‘Renewables’: The Great Welsh Rip-off

My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.

I hadn’t planned on writing this but, you know how it is . . . somebody puts you on to something, you start making enquiries, and before you know it you’re muttering, ‘devious bastards’, and the PC is working overtime.

This post might also be useful as a guide for anyone wanting to use the online register available at Companies House.

BACKGROUND

Let’s start with a report from WalesOnline last Wednesday. The headline quotes a local councillor comparing a planned solar farm at Bryn-y-rhyd farm, Llanedi, to the drowning of Capel Celyn. I’m partial to a bit of hyperbole myself, but I think Gareth Thomas went over the top.

Though the quality of the report itself was dire, so maybe it needed a bit of spicing up. Here’s how the third paragraph began:

'The Tryweryn Valley in Wales, which included the village of Capel Celyn, was flooded in 1965 to create a new reservoir'.

You won’t need to wonder any more where the ‘Tryweryn Valley’ was – it was in Wales!

Although this proposed project was being discussed by Carmarthenshire councillors the matter is out of their hands because, with a claimed output above 10MW it qualifies as a Development of National Significance. Which means the decision will be made by the so-called ‘Welsh Government’, using its new in-house Planning Inspectorate.

Here’s a link to the relevant Planning Inspectorate documents.

In England, projects of up to 50 MW are decided by local councils. In other words, by those elected by local people. So here we see another example of democracy being eroded in Wales.

In fact, the legislation giving power over wind farms in England to local authorities and the legislation doing the exact opposite in Wales were part of what I view as a package. With the ‘Welsh’ legislation compensating for the English.

The planned solar farm is very close to Pont Abraham Services, where the M4 becomes the A48. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

A project such as Bryn-y-rhyd would almost certainly be rejected in England, and this helps explain why Wales carries a disproportionate burden when it comes to so-called ‘renewable energy’ projects.

In an attempt to polish this turd the ‘Welsh Government’ has enthusiastically welcomed this colonialist coercion – by dressing it up as ‘Wales saving the planet’.

For in it, the creepy-crawlies of Corruption Bay saw opportunities and openings.

And so we end up with the insane situation of solar farms being located in southern Wales rather than southern England where, not only would they enjoy more sunshine, but they’d be nearer customers, thereby losing less in transmission.

The report I’ve linked to would also have us believe that the planning application for this development came from the Pegasus Group. Well, yes, and no, as I’ll explain.

Before moving on, here’s another attempt to mislead:

'The planning committee set out specific issues it wanted addressed. These included a detailed and robust decommissioning plan for the solar farm once its 40-year lifespan drew to an end'.

There’s not a hope in hell of this solar farm lasting 40 years in our climate. But whenever it pegs out, those behind it will be long gone. The firm(s) involved will either have gone bust or moved offshore.

The only way to ensure that there’s money at the end to clear up the mess is to get that money paid up front.

FOLLOW THE MONEY

When I start on a job like this, among the first things I do is go to the Land Registry website and see who owns the property. Which I did, and I was quite surprised at what I turned up.

The title document tells us there are two owners. One is Sir John Michael Dillwyn-Venables-Llewelyn. (Or Venables-Llywelyn.) The other is David Richard Mount.

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The Dillwyn-Llewelyn clan of nearby Swansea were 19th century industrialists, MPs, and even pioneer photographers.

As for David Richard Mount of Camberley, Surrey, I have no idea who he is.

Let’s return to Pegasus, mentioned in the WalesOnline report I linked to earlier. Those of you with the benefit of a classical education will know that Pegasus is the winged horse of Greek mythology.

Though we are looking for something more prosaic, and this is it – the Pegasus Planning Group. Their job is to knock planning applications into shape. They front for developers. We can now dismiss Pegasus.

We need to focus on Brynrhyd Solar Farm Ltd. Which is mentioned later on in the title document. Where we see that the owners have leased land to the company.

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This is a new company, formed as recently as October 2019. That said, some of the directors have a lot of experience in grant / subsidy grabbing renewables.

For example, Ian Lawrie has been a director of 60 solar companies since 2007. The total is 58 for his compatriot Colm Killeen. Yet two other directors, Anouska Morjaria and Toby Virno, didn’t get in on the solar racket until last year.

An even more recent recruit is Moritz Ilg.

So, who’s behind Brynrhyd Solar Farm Ltd?

To find out we need to go to the Companies House entry. Click on the People tab; then, just below it you’ll see a tab, Persons with significant control, which identifies Foresight Island GP Solar Portfolio Ltd.

This makes sense, because if we click the Charges tab it tells us that Foresight Island has made a loan to Brynrhyd Solar Farm.

Next, go to the Filing history tab. Click on the entry for 20 October 2021 and you’ll see that on that date all the shares in Brynrhyd Solar farm Ltd were transferred from Island Green Power Ltd to Foresight Island GP Solar Portfolio Ltd.

It might be worth noting in relation to this company that there has been one share issue after another over the past year. Which suggests the company is gearing up for future activity.

(Island Green is one of the Ian Lawrie companies. And there’s more than one company with the Island Green name.)

Coming to a valley near you – with wind turbines on the hills? All foreign owned. Every penny leaving Wales. Providing no jobs. ‘But it’s OK, cos we are savin’ the planet, innit’. Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

The next question must be, who owns Foresight Island GP Solar Portfolio Ltd. By going through the same procedure as before we turn up two names. One is Denis John O’Brien of Bermuda, the richest living Irishman. The second, and the majority shareholder, is Foresight UK Solar Development Holdco Ltd.

So . . . who owns Foresight UK Solar Development Holdco Ltd?

And the answer to that is Blackmead Infrastructure Ltd, for which you’ll see the correspondence address is c/o Foresight Group LLP, The Shard, 32 London Bridge Street, London, England, SE1 9SG.

I bet you can guess the next question!

And the answer to who owns Blackmead Infrastructure Ltd is Averon Park Ltd. Clicking on the People tab tells us nothing, so we need to go to Filing history and see who owns the shares.

There, in a confirmation statement of 21 October this year, we see that all but one of the Averon Park shares is held by Foresight Fund Managers Ltd.

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Foresight Fund Managers Ltd is in turn owned by Foresight Group Holdings (UK) Ltd.

And then, finally, when we look to see who controls Foresight Group Holdings (UK) Ltd we find the name of Bernard William Fairman. He founded – with Peter English – the Foresight Group in 1984.

Companies House suggests that Fairman is a resident of Jersey. Or maybe he just uses a PO Box there. Either way, I am fairly certain he does not live in the UK.

On top of which, he does not seem to be a director of any company registered with Companies House. And hasn’t been a director since 2010.

Here’s a wee graphic I knocked up to help you remember.

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But why would anyone need such an extended chain of companies?

WHEN DO ‘CONNECTIONS’ BECOME CORRUPTION?

Last month I wrote about Bute Energy, another arriviste outfit hoping to make a pile out of pretending to be concerned about the environment. In the case of Bute, it’s 16 new wind farms in Wales. Yes, sixteen. Here’s the piece I wrote.

Bute Energy’s 16 planned wind farms. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

There is no way that any company from outside of Wales would be that ambitious unless it had insider knowledge or it had got the nod from politicians and / or planners.

Bute has gone for the ‘belt and braces’ approach.

First, by recruiting Corruption Bay insider David Taylor. Who has served as Spad to a number of high-profile Labour politicians. Bute has given him shares and allowed him to set up his own Moblake companies through which they fund him, and from which he appears to be paying himself some £200,000 a year.

They have also taken under the Bute wing former Labour MEP Derek Vaughan CBE. (These Welsh socialists do love their English ‘honours’!) Vaughan sits as chairman on Bute’s Welsh Advisory Board.

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But it gets worse.

Labour MS Jenny Rathbone, in her Register of Interests, says that her partner, John Uden, also sits on this Board. Ex-Met cop Uden is an almost complete stranger to Wales and knows sod all about renewables. But this is a great example of what Labour Party influence can achieve in Wales.

Even though Rathbone declares this, the entry is still incorrect because Bute Energy’s projected wind farms are not confined to ‘Powys, RCT and North Wales’.

‘North Wales’! What a dismissive attitude from a woman who has done well out of our country. First, in the third sector, and more recently, the Assembly / Senedd.

And I suggest her Register of Interests also needs to be updated because I’m fairly sure that planning applications have now been submitted for one or two Bute projects.

But isn’t Labour doing well out of Bute Energy! David ‘Aneurin Glyndŵr‘ Taylor is pulling down some £200,000 a year. Derek Vaughan chairs Bute’s Welsh Advisory Board. And Labour MS Jenny Rathbone’s partner also sits on the Board!

Any other Labour snouts in the trough?

Perhaps the bigger worry is that Rathbone sits on the Senedd’s Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee. Which means that the committee on which she sits makes decisions that benefit Bute Energy, and her partner.

And herself. For Jenny Rathbone has many shareholdings in Green energy companies, and environmental outfits. Did she buy these shares? Were they gifted to her? Did she find them in her Christmas crackers?

Jenny Rathbone’s shares portfolio. Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

Rathbone may not be adjudicating on individual planning applications from Bute Energy or the companies in which she has shares, but her influence is more extensive, in that her committee directs policy from which all companies involved in the renewables business benefit.

Jenny Rathbone must be removed from the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee.

This kind of thing might be acceptable in Corruption Bay, but out in the real world it smells of corruption.

As we saw in the previous section, the Foresight Group figures big in the chain behind Brynrhyd Solar Farm. And if the name sounds familiar then that’s because the Foresight Group is also buying up Welsh farms on which to plant trees, so as to profit from the carbon capture scam.

Foresight appear in this BBC Wales news report. Though if you’ve got a few hours to spare, or if ‘global warming’ has snowed you in, you can sit down and read ‘National Forest for Wales – The Woodland Investment Grant, rules booklet’.

And to get a broader picture, to realise how other countries are being affected, particularly Scotland, I recommend this piece by Laurie Macfarlane. Where the whole carbon capture / net zero racket is succinctly explained.

'In order to meet net-zero targets, two different levers can be pulled: emissions can be reduced directly or they can be "offset" with measures to remove carbon from the air at some point in the future. Unsurprisingly, many governments and businesses view the latter as the more appealing option, as it avoids the difficult task of curbing emissions, which underpins the profitability of many of the world's largest industries.'

As yet, I am not aware of the Foresight Group recruiting Labour ‘fixers’ to smooth the path for their developments. But if they haven’t done so yet, then I’m sure they will.

I say that because Foresight has big plans for carbon capture tree planting.

And Foresight won’t just be operating under its own banner. There’s also Blackmead Forestry Ltd. For here again, we see massive share issues in the past 18 months in readiness for fresh acquisitions and ‘investments’.

A share issue that increased from £20,000,100 in June 2020 to £79,103,712 a year later.

Foresight is buying farms for carbon capture, planning solar farms, and so it should go without saying that it’s also into wind farms. In partnership with Belltown Power Ltd of Bristol.

Already operational are Tirgwynt, near Carno, Powys; Gelliwen, near Caerffili; and Tai Hen, ’22 Km north of Anglesey’.  One in the planning stage is Waun Maenllwyd, north east of Lampeter.

There will be more. Many, many more.

But the threat is not just from the big boys.

There are countless small groups buying up parcels of Welsh farmland. One to which I was recently directed is The Carbon Community (TCC) of Windsor, Berkshire. It’s a company, and also a charity.

For £619,254 TCC bought land close to the Brecon Beacons National Park. It has been assisted in this project by Natural Resources Wales.

There are many other alien groups like The Carbon Community. Funded and in other ways helped by the ‘Welsh Government’ and its agencies to take over Welsh land.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES?

There comes a point when some followers of a political creed or philosophy are willing to do the wrong thing for what they believe to be a just cause. Often accompanied by something approaching religious fervour.

For example, murdering the Romanov children was a terrible act, but ‘justified’ as a necessary step in the progress of a Revolution that would bring universal benefits.

You can phrase it any way you like. ‘The end justifies the means’. ‘Can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs’. ‘There will inevitably be collateral damage’. Etc., etc.

An important point being that, just like a Mafia hit, there was nothing personal in it. No motivating antipathy or underlying vindictiveness. In contrast to the ‘Welsh Government’s dealings with farmers.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

For some years farmers have been villainised by environmental zealots like George Monbiot as frightful people who must be removed if the rest of us are to breathe free . . . or to breathe at all!

The ‘Welsh Government’ of Jenny Rathbone, Lee Waters, Julie James, Lesley Griffiths (and Gary), sing from the Monbiot hymn sheet in their efforts to persuade us that Wales would be a better place without farmers.

This then explains farmers being robbed of EU funding, the fantasy of OPDs, Future Generations gobbledegook, and the ‘Welsh Government’ encouraging rewilding land grabs like Summit to Sea.

Another front in the war on Welsh agriculture came with Lesley Griffiths (and Gary) introducing legislation premised on the lie that farmers and only farmers are responsible for pollution in our rivers.

Nakedly anti-farmer legislation, now undermined after it emerged water companies give major corporations a free ride – while themselves pumping shit into rivers and seas. (And it’s not confined to England.)

All this has been made possible because what passes for the media in Wales is either supine or useless. Increasingly made up of semi-literate English graduates from ‘our’ universities writing about a country of which they know nothing.

As for political opposition, where is it to come from? The Conservatives will never object to the anglicising of Wales and profits for their friends in the City. The Greens support the strategy wholeheartedly. The Lib Dems are dead and buried.

That leaves Plaid Cymru . . . which last week signed up to a deal with Labour!

Despite being a party with its support concentrated among socially conservative rural voters, the tail wags the dog in that the party is controlled by urban leftists, and will support the ‘Welsh Government’ all the way in virtue signalling their way to national bankruptcy.

Let’s now consider the ‘collateral damage’ I just hinted at.

AGENDAS: STATED AND UNSTATED(?)

What we see in Wales today is being done ostensibly in the service of the environment, and the ‘Green economy’, but it takes us into very dangerous territory.

For none of the wind turbine or solar panel parts are made in Wales. The companies that own these installations are all outside of Wales. As are the companies currently buying up farmland on which to plant trees, or leasing land for solar farms.

Earlier we met Sir John Michael Dillwyn-Venables-Llewelyn, owner of Bryn-y-rhyd farm. Yes, Sir John’s ancestors grew rich on the industrial growth of Swansea – but they also created thousands of jobs for people like my ancestors.

How many jobs has the Green economy created in Wales, for Welsh people? Where are the benefits to Wales? (Apart from Labour insiders lining their pockets of course!)

Unreliable ‘renewables’ are achieving nothing . . . well, other than making rich men even richer, through burdening those already struggling with higher electricity bills.

Yes, comrade – welcome to 21st century ‘socialism’. My arse!

What credibility does ‘Wales saving the planet’ have after Glasgow? After China, Russia, India, even Australia, basically said, ‘We are not wrecking our economies so that tax-averse billionaires with private spaceships can promote their global agenda’.

Given that Wales sees no benefits, plus the fact that Wales can make no impact, paying foreign ‘investors’ to exploit our homeland and displace our people, suggests that ‘saving the planet’ is an ever-shrinking fig leaf for an older, and darker, agenda.

♦ end ♦

 




Tourism or Survival; Wales Must Choose

My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.

I had planned a Miscellany this week, but then realised that all but one of the items was on tourism. So I dropped that one item – about a bunch of good-lifers pretending to be local and demanding funding so they can live on Gower – and I’ve gone for a selection of pieces on tourism.

FERODO / ‘AWEL Y FENAI’

It seems like a different world when a small town like Caernarfon could have a factory employing over 1,000 people, but it wasn’t so long ago. And there were other employers in our smaller towns.

In the south west there were big creameries making use of the locally-produced milk. These creameries closed and nowadays that milk is shipped over the border, providing thousands of jobs in England.

As an example of colonialist exploitation it’s on a par with Cuban tobacco leaf being shipped ‘home’ to Spain to be made into ‘Cuban’ cigars.

But I digress.

After a change of ownership and name, labour disputes, and other problems, the old Ferodo factory eventually closed for good some twenty years ago.

The Ferodo plant in its hey-day. Click to open in separate tab.

New plans for the site were announced just over 2 years ago, and you can catch up with my article here (scroll down) before pushing on to get up to speed with the latest news.

A number of sources have kept me updated, so let’s see what they have to report.

And where better to begin than by looking at the planning application, which is for:

 'Development of a holiday and leisure park to include 173 holiday lodges; 51 new-build holiday apartments; change of use of building to 4 holiday apartments; a leisure hub building; re-configuration and renovation of industrial units; provision of a private water treatment plant; and, associated car parking, landscaping, access and internal access roads.'

We can also see that the plan covers not only the old Ferodo site but also Plas Brereton. And if that sounds familiar, then it’s probably because Paul and Rowena Williams of Plas Glynllifon fame were talking of buying the place.

Go on, you know you want to – take a trip down Memory Lane.

Just over a week ago the developer, Mr Peter Brendan Gerrard O’Dowd, was promising untold benefits to the area from his Gwel y Fenai project. But planners seemed unconvinced, on a number of issues, including the impact on the Welsh language.

Speaking for Mr O’Dowd, agent Rhys Davies, of Cadnant Planning, promised the site would have bilingual signage. Wow!

Though, in fairness, planners had many more reservations about this project than just language impact. Which explains why it was rejected by councillors on Monday.

Though you’ll see from the report that a number of councillors spoke up in support of the project, or else urged planners to continue discussions with Mr O’Dowd. I fear that some councillors in Gwynedd have reached a point where they genuinely believe that low pay, low skill, tourism jobs are the best our people can – or should – aspire to.

I hope I’m wrong.

Another source, who worked at Ferodo, reminds me that one reason the site has lain empty for so long is the asbestos. Either still in situ, or else in the sealed tip on site. Though this source sees no real problem with building on adequately sealed asbestos tips:

'With a cover of several feet depth of inert material and soil, mobile homes or lodges could safely stand on top of the tip as no noxious gases would be generated by the buried material.'

This source’s concerns focus on where the money for the investment is coming from. So let’s give this some thought.

O’Dowd is a property speculator. If we look at his Maybrook company we see assets of over £11m pounds. Which looks fine. But most of the £11m is accounted for by property he’s bought with loans. The rest could be explained by overvaluing that property.

The 11 loans taken out before December 2017 have all been repaid. Most of these loans were with banks you and I would recognise. Since then, there have been 7 further loans, but none after October 2018. And these loans are with less recognisable institutions.

The two most recent loans were taken out with Together Commercial Finance of Manchester, who got in so deep and lost so much with Paul and Rowena Williams. You may remember that Together also funded the purchase of Llangefni Shire Hall.

In fact, Together has appeared on this blog a number of times, invariably associated with rather iffy companies and individuals. It’s a lender of last resort, where you go when banks turn you down.

In fact, Together may be worthy of investigation itself.

The suggestion is that Mr O’Dowd is over-reaching himself with this £70m+ project, because it’s impossible to see where the money will come from.

To progress this project, Bryn Coch Ltd was formed. As far as I can see, all the shares are owned by O’Dowd’s other company, Maybrook Investments Ltd. Bryn Coch’s only asset appears to be the Ferodo site, for which it paid 195,000 + VAT.

(But not all the site is owned by Bryn Coch Ltd. Go to the plan on the title document I’ve just linked to and you’ll see that part of the site is covered by title number WA965076. Here is the relevant title document.)

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Yet in the latest accounts, Mr O’Dowd values that land at £5.4m. And it might be worth that, with planning permission. But it doesn’t have planning permission, and without it that land is worth no more than the £195,000 + VAT that was paid for it.

Maybe less.

I suspect Mr O’Dowd may not be alone in this venture. There may be associates yet to be identified. Until we know the full story, planning permission should be rejected. And even if the project does become more transparent, the planners’ objections remain valid.

And those objections will not be overcome by the magnanimous gesture of bilingual signs in a town where 85% of the population speaks Welsh.

Before moving on, I just want to touch on Mr O’Dowd’s new companies, and his other holdings in Gwynedd.

Maybrook Investments Ltd has two holdings on Penamser Road in Porthmadog. (The Pwllheli road.) Title numbers CYM135945, CYM255694. One is the old Gelert outdoor clothing unit, the other, nearby land.

Then, through new company, Lendline (NW) Ltd, Peter O’Dowd owns Parciau Farm – or part of it – which lies just across the A487 from the old Ferodo site. Lendline is owned by Maybrook Investments.

Finally, moving to Bangor, we find that another new company, Maybrook Investments (Parc Menai) Ltd, owns land either side of Penrhos Road, close by the A487, and not far from the A55 Expressway.

Land in two parcels: one to the south west of Graig House, Capel y Graig, title number WA533768; and the other to the west of Nant y Mount, Vaynol Park, title number CYM71442.

I can’t help wondering what has attracted Peter O’Dowd to Gwynedd. And why he’s bought the land he’s bought. Does he know something we don’t?

Or someone?

