Senedd Elections 2021

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

This is the first of my promised reviews of next month’s elections. This initial foray into a crowded field is longer than intended, so take your time.

I’ve concentrated on those parties with a chance of winning seats, so apologies to the Communist Party of Britain, Captain Beany, the Freedom Alliance, the Socialist Party of Great Britain, the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, the Welsh Christian Party, the Workers Party, and any others I may have missed.

A more specific and detailed approach may follow in subsequent pieces . . . unless I lose interest entirely.

The risk of simply switching off is real, partly because we lack inspiring politicians and partly because the liars and the bullshitters are already at work and – unchallenged by our wonderful media – spewing forth all manner of nonsense.

Not content with being conduits for misinformation certain elements of the media themselves contribute to the confusion by pretending that only ‘establishment’ parties are standing. Or maybe they believe that only establishment parties should be heard.

WHO’S STANDING?

This time round there are more candidates representing a wider range of political perspectives than in any previous Assembly / Senedd elections. From the genuinely nationalist Gwlad to the extremes of the BritNat fringe.

While many are trying to paint these elections as being about Covid, the truth is that the big question lurking in the shadows is whether Wales should become independent or cease to exist in any meaningful form.

As for what we have now, there are few ready to speak up for it. In fact, I’m amazed that anyone has the chutzpah to defend devolution on the record of the past 22 years.

LABOUR

Which might explain why the Labour Party is asking for another 5 years to do the things it’s failed to do over the past two decades and more. An example would be introducing a register of lobbyists.

On BBC Radio 4 last week, Vaughan Gething, the ‘Welsh Government’s health minister, told listeners that his party was “entirely open” to introducing such a register. Yet they could have done so in January 2018. And even earlier in 2013.

The truth is that, in Wales, the term ‘lobbyist’ is interchangeable with ‘third sector’. And the third sector is ‘Welsh’ Labour’s private army, soaking up hundreds of millions of pounds of public money in providing sinecures for Labour cronies, in return for which the third sector will support Labour in any way it can, including attacking Labour’s opponents.

Image BBC. (I used to have a suit like that, but it was more of a powder blue, with narrower lapels.)

Perhaps the major problem for Labour is that it’s beginning to look clapped out, devoid of fresh ideas, and relying more than ever on voters’ blind, family loyalty – and not being, ‘them wicked Tories’.

Which no longer works, as we saw in the December 2019 UK general election, when Welsh Labour seats fell to, ‘them wicked Tories’. More may go the same way next month. Certainly, there’s not a hope in Hell of Labour getting near the 30 seats needed to form an administration.

That said, there is a widespread perception that Labour is faring less badly here in the popularity stakes than in England. (In Scotland, of course, Labour is now neck-and-neck with the Monster Raving Loony Party.)

Why this might be so mystifies me. Could it be the magnetic personality of Mark Drakeford? Or maybe the abundance of talent we see lined up behind him? Or could it be that the other ‘major’ parties are so unappealing that by comparison any bunch of muppets might look half competent?

(Please don’t think that I’m trying to insult muppets by comparing them to ‘Welsh’ Labour politicians!)

Some argue that Drakeford has handled the pandemic and its restrictions better than Boris Johnson. I don’t buy that. Labour in Wales clearly panicked when restrictions on pubs, gyms and other establishments were lifted in England, and this explains why they brought forward the lifting of restrictions in Wales . . . which now take effect before the elections on May 6 rather than after.

Of course, there may be another explanation for the timing. If so, then it escapes me. I’m open to suggestions.

What’s not in doubt is that Labour will need all the help it can get. Poll findings published last Friday by YouGov put Labour on just 29%, with the Conservatives romping ahead on 43%. These are of course UK figures, but even so, Labour is also in trouble in Wales.

The only question is how far short of the target 30 seats Labour will fall.

PLAID CYMRU

I’m turning to Plaid Cymru now not because it’s the second largest party in Wales (it’s not, by a long way) but because to have any hope of staying in control Labour will probably need to go into coalition with Plaid Cymru.

And the terms of this coalition have been discussed for months. So it makes sense to lump Plaid Cymru in with Labour. So remember, folks . . .

A vote for Plaid Cymru will be a vote for Labour.

Yes, Plaid Cymru talks of winning the election, and of becoming the largest party, but the kindest way of describing such suggestions is wishful thinking.

Because for many years Plaid Cymru has been drifting ever further left. This course to political irrelevance might appear to have changed with the crushing defeat inflicted by party members on far left leader Leanne Wood in 2018, but that would be to misinterpret the situation.

The 77.7% that voted against Leanne Wood is the silent majority, playing little part in the running of the party. Those who support Wood – a vociferous and nasty minority – still control the party’s direction of travel. Largely through intimidation.

Intimidation of the kind that can get a Member of the Senedd to apologise for daring believe that a person with a penis and testicles could be anything other than a woman. And worse, suggesting that transphobia may be rather less heinous and genocidal than pushing Jewish children into gas chambers.

Happier times. Helen Mary Jones MS meets Teifi, and a dog’s best friend, Aled Gwyn Williams.

These are the sort of people that might reluctantly agree to take action against child trafficking, but only on condition that it didn’t involve discrimination against the ‘child-trafficking community’. Because in their world just everyone belongs to a ‘community’ – which is of course oppressed – except those who are part of the white, western patriarchal system, which does the oppressing.

What a fucked-up world these lunatics have invented! Worse, many of them genuinely believe they are living this nightmare. Others just encourage them in that belief.

Even figurehead party leader Adam Price was forced to grovel to this carnival of grotesques. Because they call the shots nowadays in Plaid Cymru. Them and the anti-Semites, and those who believe that the priority for Wales should be extending Harri Webb’s Green Desert to the whole country.

The long-gone Lamb Inn, Merthyr, which Dic Penderyn is said to have frequented, and where a young Jac sank many a pint. Happy days!

A green desert with no nation, no jobs (not for us, anyway), no homes; an emptiness exploited by foreign enviroshysters and renewables mountebanks in order to ‘Save the Planet!’.

It’s no coincidence that Labour pretends to have bought into this planet-saving bollocks. Because if you’re saving the planet, then it stands to reason we don’t need jobs; for example, Port Talbot steelworks can go. And the only roads we’ll need are those to bring our neighbours to and from their holiday homes. We Welsh won’t need roads because we won’t be able to afford cars. But don’t worry, because we’ve always got our rail system – a mere three days to travel from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth. (Don’t forget to change at Scunthorpe Low Level!)

Let’s cut the bullshit. ‘Wales saving the planet’, ‘Green jobs’ (that never materialise), are simply excuses for Wales being a basket-case economy.

Anyone arguing that the future economy of Wales lies in foreign-made and foreign-owned wind turbines and solar panels, providing not a single Welsh job, is either a fool or a liar.

Regrettably, the left in Wales is replete with both.

Perhaps to distract us from its internal problems, and the lack of an economic strategy not approved of by Saint Greta, Plaid Cymru promises a referendum on independence in the first term of a Plaid administration.

Cynics will point out that Plaid is not going to win the elections. Also, that there’ll be many in the Party of Wales happy to ‘lose’ such a referendum.

I’ll conclude this section with an observation I’ve made before, and I’m not the only one to have said it. There is a growing interest in independence; one recent poll put it as high as 39%, but Plaid Cymru’s support has remained static.

It’s as if a growing section of the Welsh public is considering independence . . . but they don’t want it delivered by Plaid Cymru. To think the unthinkable (for some, anyway) . . . Plaid Cymru may be the reason more people aren’t considering independence.

My interpretation is that while it’s well chronicled that socialist parties in the West have largely lost the (white) working class through pursuing policies designed to appeal to ethnic minorities and middle class left liberals, the problem for Plaid Cymru is that it had few working class votes to begin with.

Which leaves Plaid Cymru fighting a 20th century class war with 21st century ‘Woke’ warriors. This, and the elitist obsession with ‘the environment’ – rather than the issues people care about – will not pull in many new punters.

CONSERVATIVE AND UNIONIST PARTY

There’s no question that the Tories are riding high, but considering the opposition they face, maybe they should be doing even better.

For as we’ve seen, the opposition is composed of a Labour Party with 22 years of failure to its name, and a party even further to the left in thrall to identity politics extremists.

Add to that the popularity of BoJo and his jolly band up in London and the Conservatives should be heading for control in Corruption Bay. But that may not be the case.

One problem the Tories face is a combined opposition, one that works well because Plaid Cymru wins seats in areas where Labour is a lost cause. Whereas the Tory vote is more evenly spread across the land than the more ‘focused’ support enjoyed by their socialist opponents.

But this time around things might be different. I say that because of the BritNat parties. If I can remember them all . . . There’s the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party, then there’s Reform UK (formerly the Brexit Party), and, finally, Ukip.

I suggest that they could combine because, with the demotion of Suzy Davies and other broad hints – not least the promotion of Suzy’s anti-devolution son – the Conservative and Unionist Party has made clear that it’s worried by the rise of the BritNats, and will defend its lawn from their tanks.

Yet when all is said and done, they have so much in common.

Where it could get very interesting would be if the Conservatives emerged from next month’s elections as the largest party.

(It should go without saying that sometimes, my brain enlivened with the produce of Argentina, I dream of Labour and Plaid Cymru combined falling short of 30 seats!)

Andrew R T Davies, Leader, again, of the Conservative and Unionist Party in Wales. Another blue suit? Mmm . . .

As the largest party the Tories could just plough on and test the resolve of opponents with popular policies. I mean, if they promised to take a chainsaw to the third sector and invest the money saved where it could do more good, who would dare object?

Well, obviously, the Labour Party would object because it wants to keep Wales poor, blame the Tories, and keep getting elected. The third sector, constantly moaning about Welsh deprivation while doing little or nothing to remedy it, is essential to this scam. Plaid Cymru’s attitude to the third sector is little different to Labour’s.

But what of the others heretofore mentioned, the Queen and Country boys; what if they cobbled together enough seats to push the Tories towards the required 30?

It’s possible, because even though this election is difficult to call, due to the number of parties and candidates involved, we can be almost sure that the three largest parties will get fewer second preference votes and therefore fewer regional members.

I could live with a Conservative-BritNat parties coalition for a number of reasons.

In the short term, I would expect it to undo the socialist webs that Labour has spun to enmesh and enfeeble Wales over the past two decades. I would also expect such a coalition to put an end to Labour’s war against Welsh farmers.

In the longer term, the unrelenting Britishness might be the kick in the nuts some people need to accept that independence is the only option.

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

Well, what can I say without being cruel?

I will say this . . . I’d be pleased to see William Powell back in the Senedd. He’s a decent man and his heart’s in the right place, which is more than can be said for most of those who’ll be elected on May 6.

THE GREEN PARTY OF ENGLANDANDWALES

This is a party made up largely of Green white settlers, some of whom espouse colonialist views that might have embarrassed old Leopold II.

An attitude exemplified by their refusal a few years back to actually create a Wales Green Party, preferring to stay part of the England Green Party. In Scotland, the Green Party is Scottish, and has long supported independence.

The non-existent ‘Wales Green Party’ now claims to also believe in independence, not because they care about me or you, but because they see an independent Wales as somewhere they can wield influence that will in no way be hindered by their lack of electoral support.

Which, in a sense, takes us back to lobbying.

The shameless opportunism of the Greens is not a lot different to the entryism we’ve seen recently from far left loonies who have jumped on the indy bandwagon since Comrade Corbyn was given the bum’s rush.

The one consolation, of sorts, is that just about every other party now pays lip-service to the Greens’ message. Which is not good for Wales but, on the plus side, it makes the Green Party of Englandandwales largely redundant.

