Jul 092017
 

A GUEST POST BY GWILYM AB IOAN 

On the 28th of March 2007, I was arrested by the police in broad daylight, and in full view of the public. I was handcuffed, bundled into the back of a  patrol car and whisked away to Aberystwyth Police Station – just like all other nasty and dangerous common criminals.

The arresting officer, an immigrant from the Midlands, called PC MICHAEL ROBERT WESTBURY – who, according to a detective inspector friend of mine, whom I had a conversation with some time later, said that Westbury (he apparently also has a cousin, or similar relative, in the police force here – so there’s two of them) is one of a small army of lazy policemen, (in fact I think the words he used were “a lazy prick who’s a pain in the arse of the local force”), transfer in to quiet backwaters like Aberystwyth, from places like Birmingham, because it’s easy work in sleepy mid Wales – offering a quiet risk free working life up to retirement age in scenic surroundings; but they also have an overwhelming need to show the ‘native woolly back’ policemen how the job should be done properly, as they (apparently) have been used to doing it in the big cities, before they transferred here. I personally think that a lot of them are also white flight racist dross that embeds itself in our communities, with a strong white (English) supremacist  attitude – even towards the white skinned ‘foreign’ speaking indigenous natives of our country. There’s no restriction on any of them becoming policemen – despite their often racist attitudes.

PC Westbury sat with me in the back seat of the patrol car, I suppose it was in case I tried to escape by jumping out of a speeding car in handcuffs, or attempted to slit the throat of the driver! As they do I suppose in those big cities to the east of us. The whole scene was witnessed by all the shoppers in the vicinity, and there was quite a few of them. However, being a Wednesday, thankfully, it was not the busiest shopping day in town, but busy enough for a big embarrassment. Some, I’m sure, would have recognised me, and must have wondered what the hell I’d been up to, and what terrible crime I must have committed to trigger this kind of action – although there was no fracas in force, nor raised voices and certainly no gunshots or screams heard during the arrest! Scenes like that (in that shopping area) are usually indicative of what often happens when an abusive drunk or an aggressive shop-lifter resists arrest. I was neither, but you can bet some thought I was.

My crime?

I refused to accept an English only worded parking ticket from the parking attendant in the Rheidol Retail Park, and refused to communicate with him, or the arresting officer in the language of their queen. The sign that warned the public about parking restrictions in the Rheidol Retail Park was also written in English only. Note that this was just ten years ago, a full fourteen years after the introduction of The 1993 Welsh language Act. For the reader’s information – quote:

The Welsh Language Act 1993, is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which puts the Welsh language on an equal footing with the English language in Wales.

The Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 had made English the only language of the law courts and other aspects of public administration in Wales. The Welsh Courts Act 1942 had given the right to use Welsh in courts providing that the Welsh speaker was under a disadvantage in having to speak English, but this was very narrowly defined by subsequent case law. The Welsh Language Act 1967, overturned these decisions and gave rise to the concept of ‘equal validity’ between the Welsh and English languages. As a result, Governmental Departments began preparing documents in Welsh, and following a campaign of destroying or vandalising unilingual English road signs by members of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (The Welsh Language Society), local councils were allowed to provide many bilingual signs in Wales. It was however the Welsh Language Act 1993 which established that ‘in the course of public business and the administration of justice, so far as is reasonably practicable, the Welsh and English languages are to be treated on the basis of equality.Welsh Language Act 1993 – source Wikepedia 2017.

So what were the chain of events that led to the arrest?

I had pulled up in a quiet corner of the car park to allow my wife to go into a shop and was minding my own business. The wife incidentally is English (well mixed Welsh/ Irish parentage actually – although classified as English) and originally from Birkenhead. I only add that bit, to emphasise the fact that I am totally anti racist – before someone responds with accusations of racism being involved on my part here. I HATE the way we are treated as a colonised country by England and the attitude of Brit Nats who colonise and abuse our country and it’s natives. I do NOT hate English people on the basis of their race. Just to be clear on that point, before I go further.

After a few minutes a dour faced parking attendant approached my car and gestured for me to wind my window down. I obliged and he asked me – in English – if I was aware that I had parked in a restricted area. I replied in my mother tongue, that I had not actually noticed the sign, and in any case, if I had noticed it and it was not displayed in the official native language of my country, then I would have ignored it anyway. He responded with a curt, “I don’t speak Welsh, so you’ll have to talk to me in English”. I replied again in my native tongue that his failure to understand me was his problem and not mine. He then said in English “I know you can understand me, if you don’t move, I’ll give you a ticket”. Talk of red rags & bulls! However with great restraint, I politely replied that that was his prerogative, but unless he addressed me in my language of choice, then he could stick his ticket where the sun doesn’t shine. At this point he took out his little book and started scribbling, I wound up the car window. He then stuck the ticket under one of the windscreen wipers. I quietly got out of the car, read the ticket, and noted that it was in English, with not a word of Welsh written or printed on it. Consequently, I screwed up the ticket and stuffed it in the  top pocket of the parking attendant’s coat (much to his horror – perhaps he feared I was going to stuff it into one of his orifices), whilst telling him calmly to go away and procreate, preferably on the other side of Offa’s Dyke. He reacted by saying that I had assaulted him with my action, and that he was now going to call the police.  I invited him to do whatever he thought necessary. By then the wife had returned and I slowly drove around to the other side of the car park so that she could go into Lidl’s. 

