24/02/2013 The Wales Report


24/02/2013

From farm gate to your plate, just how much Welsh meat is eaten in Wales? And what can be done to kick homophobia in Welsh sport into touch?


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Transcript


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Another week and another scandal about our meat. We investigate what

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is really going on between the farm gate and your plate.

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More powers for the Assembly? Are they really up to it? And what can

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be done to kick homophobia in Welsh sport into touch for good?

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I could either be gay or be a professional rugby referee. It was

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a difficult decision, the most difficult time of my life. So

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difficult that it drove me to attempt to take my own life.

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Good evening and welcome to the programme that examines the issues

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that impact on our lives in Wales and scrutinises those making the

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all-important decisions. Over the last couple of weeks there seems to

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have been an endless stream of worrying stories about the meat and

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what we might have been eating. Latest concerns in Wales revolve

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around school dinners. In a country with a long tradition of producing

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high quality meat, what is going wrong with the whole system? Just

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why can't good quality, locally- produced food also be cheap enough

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for most of us to afford? Helen Callaghan has been investigating

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what exactly happens to our meat from farm gate to your plate, and

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she has discovered some Welsh meat is sought-after and

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enjoyed around the world. And now that consumers are very keen to

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know exec the what they are eating and rarities from, what could be

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more straightforward than eating Welsh meat from the fields and

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hills all around us? Surprisingly, that is not always the case. If a

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group of 100 sheep represented the lamb reproduced in Wales every year,

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60 would go to the rest of the UK. Another 35 would be exported,

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leaving just five in our field destined for Welsh dinner plates.

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Ed, who farms in the Vale of Glamorgan, is convinced more people

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here would love to buy more home reared meat, but only if the price

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in the shops better reflected the praise he gets at the farm gates.

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We have lost about 25 to 30% of the value of what we produce. There is

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an awful lot of money going elsewhere, somebody is making money

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with a lamb, we are not. Ed gets less than �100 for a lamb, but by

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the time it is in the shops, the price of the lamb has more than

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doubled. So is it the slaughterers and processes who are dipping their

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fingers in the mint sauce and marking up the price of the lamb?

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Not according to those who monitor the markets. The wholesale price

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across the UK has also come down. In fact, the abattoirs and

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processor eggs are being squeezed. Increasingly, the supermarkets are

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the big players in the market. Their buying power can make or

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break a product, and half the small abattoirs in Wales have shut down

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since the 1990s, meaning animals often have to travel further before

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slaughter. There are fewer and fewer plants that process red meat

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in the UK. It is increasingly difficult to identify the

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traceability of animals. We have seen these through... Particularly

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with highly processed meat products. Finally, the cut and packed parcels

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of meat end up in the supermarket. The farmers and the abattoirs and

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processes are getting paid about a third less than last year. But the

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price we are playing in the supermarket has hardly changed. One

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of the big supermarket chains, Morrisons, say the market reflects

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production costs and they in particular pay farmers a fair price.

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I think if anybody ever goes into the processing plant, a meat

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processing plant, they are struck by the sheer volume of people

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working there, it is very labour- intensive, so there is a lot of

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cost involved in taking the stock from the farm gates and then the

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meat ending up on the supermarket I all the butcher shelf in the

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supermarket, so that at some cost to to it. We pay our farmers a fair

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price and often pay, for example, a bit more than the others are paying.

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But there is another way, a Welsh wave. It bypasses the supermarkets

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altogether. Douglas Willis control every stage of their food

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production, rearing animals near Newport and selling products in

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their shop. They can tell their customers exactly where it comes

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from. We have full traceability from our farms to the abattoir to

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our cutting plant and straight to the shops. This full traceability

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means they can trust us. There is a saving, nobody else is involved. We

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give the saving back to the customer. They say what has worked

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for them could work across Wales. And it would help to address the

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current concerns about food standards. Customers have seen what

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can happen when prices are low and supply chains are long and they are

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queuing up to get back to the local butcher. Business here has gone up

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by a quarter since the horsemeat scandal. According to industry

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experts, although exports will always be important for Welsh meat,

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this is a unique opportunity for the Welsh meat industry to retarget

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and roll its Hulme mass-market. -- and grow its home mass-market.

