Apr 182017
 

THIS PIECE BEGAN LIFE AS JUST ANOTHER ITEM IN ONE OF MY REGULAR NEWS ROUND-UPS, BUT AS IT GOT MORE INTERESTING I THOUGHT IT MERITED A POST TO ITSELF. SO HERE IT IS

About a week or so ago WalesOnline, one of Trinity Mirror’s Labour Party mouthpieces, told us of an exciting new development in Cwm Afan, behind Port Talbot. The article generated some interesting comments, here are a couple, but I urge you to read them all.

click to enlarge

As the comments tell us, this development is fronted by television ‘personality’ Edward Michael Bear Grylls, though it seems to be the brainchild of a Gavin Lee Woodhouse of Yorkshire, through his Northern Powerhouse Developments. There are a number of companies – all new – sharing that name.

You can have, in chronological order: Northern Powerhouse Developments LtdNorthern Powerhouse Developments Adventure Resorts LtdNorthern Powerhouse Developments Adventure Resorts Management LtdNorthern Powerhouse Developments (Holdings) Ltd and Northern Powerhouse Developments Hotels Ltd.

In addition to being new companies these five also share a single director – Woodhouse – have just a few quid in share capital and are yet to submit any accounts or returns.

Alternatively, another company that might fit the bill for Cwm Afan is Active Resorts UK Ltd, which, again, was set up last year. Or perhaps Afan Valley Ltd (formerly Caerau Parc Ltd). In fact, Gavin Lee Woodhouse has been involved in a surprising number of companies for a man of 39 years. As many as 78, many of which seem to change their name soon after starting up, often the address as well.

And yet, I cannot find him shown as a director of any company before the latter part of 2014, so what was he doing up until then, and why so many companies since? If we go back to his Linkedin profile it doesn’t really help. For it tells us that he founded the MBi Group of Companies in November 2011 with nothing before that except, under ‘Education’, “Norwich City, Law 1995 – 1997”. Which means what – did he do night classes while playing for Norwich City Football Club?

The Company Check website (below) confirms a sudden irruption into the world of business some three-and-a-half years ago but does nothing to explain what he was up to between 1997 and 2013. Also note that according to this source Woodhouse is a director of 58 extant companies, and has been involved with 45 dissolved companies. All in the space of less than four years!

What we can be sure of is that since he decided to take the business world by storm he’s become familiar with the exploitation of Wales. For among his other companies we find the Carmarthen Bay Hotel Ltd, which may refer to the Fourcroft Hotel in Tenby, which was probably bought last year. Another of his companies, the Wyncliffe House Hotel Ltd, may own the Fishguard Bay Hotel.

In the north, among Woodhouse’s companies, we find the Caer Rhun Hall Hotel Ltd which runs the establishment of that name in Conwy (and serves as the address for many of his other companies). There’s the MBI Newborough Hall LtdQueen’s Hotel (Llandudno) Ltd, Llandudno Bay Hotel & Spa Ltd and, also in Llandudno, there’s the Belmont Hotel Ltd.

Just one more company might be worth mentioning. Again, this is a company set up very recently, on 10 November 2016, and once again Gavin Lee Woodhouse is the sole director. Though what the purpose of Woodhouse Family Overseas Ltd is I do not know, but the name does make one think.

At this point you’re probably shouting, ‘No more bloody companies!’, so let’s continue in my coruscating – yet informative! – narrative style.

Looking at those companies in the north you might think – as I did – that Newborough Hall is somewhere near the village of that name on Ynys Môn, but no, Newborough Hall was a name used to market Plas Glynllifon, near Caernarfon. A short time later, in what became something of a minor cause célèbre, the former mansion of Lord Newborough was marketed as Wynnborn.

Plas Glynllifon

The Daily Post article I’ve linked to tells us that late in 2015 Plas Glynllifon was bought from receivers by “MBI Hotels, part of the MBI Consulting group”. MBI Hotels was a relatively new company Incorporated with Companies House on 13 May 2015. The two founding directors were Robin Scott Forster and Gavin Lee Woodhouse.

Following the furore over ‘Wynnborn’, Forster and Woodhouse resigned as directors on 11 November 2015 and were replaced by what a cynic might regard as stooges. To further cover their tracks the company name was changed on 1 February 2016 to Giant Hospitality Ltd, under which name you can find the information I’ve just given. Woodhouse re-instated himself as a director of Giant Hospitality Ltd on March 30 2017.

Despite all the ducking and weaving, it appears that MBI’s purchase of Plas Glynllifon fell through, for the Daily Post reported in April 2016 that the pile had now been bought by a “mystery buyer”. The mystery buyer turned out to be a couple named Paul and Rowena Williams who, despite the name, are not Welsh.

The couple have promised to keep the name Plas Glynllifon and that seems to have satisfied Plaid Cymru. For superficial displays of outrage while ignoring the underlying colonialism is Plaid Cymru’s trademark.

The couple have also ‘purchased’ the Seiont Manor in nearby Llanrug through their company Rural Retreats & Leisure UK Ltd aka Plas Glynllifon Ltd. Both companies were Incorporated on 1 August 2016. There are four Charges (loans or mortgages) against Plas Glynllifon Ltd. The lender is Together Commercial Finance Ltd of Cheshire, and the solicitor used was Lanyon Bowlder of Shrewsbury.

