Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union unmasked

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. POSTINGS WILL PROBABLY BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

This is the third posting on the report accepted by the Arts Council of Wales and the National Museum from the mysterious and hitherto unidentified Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union (WAARU).

The WAARU submission was one of three (out of 34 applications) accepted by the two bodies ‘to undertake a series of in-depth research conversations’, with a view to ‘widening engagement‘ in the arts.

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Before starting, let’s just pause to consider the name of the group, Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union (WAARU). Clearly, whoever set up this group had already decided that there were racists in the Welsh arts scene. The kind of report the WAARU would produce was therefore entirely predictable.

I am now almost certain that I know who was involved in producing this scandalous report. Though many questions remain.

First, we’ll consider the report itself, then I’ll identify those I believe are responsible for the report, and finally, pose some questions.

THE REPORT

We don’t have space to go through the full report so instead, I’ll do what many of us do in such circumstances and head for the Recommendations. Except that in the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union document there are no Recommendations.

Instead we find, beginning on page 27, ‘Our List of Demands’.

These Demands are broken down into ‘Immediate’, which must be met within 14 days of the two bodies concerned receiving the report. ‘Short Term’, within six months. ‘Medium Term’, 6 to 12 months. ‘Long Term’, 1 to 2 years.

Before looking at the Demands themselves I’ve taken the following extract from ‘Principles’ on page 29, which sets the tone for what follows.

‘NMW-AC and ACW cannot accept that the racist situation we find ourselves in needs to change without equally accepting the role they play in maintaining it. As a result of this, they cannot be trusted to lead us out of this situation and must hand over significant power to Black and non-Black people of colour . . . .NMW-AC and ACW have been upholding white supremacist ideology.’

Suggesting that the Arts Council of Wales and Amgueddfa Cymru are irredeemably racist and should hand over the reins to, presumably, the authors of the report.

Moving on to the Demands themselves, starting at the foot of page 29 we read:

‘A budget commitment for at least five years offering regular and substantial grants for Black and non-Black artists of colour (prioritising people who experience multiple marginalisation). Access to the grant will not be conditional or selective.

Funding to shift from being governed by ‘outcomes’ (including artwork production, public exhibition and ‘community’ workshops) and towards self-identified/ self-measured artist development or community activity.

The only way I can interpret this is that Black and non-Black artists of colour should get paid for doing nothing. Perhaps get paid just for being, er, Black and non-Black artists of colour.

On page 30 we read an appeal for ‘democratisation and transparency’ . . . in a report that is itself unsigned and completely anonymous! (Page 23 is even headed: ‘The need for transparency’!)

On page 31:

‘All expressions of interest / applications longer than 500 words and interviews involving preparation tasks must offer payment to people from marginalised backgrounds as a means of positive action towards more diverse applicants. In a similar vein, all interview offers must come with a clear offer of access costs towards child care, time off work etc (which can be accessed anonymously).’

Demanding payment for completing application forms. But only for people from ‘marginalised backgrounds’.

I think we can safely assume that ‘marginalised backgrounds’ is another way of saying, ‘Black and non-Black artists of colour’.

On page 33:

‘If an employee from a marginalised community feels they need to leave their place of work due to discrimination, they will receive their full salary over the duration that they were contracted to work.’

‘Marginalised community’ is yet more code.

Here’s something else that caught my eye, this time from page 34:

‘NMW-AC and ACW should not be the sole bodies in charge of large budgets and / or distribution of funds. This process should be decentralised to other individuals and organisations, to increase transparency.’

That word ‘transparency’ again. And, again, it’s about money. Money. Money.

Towards the bottom of the same page we encounter:

‘A transformative justice and care fund made available for Black and non-Black people of colour, disabled and neurodivergent people, trans and queer people, people on low-income and people with refugee/asylum seeker status who work as freelance artists or as art workers, who have experienced harm and traumatic experiences within NMW-AC, ACW and all their funded organisations.’

‘I’ve had a traumatic experience with the vending machine – pay me!’ No, I’m not being flippant; it’s just that this section doesn’t explain what qualifies as ‘traumatic’. Though I’m sure we can guess who will qualify – and it won’t be no old honky like Jac!

You may – like many others – be confused by the report’s use of the term ‘Black and non-Black people of colour’. Helpfully, it’s explained in a footnote to page 3.

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It’s all-embracing: Navajo and Nepalese, Hausa and Han, Mongol and Melanesian.  Lumping non-white humanity under one clunky label to align them all against the pith-helmeted white supremacists of the Arts Council and the National Museum.

It’s really sad, almost delusional; the idea that non-white people everywhere share the views of some far left malcontents in the Cardiff arts scene.

This ‘report’ from the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union is a ransom note. And like all ransom notes its authors remain anonymous. The other similarity with a ransom note is that its primary purpose is to extract money.

THE UNMASKING

In case you’re new to this saga, it may be worth glancing at the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union (WAARU) Twitter account, which suggests the WAARU was born in early July, 2020.

As I wrote in ‘Corruption Bay and a tale of Cymrophobia‘: ‘The first tweet was on July 6, 2020, followed by a flurry of tweets that ended on August 11. There was nothing then until a retweet on Oct 20. A further retweet in November, another in December. Then nothing until April 18 and 19. A final retweet on May 14, attacking Israel, and nothing since.’

What’s remarkable about this Twitter account is that there is no mention of the tender to the Arts Council, or of the tender being accepted, or of the WAARU getting paid for the report, and then the report being published.

Yet this is the sole achievement of the WAARU. It’s almost certainly why the WAARU was set up. So why are those involved so reticent to claim the accolade?

This is a question that will probably remain unanswered. Though one possibility is that tweets were deleted before I saw the Twitter account. I suggest that because the response to its publication guaranteed the report would be an orphan.

