Nov 082015
 

HOOKED ON FUNDING

Drugs is big business, as this recent case reminded us, and drugs generates lots of money for people other than drug dealers. Even the UK government has acknowledged that drug dealers buy cars, houses, boats, bling, foreign holidays, etc., etc. On top of that, the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ keeps cops, lawyers and prisons in business. And as if that wasn’t enough, we then have all those who’ve found jobs ‘helping’ drug addicts.

There must now be thousands of agencies, large and small, operating locally, at Wales level, UK level, which often overlap and duplicate each other’s work and, in total, receive billions of pounds in funding from various sources. The only losers in this situation are of course the drug addicts – but ‘it’s their own fault anyway’. A strange attitude to take towards those who keep this ship afloat.

Of course, the only other blot on this landscape of economic win-win is that those involved in manufacturing, importing and distributing drugs tend to keep their assets offshore, or under granny’s mattress, and therefore pay no tax. But since when have such practices ever troubled UK politicians, of any party?

If you wanted to be utterly cynical, you could argue that there are now so many people dependent on the drugs trade that if the ‘War on Drugs’ was, by some fluke, won, then it might have a seriously detrimental effect on the UK economy.

Drugaid

I am indebted to Brychan for reminding us that among the big players in Wales in the ‘helping drug addicts’ racket is The South Wales Association For Prevention Of Addiction Ltd (Charity No 265008), more usually known as Drugaid. Its four trustees are Professor Neil Frude, Miss Sylvia Diana Scarf, Mr William George David Smith and Mrs Linda Hodgson. As well Prof Frudeas being trustees of the charity these four are also the only directors of the cash-rich Newport-based company of the same name (No 01073381).

Professor Frude appears to be a somewhat unorthodox psychologist and one-time stand-up comedian, who runs the Happiness Consultancy in Berkshire. He is also an external professor at the University of South Wales and has some connection with Cardiff University. Though his main income is said to be from his work for BUPA, which no doubt contributes greatly to Frude’s personal happiness.

Miss Sylvia Diana Scarf is a retired lady of 79, who may live in Newport, or she may live in Oxford. I’m told that she recently got an OBE for her work with the Girl Guides. (When I tried to ‘work’ with Girl Guides during my Sea Scouts days all I ever got was ‘Get lost, you dirty sod’!) Miss Scarf is also said to be ‘big’ in the Anglican Church. When I read that it made me think of John Major’s old ladies cycling to Evensong after a skinfull of warm beer. Ah!

William George David Smith seems to be a chartered accountant in Cardiff and Linda Hodgson may, or may not, live in Porth, in the Rhondda. The contact and director for Drugaid is a Caroline Phipps from God knows where but currently domiciled in Caerffili. All in all, a typical ‘Welsh’ Third Sector outfit, made up of willing locals and those who can sniff out easy money from 500 miles away.

Drugaid first saw the light of day in Cardiff, in 1972, brought into this cruel world by the Reverend Peter Keward, and christened South Wales Action to Prevent Addiction (SWAPA). Since when it seems to have moved to Newport and concentrated its activities in the central and eastern Valleys, even into prosperous Monmouthshire. And despite what the outdated ‘About Us’ page says, Drugaid is also spreading west, yea unto Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion. In fact, the organisation now covers the whole of the south, from the border to the Irish Sea . . . apart from Cardiff and Swansea Bay, perhaps having been warned off the two main cities.

In figures submitted to the Charity Commission Drugaid had income for the year ended March 30, 2014 of £2,727,668 and expenditure of £2,789,439. It had 78 employees and 30 volunteers, so we are dealing here with a sizeable operation, and it’s still growing, currently advertising to fill 8 vacancies. (Here in screen capture.)

What does Drugaid actually do?

This is the tricky bit. Drugaid seems to work with ‘partner’ bodies, these include GPs, health services, various other Third Sector bodies, and the ‘National’ Probation Service (for Englandandwales). The latest available accounts show that these ‘partners’ (excluding local health boards and councils) put £1.74m into the Drugaid pot y/e 31.03.2014, with a further £606,397 coming from our wonderful ‘Welsh’ Government. So where does it go?

Drugaid income

Well, £1.83m went on wages and salaries, then there was ‘Hire of equipment and services’ (£211,870), ‘Motor and mileage costs’ (£88,151), ‘Light and heat’ (£80,287), ‘Telephone’ (£42,249), ‘Other operating leases’ (£162,854), ‘Sundries’ (£160,807), ‘Depreciation’ (£91,902), etc., etc. Apart from ‘Needles’ (£31,949), it’s difficult to identify any direct spending on those the charity is supposed to be helping, but let’s remember, this is a major employer, pushing towards 100 employees. (The two columns show y/e 31.03.2014 on the left, 2013 on the right.)

Drugaid spending

If one wished to be unkind it would easy to dismiss Drugaid as yet another charity where almost all the funding goes on salaries and administrative costs. A grotesquely bloated organisation, currently expanding beyond its ability to cope with this expansion and, as a result, not achieving a lot. Hardly surprising perhaps for a charity overseen by a stand-up comic.

I say that because in searching the Drugaid website I could find nothing boasting of ‘outcomes’, that word so beloved of Third Sector organisations, used in describing successes, numbers of ‘clients’ helped. Then my hopes soared as I saw ‘Drugaid Annual Review‘ . . . but the last one was posted in 2011! How is anyone – funders, for example – supposed to know whether Drugaid is actually doing any good? Or is Drugaid just part of some Third Sector merry-go-round where ‘cases’ get moved on from one agency to another with each agency taking its cut?

Drugaid gobbledegook

Another indicator that all may not be well is something else I found on the website, an invitation to tender, worded thus: “Drugaid is currently reviewing the provision of Supervision to our employees.  Following feedback from staff, a review of our Supervision Policy and research into best practice in Supervision, Drugaid has decided to redefine the supervision that is offered to all staff to provide a more inclusive, productive and efficient means of providing this vital support to all who work for us.”

Oh sorry, the closing date for that tender was 20th of February 2013!!! This is getting worrying. If the website is anything to go by, Drugaid is in one hell of a mess – but remember, this is an organisation that’s still expanding! Here’s a screen capture of the 2013 invitation to tender, because I guarantee it won’t be on the website much longer.

What else do we know?

I’ve already mentioned that in addition to the charity there is also a private company, limited by guarantee, with the same directors as are trustees of the charity. The company has a net worth of £1.1m, and £1.2m in cash.

Having also mentioned the situations currently vacant, it may be worthwhile focusing on one of these, the job in Merthyr catering for veterans. This caught Brychan’s eye due to a difference in legislation between Wales and England. Here in Wales, the Homeless Persons (Priority Need) (Wales) Order 2001 specifies that anyone who finds himself / herself homeless after leaving the armed forces is categorised as a priority for social housing. The Homelessness Act 2002, which applies to England only, allows local authorities there to reject applicants on the grounds of ‘no local connection’.

