Time for London to really know what is going on at BBC Wales and S4C

Only last October evidence submitted by me to the Welsh Assembly resulted in the  Arts Council of Wales being hauled before a Public Accounts Committee. Its officials were suitably humbled along with their arrogance.

I have today filed an evidence based submission to the House of Lords Inquiry into the BBC’s Charter Renewal, with particular emphasis upon the family firm BBC Wales and S4C.

Julian Ruck – Editor

Leanne Wood demands Wales’ First Minister’s Head!

Leanne Wood, leader of Plaid Cymru today:

“After sixteen years of Labour’s managed decline in health and education, and their lack of ambition on the economy, it’s time they were removed from office and replaced with a party with the policies, personnel and vision to get Wales moving again.

“In education, in health and in the economy, people in Wales have endured second class outcomes under Labour’s rule. Wales cannot afford another five years of longer waiting lists, poorer prospects for young people and low wages.”

LFW has no argument with any of the above, the trouble is that Plaid is tainted with delusions of Welsh independence and a quaint nostalgia for the ‘Trials and Tribulations of Arsonist Saunders Lewis’ and the ‘Odes to Owen Glendower’s Dentures’.


Syrian refugees, Wales and Leanne Wood

Leanne Wood: Wales can play its role in helping refugees in need

“Wales has a proud tradition of helping those in need”

“Plaid Cymru said at the beginning of this crisis that it requires a humanitarian response and we think Wales should play a role in that response.”

Good stuff Leanne and for once LFW agrees with your sentiments, just one problem, take Carmarthenshire County Council:

According to its press office, it has no protocols or procedures in place to deal specifically with an influx of Syrian refugees if called upon to do so.

One can therefore only conclude that it is too pre-occupied with wiping out English medium schools and providing a fourth class education for Welsh children but then as with most things, Wales and Carmarthenshire CC in particular, is always somewhat challenged when trying to catch up with world events.


Byron Davies MP on Devolution.

Julian Ruck: “Wales is not exploiting the technological innovation zones that are going on in the rest of the UK? The M4 corridor, for instance?”

Byron Davies: “I blame Edwina Hart as Minister for this. The whole thing is a mess and I’ve never got a straight answer from her. We’ve got all this regeneration being talked about, but I don’t know who is going to be investing in all this? Does Edwina know? Does anybody know?”

JR: “There’s no real debate going on in Wales about the Welsh economy. Do you agree?”

BD: “That’s exactly right. Wonderful soundings coming from Edina Hart but nothing ever happening. Her answer is to appoint experts to conduct a review.”

JR: “Post devolution, do you think that Wales has become more insular, more parochial?”

BD: “Yes I do. We’ve become very introverted since devolution.”

JR: “But this is fatal in a global economy.”

BD: “I totally agree. Everything stops at the Severn Bridge We talk about the border with England. Ridiculous. I’ve asked Carwyn Jones many times what his plans are for Welsh exports. He’s been over to America many times. China twice I think, and for what? Where’s the evidence of what is happening with growth in Wales?”

JR: “What about Swansea’s local economy?”

BD: “The local authority has a huge part to play in this, but it isn’t rising to the challenge. There are a lot of business in the Mumbles area that feel left out because the local authority doesn’t come near them. It doesn’t want to know about regeneration.”

JR: “Wales is a grant junky how do you respond to this?”

BD: “My response to this? Where has all the European money that has come into Wales gone? It’s gone to support the Labour vote. Look at the money being spent in the Valleys, Merthyr Tydfil for example? We could draw down some of that for Gower and I’ll be fighting for this.”

JR: “Didn’t a lot of the European money that went into SA1 go AWOL?”

BD: “Yes it did. I believe Edwina Hart’s Department was involved, millions of pounds involved as I recall?”

JR: “These are extremely important issues. So why isn’t the so-called Welsh media addressing them?”

BD: “Yes, they are big issues. The Western Mail for example should be addressing them. Like many of the publications it relies on Welsh Gov’t notices for income on its back pages.”