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And yet, the answers to who is involved in the WAARU can be found in the documents I’ve used or referred to in the previous two posts.

Let’s start with something that appeared in an update to the previous post. Put up after a source suggested that when dealing with anonymous Twitter accounts it can often be rewarding to check on the first followers.

Here they are. Reading from the bottom up, we see that the first follower was @radha_sophia. Then comes @Durre_Shahwar, then @tayloredmonds, and so on.

A number of the other early followers have appeared in the previous blogs. Who could forget that master of the iambic hexameter Beau W Beakhouse? And then there’s BLM supporter Letty Clarke of Artes Mundi.

Note also that one follower is @WICFCardiff, which is a group called Where I’m Coming From. Of the first five followers, one is the group itself, and three of the others appear to be members.

WAARU Twitter follower number one, @radha_sophia, does not list Where I’m Coming From in her bio, but she is certainly linked. As this testifies. Note also the reference to ‘Sadia Hameed’. This being Sadia Pineda Hameed, the partner of Beau W Beakhouse.

Here’s @radha_sophia retweeting the WAARU launch tweet almost immediately it was issued. Do you find her message mildly threatening?

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You’ll see in the link to the WICF piece that @radha_sophia is named as Radha Patel. Which is her real name. Or, in full, Radha Mukesh Patel.

The Arts Council / Amgueddfa Cymru advertisement for tenders went out June 29, 2020 on the Sell2Wales site. In an update, on September 29, 2020 – giving the names of the successful applicants – we find an address for the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union.

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That address is in Pyle, just outside Bridgend.

The Land Registry website gave me ownership details for the property, and I recognised the family name. Next, it was over to 192.com to check on who actually lives there. And guess what – living at that address is Radha Mukesh Patel.

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So Patel’s family home in Pyle was given to the Arts Council as the address of the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union.

But how much of a hand did Patel herself have in the writing of the report for which the Arts Council and Amgueddfa Cymru were happy to part with a few thousand pounds of our money?

Maybe not a lot. She’s more likely to be one of a number of contributors.

Either way, here’s another tweet from Radha Patel, from August 2020, when she was presumably in Scotland. She doesn’t want to eat in a white-owned establishment.

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Moving on . . .

If we’re looking for a group that might have co-ordinated this exercise, then the previously mentioned Where I’m Coming From fits the bill very well.

As we’ve seen, its founder-members are among the earliest followers of WAARU and it connects with other significant actors in this scam. For I have no hesitation in using that word.

Beakhouse and Hameed of Lumin may be in the mix, but I think it would be more rewarding to focus on the Arts Council – specifically, Artes Mundi – and the Future Generations Commissioner’s office.

For if we look at the Artes Mundi Twitter account we see that it is currently co-operating with Where I’m Coming From. And if you click on the short video, there, at 0:41, we see Letty Clarke herself.

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While in the latest tweet on her personal Twitter account Letty Clarke promotes Hanan Issa, who comes in at number 5 in the WAARU Twitter followers.

Letty Clarke is a busy woman, and she’s named in its metadata as the author of the ‘Wales, Culture & Race Taskforce‘ (WCRT) document of June 2020. Prepared for the Senedd by yet another group of disgruntled BAME arts sector operators.

What happened to the WCRT, and the cash it was promised, is still debated.

I believe Letty Clarke had a hand in producing the WAARU report. But the involvement of Artes Mundi may not be limited to her.

For also listed among the first followers of the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union we find another Artes Mundi Curator, Melissa Hinkin.

Responsibility for the report may extend further.

The ‘widening engagement’ exercise undertaken by the Arts Council was probably initiated by this report, ‘Well-being of Future Generations Increasing Participation in Areas with Under-developed Reach of the Arts – Arts Council of Wales’.

Sure enough, at number 3 among the first ten WAARU followers we find Taylor Edmonds, the Poet in Residence at the Future Generations Commissioner’s office. She is also a ‘team member of @WICFCardiff’.

What the hell does a Poet in Residence do, anyway? Wander around the office sighing, looking for a chaise longue on which to drape oneself in the hope of attracting the muse?

But what if the muse appears at 4:55 and everybody’s off down the pub at 5 for Sharon from Accounts’ birthday piss-up?

‘Oh, Muse, it’s a bit awkward now . . . can you come back tomorrow?’

The impetus for the WAARU and the Mary Celeste-like Wales, Culture and Race Taskforce was the killing of George Floyd 5,000 miles away.

An event irrelevant to Wales encouraged some in the Cardiff arts scene to make unfounded allegations of racism and demand money for perceived injustices. Encouraged by a ‘progressive’ Cardiff Bay establishment ready to roll over and take the blame for slavery, colonialism, and a raft of other crimes of which we Welsh are innocent.

I’ve drawn up a timeline that might help. (The links all work.)

I am now 85% certain that the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union report was compiled by persons named above. Employees of publicly-funded bodies and others involved in the arts sector in Wales.

This sordid episode raises a number of questions.

UPDATE 08.09.2021: The update is just too big to put up on the blog, so it’s available here in PDF format.

WE NEED ANSWERS

A well-connected source tells me that in his experience no public body gives a contract such as we’ve discussed to a group with no record, no references, no money, no nothing.

Especially when there were 34 applications to choose from.

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Another source thinks that if this had taken place in the world of finance it would be called insider dealing. Which is why I earlier referred to what we’re discussing as a scam.

