Letter from Wales: Wales deserves better

by Julian Ruck

“In the name of god go! You have sat long enough!”

This was Vincent Kane quoting Oliver Cromwell in a BBC Wales programme on the Welsh economy (BBC Wales, Week In Week Out 24.6.13). I doubt readers will need three guesses to work out who he was throwing Cromwell’s words at, but just in case any of you up there in Westminster are in any doubt, it is of course our devolved masters.

“Depart I say, and let us have done with you!” Kane quotes Cromwell again.

So what was Vincent Kane getting so exercised about one may well ask? The fact that Wales is the lowest performing economy in Europe perhaps? The fact that Welsh Labour throws billions of taxpayers’ money at outside companies to invest in Wales – wherein said companies quickly disappear as soon as the subsidy runs out? The fact that many Welsh private sector companies are on the dole?

Mr Kane doesn’t pull his punches. Although I doubt it will get him very far. Wales is on life support, the Welsh people in a state of comatose apathy.

Since devolution and Welsh Labour’s take-over of the Welsh Development Agency, Wales has gone further and further backwards, so let’s call a Welsh spade a Welsh spade here;  Wales is an old, crotchety cart horse, a pebble-dashed public sector backwater, it has become an insular Brythonic ghetto whereby, as Kane puts it “by 2030 the smart people will have left Wales.”

And who can blame them? There’s nothing here –  unless you fancy retiring to some bucolic splendour and having  a cheap property thrown into the bargain.

And what about education? The literacy and numeracy of Welsh youth is on a par with the Czech Republic and enrolment at Welsh universities is in decline.

Following a survey of 150 Welsh CEO’s all of them said the same thing, in Wales the young are unemployable. And Welsh Labour is still determined to opt out from Westminster edcreforms.

It is plain madness.

So where is Wales’ future without an educated and talented pool of young people to drive Wales forward in the modern world? For want of stating the obvious, the young are the future, albeit that Welsh Labour believes they should all be hit over the head with Welsh language tales of Owen Glendower and his Dentures and the Mabinogi.

Let’s take the spanking new Morgannwg college in Rhondda. It’s cost £40m to build and yet only 12% of its budget goes on engineering and the sciences. In other words the future. Oh lest I forget, as a student you can of course be trained-up for a career in a spa or salon ( hair and beauty salons are their forte apparently) or even get some work experience on a TV set – S4C of course.

It does however enjoy one saving grace: students can obtain a certificate in numeracy providing they can count up to 20 without taking their shoes and socks off.

“We’ve not sought to control how colleges spend their money,” skills minister Jeff Cuthbert was heard to say. Well no surprises there, Welsh Labour never seeks to control how taxpayers’ dosh is spent, scrutiny and accountability? That kind of thing is for those horrid English invaders up there in Westminster!

So to conclude, devolution was supposed to put Wales on a path of recovery. Sir Roger Jones, a former chair of the Welsh Development Agency (until it was taken over by WAG)  observed on Kanes’ programme that Welsh Labour blew things when they started bribing companies to come into Wales (my words) – short termism on a grand scale –  instead of investing in what Wales already has – which it must be noted, the WDA achieved a certain amount of success in implementing.

He further stated, “the public sector destroys wealth, the private sector creates it.”

Although he might have been a little over zealous, after all few businesses could operate without public services such as law and order and transport (or indeed would have healthy employees without an NHS), in Wales there is only one sector.

Yes you’ve got it, the public sector.

And who is to blame??

Julian Ruck is the author of the Ragged Cliffs Trilogy and legal thriller The Bent Brief. He is also a columnist, Freedom of Information campaigner and makes contributions to both  Welsh and national broadcasting and media.

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21 Responses to “Letter from Wales: Wales deserves better”

  1. Tafia says:

    Wales does deserve better Ruck, and definately deserves better than you.

    You obviously couldn’t care less about the place and you are obviously not even a socialist by any stretch of even the most fevered imagination so it ebven begs the question why you post here.

    You serve no purpose.

  2. McCurry says:

    You didn’t tell us your alternative, Julian.

  3. Mr Ruck, I applaud the eloquent title you’ve chosen for this column. Well done.

  4. The Judge says:

    “Sorry, can’t use this,


  5. Robert says:

    And all done by a Labour government nobody else to blame not even the Tories.

  6. BruceK says:

    How good are the Czech republic’s numeracy and literacy rates? I wouldn’t be surprised if they are quite good. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they’re better than those anywhere in the UK.

  7. Julian Ruck says:

    To McCurry,

    A Welsh Labour administration more in tune with a ‘third way’ Westminster Labour, perhaps?

    Bevanite ‘spend spend spend’ is singularly out of fashion I think you will agree, as is being in the beer and sandwich pockets of the Unions?

    Thank you for your comment.


  8. Julian Ruck says:

    To Tafia,

    I learnt a long time ago that a vigorous, if intellectually myopic pursuit of just one political rag tag and bobtail idealogy tends to spike one’s imagination and plunge the mind into an unnatural darkness.

