Plaid Cymru’s Fatal Attraction

Plaid Cymru’s relationship with the Green Party has ranged from what appeared to be full coalition through local understandings to what at other times appeared to be no linkage whatsoever. The prime mover of co-operation between the two parties was Cynog Dafis, who was elected as the Plaid-Green MP for Ceredigion in 1992. His majority cynog-caroline-bbcwas 3,193. But the results from neighbouring constituencies made it clear that the Green vote – had the parties stood separately – would have been far less than that majority. To the north, in Meirionnydd Nant Conwy, Bill Pritchard got just 471  votes; whereas to the south, in Carmarthen, the Greens couldn’t even find a candidate! Making it clear who was benefitting from this alliance. Not only did Plaid Cymru not need the Green vote, what this misalliance taught us was that many or most Greens refused to vote for a joint candidate. I shall explain why in a moment.

Now I hear of another local alliance forming, this time in the area that used to be covered by Lliw Valley District Council, those communities to the north and west of what might be termed Swansea ‘proper’: Clydach, Pontarddulais, Gowerton, Gorseinon, Pontardawe, etc. The threat of Underground Coal Gasification in the Burry Inlet or Loughor Estuary has aroused some local residents to voice their protests, but few of these seem to be, well . . . genuinely local. This has somehow got linked with protests against new housing planned for the area.

The flyer below (click to enlarge) was handed out at the recent Pontaddulais Show by local members of Plaid Cymru, advertising a new “coalition of individuals and organisations under the Greenspace Cymru banner”. Ok, so we know Plaid is involved, but who else is part of this ‘coalition’? Greenspace Cymru is said to have a Facebook page but I can’t find it. So let me hazard a guess that the local Plaidistas have jumped into bed with a bunch of English nimbys and a shower of Greens, again. So why am I writing about this obscure local issue? PLliw flyerartly because it’s on my old home patch, but also because it has wider ramifications.

Let’s start with the housing. This not Ceredigion or Denbighshire; few of these homes will be bought by retirees, good-lifers, or commuters to English cities. What’s proposed is just more infilling between Swansea and Llanelli. The majority of these houses will be bought by people already living in the region. That being so, for Plaid Cymru to become part of this ‘alliance’ is weird. Then there’s the gas. With oil supplies finite, the Middle East in constant turmoil, the example of falling gas prices in the USA, and wind power and other ‘green’ energy exposed as a waste of money, shale gas, or whatever you want to call it, is going to happen. I have argued that we should fight to have control of this resource devolved to Cardiff Bay, but if this proves impossible then we have to make the best of it, we must ensure that Wales, and Welsh people, get the maximum benefits.

So why do I hate the Greens? In Scotland there is a genuine Scottish Green Party, and it supports full independence. Here in Wales, we have a rag-bag collection of hippies, good-lifers and other zealots forever dictating to us, thinking they can grant themselves planning permission – even in a National Park. They don’t like to be reminded that they’re in a country other than their own. (This is why so many of them were hostile to the electoral link-up with Plaid Cymru.) Yet for some perverse reason many in Plaid Cymru still view the Greens as kindred spirits. Which often results, as we see today in Lliw Valley, in the party supposedly representing the interests of the Welsh people lining up with Greens who don’t give a damn about us Welsh, and nimbys who want to see zero development in Wales lest it interfere with their comfortable lives. The kind of Fleece Jacket Fascists I dealt with a while back.

Tilting at windmills is all very well in its place – God knows I’ve done enough of it! – but if Plaid Cymru wants to be taken seriously as a political party it should choose its friends more carefully and remember whose interests it’s supposedly serving. Going overboard for wind turbines and other renewables was a mistake. One doesn’t need to be a Mail or Telegraph reader to know they’re expensive and they don’t deliver. That mistake is starting to be remedied. Rhun ap Iorwerth’s support for Wylfa B was another step in the right direction. A further positive is Helen Mary Jones stepping down as party chair. But if Plaid Cymru is going to oppose the new homes that Welsh people need, and the jobs that building them will create; plus cheaper gas prices and the jobs extracting the gas will provide, then the party will take yet another wrong turning.

Cymrophobia 2: The ‘Reverse Midas’

As I mentioned in the previous post, Jacques Protic has been involved in a number of business ventures. Nothing strange about that. What is strange is that these excursions into the world of commerce all seem to have ended in failure. From my research, and information received from contributors (and thank you all), I believe I am now in a position to list these ventures, in chronological order.

