I'm the Hen Ferchetan. This is my take on the world through the eyes of Wales. While mostly about Welsh politics (that most famous of dour topics!) I try to scatter some humour around, but I doubt anyone but me will find it funny! Have a read, and if it bores you then feel free to never come back!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Check Facts? Nah, Who Cares!

The anti-Brunstrom campaign continues with a Tory MP and London Media bursting in mock outrage against North Wales Police' Chief new policy to remove "Police" from squad cars and leave them with just "Heddlu". First up let me state the obvious, North Wales Police don't have such a policy and, if they did, it would be illegal as Police forces in Wales are required to be bilingual.

The comments attributed to Brunstrom came from a forum on the Welsh language where he was discussing the lack of the word "Heddlu" on squad cars when he first started. He said that people who resisted the addition of the Welsh had argued that it was dangerous and people could die due to misunderstandings. He pointed out that if that argument held any water, which it doesn't, then in areas where most were first speakers Welsh it should have been in Welsh only.

Cue Tory MP and London Media.

David Jones, Tory MP for Clwyd West, had a chat with the Sun, who printed the story under the heading Take 'police' off all my cop cars. The Tory said:
"We cannot allow this nonsense to continue. It's bad for community relations and it's got to stop"
Reading the article it is sad but predictable that the Sun totally misstates his words. They state:

"Mr Brunstrom rejected claims that English visitors would not understand what the police cars were if they were marked only as ‘Heddlu’.

He said: “There were many false arguments that people would die if Heddlu was used.

“It was absolute arrogant nonsense.” Now that's not what Brunstrom said. While the quotes are correct, he was not referring to it being a false argument that people would die if it was only marked as Heddlu, he was referring to the old argument when people objected to making the cars bilingual. But hey, when has The Sun ever bothered about getting it's facts right.

Unsurprisingly the story was then picked up by the usual hit squad of the Mail and the Times, using the same quote in the same distorted way.

The best quote though comes on the BBC website The BBC, unlike the other three bastions of journalism, bothered to check the facts with North Wales Police before just writing a story. North Wales Police explained what I have done above, namely that there is no such policy and there will be no such policy, and quite right too. Of course the rent-a-quote Tory MP couldn't accept he was wrong and insisted that he stood by his comments, even though they made no sense once the facts were revealed.

The quote I enjoyed though was not from David Jones MP but from Jeanette Miller, president and chief executive of the Association of Motor Offence Lawyers. She said that there was no doubt that removing the word Police would cause problems:

"I think there would be a good argument that a motorist was unaware of any requirement to stop if the word police is removed from signage on police cars"
It's a car with blue and yellow stripes, a huge blue flashing light at the top, a loud siren and two uniformed coppers inside - I wonder what it could be!

7 comments:

arthur english said...

....and Aran Jones from Cymdeithas was on Radio Wales today supporting Brunstrom's idea wholeheartedly.

What a plonker!

Hen Ferchetan said...

I didn't hear him but if he was supporting the idea that never was then I agree with you.

Bilingual means bilingual - something only in Welsh is just as bad as something only in English.

plaidcasnewydd said...

hello- I have just started a blog on welsh politics too- from Newport

i was wondering if you would consider swapping links?

http://plaidcasnewydd.blogspot.com/

Hen Ferchetan said...

I'll be updating my Blog Roll soon Plaid Casnewydd, I'll make sure to have a look at your blog beforehand!

Welcome to the world of Welsh politics blogging!

brother tecwyn said...

If the English or anyone else can't work out that Heddlu means police, how the hell do they manage in the Rep. of Ireland.

Cibwr said...

Indeed tecwyn

But then this is the printed media.... there was a time when newspapers employed fact checkers but it seems sadly no more.

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