That can only be good.

THE BRITNAT PARTIES

As I said earlier, these are Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party, Reform and Ukip. They are almost guaranteed to win some seats, and they will naturally align with the Conservative and Unionist Party.

These possibilities are discussed above and there’s not a lot to add.

Beowulf Headbanger celebrating VE day. Now that he’s recovered a little he’s allowed out to canvass for the Abolish the Welsh Party.

No doubt the BritNats will insist there are great ideological differences between them, but these are little more than degrees of anti-Welshness.

Of course, they’ll say they aren’t anti-Welsh, just anti-devolution. But as we know, let someone talk long enough about their opposition to devolution and before long hostility to the Welsh language and other indicators of a separate Welsh identity emerge. Such as the existence of Welsh national sporting teams.

And yet, they’re right. Devolution, and the corruption-infested swamp that is Cardiff Bay, should be done away with. But in favour of independence.

That’s why I believe the BritNats can be useful idiots in realising their worst nightmare.

NORTHERN LIGHT

In the next couple of years Scotland will either become independent or else the UK will slip into some kind of ‘soft’ (maybe not so soft) totalitarianism in order to thwart Scottish independence. At this moment I can’t see any other outcome.

Either of those eventualities will be a wake-up call for Wales. Either of them will tell us that it’s time to go, time to leave the United Kingdom.

When we’ve reached either outcome, anyone still arguing in favour of the UK will be acting out of self-interest or contempt for Wales. Among them we’ll find people like the Kinnocks, discredited Tories, holiday home owners, and others whose objections must be brushed aside.

This is why I tell everyone to watch what’s happening in Scotland. Because events in the Old North could have a bigger impact on Wales’ future than anything we do down here.

WALES’ BEST HOPES

As many readers will know, I had a hand in the formation of new, conservative-ish nationalist party, Gwlad. A party that was desperately needed to represent those who reject incompetent Labour, Rule Britannia Conservatives and BritNats, and Woke Plaid Cymru.

Gwlad is standing a good slate of candidates in next month’s elections. As WalesOnline said in an article last week: “Gwlad has put forward 14 constituency candidates and 21 candidates across the regional lists. Aside from Labour, Tories, Plaid, Lib Dems and Reform UK, they have the most candidates seeking election on May 6.”

Not bad for a party formed just a few years ago. Click here to download the full Manifesto.

Among the many excellent candidates is Rhydian Hughes, standing in his own patch of Clwyd West. Here’s a leaflet being distributed in the constituency.

Though I won’t be able to vote for Gwlad in my constituency of Dwyfor Meirionnydd, that’s because the party is not standing in seats held by Plaid Cymru. But I will be able to vote for our excellent list candidates in Mid and West Wales.

My constituency vote will probably go to the Propel candidate, Peter Read; but the Llais Gwynedd candidate, Glyn Daniels, is also in with a shout.

Having mentioned Propel it’s only right that I tell you a little more about this other new and genuinely Welsh party.

Most of you will have heard of Neil McEvoy. Despite what his opponents would like you to believe, Propel is not a one-man band; Neil is the leader, but he has a good team around him.

As a Member of the Senedd Neil McEvoy has made himself unpopular with Labour and Plaid Cymru through exposing the corruption and duplicity that characterises Cardiff Bay. (Anybody who can piss off both Labour and Plaid Cymru is OK with me.)

Also because, when standing for Plaid Cymru in 2016, he came within 1,176 votes of defeating Mark Drakeford in Cardiff West. Neil McEvoy is standing against Drakeford again, making this one of the more intriguing constituency contests.

(As an example of the way the media is misreporting these elections, Cardiff West is being portrayed by some as a straight fight between Labour and Plaid Cymru!)

Click to enlarge

The fact that Labour and Plaid Cymru attack Neil McEvoy with almost equal vehemence helps expose a long-standing relationship between two self-styled ‘progressive’ parties. The coalition that might emerge after May 6 would be just a continuation of this co-operation.

I’m not absolutely sure, but I’m fairly confident that Gwlad and Propel are not standing against each other in any constituency. I’m not aware of any electoral pact, I think it just panned out that way.

My advice therefore is to put Wales first by voting for Gwlad or Propel. Both parties are new, but fresh thinking is exactly what Wales needs at this critical juncture.

Because, and I repeat: the next few years are about choosing between independence and assimilation. Which do you want?

♦ end

 




Notification

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

There is no posting this week, but I intend bringing out the first of three pre-election posts next Monday, April 19.

Although I shall concentrate on the national picture, this can still be leavened by interesting and amusing local stories. So if you have one, send it to, editor@jacothenorth.net.

♦ end ♦

 



Ynys Mon, Island of Mystery

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

This week’s offering concerns Home Office payments made with a procurement card, which is a government equivalent of a company charge card for smaller payments.

THE UNACCEPTABLE FACE OF TOURISM

I became aware of this mystery when I saw a tweet last week from Nigel Ó Ceallacháin. (Otherwise known as Nigel Callaghan.) Here it is.

The link to this payment can be found here, along with the other payments made in the month of November. After reading that tweet I got to wondering, and nosing around a bit. I soon turned up earlier payments in July; two payments, in fact, one for £960.00 on the 8th, and another for £600.00 on the 16th. Here’s the link to the page for the July payments.

So that’s a total of £3,450.00 spent by the Home Office on Ynys Môn in 2020. There may have been further spending in 2021, but I don’t think the figures have been published yet. They’re possibly published quarterly.

You’ll see that the payee is identified as ‘Trearddur Bay Holiday’, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. What I mean is, there’s no such company listed with Companies House. So what does it mean?

The search is complicated by the fact that the information provided by the Home Office shows a number of incomplete names in the payee column. Suggesting a spaces limit (22?), which then suggests that ‘Trearddur Bay Holiday’ is itself incomplete.

With this in mind, there are a number of possibilities for the identity of the payee.

For a start, there’s Trearddur Bay Holiday Homes, run by Richard Ian Tuke, through Sandown Properties Ltd, with its office in Manchester. Tuke also owns or runs ‘Blackthorn Farm’.

Though when I tried to find Blackthorn Farm on the Land Registry website I was unlucky – because it’s still registered as Y Ddraenen Ddu. And it was bought last October by Marcus Brook Ltd of Warrington for £1,380,000.00.

Sandown Properties has another website called Anglesey Holiday Homes where Tuke has written: “The other factor that has influenced prices here and demand has been the Lake District’s decision to ban high speed craft from Windermere. All the skiers and powerboat racers have been looking for an alternative base and many have ended up in north Wales.”

Yes, folks, this is the ‘Welsh tourism industry’ we are all asked to support – foreign ownership, changing Welsh names to English, and selfish twats on jet skis.

So was Richard Tuke the recipient of the Home Office money? Or was it linked in some way to the purchase of Y Ddraenen Ddu by Marcus Brook Ltd? (Run by William Marcus Brook Spencer.)

Even though there’s no company ‘Trearddur Bay Holiday’, if there’s a bank account in the name of Trearddur Bay Holiday Homes then that might account for the Home Office payments.

UPDATE: Long-time councillor, former Lord Mayor of Swansea, and now honorary alderman, Ioan M. Richard, has submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Home Office.

COLONISATION

Another possibility must be the website Trearddur Bay Holiday Cottages, on which Sykes Holiday Cottages of Chester acts as an agent for those with holiday properties to rent. (It’s how I rent out my portfolio of holiday homes.)

Skimming through the properties on offer at Trearddur Bay Holiday Cottages my attention was drawn to a name that sounded familiar. That property being Cerrig, at Rhoscolyn. So why did it ring a bell?

Click to enlarge

Because, boys and girls, it belongs to our old friend Jake Berry MP, the Member for Rossendale and Darwen in east Lancashire. Or rather, it’s a joint ownership involving Berry and what I believe to be his siblings.

Incidentally, Cerrig is right next door to Plas-coch, which is also owned by Jake Berry, this time with a sister and, possibly, his mother.

Click to enlarge

If the name Jake Berry is unfamiliar to you then you must be new to this blog, for I wrote about Jake the Lad a few times last year. If you want to catch up then the saga begins with, Jake Berry MP: ‘They seek him here, they seek him there . . . ‘. Followed by, Jake Berry MP, Part 2, Jake Berry MP, Part 3, and, unsurprisingly, Jake Berry MP, Part 4.

Jake was big buddies with PM Boris Johnson, though some say they fell out last year. Either way, Jake Berry is still a well-connected Tory MP with a number of properties on the island. He could therefore been the recipient of that Home Office funding.

There’s no question that Jake Berry rents out his Ynys Môn properties, as this report from Landl0rd Today tells us.

The problem with the Jake Berry possibility is the same as with Richard Tuke in that there is no company called Trearddur Bay Holiday. This is important because it seems that the payees listed on the Home Office website are company names.

Either well known companies like Amazon, Rentokil, Sports Direct, Milwaukee Power Tools, Argos, or smaller outfits that you’ve never heard of. But they’re all traceable companies or services.

Which only makes the ‘Trearddur Bay Holiday’ payment more of a mystery. Unless it’s possible to pay the Trearddur Bay Holiday Cottages website for the properties it advertises.

VIRGINIA CROSBIE

The local MP is Virginia Crosbie, elected in the December 2019 general election. Crosbie rushed to Jake Berry’s defence last year when it was suggested he had broken Covid lockdown to stay with his family at Rhyd-y-Bont, another Ynys Môn property he owns.

Berry and his wife bought Rhyd-y-Bont in November 2018 for £780,000. No mortgage was needed. No mortgage was needed either for the London property they bought in February 2017 for £2.15m.

The reason I’m introducing Crosbie is that there was some mystery over where she was living in her constituency, or if she was living there at all. Some locals – and there can’t be many left! – said she was renting a property from Jake Berry. Which would make sense; after all, he’s got a few to spare and we know he rents them out.

But the reason I’m introducing Crosbie is that she received an interesting donation on St David’s Day. Two thousand pounds from Charles McDowell Properties, a very upmarket property consultants.

From Virginia Crosbie MP’s Register of Members’ Interests

This stands out because Crosbie’s other donations, totalling £19,000, have all come from ‘unincorporated members’ associations’ – such as the United and Cecil Club – which have been so generous to Jake Berry over the years.

These secret funders even got Jake Berry into a bit of bother when he tried to disguise where the money was coming from.

So, why would a company of property consultants, operating in the most exclusive areas of London, give two grand to the MP for faraway Ynys Môn?

I know what you’re thinking, Charles McDowell expects something in return, but it’s difficult to see what Crosbie could offer because she’s not exactly a high flier. Yes, she’s a Personal Private Secretary (PPS) to the Department of Health and Social Care, but I can’t see that being of any interest to a posh West London estate agents.

The only other post of note is her membership of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee. But would Charles McDowell Properties be interested in this?

Whatever the answer, is this donation to Virginia Crosbie from Charles McDowell Properties linked with the Home Office payments to ‘Trearddur Bay Holiday’?

QUESTIONS

For example, how do these Home Office payments square with lockdown? The payments for July 2020 would seem to be OK, Wales was open for business. Turning to the November payment, this too would have been OK because it’s dated 24th, and pubs, restaurants and cafes re-opened and travel restrictions were lifted on the 9th.

But would the Home Office really be paying for someone’s holidays? Or could it be someone’s rent?

