Forget Newsnight Cymru – Time to start owning and being the national Welsh press and media
A non conformist independent thinking outlook on journalism, politics and everything else still exists in Wales. But it’s largely the London based, globalist corporate controlled mainstream media that’s suffocating its expression and stopping proper scrutiny of the serious issues affecting our everyday lives.
Here are some examples of how crucial news is being obscured and ignored by the London media in Wales:
1. In draconian measure more suited to Mugabe’s Zimbabwe or Communist China, the Leveson Inquiry and resulting Royal Charter attempts to kill a free press and introduce state regulation including the licensing of journalists. Those who refuse to sign up, including websites and blogs, could face “exemplary damages” if they are taken to court – The London mainstream media in Wales decides Wales doesn’t need to know about such minor issues and instead give us the latest on Benedict Cumberbatch sightings in Cardiff.
2. The Justice and Security Act 2013 is passed, marking the death of justice in Britain by legally allowing secret courts and non disclosure on any issue deemed sensitive by the Government and intelligence agencies – The London media in Wales, at length, gives over the top outraged and indignant coverage of another silly remark made by another frustrated teenager on Twitter after a few too many Strongbows. A few minutes of sacred scrutinising Welsh television is also given to a member of the Welsh cabinet to talk about sustainable development again – nobody knows what what was said but it all sounds very nice.
3. The Investigatory Powers Bill, also known as the Snoopers Charter is proposed, legally allowing the UK government to snoop on all your communications (something they’re able to do anyhow.) Westminster comes out with the very creepy statement of: “For too long, we have been…saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone’” – The London media in Wales gives us the latest on some rugby and football. A new cooking programme is also on the way we are told.
4. The UK government introduces GDS (Government Digital Services) , where 25 government departments will be moving all their services online. Lots of real, actual breathing non digital persons will lose their jobs. Welsh Citizens will have no choice but to comply if they want help. The services include online driving licences and other DVLA documents. Also state benefits, redundancy payments, and tax matters; civil claims; visa applications; electoral registration; and booking prison visits.
To access these, citizens will need to sign up with a smart ID and through an online identity provider. You will have to have a computer or access to a computer. Paper forms? Get back to your cave ape man. Actual human beings who you can phone to discuss any issues? Get the hell outta here crazy Luddite. The computer will give you all your instructions. We simply become digitised on screen assets. London media in Wales reminds us the clocks go forwards next week. There’s also some composting tips and, later, some tennis updates.
5. The Welsh Government proposes a massive influx of 190,000 + new houses for Wales, with no thought given to existing local priority or average wage to house price ratio. In a letter reply to a petition calling for a deposit loan scheme for first time home buyers the then minister responsible, Carl Sargeant admits on public record attached here that these new houses are planned to cater for the “under-supply of properties across the UK” not specifically Wales as the devolved remit requires.
All local authorities must comply in the next 20 years or else. No mention is given to what jobs there will be for the hundreds of thousands of new dwellers that will fill these houses or how the already struggling Welsh public service infrastructure and economy is supposed to accommodate such a massive increase in the population of Wales in such a short time. The Welsh public get no say and most of our representatives in the Senedd apparently silently accept our fate on our behalf.
If such mass development and sudden population movements happens in the West bank or Tibet there is uproar – if it happens in Wales there is silence – the crypto liberals being well oiled in keeping down any rational questioning or opposing voices with the usual off the shelf put down labels. You believe new Welsh housing should mostly be catered for the existing citizens of Wales who need it the most, no matter what their original nationality, race or ethnic origin? You racist. How backward and insular of you.
In far away lands, defenders of internationally recognised rights are virtuous defenders of freedoms. If you apply the same values to Wales, you’re a small minded bigot. Obviously.
Otherwise, well meaning Welsh politicians and the media in Wales are frozen by politically correct paralysis and dare not express legitimate concerns on disproportianate uncontrolled immigration in to Wales. Concerns that most of their constituents of all backgrounds consider to be reasonable and fair. Concerns that could be addressed through proper regulation of new housing according to genuine existing needs in Wales and not the needs of the whole UK as the Welsh Government currently caters for.
Meanwhile, the London media in Wales makes sure we know about Will and Kate’s latest shopping trip. A story about a horse going on a train also becomes of prime importance for the foreseeable future.
6. Whilst Wales won’t control or profit from any of the selling of the electricity generated, large tracts of the country are surreptitiously signed over to corporate international wind power developers by our Welsh politicians. The Crown estate also still take as much of our mineral wealth as they can. Any takers in the media in Wales to challenge the Welsh Government on this perhaps? London media in Wales makes sure we hear the latest report from Strictly Come Dancing.