Putting it all together there seems to be no Welsh involvement at all . . . oh, wait, I’m forgetting, the Daily Post report told us that Paul and Rowena Williams are “in talks with the Welsh Government about grant support”. So Welsh involvement might be limited to paying for another piece of Wales to pass into English hands!

this is how you ‘buy’ something without any money

I suppose the Charges Companies House lists against Plas Glynllifon Ltd could be bridging loans until the ‘Welsh’ Government grants come through.

Let’s get back to Cwm Afan. I don’t know how well Grylls and Woodhouse know each other, where or when they met, but their relationship makes sense for the following reason.

Woodhouse is a property developer in the tourist accommodation sector, who also has stakes in student accommodation and care homes. Which fits, because, fundamentally, this new development is about 900 lodges in the £149,000 to £249,000 price range. Let’s split the difference: 900 x £200,000 = £180,000,000. There’s also a 5 star hotel, spa, and other facilities. We’re talking big bucks here.

To disguise the fact that this is just an upmarket caravan site (which is all that ‘lodges’ are) Bear Grylls is brought on board to give it that, je ne sais quoi, that, ‘outdoory’ appeal. Bingo! now we have the Afan Valley Adventure Resort, pulling in overweight suburbanites then getting them wet and dirty so they can fantasise about doing special forces training. Much as Grylls has done since inflicting himself on Llŷn. (Which I wrote about quite recently, scroll down in this post.)

click to enlarge

Wales’ past prosperity may have been built on agriculture, coal, steel and other heavy industry, but the ‘Welsh’ Government now believes that any prosperity we might enjoy in the years ahead depends almost solely on zip wires and the like; the more the merrier, zip wires everywhere. ‘Wales – the country with the zip wire economy!’

As one of the comments to WalesOnline (above) suggest, there is already quite a lot in the Cwm Afan area for the public to enjoy, almost all of it paid for by the public purse. I’ll let Brychan, a regular visitor to this blog, take over:

“There are leisure facilities already present in the valley, most notable a mountain bike centre which has had substantial council investment from the taxpayers of Neath Port Talbot, and of course a building up at Glyncorrwg which has a café, which was funded by Communities First.

The ‘ponds’ at Glyncorrwg are a series of reclaimed colliery reservoirs stocked with fish. The cycle paths, which taxpayers paid millions into, are the ones which run along the trackbed of the old Rhondda to Swansea railway line from Blaengwynfi (Rhondda tunnel) down to Port Talbot, and its spur up to Glyncorrwg.

The forest plantation came into the possession of Natural Resources Wales (Forestry Commission). The old coal tips were reclaimed at public expense, the land having been gifted to the council from the National Coal Board.”

So we see that a large amount of public money was spent healing the scars of previous exploitation . . . only for these public assets to be handed over to twenty-first century exploiters in the forms of Gavin Lee Woodhouse and Edward Michael Bear Grylls. Two men with nothing but contempt for what makes Wales Welsh.

For I’ve already told you about Gavin Woodhouse’ attempts to market Plas Glynllifon as Wynnborn. (What the hell is ‘Wynnborn’ supposed to mean, anyway?) Grylls’ record is no better, maybe worse. First there was his tasteless ‘slide’ on St Tudwal’s Island (which he owns), then his attempt to put beach huts at Llanbedrog. In the second of those ventures he was in partnership with the Llanbedrog Headland Company Ltd, of Cheshire.

Who are these bloody people that own so much of our country!

We are dealing here with people who see easy money to be made turning Wales into a recreation and retirement destination for England. They don’t even need money, for they can borrow it on the value of the asset being acquired, or get it from suckers investors, while also relying on the ‘Welsh’ Government chipping in with grants and gifts of public assets. It’s a no-lose situation, for them.

There’s nothing surprising about this, it’s how British business operates. The UK state itself is floating on an ocean of debt, disguised by accountancy practises that have got some people banged up. What should disappoint anyone reading this is that the ‘Welsh’ Government is so ready to be part of this. But then, when you’ve got no ideas of your own on how to generate wealth or create employment you’re going to welcome with open arms any shyster who comes along with a ‘project’.

And as I asked earlier, what do we know about Woodhouse’s background? Well, for a start, he seems to have been convicted for driving while disqualified in June 2009. (Ban extended.) I also learnt that, Prior to founding MBi in 2011 he (Woodhouse) was a director of several other companies”.

The same source tells us that Woodhouse has – according to his lawyer – also suffered the misfortune of holding “short-lived directorships of two businesses that left debts when they were wound up. He was appointed without his knowledge and/or not removed when he should have been”.

The same Bureau of Investigative Journalism report found that MBi’s chief commercial officer was a struck-off solicitor named Alan Cockburn, who “had acted for the buyer, seller and lender in the same transaction and caused the Yorkshire Bank to lose hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

The report also informs us that “Companies House lists Woodhouse as director from late October 2012 until May 2013 of Harjen Limited, which held a sexual entertainment licence for the Leeds strip club, Wildcats, throughout that time. Woodhouse’s lawyer said his client had not been involved with the management of the strip club and that the dates of his directorship listed at Companies House were incorrect. The lawyer said Woodhouse had “immediately resigned” when he found out about the business.”

This is terrible! Some unscrupulous bastards keep making Gavin Lee Woodhouse a director of dodgy companies without his knowledge. Should the ‘Welsh’ Government be doing business with such an unlucky man? Come to that, how did the ‘Welsh’ Government get involved with him in the first place, didn’t they do background checks?

