Jun 152015
 

After interruptions and various distractions I’m finally pressing on with my Magnum Opus ‘The Colonisation of Wales’. One distraction has been the disturbing news received from a number of quarters about the Llandysul, Drefach and Dre-Fach Felindre area of Dyffryn Teifi. It seems that this area, straddling the boundary between Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, is a hotspot for the importation of non-working and elderly populations, by both private landlords and Registered Social Landlords (RSLs).

Llandysul non-working

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I’m hearing of ex-council properties being turned into flats, and these then being rented to drug addicts and others brought in from over the border. I’m hearing of people who bought their council house being pestered by ‘investors’ and housing associations to sell to them. I’m hearing of an estate in Llandysul owned by Tai Ceredigion where most of the tenants, originally from Birmingham and Liverpool, are almost all of the non-working and / or long-term ‘sick’ variety. Yet Tai Ceredigion plans to extend this estate by adding 50 more houses!

Which means that Tai Ceredigion expects the rest of us to pay – through the Social Housing Grant and other ‘Welsh’ Government funding – for new properties for which there is clearly no local demand. And once they’ve arrived, then we shall be expected to pay housing benefit for those Tai Ceredigion will import to fill the 50 new properties.

Other reports talk of an influx of Londoners and Brummies into Dre-Fach Felindre. While nearby, at Waungilwen, there are bungalows for elderly and disabled people, a disproportionate number of which are now occupied by other recent arrivals from England, some of whom don’t seem too sure where they are! When canvassed for the general election one response was, “Is it Labour or Conservative round here?” So who is bringing into Wales people that can only be a burden on the NHS and other services? And do the housing associations (and private landlords) responsible pass on to the NHS and other providers part of the extra funding they get for taking in people with ‘problems’?

Another angle I’d like to explore is the possible relationship between private landlords and RSLs. Because it has been suggested to me that a relationship exists, with private landlords taking in dubious and undesirable tenants with the guarantee that such tenants will soon be re-housed by a local housing association. This system leads to certain privately-owned properties operating a revolving-door system of tenants changing every few weeks. (One advantage here being that, with such people already having an address in the area, an RSL can claim it’s housing ‘locals’.) So any info on links between private landlords and RSLs would be welcome.

Another aspect to the wider racket much-needed work being done is the re-housing of the ‘homeless’. I hear of a large terraced house in Aberteifi (Cardigan) owned by Cantref. A steady flow of ‘homeless’ individuals and families pass through this property before, presumably, being housed elsewhere by Cantref. What these people have in common is that none of them is Welsh. Nor were any of them ever homeless in Wales. So why is a Welsh housing association using our money, yours and mine, to house people who became homeless in England?

Llandysul Social Rented Housing with towns -1

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The RSLs involved in Dyffryn Teifi are, in addition to Tai Ceredigion, Cantref (formerly Tai Cantref) and, possibly, our old friends Gwalia, responsible for inflicting the Kidwelly Paedophile Gang on Wales. Given that I already have such good information on Dyffryn Teifi I plan to use it as an example of the wider problem to be found across rural and coastal Wales. A problem that makes it clear there is no shortage of social housing, in fact, in most areas there is an oversupply – so why is the ‘Welsh’ Government funding housing associations and others to build yet more properties for which there is clearly no local demand?

The only answer is that the ‘Welsh’ Government is deliberately funding, from the stretched budget of a poor country, the colonisation of that country. There can be no other explanation for what would otherwise be economic illiteracy. With one result being that Dyffryn Teifi, an area that until very recently was overwhelmingly Welsh in language and sentiment, is being rapidly anglicised.

So I appeal to everyone reading this for more information on the rented and social housing sector in Dyffryn Teifi. I want to know which housing associations are involved and which properties they own. I would also like specific addresses for the privately rented properties – particularly former council houses now converted into flats – in the hope that I can find out who owns them. I would also be interested in hearing from locals who might have experienced difficulty in securing social housing.