JR: “The Western Mail receives about £220,000 pa in advertising income from Welsh Labour, which hardly makes it impartial?”

BD: “I agree.”

JR: “Do you find that culturally, your own well-travelled background places you in direct conflict with nationalist Plaid Cymru?”

BD: “Oh absolutely. Anyone that gets out of the box and then comes back having spent say a few years in London will feel this. Our young people go away and do they come back? Answer no.”

JR: “How do you stop this?”

BD: ”By creating growth and bringing manufacturing back to Wales but you’ve got to have the infrastructure.  What’s going on at Swansea Uni, engineering etc and the Jersey Marine is brilliant. Wales needs more of this. But we need the roads and transport facilities”

JR: “Wales needs to push much harder to bring in outside talent and investment, then?”

BD: “Of course it does.”

JR: “And finally, the UKIP impact?”

BD: “I don’t think UKIP will have a remarkable effect on the Assembly elections next year.”

JR: “Surely UKIP is a threat to Labour?”

BD:”I totally agree with that.”

Mr Davies didn’t pull his punches and this is exactly what Wales needs!


Right or left?

For the record, as my bio makes clear I do not belong to any political party and neither am I a fan of the Guardian nor indeed the Daily Mail.

Both irritate in equal measure.

I do however believe in listening to all sides, observing and then drawing my own conclusions. Balance is everything, as is freedom of speech. Having said this and recognising my own state as a sorry human being, I am inclined to intemperate ranting when it comes to nationalism, political correctness and insane, Feminista  ugliness.

All three are anathema to me for a legion number of reasons, and I will oppose all of them until my fingers are unable to twitch on a keyboard.

Julian Ruck – Editor

The New Breed of Entrepreneur!

WE have a few victims of life knocking about Swansea city centre doorways, this may well have something to do with the council’s politics of concrete, after all they did insist on stone slabs instead of floral splendour at what was once the Castle Gardens.

Comfy respite for our noble road dwellers was out then.

Talking of which, the other day, whilst drinking some froth on a city centre pavement, I was accosted by a young girl asking for money.

There was a desperation in her surly eyes that demanded some Lib Dem charity, so I gave her a few quid knowing it would probably go on a can of Special Brew — those were the days.

Well, a few minutes later I saw her running into William Hill’s!

Now that’s what I call Welsh entrepreneurial spirit for you!

Julian Ruck – Editor

Veggies beat fatties hands down!

The other day I entered a vegetarian emporium for something to eat, and I have to say it really was quite an experience.

The first thing I noticed was the long queue of people waiting to be served up all kinds of vegetarian grub. Pasta bakes, lasagne (without the beef of course), cheese pie etc etc. Anyway, there seemed to be an awful lot of pensioners in the queue – and before anyone starts I’m not being ‘ageist’, in fact I’m not far off bus pass status myself!

Now, where was I? Oh yes, vegetarian oldies. You know, I couldn’t help but observe how much these good people were putting on their plates – the salad, rice and bean bar was a free for all. Well, frankly I’ve never seen anything like it. One lady pinched every tomato and bit of cucumber from the salad bowl to go with her portions of lasagne and chees pie, while her side-kick lumped on three portions of pasta bake and enough rice to keep an Indian restaurant going on a boys’ Friday night out!

My first conclusion was that these folk must have been stocking up for the week ahead, what with food banks and the cost of living etc. I even began to feel sorry for them. Not so. As I walked out, I noticed that these two particular ladies had scoffed everything on their plates and were about to go up for a desert!

But here’s the thing. Everyone in that restaurant was slim. There wasn’t a straining belt or piece of stretched lycra arse in sight. So it seems to me, that veggies are doing something right and maybe we could all learn a thing or two from ‘em.

As for me, I came home and bunged an Aberdeen Angus rib eye steak straight under the grill to make up for the mouthfuls of bean burger sawdust the missus had forced me to eat in the Veggie emporium.

Never again!

Julian Ruck – Editor

Gay Brighton and KY Jelly!

I just have to tell you about a trip I recently made to Brighton, on some book signing thing.

