Feb 182015
 
Cash cow 1

CLICK TO ENLARGE

The ‘milking’ referred to is done by the Third Sector, that demi-monde wherein dwell ‘Welsh’ Labour’s kept women (and a few men), serving no purpose beyond diverting public money from better use and performing all manner of despicable acts for those who own them. Perhaps it was ever thus, but since the arrival of devolution, and the recognition by our continental cousins of our relative poverty, what had once been a cottage industry of home-grown Labour nepotism and corruption has expanded into a pseudo-economy.

A few years back I started looking into the Third Sector and its relationship with ‘Welsh’ Labour, and in that time certain features have become obvious. Chief among them, that we now have a whole sector of Welsh life dependent upon Labour Party patronage in the form of funding and preferment, which those belonging to this sector repay by promoting the Labour message and by attacking Labour’s political opponents. This client class has become the Japanese knotweed of Welsh life – invasive, destructive, of no use to anyone (other than Labour), and damaging to the wider environment. We should be rooting it out, but it won’t be done because ‘Welsh’ Labour, losing support among the native electorate, is becoming ever more dependent on this monster it has introduced.

One obvious manifestation of Labour losing support is its inability to recruit decent Welsh candidates. It was this problem that led to the recent fiasco in Swansea when the ‘local’ Labour Party was eventually taken over by people who were strangers to the city. Resulting in the embarrassment of Il Duce Phillips and the student councillors, with their sybaritic lifestyles and complete ignorance of the city they were supposed to be running. A self-inflicted wound caused by Labour offering free party membership to students in Swansea University. Yes, that’s how bad it has become for Labour. Something else illustrated by this episode is Labour’s worrying links with certain trade unions, the National Union of Students being one, but another worthy of mention is Unison.

*

Now when I were nobutalad – a long time ago I know – trade unions were taken seriously by working class men such as those among whom I grew up. They elected their union representatives, they knew them, and if there was any issue that needed to be discussed then they could have it out with them, at union meetings or even down the pub or club. It was the trade unions, more than anything else, including the Labour Party, that defended their interests. All that is gone. After countless mergers and a dramatic fall in union membership we are left with a few big unions run by professional union officials, mirroring the professional politicians, all equally divorced from real life.Dawn Bowden

As mentioned, one such union is Unison, and one of its full-time officials is Dawn Bowden of Bristol Cardiff, who is tipped to become Labour’s candidate for Caerffili or Islwyn (depending on whether there’s a gender fix) in next year’s elections to the Notional Assembly. Quite how long she’s lived in Wales is uncertain, but she’s loyal to the Labour Party and belongs to that union which is almost ‘Welsh’ Labour by Eaglestoneanother name, so that’s her elevation assured.

Her Twitter account says that she is married to @Carrageryr, so who might that be? Well, it’s another Labour Party star named Martin Eaglestone, perennial Labour loser in Arfon. (Eaglestone, Carrageryr, geddit?) Though in past elections he was living with his wife and five children in Y Felinheli. (I blame all these conferences they go to, and the drinking.) Eaglestone’s Linkedin profile describes him as, “Welsh Policy Officer at Labour Party – Welsh Labour”, whatever that means. He supports West Bromwich Albion while Bowden supports Brizzle City, so neither knows much about football.

I single out Unison because this seems to be the union of choice for many Labour politicians in Wales, even those, like Swansea’s student councillors, who’ve never done a day’s work in their lives. In many ways Unison operates (certainly in Wales) as an adjunct to the Labour Party rather than as a trade union in the traditional sense. Maybe Labour’s political opponents should have a new slogan – ‘Vote Labour, get Unison!’. Though the problem is also found in England, with other unions.

*

Returning to the Third Sector, in my delvings a number of things have become apparent, but one that I feel needs to be highlighted is the practice of publicly-funded bodies setting up wholly-owned subsidiaries, for reasons that are not entirely clear, or may even be of dubious probity.

