Posts Tagged ‘BBC Wales’

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

12/06/2014, 09:41:28 AM

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

19/07/2013, 01:46:25 PM

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……….


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Letter from Wales: Despite the cuts, money keeps getting poured down the Welsh language drain

31/05/2013, 10:31:26 AM

by Julian Ruck

Welsh Labour isn’t red, it isn’t new and it most definitely isn’t blue, it’s just plain old and totally out of date. The Welsh Labour government holds on to an exclusive reliance on the state with a stubbornness that would have made even Pyrrhus think again!

It continues to obsess on policies of devolved isolationism and ‘You don’t give….but you get, get get as much as you like and to hell with the British tax-payer!’

England owes us.

For an example of profound arrogance and a total denial of austere times where the ruling Welsh ‘elites’ are concerned, consider the following.

A separatist Welsh language, that has had literally billions of tax-payers’ money thrown at it over the last 40 years, has resulted in bi-lingual signs that few understand, pyramids of bi-lingual paperwork that the overwhelming majority of Welsh folk throw straight into the bin, a Welsh Health Service smartphone ‘app’ for Welsh speakers costing £26,000 being dumped because less than a 1000 people used it, a Welsh language S4C television channel that  no-one watches (and not to mention its history of rampant management skulduggery), and a radio station – Radio Cymru – that demands £13 million pa of license fee  money.

A couple of weeks ago Radio Cymru’s audience figures dropped to their lowest level ever (119,000 listeners per week), according to respected Radio Joint Audience Research (16.5.13).

In comparison BBC Radio Cornwall receives a modest £1.3 million and yet it has higher audience figures!

Overall, BBC Wales receives £167 million pa of tax-payers’ money for Welsh language broadcasting, which some might feel is fair enough. After all, in any civilised society minorities should be respected and their views always accommodated where possible; but here’s the rub, none of this money has resulted in any kind of increase in Welsh speakers, indeed the opposite obtains.

10 years ago 40% of welsh schoolchildren could speak Welsh, now it’s only a paltry 24%.


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