Nov 202016
 

SWANSEA

Persecution

Where better to start than the old home town. (Which still ‘looks the same as I step down from the train, and there to greet me’ – is a welcoming committee from the local Labour Party. ‘Good old Jac’, they cry. Well, laff!)

As you may recall, I wrote a while back about the case of Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris and her alleged homophobic assault on Jenny Lee Clarke, when both worked in Labour’s Swansea East  constituency office for MP Siân James. It even made the London ‘papers, here’s how the Telegraph treated it.

Meryl

This picture has nothing to do with the article . . . but I just can’t resist it! That hat!

Harris took over from James as MP in May 2015, the story about the alleged assault made the news in the second half of November then, on January 28, Clarke was dismissed from her job with immediate effect. I’ve seen the letter from Carolyn Harris; it’s one of those, ‘Clear your desk and sod off – now!  letters. We’ve all had them, I’ve got a drawer full. Things have not gone well for Clarke since then.

For not only did she lose her job, she was also accused of stealing money from her erstwhile employer (one C. Harris); and the most recent assault on her peace of mind, in September, was to be told by Swansea council that they’d stopped her housing benefit because someone had informed them she’d died! Naturally she reported this to the police, but they just messed her about a bit and refused to proceed with the case.

As for Labour-controlled Swansea council, you have to ask whose word they took that Jenny Clarke was dead. There was obviously no death certificate produced . . . or if there was then it was a forgery. But they are unable to explain how they came to accept that Jenny Clarke was demised. A third party points the finger at a close associate of Harris within the council – but who’s gonna investigate? This is Wales. This is the Labour Party.

As for the theft allegation, well this drags on . . . and on. The cops just keep extending her ‘Pre-Charge Conditional Bail’ (as it’s described on the form); the police bail was extended until November 7, and now it’s been extended again until February 17. I doubt if there will be charges; this is just the cops playing mind games.

This is a disgusting episode even for a corrupt and backward country like ours. The dominant political party engages in the kind of vindictive behaviour for which it is infamous, and yet what’s really worrying is that the police seem to be going along with this persecution of a woman whose only mistake was crossing the local political machine.

Persecution Complex?

Someone who may have good reason to be looking over his shoulder is the leader of Swansea council, Rob Stewart, one of the Morriston councillors. For the word echoing along the corridors is that conspirators are grouping around his ousted predecessor David ‘Il Duce’ Phillips, he of the red duffle coat (click to view).Benito Phillips, Il Duce Abertawe

As we speak, plots are being hatched, alliances formed, and positions of power allotted in the post-coup council. But back to the present.

One of the popular programmes on the Swansea Sound radio station is The Sunday Hotline presented by Kevin Johns. People phone in and have a moan about this and that, you know the sort of thing.

Any criticism of Swansea council is immediately answered by Stewart, who doesn’t phone in to defend himself, but sends an e-mail! –  ‘And following that heartfelt complaint from Mrs Lloyd of Penclawdd about the council doing nothing to arrest and castrate Romanian cockle-pickers we’ve had an e-mail from council leader Rob Stewart, who argues . . . ‘.

Can’t you just picture him of a Sunday morning, still fizzy from too much lemonade the night before, in his marmalade-streaked pyjamas, trembling finger hovering over the keyboard as he listens to the bile spewing forth from his radio. It’s not a pretty sight, is it? But who knows, after next May, he might be able to cwtsh in under his duvet on a Sunday, unless of course he decides to put on strange voices and start phoning in complaints about his successor.

‘Good Night, John Boy’

Someone else I’ve written about more times than I wanted to is councillor John Charles ‘John Boy’ Bayliss, perhaps the last of the student councillors recruited by Davidbayliss-twitter-nov-2016 Phillips and his wife Sybil Crouch, who works in Swansea university. Though I suppose there could be a few new ones in May.

Despite being a councillor for the Uplands ward, and despite living in Swansea, you wouldn’t be aware of that from his Twitter account; but ‘Uplands, Swansea’ or ‘Uplands ward in Swansea’ appeared on all his previous Twitter incarnations. (Two examples here and here.) And although it says “2017 local election candidate” it doesn’t say where. He’s certainly not standing for re-election in the Uplands (here’s Labour’s Magnificent Four for May, including the balding Lili Marlene), so where is he standing, is it even in Wales?

Maybe he’s standing in Bristol, where he works. Or is he going home to mummy and daddy in Sussex? Who cares? It looks like he’s leaving Swansea, and that’s the main thing. The only one who might miss him is Il Duce.

UPDATE 21.11.2016: A good source informs me that Bayliss may be standing for Cardiff council in May, either in Fairwater or Llandaff. Which makes sense, as he works in Bristol. But he was only recruited by the Remarkable Group because he was a Swansea Labour councillor and Remarkable was involved with the contentious Mynydd y Gwair wind farm. What use might a lobbying company like Remarkable have for him in Cardiff? P.S. Now confirmed by a second source.

LLANELLI

The Invisible Man Moves

Sticking with the topic of Labour councillors on the move, we cross the tumbling waters of the mighty Llwchwr to Llanelli, where many people are asking why Rob James is moving there from Neath. At present James is the Labour councillor for the Bryncoch South ward . . . though you’d be forgiven for not knowing that, certainly if you were going by his attendance record.

