Aug 142017
 

I present here a trio of very interesting tales. The first is an update on an old favourite, Mill Bay Homes, the publicly-funded private house builder in Pembrokeshire which may now, finally, have gone straight. The second will cheer you up no end, for our wonderful ‘Welsh’ Government has cracked the problem of ‘the demographic time bomb’ that has everyone else so worried. Finally, I offer a fascinating report into police transfers, and why some forces would rather clam up.

MILL BAY HOMES

To recap: Mill Bay Homes is a subsidiary of Pembrokeshire Housing. Both are Registered Social Landlords (or were until recently). Pembrokeshire Housing has received a great deal of funding from the ‘Welsh’ Government, many tens of millions of pounds in fact.

Mill Bay Homes has received no funding directly from the ‘Welsh’ Government, but some seven million pounds was transferred or ‘loaned’ by the parent company. This funding, we were assured, came from sources other than the public purse.

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A number of people, principally Wynne Jones of Cardigan, assisted by others (among whom I’m proud to number myself), have queried the Byzantine structure and operation of social housing in Pembrokeshire. Basically, what is the point of Mill Bay Homes, which builds open market housing, and even touts for ‘investors’ (i.e. buy-to-let landlords)? Or to put it another way, why is Mill Bay Homes, a company that builds no social housing, registered with the ‘Welsh’ Government as a Registered Social Landlord (RSL)?

As if the situation wasn’t complicated enough, Mill Bay Homes then branched out into what it calls ‘shared ownership’. (Read the brochure here.) If you scroll down the end you’ll see a section headed ‘Your Leasehold Agreement’ . . . that’s right, it’s not shared ownership at all, anyone getting involved will be buying the share of a lease.

It so happens that the Notional Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee recently looked into the governance of housing associations. Wynne Jones and I made submissions, though God knows what happened to them, the PAC never saw them and we never received a copy of the PAC report. Even so, Recommendation 11 is worthy of note.

I draw your attention to Recommendation 11 because, without any fanfare, or public announcement of any kind, Mill Bay Homes ceased to be a Registered Social Landlord on April 5th, yet will continue as “an unregistered Subsidiary of Pembrokeshire Housing” . . . but hang on, isn’t that the very thing the PAC warns against?

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Now those of us who take an interest in the Pembrokeshire social housing scene first became aware of Mill Bay Homes’ de-registration on August 8th (thanks to A. E.), and on that same day Wynne Jones e-mailed the ‘Welsh’ Government asking a number of questions on the status of Mill Bay Homes.

Wouldn’t ya know it! – just three days later, on Friday August 11th, Mill Bay Homes Ltd was registered with Companies House, as a private limited company. Which still leaves a number of questions to be answered.

  • Seeing as Mill Bay Homes ceased to be a Registered Social Landlord on April 5th did its registration as an Industrial and Provident Society with the Financial Conduct Authority end on the same day? (Most housing associations have IPS status with the FCA.)
  • Either way, what was the status of Mill Bay Homes in the period between April 5th and August 11th? Important, because of course it was still trading, building new homes, selling properties, offering ‘shared ownership’, etc.
  • What steps is Pembrokeshire Housing taking to ensure that the money it has ‘loaned’ MBH is repaid?
  • What steps is the ‘Welsh’ Government taking to ensure that the money is repaid?
  • Remembering the Public Accounts Committee’s Recommendation 11, is Mill Bay Homes Ltd still “an unregistered subsidiary of Pembrokeshire Housing”?
  • Will the ‘Welsh’ Government take steps to ensure that there is no repetition of the arrangement that saw a RSL spawn and fund a private house builder – that was also a RSL! – to compete with small local firms, but having the priceless advantage of unlimited financial support and ‘Welsh’ Government backing?
  • How long will it be until Pembrokeshire Housing is taken over by Wales and West, the ‘Welsh’ Government’s in-house, Labour Party-run housing association?

Finally, if you go back to the Companies House info on Mill Bay Homes Ltd, you’ll see that the address given for all the directors is Meyler House, St Thomas Green, Haverfordwest, which is the office of Pembrokeshire Housing.

Among those directors you’ll see Nigel Charles Sinnett, who is also the sole director of Ateb Building Solutions Ltd, Incorporated 3 January 2017, which is in the business of constructing commercial buildings. Ateb’s single, £1 share is held by the Pembrokeshire Housing Association Ltd.

The screen capture below is taken from the Pembrokeshire Housing Group’s strategic plan 2017 – 2022. You’ll see that Ateb Building Solutions Ltd is listed as being currently dormant.

So, on the one hand, we see Pembrokeshire Housing divest itself of one embarrassment in the form of Mill Bay Homes, but it looks like there’s another about to emerge in the form of Ateb Building Solutions Ltd – yet another “non-registered social landlord subsidiary” of the kind the Public Accounts Committee warns against!

I think we can safely assume, in light of the Public Accounts Committee’s recommendations, that the dormant Ateb Building Solutions Ltd will be permanently put to sleep ere it wakes.

