PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
Here we are again! For more news has come in about Jake Berry, the MP for Rossendale and Darwen who is also a property owner on Ynys Môn.
Though there have been moves behind the scenes to stop the word getting out. Facebook refuses to carry any mention of Jake Berry, or even a link to the blog when that link makes no mention of him! Now I can no longer access my Facebook page.
Telling me that this platform for despots, pornographers and election fiddlers may be closer to the Conservative and Unionist Party than I’d suspected. Thankfully I only ever used Facebook for carrying links to this blog.
So let’s hope President Trump carries through his threat to rein in these social media platforms.
In order to explain what’s new I need to tell you about legislation introduced by those wonderful and talented people down Corruption Bay who go by the name of the ‘Welsh Government’.
I’m referring to the Housing (Wales) Act 2014. Like so much ‘Welsh’ legislation this was, essentially, updating earlier legislation with the addition of a few expensive and virtue signalling tweaks for the benefit of sectors in Wales close to the Labour Party.
The perks included increased influence for housing associations, which saw their Englandandwales role enhanced, allowing them to import more tenants from over the border.
This gave us Rent Smart Wales (RSW), a registration body for private landlords which began operating in November 2016. Responsibility for running RSW was given to Cardiff City Council. (Yet another example of Welsh jobs being unnecessarily concentrated in Cardiff.)
On the one hand, who could argue with asking private landlords to register and meet certain standards?
Yet those of a less trusting bent saw Rent Smart Wales as the ‘Welsh Government’ being pressed by housing associations into making life difficult for their biggest rivals. If it benefited tenants, then fine, but that wasn’t really important.
Housing in Wales is a contentious issue, perhaps more so than elsewhere, and this is only partly due to the proliferation of holiday homes and the extension of English commuter belts along the A55 and the M4.
To compound their errors the ‘progressive’ parties then voted to abolish Right to Buy. For being socialists they’re opposed to lesser mortals enjoying the benefits of private property; they want control over the people, they want a population beholden to the state. To them.
Labour and Plaid Cymru justified abolishing Right to Buy by arguing there was a shortfall in social housing. Yet strict local allocations would have dealt with any shortfall without having to deny many Welsh people their only chance of ever owning a home.
The three candidates in Plaid Cymru’s 2018 leadership contest owned, between them (with spouses/partners) nine or ten houses. It may be more by now.
But however we got here, we now have Rent Smart Wales.
Jake Berry’s position was perhaps understandable given that he owned rented property in Liverpool. You can see that in the Register of Members’ Interests declaration from October 2016 that he also declared a house and a share of a house in Rhoscolyn ‘North Wales’.
By the time of the most recent declaration, earlier this month, the Liverpool properties had disappeared and more properties had appeared on Ynys Môn.
The house with associated farmland is Rhyd-y-Bont, bought late last year for £780,000.
One of the rental properties is Plas Coch, which seems to have been owned by the Berry family for some time. Last week I had a message from the former tenant of Plas Goch. He gave me his phone number and I rang him earlier this week.
He told me he had been the tenant of Plas Coch since 2012 but then, last summer, Jake Berry and his father turned up and gave him two weeks notice to get out. (I’m told Jake never came alone.)
When the tenant asked if the landlord or the property was registered with Rent Smart Wales Jake backed off and graciously allowed him a little longer before he had to sling his hook.
Clearly Jake Berry knew about Rent Smart Wales, and equally clearly, he wasn’t registered. To clarify the position I visited the RSW website. Searching for ‘Jake Berry’ turned up nothing. So I looked for and found an entry for Plas Coch. Which told me that our boy was calling himself ‘James Berry’.
What seems to have happened is that after being challenged by the then tenant of Plas Coch Jake Berry went to the Rent Smart Wales website and made some kind of initial registration, but this was not followed through, indicated by ‘Licence Not Yet Submitted’.
There are a number of benefits for a landlord not registering with Rent Smart Wales. As a landlord who contacted me explained:
“I find that people who ‘accidentally’ don’t register usually haven’t bothered with gas safety certification, deposit protection etc. Which begs the question, did your contact have his deposit protected? Was it returned? If he googles ‘is my deposit protected’ he can find out. He can claim back up to three times the deposit he paid if it wasn’t.
