YOU’LL SEE there are changes to the site today.
Rebecca Television becomes just Rebecca.
And this new personal column is introduced.
Why the changes?
Well, there haven’t been any TV programmes since the three produced in the website’s early years.
I’m sad about that because television is a powerful tool in the armoury of investigative journalism.
And, having previously worked for the ITV series Wales This Week where programmes normally cost around £10k for 23 minutes, the Rebecca videos weren’t expensive.
But Rebecca doesn’t generate the money needed to produce them.
Another problem is politics.
Two of the three programmes that were produced had to be withdrawn because they infringed ITV Wales copyright.
I acknowledged this — but hoped that, since ITV Wales had never been interested in the material, they wouldn’t mind me using it.
Or, at least, allow me to use it for a fee.
However, someone at ITV in Wales or London took exception to a critical programme about Ofcom Wales director Rhodri Williams.
This included an interview with Williams’ former boss filmed by ITV Wales but never broadcast.
ITV insisted the interview be removed — and wouldn’t even allow me to pay for the use of it.
The fall-out of this was that another programme also had to go.
It also used an interview that ITV Wales had never broadcast.
So, with just one programme surviving, it’s time to call it a day.
The second change is this Editor’s Log which gives my views rather than those of Rebecca.
This needs a little explanation — after all I write everything that appears on the site.
The fact is Rebecca articles operate to very high standard of evidential proof.
In a major Rebecca investigation readers need to have a large amount of accurate information to test the editorial line being advanced.
This is not to say these pieces are “impartial” — such a thing does not exist.
But, readers should have enough accurate information to make up their own minds.
This column allows me to say things from my personal point of view.
TOMORROW, Rebecca begins the long analysis of the Macur Review.
This is the government’s judge-led examination of the work of the 1996-1999 North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal.
Rebecca now has the figure of how much this exercise cost: £3 million — all of it to be paid for by the Ministry of Justice.
Was it worth it?
Rebecca says it wasn’t — and there’ll be a raft of articles to say why.
But here I want to say something about my involvement with the Review.
When David Cameron announced the Review in 2012, I thought “perhaps this time the judiciary will get to the bottom of what happened”.
There’s always the suspicion the exercise is going to be a con — just a sop to show concern and then produce a whitewash.
But, if you’re trying to find out the truth, you have no choice but to hope the process will be an honest one.
So I spent some two weeks preparing long statements — and then flew to London to meet Lady Justice Macur.
In the end, of course, it was all smoke and mirrors: she produced the suspected whitewash.
I have to say, though, I felt compromised by the whole process.
And, of course, the report is a gift to the conspiracy theorists.
A judge is persuaded to take on the dirty job of protecting the establishment — and then, a few months later, gets appointed to the Court of Appeal.
This is the elite of the judiciary — just 42 strong, bringing with it the equivalent of a knighthood and membership of Her Majesty’s Privy Council …
BUT IT turns out to be a lot less simple than that.
Lady Justice Macur may have produced a whitewash — but she does seem, bizarrely, to have had a conscience about it.
Yes, she clears the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal and says its conclusions were correct.
And, yes, she also stoops to a shoddy and shameful handling of the Rebecca material.
But, having protected the conclusions of the Tribunal, she then lays into the Tribunal chairman, Sir Ronald Waterhouse.
By the time she’s finished with him, his reputation is in tatters.
She uses mild language but the sentiments are brutal.
She does this in two ways.
She provides an enormous amount of new information — and then condemns him for the way he either handled or ignored it.
The result is a whitewash that, strangely, provides ammunition for the Tribunal’s opponents — including me.
She even makes this point more or less explicitly.
On page 18 of her report, she states baldly:
“Where there is information that runs contrary to my conclusions, I have reported on it.”
The result is a report that is full of new and valuable information — some of it is sensational.
I can’t ever remember reading anything like it …
Published: 8 May 2016
© Rebecca 2016
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