If not, then the ‘Welsh’ Government will need to step in – and pronto!

WHY IT MATTERS

Over the years I’ve written a lot about Third Sector bodies and their subsidiaries, so let me explain why it’s important.

Let us begin by assuming that the wholly imaginary Llansiadwel Housing Association sets up a subsidiary called Wales Welcomes and is Delighted to House English Criminals and Sex Offenders. (Absurd, I know, but this is just an example.)

Let us further assume that WWDHECSO strikes it rich and makes lots of money. There now exists the temptation for those running the organisation to cut themselves adrift and go private, to make money for themselves – without repaying the public funding that got them started.

Alternatively, WWDHECSO might prove to be a financial disaster (which is usually the case), giving the parent body two options: inject public funding to keep the subsidiary afloat, or just write off the loss. One often leading to the other.

Whichever the outcome, publicly-funded subsidiaries and ‘trading arms’ are in unfair competition with local companies struggling to survive, companies not enjoying handouts from the public purse.

The Third Sector in Wales is like a black hole sucking in vast amounts of public funding and once in there no one knows what happens to it. Certainly, nothing ever comes back. And that’s how the ‘Welsh’ Government likes it.

Wales needs a truly independent investigator of public funding; independent of the ‘Welsh’ Government, independent of the Notional Assembly, independent of Wales.

DEMOGRAPHIC TIME BOMB

Unless you’ve been asleep for the past decade or two you’ll know that the world’s advanced economies are facing what is invariably described as a ‘demographic time bomb’. This piece from the Telegraph explains the problem well.

But while this dire fate awaits the rest of the first world, here in the alternative reality of Wales, an ageing population is viewed as a good thing. How know I this? Because I was told so in a letter I received from the ‘Office of the First Minister’.

This letter spelled it out: “There are almost 800,000 people aged 60 and over in Wales, over a quarter of the population, and, in the next twenty years, this is expected to exceed one million people. The fact that Wales is a nation of older people should be seen as something positive”.

The letter also tells us that we have an Ageing Well in Wales project, which is no doubt commendable, but the letter informs us that this programme “will challenge the assumption that frailty and dependence are an inevitable part of ageing”.

You read it here, folks! Not only have Carwyn and his cabinet of all the talents figured out a way for Wales alone to avoid the economic consequences of the demographic time bomb, but now we have the explanation – they’ve conquered the ageing process! Wales is become Shangri-La, and our mountain springs are fountains of eternal youth!

Which is a bit confusing, cos I see wrinklies everywhere. When I go to Tywyn of a morning I have to do my Phil Bennett impersonation to dodge the mobility scooters. Surely ‘Welsh’ Labour isn’t telling porkies?

You bet they are. For the letter also wants us to believe that, “After accounting for costs relating to pensions, welfare and health, older people make a net contribution worth over £1 billion a year to the Welsh economy, almost £3 million a day”.

Now if that’s true, then those clever Japanese have got it all wrong, and rather than fearing the demographic time bomb they should be encouraging elderly Chinese to move to Japan! Why aren’t politicians and economists from around the world flocking to Wales to learn from us – Carwyn’s defused the demographic time bomb!

At one point the letter-writer even invokes the United Nations with, “Article 12.1 of the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966, which states that ‘Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence”. 

But the letter chooses to ignore that the United Nations also has something to say about indigenous cultures and identities. We Welsh are the indigenous people, not just of Wales but of Britain; we were here long before the Germanic forefathers of the English invaded. And before the Romans. As Woody put it, ‘This land is our land . . .’

Over the years I’ve read many letters from politicians and civil servants, heard speeches, attended meetings, followed discussions, read books, but never have I read such absolute bullshit as we find in this letter.

POLICE TRANSFERS

A while back, when I was taking a wee break, Big Gee wrote a piece that many of you enjoyed, though some of you found difficult to believe. He wrote about being arrested a few years back in Aberystwyth, handcuffed and taken to the police station, over a parking dispute, but specifically because he refused to speak English. Here is Careful Where You Park Your Car in Our Colonised Country – Dangers Lurk!

The arresting officer was a notorious arsehole named Michael Robert Westbury, who had transferred in to Dyfed Powys from the West Midlands force in England. ‘Laptop’, as he is known (small PC), once told colleagues that he had never read a book, and that his favourite reading was traffic regulations!

Anyway, after reading Big Gee’s article I got to wondering how many others there might be like ‘Laptop’ who had transferred in from England.

So on July 12th I sent FoI requests to all four police forces asking, “Please tell me how many of your serving officers have transferred to (force) from a force outside of Wales?” The same day I sent FoI requests to three ‘English’ police forces – Cumbria, West Mercia, Devon & Cornwall – asking, “Please tell me how many of your officers have transferred in from other police forces”.

I chose the three forces over the border because; West Mercia lies between Wales and the West Midlands, so if any officer is hoping to escape the hurly-burly of Brum then West Mercia should be his first option. While the other two areas should be attractive to officers seeking a cushy number prior to retirement in those areas.

