Welshing on the deal

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Bad things have happened

The Welsh dimension of the Huw Edwards affair, has now come under close scrutiny, after revelations that the young person who first sparked revelations about the scandal may come from South Wales.

Mr Edwards, who was born in Bridgend and is a firm favourite of Welsh nationalists, was named as the presenter who had been suspended for allegedly paying £35,000 to a teenager in exchange for sexually explicit images, and ‘mental health issues’ were raised about him by his wife.

In a statement identifying him Vicky Flind has declared: I am doing this primarily out of concern for his mental well-being and to protect our childrenHuw is suffering from serious mental health issues. As is well documented, he has been treated for severe depression in recent years. The events of the last few days have greatly worsened matters, he has suffered another serious episode and is now receiving in-patient hospital care where he’ll stay for the foreseeable future.”

Nothing was said, however, about the ‘mental health issues’ which may have affected the young person at the centre of it all.

Richard Littlejohn said it was someone from South Wales

Now the columnist Richard Littlejohn has announced that the young person (about whom disturbing disclosures were followed by more information concerning Mr Edwards’ alleged activities) is from South Wales. This aspect may answer the question as to why controversial South Wales Police (SWP) have been involved in the investigation.

A spokesperson for SWP has said: “South Wales Police has remained in contact with representatives of the Metropolitan Police and the BBC following a meeting… Information was initially received by the force in April 2023, regarding the welfare of an adult. No criminality was identified.”.

Entertainment Canada has reported: “BBC News Anchor Huw Edwards identified as TV Presenter Accused Of Paying Underage Boy For Nude Photos”.

But these are not the only Welsh links.

The outspoken Mr Edwards has in the past used social media to make contentious proclamations about Wales. 

For instance on Twitter he has highlighted (ironically):  “The wacky world where Wales was never a nation and Pembrokeshire is the heartland of… Plaid Cymru.  Help!”. while the picture he attached underneath it, was of protesters carrying Welsh flags aloft with a placard of END LONDON RULE clearly visible near the centre of the photograph.

He was also ordered to drop a post of himself in front of a Welsh flag, which he proclaimed (once more ironically) was a “backdrop for @BBCNews at Ten”, and responded (again ironically):  “Gutted my pro-flag tweet has been cut down in its prime. By order. But it will be back tomorrow – by popular demand. Meanwhile enjoy this magnificent flag – one of my favourites. Hashtag SixNationsRugby Hashtag FRAvWAL” – with a series of emojis included.

This tweet by Mr Edwards, came after a flurry of pro-Wales activity on his Twitter page before an international rugby match against France, when he stepped in following the performance of the Welsh rugby team being criticised in The Daily Telegraph.

“Every Grand Slam ranked – and why Wales would be the ‘worst’ ever winners if they beat France”, ran the newspaper’s headline, to which Mr Edwards responded with heavy irony: “Not like the @Telegraph to be so effortlessly one-sided… Cymru am Byth!”.

Mr Edwards has ‘liked’ a tweet from a Welsh nationalist wearing a face mask of the controversial independence organisation YesCymru (YC), even though the group’s entire ‘Central Committee’ quit, and an email announcing the mass resignations, said that members had been subject to intolerable harassment which “went far beyond social media posts”.

Tim Davie has nothing to smile about

He has ‘liked’, as well, a tweet proclaiming that he should be “President of an Independent Cymru”, apparently flying in the face of the rules on impartiality that have been emphasised by his superior, the BBC’s Director General Tim Davie.

In ‘liking’ this tweet, Mr Edwards had in effect validated it – but it was a highly-questionable supposed ‘survey’ where he had been ‘voted’ top to become leader of an independent Wales.

Huw Edwards looked sombre as he presented coverage of the funeral of Prince Philip, and there have been calls online for him to be knighted for his coverage of the Queen’s death

In another tweet he had endorsed, too, an opinionated columnist who said she was a “Welsh woman” and that the BBC Proms made her feel like a “foreign tourist”.

He had backed headline-grabbing writer and academic Laura McAllister’s Twitter announcement that there was less than two months before she stood for election to a football governing body’s council.

Mr Edwards stated on Twitter, initially once again ironically: “Obviously I’m impartial —- but GO LAURA” with a Welsh flag after the comment. However more than six years ago (well before the row over how the proms are presented), Ms McAllister had written in her regular Welsh newspaper column:  “I do realise that my national identity has been shaped and expressed largely through sport, but the Proms’ Union Jack waving (albeit with a smattering of European, Welsh and Scottish flags mixed in) and Rule Britannia make me feel like a foreign tourist”.

His announcements, though, have not been met with wild acclaim by the leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru (WP/SC) Andrew RT Davies, who has said on Twitter that The BBC was:  “Employing presenters who openly mock… (Britain)… Ridiculous!”, and linked it to the ‘Gutted’ post.

Apparently supporting these comments, the corporation’s rules on neutrality would seem to forbid the sort of remarks made publicly by Mr Edwards, and clearly state: “If your work requires you to maintain your impartiality, don’t express a personal opinion on matters of public policy, politics, or ‘controversial subjects’”.

Mr Davie will be aware of the pressure he is under after the affair concerning his main news presenter, with it coming hard on the heels of the Gary Lineker business.

He has also come under fire for the wall-to-wall coverage of recent Royal events at the corporation (in which Mr Edwards was central).

Observations on social media, though, are not the only ones where Mr Edwards’ contentious views have been on public display.

He has also attacked a critique of the break-up of the UK by celebrated historian and journalist Max Hastings. Mr Edwards tweeted that there were “errors”.

The high pay of Mr Edwards has also hit the headlines, while at the other extreme his utterances in support of Wales are often seized on gleefully by a nationalist website which is backed by the taxpayer.

After Mr Edwards’ diatribe opposing Mr Hastings, the website Nation.Cymru (NC) published a ‘news’ piece saying:  “Huw Edwards slams former Telegraph editor for anti-Welsh language article”, and it has ‘reported’ many ‘stories’ about his exploits. Following the remark about Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru (PC), it ran a ‘story’ that:  “Broadcaster Huw Edwards has protested the BBC’s new rules on using social media by unleashing a cascade of Welsh flags”.

But the founder and former Editor of NC, Ifan Morgan Jones, is himself controversial and a convinced supporter of PCHe has been in trouble for accepting an advert from the Bangor University (BU) journalism course that HE teaches on, which detractors claimed was a blatant conflict of interest. They have also stressed the disturbing fact that teaching ‘journalism’ in this context appears odd when being unbiased is an important part of reporting news.

One NC ‘news’ piece said that:  “The county of Gwynedd in the north-west has seen the largest collapse in consumer spending as a result of Covid-19 in both Wales and England, according to business data”, while another attacked the concept of second homes.

Yet one aggrieved writer hit back and said:  “I am genuinely concerned by the amount of vitriol that comes out in the comments on the Nation.Cymru posts, and it makes me feel that we are uncomfortably close to the political posturing of 1930s Berlin”.

The article on NC criticising the concept of second homes, also appeared to have the Covid-19 lockdown in its sights, and began:  “If it’s ‘coronavirus holiday’ season in rural Wales, the forecast is frosty for second home owners”, adding:  “From spreading the virus and skipping lockdown to unfairly claiming business relief, second home owners have had bad pandemic press”.

It doesn’t look such an honour now…

But the bad press only seems to mount in relation to Mr Edwards, and the Welsh angles are now coming to the fore…

 

The memories of our Editor Phil Parry’s remarkable decades long award-winning career in journalism (which included discovering the REAL reasons for controversial events) as he was gripped by the rare neurological disabling condition, Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order the book now! 

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