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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The murky world of Welsh heroes

I have now received replies to my request for more information on allegations that the 100 Welsh Heroes poll was rigged in favour of Aneurin Bevan. A huge amount of material has been lodged in the Assembly library and I intend to spend tomorrow morning looking through it. I have been told however, that I am not allowed to copy, remove from the library or let anyone else see them.

I have also received a redacted version of the letter from the Chair of Culturenet Cymru to the Assembly Director for Culture, Welsh Language and Sport in which he explains why he believes that these allegations are untrue. Apparently, a copy of the relevant parts of the letter will also be available on the Assembly's Website here. However, when I looked there was just a summary and no link to the actual letter.

Essentially, the letter says that when the Chair became aware of accusations that the results of the 100 Welsh Heroes poll had been manipulated then he conducted an enquiry by speaking individually to the Culturenet staff involved in the project. As a result he came to the conclusion that votes that were clearly fraudulent because for example, they were multiple votes from the same source, has been properly discounted. He also concluded that "no other manipulation had occurred".On learning of my written questions on the issue he conducted a second investigation by interviewing the relevant staff. Again he could find no evidence that there was any action taken to manipulate the figures. He concludes by saying that "there remains the possibility that such manipulation, that is, manipulation for purposes other than to combat 'fraud', was conducted, by the only person who had access throughout this period to the recording of votes. If this did happen, it was certainly without the authority of the Board, and I am satisfied, without the authorisation of the Director."

I have no reason whatsoever to doubt the integrity of the Chair of Culturenet Cymru nor his sincerity. However, it does seem to me that the only way that we are ever going to know for certain what happened is if the database undergoes independent examination. Why this has not happened is beyond my understanding. Perhaps I will know more tomorrow.

This is an edited comment from Andrew Meekings posted at 9.56pm on 17 November. I have removed an accusation relating to an individual in Culturenet Cymru.

Why the database hasn't been looked at by an independent expert is pretty obvious I'd have thought.

This belated attempt to lay the blame on one rogue individual is ridiculous........ And the reply made by the Chair of Culturenet to Simon Thomas about this affair is so confused as to be hardly worth bothering with - it confuses the nominations phase of the project with the voting phase.

The Assembly's own Audit team have done nothing more than ask Culturenet a few questions. They haven't looked at the database either.

I deliberately didn't name an individual.
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