CARRY ON GLAMPING

There was a Twitter dispute last week with the owners of a new glamping venture near Pwllheli. I got roped in and found myself blocked by the proprietors of Brook Cottage Shepherd Huts.

As you might have guessed, the spat was over that toe-curlingly twee English name.

Also, that the venture got a £50,000 loan from the Development Bank of Wales. I mean, Wales doesn’t already have enough glamping sites? Those involved couldn’t have raised the money they needed from Barclays or some other bank?

The two behind this exciting venture are Jonathan Gooders and Mark Barrow, who were previously in the fine arts business according to this piece from NorthWalesLive. Their ignorance of Wales would seem to be exposed by their belief that Welsh shepherds lived in glamping sheds.

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The company involved in this exciting venture at Y Ffor is Brook Cottage Holidays Ltd, formed just over a year ago. The two directors and shareholders are, as we would expect, Gooders and Barrow. On the Certificate of Incorporation both describe themselves defiantly as ‘English’.

I mention this because most people use ‘British’. I would obviously describe myself as ‘Welsh’, but it’s often the Ukip types who go with ‘English’.

But this is not their first company.

Let’s go back to what I wrote earlier, and the quote in NorthWalesLive, that said:

'Jonathan Gooders and Mark Barrow both have a background in fine art and wanted to put this and a passion for nature into redeveloping land near their new home at Y Ffor, near Pwllheli.'

But that’s not the full story. There are other recent companies that have nothing to do with ‘fine art’.

Certainly, Gooders and Barrow ran a company called Framers (London) Ltd, and Barrow may even have had a small gallery. Though Mark Barrow Fine Art (formerly Modern British Artists) seems to have folded. Certainly, the Twitter account hasn’t been used for a few years.

What really interests me is that Jonathan Gooders has been involved in a number of companies that have nothing to do with fine art, and all of which were dissolved around the time they moved to Wales. Three on the same day!

Barrow was also involved in at least one. Here they are:

Doesn’t inspire confidence does it?

This glittering business record might explain why Jonathan Gooders and Mark Barrow couldn’t get a loan from a ‘High Street’ bank. (Remember them?) It should also have been the reason why the Development Bank of Wales turned them down.

So I just hope that the £50,000 of our money is safe. But even if it is, don’t expect it to create any jobs.

But rest easy – for they have a wealth of experience in tourism and glamping.

TOURISM MAKING LIFE DIFFICULT FOR LOCALS

Now it’s time to move south, to Carmarthenshire, land of my great-grandfathers. And to be precise, to Cydweli (Kidwelly), which lies between the county’s two metropolises of Carmarthen and Llanelli.

An interesting town in many ways. Let me explain.

Something I’ve noticed over the past 50 years or so is that in rural areas the Labour Party is now almost entirely dependent for members and active supporters on people who’ve moved in. Invariably from England.

An example would be the we-know-best harridans trying to take over Knighton in Powys and dictate to everyone else.

Which might make Cydweli the most westerly community in Wales where the Labour Party is still native-run, just. But even here, in recent years the thinning ranks have been swelled by an influx of Guardian-reading know-alls who feel Cydweli can’t manage without their input.

Back to the narrative.

Earlier, when discussing plans for the old Ferodo site in Caernarfon, I suggested that some councillors may have given up on their communities seeing any jobs better than those provided by tourism. And that’s what might have happened in Cydweli.

For the Labour gang controlling Kidwelly Community Hub CIC has been handed £270,000 by the ‘Welsh Government’ for the ‘Black Cat Tourism Strategy’.

This seeks to ‘grow the visitor economy’ – at any price.

The no-expense-spared launch of Kidwelly’s Black Cat tourism strategy. Click to open in separate tab

The Black Cat project lead is Suki Baynton, who recently arrived from the Cynon Valley, where I’m told she was Contaminated Land Officer for Rhondda Cynon Taf council. She was certainly Property Manager for Ashfield Solutions for a while.

We see Suki in the above picture, on the right, in the red coat.

Suki has also launched her own company, Room Publishing Ltd. The website tells me it’s a load of New Age bollocks; but then, I’m a cynical old bastard who grew up in the real world.

Back to Cydweli, and the growing problems being experienced by locals as the county council and others seek to ‘grow the visitor economy’. (Why not just be honest and say, ‘We want lots more tourists’?)

For, clearly, tourists visiting the holiday homes and the Airbnb rents in this rather cramped old town are going to cause parking and other problems. Sure enough, this is what’s happening, and it’s pissing off the locals.

As my source puts it – ‘This is what happens when a Plaid Cymru council (Carmarthenshire) prioritises tourism and starts closing Welsh medium schools in surrounding villages.’

To help you make sense of what else he has to say I suggest you open this Google map of the town. Now read on . . .

'THE CASTLE AREA

There’s a cluster of holiday rentals inside the town walls of Bailey Street and Castle Street and Cadw have installed a barrier stopping parking to the little car park next to the castle. 
This has resulted in lots of tourist parking on New Street, the main through road. Residents, when they arrive home from work, are finding the free parking outside their homes occupied by visitors (sometimes with trailers of kayaks and jet-skis). So residents have been parking of the pavements and double yellows causing obstruction or getting parking tickets.

GLANYRAFON

There is a free car park at Glanyrafon (the overflow) which has been used by residents for many years. Now there is a plan to build a new grant funded museum next to it, on the nature reserve. This is the ‘History Shed’ relocated from Laugharne, a kind of WW2 Spitfires and gas masks hobby attraction. 
The adjacent car park, which has been free to residents, will now be paid parking, reserved for visitors. Residents of Bridge Street and New Street will lose their free parking.

PARC PENDRE

Carmarthenshire Country Council intends to close two schools. Ysgol Gymraeg Gwenllian in Station Road within the town and also Ysgol Gymraeg Mynyddygarreg in the nearby village (where children from Trimsaran also attend). It is to be replaced by a new consolidated school at Parc Pendre within the town behind the Coop. 
It’s anticipated there will be parking chaos due to the school run. Parents dropping off the kids to attend school arriving by car from further up the Gwendraeth valleys. This was anticipated in the plans and is to be mitigated with ‘enhanced parking controls.’ 
This involves new double yellows in Parc Pendre and a residential parking scheme in surrounding streets. Residents will be charged £30pa for a permit.'

Without recourse to a crystal ball, tea leaves, or seaweed (great-aunt Fastidia’s favourite), I can confidently predict Cydweli’s future . . . properties will be bought up by ‘investors’, coming from that enchanted land, ‘Away’, at prices few locals can afford.

This will result in the town losing its Welsh identity, the age profile will change for the worse, the rugby club will close, one or two pubs, and, as I can testify from my area, there’ll be no need for the new school – because there’ll be so few kids living locally.

And all this will have been achieved by ‘growing the visitor economy’!

Jobs! Did I mention jobs? No, because there won’t be any, this is ‘Welsh’ tourism.

UPDATE 26.11.2021: My source has now heard from Carmarthenshire County Council Highways Officer that –

All permanent residents in Cydweli will be charged £30 per household for a parking permit. All properties will be eligible to apply for a permit to park, even those with existing off-street parking and all properties run as holiday homes, self-catering lets, AirB&B will all be able to apply for a business permit for their guests. HMRC documents such as a tax code in England will be acceptable documentation for a permit.

BEWARE OF SMOKESCREENS AND VIRTUE SIGNALLING

Not long ago, in a wonderful example of those who are unaffected by the decisions they take affecting the lives of Welsh people, the ‘progressive’ consensus in Corruption Bay – i.e. Labour and Plaid Cymru – abolished Right to Buy.

In the village where I live most of the council houses had been bought by their Welsh tenants. Without the option of RtB most of them had little hope of buying a property in their own community. And it’s the same in other villages in the area. With Aberdyfi being the stand-out example.

The reason for that is outsiders snapping up properties; some for holiday homes, others because people want to move here permanently. With many more of the latter than the former.

Yet a bunch of virtue signallers see nothing wrong in depriving Welsh working class people of their only hope of owning a property in their home community. Perhaps they believe the lower orders must be cared for, and dictated to, as if they were children, by those who have sipped at the fount of socialist knowledge.

There were so many other options the leftists could have adopted that would not have disadvantaged our people, but they weren’t prepared to consider them.

And now those ‘progressives’ are in some kind of informal coalition down in the swamp. Which is more nonsense; for despite periodic bouts of foot-stamping from Plaid Cymru they’ve always been in alliance. Nobody was ever fooled.

One of the problems this repulsive mob of mediocrities pledges to confront is that of Welsh people being forced out of their communities by rising house prices. Now I’m a firm believer that to confront and deal with any issue one must first understand it.

Unfortunately, there are those among us, supported by influences external to Wales, who wish to misinterpret the crisis in our rural and coastal areas.

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Canary is a left wing English publication, fighting what can no longer be called class war because the working class has been alienated by the modern left’s obsessions with gender, race and climate.

It’s no longer even ideological. It’s a kind of cult-like belief in certain absurdities, as we saw when Undod (mentioned in the panel above) and its allies sought to take over Yes Cymru earlier this year.

The left wants to view the crisis in rural and coastal Wales as some fault of the capitalist system; as part of a bigger, UK-wide, ‘housing crisis’. Without ever addressing the influx of good-lifers, retirees and the rest.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Jennie Bibbings works for Shelter Cymru. This is one of the forty-odd ‘homelessness’ outfits funded with our money by the so-called ‘Welsh Government’. Done for no better reason than to employ otherwise unemployable Labour-supporting graduates and drop-outs from our oversized universities.

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If Jennie Bibbings genuinely believes that our rural and coastal areas would still have a housing problem without ‘2nd homers/saes’, then she’s a fool. But she doesn’t believe that. She’s merely spouting the leftist line.

Which believes that only nationalists care about the destruction of Welsh communities. And because ‘All nationalism is evil’ the only acceptable response is to either ignore such concerns entirely or else subsume them into something bigger that can more comfortably be supported.

So I urge you to be on your guard for attempts to cloud the issue and misrepresent the crisis facing us. These attempts will come from the socialist consensus in Corruption Bay and its ideological soul-mates elsewhere in Wales, and outside of Wales.

‘TOURISM, TOURISM, WHAT BULLSHIT IS SPOUTED IN THY NAME’

Some forty years ago, not long after the start of the Meibion Glyndŵr campaign, I was watching a television programme in which the late Prys Edwards, then head of the Wales Tourist Board, was being interviewed and the subject of holiday homes came up.

Edwards seemed almost offended and asked, ‘You surely aren’t suggesting that holiday homes have anything to do with tourism?’ The interviewer let him get away with it and the discussion moved on.

Prys Edwards. Click to open in separate tab

I use that example because it’s symptomatic of attitudes in Wales, the dissociative thinking that results in us being unable to honestly identify the problems facing us, and, as a result, solving them.

Despite what Prys Edwards wanted us to believe, holiday homes are an inevitable consequence of tourism. The clue is in the name.

I have yet to meet anyone who has bought a holiday home in an area with which they did not already have some familiarity from having taken holidays there. Have you?

And yet, as I’ve already said, I suspect that holiday homes will be used as a distraction from the bigger problem to which I have alluded. Which would be a terrible mistake, and a betrayal of our people.

For the problem of locals being priced out of the communities in which they were born and raised, and the anglicising of those communities, can not be resolved until we accept that permanent in-migration is a bigger factor than holiday homes.

This article in the Guardian last week, focusing on Llandudoch, was headlined, ‘Cultural genocide by bank transfer’. The words were those of veteran language campaigner Ffred Ffrancis.

Who also said, ‘ . . . the problem was being turbo-charged by the “flight” from cities caused by Covid’. A reference to people buying properties in Wales in order to work from ‘home’.

And he’s right. But the problem won’t go away with Covid-19.

We, as a nation, and more especially, Welsh speaking communities, are facing an existential threat to our existence. And it all stems from tourism.

Whether it’s the mass tourism that destroyed the Welshness of Abergele and Borth, or the more up-market tourism that is making us strangers from Rhossilli to Rhosneigr.

We are past the stage where consultations and working groups serve any useful purpose – these are just delaying tactics employed by a Vichy administration under orders from its masters in London. We need action. And we know what that action must be.

The ‘Welsh Government’ must introduce legislation that limits who can buy domestic property in Wales.

There can be no more words. No more dithering. No more obfuscation. No more passing the buck. Either the ‘Welsh Government’ acts, and acts quickly, or there’s a growing risk that others will.

Faced with cultural genocide, many will argue that any action will be justified.

♦ END ♦

 




Weep for Wales 19

My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.

I had planned to put this article out some six months ago, but other things kept cropping up.

But we’re here now, so let’s turn our attention once again to the handsome old pile that is Plas Glynllifon, just off the A499, near Llandwrog, south west of Caernarfon.

Plas Glynllifon. Click to open in separate tab

Those of you who’ve followed this saga – and there are many of you – will be familiar with the outline of the story and the main players, so you can probably skip the first two sections, which I’ve put in for newcomers.

Though I have to admit that going through previous postings helped refresh my memory, because a hell of a lot has happened.

The reason for returning to Glynllifon is partly because I want to introduce the new owner . . . and it’s not the guy mentioned by Owen Hughes of the Daily Post in this article.

Also, because I’ve learnt of a Danish connection, and these new Scandinavian links take us back to Gwynedd. Small world, eh!

Even though this is another biggie, it’s broken up into manageable chunks. So take your time, follow the links, get the full picture.

And don’t expect anything next week!

PAUL AND ROWENA WILLIAMS

The first article in this saga, Weep for Wales, appeared in June 2018. When I wrote it I had no idea I’d be writing number 19 over three years later. (If you’ve got a rainy day you could go through 1 – 18!)

It all began when my attention was drawn to the sudden closure of a pub and a hotel, both in Powys. People lost their jobs, contractors and suppliers went unpaid, all of which resulted in a lot of anger in Knighton, Presteigne, and the area round about.

Officially, these premises – the Knighton Hotel and the Radnorshire Arms Hotel – were closed by their new owner, convicted fraudster, Keith Harvey Part(d)ridge.

But that was a sham. The real owners were still Paul and Rowena Williams, who wanted out, so Part(d)ridge agreed to go through the charade of taking over Leisure & Development Ltd, the company that owned the Powys hotels (and other properties).

This company had been set up in January 2015 so that the Williamses could ‘buy’ properties they already owned. With ludicrously inflated prices attached to every one, which then enabled them to borrow millions of pounds from the NatWest Bank.

The latest figures show that following the collapse of Leisure & Development Ltd, and after liquidators had sold off the properties, the company still owes NatWest £6.2m.

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To give you an example of the kind of inflated valuations that can account for a sum like that let’s look at the Radnorshire Arms Hotel in Presteigne. According to the Land Registry Leisure & Development paid £3,487,049 for the property in August 2015.

It was sold earlier this year for £240,000.

Admittedly, that was a knockdown price because the administrators wanted shot of it, but even so, ‘The Rad’ wasn’t worth a quarter of what Paul and Rowena Williams claim to have paid for it in 2015.

The focus for the Gruesome Twosome shifted north in 2016 when they bought Plas Glynllifon. The purchase made through their company, Plas Glynllifon Ltd. The Land Registry title document tells us that the sum paid for Plas Glynllifon was £630,000.

Plas Glynllifon Ltd was declared insolvent in the County Court at Caernarfon 14 May, 2020. And finally wound up by Companies House a few weeks ago.

The two directors at the end were Rowena Claire Williams and Myles Andrew Cunliffe. More on Cunliffe in a moment.

Even though the Williamses paid £630,000 for the old pile the only accounts ever filed want us to believe that Plas Glynllifon Ltd’s assets total £10,610,319. Almost totally explained by Paul and Rowena Williams putting in £10,123,910.

(Though it’s worth bearing in mind that these accounts were drawn up by John Duggan, of Leintwardine, another fraudster who’s done time in prison.)

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Theoretically, this injection of cash could be explained by the £11m+ Paul and Rowena Williams are supposed to have received from Part(d)ridge for Leisure & Development Ltd.

But then they seemed to undermine that possibility by presenting themselves as creditors to the administrators handling Leisure & Development, claiming they were still owed the £11,751,698 ‘sale’ price.

Which raises the question – if they hadn’t received that money from Part(d)ridge, where did the £10m+ ‘invested’ in Plas Glynllifon come from?

‘O what a tangled web we weave . . . ‘

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As 2018 drew to a close, with Paul and Rowena sitting down with a cup of hot cocoa after writing their letters to Santa, they ruefully accepted that the good times were over.

For nobody – not even the ever-gullible ‘Welsh Government’ – was going to give them grants for Plas Glynllifon, and no bank or alternative funder was going to loan them money.

Time to get out.

ENTER THE ‘FINANCE GUY’

Myles Cunliffe first appeared in updates to Weep for Wales 11 which came out on December 3, 2018. This followed the news article of December 5 announcing his arrival.

With Cunliffe saying saying Plas Glynllifon ‘would be open in months’.

In that article Paul Williams described Cunliffe as a ‘finance guy’. Which is one way of putting it.

Now the thing to understand about Cunliffe is that he was always working with or for others. He never had the cash himself to renovate Plas Glynllifon, or Seiont Manor (the other property in the area owned by Paul and Rowena Williams).

Nor did he have the money to buy a football club. Not even Blackpool.

As I say, Cunliffe had associates, among them, Jon Disley, known in certain circles as the ‘King of Marbella‘. Described in this report from the Sun last year as a ‘career conman’.

Disley is said to live near to Blackpool, in Preston.

Disley, Cunliffe and Rogers as guests of the notorious Owen Oyston, then owner of Blackpool football club. Click to open in separate tab

The modus operandi described in this Blackpool FC forum is, ‘Stocky scammer Disley was alleged to have bought failing companies, then emptied their bank accounts before they crashed’.

This is often done by advertising loans in the hope of attracting business people who are desperate for money but have been turned down by banks. This is how Goldmann and Sons Plc operated, as we see with the image below from the now closed Twitter account.

You’ll be hearing more about Goldmann and Sons in a minute.

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Of course, one drawback is that failing companies are unlikely to have much in their bank accounts.

But there’s another method of making money from a failing company, or a company set up to fail. The latter being favoured by the Duggans of Bryn Llys, who were mentioned in the previous article on this blog.

It goes something like this . . . set up a company, open credit accounts with assorted suppliers, order as much as you can on those accounts, flog off what is supplied (for cash), then let the company fold with the bills unpaid.

It’s an old model, often known as ‘bankruptcy fraud’. There are of course variations.

One is played out in this scene from the Sopranos, in which Tony rips off suppliers to the company run by his old school friend Davey Scatino. Davey’s made the mistake of owing Tony money.

A number of companies with which Cunliffe was involved used the ‘Goldmann and Sons’ handle. With Goldmann and Sons Plc seemingly the holding company.

Though in the beginning, the shares in this parent company were all held by Islandwide Advisory Ltd, an Isle of Man company formed March 31, 2010, by Dennis Rogers.

By the time Goldmann and Sons Plc was dissolved, on June 18, 2019, most of the shares were, according to documents filed at Companies House, held by Myles Cunliffe, in three separate allocations.

The names Cunliffe, Rogers, and Disley’s son-in-law Thomas Ellis, crop up again and again in connection with the name Goldmann. And of course, they ran other companies.

All of which seem to be dissolved / liquidated, abandoned when the spotlight fell on them, or else they just outlived their usefulness. Click on these links for Cunliffe, Rogers and Ellis.

There must be others I’ve missed. Which is understandable because so many of them were ‘mayfly’ companies, here and gone before we – or Companies House – knew anything about them.

The original address for all the Goldmann companies was Queens Court, 24 Queen Street, Manchester M2 5HX. Then, at various dates between March and August in 2018, they all moved to the 2nd Floor, 9 Portland Street, Manchester M1 3BE.

But in addition to the three mentioned, we find interesting directors with some of the other Goldmann companies.

In particular, Goldmann and Sons (Dubai) Ltd, renamed Cunliffe Rogers and Ellis Capital (Dubai) Ltd; Goldmann and Sons (Isle of Man) Ltd, renamed Cunliffe Rogers and Ellis Capital (Isle of Man) Ltd; Goldmann and Sons (Abu Dhabi) Ltd, renamed Cunliffe Rogers and Ellis Capital (Abu Dhabi) Ltd.

All three were formed March 27, 2018, and didn’t hang around for long before being voluntarily dissolved December 31, 2019. There were of course no accounts filed.

And yet, despite their own names appearing in the companies’ names, the three desperadoes never served as directors.

But I’m intrigued by those who were named as directors. One of the names given is shared by a legitimate businessman who’s worked for, among others, Coca-Cola, Diageo, and Proctor & Gamble.

The other named director is an American, said to be resident in the UK, and named on the documents filed with Companies House as Hiram Alfred Preston.

The problem I have with Preston is that, well, I can’t find him. He appears on 192.Com but the only addresses are those for Goldmann and Sons in Manchester.

So I thought he might live in the USA. But I drew another blank even after switching my VPN location to the US.

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Does Preston really exist? (The man, not the town.)

