Jan 082017
 

I’ve argued many times that Wales is in a bad way, a condition I described in a recent blog as “a basket case country with a begging bowl ‘economy'”. We’re at the bottom of every table measuring the state of the nation – PISA results are woeful, GVA figure are terrible and the number of economically inactive people is worrying.

Devolution has achieved nothing; in my more cynical moments I think it’s just a distraction, or a placebo.

All that seems to matter is that the money keeps rolling in to prop up the edifice and keep the politicians and their legions of cronies in jobs; with Labour trying to soothe away every damning statistic or latest piece of bad news with yet more platitudinous bollocks. Despite having had almost 18 years to improve things, the truth is that ‘Welsh’ Labour has made things worse.

The only conclusion to draw is that the party is either incapable or unwilling to improve things for our people. (Or maybe that devolution is designed to fail.) Which makes you wonder why so many Welsh people have stuck with Labour for so long. But now, after a hundred years of failure, I sense that more and more people realise that these clowns will never deliver a democratic, prosperous and confident Wales.

Despite Labour’s countless shortcomings there always seemed to be little point in looking to Plaid Cymru for meaningful change. (Regular readers will know my views on that score.) Though that said, one new face among Plaid politicians has caught my eye, I’m referring now to South Wales Central AM Neil McEvoy.

Let me make clear that I have never met Neil McEvoy, but it’s obvious from a distance that he’s cut from a different cloth to most Plaid politicians. He comes from neither the cultural nationalist wing nor from the Left-Green wing. He seems to be a man with both feet firmly planted in his own community, not looking to save the planet or pander to Guardianistas. This rootedness makes it almost inevitable that he confronts Labour head-on, and exposes the corruption at the heart of the ‘Welsh’ Government.

In addition, he seems to be that rarity among Plaid politicians, a street fighter, a species of which Labour has always had plenty, but dear parchus Plaid always found rather, well . . . not neis.

I find this refreshing, because as I’ve always argued, there are too many in Plaid Cymru who allow outdated and discredited ideology to dominate their thinking, and then they pile one mistake on another by lining up with their Guardianista friends in seeing the Tories as the enemy. But the biggest party in Wales, and therefore the real enemy of Wales, is Labour.

As I said just now, McEvoy fights Labour on their own turf. And it’s working. In the May 2016 Assembly elections voters in the working class estates in the west of Cardiff turned out to get him within 1,000 votes of unseating Mark Drakeford, Labour Health Minister at the time. That means that the former seat of Rhodri Morgan, head of the Morgan dynasty, is now a key marginal for the next election.

Understandably, this has sent Labour into something of a panic, and it’s not solely attributable to the votes McEvoy’s taken from them. For example, since being elected AM he’s called for an official Welsh register of lobbyists. When Carwyn Jones said lobbyists had no access to Labour Ministers McEvoy produced photographic evidence of Labour Ministers meeting with lobbyists. Backtracking followed, and Jones had to confirm that lobbyists do have access, just not formal access. In other words, and like so much else with ‘Welsh’ Labour, it’s all done in the shadows.

I’m also glad to report that McEvoy has been asking questions about David Goldstone and his influence on the ‘Welsh’ Government’s property deals. Questions that other politicians should have been asking a long, long time ago. He exposed the scarcely believable loss of £1m on just 2 shops sold by the ‘Welsh’ Government, without a valuation, in Pontypridd. (My 9-year-old grandson could have got a better deal than that! Come to think of it, so could his kid brother.)

UPDATE, 13.01.2017: We were paying for Goldstone’s trips to Cardiff, and his stays at the Hilton Hotel.

Now I hear he’s chasing up something unearthed by the Public Accounts Committee, on which he sits. It seems Cardiff Aviation at St Athan doesn’t pay rent; one suggestion being that someone, somewhere, possibly belonging to a certain political party, gave the OK for Cardiff Aviation to enjoy the St Athan facilities rent free. Then there’s an issue with planes being unable to land in fog, which it seems lost Cardiff the EasyJet link. And if that’s not enough to get the bruvvers worked up, allegations of institutionalised corruption have been made against Cardiff’s Labour-controlled council.

Despite that litany of nasal intrusions what may have really marked the South Wales Central Member’s card with ‘Welsh’ Labour is his objection to the billions likely to be made on the Cardiff Local Development Plan. Labour campaigned on the promise to protect Cardiff’s green fields. As soon as they were elected they announced plans to build on most of them. Contrived population projections from the English Planning Inspectorate (dealt with more than once on this blog) being used as the justification.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, some of the land has already been sold off at knock-down, agricultural prices. Read my posts Pies, Planes and Property Development and Pies, Planes and Property Development 2.

Make no mistake, there is something very shady about the Cardiff LDP, and challenging it will make you a target. Though I don’t think anyone expected Labour to be so desperate as to try to tarnish McEvoy a racist for his objections (a default position for Labour politicos), with even the First Minister getting involved. Bizarre in the extreme given Neil McEvoy’s multi-ethnic family background.

So deeply under Labour’s thick hide has Neil McEvoy managed to wriggle that I have it on very good authority (a former Labour councillor) that up to a third of Labour group meetings in Cardiff are dedicated to plotting his downfall. I was unable to confirm if voodoo dolls and pins are involved.

So no one should be surprised that he’s now being investigated by Wales’ Public Services Ombudsman in a desperate attempt to find him guilty of bringing the Council into disrepute – after trying to stop a bedroom tax eviction! How could anyone be charged with bringing a Labour council into disrepute!

The ‘charge’ seems to be that he was overheard saying that he can’t wait for Cardiff Council to be re-structured after May’s election. ‘Welsh’ Labour’s hope is to get the Local Government Panel to ban him from council elections – for talking about a policy of restructuring! The PSO, Nick Bennett, is hardly politically neutral himself (see my previous article here).

The article linked to reminds us that in an earlier existence Bennett was the business partner of an up and coming Labour politician who went on to become a Minister. Combine this with his lobbying for the tobacco industry and his role in huge wage increases for executives at Community Housing Cymru – the umbrella group for our housing associations (of which he was then CEO) – and it all tends to tarnish his credentials as an impartial arbiter of behaviour in political and public life.

Nick Bennett is an insider, he’s part of the ‘machine’, and in a working democracy he would never have been appointed Public Services Ombudsman.

But things go beyond run-of-the-mill political corruption when we remember that twice in the last 12 months Neil McEvoy has been burgled. In 2016 he came home from a public meeting about a landfill site to find the house ransacked by intruders, but while they took a great deal of trouble to break in they ignored the money, jewellery and pocket-sized iPads. Preferring to rifle through his paperwork, stealing some documents.

And McEvoy’s ‘Welcome to 2017, you bastard!’ was an office burglary, with valuable items once again ignored, but papers rummaged through and locked drawers broken open. This is simply too much of a coincidence not to be coordinated.

When the two burglaries are linked to the persistent allegations of the stalking of his sister, with the boys in blue refusing to interview independent witnesses, to the mass theft of placards during his election campaign (some removed by a Labour-controlled housing association!), we begin to get an understanding of the breadth, the depth, and the bitterness of the campaign against him.

I cannot think of any Plaid politician who has got under the skin of Labour in the way Neil McEvoy has – too many haven’t even tried. No Plaid politician before has ever stood up in the Assembly and named just some of the Labour cronies earning huge salaries in the public and third sectors. And no other Plaid politician has had the guts to take on the corrupt land deals that the Labour Party waived through.

One bad apple may spoil the barrel, but one good apple doesn’t save the cider either. Plaid is still too cosy with the liberal, statist, anti-Brexit, ‘Isn’t Trump ghastly’ elite, so embittered since they learnt what ordinary people really think of them and their ideas. But whether you support Plaid Cymru or not, if you believe in honesty and democracy, then you should support Neil McEvoy.

If devolution is ever going to be more than a chimera then at the very least we need more AMs prepared to take on the corrupt establishment and stand up to the vested interests. If that establishment can be so rattled by one ballsy Plaid politician then it makes you realise what effect a few more could have.

But from where I’m sitting too many in Plaid’s hierarchy seem to be ‘uncomfortable’ with Neil McEvoy. Because there have always been people in Plaid Cymru reluctant to make a ‘fuss’, terrified of actually succeeding, some have even worked to undermine the party when success threatened.

By comparison, the Labour Party in Wales has always been ruthless in maintaining its hold on power in order to support its networks of cronyism and corruption. Labour has been so dominant for so long that people seemed resigned to these abuses, but times are changing, and with Labour losing electoral support – getting just a third of the vote in last May’s Assembly election – there’s a growing perception that a century of political control – and the power of patronage that goes with it – may be coming to an end.

Which is wonderful news for Wales, but this fin-de-siècle moment is not with us yet. The system is decayed and rotten, like a dangerous tree, but while we are trying to push it over there are still many people reliant on it for sustenance, and they’ll fight dirty to keep it standing. But it will fall, that’s now certain; so it’s up to us to make sure that when it comes down it topples on the right people.

Let it be clearly understood – in case any lawyers read this – that I am not for one minute suggesting that the Labour and Unionist Party was implicated in the break-ins suffered by Neil McEvoy. No, sir. It could well be that these offences were committed by an insomniac with an insatiable urge to read political documents by torchlight. If so, then that person clearly needs help.

If there is no help available then I shall set up the Welsh Insomniac Burglars Aid Society and whack in a grant application for a couple of mill to tackle this horrendous problem; then it’ll be a new motor . . . a few months of wine-tasting in Argentina, maybe go watch Boca . . . apartment down Mumbles . . . conferences in St. Petersburg, Hong Kong, Rio . . . Why not? That’s how Labour’s Third Sector operates.

I’d have to use a false name of course, and pretend to be an English Labourite luvvie who’s just arrived in Wales.

end ♦

  130 Responses to “Neil McEvoy and the Night Visitors”

  1.  

    […] post Neil McEvoy and the Night Visitors appeared first on Jac o’ the […]

  2.  

    […] Neil McEvoy and the Night Visitors […]

  3.  

    Plenty of corruption for you to get your teeth in over here in Argentina, so hurry on over!!