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Ed and farmers like him would love to take the power back from the

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supermarkets. He says it would be better for him and better for us.

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think the reality is that what we get and what the consumer pays is

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out of control in the supermarkets. We have become complacent, we are

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under control of the supermarket, and they are not giving us enough

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for what we are producing. So is it time for the Welsh Government to

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become more involved in making good Welsh meet affordable for all of

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us? -- Welsh meat. Helen Callaghan reporting. Joining

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me now is the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries,

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Labour's Alun Jones. Is the Government doing enough? I hope we

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are. I announced a special package of support for lamb producers

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saying we would work with individual businesses to make them

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more efficient and enable them to sell on the product at a more

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reasonable... Creating a more reasonable profit for themselves.

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But at the same time, one of the points made in the report was about

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the whole supply chain. We have said for some years that we need

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greater transparency in this, but it is not sufficient to simply

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blame the supermarkets, that is an inadequate response. We need to

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look at the supply chain and ensure it is fair to everybody. If you

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might say it is unfair to blame the supermarket, but they have an iron

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grip on the market. It seems a bit barmy that we are producing all

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this wonderful food, this magnificent meat coming out of

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Wales, and only a small fraction has consumed here? I did not say it

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was unfair, I said it was an inadequate response. We need to do

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more than just blame the supermarkets. We need to make sure

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there is profit available through the supply chain and good value for

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the consumer. In terms of where we are, the amount of meat we produce,

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we are a small country but we produce a lot of lamb, we are the

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most significant producers in Europe, so we will always exported.

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Coup at 95% of it, why don't we ensure that the market desire for

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cheap food, good quality food, is being met more effectively? --

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butter 95% of it. I think it is, but we will always export, we are

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one of the great lamp producing nations of the world. We need to

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ensure that Welsh lamb is available to more markets across the world

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than ever before. One significant home market is local authorities -

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schools, hospitals etc. Does their meat come from Wales? I hope so.

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You don't know? If you look at the report about procurement, we have

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made it clear that we want to see more procurement in Wales from

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Wales? It is a matter for individual authorities to ensure

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they get the best value for council tax payers. One question before we

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move on, where does the Assembly get its meat? In terms of what

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government and the Assembly, we ensure that it is produced from

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Wales, I want to see Welsh producers producing food for us.

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all the food consumed by the Assembly is Welsh produce? I can't

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give you guarantees. Why not? want to see procurement acting as a

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tool to enable us to invest in the third production market. But it

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starts at home, and home in your case is the Assembly. Are you

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saying you can't tell me whether the meat consumed there is Welsh?

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The Assembly in Cardiff Bay is a very small element of what we are

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about. But it is symbolic. Yes, but we were talking about milk last

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summer, I tried to make the point that the total Welsh procurement is

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not the answer to the issues facing the market. The issues facing the

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markets are far more fundamental and wider. With respect, what we

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need to do was unsure that the Welsh lamb producers is efficient -

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- is ensure that Welsh lamb production is efficient. And that

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the processing facilities ensure that their profit is derived for

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every element of the food chain. With respect, I do have not answer

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the question, can you give me and the people of Wales and assurance

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that consuming Welsh products starts at home, that the Assembly

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is consuming Welsh meat, Welsh produce? The Assembly is governed

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by members, not the Government. so you can't give me that

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assurance? It is not my gift to give. It is a tiny, tiny issue,

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frankly, and it does not address the fundamental issues facing the

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industry. You might be interested in Cardiff Bay, I am interested in

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the rest of Wales. In the rest of Wales we have a tremendous food

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production sector producing excellent products and produce, I

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am concerned that my mother and other people's mothers elsewhere

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come by that in their local supermarket, their local shops,

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wherever they live. What many people watching tonight will want

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is a guarantee about the quality of the food, they want to buy Welsh

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food but at a price they can afford. What will you do to help? We can

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provide that guarantee of assurance. One of the things you saw in that

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report was the European issue which guarantees that Welsh lamb is

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sourced in Wales and which meets a very significant quality threshold.