Given what we already know about the operations of the Third Sector and social housing bodies, and how lax legislation allows – even encourages – the importation of ‘clients’ from England, it demands no great leap of the imagination to envision Drugaid bringing in English ex-service personnel with drugs problems. Does this go some way to account for the recent expansion, both in personnel numbers and geographical reach?

Whatever Drugaid is doing, or supposed to be doing, it doesn’t seem to do it well. Nowhere does it give figures for those it has helped, as a result there seems to be no way whatsoever of gauging its success.  The percentage of its income spent on salaries and administrative charges is ludicrous, and should be unacceptable to its funders. The website, Drugaid’s window to the world, is an absolute shambles, full of gibberish and out-of-date pages. There has been no Yearly Review posted since that for 2011. How the hell can an organisation in such a state be allowed, even encouraged, to expand?

Finally, and being guided by the latest accounts, it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that Drugaid is no more than a glorified needle exchange. As such, it does not deserve the excessive funding it receives. It is surely time for partners and funders to review their support for Drugaid.

*

NEIL WOOLLARD, ANOTHER UPLANDS COUNCILLOR GONE MISSING?

Following on the recent news of the departure from Swansea of Uplands councillor John Charles ‘John Boy’ Bayliss, which itself followed on the departure last year of his friend Pearleen Sangha, I now hear that another Labour councillor from that ward may have disappeared.Phil Tanner

The name I’m hearing is Neil Woollard, an interesting character, Woollard, for in addition to his day job, and his council work, Neil and some friends are the Rag Foundation, a popular folk ensemble. The group’s repertoire draws heavily on the songs of Gower folk singer Phil Tanner (1862 – 1950), a man whose life covered the ending of south Gower’s ‘island’ status, those centuries when it had more in common with Somerset than with north Gower. I’ve even read somewhere that Woollard is Tanner’s grandson, but to my knowledge Tanner had no children, certainly none are recorded.

What I’m hearing is that Woollard is employed by ‘a company involved with the Swansea tidal lagoon’, yet for some reason this means that he now lives in the Cardiff area. Though this might not be as odd as it sounds, for the company behind the lagoon is based in Gloucester, so maybe he’s chosen to live somewhere roughly half way between Swansea and Gloucester. But I’m only guessing. My source is however adamant that Woollard now lives somewhere in the Cardiff area.

While Woollard’s attendance record at council meetings has not taken the dramatic turn for the worse we saw with Bayliss (and why should it, for Bayliss is further away, in Bristol), there has still been a marked decline. In the period 14.05.2015 – 06.11.2015 his attendance record was 30%, but for the six-month period before that it was 60%.

So the question on Woollard is roughly the same as I asked for Bayliss.Is he still able to properly discharge his duties as councillor for the Uplands ward in Swansea? If not, then there must be a by-election, not another lengthy period – as we saw with Sangha – of the Labour Party staying schtum or, when pressed, maintaining that he’s still, ‘livin’ down by ‘ere, mun’ and that nothing has changed.

Dylan Thomas’s old neighbourhood is now an area of flats and houses of multiple occupation, with a largely transient population of students and drifters, but that is no reason for this transient and footloose lifestyle to extend to the Labour councillors elected to represent the ward.

UPDATE 19:25: I am now informed by one of my alert readers that Woollard is actually working on the proposed Cardiff tidal lagoon, as Head of Local Engagement. The Cardiff Tidal Lagoon bio blurb makes it clear why Woollard was recruited – his contacts within the Labour Party.

Neil Woollard Tidal Lagoon

Strangely, or perhaps not, there is no mention that Woollard is a Swansea councillor. What do the rules say about elected councillors canvassing other councillors, AMs and ministers on behalf of a private company? And how should people back in Swansea feel about one of their councillors working on what could be viewed as a rival project to the Swansea tidal lagoon? Serious questions here for Woollard and Labour.

*

SOPHIE HOWE, MORE LABOUR CRONYISM

Earlier this year I wrote about Sophie Howe, the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales. Well now her Labour cronies have given her another well-paid job, this time as Future Generations Commissioner, a flim-flam post created, it would appear, for no better reason than to pander to the Green lobby . . . and of course to create another cushy number for one of the insiderest of Labour insiders.

Howe is the daughter of a Labour councillor, who herself became a councillor at 22, she also worked as a Research / Casework Assistant for both Julie Morgan MP and Sue Essex AM, before moving up to do similar work for Julie Morgan’s husband and First Minister Rhodri Morgan, and then his successor in that post Carwyn Jones, before most recently becoming No 2 to former Labour MP Alun Michael in February 2013, after he became the PCC. She was hoping to find a safe seat for the May General Election, but failed, so this post could be viewed as a consolation prize. But I have no doubt that a safe seat will be found for her before 2020, so no one should expect her to see out the ‘seven-year term’ of this job.

Her father, Peter Howe, followed her into the office of Julie Morgan to, eventually, become office manager. A correspondent insists that Howe was a bully, a failing overlooked by his adoring daughter who was otherwise so interested in protecting women from male bullying. Though in this instance the suggested ‘trigger’ might have been jealousy, as the woman being bullied had been selected to stand for Cardiff City Council . . . whereas Peter Howe had been overlooked.

Sophie Howe

Reactions to the appointment varied. Tory leader Andrew R T Davies did his ‘Confused but Mildly Outraged of Cowbridge’ act while others were less charitable. Among them a rising star within Plaid Cymru, councillor Neil McEvoy. On a lighter note, Llanelli Plaid Cymru councillor Ruth Price made a Sharon Stone comment which unfortunately allowed Howe’s defenders to focus on this merry quip rather than on the appointment itself.

Howe’s boss, PCC Alun Michael, went into full feigned outrage mode and was quoted as saying, ‘There is no place for comments of this sort in a civilised society and it is particularly unacceptable in Wales.” What utter bollocks. A civilised society is judged by far, far more important things than an off-the-cuff remark like this. Among them, openness in public appointments. You sanctimonious little prick!

For her pains Ruth Price also took stick from her own party, including a Twitter DM from Llanelli Assembly candidate Helen Mary Jones. In fact, among Plaid’s big-wigs there seemed to be considerably more support for Sophie Howe than opposition. It even seemed to be decided by an individual’s attitudes to a Plaid coalition with Labour next year. Here’s what Plaid Cymru regional AM Jocelyn Davies tweeted almost as soon as the announcement was made public.

Jocelyn Davies tweet

Well, well, there was me thinking that this Sophie Howe appointment was about Labour cronyism corrupting the public and political life of Wales, a reminder that Wales is a one-party state, but no! – it’s a wimmin issue. And everything’s OK cos our Sophie is “a strong woman”. Is Jocelyn Davies standing again next year?

