Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Column, September 6, 2005

WHO should care what appears on an obscure little website set up to attack Welsh nationalists?
Not many of us, perhaps, but now someone has lost their job because of this site’s activities.
The Natwatch site published an e-mail from Rhodri Tomos, who worked at Gwynedd Council. It was perfectly obvious from its content that Mr Tomos would find himself in some difficulties if it was published.
Whoever it is that runs the website decided that he or she could not care less about the consequences though, and published it with Mr Tomos’s name attached.
As a result Mr Tomos has resigned from his position as research and information officer.
Natwatch had published his e-mail on its website in which he suggested there was more to the refusal of the Pwllheli marina deal than met the eye.
And what should happen next? Lo and behold the Labour party turn up like flies around…well, we all know what flies gather around, demanding an inquiry.
Last month Aled Cottle found himself on the receiving end when an intemperate e-mail from his address was sent to the Natwatch site and Labour was as keen then to make capital out of the situation.
Which leads to the question, just who is running the Natwatch site? It would seem, given their keenness to ride on its coat-tails that the Labour party are very familiar with its content.
Perhaps they’re just avid readers of the web and spend their days trawling sites like Natwatch on the off chance it will give them material about their opponents. Or perhaps they know more about the site and its creator than they are letting on.
It would be reassuring to see the Labour party distancing itself from the actions of this site rather than using it as a stick with which to beat their political opponents.
It’s fair enough targeting political parties like Plaid, they’re big enough to look after themselves. But when you cause someone to lose their livelihood simply because you don’t like their politics or they won’t give you the information you want then it’s no longer a bit of fun on a website.
But then to rub salt in the wound, after causing Mr Tomos’s resignation, the Natwatch site describes him as a “brave whistleblower.”
“This man had the guts to stand up to his employers over a poor decision that would have transformed the Pwllheli area for the better,” says the site.
Contrast that with their communication when Mr Tomos offered them the information in the first place, in which they said: “We can easily survive without the support of a nat (nationalist) with a chip on his shoulder.”
Now the site weeps crocodile tears for Mr Tomos and calls for his reinstatement, when it was its actions that caused him to lose his job in the first place.
The really stupefyingly dumb thing about the site though, is that there might have been something to the story.
What if there was more to be told about the Pwllheli marina? Instead of finding out, whoever the half-wit is that runs the site simply outed Mr Tomos as its source.
If there is anyone who knows more about the marina story, you can bet they won’t be going to Natwatch with the information given its scant regard for confidentiality of sources.
And then we get Labour lumbering in its wake calling for all correspondence of the matter to be published. Brilliant, like that’s going to get you anywhere.
Both Aled Cottle and Rhodri Tomos were foolish to communicate with this site and put themselves in jeopardy as a result.
If anyone out there is thinking of doing the same then I suggest you be very careful about concealing your identity.
Better still, contact the Daily Post, the journalists here are bound by the Press Complaints Commission Code to respect confidential sources.
You’ve seen how the Natwatch site betrays its sources, it’s your choice.

THE latest Wales Tourist Board promotion dropped out of the Sunday paper when they were delivered at the weekend.
Included in the leaflet extolling the virtues of Welsh mud in its many forms – from that applied as a beauty treatment to that which flies off the wheels of your mountain bike – was the fascinating fact that the sea off Wales is warmer in October that it is in June.
I suppose it’s just the temperature on the beach after your dip that might be a bit off-putting then.
But can the WTB explain why they keep banging on about a visit to Wales being and ‘honest’ experience.
Some marketing whizz has told them that this is the latest buzz word in holidays and they are wearing it out, I’ve heard it so often.
But what does it mean? What is an ‘honest’ experience? More important, what is a ‘dishonest’ experience.
Other than that I think the marketing is spot on and they’re doing a good job of showing the variety of holidays available in Wales all year round.

MUCH as I adhere to the view that footballers are a bunch of overpaid nancies who deserve a good slap, I can’t see the sense in what the Wales fans did at the weekend.
Booing someone’s national anthem, no matter how much of a colonialist dirge it might be, serves no purpose other than to pander to the fans whose knuckles scraped the floor as they entered the Millennium Stadium.
Really, did they expect Beckham to dissolve in tears and go back to the dressing room when he heard the first boo accompany the first bar?
All it achieved was to fire up an England side, who, given the narrowness of the victory, could have well done without firing up at all.
Just think, if you were there and you’d kept your trap shut, you might have been celebrating a victory instead of mourning yet another defeat.
It’s nothing to do with respect, its whether you want to go on losing, or whether the occasional victory might just lift the gloom.


Nic said...

Diolch am hyn David.

Banksy said...

Many thanks.

Taking a bit of flak for it from certain quarters.

Into every life a little rain must fall.

Nicholas Michael Morgan said...

Good article David.