Sep 172016
 

‘BESPOKE ACTIVITY SESSIONS’

I am indebted to Brychan, a regular visitor to this blog, for drawing my attention to another example of misguided do-gooding, this time linking with enviroshysters and the ‘heritage’ racket – yea! even unto the Strata Florida Trust! (You couldn’t make this up!)

We start in the Elan Valley, the collective name for a number of reservoirs vaguely south east of Aberystwyth that supply fresh water to Birmingham. Built in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century these reservoirs occupy land much of which was compulsorily purchased.

But let’s not be negative, for as the Elan valley website tells us, “The choice of the Elan Valley as the source of Birmingham’s future water supplies was to lead to the creation of a spectacular new landscape in mid-Wales.” (Who writes this patronising crap!)

elan-lakes

“The Elan Estate is owned by Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water although a greater part of it is vested in the Elan Valley Trust on a 999 year lease.” Does Dŵr Cymru own the reservoirs and dams or just the land surrounding them? Either way, the water goes to Brum for free.

From what I can see, the Elan Valley Estate is a tourist playground doubling up as a nature reserve. But the estate also runs ‘courses’ for superannuated hippies and others who have washed up in Wales. Now it’s branching out.

Some of these courses are run by an outfit called Tir Coed, which describes itself as ” . . . a charity and social enterprise that engages people with woodlands through volunteering, training and bespoke activities that develop skills and improve woodlands for the benefit of everyone”. The kind of gibberish I encounter all the time, dreamt up to justify the existence of a group and, more importantly, its funding.

Here’s a screen capture from the Tir Coed Charity Commission page. We shall refer to this later.

tir-coed-charity-commission

The project to which I want to draw your attention is something called Elan Gives Back, the premise of which is so unutterably colonialist that you’ll have trouble believing it, but just bear with me.

Last month, representatives of Tir Coed, acting for the Elan Valley Estate, visited Birmingham ” . . . explaining how the project would like to reconnect the people of Birmingham with their water source . . . before explaining about the weekend retreats and bespoke activity sessions in the Elan Valley available through Elan Gives Back.” Read it for yourself.

(‘Bespoke activity sessions! Bloody hell! I know people who’ve been done for offering that sort of thing.)

If this venture is a ‘success’, then we can expect to see Brummie drug addicts, petty criminals and others having a jolly old time on the Elan Valley Estate. And at our expense, because of course Tir Coed, being a charity and a social enterprise, relies almost exclusively on grant funding.

The biggest single funder for year ending March 31 2015 was the Big Lottery Fund, which coughed up £82,783; but in there with other grants we see the Countryside Council for Wales, £35,000; Natural Resources Wales, £20,000; Llanidloes Town Council, £3,000; and Jobs Growth Wales, £11,276.

The only way I can interpret Elan Gives Back is that someone, somewhere, believes the area owes Birmingham something. But, surely, Birmingham, responsible for the enforced eviction of the area’s population, and the subsequent exploitation of Welsh resources, owes us. If Liverpool can apologise for Tryweryn then why can’t Birmingham apologise for Elan?

And if that is the thinking behind it, then what twisted colonialist mind could have dreamed up Elan Gives Back?

Finally, we need to consider what it says on the Charity Commission website, shown in the screen capture I referred you to earlier. Tir Coed’s stipulated ‘Area of Benefit’ is Wales. Birmingham is not in Wales, and I object strongly to public funding, much of it Welsh, being used to give bespoke weekends in the Welsh countryside to Brummie ne’er-do-wells. I further object to this being done as some kind of ‘apology’ for them having to drink our water!

Someone, maybe the Charity Commission, or the funders, needs to investigate this bollocks.

LINKS AND COINCIDENCES

Take yourself back to the Charity Commission website for Tir Coed and click on the box ‘Contact & trustees’ (on the left), you’ll bring up a list of trustees. Top of that list is a ‘Mr J Wildig’.

Wildig is also a trustee of the Plynlimon Heritage Trust (note the corrupted spelling of Pumlumon) and also Ymddiriedolaeth Yr Hafod Hafod Trust.

In fairness, the first of those seems to have raked in very little money and is now almost defunct, but give it its due, it used the tried and tested method, even the descriptive template, “The Trust enables work on heritage projects within the Ceredigion uplands”.