At the time of writing, I have received five responses, three from Wales and two from England, and they tell us quite a bit, though perhaps not what I expected to learn. Let’s look at those responses one by one, the Welsh ones first.

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The response from Gwent, in e-mail format, came from Steve Woolway on behalf of Detective Inspector Andrew Tuck. After explaining that to comply with my request would be prohibitively expensive it said: “Please Note: that to obtain the information sought would mean a manual trawl of each officer’s personal record. It would take approximately 10 minutes per record to locate the information and due to the numbers this would take approximately 24 hours to complete”.

(The mathematicians among you will have worked out that 10 minutes per officer = 6 records per hour; and if we multiply that by the 24 hours quoted it gives us a total of 144. Yet there are over 1,000 full-time officers in the Gwent force.)

Dyfed Powys responded in a very similar vein, but quoting ” . . . a minimum of 15 minutes to review each Police Officers (sic) file/record to obtain the information in respect of your request”. Read it for yourself here.

From South Wales I received the following, rather bizarre response to what I’d thought was a very simple question. I have written again to South Wales Police in the hope that this time they will understand what I’m asking for.

From North Wales Police I have heard nothing, not even an acknowledgement. I have sent a reminder. Now let’s turn to the boys in blue over the border, who have been far more forthcoming.

The first to respond was West Mercia. The e-mail reply was simple, succinct, and told me exactly what I wanted to know – “REPLY: As of 14/07/17 the force has 390 current officers who have transferred in from other Police forces”.

Next was the Cumbria force (though the original reply got lost somewhere). This response was even more informative than the one from West Mercia. You’ll see part of it below, with the full document available here.

As yet I have received nothing, not an even acknowledgement, from the Devon & Cornwall Police, but a reminder has been sent. So how do the responses from different sides of the border compare?

Well, without being too unkind, either the Welsh forces are choosing to withhold information they could easily release or, if we take the answers from Gwent and Dyfed Powys at face value, then our police forces are much less efficient than their English counterparts. Do they have computers yet in Cwmbran and Carmarthen, or do they have to go down the cellars and bat away the cobwebs before struggling with rusty filing cabinets?

Another interpretation, certainly in the case of Dyfed Powys, could be that there are too many like Westbury transferring in, and this is not something they want the public to know about.

Of course, there will be those who’ll accuse me of ‘racism’ for even wanting to know the truth (and thereby hope to close down the debate). So let me spell out why I feel it’s important to know how many police officers are being transferred into Wales.

  • Every transfer into Wales is a career denied to a Welsh person, and this applies to all employment.
  • How can a police officer, who doesn’t know the area, who can’t pronounce the local names, who doesn’t understand anything of Wales, possibly do a better job than an officer recruited from within the local population?
  • Many of those who transfer into Wales, especially into rural areas, do so because they couldn’t ‘cut it’ in high-crime urban areas – do we really need such people? Should they even be in the police service?
  • With Welsh police officers there’d be much less chance of a Welshman or Welshwoman being arrested and treated like a criminal for speaking Welsh in a parking dispute.

UPDATE 15.08.2017: As I mentioned above, following the bizarre response from South Wales Police I wrote again hoping to make it clear what I was asking for. Well now I’ve had the second response, read it for yourself.

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Can you make sense of that reply? It claims that SWP does “not hold data on out of force transferees”. Yet we know that Dyfed Powys and Gwent hold such information . . . but won’t release it because, they claim, it would take too long and cost too much. Two English forces however have supplied the information without a fuss.

I’m being lied to.

So there you have it, three tales of contemporary Wales telling us what a mess our country is in. We are constantly lied to, and when we try to get information to see the facts for ourselves, either we are told more lies or else the information we need is denied us.

What a country!

end ♦

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46 Comments on "Mill Bay Homes, Demographic Time Bomb, Police Transfers"

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Brychan
Guest

One statistic that is available in the public domain about police officers is their ethnic status. Police forces are obliged to publish the ethnicity, as defined by the British Empire classification, which is skin colour. Black, Asian, or other racial characteristic, known as BME.

There are two police forces that hold data by language, the BTP and the MET. No need to spend ten minutes delving through personnel files. This is for operational efficiency.

Root dataset is here..
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/police-workforce-england-and-wales-31-march-2013/police-workforce-england-and-wales-31-march-2013

An extract showing the police forces of interest to Jacs FOIs is here..

BME population % – No of BME officers – Force size – Shortfall % and no.

Cumbria Constabulary 1.5 11 1100 1 0.5 6
Devon & Cornwall Police 2.5 35 2333 1.5 1 23
Dyfed-Powys Police 2 9 1000 0.9 1.1 11
West Mercia Police 3.8 52 2000 2.6 1.2 24
North Wales Police 2.5 14 1400 1 1.5 21
Gwent Police 3.9 25 1136 2.2 1.7 19
South Wales Police 6.6 63 2864 2.2 4.4 126

Let’s assume we accept the ‘British Empire’ definition of ethnicity, and agree that linguistic background is irrelevant, unlike the United States where a ‘Hispanic definition’, or South Africa who hold definition by language (white) and tribal (black), exists.