There’s so much more I could say about these bastards. There’s the comment to Weep for Wales 18 from Myles Cunliffe’s brother, there’s the company they named after me, but I’ll leave it here for the time being.

SCANDI NOIR

A couple of weeks ago I received a Twitter DM from Denmark. (Not something I can say very often!) The message read:

I'm a Danish investigative journalist and I'm looking into a person who was a director of company half owned by Goldmann & Sons PLC.

As stated, Goldmann and Sons Plc may have served as a holding company for the others in the stable. And as you’ve seen, there were quite a few nags there, some of which changed their name, and all of which – beginning in April 2019 – went out of business.

Though the company my contact was interested in was one I’d overlooked.

My person of interest is named Benny Falk and he was the owner of Goldmann & Sons (Thailand) before it changed name to The European Clothing Company.

Following the lead, I went to the Companies House website and looked up The European Clothing Company Ltd.

In its short life, 18.01.2018 to 31.03.2020, this company submitted no accounts and – as my source suggested – the sole director was Benny Falk. Initially, the 100 shares were divided equally between Falk and Goldmann and Sons Plc.

But Goldmann and Sons Plc pulled out of Benny’s company. In documents lodged with Companies House it was claimed that it ceased to exercise control 18.01.2018, and the shares were transferred to Falk 20.01.2018.

Though I’m suspicious of the documents supplying this information because they were not received by Companies House until a year later. I believe they were back-dated.

Which would mean that Goldmann and Sons Plc severed ties with Benny Falk a month after Cunliffe appeared in Glynllifon, which in turn resulted in him starring in the local media, and also on this blog.

I’m told Benny Falk is a bit of a lad in his own right, but also significant is his association with convicted fraudster and international con man, Klaus Garde Nielsen.

Though according to Linkedin Klaus is a property consultant.

Klaus Garde Nielsen. Image: Casper Dalhoff. Click to open in separate tab

In the decade from 2003, when he was almost certainly banned from being a company director in Denmark, and while claiming to be resident in England, Nielsen launched 50 companies. (CompanyCheck puts the figure at 79.)

Because they were all of the ‘mayfly’ genus Companies House can tell us very little about them.

The connection between Nielsen and Benny Falk is established through Falk’s wife, Saichon Saraphon, who also provides the Thailand connection.

Not only did she take over one of Nielsen’s companies, but Benny had his own ‘mayfly’ companies that shared addresses with Nielsen’s in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, and Braintree in Essex.

Companies such as Evergreen Property Consult Ltd and Suite 302 Ltd.

I lacked both the time and the inclination to go through all of the 50 (or 79) companies registered to Klaus Garde Nielsen in the UK, but one that caught my eye was Profui Ltd. Because the original company address was 3 Cambrian Terrace in Garndolbenmaen . . . about 10 miles from Plas Glynllifon!

This may have been the address of the company treasurer, Geoffrey Michael Pugh.

Or maybe not.

According to the Land Registry this property is owned by housing association Grŵp Cynefin. Here’s the title document.

Naturally, I got to wondering about Geoffrey Michael Pugh, and so I went to the Companies House website, where I found that he had been secretary to dozens of companies.

What these companies had in common was that the directors were all Scandinavian; mainly Danish, but sometimes we find a Swede or a Norwegian. Also, that they were either ‘mayflies’, often returning a loss, and invariably filing as dormant companies.

But a few have lasted the course. One being Rasmussens Boligudlejning Ltd. ‘Boligudlejning’ translates as ‘house rental’. Presumably this company operates in Denmark – so why is it registered in the UK and using as its address a terraced house, and a social housing property, in a village in Eryri?

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Before the eponymous Poul Erik Rasmussen took over and changed the name this company was known as Dansk Shelf Services No. 8 Ltd. And the original director was Jesper Lund Hansen.

We find Hansen also engulfed in a swarm of ‘mayfly’ companies, some registered with a Danish address, others in Gwynedd, at Garndolbenmaen, and also in Cricieth.

One that stands out is Biszy Ltd, which ran from November 30, 2006 until July 6, 2021. Despite lasting almost 15 years it only ever filed as a dormant company. Why keep a company alive for so long if it’s – apparently – doing nothing?

I began to wonder if we’re dealing here with some Scandinavian tax avoidance scheme. Perhaps if you register a company in the UK you pay less tax. But then I dismissed the idea because, and as I’ve said, most of the companies of which Pugh was secretary lasted for a very short time.

Something else working against the tax avoidance theory was that a few of the directors I found were Danes living in France and Germany.

So what the hell is going on?

In the hope of finding out I wrote to the two addresses I found for Geoffrey Pugh on the Companies House website, in Garndolbenmaen and Cricieth. I asked him to explain his association with so many Danish and other businessmen, some of whom are criminals.

No reply has been received.

I also wrote to Grŵp Cynefin, asking why their property is involved.

I received a perfunctory acknowledgement last Thursday, promising to look into it. I have received nothing since.

All these Hansens, Jensens and Nielsens are making me quite giddy, so before I fall over and frighten the cat again, I’m going to move on.

UPDATE: Received an e-mail this afternoon from Grŵp Cynefin saying:

'I have made enquiries here and the person you refer to, Geoffrey Michael Pugh, died in 2019. The current tenant of the property has no connection with any previous tenants. I’m unavailable this afternoon but if you need anything further I can contact you tomorrow if you’d like to pass your phone number on to me.'

I’m sorry to hear he’s dead. Though I suppose this means the questions will never be answered now.

THE NEW OWNER OF PLAS GLYNLLIFON – ‘OH NO HE’S NOT!’

Now let’s return to the piece that appeared in the Daily Post in June. It tells us that the new owner of Plas Glynllifon is David Savage of Dragon Investments Ltd.

Well, no, he’s not the new owner.

If we look at what’s been filed for Dragon Investments we see that all the shares are owned by Property Alliance Group Ltd of Trafford Park, Manchester. This not the ‘joint venture’ suggested in his report by Owen Hughes.

Running Property Alliance Group is someone we’ve met before in the form of David Russell. He was ‘introduced’ to me in a bizarre and anonymous letter I received in June 2020. Read all about it in Weep for Wales 18.

Companies House tells us that Savage’s name was used for a few other companies started in the early part of last year.

Ledwyche, Polvellan and Dumbleton are all names I recognise from the Paul and Rowena Williams portfolio. While Caernarfon Properties Ltd owns another fallen outpost of the Williams’ empire, the Seiont Manor Hotel, in Llanrug.

UPDATE: Dumbleton Properties Ltd is also the owner of Fronolau, near Dolgellau, the other Williams’ Gwynedd property. The 5-bed house next to the former restaurant – renamed ‘Mountainview – can be rented for £3,000 a week in August. There are also plans for the restaurant.

All the shares for these four companies are held by Dragon Investments, which means, indirectly, David Russell. And all four have taken out loans with Together Commercial Finance, which took such a hit with Paul and Rowena Williams.

I wonder if the Seiont Manor staff ever got paid?

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So, the picture for Plas Glynllifon and Seiont Manor is that they are now owned by David Russell of Manchester, apparently operating through his proxy, David Paul Savage.

And why be surprised? For if we go back to the County Court judgement handed down in Caernarfon in May 14 last year we see David Russell mentioned.

Making it clear that he’d been involved for some time.

WHAT GOES AROUND . . .

Weep for Wales started off with a couple of scammers upsetting people in Powys and landing in Gwynedd.

They were succeeded at Plas Glynllifon and Seiont Manor by Disley, Cunliffe and their associates; with their continental property deals, and the companies claiming links to the Middle East, and the Far East.

This eventually connected with some shady Danes – this despite the gang being such devoted Brexiteers! (Scroll down to the section Myles Cunliffe et al.)

And through those and other Danes we end up in Cambrian Terrace, Garndolbenmaen.

The curtain rises on the next act and it looks promising, for already we have been misled as to who actually owns Plas Glynllifon and Seiont Manor.

So take your seats, ladies and gentlemen.

THOUGHTS

Wales is up Shit Creek.

On the one hand, we have Unionist politicians supporting anything that strengthens England’s hold over us; be that holiday homes, economic exploitation or outright colonisation.

On the other hand, we have the ‘progressive’ consensus in Corruption Bay that is entirely different . . . but, er, supports exactly the same things, and then puts body into their meat-free cawl with pressing concerns such as women with penises.

What does this have to do with what you’ve been reading about?

What I’ve been writing about, in this piece and so many others, could only happen in a dysfunctional country where a Vichy political class has divorced itself entirely from the material concerns and necessities of the people they claim to serve.

A country in which con men are welcomed as ‘investors’ by politicians who are nothing but floaters in the lavatory bowl of Welsh politics. A country ‘served’ by a media so supine and useless that these bastards – crooks and politicians! – get a free ride.

A country groaning under the burden of a Corruption Bay elite that doesn’t care what happens to us and our communities – just as long as they can continue enjoying their pointless, parasitical existence.

A pox on them all! Every last one of them; the useless, lying bastards.

♦ end ♦




Miscellany 27.10.2021

My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.

This week’s offering is a bit different, but it’s a format with which regulars will be familiar. I’m going to cover a few topics and I’m sure everyone will find something to pique their interest.

It’s a biggie, but broken up into easily digestible – and nutritious! – chunks.

AFAN VALLEY ADVENTURE RESORT

Following last week’s blog piece devoted to the relaunched AVAR project the ‘Welsh’ media played its usual role by allowing those I’d written about to respond. And just like a Taliban press conference, no questions were asked.

The piece below appeared in Llais y Sais on Wednesday. It’s worth a few comments.

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According to the article, the project’s funding is coming from ‘Octopus Real Estate’. Oh no it’s not. For this is a one-woman company formed in April to buy a property in Wiltshire.

And so I presume it refers to one of these pension fund Limited Partnerships, Octopus Commercial Real Estate Debt Fund II and Octopus Commercial Real Estate Debt Fund III.

But which one? And, again, what is the ultimate source of the money?

The Beans on Toast followed up on the same day with this. Also authored by Richard Youle.

In it we read head honcho Martin Bellamy quoted as saying: “I would be very interested in ensuring that local people get the opportunity for employment.”

Which is a very convoluted statement. What the hell is, ‘I would be very interested‘ supposed to mean? Because I would be ‘very interested’ in winning the Lottery. But it ain’t gonna happen.

Then there’s, ‘ensuring that local people get the opportunity for employment’. So does that mean they’ll be allowed to complete an application form – which will then be binned?

Why couldn’t he just say, in a clear and unambiguous way, ‘We shall give locals priority when it comes to recruitment’?

It would be nice to think that local Labour councillors will press Bellamy on this, demand a firm commitment to employing as many locals as possible, and not just in the low-pay jobs. But there’s more chance of me winning the Lottery.

But these plugs for AVAR throw up other questions.

In the Neath Port Talbot Borough Council press release of October 12 we read that the project is now called Wildfox Resort Afan Valley. And there are two Wildfox companies.

The first is Wildfox Resorts Afan Valley Ltd. The other is Wildfox Resorts Group Ltd. Both companies formed March 16, 2021 by Benjamin Daniel Lloyd who was later joined by Bellamy.

Then there are the Rocksteady companies, Rocksteady Resorts Group Ltd and Rocksteady Group Ltd, where we find Lloyd and Bellamy joined by the interesting Paul Christopher Baker. These two companies were also launched in March.

And they weren’t the only companies launched that month

Are Lloyd and Baker still involved? Why were so many companies formed in March?

This story ain’t going away, and neither am I.

TREASURE ISLAND

This saga began with the plan for a £1.3bn tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay, promoted by a geezer who never quite managed to come across as kosher. Whatever, the plan was thrown out by the UK government in June 2018.

Then Swansea City Council stepped in with a Tidal Lagoon Task Force. This heralded the ‘Dragon Island’ chapter, promising 10,000 floating homes.

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Behind the plan, according to WalesOnline, was:

'Malcolm Copson who lists previous projects including Dubai's Atlantis the Palm resort and the delivery of Disneyland Paris, is behind the plans in SA1.

Mr Copson, who founded and co-runs Hong Kong based company MOI Imagineering, has been advising the tidal lagoon taskforce set up by the Swansea Bay City Region'.

As late as last month it was being reported that this project was still going ahead.

But now, in the past few days, everything seems to have changed as we turn to chapter 3, and new characters, with the £1.7bn Blue Eden project. Said to have one great advantage over its predecessors in that it will not require public funding.

And while what passes for the Welsh media has stressed the involvement of DST Innovations Ltd of Bridgend, RE News makes clear that DST leads ‘an international consortium’. Though quite what ‘leads’ means is unclear.

The new project is explained in this ITV report with a video interview with Tony Miles, the man said to be behind the project. If I sound unconvinced it’s because of the US connection and events last year in West Virginia.

It’s worth mentioning that this project includes a battery factory promising jobs for over 1,000 people. Which lives up to the company’s name in that it uses locally available anthracite coal rather than imported, and expensive, rare earth metals. Explained here.

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So what can Companies House tell us about DST Innovations. Well, for a start, it’s based in Bridgend and it was Incorporated in November, 2011.

The latest accounts (to November 30, 2020) show Assets of over £5m, of which only £113,076 is Tangible assets. The remainder being accounted for with shares.

Looking at the distribution of those shares we see that lead director Tony Miles has 183,100, but his holding is dwarfed by the 750,000 of Etive Investments, and the 619,413 of RC3 Inc. So who are these major shareholders in the new Swansea Bay project?

Etive Investments is a name that has cropped up in New Zealand, South Africa, and Luxembourg. I think we should focus on the third one because DST Innovations is mentioned.

RC3 Inc could be a Green building company in Kentucky or an apparently inactive company in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I’m not familiar with US terminology but I get the impression this second company may have been struck off.

Whatever the company’s status, RC3 of Baton Rouge is definitely more promising due to the presence of a William Wray as president. (Though the RC3 parent company, may be in Delaware.)

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Since April last year four long-time directors have left DST Innovations and one new director has joined. The new boy is William Wray III, a US citizen. I think it’s reasonable to assume that William Wray of RC3 is William Wray III.

And is his possibly struck-off company a major shareholder?

Another major US shareholder is Blue Rock Manufacturing LLC, with which DST Innovation entered into a partnership last year in West Virginia. This also seems to be a battery plant using coal.

“The new development is at the forefront of green technology,” Gov. Jim Justice said during a virtual press conference, “using existing organic materials, such as coal, and creating new clean energy storage solutions.”

What struck me about this piece from the Governor’s office last November was mention of the Swansea Bay plant, before most of us here knew about it. Council leader Rob Stewart is even shown in a video call with the WV Governor.

It seems obvious that Swansea council has been involved with DST for at least a year before any public announcement of the new project.

How is this West Virginia battery project progressing? Does anyone know?

As a Jack, I would love to see this venture succeed and create a few thousand jobs in the old home town. But given the two false starts I’m not hanging out the bunting yet.

And I still want to know more about some of those involved. I would expect our politicians and media to be equally inquisitive.

THE ‘SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR’

A regular reader was looking for an eatery in the Vale of Glamorgan and remembered Fredwell, a new place that opened in August, so he went online to check the menu. What he found surprised him.

For the website says the establishment has already received full marks on the food hygiene rating, which is impossible, as it takes a while for the process to be gone through. What was also odd was that the rating was shown in English only. (In Wales, of course, these notices are bilingual.)

The matter was reported to the Food Standards Agency Wales, who had no record of the place, and also to VoG council, who responded with: ‘Thank you for your email.  We do not have a record of the business you mention so we will look to ensure that the relevant action is taken. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.’

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Naturally, he got to wondering who runs the place.

The answer is that it’s Fredwell Cafe and Restaurant Ltd, Incorporated as recently as the first of this month. The directors are Christopher John Birch, Jak Rhys Bjornstrom, and Kieron Roy Phillips.

I’m going to dismiss Phillips and focus on the other two. For in recent years they’ve been involved with many, many companies. Often under the umbrella of the Birch Group.

(Takes deep breath . . . )

Haus-keeping Ltd. Incorporated April 13, 2019. Still bumbling along with accounts showing assets of a few hundred pounds.

Birkenhaus Events Ltd. Incorporated April 16, 2019, Dissolved September 7, 2021 without filing accounts.

Artemis Securities and Technologies Ltd. Incorporated June 11, 2019, and Dissolved without filing accounts March 23, 2021. The third director was Lee Williams.

Haus Realty Ltd. Incorporated June 11, 2019. Bjornstrom and Birch were joined October 14 by new director Carina Alexandra Henriques. For some reason Bjornstrom’s name is spelled ‘Bromstrom’.

Alder Birch Properties Ltd. Incorporated June 24, 2019. A few other Birches involved but the company doesn’t seem to be doing anything.

Birch-Bjornstrom Investments Ltd. Incorporated September 18, 2019, as Birkenhaus Investments Ltd. A dormant company with filed accounts showing only the share issue.

Apollo Franchising Ltd. Incorporated October 3, 2019, Dissolved without filing accounts April 6, 2021. The only share held by Birkenhaus Investments Ltd (later Birch-Bjornstrom Investments).

Haus CDF 20 UK Ltd. Incorporated January 29, 2020, Dissolved August 3, 2021, without filing accounts.

Entrepreneur Consulting Ltd. Incorporated April 22, 2021. For some reason Bjornstrom does not appear as a director, but he and Birch each hold one share.

CJ Haus Holdings Ltd. Incorporated May 30, 2020.

Jak Property Construction Ltd. Incorporated July 30, 2021. Joining them as a director is Altaf Hussain. Hussain has had a number of companies, most of them now dissolved.

There are other companies in the cleaning business. And I’m sure there are yet other companies I didn’t unearth.

So many companies in such a short space of time is not a good look, especially with so many of them folding without apparently doing anything.

But Christopher John Birch has other irons in the fire, for he’s also in the holiday home business. In fact, when Pembrokeshire County Council recently increased the council tax surcharge for holiday homes the BBC went to him for a quote.

And a very bizarre one he gave, wearing his Holiday Homes Wales hat.

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He seems to be saying, ‘Well, yeah, holiday homes are bad for Welsh people, but on the plus side – they bring in people from England’.  What planet is this guy from?

Incredibly, as I was writing this, I received an e-mail from another source, telling me that Birch is also making a nuisance of himself in Newport.

My fresh source wrote:

'Do you know of a bloke called Chris Birch? Chris J Birch - Birkenhaus Investments (birchgroup.org.uk)

He was in the Mirror after he said he woke up gay when he did a handstand in a rugby match playing as a flanker.

His agency has taken over the Boilermakers Club presumably on Dr ---------'s instructions and he stuck a site notice on it before Newport planners turned it down yet again. It is now one of many derelict monuments to Welsh Labour's shameful neglect of this area, which they seem to have completely abandoned to drugs and destitution.

Birch is almost certainly getting Welsh government money and claims to have offices in The Shard and Paris.

He basically manages properties with huge numbers on AirBnB.'

Here’s an image of the Boilermakers Club in Crindau from Google Street View.

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In this report from WalesOnline in May we read that Birch claims to have conducted an opinion poll among local residents which conveniently found they favour his plans to convert the building into a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO).

My source describes this claim as ‘baloney’. No survey was undertaken.

UPDATE 04.11.2021: Vale of Glamorgan council has replied to the complaint:

"I am emailing to update you following your concerns about Fredwell café, Cowbridge. A visit has been made to the premises and I can confirm that the café / restaurant is not yet open and is not trading.  Therefore there is no requirement for them to register with our department until at least 28 days before they open. I have noted that on their website they are showing a food hygiene rating of 5 and have requested that this is removed, to which they have agreed."

HOUSES OF MULTIPLE OCCUPATION

A house of (or in) multiple occupation is, as the name suggests, a commercial or domestic property adapted to house a number of tenants in separate units, though perhaps sharing a kitchen and other facilities.

A HMO could also be a house accommodating students, and there could be too many of them in some neighbourhoods, which creates problems for other residents.

But a HMO can also be a property used by a private landlord, a housing association, or a third sector body, to house those recently released from prison, or perhaps drug and / or alcohol abusers.

A pattern we are familiar with in Wales. The worst example would be Rhyl, where criminals and undesirables from north west England are dumped. A problem now spreading to Colwyn Bay and other towns.

But it’s not confined to the north coast. I have reported on the problems of Tyisha in Llanelli. Again, the problems are largely imported. Then there’s the area from Dyfatty flats down to High Street station in Swansea.

It’s a national problem that could be far less of a problem if the ‘Welsh Government’ and local authorities were in possession of cojones.

Anyway, my source was kind enough to supply photos of notices Birch has recently put up on the old Boilermakers Club.

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But this project throws up yet more questions about our ‘serial entrepreneur’.

To begin with, and according to the Land Registry, Birch doesn’t own the property. The owner is listed as Signature Realtors Ltd, of St Mellons. Check the title document and plan.

There is no obvious connection between Birch and the family running Signature Realtors. Has he bought the property but not registered the change of ownership with the Land Registry? Is he acting for the owners? Or what?

