The Western Mail, Wales’s National Newspaper, has lost the plot.
A front page editorial states:
AN EXTRAORDINARY recommendation has been made by eight AMs that would see up to £400,000-a-year spent on translating the written record of every meeting held at the National Assembly into Welsh.
We say that at a time when budgets are squeezed and public services are being cut, this is a luxury we cannot afford
We fully support the right of AMs and others to address meetings in Welsh or English, according to their choice. We can go along with the decision to publish in both languages the official Record of Proceedings of plenary meetings. But we believe the recommendation to translate all contributions made in English into Welsh is a step too far at this time of austerity.
Supporters of the move – notably Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (the Welsh Language Society) and, for fairly obvious reasons, Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru (the Association of Welsh Translators and Interpreters) – back it because they have a purist’s devotion to all-embracing bilingualism at any cost. Some point to the New Brunswick provincial legislature in Canada, where all proceedings are published in both English and French.
Perhaps in an ideal world such a comprehensive approach to bilingualism would be desirable. Our decided view is that at this time it is unaffordable.
It might be unaffordable for the Western Mail if #Westernfail is anyway indicative of public opinion.
Absolute Uproar with learners of the Welsh language earlier over the outrageous statement by the #westernfail #boycott,
Charlotte Britton @CharlotteHB89
Shipton’s response is pants… They’ve alienated the only ppl who read the damn thing anymore – what a stupid thing to do #westernfail,
Glyn Wise @GlynWise
I will never buy the Western Mail after seeing it’s headlines this morning! I advise you to do the same! #Westernfail #Boycott;
Dafydd Trystan @DafyddTrystan
I have bought the Western Mail for most of the past 20 years. No longer @WalesOnline #Westernfail,
Sian Lloyd @SianWeather
@WesternMail_Ed @Walesonline Have you lost your marbles guys? #westernfail,
A selection – apparently #Westernfail was trending pretty highly on Twitter this morning.
Me – I buy it for the Rugby, and they’ve had a really decent effort at doing Welsh history seriously..However I’ll leave it to Syniadau –In the gutter, and heading down the drain.
I took a quick look at Wiki to see what its circulation figures were. Wiki still has the figure for August 2009, namely 32,926. But that figure has now dropped by more than 7,000 to 25,898, as we can see here.
It obviously can’t go on like this, and desperate directors do desperate things. In fact the Monday to Friday circulation is an even more disturbing 23,777 so the paper relies very heavily on its Saturday sales of 36,015 … and this explains why becoming a weekly is on the cards.
And from Oggy…:
To put things into context, £400,000 equates to:
About 0.9% of the Assembly’s administration costs for 2012-13
0.003% of the entire budget of the Assembly
About 3-and-a-bit Local Authority executives (out of God knows how many).
One third of the Older People’s Commissioner budget.
Roughly the cost of 7 AM’s annual salaries.
Slightly less than the Value Wales budget. (No, I hadn’t heard of them before either)
£23million less than the Welsh Government have chosen not to use to counteract Council Tax Benefit cuts.
A disgrace and a shame – at least you have a few papers to choose from….