Whilst sitting quietly in the car, again  minding my own business and listening to Radio Cymru, I heard a police siren, then I caught sight of the patrol car, complete with blue flashing light & siren. PC Westbury screeched to a halt in front of me and leapt out of the car – I was half expecting him to be armed, considering the song and dance that he was engaging in during the development of this perceived ’emergency’. Again I was gestured to wind down my window. Now we all have this ability to be able to gauge the mood of a person by the look on their face. Rather than the dour, ‘fed up with life’ and miserable look on the parking attendant’s face a short time earlier, I immediately picked up on anger and rage this time. With hindsight it was obvious that it was not the screwing up of the ticket and stuffing it in the pocket of the parking attendant’s pocket that had disturbed PC Westbury, but probably the fact that I had made a fool of one of his co-patriots, and he was about to make an example of me for being such a mutinous, bolshie ‘Welsh nashie’. How dare I!

Anyway, the conversation went along similar lines to the earlier conversion I’d had with the attendant. With Westbury laying the law down in English and me responding in Welsh. Finally he said “listen, if you don’t respond to me in English I’ll arrest you” I shrugged my shoulders and turned my palms upwards. At this, his fuse blew, he opened  my car door and shouted for me to get out. Then came the caution “I’m arresting you on suspicion of common assault and a breach of the peace, you do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something you later rely on in court . . . blah, blah, blah . . .” Click, click, handcuffs on. Wife dropped her shopping in Lidl, rushed out gaping to see me being scurried away in the back of the police car.

At the police station

The custody sergeant was a seasoned old campaigner from Talgarreg – who had been around the block a few times and was close to retirement I would guess. Westbury went through the process of explaining that he had arrested me for suspected assault on a ticket warden in the Rheidol Retail Park’s private car park. The heavily moustached sergeant (classic Victorian ‘Bobby’ look) turned to me and asked if I had anything to say. I for my part explained in Welsh that I had actually been arrested because I had refused to converse with the arresting  PC in English. He rolled his eyes heaven-wards and a wry smile crossed his face. I guess he recognised who I was, as I had been quite a regular mini pantomime villain ‘celebrity’ on the TV and in newspapers since 2002 due to my infamous political work whilst I was a national vice president of Plaid Cymru, the chair of Plaid Cymru Ceredigion, and the horror politician who had the temerity to say (what everyone actually knew but said nothing) that Wales had become the dumping ground for oddballs, social misfits  and society dropouts in recent years (see the photo & caption at the head of this paragraph). I was also quite well known for my close association with Cymuned in those days – who were blazing a trail at the time. He also, I assume, knew the individual who had made the arrest very well from past experience, and it just added to his woes for the day.

He answered in Welsh saying that this was all a bit infantile (I presume he meant on PC Westbury’s part), however he told me that as I had been officially cautioned and arrested he had no option but to ‘process’ me. It was evident that he was miffed with Westbury, because, the first thing he said was I don’t think there’s a need for those constable – pointing to the handcuffs. He then asked me to empty my pockets, Westbury quickly interjected with “be careful sarge” – as if I might pull out a grenade launcher or AK47 or some similar weapon from my jacket pocket once the cuffs were off! Sergeant Thomas (I believe he was a Thomas from memory, although I might be mistaken – it’s been a while) responded with “I don’t think we’re likely to get attacked here constable” – slyly winking at me. If it wasn’t all so serious, you couldn’t be blamed for breaking out in an underwear wetting laughing fit of incredulity over the whole farce.

Next up, the process of taking fingerprints, palm prints, shoe prints and of course a DNA sample. Sgt. Thomas then asked if I wanted a solicitor I said “certainly”, quick as a flash he said “a Welsh speaking one I presume?”. I said “wrth gwrs!”. By this time Westbury was fast starting to feel like a pork pie in a Jewish wedding. To try and recover control of the situation he said “shall I put him in a cell sarge?”. Sgt Thomas: “no I don’t think that that’ll be necessary constable, he can keep me company here, I could do with someone to chat to!”. And that’s how I spent the rest of the afternoon, chatting to Sgt. Thomas about how times had changed, who we both knew, who I knew in Talgarreg, and how utterly stupid the whole situation was. He explained that this was purely down to unnecessary bureaucracy and an ignorance of cultural understanding, and insensitivities towards the natives and their language by police incomers. He said that all this had become more pronounced since the influx of ‘foreign’ police imports from over the border that had increasingly been taking place over quite a few years. He said it was nothing like this in his day and he would be glad when he retired to be out of it. Quite enjoyable really watching characters being dragged in and processed at the custody desk. Mostly drunks, crack-heads and shop-lifters – REAL criminals! Mostly English immigrants by their accents, although one drunk was Welsh!

The Legal Representation Bit

Now, the only proficient Welsh speaking solicitor that could be found was Iestyn Davies at the Evans – Roberts law firm in Machynlleth. They said they would send someone down to Aberystwyth police station to brief me – as and when they had someone available. They also told me not to take part in any interviews and not to sign any statements until their man arrived. This was code for ‘make yourself comfortable, we’ll get someone there before the morning!’. This was about 2 o’clock in the afternoon. In fact their first reaction when I told them why I was at the station was “you’re joking – this isn’t serious is it?”. It seemed that they were a bit hesitant, because they thought it was the work of a prankster. I’d declined using my own solicitor, because I would have had to pay for him, instead I insisted on a Welsh speaking ‘duty’ solicitor that the police used – why should I pay for this nonsense from my own pocket?