SWP and Gwent.
We see that South Wales Police has a huge problem in Cardiff and Swansea as they have failed to recruit police officers from a relatively large community ethnic community. Essentially, there are significant black communities being policed by white officers, and that they are well wide of the requirement. This might also explain the rather baffling reply to Jacs FoI request detailing two ‘poaching’ campaigns run in 2017, and the file then hidden in the Bridgend basement.

DPP and NWP
We also see that despite Dyfed Powys and North Wales having a very small ethnic community, they are still well short of ‘representative’. I suggest therefore if the ‘transfer interview’ cannot be conducted through the medium of the Welsh language, then it should be conducted in Urdu, Gujarati or Ubangi. Until such time the force has reached it’s target or the file they are required to send to London can be found.

Before anyone calls me racist, this was the policy and targets as laid down by the Home Secretary (Theresa May) a couple of years ago to ensure police forces are ethnically representative of the communities they police. However, in Wales, the ‘Welsh’ is not a defined representative group.

Wynne
Guest

Another very interesting post Jac. Thanks for the update on Mill Bay Homes. As you say, the interesting question is their legal status for the period 5 April to 11 August, and arrangements for debt repayment. There are also so many unanswered questions regarding the new build leasehold scheme now being promoted. As the properties are sold on a lease by an un-registered subsidiary why is the freehold held by the Pembrokeshire Housing Group. As purchasers will be paying rent on the percentage of the property owned by Pembrokeshire Housing are rent levels to be regulated, as they are in the social housing sector. Why are these schemes being introduced in Wales when they are to be banned in England. The Housing Regulation Team at Welsh Government appear to be on a sharp learning curve. They would learn more by tuning in to your blog Jac than on any training course. Perhaps they should consider employing your services in a mentoring role. Thanks again for putting your head above the parapet and asking the questions that regulators should have asked a long time ago.

On the broader issue relating to funding allocated to the third sector in Wales, I have started an investigation into the activities of third sector organisations operating in Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. The following will now come under the magnifying glass; Cymdethas Gofal / Care Society, Pembrokeshire Care Society, Future Works at Pembrokeshire Council, Cyswllt Contact {who have a drug addiction and rehabilitation centre at Cardigan} and any other similar society / charity that wanders on to the radar screen. I shall initially focus on what grant funding they have received over the previous three financial years and whether any evaluation has been undertaken by central government or local government to establish whether the funding has been used for the intended purpose. As always, I shall go where the correspondence takes me. Keep up the good work Jac. Much appreciated.

Dr Sally Baker
Guest

Jac – regarding your quip about Wales welcoming and housing English criminals and sex offenders, as well as following up on the discussions on your recent posts regarding the scam that are housing associations in Wales and the sort of folk whom they seem to be prioritising above local people. A contact in mid-Wales has told me that a notice has appeared in the Quarry Café in Machynlleth advertising ‘advice’ concerning ‘housing and tenancy information’ at the mid-Wales advice centre. Sounds innocent enough and that particular centre does some good work. But the ‘advice’ is being provided by Grwp Gwalia and The Wallich, not the mid-Wales advice centre. Gwrp Gwalia and The Wallich are of course both organisations specialising in the housing of people with various social problems, not simply just people who don’t have anywhere to live. The Wallich recently won a court appeal giving them permission to house sex offenders and people with drug problems in suburban Colwyn Bay. I commented at the time that Colwyn Bay does not have the infrastructure to support them.

Machynlleth certainly doesn’t have the infrastructure to support people with these problems. The mid-Wales advice centre and the voluntary group CAMAD are already busting a gut replacing ‘services’ which no longer exist. I hear that there has even been an on-going problem providing GP services in the area. You don’t live a million miles away from Mach Jac – time for you to do a bit of digging?

On the subject of digging, many thanks for your factsheet on Corruption Bay, highly salient now that the vile Lord Crickhowell has reared his head in the media. Some of the names that you supplied prompted me to do some digging of my own – those names have overlapped onto the field of serious corruption that I’ve been blogging about myself, concerning the NHS, the north Wales child abuse scandal and associated corruption in the police and judiciary. I’ll be blogging about a few of Lord Crickhowell’s mates very soon…

Andy
Guest

Last Wednesday the 9th August a planning application by Mill Bay Homes Ltd went before the Pembrokeshire National Parks development committee for permission to build 41 houses at New Hedges, a stones throw from Tenby and Saundersfoot. At the meeting a Tenby councillor Mr Mike Evans was very supportive, not just of this application but of a wider collaboration ‘partnership’ between the National Park Authority and Mill Bay Homes Ltd, a Mill Bay Homes Ltd marketing manager couldn’t have done a better promotional job. The agent representing Mill Bay Homes Ltd advised the committee of the virtues of a housebuilder with a social purpose. Approval was granted by 11 votes to 1, despite concerns expressed by the Chairman that the number of affordable homes on the development was well below the National Park’s expectations, but it was explained by the Planning Officer that Mill Bay Homes Ltd had used the Welsh Goverment viability ‘toolkit’ to get the number of affordable homes to such a low level.