Still, this explains the gaps on his Linkedin profile. Now if I was Bear Grylls I’d use my SAS training to melt into the shadows and then put as much distance as possible between me and Gavin Lee Woodhouse, the Wolf of Wharf Street.

All joking aside, the examples of Plas Glynllifon and Cwm Afan are all too representative of ‘Welsh’ tourism – no Welsh involvement, no Welsh benefits yet, somehow, we end up paying for it! I often think that if Venice was in Wales then the gondoliers and everybody else making the money would be English. That’s because Wales is ruled by England, in the interests of England.

It’s called colonialism; it’s been around since the dawn of time, and although it’s fallen from favour elsewhere in recent decades, here in Wales our elected representatives still prefer supporting colonialism to standing up for Welsh interests.

Unless we start calling time on this variety of tourism we shall increasingly find ourselves strangers in our own country, for the trend is already established along the north coast and elsewhere – where tourism takes hold Welsh people lose out and Welsh identity becomes weakened, trivialised, and eventually destroyed.

♦ end ♦

  47 Responses to “English Tourism in the Colony of Wales”

  1.  

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  2.  

    A first class bit of investigative journalism Jac. An excellent exposure. Now the problem is what to do about it. Living in a colony that has had the door shut on any indigenous media or means of bringing this kind of grave affair to the surface, and then to the attention of the public at large is a huge problem – and even if we did have a national press, who (as you yourself have said in the past) under the age of 50 would read it?. The Brit press and organisations like the British Bullshit Corporation won’t touch it. The London ruled Senedd will just give a wry smile and mutter “nothing to see here – move on”. Plaid – well Plaid is Plaid, I have no need to tell anyone that you won’t get any action from a corpse.

    Whilst we have access to the Internet, and can inject this information into the cauldron of cyber-space, it has to struggle with competition from all the other content on there – world-wide. A daunting task.

    The only real solution, to scotch this sort of thing, is to have a true nationalist party that fights for independence and doesn’t just play around with it in name only. Something is needed to kick start public support for a true nationalist movement that truly has our nation’s interests at it’s heart. I fear we are losing our grip on the last loose stone that we are grasping at the cliff edge. Something more than words is required. The first step could be to start a campaign of civil disobedience. With an increasing swell of anti establishment sentiment becoming increasingly apparent all over the globe, it may be a ripe time to consider this step more seriously.

    Nationalism is not as dirty a word as it used to be. Elitist globalism, twinned with imperialism and colonialism is loosing traction – people ARE waking up. It is time to stop holding back from telling it as it is and to hell with political correctness. What is happening, and I find it very encouraging, is that there’s a rebellion going on where the words of the nationalist scourge (in the government media’s eyes) is finding the ears of the public. Brexit, the US presidential election (although those poor bastards have been duped into voting for a man-child who is a total puppet of the establishment – in the guise of being anti establishment and cleverly garnering the votes of the increasing anti establishment hordes). The increasing support of nationalist parties in Europe and especially Marine Le Pen, all indicate the way we should go to rid ourselves of the Anglo Saxon colonialist yoke.

    French presidential frontrunner Marine Le Pen lashed out at Pope Francis in a recent interview, calling him a globalist bulldog determined to end the era of the nation state and usher in the New World Order“.

    THAT is the type of white hot rhetoric straight from the shoulder – screaming the truth – that we need in Cymru. Only after accomplishing that kind of feat can we hope to rid our land of the likes of Woodhouse & Grylls. Not by asking them nicely “sorry to be a nuisance – but do you mind not exploiting us anymore please?”

    •  

      Exactly. I think that for a people in our position, who have got into that position by being too nice, too welcoming, the only sensible response from now on towards people like these is – ‘Fuck off!‘ And the same response for those lying bastards in Cardiff who keep selling us down the river.

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      I agree, B.G., that you need a strong national movement/party, but it has to be based on solid, lasting support throughout Wales, and be resistant to the vilification and divide-and-rule tactics that will inevitably be thrown against it. The SNP might be a good model, but they have had decades to reach their present position, somehow Plaid failed to accomplish the same level of support, and now time is not on their side. I admit, I don’t know the answer.

      As to protests and demos, IIRC a Welsh writer once pointed out that whilst mass demonstrations are a lot of fun, a great morale-booster, solidarity-builder etc., they can rarely be sustained for very long. Full-time revolutionaries are in short supply, most folk need to get on with their lives. And the day after the demo, nothing has really changed. The authorities, in the last resort, can simply wait until you run out of steam.

      Clearly a sober assessment of your situation is called for, but followed by some good imaginative thinking about how to turn that situation to your advantage. Well, you’re supposed to be a creative nation … 🙂

  3.  

    One of the “courses” that Bear Grylls runs on Llŷn teaches “how to protect yourself in the wild from attack”. Personally I haven’t ventured further than Pwlleli, and I was wondering what these ‘wild attacks’ consist of? Is it safe? Bit different in the Afan valley there is the much-feared Croeserw Tiger and the dastardly Pontrhydyfen Hyena but so far none of these attacks have proved fatal. Perhaps ‘Visit Wales’ could issue a travel warning, as this “wild attack advise” is obviously aimed at English gullible who pay £250 a night at Caer Rhun Hall and then have to go out into the woods to build a night-shelter out of sticks. How have the natives managed to survive for so long in such a hostile environment?

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      Wants to get round Newport c. 10pm, Friday, between the Lamb and Wetherspoons. Ffycer wouldn’t last 10 seconds.