Now for the questions:

  1. Whose decision was it to advertise for organisations to tender for the ‘widening engagement’ research?
  2. Can we see a copy of the tender brief?
  3. Who sat on the scoring panel to select the successful tenders?
  4. Can we see a breakdown of the scores awarded to each tender?
  5. Who at the Arts Council of Wales signed off the award of the contracts?
  6. Why did no one at the Arts Council appreciate the contradiction in a report repeatedly calling for ‘transparency’ itself being anonymous?
  7. Into whose bank account was payment for the WAARU report paid?
  8. Have the Welsh Arts Council and Amgueddfa Cymru already met or do they intend meeting any of the ‘Demands’ in the WAARU report?
  9. How far up the Arts Council totem pole does knowledge of and participation in the WAARU deception extend?
  10. Will those responsible for this deception now be dismissed?
  11. What safeguards will ‘Welsh Government’ put in place to ensure that no more public funding is siphoned to cronies in this way? (Or is that the wrong question to ask of a political party and an administration built on cronyism?)
  12. Will the Wales Audit Office investigate the procedures by which public funding was used to produce what is little more than a racist ransom note?

CONCLUSION

When people on the Far Left work themselves into a frenzy of Woke self-righteousness, to the point where they claim to see ‘fascism’ and ‘racists’ everywhere, then campaigns against racism often end up being racist themselves.

Even more so when they contain unsubtle references to what those behind the report clearly regard as an over-emphasis on Welsh cultural identity.

What makes this case even worse is that there appears to have been collusion from within Welsh public bodies and national institutions. Public bodies and institutions funded by the Welsh public purse.

Wales is a tolerant and welcoming country. When those who claim otherwise use imported terms like ‘systemic racism’, resort to silly words like ‘microaggressions’, and flirt with anti-Semitism and Cymrophobia then they invalidate whatever cause they think they serve.

What I also found revealing about this report was that it contained a litany of vague complaints but a complete absence of specific examples; with not a single case that could be investigated. Let alone substantiated.

Innuendo and hyperbole, sloganising and insults, are no substitute for hard facts.

To the members of the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union, and others like them, I say: Instead of standing outside shouting and chucking stones, why not come in; join us, integrate?

We really aren’t that bad.

♦ end ♦

 




Arts Council of Wales and Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union, an update

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. POSTINGS WILL PROBABLY BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

This is a follow-up to last week’s post, ‘Corruption Bay and a tale of Cymrophobia‘. You’ll remember that we looked at how Labour Party insiders were paid to produce reports that would guide more ‘inclusive’ policy at the commissioning bodies, the Arts Council of Wales and the National Museum.

UPDATE

One of these submissions, from the mysterious Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union, painted a picture of Wales as some kind of Hell on Earth where ‘creatives’ of a non-Caucasian pigmentation are brutally discriminated against.

It was reminiscent of the hysteria I’ve been writing about in connection with YesCymru. Where some of those involved in the failed Woke-Left takeover wanted us to believe that ‘women with penises’ are being butchered on Welsh streets by mobs of transphobes.

What I found revealing was that neither those suggesting rampant transphobia or a whites-only arts scene are prepared to debate. Any dialogue must start from a blind acceptance of their ‘facts’.

A few tit-bits have come to light since the previous post went out. For example, someone drew my attention to the metadata naming authors for the three reports.

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The report from Labour insiders Lu Thomas and Jon Luxton named Luxton as the author. But the other two reports listed Arts Council employees as authors. Which might at first sight seem a bit odd, though there could be a simple explanation.

Such as the reports being submitted in MS Word or some other format and the Arts Council converting them to PDF.

If that is not the explanation, then what is?

Despite the ‘authorship’, there is no real issue with the Richie Turner Associates’ report because the contributors are named in the report.

It’s the third report, from the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union, that’s causing concern. Because no individual or contributor is named anywhere.

Anyway, in the hope of helping me make sense of the bigger picture, a few people made suggestions. Pointed me in certain directions. So off I went.

NATURE OF THE BEAST

It’s fair to say that Amgueddfa Cymru was almost a ‘passenger’ in this exercise, so I’m ruling them out to focus on The Arts Council of Wales.

The current Chair is Phil George, who I speculated was a Labour Party supporter. His immediate predecessor in the post, from 2007 – 2016, was David Burton Smith, whose political leanings have never been in doubt.

For Dai Smith – father of unsuccessful challenger to Jeremy Corbyn, Owen Smith – is another creature of the left. One of those historians who, like Neil Kinnock, believes Wales isn’t worthy of study until the Industrial Revolution and the creation of a proletariat.

Smith worked for the BBC in Cardiff, from 1994, as, ‘Head of Broadcast (English Language). He was responsible for commissioning programmes on the arts and in drama and has also presented award-winning documentaries on the people and culture of south Wales’.

Through a socialist prism, of course.

An interesting insight into colonial Wales, this. For while the Labour Party rails against Tory cronyism, Old Boy networks and the rest, the Buttybond practises something very similar in Wales.

And the Tories are more than happy to let them do it. I’ll explain why a bit later.

Phil George has a long history with The National Theatre of Wales (NTW). In fact, he was one of the founding directors on September 9, 2008. He seems to have left NTW in March 2016, around the time he was appointed Chair of the Arts Council.

I’m told the National Theatre of Wales was always well favoured in Cardiff. One source reports: ‘”BBC Wales” used and uses every opportunity to promote this company. Hardly any arts documentaries are done but in its formative years, 2010, it commissioned a 30 minute advertorial dressed up as a documentary on a National Theatre production’.

It was thanks to Phil George and NTW that Abdul Shayek of London got his foot in the Welsh public funding door.  For Shayek’s Linkedin page tells us that from April 2011 until April 2013 he was a Creative Associate with NTW.

Shayek then branched out to form FIO, a BAME theatre group. Though apparently reliant on funding from the Welsh public purse this didn’t stop FIO taking plays to India. And Shayek ‘representing’ FIO at symposia and the like in Sri Lanka and Australia.

Nice work if you can get it! And especially if someone else is paying.

Another source tells me FIO got some £400,000 in funding over 3 or 4 three years. (It might have been more.) Which pays for quite a few trips to Oz and old Serendip.

