‘Letter from Wales’. Pub. Labour Uncut/June 7th 2013- Let’s see if the Welsh gravy train survives a collision with Ed Balls’ fiscal reality.

The other day Ed Balls said, “We need to look ruthlessly at how every pound is spent.”

He obviously has yet to travel on the Welsh express gravy train.

Devolution has allowed the ancient Labour enthusiasm for small-town political monopoly and personal fiefdom to run riot – for the impotence of democratic principle and challenge, look no further than Wales with its happy coteries, self-serving cabals and “all the usual suspects” political foxhole mentality.

Like the rest of the UK, there are three sectors in Wales. The public, the private sectors and  of course the third Sector which is not for profit and seeks to help citizens in varying and various ways eg health charities, CAB’s etc.

As alluded to in previous ‘Letters,’ Wales is a tax-payer junky, it cannot and will not move away from the divine right of tax-payer subsidy in all things – at least Westminster subsidy that is.

Wales is small, many in Westminster may even think insignificant, its population not even  half of London’s. But should this smallness negate any scrutiny by its paymasters? Any accountability?

In Wales, criticism of the ruling party is viewed with suspicion and superior arrogance. The elite potentates of Old Labour carte blanche carry on with a 90 year mandate as if Blair never existed and the unions still rule the ghostly memories of coal and steel grandeur.

London must and always will, pay up.

Dissent is for the birds. Outspoken truth to be sneered at and discredited wherever possible. The Welsh will always vote old Labour.

So why don’t even a minority of the Welsh speak up? The answer is simple. All three sectors are in the tax-payer pocket, in some way or another. Even the private sector relies heavily on public subsidy, although it is debateable whether there is a Welsh private sector at all. To get on in Wales one has to be Old Labour, one has to toe an outdated and defunct Clause IV line and ignore what is going on in the rest of the world.

Speak out? Don’t be silly, who do you think pays my mortgage? Who do you think puts food on the table? In Wales, Labour has become a 24 hour, 5 Star workhouse make no mistake. If the Victorians thought they had it right, welcome to old Welsh Labour’s world!

Allow me to give you just one example (out of many) of Welsh Poor Law gratuity.

Take Welsh academia, now these institutions really are rife with subsidised personal advancement.

Tutors and lecturers Dr Tiffany Atkinson, Dr Zoe Skoulding. Tiffany Murray, Dr Fflur Dafydd, Jasmine Donahaye have all received thousands of pounds from the tax-payer for their own vanity creative writing efforts and note we’re not talking here about academic research or endeavour, we’re talking about their very own poetry and novels.

Multiple awards and bursaries going to the same people are also the name of the game in Wales eg Gwyneth Lewis (ex-National Poet of Wales), Jon Gower (ex-Arts journalist with BBC Wales), Meic Stephens (ex- CEO of Arts Council of Wales), Tony Bianchi, Robert Minhinnick, Richard Gywn…….. it just depends on who you sit down and have supper with. In London it’s Islington, in Wales it’s Cardiff Bay, the only difference being that the food is rather more haute cuisine in London.

Having a proper day job, like most writers, is of course out of the question.

Only recently, this unassailable and perverse sense of tax-payer entitlement was epitomised so delightfully by one Liki Siencyn, chief executive of Literature Wales.

Following the £100,000 of public money dished out to Dinefwr and Laugharne book festivals last year, she announced with a confidence that would have reduced even Simon Cowell to tears and I quote, “The flourishing publishing industry that exists in Wales today, is defiant in the light of the economic climate.”

Defiant? Flourishing? Well, it would be wouldn’t it.

It depends totally and unapologetically on the tax-payer!

So then, why would anyone wonder why Wales is so cowardly left of left and this includes its academic gamers?

Everyone is living off gold-plated top drawer dole. Everyone lives in each other’s pockets so for god’s sake don’t upset the applecart.

And as for those old chestnuts ‘scrutiny’ and ‘accountability’, I put all the above and much much more in the hands of the Wales Audit Office.

Guess what the reply was?

They are satisfied that correct and proper procedures are in place where the distribution of direct Welsh government allocation of public funds to the Welsh publishing industry are concerned and that quality oversight is ‘adequate’.