The second of Wildig’s trusts is connected with the Hafod Estate near Cwmystwyth. He is also a director of Pentir Pumlumon Cyf, which markets the area to tourists, while of course giving plugs to various trusts, such as Strata Florida, which is ‘flagged’ on its interactive ‘attractions’ map.

The Hafod Estate is managed by Natural Resources Wales “in partnership with the Hafod Trust”. It’s noticeable how many of the ‘trusts’ and individuals this blog has looked at recently work with NRW.

hawthorn-cottage

Hawthorn Cottage, available for rent on the Hafod Estate

When talking of 19th century mining operations the Pentir Pumlumon website is keen to remind us that “Miners migrated to the area from Cornwall, Yorkshire, and elsewhere: their names can be found on gravestones in country churchyards and some of their descendants are here still”. Stressing a long-standing English (and Cornish) presence in the area seems to have been important for whoever wrote that.

Sites like this, written by English people trying to describe a country of which they have no real understanding beyond its perceived potential to benefit them; and for which they have little appreciation beyond the visual, the scenic, remind me of those 19th century posters encouraging English settlement in some benighted corner of the empire where the natives had recently been quelled.

Also involved with the Plynlimon Heritage Trust is Jennifer Jill Macve, whose name crops up a number of times in connection with Wildig. Macve is also a trustee of the Welsh Historic Gardens Trust where, again, you’ll struggle to find any Welsh involvement.

Before bidding the omnipresent J Wildig adieu it should surprise no one to learn that he is also a trustee of the Strata Florida Trust, the body you’ve read about on this blog over recent weeks. (If you haven’t, then read Ystrad Fflur – The Heritage Industry Moves On and Conserving Heritage, Maintaining Colonialism.)

To make sense of the plethora of ‘heritage’ and ‘preservation’ trusts that have sprung up in Wales during the past couple of decades it might help if you visit the website for the United Kingdom Association of Preservation Trusts (APT). Here’s the APT’s Wales page.

The screen capture below explains it all. There was a development officer in Wales 2004 – 2008, and “over a third of Trusts in Wales were formed in the past seven years”. And to cheer you up even more, “There are also examples of Trusts still being formed, such as the Welsh Georgian Building Trust, and the Llanelli Goods Trust.” (I suspect there might be Welsh involvement in the latter, but not the former.)

apt-wales

HEADING SOUTH

If we go back for a sec to the Tir Coed website, and look at the ‘Contact’ page, then we see that it offers three addresses. One is presumably its HQ in Aberystwyth. Another is its Elan operation, where it ‘Gives Back’ bespoke weekends, and the third is Denmark Farm, Betws Bledrws, near Lampeter.

So now you’re wondering what denizens of that parallel universe sustained by grants await at Denmark Farm. You will not be disappointed. (Oh, yes, before any of you narrow-minded nationalists think the name has been changed, it was always Denmark Farm. Explained here.)

As is the way with these things, Denmark Farm is not just any old farm, run by primitive Welshies who keep animals and grow crops. No, sir, this is a conservation centre, offering eco-friendly holidays, nature trails and, yes – courses!

Confusingly – but not for old Jac! – this lot are registered with the Charity Commission as the Shared Earth Trust. Though the CC website tells us that income is falling, down from £135,000 in 2012 to a mere £45,000 in 2015.

A correspondingly sombre picture is to be found on the Companies House website, with the most recent accounts available (y/e 31.03.2015) informing us that this venture has tangible assets (almost certainly the farm buildings and land) of £310,666 (£324,991 in 2014). Yet ‘total assets less current liabilities’ brings that figure down to £258,346 (£277,418 in 2014). Denmark Farm is in trouble, perhaps it will soon be recycled.

Companies House also tells us there are charges against Denmark Farm. First there’s the mortgage of £170,000 with the Ecology Building Society of West Yorkshire. Then, on the same date, 25.07.2012, there was a loan of £25,000 made by the trustees of the Shared Earth Trust to the Denmark Farm Conservation Centre.