Tracking down a solicitor in Aberystwyth had proved futile. When told that the ‘prisoner’ (me) wanted to conduct everything in Welsh – including any future court hearings, they had shied off. It was apparent that there were some floating around who could parler the ‘lingo’ but were obviously not so confident in their prowess of written work and especially not written legal work. I realised that this was a marathon in the making.

Fitness for custody and questioning

In the mean time my beloved had hoofed it down to the police station from Lidl’s. She was making a nuisance of herself in the police station reception area, demanding to know what the hell I had been arrested for, and further demanded to see me. Apparently that does not fit in to the protocols of custody. Anything she wanted me to know, or that I wanted her to know, had to be relayed via station officers. She then informed them that I was a diabetes sufferer, and if they did not care for my food and fluid intake, they could be held responsible for my health condition. That instigated another mini panic amongst my incarcerators. After a team huddle in the corner, they decided that they would have to get a doctor in – to establish if I was fit enough for questioning and detention.

Yes you guessed it, this required the services of a police approved doctor who was fluent in Welsh. More panic and more frantic phone calls. After about two hours of this ‘doctor hunt’, Sgt. Thomas came to plead with me, asking whether I would accept a Polish speaking doctor instead. I burst out laughing, “does he also speak Welsh?” I asked, “well no” he said, “but he’s not English”. Oh dear, then started the lesson for Sgt. Thomas that this was NOT about what race the doctor was, but what I simply wanted was to be examined by someone who spoke to me in my own language. You’re not really the brightest light bulb in the room I thought – despite being a pleasant chappie. Strange how these things always seem to boil down to race. Couldn’t they see that all I was doing was exercising my legal, and statutory human rights in my own country? To save having to be bunked up overnight in a cell, I relented and said I would agree to being examined by the Polish Dr.

He duly arrived and set about the examination. He confirmed that I had raised glucose levels in my blood, but I was coherent, not drunk, and totally sane. Small relief there! He also insisted that I was fed at regular intervals with low sugar diabetic diet ingredients, got given plenty of fluids on demand (so pots of tea on demand – great), and I was to be given access to my medication, which just happened to be at home in Aberaeron. Emergency prescription written up on the spot for Metformin, that someone had to trundle to the pharmacy to get. During all this experience, the Polish Doc seemed intrigued with my tale of why I had been arrested. When I explained it all to him his face lit up. He could relate fully to my predicament, having been under Soviet rule for years, and having to submit to the use of the Russian language in his native Poland. He also spoke of the secret police, and how his people were treated during Soviet occupation. I think he would have stayed there for a week chatting to me if he could. He warmly shook my hand, said I needed to carry on the good fight for freedom and finally left. I felt I’d found a kindred spirit, he’d also helped while the time away, whilst I still waited for the ‘legal beagle’ to turn up.

 The Interview and statement taking

Finally the ‘legal beagle’ from Machynlleth showed up, a long time after his usual office hours. He was still bemused by the whole event, and could hardly believe it. Totally on-side and greatly supportive of my stand (as you’d expect from a Welsh Nationalist born in the town of Owain Glyndŵr’s original parliament building). He set about arranging my police interview, after giving me a quick run-down of what to say and what not to say under caution. He also said that the whole thing was a total waste of time, as he didn’t believe that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) would entertain such a ludicrous application for prosecution by the police.

Panic number three set in. Sgt Thomas with duties at the custody desk couldn’t take part. The only other Welsh speaking officers available were not confident enough in their linguistic skills in the minority language of the colony to conduct an interview, much less be able to write up the statement. Now the hunt was on again, this time to find a native born officer who was fluent enough in Welsh to conduct the interview. Finally, they managed to track down a young Welsh speaking female officer, but had to wait for her to come on duty. So the minutes continued to tick over into hours, in the company of Sgt. Thomas and a by now, very bored, tired and fed-up looking solicitor.

Eventually the work shift changed. Sgt. Thomas wished me well as he left for home, saying not to worry, as he couldn’t imagine the case going to court. A young policewoman conducted the interview (halting repeatedly to ask the solicitor & I how to spell certain words). I signed it and then had to wait for the new custody sergeant to process it. I was told that I was to be released on bail, and unless I turned up at the station periodically a warrant would be issued for my arrest. Happy days. I left at about half past eight at night, having been detained for a full seven hours.

I turned up to answer bail for months on end. About fifty percent of the time it was a wasted journey, because there wasn’t a Welsh speaking officer available to deal with me every time I presented myself. I was getting to know swathes of officers, and the whole issue became quite a popular topic at the station. Most of the native policemen were extremely supportive, and it became a big joke generally amongst them – mostly at Westbury’s expense.

However, the CPS DID eventually decide TO prosecute. However court hearing after court hearing was postponed, until (I guess) someone somewhere decided that this farce had to be kicked into touch. My solicitor, over many months and lots of letters down the line, received the final letter from the CPS declaring that they were going to drop it, due to lack of evidence. The decision was probably based on costs as well, because the penny dropped that the eventual hearing would have required full translation services, the witness statements of Westbury & the parking attendant would have to be translated into Welsh, and the hearing would have to be conducted in Welsh, and all verbal testimony by the monoglots translated in court. Plus more importantly the publicity would have been caustic.

