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.


ADDENDUM (01-08-2017)

On the 17th of July I sent an e-mail to Ben Lake, MP for Ceredigion, with carbon copies to:

  • Dafydd Llywelyn (Plaid Cymru Police Commissioner for Dyfed Powys Constabulary)
  • Arfon Jones ((Plaid Cymru Police Commissioner for the North Wales Constabulary) and
  • Ellen ap Gwynne (Plaid’s overall council leader for Ceredigion County Council)

Inviting them to read this post, as I felt that the contents should be of  interest/ serious concern to them. I received two automated ‘message received’ reports, one from Dafydd Llywelyn and the other from Ben Lake’s office at Westminster.

At the time I quipped on this Blog that we shouldn’t hold our breath for a response. However, whilst I still haven’t received a written response from the two commissioners or the council leader, Ben Lake MP – much to his credit – sent me a lengthy reply, which unusually for politicians, did not duck the issue or make excuses. Rather, he fully sympathised with the contents, and further assured me that he would investigate further and would  act on the results of his inquiries. 

You can view the contents of my original correspondence, and Ben Lake’s response by cliking HERE.

I have to humbly withdraw the comment I rather flippantly made previously, which indicated a suggested and probable negative non response that I had anticipated from the Plaid ‘quartet’. That is not the case, and I am glad to report that Ben Lake’s reply was not only supportive and genuine but also friendly and down to earth. The young man has greatly elevated his status in my eyes. 

I still await a reply from the other three. Perhaps what we are seeing here is a new generation of Plaid politicians that might be drawing away from the typical ‘sons of the manse’ types that we have become so used to within Plaid, or the ‘socialist’ types who just curl their tail around Labour’s leg and purr! These two types – whom I have been a harsh detractor of in the past, need to be replaced with genuine representatives of our people, who will fight with a bit of tenacity for our freedom and independence. There does seem to be a little nucleus forming with the likes of Adam Price, Neil Mc Evoy plus a few others, and now possibly Ben Lake perhaps?

Let’s certainly hope so! 

  83 Responses to “Careful Where You Park Your Car in Our Colonised Country – Dangers Lurk!”

  1.  

    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!

    •  

      You’re right It IS a bit odd that the percentage of Bobbies in Aber are from the other side of the border.

      My theory is that it is down to two main things:

      1. It’s a well known seaside resort & university town, many are aware of it’s attractions since the railway came to Aber in Victorian times. Where nicer to work as a ‘Plod’? The everyday serious crime level is puny.

      2. It has a history of being a central hot-bed for activists. Carlo went to uni. there for a term during the investiture in the 60s. Lots of protests and of course horror of horrors when the queen’s car was mobbed on a visit there, the local Bobbies were seriously criticised for standing off and fraternising with the native protestors.

      In the English psyche there’s a need to bolster colonial rule power here – so what do you do? Flood the local police force with safe hands from Ingerland.

  2.  

    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 …

    •  

      Thank you shuai for your kind words. The health is slightly better for the present, but I won’t be selected for any national team sports in the near future I fear! The root problem is incurable and periodically flares up for long periods. It doesn’t make life easy – especially when you still harbour a bit of fire in your belly and want to get things done to change matters.

      The ‘uncomfortableness’ you mention is palpable isn’t it? As mentioned in a previous post, it’s something we need to cultivate a bit more of – especially like the Scots and Irish. We need to drop this welcoming, hospitable, friendly and compliant attitude towards our oppressors. It doesn’t work – it makes things a lot worse. Despite what the pacifists in Plaid say, it’s not possible to win over support with kindness & smiles. You’ll NEVER win over the coloniser’s heart – that’s a basic fact of life taught from history.

      Making the invader feel uncomfortable and unwelcomed repels him. Many who come here to retire do so because of the wonderful welcome they’ve received by locals when on holidays here. And the Welsh government want to encourage tourism of the kind we see in the West Indies and similar impoverished places?

      •  

        Nothing wrong with welcoming incomers, but it has to be on your terms not theirs, which means you need to have a clear sense of identity. You mention Scotland where I once lived. It’s easy to be your own worst enemy, look up “The Scottish Cringe”.

        •  

          Do you share that avatar with someone else on his days off? Or are you one and the same person?