Before that, let’s look into the man’s background. He is a UK citizen born in 1945. There is a question over where he was born. According to ‘Brychan’ Protic speaks perfect English with a “twang of Wirral” and poor Serbian with a somewhat old-fashioned, perhaps even posh, accent. One possibility must be that his parents were Serb nationalists who left Jugoslavia towards the end of WWII. Because once it became clear that post-war Jugoslavia was to be communist or socialist, many Orthodox, royalist Serbs packed their bags, especially if they could in any way be linked with those ChetniksChetniks accused of collaborating with the Italian and German occupiers; worse perhaps was that many Chetniks had even fought against Tito’s Partisans. Though that said, if Protic did attend Belgrade High School, as he claims, would a son of Chetnik sympathisers be allowed back into Jugoslavia in, presumably, the early 1960s? Background information would be nice but it’s the Jacques Protic of Menai Bridge that we’re really interested in.

Incidentally, the term Chetnik was revived during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s; used by their enemies to describe any Serb in uniform or, more specifically, Serb irregular units. Nowadays the term seems confined to the extreme Right in Serbia and other areas. (See picture.) The distinctive Serbian cap is called a ‘sajkaca’.

While there have been many business ventures, it’s only fair to point out that during most of the period covered by these dips into the world of capitalism Protic had the sense to hang on to his ‘day job’. This was as UK agent for the German company Weiss Technik, makers of laboratory and medical equipment, from June 1990 to December 2006. Weiss Technik has a factory in Ebbw Vale, “England”.

I can’t help noticing that apart from a vague reference to ‘Belgrade High School’ and his diploma from Salford University, there is no information on Protic prior to 1990, which of course coincides with the beginning of the break-up of Jugoslavia and the subsequent fighting. Almost as if he had lain asleep and then, in 1990, when he was 45 years of age, someone pressed a button and he sprang into life. What was he doing before 1990? I can understand the Balkan wars energising someone of his background, but there’s no obvious connection between his business ventures and what was happening back home. So is it just coincidence? Whatever the reasons for his foray into entrepreneurialism, here is the list of the companies of which he has been a director, with the date of formation and the date when each company ceased to exist. I cannot promise that the list is complete.

  1. Environmental Engineering Systems Ltd 16 October, 1991 – Final Dissolution 31 March, 1998. Protic served as Director throughout the life of the company and also Company Secretary from 01 October, 1993 to 24 May, 2007. Trading address in Manchester.
  2. Ees Ultracare Ltd 04 June, 1992 – Final Dissolution 26 November, 1996. Protic served as Director and “Technologist”. No address found. Ees = Environmental Engineering Systems?
  3. Q Medical Science Ltd 25 January, 1996 – Final Dissolution 21 December 2004. Protic served as Director. Registered address and trading address at PKF in Manchester.
  4. Q-Med Plasma Technolgy Ltd 15 March 1996 – Dormant. Name changed 20 July, 1999 from EES International Ltd. Protic is Director. Based in Kingston Upon Thames.
  5. Q Plasma Technologies Ltd / Q Plasma Technologies (Holdings) Ltd 09 November 2001 (both) – 17 January 2006 (both). Protic served as Managing Director of both. Based in Liverpool. What does the ‘Q’ stand for?
  6. Solid Solution Ltd 08 July, 2002 – Final Dissolution 15 November 2011. Protic served as Company Secretary from 18 December, 2006 to 24 May, 2007. Registered address and trading address in Liverpool.
  7. Ebsol Ltd 08 January, 2008 – Final Dissolution and Striking Off 15 March, 2011. Bit of a mystery this one. Based in same address (more likely, ‘letter-box’) in Kingston Upon Thames as Q-Med Plasma Technology, but also with a ghostly presence in Llangefni. Change of name 22 April, 2008 from Ebuild Services Ltd. No accounts were ever filed. The only other person involved with this company, Gareth Iwan Whalley, now works for the DVLA in Swansea.

So, what have we got here? The companies Protic has been involved with (with two exceptions) seem to be in the same line of business as his employer, Weiss Technik; that is, laboratory and medical equipment. The first exception is Solid Solutions Ltd, which dealt in fruit and vegetable juice(!); and Ebsol which, as the name might suggest, was doing something with solar panels, but with no great success.

The most interesting of his ventures was Q Plasma Technolgies, registered at John Moores University in Liverpool. It seems to have been formed to promote an invention that was submitted by Jacques Protic for a US Patent, using a specialist law firm based just outside Washington DC. This would not have been cheap, but fortunately funding was obtained in the form of debentures from HSBC and, more importantly, I’m told, a grant, or loan, from the Merseyside Special Investment Fund. This is EU funding much like the funding large parts of Wales receives. But, true to form, this venture also went belly-up. Proving yet again that Jacques Protic has the ‘Reverse Midas’.

Given that the companies Protic started up were capitalising on technological expertise and other things – such as potential customers – that he might have gained as the UK agent for Weiss Tecknik, was this strictly kosher? And why, given his contacts on the continent, did he apply for a US patent with Q Plasma Technologies rather than an EU patent? Then again, a more innocent interpretation might be that this was his field after all . . . even though he has no academic qualifications.