Result = 38 holiday homes + 1 affordable house & 2 flats!

So why so few affordable homes? Where is the community benefit? Where is the social purpose? The aims of this company are admirable to the likes of Councillor Mike Evans and the Welsh Goverment. But as you so clearly point out: what has been delivered for the £6m borrowed from Pembrokeshire Housing and ultimately the Welsh taxpayer?

I challenge Mill Bay Homes, the property developer” with a ‘social purpose’, to write to you and answer the many concerns and questions raised, as opposed to threatening legal action against you and others for speaking out.

Paul Luckock
Guest

An independent nation state of Wales would have to work through the consequences of these housing, policing and immigration issues. I still want to see a political manifesto that’s is explicit in getting to the bottom of how policies would work in the new dawn.

In the meantime Pembrokeshire Homes/Mill Bay Homes re use of Welsh Government Funds/taxpayers money could be investigated by the Auditor General for Wales? If he is not willing to open an investigation then a crowd funded judicial review might be an option? I think those much more knowledgeable than me should be putting their information before the Auditor General of Wales in the first instance.

I really wonder what is going on re the scrutiny process re Welsh Government, Local Government and Housing Associations it appears so many of the people involved are just not up to the job? They just do not ask the questions ordinary citizens ask about how these things that look “fishy” operate?

The simple issue for me is that I cannot see what self interest there is for any politician from any political party or none not to get to the bottom of why these housing operations using public funds are not building for local needs first. Unless they are actually receiving financial bungs for wilful blindness?

But then people often suggest I am naive?

Dafis
Guest

off topic, lots of activity around the place from people who don’t really have much interest in Wales other than to really kill it off in the near future. Much as I have criticised Leanne Wood’s leadership of Plaid the sight of Hamilton sharing his advice and wisdom is a new level of absurdity, especially when there are still people giving him the time of day and actually considering what he had to say on the matter.
UKIP represents a mix of assorted Anglo Brit settlers who have no wish to adapt to anything remotely Welsh supplemented by deluded natives who think they have had a raw deal from the system and that by some magical intervention UKIP ( an establishment 5th column if ever I saw one) will rectify matters. Initially a massive con led by the eloquent Farage the mask soon slipped when a serious of less well equipped bigots stepped up to lead the song and dance act.
As I have already said elsewhere Hamilton may begin to earn the right comment about other parties’ antics when UKIP start to look like a stable political organisation. By then pigs will be flying, especially if the numbers of their alleged recent intake of extreme BritNat supremacists is to be believed.

Dr Sally Baker
Guest

More incredibly Dafis, the whole of Wales seems to have forgotten about what Hamilton did in his previous incarnation as a Tory MP – all that business about the cash in brown envelopes… Then there was Hamilton’s activities when he was at Aberystwyth University – goose-stepping as a symbolic gesture and then the jolly with an Italian fascist group. Huge swathes of the electorate really have no idea of who they are voting for.

I see that the Daily Post is speculating regarding an expected reshuffle by Carwyn. They tell us that Eluned Morgan is believed to expect promotion. Why? This is a woman who bagged herself a seat in the Lords – how?? Could her friendship with the Kinnocks have had anything to do with it, because she certainly had no achievements under her belt. THEN she returned to clutter up the Senedd as well. Morgan hasn’t got an original thought in her head. I witnessed her in action some years ago, uncritically pledging her support for the widening participation policy in HE. It was obviously unravelling by then, Blair didn’t think it through and as has been discussed recently on this blog it has led to the marketization of universities, devaluation of degrees and massive snobbery between different universities. But Eluned merrily chirped away that she came from Ely and she was the only one to get to university from her cohort. Yes, in our day there was massive injustice in the system with social class being the main determinant of whether you went to university, but the failed HE policy has cost millions and devalued degrees to such an extent that you might as well give every resident of Ely a PhD and pretend that this represents social mobility. Indeed it’s probably what Baroness Morgan would actually do if she thought that it would advance herself.

Other Post speculations are that Jane Hutt and Mark Drakeford might be off at the next election. They bloody well should be, two former Health Ministers who knew all about the chaos and genocide in the NHS in north Wales and who completely failed to respond. Drakeford really excelled when he shared a platform with Sharon Shoesmith at a conference for social workers on the topic of why no-one should ever be blamed. That was the Sharon Shoesmith who was at the helm in an inner London borough at the time of the ‘Baby P’ scandal, the Sharon who was running a chaotic and dangerous social services dept but who walked away with an enormous compensation payment after suing for wrongful dismissal. But then Drakeford was a social worker himself – in Dyfed, where there was a paedophile ring in operation which somehow the social services missed. It was a team from Dyfed Social Services who ‘inspected’ Gwynedd Social Services in the 80s – and guess what, they missed a paedophile ring in operation up there as well.