          There’s a lot wrong with welcoming visitors – if they’re the wrong sort, and are harmful to your future existence because they are imperialist colonisers. And how do you propose to implement ‘your terms’ when faced with a single border neighbour who has TWENTY times your population and free access across your border and immediate voting rights? Wakey wakey matey!

          As for ‘The Scottish cringe’ it’s a myth contrived by English politicians and their establishment mouthpieces the mainstream media. Sure Scotland suffers like us from the ‘victor/ vanquished syndrome’, but less so, as they were conquered more recently. As for this mythical ‘Scottish cringe’ which is supposed to be derived from jealousy – you know as well as I do that it’s nonsensical bollocks, and has no substance. A contrived rebuttal to hide England’s neurotic fear of their colonial satellite neighbour nations turning on them some day.

          Out of interest did you leave Scotland because you felt intimidated?

          •  

            No, I went to Scotland and became Scottish, my only regret was there wasn’t a Scots nationality I could officially apply for once I met the criteria. When I left I remained Scottish, as far as that’s possible. Oh, and I left for a very traditional reason, I was more or less evicted by a scheming landlord, and since I was involved with groups based mainly south of the border at the time, that’s where I ended up. For quite a while now I’ve been based in Kernow, which isn’t really England, leastways it has it’s own flag (two visible from the window now) and language. I’ve never felt any real hostility from the Scots or native Cornish for that matter, so I have to disagree with you there. (This is all OT but you did ask … and yes, the logo is me afaik, whatever handle a particular site throws up).

            The Scottish Cringe is real enough, don’t take my word for it, it’s often referred to by Scottish bloggers etc. as something to be overcome. Basically it’s an ingrained subconscious sense of inferiority, a product of English imperialism. I honestly don’t think jealousy comes into it really.

            I can understand your attitude to incomers but in the long run it’s not going to work. Simply because Wales isn’t North Korea, you can’t build a wall to keep you own people in, so you need to accept people from outside to balance those who leave or suffer long-term depopulation.

            •  

              Yes, you’re right, there is such as a thing as the Scottish cringe, and I too have read about it on Scottish blogs. The difference being that it afflicts a far smaller percentage of Scots than the percentage of Welsh people being criticised here.

              No one is suggesting a complete ban on incomers – why do you keep introducing these non-sequiturs? – it’s a question of numbers and attitudes.

              •  

                I think two things are being mixed up here.

                What some assume to be the “Scottish cringe” is actually an inferiority complex experienced by a whole nation, brought about by an extended period of conquest and subjugation. Something which is often referred to as the ‘victor/vanquished syndrome’. The victor is full of confidence and behaves like a dog with two tails. For the vanquished it’s the polar opposite. A lack of confidence, feelings of inferiority, and a belief in the deep psyche of the nation that they are inferior to the victor. This is brought about by the constant psychological pressure imposed upon them, and constant reminders (in all forms from comedy to serious contempt) against the lesser nation by their oppressor that they are inferior. Coupled to being treated as second class citizens they begin to believe it.

                As I commented earlier, it’s even more pronounced in Cymru, because the process has been in place longer. Reactions to this treatment by the majority of the lesser nation is usually:

                a) to aggressively oppose the perpetrator in all forms, including social exclusion and verbal conflict, thereby eventually escaping from their grasp, (as we tend to see in Scotland) or

                2) to become victims of the so called Stockholm syndrome. This is a condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity. It is also manifest on a nation wide level amongst a nation of people held culturally hostage by another country. These feelings, resulting from an abnormal bond formed between captor and captives (or victors/vanquished) It is generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims. Generally speaking, Stockholm syndrome consists of “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons (or two nations) where one nation intermittently harasses, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other. This is what is manifest in this abnormal country we live in called Cymru.

                Now the English view of this is a cultural cringe relating to Scotland, and claimed to exist by politicians and commentators. Not the Scots themselves. These cultural commentators claim that a sense of cultural inferiority is felt by many Scots, particularly in relation to a perceived dominance of English or Anglo-centric British culture, partly due to the importance of London, within the United Kingdom, and consequently a sense of Scottish resentment, jealousy and under achievement. Not quite the same thing as I described above.