7. Britain is facing a spiralling and unpayable debt of over £1.6 trillion, basically meaning that Britain is bankrupt. Unless fixed or the debt in some way cancelled, a financial collapse is probably inevitable. Private savings will likely be taken by the state to pay off private lenders as happened in Cyprus and Greece. There will be no food in the shops and real, ugly, messy anarchy could occur, not likely the fluffy naïve sixth form Russell Brand type of utopic anarchy. London media in Wales gives us hay fever warnings. And more Benedict Cumberbatch. He’s gotten married now apparently.
8. Numerous illegal proxy wars, with the narrative and spin kindly aided and abetted by mainstream media, are carried out or facilitated by consecutive UK state governments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and currently in Syria, Ukraine and the middle east, where the UK state, American and other NATO forces make the most of proxy armies that fits whatever objective they currently have in mind.
Since 2001, over 1.5 million people have died in these wars including many Welsh soldiers. Any media scrutiny or healthy debate on this very serious subject in Wales perhaps? No. The London media in Wales mentions a few snippets about ‘the ongoing conflicts’ then proceeds to entertain us with a poll on Wales’ best beaches. Bimplestitch Crumplepath is set to begin filming his latest film this November.
Can Wales really trust or afford another layer of truth twisting that a London spun Welsh Newsnight equivalent would inevitably prove to be under the present non devolved broadcasting situation in Wales? The simple answer must be no.
S4C is looking likely to be under the increasingly tightened claws of the London controlled BBC as things are going at the moment, its news service especially. And with the great indigenous commercial Welsh station HTV now gone, how can we ensure that unbiased national Welsh media is a reality and not just another empty promise?
Many of our Welsh politicians still seem oblivious to the collapsed morality of the British state and its media or how Wales will be taken down with the sinking ship unless they really make their voices heard and demand total independence of broadcasting, press and media. As any country should, whether a sovereign state or not.
But enough of the doom and gloom. There has never been a better time to change things for the better. And the state of independent press and media in Wales is showing very promising vitality. So why are we waiting for permission to be handed our own broadcasting, press and media? What are we, Chihuahuas? Since when has Wales waited around twiddling its thumbs waiting for permission from anyone to express itself?
What exactly are we waiting for and who exactly are we waiting to give us the permission to do it? Wales doesn’t need anyone’s permission or to wait for anyone or anything, we simply need to start doing it and owning all our own news. Begging for permission to broadcast or be given responsibility over broadcasting is a national equivalent of begging for permission to speak or to go to the toilet.
Welsh political representatives, Welsh government cabinet members especially, have so far been given a ridiculously easy ride so far by the media in Wales. There are exceptions such as Adrian Masters of ITV Cymru Wales and others but it’s as if most of the main media channels and press in Wales have simply rolled over and begged to be the mouthpieces of the London controlled Welsh Labour government.
The same goes for scrutiny of public bodies in Wales such as Public Health Wales. It doesn’t really exist. No real questions are asked. Press releases by public bodies are mostly copied and pasted out dutifully without question by the media in Wales. Investigative journalism and scrutiny?? That’s just like, sooo 1980’s Americana.
Wales needs and deserves a media and voice that truly scrutinises and holds our Welsh government and representatives to account whilst also pushing out Wales’ unique voice for the whole world to see and hear. This needs to happen quickly and it should be independent, pro Wales, non left/right aligned and non partisan. This is the only real way to guarantee a free press and media for all the citizens of Wales, whatever their background or politics.
A country without a proper independent and informed media and press is in genuine danger. Democracy is endangered, accountability is endangered and ultimately freedom of speech and lives could be endangered. Building and enhancing our own national media and press is a real priority. Pooling talent and resources and reporting it ourselves – this now must be the way.
Until Wales is a sovereign state, this can’t be reliant on public grants or on begging bowl European aid or on a third sector waffle status either. As well as the necessary commercial element, it has to surely be directly funded and supported by the citizens of Wales and be answerable to them.
The devolving of all Welsh press and broadcasting, including radio and the internet should have been an obvious no brainer demand by the Welsh Labour government many years ago. But it feels like even that horse has long bolted. There’s no time to wait for bureaucratic waffle anymore, no time for never ending consultations, endless conferences and speeches where nothing is said and nothing done. News needs to be news, truth needs to out.
The Welsh and English language culture of Wales has bred an extremely rich hotbed of indigenous culture which has not so far, in modern times, been properly allowed to express itself in a mature and comprehensive way. Wales has done well to have its own national Welsh language channel. Now it also needs to have an equivalent national English language Welsh channel and perhaps also a hybrid of the best of both.
When Wales is a sovereign state, we can aim to maybe have at least 5 main publicly funded broadcasting channels and equivalent radio stations, two in Welsh, two in English and one mixed/bilingual. This as well as a commercial home grown mixed/bilingual channel like HTV Cymru/Wales genuinely used to be. Bilingual as in original English and Welsh language programmes and not slavish literal translations of either in to the other.
