Letter from Wales: Arts Council of Wales referred to Welsh Audit Office

by Julian Ruck

BBC Wales, whilst usually being keen to report on the minutiae of its director, Rhodri Talfan Davies’ day, is apparently not so enthusiastic about broadcasting the culture of endemic greed that seethes through its nationalist hallowed corridors at Head Office, Llandaff.

On Monday, I attended the press conference at the Senate and not being inclined to exercise the habitual mealy-mouthed and pretty syntax of Welsh media sycophancy and deferential hero-worship, I well and truly went for it.

Naming and shaming BBC Wales presenters and staffers was the name of the game, exposing their taxpayer bungs and making sure certain matters were finally rubbed in to the Welsh political scene was the intention, and not to mention openly exposing all those Dick ap Turpins of artistic impersonation and poetic delusion at the Arts Council of Wales.

Mission accomplished.

Welsh politicos have already filed a report on the Arts Council of Wales with the Wales Audit Office, and if there is no satisfaction here I’m told, a Public Accounts Committee may well be the next step.

About time too!

And did any of the spineless Welsh media platforms report any of this? Like hell they did. What? Bring the Crachach into disrepute, can’t have that now can we? We’ve all got season tickets on the Taffia Express gravy train too!

So much for democratic accountability.

So much for democratic scrutiny.

This is Wales.

Wake up Ed, for God’s sake wake up and see what Welsh Labour is doing.

PS I am persona non grata (which is putting it somewhat mildly!) where the Welsh Labour press office is concerned, but on Monday sneaky serendipity struck. Whilst enjoying a cup of coffee in Cardiff Bay, who should be sitting at another table but the Welsh Minister for Culture and Sport, John Griffiths.

An approach was naturally irresistible, so I duly buttonholed the gentleman and having appraised him of the ACW and BBC Wales’ profligate abuse of the taxpayer I received three words, and I mean three,“ There are procedures.”

That was it.

Welsh Labour’s ethos of accountability at its best, mind you Mr Griffiths didn’t seem too happy about my approach in the first place. There was nowhere to hide and a Welsh media hack I am certainly not!

Julian Ruck is a novelist, broadcaster and columnist. His most recent novel is ‘The Silver Songsters’ (pub. April 2014).  


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14 Responses to “Letter from Wales: Arts Council of Wales referred to Welsh Audit Office”

  1. KENNETH says:

    Julian,

    I spoke with you on your last thread, my name is KENNETH. You replied but you ducked the issues involved and normally this is an indicator of someone who knows they are wrong. I said to myself, I said “KENNETH, this man is talking rubbish”. Well please can you answer these simple questions:

    Why did you lie about Literature Wales asking for your book?

    Do you accept that Dinefwr Press is a printong press and not a publisher?

    Hopefully we can stop your droopy stuff and get down to some hard talk.

    Thank you,

    KENNETH

  2. Multiple identity troll Kenneth,

    Oh please……….!

  3. alan jones says:

    Can you tell us which politicos have filed this report?

  4. KENNETH says:

    Julian,

    This is KENNETH again. Why won’t you answer to those two simple questions? I’ll be honest, your refusal to answer me, KENNETH, is making your claims seem like outright lies.

    Please answer, directly and without guff, my two questions.

    Best,

    KENNETH

  5. “Welsh politicos have already filed a report on the Arts Council of Wales with the Wales Audit Office, and if there is no satisfaction here I’m told, a Public Accounts Committee may well be the next step.”

    Of course, there’s no telling who actually referred ACW to the WAO. It could have been anyone who rang up their whistleblowers hotline for all we know. Saying that ‘Welsh politicos’ have filed a report is stupidly vague. This whole statement is so vague in fact that I had to check it out with the WAO. Here is their reply:

    “We can confirm that the Auditor General has received correspondence about the distribution of Arts Council for Wales funding. As a matter of routine, Wales Audit Office staff will be considering whether the issues that have been raised with the Auditor General warrant further audit scrutiny.”

    So the fact that there has been correspondence between WAO and an unnamed individual, whoever that may be, does not mean that ACW have done anything wrong for all we know, or that they will be investigated further. 

    I would say that you have misrepresented the process, Julian. I find it incredulous that yet again, I am doing Labour Uncut’s editorial work for them, when a simple email (or some actual scrutiny to your ‘Letters’) would probably result in half of them not even getting published. 

    As it happens, ACW was reviewed by WAO in 2012, as you can see by point 5.1 in their council minutes http://www.artswales.org.uk/48960.file.dld. It is good practice for a public organisation to go through the auditing process, as ACW seem to have about two years ago. WAO have published plenty of reports on their website detailing the good (and the bad too). It is not always equivalent to being put on the public sector naughty step, as you make out. 