                Former First Minister of Scotland Jack McConnell suggested in 2004 that the “Scottish cringe” included opposition to free-market capitalism and alleged that the cringe meant people felt “enterprise was even something to be ashamed of or embarrassed by. That is a classic Anglo-centric view of the Scottish Cringe.

          •  

            I was mooching around the National Museum in Edinburgh a few years back and I came across an exhibit that made me think, ‘Hang on, I’ve seen that somewhere before!’ Marconatrix

  3.  

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

  4.  

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

    •  

      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.

      •  

        I knew I could rely on someone with both his eyes open and and a wide bandwidth of understanding in these matters Dafis. Thank you.

        Strange how some people pick up on the scratches and not the furniture.

        It’s sad that it’s the obvious, fuelled by media projections and interpretations that are the ones picked up on by your run of the mill observer, and not the deeper things. What was that parable about straining the gnat, whilst swallowing the camel!

    •  

      I believe you’ve misunderstood the context Tintws, and got the wrong end of the stick in the process.

      No joke intended. The point being made was quite clear. If you don’t get it on the second time of reading it then I’ll explain it to you in detail, by private messaging.

      I absolutely HATE political correctness, it’s something that is a rottenness to the bones of our society, invented and cultivated by progressive, neo-liberal do-gooders, who have by their actions taken away many of our basic freedoms of expression.

      The photo stays, unless the owner of the blog requests that it is removed. And I doubt that very much, he is quite sharp and will, I’m confident see it in it’s correct context.

  5.  

    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.

    •  

      Diolch i chi Mr. Mylchreest!

      I think you’ll find the answer to your query re. ‘heddweision Saesneg’ explained in an earlier comment I posted.

      It’s not a mystery, and very definitely contrived and encouraged in my opinion. It not an accident that Welsh speakers are so sparse amongst the police force in the area. You don’t put a squad of mice in place to guard your cheese larder do you? It has become very pronounced since that incident with Mrs. Saxe-Coburg-Gotha’s car mobbing some years back.

      Ddim yn iach, ond yn weddol ar hyn o bryd diolch.

  6.  

    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)

    •  

      Thank you Chris! “Every bit helps” as they say in those big colonial shops!

      I only hope that others appreciate the sacrifices some people make for the cause; like you losing two jobs for a principle and me demolishing my mainstream political career and getting a criminal record to boot! The reward is seeing others waking up, and being able to settle down to sleep at night with a clean conscience. Knowing you’ve told the truth and told it as it is, with no patronizing and hypocritical bullshit.

      Jac? TORY? “I don’t belieeeeve it!”. His problem is he’s confusing people with those stupid ‘right’, ‘left’ & ‘centre’ geographical tags when dealing with politics. He’s a non racist, passionate patriotic activist – full stop. Time he dropped that silly “right of centre nationalist” bollocks. He knows what he is – the same as us, and I’m no Tory – neither are you I guess.

  7.  

    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.

    •  

      Thank you Iantoddu – I felt it needed an airing for the wider public to realise exactly the sort of colonial environment we live in, as second class citizens in our own country.

      Did you know that our Celtic ancestor rode into battle bollock naked, painted blue, screaming at the top of their voices with the cut off heads of their enemies from previous battles tied by the hair to the manes of their stallions.

      I don’t think I’ll be up to that again any time soon!! Fun while it lasted mind http://www.gardenerschat-shed.net/forum/Smileys/aaron/cheeky_wink.gif

  8.  

    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”.

  9.  

    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?

    •  

      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 !!

    •  

      I couldn’t agree more with you Jac.

      You couldn’t really make up such a story for a novel could you? It’s the reason I wrote it the way I did – to draw attention to what an arsehole Westbury is, and how stupid the police set-up is. Not least because having made such a stupid move, there was no authority within the system that could just stop Westbury’s nonsense at source. Once the arrest had been made it HAD to be processed regardless of how ridiculous the situation was. Worse still, those involved knew it was nonsense, but had to proceed.

      I don’t know if it was the Phil Westbury that you tracked down Jac. I just can’t be sure (it is ten years ago). However I recall that the Westbury that arrested me was smaller in stature, more ‘weasly’ and I seem to remember that he was bespectacled, with gold rimmed glasses. I remember thinking to myself that he looked just like the antitypical, little SS officer, and that all he needed was a long, black leather trench coat.

