Memorandum from Jeff Rees, Karjaa, Finland
I was born in Swansea in 1963 and moved to Finland
in 1988. I saw your invitation to contribute to this enquiry on
your website. Here is my evidence.
"UK" Ambassador represents Welsh tax
payers in full Scottish national dress
Every year the President of Finland gives a
Grand Bill to celebrate Finnish Independence Day. Ambassadors
from all over the world are presented to the President on this
I congratulate the "UK" Ambassador
on wearing full Scottish National Dress to the ball. It was an
extremely clever way to promote Scotland to over half the Finnish
population watching this occasion live on National TV. I remember
the TV commentators explaining to their audience all about the
Scottish National Dress he was wearing.
This event clearly raised the profile of Scotland
and Welsh tax payers are paying the ambassadors salary.
Clearly we need to have our own full diplomatic
representationno one else can represent Wales.
"Promoting London and selling West End theatre
I telephoned the British Travel Centre in Helsinki,
funded by the British Tourism Authority to find out how then were
promoting Wales. They were not, I was informed that when they
got any brochures from the Welsh Tourism Board, they put them
with the ones from Scotland and only mailed them to people and
organisations that specifically requested them. They told me they
were mainly concerned with promoting London and selling tickets
for West End shows.
"The Welsh Office or what do they call it"
This was the answer I got when I telephoned
the commercial section of the British Embassy in Helsinki and
asked for the name of the organisation responsible for promoting
Welsh Exports. Then after a little consideration the embassy official
suggested that I could call Trade Partners UK in London as they
would probably know better.
It's worrying for me and it must be for your
constituents whose jobs depend on exports, that the primary source
for a Finnish importer to find out what Wales has to offer does
not know exactly which organisation is responsible for promoting
Welsh exports. Obviously the memo from the UK Foreign Office informing
UK embassies that since 1 July 1999 that the Welsh Office no longer
exists has not yet arrived.
Wales needs its own business links/export promotion
organisation representing the exclusive interests of Welsh business.
The jobs and wealth creation Wales must have can only be guaranteed
when we do this for ourselves.
"No I have never heard of SC4"
When I telephoned the British Council and asked
how they were promoting Wales, they informed me that regional
criteria was the last thing they considered in their decision
to co-fund artists, indeed usually they did not know what region
the artist came from. They had never heard of SC4. English language
training resources are plentiful, if you want to emigrate to Australia
or New Zealand you can do the English language proficiency exam
at the Council.
Cultural promotion, that is how others perceive
the Image of Wales is too important to leave to people that do
not have a passion for Welsh culture. Everyone I know has an image
of Ireland in their minds that draws them as tourists in the millions.
Our cultural resources are even better than that of Ireland, still
no one knows about them because no one is promoting them.
The UK Government has been very successful at
So successful in fact that Neil Kinnock and
Chris Patton are reported in the Finnish media as the EU Commissioners
for England. The vast majority of people in Finland believe that
Wales is in England.
Given the opportunity I am keen to contribute
my ideas as to the practical achievement of funding, goal setting
and organising the promotion of Wales overseas.
Please take action and make sure that our Assembly
is given full control in the promotion of Wales at all levels
overseas. The people of Wales can only benefit!
11 October 2000