Letter from Wales: New evidence of how the Welsh media has effectively been nationalised

by Julian Ruck

Now, you readers of Uncut may be thinking that in Wales things cannot get any crazier. Well, please note the following –

Rob Gittins, who lives in Carmarthenshire and is an award-winning screenwriter for such programmes as EastEnders, Casualty and The Bill, has had the publication of his two books, ‘Gimme Shelter’ and ‘The Poet and the Private Eye’ subsidised by public funds – make no mistake, the gentleman’s creative dexterity has certainly made a casualty out of the taxpayer!

But this is not all, do read on.

Martin Shipton, chief hack for the Western Mail no less, has written a political masterpiece on Welsh politics, titled “A Poor Man’s Parliament” (Seren 2011).

An admirable endeavour by anyone’s standards, except for one thing.

Mr Shipton observes, “…..a  stifling of public debate in Wales through the reliance on Assembly patronage of so many organisations.” So the book’s blurb maintains anyway.

Well, guess what?

His very own Marquandian and towering political critique was published with the financial help of  “Assembly patronage”!

And what did this giant of Welsh journalism, recipient of taxpayer generosity have to say about all this?

“I do not respond to enquiries from “citizen journalists”, particularly those with such an execrable reputation for accuracy as yourself.

You may quote me in full.

Thanks,

Martin”

Readers will note, no denial, nor was there a response to my question as to whether or not he had received any royalties (courtesy of the public purse of course) from his taxpayer junky Welsh publisher, Seren.

Lovely insult is all very well, but as a humble ‘citizen journalist’ I do somehow seem to have access to political press conferences, I do interview leading Welsh politicians and God forbid I actually write for both the Welsh and national press now and again, oh and not to mention my contributions to both Welsh and national broadcasting  – and to cap it all, I’ve even been known to write for the Western Mail, lucky chap that I am!

As for my reputation for inaccurate reporting, to date there has not been one serious or credible challenge to the facts I have reported both here on Uncut and elsewhere. Gwyneth Lewis, ex- Poet Laureate of Wales made an unwise and libelous personal attack on me in the Guardian a while back, wherein said newspaper had to correct and withdraw some of her juvenile nonsense somewhat sharpish, within hours in fact.

Naturally, the lady omitted to mention in her Guardian piece that she herself has received two taxpayer hand outs for her poetic musings amounting to £11,000, and a further grant of £75,000 to sail around the world looking for ports with a Cardiff connection.

Nice work if you can get it.

But here’s another unedifying titbit:

I have been communicating with Mr Shipton for nearly two years re the Welsh arts scandal, and not once has he mentioned his own journey on the Taffia Express gravy train.

And the gentleman has the eviscerating audacity and solipsistic, blustering arrogance to wail with self-righteous and unscrupulous indignation about Welsh Assembly patronage!

A great many people in this country are struggling to make ends meet, so why in God’s name does the Welsh Labour government deem it right and proper for the ‘artistic’ indulgence of the scribbling few (and most of them don’t even do this, they use ghost writers), who are already earning good salaries, to screw the taxpayer for what can only be described as a lazy Sunday afternoon hobby?!

‘Tales of the Welsh Media, don’t end here either.

For some time now, I have been wondering why the national press have been exposing what is going on in Wales re taxpayer funding for Welsh arts etc, but the Welsh media have been remarkably quiet, suspiciously so.

At first I thought it was just BBC Wales, after all so many of their people have been nobbling the taxpayer for both written and unwritten books that their evasion is hardly surprising.

Well, further digging has not only exposed Martin Shipton’s taxpayer funded literary efforts but Jonathan Hill, anchor man at ITV Wales News, has also had his book, “The Pembrokeshire Murders”, paid for by the taxpayer.

Publisher?….yes you’ve got it, Seren.

So,conclusions?

All three main Welsh media platforms BBC Wales, the Western Mail and ITV Wales all have staffers, journalists and presenters riding the Taffia Express taxpayer gravy train.

Welsh journalistic impartiality and courageous investigative reporting?

Welsh institutional cronyism and toxic Crachach  preferment,  make Rupert Murdoch look like a standard bearer for a benevolent and kid glove, journalistic Second Coming!