      As I said in my piece, there are (or were by now possibly) two of them. I understood they were cousins. One was more notorious than the other. Perhaps you’ve picked up the ‘soft’ one!

      •  

        I’ve removed that link just in case it’s the other one. Bloody hell! to think that there are two of them.

        •  

          Yes there was two of them about ten years ago. As you could see from one of their profiles, six years in the West Midlands Police Force, then a quick transfer to the Dyfed Powys Force. The rest of his career here – about sixteen years to date from memory. Same pattern with his cousin I expect.

          It’s as clear as the nose on your face what the game is – but the fault actually lies on this side of the border. There’s no shortage of Welsh policemen, the trouble is they’re probably all in the English cities! Especially the Met.

  10.  

    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.

  11.  

    Excellent stuff Gwilym.

    I thought I had posted another comment earlier?

    •  

      Yes you did daffy, but as you know the blog is moderated, so all comments are read & approved before being published.

      Jac has charged me with the responsibility of moderating the comments for this post (fair play he is officially supposed to be taking a break).

      I own up, I sneaked off at suppertime, and then watched something on TV & then the mainstream (false) news media came on – I watch it to see what laundered establishment vomit they broadcast, and then compare it to proper alternative media news.

      So, sorry for the delay in publishing your earlier post.

  12.  

    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.

    •  

      Do you know what Craig? From some of the responses to this post, including yours, I’m beginning to think that this police hostility and Britnat bigotry problem towards our indigenous language and culture is more widespread than I realised. It’s probably grossly under reported. Maybe we should think about doing something about that.

      Out of interest when were you arrested Craig?

      •  

        I’ll tell you another. I was involved in an accident on the M4. Well a car hit the rear of my vehicle. The lady who hit the rear of my vehicle was from the north as it happened and was Welsh speaking. Infants in the car crying. And there was another car in their party who also stopped who was the father of the girl who had collided with me. He was crying too having seen his world come to within a whisker of being lost. Thankfully nobody hurt. Dyfed-Powys turned up as well as South Wales Police as it happened right on the border of their respective patches. Fire brigade there too. Anyway, the dad I mentioned earlier was talking to me and he stopped and said to the police….’Is it OK if I speak Welsh?’. They burst out laughing. OK it was a strange thing for him to ask but I know that at least one of the Dyfed-Powys officers was Welsh speaking. Shouldn’t he have made the man feel at ease and talk with them in their first and preferred language? Englishness is institutional in your police service in Wales.

        •  

          How sad. A poor man in shock, asking – like a child – if it was OK for him to speak Welsh to a fellow Welsh speaker. Presumably because the police were the symbol of authority, and there was a deep set fear that as the language of authority is English, he may be doing something wrong.

          THAT epitomises the damage that has been done to our psyche as a nation, through colonial oppression. In periods of stress, fear or shock it rises to the surface. And we’re accused of exaggerating our predicament?

          A little lesson from history:

          Owain ap Dafydd (c.1275 – c.1325), de jure Prince of Gwynedd (1287 – c. 1325), was the younger son of Dafydd ap Gruffydd, the last free ruler of Gwynedd and the self-proclaimed Prince of Wales.

          His father was hung drawn & quartered at Shrewsbury. Following the arrest of his elder brother Llywelyn on 29 June, they were both escorted under guard out of Gwynedd via Acton Burnell to Bristol Castle. Llywelyn died in 1287 while Owain was last reported to be alive in 1325 when he would have been in his fifties. During much of his captivity at Bristol – and it must be assumed the same treatment, or worse, for his brother – he was kept in a cage to ensure there was no means of escape.

          Order from King Edward I to the Constable of Bristol Castle, October 1305:

          “As the King wills that Owain son of Dafydd ap Gruffudd, who is in the Constable’s custody in the castle, should be kept more securely than he has been previously, he orders the Constable to cause a strong house within the castle to be repaired as soon as possible, and to make a wooden cage bound with iron in that house in which Owain might be enclosed at night”.

          There’s a copy of a pitiful note he wrote to king Edward, begging that he be given time outside with his captors to “play”. He was about forty years of age at the time. This indicates his emotional and mental condition, due to his captivity and his treatment during his incarceration at Edward 1st’s pleasure and whim. It also shows glimpses of to what extended bad treatment does to the psyche – like asking a policemen if you’re allowed to speak Welsh in your own country when at the scene of an accident.