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      Any proposed privatisation of Afan Valley land should be very closely scrutinised. Decades of investment and hard work have gone into turning that valley into a pleasant environment for walking cycling or just sitting on the bank of the river being amazed at the transformation yet seeing odd scars here and there which reminds one of what went on not so long ago.
      Privatisation is likely to inhibit free movement, yet at present the Glamorgan Way runs through that area as it meanders south from the outskirts of Rhigos. There are dozens of shorter routes criss-crossing this territory and the last thing we want is some prick putting up barriers to our freedom to walk and cycle when that freedom has been enjoyed for so long. Inevitably if some profit driven commercial entity gets hold of any land then it will, in due course, become restricted to paying participants.
      The unrestrained development of windfarms on adjacent hills has caused enough anger without fetching in yet more grant grabbing corporate shits.

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        “Decades of investment and hard work have gone into turning that valley into a pleasant environment for walking cycling or just sitting on the bank of the river being amazed at the transformation”

        But that was the start of the rot. Turning a post industrial community into a “beauty spot” – once that happens tourism is the ONLY industry allowed.

        It’s hard to believe, given the hype, but Snowdonia National Park is also a post industrial area – an area that was once full of slate mines, gold mines, manganese mines, copper mines and lead mines.

        Fishing and agriculture also became proper “industries” during the Industrial Revolution, rather than scratch living from turf & surf. Places like Porthmadog, Conwy and Felinheli were industrial ports exporting goods worldwide before becoming play ports for play boats.

        *Build a factory in Snowdonia? NO it will spoil the tourist view!

        *Improve the port in Barmouth to help rebuild the local fishing trade? NO it will spoil the pleasure boat experience!

        *Bulls & cows, ewes & rams can get dangerously aggressive, especially during calving / lambing season. The farmer has to protect the visitor’s “right to roam” (aka being a prat in a dangerous workplace) in a place of outstanding beauty, rather than protect his livestock.

        *Improve local infrastructure like roads, 4g pylons, satellite internet, anything that a local might need for living modern life here rather than a Bear Grylls’ “experience” is Trumped by Grylls’s need for a Wild Wales fantasty.

        Tourism isn’t only an industry that invites colonialism, it is also an industry that kills any and every other industry in its wake.

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          Fair comment up to a point. However there is still some agriculture, forestry, timber product manufacture and minor pockets of “industrial” activity up the Afan Valley. They all co-exist with the areas that are dedicated to leisure so “….just sitting on the bank of the river being amazed at the transformation” is an option without anybody pissing anyone else off. A Bare Grill venture would be exclusive ( pay at gate or else ! ) and would probably cut right across big chunks of free access amenity which has existed for the leisure and recreation of locals and visitors for a long time. Worse still a Bare Grill type venture will rely an a hefty slug of public money to prime its pump and if it fails will fall back on the public purse to clear up the mess it leaves behind.

  4.  

    Well, Jac, at least you had me Googling B.G., so now I know that it it isn’t an eccentric punk group with dyslexic tendencies, which at least might have been mildly entertaining, but an opinionated upper-class twit cum trained killer, so sad.

    I was inclined to comment, “He has to be making this up!” Then I remembered, this is Wales, the land where your fantasies can come true … with a little help from a government (for want of a better word) that seems to lack any imagination or vision of its own.

    Although I have to ask, if by some impossible chance you ended up owning Plas Glynllifon or some similar pile, what would you do with it? (Serious question).

    Hwyl!

    •  

      When dealing with Plas Glynllifon, Gwydir Castle and other old or ancient properties my approach would be thus.

      If these piles are deemed worth saving then rather than give millions of pounds to their English owners that money should be used to take them into Welsh public ownership. This is why I have argued for a Welsh body to replace the National Trust.

      Such a body could recruit and train young Welsh people in the various crafts and skills needed to restore and maintain such buildings.

      But the model we have at present is colonialist in the extreme – Welsh public funding is being used to ensure that such buildings remain private property. Usually English-owned.

      Although no socialist, my position has been clear and consistent; Welsh public ownership is preferable to English private ownership.

      •  

        You must forgiven my ignorance but I was actually shocked to learn above that there is no separate NT for Wales, probably I was fooled by seeing Welsh language signs on NT properties. I can perhaps understand why historically Wales was lumped with England, (Scotland has always had its own separate NTS, but then Scotland always had its own legal system etc.) but after the establishment of the Assembly and all the various Welsh bodies and quangos and so on, it’s still a surprise that the NT which is a sort of quasi-public body was never devolved. There again given the competence of the devolved quangocracy …

        •  

          The English National Trust’s first property was Dinas Oleu in Barmouth (or Cliff of Light* as the NT like to call it) donated to England by an English “philanthropist” Fanny Talbot, to save it from us locals who were too ignorant to appreciate it’s worth in 1895. This has been an abiding theme of the NT in Wales ever since. Almost every property it owns has been “Saved for the Nation” from us unappreciative Welsh.

          *To go off on a tangent Oleu is the personal name of a Welsh chieftain, it is not “olau” the Welsh word for light; in the same way that “Cader” (never Cadair) Idris is Idris’ Stronghold (not his chair); Rhaeadr Ewynnol is frothy falls (not Swallow Falls); Dyffryn Oer is Cold Valley (not the Golden Valley) etc. This is one of the things that peeves me most about English colonialism, the way in which the bastards even claim to have a better understanding of our own language than we do.