Bryn DuWhen he applied for the US patent Jacques Protic’s address was Bryn Du, Llanbedrgoch, an old long house, just inland from Benllech and Red Wharf Bay. A beautiful detached property with 1.5 acres of land attached, selling for over £300,000. (Shown left.) He now lives in Menai Bridge in what looks like a council property. If he owned Bryn Du, then there’s a possibility it was put up as collateral with Q Plasma Technolgies or one of his other companies, and he forfeited it. If so, then this, coupled with the loss of Serbia’s mini-empire might have tipped him over the edge to become what we see today.

By whatever route he reached his present state, I conclude that Jacques Protic is a broken reed, still capable of making ugly noises when a Welsh breeze catches him, but a man of little consequence; an irritant, but nothing more. After what I’ve unearthed I’m almost feeling sorry for him. Almost.

Cymrophobia and the Many Identities of Jacques Protic

There are many people who, quite frankly, hate us for being Welsh. We hear it regularly from smart-arse stand-ups and oh-so-clever calumnists. They can say and write things about us that would get them prosecuted if ‘Black’, ‘Jewish’, ‘Irish’, ‘Pakistani’ or any other group was substituted for ‘Welsh’. Most are thankfully outside of Wales, but there are some living among us.

This latter group doesn’t like Wales being in any way ‘different’ to England. They are not prepared to tolerate a separate, Welsh national identity, and the thought of any of us speaking a language other than English makes some of them apoplectic. (Especially when reminded, or informed, that Welsh was spoken in England long before English.) The people I’m describing won’t really be satisfied until every last vestige of a separate Welsh identity has disappeared.

Though I will concede that antipathy towards Welsh identity and traditions is something of which we ourselves have sometimes been guilty. Our own aristocracy and gentry couldn’t drop the ap and the ab quick enough once they were sure Harri Tudur was secure on the throne of the newly-minted Englandandwales. A few centuries later the rise of socialism, and especially the growth of the English-Irish Labour Party, saw Welshness again rejected, this time because it was ‘holding us back’. (From what exactly, was never adequately explained.)

Today, the anti-Welshness we experience is different because it cannot be explained by self-interest or warped political dogma; and it’s much less likely to come from within the Welsh nation itself. Which makes what we are experiencing today pure, naked racism.

To some extent it stems from what political analysts describe as a ‘growing sense of English identity’. Which need not be a bad thing when preached by, say, Billy Bragg; but Bragg’s interpretation of Englishness hardly resonates outside of folk clubs. Whereas what I’m thinking of – even without invoking the BNP or EDL – is rather intolerant and xenophobic. Expressed in its attitudes to ‘Europe’, immigration, ‘ungrateful’ Jocks and other villains . . . with foreign aid and further grievances being unearthed by politicians and media on an almost daily basis. In this scenario we Welsh are nothing but a bunch of sponging indigenous primitives to be ridiculed and despised. A bit like Aborigines, but with the saving grace that, being white, we can be anglicised and assimilated.

But of course none of this can be said openly (outside of the Daily Mail) which makes it very difficult for those who hate us for just being Welsh to express their true feelings. Nor do we provide a ‘hook’ on which they can hang their prejudices. For we have never attacked other nations. We have not in recent times waged guerilla warfare against England. We certainly don’t covet any far-off islands. We don’t commit more crimes than other groups. We are not religious zealots. And the smell of cawl being carried on the breeze shouldn’t offend anyone. Nor is there any reason to envy us, as the English envy the Germans for being richer, or the French for being more sophisticated. All of which gives a certain irony when standing up for what you are results in being called “an intolerant Welsh bastard” by Ukip supporters who fled Birmingham because they refused to live among other races and cultures.

Being unable to admit their ugly sentiments those I’m discussing must couch their hatred in what they hope sounds more rational language. They tell us they are opposed to further devolution, because it’s ‘too expensive’ . . . never because it gives power to a people they despise. Or they argue – on purely educational grounds, you understand – against the teaching of the Welsh language, or Welsh history, in our schools. Another favourite is the ‘waste of money’ on bilingualism – ‘cos we all speaks English, innit’. In fact anything distinctively Welsh is condemned as ‘divisive’ . . . whereas flying a flag that ignores Wales is, bizarrely, ‘inclusive’! And ninety-nine times out of a hundred it comes in the ‘package’. What’s the ‘package’? Well, just ask yourself, ‘How many people do I know who are rabidly hostile to the Welsh language but support greater devolution?’

Lest you think I’m exaggerating, or focusing too much on the realignment of identification taking place among Protic 2the English, I shall broaden the scope of this opus to prove that Cymrophobia is a condition that can afflict individuals with roots far away, in lands of which we know little; belonging to nations with whom our fathers had no quarrel. Such a man is Jacques Protic. (Click to enlarge.)