For as Stan at the Neath Ferret tells us, between May and the end of October, James had attended 2/5 full council meetings; 0/3 meetings of the Environmental and Highways Scrutiny Committee; 0/4 Social Care, Health and Housing Scrutiny Committee; 0/1 Licensing and Gambling Acts Committee; 0/3 Registration and Licensing Committee: and as might be expected, he didn’t bother turning up for the council’s Annual Meeting in May either. Impressive, no?

rob-james

He may not bother turning up for meetings, but Councillor Rob James recognises a photo opportunity when he sees one. Look out, Llanelli – he’s coming your way!

What’s worse, to accommodate the Invisible Man from Neath Llanelli Labour has deselected Lliedi ward councillor Bill Thomas. Who’s he? Let Cneifiwr tell us, “Bill Thomas has ploughed his lonely furrow for 17 years, doing the sort of things which most people would like to imagine that all councillors do. For starters, he has a mind of his own, which marks him out from a good many of his colleagues. He has stood up for his ward through thick and thin, fought a long campaign to try to get justice for the cocklers whose livelihoods have been wrecked by releases of raw sewage into the Burry Inlet. He has fought an even longer and equally fruitless campaign to get justice for Mr and Mrs Clive and Pam Edwards, victims of incredible incompetence and an even more incredible refusal to put matters right by the council. He has banged on for years about the madness of building new homes on flood plains, and he played a key role in uncovering Mark and Meryl’s plans to flog off Parc Howard in Llanelli – while Labour was running the council.”

So it’s pretty obvious why Labour should want to remove a conscientious councillor and replace him with someone who’ll cause no problems, but that doesn’t explain why James is making the move. He could just as easily not turn up in Neath as Llanelli, so why go through the hassle of switching, filling in those forms and risking defeat?

In all seriousness, how does Llanelli Labour Party justify dumping a good councillor and replacing him with an outsider, especially an outsider with James’ attendance record? It really is taking the electorate for granted.

Now a Labour Politician Who Didn’t Move, Allegedly

Staying in Sosban . . . well, maybe, we look at the AM for the town, young Lee Waters. Now no one disputes that Lee was raised in Ammanford, but he’s spent recent years in the Cardiff area, and it’s being suggested that he still lives in the Vale, in Barry to be precise.

Which might be fine, had he not told the Turk electorate in May that his happy abode was in New Zealand Street, Llanelli. He pipped the Plaid Cymru candidate by 382 votes.

‘Poumista’

Another recently announced candidate for May’s county council elections is Gary Robert Jones. You’ll recognise the name from my posts on the ongoing campaign of bigotry against Welsh language education in Llangennech. No doubt ‘poumista’ is hoping to capitalise on his notoriety.

poumista

His Twitter handle is taken from the Spanish initials of the Workers Party of Marxist Unification, an extremist party active in the Spanish Civil War, mainly in Catalonia. (It might even have the same initials in Catalan.) POUM seemed to be opposed to everybody else involved, on both sides. Here’s a short write-up from 1936, but don’t all rush to join, POUM was thankfully dissolved in 1980.

That POUM no longer exists seems not to bother Jones one bit. In fact, to judge by his Twitter account, I’m not sure he realises WWII is over either. If in the modern era we judge politicians by their tweets and re-tweets then there should be some concerns about @poumista. Here’s one re-tweet I salvaged, put out late last Saturday night; it’s of a female Russian sniper under a photo of one the biggest butchers in human history. Such taste!

poumista-russian-sniper

I urge you to check out the Twitter account of the Labour hopeful for Llangennech and Bryn before he starts deleting. There are some very revealing tweets and re-tweets there. Including of course re-tweets of Lee Waters telling us of his occasional trips from Barry to Llanelli.

To finish with Llanelli I must mention a curious message I received to my ‘contact me’ box in the sidebar. It named a very prominent individual in the Llanelli Labour Party and seemed to suggest that this person had – perhaps by questionable means – come into possession of a number of former council properties. Any further information would be appreciated.

THE LEAVING OF LABOUR

It’s not just Labour politicians moving (or not, as the case may be), or putting themselves up for election, there are other movements with ‘Welsh’ Labour, and very encouraging they are too.

The first story I picked on was from Caerffili, where two Labour councillors resigned last month promising to set up their own party. One of them, Allan Rees, alleged that “nepotism and cronyism is rife” within the local Labour Party. Not just your local party, Allan, come and talk with Uncle Jac.

Then, a few days ago, we learnt that six councillors had been ‘de-selected’ (a term I’m sure the man in the photo would have approved of) by the Ogmore Constituency Labour Party.

On top of that, Labour has lost a couple of seats on Cardiff city council in recent by-elections. First, the Lib Dem candidate won in the Plasnewydd ward; then Plaid Cymru took one of the Grangetown seats.

But remember, these upheavals for Labour have nothing to do with Jeremy Corbyn and his hard left supporters eliminating the hated ‘Blairites’ – that storm has yet to break in Wales! Labour has real problems, but this is no time to stand around gloating – put the boot in!

OUR HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS

Link Holdings (Gibraltar) Ltd is, as the name might suggest, a secretive offshore company, one owning a great deal of property across southern Wales, from Llanelli eastwards. Here’s a list of Link’s properties compiled from the Private Eye database.

link-gibraltar

Offshore property ownership is disturbing enough of itself, but the reason I wrote Link Holdings (Gibraltar) Ltd was because I’d learnt that housing associations are leasing, and possibly renting, from Link. So naturally I wrote to the ‘Welsh’ Government seeking answers. Here’s a combined pdf of my original request, the reply, and my response to that reply. (Read it now or keep it for a rainy afternoon.)