In recent posts I have looked at Canoe Wales, and the extraordinary level of funding that body receives from Sport Wales, £378,000+ in the current financial year alone (see panel below). Yet Canoe Wales has two subsidiaries, C W Sales and Services Ltd and Canoe Wales (Commercial) Ltd. The first of these subsidiaries runs the adult playground at Frongoch, near Bala, while the other is dormant. The representative of Canoe Wales that I spoke with assured me that Canoe Wales’s finances would soon start to improve, and I’m sure he’s right, for seeing as the running of the Frongoch Centre has passed to the subsidiary and Canoe Wales is so well funded it would be strange if Canoe Wales’s books didn’t begin to look healthier. The Canoe Wales representative also told me that his organisation had passed all the auditor’s checks. Which, again, I don’t doubt; but I guarantee that the Wales Audit Office does not look into subsidiaries, for the very simple reason that these do not – directly – receive any public funding.

consolidated accounts

Allowing publicly-funded bodies to form subsidiaries creates the temptation for an organisation to transfer ‘bad news’ to a subsidiary, safe in the knowledge that the WAO will not investigate the subsidiary. I’m not for one minute suggesting that this is what has recently happened with Canoe Wales, but C W Sales and Services Ltd is not in a healthy financial state. If C W Sales and Services Ltd did not exist then its indebtedness of £76,798 would be shown against Canoe Wales, and would be picked up by auditors.

That said, it could be that funders are aware of such arrangements. Staying with Canoe Wales, its accounts for year ending March 31 2013 state that “As at 1st April 2013, commercial trading activities and the operation of the White Water Centre at Canolfan Tryweryn were transferred to C W Sales and Services Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary.” Yet despite this burden being lifted Canoe Wales’ funding from Sport Sport Wales fundingWales leapt from £266,000 in 2012/13 to £378,000 in 2013/14 and 2014/15 (click to enlarge). How do we explain this unless Sport Wales is aware of, and approves the use of, a subsidiary that may be beyond the remit of the Wales Audit Office and will – as the clip above reveals – not be mentioned in future Canoe Wales accounts?

As I say, it’s a phenomenon I have observed regularly in my investigation of how public funding is dished out in Wales. Here’s another example, with a further twist. This example is Carmarthenshire Heritage Regeneration Trust / Ymddiriedolaeth Adfywio Treftadaeth Sir Gaerfyrddin, according to its website, but Ymddiriedolaeth Atgyfnerthu Treftadaeth Sir Gaerfyrddin on the websites of both the Charity Commission and Companies House. Confusing. Maybe deliberately so. Is this a laudable use of yr hen iaith or an attempt to hinder investigation into a body universally known as the Carmarthenshire Heritage Regeneration Trust?

Either way, the Trust has a subsidiary, deep in the red, called CHRT Ventures Ltd. Now for the ‘twist’ I referred to earlier. The chief executive of the Trust is Claire Deacon, and the Trust’s 2012 accounts say this:  “During the year, Ymddiriedolaeth Atgyfnerthu Treftadaeath Sir Gar (CHRT) employed the services of Ms Claire Deacon, CEO, a historic building consultant. The total expenses paid by CHRT for consultancy was £59,159 (2012: £41,873). At the year end, CHRT owed Ms Claire Deacon £9,436 (2012: £3,386). This balance is included in trade creditors”. How the hell can an employee suddenly declare herself a consultant to the body she works for and then demand more than she would have been paid in salary? The full story of Ymddiriedolaeth Atgyfnerthu Treftadaeth Sir Gaerfyrddin, and more, can be found here

Here’s another example, this one from the fleece jacket sector. The issue of public funding and subsidiaries, with the added problem of Welsh public funding seeping across the border, even extends into academe, as this post explains. And how could anyone forget Naz Malik and Awema? Let us remember that the Malik family was staunch Labour, with father and son hoping to be Labour candidates. To help their cause Naz Malik would regularly sing for his supper by proclaiming against ‘racist (Welsh) nationalists’. And what the hell is happening at the YMCA? Then there’s housing associations. We are told by the ‘Welsh’ Government that 22 local authorities is far too many, too expensive, and so there must be ‘streamlining’ – so why is that same ‘Welsh’ Government funding dozens and dozens of housing associations that compete with each and duplicate each other’s work? The answer is that housing associations are stuffed with Labour supporters (and future candidates). Read about it here.