Rent Smart keep telling me they are actively issuing fines for those who don’t comply as we’re coming up to the fifth year of this being in place.
There’s something going on up in Anglesey, when I look on Zoopla at properties to rent there’s hardly any with Energy Performance Certificates which is another legal requirement.
If you want me to look into anything, I can do my best.”
Naturally, I took him up on his offer. For the idea that something odd is happening on the island raises all sorts of intriguing possibilities. Is Rent Smart Wales up to the job? Is a blind eye being turned on Ynys Môn to these irregularities?
The contact mentioned Energy Performance Certificates (EPC), and these can be found by following a link on the RSW website for each property. The EPC is very important because, from April this year, it has been illegal to “create new tenancies in England and Wales without an EPC rating of E or above“.
The EPC for Plas Goch, according to the certificate issued 21 March 2013, was 50, putting it in the E (39 – 54) band. But that was 2013, God knows what the rating is now. The fact that no test has been done for 7 years might suggest that Jake Berry is not confident of passing.
As we’ve seen, the declaration in the Register of Members’ Interests lists a number of properties, but the problem lies in the wording: ‘Land and property portfolio: (i) value over £100,000 and/or (ii) giving rental income of over £10,000 a year’, which makes it difficult to know if what is being declared is ownership or rental income.
Enquiries are further hindered by two of the properties being shared, which opens the possibility of them being registered under another’s name. So I checked the RSW records again, where all properties under each specific post code are listed, for Cerrig and Mountain View. The former was listed but unregistered, while the latter wasn’t even listed. Is it known by another name?
But irrespective of these considerations we can be sure that Jake Berry MP was illegally letting Plas Coch from 23 November, 2016, when the Rent Smart Wales legislation came into effect, until the middle of last year. And he knew it.
What action does Rent Smart Wales, or indeed the ‘Welsh Government’, plan on taking?
WALES, THE RENTIER PARADISE
The former tenant of Plas Coch also told me that from conversations with a neighbour familiar with the Berry family’s holdings that the clan may have as many as 16 properties on Ynys Môn.
In addition to the ones we know, a few more possibles have been identified by various sources, including one where the local MP, Virginia Crosbie, is said to stay during her visits to the constituency. It’s difficult to check because the Land Registry documents show this property as still belonging to a man who died over three years ago.
But death didn’t stop him putting in a planning application last year. Praise the Lord!
As a result of the ‘Welsh Government’s war on farmers, its environmental virtue signalling that benefits none but malodorous dropouts on their OPD communes and eco-shysters covering our hills with flood-causing and bird-killing wind turbines, coupled with its refusal to build a rural economy beyond tourism and granny dumping, the greater part of our country is now given over to interlopers cleansing northern villages of their indigenous inhabitants so that the Cheshire Set can demand £3,000,000 for properties in ‘Abbasock’.
Is this the Wales you want; where your children or grandchildren have to leave because there are no homes and jobs for them, or else remain as a members of a helot population subservient to a new master race?
In more than twenty years the ‘progressive’ parties in Corruption Bay have done nothing for the Welsh people. In fact they have consistently legislated against the Welsh national interest.
The Berry family and the other rentier networks are the result of ‘progressive’ party policies being enacted in Corruption Bay. Socialist policies that have achieved the same result we would have seen if Unionist-conservative parties had been running things since 1999 – the steady but relentless anglicisation of Wales.
Ideological considerations are largely irrelevant in a colonial context because it’s the colony against its masters. Those within the colony who promote their own interests by trying to disguise or ameliorate colonial rule are little different and certainly no better than those whose interests they serve.
The only way to put an end to this cycle of decline is to abandon the self-serving middle men and women to vote for one of the new parties that puts Welsh interests first, above the deceits and delusions of ideology.
So join Gwlad or the Welsh National Party, and get active ahead of next year’s Welsh Parliament elections. Because we can’t afford to keep voting for the same old liars.