I kept a number of politicians informed of my concerns regarding Link Holdings, and also with the bizarre – possibly unique – relationship between Pembrokeshire Housing and its offspring Mill Bay Homes. One of these politicians showed me the response received from minister Carl Sargeant. It’s worth sharing. Here it is.

You’ll note that in the first part of the letter, talking of the Social Housing Grant with regard to Pembrokeshire Housing, Sargeant, or whoever wrote the letter, is clear that SHG must be “spent on pre-determined developments and projects”. Which is what I would expect, because I’ve always regarded the SHG as a capital grant for new housing, creating jobs and putting money into an area.

Yet in the second part of the letter, when dealing with Link Holdings (Gibraltar) Ltd, we read, “An RSL (registered Social Landlord aka housing association) is able to purchase the leasehold title of a property, and is able to receive Social Housing Grant Money to do so”.  How can a capital grant for “pre-determined developments and projects” be used to lease old properties from offshore companies?

As I’ve argued for years, housing associations are one the worst uses of public funding imaginable, but major change is on the horizon. Thank God!

HAPPY DONKEY HILL

Regular readers will recall that some time ago now I had cause to write about a rather unpleasant woman named Kate Clamp living near Llandysul. She changed the name of her property – actually owned by her multi-millionaire father – from Faerdre Fach to Happy Donkey Hill.

In one of my posts I used this image from her Facebook page, but I’d assumed the use of ‘Lady’ was a joke. (As would ‘lady’ be in this case.) But not so, for a series of messages I’ve received to my Facebook page tell me that Clamp and her current consort have taken to styling themselves ‘Lord and Lady Clamp’ in earnest.

Lady Kate Clamp Facebook

My contact has been in touch with Burke’s Peerage, Debrett’s and various other sources and is assured that the duo has no claim to any title. So have they bought one off some website? Or maybe they splashed out a few thousand on one of those ‘Lord of the Manor’ titles that allows you to make a nuisance of yourself. (I used to vaguely know a bloke who collected such ‘titles’.)

But the point is – as my contact was keen to stress – the Clamps are in a competitive business, and if they’re gaining an unfair advantage over their competitors by falsely claiming to be aristocrats, then surely they’re breaking some law? If nothing else, shouldn’t the local Trading Standards office be involved?

happy-donkey-hill

My contact also had something to say about a ‘missing’ donkey, and police involvement, but that can keep for another post, because I’m sure I’ll be writing about ‘Lord and Lady’ Clamp again in the near future.

♦ end ♦

  44 Responses to “Updates & Tit-bits, November 21, 2016”

  1.  

    […] post Updates & Tit-bits, November 21, 2016 appeared first on Jac o’ the […]

  2.  

    With regard to your section on Housing Associations. There is a clear contradiction in the letter signed by the minister Carl Sargeant. The official who drafted the letter for his signature has some explaining to do. Evidence of wrongdoing has been presented to Welsh Government in a report but no response received to date. Instead they have issued what they refer to as a “closing down” letter. This appears to be a process used by Welsh Government to avoid having to answer awkward questions.

    •  

      Not only that, but my reading of it suggests that SHG is being used to lease properties from offshore companies. Otherwise, why mention SHG in connection with Link Holdings (Gibraltar) Ltd?

    •  

      How on earth do either of you come to these conclusions? I’ve read the letters and can honestly say you appear to be making this up as you go along! I just can’t take you seriously.

      •  

        Explain why you read it differently. And tell us who you are, and who you work for.

        •  

          It’s not what I read in the responses issued, but the fact that you both make up conclusions to suit your own agendas. You see a conspiracy because you want to see one.

          And I can’t understand why Welsh Government keeps issuing Wynne with closing down letters everytime he present his “evidence of wrongdoing”. Maybe if you published the evidence here I would take a different view, It does sound outrageous that when presented with evidence the system just locks down and silences him (maybe I’m naieve), but if the letters and evidence were published here, then there could be no hiding from it. I suppose what I’m saying is put your money where your mouth is.

          As for who I am, I’m Brent- a good English name, but a Welsh speaker. I’m self employed, not that it’s any business of yours.

          •  

            I’m entitled to ask when someone I don’t know comments on my blog, denies obvious facts, and defends the indefensible.

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              But Jac, they are not obvious facts, they are your opinion, based on your own biased view. A true journalist would gather the facts, examine them and present the evidence. You get an idea in your head, look for information and then try to make the facts fit. I’m not defending anybody or anything. All I’m saying is that you should back your allegations up with facts, not guesswork. If you have evidence, as Wynne states, then why dont you publish it?

              •  

                OK, smart-ass, give us your interpretation of the original from which I concluded –

                “You’ll note that in the first part of the letter, talking of the Social Housing Grant with regard to Pembrokeshire Housing, Sargeant, or whoever wrote the letter, is clear that SHG must be “spent on pre-determined developments and projects”. Which is what I would expect, because I’ve always regarded the SHG as a capital grant for new housing, creating jobs and putting money into an area.

                Yet in the second part of the letter, when dealing with Link Holdings (Gibraltar) Ltd, we read, “An RSL (registered Social Landlord aka housing association) is able to purchase the leasehold title of a property, and is able to receive Social Housing Grant Money to do so”. How can a capital grant for “pre-determined developments and projects” be used to lease old properties from offshore companies?”

                •  

                  Erm, maybe the project was to buy a property, in a street, in a town. And maybe grant money was available to buy it. But I don’t know because you wont share the evidence. Reading the replies though I’m still struggling to see what the issue is. I can’t see that anyone has leased old properties from any offshore companies.