Finally, I appeal to those working for housing associations, in Dyffryn Teifi and elsewhere in our rural and coastal areas. You know how your employer operates, you should therefore realise that this lunacy cannot continue. Sooner or later the ‘Welsh’ Government will have to pull the funding plug on a system that sees housing associations wasting tens of millions of pounds every year bringing into Wales the kind of people that would have doors slammed in their faces if they tried to move anywhere else.

They’ve had a good run but time is running out for housing associations. So think ahead, and think of yourself; a few years from now having ‘————- Housing Association’ on your CV may not do you any favours. Write in confidence to editor@jacothenorth.net.

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52 Comments on "The Colonisation of Wales: Help Needed"

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Emlyn Uwch Cuch
Guest

Add Newcastle Emlyn to your sad litany. I have been there a few times recently, only to find that almost no Welsh is spoken up and down the streets. Just English people. I make a point in Welsh Wales of speaking Welsh to shop workers, but in one particular NCE supermarket all I get is blank stares and none-too-polite instructions to speak English. This in a shop where 3 years ago most of the staff spoke Welsh.

Don’t get me started about Drefach-Felindre. Again, 3 years ago 100% of the staff at the supermarket spoke Welsh. Now it’s the blank stare routine from recent immigrants.

The thing is they’re so arrogant. Gone are the days when the cheerful newcomer would apologise for his lack of Welsh, and try a garbled “Diolch yn fawr” at the end. Now they’ll wait for me to make a fool of myself by asking the same thing 3 times in Welsh, before they indignantly state that they don’t speak Welsh. Tough luck Taffy: this is our country now. F- you.

I’m too polite, honestly. I resist the temptation to tell them that the road that brought them here is still open for their return. I’d only get arrested for racist aggravation, or something.

But who gave our social housing agencies the right to become proxies for wholesale linguistic genocide? No wonder the School Governing Body at NCE’s Ysgol y Ddwylan want to change the language category to A (instead of Dual Stream A/B). Hold on to the little influence you have left, dear friends. Hold on.

Mr Jones
Guest

What nonsense you speak about Castell Newydd. You’ll hear Welsh spoken in most places in the town, i’d say at least half a dozen of the independent shop owners are first language Welsh speakers.

bansamkha
Guest

just to name a few places of the top of my head the local chippy in drefach and newcastle emlyn are welsh speaking first and emlyn rugby club you could say is 99% welsh speaking and i was an incomer 40 years ago, welsh has always been spoken here now as much as 40 years ago.

Mr Jones (el comadreja)
Guest
Mr Jones (el comadreja)

Begin in Old station road in the town, and there would be four businesses which are owned by first language Welsh speakers. Welsh would be the majority language of the farmers, who sell their livestock every Thursday, and every other Tuesday at the towns livestock market.

The auctioneers who carry out the livestock sales are also fluent in Welsh as a first language.

Balchder
Guest

Good article, all over Wales councils from across the border have been moving their “Social burden” for years. With a parachute payment to the councils they are in. Thing is this payment isn’t forever and we end up paying for them in the long run

Lee
Guest

So long as remain part of the UK and/or EU, we have no control over who enters Cymru. I joined Plaid to free our nation from English control and it frustrates me that Plaid is so EU-friendly we have no one really prepared to stand up for our heritage. So long as we have a Labour Assembly government keeping us poor and property prices low, we’ll remain a cheap option for English wanting to retire here.

Ian Perryman
Guest

Depends what you mean by ‘supermarket’.
A lot of small supermarkets are little more than corner shops which have allied themselves to a brand name such as Spar. They are owned by individuals – not the big chains.
Whoever buys the business chooses the staff – usually from amongst friends and family.

Colin
Guest

To quote:
“A harder edged form of nationalism is needed, something prepared to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done. Time is running out”

I agree but what the hell will make a difference?