So who’s running things? Well, the three individuals who are both trustees of the Shared Earth Trust and directors of Denmark Farm Conservation Centre are Guy Alistair Hopwood, who lives at Denmark Farm, David Andrew Bradford Smith of Llandrindod, and Glenn Edward Strachan of Penuwch.

denmark-farm-activities

The staff at Denmark Farm – apart from one who seems to be married to a real farmer, living on a real farm – are the usual crew of ecocharlatans. Reading their potted bios reminds us how many silly little projects there are out there.

Take Gary Thorogood, who “moved to this part of Wales with his family 9 years ago after retiring from the Fire Service in London.” His bio mentions his involvement with the Lampeter Permaculture Group and Transition Lambed. (Don’t say you haven’t heard of them!)

Then there’s Mara Morris who lives with chickens, which I suppose is one way of guaranteeing fresh eggs. Next up is James Kendall, ” . . . responsible for procuring external funding so that we can maintain and increase our staffing resource, deliver engaging projects and develop the Shared Earth Trust membership”. The Accounts I’ve quoted would suggest that Kendall is not doing very well as a fund-raiser.

But in fairness, maybe he’s too busy with the Long Wood Community Woodland, where he serves as project manager. “He also works as a Forest School leader(?), woodland skills tutor and runs an outdoor after-school club, Young Rangers.”

Companies House also tells us there is a charge against Long Wood Community Farm. The mortgagee is the Big Lottery Fund and the property is described as “all that freehold property known as land at Long Wood, Llangybi, Lampeter registered at H M Land Registry under title numbers CYM271065, CYM271131, CYM270610”.

What becomes clear when we look into these projects, whether they are heritage and conservation, environment, or even social enterprises and community benefit companies, is that they are not businesses a bank would lend money to for the very simple reason that they are just not viable businesses. So they have to rely on grant funding.

Because they are not financially viable they invariably fail, which results in funding that could be better used being wasted. Those involved in such failures often re-form, take on a new name, and wait for the grant-giving agencies to come up with new funding streams and priorities. It’s a merry-go-round.

Those involved are simply indulging a private passion at public expense, there is no public benefit whatsoever . . . unless of course, you include the ‘courses’ and the ‘bespoke activity sessions’, which are not intended for the likes of us.

What I found interesting in writing this post is that, in J Wildig, we have unearthed a link between the environmental, the social enterprise, and the heritage sectors. Looking beyond this individual there are other linkages and overlaps to be found.

What is also clear is that many of these grant-grabbing groups are located in Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire, spilling over into neighbouring local authority areas. Suggesting that these two councils offer encouragement; but the major funders remain the ‘Welsh’ Government, in its various guises, and assorted Lottery funding streams.

Everywhere I look in the environmental lobby I see hypocrisy and contradictions. Perhaps the most glaring is the commitment to ‘Nature’ . . . discredited by the belief that Nature would be lost without them managing it.

George Monbiot and others talk of wanting to ‘re-wild’ large tracts of Wales, yet if they were allowed their way they’d produce little more than a manicured woodland where everything down to the last fungus would have its allotted place. They want to play God.

george-monbiot

This sylvan idyll of overbearingly managed ‘wilderness’ would of course provide many jobs and businesses for the kind of people we’ve met in recent posts. Almost all funded from the public purse.

They’d offer courses in yurt construction and other ‘traditional’ crafts. James Kendall could bring his Young Rangers from the Long Wood. With weekend retreats and bespoke activity sessions so that we could fulsomely apologise to Brummies, Scousers, and all the others we’ve wronged. And of course there’d be the tourists. Combining to give us wildlife-free woods constantly ringing to the sound of human voices . . . none of them Welsh.

My idea of re-wilding would be to set aside an area of land and take human beings out of the picture entirely (especially those I’ve been writing about). Let Nature reclaim the land, naturally, as it did when the last ice retreated. Anything else is just a veiled attack on Welsh farming and a scam to milk the public purse.

Fortunately, the figures tell us the funding is drying up, and now, with Brexit, things can only get better. Let’s hope that the ‘Welsh’ Government, the Big Lottery Fund and others come to their senses and free us from heritage racket con men (and women), enviroshysters and all the rest.

UPDATE: I am informed that Monbiot has departed whence he came. That probably accounts for the sounds of raucous celebration that has been reported emanating from local farmhouses.

END

Early on the morrow, Mrs J and I are off to the Old North. I shall be back next weekend. But keep sending in your comments, for Big Gee is in charge as moderator.