                  This is my point though. You’ve decided that there is something wrong, so you are trying to find the evidence that fits your theory. In the meantime you discard the evidence that doesn’t support your theory. Hardly giving a balanced view, is it?

                  •  

                    You say you “can’t see that anyone has leased old properties from any offshore companies”. I provided the documents from the Land Registry. Two freehold documents in the name of Link Holdings (Gibraltar) Ltd, and two leasehold documents in the names of Coastal Housing and the Family Housing Association. There are almost certainly many more. It’s all explained in this post.

                    Either you are very stupid, or you’re just here to wind me up. Whichever it is, this is your last comment, I’ve got better things to do with my time.

  3.  

    On a different Tac jac i have just read owain williams Tryweryn A nation awakes. a damn good read. a fact that i had not known and should be known by many is that after alwyn jones and george taylor were killed at abergele in 1969 the irish tricolour was flown at half mast outside the Thomas ashe hall in cork.to respect these brave men .Thank you people of Cork City thank you and god bless you.

    •  

      Will have to buy this book, or its download version,but shocked to be told by Lolfa that it’s not on sale in Welsh !
      FFS, Tryweryn was all about the failure to defend Welsh communities from hostile external influences
      ( Anglo-Brits and Quisling welshies ) where those influences were using “legal” and “statutory” powers to deprive a community of its inherited homeland and way of life.
      Surely if Owain can’t scribble it in Welsh then Y Lolfa should get one of those postgrads from down the road in Aber Uni’s Adran Gymraeg to translate the bloody book and give it some promotion. It would make excellent Xmas or birthday presents for every person from early teens through to their dotage. Or better still use it as a set text for any GCSE or A level in Cymraeg, History, Politics, Sociology, etc.

  4.  

    The treatment of Jenny Lee Clarke is scandalous in my opinion. The somewhat dubious looking “investigation” has been hanging over her since March this year for what one would think at the most would be minor fraud – if there’s a case to answer at all. No charges have yet even been brought after all this time, for Christ’s sake. A proper investigation by the police and decision by the CPS should be a straightforward matter because if the alleged crime relates to the MP’s expenditure and claims, everything has to go through the MP watchdog IPSA, with accompanying invoices. So there’ll be a paper trail, even if counterfeit, to follow. There can’t be that many transactions to look at. Even Plod should be capable of wrapping this up in a very short time. I’ll be astonished if this isn’t dropped in the New Year but the “investigation” has diverted attention from what’s really behind all this and silenced Ms Clarke and a proper public examination of what really went on in the meantime. Wouldn’t it be great to have had a hidden camera in Carolyn Harris’ office. Just imagine what that might have thrown up in the last couple of years. With regard to the alleged assault of Harris on Clarke, dropped apparently because the police chose to regard it as a common assault and the complaint was time expired – Clarke alleged there was a homophobic element to it, so I thought police regarded these as hate crimes. Normally they’d be jumping through hoops to protect our LGBT friends. But not when the alleged assailant is a Welsh Labour MP apparently. This whole story has a nasty smell hanging over it and it’s not going to go away soon.

    Then Councillor Rob James, the Invisible Man. He’s just told locals that his Lliedi move has come about for a reason – the urge to follow those hormones those of us of a certain age can only now sadly reminisce about. He has a partner and a young ‘un and his partner is, I believe, from Llanelli. That would explain the move but not the appalling attendance record he has in NPT. Many local people feel the decent thing to have done if he can’t turn up here would have been to stood down. Instead, Councillor James has continued to draw his £13,300 a year “salary”. Someone is looking out for this young man though. Five minutes in Lliedi and he ousts Bill Thomas.

    •  

      There’s no excuse for dragging it out. Given the background and the timeline I’m amazed the police ever took the allegation seriously.

      So Rob James is moving west due to affairs of the loins, eh. That’s fair enough, but it still doesn’t explain why he was so quickly adopted by the local Labour Party.

  5.  

    Fair play to Lady Clamp (sounds like something used in adult entertainment, so they say), Faerdre Fach is still Faerdre Fach. They use it in their address, and when I passed by yesterday the sign is still up. The Happy Donkey stuff is just the branding they use for marketing purposes.

    Jac, you’ll be pleased to know her Ladyship was even flying y Ddraig Goch alongside the Union Flag and something adorned with poppies. Perhaps she’s just starting to mellow in her view of the natives?

    •  

      Like many others she may not be anti-Welsh per se, but like so many others she blunders in with no understanding of Wales whatsoever. Then, when she gets locals’ backs up, she makes things worse by going on the aggressive-defensive with comments like this.

      In many ways it’s the traditional attitude of many English abroad, believing everybody speaks English (and only speak other languages to piss them off) coupled with the incomprehension that not everyone welcomes them with open arms. Because the English are victims of their own propaganda, which tells them they are loved, admired and respected everywhere.

      The bottom line is that this woman thought she’d move to Wales, do her own thing, have her own way. The realisation that she – more especially, her behaviour – pisses people off at first confused her and then produced the reaction I’ve described. Where she’s at now remains to be seen.

      •  

        Jac, regarding those dubious titles of Lord and Lady Clamp, here’s a link to a website where you can purchase a Lordship for £24.95. And you’ll be pleased to know there’s no restriction on nationality. That’s solved your readers’ problems about what to get you for Christmas then. Lord Jac o’ the North. I think it has a certain something.
        https://www.lordtitles.co.uk/?gclid=CLLx4Y6futACFYccGwod-XsMhw

        •  

          I was up in Scotland in September, visiting the birthplace of the great Rabbie Burns, who wrote: “The rank is but the guinea’s stamp,
          The Man’s the gowd for a’ that.”

