LFW will be making a detailed submission to the House of Lords BBC Charter Renewal investigation, based on evidence obtained over the last three years, in respect of BBC Wales and S4C.
The ‘entitled’ arrogance, deceit, Welsh Labour government patronage on an appalling scale re taxpayer hand outs to journalists, presenters, editors, preferential appointments. The family tree at BBC Wales, blatant nationalist Welsh language bias in political reporting, discrimination in recruitment………
Chapter and verse and all backed up with unequivocal evidence.
It really is time both organisations were subjected to some serious scrutiny and ruthless reform. Both have been getting away with self-serving exploitation of the taxpayer for years.
The Welsh language BBC and S4C, should be funded by viewer subscription and nothing more.
NB See post below on S4C for a small taster. This is nothing and it should be remembered that the evidence submitted by the editor of LFW to the Welsh Assembly was responsible for the Arts Council of Wales being hauled before a Senate Public Accounts Committee last October.
It is being suggested by some in Welsh speaking, nationalist quarters that ‘LFW’ has an entirely different meaning from the one published.
The Editor categorically refutes such a seedy corruption of LFW’s noble intent!!
We live in a democracy, like it or not.
Jeremy Corbyn, whatever one’s political persuasions, is entitled to state his case without fear or on occasions vicious media opprobrium.
All this political glass house, armchair quackery is becoming exceedingly tiresome.
If there is an appetite for far left change, then no doubt those who hold the real power ie the people (in spite of what jumped-up, political conspiracy fantasists are inclined to advocate) will have their will.
LFW exercises caution where political prediction is concerned, there are enough omelette covered faces out there in the London media as it is.
Let Corbyn have his way, Parliament will continue to shout and yell but isn’t this what a healthy democracy is all about?
Good luck to the man and may he continue to wind everybody up, at least this bearded Ancient Mariner has brought some excitement to what is normally a politically correct, platform of people pleasing Westminster claptrap!
One is led to believe that the Lib Dems are a party of liberal endeavour and fairness for all, Guardianista social justice.
Last June, the Welsh Lib Dems enthusiastically supported new planning laws that prioritise Welsh speakers when it comes to the allocation of homes in new Welsh housing developments. Can you imagine what would happen if this scandalous legislation was tried on in the West Midlands, say to protect Punjabi speakers who are on a parity with Welsh speakers in a similar population count ie 18%?
There would be a public outcry at such blatant discrimination and sleazy social engineering.
The Welsh Lib Dems are ignoring the 82% English speaking majority in Wales in a desperate bid to win a few cheap votes from Welsh speakers, the same applies to their avid support for Welsh language S4C (£2.2bn of taxpayers’ money to date, £74m pa at present) a channel that few if any watch.
They are also, like so many other Welsh politicians, scared silly of incurring the tyrannical wrath of that extreme School of Arson, the Welsh Language Society (LFW isn’t, it should be noted), whom the ‘Welsh Language Commissioner’,one Meri Huws once chaired.*
All this is an utter disgrace and if anything will cost the Welsh Lib Dems votes; votes that they can ill afford to lose. Wales will never, ever progress while this sort of thing is allowed to happen. The messages it sends out to the rest of the UK, let alone the wider world, is extremely negative:
Don’t come to Wales to live and work unless you speak Welsh. Such legislation can only be described as: insular, backward looking and a massive betrayal of liberal values.
The Welsh Lib Dems really have lost it; this is not only a pity, it is also disappointing.
* Only recently, Meri Huws (or Mary Hughes for all you English speakers, Welsh speaking nationalists have this eccentric habit of translating their English names into Welsh and dumping ‘aps’ in between their Christian and surnames – BBC Wales is full of them) took NS&I to the High Court to force them to re-instate a Welsh language service – which no-one used.
Cost of Crachach Supremo Meri’s zealous coercion?
£54,000 of taxpayers’ money in legal costs, oh and not to mention the fact that the State pays her substantially more than any MP or AM, along with all the bomb proof pension perks etc. See: http://labour-uncut.co.uk/2014/03/21/letter-from-wales-how-much-taxpayers-money-is-the-welsh-language-commission-spending-on-its-legal-cases/
Orkney has one and so does Shetland.
Check it out.
PS There’s also a ‘Fucking’ in Austria and LFW thought Wales had the monopoly on weird place names!
When it comes to holding Government ministers to account, there is this evasive if not rather quaint cop out demarcation protocol called the ‘Sir Humphrey Appleby Line’ – in other words, civil servant government verbiage and maintaining the party line must not be confused with politics, if you can work that one out?