Though due to pressure being applied from somewhere these posts are no longer accessible via Facebook, which has removed the links on grounds of ‘Privacy’. This could perhaps have been anticipated, for Facebook is a stickler for privacy.
And while the current pandemic makes it impossible for me to appeal it was no obstacle to dealing with Berry’s complaint. Though I console myself with the knowledge that my ‘feedback’ will be appreciated.
So that’s alright then.
VIRGINIA GETS CONFUSED
This saga kicked off with allegations that Jake Berry, the MP for Rossendale and Darwen in east Lancashire, had sneaked himself and his family onto Ynys Môn and their holiday home Rhyd-y-Bont at Rhoscolyn. This farm had been bought towards the end of last year for £780,000, cash up front.
The story might have just died had it not been for the intervention of the island’s Tory MP Virginia Crosbie, a surprise victor in last December’s election. She defended Jake Berry with, “Mr and Mrs Berry have been living here in the island since February – it is their home.”
Virginia Crosbie is a none-too-bright beneficiary of the ‘Boris Bounce’ that was so influential in last December’s election. This enabled her to romp home . . . with just over a third of the vote. Much of that support would have come from people like Jake Berry who are taking over the island.
One local contact suggests: “It will probably result in small, family livestock farms becoming far less competitive against US imports resulting in farmhouses in isolated, idyllic locations coming onto the market to become second homes and holiday businesses. The land will still be farmed, except for say 5 acres around the house to ensure privacy. What the agriculture bill will give is subsidies tied to environmental benefits, like the 5 acre wildflower meadow around the house
If you were an unscrupulous MP with aspirations for a property empire, how would you vote?”
“Unscrupulous MP”. Perish the thought!
Crosbie only just made it to that election, for I’m told that her nomination papers were delivered at the very last minute. And when you realise why, then you’ll understand that Crosbie’s insistence that Jake Berry and his family have been living at Rhoscolyn since February should be accompanied by pinch of Halen Môn. A big bloody pinch!
For as late as November 2019 Virginia Crosbie was still hoping to stand in the safe Tory seat of Mid Sussex, where Winston Churchill’s grandson Nicholas Soames was standing down. Though as Guido Fawkes told us, she was dishonestly claiming to ” . . . . have lived in West Sussex with my husband, our three children and our cocker spaniel Violet for over 10 years.”
It was dishonest because elsewhere she was claiming to have lived in Kensington for 20 years. She was certainly deputy chair of the local Tories. While hubby Ian works for big pharma in Belgium.
What she might have meant was that her family had a holiday home in Sussex, much like Jake Berry and his family have a holiday home on Ynys Môn.
One senior Welsh Tory quoted by the BBC on the way things had been handled on Ynys Môn said, “The candidate selection has been seriously flawed and chaotic”.
Once ensconced Crosbie began to claim Welsh antecedents and connections. First, with a grandfather who been a coal miner in Merthyr. But more importantly for Ynys Môn, her father had worked at Wylfa nuclear power station.
She was hame amang her ain folk! (No, hang on, that’s Scotland. Cancel the pipe band and book a male voice choir.)
The local party can probably be excused for verisimillitudophobe Virginia Crosbie because she almost certainly floated down out of a clear blue sky from a plane with the markings ‘Conservative Central Office’.
What a party!
SERVING THE CONSTITUENCY
Crosbie’s intervention served only to confirm that Berry and his family share their time between London and Rhoscolyn with rare – well publicised – visits to his constituency where he claims to stay at Clough Cottage. This is a small property conveniently owned by local Tory big-wig Tony Cope.
It seems that for 2018-2019, Berry claimed £16,618.31 for using Clough Cottage as his constituency base. Though how often he actually stays there is another matter. Because there’s certainly not enough room for him, his wife, their children and the nanny.
A constituent of Berry’s sent me this photograph she’d taken of Clough Cottage. My source was keen to point out that Clough Cottage is ‘the bit at the end’, the rest is Clough House. (I like the dappled sunlight effect.)
Though you have to wonder why Jake Berry needed to enter this arrangement with Tony Cope, for until very recently he owned a property (with tŷ bach and cwtch glô) on Helmshore Road in Rossendale. A property he sold early last year.