Going back to Shayek’s Linkedin bio we see that he left FIO in August 2020 to join Tara Theatre. No, this has nothing to do with halls and High Kings, it’s yet another ‘ethnically diverse’ theatre group. This time in London.

I’m not sure of the reasons for Shayek’s departure, or where this leaves his creation, FIO. The website suggests it’s still going, and the Charity Commission entry implies he’s still involved.

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Whatever the relationship between Abdul Shayek and FIO he still appears to be involved with the arts scene in Wales. And pissing off quite a few people with his involvement in the Wales Culture and Race Taskforce (WCRT).

Which was set up in June 2020 to, ‘challenge the lack of diversity within the arts in Wales and demand systemic change’.

I’m not sure if this was Abdul Shayek’s brainchild or if he just got involved somehow. Certainly, his creation FIO was holding the money donated to WCRT by other arts groups. Said to be £20,000.

You’ll get a flavour of the dispute from the Critically Speaking blog of Jafar Iqbal. (A supporter of Leyton Orient football club.) In particular, read the lengthy comment from ‘pledging organisations’.

If you want to know more about the role envisaged for the Wales Culture and Race Taskforce then you should read this document prepared for the ‘Welsh Government’.

Strangely, in just 452 words this document manages to use the term ‘white-led’ three times. In the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union ‘report’ we encounter the phrase ‘white-led’ 10 times.

When checking the metadata for the document I’ve just linked to, I found the author named as Letty Clarke. So obviously, I wondered who she might be.

You will not be surprised to learn that Letty is also from England, but since January 2020 she has been Curator of Public Programmes at Artes Mundi Prize Ltd. From the Artes Mundi website we learn:

‘Artes Mundi Prize Ltd is a registered non-profit charity that annually relies on support from individuals, corporations, sponsors, trusts and foundations to fund the costs of all our programmes, alongside our core public revenue from Arts Council of Wales and Cardiff City Council’.

The name may sound like a character from a forgotten novel set in 19th century New England, but Letty is of the here and now. And, unfortunately, the ‘here’ is Wales.

Letty Clarke’s Linkedin profile makes it clear that she supports Black Lives Matter, and her Twitter account provides a few gems.

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As many of you will know, investigations are continuing into the death of Mohamud Mohammed Hassan, who died some hours after leaving police custody. But Letty Clarke, after being in Wales for a short time, has already made her mind up.

For according to her Hassan was a victim of ‘police brutality’ and ‘state violence in Wales’. What the hell does she mean by ‘state violence’? There is no Welsh state!

Let me explain the relationship to you, Letty . . . Your country robs my country and by way of compensation doles out money to those buffoons down Corruption Bay, who in turn distribute far too much of that cash to people like you and your friends.

Which means that, one way and another, most Welsh people get screwed twice over.

Up to now in this painful trawl through the ‘Welsh’ arts scene I don’t think we’ve met anyone who is actually Welsh, apart from a few cocks atop the dung heap.

Let’s see if we have any more luck in the next section.

THE SEARCH CONTINUES FOR THE WELSH ARTS ANTI-RACIST UNION

In December 2019 the Wales Audit Office produced a snappily-entitled report, ‘Well-being of Future Generations Increasing Participation in Areas with Under-developed Reach of the Arts – Arts Council of Wales’. You can read it here.

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The Introduction says: ‘This document has been prepared for the internal use of the Arts Council of Wales’. Reminding us that this is an example of the additional public money wasted since the implementation of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, and the creation of the post of Future Generations Commissioner, with of course, a whole new department.

The job of Commissioner was given to Labour time-server Sophie Howe. She had previously worked under Alun Michael, the former Labour MP and now Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales.

Under ‘Contents’ we read: ‘In its efforts to increase participation, inclusion and engagement in areas with under-developed reach of the arts, the Arts Council of Wales (Arts Council) is demonstrating commitment to the sustainable development principle but it recognises the need to further embed the five ways of working.’

Clearly, the Audit Office looked into inclusion in the arts, and made recommendations to the Arts Council. So why, just six months later, did the ACW spaff another £50,000 (minimum) doing what looks like exactly the same thing?

(Note that the Sell2Wales notice I link to is from June 2020. Which is when the Wales Culture and Race Taskforce was set up.)

This duplication produced the three reports dealt with in the previous post, including the submission from the mysterious Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union.

This digression takes us nowhere nearer identifying the person or persons behind the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union. In fact, it’s difficult to get any handle on the WAARU.

One mention I did find was on what I assume to be a podcast. It seems to be called Mostyn, or Lumin, the latter described as, ‘an artist-run radio and publisher led by Sadia Pineda Hameed and Beau W Beakhouse’.

If you scroll down to the bios of others involved, you’ll see this for the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union. But again, no name.

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I’d like to be able to tell you that Hameed is from Froncysyllte and Beakhouse from Llangyfelach, but alas . . .

Beau tells us: ‘I’m originally from Bournemouth but moved around . . . I come from a nature & craft background . . .  My parents were self-employed gardeners, who then went into woodcraft . . . Eventually, I managed to study English Literature at Cardiff University’.

Hameed: ‘I’m from London. I also came to Cardiff to study English Literature at uni and decided to stay ‒ in part because I didn’t really have the money to pursue the arts back in London, but also because I really liked how open the arts scene in Wales is.’

Yes indeedy; the ‘arts scene’ in Wales is open to just about anybody . . . artistic talent is unnecessary, and knowledge of Wales undesirable.

Here’s an example of Beakhouse’s poetry from 2017.

Don’t give up the day job, Beau. Whatever it is.

That we are no nearer fingering who wrote the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union report is understandable, given its reception. But the Arts Council of Wales must know because the WAARU was paid well to insult us.

Which is why I have submitted a Freedom of Information request to the ACW.

