Is S4C telling porkies?

Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood has said: “S4C is far more than just a channel; it is a catalyst for creativity with significant cultural and economic benefits. In light of further cuts, S4C faces a fight for survival.

“It is high time for the Assembly to take greater responsibility for broadcasting to secure and prioritise not just S4C, but public broadcasting in general.”

(Incidentally, all the other political parties at the Senate are against cuts to S4C funding. Welsh politicians are experts at bending their knees to minority Welsh language tyranny and never mind what the majority English speakers think.)

The BBC licence fee provides £74m per annum to S4C. Since 1982, it has received £2.2bn of taxpayers’ money (its own figure). It also claims that for every £1 of grant aid, £2.09 is brought in to the Welsh economy. To back this up, it refers to independent research carried out by Arad in 2013, an organisation based in Cardiff no less.

Hefin Thomas of Arad, was duly contacted by LFW and confirmed that much of its business is with the Welsh public sector and that 7 of its 9 staff are Welsh speakers.One cannot help but question this £2.09 of net ‘value added’ it’s come up with?

Firstly, the Welsh creative/arts sector is already subsidised up to the hilt; the cuts to the Arts Council of Wales for instance, are negligible when compared to the rest of the UK’s Arts Councils – not to mention Pinewood’s recent £30m taxpayer hand out.

Secondly, few people watch S4C full stop. It attracts less than 1% of viewers if that, and for some of its programmes it’s zero. BBC Wales could certainly use a haircut too: Welsh language Radio Cymru gets 15 times more subsidy than Radio Cornwall (at the last count £16.2m to £1.2m) and yet they have the same audience figures!

And can you imagine what would happen if Plaid Cymru got its hands on public broadcasting in Wales, let alone Welsh Labour? You could forget Coronation Street and EastEnders, it would be Pobol y Cym or nowt!

Cuts to public services, health, adult education what the hell, let’s keep lobbing billions at the Welsh language and what does it matter that out of the paltry 18% who speak it, less than 4% can actually read and write it.

LFW says: Cut S4C’s funding or get rid of it altogether. It’s a nonsensical luxury the UK economy can ill afford.

LFW

5 thoughts on “Is S4C telling porkies?

  1. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to find a post of yours that doesn’t include an attack on the Welsh language. You claim billions are wasted on S4C, yet £74m is the yearly sum. That is a very small proportion of money spent in Wales each year. English language broadcasting receives many times that. But wait, more money is wasted on the Royals, ond politicians’ expenses, on Trident and many other things than that wasted’ on the Welsh language. You clearly belong to the camp of people who see any expenditure on the Welsh language as profligate or unnecessary, and no doubt believe that Welsh speakers should ‘pay for it themselves’, despite nobody ever saying the same of English speakers regarding English language provision. Wales is a bingual country and Welsh is an official language, not to mention Wales’ native language. Nothing will change that.

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    • Thank you for your comment.

      I am obliged to point out that subsidising the Welsh language costs considerably more than that spent on broadcasting, as you well know. May I further point out that the Welsh language is only spoken by 19% of people living in Wales and even this figure is highly suspect, as many speak the hybrid ‘Wenglish’. Out of this 19% only 4% (if you are lucky) can read and write the language.

      The language is in decline (Census 2011), in spite of the billions of taxpayers’ money spent on promoting it over the years,the whip of the Statute book, the violence of your extremists, the coercive social engineering of Welsh medium schools and the teaching of the language being compulsory for all Welsh children up to 16.

      Finally, your ‘English speakers regarding English language’ is well, fanciful. It is the English who pay the taxes to subsidise your language, further the number of Welsh speakers per capita in the UK is less than 1%.

      As for my ‘attacks’ on your language, for once you are being challenged by someone who has a louder voice than your own and isn’t scared to use it. You have had everything your own way for years, through bullying, threats and intimidation. Only yesterday there was a phone call to one of my newspaper editors by a North Walian fanatic, demanding to know my address so that he and his fellow amateur arsonists could come and set my home alight.

