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This report is taken from PN Review 170, Volume 32 Number 6, July - August 2006.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams

There has been uproar in the arts in Wales. Loud and angry protests have been heard in the past, from arts organisations and arty individuals with grievances, usually about the share of public subsidy they received. The current furore is due to meddling politicians and, for once, arts practitioners and the Arts Council of Wales are united in opposing them. Politicians talk in clichés and slogans and listen only to what they want to hear. They have a desperate need to be seen to be doing something (and hate being informed of fact or argument that reveals flaws in their one-dimensional thought processes), which is why they do not understand 'leave well alone'and 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. Whatever else Rhodri Morgan and his Labour ministers in the Welsh Assembly Government may say, it is for this reason they have chosen to persist with a 1997 election manifesto promise to do away with quangos. Once the snappy phrase, 'bonfire of the quangos', was coined by some political adviser, the die was cast.

This very day, the Welsh Development Agency, which has overseen economic and industrial development here for the past thirty years, will be brought into the Welsh Office. And if Alun Pugh, Minister for Culture, Language and Sport, had had his way, it would have been preceded by the Arts Council of Wales. So confident was Mr Pugh that all would come to pass according to his will, that he told Geraint Talfan Davies, ...


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