Using this rationale, perhaps it would have been acceptable for a misogynist communist to have sent Hitler a telegram in 1933, saying, ‘Good to see a strong man in charge, Mein Fuhrer‘ . . . before he was dragged off to the concentration camp.

It’s said that Sophie Howe is a lawyer, if so, she’s never used that training for anything other than political purposes. Every job she’s ever done has either been working directly for the Labour Party, or else was gained through her Labour Party connections. Consequently, there is no way of gauging this woman’s real ability because there has never been any politically impartial assessment. She should never have been appointed Future Generations Commissioner.

*

SAM WARBURTON, CAPTAIN CARDIFF

The Rugby World Cup circus has departed, the ball has gone from the castle wall, and despite all the hype and expectation, we didn’t win the bloody thing, again. Yes, I know, we had lots of injuries, and biased refs (no, sorry, that was Scotland), but what struck me was that even when it was all over the ‘Welsh’ media couldn’t stop being . . . well, the Cardiff media.

Soon after the Final final whistle two of Wales’ great rugby pundits weighed in in the Wasting Mule to tell us that Sam Warburton, the Wales captain, is the best player we’ve got, and the only one who’d make it into the World XV to take on the tourists from Mars. First, on October 29th, it was former Wales captain Gwyn Jones, and a few days later, on November 1st, it was the turn of rugby correspondent Andy Howell.

Don’t get me wrong, Sam Warburton is a fine player, it’s just that the Cardiff media is besotted with him. Sometimes it’s possible to pick up the Llais y Sais and find him on the front page, a few of the sports pages, and a couple of inside pages. It’s bizarre, because it’s quite obvious that on the field of play – and I suspect in training and elsewhere – the national team is actually led by Alun Wyn Jones and Dan Biggar. Whereas Warburton, on the field, is almost silent, and certainly no captain. So is it a ceremonial role?

This adoration of Sam Warburton does not extend beyond Wales, or perhaps beyond Cardiff. Shown by another report I picked up around the same time, sandwiched between the two I’ve quoted, this being the six-player shortlist for the Rugby World Player of the Year. Who do we see on the shortlist – Sam Warburton, surely? No, the only Welshman there is Alun Wyn Jones. Suggesting that people outside of Wales have a better perspective on Welsh rugby than many inside Wales.Dan Biggar

This corrupted view of various players’ qualities is due to the fact that the Wasting Mule, and to a lesser degree the BBC and ITV, see a great part of their role in being to promote the city of Cardiff, and anyone or anything that can in turn be used to promote Cardiff. This can not be done with Biggar or Jones because both come from Swansea, which is the worst of all possible alternatives. So it has to be wall-to-wall Warburton.

Of course it was the Welsh Rugby Union not the media that made Warburton captain, and there’s little doubt in my mind that Warburton regarding himself as British rather than Welsh makes him the perfect captain for hard-line Unionists like WRU Chairman David Pickering, for whom Wales flickers into life only on the rugby field. A kind of sporting Brigadoon.

Why Wales coach Warren Gatland falls into line with this nonsense is no great mystery. He knows Alun Wyn will sing the anthem lustily enough for both himself and Warburton, and put himself about for the full 80 minutes; he also knows that Biggar will cajole and inspire his team-mates for as long as he’s left on, so if it keeps the WRU suits and the Cardiff media happy why not play along with the charade of a figurehead captain?

*

WHERE WOULD THEY BE WITHOUT US?

Lying in bed the other morning, picking my nose and flicking bogies around the yet-dark room, I got to thinking about devolution, as you do when engaged in activity so conducive to deep, analytical thought.

It occurred to me that devolution, coupled with EU poverty funding, higher education, local government and other fields, have created in Wales tens of thousands of jobs in management roles for English administrators and others of moderate or even dubious ability who would struggle to land jobs offering anything like the same salaries and pension benefits in the private sector.

I’m thinking here of civil servants attached to the ‘Welsh’ Government and its various agencies, so many of the officers in our twenty-two local authorities, those innumerable managers in our seven health boards (plus the hospitals, clinics, centres, etc), housing associations beyond counting, third-rate academics in a higher education sector that ceased serving Welsh needs almost half a century ago, third sector organisations and other bodies too numerous to mention that have either come into existence since devolution or else have set up a ‘Welsh’ presence by transferring in staff.

Looking at it this way, devolution has been of more benefit to perhaps 30,000 members of England’s middle class than it has to 2.5 million Welsh. And most of this generosity is paid for out the Welsh public purse. But hey! that’s how colonialism operates.

  52 Responses to “Drugaid – Another Councillor Lost? – Sophie Howe – Captain Cardiff – Profound Thoughts While Lying Abed Flicking Bogies”

  1.  

    The appointment of Ms Howe fits neatly into the agenda of the metropolitan “left” and “disadvantaged minority” prejudices. The manipulative style of the modern leftie shows little or no concern for real issues but focusses totally on gathering power and influence into a tight circle with tails of dependency stretching out from that core. Sadly Plaid seem to have been sucked ( or suckered ) into this scheme of things, and many so called Tories & Lib Dems can also be described in much the same way. Seems like the prevalent condition in Welsh politics and no doubt appears on a bigger scale in UK and EU.

    Someone mention tall poles and ropes ?

  2.  

    just seen the non-story about N McEvoy refusing to sing G.S.T.Q and some Tory mouthing off about respect. McEvoy’s retort was bang on the button – no bleating, no cry for “more budget”, just a quick verbal smack in the chops – if soldiers mean so much to you, then make sure they don’t end up homeless you insincere Tory twat ! Like it , like it ! This guy should be leading Plaid or at least in its front row. He’s probably a bit of a socialist, no bad thing, but doesn’t sound like a hand wringer to me. Get the man promoted.

    •  

      I like Neil McEvoy myself. We’ve never met but we’ve exchanged a few online pleasantries. I too would like to see him have a more prominent role in the Plaid Cymru, he’d do a hell of lot more to get votes in the south than another son of the manse, or a ‘Let’s cwtch up to Labour’ socialist. Trouble is, I bet that many of the weaklings and compromisers at the top of the party find him him a bit ‘brash’, ‘too outspoken’. With their record they’re in no position to criticise anyone.

  3.  

    just copied this from Llais y Sais, who must be having an occassional day of clarity and a sense of purpose, although the research was done by someone else !.

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/welsh-councils-nearly-200-people-10413483

    Welsh councils have nearly 200 people earning over £100,000 a year (and one pay package is worth more than £300,000) – Wales Online

    No doubt the “multi party ” machine that combines the self interest of our politicians and their senior executives is working “just nice” able to screw fat salaries out of shrinking budgets and “fuck the service” being order of the day. Excuse the bad language, but of all the assorted types of self serving spongers in our creation local authority execs are among the worst of the lot. Would be good to reorganise the lot out of existence but they’ve already strapped into place generous severance deals that makes it cheaper to keep them in place !!