Many of you may be unfamiliar with the name, but if you follow Welsh political blogs then you will have read his comments under a host of pseudonyms, ‘Jon Jones’, ‘Mo Patel’, etc. Once one is exposed another emerges. He also comments as Jacques Protic. The giveaway is that they often appear on the same post ‘supporting’ each other. On Twitter, Protic can – or could until recently – be found hiding behind a number of handles including: @gogwatch, @GLASNOSTORGUK, @cymnot, @Plaidodo (also used as an e-mail address), and @momopatel1960. This ‘Mo Patel’ Twitter account has now closed, but I’m told it started off using my gravatar with the eyes scratched out and the mouth taped over! There are almost certainly other identities. Though strangely, for a high-powered, international businessman, I can’t find a Twitter account in his own name.

(Protic thinks he’s been a clever boy recently by ‘naming’ me. Ooooo! Sorry, Jacques, but just about everybody knows I’m Royston Jones, originally from Swansea, now living near Tywyn.)

Protic is also, allegedly, the man behind the now defunct Gogwatch website and it is further suggested that he ran the Glasnost blog. Given his obsessive hatred for the teaching of Welsh (read this), there are many who believe that Protic was also BiLingo. Although not naming Protic this blog establishes the link between BiLingo and Gogwatch. BiLingo caused a great deal of hurt to good people, dedicated teachers, through having its lies repeated by English newspapers.

These Twitter accounts, blogs, and handles claim to speak for “the silent majority”, giving the impression of an army of concerned parents ready to rise up to fight the oppressor forcing the Welsh language down the throats of their darling offspring. And yet . . . where are they? Do we ever see them protesting outside council offices or schools? Is there an organisation claiming to represent them (other than Gogwatch, Glasnost, BiLingo)? I don’t deny there may be a minority that would prefer their children weren’t reminded they are in Wales, but they’re not bothered enough to make a fuss about it. That is left to a tiny number of obsessives like Protic, a man so eaten up with hatred, and so detached from reality, that he may believe his countless pseudonyms are real peopProticle – maybe his fabled ‘majority’!

Not only does Protic sometimes write in his own name, he has even stood for election. In May this year he offered himself to the electors of the Aethwy ward on Ynys Mon as an Independent candidate . . . he gained 3% of the vote. (Click to enlarge.) Maybe we shouldn’t read too much into a single election, but given that his views on the Welsh language and associated issues would have been the only reason the voters would have heard of him, his share of the vote gives a fair indication of how much support his views really have, at least in that corner of the island. It indicates the yawning gulf between his imagined ‘majority’ and the cruel truth.

Protic and his kind are obviously objectionable, but shouldn’t be a problem to any proud and confident nation. But we Welsh are not a proud and confident nation. Which explains why there are many in Wales afraid to confront him and his odious kind. Arguing that we should ‘reach out’, ‘reason with them’, ‘engage them in dialogue’. Being reasonable with people who are only going to laugh at us and interpret our reasonableness as weakness is the mistake we’ve been making for the past few centuries, and look where it’s got us – a country poorer than Bulgaria, an Assembly run by English civil servants, and our people a minority in large areas of Wales . . . If we aren’t very careful we are going to be so damn ‘reasonable’ that we shall cease to exist.

Finally, and I was hoping to avoid this, but it has to be said – Protic is a Serb. Now many of you will know that over the years I have defended the Serbs against their many detractors, but I was never blind to the atrocities committed – by all sides – in the Balkan wars. So, tell us, Jacques; would a Croat, or an Albanian, or a Bosnian Muslim, have the freedom, in Serb-controlled territory, to mouth hatred of Serbs in the way that you spew out your hatred for us Welsh?

P.S. If I have wrongly attributed to Jacques Protic a website, blog, Twitter account, ‘handle’ or anything else, I will retract without hesitation if the person to whom it does belong can satisfactorily identify himself / herself.

Legion of Frontiersmen 2: I Could Have Been a Corporal!

In the previous post I mentioned my first encounter with the Legion of Frontiersmen, in 1998, when I saw a poster advertising for volunteers. I followed it up and received in return quite a bit of information, which I’m now going to share with you.

Let’s start with the explanatory leaflet (click to enlarge), setting out for the benefit of potential Leaflet frontrecruits who the Frontiersmen are and what they claim to do. Note that of all the various manifestations of the Frontiersmen, this one claims to be The Legion of Frontiersmen of the Commonwealth. Significant because in a letter I received from the Ministry of Defence in December 1998 I was told, “Although we know only a little about it, I can confirm that the Legion of Frontiersmen does exist. Indeed, there seems to be a number of organisations in the United Kingdom with ‘the Legion of Frontiersmen’ in their title. I understand that none of them has a direct relationship with the Ministry of Defence, although one, the Legion of Frontiersmen of the Commonwealth, does at present enjoy associate membership of the Reserve Forces Association. I understand that its members wear uniforms and adopt rank, though we do not believe that these have any official status.” So it would appear that the variant of the Frontiersmen trying to start up in Tywyn in 1998 may have been the only kosher one.

