Rhondda Life Ltd

Jun 182015
 

A report just produced by the ‘Welsh’ Labour Government, Inquiry into Poverty in Wales: Poverty and Inequality tells us, among other things, that 23% of the population still lives in relative poverty, and while the situation is improving in England and Scotland there is no sign of improvement in Wales. In response, the ‘Welsh’ Government protests that it has “committed £323m to tackling poverty this year alone”. I shall return to this ‘commitment’ anon.

This latest report merely reinforces other reports, and evidence from a host of sources, telling us that our land is poor and becoming – relative to Scotland and England – poorer. For example, earlier this year the Wales TUC produced a report on the Living Wage, with its findings published on a constituency basis. It found that in Cardiff North just 11.4% of jobs pay less than the Living Wage, but in Gower the figure rises to 45%, while Dwyfor Meirionnydd gives the worst figure, at 51%. In both of these areas tourism undoubtedly plays a role in depressing wage levels.

The statistics already dealt with tie in with other findings that tell us Wales has the lowest levels of working-age employment and the highest rates of economic inactivity to be found on this island. But what can you expect? In my previous post I dealt with a non-working, benefit-dependent population being deliberately brought in to Dyffryn Teifi – and the same thing is happening all over Wales. Housing associations and others are importing from England white trash that England is more than happy to be rid of. While in the post before that I dealt with the unsustainable numbers of elderly people moving into Wales, and the inevitable effect this is having on the NHS and other services.

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Another piece that caught my eye today concerned Rhondda Life Ltd. Plaid Cymru – for once doing something right – finally got hold of a report from December 2012 that the party claimed the ‘Welsh’ Government had refused to release. (Though much of the information was already in the public domain by 2012, soon after the funding plug was pulled.) The report made it clear that RLL was yet another disaster of the kind we have become so familiar with in Wales: Labour Party hacks and hangers-on receiving obscene amounts of public money for doomed projects in desperate efforts to be seen to be doing something, and failing miserably to achieve anything other than secure tidy salaries and good pensions for themselves.

Running the Rhondda Life show in Ferndale was Travers Merrill. An optimist, our Travers, for while RLL was hurtling, out of control towards the buffers he reassured passengers that it was merely keeping to schedule. For just three months before an auditors’ financial review found Travers Merrillliabilities of £106,555 Merrill was insisting, “RLL is solvent for the following reasons. It has detailed cash flow forecasts; robust internal accounting procedures; detailed financial records; budgetary and corporate plans; no continuing loss-making activities; excess assets over liabilities; no loan or interest defaults on payments; rigid and regular financial activity monitoring; no unpaid tax liabilities; strong governance and management.” Nice try, Trav.

Travers Merrill is married to Rose Mutale Nyoni Merrill OBE (or combinations thereof) who is CEO of BAWSO, a well-funded Third Sector outfit catering for Mrs Merrill and her friends ethnic minority women in need of help. In addition, she was involved with MEWN, another ethnic minority women’s charity based in Swansea, which has also breathed its last. Though before it took ill and expired I – impetuous fool that I am! – suggested that MEWN might reasonably be viewed as a replacement for AWEMA – as if anyone could replace Naz Malik! How much Argie plonk had I drunk when I wrote that?!

Mr and Mrs Travers Merrill are known to have strong – if almost covert – Labour connections, but what is perhaps more interesting about them is that they also have a private company. This is ABESU, which, to quote the company’s website, is “a UK charity working in partnership with the ABESU Women’s Housing Co-operative in Zambia to self-build houses and establish sustainable livelihoods”. Zambia is of course Mrs Merrill’s homeland. The latest accounts lodged with the Charity Commission, or rather, the ‘Unaudited Financial Statements’, tell us that the charity “employs no staff in the UK and the administration is provided pro bono (by whom?) with minimal office expenses”. Which is one way of putting it.