Dafis
Guest

Plenty about Hamilton that’s best forgotten !! He was a little shit when a youngster and he grew up to be an even bigger one. ‘Nuff said.

CambroUiDunlainge
Member

Leanne’s twitter response to that was a little odd. She used it to have a go at Labour. Some have suggested it was so not to put off the Kipper voters… but considering Plaid’s continued EU stance I doubt that is the case. It doesn’t make a lot of sense if I’m honest.

Anyway. Been letting out my frustration at Plaid a little too vocally recently so I think that is all I’ll say on that.

Paul Luckock
Guest

I want those of a Nationalist Perspective whether right of centre or not to spell out what their immigration policy would be post independence.

It is acknowledged in these blogs that the present Welsh Government has limited legal powers to control inward migration. None of the political parties appear to want to restrict inward migration presumably because of economic factors and they judge it is not electorally in their self interest.Even UKIP do not say much about about migration to Wales from other parts of the UK, though they are hostile to immigration to the UK apart from millionaires who are able to make large financial contributions.

As a long standing resident of Wales I am relaxed about free movement of people I do accept there has to be some controls and processes, ie if you are a convicted criminal you’re likely to anticipate appropriate and proportionate restrictions, if you are an older person you will need to show the financial means to fund your health and care etc you might want to adopt language and cultural competencies, a citizen test? You may require a visa to study or have a business to sponsor your say annually reviewed work permit etc I certainly want enough skilled professionals in a number of areas especially if they can radically improve our inadequate infrastructure from roads, rail, broadband/wifi, mobile connectivity etc

In a vibrant democracy we should not just oppose aspects of policy we do not like but have well thought our proposals on how we would do things differently.

It is how the overall vision will come to light for many citizens who presently have a sullen resignation.

Dafis
Guest

Paul You raise valid points about immigration.
Paul This would be a first page synopsis of Dafis’ draft immigration policy – note the emphasis is on quality and integration with control reduced to being a function in its operation.

On the face of it, apart from refugees who have been forced to get out of their native lands,most of the immigrants to UK and EU appear to be at the younger end of the spectrum. The vast majority will come looking for work or somewhere to reconnect with their education with a minority ( to be quantified ) looking to feed off the benefits system, operate in the black economy, and/or engage in criminal activity. Now this type of immigration has been criticised as it is seen as depressing real wages especially in the low/unskilled and casual/zero hours segments of the labour market. At the same time businesses are howling about the need for immigrants because of the U.K’s skills deficit – shame on U.K with all these young people who should have been trained/educated to some level of competence but were instead allowed to wither on the vine ( or pursue media studies and Fine Arts at the local uni formerly an F.E of dubious pedigree ).

I seriously wonder how many of these “working”immigrants get into Wales. They seem to be mostly focussed on getting into the major conurbations of England where they have communities to integrate into. Some get to the major Welsh centres but is it really significant ?

The major factor that affects Wales is the knock on effect – those English who choose to leave their native turf and shift West to get away from the newcomers. These have been characterised as white flight Anglos here and in other columns. Some come here to work, good for them, some even manage a degree of integration ( even better ) but there is a disproportionate amount of resentful white flighters who have no intention of integrating, seek to impose their own “world view” and travel with a huge sense of entitlement. Older arrivals complain about NHS performance yet some of the blame for that underperformance can be attributed to the government of the place whence they came – Engerland! Go sort that out.

As for transferring criminals and other dysfunctionals the evidence is there for all to see. (See previous items on Jac’s various reports to make what’s left of your hair fall out ! )

So how does this bleak picture drive any future policy if granted the powers ? I frankly believe that an open door policy is the best i.e you are welcome to come here but conditions will be met. 1.These would NOT be conditions of ethnicity/origin.
2.Criminals would be strictly excluded, although past crimes would become “spent” within a time frame but would require disclosure. 3.The “transfer market” in social housing tenants would be killed off at once and any current offenders would be reviewed at risk of “going home”. Tough shit but why should our communities suffer the presence of someone else’s offenders and the risks that come with them ?
4. Employers would need to show real effort in training and recruitment of skills. It would not suffice to suddenly cry “we need” unless there was already a working training plan which for some reason failed to meet the actual demand arising.
5.Similarly the influx of unskilled labour would be reduced by directing able bodied unemployed to take jobs that have often been deemed “beneath their dignity”. I suspect that this aspect would serve to highlight the hardcore “slacker” element that exists within our own native communities as much as control levels of incoming labour.
6. Integration of immigrants has been long overlooked as an issue that requires detailed attention. Refugees and economic migrants from other parts of the world need a realistic level of support and patience/ tolerance to overcome the many challenges to integrating successfully. However they will be unlikely to contrive obstacles to their own progress and most could prove well motivated.
The big problem will be those who make the relatively short trip across the English border bringing their baggage of conquest and colonial heritage etc etc. However we can draw positives from those examples where an English migrant gets stuck in and goes native. If the few can do it, so can the many.