  4.  

    An absolutely brilliant post Jac. If there had been more McEvoys around in my political days, and a few more Adam Prices I might still be a Plaid member.

    As you rightly say, too much ‘parchusrwydd‘ and ‘bydd yn neis‘ attitude and also too many crachach and sons of the manse around in the past & not enough Rottweilers – maybe things are changing for the better. At least this young man is not a closet Labour lover or a Guardianista. In fact if he stood near where I live I would definitely vote for him & maybe he might help drag Plaid out from behind the sofa!

    •  

      I see Neil McEvoy as representing 21st century Wales. I also suspect that he appreciates better than most that there has never been a better time to put the boot into Labour. Carwyn and his gang may have kept Corbyn at arms-length, but when Dai and Mandy Public go to vote the chances are they’ll be influenced by the English media, and Carwyn and his gang will suffer.

  5.  

    Apart from your ignoring grassroots Plaid politicians who say it like it is (no surprise knowing your background) pretty good article. Too windy and not much about the real scandal (ever heard of RIFW?) keep at it

  6.  

    nice one jaoo but unfair on many in plaid. Sure i know what your talkin about, but that is too black n white with neil being othe only whitey in town. (ironic icon)
    Well written and with the passionate support Neil deserves.

    •  

      Yes, OK, maybe Neil McEvoy isn’t the only one making waves, but his are the ones causing damage. And I get the impression that there are some in Plaid almost ’embarrassed’ by Neil’s tactics, and perhaps by the fact that he lays into Labour so forcefully.

      •  

        perhaps those Plaid insiders who purport to tell it as it is would like to offer us “outsiders” some insight about the absolute disgrace in Sir Gar. Or is there a complete embargo on that one ?

        As for the ruling Labour clique there is a whole shopping list of shady behaviours, negligence/ competence issues, and mismanagement of major services for Plaid (and any other party) to get stuck into.
        The H.A scandal hasn’t really got under way yet and there already a lot of brown stuff bobbing about at the water’s edge.You wait and watch for the slurry wave because for sure there is some jockeying for position/power going on and there will a lot more irregularities and odd decisions being made before the situation settles, if ever.
        Your worst fears may come true if cross border England/Wales H.A and similar bodies are created. They will clear the “undesirables” out of urban centres earmarked for gentrification and those dysfunctional family units will turn up in all sorts of places where their “unusual” habits will culturally enrich us to a standard already enjoyed by places like Rhyl. And we can thank Welsh Labour and their 3rd sector stormtroopers for that shit fest.

  7.  

    Food for thought. Absolutely brilliant, well written and very interesting. Looking forward to seeing more from you

  8.  

    Excellent piece yet again JOTN

  9.  

    Great article. I can assure you that there’s a new wave of Plaid Cymru supporters working closely with Neil and hoping for election to Cardiff Council in May. More work can then be done. This thought scares the tatty knickers of the Labour group.

    •  

      The image of Labour’s tatty knickers is not one I’d choose to dwell upon, but I get your drift. Best of luck!

  10.  

    I have just read through your submission to the Public Accounts Committee Inquiry into Regulatory Oversight of Housing Associations. It covers a lot of ground, and, as we know, there is a lot to investigate anyway.

    While I remain pessimistic regarding the Committee’s response in general, the real benefit may come through Opposition parties getting sufficiently motivated to repeatedly challenge the incumbent Labour regime on this and a series of other “hot” topics. Examples of evasive, wishy washy responses should be publicised at the time and stored for use again when the next Election campaign starts and at that point a dossier of incompetence, greed and corruption should be prepared and distributed.

    •  

      When it comes to Labour I have no hopes of enough of them reforming and saying, This is wrong’, which means that the only weapon is to embarrass the buggers, and to achieve that we must energise politicians of other parties and inform the public.

  11.  

    At no point do you mention that McEcoy is a former Labour member.
    Do you think that explains somewhat a) his hatred for Labour and b) Labour’s hatred of him? That would be especially interesting if your suggestion tat 1 in 3 Cardiff Labour meetings are to plot his downfall.

    At no point do you mention his desire to become leader of Cardiff Council (salary £55k pa) whilst simultaneously serving as an AM (salary £65k pa). Yet you’re happy elsewhere on your blog to highlight high salaries in the Welsh public sector.

    For the record I am no fan of McEvoy his rude and abrupt style of politics turns me off. And before you say it too I am certainly no Labour member or supporter either – far from it!

    •  

      I didn’t mention him having been in the Labour Party because it’s not really relevant. Even so, I think it’s widely known.

      If Neil McEvoy ever became leader of the council whilst simultaneously serving as an AM I would definitely have something to say.

      The only publicly funded salary I think I have highlighted recently was that of a housing association chief getting more than the UK PM. Now if you want to defend that . . .

      •  

        Comparing the PM’s salary with that of a HA chief, or anyone be they in the public sector or private business, is the stuff of the Daily Kyle. https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/2015/06/prime-ministers-salary-dumb-place-start-debate-about-nhs-pay

        •  

          Daley, my boy, why link public sector with private business, they’re different animals? If International Conglomerate Inc wants to pay Joe Schmuck $50m a year then that’s up to the Board and the shareholders – it’s their money. But paying someone £150,000 of public money a year to do a job that should probably have been left with the local authority is entirely different.

          •  

            Housing Association chiefs argue that they’re different animals from Directors of Housing in local authorities and should be treated accordingly.
            Here’s how the Hay Group of management consultants reported on salaries for heads of housing in the public sector, private sector and council housing: https://www.haygroup.com/downloads/uk/A_spring_clean_for_chief_executive_pay_in_housing_sector.pdf

            •  

              That’s what they think, but it’s not what I think. And we’re only having this discussion because of the shady status of housing associations. I have consistently argued that social housing stock should either be brought back into public ownership or else privatised.

              The idea of a Third Sector is fine when dealing with Oxfam and other charities, but it falls into disrepute when it covers agencies and organisations that should either be public or private, and worse – as we see in Wales – used to create bodies that have no other purpose than to give employment to Labour cronies and apparatchiki.

              •  

                only just noticed this thread.

                Hay consultants have “excellent standing” in the executive rewards/comp& benefits evaluations and surveys market because of their invaluable role in justifying inflated executive rewards. It’s like a big bloody daisy chain with all these overvalued turkeys subscribing to a salary survey methodolgy that ensures that Board salaries keep pace with each other, and poor old Buggins don’t get left behind even though he’s no better than bad !

                Nowadays to add a bit more “traction” to their evidence surveys have an international dimension added in, and all you need do is add a few US corporates to the mix and your means, medians and any other number you care to nominate goes straight out of the roof. So much for stats. No wonder we pay so much for mediocrity.

                A similar and complimentary role is played by the likes of Campbell Tickell and other recruitment consultants who are forever talking up the “value” of roles so that their commission rides up with it. Nice work if you can get it.

              •  

                Yeah. If housing associations become private enterprises it’ll be like the private train companies. The government will subsidise private profit and the door will be open to all in Europe and the USA.
                A big dollop of bitsada from NMcE below; I can smell it from here.

                •  

                  If social housing is to be privatised then it must be done without public funding. The appreciating assets sold (housing stock), the guaranteed income (rents), would make it easy for privatised social landlords to raise commercial finding and to repay it. No need for public funding whatsoever. And think of the gain to the public purse from the sale of those assets!

                  •  

                    Wow !!! It seems too good to be true. Private companies buying housing association stock at market value and the money from the sales going to the Treasury. The new private sector landlords getting no funds from the government, not even housing benefit? – Unbelievable. Money from rent paying for all repairs, maintenance, upgrading, new builds and administration costs from day 1 until eternity?
                    Maybe these private companies could run the hospitals and the schools and the roads and the airports and refuse collection and the armed forces and the police?
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                    •  

                      Now, Daley, don’t get carried away. I said nothing about housing benefit.

                      If you owned a couple of houses and the tenants were complaining that they needed repairs you’d have to pay, so why should it be different for large scale private landlords?

                      As for the bit about hospitals, roads, etc., I think you’re just being sarcastic, and it doesn’t become you. I expect better.

                    •  

                      Of course landlords with a large housing stock should be responsible for upkeep of their properties. What I was trying to point out last night was that it all starts well for newly built social housing when there is very little in the way of maintenance but, as buildings get older, the numbers and costs of repairs increase and the profits fall.

                    •  

                      DG – you know as well as I do to that in the event of privatisation of H.A’s it will be the existing incumbent boards plus a few fat cats from assorted merchant banks etc who will lead the transition. They will be the cats that get the cream when a further round of mergers, acquisitions etc takes place. Sadly I foresee an inevitable repeat of the Rail privatisation project with loads of money flowing into executive rewards, dividends etc and not a lot, if any, going to supporting and developing the service to the population at large.

                      The unpalatable truth is that the leadership group in these H.A’s are no more altruistic than the spivs that went before them in other sectors. They are in it for the loot and they are already carving out a dis- proportionate level of reward for themselves. Once properly privatised, or even listed, then heaven knows by how much their greed will inflate.

                      The more I scribble about this the more convinced I become that a Housing Agency at either National or Regional level needs to be introduced and all assets transferred to it. It could then be run as a public body with transparent accountability to government for funding and communities for service levels i.e meet the demand where it arises rather than piss about with speculative “marketing” ideas.

    •  

      Of course I was a Labour member! More and more people in our country are going through the same journey I went through. Nothing wrong with that.I enjoy guiding people along; it is my duty.

      It is also well known I want root and branch restructure of Cardiff Council. A Plaid run Cardiff will investigate all land deals with the Welsh Government. We will do so openly, line by line in public. I want the Council end of the equation on RIFW and I want to know who knew what, how and when. I want the Lisvane land deal broken open again.There are other deals and contracts on our Cardiff Plaid radar also.

      I am standing for re-election to the Council, as I know the organisation inside out. I will not profit personally from any extra money off the Council, should I be successful.

      We have a vision of a Council for the Capital of Wales. A prosperous Capital wanting to share the wealth around Wales, not suck it up into one over developed, polluted mess.

