wales (2000-2011).

You may also be wondering about whether 21st Century equal opportunities has ever even been a blip on the 20th Century welsh establishment’s radar, let alone the 21st’s? And I’m not even going to start on all the others eg Bestan Powys, Vaughan Roderick……….

Think of all those staffers at BBC Wales, who can’t even get a glance at the organisation’s  top jobs?

How is this for keeping it in the family?! And note, for all of them, Welsh is their first language. This might be fine for some, except that the BBC is a high-profile publicly funded, publicly accountable organisation, not a family firm!

It really is shameful and it is still going on, in all its nepotistic glory!

Look at Welsh academia, the ubiquitous Dai’s, ap Joneses, ap Evanses are here there and everywhere?

Look at the politicos, many are Welsh-speaking or trying to learn, and god help ‘em if they don’t at least try?

Look at the Wales Audit Office or the Institute of Welsh Affairs? Neither would know independence of intent or scrutiny if they were smacked in the face with them. Both are manned by the usual old suspects.

The Welsh police are up there with the best of them too. You just try and get them to take action against Welsh-speaking nationalists intent or threat and harassment and see how far you will get.

There is also another common denominator amongst those who slither and lurk in the bowels of the welsh establishment: most will have gone to welsh schools and welsh universities – nothing like diversity of intellect and broad cosmopolitan inclination is there?

To conclude?

The welsh elites would shame the patronising antics of Cosimo de’Medici, although sometimes even he tended to respect the necessities of discretion.

Not so with the welsh crachach, they delight in throwing their special taxpayer funded welsh-language status in the faces of an 80% English-speaking majority.

It really is time the citadels of in your face nepotism, jobs for the boys Welsh establishment arrogance and towering entitlement were demolished once and for all and the Welsh elites banished to England for a while to find out how the real world works.

I’m also told that these days one is obliged to produce a passport when entering Cardiff West – a hotspot of Crachach/Taffia secessionist autonomy.

PS Before I go, I must tell you about a story that cropped up on a recent  new Ch 4 “Eye Spy” programme. The production team left a 100 open birthday cards enclosing a fiver in public places all over the country to test how honest we Brits are.  England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Guess where, by far the highest number of cards containing the fiver were forwarded back to the return address on the card (to a six year old) came from?


And there you have it. The real welsh are kind, passionate, full of humour and welcoming to all comers.

They are not the self-serving Crachach that give Wales a bad name!

Julian Ruck is an author, columnist and Fof I campaigner. He also makes contributions to  both Welsh and national broadcasting and media

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26 Responses to “Letter from Wales: A land in the grip of the Crachach”

  1. Ian says:

    Why do you give the oxygen of publicity to this bitter & twisted man? He is driven by spite because of a failed cultural festival he was responsible for & has no credibility whatsoever in Wales-with anyone. In fact, does he even live here anymore?

  2. Julian Ruck says:

    To Ian,

    Sorry to disappoint, but I live in the heart of Plaid Cymru country.

    Even my house has a Welsh name!

    Best wishes,


    PS Oh and an awful lot of my books sell in Wales too, can’t imagine why? Look out for my new novel next year. It’s about a Welsh boy who becomes ‘Britain’s Greatest Boy Soprano’ back in 1938. Based o a true story.

  3. Darren Almond says:

    ‘Look at Welsh academia, the ubiquitous Dai’s, ap Joneses, ap Evanses are here there and everywhere?’

    Couldn’t that just be because those are pretty common names? Which specific people and posts are you refering too?

  4. The Judge says:

    Duw mun, I had no idea Neil Kinnock had died!

    He must have done, since he is clearly dictating his political and cultural testament to Mr Ruck via a ouija board (English-only, of course).

    In all seriousness, can those who – for want of a better description – edit this site explain what the purpose of publishing these peevish little pieces is? Is it to give the impression to those outside Wales who are ignorant of the situation here (i.e. most people in England & Scotland) that Wales is over-run with wild-eyed Nats who want to pollute the bodily fluids of good, decent, working-class Valleys folk, and so to stampede Labour members in Wales into demanding the return of the Party as it was when those giants (hint: this is irony) Neil, Leo, Donald and Alan Wynne bestrode the Welsh political scene like colostomies?

    Even (most) Labour AMs have grown out of such petty tribalism nowadays.

  5. Tafia says:

    On Wednesday just gone, Labour voted with the Tories to force zero hour contracts onto certain parts of the work force in Rhonda Cynon Taf.

