Posts Tagged ‘Crachach’

Letter from Wales: A Welsh Bonfire of Vanities

08/06/2014, 02:59:45 AM

by Julian Ruck

£300m of taxpayers’ money over the last 10 years for Welsh arts and Wales has some of the lowest literacy and numeracy standards in Europe!

Tom Wolfe has railed against the excessive and greedy vanities of New York society.

One cannot help but wonder what he would make of the flapping, arrogant, self-indulgent squawks and bloated vanities of the Welsh arts scene, full to the brim as it is, with taxpayer largesse and unable to write one word, bend one piece of metal, stretch one sweaty leotard or paint one plate without ‘financial assistance’ being attached.

Allow me to give you some recent examples:

This year’s ‘Creative Wales Awards’, courtesy of those jet setters at the Arts Council of Wales, airline tickets paid by Carwyn’s Team Druid of course (note the Biennale farce reported in previous columns):

£264,779 (FOI) ie 12 awards of £25,000 a pop to allow, and I quote, ‘an individual artist’s vision to be explored, tested and re-imagined without the need to create a ‘final’ performance or exhibition’. Indeed one recipient, a Welsh poet, has received his £25,000 of taxpayers’ money to go to America to improve his lyrical expertise – madness, and a profound abuse of the hard-pressed taxpayer.

The real beauty however must be Gareth Clark, who has been awarded £24,894 ‘to remove himself from everyday comforts and conventions of life and put himself in a place to contemplate and reflect’!!! Well he could do this at his local Job Centre, much cheaper, and I can’t quite see £24,894 forcing him to hawk the Big Issue on street corners either (readers should go to: to observe more of these ridiculous but supremely insulting taxpayer hand outs).

Over the years these Welsh Creative Awards have cost the taxpayer millions and what exactly do most of them achieve?


No exhibitions, no sales and an audience equivalent to the footfall at a garden centre flogging Japanese knotweed.

Creative Wales Awards? Gold plated dole more like, for Welsh artists and writers to stay at home and ‘re-imagine’ their artistic genius. Perish the thought, that like most writers and artists they should have to work to support their ‘art’ or achieve some kind of commercial success.


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Letter from Wales: Nothing is independent in the Crachach run Welsh media

22/01/2014, 09:58:54 PM

by Julian Ruck

The Welsh-speaking Crachach (or Taffia depending on your point of view) are up to their usual old tricks again. You know, keeping it in the family, jobs for this life and the next and not what you know but who you know.

The Silk commission is looking into the devolution settlement and the powers of the National Assembly of Wales. Also on the Commission’s radar is the much debated control of the Welsh media.

Not long ago, I interviewed one Lee Waters, director of the ‘independent’  Welsh think tank, the Institute of Welsh Affairs. The purpose of the interview was to explore the abject lack of diversity and indeed equal opportunity that appears to exist in Welsh governing institutions. There was also the question relating to whether or not the push for Welsh language nationalism was having a negative impact on the Welsh economy.

Mr Waters immediately accepted that there was a problem here ie that Welsh institutions are run mainly by white, Welsh speaking, middle class and Welsh educated personnel. However, he followed this up with the more facile excuse that “Wales has the same problems as all other Western societies.”

So then, one can conclude that in his view, a white Dai Berlosconi or a white Dai Chirac is fine because everyone else is at it? The nasty Tories also came in for some passionate  opprobrium from the independently minded Waters too. Quite obviously a man who prides himself on apolitical inclination if ever there was one!

A simple case of denial perhaps? But then the Welsh Crachach are resilient if nothing else


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Letter from Wales: Potty Plaid rewrite the rules of marketing

09/08/2013, 11:29:41 AM

by Julian Ruck

To those of a more shall I say rounded, political persuasion, I appreciate that what goes on in Wales may sometimes appear to be delightfully farcical, if not plain dotty and  believe me, the vast majority of Welsh folk would probably agree with you.

A typical example of Taffy complicity in keen but intuitive “Wales forever” slippery slopes, occurred last week.

The headline hitting the Welsh press went as follows: “Tourist video voiceover Is ‘too Welsh’ for English.”

Seriously, and we’re not talking here about the Welsh language.

Apparently, the story goes, Carmarthenshire county council’s marketing and tourism department (remember, that Carmarthenshire is a hot-bed of Plaid Cymru nationalism, it swung the “Yes” vote to devolution by a margin of .6% in a miserable turnout of 35.4% back in the 1997 referendum)  had commissioned a video clip to help Welsh accommodation providers pull in English customers.

A young boy was employed to do the sales pitch, there was just one problem – no-one could fight their way through his worthy Welsh accent! It was concluded by the powers that be– and after some market research in Sheffield, I’m not kidding – that the target market in England would have one hell of a job understanding what the young fellow was going on about and like I say, he wasn’t even speaking in Welsh!

It gets better.

A spokeswoman for the council said, “the voiceover was changed as the young boy had lost his two front teeth just prior to filming, which made him more difficult to understand.”


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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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