          Pretty horrific isn’t it?

          •  

            Things must have changed a lot in Dyfed Powys Police since my experiences with them in the early 80s. I was once witness to a rather frightening accident on the road between Caerfyrddin and Cynwyl Elfed, where I was living at the time. The police attended, and the first question the officer asked me was if I spoke Welsh. I didn’t at the time, (ond rwy’n rhugl erbyn hyn!) so I apologised, and gave my witness statement in English.

            On another occasion, I was stopped by an agent of the Dyfed Powys Police, and the first question asked of me was in Welsh, to which again I apologised before giving the required information in English.

            It’s a shock to hear of the disgraceful changes wrought in the intervening 30 odd years, and that too many people are treated with disdain for having the temerity to speak their own language in their own country.

            •  

              These things don’t take long to change Sibrydionmawr. There’s someone or other retiring from the force all the time. Slot in a racist immigrant from the other side of Clawdd Offa into every vacant spot as they come up, and it doesn’t take long to reach the tipping point.

              I’ve spoken to quite a few of my friends on the local force, who are around my age, and invariably they endorse what I say. What comes up, over and over is “I’ll be glad to retire, the job isn’t what it used to be, with these newcomers and changes from above to the way things are done”. Speaks for itself doesn’t it?

              The mobbing of Mrs. Saxe-Coburg-Gotha’s car happened between the time of your experience and the present.

  13.  

    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.

    •  

      This evidently is why it was a racist arrest. There was no intention to carry out the process according to correct guidelines. Westbury pure and simple wanted to teach a ‘native’ a lesson, after one of his co-patriots (the car park attendant) had been belittled. Of that there is little doubt. His anger was compounded – in my opinion – because there was a lot of unrest at the time with a lot of paint daubing by Cymuned, drawing attention to colonisation. Plaid, CYIG and earlier language campaigners had never highlighted the colonisation factor – just the language factor. The mention of colonisation is like a hot poker on the skin of Britnats.

      Westbury, an immigrant police import from the Midlands, and a Britnat to the core I wouldn’t be surprised, would have been boiling under his skin, following my action. THAT’S why the arrest took place. Not because he wasn’t aware of the rules.

      As a footnote Brychan – as I’ve already pointed out in an earlier post. I don’t think you’ve got the right Westbury. I’m pretty sure that it was his relative (cousin I’ve heard) that wrongfully arrested me. So I think it would be wise for us to remove the photo you posted, but I’ll have a word with Jac first.

    •  

      I’ve been trawling through my filing cabinet, and found to my delight a folder at the back. I’d forgotten all about it. It contained all the paperwork for the racist arrest I endured in March 2007.

      Not only the statements of all concerned, but all the CPS letters and correspondence from my solicitor Iestyn Davies. I also have a typed transcript of my interview with WPC Siân-Elen Davies who conducted it. The finished article reads more like a pig’s breakfast than a proper transcript, typed my guess is by someone who was not quite proficient in the language of heaven!

      As I suspected, it was not PC Phil Westbury who arrested me but his slimy little relative:

      PC MICHAEL ROBERT WESTBURY

      So Brychan, I’m removing the photo you uploaded of PC Phil Westbury – for obvious reasons.

      Whether the other Britnat, anti Welsh, Westbury is still active at Aberystwyth police station, I don’t know. He may have slithered back under the stone he crept out from under in the Midlands, or he may have retired for all I know. He’s certainly got a very low profile, in fact non existent on the Web.

      When I get a minute, I’ll scan the paperwork and upload it. It’ll make interesting reading for those who would like the finer details of the day.

  14.  

    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/

    •  

      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…

      •  

        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.

        •  

          In a democracy, people often deserve the MP they vote for.

          I would agree that the portfolio she has been handed is a ‘poisoned chalice’ – especially at this particular time. However, it’s only what she deserves having snuggled up to Labour to keep them in power – for what it seems was in return for keeping her own political ambitions afloat

          She seems to be made of similar stuff to Mrs May(hem) in Westminster. These are cases of politicians putting ‘me’ first, rather than the people.

        •  

          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.

          •  

            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.

            •  

              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).

        •  

          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?

      •  

        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

        •  

          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…

  15.  

    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.

