Mar 242017
 

Swansea Labour Party

I have it on good authority that the all-conquering Swansea Labour Party is raring to go in May’s council elections. Well oiled, with palms greased and muscles flexed from Clydach High Street to Caswell Bay. Even as you read this leafleting teams – each member carrying a 90kg rucksack – will be training by racing up and down Kilvey Hill. Platitudes are being practised and – should honeyed words fail – brass knuckles polished.

Well, perhaps I exaggerate.

It is at this point I must apologise to whoever sent me interesting information about the line-up for May . . . information I’m afraid I’ve lost, sorry. The problem is that I’m still trying to get straight after my recent computer disaster. But never mind, I shall press on with what I’ve got.

It seems that things are not well for the bruvvers on my home patch, and even worse as we look around the Bay.

First, the Clays, Bob and Uta, have upped sticks and gone. They drifted into town a few years ago, he’s English and a former MP for Sunderland North, she’s Austrian. They were immediately accepted as candidates by the Labour Party, yet they’ve spent their brief time in the city playing left wing politics and plotting against ‘colleagues’, now they’re moving on having done sod all for Swansea, their only contribution being to keep up Labour numbers on the council.

One of those hoping to replace the Clays in the Llansamlet ward is Maureen ‘Mo’ Sykes, who has appeared in this blog afore, due to her connection with the YMCA. See here, here and here.

Like the Clays and so many of the city’s recent Labour councillors Sykes is not native to Swansea or to Wales. But what the hell! Labour is an internationalist party . . . or was until it realised that most Labour voters went for Brexit due to concerns over immigration. So if Labour don’t fall into line, then those voters will switch to Ukip (even if they remain sceptical about Paul Nuttall’s claim to have scored the winning goal in the 1966 World Cup Final).

Plaid Cymru

‘But, surely’ you cry, ‘Plaid Cymru must be strong in Swansea, and putting up a raft of of inspiring candidates?’ I fear not. The last time the Jack electorate was offered credible Plaid candidates with whom they could identify was when me and my mates stood back in the ’60s and ’70s. You want to know why Plaid Cymru is almost invisible in Swansea?

First, there’s the widespread perception that Plaid is a ‘Cardiff party’. In other words, part of the ‘bubble’ that sees Cardiff get a disproportionate share of investment and everything else. This may be felt in other areas, but is more keenly felt in Cardiff’s only rival.

Second, and another reason that the party has difficulty connecting with ordinary people, is because of its obsession with ‘progressive’ politics and other bollocks that makes it hostage to single-issue obsessives and outright charlatans. Here’s an example.

Mynydd y Gwair

The long saga of Mynydd y Gwair is drawing to a close. A windfarm will soon rise on an unspoilt landscape on the edge of Swansea. Local graziers – all Welsh – will lose out to the German energy company erecting the turbines, and the Duke of Beaufort, who owns the land, much of it acquired in confiscations from Welsh landowners (among them, it is suggested, Owain Glyndŵr). Yet Plaid Cymru has done nothing to help the people of the area.

Plaid Cymru may indeed be ‘the Party of Wales’ but in its pathetic attempt to avoid the ‘narrow nationalist’ slander it refuses to acknowledge the existence of a distinct, Welsh people, promoting instead something called ‘civic nationalism’ which, when used by Plaid Cymru, is just a cop-out.

On Mynydd y Gwair, Plaid’s desperation to avoid the slander, coupled with its support for environmentalist shysters, has led the party to support a German energy company and an English aristocrat against Welsh people.

What sort of a national party is this? Perhaps one for which ‘Wales’ is just a geographical expression.

Plod, Plod, Plodding Along

Before leaving Swansea I must return to the case of Jenny Lee Clarke who, you may remember, was a colleague of Carolyn Harris, now the MP for Swansea East, and claims to have suffered a homophobic assault at the hands of Harris. (An incident that Plaid Cymru, opposed to bullying and homophobia, chose to ignore.)

In what was almost certainly a tit-for-tat move Clarke was accused of stealing money by somehow paying herself more than she was due. I’m not sure when she was initially charged (lost documents again) but I know that she was bailed, and that this initial bail period was extended until November 7th . . . when it was extended again to February 17th . . . now it’s been extended again to May 17th.

. . . for Labour politicians?

If the police have a case then they should take it to court, if they don’t have a case then they should give this poor woman a break and put an end to her worrying. I cannot believe that it takes so long to investigate a single allegation against one woman – it’s not as if we’re dealing with a complicated conspiracy involving offshore accounts used by Russian hackers.

The way the police have treated Jenny Lee Clarke makes them look incompetent. An alternative explanation, seeing as the allegation against Clarke comes from a Labour MP, one against whom she had made a serious allegation, and remembering that the South Wales PCC, Alun Michael, is a former Labour MP, might be that political influence explains this woman’s appalling treatment.

Comrades Lost on the Port Talbot Front

Around the Bay, in Neath Port Talbot, there has been internecine blood-letting on a scale unrecorded since the Peloponnesian War. The ground in Port Talbot is said to be red with the blood of fallen comrades, knives protruding from their backs, with as many as half of the sitting Labour councillors deselected, and perhaps eleven of them planning to stand as Independents in May. This could get really nasty. (Rubs hands gleefully!)