FatsoHere’s a link to the Welsh branch of the Reserve Forces Association. Be warned there are some truly gruesome photos here of politicos socialising with the military and being photographed with young cadets. (No, not those sort of photographs. Really!) For example, look at the picture – how can anyone who’s seen that be expected to believe that the British army is being ‘slimmed down’? You could sleep a bloody platoon in that jacket!

The next document I want to show you is the application for membership (click to enlarge). Pretty straightforward, though there can’t be many application forms that ask if you can ride a horse and what “war medals” you’ve got. Of course, only British Subjects can join which, unfortunately, includes us Welsh.

Membership form combined
Click to Enlarge

The penultimate little gem is the Training Programme. (Left, click to enlarge.) The note written on it reminded me that my life has been a succession of missed opportunities, for the lieutenant says he’ll need a corporal. That could have been me! Two stripes! My Mam would have been so proud!

Training programme combined
Click to Enlarge

Finally, we come to the uniform, discipline and personnel record. As 1. makes clear, the Frontiersmen are dressing in British army uniforms. Is that strictly legal? Women are expected to wear their hair in a “bun”! How many women under the age of ninety, and outside of alpine regions, wear their hair in a bun these days? And is that one bun at the back, or top, or two buns, one on each side? Also, “heavy” make-up is banned. (I knew there was another reason that stopped me from joining ;)).

To conclude (and reiterate) . . . the Legion of Frontiersmen is a paramilitary group whose members would be arrested if it was Left wing, Welsh nationalist, or anything other than a private army for golf club bigots and Brit-minded bouncers and other bully-boys. That these nutters are allowed to wander about in British army uniforms, giving themselves silly ranks and titles, is due solely to the fact that they are ‘Queen and country’. They fit into a web of like-minded organisations – Freemasons, ex-service groups, the military, intelligence services, business organisations, private security firms, and of course our very own Welsh Livery Guild – that overlap and interlock.

Uniform combined
Click to Enlarge

More and more of the members of these groups are giving up on the Conservative and Unionist Party as the English Right undergoes one of its periodic fits of paranoia and reaction to what it perceives to be threats to the Glorious Motherland. These ‘threats’ can be listed thus: ‘Europe’; immigration; devolution, which the English Right views as Britain being broken up. (Curious, really; because in most contexts their ‘Britain’ is usually no more than England.) When thus energised it is not unknown for the English Right to challenge the State itself, or certainly its elected government, evidenced in the twentieth century by such inglorious episodes as the Curragh ‘Mutiny’ and the plot to remove Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

This time there are differences. Britain today is a third-rate power in possibly terminal economic decline. We could be fast approaching the time when conditions will be perfect for the English Right to step out of the shadows in order to ‘save the country’. When that happensGereralissimo Walters, You will be suitably grateful . . . or else!

UPDATE August 11, 11:55: I have just received a phone call telling me that Frontiersmen have been spotted acting as marshals at a vintage steam engine rally at Boatside farm, Three Cocks near Hay-on-Wye.

UPDATE August 12: There were some half a dozen Frontiersmen at the vintage steam rally near Hay-on-Wye yesterday. Wearing what were recognised to be British army uniforms. (Again, is this legal?) They were under the command of a ‘Major’ Michael Walters. Which is a little odd, for on the Countess Battenburg’s Own Frontiersmen Welch Command website we find a ‘Lt. Col M. D. Walters’. (Right, click to enlarge.) Has the wannabe leader of Wales ‘when the balloon goes up’ (see below) been downgraded? If so, why? I think we should be told.

UPDATE 27.11.2015: I have just seen the first newspaper photo of a Frontiersman for aShoreham wreath while. (Click to enlarge.) It was in the Wasting Mule of Monday November 23 and shows him laying a wreath at the remembrance service for the Shoreham air show disaster. And very natty he looks, too. But what struck me was the familiarity of the caption, with its reference to ‘the Legion of Frontiersmen’ yet without any introduction or explanation, as if people reading the piece would immediately know who the Frontiersmen are.



Legion of Frontiersmen

Now I don’t want any of you to think that I’m picking on Right wing Britishers with a penchant for fancy dress, but you must admit, the Brit Establishment, and those on the political Right who support them, do tend to go overboard with the costumes.