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We can provide that guarantee. What I think we need to do, a real

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challenge facing us, is to ensure that food is delivered to the

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consumer at a fair price which the consumer can afford. Thank you. Now,

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you might think that pantomime season is over.

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Yes? Well, oh, no it isn't! According to the First Minister's

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political opponents, anyway. In the week that the Welsh government said

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it would like more powers to be devolved to Cardiff Bay, the Wales

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Report has been asking are they - or us - ready for it? Opposition

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politicians say they already have enough difficulty getting answers

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to questions on existing policy areas, and Punch and Judy style

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politics is getting in the way of real debate. David Williams has a

:12:32.:12:42.
:12:42.:12:52.

front-row seat for the biggest Richard Rogers, the eminent

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architect, dismissed his critics and told me that what he had

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creators was just a small house on the Bay. It was a modest

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description of what was a very beautiful place with a very big

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message to convey. That the home of Wales has New democracy was open

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for business. It is a wonderful idea of this. A glass gallery from

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which we can watch politicians at work. Democracy at its transparent

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best. There is no hiding place in this bubble. Good for democracy,

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but not so good when those who worked here start trading insults

:13:39.:13:49.
:13:49.:13:49.

with each other instead of engaging in serious debate. What discussions

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have there been? Many. I am pleased to hear that. Thank you for your

:13:57.:14:07.
:14:07.:14:07.

There is increasing concern that while the Assembly building itself

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has been something of a winner, those who inhabit it have not been

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such a success with the public. First Minister's Question Time, a

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weekly forum intended as a showcase of political debate, often

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degenerates into petty squabbling. That is why I am here today. It was

:14:35.:14:45.
:14:45.:14:45.

a chance to meet those who defend the Labour government. This woman

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is still fiercely defensive of the current First Minister and does not

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share the view that First Minister's questions is an

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important public dwindled to this place. Nobody watches of this.

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they should. You have said this is a theatre. This is not as important

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as what we are delivering on the ground. The important part of what

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is going on here or art the Assembly members holding the

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government to account? It takes two to tango. And the Conservative

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member for the opposition is no pushover. You are acting like a

:15:42.:15:52.
:15:52.:15:52.

petulant child. Perhaps we should buy you a romper suit. A former it

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turned politician, he knows a thing about herding animals. But the

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human variety here confined him. He wants a review of Assembly

:16:04.:16:12.

procedures in attempt to increase public engagement. I am a street

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fighter at the end of the day. I did not vote for higher education

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paid for by the state. My life was selling potatoes and farm produce.

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Now I have a suit and a silk tie. I am prepared to have a fight if I

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need to. I am also very came in to provide solutions to problems.

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Their new leader on the block is Plaid Cymru's leader. She has

:16:50.:16:59.
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described First Minister's Question Time as... Are you insulted by it?

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Some times, I do feel insulted on behalf of the New democracy we have

:17:06.:17:11.

got here. People deserve to hear their ministers justifying their

:17:11.:17:20.

policies. How can you and the Welsh public have any confidence in a

:17:20.:17:28.

health minister the refuses to be straight with ours? For some reason,

:17:28.:17:34.

Carwyn Jones seems at to single out the Liberal Democrat leader for

:17:34.:17:43.

particular attention. We think very carefully about what questions we

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are asking, about devolved issues, things that ministers should care

:17:50.:17:54.

about and take action on. But he very rarely gives a straight answer.

:17:54.:18:00.

He is more interested in trying to avoid giving an account of himself

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and his government. Will you try again this afternoon? Yes, we will.

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And here they come up for another round of First Minister's Question

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Time. Another chance for the opposition to put the First

:18:17.:18:21.