A similar situation is reported from Bridgend council, especially up around Maesteg, and from other areas such as Caerfilli, and Cardiff. It would appear that in some local authority areas ‘Welsh’ Labour is fighting a – largely unreported – civil war.

Llandovery YMCA

Hesitantly now, I cross the mighty Llwchwr into Carmarthenshire, but give Sosban a wide berth, for Cneifiwr is doing a grand job there in exposing the manifest shortcomings of the oddballs, dissemblers and grotesques collectively known as Llanelli Labour Party. I shall instead hie me away to Llandovery.

Intelligence reached me that the con trick going by the name of Llandovery YMCA had closed its doors. I call it a con trick because its greatest achievement has been to pull in hundreds of thousands of pounds of public funding to create non-jobs for good-lifers. I suggest you read Ancestral Turf and The Impoverishment of Wales (scroll down to ‘YMCA Wales’). There you will encounter in a previous incarnation ‘Mo’ Sykes, would-be successor to the Clays.

put up on March 4th, still closed

Of more immediate relevance could be that the driving force behind this scam, one Jill Tatman, is being prevented from returning to work by other trustees after a period looking after her ‘sick’ husband. I’m told that her husband is not sick at all, but perhaps keeping his own company while on bail for – it is alleged – offences involving children.

A great deal of public money has been poured into Llandovery YMCA for the benefit of a small group of recent arrivals. Given that the whole project seems to have folded there should now be an investigation of the accounts and the wider running of this good-lifers’ benefit fund.

In my Ancestral Turf post you will see a video featuring Gill Wright who branched out by taking over the old North Western Hotel, near the railway station, to run as the Level Crossing bunkhouse. Public funding was secured, but again, the venture collapsed, after just two years.

The old pile has now been bought again, this time to be run as a commercial venture, with no public funding involved. How know I this? Because the new owners sent a message to the contact box you’ll see in the sidebar.

I get some very interesting messages through my ‘Contact Me Directly’ box. Oh yes.

Sweet Charity

News from the north, now.

Over the years I’ve dealt with countless examples of the ‘Welsh’ Government blindly throwing money around in the vain hope that this will be mistaken for an economic strategy. As we know, much of this money goes to Labour Party members and hangers-on in the Third Sector; Naz Malik and the family business AWEMA being a classic example.

When it’s not going to Labourites other ways are found to squander public funding, such as showering money on the grant grabbers of Llandovery and their counterparts across the land. I’ve often thought that this group seems to make up for the lack of a Labour presence in rural areas.

For the electoral map tells us that there are fewer opportunities to reward party loyalty when we travel west of Wrecsam and Llanelli, or north of Merthyr. But little outposts of bruvverdom can still be found. One such example would be the patch of Councillor Siôn Wyn Jones in Bethel, a village to the north east of Caernarfon on the B4366.

Now I’m sure that one-time estate agent Siôn is a conscientious councillor working hard for his community, for he never tires of telling people how hard he works and how much money he’s raised for that community. But questions are being asked about his running of the village hall, Neuadd Goffa Bethel.

Back in 2013 the Neuadd was given £294,811.88 in capital grants by the ‘Welsh’ Government for a revamp. Which gave Carwyn Jones the opportunity to venture into Plaid Cymru territory to remind locals how much ‘Welsh’ Labour was doing for them.

The revamped Neuadd is a fine asset for Bethel, but questions persist. Such as, why have no accounts or annual returns been filed with the Charity Commission for two years? And why is Siôn Wyn Jones the sole trustee of the Neuadd? Because the Charity Commission recommends at least three trustees. We know young Siôn is multi-talented, but is he serving as chairman, secretary and treasurer?

I’m sure there are simple answers to these questions and equally sure that Siôn Wyn Jones will ensure that everything is soon tickety-boo. For hark! I hear the returning officer call the candidates to the stage.

P.S. I should have mentioned that even though Gwynedd Council is controlled by Plaid Cymru the local funding agency, Mantell Gwynedd, is firmly under Labour Party control. Described to me as a “Labour closed shop”. Which means that even in an area where Labour is weak, ‘loyalty’ can still be bought and rewarded. An interesting insight into how ‘Welsh’ Labour manages to control the purse-strings even in those areas where it is rejected by the electorate.

‘J Jones’

Those of us who spend too much time on the internet, and especially on sites that deal with Wales, will be familiar with ‘J Jones’, an exceptionally prolific writer whose mission in life seems to be proving that we’d all be eating caviare in the backs of our chauffeur-driven Rollers . . . if only we killed off the Welsh language.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I believe that ‘J Jones’ is our old friend, that son of the Balkans, Jacques Protic. I say that for a number of reasons. To begin with, over the years Protic has used many aliases, he may even have been Bilingo, for what really brings down the red mist for Protic is kids being taught Welsh, or worse, being educated through the medium of Welsh.