  12.  

    No mention of his business dealings, (whiskey, boxing, houses, gratis chips in Vegas) his aggressive use of litigation, blocking FOIs for transparency and the forgotten hypocritical policies when he was deputy leader of cardiff council, the list is endless with this guy. As they say, he’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy. Now dismiss me as a labour stalker/troll etc and stay in your own delusions.

    •  

      I won’t dismiss you as a troll, but your slanderous allegations might have carried more weight if you hadn’t hidden behind ‘Anonymous’.

      •  

        Anonymouse is probably one of those sad little pricks who thinks that being devious and corrupt is fine if done within the Labour party machine with all the boys & girls looking after each others’ interests while waving 2 fingers at the rest of the community. Freeloading is their unofficial way of doing things but true to form it’s dressed up in jargon – along lines of “mutual benefit and cooperation”.

    •  

      a) Boxing: I attended the WBC World Boxing Conventions (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012). The Council did not pay for me to attend. Cardiff successfully bid for & hosted the Night of Champions in 2010 (the biggest gathering of world and ex-world boxing champions ever in Europe). 2011, Cardiff was successful in beating Dubai and Croatia to host the 2013 WBC World Boxing Convention. I was the lead presenter and negotiator; being fluent in Spanish and French was an advantage in this. The event was binned by Labour who didn’t feel that Convention attendees like Muhammad Ali were famous enough for Cardiff. (I am not joking, check the “rich, but not famous” quote in the link.): http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/wbc-world-boxing-convention-2013-2028063).

      RE: Vegas 2011, I didn’t claim the subsistence allowance as I could have done; I used my own money. In 2012, in order to repair Labour’s damaging of relations, I paid my own way to the Convention and had excellent meetings, which could now bring fruit. I want to make Cardiff and Wales a hub for world boxing.

      b) Whisky: I used my time from 2012 until elections took over to sow interest from the whisky industry in Wales. I tried to sell North Wales to the Industry. No issue in saying Wales should have a whisky industry. There is progress in this area and http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/business-news/new-distillery-first-north-wales-12397325 I believe there may be more developments.

      c) Happy with my record as Deputy Leader of Cardiff 2008/12 and stand by that.

      d) I welcome FOIs, unlike the Comrades. I has an open door policy as Deputy Leader and always took questions from the floor and answered during Executive Meetings. Answers were also given out before meetings in my time to make supplementary questions more meaningful and difficult. Labour abolished both these things, when they found questions too hard to deal with.

      e) Aggressive used of litigation? Not really; more last recourse. You go after my family and I am coming for you with everything I have. No apologies and I assume those who have tried it on have learned a lesson. I was fully insured for my last case: my opponent had no insurance. The £120,000 with a full insurance pay out was less than half the final bill. The rest was not my responsibility.

      I note the anonymity.

      •  

        I’m glad you cleared that up. I thought Anon’s “gratis chips in Vegas” was a reference to a Cardiff chippie where you were getting preferential treatment.

        •  

          well, did that scuffle go beyond the 2nd minute of the first round ? Where is Anonymouse ? get back in the ring, mate, and no slipping in substitutes under the towel. If that’s the best Labour can muster they better apply for the world “hand cranking” Convention instead of the boxing – at least they could hold their own in that sort of event!

          •  

            Looking at the bigger picture, I suspect that Labour is not looking forward to the council elections in May.

            It’s obvious that in Cardiff Labour is tearing itself apart while Plaid’s on a roll.

            In Carmarthenshire, Labour is no doubt hoping to blame Plaid for not reining in Mark James, but Plaid’s been in power for less than a year, and now Rhodri Glyn Thomas is riding to the rescue.

            Labour is also split in Swansea, and as usual with Labour it’s got nothing to do with competing visions for the city and everything to do with egos. Small-minded buggers fighting over who shall call themselves ‘council leader’.

            This morning I read in the WM that Labour in Bridgend is so worried – following defections and other unrest – that it has recruited a ‘strategist’, one Mark Lewis Jones.

            In most rural areas Labour is almost non-existent, and will remain so.

            Perhaps the most interesting contests will be in the Valleys and the north east. I’ve no idea how many candidates Plaid is putting up but with Corbyn at the helm there’s never been a better time for them to hit the bruvvers in RCT and neighbouring authorities, maybe win back a few seats in Wrecsam as well. While in both regions things could be promising for Ukip if they can find a few candidates whose shortcomings can be hidden until after polling day.

            However you look at, it don’t look good for Labour.

            •  

              “Small-minded buggers fighting over who shall call themselves ‘council leader’.” I’d agree with that. Here in NPT the Labour Council leader, Ali Thomas, is not contesting his seat and standing down. Even before this was officially announced there were strong rumours he had been advised (told!) to fall on his sword, thereby going out at the top before he was toppled by an internal coup should Labour hold the reins of power after May 2017. I sense things are quite fraught among Welsh Labour councillors right now. Like many Westminster MPs, these plodders are crapping themselves that their long ride on the gravy train is reaching the end of the line. On the other hand local authority finances are in such a parlous state that gaining control of some of these councils could well be a poisoned chalice. There are some deeply unpopular cuts coming down the line and those Labour councillors that do hold their seats but possibly in opposition may well feel better to snipe on the sidelines than be in the hot seat. Interesting times.

    •  

      ‘Gratis chips in Vegas’ & ‘housing’ is quite intriguing – can you elaborate – without hiding behind the ‘Anonymous’ label? As for ‘boxing’ & ‘whiskey’ are they illegal? I know they’re an anomaly for the Methodist non conformist types that have plagued Plaid in the past.

      As a dedicated Boxing News reader, a third generation family participator/ follower of boxing for many years, and who’s youngest son is currently an amateur boxer at the Prizefighter Gym in Carmarthen, I take umbrage at your suggestion that McEvoy’s involvement in that sport is something shady or deplorable – assuming that’s what you’re driving at.

      I didn’t realise McEvoy was involved with boxing, if he is, then he’s gone further up in my estimation. Unless he’s involved in match fixing or similar, and not the provision of a sport that teaches youngsters character building self discipline, rescues many from poor under privileged working class backgrounds and instead provides an opportunity to better themselves and regain some self respect and dignity – then where’s the problem with boxing?. The sport has saved many from the street, where drugs and crime would be their only ladder out of their predicament.

      We could do with a few more politicians who have boxing skills (of the mental kind and not necessarily the physical kind). It would be a great departure from the ‘powder puff’ parchus ‘sons of the manse’ crachach types that have infested our only Nationalist party in the past – well, since the pacifist/ socialist Gwynfor Evans mob took over anyway.

      ‘Boxers’ – whether in the ring or in political circles don’t go and cry in the corner when they’re punched – they punch back. I have a feeling that McEvoy is not a cry and feel sorry for yourself in the corner type. Good – much needed.

  13.  

    another x20 McEvoy please

  14.  

    Jac, your piece on Neil McEvoy is excellent. I have had the pleasure of meeting Neil and hearing him speak. Two things struck me about him. First, his deep roots in the community he serves and commitment to working for them an to achieve real, tangible improvements for them. Secondly, his amazing optimism: through hard work and a focus on real needs and interests of real people, he is convinced that Lazy Labour can be taken on and replaced, both in Cardiff and nationally.

  15.  

    DOWN WITH THE CRACH!

  16.  

    Great article, Jac, hugely informative and entertaining. I see that it has deservedly made lots of waves already.

    Yesterday, Lee Waters AM tweeted “The future of Plaid Cymru is Neil McEvoy, says Jac o’ the North” in response to your post. Whether he hoped some of his acolytes would take up the cudgel and try and beat you and NM with it I don’t know, but his tweet hasn’t elicited any response, and only about 4 “likes”. Most of your readers will already be familiar with the spat between Waters and McEvoy last year when NM raised the question of just where Waters was living at the time of the Assembly elections. Was it in a modest street somewhere in Carmarthenshire as per electoral records, or somewhere in the Vale of Glamorgan? Whereas too many of our elected politicians of all sides in Westminster and Cardiff Bay treat the whole experience like the membership of some exclusive club, it strikes me that NM is just the man to shake up that old boys’ network. A great pity there are not more like him.

    You’ve even got Daran Hill agreeing with the thrust of your article, saying “Had several conversations where I’ve stressed plausibility of @neiljmcevoy as a future leader – represents a very clear strand and brand”.

    But keep this up, Jac, and you may find unwelcome intruders rifling through your own home. Make sure you’ve got your future storylines and that cellar of Malbec under firm lock and key!

  17.  

    What was the purpose of Reyes global interest which was another business set up with a WBC official when he was still deputy leader of the council. Was it a council business?

    •  

      Interesting question – you obviously have an answer, so don’t be shy out with it. Or is this just a loaded intro to a big mystery game with no real purpose ?

    •  

      A bit of boxing advice Anonymous – don’t go in the ring with an opponent that’s in two or three weight divisions above you – you could land on your arse quite sharpishly – always an embarrassing situation! Mind you there are advantages to being a straw weight contender – they have less trouble squeezing in through windows after dark!

      On a more serious note, as dafis says in other words – “spit it out son” – don’t keep it to yourself with cryptic clues.

  18.  

    Hi Anonymous, I think we know each other, don’t we?! Reyes? Set it up as an option, before stopping being Deputy Leader in April 2012. Decided not to do anything with it. Hardly a drama.

  19.  

    The fact Mcevoy is described in such glowing terms on a nationalist far right blog is bad enough but to have him come on basking in the adulation reveals all we need to know about the man.

    •  

      Not “far right” at all. And if you are one of those who thinks he can win arguments simply by describing those he disagrees with as ‘fascists’ you can sod off now, because this will be your first and last comment on this blog.

      •  

        now Jac, the man is looking for Fascists. Well I tend to dismiss the term as a touch out of date & irrelevant what with “Far Right” and “Far Left” being like bookends, arse to arse, on a 3D, spherical model which is a far better representation of their extremism than the linear model used by those who wish to dictate how we think.