          Why is it when I write the word Clamps I think of a painful but embarrassing medical condition. ‘How’s your Dai?’ ‘Oh, he’s laid up with an attack of the Clamps.’

  6.  

    Interesting news to add is that Jacqueline Seward who’s one of the main protestors against Llangennech School has been unveiled by Gary Jones as the other Labour candidate for next year’s local elections.

    •  

      So for Labour in Llangennech next May ‘local issues’ might mean campaigning against Welsh language education. If so, then it’ll say a lot about ‘Welsh’ Labour nowadays. Or they could campaign on a host of issues; but in a Labour area, and with a low turnout, Jones and Seward could be elected and then argue they have been mandated to fight against the school plans.

  7.  

    dafis you will be glad you did.

  8.  

    Nowadays, rightly or wrongly, one finds oneself asking in situations like these where it is taking forever for a file to be passed to the CPS (or the investigation ended) whether the Police Commissioner or his office have any involvement? One assumes that Mr Michael’s loyal team of handpicked Labour hacks in force HQ must be getting up to something for the cause.
    Since putting himself at the head of the revolt against Il Duce and his university recruited semi-intellectuals Stewart has sought to cement his hold on the Labour Group along the classic lines of Uncle Joe’s early approach, by doling out sinecures and special responsibility allowances to expand the ‘payroll’ internal vote and ensuring that none of his allies got deselected. Il Duce himself has been allowed to stay in his Castle ward (apparently the Momentum caucus that should have organised his ouster in Castle was frustrated by a certain Cllr Crouch turning into a Corbynite and inviting herself along to all the meetings), but his supporters have all either recanted or retired from the circus. Otherwise there seems to be minimal change aside from the perennial new faces in Uplands and the less predicted new faces in Cockett in Labour’s line-up for 2017.
    Sadly for Uncle Rob his Grand 5 Year Plan to put rocket boosters under Swansea’s town centre regeneration is falling apart. His initial wheeze was to expand the redevelopment of the former St Davids shopping centre (relic of a previous failed effort at Swansea shopping-led regeneration plan in the late 1980’s, which at least was a time when there was no option but to go visit shops in order to buy stuff) and carparks. Rob’s insight was that by crossing the Oystermouth Rd and adding in a whopping chunk of prime seafront in the shape of County Hall (another relic of the 1980’s) for residential development he could lever in a really transformatory scheme that would restore Swansea’s shopping offer. Along with finally flogging the old Lliw Valley offices for M4 commuter convenient posh housing it Rob persuaded his followers that the capital receipts would enable the authority to pursue all their other wacky pet projects, such as building Britain’s only new council homes to achieve ultra low energy German passifhaus standards, or foisting unwanted new buildings on the ‘People’s Park’ over in the middle of Gorseinon.
    The tragic deaths on the Kingsway and the consequent re-routing and departure of the bendy buses meant that Kingsway could be folded in. A new location was needed for the central library and various other walk-in functions the Guildhall wasn’t configured for and Rob and his henchmen seized on the opportunity to snap up the old Odeon building (reconfigured into Oceania nightclub in the 90’s and back on the market) to meet this need and eventually net a gain for the authority as the creeping pedestrianisation of Kingsway pushed values up …
    Sadly for Cllr Stewart’s dream; although other predictions of doom haven’t (yet) materialised, the repercussions of Brexit on the commercial property development sector has been still more immediate and drastic than the decline of sterling. No matter how permissive the planning environment it is highly unclear that any developer will actually be able to put together the financial package for the kind of large scale project envisaged to break ground before Brexit. On top of this the opportunist purchase on Kingsway proved to be less of a bargain than it appeared. The authority sought and was refused permission to conduct an ‘intrusive’ survey of the internal structure prior to sale. The vendor’s agents also refused the officers request into insert an asbestos indemnity insurance into the sale agreement. Once the £1 million had been paid and ownership secured it quickly became obvious that the structure is riddled with asbestos and another £3 million has already been swallowed up – cash that will have to be found from elsewhere in the already badly stretched capital programmes for highway maintenance, housing stock repair and so on.
    Labour will still probably get back in next year as UKIP haven’t the capacity to compete in most wards and the Tories attentions will be exclusively on wards that might become part of Byron’s new “Gower” constituency. Knowing Swansea’s Lib Dem and Plaid branches they’ll probably both target Cockett and let Labour get back in there too on around a third of the vote. Sadly too the local media is a shadow of its former self and although the Oceania mess has the potential to be another Leisure Centre type scandal it’s unlikely that local factors will feature all that strongly next May. With the rumoured Tidal Lagoon and City Deal bonanza’s appear ever more distant and the only certainty about Port Talbot is when, not if, it has to close Cllr Stewart has more to be concerning himself with than the lunatic rantings of Mrs Trellis from Mawr on Swansea Sound on a Sunday morning …

  9.  

    Liked your tweet about that 49th parallel story. Sort of reminds me of all those poor Anglos that troop across Offa’s Dyke to escape the Asian/Islamic hordes that have crossed the English Channel and the cynical exploitation of their predicament by the grasping Welsh !