    •  

      Good old Taxpayers Alliance – An organisation funded by millionaires tax-dodgers.
      If you want local government, schools, hospitals and prisons run by G4S or A4e, the TPA is there to encourage you. With Gove’s so-called Free Schools, they seem okay when people are prepared to work in them for nothing but that soon changes. Meanwhile, at the Great Counting House, Osborne sells off public assets at losses that would have newspapers, owned by non-resident billionaires, screaming for his guts if he was a Labour Chancellor. Osborne sells Royal Mail to his mates, sells all of the shares in Eurostar for £775k after £3billion of taxpayers money went in.
      Osborne has about £62billion of public assets up for grabs.
      Brown sold gold at the market price and got a roasting but Osborne throws away £billions in Fire Sales and there’s hardly a murmur.
      The City spivs would like the Osborne’s sell-offs to speed up. Preferably speed up to the rate that public assets in the Soviet Union were ‘sold’ and that explains why the EU out campaign is so popular with rich spivs who have nearly all of their assets registered off-shore.
      Plus, if the slumbering electorate wake up and realise what’s going on and try to rebel, Theresa May’s surveillance system is in place and more effective than what the KGB and Stasi had.
      As for the PM’s pay, here’s a piece from a medical blog http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/2015/06/prime-ministers-salary-dumb-place-start-debate-about-nhs-pay

      •  

        The TPA ‘s motives may be different to ours but there is no harm in perusing the information they dig out.

        You may be content to watch a bunch of pen pushers filch handsome 6 figure salaries ( even high 5 figures is still nice work if you can get it ! ) but those bastards are quite happy to implement Osborne’s cuts, and attendant misery, as long as their life style is protected. Even those that get pushed out end up with cushy departures, severance packages, and many turn up elsewhere in public sector, or 3rd sector, on jolly nice consultancy deals or yet another executive role. Time these people starting doing some real work instead of ducking and diving ” managing budgets” like some retarded version of “Monopoly for the public sector”.

        Perversely,their behaviours make them bedfellows to George and his secret cohorts of asset thieves, and there again it would not be much of a surprise, if chunks of the public sector was privatised, that these same bastards would turn up in key management roles. Most of them have little concern for “public service”, that has become a sick joke trotted out along with the rest of those nauseous cliches like “lessons learned” and “having conversations”. For most of these jokers a well paid career with fatcat pensions, scope for consultancy or directorships later in life, and possibly a minor gong is all that matters.

        •  

          “… content to watch a bunch of pen-pushers filch ..” “Time these people starting doing some real work …”
          No bias there then.
          “… it would not be much of a surprise, if chunks of the public sector was privatised, that these same bastards would turn up in key management roles.”
          Nothing like a spot of defeatism.

          The thing is, Dafis, by venting your anger at those in the public sector you’re helping the Tories and their rich friends get what they want. Whilst bickering over salaries, greater wrongs take place.

          •  

            How worse would it be to allow “the Tories and their rich friends get what they want” than the system we have now that sees a poor country spend billions celebrating that poverty, creating non-jobs for Labour cronies, rather than tackling the poverty?

            •  

              They are getting what they want, albeit slowly.
              “… a poor country spend billions celebrating that poverty” Eh? I missed that one.

            •  

              you beat me to it there, Jac. I suspect Job above is either part of the sector or wedded to the notion that it’s all indispensable. Either way he’s being taken to the cleaners by a shower that don’t give a toss for his welfare or anybody else’s. The managerial/exec elite is just taking the money and “pursuing career objectives” Well roll on boys & girls.

              He identifies my analysis of the realities of the situation as “defeatism”, well not really the case. I just know a crock of shit when I see it, in fact don’t need to see it the smell is so strong.

              On the matter of work, any regime that just relies on a merry go round of bureaucratic paperwork and process with little or no end product doesn’t qualify as work, more like play time for adults. On that I am biased and happy to be described as such if it suits the man ! Don’t think I’m picking on councils, there’s a whole raft of government departments and agencies that were someone’s bright idea of job creation a generation or two ago. Instead they created a monster.

              Now it’s well nigh impossible to rectify this in the short term, even within one 5 year term but Wales Gov, UK, EU at al have got to face up to the serious imbalance in economic activity. Heavy reliance on growth in Service industries is already discredited among those analysts less prone to rose tint specs, as we can’t all cut each other’s hair ( or clean each other’s windows ). Serious thinking ( not cliches and soundbites) is needed about the harnessing of new emergent technologies that have real world applications ( not newer phones for call centres ! ). Realignment of financial services so that they serve real people’s needs rather than ingenious, deviant financial engineering objectives. How much research has gone into attacking the cost base of green energy sources ? Very little I suggest as much of the focus to date has been on serving up a technologty regardless of cost and “persuading” government to fork out a hefty subsidy. More human effort into the efficiency of such solutions could produce a real green economy as opposed to the sham we have thus far embarked upon.

              With success in areas such as energy, the progress made in medical science industries and a range of other real, value adding propositions, we could create an economic landscape where some of the excess employed in public services could migrate into new commercial/industrial employments, as well as attracting future generations of talent into creative work. Now that’s a prospect worth discussing further.

              Oh, and it might just give this nation of ours the confidence to stand on its own to feet and chuck the begging bowl back up the M4

              •  

                All wishful thinking. Meanwhile, the racket continues unabated in places far removed from Cardiff Bay.
                You do realise that an economic system that serves people rather than the rich minority was proposed by Marx ages ago? Marx didn’t factor in greed and envy and he had no idea about how technology, weaponry in particular, would be used control people rather than benefit them.
                You should bear in mind the fact that, with today’s technology, most of the world’s people are superfluous to the needs of the filthy rich and are nothing more than consumers of finite resources to them.
                Climate change making large areas of the planet uninhabitable is seen as a ‘cleansing agent’. The rich people in areas adversely affected by rising temperatures, droughts etc., are already making plans to occupy places elsewhere and some have staked their claims already.
                Try viewing global and military strategies from the side of the wealthy and powerful.

                •  

                  I couldn’t agree more with you Jobovitch – what you’ve just written is the bare truth.

                  . The filthy rich get richer and filthier under a psychopathic ‘posh boy’ regime of right wingers in England (and elsewhere in large blocks all over the world). The cronies under a socialist banner in our own country slice off the cake in the same fashion under the guise of helping the impoverished whilst parading the propaganda of having a social consience. You’re quite right Marx had the right idea – he just forgot about the effect of depraved human nature – greed & selfishness.

                  The Cameron/ Osbournes of this world sicken me to my toes. The Kinnock clan and others like them in the bay and in local government also sicken me to the core with their hypocricy, greed and self serving corruption.

                  The nationalists are (as someone perfectly described them on here) a corpse you can’t shift from your chair in Cymru. Whichever way you look at it, it’s a bloody shambles. Shit is shit whatever colour it is.

                  Personally I can’t wait for a reboot when the capitalist system collapses and everyone has got to get back to reality to survive the fall-out.