        But the sort of people he’s looking for are found in plentiful supply inside Labour ( bit of anti semitic smell there alright, plus a willingness to tuck up close to global corporates ) UKIP (needs no further explanation but superiority complex and acute anti-everything stance makes it easy to see ) and Tories ( no uniforms here other than dull grey or dark blue suits and a liking for all sorts of deviant behaviour while enforcing draconian laws to protect and proliferate their wealth ! )

        The sum total of goodwill towards Wales and the Welsh from this lot will fit neatly onto a postage stamp, and on a bad day a pin head.

        In all probability our Phil is on the cusp of the Labour/UKIP boundary which is a highly eccentric place to be but one that attracts deviants who like to throw their weight around defending some kind of status quo that they see being undermined by those of us who are prepared to look at new ways of doing things.

      •  

        You mentioned “fascist” not I then you behave like one

        •  

          ‘Fascist’, ‘Far Right’, ‘Extreme Right’, what’s the difference? This is your second visit and we’re still waiting for you to say something. Do you have anything to say?

    •  

      More smear, no substance Phil. All personal; nothing political.

      •  

        Trouble for people like you Neil is British people don’t like politicians who only show concern for certain types of people whether it be colour of skin or what side of a man made line on a map they were born. Nationalism is easy to defeat because its always vulnerable to the racist and bigot accusations especially in Wales where it stems from culture, pureness and sense a entitlement of more similar to 1930’s Japan than left or right.

        Plaid Cymru knows this to be true or it wouldn’t have to water itself down so much it barely resembles a nationalist party at all.

        •  

          “British people don’t like politicians who only show concern for certain types of people whether it be colour of skin or what side of a man made line on a map they were born” may be something you’d like to believe, but it’s absolute bollocks.

          Let’s start in Northern Ireland, where your ancestry and religion dictate your sympathies and your loyalties, to the extent that not so long ago people there were killing each other over such things.

          Moving across to Scotland, NO politician would dare ignore the special Scottish dimension to politics and everything else. What chance do you think a Scottish politician would have of being elected if he or she campaigned on doing away with your “line on a map”, arguing for a UK football team, etc.

          Coming down to England, we see that a clear majority of people there vote for the Conservative Party and Ukip. Two parties very strong on ‘lines on maps’. Two parties less than welcoming to those of different skin colour and religion.

          In fact, Wales is the exception. The worst racists in my rural area are the white flight English, bringing with them their intolerant attitudes to everything not English. For some of them it’s India and Africa all over again, but with white natives.

          Now fuck off, this is your last comment.

    •  

      FAR right? Now correct me if I’m wrong ‘Phil’, but is that a veiled attempt at a suggestion of fascism? If so you better think hard about what you are suggesting.

      Although Jac describes his blog as “interpreting Wales from a right of centre Nationalist perspective” I don’t think he, any more than I do, subscribes to this illusionary perception that politics has a ‘right’ or ‘left’. It is a manufactured label to help morons get an idea of how things work in their little heads. Mention ‘far left’ and you’re accused of being communist. Mention ‘far right’ and you’re accused of being a fascist. It’s ludicrous – as is your daft comment about this blog and McEvoy’s standing.

      Study so called ‘far right’ politics, and then study ‘far left’ politics and you arrive at the same destination. You need to go away and study a bit more on the subject of politics.

      It’s evident that your comment is a case of ’empty vessels making the most noise’. We can do without empty vessels on here. We pride ourselves on political comment that is deeper than the average rain puddle.

  20.  

    A handful of McEvoys in the Valleys, a handful in North East Wales, and a few dotted around in places like Holyhead, Wrexham, Newport etc, and the tide will turn. Labour are shit scared of him because 1) he knows them, 2) he fights as dirty as they do, and 3) takes them on on their own terms. Personally, I think it’s what Plaid needs now.
    As for this blog being ‘far right’, that is of course bollocks. It is certainly right wing but in UK terms it’s mainstream right. You just don’t like it because it turns the tables. I don’t share its anti-state, Brexit stance, but let’s face it it is tame compared with the mainstream of English conservative thought, and certainly UKIP. What you’re really saying ‘Phil’ is that a Welsh blog that dares apply the same right-wing standards to the English is ‘far right’, which is very different.

  21.  

    Jac makes a very pertinent observation.

    No valuable items like tablets, phones or other valuables were removed during the constituency office break-in. Also evident in the press reports of the crime scene, there was no ‘wanton’ smash-up as you’d expect with wayward youths. The break in was purposeful and direct. A steel security bar was cut, possibly with an angle grinder, access to the rear, and a professional pop of a widow seal, and subsequent rifling into paperwork. The crime scene tells the story. I’m familiar with two previous crime scenes of this type…

    (a) An agricultural business that was broken into. No laptops or cash taken. No keys to valuable plant removed. However, documentation was rifled through. The perpetrators turned out to be part of an animal rights gang who wanted details of suppliers and business contacts relating the veal trade. The motive was purely political; they wanted invoices and delivery notes from the filing cabinet.

    (b) A railway contactors office was broken into. No keys to valuable plant removed. However, documentation was rifled through. The perpetrators were scrap metal thieves who wanted to know when and where cable was being delivered as it’s easier to steal cable when it’s trackside (not in a secure compound), not connected (avoids electrocution), and not yet inside heavy troughing. They wanted jobs sheets and signalling diagrams.

    So what type of people did the McEvoy job ?
    What did they want?
    From Cardiff, or the valleys?
    Did the dogs smell any evidence of an accelerant?
    (usual MO is the scene would be torched to remove evidence, but was not in this case as they de-camped when the security alarm was triggered to the inner office)

    It would be helpful if Neil posted the incident reference on here. It will be a number suffixed with the date, or the crime number recorded by SWP. In this way if anyone reading this blog has any information they can report it to 101. Or if they wish to remain anonymous, provide information to CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111.

    Given the heightened security concerns for elected representatives after the Joe Cox murder, I would expect CID to investigate this incident with utmost priority. Failure to do so might prompt questions about progress to ministers, both in Cardiff and London.

    Jacothenorth CSI (or maybe UCOS)?

    I also find it strange that no statement has been made by the Labour Party. It is not yet known what the motive was. It could be an attempt to obtain constituent correspondence just as applicable to what any AM does, regardless of political party. A person who has contacted their AM and there be an aggrieved person in dispute.. The Labour Party should be stating that they wish the perpetrators to be apprehended asap, an affront to democracy, not posting abusive remarks on this blog and on twitter.

    Lee Waters should hang his head in shame.

    •  

      I had to check on the meaning of UCOS. Where does Lee Waters fit into this?

      •  

        I guess Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad is what ol’ Brychan is referring to! As opposed to MicroC/OS (an operating system for CPUs), so it’s the former!!!

        Is this about LW’s choice of family home or his involvement as director within the IWA?

      •  

        Wouldn’t be surprised if PlodDeCrummy was in some way in on it ! It’s yet another outfit that’s been politicised by having a veteran Labour politician at the top as P & C C and during his tenure has harboured, inter alia, one Sophie Howe, now moved on to bigger things in the Party as she gets groomed for a top table job in Wales or a seat in Westminster.

        Waters spent time at the IWA a well known haven for thought leaders, a.k.a. hot air merchants, so anything coming out of him needs to be thoroughly sieved for any odd bits of insight and wisdom, with most of it diverted into waste gas where some of it might be of value if combustible.

      •  

        Could Brychan be referring to this, among other things?

        Last September, Waters referred to NM in a Twitter post dealing with a Guardian article about abusive men being able to traumatise their family in Court hearings. When he was accused of shamelessly using this sensitive topic for political gain his response was to drag up an old storyline of some five years’ previous, relating to NM’s comments on women’s domestic violence charities.
        https://twitter.com/Amanwy/status/776756672731701248

        There’s clearly no love lost between these two. But when people come on here commenting that NM was previously a member of the Labour Party, didn’t you once tell us, Jac, that a young Lee Waters had leanings towards the Conservative Party or am I confusing him with someone else? I’m not condemning him for that. Some would say you couldn’t put a fagpaper between the ideology of New Labour as it was and the Tories in any case.

      •  

        Here is a pension scheme fund scheme used to draw down cash into Cardiff for financing land deals…

        https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/05365396/charges

        Most of the ‘investments’ are listed as charges secured on urban plots, defunct petrol stations, car showrooms, 1970s derelict shopping arcades and back street mechanics. It’s property speculation dependent on LDPs, the clients being Arthur Dailey type urban car showrooms and shops suitable for re-development. I’m sure this particular outfit is not involved, but it illustrates a suitable line of enquiry.

  22.  

    You have put into words exactly what i have believed of Labour for a long time, and i come from a Labour voting Family [no more]. Last time i went with Plaid but you are word perfect in describing them.Plaid AM`s are scared of EVERYTHING and if you happen to mention any thing to them about our Culture, our history, and our sadly neglected hero`s of old they instinctively reach for their running shoes while taking a good mouthful of Prozac and scorning you for being a Nash !!??, such is the panic which breaks out in their ranks. Plaid as it stands is a party without any credibility and Lianne Wood is woolly headed and her views and policies are far too much like Labour rather than the National Party of Wales – a lost cause. You will find her making sincere speeches about culture and the need to protect history when she lends her heart felt support for the Native American Indians of Standing Rock, yet Lianne Wood or any of her party lent no support what so ever to the campaign to save Garth Celyn, the principle LLys of the Princes of Gwynedd in Abergwyngregyn and which the late President of Plaid Cymru, Gwynfor Evans described as, “The most important site in Wales”..

  23.  

    There have been politicos from plaid in the NM mould-Ted Merrieman, Glyn Owen(Aberdar),Glyn James( Rhondda) in the 70s. They made Haycock and Squires into trembling wrecks

  24.  

    It’s high time someone shook up the Welsh Establishment (the hot-bed of nepotism ) and Neil McEvoy is that man it seems.

  25.  

    I do have respect for Leanne especially since she won the Rhondda Assembly seat. She is not leadership material though. I see that the latest opinion polls were revealed by Prof Scully show Plaid not making much ground electorally despite Labour’s woes. Time for a change I think.