A further link is that ‘J Jones’ claims to be living on Ynys Môn, which, by a strange coincidence, is where Jacques Protic lives.

Until quite recently, Protic and ‘J Jones’ seemed to work as a team, appearing on the same blog or website feeding off each other. But we seem to be reading less from Protic nowadays and more from ‘J Jones’, who may be trying to explain the Protic reticence in the comment below, made in December to a Cardiff University blog by Professor Roger Scully.

Significantly, the police doing “nothing” to protect Jacques Protic from nationalist lynch mobs is a refrain we’ve heard from Protic himself. It has even been taken up by Labour blogger Phil Parry. To savour his take on the persecution of Jacques Protic – and my role in it! – work back from (takes deep breath), If Third-Rate Journalism Reliant On Endless Repetition Was A Crime Then Phil Parry Would Have Been Banged Up Long Ago.

‘J Jones’ of course shares the Protic obsession with education, to the extent that towards the end of 2015 he even commissioned a survey with YouGov into attitudes to Welsh language education. How much does it cost to have your own survey? How much of an obsessive do you have to be to arrange one? Or is someone else paying?

I suggest that newspapers, magazines, blogs and websites, take rather more care than hitherto when dealing with comments and other contributions from ‘J Jones’, if only because he doesn’t exist.

Brexit

To finish, a little contribution from another source who tells me that Whitehall mandarins are in a tizzy because they fear May and her Three Brexiteers may be planning to do a runner so as to avoid the €60bn ‘divorce settlement’ and other punitive measures that Johnny Foreigner will seek to impose.

The scenario runs thus: Once the German elections are out of the way at the end of September a spat will be contrived that will see the UK raise two fingers to her erstwhile partners in the EU and walk away without paying anything.

I’m still trying to get my head around this, and figure out how it might impact on Scotland. Surely it would be a gift for the SNP? And what about us?

I’m sure my erudite and imaginative readers will have opinions on this and the other matters raised in this post.

♦ end ♦

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46 Comments on "News Round-up 24.03.2017"

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Red Flag
Guest

It would appear that in some local authority areas ‘Welsh’ Labour is fighting a – largely unreported – civil war.

Surely not. To suggest such a thing would mean you are accusing the nation’s two esteemed regional rags (Western Mail and Daily Post) of being little more than Labour Party sock puppets and propaganda sheets – which as we all know is a totally scurrilous and groundless accusation.

treforus
Guest

On that subject, the decision by Trinity Mirror to subsume the Evening Post website into Walesonline has gone down like a cup of cold vomit in Swansea. Having the section for Swansea news surrounded by an advert for season tickets for Cardiff City on week one of the change was decidedly unfortunate. And in the great tradition of South West Wales, no-one can find the “deaths” anymore, the main attraction for its elderly readers.

Red Flag
Guest

May and her Three Brexiteers may be planning to do a runner so as to avoid the €60bn ‘divorce settlement’ and other punitive measures that Johnny Foreigner will seek to impose

I’ve always thought that there is ni way we will waste two years exchanging meaningless pleasantries chatting to the gibbering clowns of the EU. I’ve always thought that the more logical thing to do would be to shove in a list of demands and if they don’t yield then turn our backs and walk away and bollocks to them.

And good bloody riddance (sooner the better)

Private_Partz
Guest

I would bet my last fiver that the EU is far better prepared for the talks than May and her no hopers. It is in the EU’s interests to make the UK suffer. The choice, once the button is pressed, is either Hard Brexit or Continued membership at additional cost.
I agree with your previous comments regarding our joke of a National Media. They are a bunch of rugby supporting, Welsh Labour, Cardiff centric incompetents.

dafis
Guest

Just love the way all those M.P’s are basking in the bravery of 1 or 2 members who did jump in and responded to the demented assassin but most of them were quite happy to be in lock down as long as they had access to a shithouse as they were( mostly) shitting bricks. Now they want greater security while they will use the incident to justify even more snooping and intrusion powers. Not much if anything will be done to protect the innocent public just going about their daily grind paying for these pampered fat cats “at the House”.

On reflection it’s a shame that the old nut didn’t get in and slash some of those lazy troughers although the worst offenders were probably absent anyway filling their boots elsewhere while pretending to represent our interests. Did teach us however that once one of the senior ministers’ gunmen get you in his sights it’s a one way ticket to them pearly gates, or the virgins’ saloon, or whatever your faith has in store for you !

Red Flag
Guest

How prepared each side is or is not isn’t that important, the bottom line is we can walk away the same day as we trigger A50 and just opt for WTO tariffs and ignore the EU from then on if we so choose and there is nothing the EU can do about it – they are a paper tiger and they know it and their main worry is if other nations see how weak they really are. (that and the small fact of the massive hole in their budget because we are a nett contributor, that the next tranche of member states will all be nett recipients, the on-going problems with the euro, the EU elections being less than 2 years away, Erdogan threatening to empty the refugee camps into the EU unless he’s paid more Dane Geld, Putin – and Trump. And the EU has to deal with all that at the same time as deal with us).