  21 Responses to “Grant-grabbers, How They Are Related”

  1.  

    Jack, note Countryside Council for Wales has been disbanded and its function subsumed within NRW for the last 3.5 years

    •  

      Yes, but in recording grant income on an accounting return to the charity commission, you have to state from where (the original name) the incoming fund comes from at the time at which the award was agreed. The act of handing over the cash may well be a later year because it may depend on particular conditions being met. Income can be recorded in a year, sometimes years, later than the award was actually agreed. In the books of NRW it would have held as an inherited liability in the name of CCW. When CCW was lumped into NRW the grant agreements made as CCW were not cancelled, but carried over. In this case, the chronology shows that they got a grant agreement from CCW in a prior year but it was not paid over as income to the charity until NRW had already been established. Only the balance sheet is a snapshot at a specific time. The income and spending statement records movement of funds over a set period of time. Hope this makes sense.

  2.  

    Clearly these people see opportunities and move in to take advantage. Nature abhors a vacuum, you might well say. They have their own ideology and agenda of sorts, often a bit wishy-washy but enough to motivate them.

    So this then begs the underlying question : Where are the Welsh?

    What happened to all those highly motivated Welsh political and cultural cadres of Jac´s generation? Where are their likes today, and more importantly why aren´t they taking up any funding and outside support on offer? Outsiders discover an empty space in the middle of Wales and move in to exploit it, unaware perhaps of the social and cultural background. But why haven´t the Welsh got in first, after all they´ve been there all along? No great private wealth seems to be involved, simply taking advantage of ´nationally´ available grant funding etc.

    Felly, ble mae´r blydi Cymry?

    •  

      Yma o hyd.

      My investigations find that most of the claims of ‘sustainability’ of the eco-settlers is nothing of the sort. From their own eagerness to establish a social media presence and a bit of detective work at Companies House, Charity Commission, Land registry and planning portals, I find that in order to cream the grants in Wales, they make their main residency in Wales, but still have a title over, usually quite substantial property in the part of England from whence they came. The clincher is usually a charge on one property to finance another.

      —————————–

      Then…

      Tip off the relevant English council like this…

      http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/homepage/housing/privatehousing/emptyhomes/enforcement.htm

      Then (Ceredigion has already filled 100% of their quota and Penfro/SirGar almost) tip off…

      http://www.paih.org/host-a-refugee/

      To ensure unaccompanied juvenile Syrian refugees are accommodated in needy hotspots like London, Brighton and Bristol.

      ————————–

      I suspect many of the eco-settlers will up sticks (literally) and flee back to England in order to stop dark skinned Muslims occupying the family inheritance. I do hope this is not the case with Mr Monbiot and the nice Paddington flat. Most un-Guardianesque.

      You speak of Jac’s generation. I used to share a pint in Clwb y Bont with a chap who went to prison and got tattoos for allegedly playing with matches. However, I went by a different route. Got a degree and made her majesty teach me how to be detective.

      Still the enemy within.
      Laff.

    •  

      Some references here too obscure. But yes why let settlers get the money when locals can also apply? Is it moaning about them there better than actually getting together and doing it yourself?

      •  

        The reason is Dai, is that it’s much more difficult for indigenous Welsh people to obtain the grants for such schemes than settler English people. It’s to do with the way the award system is structured, the qualification stream, and how part-funding of awards are secured against risk.

        Award Structure.

        You have to obtain a gift of land or a promise of use of it from those in power in the Welsh Government. The decider of this decision is a Minister, the Labour Party, the likes of Jane Davidson or Alun Davies. These ministers have most of the recreational land in rural areas and the former industrial land in urban areas at the whim of their signature.

        Qualification stream.

        Welsh CV. – Griff Evans, experience of steel fabrication, almost paid of a mortgage on a terraced house in Furnace Street, governor of local school, formal qualification includes engineering, but likes bird watching on weekends and wants to do good.

        English CV – Jeniffer Sourbury, experience of huts in Belize whilst on gap year, inherited daddies cottage in the Cotswolds, formal qualification includes a degree in sustainable forestry from CAT paid for from daddies trust fund, likes writing books on rare mosses at weekends and not only wants to do good but has certificate from British Council in Kenya.