But over and above that, this situation of strangers being paid to insult us could only happen in the peculiar circumstances of devolution, which sees politicians and others who superficially oppose each other agree when it comes to Wales, and the Welsh.

UPDATE: Since publishing this piece I have received feedback, including someone drawing my attention to The Future Generations Report 2020. On page 355 we read what you see in the panel:

I have two points to make.

First, ‘learning Welsh on the job’ sounds like a good idea, until you realise it’s often a ruse to give jobs to people most of whom will do no more than go through the motions of taking a few Welsh lessons.

Mark James, former chief executive of Carmarthenshire County Council, would be a great example of this scam in practise.

Second, The Future Generations Commissioner in her 2020 report is quoting Race Alliance Wales (RAW), a body formally launched on December 19, 2019. How the hell did a newly-constituted body become so influential so quickly?

The answer is that those behind RAW are based almost exclusively in Cardiff and well connected in Corruption Bay.

While organisations elsewhere in Wales, established for far longer, representing many more people, but outside the Bay Bubble, are ignored.

This is not healthy; this is not democratic; this should not be the Wales any of us wants to see.

But it’s the Wales we live in.

FURTHER UPDATE: Someone else has been in touch with an intriguing suggestion. Which is, that when an anonymous Twitter account is launched the author is often to be found among the early followers.

In the case of the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union Twitter account the first ten followers can be found here. (Read from the bottom up.) There are quite a few names there that appear in this article.

THE BIT AT THE END WHERE COLOMBO PUFFS ON HIS CIGAR AND . . .

Picking up again on the shared motivations, what I’m hinting at is that these otherwise squabbling interests agree that Wales must be carefully ‘managed’.

Which is why what passes for entertainment on television and elsewhere is banal and superficial. Welsh politics, social issues, and other specifically Welsh matters (when dealt with in English) are often quarantined in programmes broadcast at awkward times . . . which results in hardly anyone watching them.

The same applies more widely, in the fields so copiously manured by the Arts Council. For example, there’s not a hope in Hell of Wales having its own Abbey Theatre.

We are at a stage now where if two plays are in competition for funding, one about Welsh villages being destroyed by excessive tourism, the other about the absence of obstetric facilities for low caste birthing persons in Tamil Nadu, then you can predict with certainty which will enjoy an opening night.

Researching this piece I stumbled on an hour-long lecture by former Arts Council Chair Dai Smith, built around writer Raymond Williams. Smith is speaking at a ‘Cultural Democracy Workshop’ in November 2020.

This was of course delivered at a time when the three reports commissioned by the Arts Council were being prepared. Yes, it was all happening around that time.

Smith makes the point that in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, when Williams was at the height of his intellectual and creative powers, his writing was framed by what he saw as a class struggle. But things have moved on.

(Interestingly, a piece on Williams appeared in UnHerd yesterday.)

Most importantly, the political left in Europe and North America has lost the working class. Which is why Marxism is now promoted through race, environmentalism and gender. And the harder the left pushes these the more it alienates the working class.

No one living just thirty years ago could have envisioned the crazy situation we have reached today. And few political activists of the left under the age of 40 can believe that their ideological predecessors idolised those they regard as stupid, racist, transphobic, climate denying Brexiteers.

The sons and grandsons of Marxist miners are fascist white van men!

A hazy understanding of Marxism re-interpreted by Black Lives Matter almost certainly lies behind the report submitted by the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union. It also explains the report’s acceptance by the Arts Council.

But why would the Old Etonians in Westminster and their civil servant alumni of lesser schools want to push such drivel? The answer is that they share with the Woke-Left establishment in Corruption Bay a desired outcome.

This explains the funding and other encouragement for people from around the world to come here, take funding that should go to Welsh arts, and then call us racist.

London likes the ‘The Welsh are racist’ message because it explains why we oppose holiday homes, and resent being colonised. (It’s why the Telegraph used the WAARU report.) Corruption Bay modifies it to read, ‘Nationalism is racist’ because that can slander those suggesting there is a better way for Cymru than devolution’s cronyism and exploitation. 

Together they tell us why the ‘Welsh’ arts scene today is a revolting mess of talentless dreamers and grant-grabbing shysters. Overwhelmingly alien; with some of those involved positively racist in their attitudes towards us.

Modern Wales in microcosm.

♦ end ♦

 




Corruption Bay and a tale of Cymrophobia

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. POSTINGS WILL PROBABLY BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

This post is about the findings from surveys commissioned by the Arts Council of Wales and Amgueddfa Cymru. The project was entitled, ‘Widening Engagement’.

These reports, or certainly one of them, prompted old Shippo at Llais y Sais to give it something close to the, ‘We Are At War With Germany’ treatment. (Available here in pdf format.)

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Front page lead continued on inside page, completed with a full page of grovelling from the white supremacist running-dogs of the patriarchal imperialist-colonialist system.

The story travelled. Not only did the Daily Telegraph pick it up, but also, from that source, Andy Ngo, in Portland, Oregon, scourge of Antifa.

Even RT.

This passage from the Arts Council website explains the exercise . . .

“At the end of June 2020 Arts Council of Wales and Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales advertised a tender to undertake a series of in-depth research conversations. Our aim was to widen engagement with communities we consistently fail to engage in our work. We received 34 submissions and after a detailed selection process and interviews we decided to appoint three organizations to undertake three very different studies.”

The reports from the three successful tenders have been submitted and are now available online. They are from: Re:cognition, Richie Turner Associates, and the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union.

So let’s look at them in that order.

RE:COGNITION

The first problem I have with these people is the name. Let me explain.

There is a company Re:Cognition, with qualified medical people involved in specialist mental health services. And an annual turnover in excess of £10m. But this was not the company employed by Arts Council of Wales and Amgueddfa Cymru.