Ian Perryman
Guest

Here’s some info on Morrisons
http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/welsh-language-prescription-turned-away-6480112

And if you’re ever in Aberystwyth (without the wife) you may be interested in this.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-mid-wales-29809745

Iestyn
Guest

In fairness to Mr Jones above, Castell Newydd Emlyn *does* have a mix of Welsh and English owned / operated shops. I find CNE to be horribly anglicised at times, and yet if you know where to look, there’s plenty of Welsh to be had. But therein lies the rub. If you have to *look* for the Welsh, then the pressure is off. There’s no encouragement to any new residents / business owners to take the Welsh language on board – after all, everything happens in English – and only Welsh language enthusiasts (read d*mned nationlist biggots, as some will) will seek out the Welsh opportunities. This is the *big* problem with Welsh in Ceredigion. The locals are happy enough that the stuff they’ve always used in Welsh is still there (or at least, is disappearing slowly, so it’s not so noticeable), and don;t mind using the new stuff in English. Anyone who’s new to the area, including children, see that English is the default language, and so never bother using Welsh. It’s why language-shift expert Joshua Fishman uses the figure of 70-80% as the requirement for a minority language seaking population to be a natural ans sutainable community. Less than 70-80% oof population speaking the minority language (Welsh in this case) and you’ll struggle to maintain it as a community language because the opportunities have to be sought, rather than being “in your face” all the time.

More in keeping with the blog article – the problem with bringing in young families to an area like Llandysul or Drefach Felindre is that the school is often the last bastion of Welshness. The retirees don’t really affect the school, but busily set up / populate the local Women’s groups / community council / charity trustees etc. Bringing young families into the equation puts an “I speak English, deal with it” population right in the heart of our children’s growing-up environment, and makes English the default language of the playground. It puts pressure on teachers to bilingualise the classroom and causes instability of the child population (as kids move in / out / in again).

The problem is, the people being moved here are as much a victim of the system (probably more so) as the people they are affecting. That can be seen by the number of people from “away” that have children and even grandchildren living on the same council estates in Welsh speaking areas. They never really become a part of the local community, because they’ve never really taken the language on board, and where the language is strong (as it was until very recently in that part of the Teifi Valley), it has been difficult to fit in.

Then again, as I heard someone say quite recently, “Everything used to be in Welsh in this area when we first moved here (20 years ago). But it’s much better now.”

Brychan
Guest

Iestyn has a valid point about ‘default language’.

I’m Welsh, bilingual, but my default language is English. In the Rhondda I rarely speak Welsh, just with friends who either, of my generation have Welsh speaking parentage or with the ‘weird’ younger people who have Welsh as a linguistic feat from school and have continued to use the language into adulthood when the opportunity presents itself. I do notice, however, when I travel to other parts of Wales that I have to choose what language I speak depending on the area, and in some places that choice is not a simple one. A recent visit to Llanrwst it was Welsh, simple. A recent visit to Tenby, it was English, simple. However, in other parts of ‘rural’ Wales I have to choose. My rule of thumb is if you have to ask directions to somewhere when in Carmarthenshire or Ceredigion, use Welsh to get accurate information. Using English tends to get the ‘dunno mate’ reply even though the place you’re trying to find turns up just round the corner.

I recently found out, while walking the ‘Mawddach Trail’ from Dolgellau to Abermaw/Barmouth that it’s the breed of dog that determines the language to be used. Jack Russell with poop bag in hand or collie indicates a Welsh speaking local, but a rough looking tattoo clad arsehole with a pit-bull shitting in the middle of a cycle trail indicates use of English essential.

The reality is that most people from the valleys are like me. They have the same desires to retire to somewhere ‘pleasant’ just like those from London or Birmingham.

If Welsh people from the valleys retired to Tywyn, switching to Welsh as the default language would be as easy as changing you’re the hang of your pants from brief to boxers. Even those who do not consider themselves as Welsh speaking have been exposed to the language all their lives. The issue is that housing associations and local authorities in England get this cherry. The chances of RCT Homes having an exchange scheme, or an equity savings plan with other housing associations within Wales in ‘desirable’ areas is non-existent. This is however, all within the existing powers of the Welsh government.

Emlyn Uwch Cuch
Guest

I don’t wish to gainsay Mr Jones in that if you know (and as Iestyn confirms, you must know) where to go in NCE, you can be served in Welsh. But Mr Jones must admit that if he visits the Co-op, the Library, the newsagents, the Post Office, and several of the shops and cafés he’ll be confronted by monoglot, immigrant staff, many of whom show the attitude I outlined in my first response. I readily admit that is possibly not as bad as Jac’s village, but (I am shouting here) I feel under siege!