    Fillon’s Welsh wife was featured by assorted rags some years ago when he last appeared in the upper reaches of the Frog hierarchy. Quite forgettable really especially as our lead scribblers are busy dribbling over budgets or handouts from Whitehall as I prefer to call them. Time to tax water exports and all that “green” energy we’re told is surplus to our requirements (if we believe the alleged efficiency figures quoted by experts ).

  10.  

    I am very concerned that South Wales Police did not investigate the false representation to Swansea City Council that Jenny Clarke was dead. This resulting in her housing benefit being stopped. I am familiar with the process and there is a strict protocol that Swansea City Council operates.

    In a genuine death, the coroner issues the death certificate as an ‘machinable interface record’ known as the MIR at .GOV. It’s the “tell us once” record. It includes a unique number referencing the date of death, which creates certification for everything from DWP, council tax, GP, benefits etc. It is a mechanism that prevents fraud and cannot be done by rumour.

    For Swansea City Council to suspend housing benefit for reason of death, a MIR would have to have been established on their system. This would record the informant details.

    It is not possible for administrative error as a key reference in the record is the NI number of the deceased, which is cross-referenced to a unique death certification reference. Even in cases where the coroner (cause of death), kin (private application), or doctor (research) has requested a post mortem, a renewable 14 day interim certificate is generated. This is also recorded on the MIR.

    Not only does false representation by personation in this matter a criminal offence and the grief caused to Ms Clarke also creating financial hardship, alarm and distress a criminal offence, there is the possibility of fraud on insurance and proceeds of estate. It is for this reason any warranted police officer can access the MIR on PNC at the police station and the data protection provision on access (dead people) no longer applies.

    I cannot see how South Wales Police has ‘messed her about’. A false death record held by Swansea City Council is the evidence. It is only the CPS that can decide not to prosecute. That cannot be on the basis of lack of evidence as the MIR must exist. It is, for obvious reasons, a regular process followed by police officers as there are obvious opportunities for offenders to escape justice by faking their own death.

    South Wales Police should issue a statement on what went on.

    •  

      As described to me, the events unfolded thus . . .

      Jenny Lee Clarke received a communication from Swansea council housing department dated September 9. She rang the council and spoke with ‘Andrew’, who apologised for what was obviously an “error”.

      She made further enquiries with Wyn Evans, a rent officer based at Blaenymaes District housing office. He made enquiries on her behalf. She missed his return call but he left a voicemail message confirming that the “documents” received by the council’s housing benefit office had not come from him/them (presumably the office in Blaenymaes). He advised her to contact the police and used the word “fraud”.

      She next rang 101 on Saturday the 1st of October 2016 at approximately 17.45 and spoke to “a chap called Aarori 56233, reference 897 who advised me to ring the National Fraud Squad.”

      Prior to contacting the fraud squad she tried to gain additional information from the 101 call to establish what if anything was being done about this document only to be “informed verbally by P.C.S.O Mark at Gorseinon Police station”, that he couldn’t find any record of the 101 call.

      Next, she rang the national fraud squad and spoke for 50 minutes to a man who took all the details and supplied her with the reference number NFRC161001576186. This was on Wednesday the 5th of October.

      After speaking with the fraud squad she rang 101 again and was surprised to discover that they’d now found the details of her earlier call and told her that an officer would contact her.

      The following morning she had a slip pushed through her door dated 6th October reference 1600384276. Within 30 minutes of receiving this she had a phone call from the police officer who had left it telling her that they would not be taking it any further and were happy to leave it at that.

      There are too many verifiable details in the account I was given for Ms Clarke to have fabricated this story.

      It seems that the Housing Benefit Department of Swansea Council received a document or documents. This is surely a crime. The documents are presumably still with Swansea Council. So the question is, why did the police not investigate?

      I can only assume that the police contacted the council, were told that everything had been sorted out and it was all a ‘misunderstanding’, so the police – being busy with more important things – decided to leave it at that. But that’s the generous interpretation.

      Given that we are dealing with someone who has greatly annoyed a Swansea Labour MP, and this episode involves Labour-run Swansea council, there are almost certainly less generous interpretations.

      •  

        So the incident number is 897-01/10/2016. This was generated by the 101 call. It’s nonsense to say that ‘there is no record’. A PCSO should be reprimanded for not knowing that a 101 call results in such an incident number. The NFRC161001576186 is the crime number from CID which was handled by the fraud squad. This file number indicates a crime investigation being started. This was initiated on the basis that ‘documents’ had been received by Swansea City Council. A crime took place.

        Has Ms Clark been informed why the CID investigation was closed?

        If a file was sent to the CPS and they decided that a prosecution was not in the public interest or insufficient evidence, then that’s the end-of-the-line for South Wales Police unless new evidence comes to light. However, if no file was sent to the CPS then he police has opted to deal with the crime in another manner (such as a caution), the victim, Ms Clarke, should be informed what action has been taken and the reason.

        If Ms Clarke has not been fully informed (contact reference 1600384276) then this is grounds for complaint to the professional standards department of South Wales Police. This is particularly important due to the ‘political’ nature of the crime against the victim, and of course the public interest in ensuring that (a) Swansea City Council follows correct process in cases of genuine bereavement and (b) that the police are correctly protecting the public from criminal activity involving the faking of a death.

        As a minimum, I would expect Ms Clarke to receive a written apology from Swansea City Council. I would also expect the chief constable to now order a review of NFRC161001576186 to ensure that proper process was employed, and that any informal remedy that was applied was reasonable and justified. As I have already stated, South Wales Police should issue a statement on what went on.