    So now in Wales we have a Labour party that openly supports zero hour contracts, supports the bedroom tax and wants nothing to do with the Trades Unions.

    It is about to be hammered severely in the Ynys Mon Assembly by-Election

    What a dirty, disgusting, pointless waste of space it is.

  6. Julian Ruck says:

    To The Judge,

    Is your comment a prima facie denial of the facts as stated, or merely an obiter dictum on the thrust of my argument?

    Forgive my ancient legalese, but you are a Judge are you not?

    Best regards,


  7. David Hewson says:

    ‘It really is time the citadels of in your face nepotism, jobs for the boys Welsh establishment arrogance and towering entitlement were demolished once and for all and the Welsh elites banished to England for a while to find out how the real world works.’

    Because of course there’s no nepotism in England…


    Oh hang on! England’s riddled with it too! As in fact are most democracies, in part because children with parents in nice jobs often want to follow them into those jobs and have the contacts to do so.

    Also you will find that if you exchange the word ‘Welsh’ (it needs a capital letter JR) for ‘English’, ‘Scottish’, ‘Irish’ or pretty much anything else in the following quote from above…

    ‘There is also another common denominator amongst those who slither and lurk in the bowels of the welsh establishment: most will have gone to welsh schools and welsh universities’

    … then that works too. Because it fits into what Basil Fawlty once called the ‘A-level bleeding obvious’.

    Hard to avoid the impression that Ruck’s beef with the Welsh establishment isn’t that it exists. Just that they have, wisely, excluded him.

  8. Julian Ruck says:

    To Darren Almond,

    Well, I have yet to encounter, an Afro-Caribbean, a Sikh, a Pole etc with the name of Dai ap Jones and that’s a fact!

    Be it Welsh politicos, so-called Welsh intelligentsia or Welsh media apparatchiks – in fact, it seems to me that BBC ap Wales has become an ‘only north Walian with Welsh as his/her first language need apply’ organisation.

    Name me one individual, from an ethnic minority who is at the top of some Welsh institution tree? Or even a few branches below for that matter.


  9. Editor says:

    Dave – on the non-capitalisation of ‘welsh’ that isn’t down to JR, it’s a quirk of Uncut’s style guide, handed down to us from previous generations. The point you make is fair though, we will amend and return to the world of commonly accepted capitals – Atul (ed)

  10. John Abell says:

    Editor, is it really a quirk of Uncut’s style? To not put a capital W in Welsh? You are an idiot, an idiot for publishing this ill informed, lying, plagiarist who writes extremely bad columns.

    Julian, every country has an elite. And every country has nepotisms. Do you not like Wales’ version because it has left you out in the cold? Obviously no one takes you seriously old boy, but that is because you are talentless and bitter.

  11. alan jones says:

    This article amlleges all sort of corruption against welsh speakers but proves nothjbg at all. Youre blocking all criticism of ruck yet publishing his anti minority bilge week after week.

  12. John Abell says:

    Wikipedia does often have good stuff, some funny. This is the reasoning behind the deletion of Julian’s Wikipedia page, that he set up himself, full of nonsense claims that cited only his blog.


    And then he writes paranoid, crazy blog posts about this, and then brags about wasting police time because his wiki page was a load of bollocks like everything else he does.


  13. David Hewson says:

    If there’s a style guide shouldn’t his usage have been consistent? It appears as both ‘Welsh’ and ‘welsh’ above. Just looks like sloppy writing/editing from this distance.

  14. CrazyHorse says:

    Dear Atul (editor),

    I find your interjection quite odd as you comment on DH remark about the lack of a capitol W in Wales, potentially the smallest and most trivial fault DH or most other people have found with Ruck’s articles.

    Yet you remain silent, yet presumably read, comments that raise much more important questions. The two key ones being, firstly, have you seen any proof that the previous article in which he accuses Labour Politicians of purposefully sabotaging the building of a power plant in North Wales isn’t a complete fantasy. Have you seen any proof of the existence of MR Jeremy Oakley or the 130E million power plant.


    Secondly, do you think it is acceptable for a columnist to say the following in your comment section to someone who has been critical of him…

    ‘You are a recovering herion [SIC] addict’


    I look forward to your reply.

  15. Julian Ruck says:

    A point of order!

    To those of a more caustic, petty and blazingly unhappy condition, B&Q are selling oak beams on the cheap.

    Special rates to Warriors of the Class War.