          •  

            Just had a case a few minutes ago that reflects the ignorance of English writers and online commentors. Guardian on line had an article by Simon Jenkins, who I think has or had a retreat somewhere in Meirionydd. He mentioned Cadair Idris in his article and bugger me some smart Anglo then chips in with some local knowledge about the Berwyn but goes on to repeat Cadair like a good old fuckin’ parrot ! Had you or me written a piece and referred to Bumingham or Munchester, or just gone for CroesOswallt, Amwythig or Henffordd for some border towns, the editorial police would have been out in force instructing us to go to classes to brush up on our use of English place names.

            The more I see of the prelude to this up coming election the more I want the SNP to kick ass in a big way as it will give them an unassailable mandate to give Maggie May the finger. In the meantime CJ promises to stand with Corbyn as and when he visits Wales. That’s fuckin’ big of him, but begs another question – “Corbyn, why are you standing next to that useless piece of shit ?”.
            As for Leanne wanting to have a full on clash with Bryant – very tasty and good for the ego, but is she thinking that she’s a spent force in the Bay and needs to piss off to London to play in a different arena and meet even more people who support fringe causes flouncing around in their select gatherings feeding each other’s egos.

            •  

              Dafis – Simon Jenkins has a second home in Aberdyfi. Sometime ago he wrote a totally offensive article arguing that adult children do not have a ‘right’ to live near their parents in the communities in which they grew up – however no doubt if an adult child of Sir Simon Jenkins fancies a second home in Aberdyfi near his dad, the family will be able to afford one, unlike families who come from Meirionydd and have been priced out of Aberdyfi by the likes of Simon Jenkins. I too have been wondering why Leanne wants to go anywhere near Westminster, it seems rather inconsistent with her claims to be committed to the people of Wales and her desire to see an independent Wales. She very obviously thinks ‘me too’ every time that she even looks at Nicola Sturgeon – is Sturgeon begging to be let into Westminster?

              •  

                DrSally – Simon Jenkins is a long in the tooth scribbler although I’m not sure whether he writes for the Guardian just to provide some kind of contrarian content. He seems to enjoy provoking just for its own sake. Why has to have a second home on Cardigan Bay beats me when its evident that he has little or no empathy for anything local other than those quaint little eating places that like sucking up to rich Anglo diners and Welshies who wannabee Anglos.

                Leanne is more of a conundrum. She has developed a habit of parroting Nicola Strugeon but on this Election matter she will be taking a different turn if she goes up against Bryant. Ms Sturgeon has no interest in Westminster, they could shut the thing down tomorrow and she would not mourn for a moment. If the stories about Leanne prove true then she runs a risk of being seen as a fully paid up member of the EnglandandWales club happy to enjoy the trappings of Westminster. The 3 Plaid M.P’s have all gone directly into the House, so no real grouse there but to leave the Cynulliad, despite its weaknesses,and jump ship to enrol in that pit in London is tantamount to betrayal. Now she may plead that she would go to London to “plead our case”, I say no thanks because Maggie May’s grand design will be furnished by a majority of English constituencies enabling her once again to snub the colonies on the fringes of these islands. So Leanne will serve us better by staying here taking the gloves off, ditching the restraining baggage, ditching the begging rhetoric, listening to Ms Sturgeon but not imitating her, and rolling out a more assertive, even aggressive, action plan with separation mapped out as a goal. That’s her job as leader of the party.

                •  

                  I think your summary of what Leanne should be doing is spot on – she won’t be able to achieve anything in Westminster, she’ll be outnumbered and drowned out by people who at best ignore Wales and are at worst completely hostile to it.
                  You’ll probably think that this is an irrelevance but I’d love to know what Simon Jenkins is doing in Aberdyfi. His main residence is I understand in Piccadilly, he is known as a big time socialite on the London scene, his presence in Aberdyfi makes no sense. Aberdyfi is a bolt hole for Brummies with a boat, not Londoners, its very odd and must be inconvenient for him to even get there. I wouldn’t have thought that there were enough grand people for him to hobnob with in Aberdyfi either. What is the attraction???

            •  

              Very tasty, Dafis.

              The tipping point for Plaid Cymru to win the Rhondda seat in the Westminster House is a target of 12,000 votes. In 2015, the Plaid candidate, Shelley Rees-Owen, got 8,521 votes, with a 9% swing from Labour to Plaid, one of the few constituencies in Wales where Plaid vote increased. Of course, in the 2016 Senedd elections, Plaid got 11,891 votes, with Leanne Wood winning the seat off Labour. If Leanne does stand as Rhondda candidate in the 2017 election to the Westminster House, and won, she would need to resign from the Senedd causing a bye-election.

              There are other considerations, with Plaid should be able to gain the following seats in Westminster…

              Ynys Mon.
              Llanelli (a similar tipping point to Rhondda).
              Ceredigion.

              There is, of course, an interesting situation developing in the Cynon Valley. Ann Clwyd is now so old she is incapable of even doing the basic requirements of an MP. She was one of the few Labour MPs in Westminster to vote against calling the 2017 election. This was not because of major policy differences with Corbyn, but because much of her vote is ‘personal old-donkey’, and it’s possible she may well throw in the towel. She has become so frail that she has difficulty visiting the constituency from her home in Cardiff.

              Also, there could be an almighty bun fight in Cardiff West.