    I prefer to spend my time meditating on the impossibe ferment of all ideas, regardless of colour,creed, persuasion or brazen bigotry.

    Thank you for your comment.


  9. Julian Ruck says:

    To Tafia,

    If I didn’t care about Wales, why have I written a trilogy of novels promoting it, why do I seek to expose its gradual but certain relegation to a fourth division non-entity since devolution and why have I stated clearly on Radio Cymru that if less tax-payers’ money was wasted on English language books that no-one reads, then there would be more in the pot for the preservation of Welsh language writing?

    I live in Wales, I am Welsh, my wife is Welsh and many of my friends are Welsh.

    ‘I couldn’t care less about the place?’

    I think not.


    PS Oh, and in a few weeks time I am off on a classic car rally. Guess what car I will be driving? A Gilbern, the only Welsh sports car ever made!

  10. Julian Ruck says:

    To Ramsey Campbell,

    Dear me, may I remind you of the far more reputable Estyn Report (2012), which concluded that 40% of Welsh schoolchildren entering secondary education are innumerate and illiterate.

    You really are quite the Voltairean mimic are you not?


  11. Mr Akira Origami says:

    And here……. Michael Davidson from the OECD said Wales’ performance showed the country faced a challenge compared to the rest of the UK.

    “[Wales is] performing at about the same level in reading as the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic, below the average,” he said.


  12. dave rodway says:

    “he far more reputable Estyn Report (2012), which concluded that 40% of Welsh schoolchildren entering secondary education are innumerate and illiterate”

    sorry Julian, it does not say that, or use those terms, which are very precise words you do not know the meaning of.

    You claim that Welsh Labour should be more like Blairism – yes, right: the biggest recession in decades, public finances in crisis, increasing inequality during Blair that was higher than anywhere else in Europe, plus the small matter of illegal wars.

    Your politics are incoherent, because you’re just an anti-Welsh reactionary.

    Wales’s literacy and numeracy rates are the same as economically comparable regions in England. If you measure Wales against England, you get one result; if you measure Wales against similar – in terms of industry, population etc – areas of the Uk, it’s the same.

    Your articles are vitriolic and badly written rubbish.

    You once ranted on your blog about how the NHS should be privatised because ‘we can’t afford it’.

    You have nothing in common with any hue of the Labour party, left, right or centre, because you have no idea of political history and you are a selfish, charlatanesque poison pen.

  13. “Dear me, may I remind you of the far more reputable Estyn Report (2012), which concluded that 40% of Welsh schoolchildren entering secondary education are innumerate and illiterate.”

    But is this “on a par with the Czech Republic”?

  14. Joao Morais says:

    “Dear me, may I remind you of the far more reputable Estyn Report (2012), which concluded that 40% of Welsh schoolchildren entering secondary education are innumerate and illiterate.”

    Dear me, may I remind you that we are not Victorian and the ESTYN report says nothing of the sort- it says that 40% of schoolchildren leaving year 6 to head into high school have a reading age 6 months behind the national average. Your grasp of statistics is shocking.literacy is at 99.6%, not 60%!

  15. dave rodway says:

    Why do you publish this idiot? He can’t even produce a digest of easily-available figures from publicly-available documents (either that or he’s lying or trying to mislead readers), and complains about literacy and numeracy while being unable to extrapolate from the statistics and spells ‘ideological’ incorrectly.

    Disgusting really, and the way Labour Uncut uses this rubbish to ‘represent’ what’s going on in Wales is laughable.

  16. John Abell says:

    So Julia, you write another article for Labour Uncut (who’s reputation in Wales is falling like a lead balloon) and then you write this load of misogynistic garbage for the Llanelli Star;


    Oh dear.

  17. Julian Ruck says:

    To Abell,

    I do wish you and your fellow Trolls would make up your minds? The other day I had been sacked from the Star according to you.

    Oh and I love women, always have done. They are considerably smarter than men, thus the absence of female Troll-like nonsense on this site.


  18. Ed Parke says:

    More delicious faeces from ‘Ruck’, caught with his knickers down again over his utter inability to decipher basic statistical information. His creators need to keep it up – they say his anti devolution/Wales/Welsh language hate filled rantings gave Rhun Ap Iorwerth an extra 3% at the polls (not that he needed it!)

  19. Mr Akira Origami says:

    And….I suppose Rhun Ap Iorwerth will be asking for more subsidies for Iuean Air.

    It’s OK for some jet setting AM’s …..life is good!


  20. POST – 07/08.

    So Mr Abell whose “JULIA…” ?

    And speaking of misogynists who shouted female AM Jenny Rathbone down, and publicly in Chapter ,November 2012 ?
    Who has made references to myself , a woman that I will not dignify with a rebuttal?

    Why, yourself John Abell ,so get off the moral high-groundas – you’ve no place there.

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