Which means that he sold a property he owned – but for which he could only claim council tax and utilities (totalling £1,373.40 in 2016/17) – in order to pocket £150,000 and go into an expensive arrangement with Tony Cope.
BROWN ENVELOPES ARE SO PASSÉ
In the previous post I mentioned the companies linked to Jake Berry. I wrote, “Setting up companies to provide a cover for nefarious activities is something I report on regularly on this blog, but that can’t be the case here, surely? So why set up companies and just let them fold?”
I think I now understand what it’s about. I was initially directed – with a nod, a wink, and a tap of the nose – to PEPC Ltd, a company set up by Berry’s closest aides, Paul Lambert Fairhurst and Louise Emma Inglis. This was followed by a source in the constituency suggesting there was a similar reason for Ford Bridge Farm Ltd.
Ford Bridge is of course an anglicisation of Rhyd-y-Bont.
Let’s go back to the mysterious Rhoscolyn Ltd, founded 27 March 2008, when Jake Berry was just a likely lad who had probably been promised a constituency by the Conservative Party. There was a general election on 6 May 2010, and our boy was elected MP for Rossendale and Darwen. Then Rhoscolyn Ltd was allowed to die.
Licensing Objective Ltd was formed 28.08.2014, probably in anticipation of the May 2015 general election. PEPC Ltd was set up 27.08.2016 in preparation for the June 8, 2017 general election.
No such company was needed for last December’s election because with Corbyn ‘leading’ the Labour Party, and a Brexit-Boris surge anticipated in northern England, Jake Berry was confident of increasing his majority. Which he did.
Thinking ahead to the next general election perhaps accounts for Ford Bridge Farm Ltd.
Not only that, but two sources of funding were identified: “The notorious United and Cecil donated to Jake in 2019, before that he got it from an unincorporated members association called The Portcullis Club, based in a very leafy part of the Ribble Valley.”
I suppose you’re wondering who or what these groups are. Well you can find some references online but it’s obvious those involved don’t like publicity, nor is The Portcullis Club confined to Mayhill boy Nigel Evans’ Ribble Valley constituency.
So a host of wealthy Tory backers from north west England descended on London for a bun fight. And I’m not talking local shopkeepers from Happy Families here; this is not Mr Bung the Brewer, more like, well . . . Mr Bung.
Though in fairness to Jake Berry, and I always strive to be fair – even to colonialist bastards who think my homeland is some nineteenth century ‘possession’ to be exploited – some of this funding is declared . . . but only some of it.
And who knows, perhaps United and Cecil and The Portcullis Club are not the only publicity-shy Tory funding groups that have slipped Jake Berry thousands of pounds over the past decade.
But what might these benefactors expect in return?
Of course I could be on the wrong track entirely; there might be perfectly innocent explanations for setting up companies ahead of a general election. Companies that apparently do nothing and are then written off when the election is over.
If so, then I look forward to reading these explanations.
FOLLOW THE MONEY
I made the point in the earlier posts that Jake Berry’s salary would appear to go a long, long way. But of course, the boy does seem to have other forms of income.
As this piece from Landlord Today of August 2019, reminded us in relaying a Daily Mirror report that cabinet ministers were claiming for accommodation in London while renting our property they owned elsewhere. Jake Berry among them.
So does Alice Molly Radclyffe Berry have money? The answer seems to be, yes.
That’s because, I’m told, her father is Mark Noel Foster Robinson who, some of you may remember, was from 1983 to 1987 the MP for Newport West. And later, MP for Somerton and Frome between 1992 and 1997.
Somerton Park to Somerton? (Geddit?)
But more importantly for considerations of material wealth, Mark Robinson was “Born in Bristol to John Foster Robinson, CBE, TD, and Margaret, née Paterson, Robinson’s father was High Sheriff of Avon in 1975. John Robinson’s family ran ES&A Robinson, the paper and packaging conglomerate that later became Dickinson Robinson Group.”
The Dickinson Robinson Group made Sellotape and Basildon Bond among other well-known products. So if Mark Robinson is Mrs Berry’s father then there is almost certainly money from her father’s side of the family.