        In the example of Tir Coed, above, the only ‘Welsh’ project manager was a few years ago, from a woman with a degree in Forestry from Bangor and daughter of a CCW officer. Presumably, they needed a Welsh speaker.

        Securing Risk.

        When bodies like the Big Lottery Fund dish out grants in the hundreds of thousands (land and property sums) they are required to secure award until delivery of outcomes. This is often done on the title of an existing landholding.

        Cwm Elan – In the case of Tir Coed, they will get a grant to help under privileged kids and rehabilitate offenders from Birmingham, but they will have to prove they are doing this before the final grant payment is made. The grant can therefore be secured on land or a desirable cottage, and to do this the owner, often a Welsh Minister or an executive in Dwr Cymru to sign the undertaking.

        Llangennith – The case of Bryn Gwyn Fach, there’s a charity, Valleys Kids, who helps under privileged kids and rehabilitate young offenders for the Welsh valleys, but to get a grant from the Lottery Fund they to build eco-classrooms they have to prove outcomes before the final payment is made. The grant could not be obtained by working class do-gooders about to retire from the Mint in Llantrisant no matter how much miners redundancy pay backed it up. It was obtained by two eco-settlers and the risk was secured, not by them, but on the real estate already owned by the Valleys Kids charity.

        https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/05342802/filing-history/MzEwMzgzNTgwNmFkaXF6a2N4/document?format=pdf&download=0

        This is the reason why Welsh people can’t get there hands on the funding stream and English people have the cards stacked in their favour to fund their Good Life escapades into Wales. For them, if you fail your get to own the land just pay off a small fraction of the grant, if the project is successful you just bank the funding stream as it arrives.

        The rich from England get richer and the Welsh are ethnically cleansed. Young Bethan with brain damage because mam was on heroin does however, gets a memorable trip to the Gower.

  3.  

    Yet another entertaining and eye-opening article from Jac on some of these obscure bodies taking advantage of our Welsh hospitality. Nothing personal, Jac, but I feel thoroughly depressed and pissed off about it, because these stories just keep coming and coming and I feel at a complete loss as to what can be done about it. What is the answer, the cure for our malaise? You’ve identified that Brexit should dry up some of the money swishing around but the WAG itself seems to be a well that never dries up.

    I’m not an economist so will happily be corrected on this, but aren’t we in Wales always bottom of the areas in the UK for Gross Value Added? Instead of ploughing (no pun intended) money into areas where we are subsidising the hobbies of those who favour an alternative lifestyle to what 99.9% of us have to live, why not direct it instead into areas where we have a chance of increasing the wealth making capacity of Wales? I’d love to see just how much money is pumped in to all these eco/heritage charities and trusts by the Welsh Government, as well as how much came their way from the EU, even if that is channeled through the WAG. The trouble is that I doubt anyone has a handle on the overall figure – I bet no-one actually has a figure for the number of these charities and trusts.

    The author J P Kinsella died this week. He wrote the novel Shoeless Joe which was used as the basis of the great film Field of Dreams. Both novel and film contained the message about a baseball pitch “If you build it, they will come” – read the book or watch the film for what it means. But when I read Jac’s blog about these 21st century eco/heritage pioneers in our land, I can’t get the damned phrase out of my head. Wales, and the soft touch we are with our OPDs and funding, is the metaphorical baseball pitch from the novel and film. And boy, are “they” fucking coming alright.

  4.  

    interesting digression earlier today, when reading of Guto Bebb’s darlith Glyndwr at the Galeri, reported briefly on Golwg360.

    http://golwg360.cymru/newyddion/cymru/239559-michael-collins-ydi-fy-arwr-meddai-guto-bebb

    He disclosed his admiration for Michael Collins ( was this known publicly prior to this event ? ) and draws many valid parallels with the bubble in which we exist today. He claimed that Collins was willing to make the most of what Ireland got out of the 1921 treaty and push it to its limits, compared to others like DeV who complained about what was not won, and in turn draws comparisons with the likes of Labour and Plaid who seem to just want more power for their Assembly without even fully using that which they already have. Indeed I had never read of Collins’ interest in developing the native Irish economy as I always thought he was sacrificed to early in the conflict to have articulated much thought in that direction.