Another possibility offered in comments to my earlier post on this blog is that these payments represent Home Office involvement with asylum seekers:

“Probably the Alouette (MI5 nickname for a dark horse). This is the posh lady with long face and big teeth who works as a fixer and reporting directly to the Home Secretary. When there’s a cock-up she arrives with credit cards. Previous examples include underpants from Primark in Folkestone for asylum seekers shipped to immigration hearings without underwear and PPE from a cosmetics firm in Oxford when MPs turned up for an AstraZeneca briefing without facemasks. The cost and proximity to Holyhead Port suggest that Alouette flashed her Amex card to fix something.”

The “proximity to Holyhead” must make this a possibility, but asylum seekers are unlikely to be using this route, surely? This was explained in a further comment:

“Feral juveniles of Tunisian nationality, unmasked as not being Syrian, those of illegal immigration status, often play the system. Claiming family in Ireland is common. Those rejected at the border then cease to be the responsibility of Serco, the delivery contractors, who have their own arrangements. These children usually fall under the wing of the social services department of the local authority, who also have their own arrangements.”

One final question: Are these Home Office payments still being made?

I’m sorry to leave you with so many questions, I normally give answers. But in this case I’m sure someone out there, perhaps on Ynys Môn, knows the answers I’m seeking. If so, please get in touch.

♦ end ♦




“A tsunami of second-home buyers”

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

This week’s offering is about a business I’ve been aware of for some time but have never got around to writing about. Given the raised concerns over the housing crisis in our rural areas I believe the time has come to turn on the spotlight.

WEST WALES PROPERTY FINDERS

This outfit, and the woman who seems to run it, Carol Peett, appear regularly in my Twitter timeline, or else people draw my attention to the business in other ways. That’s because West Wales Property Finders’ business is seeking out second homes and bucolic retreats for wealthy English buyers.

This is why, given the housing crisis in our rural communities, Mrs Peett and her company piss off so many people.

Which in turn explains why someone sent me a photo of a little piece from this week’s Sunday Times, in which Mrs Peett gleefully announced that, “Coastal Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion have seen a ‘tsunami’ of second-home buyers”.

Click to enlarge

A strange word to use, ‘tsunami’, and yet, if you think about it, rather apt. For a tsunami is very destructive, and so is the business in which Carol Peett operates.

So who is Mrs Carol Peett?

One of my regular sources of information, Companies House, couldn’t tell me much because there’s no company called West Wales Property Finders (WWPF) registered. Yet the Sunday Times describes Carol Peett as “managing director”. If so, of what?

The only directorship I can find for Carol Elizabeth Poyer Peet is Pembrokeshire Weddings Ltd. Formed in June 2016 and folding in May 2019 without the organist ever striking up Here Comes the Bride.

There may be no company but there is certainly a website for WWPF, where we read that Carol Peett was, “Born and brought up on a farm in Pembrokeshire and with her family being one of the oldest in the County, Carol’s in-depth knowledge of the area, property market and people of West Wales is second to none”.

What pretentious bollocks! Everybody belongs to a very old family, that’s why we’re here today. I have ancestors going back to the Neolithic period, and beyond. If I close my eyes (and take another sip of Malbec) I can see one of these antecedents now, a handsome fellow, clad in well-cut animal skins, blogging for posterity on the walls of his cave.

The claim to being born and brought up on a farm also has a touch of the porky-pies to it. I say that because Carol Peett’s Linkedin profile (here in pdf) says that from 1967 until 1976 she was boarding at private schools in southern England. These were Hanford prep school in Dorset, and the now closed North Foreland Lodge in neighbouring Hampshire.

UPDATE: A comment tells us, “Carol Elizabeth Poyer Lewis born May 1958 in Romsey Hampshire”. Which means she was neither born nor brought up in Pembrokeshire.

Carol Peett (then Lewis) left North Foreland Lodge when she was 18, did not go to university, and worked for many years in England.

The WWPF website brings us up to date with, ” . . . she and Rayner returned to live in Pembrokeshire in 2004″. Though whether hubby, Edward Rayner Peett, had ever previously lived in Pembrokeshire is open to question. And as I’ve said, Carol Peett herself couldn’t have spent much time in Pembrokeshire before returning either.

That year, 2004, is when Carol Peet joined The County Homesearch Company, ” . . . the principal homefinder for Channel 4’s popular TV programme, ‘Location, Location, Location’.” She ran the west Wales office of that company.

The WWPF website tells us that, “With the sale of The County Homesearch Company to American company, Dwellworks, Rayner and Carol felt the time was right to break out on their own and so founded West Wales Property Finders in the Autumn of 2014″.

The problem remains that there seems to be no registered company of that name.

The most recent development according to Linkedin was in August 2018 when Carol Peett became an Associate at Garrington Property Finders. On that company’s website we read that the difference between an estate agent and a property finder is that the former works for the seller whereas Mrs Peett and her ilk work for the buyer.

In the eyes of Garrington Property Finders Scotland is a country unto itself, whereas Wales does not exist. The northern part of our homeland is in north west England, and the southern part in south west England.

Click to enlarge

Here’s the Garrington website page for the South West Region, where we learn the company has offices in Exeter, Bristol and Winchester. No mention of Clunderwen, though, where dwell the Peetts.

So what is the relationship between Garrington Property Finders and West Wales Property Finders? Mrs Peett claims to be an ‘Associate’ of Garrington. I know what that term means in the Mob, but what does ‘associate’ mean in this context?

Answers on the traditional and now shamefully under-used post card.

As might be expected, Carol and Rayner Peett are loyal members of the Conservative and Unionist Party. And well regarded, I would guess, because for the December 2019 UK election we find their names atop Simon Hart’s nomination paper for the contest in the Carmarthenshire West and South Pembrokeshire constituency. (Available here in pdf.)

That of course is Simon Hart, the Secretary of State for Wales, who is said to have no more than a holiday home in his constituency. Maybe the Peetts found it for him!

Click to enlarge

The fact that Rayner Peett was the proposer, and Carol Peett the seconder, suggests they are well up in the local Conservative Party pecking order, or else close to Simon Hart. Probably both.

We can all speculate as to whether being pally with the local MP helps their business, but we can be absolutely certain that the association does their business no harm.

A business that is both odious and distasteful, for Carol and Rayner Peett contribute to the destruction of Welsh communities. But they are not alone, there are plenty of others in the same line of business.

My view is that Carol and Rayner Peett are simply being true to their natures, and that the real blame lies elsewhere. With politicians aware of the second home problem and associated issues yet choosing to do nothing, and by their inaction allowing the erasing of our identity.

If, as I expect, there is a coalition administration after May’s Senedd elections, with Labour and Plaid Cymru simpering about a ‘progressive’ alliance, ‘wicked Tories’, etc., then they will need to act quickly on the rural housing crisis.

We need punitive taxation on second homes, no loopholes, and a maximum 5% of dwellings in any electoral ward allowed to be holiday homes. We also need to clamp down on the other ways in which Wales is exploited, thereby making it clear to all that Wales is no longer a retirement and recreation area for England.

Rather than making gestures about global problems they cannot influence, perhaps the next ‘Welsh Government’ can focus a little closer to home, stick to the day job by tackling the problems faced by Welsh people and Welsh communities.

There is a storm brewing, and this is inevitable. Because when any nation is being invaded, and overwhelmed, its identity threatened; when people are turned into strangers in their own communities, or expelled from those communities, then resentment will grow.

And if the people’s elected representatives are perceived to be complicit in this tragedy or unconcerned, unwilling for whatever reason to respond, then there will come a reaction from within the people.

The next ‘Welsh Government’ should recognise this. And also recognise that continuing to fail the Welsh people is no longer an option.

♦ end ♦

 




“Education, education, education”

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The title is of course taken from Tony Blair’s famous speech of May 2001. It seems apposite because this offering is also about the UK Labour Party (Welsh branch) and education.

Last Friday, the BBC Wales website ran a story headlined ‘Black history lessons to be made mandatory in Welsh schools’. (If the link is broken, then the article is available here in pdf format.)

On the same day, Llais y Sais ran a full-page piece (below) by Jane Hutt MS, speaking on behalf of the ‘Welsh Government’, setting out her gang’s plan for an “anti-racist Wales”. (It too is available in pdf format.)

The two pieces are obviously linked. And both connect with a petition from last year demanding that the ‘Welsh Government’, ‘Make it compulsory for Black and POC UK histories to be taught in the Welsh education curriculum’.

It’s clearly orchestrated. And it needs to be answered because this campaign is misinterpreting statistics, telling outright lies, and marginalising the history of the people to whom this country belongs.

Let’s start with the BBC piece.

It focuses on Professor Charlotte Williams, “who led a working group set up by the Welsh government to look at how BAME contributions through history was taught in schools”.

To the surprise of absolutely no one Prof Williams discovered that the current education system could have been designed by the Ku Klux Klan. Her working group made 51 recommendations – all of which have been accepted by the ‘Welsh Government’. Which has also shelled out £500,000 to help implement those recommendations. (With more to follow, I’m sure.)

I can’t tell you much about Professor Williams. She’s probably a Labour Party loyalist, and that explains how she got the gig. That’s how things work in Wales.

Though I’m not clear about her field of expertise and her titles seem to be honorary. Certainly, that’s what’s suggested by this piece on the Bangor University website. (Available here in pdf format.) She’s an honorary professor at Bangor and an honorary fellow at Glyndŵr and South Wales.

In the Bangor University article I’ve linked to Williams says: “We have a rich history in Wales, built on difference and diversity”. Er, no.

For the greater part of our history we have been one people, speaking one language, divided only by geography and dialect. This is what held us together, this is what gave us our sense of ourselves as a people during centuries of conquest and subjugation.

As late as the 19th century that unity was reinforced by the Industrial Revolution and our adherence to the nonconformist denominations. Making me wonder how much Prof Williams really knows about Wales.

The ‘diversity’ to which she refers is very recent. And while its proselytisers preach unity, in practice they label and divide.

While Welsh children are to be taught BAME history the ‘Welsh Government’ has decided they will not be taught their own history, or the history of their country unless this is done through the prism of a ‘diversity’ that is absent from the history of Wales until comparatively recent times.

Something very strange is happening. The desire to tell the story of ‘colonialism, discrimination and exploitation’ is being used to ignore or marginalise the history of an indigenous population with first-hand knowledge of colonialism, discrimination and exploitation.

And this has all been prompted by the death of a man last year in a US city most of you can’t even remember the name of.

Another untruth in the BBC article can be found with, “In 2019, 12% of all pupils aged five and over came from minority ethnic backgrounds . . . according to Pupil Level Annual School Census data.”

We are encouraged to interpret that as meaning 12% of pupils in Welsh schools come from non-white backgrounds. But the source used, StatsWales, makes it clear that’s not the case. What it tells us is that 12% did not identify as ‘White British’.

This 12% is made up of Irish children, Italian children, and Polish children, maybe even white Welsh kids who didn’t want to identify as British.

But if we are to have an à la carte education system then I suggest our pedagogues get their answers ready for when Mrs McGillicuddy rocks up demanding to know why Seamus and Siobhan are not being taught the history of Gaelic Ireland.

Polish history is very interesting as well. And what about the Risorgimento!

It may sound like a good idea, but once history is tailored to group or individual backgrounds then it can become as irrelevant to others as one’s family history.

That’s why sensible countries take the ‘broad sweep’ approach to the history of their country and then fit that national past into the wider, global picture.

Now a quick shufty at the petition.

Click to enlarge

A hybrid beast, this. It is addressed to the Welsh Parliament, yet it keeps referring to the UK and Britain.

To take the petition wording at face value it seems to be asking that Welsh children be taught about the experiences of immigrant groups in England. But why?

It also wants our children to learn that Wales, “benefited from colonialism and slavery for centuries”. Did we really! These ‘benefits’ must have passed my family by.

