Well, well, well. Remember the 100 Welsh Heroes poll a while back? Organised by Culturenet Cymru and funded by the Welsh Assembly Government? It’s been alleged, by David Jones – the guy who implemented the voting system, that the whole thing was a fix – and a pretty egregious one. Firstly, the “frivolous” votes were scaled down – perfectly valid votes for Tom the Voice, Mike “Alarm” Peters and Phil “Motorhead” Campbell were removed, so the project wouldn’t come off as looking daft – the whole point of it was to promote Culturenet Cymru, not to actually find out who people thought the Welsh heroes were, so they didn’t want any riffraff in there.
Secondly, and rather more seriously,
we were told that the Ministry wouldn’t countenance [Owain] Glyndwr beating [Aneurin] Bevan; and we were trying to ensure funding for a third year so we fell into line.
So the voting was adjusted to make sure Bevan won. Another figure who suffered at the hands of the rigging was the Wales Free Army leader Cayo Evans:
We were told that Cayo Evans would go down badly with the Welsh Assembly so we made sure he didn’t figure in the top 20. To make the poll seem less low-brow we dropped the positions of entertainers. And in the last week of voting someone at the National Museum of Wales got into trouble for lobbying for Owain Glyndwr so the Nye Bevan / Owain Glyndwr positions were keenly examined.
(Diolch yn fawr, Nic!)
News story here, interview with the chap with a lot more detail on how the fix was supposed to have been done here. On the one hand, Culturenet Cymru are standing by their database, claiming that Jones was dismissed for gross misconduct and has been arrested for harrassing staff at CC (and released without charge, incidentally); but on the other hand they’re not releasing the database and program for independent analysis as Jones has asked…
[Update: it seems to be the considered opinion of people who know a lot more about this than me (cheers Dan, Nic) that it looks like the man's a self-publicising goit who enjoys interviewing himself. Clever. More on Dan's site and in the comments for this entry]