Readers must be aware by now, of the pitiful state of honest, open debate in Wales. You will have read in my other columns that in Wales no-one is prepared to bite the hand that feeds them.

There is no serious and ruthless scrutiny of the Welsh government, no intellectually refined political commentary. It refuses to respond to FoI  requests, it maintains a tight discipline of silence.

And the one institution that is supposed to hold the Welsh government to account, is nothing but a weak, passive, kow-towing disgrace to any society that values free speech and open, democratic government.

The Welsh media are all in the pocket of Druid Carwyn’s Assembly patronage, it is no wonder then, that to date none of them are reporting the recent matters I have put into the public domain, albeit that they are of considerable public interest.

Things cannot get any crazier in Wales?

You decide and don’t forget, to add insult to injury remember you the taxpayers will be paying the fees and expenses for the artists, writers and performers who are doing their thing at the Dinewfr Festival in West Wales this weekend.

Oddly enough, I haven’t received an invitation to give some authorial pearls of wisdom at this Welsh artistic extravaganza!

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


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90 Responses to “Letter from Wales: New evidence of how the Welsh media has effectively been nationalised”

  1. Luca Veste says:

    Oh, and one more thing…

    “I am more than happy to respond to your accusations of plagiarism, wasting police time, fake reviews and threats to sue – ON A PUBLIC PLATFORM.”

    I’m not sure if you’ve been informed of this, but the internet is quite public. We can all see this. So, I’d say the platform has already been set quite well.

    🙂

  2. “I am more than happy to respond to your accusations of plagiarism, wasting police time, fake reviews and threats to sue – ON A PUBLIC PLATFORM.”

    This is one, and it has the additional merit that the claims made by the participants in the debate will remain public and unalterable, so that the audience can check them.

    “It is you who hides between a screen of cowardice, not me.”

    An extraordinary feat, I should say.

  3. To all you lively ‘debaters’,

    You just don’t ‘get it’ as they say, do you?

    YOU WILL NOT SILENCE ME.

    You can throw as much abuse, hatred and as many dirty tricks at me as you like, you will not succeed.

    The future of Wales and its people is of far greater import.

    Get over it and do find a little generosity of spirit in your lives.

    A good wife, a wonderfully challenging brood of young ‘uns and a couple of loyal mutts, usually helps.

    Pax vobiscum,

    Julian Ruck

  4. Tafia says:

    Perhaps if someone compiled a list purely of questions and placed them on here.

    And then everytime Julian Ruckwit publishes a letter we just paste the same list of questions until he gets the message that there is no bigger public platform than the internet.

  5. To Ramsey Campbell,

    You are quite right.

    I should have added ‘ON A PUBLIC PLATFORM WITH THE MEDIA IN ATTENDANCE’ as was the case in my previous responses.

    A slip of the keyboard I’m afraid, as the case with the ‘between’ instead of ‘behind’.

    Never mind eh, I can always count on one of you Taffia Express, taxpayer gravy train literary pedants to point out the errors of my ways!

    Many thanks,

    JR

  6. stevemosby says:

    First the internet isn’t a public platform, and now we’re trying to silence you by asking you questions.

    Does anyone want a drink? Because frankly, I’m all out of ideas.

  7. “I tell you what, being as you are such a keen disciple of every word I write, why don’t you itemise here on Uncut, each and very piece of data, fact or financial amount etc that you in your expert opinion believe to be fantasy?

    I will duly respond, but note I will not engage with pathetic, Alinskyite and trollish desperation.”

    Just wanted to remind you of your promise, Julian – I posted two instances yesterday.

    And no, to ‘duly respond’ means writing a full response either arguing your point using the data posted or refuting your original stance and admitting you got it wrong, or any shade in between, as Luca Veste has pointed out. Writing ‘YOU WILL NOT SILENCE ME’ does not count.

  8. Mr Ruck, are you saying without irony that the several invitations on this thread for you to debate your issues either on here or on Steve Mosby’s blog are attempts to silence you? It’s a curious use of language on your part.

  9. John abell says:

    Julian, you come across like a butter in a park that no one knows how to deal with.

