The BBC – A Bonfire of Vanities?

LFW thought it might be interesting to re-publish an extract from an article written by the editor, for Labour Uncut back in April 2014 particularly as the BBC’s Charter renewal is under investigation by both the House of Lords and the Commons, so here we go:

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

The Taffy piece de resistance however, must be BBC Wales.

As reported in previous Uncut columns (and in the national press), a good number of its presenters and a journo or two – not to mention its previous controller Geraint Talfan Davies, father of present Director Rhodri Talfan Davies– have either received personal taxpayer hand-outs for their autobiographies amounting to many thousands of pounds (although not so much of the ‘auto’ I hazard, most of these books have been written by ghosts) or their Welsh ‘publishers’ have received grants to publish them – in many instances the public purse has been nobbled twice. A pay-out to the author and a pay-out to the Welsh publisher to publish them.

Here are just a few examples:

Mal Pope – £4000 for his autobiography ‘Old enough to Know better.’ Well, that’s debatable!

Owen Money – £6000 for his auto biography ‘Money Talks’ – doesn’t it just!

Chis Needs, £7,500 for his auto biography ‘And There’s More’. There certainly is.

And ‘there is more’ than meets the eye at the studios of BBC Wales’ flagship television news programme BBC Wales Today.

Derek Brockway its ebullient weatherman, has had his books about traipsing around Welsh mountain tops etc, paid for by the taxpayer too – one can’t help wondering if his designer outdoor weatherman weeds were also part of the deal?

And what about taxpayer funded royalties to all these BBC Wales presenters come amateur scribblers?

Mr Brockway’s Welsh publisher Y Lolfa, confirmed tax payer subsidy but refused to comment on royalty payments, such comment being ‘inappropriate’. One cannot help but be remined here of an observation by Margaret Hodge MP in reference to her duties on a Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee:

‘Where public money is being spent by Companies they cannot hide behind ‘commercial confidentiality’. It is simply not good enough. It’s not on. It’s unacceptable!’

And the BBC’s press office response? Here it is word for word:

Dear Mr Ruck, 

Thank you very much for your contact with the BBC Press Office on Thursday 8th May and again on Monday 12th May. 

Firstly, I should make you aware of the fact that the BBC should not disclose confidential information relating to individual commercial and/or contractual matters and transactions, unless required to do so by law.  More specifically, the matters which you enquire about appear to be regarding contractual arrangements between third parties not involving the BBC and in such cases the BBC would not be privy to such terms or information. 

Thank you again for your enquiries. 

Readers must draw their own conclusions but it would appear that it’s not quite enough for BBC Wales’ staffers to be paid by the taxpayer, they must also have their life stories squeezed out of the public purse too. It should also be noted here, that a BBC Wales journalist, one Brian Meechan, has also received £4000 from the taxpayer for his own unwritten, let alone published, ‘book’?

Karen Owen, former Producer of Religious Programmes at BBC Cymru, has just received £6000 from Literature Wales, I assume to‘re-imagine’ a bit of rhyming verse, as has yet another BBC Wales former Assistant Editor of Welsh Current Affaires, one Catrin Geralt, who has just been given £3000 – but get this, Ms Geralt is on the very Literature Wales Management Board that dishes out all these literary alms!!

Readers will be forgiven for concluding that there is no cronyism like Crachach cronyism.

And the BBC Trustees didn’t want to know about any of this, everything is as it should be according to them.

To conclude?

I can’t help wondering what Lord Reith would make of all this, although on second thoughts……….?

PS BBC Wales announced on 7.5.14 that Welsh language S4C’s peak time audience viewing figures have dropped by a sixth. That’s a sixth of 1%.

S4C has cost the UK taxpayer more than £2.2 billion to date and as for it generating £2.09 of investment in Wales for every £1.00 of grant? See post below.


One thought on “The BBC – A Bonfire of Vanities?

  1. Wonderful BBC Wales takes no prisoners whenever any critique is raised or questions asked about it’s policy to prioritise Welsh speakers fronting its English language services. In other words Incompetence comes before Standards!?


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