I had great plans of making a real whoo-ha of the matter, as soon as the court case was over. However my health at that time, had become very poor, I suffer with Behçet’s disease, apart from other problems like diabetes etc. I also had a major heart attack not long after this circus had closed. So, without the inclination, due to fatigue, and being too poorly to put any energy into the campaign I let it drift. Finally it became such an old issue that it was not worth pursuing.  Had the situation been different, I was going to make a formal police complaint (I still have the form). Involve the IPCC, the Board for Racial Equality and of course I was going to pepper press releases to politicians, the TV companies & papers. However it was not to be – a missed opportunity sadly.

ENTER PARKING-EYE!

You know how it works. A CCTV camera takes a snapshot of your number plate as you enter the car park. It then takes another picture as you leave. The information is relayed (by a private company without your permission) to ParkingEye (PE) whose registered Office is 40 Eaton Avenue, Buckshaw Village, Chorley, Lancashire, PR7 7NA. If the interval between the first and second photo is greater than two hours, you get a letter from these parasites demanding £50 or £85 if you don’t pay fast enough. It’s not a fine. Fines can only be legally imposed by Governments (local or central, through by-laws). You are not breaking any laws, so it’s not a police matter, it’s a civil matter between you and PE. In fact, this is a demand by menaces, because if you don’t pay they threaten to apply to a County Court (small claims division in Northampton) for the recovery of the money they say is owed to them. Most people pay on demand. Those that do go to court often have the case dismissed (e.g. 28/03/2014 DDJ Potts dismissed claim 3DJ13428, ParkingEye v Williams as PE could not produce a contract in court). However it’s a big money generating industry, despite the ones that slip the net.

My son and I, in separate cars, but at the same time got caught a few weeks back. We had over run our time limit by a few minutes. Guess where? Yes, Rheidol Retail Park. They’ve given up on employing parking attendants (I like to think that I may have had a small part to play in that – as described above). In any case, the land owner (and that’s where it gets really interesting – as I’ll disclose in a minute), has engaged PE via their property management company in London, to guard their car park property for them, and pocket the money generated. Paying PE a commission I assume. It will amaze you where the money actually lands up.

When they first took over the contract, PE put up their notices in English only. Many must have complained about this. I know that I got caught twice. I entered into correspondence with them – in my native Welsh of course – pointing out the equal status of Welsh and English in Wales etc. They responded in English, demanding I translated my letters into English for their convenience – some hope! After ping-ponging these letters they gave up on both occasions. It’s surprising what the realisation of what may be involved does to these ignorant parasites, especially when they consider the cost of translators. Moving the hearing to a court in Wales at the request of the defendant, and having the hearing conducted in Welsh – it acts like DDT on mosquitoes (or in their case maggots).

Anyway, they seem to have seen the error of their ways and all signage is now bilingual. One little victory for us at least, but they still have problems with bilingual correspondence. Now following this latest experience, I decided to do some research. Apparently a good way forward is to contact the actual land owner who deploys PE. It is often the company that has the shopping property, who provides the car park for the convenience of it’s shoppers. They will more often than not get their contractor PE, to drop the issue, simply because it’s not good business to aggravate your customers who may stop spending with you. Others who are caught in this trap, but who who are not so savvy, or would prefer to pay the bill to get rid of the hassle, just do so. This, however, is not the land ownership case when it comes to the Rheidol Retail Park car parks. Most people wrongly assume the car parks are the property of the Council, they are not. Others assume the land owner is either Lidl, Iceland or Argos – again – wrong.

The land is owned by Downham Properties Ltd. This is an UK tax dodging off-shore company registered in Jersey. They are the owners of the land in Aberystwyth that the Rheidol Retail Park car parks are located on.

However the trail does not end there. Downham Properties Ltd. use a property management company in London to manage their business, Fletcher King, 61 Conduit Street, London, W1S 2GB. It is they presumably who hire the dogs (ParkingEye) to collect the revenues from the locals on behalf of their client, the Rheidol Retail Park landowner – Downham Properties Ltd.

PE have been the subject of a Ceredigion Trading Standards investigation on more than one occasion. However, as usual, nothing seems to have come of it to date.

Local businesses in Aberystwyth have called for the car parks to be taken over by Ceredigion County Council. The council dodged the issue by saying they are on private property – haven’t they ever heard of compulsory hire/ purchase by local councils?

So, the situation is: Downham Properties Limited, who are obviously a UK tax dodging company registered in Jersey, have bought the land in our country. They in turn use a property management company in London to manage the site in our country. The property management company contracts out the work to PE – based in Lancashire – to fleece locals of money that supports not one but three companies, and their profit margins are huge, hence the reason they’re registered off-shore to DODGE taxes on their profits.

Now in a normal country (and we haven’t been ‘normal’ since the Acts of Union of 1536 & 42, as we are colonised, decimated culturally, linguistically & historically treated as second class citizens in our own country), this would never be allowed to happen. Then to cap it all the peasants are sodomised financially by the likes of Downham Properties Ltd. who – even in the eyes of our colonisers – are a pariah.

Now shouldn’t the Plaid Cymru leader of Ceredigion County Council address this problem on a local level? Much more so now that Ceredigion also has a new Plaid MP. Let’s not hold our breath though, whilst waiting for some action, we could all perish in the process – and our language & culture will disappear along with us.