Such is the standard of government oversight in Wales.

It is simply absurd.

It is also brazenly dishonest.

Since devolution the Welsh government has blown its trumpets and demolished the walls of progress and any chance of some modest Welsh self-reliance.

Nick Capaldi, CEO of the Arts Council of Wales, was on television earlier this week (BBC Wales News) announcing his support for a Welsh artist’s contribution to an exhibition of the visual arts in Venice – the recording of a man snoring in a telescope.

Cost to tax-payer? £400,000 and I wonder who is paying for Nick’s little excursion to Venice on a PR exercise? I know the price of a cappuccino in St. Mark’s Square will make your eyes water.

The arrogance of entitlement is just plain astonishing. The country is broke but not for the Arts Council of Wales and its apparatchiks it seems. To hell with austerity, Westminster and the tax-payer, a Welsh artist and the CEO of the Arts Council of Wales must come first and money is no object!

The title of Ed Balls’ speech at the start of the week was “striking the right balance for the British economy”. He described something called a zero based spending review:  “a root and branch review of every pound the government spends from the bottom up”

Let’s see if the Welsh gravy train survives a collision with Labour’s new fiscal reality.




6 thoughts on “‘Letter from Wales’. Pub. Labour Uncut/June 7th 2013- Let’s see if the Welsh gravy train survives a collision with Ed Balls’ fiscal reality.

  1. I agree with you about Arts Funding, but Tony Blair is and was a money grubbing, warmongering, power freak and as such only had any time for people with greater power; so he made this country a satrap of America and we have been paying the price for it ever since! You expect the Tories to take from the needy to give to the greedy as they have always done, but New Labour are only Tories in disguise. Old Labour gave us the Health Service and a National Rail Network and put us on the road to become a real social democracy like the Scandinavian Countries. Thatcher destroyed that and it’s been downhill ever since. I fear for the future of my grand children. Now we live in the era of professional politicians who will say and do anything to obtain power. The aptly name Ed Balls is one such creature. Try thinking through things and look at our history of greed and corruption based on snobbery before going into one of your rants e.g. in the heyday of empire the working class here were riddled with rickets and TB. Compare and contrast to National Socialist Germany where after only seven years in power they chased us out of Europe and flattened all our main towns. 90% of Nazi losses in the last war were on the Russian Front and now China is overtaking America as an economic power ergo: state socialism has been triumphant in the longer term. It’s no use you generalising for the particular as you do as the corrupt Arts set up in Wales has nothing to do with Old Labour but is the product of a narrow gutted nationalism: the tax payer supports the egos of spite filled shit bags like Meic Stephens. Vivian Lawrence Griffiths. Author and Lecturer. Date: Sat, 8 Jun 2013 19:38:31 +0000 To: griffstaff4@live.com

    • Dear Mr Griffiths,

      Your eschewing of personal insult on this occasion is appreciated – I do not ‘rant’ however, I merely put a well sourced opinion into the public domain.

      Your historical observations are not without merit, albeit that they are perhaps somewhat over-bearing?

      The libertarian view that social reform can only be achieved with peace as its partner seems to contradict the evidence ie that war and strife drive social progress not hinder it.

      A tragic reality, but one that human nature alone creates.

      Our politicians are human and they make mistakes (don’t we all?), but in Britain I still believe that one is remarkably lucky to be born here. You refer to Bevan’s National Health, a noble achievement at the time but now in the 21st Century…………….?

      Outdated and unsustainable, rather like the old Labour Welsh ‘government’

      Thank you for your comment.


  2. Just a metaphor of the Welsh governent, which was brought on by the British Fantasy Society staunchly supporting the Welsh government and devolution in LU.

    Anyway, some links from principality politics below.



    One from Betsi:


  3. I have to concur. Only this morning I was speaking with a Labour activist who is appalled at what is going on at Uncut. ‘No wonder the English think we’re a bunch of txxts,’ was his parting observation.

    The arrogant sense of unmitigated entitlement by these people, is just astounding. Not to mention their dominion over the ‘Red Water’ science of smear and unimaginative farce.

    Nevermind, this time the real policy-makers and opinion formers are now discovering what is going on in Wales and this can’t be a bad thing for tax-payers.


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