Reforming the news from London on devolved matters: towards a project

From a Welsh perspective there is a clear problem of inaccuracy when the media in London reports stories about devolved matters.

For example in a story about education or health in England the papers, television or radio incorrectly refer to the United Kingdom or fail to refer to any country whatsoever. Or there is a lack of attention to the vitally important differences in legislation and policy between Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and England.

This of course can lead to confusion, and lack of awareness of where powers are held and who is accountable. Despite the efforts of media who focus on Wales matters there’s a significant percentage of people in Wales who receive this misleading news, typically from London outlets.

The That’s Devolved project consistently highlights examples. There are some instances where the journalists and editors have corrected headlines and stories as a result. From a devolution perspective it works well. Many onlookers have learned more about the powers of the Welsh Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, and Stormont through the efforts of the project.

A while back I was thinking of the journalists’ own perspective. I had some enlightening conversations with experts and friends about this. Can a campaign or resource be created to be used in response to these journalists, and help change attitudes?

The result was a website I created called Say England.

The rationale was to convey the problem from a perspective that most English journalists understand – the English perspective.

It seemed more difficult to persuade them to care about Wales or that ‘devolution’ is worth trying to understand. (The few who do pay attention are very special.)

Currently the website is a single page listing some advice for journalists and others. It can be posted in replies on social media all day long.

It names other roles involved in the media narratives who get this wrong – for many different reasons.

Unfortunately the Say England website is a project that has not been completed or launched. For one thing I am a dad now and there are plenty of other ongoing projects and commitments – this one doesn’t easily fit with the others.

You may see its potential perhaps using the site as a rallying point for shareable content, campaigns, updates on progress, lists of good, bad and ugly, or something else.

I would consider giving the domain name to anyone principled and enthusiastic who wants to take it on, use it, and develop it.

Please let me know in the comments below or by email if you want to take over the project.

New domain name for my site

I’ve just changed my domain name here to morris.cymru

Every link to the old domain name (quixoticquisling.com) should forward automatically to the equivalent link on the new site..

Please let me know if you see any problems.

Welsh Assembly Government bundles of RSS feeds

The Welsh Assembly Government generates a lot of its own news.

The news is available as separate RSS feeds for 22 different topics, which is good. Actually, double that because there are 22 in English and the same 22 in Cymraeg.

This week I wanted to subscribe to a complete feed of everything, but I couldn’t find one listed on the site, in either language – which is not so good. So I made two feeds myself with Yahoo Pipes.

Welsh Assembly Government RSS feed, every topic (English)

Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru porthiant RSS, pob pwnc (Cymraeg)

Let me know if you do anything with these feeds. Anything at all. Even if it’s just a word cloud or something.

Unfortunately, on that note, they’re not complete feeds just headlines with a one-line description. (That’s all I’m getting from the 22 original feeds.) That’s fine for subscribing in your feed reader, it’s just an extra click per item to reach the full web page. But if you want to do anything else it’s restrictive.

You could probably make a more advanced pair of feeds which included the full page data from the site. Clone and modify my English pipe source and Cymraeg pipe source if you want.

Why do we have Anti-Terrorist Hotline in Cardiff? (More poster madness.)

These chemicals won't be used in a bomb because a neighbour reported the dumped containers.

Just a couple of days ago, I mentioned some really odd police posters I’d seen in Cardiff. This isn’t about those posters. (At least those police ones were trying to make some kind of valid point, but failed.)

It’s about the ones that say “These chemicals won’t be used in a bomb because a neighbour reported the dumped containers” and the like. I’ve only seen one so far, on Clare Road in Cardiff just now. When I say poster, it’s actually a huge billboard.

Cory Doctorow already did a pretty fine job of covering the lunacy and “socially corrosive” effect of these posters in London. So I won’t rehash what he said.

I’m mainly here to point out the amplified ridiculousness of having this poster displayed in Cardiff, Wales – where we have no living memory of bomb planting nor acts of terrorism. (Correct me if I’m in any way wrong on that. Sheesh.)

Is this a threat now? Do they know something we don’t? The answer to both those questions is “no”. If London doesn’t need this, we in Cardiff really don’t need this. Clare Road is a main road running through Grangetown – which enjoys fairly decent levels of respect and integration between different people, thanks very much.

I can think of several things more appropriate and meaningful to do in the locality than reporting my neighbour because they might appear to have weird hobbies. Here’s the spot on Google Street View. You might prefer to remember it as the location where the band Super Furry Animals did a couple of photoshoots.

The remixes of the posters are well worth a look – a great antidote to the fear mongering.