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82 Comments on "Careful Where You Park Your Car in Our Colonised Country – Dangers Lurk!"

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Sibrydionmawr
Guest

Good for you Big G! It’s only by being assertive that we Welsh speakers will ever get our linguistic rights respected. I would guess that many give up as it can involve quite a hassle, as your experience proves. most people tend to give up if it’s going to take a long time.

I have to say though, I am quite surprised that there are so few police in Aberystwyth who are both fluent and literate in Welsh.

I’ve had fun in Cardiff myself in accessing Welsh language services from the council, and find it increasingly surprising that it isn’t now a mandatory requirement that staff on reception desks in the pubic sector are able to speak Welsh. That wouldn’t be a big ask, though no doubt there are some who wouldn’t like it. Indeed, I personally think it’s high time that a scheme was put in place to change the internal administration of the public sector to Welsh, brought in gradually over perhaps a generation. If the spirit of the 1993 Act had been respected we might have been in a position by now where that could have happened, especially as, in principle, the Education Reform Act 1988 that brought in the National Curriculum established the principle that all children in Wales should be bilingual, Welsh and English by age sixteen.

One wonders where our language pressure group is!

shuai
Guest

Sorry to hear about your I’ll health, Gwilym. I wish the story of your arrest could have made me laugh. Instead, it just made me feel angry. Where I live, if you simply say diolch to someone you are looked upon as a subversive and not being fair to the “locals”. The contempt for the Welsh language is part and parcel of colonialist psyche, even if this denied. Not everyone has read Fanon. But there is a particular uncomfortableness felt by some newly established Britnats when they are addressed in Welsh; it’s palpable. My Spanish friend, who works at a local hotel, always says gracias when buying stuff in the local shops and is generally rewarded with an indulgent smile. Say diolch and the eyes widen and the mouth half opens. There are some, however, who have travelled the world and like to think of themselves as more cosmopolitan. A local pub was recently taken over by an English family, recently returned from France where they owned a vineyard. My friend’s family went to try the food in this new gastro pub and bilingual (English/French) owner went over to their table and said: It’s so nice to hear people speaking a foreign language …

Wynne
Guest

Well done. Very amusing story. I like your style Big G.

Tintws
Guest

Good piece. Inappropriate photo and joke of the Aberystwyth police station. It takes the shine from the story. Please remove.

Dafis
Guest

like most police stations Aber police station probably IS a joke. It’s bloody lucky that it operates in an area of fairly low serious criminality ( don’t be taken in by Y Gwyll!). These guys love offences that solve themselves hence the proclivity for enforcing tickets even when a shyster owned private company benefits from the transaction/transgression. As for THAT photo it carries a lot of significance among those of us who really recognise the colonist threat as Mr Bridger was a live example of the kind of dross that gets helped over our border to “start a new life” away from his home turf.

K. A. Mylchreest
Guest

Diolch, diddorol dros ben. I’m astounded that you can be a heddwas yng Nghyrmu (at least in a place with a reasonable proportion of Welsh speakers) without having to know or learn the language. Then again, sadly. maybe I shouldn’t be surprised at all.

Clearly the Law is mere window-dressing if people aren’t prepared to insist it’s enforced, but then not everyone has the time, ability or inclination to do this. We’re British after all, and making a fuss is frowned upon. But should the onus be on the individual, in effect the victim?

Gobeithio eich bod chi’n iach erbyn hyn, BG.

Chris Corrigan
Guest

Excellent reporting, Gwilym. Not just very interesting and enjoyable, but having high potential to be of use to others in future collisions with state bureaucracy and/or greedy-bastard exploiters.
As someone who lost two jobs in the 1960s because of support for Wales campaigns (notably over forced evacuations of people to facilitate flooding of valleys), and who continues to make a stand on various issues, I will certainly take any opportunity to make use of your detailed ways to counter the foe.
I wish you the best with your health problems, and hope to read more contributions from you.
Swansea Jack is brilliant with most of his blogs, but he was far more pleasant and far less bloody Tory when I knew him well in Merthyr 50 years ago.
Chris Corrigan (from Caerdydd)

Iantoddu
Guest

Well done for doing that, and thanks for writing it up. Reading this does have an effect on others, I’m sure- it certainly does me. The sentence above about being straightforward without patronising bullshit is itself certainly hitting home with something I’m struggling with at the moment. Anyhow, even if you aren’t in the best of health and not ready to leap back into the saddle and charge into the hottest part of battle, “old” 😊 war stories like this can have their effect.

Myfanwy
Guest

Huge respect Big Gee for fighting the good fight, if we all stood up to be counted in the same way, Cymru would not be facing the challenges to our identity that we are. I find it unbelievable that people in public positions who don’t speak Welsh, are still being employed in Welsh speaking areas. I also find it shocking that you went through such a ridiculous charade, which wasted you and your Wife’s time, as well as wasting Police time and resources, involving Solicitors, Doctors etc, all on the jumped up charges of a Police officer and car park attendant, who obviously had chips on their shoulders! If people want to move to Welsh speaking areas of Wales, they need to learn Welsh, that should be the bottom line!

Sorry to hear about your health issues Big Gee, it’s important to look after yourself, fighting the good fight can take it’s toll on anyone. We need more people like you with “fire in the belly”.

Jac
Admin

To react as if he was dealing with a violent criminal, when in fact he was dealing with a respectable, middle-aged man exercising his legal rights, makes Westbury look an absolute twat, because he’s a man incapable of judging a situation and responding accordingly.