Trump is refusing to talk to the EU – his (and now the USAs) policy is that he will only talk to individual countries, not trading blocs.

The EU wants us gone before the next European elections – it doesn’t want us being an issue. We wil be gone far quicker than most people think.

dafis
Guest

wandering off topic before we even get started – Private Eye confirms itself as a less than half-witty piece of recreational reading for Anglo Brits who like to take a sly dig at the “Establishment” but in reality are very content with their stake in it. As for Lincoln Grove, well that sounds like some suburban city street where perverts gather to play with little boys. Maybe he could write in and tell us more about his miserable self.

Anonymous
Guest

The UK is legally obliged to pay its divorce bill under treaty obligations. If it reneges on its financial contracts with the EU the Bond Markets will slaughter the UK.

Red Flag
Guest

The UK is legally obliged to pay its divorce bill under treaty obligations. If it reneges on its financial contracts with the EU the Bond Markets will slaughter the UK.

It isn’t actually. Under international law treaties aren’t actually legally binding – they are just ‘gentlemen’s agreements’. And the bond markets won’t slaughter the UK at all – quite the opposite. The UK possesses a sovereign currency and the government in effect buys it’s own debt – that’s it’s attraction.

Anonymous
Guest

That’s not how markets work. The UK debt is over $1 trillion – who do you think owns this debt, the UK government. NO – International Capital Markets. When Carney says the UK relies on the kindness of strangers that’s what he is talking about. The UKs divorce bill are commitments its contractually obliged to pay for – a bit like staying at a hotel and before you leave your met with a bill for the mini bar: what do you say – I’m not paying that! Renege on a bill to one institution all other institutions will immediately start trying to sell their uk debt – gilts etc, you’ve essentially indicated to the markets you are an at risk borrower. Watch borrowing rates rise – your risk premium increases and watch the immediate knock on effect on the real economy, if you thought Northern Rock was terrible, it will look like a picnic.

If you have a bad credit rating and your looking for a loan, no one will give you one because your credit history is bad- period. Works for governments as well. Reneging is not an option besides the 60bn GBP money owed to the EU is to pay for wages, pension contributions, CAP etc till 2020, things the UK benefits from.

http://www.economicshelp.org/blog/334/uk-economy/uk-national-debt/

Red Flag
Guest

It is how the international markets work actually. One of my daughters is a banker for a major German bank and is based in Luxembourg. You’d be surprised at what the international money markets think of us leaving the EU – but I’ll give you a clue. given the option of investing in us or investing in the EU, it’s us they prefer and us they see as the more stable side of the equation. Incidentally, between themselves the banks don’t believe the euro will survive another decade and as soon as they have euro obligations they off-load them. Bit like pass the parcel but with a ticking bomb.

We don’t have any contractual obligations to the EU and there is nothing they can do to try and force us to pay without causing major damage to themselves.

In the mean time the Bank of England will lend the UK government whatever it needs (as it always has done) in return for long term gilts that it will shove in the bottom drawer and simply roll-over as they become due (as it always has done) while at the same time continuing to quietly buy up government debt on the international markets and shove that into the bottom drawer as well (as it always has done) And that’s something the EU can’t do.

Brychan
Guest

Surely a German bank already based in Luxembourg will already be a specialist in overseas activity, anyway. Such a bank already operates there for purpose of being inside the EU but in a domestic tax and regulation regime to maximise returns of current activity outside the EU. Brexit provides an opportunity for such a bank. So what your daughter is telling you is opportunities for that particular bank and nothing to do with ‘survival of the euro’.

———–

The European Central Bank and the Bank of England are “lenders of last resort”.

Commercial banks, however, merely purchase value from them in whatever currency is best at any point in time and to spread risk. To say that such commercial banks “do not believe in the euro”, is nonsense. Their confidence in any currency, pounds, dollars, or euros, depends on what confidence they have in the ability of ‘lender of last resort’ to back up value with state debt and taxation.

The debt of the ECB is being diluted by a current surge in economic growth in the eurozone. I question whether the debt of the Bank of England can count on such economic growth in the UK, after Brexit. Commercial banks, therefore will hedge (spread) their risk by purchasing gilts (state backed chunks of value) from the lenders of last resort. It is this trade that is a true indication of future expectations of the commercial banks. The BoE is not issuing attractive gilts because it does not have confidence in being able to raise domestic taxation or have enough domestic economic growth to underwrite them.

Commercial banks buy government debt off the lenders of last resort. These lenders of last resort, however, are at the mercy of the state (or multi-state) debt. They have no choice. They are at the mercy of their guarantors. This is why they set the interest rates that apply. It’s also why inflation in the pound zone is putting pressure on the BoE. Inflation is a dilution of value, hence the need to increase interest rates.

——————

It boils down to how much extra can a Welsh household pay extra on the mortgage.

German factories are not fussed as they can finance their investments using profit growth and the German workforce keeps getting pay raises. Welsh workers won’t. Welsh people will be paying the to support the Bank of England and bailing out UK debt.