Under a truly independent Welsh Broadcasting Authority, other digital channels and local radio licences can be decided here in Wales and the internet protected from draconian snooping laws, with freedom of speech protected and encouraged whilst indiscriminate pornography and unrestricted material perhaps being restricted, especially to under 18’s.
It’s probably an unfashionable view but even freedom of speech can be undermined by a lack of morality when morality itself seems to be under threat. It can’t make sense for children to not be allowed to see films rated 18 at cinemas but be bombarded by continuous violence and barbarity on the internet and on Freeview where programmes such as CSI shows people being sliced and chopped to bits in the afternoon whilst they’re having their tea.
There are plenty of excellent examples of people already empowering themselves in the media and press in Wales. Radio Beca, although presently facing issues with Ofcom, has grasped the bull by the horns and started broadcasting and training others in broadcasting and editing in west Wales. Mon Fm in Ynys Mon is an independent, highly successful radio station broadcasting to all of the island. Cymru FM ,with no public grants, has started as an online radio station that plays Welsh language music 24 hours a day.
Made In Cardiff has at least given a unique voice to Cardiff although it can’t really be said to be independent or unique to Wales. The company behind it, Made Television Ltd in London, broadcasts similar shows all over Britain and also receives public money in the form of a commercial contract to the BBC, receiving £150,000 from the BBC in their first year. At the very least, it stands as an incentive to others to start new local independent stations.
As well as this, the printed press is not likely to be dying anytime soon and could, a bit like vinyl records, even be making a comeback. The Caerphilly Observer as well as the Port Talbot Magnet and all the other local Welsh and English language community papers also testify to this. The Caerphilly Observer newspaper has a distribution of 10,000 copies a fortnight and attracts an average of 69,000 page views and 25,000 unique visitors a month to its website whilst the Port Talbot Magnet paper is currently delivered free to 20,000 homes every month.
Elsewhere, Buzz magazine based in Cardiff has been a long standing successful independent Welsh publication serving the south Wales music and live scene especially.
Golwg 360 ,Y Cymro , Wales Politicio, Click on Wales as well as many others including the numerous one man/woman blogs are also national publications obviously making a difference and forming a rich national tapestry of opinions.
Recently came the inspiring news that the highly successful Pembrokeshire Herald – an independent newspaper company based in Milford Haven which also publishes the Carmarthen and Llanelli Herald, has agreed to publish the great Cambria magazine which had previously been facing difficulties.
Figures indicate that indigenous Welsh publications are growing in popularity whilst the London media in Wales such as the Western Mail’s circulation for example, has dropped to below 20,000 in recent years. Perhaps the one thing potentially missing is some formal joined up national cohesiveness and cooperation between all these numerous indigenous Welsh publications and groups so that there is also strength in unity.
Welsh non conformity and independent thinking is once again up against not only UK state, but globalist corporate media that is supranational and doesn’t care for nation or nation states. It’s probably why corporate mainstream media has become so numbingly uniform, artificial and stale. That and its failure to not spin news, to be non biased, to genuinely scrutinise and to report the truth.
And a world that’s in danger of turning into a modern day digital Tower of Babel, where the English language alone becomes the linguistic cuckoo in the international nest, and diversity of language and hence opinion are slowly outlawed in favour of uniformity, can’t be a healthy place. A place where the wet dreams of the mass digital internet corporations such as Google, Microsoft and others will become increasingly forced on the world like a giant unasked for global technotronic orgasm. In this, the Welsh language is as good a language as any to offer a Brittonic, European or international lingustic alternative to this grey global monoglotic digital hegemony.
Making the most of the technological opportunities for internet broadcasting must surely be the first priority for an independent Welsh media and press in general.
Isn’t this a perfect time to leave behind the moribound London BBC and their £145 licence fee and ask all Welsh citizens to voluntarily pay a fee to an independent online Welsh broadcaster and news body instead? Considering that a one hour video can presently be made and posted for nothing on the internet, isn’t a new independent bilingual Welsh news broadcaster with a budget of between £200,000 – £500,000 a year entirely possible right now if all the latest free technologies are embraced? Only 1,379 people paying an annual £145 towards a Welsh news broadcaster would make this a reality.
That’s a year of healthy political scrutiny and debate for less than the price of one Storm Shadow missile. One of many that David Cameron and William Hague were so desperate to fire, not at the terrorists within that country but at the sovereign state of Syria itself in 2013. Until Welsh, English, Scottish and Northern Irish MP’s, after much well informed scrutiny, discussion and debate, put a stop to it.
(A shorter edited version of this post appeared in Cambria Magazine in the summer 2015 edition, Volume 14, number 3)