    Now it crossed my mind that this lecture may have been a cunning plan to make the 2 parties look stupid and immature, but we know that already anyway. So I tend to give the renegade the benefit of the doubt on this one. At least he’s searched outside our own fetid little pond for a good example ( he had to ! ) and his own stance as something of an enterprise orientated person suggests that he won’t be too impressed with the current Bay default position of “if in doubt hand it to the 3rd sector”. He’s more likely to say “if in doubt, don’t back the bloody thing”.

    •  

      DaV had the belief that there was a ‘legitimate’ path to independence, that somehow the British state would see the logic of independence and respect democratic mandate. He fell for the public relations of a ‘reformed’ British empire. Collins, however, was schooled in how the British state really operated, passed the British Civil Service exams, and worked in communications in London, both for the Royal Mail and as a messenger for city stockbrokers. He knew how, what, and why made the British state tick.

      This was how Collins rose to prominence while imprisoned at Frongoch, and it was there that he established an unofficial network of spies and agents, a kind of band of brothers, within Sinn Féin, he knew there would be a need for ‘physical force’ at some point. This turning point happened after the 1918 general election, when Sinn Féin gained a majority of Irish seats and refused to take them in the Westminster House, setting up an ad-hoc Dáil in Dublin.

      Of course, the British state acted immediately and launched the campaign of the auxiliaries and enforced a form of martial law using the Black and Tans. The master stoke of Collins was to launch a “National Loan” to finance the unofficial republic, which was able to match whatever resources the British state was prepared to throw into Ireland. It was the Collins ‘network’ which allowed poverty relief, prevent evictions (safe houses), finance legal processes of those imprisoned, not just armed activity.
      The ‘negotiating table’ was not presented because the British were defeated militarily, but because the Westminster House discovered that no matter how brutal and no matter how much resources were thrown into the Irish campaign, it was matched, and they could not ‘break’ the Collins network. The rest, they say, is history.

      Of course, it wasn’t just the Irish who took part in the Easter Rising in Dublin that were imprisoned in Wales. A Welshman called Arthur Horner (Rhondda SWMF) was imprisoned for his part, who, when captured did a stretch in Carmarthen jail. So the question for Labour and Plaid, why no blue plaque?

  5.  

    I’ve always had a lot of time for Guto Bebb, he’s another frustrated nationalist who couldn’t find a comfortable home on the Plaid hearth. There’s quite a few of us about.

    On Michael Collins he is absolutely right. Collins was a lateral thinker, he didn’t always follow the mainstream thought process, which is often established on ‘what has always been‘ i.e. the common convention – rather than on what COULD be. The Irish have often thrown up lateral thinkers, whereas we have a tendency to copy, after someone else has done the thinking. Hence the saying ‘Irish logic’ which is often very successful because it is the result of thinking outside of the box. In fact most of our ideas are ‘aped’ from England of all places, who we perpetually try and compare ourselves with. I’ve heard the phrase “compared to England . . . ” so many times by lifeless news presenters (like Jamie Owen) that I feel a deep nausea every time I hear it now!

    When the Senedd can start showing that it has a fresh perspective, and a game plan for what is needed, THEN is the time to accumulate more power. At present, as Guto often points out, what’s the point of getting more power if you have proved that you are totally inept at using what you’ve already got. Collins made the most of what was given THEN demanded more.

    •  

      since my earlier comment someone turned up on Golwg with a comment that perhaps in a better world Bebb would be Plaid leader in y Cynulliad and Ms Wood would be one of Corbyn’s party ! He concluded that a gathering of Bebb, Adam Price and E ap Gwilym would produce some useful ideas for Plaid and Cymru in general.
      I’m not so sure because Price and E ap G have been around for a some time and while I would not wish to blame them for the existing Plaid posture I don’t see much evidence of them being at all contrarian amongst all the dross that currently appears to be the Plaid reservoir. Am I missing something ?

      •  

        I don’t think you’re missing anything Dafis! The observation that Bebb as leader and Leanne (although I love her down to her little white cotton socks – on a social but not socialist level) would be as happy as a bunny in a sack of carrots alongside JC – is a creepily accurate scenario than could work!

        As for Adam Price – a good, well meaning, and intelligent politician, but sadly very much tainted by his Labour influenced background & upbringing (coal mining dad & all that).