But what is Black and POC history? Is it the history of African people(s)? The spread of Islam? Moghul India? Asia? China? Pre-Columbian America? With nothing to connect these disparate stories other than their contacts with Europeans, at what point will BAME history degenerate into, ‘White bastards . . . ‘.

Finally, let’s look at the Llais y Sais article. There are so many distortions that it’s difficult to know where to start.

Click to enlarge

The article is written by Jane Hutt of Surbiton, who spent much of her childhood in colonial Africa. Her career in Wales began in the third sector, which helped her become a Labour councillor. She was then an unsuccessful Westminster candidate before securing the consolation prize of a seat in the new Welsh Assembly in 1999.

So, yet another Labour politician who’s never done a real job.

In the second paragraph Hutt says, “. . . our partners have shared more shocking stories of racism and hate crime endured in Wales”. Who might these ‘partners’ be, I wonder?

I would hazard a guess that these are Labour’s cronies in the third sector and elsewhere. People and groups reliant on public funding that can be best secured by exaggerating a problem and / or telling the ‘Welsh Government’ what it wants to hear.

What’s in it for the Labour Party? Well, the sub-text has always been – from the days of Naz Malik and his Swansea Bay Race Equality Council  – ‘Welsh nationalism is by definition racist’. (Remember Naz?)

In discussing the impact of Covid, Hutt suggests that people from ethnic minority backgrounds have suffered worse than white people. This is more bollocks. The critical factor has been deprivation. The kind of deprivation experienced in the post-industrial communities that the ‘Welsh’ Labour Government has condemned to managed decline. Communities where the population is almost exclusively white, and Welsh.

Towards the end Hutt writes: “We want to make sure that Wales becomes not just non-racist, but anti-racist, by the year 2030”.

‘Non-racist’ means the absence of racism. To go further is to pander to extremists who argue that all white people carry the guilt for slavery and imperialist exploitation. A sentiment we saw articulated in the petition.

We are now in the territory of Critical Race Theory, reporting neighbours for watching Gone With The Wind, and shopping Nain for her Robertson’s golliwog badge. Maybe even self-flagellation.

Wales does not want to go there. Labour should not be taking us towards this fresh kind of intolerance.

And yet Hutt’s overlong homily is not without its unintended humour.

Click to enlarge

The idea of Travellers complaining about ‘racism and hate crime’ is laughable. What they’re far more likely to be moaning about is being collared for their criminal behaviour. (Here’s a very recent example.)

‘Colourism’ may be a term many of you are unfamiliar with, but it’s rife in India, where it seems people of darker skin tone tend to be looked down on. All tied up with history, caste, religion, etc. It also seems to operate in the USA. Where, again, it is something found within communities, in this case, African-Americans.

Either way, ‘colourism’ or ‘shadism’ is a complex subject internal to certain countries and groups. It should never be a concern of the ‘Welsh Government’.

Hutt concludes with, “We must stand proud with open hearts and minds, and take positive action to banish racism, discrimination and inequality from Wales”. All very noble, and guaranteed a round of applause at the next Labour Party bunfight.

But this commitment to combating discrimination and inequality would carry more weight if, instead of playing to certain galleries, Labour politicians took action to stop Welsh people being ethnically cleansed from their own communities.

BAME education is so typically ‘Welsh’ Labour – about Wales, but not the Welsh. Twenty-two years of devolution has been all about gestures and virtue signalling for external audiences and tiny groups of activists.

While the essential Welshness of Wales, that sense of identity that brought devolution into being, has been undermined and the threats against it ignored.

Twenty-two years of anti-Welsh devolution.

This is why the Labour Party is opposed to both Welsh language education and the teaching of Welsh history in our schools. They fear it might make our young people more patriotic, and therefore, less likely to vote Labour.

Which is why, the more I think about BAME education, the more I suspect Labour may not have thought this through.

As I’ve just said, Labour does not want to enthuse Welsh children with a sense of patriotism, or worse, grievance. Nor does it wish to encourage anti-British or anti-English sentiment.

But if history is to be taught from a BAME and leftist perspective then how are children to be told about the slave trade, the Amritsar Massacre, An Gorta Mór, the Bengal famine, the coup against Mosaddeq, and so many other episodes of Britain’s past without encouraging a “Bastards!” reaction?

What you’ve read here is my interpretation of the Labour Party pandering to yet another vocal and unrepresentative minority. And while we should all strive to marginalise racism – for it will never be entirely eradicated – I believe that what is being suggested risks damaging the Welsh education system and doing more harm than good for communal relations.

I say that because I can think of few things more insulting than middle class left liberals designing a curriculum that tells kids relying on food banks in post-industrial shitholes that they should feel guilty for being the beneficiaries of slavery and ‘white privilege’. 

It really is time to get rid off these dangerous and insulting clowns in the Labour Party, and the same goes for any other leftist party that might keep Labour in power.

♦ end ♦

 




Lucky black cats!

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

I am indebted to a source for this fascinating story of Labour cronyism, concerning individuals who have previously appeared on this august site.

BACKGROUND

When my source mentioned the name Luke Holland Jac’s aural appendages went all a-quiver. For Holland was one of those named as being implicated in the shameful campaign against Carl Sargeant. A campaign that resulted in Sargeant’s suicide in November, 2017.

Here’s what I wrote in a pot pourri post in May 2018.

“I’m told that following Sargeant’s death, Christina Rees, MP for Neath and Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, had to be forced by other Welsh MPs to make a statement of condolence. Because, I’m told, she, or perhaps her political adviser, former Cardiff councillor, Luke Holland, had been briefing against Carl Sargeant, and that the briefings continued against former AM Leighton Andrews, Sargeant’s friend and defender.

There was outrage within the Labour Party over the behaviour of Rees and Holland, which the bruvvers managed to keep within the party (easy given the absence of a Welsh media) but even so, Holland’s position became untenable and he left, or was forced to leave, Ms Rees’ office.”

Carl Sargeant died on November 7; Holland was forced out soon after, and then, on November 30, Holland did what all political insiders in his position do – he formed a PR outfit. This one named Cathod Du Consultancy. (Cathod du being Welsh for ‘black cats’.)

And Holland was soon picking up work from his old boss, Christina Rees. According to TheyWorkForYou Rees has slipped £33,164.95 Holland’s way since he branched out on his own. (Though I may have missed some payments.)

Click to enlarge

The most recent accounts available – or rather, the ‘Filleted Unaudited Financial Statement’ – doesn’t give much away, and appears to show a company just bumping along. According to his Linkedin profile Holland has no other source of income.

But those ‘accounts’ are dated November 30, 2019, so maybe things have picked up since then. Certainly, that is what’s being suggested.

COMRADES

If we go back to the Cathod Du website, on the Our Clients page we see Learning & Work Cymru. (Though why isn’t Christina Rees MP listed among the clients?) This is the name used by the local manifestation of The National Learning and Work Institute (NLWI), with offices in London and Leicester. The Cardiff office was established in 2016.

The ‘National’ in the name refers of course to England. And even though it now covers two nations, no one saw any need to change it.

Running the Cardiff branch we find Dave Hagendyk. Some readers may recognise the name. For as his Linkedin profile reminds us, Hagendyk is another Labour insider. In fact, from November 2010 until he left to take up his new post with the NLWI in March 2017, Hagendyk was General Secretary of ‘Welsh’ Labour.

The figures I’ve been given – which my source obtained from a Freedom of Information request to the ‘Welsh Government’ – tell that from the time it set up its branch office in Cardiff NLWI started receiving money from the ‘Welsh Government’. Which, if nothing else, tells a lot about devolution in Wales.

Rather than set up a new body suited to Wales, serving Wales, and answerable to Wales, the Labour Party preferred to invite in and fund an English organisation. All it asked in return was that the money given was used to provide sinecures for Labour time-servers. Pure cronyism.

And make no mistake, it is just a branch office in Cardiff. Using ‘Cymru’ in the name is just deception. The website gives Companies House number 02603322, which is the company number for the England-headquartered organisation.

Despite claiming to have a distinct Welsh presence, and despite being in receipt of ‘Welsh Government’ funding, the National Learning and Work Institute maintains no separate accounts for its Welsh operations.

And we are not talking small change here. Between setting up in Wales in 2016 and April 2020 the National Learning and Work Institute received £2,080,035.90. It’s probably closer to three million now.

Thus far, we have established that Holland and Hagendyk are both Labour insiders, Holland’s company Cathod Du Consulting counts Hagendyk’s National Learning and Work Institute as a client, and of course, the NLWI gets oodles and oodles of Welsh public money.

What could better explain both how devolution has been corrupted and also how the Labour Party operates in Wales? But it gets even cosier!

If you compare the two Linkedin profiles you’ll see that when Hagendyk was General Secretary of ‘Welsh’ Labour he had for a while as his Head of Press and Broadcasting none other than Luke Holland.

And then, when Hagendyk left for NLWI, you’ll never guess who replaced him as General Secretary of Welsh Labour – Luke Holland’s wife, Louise Magee!

Magee is yet another of those who came to Wales to study, got involved in student politics, and then stayed to started climbing the greasy Labour pole. A career punctuated by stints helping sister parties in the Antipodes.

Does she know much about Wales? I doubt it. But that may suit the Labour Party perfectly. For the less she knows the less likely she is to question or contradict her political masters.

Where would ‘Welsh’ Labour be without the regular supply of English student careerists from our universities to actually run the party? And of course, the third sector?

So, let’s recap. The ‘Welsh Government’ gives millions to the English National Learning and Work Institute; money which is then used to provide what all concerned hope will be mistaken for real jobs; while also keeping disgraced Luke Holland out of the local food bank.

And to cap it all, and show his gratitude, Holland then sponsored the kit of Hagendyk’s daughter’s football team.

The ones who should really be thanked are us, the Welsh public. For this is just public money being recycled.

Or, to put it another way, what passes for the Welsh economy under Labour.

QUESTIONS

My source appended questions to the tract, and here they are:

  • Given the huge sums of public money given by the Welsh Government to Learning and Work Institute (L&W Cymru) – over £2 million over four years, there are questions to be answered about transparency and ‘cronyism’ concerning the relationship between L&W Cymru (Dave Hagendyk) and Cathod Du (Luke Holland).
  • Cathod Du state on their website that L&W Cymru are their “clients”. How much were Cathod Du paid by L&W Cymru for this work and was this work tendered for – given how much public funding L&W Cymru receive each year?
  • Is the Chief Executive of the Learning and Work Institute, Stephen Evans, aware of the close personal relationship that exists between his Director in Wales and his client, Luke Holland’s company, Cathod Du?
  • Will the Chief Executive of the Learning and Work Institute, Stephen Evans, disclose how much L&W Cymru paid Cathod Du for their services and whether this work is ongoing?
  • Given the personal relationship between Hagendyk and Holland, is the Chief Executive of the Learning and Work Institute, Stephen Evans, aware that his Director in Wales is in receipt of a sponsorship donation to fund his private hobby – a donation from a company that refers to L&W Cymru as one its “clients”?
  • What guidance and oversight does the Learning and Work Institute give to L&W Cymru in relation to ensuring there is maximum transparency about how it conducts its financial affairs and how its spends its money and there is sufficient separation and no overlap between how its employees conduct themselves professionally and privately? In other words – would Dave Hagendyk have received sponsorship from Cathod Du for a private concern (hobby) had Cathod Du not been clients of L&W Cymru?
  • Considering the large sums of public money given by the Welsh Labour Government to L&W Cymru (year-on-year), what conditions are imposed by the Welsh Government to recipients of such funding, to ensure there is maximum transparency about how the money is spent – and to avoid any allegations or perception of ‘cronyism’?
  • What is the view of the Auditor General for Wales, Adrian Compton in relation to this matter? Would he be satisfied there was sufficient transparency about the financial relationship (both private and public) between L&W Cymru and Cathod Du given the huge amounts of public money L&W Cymru receives from the Welsh Government each year?