              Sally,

              Vital to the SNP breakthrough in Scotland was a strong team of MPs in Westminster, It should be remembered that Alex Salmond was first elected the MP for Banff and Buchan, prior to devolution, and he was vital to turning around SNP fortunes in Scotland. The reality is that devolution, particularly in Wales is a sham, and real power still rests in Westminster. Also, SNP deputy leader is Angus Robertson, MP for Moray. What is needed in London is Plaid MPs representing Wales (as a country) rather than Plaid MPs being some kind of delegation. You attack your enemy in the heart, not in the shoulder. I think Leanne would be an excellent warrior in London, not faffing around with stuff like carrier bag tax.

              •  

                Ann Clwyd ! now there’s a problem. Living proof that M.P’s should be given the polite heave ho at 70, 75 at latest. We had the much eulogised Kaufmann recently squatting on his constituency until the Grim Reaper himself decided that he’d had enough of his nonsense. Ann Clwyd started showing signs of going daft when she backed Blair with a cartload of emotional bollocks back in 2002/3 and the cart has gathered momentum ever since. Does Plaid have a ready made candidate for Cwm Cynon ? If there is a local community politician with a track record of making life difficult for the local Labour jobsworths then he/she should be appointed. Don’t parachute some Plaid H.Q appointee full of political cliches and media training. If a Neil McEvoy lives in the valley go for him ( or his female equivalent ! )

                •  

                  Ann Clwyd is a bit of a mystery I think. She was certainly very brave to dare go public on the dreadful experiences that her husband had with the NHS in Cardiff as he was dying, criticising the NHS is a very dangerous thing for politicians to do as the BMA will ruin their careers if they go public on some of what goes on. Having said that I went to hear her speak in Aberystwyth a few months ago and a number of us in the audience wanted to hear a bit about her campaign for a less abusive and neglectful NHS but she didn’t mention it. I was also interested to see her change her mind about retiring, particularly as she is getting on in years now – but am I right in thinking that her constituency had been targeted as one for an ‘all women shortlist’ although there was a very popular male candidate whom local people wanted? South Wales was of course the site of a major Labour Party disaster a few years ago when an all women shortlist was imposed against the wishes of the local party – one of the safest seats in the country was lost… I wonder whether Ann Clwyd changed her mind about retiring to stave off another catastrophe in Wales triggered by dear old Harriet Harman and her mates in London…

                  •  

                    Yes she did come out and raise the poor quality of care in the NHS when her husband was taken ill. However, the talk in Aberdare [I emphasises talk] is that when other constituents/electors raised this issue with her over the years prior she did not do so much about it – until she was personally affected.

                    Where was she otherwise – bashing Saddam for TB and helping to kick Galloway out ? The billions spent in Iraq folly could have revolutionised the NHS both for her husband and for her electors.

                    •  

                      Thanks for the info DP. With politicians and the NHS it is always difficult to know whether they don’t give a damn about abuse and neglect until it happens to them or whether they are terrified of the sort of co-ordinated campaign of kicking that the BMA subjected both Ken Clarke and Edwina Hart to – they don’t discriminate on the grounds of political hue, every politician knows that the BMA will destroy them if they challenge the medical establishment and it will all be done under the rhetoric of ‘caring for the NHS’. Ann Clwyd did continue with her campaign after her husband died, I was one of the many who e mailed her and I did get a reply, which was more than I received from Carwyn or Mark Drakeford when I wrote to them about criminal activity and large scale research fraud in the north Wales mental health services. By the way, the most serious problem in the NHS isn’t lack of dosh it is institutional corruption, it is substantial but its the problem that no-one dares talk about because no Government has ever dared tackle it so they can all be accused of colluding with malpractice that has led to patients deaths. However it is a great pity that Ann stood right behind the dreadful Blair and perpetuated myths about human shredding machines…

                •  

                  They never did find Saddam’s live human shredding machine which Ann Clwyd talked much about as another justification to invade Iraq.

  5.  

    rejoice, rejoice… as Mad Maggie said once or more, we are told that the latest edition of Mad Maggie, Mrs May, is testing the political waters in early June. Now I don’t intend dwelling on her urge to expedite some version of Brexit, be it soft, ‘ard, or just plain Tory/UKIP blend, nor dwell on this being seen by her advisers as a chance to clear the air, sink the Labour party or even divert the minds of the masses while some other dirty deed gets played out right under our stupid noses while the distraction of pre election ya boo keeps our attention fixed to our collective bellybuttons.

    A general election campaign is time ripe for exploitation. Remainers will bleat, Brexiters will bleat, so confront them with simple challenges along the lines of : ……” while this intensely interesting debate about EU rambles on do you realise what is going on under your noses ? Have you heard of all the Government/WAG/EU money that’s being pumped into such and such a dubious initiative ? How is it that so much cash gets pumped into a scam which is highly likely to fail after the entrepreneur has filled his boots when they are still enforcing austerity on your local school/hospital/care service ” ………

    There are so many themes that are ripe for exploitation ( in the nicest meaning of that much maligned word ! ) and I’m sure if minded to do so Leanne could instruct some of her script writers to get down to creating a seriously nasty piece of shit slinging which would serve to hit the Bay colonial service and the tossers in Whitehall & Westminster. At the same time, they could write up a simple set of policy ideas with outline plans for their delivery just to show they can compose a vision for the future. Leave out the crap about Brexit and being nice to any lame duck that turns up at our collective doors and show how we can stand on our own 2 feet and be a safe haven for those who really need that level of security.

