Friday 27 January 2017

West Wales News Review


WordPress has now 'unlocked' West Wales News Review, and the latest article can be found here. Why the blog was suddenly taken down is not clear, but this scare goes to show at a time when more and more people are turning to social media to get their news, much of it rubbish or downright lies, how vulnerable serious investigative sources are to forces which would like to see them silenced.

The Curran Resort story is an important one by any standards, with £16.7 million having disappeared in a scam which has robbed hundreds of private investors of their savings and hit local businesses, including a family butcher in St Clears.

Needless to say, the resort had lots of ambitious plans. Back in December 2015, less than a year before the administrators were called in, Carmarthenshire County Council's planning committee wisely rejected one of the proposed schemes by a majority of 12 to 2.

The two who wanted the council to give the scheme its blessing were Labour's Kevin Midas Madge, whose back catalogue includes Garnant Golf Club and the Scarlets Red Room, and Anthony Jones (Llandybie), former chair of the planning committee. Both will shortly be back on the stump asking unsuspecting punters for their votes.


Free speech and a free media are precious and increasingly under threat, as many readers in Carmarthenshire can testify.

Call someone Pinocchio, and you can be sued and lose everything. Refer to lumpy carpets, and the Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council will go to the police asking for a criminal prosecution.

Now West Wales News Review has suddenly had the plugs pulled for allegedly violating WordPress's terms of service.

For those unfamiliar with this extremely well-written and researched blog, West Wales News Review looks at local issues from a moderate left of centre, greenish point of view. The most recent story to appear on the blog dealt with the need for speed limits along the rural lanes of Porthyrhyd near Llandovery.

Earlier today, the author had just pressed "publish" on a new story dealing with the rather more delicate subject of the investors who have lost millions of pounds in the Corran Resort and Spa development at Laugharne after the sudden collapse late last year of the company running it. Seconds later, a message appeared saying that the blog had been removed, and has disappeared with all of its valuable archive.

West Wales News Review, Yr Hogyn o Rachub and Jac o' the North are three very different beasts, but all three have had the plugs pulled on them in recent years. The list of suspects behind the sudden demise of Jac o' the North in its old Blogspot incarnation would fill Parc y Scarlets (now there's an idea for their marketing manager...), while Yr Hogyn offended a particularly pompous and thin-skinned literary figure with a humorous piece on his blog.

Patricia Dodd Racher, the author of West Wales News Review is a very experienced journalist who takes great care to check her facts, and is scrupulously fair to her subjects. Who persuaded WordPress to take down her blog and why is therefore a mystery. If it was something to do with the Corran Resort, the disappearance of the blog is very strange indeed because the story was only up for a matter of seconds. So who else could it have been?

County Hall in Carmarthen would have to be high up on the list of suspects.


Owen said...

I was wondering what happened (to both WWNR and Hogyn).

Cneifiwr said...

Yr Hogyn came back after a few days of fraught discussion (and the removal of the offending piece).

Anonymous said...

WWNR is now back. Magic!

Patricia B said...

Our times are very worrying. With true investigative journalists on the decrease and bloggers under threat, who is going to hold our authorities to account? The less exposure of their failings the more serious and damaging they become.

Anonymous said...

Who was the literary figure who was offended?

Unknown said...

Thank you very much for your support.
The official minutes of a creditors' meeting, now lodged at Companies House, provided some of the information in the piece about The Corran. I have now been warned that the minutes are not accurate! Post truth, alternative facts, it's an express lift down to Hades. All you can do is check, check, check, and try not to be disoriented by the speed of the trajectory.

Anonymous said...

If free speech and justifiable criticism is blocked then THAT is the end of democracy."If you can't stand the heat ------" Carmarthen Council is a prime example of being so thin skinned.

Cneifiwr said...

Anhysbys@12.04 Mae cliw bach yn y darn 'ma:

Jac o' the North, said...

I'm hoping to eventually have enough suspects to fill the Camp Nou (capacity 99,354).

Anonymous said...

Bloody hell, Jac
You have enough suspects to fill that one in North Korea that holds 150,000.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was a criminal offence to file false statements at Companies House?