Let’s look at some naked truth from the recent censuses. Here are the Welsh-speaking populations from 2011 (and 2001) in the relevant communities:
Newcastle Emlyn 53.7% (68.9%) down 15.2% in 10 years
Cenarth 43.2% (51.4%) down 8.2%
Llandyfriog, Ceredigion [Adpar] 54.7% (58.6%) down 3.9%
Troedyraur, Ceredigion 50.9% (58.6%) down 7.7%
Llangeler [includes Drefach-Felindre] 54.5% (60.6%) down 6.1%

Here’s another one for you, Mr Jones of SA38. This time I have added the “Understands Spoken Welsh” total to the “Speaks Welsh” figures above. This gives a better sense of the Welshness of the community; people might not respond in Welsh, but at least they’ve understood what you said!
Newcastle Emlyn 58.1% (75.9%) down 17.9% in 10 years
Cenarth 47.5% (58.3%) down 10.8%
Llandyfriog, Ceredigion [Adpar] 56.2% (66.1%) down 9.9%
Troedyraur, Ceredigion 53.8% (63.9%) down 10.1%
Llangeler [includes Drefach-Felindre] 59.0% (66.6%) down 7.7%

In other words, Mr Jones, when 76% of the people could understand your Welsh in NCE in 2001, only 58% could do so in 2011. And if I were a betting man, I would say that this rate of decline has been maintained over the 4 years since the Census. So, what’s 1.8% over 4 years? Let me tell you: statistically, by the Summer of 2015 only 51% of the population in Newcastle Emlyn can even understand Welsh. Down from 76% only 14 years ago, and yet you claim that nothing has changed! Open your eyes (and your ears), man. Mae’n amser i ti ddihuno lan, gwboi.

I know that correlation does not equate to causation. Really, I know! But, hey, here’s some more figures; this time the number born outside Wales in each of the 5 communities (sorry, Iestyn, I haven’t crunched the Llandysul area).
Newcastle Emlyn 35.2% (29.5%) up 5.7% in 10 years
Cenarth 49.5% (44.5%) up 5.0%
Llandyfriog, Ceredigion [Adpar] 41.3% (37.2%) up 4.1%
Troedyraur, Ceredigion 45.8% (43.7%) up 2.1%
Llangeler [includes Drefach-Felindre] 40.7% (36.5%) up 4.3%

Again, I’m pretty sure this immigrant tide has continued apace, if not at an even greater rate. But, let’s stick with what we know. In NCE the average rate was 0.57% over the decennial period, so that would give 37.5% by mid-2015. In other words, until comparatively recently NCE had not seen the same pace of immigration as the neighbouring communities. It’s quickly catching up now, though, isn’t it?

O.k., Mr Jones (no, not you, Royston), whom do you believe now? The plain facts, or your lying eyes?

Mr Jones(
Guest

There have been incomers, mainly from the SE of England moving in to the Emlyn area for as long as I can remember. Do they integrate well with their Welsh neighbours? In my experience the majority of them do, bar the odd lletwyth type.

Iestyn
Guest

I agree entirely with Mr Jones on this point, and I think we need to remind ourselves, and more importantly make it obvious that we understand this point. English people (and people from further afield), over decades, and probably centuries, have moved to Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire, and settled in and become a part of the community. There is nothing inherently wrong with outsiders settling in our areas. But a few things have changed recently which have changed the situation totally. The biggy is that the numbers of non Welsh speaking incomers has increased immensely. The same factor can be seen in the Dordogne area of France, where, remember, French is the official language, backed by the state. As the number of English speakers increase, they become less willing to learn the local language, because they don’t have to, and just as there are communities in the Dordogne, and more recently in surrounding areas, where English is the Lingua Franca, so the same is happening in Welsh speaking Wales.