        Eurfyl ap Gwilym – a good ol’ boy – not least because he hails from Penparcau ger Aberystwyth in Ceredigion. I tend to get a bit of a chill when I think about the ‘biggie’ company pools he swims in (Deputy Chairman of the Principality Building Society, a director of Nemo Personal Finance Ltd., Chairman of the Trustees of the Society’s Pension Scheme, Director of iSOFT Group plc, NCC Group plc and Pure Wafer plc. etc. etc.). Having said that I guess he would team up nicely with Mr. Bebb and would have a lot in common with Price on the economics front! He also strikes me as having a thicker backbone than many Plaidies. Mind you that’s what set Price, Bebb & Gwilym apart from the Plaid rabble in the old days,it’s the actual existence OF a backbone!

        Yes they could be a dream team – but not to be. However, in a parallel universe maybe? L.O.L.

        They are around, but drowned out by the fluffy sons of the manse and the rest of the Triban Coch socialists. Shame isn’t it?

  6.  

    It is one of Collins’ lesser known achievements that he was a highly successful Finance Minister in the pre-independence unofficial administration known as the First Dail. He was full of ideas-hydroelectric dams on the Shannon (white coal), reform of the Banks, agriculture etc. Sadly his ideas did not survive him and de Valera had him written out of history for fifty years. On the treaty , Collins was proved correct-with fiscal and military independence a true self governing state could emerge, and it was used as a stepping stone to the Republic in the way that he forecast. We have the reverse-a dependency that has as its statecraft a permanent whinge about the size of the begging bowl sent to and returned from Westminster and not least from a party that professes independence.

    •  

      Yes and a good starting point to extricate Wales from the begging bowl position, would be to start charging England for the most precious resource of all, water.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/drought/9195635/Wales-should-profit-from-selling-water-to-England.html

      Wales has been taken for granted for long enough, it’s actually cities like Birmingham and the Midlands, that depend on Wales, not the other way around!

      As for dealing with the problem of the English buying up the housing stock in Wales and sending the prices soaring, a true Land value tax, would have been much more revolutionary, than the new Land transaction tax, which just tinkers at the edges.

      https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/sep/12/wales-replace-stamp-duty-land-transaction-tax%3f0p19G=e

      •  

        Yes and how long do you think that it would take England to start moving well paid employment, eg the Royal Mint, DVLA, St Athan etc , up to England? We don’t have a begging bowl. We receive higher payments per head than areas of England due to the topography of Wales. We need more structural provision, eg bridges across rivers, we need to pump water over hills etc, we have an older population with many health problems from our industrial days, we have top heavy governance.
        As for people taking advantage of ‘public funding’ we have enough of our home bred carpet baggers only to eager to milk the funding teat without criticising incomers. Unfortunately we will be stronger together in the UK than split up via more devolution / independence.

  7.  

    So our friend Oily didn’t get the top job, shame for him ! Not that it gives us any relief, he’s still the member for Ponty and will probably be busy trundling out his mushy mix of pseudo socialist bullshit with maybe a dash of fashionable hard left sauce thrown in for good measure to please his party boss. Comrade Carwyn will most likely harden his bunker mentality shoring up his defences by favouring anything with the faint stench of Labour on it. So 3rd sector carpetbaggers will continue to thrive as long as they mutter the right party line phrases, or better still write them into their bid documents.

    All change, no change, thank god it has a bit of a funny side to it otherwise they’d reduce us to blowing our fuckin’ brains out.

  8.  

    Oily lost it when he toured the country with that lifesize image of Carolyn Harris on the side of the bus supplied to him by Edwards Coaches. In the simplistic minds of Labour supporters they made a choice of having to look at Dianne Abbott on the front bench or the Elephant Woman of Swansea West. They made the right one.

    Apparently though, catching sight of the ghastly Harris cured hundreds of Peeping Toms. At least some good came out of it then.

  9.  

    Mea culpa. Swansea East, of course.

    Has anyone ever seen such a quick response to a letter from the public (presumably) to the Parliamentary authorities? Written on 20th September and already replied to. Usually takes my council weeks to reply to anything I write them.

    I wonder how this focus on Mr Bailey will affect his ongoing consultancy then? One for the future, no doubt.

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