Whatever the answer, I suspect that Birch’s plan for the building is to have a HMO housing people the neighbours would rather not have there. Why do I think this?

As you’ve read, Chris Birch recently formed a company with Altaf Hussain. Hussain has worked with a man who has the background and the connections to supply Birch and Bjornstrom with tenants.

That said, my source insists there’s not a hope in hell of Birch getting planning permission from Newport council for the increasingly dilapidated Boilermakers Club. So is he hoping for intervention from another quarter?

Locals are more concerned that the the building will left insecure and get broken into by delinquents who’ll turn it into a crack house.

Even away from the Boilermakers Club there is still plenty to give cause for concern. For I turned up a few other things that make me worry about Birch and Bjornstrom.

For a start, and until quite recently, Jak Rhys Bjornstrom was Jack Rhys Powell. Why the change? Oh, yes, and the name is normally spelt Björnström, Jack.

Then there’s the Birch Group website, which gives as the address, 1 Boulevard Victor, Paris 75015. Impressive. But don’t run away with the idea that this is some plush suite of offices. It’s a building run by the company FlexibleHub.

They probably forward any mail.

And then there’s the unfortunate business of the food hygiene rating . . .

There’s also the mystery of the money, or lack of it. Because I didn’t find any company with which Birch and Bjornstrom / Powell are involved that had any money. So, if they do have money, where is it?

Setting up new companies every week is one thing, being a genuine entrepreneur is something entirely different.

The kindest thing might be to say that in Birch and Bjornstrom / Powell we are dealing with a couple of fantasists. Whether they’re harmless or not is yet to be established.

GWYNEDD’S HOLIDAY HOMES PREMIUM RIP-OFF

Councillor Gruff Williams has been in touch with concerns about the ways in which the Council Tax Premium Fund (CTPF) on holiday homes is being used by Cyngor Gwynedd. The information he sent raises other issues.

Gruff represents the Nefyn ward on the Llŷn peninsula. Llŷn approximates with Dwyfor.

To help you understand the issue it might be best to think of Gwynedd and its total population of 121,874 people as being split into three parts.

Arfon, in the north, is focused on the largest Gwynedd settlements of Bangor and Caernarfon. The 2011 population was 60,573.

Dwyfor contains the settlements of Porthmadog, Pwllheli, and of course Abersoch. Population (2011) 27,725. Arfon and Dwyfor made up the old county of Caernarfonshire. (Which also included areas now in the County Borough of Conwy, such as the towns of Llanrwst, Conwy and Llandudno.)

And then there’s Meirionnydd, the former county of Merioneth(shire), containing Blaenau Ffestiniog, Barmouth, Tywyn, Harlech, and the old county town of Dolgellau. Population (2011) 33,576.

You’ll see that the population of Arfon is almost that of Dwyfor and Meirionnydd combined. And with that comes political clout.

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The issue Gruff raises is that most of Gwynedd’s holiday homes are in Dwyfor. Naturally, locals in the area expected that the CTPF money raised would be used to help young people being forced out of their home areas by holiday home buyers, retirees, and others.

But no. For Gwynedd’s Plaid Cymru councillors have other ideas.

This article from the North Wales Chronicle gives a good report of the debate a few weeks back, when Plaid’s councillors thwarted Gruff’s attempt to benefit the areas suffering worst. (Though for some reason Gruff is referred to only as ‘Councillor Williams’, while his famous father, Owain, is named.)

There were some amazing contributions to the debate.

Councillor ‘Cai Larsen stated he had a “fundamental problem” with the issue of spending money only where it was raised’.

Where the money was raised is only part of the issue, Larsen; we also have to ask why it was raised.

‘Cllr Nia Jeffreys said that affordable housing was “an issue which knows no boundaries,”

Why is she talking about affordable housing when the issue is holiday homes?

‘Bangor councillor Richard Medwyn Jones added: “There are big issues here with over 2,000 on the city’s waiting list. If we stuck to this same principle I could put a motion forward that Bangor’s money stays in Bangor, but that’s what this is all about.”’

In 2019 Bangor had a population of 18,322, roughly half of them students. I’d like to know how many of the 2,000 on the waiting list have local connections.

When it comes to ‘Bangor’s money’ – by which Cllr Jones presumably means council tax raised – this is largely spent in Bangor. I’m sure the city council, and mayor Owen – Don’t Ask Me About My Genitals – Hurcum see to that.

All unconvincing excuses for Plaid Cymru-controlled Gwynedd council to put the holiday home surcharge money into the central pot and use it in other ways . . . mainly in Arfon.

The figures for how Council Tax Premium Fund will be spent can be found here, in Gwynedd’s Housing Action Plan 2020/2021 – 2026/7.

Let’s look at 4c (page 25), which deals with ‘innovative housing’. All the funding for this, £1.2m, comes from the CTPF. I suppose ‘Innovative housing’ could mean OPDs.

On page 27 we see that £2.5m is coming from the CTPF for ‘Extra care housing for the elderly’. Now I’m not a heartless bugger who wants to see Nain living in a cardboard box, but this should have come from core funding, not from money raised to mitigate the problem of holiday homes.

And there are other examples where Cyngor Gwynedd makes a mockery of the whole reasoning behind the Council Tax Premium Fund.

Another worry is that much of the CTPF money is to be distributed to housing associations. Private companies now that refuse to give priority to locals in social housing allocations. And then build ‘affordable’ homes that locals can’t afford.

But Gruff’s concerns made me think of another problem. Which is that the number of holiday homes in Wales is almost certainly underestimated.

BEATING THE SYSTEM

I recall a source in Pembrokeshire contacting me just before the December 2019 UK general election to say that ‘hordes’ of second home owners had turned up to ensure that the constituency remained Conservative. (The ‘Corbyn factor’.) Clearly, they were registered to vote at their second home.

Then, during the Covid lockdown, when police were stopping cars travelling into Wales, using vehicle registrations to establish home addresses, it became clear that some people had their cars registered at their holiday homes.

Something else that came to light during the Covid lockdown was that others stopped by police were travelling to holiday homes they claimed as their main residence.

This scam normally operates by one of a couple registering at the home address, the other at the holiday home, and pretending that it’s a full-time residence. Not only does this avoid the second home surcharge it even gets a 25% council tax reduction for a single (adult) resident.

I contacted someone who is well-versed in such matters, and he tells me that the facts can be established by cross-referencing. He wrote:

'Databases that should contain the real permanent address:

1/ Council Tax – Local authority.
2/ Electoral register – Local authority 
3/ NI, income tax, benefits, married persons allowance – HMRC, central government 
4/ Driving licence – DVLA, central government
5/ GP – NHS, Welsh Government.

It’s not possible to access the NHS record, 5, even for a police officer, without a court warrant, however, if 1 and 2 differs from 3 or 4 then the property is evading second home premium. You will only get cheaper car insurance if 4 matches 1, and students are the only residents where 2 and 3 can differ. Of course, not only are those that ------ ---------- has identified get a polling card, they would also be eligible for free prescriptions, and a bus pass at 60, even though they don’t really live permanently in Wales.

3 and 4 is subject to a general data comparison sweep to identify car crime.'

My well-informed source then went on to suggest a simple measure for establishing the facts.

'The first method of detection is to place a FoI request to the council asking for the number of single person discount properties on the books, over the last five years, per ward. It will show up as a surge of such properties when the council tax premium is introduced or raised. This gives an indication of the scale of the problem and which wards are particularly affected. We all have local knowledge that this is the case, but it needs to be quantified. Prosecuting fraud works on evidence, not on anecdote.'

Therefore, I suggest that we all submit FoI requests to our local council asking a) for the number of single-person discounts on their books over recent years, and, b) whether the council checks that those claiming single-person discount are genuine.

I’m sure my countless socialist followers will appreciate the unfairness of prosecuting locals – usually women – when their boyfriend moves in, while some bugger with a new Range Rover parked outside Cartref Mon Repos gets away with the surcharge and pockets a 25% discount!

BRYN LLYS

Regular readers will be familiar with this incredible story of a family of crooks named Duggan that bought a little farmhouse, Bryn Llys, not far from Caernarfon, knocked it down, built a monstrosity they called Snowdon Mountain View, broke all the planning rules, tore up hedges, chopped down trees, tried to intimidate neighbours, etc., etc.

If you’re up to it, you could start with Lucky Gwynedd – more ‘investors’, scroll down to the section ‘Castle’ Gwynfryn, and then the section Bryn Llys aka ‘Snowdon Summit View’. You can then work back from there.

The Duggans are fraudsters and con men from West Yorkshire. When the father got sent down the son took over the business and moved to Wales, bought Bryn Llys, and spent a lot of their money on the new property.

‘Snowdon Mountain View’. Click to open in a separate tab

The problem was that they weren’t supposed to have any money, so all manner of subterfuges had to be employed. Including getting a sap named Andrew Battye to put his name on the title document and pretend he owned Bryn Llys.

The Duggan gang at Bryn Llys soon got pally with another unwelcome arrival in the form of Aaron Hill, who lived in Caernarfon. Where he was bullied by them nasty Cofis!

It’s a harrowing tale. I urge you to read it with a tissue to hand.

Though urinating through the letter box sounds a trifle risky. Especially if there’s a dog in the house.

Jon Duggan bought land off Hill, with money Hill loaned him! Because of course if Duggan is seen to have money the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 comes into play.

Another case I was looking into at the request of concerned neighbours was the ambitious plans for Gwynfryn Plas, an old gentry mansion near Llanystumdwy. The bloke making trouble here was Phillip Andrew Bush, who seems to have made his money from taking derelict ships to be broken up on Asian beaches.

I’m not saying that Bush is a crook, but a man is judged by the company he keeps.

And Bush was soon keeping company with Aaron Hill, even selling him some Gwynfryn land. It was also reported that the Duggan gang had been sighted there

Amazing how these people find each other! Is it some form of echolocation, like bats?

To cut a long story short . . . it was reported that Hill and Bush had boasted of new ventures in Scotland. And now I hear that the Duggan family – but not the whole gang – has also removed itself to Yr Hen Ogledd.

Word is that the Duggans are in Dumfries. Home to Queen of the South FC. (Not a lot of people know that.) I’ve been to Dumfries a few times. Nice town. Looking forward to going back.

While they have decamped, faithful family retainer and failed rocker, Shane Baker, has been trying to sell off the family assets. Which of course they don’t really own!

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Of course, what Baker will not tell any prospective buyer, but what my local source reminds me is:

'This is the land which was formerly attached to 4 Glanrafon Terrace, Nebo and, through which, Jonathan Duggan built a new access track to Bryn Llys and which he later purchased from Aaron Hill.

There is no mention of the Enforcement Order for the removal of the access track and restoration of the land to its original state.'

Which means that anyone silly enough to buy this land could be buying into a whole lot of trouble. So steer well clear.

You have been warned!

As this has been a biggie, and it’s taken up quite a bit of my time, don’t expect anything next week. I’m supposed to be bloody retiring!

♦ end ♦




Afan Valley Adventure Resort – here we go again!

My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.

In keeping with the promise made above, this is an update to a story I was reporting on a few years back rather than a new investigation. I’m returning to it now because there have been significant developments.

MEMORY LANE

The plan to build a big adventure park in the Afan Valley, behind Port Talbot, complete with a hotel and lodges, offering ski slopes and cycle routes, was the brainchild of self-made con man Gavin Lee Woodhouse.

At one point, maggot-munching Bore Grylls was on board, but his enthusiasm cooled, perhaps when he realised the kind of  ‘businessman’ he’d got himself involved with.

But the ‘Welsh Government’ believed every word from Woodhouse, and in addition to offering him a £500,000 grant for his Caer Rhun hotel near Llanrwst, our tribunes were ready to throw more money at him in the Afan Valley.

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Woodhouse’s empire came crashing down when investors in his properties – some of which were never built – persuaded the media to take an interest. Now, I believe, it’s in the hands of the Serious Fraud Office.

Woodhouse’s umbrella company was Northern Powerhouse Developments Ltd, but the company set up for the Afan Valley extravaganza was the imaginatively named Afan Valley Ltd.

If you click on the ‘Charges’ tab for Afan Valley you’ll see that there are two outstanding charges. One in the name of Clive Mishon, the other 360 Mi Ltd, a company owned by Mishon that is now in liquidation.

I’ve never been entirely sure where or how Mishon fits into the picture, but he was certainly on the ground before Woodhouse. We know that because in May 2013 he was a founding director of short-lived Afan Solar Ltd. Next, perhaps after learning the sun doesn’t shine all the time in Wales, he joined Afan Energy Ltd in April 2014.

Both are long since dissolved. Afan Energy, in which Mishon was a shareholder, was written off with debts of £596,391.

Though still in existence is Marcol Industrial (Afan Energy) LLP.

Let’s remind ourselves there are three land titles making up the area involved. All mentioned in the Administrator’s progress report for Afan Valley Ltd of August 20.

The first, WA519567, was bought by Afan Valley Ltd with a loan from Clive Mishon. CYM471819 was bought in the same manner. CYM60212 is owned by Clive Mishon.

The Administrator’s report suggests that Clive Mishon is an unsecured creditor and will get the money he loaned when the land is sold.

We must assume the land has been sold because of the press release put out last week by Neath Port Talbot Borough Council telling the world that the project was back on track under new management.

Though Mishon is still involved, perhaps because the project can’t proceed without the land he owns. Besides which, Mishon has associates, involved with companies registered in places that enjoy more sunshine than Wales.

NEW FACES, OLD FACES, MASKS AND DISGUISES

Having read the press release you’ll know that those who’ve taken over are said to be the Salamanca Group Ltd and Wildfox Resorts Afan Valley Ltd. Let’s start with Wildfox, where the two directors are Martin James Bellamy and Benjamin Daniel Lloyd.

The initial share issue was for 101 shares. One hundred held by Wildfox Resorts Group Ltd, formed March 16, 2021 (as Kikai Group Holdings Ltd), the other by Clive Mishon.

All 100 shares in Wildfox Resorts Group Ltd are held by Lloyd and significant control is exercised by his company, Caer Capital Ltd. Caer Capital was formed September 15.

Lloyd lives in Wales but uses as an address, 21 Ganton Street, Soho, London W1F 9BN.

Lloyd has been involved with a number of property and buy-to-rent companies since 2016, but it all looks small scale compared to what’s planned for the Afan Valley.

The main vehicle for Lloyd’s ambitions seem to be Project Three Developments Ltd, where he’s in partnership with Gareth Vaughan Morgan and Benjamin Peter Hugh Wells.

This company claims ‘tangible assets’ of some four million pounds, almost certainly property bought with loans from the Development Bank of Wales.

The most recent company is Wells Lloyd Ltd, formed as recently as June this year. Has this new company been cobbled together to cash in on the Afan Valley bonanza?

Strengthening the local connection is another Lloyd company, Kikai RGI Ltd, where the other director is Lewis Ashleigh Peach, who gives a Caerffili address. Most of the shares (70%) are held by Wildfox Resorts Group Ltd, with Peach holding the remainder through his Arete Group Holdings Ltd. Arete was formed March 16, 2021.

But is Lloyd really the man behind the revived Afan Valley project? He’s certainly not mentioned in the press release from Neath Port Talbot council.

Yet ownership of Wildfox Resorts Afan Valley Ltd, the company mentioned in the NPT press release, seems to trace back through Wildfox Resorts Group Ltd and Caer Capital Ltd to Benjamin Daniel Lloyd.

To give you some idea of the size of the project, here’s the plan submitted by Gavin Woodhouse’s Afan Valley Ltd with the planning application.

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Now let’s turn to the Bellamy-Salamanca angle.

We find a host of Salamanca companies, all based at 3 Burlington Gardens in London’s Mayfair. The link between them is Martin James Bellamy.

An interesting name I keep seeing in connection with Salamanca is Lord David Triesman. A very wealthy man.

Another name shared by a number of companies is Rocksteady.

Where Lloyd crops up again as a director of Rocksteady Resorts Group Ltd of 21 Ganton Street, Soho. This company was formed on March 17, 2021, which is appropriate as another of the directors is Irishman Paul Christopher Baker. The third director is Martin James Bellamy. All shares are held by Rocksteady Group Ltd, formed March 16, 2021.

Another Rocksteady company was Rocksteady Resorts Ltd, launched March 11, 2020. Also interesting because the two directors were Baker and Peter Macandless Mundell Moore.

You see Moore in the group photo above. He was the expert brought in by Gavin Woodhouse to give his project credibility. Moore is invariably referred to in media reports as ‘the man who brought Center Parcs to the UK’.

Moore left Rocksteady Resorts March 9, this year, and the company was dissolved July 6.

The three directors at Rocksteady Group Ltd are Bellamy, Baker and Lloyd. The 200 shares are split equally between Set in Stone Holdings Ltd and CLLP Ltd. Both give London addresses.

One of the four CLLP directors is Hossam AlSaady, of Saudi Arabia(?). The others are Lloyd, Bellamy, and Anthony John Rowland. AlSaady runs Above Wealth LLP with Rowland. A company that helps the über rich find a home for their money.

Until 3 April, 2021, Set in Stone was using as its address, The White House, St. Mary’s Well, Bay Road, Swanbridge, Penarth CF64 5UJ. It files as a dormant company, showing just a single £1 share, presumably held by Paul Baker who was the only director until 17 March, 2021, when he was joined by Laura Lynn Baker, an American resident in Wales.

The shares in CLLP Ltd are held by MJB Capital (Lancelot Place) Ltd, 100 B shares; and Lancelot Developments Ltd, 325 A shares. All shares in MJB (Lancelot Place ) Ltd are held by MJB Capital Ltd. Lancelot Developments is controlled by Dr Chander Kanta Sabharwal and Dr Narinder Nath Sabharwal.

At MJB Capital, serving as directors, we find Bellamy and Ms Darina Kogan, a US lawyer now resident in England. Though she is Russian by birth.

This very recent item from the Daily Telegraph tells us that Mrs Bellamy – as we must now call her – is the daughter of Russian oligarch Valery Kogan.

So, I would guess that Martin Bellamy is, as reports tell, the driving force behind the revived Afan Valley project. Lloyd, Baker, et al make up the supporting cast.

Martin Bellamy

If nothing else, Bellamy knows billionaires who could easily finance the Afan Valley Adventure Resort. Among them, his business partner, and his father-in-law.

We are talking serious money here, and individuals with very powerful friends and allies, up to and including Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

SKATING ON THIN ICE

But there are other companies in the shadows. One being Afan Valley Resort Ltd, formed March 19, 2021. The two directors are Baker and Bellamy. The shares are all held by Rocksteady Resorts Group Ltd. The address is 21 Ganton Street, Soho.

There’s also Afan Valley Resort Management Ltd, Incorporated March 23, 2021. The two directors are, again, Baker and Bellamy. The single share is owned by Afan Valley Resort Ltd. Also using the Ganton Street address.

Another company bringing together Bellamy and Lloyd, and another company formed in March of this year, is Kogan Bellamy Lloyd Ltd.

It might be worth having a look at a couple of other companies Baker has been involved in, interesting for the American involvement, though also a bit worrying.

First, there’s E-Ventus Energy Ltd, with its registered address at the White House in Penarth. The other directors in this company were fellow Irishman John Connolly, who was resident in the USA, and US citizen John Spence, also resident in the USA.

The filed documents show an interesting story. The directors folded the company in February 2018, perhaps in an attempt to escape their debts. The creditors appealed to the High Court and the company was restored to the register. You don’t often see this kind of document; it’s worth reading.

The accounts for E-Ventus Energy are long overdue at Companies House. I wonder how much they owe?

Another strange company Baker was involved with was Deeside Hockey Ltd. The address given was 3rd Floor, 5 Temple Square, Temple Street, Liverpool, L2 5RH, but we can be fairly certain that the name referred to Deeside in Flintshire. In fact, there is a Deeside Dragons Ice Hockey Club playing in Queensferry.

Deeside Hockey was Incorporated August 5, 2015, first gazetted November 1, 2016, and finally dissolved January 17, 2017.

There were three directors at the start; Baker – resident in Wales – plus two resident in the USA, Wayne Gary James Scholes, and Trevor Damon Suelze. Baker pulled out September 14, 2015 and was replaced by American Collin Zito.

All the shares in Deeside Hockey Ltd were held by Red Hockey Ltd, since renamed Telford Ice Sports Ltd. And what a story we have here!

Launched in August, 2013 the first director was Scholes. Suelze joined in October. Baker joined in February, 2015. All using the Liverpool address.

Other directors came and went, and shares were issued, but this company was soon in trouble and eventually, after a lengthy process, it was dissolved in June this year.

The liquidator’s reports refer to ‘a number of questionable transactions’, and the company owed creditors almost half a million pounds.

In a Companies House Return of February 2015 we are told that all 1000 shares in (then) Red Hockey Ltd were owned by Really Epic Dog Ltd, operating out of the same Liverpool address with Scholes, Suelze, and Zito, as directors.