In recent posts I have dealt with the Welsh Livery Guild before following that up with this post in which I mentioned the Orangemen (no, not Peter Hain) and the Legion of Frontiersmen. If you haven’t read these posts then I suggest you do so before pushing on with this one. And even if you have read them, maybe it wouldn’t harm to give them a quick glance. What I should have Postermentioned, perhaps, is that I first became aware of the Legion of Frontiersmen some fifteen years ago. The reason I didn’t mention it in the earlier post was because I thought I’d lost the folder . . . but now I’ve found it, gathering dust atop a bookcase, and what a little treasure trove it proved to be.

It all began for me in 1998, when I found this strange poster on our village notice board, and saw others in the area. (Click to enlarge.) ‘That’s for me!’ I said. So I ripped the poster down and ran home to phone the number given thereon. I soon found myself speaking to a ‘Second Lieutenant Gary J Lillywhite’. He was of course an Englander, and must have been new to the area. I say that because I gave him my real name and he didn’t slam the phone down. He may still live in Tywyn. (For all I know there even may be a unit in Tywyn!!!!) Anyway, he sent me some very interesting information, including an application form. Bear in mind that Lillywhite claimed to be representing The Legion of Frontiersmen of the Commonwealth United Kingdom Command. Worth bearing in mind because two different – Warlowor apparently different – Frontiersmen units will be mentioned below. Naturally, following this revelation, I made enquiries about just who and what the Frontiersmen were, or are. And I looked for mentions in the media. (This was before I had a computer and access to the internet.)

I saw nothing until this piece (right, click to enlarge), appeared on August 19th, 1999, in the ‘Westgate’ column of the Western Mail. The column that day was written by the late Michael Boon. For those who don’t remember Boon, he was a worshipper of the British royals and a hagiographer of Charles ‘Carlo’ Windsor. Who better than this English journo to give a good write-up to a bunch of paramilitary Right wingers with a very suspect background, and perhaps even more suspect current motives?

Note that this piece from the Mule refers to the “Welch Command”. Presumably this is the abbreviated form of the grandly named Countess Mountbatten’s Own Frontiersmen Welch Command I mentioned in my earlier post. Here is the Charity Commission entry for Countess Mountbattens’s Own Legion of Frontiersmen. As you’ll see, despite the bullshit about a “Welch Command”, in reality it’s yet another sad, insulting, Englandandwales outfit. There is very little activity reported on the Charity Commission website, and hardly any money, but that probably doesn’t matter. The important thing is that the Frontiersmen – or one manifestation of them – has charity status. Though the ‘Welch’ branch does not use ‘Legion’ in its title, so does this mean it’s a different organisation?

You will also note that the contact mentioned in the Boon piece is Lt Col W B Warlow. This is Wayne Buffet Warlow of Porthcawl. Who, by an amazing coincidence, crops up in the Welsh Livery Guild as current Junior Warden. Thus giving us two direct links between the Frontiersmen and the Guild; the other being Commander John Curteis, Master of the Welsh Livery Guild 2009/10 and among the host gathered at the Frontiersmen ‘Investiture’ at All Saints Church, Penarth in March 2006. Though Warlow is not mentioned as having been at the ‘Investiture’ nor is anyone from his ‘Welch’  outfit. The only local unit mentioned is the Welsh Auxiliary Corps of Frontiersmen. So now we appear to have three separate units of Frontiersmen operating in Wales. There may be a fourth, the Independent Overseas Command. Possibly a fifth, if Countess Battenberg’s ‘Welch’ lot is separate. How many of the buggers are there? Can anyone set up a unit?

I also phoned ‘Lt Col’ Warlow. (Aren’t I a rascal!) We had a little chat about this and that. But when I directed the subject towards devolution I soon realised I’d struck a nerve. To say that he was hostile to devolution would be an understatement similar to saying that EDL members aren’t all that keen on Pakistanis.

The only recorded public sighting of the Frontiersmen I am aware of came on June 24th and 25th, 2000, when they were acting as ‘security’ for a medieval re-enactment at Coity castle, near Bridgend. Someone sent me photographs. Not good photos, I know, but they might mean something to somebody. (Click to enlarge.) So I made enquiries in various directions, Frontiersman 2from the MoD to the Defence Advisor at the Kenya High Commission. Why the latter? Because in the literature I unearthed the Frontiersmen claim to have fought against the Mau Mau. That was under the Frontiersmen banner, but I suspect that following Kenyan independence in 1963 they re-appeared in Ian Smith’s Rhodesia as the Selous Scouts (named after F C Selous, an early Frontiersman). Then, when Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, the Selous Scouts may have moved on to defending apartheid South Africa.

