Inviting Julian Ruck on to S4C is inexcusable

Picture by BBC

Ifan Morgan Jones

I was hugely disappointed to learn today that anti-Welsh language troll Julian Ruck is to be invited to give his opinion on the Welsh language on S4C next week.

It was bad enough that he was invited on Newsnight over the summer. At least they had the excuse that, in the words of BBC Welsh Affairs Editor, the programme-makers were “ignorant” about Wales.

The decision to invite Julian Ruck on to Byd ar Bedwar completely undermines Welsh speakers’ argument that the future of the Welsh language and culture is not up for debate.

The discussion in Wales today is about how best to ensure the Welsh language thrives, not whether it should be terminated or not.

Y Byd ar Bedwar produces some very good journalism, including an excellent programme earlier this month about OCD. And I’m sure that the presenter will give Julian Ruck a good grilling.

But that’s not the point. By inviting him on to a program about the future of the Welsh language, Y Byd ar Bedwar are basically conceding that his opinion is valid and that it deserves an airing.

This is not an argument against free speech – Julian Ruck is free to spout his gibberish to anyone that chooses to listen.

But here he is being elevated to the position of an expert by a public service broadcaster.

Julian Ruck is not an expert. In fact, it’s not clear what he is, apart from a man very adept at getting his face on to the television by taking advantage of journalists’ fondness for controversy.

But as we’ve seen over the last few years, non-experts who are given a platform to spout nonsense against minority groups are often taken seriously and embolden others who hold the same views.

The programme-makers should note that thousands of viewers signed a petition calling for an internal inquiry into how the BBC and other media organisations portray the Welsh language, following Julian Ruck’s appearance on Newsnight.

Y Byd ar Bedwar’s decision to ape the BBC and give Julian Ruck a platform again seems like a massive slap in the face to their most loyal supporters.

The next time he or others like him are invited to speak to a more sympathetic audience on English language media, Welsh speakers won’t have a leg to stand on.

Welsh speakers must deal with enough anti-Welsh ignorance without having to come across it on our own single TV channel.

If Y Byd ar Bedwar think this is a provocative way of getting their ratings up, they will be disappointed. It’s a betrayal that viewers won’t forget in a hurry.

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