There are two important contributing factors that have also changed fairly recently, being that there are now no monoglot Welsh speakers (Why should I learn Welsh – you all speak English, don’t you?), and the collapsing rural economy (when compared with the urban magnets, at least. Combine those with the UKiPisation of Britain over the last 15 years, where it is now acceptable for the British (ie English) media to reject anything non British (ie non-English), and the degradation of community life generally, in preference to the more individualistic “entertainment on demand” lifestyle that we are constantly encouraged to partake in (mostly through the medium of English, of course), and we are fighting the tide in just about all possible ways.

Whilst this is totally irrelevant to Jac’s post, and mostly irrelevant to this discussion, here’s a brilliant illustration of the monoglot attitude towards bilingual life: http://www.cambrian-news.co.uk/news/i/47244/ It’s also a pretty good illustration of how we Welsh speakers haven’t helped ourselves over the years, doing all our official business through the medium of English etc.

Colin
Guest

Is Mr Jones (or is it Mr Mr Jones?) saying he doesn’t believe that the colonisation of our land by the English is happening or just in his village? Trust me Mr Jones, before long there won’t be any houses left for the Welsh to live in here, all semblance of a national identity will have gone along with our dignity. It’s being done very slowly, we don’t see the affect over night, it’s like a damp piss stain coming through the wall from a blocked toilet, you just don’t notice it getting bigger; it’s almost a shame they don’t try and build another dam, that at least would perhaps create enough of an outcry to get a ball rolling (or a match lit!).

Fe godwn ni eto

Alun
Guest

Just look at the link below for electoral Ward and County profiles for Carmarthenshire (2011). See also the link for the Cynwyl Caeo ward which is typical for the rural areas. Once a bastion for the Welsh Language only 46.7% now speak it. The reason being is that only 54.5% of the electorate are Welsh born. Only 3.5% were born outside the UK. The Welsh Language and its culture are really under siege yet our elected representatives stay schtum!

http://www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/home/council-democracy/research-statistics/electoral-ward-county-profiles/#.VYH4MMLbKM8

http://www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/media/758611/Cynwyl_Gaeo_Ward.pdf

Anonymous
Guest

I’m a Brummie who earns a decent salary in England during the week, and spends most of it in Ceredigion at the weekends

Iestyn
Guest

I know a few people like you who do the same, Anon. Thank you very much for it.

I wonder, have you ever really thought what you like so much about Ceredigion? As in, why Ceredigion above, say, Devon or Dorset, Cumbria or Yorkshire? The people that I know well who live / work in England and spend time in Welsh Wales are people who love it here for the extras they get, like the warm welcome from the locals when they use their (in some cases extensive) Welsh. The feeling they get of belonging, because they’ve made the effort to fit in. It’s so much more than just “a quiet weekend in the countryside” to them.

Because there is a two way process in any tourism, and visiting, even within your own country. You get the beauty and relaxation, or the excitement or the lifestyle, or whatever it is you go there for. But you also affect the local population, positively or negatively – by taking a house that a local could live in, by putting money into local businesses, by adding your warm personality to the night out in the pub, or by forcing everyone to kowtow to your needs and wants without further thought. There is no way of not affecting the locals.

It’s the balance of that effect, not on an individual basis, but on a collective one, that decides whether tourism or immigration is welcome. It would be nice to think that you are someone who cares about the Ceredigion that you like so much, and cares about what happens to it. On the other hand you can use it for your entertainment, pay it like a prostitute, and move on without guilt. Your personal choice!

Jac’s post, and a number of others above, have been about the second kind of use, both by governments and arms length semi-government-semi-private bodies, and by individuals. I hope you can see the difference.

Carnabwth
Guest

Do you think Mandy Miles of the Sirhowy Arms might have some things of interest to say regarding the people being put up in her hostel and where they are from?

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=sirhowy+arms+argoed&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&channel=fs&gws_rd=cr,ssl&ei=Xi2DVaH4BKPC7AaSpICYDg

Carnabwth
Guest

It ws reported that Miles had said that searches she had done using the internet brought up results for some rather unsavoury charachters, to say the least, being referred to her establishment.

Al Coed Da
Guest

The last census shows us that Ceredigion is now overrun.
Less than 50% are now welsh speakers, not because there are so much less of us but because there are more of them.
We can no longer get a majority to win a pro language argument.
Democracy can no longer serve us.
In the words of ( a man who knew only too well) Benjamin Franklin
” Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the vote.”