What I find strange is that Alice Berry has dropped the Robinson name, but instead of using her mother’s maiden name of Pilkington, she’s gone back a generation to take her maternal grandmother’s maiden name of Radclyffe.
Whatever the explanation for this, we can be sure that Alice Berry has money. (And that’s without making any assumptions regarding the Pilkington side of her family.) Enough money to enable an arriviste like Jake Berry to play the squire and build up a property portfolio.
It’s surely only a matter of time before he’s Master of the Holyhead Hunt. (Who meet regularly to set the dogs on Shinners getting off the ferry.)
To kick-start his political career Jake Berry perhaps relied on the Bank of Mum and Dad. Then it was his MP’s salary (and expenses) – with his re-election helped by wealthy donors operating in the shadows – which allowed him to build a modest property portfolio. More recently, the boy appears to have struck gold with the second Mrs Berry.
Just think, this man was in the UK cabinet until very recently, and he still has considerable influence with his mate BoJo, who was his wife’s employer, and is godfather to their elder son.
You know me, I’m not a socialist; I want to see enterprise succeed and initiative rewarded. But that’s not what we’ve been looking at here.
For we’re discussing the modern Conservative Party. A party made up of chancers, each one looking out for number one. A party devoid of a coherent political ideology, let alone an underpinning philosophy. A party that is in no way Tory.
This is bad enough when it happens over there. But when these people are here, buying up property like Wales is one big fire sale, then something needs to be done.
But what can we expect from those buffoons down Corruption Bay. Those house Taffs, who refuse to even close the loophole that allows holiday homes to be registered as businesses.
Has Berry registered his properties as businesses, I wonder, and is he now claiming his coronovirus compensation?
Perhaps what really pisses me off is that in the Punch and Judy show of UK politics the ineptitude of the Conservatives up in London will help keep the even more useless Labour Party in power at next year’s Welsh Parliament elections.
The two-party system is like a see-saw with an arsehole at each end. When one’s up the other is down.
But all the old parties have failed Wales. Which is why we need radical change, and why we must support Gwlad and the Welsh National Party.
♦ end ♦
P.S. While idly Googling ‘Rhoscolyn’ up popped the grandly named Rhoscolyn Estate Enterprises Ltd. The ‘estate’ consists of a rather run-down, but still quite impressive property by the name of Bryn Goleu.
I’m telling you this because of course Rhoscolyn is the area where the Berry family is building its property empire, and Bryn Goleu was on the market recently. But no longer, which means it’s either been withdrawn or it’s been sold.
The Land Registry website suggests that documentation is being processed. I wonder . . .
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
The original ‘Jake Berry MP’ was such a hit with the popcorn-munching public that Jac Universal Studios is unashamedly rushing out a sequel featuring our lantern-jawed hero.
In this offering you will meet a number of new faces including another Jake, the police get involved, and there’s a cameo appearance by Boris Johnson.
So dim the house lights, sit back, and prepare to be entertained. (But don’t make too much noise with the popcorn!)
LAST TIME . . .
We left our hero clinging to a ledge above a 1,000 foot drop with the villain about to stamp on his aching fingers . . . oh, sorry, wrong screenplay.
Though it would have been a good place to start because at least we’d know where he was. For Jake Berry is a difficult man to pin down; he ducks and weaves, always on the move, like the Muhammad Ali of the government benches.
This tale began last week, you’ll remember, with reports that Berry and his family had turned up at one of their Rhoscolyn properties on Ynys Môn in defiance of lockdown instructions. They had probably come from their London SW1 home.
But Virginia Crosbie the local MP, unexpected victor in last December’s election, insisted that the family had been at Rhyd-y-Bont since February, long before lockdown. It was just that no one had noticed them . . . for three months.
Her exact words, quoted by NorthWalesLive, were: “Mr and Mrs Berry have been living here in the island since February – it is their home.” Though whether telling us that the MP for an east Lancashire constituency lived on Ynys Môn really helped Berry is a moot point.
