Sunday, November 07, 2010

Things Welsh

Been trying to get a handle on the rally organised in Cardiff last Saturday about S4C. Still not quite sure what it was about. As a statement of support for the continuation of S4C as a Welsh Language channel, it was fine, but as far as I know, no-one with influence has anything but committed support for the channel. Seems there were two secondary issues - a call for an assurance about the future 'independence' of S4C, and its long term funding. Again, all those with influence agree that these two issues have to be addressed, and its part of a continuing debate. It's what Welsh Coalition MPs are engaged in. Its a pity so much publicity was given to the non-payment of the licence fee though. This sort of talk makes the lives of political friends of S4C more challenging.

Watched the Politics Show today, when Alun Cairns, my fellow MP, was in excellent form. Alun has been terrific on this issue, along with other Welsh Coalition MPs. Ieuan Wyn Jones, in the studio, and a speaker at the rally, was reduced to criticising Alun for something he didn't actually say. One thing that occurred to me as Ieuan was speaking was why doesn't the Assembly Government put in some money, if it believes the current agreement is not a sustainable budget. All party leaders in the Assembly seem to agree that S4C should be devolved. I suppose they might not be allowed to! And in passing, I was interested in David Williamson's Q & A piece in today's Wales on Sunday. When he was informing viewers about how Welsh politicians have responded to the new funding arrangements for S4C, he referred to the four party leaders in the Assembly (who do not have any direct responsibility for S4C) and completely ignored the Welsh MPs who have. I can inform readers of this site that without the determination and guile of Welsh Coalition MPs, the future would have looked rather more bleak. But this will have to await the memoirs.

Intending to visit the Assembly on Tuesday, just as a visitor to the public gallery, for the 'powers' referendum debates. This is one of the final pieces to be put in place to allow the referendum to go ahead on March 3rd. Hoping to hear some inspirational stuff to 'fire up' the Welsh nation. Hard to believe its only 4 months away - including Xmas and New Year. As time goes on, I increasingly fear a low turn-out.


Anonymous said...

or no turn out at all.
Both yes and no seem stagnant.Even interested people I know ,didnt realise the date has been set.
There is no leadership - wha the hell is happening in WALES have we given up?

Glyn Davies said...

VM - There are too many political games rather than 'leaders of opinion' willing to get out there and inspire the voters. Law making powers on the back of a 40% turnout will leave the National Assembly's credibility as an issue.

karl jones said...

your blog has become a sad place these days glyn. Gone is an independent minded voice. Slavish loyalism. Your s4c comments have been so out of touch. Do you genuinly believe this stuff or do you have your head in the sand simply as a way of ignoring what jeremy hunt and your party is doing?

menaiblog said...

Could you please set us straight on one point Mr Davies?

When you say that 'without the determination and guile of Welsh Coalition MPs, the future would have looked rather more bleak' are you in fact saying that Welsh Coalition MPs had an input into the decision to farm off the funding of S4C to the BBC?

Glyn Davies said...

Karl - abuse is no substitute for reasoned discussion, and neither does it alter the truth.

blogmenai - No. I had no knowledge of discussions with the BBC until the decision was taken. I did not know that the licence fee was part of the Comprehensive Spending review discussions. What I am saying is that the funding arrangements for S4C could have been a lot less favourable than they are. You would be very surprised by how many people, (and who), think this is better deal than they had expected.

menaiblog said...

So in what way did your 'guile & determination' have a positive effect on the arrangements for funding S4C?

Simon Brooks said...

Glyn, I think the rally on Saturday was of some significance.

There were a lot of people there. More than 1,000 says the BBC; 1,500 says Golwg; more than 2,000 says Cymdeithas yr Iaith.

There is a very good panoramic picture of the crowd on:

Double click to get high resolution.

It shows that those present are ordinary people, and not "professional activists" - which is also of some significance.

It was the largest political demonstration in Wales of any sort for many years.

Glyn Davies said...

Simon - I did not think there was anything wrong with the rally. If I'd have ben anyhwere near Cardiff, I'd have gone myself. S4C is hugely imprtant to Wales. I was commenting that there seems little difference between what's being called for, and what we will be getting (hopefully anyway).

Blogmenai - As I previously commented, that will have to await the memoirs. There is a limit about what I can say publicly. Perhaps you should just think a bit about what might have happened.

menaiblog said...

The two secondary issues as you call them are at the heart of the problem with your government's plans.

If the BBC were to have editorial influence over S4C programming it would be unlikely to act in the best interests of S4C when there was conflict with its own interests.

Even more importantly it's fairly obvious that S4C would quickly contract if it were forced to compete with various components of the BBC for recourses. The BBC basically wants high audiences & low production costs. S4C has low audiences & fairly high production costs. Within a BBC framework financing S4C adequately makes little sense.

Surely all this is obvious. No?

Glyn Davies said...

blogmenai - Agreed.

menaiblog said...

It thus follows that top slicing the licence fee is better than handing over control for financing the channel to the BBC?

Colin Nosworthy said...

Glyn, what page in the Conservative manifesto were plans to fund S4C via the BBC licence fee, and cut 94% from the government grant to the channel mentioned?

Could you also point to the page where the Conservative Party supported giving a power to a Minister to abolish S4C through subordinate legislation? If you read the Public Bodies Bill you will see that the Culture Secretary is empowered to do this in the legislation.

Do you support giving the Culture Secretary the power to abolish S4C via subordinate legislation?