FINAL THOUGHTS

Call me a cynical old bastard (and many do!) but nothing here surprises me. This is how devolution has operated for 22 years – a vast trough for Labour insiders and hangers-on, regularly topped up with public funding.

Devolution serves the Labour Party but the Labour Party does not serve Wales. The areas that vote Labour are taken for granted, while the areas that don’t vote Labour are ignored or punished.

What have we got to show for devolution?

A third sector so big it can be seen from outer space. Thousands of otherwise unemployable misfits jostling for their hand-outs. An ugly nest of back-stabbers briefing against each other in Corruption Bay.

Wales deserves better.

Devolution has failed.  We can either move on to independence or just do away with devolution altogether. Either way, the only real loser will be the Labour Party and the parasitic networks attached to the beast.

Don’t be fooled by talk of ‘home rule’ or ‘federalism’. It doesn’t matter how much lipstick is put on the pig of devolution it will remain a pig.

Pigs and troughs – what an epitaph for devolution!

♦ end ♦

 




Guest post: ‘A sustainable Wales . . . or not’

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

As it says in the title, this a guest post, and from someone who knows of what they speak. Read it carefully, for it contains valuable insights that you’re unlikely to get elsewhere.

Specifically, this post is about Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ) legislation and the vote on March 3 that saw the ‘Welsh Government’ push through its draconian measures which are simply another attack on our farmers.

The fact that most of the pollution doesn’t even come from farms is not simply irrelevant to Labour politicians, it’s ignored completely.

To understand the bigger picture you must realise that the local branch of the British Labour Party is a statist outfit that wants to control everything and everybody, either directly, or else through its agencies in the third sector and elsewhere.

As the writer explains, Labour politicians don’t like farmers because farmers own land (kulaks, see), and they tend to be independently-minded, with a habit of standing up for themselves. What’s more, they’re adept at recognising bullshit.

So farmers have to go. This will be justified on environmental grounds. Freeing land for hippies, rewilders and foreign investors.

This control-freakery also explains why Wales is a basket-case economy. Labour does not want free-thinking indigenous entrepreneurs, even if they provide jobs and make Wales prosperous. Far better to keep Wales poor, blame somebody else, and keep getting elected.

The resultant poverty can also be justified with envirobollocks – ‘What ew mean ew got no job – look at all them wind turbines saving the planet. You selfish bugger!’

Well, of course, that’s not strictly true. Labour politicians and their third sector cronies will always have jobs. Enviroshysters – almost all of them from outside of Wales – will also have jobs. It’s ordinary Welsh people who lose out.

The message is simple. Don’t vote Labour in May’s Senedd elections. Don’t vote for Plaid Cymru either, because Labour will need a coalition with Plaid to stay in power.

Now read what our guest writer has to say . . .

So, in the last month or so, Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment has pushed on with legislation she said she would not push on with 11 times. This was on the basis that agricultural incidents had not decreased from the 3 a week figure that is regularly quoted. As of 3rd March, the regulations will now progress following the Senedd vote.

There are various figures banded around as to why this has been a trigger point and why such an aggressive move has been taken, in the middle (and it is the middle) of the COVID crisis and indeed the aftermath of the Brexit deal.

This is really a statement piece by the Minister to appeal to the environment lobby and her back benchers in the run up to an election. Facts, figures and advice on the regulation from her own regulator, NRW, have been ignored and politics has been front and centre of the decision. Where to go from here? We’ll come back to that a little later.

Jac adds: Not only has Lesley Griffiths been saying it, but her civil servants have also been saying it in responses to members of the public. Click to enlarge

When it comes to Welsh Government, it’s worth taking a look back to see how things have developed.

Firstly, getting rid of scrutiny and the various committees that have provided review and direction has been a key strategy. The Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs (CCERA) Committee has to cover such a broad portfolio that it cannot possibly scrutinise in depth. The simple fact is that scrutiny is now a manufactured process, by invitation if you like, with the environment lobby in the pocket of the Minister, who are anti-agri, anti-fisheries and any other private use of natural resources for economic gain, unless you’re a global investor making a land grab under the guise of rewilding, but we won’t mention that.

Secondly, Welsh Government has struggled for years to work out how they could get their policy objectives imprinted on rural Wales. We’re now in the drive to reverse climate change, de-carbonise and promote Wales to the world as a sustainable nation. Farmers own 70% of our private land. The difficulty with trying to get farmers to comply with change is that they own their land and are a broadly militant and belligerent old bunch who would rather sell a kidney than be told what to do. So, in combination with the agriculture white paper out at the moment consulting on the future farm payments system, Minister Griffiths has slapped an NVZ on the whole of Wales to boot.

When you look at some of the drivers of food industry growth, Minister Griffiths own Food and Drink Strategy 2014 – 2020 has targeted increasing sales by 30% to £7bn turnover. Much rejoicing took place last year when it was proclaimed that Welsh Government had ‘smashed its target’. Now a new strategy needs to be developed and it will be based on ‘sustainability’. It should be remembered that Welsh Government has encouraged and invested in the agri-food sectors rapid growth and the question must be asked as to whether it is now a victim of its own success?

I digress.

You see, if you want a snapshot example of what is in store for agriculture, you only need to look at what Welsh Government has done with another comparator sector over which they have devolved responsibility – fisheries.

A small sector in Wales, but nonetheless regularly rolled out by the Minister with unsubstantiated claims of sustainability for which she now strives. The vast majority of engagement mechanisms with the sector have been withdrawn, because, like farmers, fishermen are too difficult for Welsh Government to deal with.

Unlike agriculture, with land ownership in the hands of farmers, Welsh Government actually does have devolved responsibility for marine and fisheries and in layman’s terms, it owns the sea out to the median line. If there is an example of how not to sustainability management resources, this is it. Regulation, not management, is king, delivering boom and bust fisheries such as our main shellfish species by volume, Whelk, that is exploited largely by businesses outside of Wales. Now where have we heard this before…………oh yes, renewables.

Marine renewables is the Minister’s golden ticket to meeting green energy targets and no one will get in the way. While our many centuries old fishing industry and heritage fisheries such as Teifi Seine nets, coracles and the lave net fisheries on the Severn are regulated (for regulated read bullied) out, the push for action in the climate emergency continues. Fisheries is a shining example of how Welsh Government ‘manages’ its resources and should serve as a warning to what is to come for terrestrial Wales.

So the stage is set for the roll out of the NVZ agricultural pollution regulations that will sit alongside the consultation on the agriculture white paper and an announcement made with regard to the future strategy for the food and drink sector where sustainable food production will be at the core. All very nicely choreographed.

What is amazing in all of this is the almost pathological inability of the Minister to acknowledge the issues caused by sewage outfall and releases by water authorities. This has been documented by the BBC and most recent data provided by the Rivers Trust makes for dire reading. Her responses when questioned on this in Plenary have been evasive to say the least. She doesn’t want to talk about it. She has to get her way with the agri sector to line up the other policy objectives. A savage attack on the proposed regulations took place in the Senedd via a recent Conservative debate and again, while referring to a very recent incident and the ‘one too many’ quote, the reality is that statistically there could have well been another 82 sewage incidents going on the very same day!

I have no doubt that a number of MS’s who have voted on this will not have the foggiest what they are voting for, but will have been lobbied by the ‘bastard farmers’ environment crowd from their Cardiff and London bases. The perverse part of this is that in a drive for Wales to be perceived as one of the world’s most sustainable food producers, Minister Griffiths will designate the whole of the country an NVZ against the advice of her regulator and ignoring the main contributor to water quality issues. How does she think this looks from the outside looking in? We’re a laughing stock.

In sectors that have been under devolved regulation for many years such as fisheries, the Minister now talks about co-management out of regulation with a group they can’t engage with and then at the same time has rejected any suggestion of voluntary co-managed farmer-led approaches to agri pollution that were on the table to move to, yep, you’ve guessed it……..regulation. I would suggest her officials need a Zoom meeting to square the circle here.

L to R: Gary Haggaty, civil servant; Lesley Griffiths MS, Labour, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs; Caroline Hitt, writer for the ‘Western Mail’; Elin Jones MS, Plaid Cymru, Senedd Llywydd (Speaker). The cosiness of Corruption Bay made corporeal in a Dublin bar. Click to enlarge

This will be her modulation moment, akin to the decision made by Alun Davies to move 15% of the budget away from direct payments to Pillar 2 and just look at the success that has been, as highlighted by Wales Audit Office last year and further exposed by Craig Williams MP recently. I could also go into the uplands payments debacle but I won’t.

How the farming unions react to this will be key and a judicial review can be expected. However, there is a wider assault in the offing for rural Wales in the hot off the press Future Wales 2040 in the name of sustainability and climate change. It is a large document, but I would urge anyone who has an interest in the future of this country to read it and then decide how you will vote in May. Future Wales 2040 is the planning template for this country and where this blog has pointed out the follies of various ‘developers’ and ‘investors’, I’m certain we will see more of this to come, at scale.

Without wanting to overstate the position, we may be seeing the managed decline of industries in the same way the coal industry was portrayed – inefficient, dirty and unwanted by those who have never done a hard day’s work in their life. The Valleys have never recovered and now having failed to deliver on economic development, Welsh Government MUST deal with climate change, even if it means forcing through bad regulation to achieve it.

♦ end ♦

 




Bollocks. Unadulterated Labour bollocks

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

Over the years I’ve read a lot of political nonsense and outright bullshit in the Western Mail, much of it emanating from the Labour Party. But all records were broken on Friday, February 26, 2021 when Llais y Sais gave us a sneak preview of a speech to be delivered by First Minister Mark Drakeford.

To help you fully appreciate the levels of dishonesty contained in the speech I shall produce the offending article and then walk you through it paragraph by numbered paragraph.

Click to enlarge

Let’s start with the headline and the opening paragraphs. Home rule within the UK is impossible, for without a written constitution it could, like devolution, be undone at any time. (Come to that, how does ‘home rule’ differ from devolution?)

And even with a written constitution, an unequal Union such as the UK allows the dominant partner to do what it damn well likes. As England has for centuries.

No, let’s be honest, home rule is an unworkable nonsense. The truth is that Labour in Wales is alarmed by the possibilities unveiled by the Internal Market Act, which allows London to ignore the devolution settlement almost entirely.

Home rule would have offered no defence against the Internal Market Act.

Though Labour’s hostility to this Act was not prompted by thoughts of what’s best for Wales but by the fear that Boris Johnson and his mates might start threatening Labour’s hegemony in Wales, and the crony networks the party has built up over the past 22 years.

I hate to say it, but Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart, was not far off the mark when he said that the ‘Welsh Government’ was simply worrying about its own little status.

Now let’s go through the rest of the article, focusing on the more interesting paragraphs.

PARAGRAPH 4: “Internationalist not nationalist. Outward facing, not inward looking”, says Drakeford. Now this could either be a call to arms and a commitment to global humanity or a pathetic justification for having done nothing for Wales for the 22 years of devolution.

Because we’re dealing with ‘Welsh’ Labour, it is of course the latter.

Wales is the poorest country in Europe. Not so long ago I would have said ‘Western Europe’, but now the countries of the former Soviet bloc have caught us up and in many cases overtaken us.

Little Estonia – which the Russians swore would starve if it went independent – is now “one of the most tech-savvy societies in the world”. Here in Wales there are still communities without a decent internet connection.