Davydh Trethewey (@MawKernewek)
Guest

I’d recommend you have a read of Bernard Deacon’s work on Cornwall: https://cornwalldevelopersparadise.wordpress.com/say-no-to-47500-houses/going-west-housing-migration-and-population-growth-in-cornwall/ https://bernarddeacon.wordpress.com/demography/the-great-in-migration-1960s-to-the-present-day/ there’s a lot to be learned there about unpacking the perceptions and finding what the data is saying, for example many people believe that the majority of people moving into Cornwall are retirees but apparently that was only ever true for a few years in the 1960s, the majority now are working age.

dafis
Guest

Just back into this blog’s “sphere” after a week away ! As I said on your other recent contribution it’s very reassuring to find that we remain alert to the subversive activities of the 3rd sector, in this case the “Physical Colonising Authority” – otherwise trading as sundry Housing Associations and their partner bodies.

The data regarding South Ceredigion and North/West Carms is particularly startling to me as I always perceived that area to be most at risk from sundry good lifers, moderately well off retired Sais ( or Anglos from S.E.Wales ), and residual New Age types looking for a plot to grow/manufacture various substances! I had not cottened on to the role played by 3rd sector in that part of Wales.

I wrote on here some weeks/months ago about a programme on Radio Cymru which told stories of a number of displaced English who headed into these same parts in the 1939 – 1970 era and had almost all acquired a fluency in language and had integrated into communities. Some of them were horrified by the attitude of the recent arrivals who make no effort and, indeed, expect the natives to fit in around them ! which of course most of them graciously do other than a few uncouth types who see fit to speak in their own idiot tongue !!

I see little merit in debating the precise length and breadth of this problem, as some of your contributors seem to do about NCE. If &when I visit such an area I open up in Welsh with a line like “Bore da, popeth yn mynd yn iawn heddiw ?” and if I get a Sais response I just look a bit puzzled – ” dim Cymraeg ? ” and then shrug and leave. Individually not much , bit if that was to happen often that trader would wise up and either employ a Welsh speaker or get his/her head out of his/her arse and start learning. We are far too welcoming and accomodating and it gives an impression of being totally compliant to their wishes and preferences.

Much of Europe is multi lingual with folks able to engage in passable exchanges in 2, 3 or more languages, other than out in the backwoods. We in UK, and the Welsh can be included in this, are lazy about adapting to other languages but the English are the league leaders in developing ignorance into a fine art.

Daley Gleephart
Guest

A civilised greeting that’s in strong contrast to the way some Brits behave when outside of Ingerland. http://zelo-street.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/daily-mail-cyprus-paedo-scare.html

Insider
Guest

The Cantref annual general meeting was an interesting affair – nice white tent in the castle grounds, and tenants had a free bus to enjoy the expensive hog roast and free wine. By all accounts (too) much joy was had, and some young tenants from the hostel plus a staff member had rather too much to drink, which ended in tears. At a time when we the staff have been told there is not enough money to repair the houses its a bit much! Meanwhile we continue to struggle to find students for the student flats project we did in Aber which was supposed to make a big profit to help us provide more homes for locals, and our new houses and flats in Felinfach are not attracting much interest either. There is something else going on but the sleepy local rags havnt got a clue yet …….. more news on that later as its too dangerous to mention that yet – no wonder three top directors left all of a sudden before year end accounts, local housing consultant David Hedges of “Cyngor Da” website being one of them – ask the Government and see what they say first.

josef
Guest

Its all hit the fan now. Reported in housing online on thursday. I am glad other people are now talking and telling the truth. Cantref staff deserve better than how they have been treated. The management kept the union rep out of the board room and away from board members leaving us no choice. no amount of lunches with Bev from the cambrian news or sue lewis is going to save management now. welsh government have confirmed the inquiry now. we have had good people in tears all week long and it has to stop and the the gwir has to be told. Cantref needs to get back to helping locals and not importing can do lettings from Cardiff and other such expensive folly. we have some very good people here but the place needs to change

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