This company has creditors to whom it owes £4.9m. Most of this is explained by (allegedly?) transferring money between related companies run by the same directors.

At the same address were also Really Epic Dog Holdings Ltd, Really Epic Dog Publishing Ltd, and Gods knows how many other companies with no visible means of support.

So who are these Americans or US residents with whom Baker is associated? (For Suelze may be Canadian, and Scholes British.)

From someone else who was briefly a director of Red Hockey Ltd, South African resident Servaas Hendrik Theron, we have an address: General Counsel, 5225 Wiley Post Way, Suite 150, Salt Lake City, Utah 84116.

Googling that address turned up Red Touch Media and Wayne Scholes. There’s even a Wikipedia entry. Collin Zito is Chief Operations Officer at Red Touch.

Red Touch Media is now Liverpool Digital Media Ltd. The latest accounts show a company heavily in debt.

TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF IT

We would appear to have a number of potential sources for the money to re-launch and complete the Afan Valley Adventure Resort.

Martin Bellamy has his business partner Lord Triesman, and his father-in-law Valery Kogan. Either of them could finance this project from their small change. But if one of them was funding this project why do we see such a supporting cast?

And why so many Afan Valley companies?

And let’s not forget the Saudi link provided by Hossam AlSaady. Or if not a link to Saudi Arabia, then to one or more partners of his Above Wealth LLP. One of which is Swiss fund managers Gottex.

Then, we have the intriguing connection, via Liverpool, with the USA and, more specifically, the state of Utah.

What are we to make of Scholes, Suelze, and Zito, and their involvement in Deeside Hockey, the liquidator’s reference to ‘questionable transactions’, the unpaid creditors, and the labyrinth of linked companies all owing each other money?

Given their forays into the leisure business I would be disappointed to learn that these people are in any way involved at Afan Valley.

The connection between them and the resurrected Afan Valley venture is of course the Irishman, Paul Christopher Baker.

Baker is very much a player now at Afan Valley.

We find him at Afan Valley Resort Ltd with Martin Bellamy. The duo are together again at Afan Valley Resort Management Ltd. The duet becomes a threesome when Lloyd joins them at Rocksteady Resorts Group Ltd. The three then do an encore at Rocksteady Group Ltd.

All four companies formed 16 – 23 March, 2021.

And let’s not forget dissolved Rocksteady Resorts Ltd, where we would have found Baker and Peter Moore. Formed in March 2020 and put down a year later, with the name carried on by others.

Though I was struck by one very curious Companies House filing for this company, which I reproduce below.

Click to open in separate tab

Was Paul Baker formerly known as Paul Morris, and did he change his name? Or did whoever registered the company with Companies House not know Baker’s name?

Whatever the answer, the name given on the company’s Certificate of Incorporation is definitely Paul Christopher Morris.

Baker’s association with the Utah Scousers and their Deeside Hockey, plus his role with E-Ventus, the company the High Court restored, might suggest he has a somewhat ‘cavalier’ attitude to business.

But what about the boys from round by ‘ere, like?

Well, Benjamin Lloyd’s Wildfox Resorts Afan Valley Ltd may be the real deal and his route to fame and fortune. Or it may be just a distraction.

His mate, Lewis Peach, is the other director of Kikai RGI Ltd. (Another company formed in March, 2021.) But a few years ago Peach was running a gym in Caerffili.

In the Caerphilly Business Forum Awards for 2017 we read: ‘Entrepreneur of the Year – sponsored by Coleg y Cymoedd: Lewis Peach – Peak Performance Fitness Solutions.’ (Did you know we have no word in Welsh for the English term entrepreneur?)

But Lewis is a Renaissance Man, cos when he’s not pumping iron we find him at Pure Structured Finance. This company was formed in December 2019, and according to Companies House its address is opposite McDonald’s in Llanishen. Yet the website I just linked to says it operates out of 3 Burlington Gardens, London, W1S 3EP.

And if that address sounds familiar then that’s because it’s where we find Martin Bellamy’s Salamanca empire.

Wheels within wheels. So many connections. Pathways and dead-ends. No wonder old Jac is getting quite dizzy – and alcohol plays no part. Honest!

A FEW QUESTIONS WITH WHICH TO CONCLUDE

These questions are addressed to Neath Port Talbot Borough Council and the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ on behalf of those still interested in how Wales is mis-ruled.

  • Do you know who is really behind this revived project, and where the money is coming from?
  • Why do you think this project needs so many companies?
  • How would NPT Council and the ‘Welsh Government’ feel about the project funding coming from Russia or Saudi Arabia?
  • There are persons with questionable business records linked with the project. What are their roles?
  • Will those now behind the project follow the discredited Gavin Woodhouse model of selling shares in the lodges and the hotel rooms?
  • Have those behind the project requested grants from the ‘Welsh Government’, or loans from the Development Bank of Wales?
  • How much public money will be spent on infrastructure – roads, etc – for the Afan Valley Adventure Resort?
  • What measures will NPT Council and the ‘Welsh Government’ put in place to ensure that contracts are placed with local firms and the better jobs allocated to local people?
  • Given that the Afan Valley Adventure Resort will mean tens of thousands more cars travelling from England into Wales, and back, every year, how does this square with the ‘Welsh Government’s ambition for Wales to single-handedly save the planet?
  • Will there be an extra charge for chalets and hotel rooms offering uninterrupted views of the surrounding wind turbines?

Labour politicians in Neath Port Talbot and Corruption Bay may be desperate to claim more ‘investment’, but rest assured, boys and girls, I shall be keeping a jaundiced eye on the Afan Valley Adventure Resort.

Because I’m sure there’ll be more to tell you in the months ahead.

UPDATE 20.10.2021: The Western Mail published an article this morning that was clearly designed to boost the project and make it clear that those now involved had no connection with the misdeeds of Gavin Lee Woodhouse.

It further informed us that the funding is coming from ‘Octopus Real Estate’. But I doubt it. For this is a one-woman company formed in April to buy a property in Wiltshire.

Presumably it refers to one of these pension fund Limited Partnerships, Octopus Commercial Real Estate Debt Fund II and Octopus Commercial Real Estate Debt Fund III.

But which one?

♦ end ♦

 




England’s wind turbines – in Wales!

My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.

Last week, I introduced you to the Bute empire, based in Edinburgh and London, which, under a variety of company names, is planning many new wind farms in Wales.

This week’s piece is partly a recap, partly putting a new slant on things, and partly some fresh thoughts on the unequal relationship between Wales and England.

MAPPING IT OUT

Here are the location-specific Bute Energy companies, sixteen in all, each with a link to the relevant Companies House entry. Is there a project near you?

Twyn Hywel Energy Park Ltd / Rhiwlas Energy Park Ltd / Banc Du Energy Park Ltd / Aberedw Energy Park Ltd / Moelfre Energy Park Ltd / Mwdwl Eithin Energy Park Ltd / Garreg Fawr Energy Park LtdBryn Gilwern Energy Park Ltd Nant Mithil Energy Park LtdLan Fawr Energy Park LtdWaun Hesgog Energy Park Ltd Esgair Galed Energy Park Ltd Llyn Lort Energy Park LtdNant Ceiment Energy Park LtdNant Aman Energy Park LtdTarenni Energy Park Ltd

The full list of recent company formations, and other background information, can be found here.

I’ve now drawn up a map showing what I hope is the correct location of each of Bute’s planned wind farms. I can’t be absolutely sure because in most cases all we have is a company name, and that name could fit a number of locations.

The names Rhiwlas and Moelfre, for example, can be found in many locations.

But by ruling out urban areas, National Parks, etc., etc . . .

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To help them build these wind farms, Bute’s head honcho, Oliver James Millican, and his constantly growing band expect help from both Labour Party insider David James Taylor and Lesley Griffiths MS, the Minister for Rural Affairs in the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’.

I’m not exactly sure what’s expected from Taylor, but he’s been made a Member of Grayling Capital LLP, and he’s also been given shares in Windward Enterprises Ltd, both in his own name and that of his company Moblake Associates Ltd.

Taylor seems to be paying himself some £200,000 a year from Moblake Ltd but the skeletal accounts give no indication of where the money originates. Though, strictly speaking, and quoting the ‘accounts’, the money is, ‘an interest free loan and does not have a repayment date’.

But seeing as Taylor is the sole Moblake director, and holds the only share, for him to ‘repay’ Moblake would just be transferring money from one pocket to another.

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From Ms Griffiths Millican and whoever he might be working with obviously expect planning permissions. I’m not for one minute suggesting favouritism, let alone inducements. It’s simply that, as we saw when she overruled the Planning Inspector’s decision on Hendy Wind Farm, she has the final say.

Griffiths and Taylor are well known to each other. It would be unusual if they weren’t, seeing as they belong to the same political party and are both from the north east. Here’s Taylor out canvassing for Lesley Griffiths in the 2016 Welsh Assembly elections.

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A WEE DIGRESSION, BUT INTERESTING

Something I didn’t explore in the previous post was the fact that Taylor, Griffiths, Sophie Howe (Commissioner for Greenwash), and others, were on the same side before and after the Carl Sargeant suicide in November 2017.

This picture below, from 2014/15, shows, left to right, Carl Sargeant, Sophie Howe, a former Spad to Sargeant (though when the photo was taken she was deputy to former MP Alun Michael, the South Wales PCC), Lesley Griffiths, and Leighton Andrews AM for Rhondda, who lost his seat in 2016 to Leannein Wood.

David Taylor worked as a Spad or trouser presser for Andrews, and his loyalty to the party was rewarded when, in 2016, he was the Labour candidate for the North Wales PCC post. He lost out to Arfon Jones, the Plaid Cymru candidate.

L to R: Carl Sargeant, Sophie Howe, Lesley Griffiths, Leighton Andrews. Click to open in separate tab

The thing about this picture is, it’s not a ‘work’ photo, they’re out together relaxing. They know each other, they obviously enjoy each other’s company.

After Sargeant’s suicide they all rallied to his defence, or at least, they didn’t do any favours to then First Minister Carwyn Jones, lobbyists Deryn, and others coming under fire. Lesley Griffiths is quoted more than once in this report.

In this piece, we read that Sophie Howe: ‘ . . . told Coroner John Gittins: “I find that incredible that he (Sargeant) can be sacked without being told what the allegations were.”’

While Leighton Andrews has plenty to say on his blog.

In this November 2018 report from the Wrexham Leader we are told that, ‘The inquest also heard a statement from David Taylor, a friend of Mr Sargeant who was previously employed by the Labour Party.’

It’s all coincidence, no doubt, but from this small group around Carl Sargeant we have three – Howe, Griffiths, Taylor – currently contributing to Wales being ripped off by every shyster who can spin a line about saving the planet.

‘JUST A FEW QUESTIONS, SIR’ (Oh, the times I’ve heard that!)

I wrote to Bute Energy last Tuesday morning, ahead of office hours, giving them the chance to clarify a few points for this follow-up.

My questions were:

  1. When and where did you first meet David James Taylor?
  2. Were you introduced to Taylor? If so, by whom?
  3. What is your relationship with Taylor’s Moblake companies?
  4. Why did you make Taylor a Member of Grayling Capital LLP?
  5. Why did you give Taylor (and Moblake) shares in Windward Enterprises
  6. Have you met Lesley Griffiths, Welsh Government Minister for Rural Affairs? If so, where and when?
  7. Did you have advance warning of Ms Griffiths’ overturning a Planning Inspector’s decision on Hendy Wind Farm in October 2018?
  8. Why did you recruit former Labour MEP Derek Vaughan to chair your Welsh Advisory Board?
  9. Why does your Welsh Advisory also have as a member John Uden, a former London police officer now specialising in property security, who, apparently, has no Welsh connections?
  10. Why do you have so many wind farms planned for Wales?
  11. You don’t know Wales, so how did you find these sites? Did someone recommend them?
  12. Do the principals in Bute and the other companies have any experience in engineering, construction, renewables, or related fields?
  13. Do you really intend building wind farms or will you simply obtain planning permission and then sell the sites?
  14. Talking of the sites, have you been promised that, if necessary, powers of compulsory purchase will be exercised on your behalf?
  15. Do you have contact details for David James Taylor?
  16. Do you have anything you’d like to say?

I’m still waiting for answers.

Having mentioned the ‘skeletal accounts’ of David Taylor’s Moblake Ltd I naturally got to wondering about the accountant.

At the start, Moblake’s registered address was in the West End of London, at 109 Gloucester Place. It’s the tidy-looking gaff with the blue door. Though the company registered at that address, Adams Mitchell Ltd, was only formed in August 2019.

In fairness, it looks as though David Taylor was simply using Gloucester Place as an accommodation address. The ‘accounts’ submitted were all his own work.

Though the most recent accounts are a tale of West End to East End. For Moblake’s latest accounts were signed off by Naail & Co Ltd, a husband and wife outfit on Lambeth Walk in property leased with money borrowed from banks.

But the accounts remain unaudited. The accountant just signed off what Taylor put in front of him.

Accountant’s contribution to the latest Moblake Ltd accounts (y/e 30.04.2021). Click to open in separate tab.

Couldn’t David Taylor have found a nice, respectable accountant in Wales who would have presented fully audited and verified accounts?

Makes you wonder.

‘HERE YOU ARE, TAFF – DON’T SAY WE DON’T GIVE YOU NOTHING’

Maybe I’d better explain what I mean by the heading to this article about England’s wind turbines in Wales. Now pay attention, because this is a bit complicated, and prefaced with, ‘As I understand it . . . ‘.

In 2015 legislation was passed, covering England and Wales, that gave local planning authorities – i.e. councils – powers to decide on wind farms of 10MW and above. (They already had the power over smaller installations.)

This had been mooted for some years and finally came into effect, on June 18, 2015. With political spin about upholding election promises by letting ‘local people have the final say on wind farm applications’.

Hinting that this was a decision dictated by electoral considerations. For wind farms are erected in rural areas, and the rural areas of England are overwhelmingly Conservative in their political sentiments.

The Conservative and Unionist Party would lose MPs and councils if a Tory government in London over-ruled local councils to impose wind farms on areas where locals didn’t want them.

The map below might help illustrate my point.

You can do your own by going to this site, and by playing with the various layers on the interactive map you can end up with whatever your heart desires.

Image: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy / Barbour ABI. Click to open in separate tab

To reproduce my map, from the menu on the left: In ‘Energy Type’, keep Wind Onshore. In ‘Energy Capacity’, 10MW and Above. In ‘Status’, Application Submitted, Awaiting Construction, Operational, and Under Construction.

If we could add a layer giving political features it would show that Tory-voting England is almost entirely free of wind farms.

Below you’ll see an extract from a relevant UK government publication. This makes it clear that the 2015 legislation covered England and Wales.

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Obviously, this legislation means there will be hardly any wind farms in England. And that will result in the UK struggling to meet its climate change obligations. It will also be bad news for the Tories’ business friends who milk the subsidies paid for renewable energy.

Which is why I am convinced pressure was applied from London on the ‘Welsh Government’ for Wales to accept more and more wind farms.

This explains why the legislation was reversed in Wales to make wind farms of 10MW Developments of National Significance, meaning local authorities must either grant planning permission or expect to be over-ruled if they refuse planning permission. For the ultimate power rests with Welsh ministers. (Here’s the link.)

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This explains how, in 2018, Lesley Griffiths was able to over-rule both Powys County Council and the Planning Inspector on Hendy wind farm.

Ordinarily, Wales and England moving in separate directions would be something I’d applaud, but not this time.

Perhaps someone in the ‘Welsh Government’ can explain why 10MW wind farms are Developments of National Significance in Wales, but not in England. 

Especially as we share the same National Grid and the electricity generated by ‘Welsh’ wind farms will most likely go to England.

As I’ve said, I’m convinced pressure was applied from London, perhaps via the civil servants operating in Wales who answer to London. The ‘Welsh Government’ couldn’t admit that, so it was glossed over with the Well-being of Future Generations Act, which came into force in April 2016.

Followed by pious declarations to make Wales ‘carbon neutral’ and then, like a maiden aunt having an attack of the vapours, declaring a ‘Climate Emergency‘.

As if anybody outside of Corruption Bay gives a toss!

These bouts of orchestrated hysteria turned planting wind farms all over Wales into an environmental crusade. The panel below, from this ‘Welsh Government’ site, explains why someone thinks we needed this legislation.

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Note that climate change, over which Wales can have no effect, is more important for the ‘Welsh Government’ than spheres where it could make a difference.

Priorities, eh!

CONCLUSION

Despite the apparent divergence of approach over Developments of National Significance in 2015/16 we are, effectively, still in the Englandandwales model.

Making wind farms another example of devolution being used to serve England’s interests rather than ours. Consider this . . .

Just imagine if a Tory government in Westminster had said, ‘We don’t want wind farms in England – so we’re going to dump them all in Wales’. There would have been a national outcry.

Yet that is what has happened!

It’s the old story of Wales being exploited for the benefit of England. And just as with our water, we are not compensated for what we export.

Wanting Wales to be ‘carbon neutral’ and declaring a ‘Climate Emergency!’ is just vain posturing to disguise Wales’ subordinate status. Play-acting that won’t improve the lives of Welsh people, or make any difference to climate change.

And things might be about to get a whole lot worse.

For the number of wind farm applications is accelerating. Not only do we have Bute Energy’s 16 projects, there’s also the monster turbines planned for Y Bryn, between Port Talbot and Maesteg; while more recently I’ve learnt of a plan for turbines above coal tips at Ynyshir in the Rhondda Fach.

Yes, honestly, above coal tips.

How many more are planned that we haven’t yet heard about?

There is nothing to be said in favour of wind turbines. In their brief and intermittent lives they do not repay the environment for the damage caused in making, transporting, and erecting them. They are all built and owned by foreign companies. They provide no jobs. They despoil our landscapes. They kill birds. They cause flooding.

But never mind, we’re serving England’s interests. Again.

♦ end ♦

 




‘Energy Parks’ – new name, but same old corruption, same old exploitation

My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.

The previous post was a cri de coeur from someone who by chance had learnt that she is to have a wind farm plonked on her doorstep. Which is often how people find out.

Because in the early stages of wind farm projects those pushing them like to tread carefully, and operate in the shadows. Which encourages skulduggery and often results in what can only be described as corruption.

Yes, I know, that will shock and surprise many of you. But it happens, even here, in planet-saving, refugee-welcoming, men-with-cervixes accepting Wales; where self-absorbed nobodies flit about the Bay out-mwahing each other as they await the next ishoo over which to drool and became instantly knowledgeable.

BACKGROUND

I must begin with a sizeable recap, because if you don’t understand what has gone before then you’ll have difficulty making sense of what’s happening now. And what is likely to happen in the future.

About three years ago I was contacted by people in central Powys who were fighting against the imposition of a wind farm. What resulted from that approach was Corruption in the wind? in November 2018.

This was followed up in August 2020 with, Corruption in the wind 2, Labour snouts in the trough.

The story began with the strange case of Hendy Wind Farm, not far from Llandrindod. To cut a long story short . . .

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Planning permission was refused by Powys County Council in April 2017, at a meeting where there occurred an episode worth recounting. (And here I lift a section from my November 2018 offering.)

‘Back in 2017, on April 27 to be exact, there was a curious scene played out at a meeting of Powys County Council’s planning committee. At a point in the meeting after the committee had refused planning permission for Hendy and was about to discuss further conditions for Bryn Blaen, a woman who had been sitting with the developers tried to hand a note to one of the committee members.

The woman had to be forcefully ushered away. She was recognised as a lobbyist, working for Invicta Public Affairs, a company based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne . . . 

It was Anna McMorrin, who had been recruited by Invicta in October 2016 for no reason other than she was a Labour Party insider, having joined the party when she was a student, and as a result of her subsequent career she knew exactly who to approach to get things done.

While she was working for Alun Davies they began an affair which resulted in both leaving their long-term partners. They now live together.

In the general election of June 2017 Anna McMorrin was elected Labour MP for Cardiff North.’

When McMorrin became an MP her profile obviously increased, and she could hardly be expected to raise the hopes of elderly councillors by slipping them billets-doux during planning committee meetings.

A replacement would have to be found.

Inevitably, the Hendy developers appealed against the council’s decision but the appeal was dismissed by a planning inspector in May, 2018. Then, just five months later, Lesley Griffiths, Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Secretary for the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ over-ruled the planning inspector.

Here’s the letter Lesley Griffiths sent to Keith McKinney of Aaron and Partners LLP, a firm of Chester solicitors acting for the developers Hendy Wind Farm Ltd. Which is directly owned by DS Renewables LLP and ultimately owned by U + I Group Plc.

You’ll note that Griffiths says the justification for her overruling the planning inspector is that Hendy Wind Farm is a Development of National Significance (DNS).

Yet Wales already produces roughly twice as much electricity as we consume, with the extra going to England for no remuneration. So Hendy and all the other developments planned cannot be in the Welsh national interest. Which means they must be in the national interest of England or the UK.