Minister and his deputies on the spot. To get a more intimate feel

:18:21.:18:27.

of what it is really like, it is best to observe from the same level

:18:27.:18:34.

on which they operate. Here, you can see it all and you begin to

:18:34.:18:44.
:18:44.:18:46.

wonder weather transparency is such a good thing. -- 1 De whether. If

:18:46.:18:52.

they paid more attention, they might appreciate more what is going

:18:52.:19:02.
:19:02.:19:09.

on. I'd read, he is on a lead. think we are allowed to answer this.

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It has been an interesting day at the Welsh Assembly. It is a

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different place to the one that I remember, or is it? Was my view of

:19:20.:19:25.

the place obscured by my need to look at it through the prism of

:19:25.:19:30.

professional duty? Released from such responsibilities, I now see it

:19:30.:19:38.

for what it is. But it is probably wise for me to keep my council and

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my opinion to myself. It is easy enough. Take a peek through the

:19:46.:19:54.

looking-glass. David Williams with his take on

:19:54.:19:58.

what goes on at the Assembly. Well, joining me now is someone who has a

:19:58.:20:00.

rather different opinion to David the Labour Assembly Member Vaughan

:20:00.:20:06.

Gething. What do you make of that? It is a

:20:06.:20:12.

pretty stilted view. In reality, First Minister's questions is an

:20:12.:20:21.

opportunity for members to raise a host of issues. Is anybody any good

:20:21.:20:29.

at it? Is that Chamber not just full of hot air? It has not

:20:29.:20:33.

captured the public imagination of. I think it is very different to

:20:33.:20:38.

Westminster. Their tradition and the set-up is completely different

:20:38.:20:42.

to Prime Minister's questions. But some people are better at it than

:20:42.:20:47.

others. Surely you have to acknowledge that the level of

:20:47.:20:57.
:20:57.:20:58.

debate is generally pure, the level of visibility is the generally poor.

:20:58.:21:06.

-- generally poor. People are not being fired up by it. There is much

:21:06.:21:10.

more to debate than First Minister's questions. There is a

:21:10.:21:20.
:21:20.:21:20.

lot of work done in committee room. Senior figures, of all political

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persuasion, they are not engaging with the public enough, they are

:21:25.:21:30.

not visible enough. People do not know who they are. I am always

:21:30.:21:36.

happy to engage with the public. That might be true of you, but what

:21:36.:21:42.

about the rest of them? I would not accept that this is about senior

:21:42.:21:45.

figures are failing to engage. There is a wider problem of how

:21:45.:21:55.

people communicate and engage with politicians. Is a problem not that

:21:55.:22:00.

the politicians in the Assembly, you have got to get the message out

:22:00.:22:04.

to the people of Wales and that is not happening. Communication is

:22:04.:22:13.

very poor. There is more than one problem here. There is a problem in

:22:13.:22:21.

the media... Is it our fault? people get their information from

:22:21.:22:28.

other sources, unlike Scotland for example. Social media is different

:22:28.:22:35.

now. When I was young, and there were only three or four channels,

:22:35.:22:44.

people had to get the information through other channels. I'd be

:22:44.:22:51.

engaging people in the Assembly is a longer term process. There is a

:22:51.:23:01.
:23:01.:23:01.

real problem in engaging the public in politics. I recognise I have a

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duty to go up there and be proactive. And I think people in

:23:06.:23:14.

all parties in the Assembly would accept that as well. It cannot be...

:23:14.:23:20.

There is a big challenge for all of us. Just look at when the debate

:23:20.:23:30.
:23:30.:23:34.

happens on one particular section in the Assembly. Thank you. Now, as

:23:34.:23:36.

we've been hearing, swapping insults, in a light-hearted way of

:23:36.:23:39.

course, might be part of the cut and thrust of politics, but just

:23:39.:23:42.

when does banter cross the line into bullying? In the sporting

:23:42.:23:45.

world, pitch side participation is key in the enjoyment of sporting

:23:45.:23:48.

events, but a recent survey by Sport Wales and the gay rights

:23:48.:23:51.

group Stonewall Cymru showed that up to 75% of people taking part in

:23:51.:23:53.

sport have heard homophobic banter. And revealingly in professional

:23:53.:23:57.

sport in this country, there are only a handful of athletes who have

:23:57.:24:00.

publicly said they are gay. Rugby referee Nigel Owens, the first

:24:00.:24:03.

openly gay man to referee at international level returns to his

:24:03.:24:06.

home club Pontyberem RFC to explain how he thinks homophobia in sport

:24:06.:24:16.
:24:16.:24:27.