    •  

      That’s the real worry. Despite Labour slipping below a third of the vote the opposition is split leaving Labour still dominant. A more assertive national party – like the SNP – would be capitalising in a way Plaid Cymru clearly can’t.

      Things can’t improve. Plaid’s rural heartlands are being eroded by colonisation, and it’s offering more socialism and staying in the EU, to the south and the north east where so many voted Ukip and Brexit. Consequently, Plaid is out of step with the public mood and has little if any appeal for those abandoning Labour.

      Wales needs a new party.

    •  

      Leanne is a lovely and genuine girl – I really like her very much as a person, I’ve spent a lot of time in her company in the past. However she’s not a Rottweiler, she’s very ‘nice’ hence the reason she’s seen as a safe pair of hands within the timid Plaid hierarchy. The last Plaid leader with bite was Dafydd Wigley, but because he spoke straight and punched from the shoulder he was viewed as a liability (how bloody stupid was that?). So when they saw their opportunity the ‘sons of the manse’ (Cynog Dafis & Ieuan Wyn Jones predominantly) did a Ceasar-like assassination job by stabbing him in the back. He never recovered, but is too much of a gentleman to expose what happened to him. He’s still quietly licking his wounds in the House of Lords.

      It’s an obvious pattern. What they want is a ‘nice’ leader (preferably a socialist leaning Calvanist minister), who will get them nowhere – won’t rock any boats, and certainly won’t go for any jugulars!

      •  

        “Girl “? She is a woman ! Watch your everyday misogyny .
        As as for your later facile remarks that NE would attract ‘gay vote’ at universities I find that so conventional not to say , bigoted. It is 21st century and not 1950’s after all .

        •  

          FFS – “everyday misogyny”? What the hell are you lathering about? We need more political correctness and semantics like a fish needs a bloody bicycle. Do you know what? I’d prefer to be in the fifties than in this frigging inside out and upside down world we live in at present, with prats like you promoting the madness. Get real, grow up and smell the coffee.

          By the way, where did I link NE to a ‘gay vote’ at universities? Dafis was the contributor that mentioned Simon Thomas’ ear ring in the hope of attracting a university ‘gay’ vote. What I said was he should bin it because it doesn’t work.

          If you’re going to come on here to make a prat of yourself, at least get your facts right.

          “It is the 21st century and not the 1950s after all” My ARSE!

          •  

            NE ? Last time I looked the subject of this article was N M ! There again when a guy gets into a bit of an agitated state his basic literacy may be one of the first things that gets derailed ! But all this bullshit about misogyny and hostility to gays just about sums up the writer, more focussed on superficial correctness than understanding the underlying manipulation that thrives on a diet of such correctness.

            Suggest the writer changes his/her initials from gk to PC – pedantic creep ( or any other word you care to insert ! )

          •  

            I fear it is not I ,but yourself (anonymised of course ,so why one wonders reluctant to reveal your identity ) who is the, “prat ” here. You certainly are a member of that loud-mouthed windbag elite (with all respect) .

  26.  

    Jac you have been on about a new party since at least 1987. I am a candidate for Plaid Cymru in Cardiff local elections and support Neil McEvoy.If people dont like Plaid as it is they should get involved and change it from within. New parties are very difficult to get going. Keep up the good work. Keith.

    •  

      You’re quite right Keith – it is VERY difficult to get a new party established and off the ground, especially if it gets strangled by an existing party who do a good imitation of a ‘dog in the manger’. Jac and others, (including myself) worked extremely hard to get the Independent Wales Party started around the turn of the millennium, but failed, because we were vehemently opposed by the ‘non independence’ crowd – including Plaid, who at the time were playing out some strange schizophrenic game, where they would run away from the ‘I’ word in public, but everyone within Plaid were all supposedly for independence when talking behind closed doors! What a farce that was – hence one of the reason I call them the ‘hide behind the sofa’ party.

      They did the same thing when Seimon Brooks, Emyr Hywel & I established the Llais Ceredigion local party. They had a meltdown, and ganged up with all the other parties in Ceredigion Council (including the ruling Independents group) – to keep us out – despite our guarantees that we would not put candidates forward where Plaid candidates were standing. They would not even consult with us on the subject, as if it was a political taboo, we even had a private meeting with Elin Jones who simply wouldn’t even hear of it (mind you she was probably confused about what was going on around her). They had big nightmares because they thought that Cymuned – with a big backing at the time – were orchestrating things from the wings The final result was that they managed to kill us at birth. The final result was that they lost Simon Thomas, their MP for Ceredigion because people remembered their previous underhanded and stupid actions. The Lib-Dems have been in power here ever since.

      As for changing a party from within – you have GOT to be joking! The number of times I’ve heard that old chestnut, notably when I decided to leave the party. Change from within is an impossible task within Plaid, because they will scheme and plot to stop it from above. Believe me I tried that as well (remember the ‘oddballs, social misfits and society dropouts’ furore?). Plaid are like the proverbial wife & child abuser. Outside the front door they are cowards, inside the home they can be ruthless and nasty – to their own family. As I said forget it – unless you expect a personal lifespan of about 500 years!

      Why do you think that the ones we see as a ‘hope’ within their ranks never actually make it? Adam Price for example, and I hate to be negative, Neil McEvoy will excite some within Plaid ranks and many more on the fringes, but sadly I fear for any sort of leadership role for him in the near future – because he frightens the ones at the top of the party shitless. It’s only a matter of time before he spouts a truth. Labour and the media will wade in, Plaid will wobble like a jelly with fright, and then the writing will be on the wall – as happened to me.

      Jac’s right, that what is needed IS a new genuine nationalist party, how that can be achieved in our cloistered nationalist environment is another matter and a big conundrum for all those who wish it.

    •  

      change the record Keith you’ve been banging on about changing the party from within for years, as much as I dislike him G he’s right so take Royston’s advice help form a new party and while you’re at it take Mcevoy with you as leader.

  27.  

    Hi,
    When you say “a right of centre nationalist perspective”, does that mean something like 1930s Germany with that kind of pride in nationhood and very active organised political impetus and call to action? What would the future look like for you in a “right of centre” Wales?
    Does Neil McEvoy speak Welsh and what exactly are his Welsh credentials and what are his intrinsic nationalist values and motivation for independence? In essence, why is he Plaid and not any other party which would give him a platform? (I know, for instance, that Plaid has worked hard to recruit multi-ethnic people in inner cities who are neither Welsh nor speak the language. Look, for instance, at Mohammed Ashgar, who left to join the Tories.)
    Has Plaid Cymru now abandoned their policy to insist that the language is spoken first, not second, and definitely not never? Have they in effect abandoned their purist principles regarding preserving and promoting the language and using it almost as a political protest and a central plank of their unique selling point?

    •  

      Explain the reference to “1930s Germany”.

      •  

        What does Godwin’s law say? You get some weird people visiting your blog like Mr Gibbs above. I’m not sure you can discuss anything with them let alone make them appreciate your point of view. But good luck. They tend to be obsessives as most extremes leftists and rightists are.

      •  

        Hi,
        The contents of this “blog” explains 1930s Germany for me. I don’t need to.

        •  

          I had considered putting this silly and offensive comment in the bin, but then I thought, ‘No, Jac, he deserves to be heard.’ You see, I’ve been to your blog, and it’s a very lonely place. I couldn’t find a single comment to any of your posts, or even a ‘Like’!

          Somehow you stumble on my blog and you see that it’s popular, that it gets mentioned here and there, and it makes you angry. You, the professional journalist, who’s done courses and degrees, so you come here swinging . . . and making offensive analogies in the desperate hope of being read.

          Now I’m sorry for your plight, but it’s not my fault. And while I’m not normally a man to go with the tide, in your case I’ll make an exception, and ignore you like everybody else does. So no matter how much time you have on your hands don’t waste it by coming back, this is your last comment.

          •  

            Mr Gibbs should be raising a glass to you, Jac, for probably increasing the readership of his blog exponentially. I had strayed there myself before your comment but it wasn’t my cup of tea, particularly the sympathy for Ched Evans he had in a long article that in my opinion portrayed Evans as an innocent victim and I found uncomfortably misogynistic. The (unrelated) attempt at over-pretentious poetry that followed the Evans article did it for me and I think feel a lot happier hanging around here.

    •  

      ‘Hi’ to you too . . . Gary W Gibbs (isn’t it strange how idiots often have a middle initial of ‘dublya’).

      I won’t even try to dignify that post of yours with a reply. Unravel all the shit you’ve just spouted starting with your reference to “1930s Germany” – as Jac has requested. Then go down your list that resembles a pig’s breakfast of non coherent bullshit – one point at a time – and we’ll see if we can unravel it, and in the process it might be possible to hose out the crap from between your ears, that has obviously been shovelled in there from some other dodgy sources – probably some socialist/ liberal leaning false news, from the mainstream media rubbish that’s tossed about.

    •  

      I admire Neil McEvoy for rejecting Plaid’s cosying up and being polite to a Labour Party that is at best complacent and incompetent.
      Like most Welsh people he has a respect for the Welsh language and wishes to see it survive and prosper. Without it Wales would not exist.
      But in Cardiff and the Assembly of now what other home is there for someone of integrity, of the centre left who also supports boxing other than Plaid, especially if you are utterly disenchanted with Labour ?
      All parties are coalitions and involve internal power struggles.I think it says a lot for Plaid that someone like McEvoy, a real cardiff boy, can identify completely with it. I admire his energy and commitment to the people of Cardiff and Wales and utterly despise all the anonymous mud slinging and dirty tricks and people hiding behind noms de plumes.
      I hope he does succeed in winning Cardiff for Plaid and also remain an AP. Why not?
      More power to his elbow!

  28.  

    Well, as I said earlier, the polls aren’t showing a Plaid ‘surge’ during Labour weakness. What do Plaid people think should now happen? And another thing, I’d give Bethan, Simon and Dr Dai constituencies to fight for and let new blood in via the regionalist list seats. They’ve had enough time and publicity to make a mark now surely or are they a tad uninspiring?

    •  

      I think “uninspiring” is being very generous.