The truth is that ‘Welsh’ Labour and its so-called ‘Welsh Government’ should be doing a lot more looking inward; then they might appreciate this country’s problems, its real needs, and address them before riding off on Quixotic crusades to save the planet.

PARAGRAPHS  5 & 6: These continue in the same toe-curling vein, with the predictable use of, “progressive” (‘pass my revolver, wife!’), and even “destiny”!

Though, chwarae teg, I did agree with, “Yes to a Wales that takes ownership of its own destiny” . . . but home rule ain’t gonna deliver that.

PARAGRAPH 7: Drakeford believes the coming Senedd election is a contest unlike any other. Indeed it is, and it could be his last. Go for it, Neil!

PARAGRAPH 8: This is where we learn that Labour has a new strapline – ‘Moving Wales Forward’. God! I wish I’d thought of that!

Can’t you just hear kids shouting it as they whizz by on their bikes! Young women having it tattooed on their intimate parts! Football and rugby crowds – when they’re allowed back, of course – chanting it on the terraces!

What a response to all those who want to move us back. Though Nationalists like me also want to move forward, to independence; and even the anti-Welsh mob want to move forward, by consigning devolution to the dustbin of failed political initiatives. (Where it belongs.)

When you think about it, the only ones who want to stand still, maintain the status quo, are the devolutionists, and where are they to be found? Er, in the Labour Party.

PARAGRAPHS 9 – 12: Here it’s appeals to, ” . . . our tenacity . . . our institutions and sense of social solidarity . . . characteristics that will shape . . . generations to come”. Then it’s, “from the coal field (sic) to the rugby field . . . work together . . . shared experience . . .”.

The kind of vacuous rambling that would shame a be-medalled Latin American caudillo.

PARAGRAPHS 13 – 16: I was obviously unfair in suggesting that 22 years of devolution under ‘Welsh’ Labour has been a disaster – for we are a “world leader in recycling”!

That will be a great consolation to those queuing at food banks, and those being forced out of the communities in which they were born and raised, and where they’d hoped to die.

Twice we see the “National Forest” mentioned. Does this mean that the ‘Welsh Government’ has a plan to develop a forestry industry in Wales, generating wealth, creating jobs, and sustaining communities?

Don’t be silly, Jac, it’s, “for people to further enjoy Wales’ natural beauty”. In other words – more fucking tourism! But worse, this project could also be seen as meeting the demands of Monbiot and his disciples, those who want to dispossess our farmers and take over their land.

The war on farmers becomes clear again with, “tackling agricultural pollution”, presumably into our waterways. Yet most of the pollution in our rivers has nothing to do with agriculture.

Of course this truth does not serve the ‘Welsh Government’s anti-farming agenda. Consequently, it will never be admitted by Natural Resources Wales, or Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs. And certainly not by Lesley’s civil servant lover Gary Haggaty.

But I suppose what pissed me off most in this section was the reference to “investment in new green jobs”. This is not new, we’ve been hearing it for over twenty years. But how many jobs has ‘green energy’ created?

Think of the massive Pen y Cymoedd wind farm, one of the largest in Europe. Does it employ any local people? Certainly, no jobs were provided at earlier stages because the towers, motors, and blades were made in Germany and Denmark.

The only real benefits the local community sees is the £1.8m doled out every year as a Community Fund by the owner of the wind farm, Swedish company Vattenfall. Which only makes me wonder how much of a killing Vattenfall is making.

This Community Fund is just crumbs from our own table.

Despite Labour claiming for two decades or more that renewables would create jobs, and be a great boost to the Welsh economy, the reality is that the ‘Welsh Government’ has simply allowed Wales to be exploited, with no benefits at all for us.

It’s no longer coal mines, slate quarries, or dams and reservoirs, it’s wind and solar farms, and wave energy. But Wales continues to be exploited by strangers.

Therefore only a fool would believe Labour’s promise to deliver in the future what it has already been promising to deliver for so long. ‘Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me’.

PARAGRAPHS 17 – 22: Here, gentle reader, we reach new heights of hifalutin vacuity before plumbing the depths of cringe-inducing attempts at eloquence.

Though it started encouragingly, because when I read “generations who come after us” I thought at first it was a reference to Burke’s Contract, but no.

This is followed by. “We are so lucky in our country, to have all the natural resources we need to put Wales at the forefront of the global energy revolution which the world will need: wind, water and wave”.

And here, Drakeford is absolutely right – we do have all these resources! But we don’t own any of them. They don’t generate wealth or jobs for us. For as I say, that’s because ‘Welsh’ Labour encourages strangers to exploit our homeland as if it was some 19th century African ‘possession’.

Then comes the empty promise of jobs, again. Before we are exhorted to, ” . . . make our contribution to securing the future of our beautiful but fragile planet”.

(Cue violins and rustling Kleenex.)

CONCLUSION

This sententious drivel exposes where Labour has gone wrong and how it has failed Wales.

Saving the planet – as if we could! – has done nothing for us. The promised jobs never materialised. Even if they had materialised we would have been working for foreign companies because Labour does not want successful Welsh companies, with Welsh businessmen regularly exposing the bruvvers’ idiocies.

No, Labour wants the quiet life of foreign companies uninterested in Welsh politics and a third sector of Labour cronies forever finding problems for Labour to fund while blaming someone else.

But nothing exposes the reality of Wales today, and Labour’s shortcomings, more than the fact that nowhere in Drakeford’s waffle does he say, ‘Vote for us on our record’.

All he can offer is pie in the sky, recycled promises on green jobs, and more saving the planet. Nowhere does he talk of what really matters to most Welsh people: health, education, jobs (that might actually materialise), and housing they can afford.

Labour has pandered to certain alien lobbies at the expense of the Welsh people for too long, and this cannot go on. Labour must be removed from power in May.

And remember! a vote for Plaid Cymru is a vote to keep Labour in power.

♦ end ♦

 




What you won’t read in the Western Mail

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

I’m using this, another of my infrequent, pre-retirement postings, to put out a letter I sent to the Western Mail that that organ clearly has no intention of publishing. Probably because it’s critical of the Labour Party and Labour’s crony state in Wales.

Late last year it became known that social housing providers had been levying unlawful charges on certain tenants. A curious business in which the Senedd’s lawyers had to explain the law to ‘Welsh Government’ lawyers!

After being informed, the ‘Welsh Government’ hurriedly introduced backdated legislation, which of course covered the collective arse of Labour’s cronies in housing associations and the third sector.

Perhaps more importantly, the legislation avoided having to make refunds to the tenants. And all because somebody in Corruption Bay cocked-up. Given the way this country is run the person responsible will probably be promoted.

Last week, I wrote a letter to the Wasting Mule trying to explain the mess housing is in. Given the matters it addresses – and no matter what the Western Mail may think – I believe the contents of this letter merit an audience.

Here is that letter:

The remarkable case of the Senedd’s lawyers suggesting the Welsh Government’s lawyers have got it wrong over allowing landlords of rented properties to levy service charges brings into focus the status of Registered Social Landlords or housing associations.

For many years RSLs were classed as Provident and Industrial Societies, regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Most in Wales held housing stock that had been transferred from local authorities and received further funding from the Welsh Government to improve those properties and build new.

But in October 2015, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) dropped a bombshell by announcing that RSLs in England would be reclassified from Private Non-Financial Corporations to Public Non-Financial Corporations.

Further announcements were made relating to the devolved authorities.

Which meant that what had always been treated as public bodies would now officially become public bodies. And this threw up problems.

Not least that the debts of Registered Social Landlords would transfer to the UK public sector net debt.

To avoid this unwanted outcome RSLs were privatised. The legislation for Wales was passed in May 2018 and accepted by the ONS a month later.

This privatisation saw Welsh housing associations form subsidiaries, often unregistered and unregulated, which are now building private properties all over the country, many marketed as ‘affordable’ in an attempt to maintain the pretence of being social housing providers.

‘Affordability’ is determined by the price of other properties in the area. In Abersoch, for example, an ‘affordable’ property would be in the region of £330,000. Affordable to the Cheshire Set, maybe, but not to locals.

Privatisation and the rush into private housing means that most housing associations no longer have an interest in building affordable rented housing. This explains why an increasing number of local authorities have started building council houses again.

And yet, despite now being privatised, and being major players in the private housing market (at the expense of social housing), housing associations are still being funded by the Welsh Government.

With much of this funding reaching subsidiaries who use it to build the unaffordable ‘affordable’ housing. Justified by arguing that the profits from the private sales will go back to the parent RSL to build social housing!

Er, why can’t the parent RSL just keep ALL the money and build social housing?

From figures I’ve received from the Welsh Government, the total amount given to RSLs between 2010 and 2020 was in excess of £1.3bn, with the annual amounts increasing since they were privatised in 2018.

Clearly, the Welsh Government still regards housing associations as public bodies. This explains both the continued funding and the current attempt to legislate in favour of these officially privatised companies.

It also tells us that the housing sector is a shambles, and sorting it out should be a priority for the administration that comes in after May’s Senedd elections.

Which could start by clarifying the status of our housing associations, their rapidly multiplying subsidiaries, and the relationship of both with the Welsh Government.

Specific attention should be paid to Welsh Government funding given to RSLs being diverted to subsidiaries for open market housing.

♦ end ♦

 




Why I would vote to abolish the Senedd

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

For this, another of my infrequent, pre-retirement postings, I’ll explain why I would vote to abolish the Senedd in a referendum offering the straight choice of to keep or to abolish.

BACKGROUND

In a recent post, ‘Welsh independence: Why? for whom?’, I explained why, when a teenager, I became convinced that independence was the only answer for Wales. I wrote:

I wanted independence to improve the lives of the people I cared about: my family, my neighbours, my community, and my nation. I wanted independence to protect my country from neglect or exploitation, and to defend what made us Welsh.

Devolution is obviously not independence but still, judged against those criteria devolution has been an abysmal failure. For the only beneficiaries have been cliques, claques, and the assorted parasites of a vast and burdensome stratum smothering the nation.

LET ME GIVE SOME EXAMPLES

While the greater part of Wales, and the nation, has seen no benefits, this constitutional tinkering must have brought some benefits, to someone, somewhere, otherwise it would be universally damned and consequently unsustainable.

So let’s try and identify some beneficiaries. I’ll use examples of us losing out and others benefitting at our expense. (You’ll soon get the hang of it.)

THIRD SECTOR

The ‘stratum’ I referred to earlier is the third sector. Bigger than ever in Wales, and bigger in Wales than in any other country.

Wales is a rich country made poor by English rule, and the Labour Party has capitalised on our deprivation both for electoral gain – by blaming ‘London’ / Tories – and also by using that deprivation to create a whole new ‘poverty sector’ for its cronies.

Wales is now smothering under the weight of duplicating and competing third sector gangs, most of which seem to be staffed by strident memsahibs from over the border. Cohort after cohort of Common Purpose’ finest, goose-stepping from conference to workshop to those regular meetings in which they dictate policy and funding priorities to politicians.

This third sector is fundamentally and irredeemably parasitical. Preying on Wales’ deprivation in order to suck money from the public purse. A vast network of self-polishing turds who would not be missed if they ceased doing tomorrow whatever they claim to be doing today.

Both Labour and the third sector exploit and capitalise on Wales’ poverty and deprivation. If the money wasted on the third sector was spent in combatting that poverty and deprivation then Wales would be a much better place.

ENVIROSHYSTERS

Perhaps to make us feel guilty for wanting decent jobs, decent homes, an acceptable road and rail system, etc., our gaze is directed away from such crass materialism to the altruistic, the selfless, in the form of saving the planet.

