Wednesday, 24 November 2010

S4C becoming a national embarrassment?

Once again S4C is making headlines tonight for all the wrong reasons.

Questions over whether the Chairman of the S4C authority has resigned or not are making S4C, the Authority and the Westminster Government look painfully amateur.

I have no idea who is to blame for the latest mess but my fear is that it reflects badly not only on S4C but also Wales and the Welsh Language.

It is time for somebody to take responsibility and move thing forward before the whole saga becomes a national embarrassment.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

What is more important, S4C or the Welsh Language?

In recent weeks there have been a number of attacks on individuals who have questioned the performance and funding levels of S4C.

Many of these attacks have come from individuals who have never before shown much interest in the language and seem to be using an important subject to score political points, however I feel it is important to point out that questioning the performance of S4C is not anti the Welsh language.

I like many others was very disappointed by the S4C funding cuts announced but I do understand that cuts have to be applied fairly and I can understand why S4C had to take a share.

I am a passionate supporter of the Welsh language and I feel that it is a vital part of our national identity. The work that has been done over the last 30 years (much of it by S4C) to protect and support the language has been excellent and we are very fortunate to have a relatively strong base to start from.

However I do not believe that television will play nearly as significant a role in protecting and expanding the number of Welsh speaker over the next 30 years.

The point that when S4C was established it was 1 of 4 channels whereas today it has to compete against nearer 400 has already been made, and if feel the future of the language is more likely to be protected through more modern media.

The expression of this view is not anti Welsh or anti the Welsh language.

Going forward S4C needs to either diversify and promote the Welsh language through far more channels such as online tv, smart phone apps and social media or accept that its budget is going to be squeezed.

Ultimately the total budget for promoting the Welsh language is finite and going forward the proportion spent on traditional television should fall as new ways to use the language emerge.

I know some steps in this direction have already been made by S4C but so far they have not been sufficient.

Criticism of S4C is not anti Welsh Language. Indeed many of those who question the performance of the channel do so out of concern for the future of the language.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Should Pembrokeshire Council Bailout Care Home Businesses?

Over the last few weeks a storm has been brewing in Pembrokeshire over the funding for care homes. The issue that is being raised throws up several important questions, but there is a long term issue which will have to be addressed sooner rather than later.

Once again the reason for the business failing (as with several other recent care home business failures) is deemed to be lack of income from the local authority. However funding can only get worse in years to come as a combination of an ageing population and spending cuts begin to bite.

The truth is that many of the care homes in Wales are simply not suitable. They are too small and are buildings which are not ideal for being effective care homes. This is often the reason that the businesses that run them are failing and it is not the fault of the local authority. If we wish to ensure that we have high quality care homes for the future we need to start to plan the building of larger purpose built homes now.

I have huge sympathy for the residents and I hope that all concerned work hard to ensure that their care is maintained during the difficult period that the company in question is facing.

However government, local authorities and those involved in the sector need to begin to plan for the future as we cannot expect councils to be bailing out failing businesses through higher fees in the years to come.

Monday, 8 November 2010

20,000 empty seats a blip?

I attended the Wales vs Australia game on Saturday and like most others was very disappointed by the thousands of empty seats. I have seen many comments as to the reason for this over the last couple of days with the blame being laid at the door of ticket prices, the recession, too many matches or 'just a blip' as Roger Lewis put it.

There is no doubt in my mind that the main reason is not the price or the recession but the number of internationals being played. When you play the big 3 from the Southern Hemisphere 2 -3 times per year it is no wonder that the games lose some of their sense of occasion.

I do not feel however that we should necessarily be going back to playing them once every couple of years.

It is not long since Wales were a 2nd class rugby team unable to live with any of the top 5 rugby nations. Wales has come a long way in recent years partly through regional rugby and partly through playing the best teams in the world on a more regular basis.

If Wales once again were regularly having 40 - 50 points put on them, crowds would soon fall away to well below the numbers that showed up to support on Saturday.

If lower crowds and the odd dead atmosphere are the price we pay for being a team capable of living with the best in the World then so be it.

The truth is the FAW would love to see 50,000 plus fans filling the stadium for them but as they have learnt the crowds follow success.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Hello again

3 years after giving up blogging I have decided to give it another go. I intend to use this blog to give my views on all things that I feel impact on Wales and the Welsh people.