Andrew Williams
Guest

Her job is in a department where they specifically ,dispose, of anything euro-based for their clients (which includes countries). They do it by slicing and dicing (remember where that ended up in 2008?) and dumping them, usually into the pension market where the organisations (including them funnily enough) are only interested in commission, – not long term viability. The reason that department is in Luxembourg is because of the secrecy surrounding banking there along with the lax rules and the ease with which they can operate without ‘intrusion’.

Pay rises (and salaries) are irrelevant. It.s what your pay can buy in your local market that’s important. You can live the life of luxury in a large villa with staff and all the gear in India for less than £20K. £12K in Thailand likewise ( I have mates living on Army pensions living in both and living that way) When I was just a married Corporal in Homg Kong in the early 1980’s I employed a full time house maid and used to take the wife and kids to the Mandarin Hotel for sunday lunch – where each table had their own two waiters. I could do neither in the UK.

“I question whether the debt of the Bank of England can count on such economic growth in the UK, after Brexit.” The UK is forecast to grow faster than both the EU and the euro zone for the next three decades.

O

Brychan
Guest

I don’t actually envy your British Army experience, getting the natives to work as maids and waiters, in far-flung parts of the colonies, and a tidy villa in India. However, you are correct to point out the importance of ‘what you can buy with a pay rise’ being important. The pound is worth 23% less!!

I also don’t buy into your Brexit bring back the empire ‘forecasts’.

We have to look at the facts….
https://www.markiteconomics.com/Survey/PressRelease.mvc/db14683fbb5941638c8c6bdec0496aa6?s=1

Will your daughter be taking up citizenship in the EU after Brexit?

Her financial genius slicing and dicing up financial products of fictitious value based of future faith, hidden by secrecy, ignoring the maths (see link to EuroZone actuals) would no doubt be useful in obtaining capital sums for lagoons and barrages in Wales, underwritten by future electric bills. There’s an orange skinned African of similar calibre who’s already on the case. You could dress up in your old corporal uniform and make a film called Bridge over the River Tawe, with you whistling rule Britannia.

The good thing about Brexit is the destruction of the United Kingdom.
The EU may well benefit, and that’s where the clever money is going.

Red Flag
Guest

Oh, and under the Article 50 procedure, we are for want of a better description susoended from the minute we trigger it. Very earky on in the negotiations we will lose our place on the Council, our MEPs will no longer take part, we will not be involved in any of the committees or planning units etc etc..\\Inshort, from that moment on, anything the EU does has got nothing to do with us – and that includes any bills it runs up.

daffy2012
Guest
Andrew Williams
Guest

It’s a simplistic thing. A lot of that debt isn’t actually a problem.

daffy2012
Guest

I don’t want to take this discussion away from Jac’s post but that’s nonsense. That debt still has to be repayed. And the money which the BOE has pulled out of a hat is just ‘money’ it’s created out of thin air. You mention Red Flag that the BOE will continue in this way ‘as it has always done’. But the financial trickery they and other central banks in many countries are involved in are unprecedented and no-one knows how this will end. And it’s highly unlikely to end well according to many historians who have studied the history of currencies. And you know as well as I do that most of this money has gone into creating enormous real estate / stock market bubbles globally……none more so than in London.

Brychan
Guest

There was a crowd funding attempt to raise cash for Llandovery YMCA.
It is here..http://www.leetchi.com/c/nonprofit-charity-club-jill-tatman
So far they have raised only £640 for the £10,000.

You will notice that the contact phone number for this funding attempt is
01550 777149.
This is the landline for the Ty Gwyn Tea Rooms, Llanwrda.
http://www.tygwyn.co.uk/index.htm

Big Gee
Admin

Apparently the UK has no legal duty to pay a multi-million pound Brexit divorce bill, or so say the peers (or at least the ones who still show some signs of life).

The EU has signalled it wants the UK to cough up 60 billion euro (£52billion) to cover outstanding budget contributions and cover pension liabilities for Brussels staff. Some say the cost of the ‘divorce’ settlement threatens to derail talks when Theresa May starts Brexit negotiations after triggering Article 50. But a House of Lords report says there is no legal obligation on Britain to pay the amount.

They say, and I quote:
On the basis of the legal opinions we have considered we conclude that, as a matter of EU law, Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) allows the UK to leave the EU without being liable for outstanding financial obligations under the EU budget”.

They add:
Individual EU member states may seek to bring a case against the UK for the payments of outstanding liabilities under principles of public international law, but international law is slow to litigate and hard to enforce.In addition, it is questionable whether an international court or tribunal could have jurisdiction“.

The peers also questioned the £52 billion figure the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is reportedly demanding. They said the amount of any settlement was “hugely speculative” with “almost every element being subject to interpretation.

I’ve noticed hugely varying numbers banded about (what’s the odd BILLION between ‘friends’!)This suggests that is most definitely a speculative figure (speculation not being a rare beast in the discussions that this referendum on exiting the EU has thrown up).

However, they warned Mrs May might have to agree to a divorce bill in order to reach a favourable deal (more speculation).