This crusade – for it is nothing less! – is done without providing jobs or any other material benefits to us Welsh. This national insult takes many forms.

Here’s a recent re-working of the theme.

Click to enlarge

Is this supposed to be a consolation prize for the Circuit of Wales? Or for more false hopes raised over the TVR car plant? (Which is not coming, by the way.)

Blaenau Gwent is the poorest part of the country. What it needs is decent jobs, housing, NHS dentists, etc., not bullshit publicity stunts from Corruption Bay.

We are told that “50 residents will be selected to create the first Climate Assembly in Wales”. I hope Gwent Police have the riot gear ready for the trouble that will surely erupt in Ebbw Vale and Tredegar as people fight over those 50 places.

Here’s the latest in the ‘Save the planet’ offensive: “I think if political parties are not putting addressing the climate and nature emergencies right at the top of their manifesto agenda then they will be letting down both the current and future generations in Wales,” says Sophie Howe, Labour apparatchik being paid £100,000 a year in a non-job created specially for her.

The message from our leaders is: ‘Wales may be the poorest country in Europe and getting poorer, but fuck that, cos we – on £100,000 a year – are saving the planet’.

I want to see a healthier nation living in a greener land making its contribution to a cleaner planet. But Wales has more immediate priorities. And it’s positively insulting for overpaid Labour Party nobodies to lecture those worrying about feeding their kids and paying their rent.

UPDATE: As if on cue, Nation.Cymru published a piece by Neil Anderson, ‘How can we make the land of our fathers the land of our futures?’ In it we read: “Incoming farmers are likely to be more adventurous and innovative . . . “.

Yet more arrogant – almost racist – envirocolonialism. It seems Kiwi Anderson has been won over to Welsh independence. A reminder that the reason Greens and others are jumping on the indy bandwagon is because they want our land.

GRANNY FARMERS

Wales has the oldest population in Europe and it’s getting older. An unwanted accolade achieved by a number of factors combining. The lack of a decent economy being one. The other is the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ going out of its way to attract elderly people to Wales.

This is done because, due to the lack of a balanced economy in rural areas and the regular exodus of young people that results, population levels need to be maintained; for nothing says ‘area going to hell’ more clearly than a falling population. How better to maintain population levels than by attracting retirees? (Actually, I can think of many better alternatives, but bear with me.)

No only does the ‘Welsh Government’ see no problem with our ageing population, it even tries to present it as something to be celebrated, as I discovered a few years ago in a reply to a Freedom of Information request.

Click to enlarge

An influx encouraged by the ‘Welsh Government’ legislating so that people entering care homes can keep £50,000 before they start paying for their care. The figure for England is £22,500.

Yet the ‘Welsh Government’ would like to go further, doing away with care home charges altogether by introducing a tax so that we actually pay for wealthy English biddies who’ve been dumped in Welsh care homes by relatives safeguarding their inheritances.

How difficult would it be to introduce a rule insisting that a person must have lived in Wales for 20 years prior to entering a care home before they can benefit from the £50,000 allowance?

Do that and Welsh people won’t lose out and we curb the plague of granny dumping.

HOLIDAY HOMES

I recall, back in the 1980s, during the Meibion Glyndŵr campaign, politicians getting up on their hind legs to proclaim that they would not be influenced by ‘terrorists’. God! they sounded so brave and principled. It brought a tear to my eye.

Thirty years on from the end of that campaign, and after 22 years of devolution, nothing has been done beyond the ‘Welsh Government’ allowing councils to impose a 100% surcharge on holiday home council tax. But it has refused to close the loophole that sees holiday homes classed as businesses to escape council tax entirely.

Oh, I almost forgot, there is also a tiny and insignificant increase in Land Transaction Tax of one per cent per valuation band, introduced 22 December. Which is no deterrent at all to those who can buy a second, third, or fourth home.

In fact, the so-called ‘Welsh Government’ refuses to do anything that might save Welsh communities and allow Welsh people to buy a home in areas cursed with tourism. When pressed on the matter just yesterday by the impressive Delyth Jewell the woeful Julie James could only respond with a promise to . . . kick the issue into the long grass.

From BBC Wales’ ‘Senedd Live’ 03.02.2021 (Alun Jones). Click to enlarge

With the holiday homes problem at crisis levels due to Coronavirus, with Welsh communities being destroyed before our eyes, the fact that those useless bastards down Corruption Bay refuse to act should tell you all you need to know about devolution.

NATIONAL LIBRARY OF WALES

In the past few days we’ve seen the outcry as the ‘Welsh Government’ decided it couldn’t fund the National Library of Wales.

Wales has a ‘government’ that can find money for every lunatic outfit under the sun but cannot find money for the memory of the nation!

Eventually, those clowns did find something down the back of the settee but only after an online petition and a public outcry.

But you have to wonder who made the initial decision not to fund.

THE WAR ON FARMERS

Part of the problem lies in the fact that devolution is controlled by civil servants who may be based in Wales but take their orders from London. Civil servants such as Gary Haggaty, beau to Lesley Griffiths, the Labour MS for Wrecsam, and Minister for the Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs.

L to R: Gary Haggaty, civil servant; Lesley Griffiths MS, Labour, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs; Caroline Hitt, writer for the ‘Western Mail’; Elin Jones MS, Plaid Cymru, Senedd Llywydd (Speaker). The cosiness of Corruption Bay made corporeal in a Dublin bar. Click to enlarge

Last week, Gary and Lesley – despite promising to consult with farmers before doing anything – introduced legislation to deal with the localised problem of spillage (NVZ) into watercourses. Instead of tackling the guilty parties the lovebirds have imposed financial burdens on all farmers to ensure that they cannot in future do what they weren’t doing anyway.

I quote, again from yesterday’s ‘Senedd Live’:

“Plaid Cymru’s Llyr Gruffydd says the minister is on the record as saying that these Nitrate Vulnerable Zone regulations would not be introduced while the pandemic was in existence – no less than ten times.”

It was eleven times, and here’s the video evidence.

And many of these spillages have nothing to do with farmers. I am reliably informed that the testing done by Natural Resources Wales (yes, them!) cannot differentiate between farm slurry and raw sewerage from other sources.

And let’s remember that the biggest spillage ever occurred last year when a train transporting oil from Milford Haven derailed near Llanelli. No doubt, in a few years time, when people start forgetting about it, it will be blamed on farmers and used to introduce legislation even more burdensome.

This is just the latest assault in a war on Welsh farmers by the ‘Welsh Government’. Done because ‘Welsh’ Labour hates farmers, and also because there are others queuing up to take over Welsh land. Friends of Jane Davidson, ‘rewilders’, Tory MPs.

Significantly, in England, the NVZ legislation targets problem areas and culprits rather than penalising all farmers.

So, we see that under devolution Welsh farming is another area of our national life being targeted and damaged. And it could not have happened without devolution. Because if London had singled out Welsh farmers for such treatment there would have been rioting, and possibly worse.

I could give plenty more examples where devolution has failed us. Here are just a few snapshots:

  • There’s colonisation, resulting in the Welsh element in the population decreasing year on year. As a prominent citizen of a border town told me a few weeks back: “Some of the attitudes retired people come here have towards the locals are shocking, their sense of superiority is unbelievable.”
  • Then there’s a crass and exploitative form of tourism that is destroying Welsh communities, especially Welsh-speaking communities.
  • No other country on Earth has allowed One Planet Developments. Yet here in Wales hippies and enviroshysters are encouraged to take over land, flout planning and other regulations, bring up children in unsanitary and dangerous conditions, and then this colonisation is justified as part of OUR contribution to saving the planet.
  • Under devolution we have seen Cardiff grow and prosper, largely at the expense of the rest of Wales.
  • Wales produces twice as much electricity as we need and the rest goes to England free of charge, the same applies to our water resources, stolen by Severn Trent. 
  • The ‘Welsh Government’ pays some of our brightest young people to go to English universities and then makes no attempt to bring them home after graduation. While filling our universities with mediocrities from over the border who stay on to fill third sector and public sector jobs. 
  • Publicly-funded housing associations build ‘affordable’ homes that most locals can’t afford while neglecting the social rented sector for which there’s a local demand.
  • Let’s not forget the shysters – so many of whom have appeared on this blog – who get showered with funding after turning up with their ‘exciting’, ‘job-creating’ projects meticulously outlined on the back of a fag packet.
  • Then there’s the cess-pit that is Cardiff Bay, where those we elect to represent us rub shoulders daily with unregistered lobbyists and others trying to influence them – and almost always against the best interests of the nation.

FINALLY, A VERY TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY EXAMPLE

This pretence of devolved power is a very thin veil behind which England’s interests are served. A great example was supplied to me last week by someone involved in matters technological which went a bit over my head, but I’m sure you’ll get the gist of it.

This source wrote:

” . . . dotCYM had no hope when Plaid Cymru was useless, Labour and the civil servants were working against it, and then Nominet came in with their money and used it to destroy them. The money from .cymru and .wales domains are now going to Oxford instead of Wales.”

The source continued:

“The Welsh government is clever in creating schemes to develop Welsh language technology and software. They come out with a new scheme with millions to develop Welsh software but there’s a maximum of about 30k per project, which isn’t enough to get anywhere or develop anything of use. Also, the money they give for research into Welsh language technology comes with the proviso that the research is then open sourced. What happens then is that large companies from outside Wales can take it, add it to their software as token Welsh support that doesn’t work well, and then sell it back to the Welsh”.

My source then explained to me what’s happening in New Zealand, where those working on a similar project for the Maori language successfully fought against their work becoming open source. The Maoris defended their stance thus:

“By simply open sourcing our data and knowledge, we further allow ourselves to be colonised digitally in the modern world.”

THE TRUTH DAWNS

More and more people grasp that devolution is an unworkable nonsense, even if they don’t understand why. This explains the growing polarisation between those wanting to do away with the Senedd and those wanting independence.

When all devolution’s defenders can muster is, ‘But it’s recognition’, or ‘free bus passes’, then you know that even they have given up.

Successive ‘Welsh’ Assembly Governments and ‘Welsh Governments’ have not only failed to remedy the problems inherited in 1999 they have introduced new measures to work against the national interest.

This is not what I voted for in the September 1997 referendum. It’s no exaggeration to say that what we’ve experienced over the past 22 years is a form of anti-Welsh devolution.

Consequently, in a referendum offering the simple choice between keeping the Senedd or abolishing it I would vote to abolish, because abolition would be the best option for the greatest number of Welsh people.

But I still want independence.

♦ end ♦

 




Funeral of John Barnard Jenkins 11.01.2021

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL PROBABLY NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

On Monday I attended the funeral of the great patriot John Barnard Jenkins at Pentrebychan Crematorium, Rhostyllen, Wrecsam.

For obvious reasons, there weren’t many people there, just the family and a few loyal admirers. Including me. In fact, I think I was the only one there from the 1960s generation. God! I’m getting old.

I managed to take a couple of short videos on my mobile phone. I put these out on Twitter and it seems only right that they should also appear on the blog. So here they are.

The first shows the Cambria Band leading the hearse. John of course was a great influence on the band, helping Adam Phillips get it started.

Here’s the second video, which shows the coffin being taken from the hearse into the crematorium.

Although the family had asked for no wreaths I couldn’t help noticing as I left the crematorium a small wreath propped against a wall.

Click to enlarge

The card, carrying the standard of Owain ap Gruffydd Fychan, ‘Glyndŵr’, reads:

“To John Barnard Jenkins (MAC),

With our utmost respect,

Unyielding admiration,

And absolute loyalty.”

   The September 16 Group

♦ end ♦

 




Welsh independence: Why? For whom?

