Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Society Pavillion at eisteddfod

The eisteddfod is more than a cultural event it is also the one week of the year that institutional Wales holds its jamboree. Almost every organisation in Wales is represented. Productivity in our country must take a real dip during the week. And for all the movers and shakers its their opportunity to get things off their collective chest.
Today, was no exception. The leader of Plaid Cymru, Ieuan Wyn Jones, opened up a debate about the future of the Welsh media. Or, perhaps, more accurately what could be described as a lack of future unless a cross party consensus can agree on a way forward. His contribution is a six part plan based on the premise that broadcasting should be devolved and  the National Assembly should be given the powers to; 
1.        Set the budget of S4/C.
2.        Establish the terms of reference and aims of the Welsh language channel and protect its budget to ensure quality of production.
3.        Establish, in the short-term, a Welsh BBC trust to ensure that its financial, editorial and strategic decisions are made in Wales, with the aim of providing a better service to audiences in Wales.
4.        Establish formal structures to scrutinise the BBC, S4/C and Channel4.
5.        Control the distribution of FM frequencies in Wales, and ensure that new DAB stations such as Radio Wales and Radio Cymru are available throughout Wales.
6.        Have a say in how the ITV licence is decided in Wales.

His ideas received a warm welcome by the audience, but they would wouldn't they - they were to the man or women either employed or had a vested interest in the Welsh media.  The jury is still out as to whether an audience with less of a vested interest would find his ideas as attractive.
Elsewhere on the Maes the National Assembly itself was promoting debate. During the week they are sponsoring a  series of lectures and today's offering  was historian and journalist Hywel Williams casting a satirical look at Wales' heroes. He took an irreverent look at Nye Bevan, Owain Glyndwr, Dylan Thomas and even had Tom Jones in his sight.
My guess is that if the 'werin' had heard it then there would have been a rapid increase in the nation's blood pressure as many of their heroes were knocked off their pedestal.
The eisteddfod in providing such a platform performs a valuable service. But do the two pavilions set aside have to be so dingy. Surely, they could do better!

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