An inability to reach agreement on the budget will undermine the Government’s aim to negotiate market access on favourable terms,” they said. (Hmmm – more speculation). It also has to be noted that the report came as ministers were braced for a second defeat in the Lords on the Article 50 Bill.

All hot air bollocks I say – on both sides. The fact is no one has a clue what is actually going to happen, because it’s never been done before and this is all virgin territory without precedence. One thing’s for sure, the politicians love to sound clever, knowledgeable and competent, the barristers just love to pile up their wads of money.

The Earthshaker
Guest

more on the Brexit goings on in Whitehall, Phil Rycroft senior civil servant for ‘nations and regions’ is moving to Brexit department with orders to keep the Union together, by making sure he can thwart the SNP at every turn and stop them gaining political advantage over the upcoming negotiations.

Very noticeable the total lack of talk about Wales for being a good servile lap dog supporting the Union unquestionably and continuing to vote Labour, like we all know they will in May’s council election again.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/25/exclusive-saving-union-scottish-independence-put-heart-brexit/?WT.mc_id=tmg_share_tw

Big Gee
Admin

Indeed, that just about sums it up my friend. Sadly we HAVE become “a good servile lap dog supporting the Union unquestionably”. It makes your heart heavy doesn’t it? That’s what nearly twenty years of the likes of Brit loving people like Carwyn Jones and his cronies before him leading the political process in our country does to our nation of previously proud people. Bradwyr taeog.

Chopper Harley
Guest

While Leanne Wood was something less than inspiring on Question Time last Thursday, listening to Nia Griffiths spouting the Westminster ” we are better together ” line really turned my stomach over. How the woman had the audacity of accuse Leanne Wood of living in “fantasyland ” re a Welsh independence referendum highlights just how introverted and contained within their own little bubble the Labour party really are, both at Westminster and the Senedd.. While not holding my breath, perhaps the LGA elections in May can send the likes of James and Griffiths the message loud and clear that in Wales, they more than anyone live in fantasyland.

The Earthshaker
Guest

it breaks my heart daily especially as you reminded us Wales used to be politically and religiously radical in all sort of ways, but not any more.

Someone wrote on Twitter earlier that Welsh Independence may be Utopian, but no one should be arguing that Wales is doing well under the status quo and that’s what we need to keep repeating to others and telling ourselves when we feel frustrated and disappointed at the state of our country.

I’m not an optimist by nature, but even I feel as if something has changed for the better in the past few weeks, the Brexit fallout may need to hit hard to wake our fellow citizens up, I just hope we find something to unite enough of us around to take Wales forward by then.

On the Welsh Indy question, historian Martin Johns chatted to Desolation Radio in the their latest podcast and as part of the conversation about his book on Wales from 1939 he suggested that from a historians perspective if he were campaigning for Welsh independence he’d focus on the resilience and survival of Wales, welsh people and language despite the lack of political and legal status we’ve had throughout history and how we could make Wales better rather than historical grievances.

It’s a lengthy podcast at almost 1hr 8 mins cover lots of topics, I don’t agree with parts of it, but its worth a listen for an alternative view point if you’ve got time . https://soundcloud.com/desolationradio

Big Gee
Admin

I’m not at all impressed by Dr Martin Johns. He sees Cymru from inside a modern hybrid Anglo-Welsh bubble, reflective of the post industrial south Wales mindset. His understanding of traditional Welsh culture and history is as shallow as a rain puddle. His views and comments are carved out of the assumed reality born out of a hybrid (Wenglish) view of Cymru and it’s people. His focus is on Cymru between the wars & post WW2. Clueless and vacuous. It’s a dead give away when he assumes that the history of Cymru and her peoples only go back 2,000 years i.e. the Roman period. He reminds me of Alf Gwyn Williams – who was another classic wanker in my view. They talk a lot about nothing, with a limited remit. It was a total waste of my time listening to ‘Dr’ Johns – I’m sorry to say.

The Dragon Has Two Tongues

Anonymous
Guest

I don’t know what you interpret as ‘traditional’ in terms of Welsh culture and history as you have neglected to point us to some sources. Dr Martin Johns may well have a shallow understanding, but unless someone provides alternate sources of information refuting his interpretations we will never know.

Gwyn Alf Williams was a lot of things, and I’m sure that his interpretations would indeed get under the skin of some, as his interpretation of Welsh history was maybe often contraversial, but was undeniably Welsh, if not in a ‘traditional’ sense. However, he did have a solid understanding of the importance of myth in the making of national consciousness.

He also had a sound understanding of tradition. Tradition is largely the retention of things that are obsolete, that have little purpose other than being decorative, and preserved for specific purposes. They are a preservation of an idealised past. You only have to look to the pomp and ceremony surrounding the British royal family to realise that – where is mention of the inconvenient facts about what it really represents? And how much is really ‘traditonal’ anyway. Most of it was invented in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Much Welsh tradition was equally invented, as part of the creation of a national myth. The whole razzamataz surrounding the cult of Llewelyn ap Gruffudd is largely a creation of 19th century Welsh nationalism, and today tends to be a figure more favoured by the right in Welsh politics, (as I’m sure many on here will already know!). I’m not being critical here, by the way. I may personally regard the near canonisation of someone who was no more that yet another bastard wannabe feudal overlord trying to carve out his own fiefdom where he could screw the serfs, some of them quite literally with some distaste, but hey, all mythic heroes have feet of clay.