                  The sooner it comes the better – I can’t wait to see what happens when all that money is totally worthless and everyone suddenly land on the same level.

                  Bring it on and watch the show!

                  —————————————————————————————-

                  On the sprting front – I agree with you Jac. I never rated Warburton he’s a mediocre player who was earmarked from the start to have smoke blown up his arse by the sporting crowd that hover around Caerdydd. The earmarking started when Martyn Williams showed signs of hanging up his boots. At that stage they started singling Sam Warbuton out for special things and to eventually take over Williams’ crown, he was not even an eye catching club player. But he suited what they wanted in the Blues – Kerdiff lad & all that. It should also not be forgotten that he single handedly got Cymru out of the 2011 World Cup when the clown picked up that red card for a spear tackle.

                  We have two perfectly good flankers in Tipperic at the Ospreys & young James Davies at the Scarlets, both more talented and more effective than Sam – but they’re out west aren’t they?
                  —————————————————————————————–

                  •  

                    When it comes to Warburton’s attractiveness to the WRU and the Cardiff media don’t forget his political outlook.

                    •  

                      I’d be very surprised if Gatland let the WRU chose his captain and it would be bizarre if Gatland had anypolitical motives. I think Warburton is captain because Gatland doesn’t want a captain that might question his(Gatland’s) instructions and decisions. Being bland at interviews goes hand in hand with that. Warburton is a very good player though.

                    •  

                      No one disputes that Warburton is a fine player, but as I show with the links in my post he is not as highly rated outside of Wales as he is by those in the Cardiff media bubble. Nor as highly rated as others in the team.

                      Then, we have the issue of on-field leadership. You only have to watch a game to know that Biggar is the one cajoling and encouraging his men, the one making the tactical decisions; while Alun Wyn Jones is the one in the thick of it leading from the front and always making a nuisance of himself. By comparison, Warburton is anonymous, he is not an on-field leader. What is the point of having a ‘captain’ when other players are giving the instructions on the field and doing the leading? This is why I ask if it’s a ceremonial role, because he’s of no practical use as captain during a game.

                      All of which calls into question why he is captain at all. The only reasons I can think of are: 1/ Identifying himself as British rather than Welsh makes him the perfect choice for the self-perpetuating Unionist-Masonic-royalist clique that has always controlled the WRU. 2/ Being from Cardiff and playing for Cardiff makes him the perfect choice for the Cardiff media, misrepresenting itself as our national media.

                      Where this leaves Gatland is open to question. I’m not ascribing any political motives to the man and I’m quite prepared to accept your suggestion that Gatland might not want a captain who does too much thinking, which might lead to questioning his decisions. And anyway, when it comes to the field of play he knows he’s always got Alun Wyn and Dan Biggar to fill the leadership roles. Warburton can just stay schtum and concentrate on his game.

                    •  

                      1/ My guess is that professional rugby players don’t really spend much time thinking about identity politics. Grav being an obvious exception though he still played for the British and Irish Lions.
                      2/ yep

                      That there has never been a genuine public debate about three ostrich feathers being the emblem of our national rugby team continues to be a depressing.

                •  

                  “All wishful thinking.” – who’s a defeatist, pessimist now then ? I know that we are overseen by c***ts of all colours and none of them will ever do a tap to assist our quest unless it suits their self interest. However a programme of re-construction might just attract enough support and get a few to change sides on this. Otherwise as Gee says above , and I touched on a few days ago ( 10th Nov just down the page) we might as well have a “collapse of the existing social and economic fabric ……”

                  As for Marx, well nice theory but the biggest wishful thinker you could ever wish to meet ! As soon as Uncle Joe and others got hold of his idea it was a short trip from heaven to hell.

                  Gee, ask Jac who originated the “corpse” !

                  •  

                    I can’t be absolutely sure, but I have a fairly good idea you coined the ‘corpse’ description.

                  •  

                    Lenin came first. “Uncle Joe” Stalin came later. When Marx wrote Das Kapital he was thinking of the industrialised countries Britain, Germany and the USA. It was Marx’s view that the people in industrialised countries would recognise the flaws and abusive nature of capitalism and would eventually reject it in favour of an equitable system. Marx was more evolutionary than revolutionary.
                    At no time did Marx see Russia as a country where communism would flourish as it was third-world agricultural with little to no industry.

                    It was Germany’s idea to take Lenin the Revolutionary out of exile in Switzerland and bundle him onto a train bound for Russia. There were armed guards on the train and at many locations along the route to make damn sure that Lenin didn’t get off the train and onto German soil. Germany wanted Lenin to go to Russia and completely fuck up the place. Lenin obliged.

                    The above is an example of how well-intentioned plans to create a fair society can be used to create a shitfest.

                    I see that the Joint Forces of Daily Heil and TaxPayer’s Alliance have turned on the police today. Yesterday they were shitting on the NHS. But, they were full of praise for Plaid Cymru and Neil McEvoy is boasting about it – See below.

                    •  

                      That link dates from 2013 ! but the ebb & flow of Cardiff’s “executive head count” is quite remarkable. I wonder how much was spent on fees & expenses in that last big round of recruitment, only to be undone by a shedding of some of that new “talent” less than 2 years later ! Their severance costs were inflated because, apparently some of the recruits were over 55 and were thus entitled to additional feather bedding of their pension entitlements when they were made redundant by Cardiff. Now it takes a real collection of idiots to fabricate that situation. Senior execs and Council “cabinet” members take responsibility ? – not on your f***in’ nelly ! Just another example of astute leadership playing fast and loose with the public purse. Yet the services to the ordinary public in Cardiff get eroded at every turn and cuts to budgets are always to blame. Well budget cuts are a real nuisance but isn’t it time someone put on their thinking caps before acting in such cavalier ways with what little is left to spend ?

                      I don’t think Mr McEvoy was boasting, as I suspect he had his tongue way into his cheek in making that comment. However let him respond to your observation as he’s a big lad and wouldn’t want an old git like me get in his way.

                    •  

                      Dafis – I doubt if the post was tongue in cheek. McEvoy seems very much a TaxPayers’ Alliance guy.
                      Seeing as you like the subject of cutting Council expenditure: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/11/david-cameron-letter-cuts-oxfordshire

                    •  

                      I’ve been called a lot of things, but a Tax Payer’s Alliance person?! I’m not a fan of Blue Tory fronts. The issue is that when Cardiff Plaid was in office, we cut at the top and saved millions as a result. The same people now earning £150k +, were on £80k under us. That’s how we were able to protect services. For example, the increase in is in pay for 1 officer alone is the equivalent of a play centre. Redundancy is statutory. Of course it was paid. The overall saving though was substantial. If it were up to me, I’d restructure the whole public sector in Wales. Nationalise housing associations as a first step.

                    •  

                      The Public Policy Institute for Wales recently produced a very interesting report on housing. I’m marrying it up with other information I’ve been given on housing associations for a post next week.