    No one wants to silence you, they simply want answers to some questions ascertaining to your unsubstantiated articles.

    Why will you not answer them? Even by your disastrous standards, this comments thread is particularly bad.

    Carpe diem!

    JA

  10. “Never mind eh, I can always count on one of you Taffia Express, taxpayer gravy train literary pedants to point out the errors of my ways!”

    In my case Mr Ruck presumably means that I was commissioned to write the introduction to one of the Library of Wales editions of Arthur Machen:

    http://aklo.blogspot.co.uk/2010/08/machen-published-in-library-of-wales.html

    I was happy to write it, and I get paid for professional work.

  11. To you all,

    The ‘debate’ should be about Welsh arts funding and the taxpayer. Which is precisely what my piece is about.

    Apart from Jaoa Morais, who occasionally writes for a Welsh arts pamphlet and attends the odd Welsh literary shindig taking place on literary Welsh lawns, the comments here tend more twoard

  12. …..tend more toward silly Ruck bashing.

    If this makes you all happy, feel free.

    The missus is more formidable than you lot put together!

    All the best,

    Julian

    Ps Pity Steve I’m not up in Leeds, we could get pissed together!

  13. Even by your own lamentable standards this is dreadful stuff, Ruck. You really have painted yourself into a corner from which no wheedling will rescue you.

    There’s no better place for you to substantiate your claims than the Internet. It reaches a wide public, much wider than Llanelli village hall or wherever your local grandstand would be. Everything said is recorded and capable of being verified or not.

    As to your maudlin advice about domestic bliss…. is someone who writes of how he drank a bottle of whiskey then tried ‘to find out where the nearest gunsmith’s (sic) was located so that I could go and buy a shotgun to shoot the erstwhile Mrs Ruck’ in much a position to offer it?

    http://julianruck.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/the-fastest-divorce-on-record/

  14. stevemosby says:

    Julian –

    “The ‘debate’ should be about Welsh arts funding and the taxpayer. Which is precisely what my piece is about.”

    Perhaps so, but that is not the debate you agreed to have.

  15. “Apart from Jaoa Morais, who occasionally writes for a Welsh arts pamphlet and attends the odd Welsh literary shindig taking place on literary Welsh lawns, the comments here tend more twoard”

    …And you still have no answer to my questions. Is this because you have no answer? Genuine question.

    As it happens, I’ll be in your neck of the woods tonight, at a ‘Welsh literary shindig’. Fancy extending your offer you made to Steve to me? Tonight at the Dylan Thomas Centre I’ll be handing out the award to the best Welsh writer under 30, an award I won myself last year. You’ll be pleased to know that it’s administered by the Terry Hetherington Trust and the substantial prize money does not come from the public purse. I’ll get the pink gins in if you can make it. We can talk all things arts related.

    Also, just to make things clear in your attempt to belittle me, I’m the one who won the award, I’m the PhD candidate, I’m the one with the agent based in Soho. You’re the self-published writer twice my age.

  16. alan says:

    Here we go again. Why does julian ruck run away from questions? 52 of them!

  17. Quite Steve…. in Julian Ruck’s own words above.

    “I am more than happy to respond to your accusations of plagiarism, wasting police time, fake reviews and threats to sue – ON A PUBLIC PLATFORM.”

    And the piece here isn’t about Welsh arts funding and the taxpayer either. It’s principally about getting back at Martin Shipton for having the temerity to reveal that Ruck’s paid publicist also ‘reviewed’ his book on the Welsh Book Council website. And had to withdraw it when exposed.

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/review-controversial-writer-julian-rucks-7025738

  18. I must leave you all with some information I personally received this afternoon:

    A Welsh Assembly Public Accounts Committee will be considering the accounts of the Arts Council of Wales (which includes Literature Wales) in the autumn term.

    I will no longer be communicating with any of you.

    As much as you have entertained, sadly you have all become so frightfully….ummm…unimaginative.

    Best wishes and good luck to you all, I’ve enjoyed our little tete- á- tetes,

    Julian

  19. To Joao Morais,

    Well done Joao!

    You are the future not me, which I fully recognise.