*

There are countless other examples of Third Sector bodies, publicly-funded agencies, etc., ‘diversifying’, or setting up subsidiaries and ‘trading arms’ into which ’embarrassments’ can be diverted, beyond the scope of auditors mandated only to check the recipient body itself. Though what happens if one of these subsidiaries actually makes a profit, will the profit be declared to the funding body?

This loophole is known to those disbursing the funding and is almost certainly familiar to those entrusted with ensuring that the funding can be properly accounted for. Which raises the question, why is this loophole not closed? The suspicion must be that it’s left Eaglestone Linkedinopen in order to help hide some of the public funding being wasted by the Third Sector. Because to expose this waste would damage both the Third Sector and the Labour Party, and they need each other, their fortunes and their futures are intertwined.

We have on our hands a sick man called the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party or, if we go by Eaglestone’s Linkedin profile, “Labour Party – Welsh Labour”. (Perhaps the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party is as much a fiction as the ‘Wales Green Party’.) This party is no longer able to find decent candidates from within the nation so it has to rely on recruiting officials imported by its trade union partners and those who have swarmed here to make careers for themselves out of celebrating and exaggerating Wales’ deprivation in order to get their sweaty paws on the money that has been given to alleviate that deprivation.

The Labour Party, with all its hangers-on and cronies, is suffocating Wales. Unpatriotic, anti-initiative, increasingly dependent for its survival on people who don’t know Wales and don’t care about Wales, it can only maintain its position because there is no other party electors find more attractive. Which is why I repeat that Plaid Cymru has fifteen months (the General Election of May 2015 and the Assembly elections of May 2016) to prove that it can mount a serious challenge to Labour; if it fails, yet again, then we must have a new nationalist party, a party that puts Wales and Welsh people first, rather than one that constantly exposes its weaknesses and lack of ambition by looking to do deals with anti-Welsh parties. Fifteen months.

  20 Responses to “‘Welsh’ Labour And A Milking System Unknown To Farmers”

  1.  

    Jac…you are truly an investigative reporter in the true sense of the word…What about the Andrew Davies, and the money given to Swansea University…that they never asked for…it stinks

    •  

      I’ve forgotten the details, remind me.

    •  

      is that the same Andrew who was appointed Strategic Adviser and Honorary Professor linked to the Research Institute for Applied Social Studies within the Department for Political and Cultural Studies by the Uni’s Vice Chancer as a thank you for some undefined handout / grant ? Pillar of early Assembly Labour administrations ? Good solid party man – Breshnev, Kosygin, even Joe Stalin would have been proud of his ability to slide discreetly through the party and national institutions.

  2.  

    Strange you bring up a ‘Heritage Trust’. We have one in Holyhead now that spends a fortune renovating old buildings – worthy cause you may think, however they are renovated to an appearance that they have never had before in their history – usually lots of steel, glass, timber and stone facades and more money is spent on the renovations than it would have cost to buy the building, demolish it and build a new one. Even more strangely, at least one of the run-down buildings that has had a fortune spent in it is owned by a local Town (& former county council) councillor (Labour and a freemason as well I believe.).

  3.  

    According to my dictionary the Welsh for ‘regeneration’ is _ailenedigaeth_ which literally means something like to be reborn. _Adfywio_ is to bring back to life. _Atgyfnerthu_ is something like ‘reinvigorate’. Which language takes precedence in Wales these days?

    A “trading arm” is supposed to make a profit and covenant most of it back to the parent charity, at least that’s how I always understood it. If it doesn’t make a profit what’s the point?

  4.  

    For those still unsure there’s academic research on the subject by Dr Elin Royles of Aberystwyth University, her 2007 book ‘Revitalising Democracy’ covered the Labour Government’s undue influence in the Welsh Assembly’s first term (1999- 2003) with a policy of buying off the third sector and also shutting down any criticism of the multiple policy failures that were Cabinet approved some of which are only now coming to light.

    The full title for anyone interested is Royles E (2007). Revitalising Democracy? Devolution and Civil Society in Wales (Cardiff: University of Wales Press – Politics and Society in Wales Series)

    The Swansea Uni story was over advice Andrew Davies gave when he was ‘Strategic Advisor’ to the Uni in order to get EU cash that disappeared into a black hole, but he’s also the Chair of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Heath Trust and refused to resign despite a damming report last year into multiple failings at hospital’s in the Trust area on his watch http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-27402699

  5.  