    •  

      Thank you, Brychan for that helpful explanation about MIRs and registration of deaths. So it would seem that whoever instigated the actions that led to the withdrawal of benefits from Ms Clarke would have to have known her National Insurance number. Hmmm. I’d best not take this point further – Jac’s had enough solicitors’ letters for 2016. I can appreciate with the pressures that Plod are under that they are not chasing down every complaint these days, particularly as the benefits payments to Ms Clarke have been reinstated. But precisely because of past complaints involving Ms Clarke and a Labour MP, and how these were dealt with by the police and the CPS – surely that statement from South Wales Police that is suggested by Brychan is in their best interests – if they’ve nothing to hide in all this, that is.

      •  

        And to complicate matters further Ms Clarke is on police bail until February 17th for the alleged theft, an accusation made by the MP who was accused by Ms Clarke of a homophobic assault. And it could well have been someone acting out of a misguided sense of loyalty to that MP, or to ‘Welsh’ Labour, who informed Swansea council that Ms Clarke was dead.

        Then there’s the established connection between the aforementioned MP and a former leader of Swansea council, who is either on the politician’s staff, or is employed as a ‘consultant’. (Does anyone know which?) I suspect that a number of issues here are interlinked, and political connections and considerations play a big part.

        More worryingly – and I’ve just found this by going back through information supplied – it is alleged that the MP is “very good mates with the chief constable”.

        •  

          Brychan – do you think it would also be worthwhile taking this up with the PCC for South Wales? I’d have thought Ms Clarke would get a fair hearing from the man in charge, he says tongue firmly in cheek.

          Jac – as of June 2016, Mr Bailey was still receiving his £1,550 a month for work done for Carolyn Harris, but he’s still not on an IPSA staff contract so I assume he’s acting as a consultant. But the regularity and timescale involved (several years now, back to the days to when Sian James was MP) ought to set alarm bells ringing with IPSA and others who may be concerned about just what is going on here.

          It’s also worthy of note that in May 2016 IPSA cleared a payment of £1,702 to another consultant for “a meeting with employee to discuss her OH report”. I assume that’s an Occupational Health report but blimey, over £1,700 quid to have a chat with a sick employee about a report you’ve written on them seems a lot of money. But there we go – it doesn’t come out of Mrs Harris’ pocket.

          •  

            Very firmly tongue in cheek. Given that the local media is stitched up, the PCC is Labour, the only option is to take this case outside of Wales to get any attention.

            •  

              So what about the IPCC, there has been a crime, no action, and a victim who is on Police bail.

        •  

          From the details reported by Jac, we find that Ms Clarke has not been charged and is on police bail for an alleged crime of theft from an employer. It is the custody officer that has decided to impose bail. This would have been done under section 34-2 and 34-5 of PACE.

          There is insufficient evidence to charge.
          There is insufficient evidence to hold Ms Clarke in custody.
          There is a requirement for further investigation.

          Ms Clarke is no longer employed by the Carolyn Harris MP and is not in a position to ‘tamper’ with any evidence that comes to light in any further investigation. The alleged theft is, as I understand it, related to unauthorised electronic payment, not cash. So any further the evidence is likely to be the MP’s bank records.

          An MP is not obliged to provide police with the bank record without a court order (claim of confidentiality and its operation policed by parliament). It is the only reason I can think of for such a long period of police bail.

          More importantly, bail was then extended form 7th November to 17th February. This is not for reason of access to bank records for evidence, but likely to be the ‘Jo Cox effect’. It should be remembered the previous events of an alleged assault by Carolyn Harris MP on Ms Clarke, and may be pulling a unsubstantiated reprisal card.

          If this is the case, it’s an appalling and disgusting attempt by a Labour MP to use the murder of a fellow MP to make life difficult for an innocent Welsh lady, that has allegedly been…

          verbally assaulted by a Labour MP,
          physically assaulted by a Labour MP,
          sacked for ‘coming out at a lesbian’ to a Labour MP,
          accused of theft, by a Labour MP with insufficient evidence to back this up, and
          has been on the receiving end of harassment including a fake death report.

          Stan says “the treatment of Jenny Lee Clarke is scandalous in my opinion.”
          Understatement?

          I do not think an IPCC complaint is the best option, as I’m sure the custody officer is just doing his job according to the facts before him/her. I think the correct course of action is suspension of Carolyn Harris MP from the House of Commons, and a parliamentary enquiry into her behaviour in these matters.

          •  

            One thing I’ve always wondered about in this sorry tale, Brychan, is this. I gather the alleged assault by Harris took place during the time that both women worked for Sian James MP. It was also apparently witnessed by someone else. Now either this incident was never disclosed to Sian James by any of these parties, or she got to hear of it from one or more of them. And surely IF she did know, then the proper course of action would have been to suspend Harris (and Clarke? I’m not sure) pending a full investigation of what went on. Something untoward happened there that day, I’m convinced. Come to think of it I’ve never seen an unequivocal statement by Harris that it’s all a pack of lies. I’m sure if it was, she’d be in a good position to sue Clarke. And while most politicians would ignore the odd comment on blogs such as these, I’m sure that if I was Harris, and IF this was all a made-up story, I wouldn’t be ignoring social media comments that kept this story running. I totally agree with you that there needs to be a parliamentary enquiry into this. They could ask Sian James what she knew, and interview the witness to the alleged assault. I suppose that while the theft/fraud accusation hangs over Ms Clarke she is effectively silenced? How convenient.

            •  

              The witness, who has always maintained that an assault took place, was another employee of Sian James, and indeed a Labour councillor, Paulette Smith. Among Jenny Lee Clarke’s bail conditions is that she does not contact Smith.