Even the great Owain Glyndwr, who is a far more positive, and on the face of it a far less problematic figure for the national myth, who is palatable across quite a wide spectrum of Welsh political opinion, from right to left has a few skeletons in his garderobe – didn’t he spend some considerable time stoving in the heads of belligerent Scots? That he is a more amenable figure partly because he consciously played on his deep understanding of Welsh myth, and certainly his propagandists were actively in providing spin to that effect.

If Glyndwr were alive today, he’d probably be one of the more radical members of Plaid Cymru, wheras Llwelyn would quite likely be a Tory, or maybe even on the nastier fringes of UKIP, if that suited his purposes. Being Welsh was probably inconveniently incidental to Llywelyn, but for Glyndwr it became his only chance really.

As for your criticism of the foundations of the arguments of historians like Gwyn Alf Williams and Dr Martin Johns, where else would they get their viewpoints from, other than the post-industrial landscape of Wales. And not even South East Wales. Wales, it must be remembered, was the very first industrial nation on the planet, and now, every bit of it is resolutely post-industrial. Even the rural bits depended on industry for much of their survival, and indeed, often had industries not so far away. Modern Wales wouldn’t exist if there had been no industrialisation. Even the Welsh language probably owes it’s (relative) strength to the industrialisation that happened here. If there had been no industrialisation, much of the rapidly rising population would have either had to emigrate, as happened in Ireland, and much of Europe as well, or starved. Industrialisation kept Welsh people in Wales, and until the latter part of the 19th century, kept them Welsh speaking as well.

Finally, the history of the Cymry can only really go back about 2,000 years. History, as any historian will tell you, is based on documentary evidence, so by definition, Welsh history can only go back 2,000 years or so. Previous to that it’s prehistory, the realm of archaeology. Prehistory is just as important, but it’s a different discipline, and the evidence is handled in a very different manner..

You may dislike and fundamentally disagree with the interpretations of the two historians you mention, as is your right, but they aren’t peddling the truth here, merely their understandings and ideas based on the known facts. You disagree with those interpretaions, so it’d be great if you could reference alternative interpretations.

di-enw
Guest

@ Anonomous
“…the history of the Cymry can only really go back about 2,000 years. History, as any historian will tell you, is based on documentary evidence, so by definition, Welsh history can only go back 2,000 years or so. Previous to that it’s prehistory, ”

The history prehistory boundary is only well defined if you insist on basing it on the etymology of the word history. In practice for an increasing number of historians it’s blurred. “History” is what was written by people who could write rather than not written by people that couldn’t write. Stuff happens whether it’s written down or not and there’s no guarantee that what’s written down is an accurate account of events.

Also if you insist on “history” only occurring when it’s written about then although it’s usual for the lives of a few great to written about its also usual for the lives of the many lesser not to be. If you insist on a ridged definition of the terms then you get history and prehistory existing in the same place and time.

Anonymous
Guest

I didn’t make any reference to the history/prehistory boundary being well defined, and anyone who knows anything at all about history would have already been tutored about the ‘fuzzyness’ of that boundary.

I think it’s a given that it’s only those who can write can leave a documentary legacy, which is indeed why we tend to know more about the more powerful than we do about the ordinary person in history. However there are always other streams of evidence that can build a picture of what life was like for the majority, even if it was all too often ‘nasty, brutish and short’.

Of course there are no guarantees as to whether a written account is accurate or not. Historians are biased. If you have ever read E. H. Carr’s lecture ‘What is History?’ you will have begun to understand that historical interpretation is as much about the present, (and sometimes ever more about the present) than the past supposedly under discussion. It’s also important to consider the background of who is actually writing the history, and what the motivation is behind that particular presentation of history – what is it’s aim, its purpose?

And it’s perfectly possible to have history and prehistory existing in the same time space continuum, you yourself suggested that it was only those who could write who produced history, whilst those who couldn’t write were existing in prehistory, as they were unable to record, (i.e. write down) their own experiences.

The problem with many on here is the seeming obsession with a period before Wales became sullied by the English, a kind of Golden Age before Industrialisation and Anglicisation sullied the fair land of the Cymry. Like all varieties of Golden Age histories, it relies far more on fairy tales than actual facts, and is very dangerous. (Consider the presentation of history in Nazi Germany, for example)

People of this viewpoint may be quite correct in their condemnation of Kinnock and his viewpoint that Welsh history before industrialisation was largely of Welsh robber barons, but they fail to understand that their presentation of Welsh history is at least partially responsible for the Kinnock style dismissal of Welsh history prior to the mid 18th century.

It’s also important to say that in any event, it is the industrialisation of Wales, (and everywhere else in the developed world) that the period of industrialisation from the mid 18th century onwards has had far more impact on everyone’s current history that all history previous to that period.