Being an international referee can be a lonely job. The final word,

:24:27.:24:32.

the authority figure and the butt of many a joke. But that is nothing

:24:32.:24:37.

at all compared to the loneliness of concealing your own sexuality.

:24:37.:24:43.

The human spirit goes through anguish to comply with the world's

:24:43.:24:51.

prejudice. And the sporting world is behind the rest of society. It

:24:51.:25:00.

is a deep-rooted problem. In a recent survey, 75% of people said

:25:01.:25:10.
:25:11.:25:17.

When I started my refereeing career, I knew that because of the

:25:17.:25:21.

homophobia that existed in sport, I could either be gay or a

:25:21.:25:25.

professional will be refereed. It was a difficult decision to make

:25:25.:25:30.

there was difficult time of my life. So difficult that it drove me to

:25:30.:25:35.

attempt to take my own life. I came out at the beginning of my

:25:35.:25:41.

international career. Gareth Thomas kick-out awards at the end of his.

:25:41.:25:46.

I hope that what we have both done is a tremendously important thing

:25:46.:25:51.

that will show people the way forward. We have all long way to

:25:51.:25:55.

goal but we have a responsibility. Homo phobia in sport is

:25:55.:26:01.

unacceptable. We have to encourage gay, lesbian and bisexual people to

:26:01.:26:06.

feel safe and be included what ever their chosen sport. The best way to

:26:06.:26:13.

do that is to lead by example. We need role models at the top end of

:26:14.:26:18.

the sport had to give a clear and positive message. Intolerance

:26:18.:26:26.

towards gay people is not acceptable. Rugby has spoken.

:26:26.:26:33.

Football, we are waiting for you. The international rugby referee

:26:33.:26:37.

Nigel Owens there. Joining me now is Laura McAllistair, the chair of

:26:37.:26:45.

Sport Wales. I'll be 20 years behind in the sporting world?

:26:45.:26:53.

are much further behind on the issue of sexual orientation in

:26:53.:26:58.

sport than we are on the race and disability. It is important that

:26:59.:27:03.

the address of this agenda. There is still a lot of homophobia in

:27:03.:27:10.

sport. It is not just about professional sport. It is about

:27:10.:27:17.

sport in school and all the way up. Would it help if big name its

:27:17.:27:27.
:27:27.:27:40.

spores men came out? -- sports men. It is tremendously helpful if that

:27:40.:27:46.

were to happen. How do we stop the name-calling from the terraces?

:27:46.:27:49.

need better education amongst our school teachers to be aware of all

:27:50.:27:54.

the issues that face children. We need our clubs and our governing

:27:54.:28:02.

bodies to buy into this agenda. And they are starting to. We have

:28:02.:28:09.

launched a lesbian, gay and bisexual network. People are taking

:28:09.:28:14.

this seriously. They are taking this seriously and the

:28:14.:28:18.

organisational level, but it is actually at they are so routes with

:28:18.:28:28.
:28:28.:28:28.

the message needs to get across. -- grassroots. Nigel Owens says it is

:28:29.:28:33.

time for football to catch up. cannot force individuals to come

:28:33.:28:37.

out and they would not wish to do that. It is good and proper that

:28:37.:28:41.

there is a range of role models, but we need to look at the reasons

:28:41.:28:51.
:28:51.:28:51.

why football does not have high profile out gay footballers. That's

:28:52.:28:56.

it for this week's programme. I'll be on Week In Week Out on Tuesday

:28:56.:28:59.

investigating sham marriages and Huw Edwards will be back with the

:28:59.:29:04.

Wales Report next week. You can get in touch with us about the issues

:29:04.:29:06.

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