Impossible Unity? Representing Internal Diversity in Post-Devolution Wales
AuthorsRoberts, Simon Gwyn
AffiliationUniversity of Chester--
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AbstractThe gradual transformation of British politics through the processes of devolution has been a ‘work in progress’ since Scotland and Wales voted in favour in the 1997 referenda (in the case of Wales, for the creation of an Assembly with devolved powers). Yet these major constitutional changes have not been matched by a realignment of the UK media (Cushion, Lewis and Groves, 2009). In this context, the particular deficiencies of the Welsh media have become increasingly politically relevant in recent years, with its shortcomings (in terms of informing the public about devolved politics) regularly highlighted by politicians, academics and journalists. A 2014 BBC poll, for example, found that fewer than half of Welsh respondents knew the NHS was devolved, which Thomas (2014) suggests results from a Welsh media landscape in which “huge numbers of people” get their news from London-based newspapers. The contrast with Scotland is marked: while Scottish devolution provided a pretext for London-based national newspapers to reduce news content from all three devolved nations it simultaneously provided a catalyst for the further development of an independent media policy in Scotland itself. In interviews, London journalists argued that since Scotland had its own parliament it had its ‘own news’ and its own newspaper editions to carry it (Denver, 2002). More recently, Macwhirter (2014) rued the financial decline of the Scottish newspaper industry, suggesting that this makes it harder for the Scottish media to perform their traditional role as ‘cultural curators’ and forum for informed debate. However, sentiments like this merely highlight the more acute media deficiency in Wales, because the Welsh media is considerably more fragmented than its Scottish equivalent, with no real tradition of a Welsh national press to draw on and the majority of newspaper readers dependent on London-based publications. Around 1,760,000 (from a total population of three million) read newspapers with ‘virtually no Welsh content’ (Davies, 2008).
CitationRoberts, S.G. (2015). Impossible Unity? Representing Internal Diversity in Post-Devolution Wales. In Franklin, L., Chignell, H. & Skoog, K. (Eds.), Regional aesthetics. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
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