As a twat, he shouldn’t be in the police force, because as we all know, over-reaction can make things much worse not better. Diplomacy is a skill I thought the police were taught nowadays in order to defuse situations, but it looks as if Westbury was off sick for those lessons.

Or maybe they just went over his head, perhaps he’s not the shiniest helmet in the line-up; which might explain a) his transfer and b) the fact that he never made sergeant.

Then there’s the matter of the time and the money Westbury cost us all by his over-reaction. Was he reprimanded for this? If not, why not? And how the hell can the police complain about being under-funded when they allow morons like Westbury to squander public money in this fashion?

But as you suggest, Gwilym, the reason for his hysterical response boils down to anti-Welsh bigotry. So why the fuck did Dyfed Powys Police ever take him on?

Dafis
Guest

Looks more like an Aber pisshead in that photo, perhaps he also doubles up as a lager lout, a man of many parts. There again man in uniform doubling up as a youth worker in his spare time…….. that often seems to be the prelude to some nasty stories. Maybe that photo of Bridger at the pig pen was quite relevant after all !!

daffy2012
Guest

Going to read your piece now Gwilym. I often read comments first for some reason. I just wanted to ask…..shouldn’t this feed be in Welsh as well as English? @CeredigionRPU ‘News & updates from Dyfed-Powys Police’s RPU (Traffic).’ Dyfed-Powys Police now have a Commissioner stood on a Plaid Cymru ticket. I hope he’s going to make the force more Welsh. I had dealings with the police in Aber too and I was surprised at how ‘English’ it was. There was a young WPC who I had to deal with who was obviously straight out of training and she couldn’t pronounce local place names. Another time I was accused of being racist by a WPC in Dyfed-Powys for speaking Welsh to her after she began speaking to me in English. She only had to be polite and explain that she couldn’t speak the language. But oh no, I was racist for having the temerity to speak Welsh in Ceredigion.

daffy2012
Guest

Excellent stuff Gwilym.

I thought I had posted another comment earlier?

craig
Guest

When i got arrested a few years back for spray painting over English only signs in the Caernarfon area, the English custody sergeant told me, that if he had his way, i’d hang for the crime. The only thing worse than nationalists and language activists were duty solicitors.

Brychan
Guest

Westbury is obviously a bad police officer. Officers get called to parking enforcement confrontation’ on a daily basis. This is the protocol..

(a)Prior. Vehicle check the licence plate, establish registered keeper, any outstandings.
(b)Onsite. Ask the driver for the licence, “trwydded yrru os gwelwch yn dda” – it’s not difficult.
(c)In-car. Match (a) to (b). No need for arrest if there’s no battery, aggravated, intoxication or bodily harm.
(d)Take an MG11 statement from the alleged victim. Separate and diffuse.
(e)After. Report for prosecution if required.

The DPP officer I spoke to today does it in Polish, too, as and when required.

Failure to follow the above protocol results in losing control of an incident, putting other officers and the public in danger, and adversely affecting the reputation of the force. I hope PC376 was reprimanded.

Dafis
Guest

totally off topic but just reinforces the clear picture of Carwyn & Co as duplicious miserable bastards, link is to the odious Guido whose correspondents are top drawer Anglo Brit wankers but he does manage to pick out some tasty morsels when it comes to lying, scheming, 2 faced politicians – https://order-order.com/2017/07/12/welsh-labours-stunning-tuition-fees-hypocrisy/

Dr Sally Baker
Guest

Interesting that Welsh Labour has given dear old Kirsty Williams the short straw to implement all this. When Kirsty was appointed Education Minister – after her party in Wales died a complete death and she was the only one left standing – a friend of mine remarked at the time that the job of Education Minister was a poisoned chalice. There are very big problems in the UK university system as a result of decades of fuckwittery that no-one has challenged and Wales’s universities have even bigger problems because they have no money, Wales having been shafted by the Westminster Govt for donkey’s years. The chickens are now coming home to roost and if Kirsty had a brain she would have seen this barrel of shit coming her way – and there’ll be more shit to come as well, there are scandals brewing away in every university in Wales. I would be delighted to see Kirsty fall flat on her face, she has been involved in concealing the most dreadful misconduct and malpractice in the NHS, including a case that involved the death of the daughter of two of her constituents. I won’t bore you with the details here but I blogged about it in detail myself on my own site a while ago. I think Carwyn played a blinder offering her that job – Kirsty is ruthless and selfish and would sell her own nain if she thought that it would advance her own career so Carwyn pretended that he was making an offer that she couldn’t refuse and gave her the job of doing something that no-one else would ever want to do ie. raising tuition fees. It’s only the beginning Kirsty…

adarynefoedd
Guest

Kirsty Williams is an excellent AM and widely respected in our constituency shown by the ton of votes she received in the elections in 2015 I am not a Lib Dem but I do respect her work.

Dafis
Guest

She may be a good AM, representing the interests of her community but that doesn’t guarantee her having the skillset and personality to cope with belonging to what is generally perceived to be a third rate regime operating on an overload of delusional grandeur.

Jones is running a colony, he’s content to do so despite the hot air about carving out a differentiated stance visavis London. The truth is that he is a begging bowl merchant with no capacity for dragging this country of ours out of its permanent dependency condition. This is evidenced by his attachment to activities like the 3rd sector which only exist because government funding exists. He has no empathy whatsoever with real business.