  16. Ed Parke says:

    This weasle is becoming boring now. The hate filled invective is tragically lacking in any truth (which was fine for a while) but this makes it less funny. A note to the people who write ‘Ruck’: even the most loathsome, disgusting, deluded characters need some truth to them and their claims, otherwise you get what we have here – an unbelievable (less than 100 books sold) bore.

    As has been pointed out, the rejection and racist anti-Welsh content confirms ‘Ruck’s’ resentment at having been rejected at every turn by Wales. But he has also been rejected at every turn by england too – so where is the anti-english vitriol?

  17. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Perhaps there is no anti-English “vitriol” because English folk speak the same language as Mr Ruck and the 80% of the non-Cymraeg speaking folk in Wales…just a thought Ed? – an English language soceity “sans frontiere” in Britain? The 80% of people in Wales actually are proud to speak English Ed, and have never perceived it has being forced on them.

    Regarding”vitriol”, the article is anti-Crachach, not against a race of people. Unless you think the Crachach are a race of people.?

    PS talking of “truth” – “less than 100 books sold”…? Sounds like hate filled invective to me…..

  18. Ed Parke says:

    Akira, I hope you don’t think me unkind but you write in such a way that makes me suspect you yourself are not one of the ‘80%’ in Wales who speak english as their first language. Your post, (at best) robotic english aside, made very little sense. I can only assume younare attempting to parody the semi-literate stylings of ‘Ruck’.

    Anyhoo, I must correct you on one point: it is a fact that ‘Ruck’ has sold less than one hundred copies of his books (self purchases do not count).

    Don’t ever address me again or I shall be forced to rout you into oblivion.

  19. dave rodway says:

    Nepotism exists where there has been wrongdoing in appointments – can Ruck prove any allegations, or is he just going to smear individuals? Surprise surprise, the only people he targets are Welsh-speakers too.
    Labour Uncut should hang their heads in shame publishing this.

  20. dave rodway says:

    I’m puzzled – failing to show any evidence for improper or corrupt employment practices, Labour Uncut publishes another typical personal rant by Ruck who names people and smears them but without any grounds.
    The idea that there might be , in British Broadcasting generally, dynasties of people such as the Dimblebys (two brothers, a father and grandfather), the Attenboroughs, the endless ream of actors who are children of other actors, or even an entire government made up of people who were mates at oxford, went to Eton Westminster Harrow etc and helped each other up the greasy pole, is obviously inconvenient for Ruck.
    After all, when you want to attack Welsh speakers, it’s all fair game.
    So far on this site Ruck has lied, plagiarised, invented or been hoaxed by a Mr ‘Oakley’, published someone’s medical records, made threats, written homophobic comments and attacked minorities based entirely on the language they speak.
    Nice one Labour Uncut.

  21. John Abell says:

    Julian, the only person bringing up anything like class war is you.

    Point of order? Can you just answer the questions put to you, and lay them to rest permanently and with dignity?

  22. Mr Akira Origami says:

    “I shall be forced to rout you into oblivion”……..are you plagaising Iolo Morganwg’s forgeries?

    Sounds like something out of Barddas to me……

  23. Mr Akira Origami says:

    “plagiarising”…….excusez-moi Ed.

  24. Well Mr.Hewson, I see you have managed to get yourself an airing at the Dylan Thomas Centre , Swansea in October.

    A very great poet & fiction writer like Dylan hardly made a penny fro his work, however
    nice work if ‘ you’ get it,old boy.

  25. yn wir says:

    Although this clearly, and obviously intentionally, is a rather polemic article, I find it to be an accurate reflection of the status quo in Wales.

    As a media professional working in Wales, I have experienced the corruption Julian Ruck describes first hand on many occasions, and have often heard the situation described in similar terms by those colleagues brave enough to open their mouths.

    Above, I see comments asking for proof. Proof of corruption is always going to be difficult to find, given that we are talking about crimes which carry prison sentences, if proven. We are talking about considerable sums of public money here, after all.

    I would however direct anybody doubting the validity of Julian Ruck’s claims to the credits of Welsh media productions, the names of the owners of the prominent production companies, and the register of interests of the board members of certain Welsh broadcasters to get a feel for the scale of nepotism and corruption we are talking about here.

  26. Jim says:

    Great article Julian, keep up the good work.

    Others might like to try this website also – http://literaturewales.wordpress.com/

    Soon to be all over the TV and newspapers… oh dear Taffia, is the well gonna run dry?

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