    Treat it with kindness, from a man twice your age but with an occasional if rare pearl of wisdom.

    Best wishes – I mean it!

    Julian

  20. To Joaoa Morais.

    PS Actually, make that more than twice your age, otherwise you’ll have me for bloody lying again!

  21. To David Hewson,

    Finally, thank you for highlighting my ‘Fastest Divorce on record’ piece. I’d forgotten all about it.

    Should give readers a laugh or two- it did me!

    True too.

    Adieu!

    Julian

  22. David Hewson says:

    So when you said above…

    “I am more than happy to respond to your accusations of plagiarism, wasting police time, fake reviews and threats to sue – ON A PUBLIC PLATFORM.”

    You were just lying?

  23. Lizzy Salander says:

    Hey!….Did Martin Shipton write this?:

    “Too many people were frightened to criticise the Assembly Government openly, either because they thought their organisations would be victimised financially or that they themselves would be branded as mavericks or troublemakers, possibly to their material disadvantage.”

    The Welsh Assembly sounds like a real Fascist institution! What are your views on the Welsh Assembly Mr Hewson?

    Best wishes from all of us at David Hewson fan club Malmo.

    Lizzy

  24. alan says:

    David – in word yes: he was just lying. As always. BecUse he’s a liar. Its what the man does.
    This is a car crash of a blog I can’t quite believe ive read this evasive bullying plagiarist illiterate Ruck make an arse of himself yet again on a public (yes public! ) platform.
    Bewildering.

  25. john abell says:

    Julian,

    Are you actually going to answer any questions put to you? At all? Nope. You’re a complete joke.

  26. Louise Walsh says:

    What happened, Julian?

    In 12 hours, you went from declaring ‘YOU WILL NOT SILENCE ME’ to ‘I will no longer be communicating with any of you’.

    I wonder if there is a clue in your sentimental final comments to Mr Morais and Mr Hewson. Was it the sherry talking?

    I don’t believe that you will no longer be communicating with those who take the time to comment on your blog. Take a couple of Anadin, ask Mrs Ruck to rustle you up a bacon sandwich and read everything Luca Veste said again.

    Very best
    Lou

  27. Joao, just can’t wait for your bestseller , and sold by a Soho Agent.
    Wow !

  28. dave says:

    ‘Lizzy’, I’m not sure Mr Hewson has many opinions about the Welsh Assembly, and certainly none that he’d want to discuss with anyone so clearly unhinged that they use the word ‘fascist’ with such Godwinian abandon.
    But it is nice to see that Julian picked up a 3rd obvious loon and malice-driven crank to add to his prestige list: Gillian Brightmore, Mr Origami and now Lizzy.

    That said, our Julian is clearly confused: will he stun us with his silence, or will he round on his critics and smite them with answers?

  29. Lizzy Salander says:

    ‘dave’, what does Martin Shipton’s description of the Welsh Assembly sound like to you?

    Hey! Maybe we could have a poll here on Labour Uncut!

    Do you think the Welsh Assembly is:

    A. A Fascist institution that quashes criticism.

    or

    B. An institution which governs an ignorant population where less than half realise the NHS is run by the them.

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/less-50-people-wales-realise-7234816

    I’m not sure Mr Hewson has many opinions about the Welsh Assembly either…..

  30. dave says:

    Oh dear, I think someone in troll-land needs to look up ‘fascism’ in a dictionary. English may not be your first language Lizzy, but the word ‘fascism’ has the same specific and generally-accepted meaning in a range of languages, including Trollish I imagine.

  31. Lizzy Salander says:

    Perhaps you could start with a definition dave.

  32. Lizzy Salander says:

    dave, from what you say I will put you down as B.

    B. The Welsh Assembly is an institution which governs an ignorant population where less than half realise the NHS is run by them.

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/less-50-people-wales-realise-7234816

  33. David Hewson says:

    Dave

    Don’t waste time on this clown. He isn’t a ‘new’ Ruck supporter. He’s ‘Origami’ under yet another false name. Tip: Origami/Salander. No point in changing false identities if you don’t change your very predictable writing ‘style’ and your bizarre use of non-sequiturs to make points no one else can begin to comprehend.