                    •  

                      This column will narrow to the tip of a pencil before long ! My primary area of interest is cutting the so called “professional executive”, the raft of overpaid jokers who sit on top of public service providers, doing next to nothing when the going is good and then slashing and burning when told to cut costs.

                      Fewer execs, flattened chains of command, less bullshit and more “doing” and we would all start to give the “service” some credit for a job well done. I fancy that note from Dodgy Dave was intended to show what a good constituency M.P he is looking after his flock and all that crap, but it rebounded on him because regardless of need, and Oxfordshire must be among the better off counties in general terms, there has developed a climate of expectation, that everything would be laid on by the authority.

                      No-one can blame the local population for that mindset because the whole mess was dished out by successive governments until sometime in 2007 -08 the wagon hit the buffers and those that shouted the loudest – the banks ! – got the lions’ share of the funding. That was the crime of the century , committed by the ass Brown, who was principal assistant to the arch criminal Blair, who had his own well documented proclivities. Cameron and Osborne in office have been ecstatically driving on with this credo of subbing banks, and will sell them back into the private sector, i.e their mates making a paper loss but claiming that the loss was justified in that it protected UK’s preeminence in global financial markets. Bit like Romans justifying crucifixion in terms of promoting the nail industry !

                    •  

                      Dafis – But you don’t like it when the senior execs are made redundant in accordance with their contracts.

                      As for the international finance system – Nothing has changed and we are on track for another crisis. It’s all a massive Ponzi scheme but how would most of us had coped if Gordon Brown hadn’t stepped in with the measures that he used? Like it or not, the system has a set of rules and if the banks were allowed to go bankrupt all of their operations would have had to close. Try buying food or petrol without the use of money or plastic.

                      When the highly skilled professionals seek to leave Britain is the time to panic.
                      The General Medical Council has received more applications for a Certificate of Currently Professional Status so far this year as it did in the whole of 2014. The Certificate is needed if doctors wish to practice medicine abroad.
                      In 2014, the GMC issued 4925 certificates. So far this year it has issued 7468.
                      Feel slightly edgy?

                    •  

                      Neil McEvoy – You’re dancing to the tune of the TPA, but maybe you don’t realise it.
                      btw: It’s TaxPayers’. Pleased to see that you got the Alliance bit right this time. ‘Tax Payers allowance’ is something for HMRC.

                    •  

                      Re: dancing to tunes. Can’t take that seriously. We had a budget to run and services to provide. The error was not restructuring much sooner. Cuts should start at the top, not the sharp end. Labour’s Public Sector Aristocrats have to go.

                    •  

                      Look beneath the surface, Job. Those contracts were written by the same self serving executive clique and accepted without quibble by a senior civil servant in the appropriate ministry because that group too would benefit. Case of vote for pain but inflict in on someone else. Most of these guys get fired and move on to the next well remunerated number, enhanced pension or a bit of both. Serial offenders !

                      When Brown stepped in he had the opportunity to impose some pretty draconian terms on the shysters who started squealing for help, but he elected to let them carry on business as usual even to the point where they were still signing off thir own bonuses. That’s either serious incompetence or more likely collusion. As for the country going down the tubes at that point I seriously doubt it. There was fantastic scope at that point to reconfigure the major banking landscape and Brown and his team “Balls” it up with Cameron & Osborne &co waiting in the wings laughing their cocks off cos their mates got off the hook so easily.

                    •  

                      The only solution is s complete re-structure of the public sector in Wales

                    •  

                      Dafis and Neil McEvoy: Are you seriously suggesting that Labour Councils could have drawn up employment contracts, terms & conditions of service outside of the NJC national agreements? It is Labour Councils that you’re having a go at isn’t it?

                      Dafis: Draconian measures? Dream on.
                      Stay within the bounds of achievable, think back to 2008 and work out what the Tories would have done. I single out the Tories because no other Party in Britain would have been in a position to make a decision. Probably the majority of people would have liked to see scapegoats go to prison for a long time. A smaller section of the population might have thought that hanging the lot was too lenient.
                      Anyway, the popular press in Britain blamed Pa Broon for collapse of Lehman Bros, subprime mortgages, AAA rated CDOs etc., and lots of voters put an X next to a Tory candidate in 2010 and 2015.

                    •  

                      Job, Brown did exactly what the Tories wanted him to do – he fell into line straight away because he too was so loved up with the myth of financial services being the engine of UK economy and enjoyed the schmoozing he got from crafty City types. It’s no dream to suggest that he missed an opportunity to impose some stiff terms on those bastards. Having committed that level of funding he could have broken some new ground, but he elected to stay cozy. If that was a manufacturing sector going down the tubes we would have had the usual patter about “global changes”, “challenging times” blah ,blah …..

                      As for the terms and conditions of employment debate , ALL council executives benefit from the revisions which took place way back- early Blair years or even late Major term – so I’m not having a chip at Labour councils, indeed parties of all colours are just as negligent when it comes to “severance”, little or no attempt made to pool resources with other authorities to find jobs for surplus “talent”, just shelling out and watching the guys move on to their next posting.

                    •  

                      Dafis: Are you of the opinion that Britain can operate a financial system that is independent of the rest of the world? For heaven’s sake, the crisis happened because of wild free-market dealings in the USA. Britain did have merchant banks that risked their own money on investments but Thatcher came along and changed it. The old merchant banks were swallowed up by USA and Far Eastern investment banks and any hope of returning to the old days is long gone. Bear in mind that that the partners in merchant banks took advantage of Thatcher’s offer and exported their wealth to off-shore tax havens.

                      Council Employment Contracts.
                      When did you start lobbying politicians about Council pay being too high at senior level and conditions too generous? What were the responses to your concerns?
                      Are you okay with FTSE 100 CEOs getting 146 times the average wage plus pensions?
                      Those are serious questions because salaries, pensions and other employment conditions in the private and public sectors have a bearing on young people when they choose a career.

                    •  

                      “… the crisis happened because of wild free-market dealings in the USA.” No hanky panky in UK and EU, or the rest of the world ? You got to be kidding. The guys in London were party to all sorts of financial engineering, hailed as clever until wheels fell off, then they were “clever” as they persuaded your mate Gordon to give them a solid gold crutch which suited the Tories nicely cos they would be batting for that shower anyway. No taking sides on this, it is a bloody mess and excusing public sector chiefs’ gravy train is no good just cos there’s another bunch of corrupt bastards ( FTSE Boards) riding on an even bigger gravy train.

                      At least they used to be able to argue that PLC’s stood ( or fell ) on the strength of their performance, but I begin to doubt whether that is true anymore. When you see the wholesale shift in balance between exec remuneration and the wages of rank and file, the interlinking of assorted institutional sherholdings which prejudice the interests of small shareholders it is patently evident that a relatively small group of “bandits” have taken over corporate UK for their own narrow self interest, replicating what had already become the norm in US. No doubt the EU and other major corporate economies are speeding down the same track due to the globalisation of economic power which has only little to do with globalisation of markets – like the shift to TTIP which is now well under way.