      •  

        insipid ? wet ? occasionally windy ! but the remedy is in their hands, or in their minds. Each of them has a personality, I’ve seen Dai Lloyd and Leanne get really fired up and put in really impressive showing but they don’t seem to pose a sustainable threat level. Poor old Simon always seems like he’s worried about someone creeping up behind him, and need to get away from that intensely grey image that dims what is possibly a much more well defined impact.

        Contrast all this with NMcE where you have a far more potent mix, may not agree with everything he says but you know that he will challenge his opponents with a much higher level of intensity.

        •  

          I can’t help noticing that to counter his grey and insipid image Simon Thomas wears an ear-ring, but it doesn’t really help, he just looks odd, like an accountant in a pinstripe suit with a Mohican.

          •  

            Probably as far as he was willing to go to appeal to the gay voters at Aber & Lampeter Unis. Can’t compete with a camp sheep farmer in green wellies !!.

            •  

              If that was the intention of the ear ring then he might as well bin it. He lost his Plaid seat in Ceredigion, partly because of his own fault, but mostly because many Plaid voters jibbed and stayed at home, partly because of the way Plaid acted towards me in Ceredigion, following the whoo-ha over the ‘oddballs & social misfit’ English migrant issue. Also the way they behaved when Llais Ceredigion tried to remove Dai Lloyd Evans & his crew over the UDP plan. The way they opposed us in the mayor referendum that we triggered and the way Plaid sided with the Independents and others to keep our election candidates out of the council. Great strategy folks – all because Thomas & Plaid were stupid enough to believe they could behave as they pleased, because they were naive enough to think that Ceredigion was unassailable. It’s that incompetence and naivety coupled to a timidity in the face of pressure that has helped them dig their own grave.

              Now add that to this insatiable urge they have to fight other people’s global campaigns, and become the world’s leading pacifists and you have a right royal mess. Here’s a cutting from last week’s Cambrian News:

              A noble cause – without any argument – we all support our kindred cousins when it comes to their independence, BUT charity begins at home.

  29.  

    A new party is not needed. Plaid’s policy positions and goals are fundamentally sound. What is needed is an organized grassroots movement to press the leadership to provide robust opposition to Lazy Labour and aggressively highlight the ways in which they have let down the Welsh people, to mobilize people and communities, to communicate a clear and compelling programme for government, and to target and campaign for power to deliver that programme. If the current leadership won’t respond, the goal should be to replace them with worthy substitutes.

    •  

      And you’re going to funnel that ‘grassroots movement’ through the current entrenched Plaid AMs & PMs? Yeah sure – mind your head there’s a cloud of flying cows approaching!

      Plaid’s policy position has become increasingly insipid since the socialists took over in Gwynfor Evans’ day. It’s got gradually worse ever since. God it’s only recently that they’ve reluctantly made it public they want independence! That wasn’t what the founding fathers of Plaid were about. Now they’re dismissed by the socialists in the party as ‘cultural nationalists’. The people of Cymru are sick of it.

      •  

        Of course it should not be funnelled through Plaid AMs and MPs. Hesitate to draw any parallels with Islington Labour … but Momentum is not funnelled through the Parliamentary Labour Party. To be effective, it would need to be truly a grass roots organization. Although Neil McEvoy AM would be a great leader or mentor!

        My view is that Plaid should be a broad church (chapel) and should warmly embrace all who subscribe to its essential values and are committed to the interests of the communities of Wales and to pursuing a national destiny. The SNP has eschewed to internal factionalism of the 1980s, and their progress since then is plain to see.

        Any moves in Wales to increase petty Pythonesque factionalism of the he People’s Front of Judea vs. the Judean People’s Front is totally unnecessary and unhelpful.

        •  

          I see what you mean, when you mention ‘Momentum’. However you’re looking at a different beast there. Momentum is made up of hard core, union members, topped up with others who have jumped on the Corbyn wave of enthusiasm – a lot of it being seen as an anti establishment move – hence the sudden rush to be involved.

          Plaid grass roots is a MUCH different animal. Plaid is divided between the ‘cultural nationalists’ (a term I don’t like) and the ‘socialist nationalists’ (a term I dislike even more). The reason there is no blend is in my opinion a case of a lack of education – as I’m sure you’ve read on this blog many times from me. We are a nation that is divorced from it’s roots because of ignorance and therefore naturally divided. A nation that has no knowledge whatsoever about it’s traditional culture, language, history & literary arts is a fragmented gathering of people who happen to be in an area to the west of England. Our young folk are like little ducklings hatched from their eggs, who follow the first thing that moves. The ‘thing’ they see moving around them from birth is English – culture, language, traditions and politics – they follow blindly.

          To get a ‘grass roots’ swell would, in the first place, require the national support from it’s citizens who have merged together. That’s a BIG problem. Cymuned had hopes of creating that grass root support, however outside the nationalists’ ranks, no one south of Lampeter even knew of it’s existence. How many people in Cymru know what Plaid’s roots are – unless they’re members, and then it’s a hit or miss job.

          •  

            ‘There exists a tribe of ants called “The Slave-Maker”. These insects raid the colonies of common ants, steal eggs back to their own nests, & after they hatch, why, the stolen slaves become workers of the greater empire & don’t even dream that they was ever stolen. Now if you ask me, Lord Jehovah crafted these ants as a model, Mr Ewing, aye, as a map.’ – Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.
            Plaid Cymru or Plaid Cholmondeley?

          •  

            Your analysis is rather depressing. But surely N McE points the way to a practical, community-based politics that can nourish and support a new form of nationalism that is not primarily “cultural” or “socialist”.

      •  

        That last but one paragraph of Big Gee’s hits the nail smack on the head. Don’t they say, “Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man….” or something along those lines. It surely is all about education and catching ’em young. I never had the chance when a child but now as an old man looking back I so much which I did. That duckling analogy is brilliant and when I use it in the future, Gee, you might find your ears burning. Classic!

        •  

          Well thank you Stan – for your very kind words! Bring on the ear scorch! Shout it from the mountain tops my friend “it’s the education system stupid . . . “

  30.  

    note your tweet re hospital services in Central Wales – virtual desert between Aber Bronglais and Shrewsbury. Plenty of land for a new investment in Health ( some might need a touch of flattening) between Caersws and Welshpool without siting on valley floor ! Given that the muppets at Hywel Dda have an urge to reduce any kind of major service at Aber preferring to ship sick people to Glangwili, or even contract serious stuff to the neighbouring ABM sites ! , it would be very smart to have a concentration of resource in the middle, and it might even be able to offer subcontracted services to our friends across the border!.
    I saw Glyn Davies doing his best to stay civil in the House debate the other day with a patronising Tory from Shropshire using Welsh patients as leverage in the debate but interested in nothing other than his constituents.

    •  

      Bronglais has reached capacity, there is nowhere to expand. Rather than spend money on the ‘upgrade’ a few years ago the better option then would have been to build a new hospital on a new site with easy access plenty of parking and room to expand.

      •  

        Don’t get me started on Bronglais Hospital Jac! The moronic clowns who decided to build a hospital there in the mid sixties should have their bodies exhumed, burned and their ashes thrown into Aberystwyth harbour.

        The excuse at the time for moving was that the old North Road hospital was inaccessible, being built on top of a hill – at least the hill had a flat top and the ‘old’ hospital had been built on the flat, with plenty of room for expansion. Many at the time in the mid sixties suspected that the ‘new’ hospital was built where it is thanks to some thick brown envelopes that were doing the rounds amongst some shady councillors at the time – everyone and his dog were absolutely gob-smacked at the decision and are still moaning about it 50 years later (they did the same trick with the old town clock and the King’s Hall). Bronglais is built on such a steep hill that you need to be a fit mountain goat to climb from one end of it to the other. It had virtually no parking space from day one – it still hasn’t, despite the multi storey extension! A shocking bloody disgrace.

        To compound their stupidity they have now decided to build Government buildings at Parc y Llyn – which would have been perfect for a new hospital, with easy access for ambulances, easy patient car access on a bus route and bags of room for parking. What did they do? They built a huge white elephant there and then sunk vast amounts into expanding Bronglais, which had originally been built with no expansion room. The Bronglais building could have been converted to government offices.

        The stark stupidity of the people who make these decisions is beyond words.

  31.  

    Continuing with your theme of Health – delighted to see that Councillor Chippings’ innovative idea is still afloat despite being burdened with a swollen budget ( painful!). Perhaps she could roll out a chain of these to cover the “Western periphery” thereby relieving indifferent NHS Boards of any worries about reaching those inconvenient remote parts of their territories. Could be the next big idea from a Labour Cynulliad already suffering from all sorts of personality disorders.

  32.  

    the tweet from bwgan bran in your Tweet column caught my eye. It sums up our condition in its entirety.

    We look like we are going to get the go-ahead for the Swansea Lagoon – good news. However we may have to settle, if we’re lucky, with about 50% of the spend here in Wales when Germany’s public procurement spends nearly all its money in their own country. Devastating.

    However even more shocking is the fact that it will be difficult to spend much more than 50% of the budget in Wales because our industrial/manufacturing/engineering capacity and capability has been allowed to decline so badly over the last 30 years or so. Yes we have individual success stories, too few, but worthy nevertheless. But successive governments were seduced by the discredited bollocks of “investing” heavily in alternatives such as social enterprise – 3rd sector nonsense – and ploughing excessive grant aid into the windfarm game which has rewarded very few native participants while allowing the international grant grabbers to have a ball.

    Too often government has totally excluded, or delayed for no good reason, local ventures harnessing advances in engineering despite ample evidence that such innovations could be made to work profitably creating a better balanced economy and a more contented wage earning working population. Instead these advances have played a very remote also-ran to the idlers and fiddlers who have recycled grants and other departmental funds fixing social “ailments” that need not have been there in the first place. We still await the true sums to be disclosed in connection with building of windfarms on remote heathlands which were themselves important long term stores of carbon until disturbed by the cack-handed methods used to prepare sites for the construction of these structures.

