Posts Tagged ‘S4C’

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: Wales deserves better

02/08/2013, 09:52:05 AM

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.


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The public bodies bill and sausages

01/11/2011, 08:47:52 AM

by Jon Trickett

There is a quote, whose origins allegedly range from Otto von Bismarck to an unknown Illinois state senator, that rings painfully true about the last year of the public bodies bill: there are two things you never want to let anyone see you make – laws and sausages. Quite. The process by which ministers have gone about reducing the number of quangos in the UK has been messy, and in many ways circumvented the norms of Parliamentary process.

I don’t disagree in principle with the aims of the bill. Indeed, in March 2010 we set out almost £500m of new savings by reducing the number of arms length bodies by 123 by 2012/13. Labour inherited 1,128 quangos in 1997 and axed almost 400 of them by the time we left office. There is certainly scope for consolidating them to reduce overheads but retain functions.

But the way in which this process has proceeded has been characterised by the same hasty, ill-thought-through approach to governing that we can see across all government departments.  The ideology of cutting without thinking, swinging without looking, with a lack of clear vision or philosophy on the functions of government, pervades the very core of this bill.

The majority of the bodies in the bill were set up as a result of reasoned and detailed debate in Parliament. The only appropriate way to consider abolition is with the same reasoned and detailed debate. Cabinet office ministers claim that detailed debate on each body will come at a later stage, but we know that secondary legislation isn’t typically dwelled on in Parliament to the extent that some of these bodies would deserve.


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