                    •  

                      Yes. It was over commitment in the USA financial markets. I have pointed out to you what happened when Thatcher enabled the financial institutions in Britain to copy those of the USA. Once Thatcher had given a free rein, there was no turning back and only an irreversible collapse of the current system will change it.
                      There were political parties around who had plans to exercise control over the supply of money and credit but hardly anyone voted for them.
                      Many books describe what a crock of shit we’re reliant upon but there needs to be a catastrophe before the majority will sit up and act.
                      Anyway, you can blame Gordon Brown for everything and all that you’ll get is support from the Tories, TPA, UKIP and all other right-of-sensible groups.

                      It’s all a matter of convincing people that the current racket doesn’t serve them. Easy eh? There’s an article in today’s Guardian about ‘America’s Poorest White Town’ where Republican voters outnumber Democrat voters 4:1 and Obama HealthCare was given two fingers.

                    •  

                      Job, to paraphrase loosely a commentator more literate than me – As long as people like you consider all opposition to your variant of corporate socialism to be (closet) rabid capitalism, you are actively supporting the globalisation/money conspiracy game plan. Global Capitalism manages to keep its opponents fiercely divided, and incapable of real opposition to globalisation and its agents in local countries.
                      That’s why you see Gordon through rose tinted specs and me as some kind of Tory hugging nut case ! But be assured, I don’t make common cause with any of the oily slime that inhabits the City’s dark corners or assorted Tax havens, and please remember that the likes of Brown ( for whom you appear to have some affection ! ) were party to the design and implementation of the current tax dodging and deviant financial regime that now exists in most of the western world.

                      That’s me finished on this debate though no doubt it will arise again cos it’s unlikely to be resolved soon, or maybe we’re insufficently optimistic ( as opposed to pessimistic! )

                    •  

                      Dafis: You say to me, “That’s why you see Gordon through rose tinted specs and me as some kind of Tory hugging nut case !”
                      I say, as I’ve stated above, – “It’s a massive Ponzi scheme.”
                      I’m no fan of the Chicago School of Economics.
                      I’ve said “It’s a crock of shit.”
                      Maybe I’m being sensitive but I get the impression that you’ve created an inferior false image of me and you’re attacking the inferior image. See: Strawman Technique.
                      So good bye until the next time.
                      Maybe Jac, busy cutting up Greens, has a tasty treat for you.

  4.  

    The appointment of Sophie into her made up job by the Labour Party is what they’ve been doing in councils in the valleys for yonks. If you really want an example of how Labour works, here are some examples…

    Cllr John Spanswick a Labour Party numpty, representing Brackla Ward on Bridgend County Council. Was found a made up job as the ‘Green Spaces Manager’ by Labour controlled RCT council, just over the mountain. He claims to have held this post since 1989 on his Linkedin profile.A full five years before the council even existed !! The truth is that prior to his elevation he was tool shed monitor at Ynysangharad Park. He also had his finger in the honeypot of a “Groundwork” charity in neighbouring Port Talbot.

    http://www.bracklacommunitycouncil.gov.uk/images/rtyy-cache/350by467-2-Biographies-350by467-5-Biographies-DSCN0234.JPG

    Then we have Christian Hanagan who was appointed to the newly created post of Head of Strategy on £60k, without interview or the job being advertised. He’s the son of the Labour councillor in Tonyrefail, Cllr Eudine Hanagan. Although young Christian is a paid civil servant he attends to Labour Party Group meetings of councillors, and is responsible for a £1m a year PR budget paid for by the council tax payers. Just previous to his newly acquired strategic skills he was actually a ‘clerical assistant’ on the low salary grade in the office of the former leader of the council, responsible for making the tea and filing expense claims. Since his £60k appointment he was awarded a 15% pay rise, while at the time, frontline staff had pay cuts or faced redundancy due to ‘austerity’.

    http://i4.walesonline.co.uk/incoming/article7520361.ece/ALTERNATES/s615/Christain-Hanagan.jpg

    More examples to come.
    So many made up jobs for the boys (and girls).

    •  

      It may have got to the stage now where the Labour party doesn’t care what anybody knows, or even thinks, because Labour is just too powerful. Alternatively, Labour – or some within the party – can see the writing on the wall, they know support is slipping, and so they’re digging in, becoming even more blatant in their corruption, in a desperate attempt to hang on to power and influence even if voted out.

      Either way, excellent stuff. Keep it coming.

    •  

      The last link that you provided, Brychan, was to a photo accompanying a news item. Did you mean to link the article? http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/rct-council-management-reshuffle-deferred-7520008

    •  

      One of the issues that arise when unqualified administrative numpties are dished up with made-up jobs is that they sometimes get an inflated budget from the local authority and this cash get spent on weird scams.

      Of the most notable scams was one played on Carmarthenshire County Council where some knob-head invested in expensive ‘fuel saving magnets’ to attach to the engine blocks of council vans. An obvious scam, as if the real experts at Ford, Volkswagen or Toyota had not been aware of the ‘magical properties’ that attaching a magnet would bring.

      Most recently, RCT education department fell for the THRASS UK scam, run by Alan Davies out of his semi-detached house near Chester. He invented a scam based on phonetic teaching of English and sold ‘wall charts’ with ‘picture books’ and ‘workshops’ to any gullable school he could dupe. Here is a video of all the teaching staff of Cwmaman Infants and Glynhafod junior school on a Thrass workshop, doing the scam…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dg1BhpX_bvE

      It cost £60 per head, round trip milage from Chester, a tidy hotel stay in Cardiff for Alan, and of course the cost of paying all these teaching staff for a day in the mentoring classroom doing the YMCA dance shouting the woof woofs.

  5.  

    Forgive me if I’m wrong, Jac, but it appears as if you regard Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd and Tidal Lagoon (Swansea Bay) plc as rivals. http://www.tidallagoonswanseabay.com/news/tidal-lagoon-power-names-mike-unsworth-as-delivery–director-for-the-swansea-bay-tidal-lagoon/bp137/
    The projects, although very important to local Councillors, AMs and MPs, require approval of the DECC and do not come to Councillors’ Planning Committees for scrutiny.

    •  

      Agreed. But if you look at the bio supplied for Woollard it makes it absolutely clear that he has been recruited for his familiarity with the politicians of the Cardiff bubble. Beyond that, we have the near-permanent problem with Labour councillors elected in the Uplands ward finding themselves jobs away from Swansea. Can they continue to serve as councillors?

  6.  

    Another excellent set of posts about the joke Wales is fast becoming, Sophie Howe’s appointment is further proof Labour don’t even feel they need hide their shameless cronyism anymore.