    •  

      You’re absolutely right Jac. You only have to go into any supermarket in the tourist hot-spots and the great majority of the staff are English immigrants. Mainly because the managers who work and recruit locally are from England, and they in turn favour their own kind when it comes to employment. In places like Aberystwyth, the vast number of employees are students who’ve arrived here from the other side of Clawdd Offa. It’s not quite so bad in the Anglicized south, but again a lot of the managers are English there too. Where are the enclaves of Welsh speaking communities? In the west, mid and north Wales, and they are being starved out of their communities by having work doled out to the Britnats, who descend on those areas, and then by their presence, sky rocket house prices so that the locals can’t afford housing – even if they had a job. It may be politically incorrect to say it (but I couldn’t give a flying fuck about that), but this is ethnic cleansing by stealth.

      It doesn’t end with the police force, railways and Post Office either. Local government employees in places like Ceredigion are becoming overwhelmingly English only. They get employed on the promise that they will learn the language. Do they? My arse, you usually get greeted with “sorry, my Welsh isn’t very good – would you like me to transfer you to a Welsh speaker?” in a Midlands or Southern English counties accent.

      The excuse of course is that they can’t get anyone locally who’s bilingual to fill the vacancies – which we all know is a load of crap. More often this again is more prevalent when it comes to middle/ upper management posts – and who do you think they employ? By extension the message being sent out is that we are inferior, or too badly educated or just too stupid to fulfil these vacancies.

      On the subject of governance. I’ve been thinking about it, and have decided to send an e-mail to Ben Lake, the new Plaid broom that’s now the MP for Ceredigion (I knew – who must have been his granfather – who was the local Bobby in the Tregaron area – salt of the earth old fashioned type who would give you a lift home rather that breathalyse you, hence why he was, and still is, hugely respected), with carbon copies to Ellen ap Gwynn (the Plaid council leader) and Dafydd Llywelyn the newish Plaid police crime commissioner for Dyfed Powys constabulary.

      Just a polite message with a link to this post and all it’s comments. Whether they’ll do that is something else, but at least they can’t say they were not made aware of the problems raised here.

      •  

        Might be worth sending a copy to Arfon Jones as well?

        •  

          Good idea daffy – I will. That would be a four card (Plaid) flush!

          Two police commissioners, an MP and a council leader. It doesn’t get much better than that does it? With three out of four having Ceredigion as their ‘patch’.

      •  

        “(t)his is ethnic cleansing by stealth”

        As I may have mentioned here before (possibly when I was still skulking anonymously), we have been Latvianised.

        When Latvia (along with Estonia and Lithuania) was handed over to the tender mercies of Uncle Joe in 1940, one of the first things that the thug did was forcibly to deport a large proportion of the population of Latvia to other parts of the Russian Empire and replace them with Russians who could be relied upon to impose their culture upon their new domicile.

        The intention was, of course, to so dilute any sense of Latvian identity that any firm expression of it could be ridiculed as being ‘backward’ or ‘regressive’ (this is known nowadays hereabouts as ‘the Milord Dafydd Elis Elis-Thomas gambit’), and therefore ripe for extirpation with extreme prejudice.

        Somehow, Latvian identity survived to see its freedom from Russian rule. However, they were left with the legacy of hundreds of thousands of Russians who believed that they were intrinsically superior to the ‘surly natives’ in every respect, and who therefore refused point-blank to assimilate (or fuck off home). Latvia (and the same is true in varying degrees of the other Baltic states) has had to waste an awful lot of time and money in the last quarter century dealing with these immigrated ingrates.

        Seems a familiar scenario, doesn’t it? Because this sort of ‘cleansing’ can be carried out by means other than brute force. In our own case, it involves so configuring the cultural, social and economic landscape as to produce the same results without a shot having to be fired.

        The best course of action would be to stop it happening in the first place, but it’s too late for that now. All we are left to do is to assert ourselves in every circumstance and at all times. But, as someone once sang, “Dyw’r Werin ddim digon o ddynion, bois”

        •  

          Gwir y gair Nigel . . .

          “Dyw’r Werin ddim digon o ddynion, bois”

          •  

            Gwin Y Gwan, Gee Mawr…

            …o, sorri, rhywun arall oedd hwnna ‘n do?