      Pathetic.

      Julian Ruck

      PS And believe me, things ‘will change’.Where will your language be in a generation or two’s time? Technology is its loudest death knell, not me. Oh and my £2.2 billion for S4C is NOT a ‘claim’. It is their own figure sent to me by their press office.

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  2. You seem to suggest that Welsh speakers contribute none of the money spent on the Welsh language, as if they don’t pay taxes like everybody else, and that it is left to the poor, suffering English to foot the bill. That is untrue. As a proportion of national expenditure, the amount spent on the Welsh language is more than payed for by the money contributed to the economy by Welsh speakers. You yourself cite the Census, yet question the 19% figure of people with Welsh language skills? A rather selective use of data! The fact remains that Welsh speakers are the most significant minority in Wales by far, and moreover, they are the speakers of this country’s native, indigenous language, the language that has been spoken continuously here since the earliest recorded history of Britain.

    You say that the ‘whip of the Statute [sic] book’ is a factor in the promotion of the Welsh language. Seriously? The law says that Welsh AND English are EQUAL in status in Wales. The law, in fact, discriminated against the Welsh language for centuries: that is the ‘whip of the statute book’, not declaring two languages co-official! English has never been banned in Wales; Welsh has. English is compulsory in Welsh schools also, so how isn’t English ‘forced’ on people, then? And who are these ‘extremists’ you cite? You’re far more likely to be publicly ridiculed and humiliated for speaking Welsh rather than English. I’ve never been abused for speaking English, but have been called all sorts of things for speaking Welsh.

    ‘A louder voice than your own’? I’ve nowhere claimed to have an opinion more important than anybody else, but you’re probably referring to Welsh speakers as a collective. Once again, you fall pray to the stereotype that Welsh speakers are some threatening minority, looking to take over. If we are so powerful, why is it that we are so helpless? Do we have any control over the fact that in many Welsh towns Welsh people, let alone Welsh speakers, are a minority? We don’t; not that we would do anything anyway. The Welsh language can live happily with any number of languages. The prejudice comes from the other side…

    No, we will still be around, there will be no ‘change’ as you say. Change to you would presumably be the rescinding of Welsh language rights, and education, and funding of any kind. We will continue to dare to exist in our own country.

    Thank you for your reply. May you genuinely have a nice day. I apologise for whatever caused your suspicion and hostility towards us Welsh speakers, but really, we are just normal people getting on with our lives, trying not be erased out of existence.

    Urien

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    • And Urien, your view is to be respected and listened to. It also enjoys the virtue of being devoid of personal insult and abuse – which makes a pleasant change believe me.

      If more Welsh speakers adopted your approach then no doubt, the language would enjoy a more positive press as it were.

      I have never been against preserving the language, but this must be done by consent not force or local authority mandate.

      Having said this, I unequivocally support your right to speak it but perhaps there is a different way of preserving it?

      Julian

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  3. Desite 1000s of kids being coerced to learn it, it remains in decline, vast majority of kids in EM don’t use it outside school nor when they leave school, why not?.

    Technolgy and culture, computers, games films music are all based on English (well american actually)’ English is the defacto lingua franca of business is the 2nd language of more people than any other language.

    On the other hand Welsh is of next to no use outside social environment unless you want to work in public or 3rd sector, oh you might want a jolly to Patagonia.

    The money wasted on it is huge, as you have said S4C, Welsh books council, education curriculum, school re-organistaions, closing large schools and opening smaller EM & WM schools ( instead of streaming within the existing buildings), publicity and propaganda, social engineering, dual records in councils (translator jobs), dual printing (how many ppl actually used the WL census form,shd have been by application) costs of renaming towns and streets (and the protests/meeting before hand), and no doubt many more.

    Trying to get a realistic figure of these costs is an impossibility, and next to none of them are really aprt of the Barnet calculation so the money has to be robbed from other key big budgets.

    AMs claim they are over worked, well stop wasting your time on this sort of rubbish and get on with sorting out education, health etc.

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