    But will government wake up to this deficit ? Not on your nelly. Instead it will be used as an excuse for placing big orders, high added value stuff with major international contractors. Given that overpricing is a racing cert that means that “wealth” will be transferred from a potential Welsh chain of distribution to another chain which will inevitably lead to London or further afield. Howzat for an own goal?

    •  

      My understanding is that the company making the turbines, based in Rugby, is to open a plant in Swansea. Which is good . . . up to a point, because of course HQ, R&D will stay in England, and profits will go there too. In addition, the company behind it all, Tidal Lagoon Power, is based in Gloucester. How many other English companies will find an address in the Swansea area so they can claim to be local?

      •  

        There’s a concept of ‘clustering’ in high tech industries.

        These days all jobs are temporary, and unusual to stay with the same firm for more than, say, ten years. This is especially the case with skilled work. It is advantageous for high tech firms to locate in places where their competitors, in other words, places where they can poach staff easily. For example, if a competitor to this firm in Rugby wanted to set up it’s R&D department and had a choice between Swansea and Rugby, it would choose Rugby.

        Take one look at Swansea, and all you’ll see a city of McJobs, and every time the Welsh Government offer some support to inward investment it’s to bucket shop employment, a warehouse operation (like Amazon) or a call centre. The ‘jobs and growth’ strategy of the Welsh Government is wrong. They should be supporting high tech jobs only, not any jobs at any cost.

        This means, for example, in South West Wales, removing all support for tourism and diverting it into the production of electric vehicles. Hitachi have already established an engineering depot in Swansea to service their new trains. A few million start up costs should be set aside for an electric car manufacturer (Telsa, Hitachi or Mitsubishi) on Jersey Marine. Any funding to Swansea University should be directed to this sector only. Just an example. Not just energy, but synergy.

        Does anyone in the Senedd think like this?

        •  

          Brychan asks quite rightly – “Does anyone in the Senedd think like this?”

          Give him 11/10 for the very best rhetorical question asked for a good while.

          The first question could be – “Does anyone in the Senedd think – at all ?”

          To which there is a range of answers – from “not too often ” through to the “frequently, as I/we have a number of party friends that I/we need to look after, and there are a number of good causes that are vital for me/us to signal my/our virtuous nature to all those suckers watching”

          As for joined up and creative thinking on the industrial strategy, well it’s amply evident that it’s founded on a “grab it while you can” mindset but with a huge dollop of techphobia and absence of critical savvy. Other than that all is well in our crazy little banana republic.

          •  

            Here’s the way I think…

            An example of how the Welsh Government has failed to listen to industry in Wales was in 2008 when the UK government (quite correctly) identified that UHT milk was (a) cheaper, (b) more energy efficient, as UHT lasts for over 12 months without refrigeration, and (c) reduces margin in the supply chain to allow farmers to increase prices at the supply end, and (d) cut consumer waste by 30%.

            In foodie places like France and most of Western Europe over 90% of the domestic milk consumption is UHT. They set a target to convert the UK milk market to 90% UHT by 2020. However this did not materialise because of ‘pressure’ from the UK dairy industry (supermarkets).

            The main objectors were the likes of Dairy Crest (now an England only processing company). The existing business model is to transport raw milk out of places like Wales to processing plants in England close to major populations like London, continue to use the inferior pasteurisation process, and convince people that ‘fresh milk’ (it isn’t) tastes better than UHT milk (it doesn’t). They get more profit this way. Pay farmers less and make a bigger profit on built in obsolescence (product goes off).

            The Welsh government ‘agreed’ with the major processing lobbyists of England, even though there was massive inward investment on the table from major dairy manufacturers from France, Spain and the US. They could have opened new micro-factories in existing centres in places like Llandeilo and Hendy-Gwyn (Whitland). They also fell for the ponsey ‘processing is bad’ brigade which a cancer from England that has infected rural Wales.

            If the Welsh Government had listened to dairy farmers and learned from practice of industry outside the UK, we’d have new state-of-the-art dairy processing in Wales, with valuable exports, employing thousand of people in Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion. Not only that, it would have been with the original recommendation of the ‘panel of scientists’ which was set up by the UK Government in Westminster. An opportunity to un-chain Welsh dairy farmers from the supermarkets. How can you let such an opportunity be squandered? Of course, at the time the Agriculture Minister for Wales at the time was Elin Jones (Plaid Cymru) who spent more time listening to hippies who knit their own ponchos than the farmers of her constituency who were being robbed of cash on every litre of milk produced.

            This issue needs to be re-visited.

            Pasteurised milk needs to be processed close to the point of distribution/sale.
            UHT milk is best produced nearest the cows, and can be shipped anywhere.

            Also, organic milk (the premium product) can be UHTed with modern micro-plant. We should be providing the farming co-operatives with grants to invest in such plant, not dishing out cash to ‘eco-good-lifers’ who arrive from England and fail to include the costs to the NHS or education system of them settling in Wales with their ‘sustainability models’.

            •  

              This is fantastic. It should reach a wider audience, so I’ve put it out in a tweet.

              •  

                Recommeded viewing…

                Loriau Mansel Davies a’i Fab.
                S4C.
                18 Ionawr 21:30

                See milk from Cilycwm being sent to Gloucestershire and recycled cardboard from Cwm Environmental (Carmarthenshire Council) being shipped to China.

            •  

              Hear, hear ! Excellent piece of work.

              The absence of any real noise from the 2 farming unions is also alarming. They seem to be able to get interviewed on BBC Wales and Newyddion S4C whenever they want to sound off about grants, EU, even milk prices, yet I don’t recall anyone from NFU Wales or FUW piping up about the validity of this idea. Even some well thought out reservations or contary views would have, at least, registered some life in the industry’s representatives. And Elin Jones is surrounded by rural A.M’s in South West Wales while North and Mid Wales also have a large number of agri orientated constituencies.

              Brings me back, sadly, to my earlier comment – “Does anyone in the Senedd think – at all ?”

            •  

              A neat bit of ‘outside the box’ thinking there Brychan. Nice one!

              From an industrial/ economic viewpoint what you say about UHT milk makes an awful lot of sense. HOWEVER – it’s not the angel of the food world.

              It has been found that Pasteur’s original heating technique doesn’t kill all bacteria, which is why pasteurized milk must be kept cool and used within a couple of days after opening. So although it is not as good for us as fresh milk from the cow, it is not totally dead – nutritionally wise.

              Normal pasteurization heats milk to around 70 – 75 °C for 15 seconds, — but the newer technique heats at up to 150 °C for 5 seconds. This is why it is called ultra-high temperature (“UHT”) milk, which is what you see written on the cartons. At such a temperature, all harmful pathogens, including spores, are killed, as well as the enzymes which could spoil the milk, which is why you can keep it at room temperature for months, as long as it isn’t opened. The milk also goes directly into the container after heating, which eliminates possible contamination. Great BUT the milk is well and truly dead.

              The process kills all the bad bacteria and all the nutrients etc. along with all the good bacteria (probiotics) and enzymes that our bodies need. Good for processors and end sellers – bad for consumers, and God knows that we are already suffering badly from what is done to our food, what’s added to it through ‘processing’ and the shit that it’s exposed to when grown or produced by our dairy herds.

              Now, the way forward in my mind is to supply milk at the farm gate, wholesome fresh milk, produced by organically fed and reared healthy cows. All the crap about tuberculosis and brucellosis is a load of rubbish anyway. Heat treating milk was never proven to be the factor in reducing these diseases, hence the reason why all dairy herds are tested for them. All dairy herds are now tuberculosis and brucellosis free in the UK. So why heat treat milk anyway? Because it extends it’s life for the benefit of the supermarkets – it’s a logistic problem that’s palmed off as a health issue. Because milk is collected in huge quantities for processing and then travels thousands of miles to get to the shelf, it has to last longer – indefinitely in the case of UHT milk. THAT’S the reason it is so popular in Europe and places like China.

              Pasteurization has killed the dairy markets. From 20-50 percent of the western hemisphere’s population cannot drink pasteurized milk, either because of faulty digestion or lactose intolerance, but yet most of those same people can drink ‘raw’ milk – because it is whole with all of the enzymes and beneficial bacteria.

              What we need to think about is bringing the consumer nearer to the producer. Bring back the days when dairy producers ran dairy shops and had a milk round. many a Cardi made his fortune in London, with a herd of cows fed on hay all year round in cowsheds in the middle of the city, a dairy shop and a milk round. Bring it all back I say (less the water of course ).

              •  

                There is a myth that UHT milk tastes different or nutritionally inferior to pasteurised milk. This was the case in the 1960s and 70s because the technology had not been perfected (injecting superheated steam into the pressure vessel). It’s improved dramatically with modern control systems and can now be done on a small scale.

                The process is (a) Filter, (b) Deaeration (vacuum tank), (c) Pasteurisation 150C, (d) cooling, (e) UHT pressure vessel 280C, (f) Homogenisation 200bar and (g) aseptic packaging. There is no difference between the ‘goodness’ content of the UHT carton and the plastic bottle of ‘pasteurised’ product found in supermarkets as that undergoes stages a, b, d, f, anyway.

                I think you are referring to a comparison with the ‘old fashioned’ pasteurisation process of the glass bottle non-homogenised variety which used to stratify (separate) on the doorstep giving a cream top. This WAS a nutritionally superior product, but the average consumer can’t get this any more.

                You are also wrong about France. The difference is the French didn’t have the Great Western Railway, who originally invented ‘food miles’ for pasteurisation, shipping milk out of Wales and the West Country to London by train. Milk all over France was ‘raw’ until relatively recently. There the dairy industry developed differently. Sophisticated raw product was developed, hence great local cheese being highly profitable. Transport of drinkable milk never existed in France prior to the UHT process.

                Now?
                Here is a modern UHT plant..
                http://i00.i.aliimg.com/photo/v0/274034984/Milk_UHT_Sterilizing_Machine.jpg
                It costs about the same as a modern milking parlour.