Suggesting that Wales is being lumbered with an unfair and disproportionate number of the UK’s wind farms. Take Scotland out of the calculation and it becomes even more obvious that Wales is suffering an excessive number of wind turbines in order to protect English landscapes.

But it’s OK, because this exploitation is presented as little old Wales saving the planet.

It’s unusual for a minister to overrule the Planning Inspectorate. And because the Planning Inspectorate plays by the same DNS rule-book Griffiths’ decision made a number of people suspect that other factors or influences might have been at play.

From the ‘Welsh Government’ website. Click to open in separate tab

And then . . . it was noticed that Labour insider David James Taylor had slipped on to the stage. Was he the replacement for Anna McMorrin?

In this website – put up I assume by objectors – Taylor’s company Moblake is named as working for the developers. Though as I’ll explain in a minute, there are two Moblake companies. And Taylor’s connection to those developers goes beyond Moblake.

Taylor is described in this piece as a ‘Former Labour spin doctor’. To give you some more information I shall shamelessly lift a section from last year’s piece:

‘Back in the early part of 2009 a bright lad in the Labour Party launched a website attacking his party’s political opponents. The site’s name cleverly linking the names of Labour icon Aneurin Bevan and national hero Owain Glyndŵr. As background music it even employed Tom Jones’s Delilah.

How we laughed!

But it all came unstuck and caused the bruvvers considerable embarrassment. First Minister Rhodri Morgan was particularly irked because Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones had been portrayed as a clown. In normal circumstances this wouldn’t have mattered, but Labour was in coalition with Plaid Cymru at the time.

The website itself has long disappeared into the ether, but this old blog will give you a flavour. Though the Aneurin Glyndŵr Twitter account lives on.

The photo below shows Taylor canvassing for Lesley Griffiths in the 2016 Assembly elections along with some kids shipped in from England. (He’s the chubby chappie at the back.)

Around the same time he stood as the Labour candidate for the North Wales PCC post, but lost. Which would have left him looking for a suitably remunerative position.

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Taylor had worked as a spad for Peter Hain when the Sage of the Serengeti was Secretary of State for Wales, and has also served as head cook and bottlewasher to former Labour Assembly Member Leighton Andrews.

Taylor joined the party while still in nappies and chaired his local constituency association before leaving kindergarten. In short, he is Labour through and through, and is very well connected in the Welsh branch of the UK Labour Party.

Additionally, he’s from the north east, and knows Lesley Griffiths personally.

WHAT A BUTE!

There is something of a changing of the guard in 2017/18. Not only do we see Taylor taking over from McMorrin as the Labour Party / lobbyist presence but those originally behind Hendy wind farm are overshadowed by new players.

The linkage between the new and the old can be found in the company originally named Windward Generation Ltd, then Bute Energy Ltd, and finally, RSCO 3750 Ltd.

The first two directors were Oliver James Millican and Lawson Douglas Steele, both using the address of the Edinburgh Solicitors’ Property Centre at 90a George Street. They were joined 6 days later by Steven John Radford of Hendy Wind Farm Ltd.

Radford left in December 2019 and in the same month Stuart Allan George joined. Millican, Steele, and George will dominate this narrative from now on through a galaxy of companies under the Bute Energy umbrella.

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To help you make sense of it I offer this table, with working links, that shows the various companies involved at the outset of the Hendy scenario and how, since they appeared on the scene, Millican, Steele, and George seem to be planning wind farms – now renamed ‘energy parks’ – all over Wales.

Since April 2020 there have been 20 new companies. Most of them location specific. See how many you can identify.

Earlier I mentioned David Taylor’s two companies called Moblake. These are Moblake Ltd (formerly Moblake Wind Ventures Ltd), and Moblake Associates Ltd. Despite the suggestion in the name of the second, Taylor is the sole director of both.

The latest unaudited financial statement for Moblake Ltd (not to be confused with audited accounts) show a healthy balance of £765,000. The ‘Nature of business (SIC)’ says that this company deals in ‘specialised construction activities’.

From the latest accounts, y/e 30.04.2021. We can guess where the money came from. Moblake is just a conduit. Money goes in one end and Taylor takes it out at the other end. Click to open in separate tab.

The Moblake companies were formed a week before Lesley Griffiths wrote to the developers’ solicitor advising that the Hendy Wind Farm was going ahead. What a coincidence!

Which I find curious. For Taylor has neither qualifications nor experience in the field of construction. I’ve read somewhere that he took time out from being a political fixer to study cyber security in the USA.

To further the pretence of Welsh involvement in or benefit from these projects Bute has recruited or appointed a Welsh Advisory Board headed by former Labour MEP Derek Vaughan.

UPDATE 15.10.2021: We now learn from her entry on the Register of Interests that senior Labour MS Jenny Rathbone‘s partner is a member of the Advisory Board. I believe this ‘partner’ to be Derek Vaughan.

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Since leaving the Metropolitan Police in 2002 John Uden has been involved in property security. His Linkedin profile says: ‘Six years as an area residential and commercial facilities manager. Two years as a city centre estate manager’.

Why would the Bute Energy crew need his expertise if their projects are just about remote and isolated wind turbines?

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Having touched on Taylor’s background, it’s worth adding that Millican, Steele, and George have never driven a digger for Wimpey either. Their expertise is in real estate and equities.

Which raises a number of possibilities.

Until he discovered an interest in wind turbines Millican was a director of companies under the Parabola label. Companies such as Parabola Estate Holdings Ltd, operating out of the same London address as his more recent wind farm ventures.

A director of this and many other companies is 72-year-old Peter John Millican, who I assume to be the father of 40-year-old Oliver Millican.

Given that Millican junior is in ultimate control of all the wind farm companies I can’t help wondering whether he has really branched out on his own or whether he’s still working for daddy. Or perhaps fronting for someone else.

To summarise, we have the three musketeers from Caeredin, and their man on the ground in Wales, David Taylor, none of whom has any obvious background in engineering or renewables. Nor are they believed to be card-carrying members of the Greta Thunberg Fan Club.

Which suggests to me that they’re just in it for the money. With that money assured through being able to influence the ‘Welsh Government’.

For it wasn’t Taylor’s sparkling repartee that persuaded the Bute gang to make him a member of Grayling Capital LLP, and a shareholder in Windward Enterprises.

All of which leads me to wonder if this lot will erect a single wind turbine.

Because having apparently secured the rights to so many sites all they need do on each is spend a few thousand for a planning application and, once that’s secured, each site becomes worth millions.

And we are talking tens of millions of pounds, possibly nine figures, for a total outlay of less than a million pounds, and without having to do any real work.

Not far from Hendy Wind Farm, nearer to Llangurig, we find Bryn Blaen. A modest affair of 6 turbines with a tip height of 100m and a potential output of just 14.1MW. This too was launched by Steven John Radford, the man behind the Hendy project.

The latest accounts (to 30 September, 2020) show ‘Tangible assets’ of £35,567,344. And this figure has been reduced by the estimated cost of removing the turbines when their days are done, and restoring the site.

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Though I predict it will be a hard job getting those responsible to restore wind farm sites. We might see companies locating offshore, as we saw with those seeking to avoid cleaning up opencast coal sites. A famous example being Celtic Energy.

Incidentally, Celtic Energy was advised by M & A Solicitors, which changed its name to Acuity Law and then advised Stan ‘The Pies’ Thomas on his notorious acquisition of public land.

I wrote about it back in the early part of 2016, with Pies, Planes & Property Development, soon followed by Pies, Planes & Property Development 2. ‘Planes’ refers to Stan and his brother Peter selling Cardiff airport to the ‘Welsh Government’ for a ludicrously high price.

When dealing with the ‘Welsh Government’ the Thomas brothers adhere to the old maxim, ‘Sell high, buy low’. With which the ‘Welsh Government, apparently, agrees.

Acuity Law still does a lot of work for Whatshisname and his gang. God help us!

Let’s conclude this section with a bit more information on Bryn Blaen. Radford and other directors left the company in February 2020. They were replaced by Stephen Richard Daniels, Edward William Mole, Benjamin Alexander Phillips, and Roger Skeldon.

Together, the three for whom I’ve provided links, hold 1,647 directorships, and a hell of a lot of the companies are dissolved.

It might be worth keeping an eye on Bryn Blaen.

IT COULD HAVE BEEN SO DIFFERENT

Consider this: We have a ‘Welsh Government’, and it wants to fight climate change by covering Wales in wind turbines.

The obvious course to have taken would have been to build up a Welsh renewables industry. Welsh companies could have been formed, could have grown and prospered; created jobs, built up local skills, and put wealth into local economies.

Had this been done we could today have Welsh companies erecting wind turbines around the world. Using highly-skilled Welsh technicians and engineers. Bringing money back to Wales.

But no.

Instead, our colonial elite behaved like procurers, offering Wales up to foreign investors and companies for them to do with as they wished. The former sometimes based in tax havens, the latter often state owned, such as Sweden’s Vattenfall, which owns our largest wind farm, Pen-y-Cymoedd.

But it will get worse before it gets better. Because in some ways Bute Energy’s plans may represent the last hurrah for increasingly discredited onshore wind.

The next scam is tree planting. Which is why . . .

When independence is seen to approach the first priority must be to seal off Corruption Bay and block all escape routes. Then flood the place. Have gangs of likely lads at each exit to mercilessly deal with anyone trying to get out.

Because . . . can you imagine giving more power, and more money, to those we find in that nest of vermin? The jumped-up councillor politicians, their spads, and other hangers-on; the third sector parasites dreaming up new ‘problems’ they can use to bleed us dry; the (unregistered) lobbyists; the civil servants taking orders from London; the enviroshysters and other ‘influencers’ directing ‘Welsh Government’ policy.

They must all be swept away.

If independence offers nothing but devolution on steroids, then here’s one lifelong nationalist who will reject it. My independence, whilst being free of ideological pre-conditions, demands a fresh start, with a different model, and in a new place.

A new system that works for the Welsh people, not against us.

♦ end ♦

 




More wind turbines!

My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, Malbec, books, but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.

As you can see this contribution is an anonymous guest post from another Welsh community being threatened by foreign-owned wind turbines erected – we are told – to save the planet, but providing no benefits whatsoever to Wales.

You’ll also see that the writer seeks help from someone who is clever, cheap, and cheerful. Well, I’m certainly clever, and I don’t charge, but whether I’m cheerful depends on a number of factors. Such as whether anybody’s pissed me off, how the Swans are doing, the latest lunacies out of Corruption Bay, and whether I’ve had a glass or twa or the Argentine nectar.

The area affected by the proposed wind turbines is inland of Abergele. Not far from Llanfair Talhaiarn, of blesséd memory. For many, many years ago a gang of us hired a Ford Transit van in Swansea and did a wee tour of the area. We were headed for Squire Wynne’s place at Garthewin.

Anyway, we got a bit boisterous in one the Llanfair pubs and were ejected. (Can you believe that!) So we made a dash for the village’s other pub. But like a scene from a Bergman movie, as we drew near, the big front door was slowly closed with a deathly creak.

The bastard in the first pub had obviously phoned ahead!

Happy days!

Now read on . . .

ENGLISH VERSION

250 Metre Onshore Wind Turbines – Paradise Lost or Paradise Regained?

I had a strange and surreal ‘Mabinogion’ or ‘Under Milk Wood’ type dream last night, I was talking to an industrial wind energy company representative from another country.  Rather he was condescending whereas I was rendered gobsmacked (the correct technical term to describe this state eludes me). He took undue delight in telling me that the Welsh Government designation of pre-assessed status for wind energy generation afforded to my home (Future Wales Plan 2040) gave his company ‘presumed consent’ to build a huge industrial wind site, unprecedented in size and scale. This entails placing 250-metre-high turbines (Bendigeidfran – like but without getting his feet wet) extending some 3 or 4 miles across the beautiful hinterland of rural Conwy and all this barely 700 metres from our front door and newly established small glamping business.

The dream became more bizarre. This ‘pre-assessed’ status, based on prior Development Framework Plans and an evidential basis we are still awaiting full sight of was sanctioned in February 2021 during a global pandemic. This status was apparently not known to our Assembly Member, neither of the respective two county councillors, nor three relevant community councils whose parishes had acquired the prestigious accolade of being sacrificed as collateral damage, to save the planet by selling our landscape, ecology, souls, livelihood, and wellbeing to finance the unfaltering altruism of multi -national constellations of hedge fund and venture capitalists.

The threatened area. Click to open in separate tab

In fact, we shouldn’t have known about it at all, but for the integrity and courtesy of good neighbours who had received a ‘Noise Agreement’ to sign along with an annual financial incentive. We then became aware that the company had been in negotiations with several landowners since September 2020, nine months earlier. I understand that the recognised industry terminology or parlance to describe this practice is ‘public engagement and consultation’, requiring no doubt years of university education to hone the required skills.

The dream became a nightmare. We have inadvertently found ourselves bound in a Sisyphean Greek fable, attempting whilst blind folded to complete a highly complex – albeit extremely interesting – jigsaw, without as yet the benefit of the complete picture.  Further exacerbated by the inevitable one or two critical pieces lurking in the dark corners under the sofa cushions destined to remain forever hidden or inadvertently coming to light when seeking the TV remote control.

Who would have thought that I’d be rapidly including ‘Clean Energy?’ to my limited but highly exclusive repertoire of specialist subjects for any potential Mastermind invitation (alongside cast on techniques in fair isle knitting and Sunday School sol – ffa if you’re interested). Topics include constraint payments (money for switching them off), wildlife and ecology impacts including flooding risks, overseas production, the mining of precious metals, visual and noise pollution … and all the pioneering developments in more effective and efficient clean energy options.

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It’s clearly a long time since I was in school, but not quite that long ago that I couldn’t see that the maths nor the logic didn’t quite add up. In focusing on hitting targets, it seems to me that we are in danger of missing the point and losing all common sense within the unquestioned and well -rehearsed Mantra.

We haven’t objected to smaller scale local initiatives, it’s the unprecedented size and scale of this proposal and what it will herald that is of concern. Of course, we’ll be labelled as NIMBYs, (whereas FISBY ‘Fine In Someone else’s Back Yard especially if I get paid for it’ is perfectly acceptable though not as catchy), whilst the developer will be welcomed as a returning Messiah laden with gifts and distributing charity and largesse to the grateful natives.

Please someone wake me up and tell me it’s all a bad dream or if as I fear, this is our new reality – is there someone out there who could help give a small rural community a fighting chance with this? We need someone clever (essential); cheap (essential) and cheerful (preferably). Thank you for reading.

Chwarae Teg – Hen Dro Sal

Jac’s PS: A new company has been formed for this project, Moelfre Energy Park Ltd (they’re not called wind farms any more). The single share issued, thus far, is held by Bute Energy (Cambria) Ltd. Look at the directors of Moelfre Energy Park and Bute Energy (Cambria) Ltd and you’ll see some Edinburgh gents who have appeared on this blog before. Read Corruption in the wind 2, Labour snouts in the trough.

∼ ♦ ∼

FERSIWN GYMRAEG

Tyrbeinau Gwynt Tir 250 Metr – Adennill Paradwys ynteu Paradwys Coll?

Cefais freuddwyd Dan y Wenallt a Mabinogaidd ei naws, enbyd o od neithiwr. Roeddwn yn siarad efo cynrychiolydd cwmni gwynt diwydiannol o wlad arall, wel i ddweud y gwir ‘roedd o’n nawddoglyd a finna’n gegrwth.

Ymhyfrydodd wrth ddweud wrthai fod statws dynodedig ynni gwynt Llywodraeth Cymru  (Cynllun Cymru’r Dyfodol 2040) fy nghynefin, yn sicrhau ‘caniatad wedi ei ragdybio’ i’w gwmni, adeiladu maes ynni gwynt diwydiannol, cwbl ddigynsail o ran maint a graddfa. Gosod tyrbeinau 250 metr o uchder (megis Bendigeidfran ond heb wlychu’i draed) ar  draws 3 – 4 milltir  berfeddwlad hyfrytaf Conwy, a’r cyfan 700 metr o’n haelwyd a’n menter glampio bychan ni.

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Aeth y freuddwyd yn fwy rhyfedd fyth. Cytunwyd ar yr ardaloedd dynodedig hyn, yn derfynol ym mis Chwefror 2021, ynghanol pandemig fyd eang. Er holi a holi rydym yn parhau i aros am y dystiolaeth lawn sy’n rhoi sail i’r penderfyniad.

Yn ol a ddeallwn nid oedd y statws yma yn wybyddus i’n haelod seneddol, nag i wleidyddion lleol na sirol, sydd a’u plwyfi breintiedig wedi eu dethol ar gyfer achub y blaned. Ac yn sgil hynny aberthu tirwedd ac ecoleg, a bywoliaeth, llesiant ac eneidiau ninnau drigolion – er mwyn ariannu anhunanoldeb dibendraw cytser rhyngwladol o gyfalafwyr menter.

Ni ddylem ni wybod hyd yn oed ‘rwan. Oni bai am hygrededd a chwrteisi cymdogion da a dderbyniodd ‘Gytundeb Swn’ gyda chymhelliant ariannol blynyddol i’w arwyddo, fe fyddwn ni dal yn y niwl. O dipyn i beth fe ddaeth yn amlwg fod trafodaethau y datblygwyr gyda thirfeddianwyr wedi cychwyn naw mis ynghynt. Deallaf mai’r terminoleg swyddogol o fewn y diwydiant ar gyfer yr arferion rhain ydy, ‘Ymgysylltu ac Ymgynghori gyda’r Cyhoedd’, sgiliau mae’n rhaid wrth flynyddoedd o addysg Prifysgol i’w mireinio siwr o fod.

Fe drodd y freuddwyd yn hunllef. Rydym yn gaeth mewn chwedl Roegaidd Sisyphean, yn ceisio llunio jig-so cymhleth (er un hynod diddorol), heb weld y llun cyfan, hyd yma. Yn anorfod mae na ddau neu dri o ddarnau coll yn celu yn nhragwyddoldeb ebargofiant encilion y soffa.

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Pwy feddyliai y byddwn yn ychwanegu ‘Ynni Glan?” i’m repertoire cyfyng ond hynod ddethol ar gyfer y gwahoddiad Mastermind (ynghyd a dulliau gweu Fair Isle a Sol-Ffa Ysgol Sul). Mae’r meysydd llafur yn cynnwys, Taliadau Cyfyngiad (arian i’w diffodd); effeithiau ar fywyd gwyllt ac ecoleg gan gynnwys llifogydd, dulliau cynhyrchu gan gynnwys concrid a mwynau gwerthfawr, ynghyd a’r holl ddulliau amgen cyffrous sydd yn fwy effeithiol ac effeithlon.

Mae na amser maith er pan fues i’n ddisgybl ysgol ond nid cweit mor hir imi beidio a gweld nad ydy’r rhesymeg na’r syms yn taro deuddeg. Wrth ganolbwyntio’n unllygeidiog ar wireddu targedau mae’n amlwg imi ein bod yn methu’r pwynt a fod synnwyr cyffredin wedi diflannu o fewn y Mantra.

Nid ydym wedi gwrthwynebu datblygiadau eraill lleol, maint a graddfa y safle sydd yn ein dychryn. Wrth gwrs fe gawn ein collfarnu a’n labelu’n NIMBYs, (dydy’r term FISBY ‘Fine In Someone else’s Back Yard especially if I get paid for it’ ddim cweit mor fachog), tra chaiff y datblygwr, sy’n addo rhannu elusen a largesse i’r werin dlawd ond  diolchgar, groeso y Meseia dychweledig.

Gall rhywun fy neffro o’r hunllef plis neu os mai dyma yw ein normal newydd oes rhywun gall gynnig cymorth i gymuned fechan wledig? Rydan ni angen rhywun clyfar (hanfodol), rhad (hanfodol) a llawen (dewisol). Diolch am ddarllen.

Chwarae Teg – Hen Dro Sal.

♦ end ♦

In the next day or two I shall bring out a supplementary piece explaining certain connections between wind farm developers, movers and shakers with political connections, and politicians making decisions on wind farms.

There is definitely corruption involved. The only question is: How far does this corruption reach?

 




Invasion of the Enviroshysters (PG)

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. POSTINGS WILL PROBABLY BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

Since posting Enviroshysters flock to Wales for easy money last week a source has been in touch with news of more shady dealing down among the organic radishes.

But first, an update.

∼ ◊ ∼

BLAENEINION

I have now spoken with Sharon Girardi of Blaeneinion. And while I’m sort of persuaded that she is not the owner of the property, I’m still no nearer knowing who really owns it.

According to Ms Girardi, ownership is somehow tied up with a family trust. One of the family being an old friend of hers who allows her to live at Blaeneinion. Which seems plausible. Though newspaper reports continue to name her as the owner.

What puzzles me is why a family trust would go to such lengths to hide the ownership of 75 acres of not very good land.

