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Friday, September 22, 2006

Punch and Judy

The culture portfolio in the National Assembly for Wales has been subject to more than its fair share of controversy since Labour took it over in 2003. Rows have blown up over the amount of money being allocated to non-Cardiff based Arts Organisations as compensation for the Government's revenue support for the Wales Millennium Centre, over the Welsh Language Board, and of course, over plans to castrate the Arts Council of Wales by directly funding the six biggest Arts bodies. On most of these issues, the Government has been frustrated by the opposition parties.

It seemed entirely appropriate therefore that, as we convened for our penultimate term before the Assembly elections, that the Minister should have to deal with a question on Punch and Judy:

Nick Bourne: In considering the culture budget, would you pay special attention to the international Punch and Judy festival held at Aberystwyth every year, with great success and on a politically correct basis with contributions from all around the world? It attracts many visitors to what is the gem of Ceredigion and it sorely needs funds from the Assembly Government.

Alun Pugh: Decisions regarding small-scale arts projects are probably made at arm’s length by the Arts Council of Wales. The Minister does not decide on these matters. That is not the way to do it—[Laughter.]

Putting aside the Minister's rather weak joke, it is difficult to imagine a politically correct Punch and Judy. Surely, such an event would defeat the whole purpose of the genre.
I know that David is anxious to start a discussion about the management of the arts in Wales and I am happy for him to do so on this post. However, I would suggest that he starts it off with a comment that is not potentially libellous

On the issue of the 100 Welsh Heroes poll I did everything I could to substantiate the allegations, even calling in the Welsh Audit Office. They are an body whose independence and integrity is unquestionable. However, they were not able to support David's case. I really believe that I have done everything humanly possible to assist in this instance and do not accept that I am part of a cover-up of any sort.

David should not allow his bitterness to blind him to who his allies and friends are.
This would make more sense as a post if you'd included anything I'd written.

Looks like you're talking to yourself.

Get the database. It'll support everything I said.
If the Wales Audit Office could not get the database then I think I have very little chance.
It is very frustrating that I cannot edit comments only publish or reject them. This then is the only way to get a slightly edited version of David's latest comment onto this site, by including it in a comment from myself:

"I've been able to use the published data and Benfields Law to show an anomoly. I don't know if I can demonstrate it's statistically significant.

Your remark about the Audit Office is very ill-advised. I know what we did with the data and the Audit Office didn't examine the database, anyhow. That's another reason I'm disenchanted with public bodies.

I know what happened. I know it hasn't been investigated properly.

As for libel. Remember the Librarian's comments to the Western Mail about that? Taking legal advice, he was. That withered away, didn't it."

I am uncomfortable about including allegations on this site that I cannot back up personally, therefore I take the view that it is best not done. However, I will make the point that if David wants to invite a libel action could he please leave me out of it and use his own site to do so.
However, I will make the point that if David wants to invite a libel action could he please leave me out of it and use his own site to do so.

Ok - but please don't assert that any public body's integrity is unquestionable. Reminds me terribly of Helen Clark's recent unfortunate remark:

"Allegations of corruption are intolerable in a Western liberal democracy."
- Helen Clark, NZ Prime Minister

to which the reply was made:

No, Corruption is intolerable. When allegations of corruption are intolerable, it is no longer a Western liberal democracy

More anon...
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