Paper thin times

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‘It says here they want more staff’

Our satirical writer Edwin Phillips reads an urgent media release about a new ‘national’ Welsh newspaper lying unsold at outlets days after it was published, and problems in buying a copy, following its request for readers to give help with hiring another journalist.


From: All Retail Supply Enterprises (ARSE)

To: Wales All News and Knowledge (WANK)

‘I must look for the truth’

Time: Before closure


Unfortunately ARSE has left a stain.

It is a stain in the minds of our customers after they spurned The National (TN) and you WANKers should be made aware of this sad fact.

Regrettably journalists on the troublemaking investigative website The Eye have discovered that large numbers of TN lie unsold at retail outlets across Wales.

His newspaper does not appear to be attractive

Clearly this whole ARSE mess draws attention to details of how TN had urged its own readers to give help in employing another journalist.

We are remorseful that TN has announced in a headline:  “Help us reach 1,000 subscribers and we’ll hire a political correspondent”, yet even this low figure was apparently ambitious, as it has been revealed that an even lower number had been secured days before.

It is unwelcome that our ARSE is being covered by the ‘editorial leader’ , Gavin Thompson (who we also understand edits The Argus in Newport) when he said: “Our journalism is funded by our digital subscribers. At time of writing, 430 of you had signed up to become subscribers, many taking out an annual subscription”.

It is another ARSE stain that the man Mr Thompson described as “the driving force” for TN, the ‘comedian’ Huw Marshall initially stated: “If just 500 people subscribed to The National Wales they’d employ a business and economy editor…”.

But four minutes later he tweeted: “Approaching 1,000 subscribers for the @nationalwales. When that target is met a dedicated political correspondent will be added to the team.”.

Our ARSE is exposed by the fact that just before the launch of TN it advertised for “Digital reporters (x2), audience and content editor (x1)”, but there were at the time serious doubts (which we share) about whether a true national news service could be undertaken with this number.

What a nonsense

There is a smell around ARSE that experienced journalists have said to The Eye“This is a complete nonsense.  We all know how difficult it is starting a new newspaper, but asking for money from your readers to hire a reporter? I ask you!”.

Another told them: “I give it six months.  It’s like the Daily News or Today (two defunct newspapers from the past) all over again”.

This doesn’t smell right

The background to Mr Marshall is a further ARSE stain, when he is thought to be responsible for such ‘pranks’ as having unwanted takeaways delivered to critics’ homes.

There is a bad smell, too, that he made a ‘joke’ about an incident when two people died and a police officer lost the sight in both eyes after the gunman Raoul Moat shot them, with him saying on Facebook (FB) on July 8, 2010: “Hi I’m a sexy 19 year old blond (sic) from the North East of England looking for some fun.

A Mr Right?

“My Mr Right should be a big strong ginger man with a fiery temper and a jealous nature, who also enjoys camping and writing long letters”, with another post reading: “Moat reward… if he isn’t caught by next Wednesday, the rewards (sic) being doubled. It’s going to be a Raul (sic) over”.

Unhappily for us at ARSE, Mr Marshall has been dubbed a “chancer” on social mediaand his ‘stories’ have been accused of being “cut and pasted” from other publications by the UK satirical and investigative magazine Private Eye.


Huw Marshall’s comments provoked extreme anger

He has also said on Twitter that the Editor of The Eye Phil Parry is a ‘liar’ and an “obsessive coward”, linking these unfortunate remarks to an earlier piece he had written about the newspaper we are ARSE stocking.

Mr Marshall has also called Mr Parry a “self proclaimed journalist”, when we believe he trained to be a journalist in 1983 on the best newspaper course in the UK before moving into television, and has won an enormous number of awards.

Our ARSE eyes can see that Mr Parry seems to have become something of a thorn in the side of Mr Marshall, because he has declared that he has a number of different Twitter accounts, but says he reserves one for items which may bother him, stating: “@marshallmedia is where I post Everton related stuff and things that upsets Phil Parry”.

Huw Marshall’s remarks to Welsh figures are not always welcomed

Yet it has not only been Mr Parry to have irritated Mr Marshall in days gone by, and this also leaves an ARSE stain.

In 2013, it was disclosed that he had made remarks publicly described as ‘extremely offensive’ to senior politicians on Twitter, and complaints after further comments led to reprimands by the social media company.

One announcement by Mr Marshall eight years ago, was directed at the Labour MS and minister Ken Skates, with another describing the former Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black. After Mr Skates tweeted in celebration of a one-vote council by-election victory over Plaid Cymru (PC) in Ruabon, Mr Marshall regrettably referred to him in his own tweet as a “gloating t**t”, and he called Mr Black a “humourless (sic) t..t”as well as a “dull, tedious t..t”.

Huw Marshall had a message for politicians

It seems the police have also loomed large in Mr Marshall’s life and ARSE do not want to be associated with this.

On Twitter he has said he told them that he intended to make a complaint, however officers responded by informing him that they have a “responsibility to investigate any reports”.

Meanwhile, we at ARSE know (and WANKers should be aware) that the basic plank of news journalism is to be entirely neutral (because many potential readers may vote for parties other than the one you support).

However this could be difficult for Mr Marshall, as he has been a candidate for one particular political party in the past, when he was parliamentary candidate in Cardiff Central for the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru (PC), coming fourth with just 748 votes, but his plans to stand for election as a councillor were undone when it emerged that he had posted the ‘jokes’ about Moat , and published the allegedly abusive comments to senior politicians on social media.

All of these facts leave a nasty ARSE smell…


The memories of Phil’s astonishing decades long award-winning career in journalism (long before the advent of TN) as he was gripped by the rare disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order the book now!