Strange isn’t it that the biggest headache could well derive from our nearest neighbours most of whom look like us some are related to us yet when they live among us they just can’t resist the urge to lord it over us. Is there any way that can be educated out of people ?

Paul Luckock
Guest

Dafis, much to build on here. Two initial thoughts yes I fully understand your point about English or other incomers who then behave in anti-social, anti- community ways and are just disrespectful! I am not saying there behaviour is criminal but their insensitivity and feeling of right and entitlement that has a superior element. They are often loud in deeply unattractive ways. They are often boorish.The policing of this behaviour is not easy it requires citizens to engage with them but understandably you often feel do I want too? I do not know much about how other countries manage these detrimental behaviours that cause others angst.

Secondly your point about education and training is crucial, why are we not encouraging our youngsters to be entrepreneurs, engineers, technologists, doctors, teachers, nurses, lawyers, architects, politicians and creative and design skills. We do not develop in Wales enough of any of these skilled and knowledgeable practitioners? My own experience of my own children and friends was that they were most likely at school to be encouraged to be beauty therapists, social care staff or if a teacher was really aspirational maybe go into local government, the police or retail! Parental influence was very significant if youngsters got a better education and training and went on to be business people or doctors etc.

I really want us to build the skills, knowledge and aspiration of our own residents but there is an aspect of the local culture that plays this down and is inimical to vision. You see it all levels of governance. This not to say there are no good positive pockets but not enough. I want to focus on the positive but often are drawn on the negative because too many citizens appear to want to reside there. It comes down to a vision of something better than we have presently got.

Dafis
Guest

Jac Has Shipton put you on the payroll as Top Researcher yet ? He ought to and given the time lapsed since you dug this bundle out he’s a bit slow getting it into print. Nevertheless well done Jac, and good on Martin for getting there in the end !

Big Gee
Admin

Thank you Jac for this latest post – and for your e-mail of concern about my welfare! I’m a bit late joining the party – there are valid reasons that have kept me away, mostly to do with commitments and a short period of feeling unwell (they usually coincide). However I won’t bore you all with the details. Suffice to say I’m back!

The Mill Bay saga continues I see. You’re doing an excellent job, along with Wynne, of exposing these bastards, and others like them. I’m also convinced that you’ve rattled some pretty important cages, in the right places, and the occupants are being forced to sit up and listen. Phenomenal investigative journalism. More importantly, it’s reaping reactions – that’s the important bit!

As you can probably guess, my main focus of interest in this post is the FoI requests made to the Police Constabularies. Fascinating stuff when you have a comparison you can make. That was a master stroke asking constabularies on the other side of the ‘dyke’ to provide comparable information. It is they who have delivered the bullet, because by their responses they have exposed the lies of the constabularies on this side of the border. Interesting to see that the Devon & Cornwall force are a bit shy to respond. Now given the predicament of our cousins in Cernyw – it makes you wonder if the core reason for their lack of response is the same as the constabularies in Cymru. It is obviously a sore subject that they feel needs to be hidden.

As you’re probably aware the FoI Act 2000 allows the provision for you to make a request for an internal review after twenty days have passed with no response, or an inadequate response. If they fail to provide satisfactory responses after an internal review then you can make a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Click on this ICO icon for more info.:

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I currently have an Information Commissioner investigation in progress involving Ceredigion County Council. Click HERE to view more info. on that case.

ParkingEye

As you’ll recall from my guest post of the ninth of last month (Careful Where You Park Your Car in Our Colonised Country – Dangers Lurk!) I am also warming up for a grand fight with this scum. As some of you will recall from the post I wrote, my No.3 son and I have got entangled in the scum’s web when we both overran the stipulated time, on the same day in separate cars, at the Rheidol Retail park car park in Aberystwyth. They pounced like a spider – with a letter demanding £50. We responded with a reply in our native tongue, setting out our position. They have now, further replied in English, informing us that ParkingEye are not covered by the 1993 Welsh Language Act, and therefore demand that we correspond with them in English only! Are you feeling the bristles rising on your neck?

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Ben Lake the shiny new Plaid MP for Ceredigion is in the loop on this one, I’ll also keep him posted of this latest development. You’ll recall that I sent him a message with carbon copies to the two Plaid Police Commissioners (Dafydd Llywelyn for Dyfed Powys & Arfon Jones for the North Wales force)and Ellen ap Gwynn the Plaid leader of Ceredigion County Council, directing them to my guest post post for reference. Ben Lake replied (fair play), I’ve yet to receive any response from the other three.

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This could prove to be an interesting one when it runs it’s course.

Wynne
Guest

With regard to FOI requests, you refer to internal review Big Gee. I have previously been informed by Information Commissioner that they regard 20 working days as a “reasonable” timeframe for internal review although this is not a statutory requirement. In theory therefore possible to refer the matter to Information Commissioner after 40 working days {20 for FOI response and a further 20 for internal review}.

Big Gee
Admin

That is roughly correct Wynne. The Freedom of Information Act says:

“A public authority must comply with section 1(1) promptly and in any event not later than the twentieth working day following the date of receipt”.