Of course, democratic accountability doesn’t come into it.
The Wales Office and Welsh ministers Stephen Crabb and Alun Cairns are apparently enthusiastic fans of ‘Yes Minister’, as clearly evidenced by the fact that they refuse to be interviewed, this is in spite of their opposite numbers having their say both here and in the Welsh press.
Apparently, it’s all about a conflict of interest between devolved issues and Westminster issues – in other words, chaotic devolution time.
Excuse LFW here, but are not these Welsh MP’s supposed to be representing the people, who incidentally couldn’t give a damn about whether it’s Cardiff Bay or London? And God forbid, do they not sit in Parliament to answer?
Not showing much respect to their Taffy compatriots either, are they? These two boringly risk averse and safety-play, ministerial politicos also insist on knowing what the questions are going to be pre-interview.
Well, the response to this one is and always must be:
Tough, it’s an ’empty chair’ or nothing.
Ministers are our servants, theirs is to answer and explain NOT to duck, dive, proscribe and be ‘unavailable’, as the Welsh Office appears to believe.
£17.6 million refurbishing Welsh Government offices in Cardiff. Included in this is: £3.7m on furniture, £900k on new computers, and £80k on television sets.
Beats the cost of Derry Irvine’s wallpaper, carpets and curtains if nothing else, and Welsh Labour is always blaming Westminster for financial mismanagement!
The £80k on tellies was apparently justified on the grounds that Team Druid needed some ‘reality’ indoctrination!
First Minister Druid Carwyn Jones and his Team Druid, have always fancied themselves as commercial aviation experts, albeit that the last time they tried to glue together an Airfix Fairey Floatplane (very ‘innovative’ is our Team Druid), the whole lot fell apart as soon as it was launched from one of Carwyn’s Crusiers messing about in Cardiff Bay!
Something to do with the windsockio pointing in the wrong direction apparently?
Anyway, a Welsh Assembly Public Accounts Committee report has just raised a number of concerns relating to Carwyn’s Carriers’ Cardiff-Anglesey air link.
No-one is dull enough to use it.
Millions of taxpayers’ bucks have been poured into this duff airline and passenger numbers are 35% less than their peak in 2008 – which were only a handful then. The Cardiff Airport fiasco re-visited perhaps?!
This fantasy airline is costing £3,700 a day of your hard earned – Lib Dems, Tories, UKIP, Plaid, anyone but Welsh Labour at the Assembly Elections next year!
NB LFW does endeavour to be bilingual where possible, thus ‘windsockio’.
LFW: “Wales is a grant junky, the private sector such as it is, is almost non-existent. How can Wales pull itself out of this taxpayer dependency culture?”
OS: “Your version of it is totally overstated. I don’t think it’s historically true and I don’t think it’s true presently. It is the orthodox view but a fallacy to suggest that Wales is any way more or less dependent on grants than any other part of Britain.
“The old Welsh Development Agency had a reputation during the mid-seventies onwards for trying to replace the heavy industries by offering grants, and I think that sunk into the woodwork in media circles and elsewhere, as being indicative of the broader Welsh culture. I don’t think it’s true. Giving grants to businesses to help them grow is not necessarily a bad thing.
“What the economy needs, be it Wales or the UK, is partnership. It is a great mistake to view the private and public sectors separately, to assume that the private sector will flood into the gap left by public sector cuts or disinvestment. We’ve had an experiment in this in the last six years. Milton Friedman economics ie a massive withdrawal of public money in anticipation that there would be a big increase in private sector investment and the reverse has happened.
“The reality of a successful economy is about partnership between public and private money. All modern economies recognise this. We in the UK are too quick to assume that to generate entrepreneurialism you give the entrepreneur room to move through small government.”
LFW: “Is this not crafty nationalisation through the back door?”
OS: “No. I see no harm in public money being used to help businesses generate employment and investment. It’s all about partnership, not nationalisation.”
LFW: “Would you agree that the UK and Europe business worlds are far more risk averse when it comes to investment and expansion than say, America?”
OS: “Yes I would and at all sorts of levels, whether that be government being politically risk averse or otherwise. It was a brave move by the Welsh government to step in and buy Cardiff Airport. In the strategic long term it was a smart thing to do, a rare example of political courage. Another thing, here in Britain, we don’t celebrate venture capitalism. We, socialists included, need people who are going to spend money in the economy.
“There’s a golden triangle so called, between Cambridge, Oxford and Bristol, essentially the M4 corridor. This area is a global hotbed of innovation in respect of computer software, renewable energy and pharmaceutical innovation and so on.