    Llais y Sais won’t stop at anything to blacken your name !

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/would-be-killer-royston-jones-sentenced-8682578

    Oh ! wrong Royston, bet Shipton and Parry are mighty pissed off by that.

    •  

      I don’t want to sound like I’ve got a persecution complex, but . . . The media doesn’t normally use the name of an unknown person in a headline, that treatment is reserved for people the public will recognise. Makes me wonder if someone isn’t having a little joke.

  6.  

    My politics is fair game. Please remove reference to my former wife and children immediately. If you are such a good researcher recognise a duty of care to them. Thanks Martin

    •  

      The references to your former wife and children are in the public domain, on what I assume to be Labour Party election literature. Your current domestic arrangement is also in the public domain, it’s on your new partner’s Twitter account. I shall remove your ex-wife’s name, that’s all.

    •  

      I liked “duty of care to them”. You left them, not me. You really are a Labour politician!

  7.  

    Isn’t Eaglestone the one who publicly made a fool of himself in asking Adam Price to sign some contract to rule Plaid from working with the Consevatives? Remember that? He’s still festering beneath the Labour Party surface I see.

  8.  

    Stunning revelation from Plaid M.P – a man of real insight !

    http://www.golwg360.com/newyddion/cymru/178467-san-steffan-ddim-yn-gweithio-i-gymru

    San Steffan ‘ddim yn gweithio i Gymru’ – Newyddion – Golwg360

    Perhaps he should also assess how much of the present allocation goes to all these grant grabbing carpetbaggers whose affections Plaid seem to crave in competition with Labour. He should know as a lot of them are found in West Wales in and around his turf

    When will we get the meaningful declaration that the begging bowl goes out of the window and real drive for independence begins ? Oh tut, I’m dreaming during my Sunday nap again

    •  

      Plaid is such a disappointment. In the medium term the ambition is to deny Labour a majority and go into coalition with them. In the longer term, the hope is to replace Labour as the left-of-centre unionist party.

  9.  

    And now for something completely unrelated, well not quite, there seems to be scope for regular deviant behaviour whatever level of UK/devolved government you happen to look at.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/investigations/11411007/Jack-Straw-and-Sir-Malcolm-Rifkind-in-latest-cash-for-access-scandal.html

    They all dip their paws in the cookie jar – is there a system that tells a politician when it’s his / her turn ? or different jars for varying levels of seniority ? And these are the tossers that told the Scots not to trust Salmond.

    Makes you wonder what payback the Welsh A.M’s get from funding all these carpetbagger organisations apart from a bit of political support – is there a bit of “funding” / remuneration flowing the other way ?

  10.  

    There is a ‘social enterprise’ in Blaenau Gwent. It’s called Monwel Ltd and it received a big chunk of a £8million as a grant from the South East Wales Community Economic Development programme (EU funds). It’s essentially the ‘privatised’ road sign making department of Blaenau Gwent council, which was sold off in 2014.

    The directors of Monwel are Cllr Jennifer Morgan (Labour), Cllr Haydn Leslie Trollope (Labour), Leslie Barr, who’s a bridal shop owner from Motherwell in Scotland, and John Bennett from Worcester who ran a number of ‘social enterprise’ consultancy and advise companies in Wales.

    Ms Barr rose to fame in March this year scooping the Social Enterprise award at a plush bash at the Vale Resort in the Vale of Glamorgan.

    http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/gwentnews/13580282.Contracts_worth___500k_set_to_be_reviewed_after_Gwent_road_sign_manufacturer_closes_down/

    Four months on, having pocketed the cash and lived the lifestyle of top business executives so conspicuous in Ebbw Vale, the firm is in liquidation and has sacked all 30 workers, many of whom are disabled. Their trade union is fighting the case. An investigation is underway into the finances as the company had a number of lucrative contracts with Caerphilly, RCT, Torfaen, and Carmarthenshire councils as well as a new venture in Doncaster, which should have put this firm on a firm financial footing.

    Updates to follow.

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