    And talking of devolution there’s an interesting debate taking place about the real reasons behind it on the IWA blog by Dr Daniel Evans in his article ‘the passive revolution’ he pulls no punches. The comments in response are worth reading as well and I’ll leave Dr Daniel Evans latest response proves not all welsh academics are Labour sock puppets or sell outs.

    Hw writes ‘Yes the Assembly is badly run and the Labour administration have been shockingly profligate. Yet without control of macro-economic policies all devolution can achieve is rearranging the deckchairs on the titanic. The Assembly inherited a small nation with a bloated public sector (which was designed by previous central UK Labour administrations to ‘prop up’ Wales); huge social and health problems associated with de-industrialisation; and ultimately no independent sources of wealth creation. As Calvin Jones has pointed out repeatedly, you cannot understand Wales’ current economic mess without looking to the legacy of colonialism and dependency which has marked Wales’ history. That is not passing the buck or excusing the profligacy of the Labour administration, it is simply fact.

    Devolution is worse than the centralised welfare state because the Assembly is expected to do more with less money. This of course is another important political element of Devolution: as the central state abandoned regional policies, devolution allowed New Labour (and now the conservatives) to shift problems and blame away from the centre- this is ‘devolving the axe’- the long standing economic problems in Wales are now no longer Westminster’s problem. They can just blame the Assembly for Wales’ poverty, overlooking the 500 years of dependency which preceded the creation of the Assembly.

    The issue of course is why do Labour refuse to countenance a revision of the Barnett formula or control of macro-economic levers? This is what we should be scrutinizing: why as an administration do they complain about a lack of powers whilst simultaneously rejecting further powers? It doesn’t take a genius to tell you that maybe this is politically motivated by a desire to keep ”standing still whilst appearing to be running very fast’ (a Tom Nairn analogy), i.e. that the interregnum is a very comfortable place for them.’

    http://www.clickonwales.org/2015/10/devolutions-passive-revolution/

    •  

      That is the real, the fundamental, question – why does ‘Welsh’ labour prefer poverty and dependency to having the powers to remedy these conditions?

      •  

        Jac, not just Welsh Labour but also the opposition parties at the Assembly. All seem to be deeply wedded to having a good extended moan about what they haven’t got, yet seem utterly devoid of any idea of how to improve things other than – you’ve guessed it , going to London, Brussels etc and asking for more !

        Now I thought that independence could mean having to tell others, like London and Brussels, to shove it up their arses and go it alone. “Heaven forbid” say the advocates of the dependency culture, preaching the gospel of the begging bowl at every turn. And their tedious sermon has sat well with much of the population of Wales who seem content to wallow in the mire of miserable disposable incomes, poor health and education, shouting abuse at unseen oppressors “from away”. Even the business community, supposedly full of virtuous enterprise is addicted to a quilt of grants and handouts like some kiddie’s comfort blanket. Of course the orchestrators of this collective moan do very nicely, either as A.M’s, M.P’s, members of sundry professions, public sector/civil servants, and the occassional business person, which adds to the suspicion that it’s all one big sham/scam to keep us all in our place.

        Despite cuts to public services, increasing sums of Welsh Government’s annual budget pass directly or indirectly to the 3rd Sector which has enjoyed a major surge in the Welsh economy’s fantasy development. Value added ? Seldom mentioned, but it does serve to generate incomes say they. For whom ? say we, and, Jac, you know the answer to that one cos you have been there so many times before in these columns.

        Hard to swallow for us older buggers but we may need a total collapse of the existing social and economic fabric to see a nation sufficiently motivated to get off its arse and rebuild on a model that encourages positive self motivated actions and reduces dependency to a minimal corner role.

        •  

          Some of the smaller countries in the old Soviet bloc broke up the old model and started afresh, and some of them are now doing a hell of a lot better than Wales. The difference is that those who came to the fore in some of the Baltic and other states wanted independence to work. Here in Wales we have a political class terrified that independence might work, so they prefer the Union and all its attendant problems. Defending the Union is the priority. It takes precedence over the well-being of Wales.

  7.  

    The Tax Payers allowance actually had something positive to say about Plaid Coalition Cardiff. http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/cutting-high-earners-saved-cardiff-council-2495842 Our policy of getting rid of top salaries was reversed by the Red Tories. Top package now stands at £230k pa. I’m researching the Labour state. Any Labourites you know of in paid positions a la Sophie Howe, plz email me: neil@mcevoy2016.cymru

    ps diolch for your kind comments

    •  

      Strange you ask for evidence of more non-jobs a la Sophie Howe, I had a similar request from a different part of the country yesterday. Brychan has contributed a couple of examples in an earlier comment, and promises more. I have also put out feelers elsewhere and will maybe do a tweet.

      The kind comments are deserved. You are one of the few Plaid people I have any faith in.

  8.  

    and here’s yet another attempt to distance the ruling elites & accomplices from the processes of accountability.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/11989579/Michael-Sheen-Plans-to-curb-Freedom-of-Information-laws-will-seriously-damage-democracy.html

    Michael Sheen: Plans to curb Freedom of Information laws will ‘seriously damage democracy’ – Telegraph

    FOI is not the be all and end all, but it’s a key tool in enabling us ( especially you, Jac ) to function and generally keep these bastards on their toes. Our current “leadershipcliques” have eveolved into a seriously deviant, nasty bunch of creeps and the erosion/removal of restraints is right up their street. They crave utter secrecy and absence of accountability so they can cut loose and enjoy unrestrained power.

  9.  

    I thought someone had referred to this article on this site recently but a cursory search did not produce a result – a link. So here I go again. Check this out :

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-re-enserfment-of-western-peoples-the-corporate-power-grab-which-eliminates-political-sovereignty/5487570

    Major UK political parties are strangely quiet on this one. Have they “delegated” it to EU ? They better wake up cos if we think we’re in some shit now it’s gonna be 10 times deeper when this TTIP takes hold. I can see how it fits a dark Cameron/Osborneian plan but I’d have expected Corbyn to be blowing valves, gaskets, the works over it. I appreciate that there are dark forces within Labour that will happily connive with the global corporate bloc, but it takes a serious leap of imagination to see Corbyn falling for this line. As for an impoverished Wales, well we better get ready for some more impoverishment if thsi scam takes off. No doubt our “executive class” will suck it up like good boys and girls but the rest of us could be back on the road to serfdom.

  10.  

    courtesy of Jobovitch I read this :

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/12/beattyville-kentucky-and-americas-poorest-towns

    America’s poorest white town: abandoned by coal, swallowed by drugs | US news | The Guardian

    Toe curling account of life in E Kentucky, a territory that never saw real good times but now sees some real bad times. People still vote Republican despite all the crap that party will pour over them – does that remind you of somewhere nearer home ? Materially our communities aren’t allowed to slip quite so far behind but they don’t get to better their lot much either. The despair and erosion of morale is very similar.

Ok, you’ve read what I think, now what do you have to say?