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL PROBABLY NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

I had planned a piece on May’s Senedd elections (or whenever they’re held). But then I realised there are a couple of factors still playing out that will impact mightily on that election. I mean Coronavirus and the effects of Brexit.

So, I’ve put that planned piece on the back burner. There’ll be plenty of time to return to it when the picture has become a little clearer.

Instead, I shall deal with another issue that will certainly impact on the election and more widely on Welsh public and political life in the years ahead. Though to refer to it as a mere ‘issue’ fails to do it justice.

IN MY BEGINNING

I got involved in the nationalist movement in the mid-1960s. Driven by patriotism, a lifelong love of history, and a growing interest in politics that soon made me realise my country was not being treated fairly.

I’m not sure there was a single ‘trigger’, but Tryweryn certainly influenced my conversion. If I had any doubts, then Aberfan ended them.

From a long time ago. Click to enlarge.

I wanted independence to improve the lives of the people I cared about: my family, my neighbours, my community, and my nation. I wanted independence to protect my country from neglect or exploitation, and to defend what made us Welsh.

My Wales had no bogeymen, no minorities against which retribution was sought, and there was no irredentist dimension. My nationalism was, and remains, purely defensive; the only people who need fear it are the enemies of my country and my people.

If what I’ve written strikes anyone as ‘blood and soil’ nationalism then that really is your problem, not mine.

I cannot think of any reason for wanting independence other than to serve the best interests of the greatest possible number of Welsh people.

THE LEFT AND THE INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT

On December 19 Yes Cymru put out what seemed at the time to be a harmless enough tweet welcoming Conservatives into the ranks. The tweet ended with a recognition of the “compatibility” of conservatism and independence.

This tweet outraged the hard left and the woke (increasingly difficult to tell apart) and within an hour it was taken down.

A generous interpretation might be that those who demanded its removal don’t know the difference between Conservative and conservative. For I’m a lifelong believer in Welsh independence who is a conservative, but not a Conservative.

A less charitable, and more worrying, interpretation would be that for some in the new independence movement neither Conservatives nor conservatives are welcome. This they seem to justify by arguing that Wales is a ‘socialist country’, with a ‘radical tradition’.

But how true is that?

The claim that Wales is a socialist country is premised on the fact that the Labour Party and Plaid Cymru together usually get a majority of the votes cast in elections.

Though in the December 2019 Westminster elections Labour gained 40.9% while Plaid Cymru got only 9.9%. Giving a combined total of just 50.8%.

In the most recent elections to the National Assembly (as was) in 2016, the combined percentage of the constituency vote was 55.2%. For the regional lists, the ‘socialist’ total was 52.3%.

But these figures are misleading because how many of those who vote for Plaid Cymru and Labour are really socialists?

I live in Plaid Cymru’s safest seat, Dwyfor Meirionnydd, but few of the Plaid supporters I know could be described as socialists. Most are cultural nationalists and / or social conservatives. It’s a similar picture throughout Plaid Cymru’s western heartland.

Turning to Labour; yes, the vote looks impressive, but to assume that all Labour voters are socialists is nonsense.

The average Labour voter supports the party because he or she believes Labour will raise wages and benefits. The closest this constituency comes to socialism is on specific issues such as the NHS. But again, self-interest dominates.

So, what of Wales’ claimed ‘radical tradition’?

Since the Second World War radicalism – in the sense of challenging the role of the English monarchy and the legitimacy of the British state in Wales – has come exclusively from nationalists.

In the same period Wales has seen strikes, perhaps most memorably the two miners’ strikes, but again, these were about protecting jobs and communities, they were not a fight for socialist ideology.

Socialists are understandably reluctant to concede any of this because it undermines their claim to a monopoly on radicalism. Also because the rise of nationalism in the 1960s had the effect of turning many in the Labour Party into simpering royalists or tub-thumping Unionists. Something that embarrasses many on the left.

The fact is that socialism in the UK was, at a very early stage, broken and domesticated as the Labour Party, and brought into the constitutional fold. Thereby allowing the UK to avoid the political upheavals seen elsewhere in Europe.

Yet many on the left of the independence movement can make common cause with ‘socialists’ who are diehard Unionists, while rejecting those who sincerely believe in independence because they’re not socialists. 

The only interpretation is that socialism is more important for these people than Welsh independence, with the independence movement being just another vehicle for their socialism.

As for the alleged radical tradition, yes it’s there, though sporadic and localised. In the 19th century, the Merthyr Rising, Chartists, Rebecca, Ceffyl Pren, Scotch Cattle, Tithe Wars, were all rooted in an outraged sense of social justice; defending family and community but owing absolutely nothing to Marxist dogma.

What’s happened since is that socialists have tried to re-write history by adopting movements and causes that were never at all socialist.

But even if Wales was a socialist country that would still not be reason enough to exclude others from what should be an ideology-free independence movement.

“DOCTRINES FASHIONED TO THE VARYING HOUR” *

What Labour cleverly did in the twentieth century was to capitalise on the legitimate demands of working class people and promote those demands with more vigour than the Liberal Party.

Which explains why the Labour Party displaced the Liberal Party a century ago as the main opposition to the Conservatives.

But once Labour started going beyond demands for higher wages, better working conditions, etc., into the abstract and the esoteric, promoting socialism for socialism’s sake, then it always lost support.

As we enter the third decade of the twenty-first century the rupture between ideological socialists and the working class is almost complete. To the point where today’s left liberal elite positively despises the white working class.

It’s been summed up brilliantly by trade unionist and lifelong Labour member, Paul Embery, in his new book Despised: Why the Modern Left Loathes the Working Class. As he points out, there are elements of the contemporary left that detest working class values of family, community, tradition and patriotism.

This contemptuous attitude has now reached Wales; it has infected Labour and Plaid Cymru; it has spread to Yes Cymru, and it’s threatening the independence movement.

(Though in fairness, Labour has been far cleverer than Plaid Cymru in keeping the single-issue fanatics, the anti-Semites and other undesirables at bay.)

This new, woke left exercises influence wholly disproportionate to its numbers. As we saw with the removal of that Yes Cymru tweet.

This is done by taking a Manichean position in which they are right and those who disagree with them are not just mistaken, or wrong, but positively evil.

Perfectly exemplified by Leanne Wood and others in Plaid Cymru.

Ask how Antifa rioting and burning shops in Portland, Oregon on a nightly basis promotes anything other than violence and you’ll be met with, ‘Antifa stands for anti-fascist, so only fascists question Antifa’.

Of course! But that still leaves unanswered the question of how burning shops and attacking innocent bystanders and police is fighting fascism.

Here’s another tweet concerning Yes Cymru exposing this attitude. Thomas Wynne Lewis argued that Yes Cymru must appeal to “people on all sides of the political compass”, Luke Williams pretended to agree – then accused Yes Cymru of having “platformed fascists”!

I’m sure this never happened, but as I’ve just said, in the black and white world of the woke left those who contradict them, point out their errors, are, ipso facto ‘fascists’, ‘racists’, ‘transphobes’, etc., etc. End of debate.

This intolerance in defence of ‘toleration’, this refusal to accept alternative views in defence of ‘diversity’, this ‘no platforming’ in defence of ‘freedom of expression’, is now causing problems in the independence movement.

I’ll conclude this section with another tweet, or rather a retweet, this one from a doyen of the wokies, Aled Gwyn Williams. Williams is a member of both Plaid Cymru and Yes Cymru. (As is Teifi.)

“You’re never innocent if you’re a Tory”, the image tells us. Who could argue, for those two in their wingback armchairs are surely the Fred and Rose West of Acacia Avenue.

Remember, folks – these lunatics walk among us!

Let’s push the boat out and imagine Andrew R T Davies, former leader of the Assembly Tories undergoing a genuine conversion to Welsh independence. Despite this being a coup for the movement, and likely to encourage others to support independence, he would be rejected by those we’ve met here.

He would be damned by people who are simply using the independence movement to promote whichever fleetingly popular lunacies torment them.

* ‘The Deserted Village’, Oliver Goldsmith

‘WHY DO WE WANT IT!’

There are a number of factors explaining the increase in support for independence, unfortunately, many of them are tangential, exploitative, or simply wrong.

To begin with, there’s Brexit, and the belief that an independent Wales would join, or re-join, the EU. A belief strengthened by Plaid Cymru recently saying – without apparently consulting anyone, or checking the referendum result – that an independent Wales would become a member of the European Union.

No mention was made of a fresh referendum.

Yet another example of leftist elitist arrogance, echo chamber decision making, and out of step with the wishes of the people.

Recently exposed with an interesting poll on Twitter, not least for the fact that 2,214 people voted. And because there was a majority for ‘Full Independence’ over ‘Independence within the EU’.

If that vote can be achieved on Twitter, where ‘certain views’ tend to dominate, then in the real world the majority would be even greater.

Others are now considering independence because of the present Conservative government in London. Disliking BoJo and the gang is perfectly understandable, but hardly a good enough reason to want Welsh independence.

What happens if Labour wins the next election? Would that mean that an unequal and exploitative Union becomes acceptable again?

A third element increasing support for independence emerges from the foliage in the form of the planet-savers. I don’t wish to be dismissive; I’m quite fond of planet Earth myself, but too many of those I’m thinking of – just like the wokies – see an independent Wales as a blank canvas, with them monopolising the crayons.

This explains the Green Party of Englandandwales recently announcing its support for independence. Yet this party has so little respect for Wales that not long ago it voted against setting up a genuine Wales Green Party.

To explain this dichotomy we need to remember the canvas and crayons I just mentioned. Even under devolution the Greens, in various forms, have found it far too easy to dictate what passes for ‘Welsh Government’ policy.

Just think of One Planet Developments, Future Generations legislation, funding taken from farmers and given to ‘rewilders’ and other charlatans, etc., etc. And a fat lot of good it’s done.

Western Mail 09.01.2021. Click to enlarge

The Greens have decided to support independence because they believe they can easily persuade the government of an independent Wales to implement their polices, without the need for any democratic mandate, and thereby use Wales as a platform from which the rest of the world can better see their virtue signalling.

The benefits of these policies to the Welsh people would be zero because as Angela Womak, deputy leader of the Green Party of Englandandwales, put it:

Image Nation.Cymru

Wales “tackling the ecological and climate emergencies”, is unadulterated bollocks. To suggest that a tiny country can make any significant difference is laughable.

Whether it’s Brexit, Boris Johnson, or environmental concerns, these alone – even collectively – are the wrong reasons for wanting independence.

DEVOLUTION IS DEAD

The battle-lines are being drawn between those who want to abolish the Senedd and assimilate Wales into England, and those of us wanting Wales to be independent.

There will be few speaking up for devolution because it has failed. Wales is a worse place in 2021 than she was in 1999 partly because successive administrations have pandered to vociferous minorities rather than address the needs of the great majority of the nation.

The upcoming contest over Wales’ future could be a close call, and that’s why anyone supporting independence, from any background, and of any political orientation, should be welcomed. None should be excluded.

But those joining simply to promote their pet issue, and then seeking to exclude those who don’t agree with them that it’s the most important thing in the world, need to be taken aside and spoken to.

For these will alienate more people than they will ever attract.

Those taking an interest in independence need to be assured that the direction of ideological travel for an independent Wales, the spending and other priorities, will be decided by the Welsh people, in democratic elections, after independence is achieved.

It will be a blank canvass, and we’ll all have a chance with the crayons.

For my part, I still want independence to improve the lives of the people I care about: my family, my neighbours, my community, and my nation. I want independence to protect Wales from neglect or exploitation, and to defend what makes us Welsh.

I see no reason to change. I never have, and I never will.

♦ end ♦