More word play

The Eye
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‘At least these words mean something…’

After a journalistic career based in Wales of 38 years, our Editor Phil Parry knows better than most the importance of words, and now it has emerged that a key phrase has again been wheeled out – this time in the growing row between Poland and the EU Commission. 

Previously he has described how he was helped to break into the South Wales Echo office car when he was a cub reporter, recalled his early career as a journalist, the importance of experience in the job, and made clear that the ‘calls’ to emergency services as well as court cases are central to any media operation.

Phil, here on BBC Cymru Wales Today in 1988, always knew how important it was to speak to people using the right words!

He has also explored how poorly paid most journalism is when trainee reporters had to live in squalid flats, the vital role of expenses, and about one of his most important stories on the now-scrapped 53 year-old BBC Cymru Wales (BBC CW) TV Current Affairs series, Week In Week Out (WIWO), which won an award even after it was axed, long after his career really took off

Phil has explained too how crucial it is actually to speak to people, the virtue of speed as well as accuracy, why knowledge of ‘history’ is vital, how certain material was removed from TV Current Affairs programmes when secret cameras had to be used, and some of those he has interviewed.


Earlier he disclosed why investigative journalism is needed now more than ever although others have different opinions, and how information from trusted sources is crucial at this time of crisis.


It’s being used AGAIN!

“WITCH-HUNT”  has been screamed out in the growing row between Brussels and Warsaw, after Poland’s top court rejected the supremacy of EU laws.

Polish judges have opposed the basic principle of EU legal primacy – a core pillar of the bloc’s legal order that all member states sign up to on joining.

Marine Le Pen – ‘The pursuit of Poland is a witch-hunt’

They repudiated significant articles of the EU treaties, including that member states will take “appropriate measures” to fulfil their obligations under EU law, and politicians as well as legal scholars have described the move as a “legal Polexit” that jeopardises Poland’s access to EU funds, along with the rights of its largely pro-EU population.

Last week the far-right populist French politician, Marine Le Pen, met Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, after he was hauled over the coals by his fellow leaders for this, and she accused the EU of conducting a ‘witch-hunt’ against Poland using “unacceptable blackmail”.

Sacked former Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University Richard Davies and the ex-School of Management Dean Marc Clement were under investigation, but it was a ‘witch-hunt’ apparently…

The phrase is very much in vogue at the moment (that’s ‘witch-hunt’, not ‘unacceptable blackmail’!).

It has been employed in the extraordinary controversy at scandal-hit Swansea University (SU), where the police investigated alleged bribery in a multi-million pound land deal when senior officials including the former Vice-Chancellor (VC) Richard Davies, and the head of his School of Management Marc Clement, were sacked for “gross misconduct”.

Support for Hilary Lappin-Scott was evident in the so-called ‘witch-hunt’

In it, support has been clear for the contentious previous Pro Vice-Chancellor (PVC)Hilary Lappin-Scott, who, The Eye exclusively revealed, was to leave.

An unbelievable anonymous campaign in her defence was undertaken using gmail or email, with messages sent to staff at SU as well as senior journalists (including me) and Welsh politicians.  One message said:  “Only Hillary (sic) can save Professor Boyle (new Vice-Chancellor [VC] at SU) from the same incompetents that undermined Richard Davies’ stellar transformation of your Institution for the Region”.

Your friend
Who was the anonymous computer campaigner at Swansea University called ‘Your friend’ in this ‘witch-hunt’?

Another read:  “Last week’s email was blocked – here it is below for completeness’ sake. Ask yourself: what else is the leadership keeping from you?… Why is this witch hunt therefore still continuing?”.

But The Eye have shown how Professor Lappin-Scott had enraged her staff at SU, by sending tweets from glamorous parts of the world on university ‘business’, and her exploits became the subject of The Eye’s satirical writer. Despite this, the anonymous communications have claimed in the past that Professor Lappin-Scott would lead the university to “an era of gold and honey”.

The police have looked into the huge deal which had Swansea University at its heart, in this supposed ‘witch-hunt’

The astonishing ‘witch-hunt’ inquiry was into the £200 million pound Pentre Awel (Breezy Village) (previously known as the ‘Wellness Village’) land deal at Llanelli where the police were called in.

The troubled institution has confirmed that apart from looking into the campaign itself, the police were involved in investigating alleged bribery during this so-called ‘witch-hunt’.

An official statement from Swansea’s ‘Associate Director Vice-Chancellor’s Office, Head of Legal and Compliance Services’ stated :  Alongside the University’s internal disciplinary process, there is also on-going police involvement (i) with regard to the issues uncovered during the University’s investigation; and (ii) anonymous communications sent to University staff relating to the suspensions and disciplinary processes. The matters under investigation are very serious. The University has invested a significant amount of resource investigating the alleged misconduct, as have the authorities. It is essential that nothing is done to undermine the on-going processes. They must be allowed to run their course without interference.”

Steve Chan – why did Swansea University employ a convicted fraudster?!

The stunning ‘witch-hunt’ campaign at the university also forms a worrying backdrop to an exclusive disclosure on The Eye, that officials had employed a fraudster called Steve Chan who used to work on a contract at the management school, and after journalists there were alone in revealing how a previous Dean accused of bullying had died.

They showed how, unknowingly, officials had even allowed Chan to represent the university in advising an international agency on the ways to combat fraud!

Chan had been imprisoned by a court in Boston for four years and three months, and ordered to pay millions of dollars in compensation. His jail term was followed by three years of supervised release, after he admitted one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and one count of mail fraud, he was also ordered to pay restitution of $12,596,298.

Phil got angry at being called a ‘troll’

But the campaign inside SU alleging a ‘witch-hunt’ has been covered only partially by the mainstream media, and had been conducted ever since the incredible investigation was launched.

In part, one recent gmail to staff (and me) as well as the Chair of the SU council read:   “Why are these things happening and being leaked to Sion Barry (the Western Mail Business Editor) and, in turn, Phil Parry (someone trolling Professor Hillary {sic} Lappin-Scott) whilst in the middle of an independent internal investigation?”.

Was it a ‘kangaroo court’ AND a ‘witch-hunt’ as described in the anonymous computer campaign?!

Another added:  “Appended below you can find the previous installments (American spelling) and claims there has been “A trial by media, a kangaroo court, a selection of evidence and suspensions before interviews – almost as if the facts were at odds with the desired outcome”. Although again misspelt a further gmail was clear in the search for a new VC: “Please Hillary (sic) (Lappin-Scott) out (put?) your hat back in the ring!”.

However university officials have been less keen than the person behind the anonymous computer campaign to give The Eye information – this time about Chan’s background, and The Eye have been told in the past that questions about him in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request had been refused on the grounds they were “vexatious”.

Four of the questions asked in the FOIA were:

  • What was the exact date that Professor Steve Chan of the School of Management registered for his Ph.D at Swansea University? 
  • What was the exact date that he undertook his viva voce examination for his Ph.D? 
  • Who were the members of his Ph.D viva committee (including external examiners)? 
  • Who approved the appointment of the supervisors for his Ph.D? 

Book posterYet of course questions like these could all be part of a ‘witch-hunt’..!


Tomorrow – how once more a contentious link up has been highlighted by enormous controversies, after a state-run airline belonging to a country accused of supporting terrorism (Qatar), associated with headline-grabbing Cardiff Airport (CA).

The memories of Phil’s decades long award-winning career in journalism as he was gripped by the incurable neurological disease Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order it now!

Publication of another book, however, was refused, because it was to have included names.