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This report is taken from PN Review 120, Volume 24 Number 4, March - April 1998.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams

The controversy over Nigel Jenkins's poem 'Farewell to Viscount No', savaging the late George Thomas, subsided slowly. In the correspondence column of the Western Mail supporters of the former Speaker, beside themselves with fury, lashed out at the poet and the magazine, The New Welsh Review, that published him. How could a journal, dependent upon public money via Arts Council of Wales funding for its very existence, print such a scurrilous libel on a sainted politician of the socialist persuasion? Someone should put a stop to it. At this not unexpected twist, others joined the argument crying 'censorship'. Since at least one of the former group has a senior position with Labour in south Wales, there are grounds for some concern that, if the defenders of George could have their way, writing here would toe the party line - or else. The self-regard and eagerness to look after their own, regardless of the consequences, which characterised old Labour, appear set to continue in Wales under the Blairite reformation of the party. That should give pause even to supporters of what must be a Labour-dominated assembly for Wales.

It does not require an advanced qualification in conspiracy theory to see the possibility of a connection between the development of the 'Viscount No' affair and another saga that unfolded in the Western Mail about eighteen months ago, involving the MP Dr Kim Howells. Writing about this in PNR 111, I questioned the motives for his intervention in one of ...


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