However that is not to say that the previous history isn’t relevant, or important, it’s just not as important in terms of where we are today, and indeed, history has to be relevant to the contemporary to have any validity at all, as it’s always presented in relation to the present, which is why the past is constantly being reinterpreted and re-imagined, and indeed, people re-inventing themselves from time to time.

JE Lloyd
Guest

The essence of history is the struggle to make sense of the past in order to define who we are, what we stand for, and where we are headed. As such, it is gloriously fluid from one generation to another. At the core of history is a national myth — a coherent narrative which provides the backbone for our identity, values and destiny.

That having been said, there are elements of our national myth that endure and span the generations. To my mind, every child at school in Wales should be able to recite passages from (1) the Declaration of Defiance of 11 Nov 1282, (2) the Penal Laws against Wales of 1402, (3) the Pennal Letter of 31 March 1406, and (4) the Llyfrau Gleision of 1847, since those documents continue to define who we are and wish to be, and how the government in Westminster wishes to define us.

Big Gee
Admin

Absolutely SPOT-ON JE!

That first sentence of your post has been my mantra for years. It also closely ties in with what I’ve been preaching (mostly on deaf years – especially when it comes to our politicians) for a very long time, regarding the vacuum that has been injected into our children’s education since the first Compulsory Education Act of 1870. Our deterioration as an unique nation and the wipe-out of our identity namely our history, culture and language can be directly traced back to that act, and subsequent acts thereafter.

Our curriculum is the curriculum of the English (British) Empire taught to our children, with truths and facts being deliberately blacked out for obvious reasons.

The Alf Gwyn Wiliams & Martin Johns’ of this world are the product of that vacuum in our knowledge of ourselves.

The saddest thing of all is that our so-called Welsh medium schools (that some think is the saviour of our language and future salvation of our nation) actually teach this curriculum through Yr Iaith Gymraeg! It’s like having your mother force feed you poison off a spoon!

http://sccambria.com/essays/erth-add_saesneg.htm

Anonymous
Guest

Spot on indeed. Given the demographic drowning of Wales by ‘white settler’ types, my guess is that the only future for the Cymry is to have the biggest families possible and raise as many little nashies as possible. (‘Mudiad Magu Mwy’ I think is what Eleri Carrog called it.) So, which is the best use of time: (a) delivering 1,000 leaflets to apathetic voters, (b) presenting an 8-year-old with a biography of Glyndwr, or (c) presenting a 14-year-old with anything by Roy Clews, Derrick Hearne or Sion Jobbins? (Other writers are available.)

CambroUiDunlainge
Member

Glyndwr should only be used in the context of the way in which we’re treated then and now – and how we are seen by the upper level of London politics – then and now. But I think what is the most important aspect of Glyndwr’s portrayal is that while the English were fighting pretty much everyone Owain was able to treat with the French, Scots and even Marcher and Anglo-Norman Lords.

With Welsh history its a case of tell the stories but let people make up their own mind. I genuinely believe the truth is our biggest ally in this case.

The Earthshaker
Guest

I didn’t expect you to agree with any of it mate, I agreed with very little and apologise for wasting your time, my point that you missed is that he was offering a narrative to get more people interested in welsh independence because not everyone in Wales has the same hard core right wing nationalist beliefs as yourself, Jac and the majority of readers on here.

And deriding every welsh historian because they don’t fit your own personal narrative is as bad as the guff many welsh historians churn out,

In fact I’m done being polite and trying to close the gap between welsh indy supporters, Wales is screwed after Brexit even with a decent deal, there probably won’t be a Wales worth fighting for independence for in 5 – 10 years never mind in a generation.

And for the record the Dragon has Two Tongues is dated, saccharine soaked welsh historical programming at its worst.

drsallybaker
Guest

Jac, I have just noted your PS about Mantell Gwynedd and your informant telling you that it is a closed shop controlled by the Labour Party. I have never heard that it is under Labour Party control but I have been told again and again that it is indeed a closed job, rife with nepotism. The Chief Exec of Mantell Gwynedd for the last 10 years has been Bethan Russell Williams – who also doubles up as an ‘Independent Member’ of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. Furthermore Bethan’s husband is Chair of Gwynedd Community Health Council – an organisation that supposedly holds the Health Board to account. The Betsi does of course hand out ‘funding’ to Mantell Gwynedd. Furthermore, if you go onto the Betsi website and read the spiel that Bethan has written about herself as part of her ‘profile’, you’ll note that she is ‘passionate’ about the Third Sector and its role in delivering services. The gravy train cometh. I have been taking an interest in the ‘Third Sector’ in the north and it is pervaded with conflicts of interest and cronyism and many of those involved have connections with the shite NHS and Social Services in the region – MIND, CAIS, Crossroads, Parabl, the list of these organisations is endless, it is totally corrupt and as far as I can see just a method of siphoning off money from the taxpayer into the pockets of friends and family. Furthermore I hear constant tales from people who have had terrible experiences with these third sector organisations who claim to be providing ‘services’ for the local population.

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