Though a few years ago I was approached by a BAWSO insider telling me that much of ABESU’s administrative and secretarial work was being done in the BAWSO office, using equipment and facilities provided for BAWSO out of public funds. Clearly not right. Though of course this explains why ABESU’s “administration is provided pro bono with minimal office expenses” – it’s because it’s provided by us, via the ‘Welsh’ Government and its funding agencies.

AWEMA Charity Commission

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But ‘Welsh’ Labour’s generosity doesn’t end there. For the Unaudited Financial Statement for the period ending March 31st 2014 tells us that the ‘Welsh’ Government gave ABESU £2,000 in that year. (Page 12 of accounts.) Confronting us with the obvious question, why is the ‘Welsh’ Government giving £2,000 to an organisation that, by its own admission. employs no staff in the UK? This has echoes of AWEMA operating, with Welsh public funding, in Kenya and Pakistan. And me, cynic that I am, I can’t help wondering – as I do with all charities – how much of the money donated ever reaches those it was given to help.

Whatever the answer, and however you look at it, the Merrills are the perfect Labour-Third Sector family; neither of them Welsh but happily spending millions of pounds of Welsh public funding on others, most of whom are not Welsh either. And with the curious and suspect overlap with a private company that may also be benefiting from our generosity. Well, we know it’s getting at least £2,000. And for those tempted to say, ‘Oh, two thousand pounds isn’t a lot’, how many other organisations are receiving Welsh public funding for projects outside of Wales?

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Wales is a poor, post-industrial country that has never replaced the heavy industry it lost. With the inevitable result that ours is now a country with unacceptable levels of poverty, suffering a flight of the bright and an ageing population. Yet the ‘Welsh’ Government funds housing associations and others to import more poverty, while also encouraging elderly people to move to Wales! Then, due to the emasculating Left-Green mindset that has reduced Plaid Cymru to an object of ridicule, the party that should be exposing and attacking this truly wondrous strategy that both colonises and impoverishes Wales, actually applauds it! Believing, in its pathetic, socialistic distortions of reality, that Wales is somehow acting as a ‘beacon’ in ‘helping those in need’ . . . bring on the fairies!

And if that wasn’t bad enough, the money that is given to the ‘Welsh’ Government by the EU and the UK government to alleviate that deprivation is wasted on a Third Sector that is nothing more than the Labour Party funding careers for its otherwise unemployable supporters, and guaranteeing their loyalty; supporters who will then shout down opponents and commission surveys that always conclude – the ‘Welsh’ Government should give them more money! This is where the £323 million pounds will be spent this year, not on “tackling poverty” as the ‘Welsh’ Government claims, but on its Third Sector cronies, and on projects and schemes that no Welsh community would miss if they ceased tomorrow.

As I was finishing off this piece, and thinking it couldn’t get any worse, I noticed a tweet from @johnsouthwales telling of a ‘community embankment‘ built in Ammanford as part of the Communities First programme. Tell me this is not real. Tell me I’ll wake up tomorrow and realise that this country I think I live in is really just a bad dream.

Nov 232012
 

The news that AWEMA probably has a successor was dropped into my lap today by a combination of ennui and serendipity. Well, when I say ‘successor’, what I mean is, we have a new all-Wales anti-discrimination body representing the black and minority ethnic population (BME). It couldn’t really be a new AWEMA, could it? I mean, Naz and the gang are irreplaceable . . . God! I miss ’em! Will we ever see their like again? (Almost guaranteed, given how the Labour Party and the Third Sector operate in Wales!)

The new outfit of which I speak is Race Council Cymru (RCC) and, like AWEMA, it is based in Swansea. In fact, just a few streets away from Castell Malik. (Though according to the website Swansea is in ‘West Glamorgan’ . . . which went out of existence in 1995.) The website suggests RCC is a somewhat new organisation, for it’s very light on information and almost devoid of history. Which should be no surprise if it is replacing AWEMA. Because this might mean it was formed in a bit of a hurry. Anyway, what does the website tell us?