                If a ‘capital fund’ was set up by the Welsh Government for these machines to be purchased by Welsh dairy co-operatives, raw product could be prioritised and directed in to money spinning bespoke cheeses, no need to meet quotas from supermarket contracts. Milk volume would suit the herd rather than the Tesco/Asda buying contract. A farm could just fill shipping containers of UHT tetrapacks. It could be Welsh herd branded product. The containers could be shipped out once a month or when the farmer gets a good bid. We would gain diversity by quality rather than the bland product that currently exists, and the value added would stay in rural Wales.

                It would be doing for milk what the likes of Rhug Estates do for beef. Nobody gawps at a decent organic steak wrapped in a sterilised plastic bag.

                The only resistance will be from the ‘British’ supermarkets. Well fuck them. We should work with the Germans. Aldi and Lidl. Better product at a better price with the farmer pocketing the value added (like in Germany and France). Perhaps MPs from Montgomeryshire or AMs from the Vale should take a look at the cash in their own herds and start reading blogs like this.

              •  

                BG – Let’s stick to the facts.

                UHT results in Thiamin reduced from 0.45 to 0.42 mg/L, vitamin B 12 is reduced from 3.0 to 2.7 µg/L, and vitamin C is reduced from 2.0 to 1.8 mg/L. Riboflavin is a heat stable vitamin and is not affected by severe heat treatments. Potter et al 1984. You will see that effect is not in any way significant.

                The ‘digestion’ issue no longer applies as calcium phosphate that precipitates out of solution (the burnty taste of years ago) which causes changes in the casein micelle structure which is the bit a human stomach enzyme finds difficult to break down, is now avoided as the high temperature is of less duration. It not longer tastes ‘burnt’.

                Update – My test….

                You will need (a) a pint of Calon Wen organic, (b) a pint of Co-Op pasteurised standard, (c) a pint of Arla UHT. (d) a girlfriend/wife/partner. Feed to subject as a blind taste test. She will identify (a) but will not be able to tell the difference between (b) and (c). Even after five goes. My suggestion is that we keep (a) in Wales, as it won’t travel anyway. Substitute (b) with (c) to be sent to the English, the extra profit staying in Wales.

                My only concern is trying to explain that putting a blindfold on her was not going to result in something more adventurous. Just say you’ve been to Carmarthenshire and helping Plaid Cymru develop a credible rural investment policy. I trust my research and experiment means I can consider myself a ‘consultant’ and the Welsh Government is going to book me a five star hotel in the Bae?

                •  

                  I’m sure all your facts are mostly correct Brychan – when it comes to Thiamin, vitamin B 12, vitamin C & Riboflavin. However I did not mention any of those vitamins did I? Although they are reduced.

                  What I did refer to was the total damage to the bacterial content (good and bad varieties) and the effect that the processes of pasteurizing – both lower temperature and ultra heat treated methods have on the human body, hence the reason why those amongst us who have a faulty digestion or lactose intolerance suffer through the use of pasteurized milk – in fact between 20 & 50% of the population – thanks in no small measure to the popularity in recent decades of pasteurizing milk.

                  Heat treatment also destroys enzymes found in raw milk, and changes the molecular structure of milk. According to Lee Dexter, a microbiologist and many other similar researchers (predominantly Australian scientists – where there is a very big dairy industry) have found that ultra-pasteurization (at very high temperatures) is an extremely harmful process to inflict on the fragile components of milk. Dexter explains that milk proteins are complex, three-dimensional molecules. They are broken down and digested when special enzymes fit into the parts that stick out. Rapid heat treatments like pasteurization, and especially ultra-pasteurization, actually flatten the molecules so the enzymes cannot do their work. If such proteins pass into the bloodstream (a frequent occurrence in those suffering from “leaky gut,” a condition that can be brought on by drinking processed commercial milk), the body perceives them as foreign proteins and mounts an immune response. That means a chronically overstressed immune system and much less energy available for growth and repair. This is not the case with ‘raw’ milk. The French were very wise to use it for so long, however due to transportation pressures they are now using more UHT milk – it will be interesting to note the results if anyone wants to conduct a before & after survey on the incidences of faulty digestion or lactose intolerance suffered through the increased use of pasteurized milk in France.

                  You also mention changes in taste, I did not mention that, and did not make an issue of it, however there is a distinct change in taste that I personally can detect with UHT milk, I’m sure many others do as well, even with new processing techniques. However, that is neither here or there. What I was getting at was the issues with pasteurization of milk from a health point of view. Pasteurization and homogenisation denature foods. They alter the chemical structure of food, make fats rancid, destroy nutrients and result in the formation of free radicals in the body. We all know the effect of free radicals. It’s not just dairy anymore either. Pasteurization is used on everything from fruit juices to shelled nuts.

                  Whilst I wholeheartedly agree with you about how the dairy industry should function in our country, my issue is with UHT processes. Use of ‘raw’ milk should be encouraged and milk producing farmers should have a closer link with the consumer, cutting out the processing and retailing middle men. Their product (raw milk) should be distributed on a far more local level, allowing it to be consumed in a shorter time from ‘udder to glass’ and the public should be more aware of the bad health risks and effects of processed milk and all other food products that are tampered with, in order to artificially extend their shelf life, or their ripening cycle. or their flavour. That’s why I grow my own veg. and try to get my hands on raw milk.

                  Incidentally, being ‘organic’ but still pasteurized is still harmful, many believe that the label ‘organic’ make it OK. As for taste, any chemist will tell you that to enhance, or make anything taste ‘right’ or better simply involves the addition of a flavour or flavour enhancer. That’s why your local Chinese restaurant serves up such delicious meals – it’s full of monosodium glutamate (MSG). That is a flavour enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups and processed meats. Double blind studies on the effects of MSG have been done. These are studies where neither the participants nor the ones administering the study know who consumed MSG. Everything’s randomized and controlled by researchers a step removed from the process. And, guess what? Even these double blind studies also found that MSG exposure caused muscle tightness, fatigue, numbness or tingling, and flushing in sensitive people. You should read the book ‘Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills’ by Dr. Russell L. Blaylock.

                  I’m not for one minute saying that UHT milk causes any of the symptoms above, the point that I’m making is that ‘taste tests’ count for nothing.

                  •  

                    Udder to glass CAN work in South West Wales.

                    Welsh milk is made by cows that graze on natural pasture 10 months per year. Further north the winters are too dark, further east and the winters too frosty and the summers too dry. The English have three options (a) grain fed puss piss from indoor husbandry, (b) transporting tanker-loads from Wales to mega-pasteurisation plants in England, this is what we have now, with Welsh framers being shafted or (c) UHTed organic milk wholly manufactured in Wales. We now have the technology, just need the investment.

                    I’m sure we could make a premium product for those with iffy tummies, and some of that could end up in Waitrose. In fact, we should keep the good stuff and make quality cheese, and put those natural bacteria to good use. However, the major health hazard for most people in England who buy supermarket milk is not the UHT process but them drinking too much Coca Cola. My suggestion is a way to repatriate value added to milk product back to Wales, and the jobs that come with it.

                    The biggest threat to the rural environment is glycophosphate used in the grain cycle. Grain used to run dairy herds in the parts of England that are naturally unsuitable for cattle. Grain fed freaky animals pumped full of hormones and anti-biotics. All I’m proposing is heat treated milk from natural pasture and normal cows. Nothing added except profits for Welsh farmers. Instead of writing cheques to hippies to grow their own carrots and shit on sawdust, we should offer investment to micro-processing machinery close to the farm instead of sending the profits elsewhere.

                    And before the ‘green lobby’ jumps down my throat, what I’m proposing is to save the fens of England as natural wetland, the Chilterns for plums and the Downs for apples, in return more cow pats on Welsh hillsides, and reduce the carbon footprint of distribution.

                    I thank Jac for allowing this discussion to go on a bit. This debate should be in the Senedd chamber, but nobody listens.

                    •  

                      Thank you. I haven’t contributed because I know bugger all about milk processing.

                      What I do know is that I remember the milk plants closing in the south west back in the ’70s and ’80s and wondering why no one was doing anything about it. I realise now that running down the economy of rural Wales, denying jobs to local people, was part of a wider strategy.

                      Plus of course, as a regular traveller on the A487, I encounter Mansel Davies trucks far too often.

                      I suggest that this subject is now exhausted, so before someone says the wrong thing, let’s call it a day.

                    •  

                      Thanks to Brychan and Gee for airing this subject in such detail. Obviously there is so much more to it – using the jargon currently fashionable among the political talking heads, it’s not simply a binary choice !!. This conversation has served to reinforce the impression that more sense gets written on this site than is ever uttered at Cynulliad or in the offices of the regiments of support staff who must be the biggest collection of overpaid drips in Wales.

                      A.M’s reading this recent dialogue need to ask themselves WTF have they been doing with their time over the last 18 years. Agriculture has been on the Cynulliad menu for most, or all, of that period as has industrial strategy, yet there is no record of anything like this ever being discussed in depth. Even M.P’s with a UK wide brief appear to have been more focussed on sucking farm grants out of the EU CAP tit within a status quo model than crafting a vision for change which would actually benefit producers and consumers alike.

                      Perhaps the Centre for Political Studies ( Cardiff Uni ) or whatever it calls itself, or the IWA , would like to launch a Master’s programme to study the low productivity and lack of capacity for change management in our institutions, or are they too wedded to the political regime to venture into such territory ?

                    •  

                      Well I thoroughly enjoyed that little sensible and civilized side debate. Can I just say in closing that I really appreciate Brychan’s contribution, I thoroughly agree with his proposal for a system that WOULD work for our dairy farming industry here in Cymru, the only thing we disagree with is the actual product, but the idea is absolutely spot-on.

                      For anyone who is interested in the remarks made by Brychan re. grain (maize) fed cows, (and he is absolutely right on this one), check out this podcast from Radio 4’s Food Chain programme:
                      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04nmy27

                      Also interesting is Brychan’s reference to Glyphosate. If you’re interested I wrote an article on Glyphosate on my ‘Gardeners Chat-Shed’ website a few years back. Here’s a link to it:
                      http://gardenerschat-shed.net/forum/gardening_wisdoms/glyphosate_the_ultimate_killing_machine.htm

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