For as the report tells us, on the very first page, its authors are Jon Luxton and Lu Thomas, two Labour Party stalwarts from Penarth. (Where Luxton was once mayor.) And wouldn’t you know it – Lu Thomas has appeared on this blog! In Plaid Cymru’s enemy within (scroll down a bit).

Lu Thomas is big in Pride Cymru, and something of a trans fanatic, believing that ‘women with penises’ are being persecuted. Everywhere. By everybody.

Here’s her Linkedin profile. Where you’ll see that she claims to be a director of a company called Cognition.

Cognition Training Ltd, directors Thomas and Luxton, was put out of its misery in December 2018. But even when trading it never provided the income that bought Thomas and her wife their £500,000+ house on Windsor Esplanade.

Image: Mark Lewis. This appeared in a WalesOnline report in July 2018. Click to open in separate tab.

The ‘Cognition’ name was also used by Luxton and Thomas in Cognition Associates. Which produced a website where the latest ‘News’ is from July 2013. Cognition Associates was never registered with Companies House.

And now there’s Re:cognition Wales. Or rather, there’s a website. Note that Thomas and Luxton use a lower case ‘c’, whereas the ‘real’ company spells it ‘Re:Cognition’. But again, this Luxton-Thomas company is not registered with Companies House.

One Lu Thomas company that was registered with Companies House was Pitch Consult Ltd. Incorporated July 15, 2019. Struck off January 5, 2021. No accounts were ever filed.

What I found interesting about Pitch was that the other two directors were Mitchell Theaker and Pearleen Sangha, who you may remember from their appearances on this blog. They were Labour councillors in Swansea; part of the student intake needed to keep up the bruvverly numbers.

Jon Luxton has also been rubbing shoulders with celebrities lately. For listed among the directors in Sound Progression Ltd, along with Luxton, we find Cian Ciaran, of Super Furry Animals, and late of YesCymru. This company was Incorporated June 10, 2019.

Given Luxton’s record its time can not be long.

A glimpse of what Thomas and Luxton do is given in this snippet from the NHS. They work for the Labour Party, in its various forms: ‘Welsh Government’, Cardiff Council, etc.

They also work for bodies reliant on ‘Welsh Government’ funding. Reminiscent of the jobs found for the nephews of made men.

To understand how it operates imagine a phone call from Corruption Bay or City Hall: ‘Oh, hello, Lu, love, how’s it going . . . listen, we want you to do one of your surveys, yeah, here are the findings we want from you’.

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And this is why no ‘survey’ conducted by Thomas and Luxton should be given any credence. They are just Labour Party apparatchiks.

The worry should be that these beneficiaries of Labour cronyism get so much work. Work paid for by the public purse. It’s naked corruption.

But it also explains why they were one of the 3 out of 34 applicants chosen by the Arts Council and the Museum to do the ‘research’.

Page 10 of the Thomas and Luxton report tells us (rather clumsily): ‘To note: only one respondent namechecked the Eisteddfod indicating poor reach into this community of mainly English speakers. this lack of Welsh Language art and culture was also demonstrated in the responses to all other relevant questions.’ 

I wonder if this ‘finding’ will be used in future by the ‘Welsh Government’ to deny or reduce funding to Welsh language organisations, events, and projects, or in other ways be used to undermine the language?

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The quote above, from page 12 of the report, about sums up what Thomas and Luxton have to say – ‘Do what our friends in the Welsh Government tell you’.

RICHIE TURNER ASSOCIATES

Whoever these are, they compiled, ‘A research report looking at the reasons why D/deaf, disabled, learning disabled and neurodiverse people do not attend arts events or visit National Museums’ Wales or attend very infrequently’.

While that may have been the ostensible reason for recruiting Richie Turner, his Linkedin profile makes his political leanings very clear. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a colourful Linkedin header.

Or one less relevant to Wales.

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Richie Turner is of course another Corruption Bay insider. His jobs and appointments listed on Linkedin suggest someone with strong Labour Party connections. For no one in Wales without Labour Party connections could dream of a CV like that.

So what does the Richie Turner Associates report have to say? Though before you read it, I should say that Richie Turner Associates is not a company or a partnership, just an ad hoc group of his friends and, well, associates.

Richie lives in Hay-on-Wye, which is handy for the books, and the festival.

Those who helped him compile his report, also live in the south east. In fact they all seem to live in Cardiff and Gwent. One of them, Lyndy Cooke, is a former director of the Hay Festival. Nice.

Though the report tells us (page 4): ‘Our research engaged with people across all regions of Wales.’

Possibly. But how well do Richie Turner and his gang know these far-flung ‘regions’?

It might also be asked how well Turner knows his associates. For the woman named throughout the report as ‘Mary Allen’ is surely Mary Allan.

There’s little to take issue with in the Richie Turner Associates report. It’s just a litany of complaints followed by a few recommendations. And concluding with some comic book-style illustrations!

Flicking through it a few things caught my jaundiced eye.

This, for example (page 27): “Arty farty type messaging on advertising, such as Gothic and trendy typefaces also make it hard to read from a few feet away in a wheelchair”.

Who could argue with that?

Whereas I found this a little confusing (page 30): “Some places like museums are too big, with too many people. I need less people to be able to go”.

We obviously can’t have empty museums. Museums that attract no visitors will be closed.

All in all, this contribution from Richie Turner Associates may be regarded as the bland filling between two very unappetising slices of bread.

THE WELSH ARTS ANTI-RACIST UNION (WAARU)

It’s difficult to know what to make of this one. For a start – what or who is the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union?

I found a Twitter account. I think we can assume that it was started in the period of hysteria following the killing of George Floyd, some 5,000 miles away.

In fact, the WAARU Twitter account started up a week or so after the Arts Council and Amgueddfa Cymru decided to launch their ‘research conversations’ at the end of June 2020. What an amazing coincidence!