For the Land Registry tells us that Blaeneinion’s owner is Gibraltar company Endeavour Ltd. From Companies House in Gibraltar we learn that the shares are all owned by Gibraltar International Trust Corporation Ltd (GITCO). The ‘directors’ being Trilex Ltd, also of Gibraltar.

Just like GITCO Trilex appears in the Paradise Papers and has many interesting connections.

Image: International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Click to open in separate tab

What’s clear is that someone has gone to considerable lengths to hide the identity or identities of whoever owns Blaeneinion.

Another mystery is that the Gibraltar International Trust Corporation Ltd is a director of a company formed earlier this year in Worcestershire. This being the only mention of GITCO I can find on the Companies House website. How is this explained?

On the one hand I’d like to believe that Sharon Girardi is living a Blanche Dubois existence in the hills, but on the other hand, the known facts cause me concern.

Before we push on, let me warn you, this three-reel production has a cast of thousands, sweeping vistas, farce and tragedy, ‘Welsh Government’ funding, Arts Council of Wales funding, home schooling, land grabbing, elephants . . . and all made possible because the Woke-Left-Green shysters involved are favoured by politicos and their dosh-dishers in Corruption Bay. Which encourages more of the buggers to move here.

(OK, I lie about the elephants.)

THE GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF (SOMEBODY ELSE’S) HOME

Knowing of my interest in all things Green, a regular correspondent directed me to The Green Gathering, to be held next year in Chepstow. Which is convenient for the anti-everything head-bangers of Bristol, while also ensuring ‘Welsh Government’ support.

The event is organised by a charity of the same name. Which is also a company.

From the documents filed with the Charity Commission we learn that The Green Gathering has a ‘trading subsidiary’ / ‘production company’ by the name of Optimistic Trout Productions CIC. (It’s amazing what quirky names appear when, after another hard day herding rabbits, one relaxes with a mug of sun-dried amanita muscaria.)

All shares in Optimistic Trout Productions (OTP) are held by The Green Gathering Ltd.

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Optimistic Trout Productions, of Pengraig, Felindre, Llandysul, was Incorporated December 2010. (Until May 2020 the company’s address was in Frome, Somerset.) The Green Gathering, of Shrewsbury, first saw the light of day in July 2011, in Maidstone, Kent. In August 2013 it moved to Four Roads, Kidwelly. Then on to Shrewsbury in August 2019, moving to another address in the town in October 2020.

The move from Kidwelly to Shrewsbury ties in with Susan Ellis Alexander Pickles of Four Roads ceasing to be secretary and director of The Green Gathering in August 2019.

I suspect The Green Gathering replaced Big Green Gathering Company Ltd, of York, which faltered in 2010 / 2011 and was compulsorily struck-off in July 2012. (Among former directors we find an old friend in the form of Graham ‘Brig’ Oubridge, who has now returned to the land of his naissance.)

I suggest that succession because Stephen Fraser Muggeridge is a director of both companies and also of the Optimistic Trout. He lives in Maidstone, and stood for the county council in May this year. For the Green Party, of course.

Muggeridge failed to be elected but one of the gang who is a councillor, is Shane Collins, who sits on Mendip District Council representing the Frome Keyford ward. This of course explains Optimistic Trout Productions being based in Frome.

When he’s not fighting the Green cause on Mendip District Council Collins is a spokesperson for Insulate Britain. You know, the Provisional wing of Extinction Rebellion that believes they have a right to interfere with everybody else’s lives.

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As I say, Muggeridge and Collins are both directors of Optimistic Trout Productions. These are the other directors.

You’ll note that two of them, Muggeridge and Emma Louise Fordham use Llandysul as their correspondence address, but we know Muggeridge lives in Maidstone and Fordham gives ‘Country of Residence’ as England.

So all the directors of a company registered in Llandysul live in England! What’s going on? Perhaps the answer can be found at Pengraig itself.

According to the Land Registry, the property is owned by Amanda Beatrice Murdoch. It was bought in October 2004 for £355,000 without need of a mortgage. We have not encountered this woman before, she has certainly not been involved with the companies mentioned.

I’m guessing that Optimistic Trout Productions is using Pengraig as an accommodation address with an eye to Welsh public funding. It’s difficult to think of any another reason seeing as the directors live in various locations in England and the company holding all the shares is also based over the border.

Because we must remember that everything is now working towards August 2022 and the Green Gathering in Chepstow. I predict with certainty there will be applications for Welsh public funding. The applications may already have been made.

Next, we’ll look at people who are definitely receiving funding, both from the ‘Welsh Government’ and our friends at the Arts Council of Wales.

‘WHAT DID YOU LEARN IN SCHOOL TODAY?’ (OH! I FORGOT – YOU DON’T GO.)

We move a little further west now, to ‘Fountain Hill’ at Glogue, in north Pembrokeshire, where we find Majical Youth, also in the festivals entertainment business. Scroll down on the home page and you’ll see the backers.

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There are obvious connections with Pengraig, Llandysul.

One I found intriguing was that (Rev?) Helen Mary Caroline Reynolds, who bought ‘Fountain Hill’ in December 2015 for £245,000 without need of a mortgage, was previously a director of Pengraig Property Investors Ltd.

Pengraig Property Investors was formed in April 2014. Fountain Hill was bought in December 2015. The company was dissolved at the end of May 2016. Was the company set up for no other reason than to buy ‘Fountain Hill?

I ask because there are tax benefits in buying a property through a limited company. Which is what appears to have happened at ‘Fountain Hill’. It can later be transferred to an individual.

Another link between Pengraig and ‘Fountain Hill’ would be the company Plant Natur. For the two directors are Amanda Murdoch, proprietrix of Pengraig, and her opposite number at ‘Fountain Hill’, Helen Reynolds.

Reynolds signed off the Majical Youth CIC accounts. Though the most recent available accounts only take us up to May 2019. With the next accounts due at the end of next month.

Even so, things were looking pretty rosy, with £81,500 cash in hand and total assets of £169,6580. But these ‘unaudited statutory accounts’ make no mention of succour from the ‘Welsh Government’ or the Arts Council.

Though as the logos for both appear on the website we have to assume that funding has been received, probably after May 2019. Because using the logo is a condition of funding.

Does Plant Natur or Majical Youth connect with the Fountain Hill Home Education Group? Which provides: ‘Wednesday home education social days days for children who do not attend school’.

The issue of home schooling is a problem. A growing problem due to the influx into our rural areas of the kind of people I’m writing about.

And one that is embarrassing politicians since the death 10 years ago of Dylan Seabridge. Eight-year-old Dylan died of scurvy. He lived in  Pembrokeshire but his parents had moved from Stoke-on-Trent.

Yes, scurvy!

Dylan was schooled at home. Maybe it would be more accurate to say he just never went to school. He had never seen a doctor or a dentist. And yet, his parents escaped prosecution. They were let off to avoid opening a can of worms and embarrassing the local council and other bodies.

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Even so, the ‘Welsh Government’ had to pretend to be doing something. Resisting calls for a register and regular checks on home educated children, the Corruption Bay cronyocracy instead produced a few wishy-washy booklets, such as this, aimed at parents and carers.

The message being, ‘Er, just carry on doing what you’re doing’.

There are obvious reasons for the ‘Welsh Government’ not wanting to take action over home schooling. For a start, too many of those not sending their kids to the local school are in networks loyal to the Green Queen, ‘Dr’ Jane Davidson.

But I think we all need to be concerned if the ‘Welsh Government’ is funding people who, wearing different hats, are involved in and encouraging home schooling.

LAND GRABS

Not a lot of people know this, but Majical Youth of ‘Fountain Hill’ is part-owner of a wood-fired pizza trailer. Ownership seems to be shared with Incredible Edible Carmarthenshire, a group that’s been in existence for five or six years but finally launched last December as Incredible Edible Carmarthenshire CIC.

The reason it went legit is because those involved are hoping to grab some land near Llanelli railway station. And of course the grants to ‘improve’ the land.

And what an interesting bunch they are. Read about them here. I was particularly struck by this potted bio.

‘Finally, Heike Griffiths, the group’s Chair and Equal Opportunities Champion, is a lecturer who teaches inclusion and social justice at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, as well as being involved in . . . Extinction Rebellion.’

As we know, Lampeter means ‘Dr’ Jane Davidson. Another director is Montserrat Ribas-Gomis, a Spanish scientist head-hunted by Natural Resources Wales from . . . Bristol.

The land in question adjoins Llanelli railway station. It’s the green strip shown in the image below from Google Earth.

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The station itself is, predictably, owned by Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd but was leased in October 2018 to KeolisAmey Operations Ltd soon after the partnership had been handed the Wales and Borders rail network.

I am assured that this land is in the stewardship of the Heart of Wales Line Development Company Ltd. The line itself runs from Swansea to Shrewsbury. Though unlike, say, Llandrindod, Llanelli’s main traffic is from the south coast mainline.

So the presence of the HoWLDC might seem a little odd. But it’s worth remembering that there is usually land available close to railway stations. Land that can be acquired for ‘community purposes’, and for which grants will be available.

A director of the Heart of Wales Line Development Company is Gillian Wright, and she first appeared on this this blog in September 2014 in Ancestral Turf. Scroll down and you’ll find her in a video.

Via the HoWLDC Wright was also involved with the Llandeilo Food Hub. This was based in an old railway wagon near the station, and had hopes to be a commercial venture selling locally-grown organic produce. Though now it may be operating as a food bank.

Possibly it’s both. Either way, if the venture has moved to the centre of Llandeilo, then I wonder what’s happened to the £30,000 wagon we see below, refurbished with ‘Welsh Government’ funding?

Image: West Wales News Review. Click to open in separate tab

Another of Wright’s ventures, this one funded by Carmarthenshire County Council, was The Level Crossing Community Interest Company, which went belly-up in 2016 after a few years of struggling, and failing, to break even.

So, if my source is correct (and I’m sure he is), then the would-be organic growers of Incredible Edible Carmarthenshire will be trying to do something that has already been tried, and failed.

And they will no doubt be getting public funding for it.

CONCLUSION

We have a problem in Wales because, in its desperation to be seen to be Green, in its embarrassing attempts to convince a completely uninterested world that we are saving the planet, whassisname and his gang squander millions of pounds every year on enviroshysters, memsahibs and dreamers.

These invariably dress up their scams or their idiocies as ‘community ventures’ . . . of which the local community is almost always ignorant. It’s usually just outsiders talking to themselves.

But these outsiders are well connected – to Welsh public funding. Which shows how far the Labour ‘Welsh Government’ has drifted from the people it claims to represent.

Selling organically-grown vegetables might be a commercial proposition in the Cotswolds, or Islington – but in the poorest part of a poor Welsh town! An area blighted by the low-lifes shipped in by Labour’s third sector cronies.

News of the ‘Welsh Government’s gullibility has spread far and wide, and that’s why we are experiencing the invasion of the enviroshysters. It’s time to call a halt.

If people want to improve their land by planting trees then they should be allowed to do so without let or hindrance. Those wanting to organise festivals must be free to do so. And the best of luck to anyone wanting to grow and sell organic vegetables.

But these must be done on a commercial basis. None of them merit public funding because there is no public benefit.

♦ end ♦

 




Reverend Bobbins speaks to the nation

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. POSTINGS WILL PROBABLY BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

I present another guest post on the tribulations afflicting YesCymru. Though you mustn’t think that I’ve derived pleasure from reporting on those tribulations, far from it.

Though the way I see it, the threat from an ill-starred and unlikely assemblage of entryists, chancers, and downright odd-balls, was confronted, and defeated. So we can all laugh about it now.

But let’s remember that we humans are all different, and that is true diversity. It doesn’t need to be labelled and imposed by diktat. Diversity just needs to be quietly and generously accepted. For labelling human beings almost always ends badly, because it’s invariably done to promote extreme forms of politics.

As we have so recently seen in YesCymru.

Now read on and have a bit of a laugh.

BBC Wales: Transcript of our interview with the Reverend Bilbo Bobbins

Roderick ap Fechan (for it is he): Good afternoon Reverend Bobbins, and thank you so much for inviting me to the manse after what has been a very stormy time for your church.

BB: Indeed, but things have been a little quieter of late, and I feel that in a very real sense it is now time for me to speak out and set the record straight.

Before our interview could proceed a large housekeeper with very hairy legs, a beard and a floral dress entered bearing a tray laden with Welsh cakes and a pot of PG Tips.

BB: Ah, Mrs Boyle. Thank you, thank you. You know it’s hard to believe it Mr ap Fechan, but until a few months ago Mrs Boyle was a loose head prop with hopes of making it into the Ospreys, but then she read an article on non-binary fashion by one of our Deacons, and the rest, as they say is history.

You can put the tray down here, Mrs Boyle.

Mrs Boyle: Feck off.

BB: Thank you Mrs Boyle, you little minx. Now, Mr ap Fechan, where were we?

ap Fechan: How do you respond, Reverend Bobbins, to claims that your church was taken over by a group of extreme left wing fanatics at the annual picnic in May?

BB: There is not a scintilla of truth in this, and Comrade Guacamole has given me assurances to that effect. In fact he introduced me to an interesting gentleman known as Honest Bob who told me that the list of candidates he put forward represented a range of perfectly innocent cultural groups, and it was in that spirit that I for one welcome members of the Welshpool Trotskyite Crochet Circle, the Maesteg Marxist Doglovers Association and the Swansea Revolutionary Sadomasochistic Front.

As I understand it, only Comrade Guacamole himself is an active member of a political party.

ap Fechan: One of the deacons, Ms Moonbeam Molotov, said on Twitter that she wanted to burn the church to the ground. How do you reconcile this threat with her membership of your ruling body?

This image is used for purely illustrative purposes, to show people what dynamite looks like. Like. Click to open in separate tab

BB: Another complete misunderstanding. When I asked Ms Molotov about the cans of petrol she was storing in the church and the boxes labelled TNT in the vestry, she explained that the petrol was for the church minibus and that the large sticks of what looked like dynamite were in fact just fireworks bought in preparation for our annual Guy Fawkes celebration.

ap Fechan: There have also been allegations that a large sum was transferred from church funds to an account belonging to a member of the Welshpool Trotskyite Crochet Circle to finance a planned film featuring ‘marginalised talent’. How do you respond to that?

BB: Comrade Guacamole told me that he had received assurances from the young lady concerned that the money was merely resting in her account, and I think we can put that matter to bed, don’t you?

ap Fechan: Reverend Bobbins, there have been multiple complaints of bullying and harassment of the membership. What do you have to say about that?

BB: I was shocked to learn from the deacons after the annual picnic that our church was no longer a safe space for true believers, and that we had been infiltrated by heretics they called “terfs” and “fashies”. That was why Comrade Guacamole, Ms Gwenda Whiplash, Moonbeam Molotov and the others worked tirelessly to produce a three step procedure for unmasking the heretics.

To my astonishment they revealed that one former deacon and one newly elected deacon were in fact witches, and Ms Molotov and Ms Whiplash set about preparing to have them burned at the stake in the church grounds.

I felt this was unwise in view of the large quantities of petrol and fireworks Ms Molotov had stored on the premises, and so the sentence was commuted to excommunication and eternal damnation, which I felt was more compliant with health and safety regulations.

So, far from being divisive, I came to see that Comrade Guacamole, or Y Mab Darogan as I sometimes call him, and his followers had been sent to restore harmony to our congregation. Indeed, as Honest Bob said to me, “Oi, vicar, don’t you think that Comrade Guacamole, with his flowing beard and sandals, may have been sent to live among us sinners once before?”

ap Fechan: Bringing things up to date, Reverend Bobbins, the Daily Wales is reporting that a formal complaint has been made to S4C about a satirical video featuring a man called DJ Bry. Would you care to comment about this?

BB: I am enormously grateful to Mr Huw Janus, the proprietor of that esteemed organ, for the support he has given to our deacons who regrettably recently resigned en masse. As Mr Janus himself said the other evening, satire is all very well, but the references to social services and revenge porn were extremely upsetting.

Gwenda Whiplash, and I am reminded of Mary Magdalene here, has done a great deal of vital missionary work, and as her OnlyFans page says, at very competitive rates.

This image is, again, used for purely illustrative purposes. Click to open in separate tab

ap Fechan: And finally, Reverend Bobbins, how do you see the future for the church?

BB: It was with a heavy heart that I stepped down from my duties, but in a very real sense we are all to blame, are we not? Perhaps some members have been a little too enthusiastic on Twitter, but I am confident that we can rebuild, and Honest Bob has put me in touch with what he tells me is a very reliable firm of builders who will restore the smouldering ruins of the vestry to their former glory.

ap Fechan: Thank you, your grace.

♦ end ♦

 

Enviroshysters flock to Wales for easy money

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. POSTINGS WILL PROBABLY BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

As is so often the case, this week’s post began life with someone sending me a ‘this might interest you’ snippet. Sure enough, it did. Because once I started digging, all sorts of interesting information came to light.

LIFE WITH THE BEAVERS

It all started with a news item from the Cambrian News, about a ‘conservation retreat’ not allowing onto the property people who had been vaccinated against Covid-19. I don’t buy this ‘paper and I try to avoid reading it because I’ve never trusted the Cambrian News. (I give some reasons in this short pdf document.)

As you’ll see, the CN report gives the name of no individual so, on the assumption that this ‘conservation retreat’ doesn’t run itself, and isn’t run by the beavers, I started my enquiries.

I soon realised that the story had also appeared in English dailies, and they had no hesitation in naming Sharon Girardi as the woman running Blaeneinion. So why would the local rag be so reticent to name her? Local weeklies survive by naming local people doing this and that. That’s why locals buy them.

Image: Daily Mail. Click to open in separate tab.

Next step was to the Land Registry, to see who owns Blaeneinion. And now it gets really interesting. Here’s the LR title document. I suggest you open it in another tab and keep it open.

You’ll see, on the first page, that the property is owned by Endeavour Ltd, a company registered in Gibraltar. And that it was bought for £595,000. At the foot of page 2 we read that Endeavour Ltd bought Blaeneinion on November 13, 2008.

Next stop, Gibraltar.

Companies House in Gib is quite efficient and helpful, and so I had few problems in buying a company profile for Endeavour Ltd. Though, this being Gibraltar, the paperwork doesn’t tell us much. Here it is anyway.

We learn that Endeavour Ltd was set up April 14, 2008. Some 7 months before the purchase of Blaeneinion. Perhaps created specifically for that purpose. Maybe other properties were bought.

Two thousand shares were issued and they’re all held by Gibraltar International Trust Corporation Ltd (GITCO). An old entity, this; Incorporated in November 1968.

You will not be surprised to learn that GITCO appears in the Panama Papers, where it links with other exotic forms of commercial life such as Cathay Transport Ltd of the Bahamas.

Image: International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Click to open in separate tab

But, thanks to Open Corporates, we also find GITCO linked with a new company nearer home.

I’m referring now to Friar Street Properties Ltd, Incorporated with Companies House as recently as March 29, 2021. There, among the directors, we see Gibraltar International Trust Corporation Ltd.

Why would Gibraltar International Trust Corporation be named as a director for a small-scale property company operating out of the red brick office in Worcestershire of Hayward Wright Accountancy Group? Especially as this new company seems to be the only one in the UK with which GITCO is officially linked.

This sumptuous accommodation seems to be the base for Alistair Graeme Hayward-Wright, director of Friar Street Properties and many other companies. Though the latest accounts filed suggest that Hayward Wright Accountancy Group is a dormant company.

Back to Sharon Girardi. She’s not named on the LR title document as a leasee, so it’s reasonable to assume she’s the owner. As such, she must be Endeavour Ltd of Gibraltar. If not, then she’s fronting for someone.

The Daily Mail report tells us that, ‘She has previously been backed by the Forestry Commission to plant 34,000 native saplings at her Blaeneinion estate’. But the FC doesn’t operate in Wales, that role here is filled by Natural Resources Wales.

The image above – of Ms Girardi with ‘Mr Beaver’ – was used in the Daily Mail report I linked to, but I think it appears first in this Daily Mirror article from September 2015. Though the beavers had arrived in 2011.

From the Mirror article we learn that Sharon Girardi kept the wolf from her door through Airbnb. Though as a rewilder, shouldn’t she have welcomed Mr Wolf?

From the Daily Mirror, September 2015. Click to open in separate tab

The more I think about it, the more bizarre this whole story becomes. I can’t help feeling that there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

  • It starts out with someone buying a remote property for £595,000 without need of a mortgage.
  • But they claim they can’t make ends meet with organic veg so they go in for Airbnb.
  • Which means that despite claims about conservation and rewilding, what we see at Blaeneinion is to all intents and purposes a tourism business.
  • How much has Natural Resources Wales or any other agency of the ‘Welsh Government’ paid to Endeavour Ltd or Sharon Girardi?
  • Assuming Sharon Girardi is Endeavour Ltd of Gibraltar, what is the ‘Welsh Government’s position on funding companies based in tax havens?
  • Come to that, why did Sharon Girardi feel the need to buy Blaeneinion by this roundabout route?
  • Though if she’s not the owner, then who is?
  • What is the connection between Endeavour Ltd and Friar Street Properties Ltd?