So let’s start pulling a few threads together. It can’t have escaped the notice of my perceptive readers that these assorted incarnations of the Frontiersmen in Wales start appearing after the devolution referendum had Frontiersman 1been won in September 1997. And around the time that the Assembly came into being in May 1999. This is no coincidence. For what we have here is an extreme Right wing, British Unionist paramilitary group. But they seem to have respectable antecedents. They overlap and share members with superficially respectable groups like the Welsh Livery Guild, Freemasons, British Legion, etc. They rub shoulders with Deputy Lord Lieutenants. They are allowed to hold ludicrous, quasi-military services in Anglican churches. And that’s why they’re so dangerous!

The Left in Wales loves to focus on the BNP, the National Front, the English/Welsh Defence League. Forget them! These pose no threat beyond causing a bit of bovver. They have no electoral support, they have no influence, and no one with a reputation to defend will ever stand alongside them. They pay homage to ‘The Fuehrer’, yet Hitler, with his known attitudes to alcohol, smoking, disorderly behaviour and degenerates, would probably have had them put them down before he turned on the Brownshirts.

The bigger threat comes from the respectable, semi-secret, organisations I’m dealing with here. Organisations that, collectively, form a network of extreme British nationalist groups determined to keep Wales a colony of England. You may find them funny, there’s certainly a lot to laugh at . . . but where do the linkages lead?

P.S. Looking through my notes from thirteen years ago I came across a tantalising reference to “Group 4”, obviously something I meant to check out.

UPDATE March 7, 2015: I bought the Cambrian News this week and flicked through without noticing the gem below. It was only when I when for a coffee yesterday afternoon that a lady in the cafe drew my attention to it, though why I don’t know. (Odd, that, now I come to think about it.)

Anyway, the local knee-flashers are going through one of their periodic PR exercises, you know the kind of thing, ‘We don’t seek to undermine democracy, we aren’t a source of corruption . . . oh no, we’re really cuddly and lovable, always helping out’. In the accompanying picture is Gary Lillywhite (second left), looking very stiff and upbuttoned. Bearing out what I’ve argued in this and linked posts about the overlap and linkages between all these BritNat organisations. Maybe the Frontiersmen are the military arm of the Freemasons. Perhaps they have funny salutes, hand around the back of the head or something! (Click to enlarge image.)

Lillywhite Masons

‘Welsh’ Tourism: Game Lost, Or Thrown?

I have always argued that Wales gets the worst of all possible worlds when it comes to tourism. Being a low wage activity, tourism drives down wages in other local industries. Leaving ‘tourism hot-spots’ poor areas where locals Self-cateringhave to compete in a distorted property market with people who liked the area so much as tourists that they want to settle, or buy a holiday home. Finally, the vast numbers of tourists put a massive strain on all manner of services such as hospitals and ambulances, the road network, litter clearance . . . for which we, who get no benefit from tourism, have to pay. Making tourism, for the vast majority of Welsh people, a lose-lose situation. And I haven’t even mentioned the cultural damage and the environmental degradation.

I made some of these points in a letter to the Wasting Mule last month. I argued that Wales could make just as much money from far fewer tourists, while also creating more jobs, if we closed off some of the avenues to holidays on the cheap. My letter was answered in Friday’s issue by ‘Alun Davies’, who gave us a little travelogue on what he claimed was his recent visit to Pembrokeshire. It’s a cleverly written letter that pretends to answer the points I made, but doesn’t. He tells us that Sir Benfro was full of continental visitors, while making no mention of English tourists, before wandering off to discuss, among other things, public lavatories!

The point to be made here is that if tourism is the economic activity we are told, then the priority has to be maximising the profit. Those overseeing tourism in Wales have only known one way of doing this – by increasing the numbers of low-spending tourists from over the border, with all the attendant problems I list above. Worse, I cannot recall anyone involved in tourism ever wondering out loud whether there might be a limit to how many tourists parts of Wales can cope with. Quite amazing that in 2013 sustainability should be such an alien concept.

The reason I bring this up again is that I’ve just run across some fascinating figures on global tourism (click to enlarge) on the BBC website, put out by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. France gets more foreign tourists than any other country on earth, but the spend per head of $646 compares badly with almost all other countries, as the table on the right will show. (For neighbouring Germany, the figure is $1,253.) The explanation suggested by the BBC is given below, and it makes fascinating reading, very relevant to Wales.

Tourism countries
Click to Enlarge

“Some 83% of France’s visitors come from other European countries, which may explain the relatively low amount spent per head. A lot of them come from neighbouring countries and often choose to camp and buy food from supermarkets, rather than filling the coffers of hotel and restaurant owners.”

The BBC website could have added, ‘Coming from neigbouring countries they may even bring food with them rather than buying in French supermarkets, thus further reducing the amount they will spend’. Even without this, what it does make clear is that tourists who are camping – and this includes caravans and other forms of self-catering, including of course, holiday homes – will spend far less per head than tourists staying in hotels, bed and breakfasts and other serviced accommodation. Self-evident, surely? That being so, why is Wales awash with ugly caravan sites? Why do we eulogise over sites like the Bluestone chalets?