    Oh and it’s Malmö not Malmo. And trying to connect that to my books of The Killing doesn’t really work either for the simple reason Malmö is in Sweden and The Killing is set in Copenhagen. Which is in Denmark, just so you know.

    Here is Origami writing the exact same crap in the exact same exclamation-riddled style. I thought Uncut wanted to stop multiple identities among its commenters?

    http://labour-uncut.co.uk/2013/08/31/letter-from-wales-welsh-labour-is-burying-its-head-in-the-sand-over-reform-of-the-union-link/

    Do you not have a life to go to?

  34. dave says:

    David, thank you – I hadn’t made the connections. I’ll reduce my list of Ruck-loon-trolls to the usual two.
    Even more pitiful than I thought, but there you have it.
    As for Ruck, he still hasn’t addressed any of these questions, so I take it he’s running away. Again.

  35. dave says:

    Here’s something odd. It’s to do with Julian’s consistency.

    Here he is on his blog and in the Mail of Sunday:

    “The unelected and unscrutinised Taffia Arts Council of Wales, Literature Wales and the Welsh Books Council quangos, should all be abolished once and for all.

    A new, government department should be set up with a minister answerable to the Senate.”

    and here he is on Labour UNcut:

    “the Welsh media are all in the pocket of Druid Carwyn’s Assembly patronage”

    So: either the problem is that the Welsh government directly funds things Julian disapproves of (like publishers who reject his novels but not those of proper writers), or the problem is that the Welsh government instead funds said publishers at arm’s length (like they do in England via ACE, and regional arts boards), by having an organisation that distributes funding.

    Which is it Julian? You’re a mess. Your bitterness has made you incoherent. You have no idea what you’re saying from one ‘article’ to the next.

    And watch those commas, you still haven’t learned how to use them.

  36. Ambassador says:

    Ruck,

    To whit the question concerning the scurrilous rumours you purport to be truth and notwithstanding affore mentioned conceit I ask you this:

    If I am paid a king’s (or perhaps a vagabone’s bi-weekly pocket money) randsom to parade the planes and stockpile the ferreros in my frigidaire then, and stop me if you’ve heard this one before, why, apropos of the situation, why am I heralded in the negative by you? I am to be aspired to and I officially declare that I demand satisfaction (and take note: cowardice at this point is not an option)

    Your Ambassador.

  37. Lizzy Salander says:

    To dave Hewson

    I will put you down as C.

    C. I have no opinion on the Welsh Assembly.

    For the record Mr Hewson, I prefer Broen to Forbrydelsen.

  38. John abell says:

    Wales weakest thinker, Julian Ruck, is at it again with his school ground chauvinism….

    http://www.llanellistar.co.uk/Julian-Ruck-stands-male-equality-m-getting-fed/story-21316074-detail/story.html

  39. Gillian Brightmore says:

    @ JOAO M.

    So J. , how was your,’ freebee’ – LIT ON THE LAWN with the likes of Mr.Finch ?

  40. In case anyone is wondering what Gillian means here, she is alluding to the fact that I read an extract of a short story at Caerleon Festival on Saturday, along with Jon Gower and Francesca Rhydderch, and then took part in a panel discussion on place in Welsh literature. You can see a picture of us on stage here: http://t.co/MThrtWoLa5

    It wasn’t a ‘freebee’ [sic] in case you’re wondering, Gill. I didn’t get paid for that event. The festival organiser offered to buy me lunch, and I wish I could have stayed all day to see the other writers read (such as literary phenomenon Beth Reekles, who also didn’t get paid). But Saturday was also the day of St Paul’s Carnival in Bristol, and I don’t miss the Carnival (bet I know what you’re thinking, Gill: ‘how DARE Bristol Council give money to a multicultural grassroots organisation for a day that brings 100,000 people into the city! What a waste of taxpayer’s money!’) 

    What was a ‘freebee’, Gill, was when I saw you enjoying the readings, music and announcement of the winner of Cardiff International Poetry Competition last year, at Porters Bar. Oh no, silly me. That wasn’t a ‘freebee’ I was witnessing, it was hypocrisy in action.

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