Accordingly Kirsty should think long and hard, and not leave it beyond about 2 years in office, whether she ought to turn on CJ and threaten to withdraw from office if he can’t get his head out of his arse.

Dr Sally Baker
Guest

Kirsty represented the interests of the more powerful privileged members of her constituency. She dumped the family of a young woman who died of serious clinical negligence – that family were not even allowed a decent level of legal aid to represent their dead daughters interests. Kirsty has a higher salary than either of them and she married into a wealthy landowning family. In the case of the Betsi, she chose to align herself with highly paid members of the most powerful union in the UK rather than the patients who had been damaged at the hands of some of their members.
Big Gee is spot on – she did that deal to save her own skin because she hasn’t got a party left. She also did something quite shitty to Aled Roberts, one of her previous AMs when she did still have a party. He nearly lost his seat a few years ago over a breach of rules concerning election material – I seem to remember that the breach was traced back to Kirsty’s actions but she washed her hands of the matter and was prepared to throw Aled Roberts to the wolves.

adarynefoedd
Guest

Last year’s vote in B and R:
Brecon and Radnorshire
The Brecon and Radnorshire turnout was 57%.

Kirsty Williams, Welsh Liberal Democrats – 15,898
Gary Price, Welsh Conservative Party – 7,728
Alex Thomas – Welsh Labour – 2,703
Thomas Turton, UKIP Wales – 2,161
Freddy Greaves, Plaid Cymru – 1,180
Grenville Ham, Wales Green Party – 697

Kirsty got a huge 52% of the vote much of it personal because sadly the constituency has turned Tory. We have found her individual casework to be exemplary and she responds very quickly to any community issues. She has also fought for funding for a very neglected part of Wales (ie not Welsh enough) and has battled through legislation on minimum nursing standards. She has been our Assembly member for 20 years and sure, in that time she has made mistakes and not pleased people but I see none of the ‘collusion with the powerful’ behaviour described by Sally Baker. There are also huge issues about you provide a high quality specialist health service in a rural area and I do not think that anybody has worked out how to do it. The reality round here is that increasingly patients have travel very long distances to so called centres of excellence as staffing problems and standards set by the royal colleges are making these services unviable. But I am sorry I have wandered right off topic but I did feel the need to respond as a local resident and disinterested observer (Labour supporter).

Dr Sally Baker
Guest

And I know the parents of the young woman who died as a result of serious negligence whilst in the care of Powys LHB a few years ago. Kirsty initially told them that the LHB was a time bomb and that she’d do all that she could to help. Some weeks later she walked out of a meeting saying that she would not get involved. She stood for leader of the Welsh Lib Dems days later. It worked, she was elected. Some years after that Kirsty shared platforms with a BMA spokesman when the BMA were attempting to depose the newly appointed CEO of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. That particular CEO was trying to clean up the mess left behind after some very negligent doctors who were members of the BMA. I was one of the people who supplied evidence of law breaking on the part of those doctors. Kirsty was not an AM in north Wales, it was sheer political opportunism. That CEO eventually resigned in the face of a co-ordinated campaign and threats towards her and the Health Board has got worse and worse and worse. The law breaking doctors protected by the BMA when Kirsty was sharing a platform with their spokesman remained in their posts. I presume that most people in her constituency who respect her don’t know what she got up to with regard to the NHS in north Wales – although of course the parents of one of the doctors involved, a BMA representative himself, live in Brecon. Could there be a connection?

Dafis
Guest

drsally just noticed this piece in the Guardian – some of the free market Labourites are now recognising that the storm they helped create is well out of hand.

University vice-chancellors are paid too much, says Lord Adonis
Former Labour education minister singles out Bath’s Glynis Breakwell, whose pay rose 11% to £451,000

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/jul/13/university-vice-chancellors-are-paid-too-much-says-lord-adonis?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=234908&subid=18089214&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2#comment-102061706

No doubt some of those ego trippers running Welsh unis will see this info and say that they should get as much as Bath and Imperial or any other “seat of learning” – only fair innit ! As for the notion that these are “seats of learning” it would appear that there is a growing dissent among the student community that these institutions don’t do much to enhance learnings despite charging top dollar ( or sterling ) for what turns out to be a shoddy, shallow experience

Dr Sally Baker
Guest

Yes I’ve been marvelling at the irony of Andrew Adonis Bravely Speaking Out regarding the consequences of policies that he was responsible for!
Vice Chancellors salaries are a real mystery. There’s no doubt about it that some are given the dosh to deal with crap that no-one knows is happening within their institutions, but some of them still do some inexplicable things for the dosh. I’ve been interested in the goings on at Aber. There has been problems there for years and April McMahon had her mouth stuffed with gold to deal with them. She seemed to make them considerably worse. She has now gone and I’m fairly sure that the new VC at Aber is the person who was alleged to have inflicted huge damage at Cardiff Medical School. But there were serious problems there that were concealed. I cannot help wondering if in at least some cases, VCs are actually sent in to inflict fatal damage on institutions if it’s felt that they can’t be turned around. It would explain why some of them are so well rewarded for destroying things and why there are prepared to retire covered in mud. This was always said about Freddie Crawford, Thatcher’s henchman at Aston. He wrecked the place and spent millions – literally – on posh offices for him and his team whilst depts with good reputations were shut down and yet more money was thrown at a business school peopled by tossers – including a PhD student called Dylan Jones Evans.
As for Imperial – don’t be fooled by the hype. I used to work at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School that merged with Imperial and I remember the research fraud that went on very well and the allocation of jobs to people who were shagging certain others in influential positions. One of the biggest offenders re research fraud has now been given a knighthood. The most worrying thing at Imperial at the moment is the collaboration between business and their allegedly world leading medical research. Ruthless big business meeting dishonest doctors is a toxic combination and this will not end well. One of the escapees from Imperial is now the Chair of Governors at Manchester and is trying to inflict damage there. The Manchester branch of UCU needs to do a bit of research into his previous at Imperial – they’ll soon win the battle then…