            Just happened on this quote from James Baldwin which I think is germane:

            “It is terrible to watch people cling to their captivity and insist on their own destruction.”

    •  

      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?

      •  

        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.

        •  

          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.

  16.  

    I think I’ve tracked him down. You can run, but you can’t hide on the Internet.

    Here’s a shot from his Twitter account:

    http://jacothenorth.net/pics/photo_mike_westbury2_2010.png

    And an enhanced one:

    http://jacothenorth.net/pics/photo_mike_westbury_2010.png

    I did mention that from my recollection of him ten years ago, that he struck me as looking like an antitypical SS officer, and I could imagine him in a long black leather coat. I think you’ll see what I mean.

    Not a whisper about his life in the police force. Maybe he’s retired, or got booted out – he looks a bit young to be retired, but I don’t know how old his profile photo is.

    Anyway, you know his name and what he looks like now!

    •  

      The language on his twitter feed (English) suggests that he’s no longer a police officer. Language you’d not want your children to be using in the street, and directed face-to-face would constitute a public order offence. Horrible man. A disgrace to Dyfed Powys Police and Wales.

      The last time I had a discussion with a police officer over my parking was outside Haverfordwest Railway Station. I’d parked the van, with bikes, awaiting a friend to arrive for a cycle run down to Neyland. A police officer had cause to ask me to move the vehicle, as Betty Battenburg was visiting, room for her roller to deposit her maj onto her train. The officer had evidently already done a licence plate check, asked me in Welsh. He was some kind of SO diplomatic division of the Metropolitan Police.

      Colonialism works both ways, stealing the most talented and able with higher pay. I can’t imagine what the outcome would have been, on that day, if a Westbury had been tasked. It also begs the question – Why are native Welsh speaking police officers having to leave the country for better pay and promotion, while at the same time the useless ones from Wolverhampton are dumped (white flighters) in Aberystwyth to fill recruitment gaps?

      •  

        I’m finding these revelations about police officers from elsewhere being relocated to mid-Wales and then behaving appallingly a revelation. About ten years ago I was driving near Newtown when I had a really bad experience with a police officer, the worst that I have ever had. I had got used to being stopped by the traffic police in north Wales because Richard Brunstrom had launched his traffic clampdown, but to be fair, they were very nice and polite every time that I was stopped, I never had a problem with the way that they treated me. But during that time, I was stopped by someone from Dyfed-Powys force. OK, I didn’t have my seat belt on, I had just come from getting petrol and forgotten it, but I was driving along and found myself being tailgated – literally, followed bumper to bumper, by a police Range Rover. But he didn’t put his lights on or flag me down. So I continued and he carried on following me in such an aggressive way that it distracted me and put me off driving safely. He then DID stop me and was absolutely foul, unbelievably aggressive, swore at me, intimidated me in every way possible, nothing like Brunstroms lot at all, and booked me. He then let me go – but intimidated me so badly that when I got back into my car by which time I was actually shaking, I made a minor error pulling away from the kerb. He was still following me bumper to bumper. So he stopped me AGAIN, shouted and swore – and booked me AGAIN. I realised that I was dealing with a nutter and a very nasty one. After this I wondered what the fuck was going to happen next – yep, as soon as I drove away, he stopped me yet again with another allegation. It was only after the third booking that I was left alone.

        My friends all told me that I should have complained but I remember thinking what would be the fucking point, this man was a psycho, he should never have been in the Force, someone must have known what he was like and let him in. There were two features that I remember most – apart from the fact that he was an aggressive bastard – his uniform indicated that he was of higher rank than your normal traffic cop and he was, unusually for a police officer in rural Wales, Asian.

        •  

          There is an Asian (Chinese possibly not southern Asian) guy in Dyfed-Powys and he’s also Welsh speaking. I remember someone saying he was from Ammanford or nearby. I don’t think he has a bad reputation. There may be more than one of course. The one I am thinking of was present during the M4 incident. 😉

        •  

          Disgraceful Sally. It’s not just me that attracts ‘odd’ policefolk then!

          Funny you should mention Richard Brunstrom, whom I have huge respect for. Although an ‘immigrant’ he had an excellent attitude towards us. He learned Welsh, and I remember he attended a face to face meeting with Cymuned. He was very genuine and sympathetic to our cause.