    •  

      Procedure probably varies, and may indeed have altered slightly post-Shipman, but based on my own experience, but I believe the initial death certificate is issued on the spot by the qualified doctor who pronounces the patient dead. If it’s natural causes and the coroner passes, or once the post-mortem is done and the cadaver released for burial, cremation or whatnot, the executor can then trek along to the relevant council’s registrar of births, marriages and deaths, for the legal document necessary to commence probate (and also wind up the estate).

      Recognising that the issue of a full certificate can quite regularly take some time many utilities and similar companies call centres will “provisionally” accept at face value the statement of someone who convincingly claims to be the bereaved spouse or whatever of their recently deceased contract holder / customer, although they should, and probably will, insist on seeing the original death certificate in due course (tip to amateur executors: it is worth paying the extra charge to get at least 3 copies so you don’t have to wait for the gas board to post the thing back before you can present it to the building society). I do not recall being asked for the deceased’s NI number by anyone bar HMRC, but it is not the kind of thing you expect a bereaved widow to necessarily just rattle off.

      If this is what happened then unless there is a surviving recording of the call I don’t suppose we’ll ever know if it was malicious or just some fool of a council call centre drone (probably thinking about taking yet another tea break) not concentrating and flagging the wrong Mrs J Jones …

      All of the above is on the understanding that the false information was received and logged by someone claiming to be acting for the deceased. If of course it was a supposedly anonymous tip-off via one of these benefit fraud action lines then that’s another thing again …

      •  

        Interesting comments Troi but I couldn’t accept it’s just someone getting mixed up at the council’s end. If it was confusing a Smith or Jones, possibly, but how many Jenny Lee Clarke’s can there be living in the Swansea catchment?

        •  

          Neither of us were born yesterday Stan, but suspicions aren’t proof and unless the SWP do have something they are keeping quiet about it seems this investigation has run out of steam and should be closed – subject to any new evidence coming to SWP’s attention of course.

          Sadly I fear Gerry Murphy’s successors in Swansea are running rings around our police who are much better suited to handling petty criminals and thugs than clever white collar frauds with connections in high places.

        •  

          Not with the same NI number.

          Shipman was caught because he was unusual being the GP who treated the patient was also the GP who completed the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD). A manual process was used.

          Even then, this was irregular. It would usually be a different doctor other than the one treating the patient who does the MCCD. Shipman was sacked from previous medical practices for not following the correct procedure. He could have been caught sooner had there been someone as diligent as an observant rent officer at Blaenymaes as is the case of Ms Clarke.

          In Wales, Local Health Boards appoint Medical Examiners, who is the ‘owner’ of the MCCD and distributor of the MIR. This is MIRed to the registrar. The MCCD part follows the body at the mortuary. A second doctor updated the MCCD as presumed consent applied in Wales on organ donation. It applies to all deaths in Wales.

          Its possible for a MCCD being done from a roadside by a paramedic and instantly advertise available organs to any hospital in need along the M4 (the usually a MIR to UHW). Second doctor flag done on arrival. I can assure Troi, that (a) they do not extract organs from the living, and (b) certification of death does not rely on aunty Flo requesting a printed certificate for posting to Swalec.

          This is when death becomes official. It applies to all deaths in Wales. It does not vary.
          If the death needs to be referred to the coroner for cause, then organs cannot be extracted.

          When death is official. Crown bodies are then MIRed which includes local authorities, benefits departments, and the DWP. The ‘tell us once’ mechanism widely used at .gov is probably misnamed as it’s more of a ‘claim’ on the body, and administration of affairs. The record already exists as a shared MIR, as does the corpse.

          This covers all deaths.
          It does not vary in Wales.
          The UK border agency are MIRed on the death of foreign nationals.
          Police may be asked to investigate any John Dows.

          The only reason why private companies (like utilities and banks) accept a provisional statement of death pending the receipt of a printed certificate is that they can be sued for refund and distress by the executor of the estate for not acting, or, themselves suffer irrecoverable financial loss from continuing to trade with a dead person.

          Strangely, Unlike other utility bills, TV licensing is a crown body and included in the MIR distribution. She will get a refund from the BBC when Swansea City Council informed her of her death. The council, being a crown body, must act on, and ONLY on, the MIR initiated by the MCCD, usually via their own records office.

          Whether kin has applied for a printed certificate is irrelevant, although it does help the revenues department deal with council tax.

          Ms Clarke is no longer dead.
          Whodunit?

          •  

            I see I must have misunderstood. I had not been aware that HB can only be stopped for reason of death if an MIR has been notified and had assumed that there were other mechanisms by which this could be done locally. It is fortunate for Ms Clarke that she didn’t commit a driving offence while being untaxed or insured by reason of being legally dead.
            An irony is that in situations where the body cannot be found, obtaining probate can be virtually impossible; tying up estates for decades and plunging families into poverty.

  11.  

    Castro has died. Some of us will mourn his passing as he was passionate about Cuba and its identity, moving it away from being a branch office of American big business and organized crime ( these 2 the same thing ? ). His socialism turned out to be a sorry mess but initially it was a real attempt at fetching the ordinary people out of their abject poverty.
    No doubt over this weekend we will hear lots of wailing and bleating from assorted lefties in Wales and the U.K reiterating their credentials but one thing for sure not many would have satisfied Castro’s tests for good socialism and ever fewer his standards for patriotism and loving his nation, its identity and its culture.

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