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The first tweet was on July 6, 2020, followed by a flurry of tweets that ended on August 11. There was nothing then until a retweet on Oct 20. A further retweet in November, another in December. Then nothing until April 18 and 19. A final retweet on May 14, attacking Israel, and nothing since.

Why hasn’t the Twitter account rejoiced in WAARU’s participation in this exercise? I find this very odd.

We can reasonably assume that the WAARU leans politically to the left, maybe quite far to the left.

There is no website for the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union. Just a Gmail address on the Twitter account. So I wrote on Friday morning. I’m still waiting for a reply.

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Anyway, here is the report produced by Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union. However you look at it, it is a remarkable document.

It suggests that the Welsh language is racist and the Arts Council and Amgueddfa Cymru are both run by white supremacists.

There are ten references in the report to these organisations being ‘white-led’. But in a country that is 95% or more white does the writer expect them to be non-white-led? That would make them grotesquely unrepresentative.

There are also references to Black Lives Matter, reminding us that the report is very much of the post-Floyd era. Summed up perhaps with this paragraph from page 24: ‘One participant asked how Amgueddfa Cymru could see itself as combating poverty, when it’s very purpose involved displaying objects from countries whose wealth had been plundered through colonialism.’ 

No, that is not its ‘very purpose’. What a stupid and insulting thing to say! If Amgueddfa Cymru has a ‘very purpose’ then it’s to celebrate the history of Wales.

But that is not atypical. For a number of times this report comes across as either ignorant of recent Welsh history, or misinformed, or just mischievous. Here’s another example, from page 18.

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There is no ‘Welsh Census’, it’s organised by the Office for National Statistics in London. Not so long ago you couldn’t even describe yourself as Welsh on the census form. That’s why I was one of those protesting before the 2001 census.

But the writer of the WAARU report presents the census as more evidence of structural racism within Wales!

Having mentioned the writer, I ask again – who is it? Because there is no name mentioned anywhere in the report. It is anonymous. So why was it accepted? Or to go back to the beginning, why was the WAARU commissioned to write a report?

Are we to believe that out of the 31 rejected applicants there wasn’t one better qualified!

On page 36 we read this passage: ‘Marginalised artists and art workers should receive support to learn different languages, in addition to Welsh. This additional support is necessary because Welsh language policies in current applications can exclude Black and non-Black people of colour’.

What ‘different languages’ are needed in Wales?

The writer is clearly ignorant of the fact that many ‘Black and non-Black people of colour’ were brought up speaking Welsh, or else have learnt to speak Welsh.

And while there’s solidarity implied with the term ‘Black and non-Black people of colour’ this solidarity is not consistent. Because the Twitter account suggests that non-Black People of Colour might be little better than Uncle Toms.

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Finally, most reports end with findings and recommendations. The report from the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union ends with ‘Our List of Demands’. It sounds almost threatening. Like a kidnappers’ note.

Whoever wrote this report may have legitimate grievances, but they’ve gone about airing those grievances in entirely the wrong way.

The national institutions of Wales exist to reflect and to serve the culture, history, identity, and people of Wales. The Welsh language is central to Welsh identity, and for many centuries served as the identifier of Welshness.

Maybe the so-called ‘Welsh Government’ can also remember that.

UPDATE 24.08.2021: Checking the metadata of the three published reports gives Jon Luxton as the author of the Re:cognition report, which is what I would expect. Him or Lu Thomas.

But listed as author for the other two reports are Arts Council of Wales employees.

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There are a number of possible explanations for this. Maybe the original documents were converted from MS Word to PDF format at the Arts Council. If so, why? Those chosen to produce these reports were well paid to do so. Was this work at the Arts council deducted from their fees?

Or is there another explanation?

CONCLUSION

The first report we looked at was produced by Labour Party insiders who carry out research for their comrades. The ‘findings’ are often used to justify legislation and other measures that the ‘Welsh Government’ has already decided on.

I wonder if the ‘Welsh Government’ would pay me to do a survey into the third sector, or housing associations, or tourism . . . or even the ‘Welsh Government’?

The second report told us nothing really except that the Arts Council and Amgueddfa Cymru are doing a bad job when it comes to catering for those with disabilities.

Though much of the feedback was about venues, over which the Arts Council may have little or no control. And as for ’empty museums’ . . .

But that will be overlooked because the report gives the ‘Welsh Government’ another stick with which to beat both organisations.

The third report is just a chip-on-the-shoulder, ‘where’s our grants?’ diatribe. To give it credit for being anything more would be to legitimise the anti-Welsh prejudice running through the report.

Whoever commissioned this report must have known in advance the kind of submission they could expect from the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union. Which means that the WAARU was paid to produce exactly that kind of report.

Let’s remind ourselves who heads the two organisations involved.

Phillip George of the Arts Council was previously,‘ Creative Director of the award-winning production company Green Bay Media which specialised in high-end documentary projects for broadcasters in Wales’.

He left Green Bay on March 31, 2016, when he was appointed to the Arts Council. At that time, Green Bay had 14 outstanding charges (loans, etc) with S4C and Finance Wales.

Phillip George re-joined Green Bay on June 30, 2017, as secretary, though I suppose he could have been acting as a director.

The next development came on July 24, 2018, when all 14 outstanding charges were cleared. The company’s registered address was changed on the same day.

On January 14, 2019, a Declaration of Solvency was made and a liquidator appointed. Green Bay was finally struck off May 19, 2020. With George still listed as secretary.

Were those debts really cleared, or were they written off, or was some other arrangement agreed? And why was Phillip George allowed to re-join Green Bay while serving as Chair of the Arts Council?

I don’t know Phillip George’s politics, but here he is with former Labour MP Kim Howells. Does he share Howells’ attitudes to the Welsh language, devolution / independence?