    As for Bare Grills if he’s as tough as he makes out why isn’t he defending the genuinely oppressed in any one of several dozen “hot spots” around the world. The urge to make a pile of bucks while exposed to no risk whatsoever places him somewhere close to Tony Blair in the hierarchy of people who exploit other people with no conscience whatsoever. He should be put on the kerb of the A5 eastbound and told to just fuck off out of it. Sadly CJ and his minions just love rubbing up with this kind of chiseller so they will be wetting themselves at the prospect of placing cheques in his grubby paws.

  6.  

    Excellent read. We have the same ‘goings on’ here on Ynys Môn. An English Company that will cock their leg and piss all over our Welsh Heritage and Welsh Land.

    Land and Lakes Cumbria/Anglesey Ltd. ( http://www.landandlakes.co.uk/developments/anglesey/introduction/)
    They have purchased over 600 acres here on Ynys Cybi/Holyhead, Land that is designated AONB next to an SSSI part green wedge and agricultural land. To build temporary housing for Contracted workers at the Nuclear build Wylfa Newydd approx 18 miles away. L&L also plan an nationally significant eco-leisure holiday resort. In short destroy Penrhos Nature Reserve and build 500 lodges, spa, shops, pool area, Hotel. Take away a free amenity from this area, erect 15foot fences to keep us locals out who have walked this area for centuries! all on the promise of jobs.
    Apparently Company Secretary Mr Neil Mcintyre, Company Directors Mr Geoffrey Dallimore, Mr Anthony William Goddard, Mr Brian Kenneth Scowcroft and Mr Richard Marcel Sidi think there is a National need to build lodges on a Nature Reserve. Another Company with assets of £1000.
    Why does everyone think Wales is for Sale?

    •  

      They think Wales is for sale because it is. We have spineless politicians who, at national level, are controlled by civil servants answering to their masters in London; and at local level senior officers – too many of whom are strangers to Wales – seem to run the show.

      Though when it comes to Land and Lakes on your patch I guarantee that, because of the nuclear connection, they have support at the very highest level. Which means there’s nothing any Welsh politician can do.

      The only solution is to break the link with England. A link that always works to England’s advantage, never ours. If it’s not done soon, then there’ll be no Wales left.

  7.  

    Another excellent expose, this hard core colonialism is after all what welsh voters endorse at every election, but few of them seem to care about the damage it does anymore.

    I’ll be honest i’m losing patience with my fellow Cymro, perhaps Hard Brexit is what they deserve, because as things stand they’ll endorse Teresa May and her Brexit plans in a few weeks at the General Election. We can then add a majority of them, along with venal, spineless politicians, grant grabbers, greedy businessmen and their quisling enablers to the exploiters and destroyers list of Wales and weep as our communities and country finally dies.

  8.  

    Great and timely article, Jac about an area local to me where I’ve done a fair bit of mountain biking myself – few years ago now though. The idea that this development could take off without oodles of public money finding its way to the developers is as likely as me getting a date with Halle Berry. It’s another Circuit of Wales job that will simmer on a pot for years while the developers, and their consultant designers, landscape architects, ecologists, engineers and every chancer that can smell free public handouts from half a world away descend like locusts on the compliant Welsh Assembly and Local Authorities who will no doubt set up a Steering Group or whatever they call it to try and help get the thing off the ground. Then, when hundreds of thousands of pounds, probably more, have been wasted on feasibility studies and the like, when it comes to the crunch it will die the appropriate death. “Bear” and his cronies will move on to some other pie in the sky idea, probably selling on any residual value the scheme may have to some other dupe.

    This area is extremely popular for mountain bikers certainly from all over the UK, even further afield. They are not great spenders and they don’t stay long. But many are repeat visitors and they come there because the mountain bike trails are first class, well designed and maintained, and of varying technical ability so you don’t have to be in your fit twenties and an expert on a bike. There’s a special tranquillity about the place nowadays. Even with the visitor numbers, and I have read there are 100,000 a year, the area is so vast that most days you can find peace and solitude there if you want it. And mountain bikes don’t require diesel engines to get up them hills. Regular visitors will have already seen the wonderful landscape change dramatically with the huge Pen y Cymoedd Windfarm turbines constructed on the mountainside – 76 turbines in total, plus the earlier windfarm called Ffynnon Oer, near Glyncorrwg, which has 16 turbines. The area has also been massively affected by a tree disease that affected the large plantations of Japanese Larch and vast areas of plantation have been clearfelled as a result, with the consequent affect on the landscape. They’ve had our lands, our minerals, our water and have even stolen our wind to drive these vast turbines. Then expect us to be grateful for the humiliation of the type of dickheads that would be impressed by Grylls’ ideas, descending in hordes on the Afan valley for upmarket, action stag weekends. It’s time to say, “Enough”. We can’t go on like this.

  9.  

    Sitting in a hotel in Sorrento, having a rest from the hustle and bustle of a post brexit Pwllheli – read the news today for the first time in a week – what the fxxck! Grilis gone bonkers, country to the polls and Jack the only person with his eye on the ball! Italy is a country that is beutifull , shrouded in history, and totaly bent over to apreciate ‘tourism’ as an industry- does this ring any bells? The quote that rings in my ears is this, ‘ if we tollerate this, then our children will be next…..” . Jack, the time draws near.