          That attitude percolated down to his force – which shows the influence someone like him can have on a whole police force. The trouble is they’re far & few between.

          However he was hounded, ridiculed and reviled by the Britnat press & media – I wonder why? I don’t think it was because of his clamp down on stupid maniacal car drivers on his patch.

          •  

            Yes he did have a very fair outlook, I met him once to discuss the way in which police officers responded to people with mental health problems and he was very sound on that too. I know exactly why Mr Brunstrom got so much flak from the Daily Mail – it was because they were being fed stories about him by a senior officer whom he had dismissed for corruption. It was this officer who made up the moniker ‘Mad Mullah of the Traffic Taliban’ and the Mail lapped it up. That’s how it all started which is why they then had a go at Brunstrom whatever he did – particularly for daring to learn Welsh, which he learnt to very high standard. The Mail knew exactly what the background of their informant was but they never mentioned it! The officer concerned later became the Chair of an NHS Trust in north Wales and is responsible for much of the chaos and tragedy that the north Wales NHS is experiencing.

            •  

              If what you say is correct Sally – about the senior officer that was sacked for corruption – then it stinks.

              The stench is even greater when such people get put in positions of influence afterwards. It’s not a case of ‘what you know’ but ‘who you know’ – and that is the very foundation of all that’s wrong in this insane system we live in.

              •  

                It got worse Big Gee. After he completed his disasterous tenure as Chair of the scandal ridden NHS Trust, he continued in his role as a member of Council at Bangor University. He sits on their fair practice committee no less! He was also a member of the Board of the Welsh Ambulance Trust. He achieved notoriety during his time as Chair of the NHS Trust by demanding that I be arrested because he was ‘fed up’ of my complaints about the mental health services – he had me arrested for harassment on the grounds that I’d sent him e mails of complaint and cc’d them to the doctors that I was complaining about as well. Days after this he left his position as Chair. There was never an investigation into my arrest. He continued as a Council member of the University after my arrest and it became a running joke that one of the members of Council had had a member of staff wrongly arrested… It was absolutely outrageous and as far as I know he was never held to account by anyone. The doctor that I was complaining about had the highest death rate among his female patients in Wales. My complaints were never investigated and that doctor continued to exterminate his patients until he retired last year.

    •  

      He describes himself as a ‘listener’ and a ‘wit’. You can doubtless confirm those claimed attributes, Gwilym.

  17.  

    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

  18.  

    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.

  19.  

    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/

    •  

      An ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT post by Florian Breit. I would gladly hold the gate open for the likes of him to join us in the Land of my Fathers.

      What insight and understanding, not to mention logic (but that last bit comes naturally to a German I suppose).

      It certainly shows that the battle is being fought at many levels, and the one not to be ignored is the way the civil servants are shaping our world with their incessant bureaucratic British (Englishness).

      Thank you very much for that KA!

      •  

        The last three comments are interesting as they deal with the only case apparently where the language test was not done in English, or Welsh as it happens.
        Michael aka Akerbeltz has done a lot of valuable language work, e.g. :
        http://www.akerbeltz.eu/akerbeltz.html
        http://www.akerbeltz.com/

      •  

        Although the two situations were quite different in detail, look at the parallel between these two quotes :

        “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 … [who] conducted the interview (halting repeatedly to ask the solicitor & I how to spell certain words).”

        “When I called and asked to sit the Gaelic test it was a case of ‘No you can’t’ – ‘Yes I can’ until some line manager said I could but I’d have to wait for them to arrange for an ‘interpreter’ (sic). When I queried the interpreter bit, they clarified they meant a translation of the questions I’d get as the digital system only does English … I show up … They give me a stack of paper and my jaw drops because in all my years as a translator and proofreader, I’d never seen the like. Google Translate didn’t do Gaelic at the time so my guess is they asked around the office and [found] someone [who] was a lower-intermediate learner or had done a Gaelic (Learner) Higher in their youth. It was so dire I had to look at the answers at times to figure out the questions.”

        Why, when the law requires something to be available in several languages, aren’t the required translations commissioned and put on file in the first place? That would surely be the bureaucratic “by the book” approach? Somehow English only speakers seem to have this enormous blind spot. They simply can’t grasp that the minority native languages of the UK are in fact real languages that real people speak out there in the real world, not just some oddballs’ fantasy hobby.

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