Jac
Admin

Another issue exposed by this case, over and above Westbury’s insane reaction to a minor parking issue, is the matter of people like him transferring into Wales, because this problem is not restricted to the police.

I’ve come across examples in the Post Office, on the railways, in the civil service, supermarkets and other retail outlets; in fact, just about any organisation run on an Englandandwales basis.

It comes about by a number of routes. For example, vacancies are usually advertised ‘internally’. Which could mean that a vacancy for a postman in Machynlleth is filled by someone transferring from England rather than through the PO recruiting locally. The truth is it happens all the time in the Post Office.

The fact that so many wish to retire to Wales added to the colonialist nature of so many Englandandwales bodies results in thousands of jobs being denied to Welsh people. Of course, the response is, ‘Ah, but Welsh people can be transferred to England’.

True, but given the fact that Wales has a population of 3 million compared to England’s 55 million, plus the fact that so many of us are denied the initial employment, and that so many English retire to Wales (and seek a transfer in advance of retirement), means that it’s one-way traffic.

Thousands of jobs, usually the better paid jobs, are denied to our people by this pernicious, one-sided system of transfers. So why don’t our politicians speak out? Why don’t they insist on local recruitment?

We know the answers to those questions. But somebody should start speaking up because this is a discriminatory system, and if it was dragged into the arena of public scrutiny it would be very difficult if not impossible to defend.

K. A. Mylchreest
Guest

At one time at least it was common practice within many large UK-wide organisations to transfer managers when they got promoted. The idea I suppose being to widen their experience of the whole operation and avoid them having to boss around their former colleagues. Fair enough within an area that’s culturally reasonably uniform, like most of England. But as you’ve shown, a little thought will show how damaging it becomes for a minority like the Welsh. A Welsh manager would almost certainly be promoted out of Wales to somewhere where his specialist local skills would be wasted and his language disused, while in Wales the new boss would nine times out of ten be an Englishman.

This is not always the result of outright bigotry, but simply the cultural blindness of the English monoglot. That may even make the problem harder to address than if it were straightforward racism?

Jac
Admin

That’s always been the case at management level and always will be in an Englandandwales arrangement, but what I’m referring to is the staff. In some cases, such as Tesco in Porthmadog, Wilko there and in Pwllheli, Morrison’s in Caernarfon, most of the staff are English.

Which raises obvious questions. These are not well paid jobs, so why would people transfer to small towns in rural Wales to be a checkout operator or shelf-stacker? And how did these transferees manage to find somewhere to live? The alternative is that certain companies setting up branches in Wales recruit staff entirely from the local English population.

However it’s explained we’re dealing here with discrimination. But none of those elected to defend the interests of those being discriminated against will dare raise their voices for fear of being called ‘racists’.

While those supposed defenders of the language, Cymdeithas yr Iaith, betray their class bias by showing no interest in jobs the society’s members aren’t interested in taking.

K. A. Mylchreest
Guest

Well, good question that, how does an incoming checkout person find a place to stay? If they’re somehow sponsored by the firm, what’s in it for the business? Do they really believe the Welsh are too thick to do the job? More likely perhaps the applicants are the grown-up kids of middle-aged escapees, semi-retirees etc. Could the recruiters have a (subconscious?) bias towards their own kind, that’s not impossible?

I don’t see how it’s racism, at least as long as you stick to the language criterion, since anyone can learn a language (even the English!) given time, motivation and contact.

This sort of “population exchange” isn’t exactly new, it’s been going on and been complained about for decades. So unless there’s some sort of “Welsh Cringe” that inhibits the locals from making a fuss, I really don’t know the answer. You tell me.

Jac
Admin

You’re at it again!

Colin Mann
Guest

Well done for standing up for your rights. One thing to have laws giving equal status to yr Iaith Gymraeg but another thing for it to be respected in reality. It is particularly concerning that someone cannot live their life through Welsh in a place like Aberystwyth. Keep up the good work – mynd ymlaen

Dafis
Guest

Went off topic 2 days ago, and here I go again as Guido seems to have struck a vein of form on our favorite politician , Carwyn Jones. Read the latest episode in detailing his use of public funds for private pleasure
https://order-order.com/2017/07/14/welsh-politicians-spend-thousands-chartering-planes-to-watch-football/

Still I reckon that Gething’s jaunt to celebrate “Wales for Africa” is top of the pile for sheer fuckin’ cheek.

K. A. Mylchreest
Guest

By chance I’ve just come across this bureaucratic nightmare saga (see also comments for a parallel case), so maybe not out of place beside BG’s story. It really is a pig when the buggers can’t even follow their own rules :

http://blog.florian.me.uk/2015/08/sufficient-knowledge-of-english/

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