  10.  

    funny that just heard today that the NT are trying to grab back the land adjacent to Neuadd Goffa Pumpsaint to make it into a caravan park. The land was given with the hall to the local community , but somhow or other the NT have gotten their hands on it and are trying to take it from the community – and this from an institution set up to offer the common man and woman recreational rights in the country.

    •  

      The National Trust is a very dangerous, and very English, organisation. One of the first jobs for the Assembly in 1999 should have been the creation of a new Welsh body to take over from the colonialist National trust.

      •  

        All this talk of the National Trust brings me back to the man that Dafis and I were discussing earlier in this thread, Simon Jenkins, he of houses in Piccadilly – and rather inexplicably Aberdyfi. He is of course Chairman of the National Trust.

        •  

          I hadn’t made that connection. Though I’m sure the post is honorary rather than giving him a role in the running of the NT. To find the culprits I’m seeking I think we need to focus on the senior management and/or the permanent trustees.

          •  

            honorary it may be but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to find him schmoozing his way around assorted haunts like business clubs, local associations – Landowners, NFU, Chambers etc checking out whether any choice bits of property needed taking over. NT probably has a network of “supporters” all committed to feeding info into an acquisition strategy without giving a second thought for the needs of local communities.

            •  

              Good point Dafis, he may well have been busy in the manner that you suggest. As well as writing articles explaining why young people don’t have the right to live in the communities in which they grew up, Simon also robustly campaigned against the building of new houses – presumably including those irritating affordable ones that young people might like to move into in their own communities… So his message is quite clear really – Meirionnydd is for the likes of him to have a second home and the rest of us who are not Chairmen of the National Trust and do not also have a place in Piccadilly to live in which we can entertain powerful people can piss off out of it.

  11.  

    interesting to read that most parties have been rather taken by surprise by Mrs May’s decision to have an Election. Now a mad rush around constituencies, especially Tory seats where sitting member is packing in the job, and lots of ex M.P’s with little or no idea where some of these constituencies are located chasing nominations. This increases the probability that the House post early June will be blessed with a higher than usual %age of dimwits who know fuck all about their turf.

    Plaid should be alert to this in Wales. Wherever the Tories or Labour parachute some toff or party rising star from outside give it to them both barrels. No polite chit chat about how nice it was to have met them once upon a time in Islington or Brussels but rather a brusque ” what brings you here, twatty, are you lost ? ” followed by a clear message to constituents that this plague of carpetbaggers is the best the 2 big Brit parties can offer. Same goes for UKIP and Lib Dems although they seem to realise most of the time that local is best. Of course to be able to get away with this line of direct attack Plaid must use local talent and back it up with some resource or let the local pick his/her own resources.

    •  

      Quite a few Tories packing in the job. At least 30 I hear. Lib Dems are likely the real threat to everyone else… they’ll target the Tory Remain seats (Probably Labour Remain seats too) – if they’re wise they’ll plop one of their cleverer folk on Maidenhead which in the late 90s and 00s had quite the LD following until people decided Labour had to go.

      Plaid… Wood is putting herself out there. Seems like they’re getting closer to Westminster not further away. We’ll see how it goes in Locals I guess. They just need to be getting a good foundation at local level and in the Assembly. Bugger Westminster. They really are embodying our national schizophrenia at the moment.

  12.  

    Plaid Cymru candidates in Penarth call for Nationsl Trust to take over former school building as a mark of respect for war hero:

    “Plaid Cymru’s St Augustine candidates Aled Thomas and Anne Greagsby say the building and its parkland side should be retained in respect of war hero Major J.A Gibbs.

    “They say “If Action for Children decides to sell the building, we would approach the National Trust to take on Headlands and safeguard it for the public.”

    https://penarthnews.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/plaid-lashes-labour-for-ignoring-penarths-headlands-school-building/

    •  

      Plaid Cymru should be demanding a Welsh replacement for the National Trust. It should be party policy. Another example, I fear, of Plaid’s inability to see the problem.

      •  

        Are you aware of the Gower Society?

        It’s a trust that operates as a charity and (a) does not get taxpayer grants, neither from the council, the Welsh Government, or nor EU funds, and (b) derives over 90% of it’s income from investments of tax free portfolio in the private sector. It is however, evident, that they are a bit ‘posh’, you can almost smell the horses as you pass Upper Killay, but there is a token Welsh person on the board from Penclawdd. It accurately represents Gower, but the Labour Party middle classes of Swansea hate it.

        There is, however, no reason why other parts of Wales cannot establish county-wide, or Wales wide, trusts. There is also no reason why Welsh Government policy can be changed to ‘freeze out’ the National Trust of EnglandandWales, with a presumed consent on support for local trusts within planning policy.

        There are a number of things that a Plaid Cymru government can do without legislation…

        (a) Remove agricultural grants from the landholder to the tenancy. This would apply to NT landholdings in Wales. This would force the NT to divest of it’s existing land holdings.
        (b) Establish a ‘presumed consent’ of ownership within the listing mechanism of buildings, so that the society must have a controlling interest within the local authority area. This could equally apply to ‘pop-up-trusts’ such as the one at Castell Aberteifi. An ‘agricultural covenant’ is often applied to residential property. A ‘cultural covenant’ can be applied to non-residential buildings.
        (c) Extend the Welsh Language Act from the public sector to charitable trusts operating in Wales.

        Obviously, a Plaid Cymru government must obtain consent from Westminster to pass legislation to make a ‘National Trust For Wales’ as currently operates in Scotland.

  13.  

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