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Prior to taking up the post Amgueddfa Cymru chief Roger Lewis was CEO at that most BritNat and Unionist of organisations, the Welsh Rugby Union.

It’s the third report, from the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union that’s getting the media attention, and quite rightly so, so let’s give it a few final thoughts.

Although the report ostensibly deals with the Arts Council and Amgueddfa Cymru, by questioning the role of the Welsh language and perceptions of Welsh identity its impact goes well beyond those two institutions.

Doing it from an ethnic minority perspective is clever, because attacking Welsh identity from a BritNat position invariably generates resistance. It’s much smarter to use the race angle, and maybe get some liberals and socialists onside.

Which makes it difficult to pin down the origin of this survey. Because if someone is trying to introduce Critical Race Theory into Welsh public life, for the disruptive effect it guarantees, then that source could be Marxist left or Unionist right.

Whatever the source, if enough people can be persuaded that defending Welshness is ‘racist’, then this will impact negatively on the growing interest in Welsh independence. The ‘racist’ slander can even be used against those demanding action on holiday homes.

Where does it end?

Maybe campaigning against Tryweryn was ‘racist’. And perhaps it’s ‘racism’ that sustains our national sporting teams. Why not just merge with England and join in singing GSTQ at Wembley and Twickers?

No one should be publicly funded to question a nation’s existence. Both bodies must explain why they chose the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union.

We, who’ve paid for it, are entitled to know who wrote the WAARU report.

Finally, perhaps the real lesson from this fiasco is that Wales must have independence. Not just from England, but also from Cardiff Bay.

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Political Harmony: The Music of Englandandwales

I am indebted to my old confrère André Jacob for drawing my attention to an upcoming musical event entitled ‘Beyond the Marches’, information for which is reproduced below. You’ll see that I have highlighted a passage that reads, “Six of the finest young folk musicians from Wales and England come together to explore and celebrate the shared history and culture of the two nations”. As you might imagine, this got me thinking about our “shared history and culture” and so, now infused with the spirit of sharing, I feel compelled to share my thoughts with you.

Trac, Beyond the Marches

Let’s look at our ‘shared history’, and where better to begin than with our first contact with the Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians who invaded Romano-Welsh Britain following the collapse of the empire. What this episode tells us is that the ancestors of the modern English introduced themselves as invaders. In the centuries that followed these Germanic peoples pushed west and north, taking more of our territory, killing, expelling or enslaving our people, until we were left with little more than what we today call Wales.

The aggression and conquest continued, until the death of Llywelyn in 1282 and that of his brother Dafydd the following year, their children either killed or imprisoned to ensure no succession. This was followed by a period in which we were treated as second-class citizens in our own country, a colonialist system that an African-American or a Tibetan would understand. This discriminatory system was one of the causes of Glyndŵr’s great war for national liberation that began in 1400 and explains why so many rallied to his cause.

Glyndŵr was unsuccessful but victory at Bosworth in 1485 put a Welshman (of sorts) on the throne of England and things began to look up . . . if only for the Welsh aristocracy and gentry. Harri Tudur and his son Henry VIII decreed that Welshmen would in future be treated exactly the same as Englishmen . . . because there would be no recognition of any distinct Welsh identity.

The next great stage in the ‘shared history’ came with the Industrial Revolution, which saw our people and our natural resources exploited for the glory of imperial England. And so it has continued to the present day when we can now add colonisation to the list.

As for the ‘shared culture’ referred to, where in England can you hear penillion sung? Where are the great English practitioners of cynghanedd to be found? Just as with history’s march, the cultural influences are all one way, as they must always be between a colony and the country that exploits and dominates that colony. So who’s responsible for this insulting nonsense, this pretence that Wales and England are equal, each having influenced the other?

The body organising ‘Beyond the Marches’ is Trac (Traddodiadau Cerdd Cymru / Music Traditions Wales), Charity Commission number 1085422. Trac is also a company limited by guarantee, No 4106014, with the charity’s trustees also acting as directors of the company. Among these director-trustees are “performer, author and TV producer” Eiry Palfrey, Cardiff folk singer Frank Hennessy, radio celeb Huw Stephens, Dafydd Iwan, and the man currently campaigning to be re-elected Labour MP for Cardiff West, Kevin Brennan. Trac is funded by the Arts Council of Wales, the ‘Welsh’ Government and the National Lottery.

Trac appears to be run by director Danny Kilbride, manager Blanche Rowen, with Angharad Jenkins serving as project officer. It might help if I knew a bit more about Danny Kilbride and Blanche Rowen. Kilbride lives in the Mount Pleasant area of Swansea, and the charity is registered at the same address. Though the company is registered at an address in the neighbouring Uplands area. I know little about Blanche Rowen beyond that she performs with a Mike Gulston.

trac staff

It would be easy to think of Trac as something like the cultural organisations one encounters in totalitarian states – funded by the government and designed to keep artists and ‘creatives’ in order to ensure that nothing subversive emerges. Or am I being unkind? Even if I am, and at the very least, Trac carries the hallmarks of a Welsh Third Sector body funded by the Labour Party to serve Labour Party interests and promote the Unionist message. Which makes it look like yet more squalid politicking using public funding.

How else could anyone interpret ‘Beyond the Marches’, a musical event clearly promoting the idea that there is little or no difference between Wales and England? Such a perfect way to push the Unionist, Better Together message. And this being done just days before the general election, with concerts in Aberystwyth on May 2nd, Cardiff on May 3rd, and London on May 4th. Will these concerts end with Rule Britannia and God Save the Queen?

Perhaps next year, before the Assembly elections, Trac can balance things out by organising a few concerts promoting the message that Wales is most definitely a different country to England, and one that has always been abused and exploited by England, so remember this when you go to vote . . . but it ain’t gonna happen.