There seem to be linked and unavoidable truths at work here. They can be expressed thus, almost as a syllogism:

1/ The further away your tourists come from, the more money they are likely to spend.

2/ To maximise the tourism income a country will keep to the minimum opportunities for low spend, self-catering holidays.

3/ It follows that the most economically beneficial tourists will come from far away and stay in serviced accommodation; they will also hire cars, they will eat in restaurants, they will create employment, etc.

So why is it that what passes for ‘Welsh’ tourism can think no further than Brummies and their caravans on Cardigan Bay? Or Mancs and Scousers on stag nights in Llandudno? Weekend breaks for Londoners in Pembrokeshire? This is not a tourism strategy, this is not any kind of strategy, it is simply a form of surrender, allowing things to continue as they have in the past. Unwelcome, undesirable and indefensible.

Tourism in Wales developed with the spread of the rail network in the nineteenth century to serve England’s needs not Wales’s interests. Over that we had no control. Yet now we are in the second decade of the twenty-first century and the second decade of devolution, surely time we had a tourism industry serving Welsh interests. Not least because the continuing failure to serve Welsh interests will only make more people suspect that attracting millions of English tourists to Wales every year serves an agenda that has little to do with economics.

Fleece Jacket Fascists

This year saw a heated debate that most Welsh people would have been unaware was even taking place; not surprising seeing as it was about Marine Conservation Zones in the north west. Eventually, the protests of commercial fishermen and others saw the ‘Welsh’ Government do a U-turn. These Zones had been proposed with the support of the Countryside Council for Wales, now subsumed into Natural Resources Wales, and the Marine Conservation Society. The first of those bodies is run by the ‘Welsh’ Government, while the other seems to be yet another in the unending list of Englandandwales outfits. (Remember all that talk of devolution? Do you think it will ever happen?)

At the other end of the country we have seen a remarkably similar story, with very similar groups (one, the same) opposing the plan for a motor racing circuit in Ebbw Vale: first it was The Gwent Wildlife Trust, then the Open Spaces Society got in on the act before, finally, our old friends, Natural Resources Wales piped up. I made my position on the Ebbw Vale project clear in this recent post, and I shall repeat it here. If this project can deliver real jobs to the Heads of the Valleys for Welsh people, then we must support it, and ignore the objections. But earlier this week we were told that the ‘Welsh’ Government had put the project ‘on hold’. Seeing as the Assembly is in recess this decision was almost certainly taken by civil servants. Given the background of so many top civil servants in Wales we should not be surprised to see them support protests from what are, essentially, middle class English groups. Their people.

What I now realise from these and other sources is that we have a burgeoning sector of ‘Welsh’ life that is usually alien in its composition, and often hostile to Welsh interests in its policies and attitudes. The fleece jacketmembers of this sector, found all over Wales, can be recognised by their distinctive ‘uniform’ of the fleece jacket. They can be found patrolling our National Parks and nature reserves; we may know them as ‘rangers’ or ‘guides’; they may be working for the National Trust, the RSPB, Woodland Trust, countless wildlife and archaeological trusts, etc., etc. Unless the Welsh language comes into play – as with the Snowdonia National Park – then the practice in the fleece jacket industry is to not employ locals.

How do they get away with it? Simple. In today’s carefully nurtured political and social climate, in which wicked humanity is destroying the planet, a serial killer would be forgiven if he was ‘protecting dolphins’, and Hitler himself could come back and be rehabilitated if he was saving the habitat of some rare and exquisite orchid. More practically, the fleeces always have friends in high places. One was Jane Davidson, Minister for Environment and Sustainability from 2007 to 2011. Among the policies Davidson wanted to introduce was that of opening all Welsh rivers, lakes and waterways to her canoeist friends. It is of course entirely coincidental that Jane Davidson is English, and went to a private school; as is the fact that upon leaving politics she became Director of the Wales Institute of Sustainability and a spokesperson for the Ramblers Association.

Let me end by addressing something some of you may be thinking – that I’ve gone OTT with my description of these people and, consequently, the title of this post. Well, in my defence I would ask you to ponder this. We now have in Wales an army of fleece-jacketed, dictatorial outsiders who view ‘Wales’ through the prism of the group they represent – the English middle class visitor or settler. Too many of this group regard Welsh people as a blot on ‘their’ landscape, marring ‘their’ idyll. They’re in Wales, uninvited, telling us what we can and cannot do. Much of what they do (and wish to do) is inimical to our best interests, yet they do not have a single democratic vote to justify the power they possess and the influence they exert. So what would you call them?

And I haven’t even mentioned the funding. For very often the ‘Welsh’ Government – i.e. you and me – is funding these people to work against Welsh interests so that Wales can be saved for them and their friends. What a bloody system!