HORSING AROUND

Not far from Blaeneinion there is a similar but larger venture, only this time, instead of beavers, it’s Konik horses . . . at the moment. And while beavers were once native to Wales I’m pretty sure our ancestors never saw these critters.

They’ve gained quite a bit of publicity over the years, they’ve even appeared on this blog, in The Green Menace, back in August 2018. Here’s a BBC report about them.

(It seems Wales has no native horses that could have been used.)

As the BBC report tells us: ‘Cambrian Wildwood wants to extend native woodland from 10 to 100 acres across its land using natural projects. It is looking after a 350 acre site which was acquired by Wales Wild Land Foundation (WWLF) on a 125-year lease from the Woodland Trust, which bought the land.’

Wales Wild Land Foundation operates as Cambrian Wildwood. It’s explained here, with maps, in the Management Plan 2017 – 2022. And the plans are ambitious. Some might say unrealistic. Even worrying.

On page 13 we read: ‘All other native species, including large herbivores, will be present. Some animals requiring cooperation and agreement across a large area of landscape will be longer term considerations: for example, wild boar, moose, bison and red deer.’

There are some pretty hefty beasts named there, with the potential to cause a great deal of damage. Will a bunch of enviro-dreamers, with no experience of domestic livestock let alone wild animals, really be able to restrict them to the 350 acres they manage?

Click to open in separate tab

On the same page we read: ‘For the foreseeable future, it is presumed that the large carnivores (bear, wolf and lynx) will not be present on the site, and it is considered beyond the scope of Cambrian Wildwood to promote these species.’

A confusing sentence, that. It starts off by suggesting that large carnivores might be a long-term ambition, with the concluding phrase hinting that it might be achieved by someone other than Cambrian Wildwood.

So which is it? And if these animals are out of the question, why mention them at all?

Bears strolling into Mach’ for a few pints of a Saturday night, and wolves taking down Mrs Evans on her way to the Co-op, should certainly get the old town rocking.

As I’ve said, Cambrian Wildwood is the operating name for the Wales Wild Land Foundation. So let’s turn our attention away from carnivores stalking the denizens of Machynlleth to a form of parasite to be found a-plenty in the nearby hills.

Wales Wild Land Foundation is a CIO; that is, a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Here’s the link to its Charity Commission page.

You’ll see that it was formed in 2014, which makes perfect sense. For in December 2013, Alun Davies, then Minister for Natural Resources and Food in the ‘Welsh Government’, announced that the maximum 15% of CAP payments would be transferred from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2.

Which meant taking money from Welsh farmers and transferring it to what were euphemistically called ‘other rural activities’. In other words, those who had lobbied against farmers and expected to profit from the diverted funding.

My notations in red. Click to open in separate tab

It may have taken a while to start, but the funding is definitely flowing now. As you’ll see from the table above, ‘Welsh Government’ funding for the WWLF rose from nowt in y/e 31.03.2018 to £349,773 in y/e 31.03.2020.

If it keeps increasing at that rate they’ll soon be grazing thoroughbreds at Bwlch Corog!

And what’s the money for? Well, I suppose a cynic might say it’s for ‘looking after’ land that could just as easily look after itself. But nice work if you can get it.

And when ‘Dr’ Jane Davidson, former ‘Welsh Government’ Minister for Environment and Sustainability (2007 – 2011), is your Patron, then the funding from Corruption Bay tends to flow much more freely.

The long-term ambition seems to be to buy the 350 acres currently leased from the Woodland Trust and fit it into something bigger.

This piece from GlobalGiving talks of, ‘7,000 acres of native woodland, heathland and rivers will be restored. Animals like red squirrel, water vole, wild horse, deer and bison will be living in the wildwood.’

Actually, it’s 7,413 acres, or 3,000 hectares. And it seems to be part of the Dyfi Biosphere project. Explained here.

Click to enlarge

I wonder how much local people know about these plans.

But then, locals aren’t important. What matters is that those drawing up the plans have the ear of politicians and civil servants in Corruption Bay. And that they are united in wanting to replace farmers and other ‘obstructive’ indigenes in order to free up vast tracts of our country.

How many jobs and business opportunities will the Dyfi Biosphere create for Welsh people? Very few, if any. But I guarantee we’ll be paying for it.

In fact, I’m beginning to wonder how much we’ve already paid. Let me explain.

The land in question can be easily identified from various images supplied in assorted locations.

But before moving on, I just want to set out a bit more information and some more thoughts. See what you make of it all.

The first piece of evidence is the maps locating the land in question. Due to the recognisable outline it was easy enough to find the title documents on the Land Registry map search. Which is where it gets interesting.

Because I suppose the first question is – why did the Woodlands Trust buy land on which there were hardly any trees? The only sensible answer must be that they intended to plant trees.

Click to open in separate tab

The title document for the purchase of the land tells us that the transfer was completed May 31, 2017. And whaddya know – the lease agreement is dated the very same day!

Clearly, the lease was agreed before the purchase was made; and more than likely, it was that agreement that prompted the purchase. But let’s think about this a little more.

The Woodland Trust bought rough upland pasture, heath and bog. Which it immediately leased to the Wales Wild Land Foundation, for an unspecified amount. Though as we are clearly paying the lease we’re entitled to know much it is.

As the annual report for y/e 31.03.2020 tells us, WWLF expects to be getting a lot of money in future from the ‘Welsh Government’. This explains the increased income we saw in the table above.

Which means that . . .

 . . . the ‘Welsh Government’ is giving hundreds of thousands of pounds, maybe millions, to the Wales Wild Land Foundation to improve land that belongs to an English organisation, the Woodland Trust. Unless of course, WWLF itself buys Bwlch Corog. 

Either way, where is the benefit to Welsh people from throwing vast amounts of public funding at schemes like this? This kind of spending can only be justified on projects owned by and open to the Welsh public. It should not subside hippy fantasies.

‘Welsh Government’ pays one bunch of strangers to lease land from another bunch of strangers and increase the value of that holding, while simultaneously undermining Welsh farmers so as to free up more land for more strangers.

The overall strategy is pretty obvious.

And as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, this all links with that lebensraum venture, the Summit to Sea rewilding project. But the WWLF gang got cold feet when the public pressure mounted against Summit Sea.

From the Wales Wild Land Foundation annual report. Click to open in separate tab

I’ve written about this episode of colonialist arrogance more than once. So just type ‘Summit to Sea’ in the search box.

Though from thinking about Blaeneinion, Bwlch Corog and other examples it looks as if Summit to Sea may still be going ahead, incrementally, without much fanfare.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT

The ‘progressive’ consensus in Corruption Bay is so wedded to reducing investment, so addicted to greenwash in all its forms, that what we Welsh need no longer figures in their calculations.

This explains why Welsh farms are being bought by hedge funds and others from the City of London.

It may even be valid to compare Wales under devolution with post-colonial Africa. Where we see newly-independent countries ruled by crooks who encourage foreign exploitation but dress it up as ‘investment’ or some other bullshit term.

Because when you think about it, someone buying a holiday home is ‘investing’ in Wales.

These lies make leaders look good but work against the interests of the people they claim to represent. That seems to be the situation both in Africa and Wales.

Click to open in separate tab

Devolution has been a disaster. Not just by the yardsticks of health, wealth and education. But also because we own less of Wales today than we did in 1999.

That’s a sobering thought; and no amount of airy-fairy gestures and ‘look at us!’ virtue signalling can disguise that we are becoming strangers in our own country.

Corruption Bay, including those we elect, is conspiring in this displacement.

Blaeneinion, Bwlch Corog, OPDs, Summit to Sea, etc., etc., tell us the truth about Wales today; who the system really benefits, and where we Welsh fit in.

Before long we won’t fit in anywhere.

♦ end ♦

 




Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union unmasked

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. POSTINGS WILL PROBABLY BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

This is the third posting on the report accepted by the Arts Council of Wales and the National Museum from the mysterious and hitherto unidentified Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union (WAARU).

The WAARU submission was one of three (out of 34 applications) accepted by the two bodies ‘to undertake a series of in-depth research conversations’, with a view to ‘widening engagement‘ in the arts.

Click to open in separate tab.

Before starting, let’s just pause to consider the name of the group, Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union (WAARU). Clearly, whoever set up this group had already decided that there were racists in the Welsh arts scene. The kind of report the WAARU would produce was therefore entirely predictable.

I am now almost certain that I know who was involved in producing this scandalous report. Though many questions remain.

First, we’ll consider the report itself, then I’ll identify those I believe are responsible for the report, and finally, pose some questions.

THE REPORT

We don’t have space to go through the full report so instead, I’ll do what many of us do in such circumstances and head for the Recommendations. Except that in the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union document there are no Recommendations.

Instead we find, beginning on page 27, ‘Our List of Demands’.

These Demands are broken down into ‘Immediate’, which must be met within 14 days of the two bodies concerned receiving the report. ‘Short Term’, within six months. ‘Medium Term’, 6 to 12 months. ‘Long Term’, 1 to 2 years.

Before looking at the Demands themselves I’ve taken the following extract from ‘Principles’ on page 29, which sets the tone for what follows.

‘NMW-AC and ACW cannot accept that the racist situation we find ourselves in needs to change without equally accepting the role they play in maintaining it. As a result of this, they cannot be trusted to lead us out of this situation and must hand over significant power to Black and non-Black people of colour . . . .NMW-AC and ACW have been upholding white supremacist ideology.’

Suggesting that the Arts Council of Wales and Amgueddfa Cymru are irredeemably racist and should hand over the reins to, presumably, the authors of the report.

Moving on to the Demands themselves, starting at the foot of page 29 we read:

‘A budget commitment for at least five years offering regular and substantial grants for Black and non-Black artists of colour (prioritising people who experience multiple marginalisation). Access to the grant will not be conditional or selective.

Funding to shift from being governed by ‘outcomes’ (including artwork production, public exhibition and ‘community’ workshops) and towards self-identified/ self-measured artist development or community activity.

The only way I can interpret this is that Black and non-Black artists of colour should get paid for doing nothing. Perhaps get paid just for being, er, Black and non-Black artists of colour.

On page 30 we read an appeal for ‘democratisation and transparency’ . . . in a report that is itself unsigned and completely anonymous! (Page 23 is even headed: ‘The need for transparency’!)

On page 31:

‘All expressions of interest / applications longer than 500 words and interviews involving preparation tasks must offer payment to people from marginalised backgrounds as a means of positive action towards more diverse applicants. In a similar vein, all interview offers must come with a clear offer of access costs towards child care, time off work etc (which can be accessed anonymously).’

Demanding payment for completing application forms. But only for people from ‘marginalised backgrounds’.

I think we can safely assume that ‘marginalised backgrounds’ is another way of saying, ‘Black and non-Black artists of colour’.

On page 33:

‘If an employee from a marginalised community feels they need to leave their place of work due to discrimination, they will receive their full salary over the duration that they were contracted to work.’

‘Marginalised community’ is yet more code.

Here’s something else that caught my eye, this time from page 34:

‘NMW-AC and ACW should not be the sole bodies in charge of large budgets and / or distribution of funds. This process should be decentralised to other individuals and organisations, to increase transparency.’

That word ‘transparency’ again. And, again, it’s about money. Money. Money.

Towards the bottom of the same page we encounter:

‘A transformative justice and care fund made available for Black and non-Black people of colour, disabled and neurodivergent people, trans and queer people, people on low-income and people with refugee/asylum seeker status who work as freelance artists or as art workers, who have experienced harm and traumatic experiences within NMW-AC, ACW and all their funded organisations.’

‘I’ve had a traumatic experience with the vending machine – pay me!’ No, I’m not being flippant; it’s just that this section doesn’t explain what qualifies as ‘traumatic’. Though I’m sure we can guess who will qualify – and it won’t be no old honky like Jac!

You may – like many others – be confused by the report’s use of the term ‘Black and non-Black people of colour’. Helpfully, it’s explained in a footnote to page 3.

Click to open in separate tab

It’s all-embracing: Navajo and Nepalese, Hausa and Han, Mongol and Melanesian.  Lumping non-white humanity under one clunky label to align them all against the pith-helmeted white supremacists of the Arts Council and the National Museum.

It’s really sad, almost delusional; the idea that non-white people everywhere share the views of some far left malcontents in the Cardiff arts scene.

This ‘report’ from the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union is a ransom note. And like all ransom notes its authors remain anonymous. The other similarity with a ransom note is that its primary purpose is to extract money.

THE UNMASKING

In case you’re new to this saga, it may be worth glancing at the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union (WAARU) Twitter account, which suggests the WAARU was born in early July, 2020.

As I wrote in ‘Corruption Bay and a tale of Cymrophobia‘: ‘The first tweet was on July 6, 2020, followed by a flurry of tweets that ended on August 11. There was nothing then until a retweet on Oct 20. A further retweet in November, another in December. Then nothing until April 18 and 19. A final retweet on May 14, attacking Israel, and nothing since.’

What’s remarkable about this Twitter account is that there is no mention of the tender to the Arts Council, or of the tender being accepted, or of the WAARU getting paid for the report, and then the report being published.

Yet this is the sole achievement of the WAARU. It’s almost certainly why the WAARU was set up. So why are those involved so reticent to claim the accolade?

This is a question that will probably remain unanswered. Though one possibility is that tweets were deleted before I saw the Twitter account. I suggest that because the response to its publication guaranteed the report would be an orphan.

Click to open in separate tab

And yet, the answers to who is involved in the WAARU can be found in the documents I’ve used or referred to in the previous two posts.

Let’s start with something that appeared in an update to the previous post. Put up after a source suggested that when dealing with anonymous Twitter accounts it can often be rewarding to check on the first followers.

Here they are. Reading from the bottom up, we see that the first follower was @radha_sophia. Then comes @Durre_Shahwar, then @tayloredmonds, and so on.

A number of the other early followers have appeared in the previous blogs. Who could forget that master of the iambic hexameter Beau W Beakhouse? And then there’s BLM supporter Letty Clarke of Artes Mundi.

Note also that one follower is @WICFCardiff, which is a group called Where I’m Coming From. Of the first five followers, one is the group itself, and three of the others appear to be members.

WAARU Twitter follower number one, @radha_sophia, does not list Where I’m Coming From in her bio, but she is certainly linked. As this testifies. Note also the reference to ‘Sadia Hameed’. This being Sadia Pineda Hameed, the partner of Beau W Beakhouse.

Here’s @radha_sophia retweeting the WAARU launch tweet almost immediately it was issued. Do you find her message mildly threatening?

Click to open in a separate tab

You’ll see in the link to the WICF piece that @radha_sophia is named as Radha Patel. Which is her real name. Or, in full, Radha Mukesh Patel.

The Arts Council / Amgueddfa Cymru advertisement for tenders went out June 29, 2020 on the Sell2Wales site. In an update, on September 29, 2020 – giving the names of the successful applicants – we find an address for the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union.

Click to open in separate tab

That address is in Pyle, just outside Bridgend.

The Land Registry website gave me ownership details for the property, and I recognised the family name. Next, it was over to 192.com to check on who actually lives there. And guess what – living at that address is Radha Mukesh Patel.

Click to open in separate tab

So Patel’s family home in Pyle was given to the Arts Council as the address of the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union.

But how much of a hand did Patel herself have in the writing of the report for which the Arts Council and Amgueddfa Cymru were happy to part with a few thousand pounds of our money?

Maybe not a lot. She’s more likely to be one of a number of contributors.

Either way, here’s another tweet from Radha Patel, from August 2020, when she was presumably in Scotland. She doesn’t want to eat in a white-owned establishment.

Click to open in a separate tab

Moving on . . .

If we’re looking for a group that might have co-ordinated this exercise, then the previously mentioned Where I’m Coming From fits the bill very well.

As we’ve seen, its founder-members are among the earliest followers of WAARU and it connects with other significant actors in this scam. For I have no hesitation in using that word.

Beakhouse and Hameed of Lumin may be in the mix, but I think it would be more rewarding to focus on the Arts Council – specifically, Artes Mundi – and the Future Generations Commissioner’s office.

For if we look at the Artes Mundi Twitter account we see that it is currently co-operating with Where I’m Coming From. And if you click on the short video, there, at 0:41, we see Letty Clarke herself.

Click to open in separate tab

While in the latest tweet on her personal Twitter account Letty Clarke promotes Hanan Issa, who comes in at number 5 in the WAARU Twitter followers.

Letty Clarke is a busy woman, and she’s named in its metadata as the author of the ‘Wales, Culture & Race Taskforce‘ (WCRT) document of June 2020. Prepared for the Senedd by yet another group of disgruntled BAME arts sector operators.

What happened to the WCRT, and the cash it was promised, is still debated.

I believe Letty Clarke had a hand in producing the WAARU report. But the involvement of Artes Mundi may not be limited to her.

For also listed among the first followers of the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union we find another Artes Mundi Curator, Melissa Hinkin.

Responsibility for the report may extend further.

The ‘widening engagement’ exercise undertaken by the Arts Council was probably initiated by this report, ‘Well-being of Future Generations Increasing Participation in Areas with Under-developed Reach of the Arts – Arts Council of Wales’.

Sure enough, at number 3 among the first ten WAARU followers we find Taylor Edmonds, the Poet in Residence at the Future Generations Commissioner’s office. She is also a ‘team member of @WICFCardiff’.

What the hell does a Poet in Residence do, anyway? Wander around the office sighing, looking for a chaise longue on which to drape oneself in the hope of attracting the muse?

But what if the muse appears at 4:55 and everybody’s off down the pub at 5 for Sharon from Accounts’ birthday piss-up?

‘Oh, Muse, it’s a bit awkward now . . . can you come back tomorrow?’

The impetus for the WAARU and the Mary Celeste-like Wales, Culture and Race Taskforce was the killing of George Floyd 5,000 miles away.

An event irrelevant to Wales encouraged some in the Cardiff arts scene to make unfounded allegations of racism and demand money for perceived injustices. Encouraged by a ‘progressive’ Cardiff Bay establishment ready to roll over and take the blame for slavery, colonialism, and a raft of other crimes of which we Welsh are innocent.

I’ve drawn up a timeline that might help. (The links all work.)

I am now 85% certain that the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union report was compiled by persons named above. Employees of publicly-funded bodies and others involved in the arts sector in Wales.

This sordid episode raises a number of questions.

UPDATE 08.09.2021: The update is just too big to put up on the blog, so it’s available here in PDF format.

WE NEED ANSWERS

A well-connected source tells me that in his experience no public body gives a contract such as we’ve discussed to a group with no record, no references, no money, no nothing.

Especially when there were 34 applications to choose from.

Click to open in a separate tab

Another source thinks that if this had taken place in the world of finance it would be called insider dealing. Which is why I earlier referred to what we’re discussing as a scam.

Now for the questions:

  1. Whose decision was it to advertise for organisations to tender for the ‘widening engagement’ research?
  2. Can we see a copy of the tender brief?
  3. Who sat on the scoring panel to select the successful tenders?
  4. Can we see a breakdown of the scores awarded to each tender?
  5. Who at the Arts Council of Wales signed off the award of the contracts?
  6. Why did no one at the Arts Council appreciate the contradiction in a report repeatedly calling for ‘transparency’ itself being anonymous?
  7. Into whose bank account was payment for the WAARU report paid?
  8. Have the Welsh Arts Council and Amgueddfa Cymru already met or do they intend meeting any of the ‘Demands’ in the WAARU report?
  9. How far up the Arts Council totem pole does knowledge of and participation in the WAARU deception extend?
  10. Will those responsible for this deception now be dismissed?
  11. What safeguards will ‘Welsh Government’ put in place to ensure that no more public funding is siphoned to cronies in this way? (Or is that the wrong question to ask of a political party and an administration built on cronyism?)
  12. Will the Wales Audit Office investigate the procedures by which public funding was used to produce what is little more than a racist ransom note?

CONCLUSION

When people on the Far Left work themselves into a frenzy of Woke self-righteousness, to the point where they claim to see ‘fascism’ and ‘racists’ everywhere, then campaigns against racism often end up being racist themselves.

Even more so when they contain unsubtle references to what those behind the report clearly regard as an over-emphasis on Welsh cultural identity.

What makes this case even worse is that there appears to have been collusion from within Welsh public bodies and national institutions. Public bodies and institutions funded by the Welsh public purse.

Wales is a tolerant and welcoming country. When those who claim otherwise use imported terms like ‘systemic racism’, resort to silly words like ‘microaggressions’, and flirt with anti-Semitism and Cymrophobia then they invalidate whatever cause they think they serve.

What I also found revealing about this report was that it contained a litany of vague complaints but a complete absence of specific examples; with not a single case that could be investigated. Let alone substantiated.

Innuendo and hyperbole, sloganising and insults, are no substitute for hard facts.

To the members of the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union, and others like them, I say: Instead of standing outside shouting and chucking stones, why not come in; join us, integrate?

We really aren’t that bad.

♦ end ♦