Tuesday 2 September 2014


As Welsh blogs go, WalesEye is something of a newcomer. It set out with the aim of being a sort of Welsh Private Eye, combining satire with investigative journalism, but there has always been something deeply puzzling and rather un-Welsh about it from the start.

Un-Welsh because one of the defining characteristics of Welsh culture, whichever language is being used, is a sense of humour. Irreverent, earthy, self-mocking humour. WalesEye is a humour-free zone, and it takes itself extremely seriously. Which often makes it an unintentionally hilarious read.

The blog has sometimes carried some interesting pieces exposing fat cats in academia in particular, and only yesterday Cneifiwr linked approvingly to a WalesEye piece about newspaper sales, but until very recently there was nothing on the site which most of us would call satire.

Good satire is difficult, and there is not very much of it around in Wales, at least not in English. In Welsh there was Cnex, and then there was Ddoe am Ddeg:

The Welsh Government got pretty annoyed with LlywodraethCymru.org and had Twitter remove its account. The wonderful Dim Byd will hopefully make a welcome return soon, and then there have been truly world-class series such as Con Passionate and Tair Chwaer, gently sending up small town Welsh life.

English language contributions are harder to find, but here is something which popped up on Twitter yesterday.

Perhaps it's just me, but WalesEye's attempts at satire with a couple of pieces about supposedly overheard conversations between Labour politicians weren't funny. And let's face it, Edwina Hart, Carl Sargeant and Carwyn Jones are God's gift to satirists.

It's unlikely that WalesEye will heed Cneifiwr's advice, but it may be better to preface future satirical pieces with a statement:

This is a hilarious satirical piece which you will find very funny. If you don't, expect to hear from our lawyers.

It would also help if WalesEye included prompts in its satirical pieces, such as [Laugh here] and [Now split your sides].

Jac o' the North had the temerity to point out that WalesEye's attempts at humour were belly flopping, and last night he found himself the subject of a fairly typical WalesEye piece.

Apparently a "special investigation" may be about to be launched into "bloggers who use the internet". Are there bloggers who prefer semaphore to the internet?

"Some experts" believe that Jac's views could be libellous, and now "a special police investigation is underway into possible breaches of the law generally".

And so on, and so on. South Wales Police probably have more important things to deal with, but WalesEye is suggesting in its usual hint-hint-unnamed sources-maybe-possibly-it is claimed-sort-of-way that we bloggers (at least those of us who use the interweb) could be about to receive a 3am knock on the door.

Unlike the mainstream media in Wales, the blogosphere is alive and kicking, and just as in Scotland, most of the best Welsh blogs are written from a nationalist perspective, whether it's the Plaid-supporting Blog Menai (winner of the Welsh political blog of the year in 2014), the thoughtful, analytical and independent Borthlas, or Jac o' the North, politically incorrect, often very funny and some way to the right of the rest of us.

I like Jac. To me, and I suspect some other Welsh bloggers, Jac is the black sheep uncle your mother and aunts hope won't show up at the wedding, but you know he will liven things up.

Jac's biggest recent coup was his revelations about Nathan Gill, to the shame of all Wales now a Ukip MEP who supposedly represents us in Brussels. It's a sad reflection on the mainstream media that they didn't pick up on Gill's less than wholesome past.
Funnily enough, WalesEye recently quoted Ukip's infamous Rod Richards approvingly as an authority on Welsh poetry, so perhaps Jac's attack on Nathan Gill may also be a contributory factor which has led to the "special investigation" which may, or may not, have been launched, possibly by Inspector Dai Knacker, or possibly just in WalesEye's imagination.

Time will tell.

I used to think that WalesEye was run out of Labour's spin machine in Cardiff, but perhaps it is really a Ukip front. Either way, it's hard to tell the difference.


Jac o' the North, said...

What WalesEye did was quote a few vague remarks by police and lawyers and suggest they were talking about me.

There has always been something very 'iffy' about WalesEye, and it lays itself open to ridicule when it quotes Rod Richards as an expert on poetry. As for the intentional humour . . . well, it was sub-fifth form (there! I've given my age away). Another curiosity is that for a blog presumably believing in openness and freedom of expression it doesn't accept comments. Perhaps what WalesEye says must be accepted unquestioningly.

Getting a little more serious, I know that my blog upsets a lot of people with political, constitutional and social attitudes at variance to my own. It upsets them because I inform people in Wales, and elsewhere, of facts about this country they would be unlikely to get from other sources, certainly from the so-called Welsh media. That's why I write my blog, and that's why those I piss off would like to close me down, again.

My first blog was closed down by Google because Google is open to persuasion from agencies with which it exchanges information. My current hosting arrangement makes it more difficult for such pressure to be applied. Which is why I'm wondering if WalesEye is allowing itself to be used as a cat's-paw by more sinister elements hoping to close down dissenting voices.

Because for WalesEye to be making such a fuss over something as trivial as what is quoted is difficult to understand. Either those involved with WalesEye are hyper-sensitive, or the latest post serves a darker purpose. If I do get a visit from the police, and if my computer is confiscated, or if I am in any other way harrassed or inconvenienced as a result of this silliness on the part of WalesEye, then I will know who to blame.

Anonymous said...

There you go again ! There were no revelations about Nathan Gill. The revaluations were about his dad and related to incidents many years ago.

I think you will agree that no fe albatross were made concerning Nathan Gill himself ?

Cneifiwr said...

Anon@16.12 Importing foreign workers and running a gangmaster business? Housing 6 adults to a room? Before campaigning on a platform to slash immigration?

No, I can't see anything wrong with that.

Redhead said...

Er, I recall stories of a VERY dubious character and, when I did more research I found even more dubious
information for which I thank bloggers.

Welsh not British said...

I read this latest piece of his and I can't work out if it's meant to be another attempt at satire or if he's just a complete tool.

If I had to choose I'd say it was both.

Anonymous said...

Waleseye's Editor is former BBC Wales journalist Phil Parry in case anyone is interested. No idea of his politics but its clear from the blog he's no a fan of Plaid Cymru.

If Jacothenorth is being watched its probably more to do with the goings on in Scotland and it's impact on Wales, as we've seen from Carwyn Jones hysterical interventions and tweets on the referendum.

More power to his and your elbow

Anonymous said...

What's the difference between Welsh satire and British satire? The English probably end up paying for both anyway!

As for Wales Eye, it certainly generates publicity ....... and rather more than one or two other blog offerings that might spring to mind!