Letter from Wales: How the Welsh press is in hock to the Welsh government First pub. July 2015

Readers will know that I’ve had my run-ins with the Western Mail. Their reluctance to expose profligacy by the Welsh government has been perplexing. Until now.

Some digging on the Western Mail has revealed the following:

John Humphries, its former editor, deputy editor and news editor has written a taxpayer subsidised book titled ‘Freedom Fighters’, a treatise on the cause of Welsh language nationalism.

Meic Stephens, a writer for the Western Mail who has authored, edited more than 200 Welsh books (I gave up on counting the number paid for by the taxpayer). Former Literature editor at the Arts Council Wales and retired Professor of Welsh writing at the University of Glamorgan.

Mario Basini ( a recipient of a £1,686 taxpayer hand out to stay at home and scribble), was literary editor at the Western Mail for 4 years, the gentleman has been a presenter for BBC Wales and Radio Wales – as if one would ever expect anything less?

It gets better.

Please note the following FoI data:

In the last financial year, 2012-13, the amount of money the Welsh Government spent on advertising in a) The Western Mail b) The Daily Post c) all Trinity Mirror publications.

The information that you requested is provided below.  Please note that the figure shown for all Trinity Mirror publications excludes figures for the Western Mail and Daily Post.

Publication Advertising Expenditure 2012-13
The Western Mail £209,313.99
The Daily Post £190,770.11
All Trinity Mirror publications £193,319.18

Here are two responses to the above, one from Mr Martin Shipton (Chief Reporter at the Western Mail, whose book was paid for by the taxpayer as noted in my last Letter), and Rupert Smith, Head of Communications at Trinity Mirror, Mr Shipton’s master’s:

Jun 30 at 11:57 PM

Here is my quote for your latest piece. I ask you to use it in full.
“The pitiful rubbish you have sent me cannot even be classed as citizen journalism. You have produced no evidence whatsoever of a scandal in the Welsh arts world. It occurs to me that your posturing outrage stems from past decisions not to publish your offerings because of your demonstrable lack of literary talent.”

Rupert Smith “Hi Julian, We’re not making any comment. Best wishes, Rupert Rupert Smith Head of Communications”

Readers will note the total lack of any substantive correction or denial of the data posted. In the case of Mr Shipton, personal insult is all very well, but it doesn’t quite cut the ice does it?

Considering the above, it is hardly surprising then that the ‘independent ‘Welsh media, and in this instance more particularly the Western Mail, has been struck dumb in its reporting of the scandalous abuse of the taxpayer in its own ranks (apart from the usual exploitation of personal insult), this is in spite of my own exposures here on Uncut, at Welsh Assembly press briefings and in the national media.

The ‘newspaper’ along with its cronies at BBC Wales and ITV Wales is nothing but a disreputable passenger on the Taffia Express taxpayer gravy train looking out for the next fast buck.

Independent scrutiny of Welsh public life?

Like hell.

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