Driving has never been a favourite pass-time of mine, so when it comes to long distances I usually press gang a pal of mine into doing the motoring. He owes me some money and as he’s skint most of the time, it’s services rendered or nowt – at least I don’t charge him 1000% interest, before all you Guardian readers start jumping up and down, besides true friendship is nothing more than licensed abuse anyway.

Now, Brummie Colin is a ladies man or at least the middle aged Boy Band sort, if you get my drift. Hair falling out, shirt out and still believing that a 21 year old nubile beauty is going to fancy him. Me now, I’m a realist. The last woman who made a pass at me was in her eighties and firmly imbedded in an invalid scooter, so I know my place.

Anyway, I might not have been paying him wages but I still had to fork up for all expenses. Being the mean sort, I’d booked us into a B&B for the night (actually, these days B&B’s are more like plush hotels, £150 a night some of them!).

Brummie Colin of course couldn’t resist the bright lights of Brighton, while I could. So that evening off he went ‘on the pull’ while I stayed in the room and read myself to sleep.

The following morning he appeared at the breakfast table, slightly the worse for wear but as always beaming his infectious Black Country smile. After he had sat down he said, ‘ funny shampoo they’ve got here, Julian. Couldn’t get any lather at all. It’s left my hair all greasy. I mean look at it, won’t be using that stuff again.’

I stared at my friend and wondered if I had heard him correctly. ‘Was it one of those blue sachets?’ I asked, trying not to laugh.

‘Yes, I think so. Why?

‘Because they contain KY Jelly, you fool. You’re in Brighton, the Gay capital of the UK, for God’s sake!’

He shouldn’t have gone out ‘on the pull’ with his shirt hanging out either!

It’s all true too.

Julian Ruck – Editor


‘Selfies’ or vainglorious urgency?

I don’t know about you, but the thought of staring at myself all day long or worse still my dogs -they’re more intolerant than me for heaven’s sake! – fills me with utter dread. Why people want to take thousands of offensively egocentric and ‘look at me, I’m the best thing since a shag on Mt. Olympus’ photos of themselves (or ‘selfies’ to use modern parlance) all the time is utterly beyond me.

More to the point, all these selfie merchants seem to honestly believe that people are actually interested in viewing their fatuous grins and vacuous, insecure hopelessness!

Is this what we have come to? Self, self and more self?

Internet tyranny and manic FOMO (ie fear of missing out) has a lot to answer for, thankfully I have known another time, a pre- internet time and believe me the world wasn’t so bad and neither was I addicted to photographing my surly chops every second of the day.

Besides, the missus wouldn’t allow it!

Julian Ruck – Editor

Are Women Unhinged?

Now and again I gird my loins and tune in to R4’s Woman’s Hour, if only to remind myself that I’m still a man, no matter what the feminists say.

The presenter Jenni Murray’s voice, with its explosions of treacle coated ‘empathy’ and ‘self-esteem’, never fail to make me want to dive for cover but there we are, that’s part of the fun of listening to Woman’s Hour.

As the title of the programme suggests, Woman’s Hour is all about women – well, I could do a daily piece about women, couldn’t I just! Four engagements (and not one ring ever thrown back at me even in temper, too damned smart the female of the species!),two marriages, one divorce and like most men I keep going back for more if only to try and find out where I went wrong in the first place – women always being right about these things, as we all well know.

Anyway, in my twilight years as it were, actually make that mature years I ‘aint’t an old ‘un yet, I have learnt to adopt one fundamental premise – all women are unhinged.

Lovely, capable, strong and virtuous they may be but still basically unhinged, so we men really have nothing to worry about.

And here’s the thing about dogs. My two never answer back, always do as they are told, easy to feed and water, and sure as hell don’t need £60 every couple of weeks for a haircut!

So then, what with Woman’s Hour and £60 haircuts, not to mention of course the ‘Who’s the Boss around here’ syndrome, we men just can’t help loving ‘em.

Women are all unhinged…….?

It’s probably we men!

Julian Ruck – Editor