The stipulated “reasonable” time for response is 20 days. If no information is received after the first 20 day period it is recommended that you write to the authority e.g.

It is now over twenty working days since my/ our FOI request was made. We have not yet received a satisfactory response from the department that is dealing with the request.

If you have a good reason why the request is going to take longer to process than stipulated by the FOIA, then I/ we would find it helpful if you can inform us with a sentence or two stating what is happening, and when we can expect your full response.

If no satisfactory response is then forthcoming (a further 20 days), then it’s time to make a formal request for an internal review. If you’re still not satisfied, then it’s time to get tough by contacting the Freedom of Information Commissioners office (ICO).

Wynne
Guest

In the “old days” a public servant would end his letter with the phrase “I beg to remain sir your most loyal, humble and obedient servant”. Now we are required to use the FOI Act before a public servant is prepared to respond to even a simple enquiry when the information is readily available. How times have changed, not necessarily for the better.

Brychan
Guest

Worked with a French chap some years ago, in a multinational company. An expert in his field. Towards the end of the project he announced he was leaving to be a French civil servant. I thought he was mad. For less than half the pay and a free metro pass. He said he was humbled to have been invited. To serve the republic was a great honour, and that to be a servant of the citizens of the municipality was the pinnacle of achievement. Somehow, he doesn’t remind me of Mark James.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCSRb1R6-Ls
After independence, I propose that every civil servant in Wales should be appointed kneeling in a gutter or the lowest pew, the steps of the welfare hall, or in a quarry pit, and sing that to the citizens for whom they work. It’s our language, our values, our principles, our freedoms and OUR country.

Wynne
Guest

Calon Lan, Sosban Fach, Ar Lan y Mor. Diolch Brchan

Paul Luckock
Guest

If it was not for the “pesky” citizens this would be a good public sector job! I think there are good public servants with integrity who do a good job but there are many more whose self interest always dominates.

Wynne your text illuminates this perfectly.

On any day you can find a story that highlights the self interest of the public servant and how they pursued their perceived interest to the bitter end.

Take just one story today that relates to the UK Governement, but you will all be able to find similar stories today related to Welsh Government, Local Government, the Police, Health Boards etc

In July, 2005, Sue Smith’s son, Pte Phillip Hewett, was killed by a roadside bomb while travelling in a lightly armoured “snatch” Land Rover in Iraq.
Mrs Smith’s efforts took 12 years to unearth the real hard truth, it took the Supreme Court, the final Chilcot Inquiry Report before the Defence Secretary acknowledged their short comings, made an apology and there maybe compensation to follow.

Mrs Smith is obviously no “ordinary” citizen. However, it takes ordinary citizens great effort to steel themselves to battle with most public servants about issues important to them, let alone the death of your child.

Many citizens feel disrespected by public servants, I would however, use a stronger word and describe how people are treated with “contempt”. I saw it powerfully when I lived and worked in Liverpool, I see it today in Wales.

It is maybe more important than anything else in a new Wales that those in public power see their task as being always open and transparent, the interest of the citizen first and their personal self interest solely in terms of serving the interest of the individual citizen.

I see no political party addressing this real deep seated concern about the actions of the State in all its forms and the appropriate deeply profound ethics of the public servant whether politician or professional officer.

Dafis
Guest

Jac off topic but connecting to your tweet re AltLeft and ISIS – While the recent violence of Charlotteville is rightly deplored, with high profile participation by some of the old guard KKK, Johnny Reb, New Confederacy, and other extreme white supremacist types with very “exotic” agendas, I find it difficult to justify the latest fashion among self proclaimed Lefties in tearing down statues like that of Robert E Lee, a fine Virginian who was tempted to take the C in C post offered by Abe Lincoln but declined out of a sense of loyalty to his native state. Now much has been said about Lee in an attempt to denigrate and lessen the man. Sure he owned slaves but like many other owners he looked after them unlike some other so called heroes of American history. Take James Bowie allegedly a hero at the Alamo who had spent part of his career buying and selling stolen slaves in New Orleans, or the mythic Crockett who owned slaves at one time and had a very ambiguous view of the native Americans, and those natives themselves who owned slaves in the Indian Territory of Oklahoma and elsewhere. Will the noble souls now promoting their revisionist view of history march on Tejas and demand that it gets handed to Mexico ? or better still the entire Louisiana Purchase and the later annexation of California and other territories west of the Continental Divide. Not fuckin’ likely.

Like our conflicting rabid groups here in UK and EU the 2 sides of the debate in the US are highly fragmented and fluid. Causes can be of fleeting relevance to large numbers of these people like fashion items. Today it’s nasty rebel Generals, next week back to Trump but they will never get to grips with the real issues that divide their country because too many of them are wealthy in their own right and are spending time on these “ishoos” as though they form part of some perverse leisure interest. Reminds me a bit of something nearer home – remember Bryn Fon’s “Rebel Weekend” it kind of chimes with a lot of these jerks.

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