    Further to this, you can always tell when you are trying to be sneaky as you always write in a passive voice. “…and if there is no satisfaction here I’m told, a Public Accounts Committee may well be the next step.” No satisfaction to whom? You sound like a conspiracy theorist, or someone trying to make out that they have secret information. Whoever you’re on about, whether it be you or an employee of ACW or whoever the ‘Welsh politicos’ are, should be satisfied with the WAO staff’s decision. They are independent of government, so you can spare us any of your usual NWO (New Welsh Order) crap. If they don’t think it’s worth pursuing then trying to get a Public Accounts Committee set up would be a waste of time and public money.

    As usual Julian, you’ve twisted one small but of information to suit your own ends. You are trying to bring ACW into disrepute. You are analysing an organisation from an extremely negative point of view, without taking all points into account, in order to push an agenda instead of making an analysis. By doing so, you are bringing a considerable amount of attention to the issue you are trying to push, but more importantly, you are bringing a considerable amount of attention on yourself. But I guess this is what you wanted in the first place.

  6. “Perhaps I should try writing for the taxpayer subsidised Wales Arts Review, as you occasionally do (circulation 50, in a good month), to bring attention to myself.”

    Perhaps you should try answering my points and stop attempting an ad hominem attack (and a poor one at that!) in order to divert attention from my analysis. I published WAR’s figures before, about 6 months after it was set up: 4000 unique visitors a month. This was what – 2 years ago now? – and I bet they’ve raised considerably since. They do not hide their figures. It’s not a taxpayer-funded organisation in the way you think it is, either- the editors and writers do not receive a fee, apart from one writer a month who gets paid for a short story as part of their fictional map of Wales, which is paid by the Rhys Davies Trust on behalf of WAR. This project is likely to last a year only. 12 writers getting paid out of 300+ published articles a year, hardly a gravy train.

    “On the other hand, I have never been a career student with oodles of time to spend trolling on the internet, instead of working to pay off my debt to the State and taxpayers.

    If I am wrong, do tell readers of Uncut how much in student loans you have received and how much you are paying off, if anything? You might also address the same question to your side-kick and troll extraordinaire Able Abell?”

    I’m not a career student- had plenty of jobs in order to pay my own way. When I did my MA I even lived in an abandoned uninsulated caravan for a while in west Wales so I didn’t have to pay rent. It was bloody freezing. I should be debt free by November by the way. Not that it’s any of your business.

    Julian, this was a poor attempt at a personal attack which made no reference to the points raised in my first reply. I do not want to patronise you by repeating what I’ve already written- are you going to answer in a dignified manner this time? Anything other than that and Labour Uncut readers will have to assume that you have no answer, and that my points stand, and that you were wrong in your article.

  7. alan jones says:

    Oh dear julian you’re a bit out of your depth here. Can you answer joao s questions please? You’re an embarrassment to this site.

  8. To Joao Morais,

    Perhaps I should try writing for the taxpayer subsidised Wales Arts Review, as you occasionally do (circulation 50, in a good month), to bring attention to myself.

    On the other hand, I have never been a career student with oodles of time to spend trolling on the internet, instead of working to pay off my debt to the State and taxpayers.

    If I am wrong, do tell readers of Uncut how much in student loans you have received and how much you are paying off, if anything? You might also address the same question to your side-kick and troll extraordinaire Able Abell?

    Grow up, the pair of you.

    JR

  9. john abell says:

    Julian, again you fail to answer any of the points raised. You must understand that you are a really unreliable source, you are known to lie and plagiarise, and that nothing you say can be taken at face value. So when people fact check your awful articles, you should respond. But you never do, because you’re a liar. A liar, and a truly awful writer to boot. The New Welsh Review wouldn’t publish you, you’re a self published, bitter, failed writer.

  10. To our Joao and John,

    Sorry boyos, don’t have any more time to chat. Have to prepare some lectures for the grown-ups.

    Glad I’ve given you something to do though!

    All the best,

    J

  11. John abell says:

    Piss poor response there Julian, old chap. I think you get the new Welsh review and Wales arts review mistaken, they are not the same thing Julian. Is all your research and writing this slap dash, or just the comments section? Can you answer Joao or are going to keep ducking questions?

    J

  12. KENNETH says:

    Julian,

    This is KENNETH again. I don’t understand why you won’t answer my questions? It could be all so simple. Or as MEERKAT says, ‘Simplesh’

    In hope of a formal response to my basic questions,

    KENNETH

  13. Grow up J.M. a, nd smell the coffee. It’s toxic.

  14. Gillian Brightmore says:

    LITERATURE ON THE LAWN @ Caerleon – 5th july, 14.

    How was that freebee on the lawn Joao ? You’ve certainly got your feet under the table of WAC, haven’t you boy ?

    Nice work ,I use the term lightly, if you can get it .

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