YMCA

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Well, for a start, RCC seems to be run by a ‘Volunteer CEO’, Mrs Uzo Iwobi CBE, a Nigerian with a background in the police, the Commission for Racial Equality, and academe. The profile given on the website does not say if she’s a Labour Party member. If ‘Volunteer’ means unpaid then this suggests an attempt to avoid the, er, ‘misunderstandings’ of the recent past. But if Mrs Iwobi isn’t being paid, then how does she earn her crust, and does she have staff to help her run RCC? (Worth asking of course because AWEMA gave staffing arrangements and salary levels the attention they deserve. Old Naz was firm about that.) Nor could I find information about funding. For even if Mrs Iwobi is giving her time for nothing, there must be expenses; if only hers, plus office rental, website, and other incidentals.

Information was provided on the Board of Trustees. These are: Judge Ray Singh CBE (Chair); ‘Chief'(?) Mel Jehu, retired career cop (Vice Chair); Mrs. Norma Glass MBE (General Secretay); and Mr. Richard Davies (Treasurer). How nice to see a member of our Jewish community represented on the Board. The following have been co-opted to the Board: Mrs. Mutale Merrill OBE (CEO, BAWSO); Ms Rocio Cifuentes (Director, EYST); Mrs Sujatha Thaladi (Director, MEWN Cymru); Mr. Martin Jones JP (Adviser to the Board of Trustees).

As an example of the slipshod nature of the RCC website, under the photo for each Trustee we are invited to ‘Read More’, but no further information is provided for either Ms Cifuentes or Mr Jones; and for a couple of the others it merely repeats what’s on the main Trustees page. But some of these names rang bells. Rose Mutale Nyoni Merrill is the wife of Travers Merrill, Chief Executive of the troubled Rhondda Life Ltd, mentioned recently in this post. Ms Cifuentes has also caught my eye. Unsurprisingly, Mrs Thaladi’s outfit, MEWN Cymru, has also been mentioned on this blog. It begins to look like just another round of BME / Third Sector musical chairs.

WHICH GOVERNMENT?

I only found out about RCC through an item today on the BBC Wales website (which disappeared completely, even from the regional page, soon after I tweeted about it!). Anyway, this story concerned a report compiled for RCC by Professor Heaven Crawley, Director of the Centre for Migration Policy Research at Swansea University. Think about that for a minute – an organisation wanting certain ‘findings’ asks an academic who also stands to benefit from those same findings to conduct research on its behalf. And guess what? Prof. Crawley found that there is indeed a lot of racism in Wales. (Example: People ‘looking’ at women wearing the hijab. Or, “My friend, right . . .”.) Cue filling out grant application forms and smooching politicos.

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pissed off with people moving to Wales, often getting red carpet treatment, or being given lucrative and prestigious publicly-funded posts – only for them to turn on us. It doesn’t matter whether they are ranting bigots or retiring academics; too many seem determined to portray us Welsh in the worst possible light, because it serves a certain agenda. Given away by the enthusiasm with which the Labour Party, the anti-Welsh Labour Party – often using the Third sector – joins in the attacks.

Don’t dismiss what I’m saying out of hand because you happen to be on the Left, and perhaps view me as a reactionary oddball. Just give some thought to the intellectual continuum that allows ‘respectable’ academic research such as that done by Professor Crawley to give succour to creatures like this (play video). For isn’t it a proven fact that we Welsh are intolerant and racist! (Not forgetting, “ignorant bastards”.)

That’s how it works: some drunken Jack makes an out-of-order remark to a Muslim woman and this and similar incidents are amassed and inflated by Labour’s Third Sector and supportive academics into a damning corpus of evidence against a whole nation; done in order to reduce resistance to further English colonisation and to undermine demands for more control over our national life. I can see it, which is why I will speak out. But it seems to be a bit of a blind spot for our patriotic Left.