“One of the problems that has developed as part of Welsh devolution is that we have been less willing to think beyond the Welsh borders. A classic example of this, for instance, is our reluctance to capitalise on Cardiff, Newport, Bristol….. and even Swansea, as an economic cluster. We need to club together to a far greater extent. We’ve been too concerned about building institutions in Wales, instead of looking at solutions.”
LFW: “Talking of devolution, what are your views on the Welsh nationalist agenda that has gained traction since devolution? Do you not agree that Welsh parochialism and insularity has increased post 1995?”
OS: “Definitely. Nevertheless, I am pro devolution and I won’t be shaken from this. But my view is that nationalism has grown as a force not just in our own country but right across Western Europe and devolution to some extent reflects this. It brings great strengths, pride in country, patriotism….”
LFW nearly threw Oscar Wilde and Samuel Johnson into the pot here, but refrained.
“…… can be a hugely powerful force and can galvanise people to action, and at some level it is necessary for progressives to harness this nationalism, however there are grave dangers for our country if we go too far. The rise of nationalism in Scotland and Wales is driving England, some at least, to be less generous in their view of the union. As Cameron said in his PMQ’s that preceded the budget speech, ‘“the time has come for the Scots to put up or shut up”’. The Tories are operating like Pound Shop UKIP, petty nationalists.”
LFW: “Are the Tories stoking up resentment?”
OS: “Absolutely, because they see political advantage in England by tapping into resentment in Scotland and, to a lesser extent here in Wales, both having had a double dip. In truth, this is unfair for the English to think, because Wales in particular remains one of the poorest, peripheral parts of Europe. It is subsidised 100% by taxes from across the border.”
LFW: “Labour has ruled Wales for 100 odd years. Forget partisan politics for a moment but as a principle, is this not bad for a healthy democracy?”
OS: ‘I’m going to disagree again with your premise.” A lot of disagreeing going on here with our Owen and quite right too!
OS: “Because Wales is part of the UK and the fact that the people in Wales have largely voted Labour for most of the last century doesn’t change the fact that for most of this last century Wales has been run a by a Tory government.” So up yours LFW! – the editor’s words, Mr Smith is far too much of a gentleman!
LFW: “What do you think is going to happen at the Assembly elections next year?”
OS: “I think it’s going to be a hard fight for us.”
LFW: “Do you think it will be a three horse race? Tory, UKIP and Labour, particularly as Wales has a proportional voting system?”
OS:” It’s hard to see, that if UKIP pull anything like they did at the general election they won’t take some seats. What the election showed was that Wales in many respects is no different from the politics of England but do you know, there’s an irony with Plaid Cymru and nationalism. For all the exposure Plaid received, they still finished fourth. The media exposure Leanne Wood received was ridiculous. Cosmopolitan, New York Times, you name it. Leanne Wood was featuring everywhere, but often featuring as though she were somehow the leading representative of politics in Wales, when in reality Plaid remains the fourth party…. but try telling that to the Guardian.”
LFW “Ah, the media. Let’s talk about the Welsh media for a moment. If you want to see journalistic pussycats at work, sit in the press briefings at the Senate. There is no serious political commentary in Wales and what there is, is extremely limited, anodyne and boring. It’s no wonder Wales gets ignored and is seen as an irrelevance.”
OS: “I agree. It is a shame that the Welsh media has not developed as fast as the Assembly, because it has become a much more serious and mature forum for debate over recent years. The trouble is the media has not grown with it. It is I think, a truth but then there is so little appetite in the London based newspapers for reading about Wales. I’ve spoken many times with London columnists and commentators and its just commercial death to write about Wales in their view.”
LFW: “And finally, where do you see the future of the Labour Party?”
OS: “We are the only party that has a root core in every part of the UK, so I’m not pessimistic about our future, because I still think we remain the only all UK progressive party in this country. It’s really interesting the way the Tories are trying to woo the north of England, and it’s because they know that they remain a party that is incredibly constricted to the shires and to the wealthiest parts of Britain, but we at present are a party that is much more rooted in the industrial areas than we should be and we have got to be as expansionist in our ambitions as they are, and that means winning back seats in Scotland and seats from the Tories in England. If we don’t win 10 to 20 seats in Scotland, we will not form the next government.”
And there you have it, Owen Smith on fine form but a few final few words:
LFW warmed to the Welsh politico, something that doesn’t often happen, politicians are always so uptight and wary when they’re being interviewed – no doubt understandably so, when the media is always putting an unrepentant and sometimes shifty boot in.
The MP was at ease with himself and the interviewer but more than anything else, he has a good sense of humour – which always works wonders!