Then evidence started dribbling out making it clear that if the Berry family had been at Rhyd-y-Bont since February then Jake Berry had been regularly breaking lockdown. And if they’d arrived on Ynys Môn the week before last, then that too was breaking lockdown. It was no longer a question of whether Jake Berry was guilty, but of which offence.
The unravelling of the alibi also tells us that the local Conservative MP has been telling porkies.
YOU WERE LEFT WONDERING . . .
Now then, let’s clear up a few loose ends from the previous blockbuster. We identified three properties at Rhoscolyn owned or part-owned by James Jacob Gilchrist Berry.
There was Cerrig, part-owned with his parents. Plas Coch, part-owned with his mother and another family member. Then there’s Rhyd-y-Bont, the farm for which he paid £780,000 up front in November.
Correction 19.05.2020: I am now informed that Max Jonathan Berry and Ruth Elizabeth Berry, co-owners of Cerrig, are Jake Berry’s siblings. Lucy Charlotte Berry, co-owner of Plas Coch, is either another sibling or the wife of Max.
I mentioned that there was a fourth property at Rhoscolyn waiting to be identified. Well now I have it. It’s Mountain View which, I’m informed, is next to Silver Bay Caravan Park. Lovely, traditional Welsh names. Names like these being the benefits of tourism and social engineering.
So that’s four properties, but I’m told there might be more properties in the area owned by Jake Berry. Specifically, the property where his defender, local MP Virginia Crosbie lives when she visits the island. I await information from my man in the shrubbery.
There was also some uncertainty as to where the Berry family actually lives. Do they have a fixed abode, or do they move with the seasons, like members of some pastoral society, driving their flocks before them?
As I’ve hinted, the permanent abode is in London SW1, a property bought for £2,150,000 in February 2017, with money up front, just like Rhyd-y-Bont. So the Berry clan will in future be moving between London and Ynys Môn with the pater familias making the occasional foray into his constituency.
You’ll see that I have redacted the identifying details from the London property. This seems the right option following a telephone conversation with North Wales Police on Saturday, a convivial chat with a chief inspector who agreed that what Jake Berry had complained about – me putting out his personal details – was already in the public domain via the Land Registry.
What I can tell you is that the London property is in the name of Berry’s wife.
The difference is that the Rhoscolyn properties were known locally and being identified on social media before I got involved. The London address is not publicly known.
THE MAGIC MONEY TREE
Something else I wondered about in the first part was where the lucre is coming from to make these expensive purchases. For Berry is a non-practising solicitor and seems to have no directorships. I remarked that his MP’s salary seems to go a long, long way.
Though I suppose with the London property being in his wife’s name she might be worth a few bob herself. Alternatively, the SW1 house could have been bought with Berry’s money and registered in her name to throw people of the scent.
On the question of companies and directorships, while there seem to be no current directorships for Jake Berry there have certainly been directorships in the past.
One snippet I was sent mentions a company called Rhoscolyn Limited. I’m afraid I don’t have the context. (Though maybe it’s from the site Company Director Check?) And of course this is how I learnt about Mountain View.
I drew a blank on the Companies House website and other sites, so if anyone out there has information on Rhoscolyn Limited, then it’s the usual routine, either leave it in the old hollow tree or send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s return to companies and directorships, for while Jake Berry himself seems to be ‘clean’, others close to him do dabble.
There’s PEPC Ltd which was run by Berry’s Parliamentary PA Paul Lambert Fairhurst and his Personal PA Louise Inglis, using a Liverpool address. This company was dissolved in December 2018 without apparently troubling HMRC or anyone else. It just did nothing in its brief existence.
Fairhurst was also involved with a company called PND Group Ltd, with a Manchester address, which went under in March 2020, also after a short period of apparent inactivity.
Inglis was further involved with a company giving a Nottingham address, called Licensing Objective Ltd. It was dissolved in February 2019 after less than five years of shuffling around a bit of small change.
Setting up companies to provide a cover for nefarious activities is something I report on regularly on this blog, but that can’t be the case here, surely? So why set up companies and just let them fold?
Let’s conclude this little excursion into the corporate world by turning our attention to Ford Bridge Farm Ltd. And if that sounds weirdly familiar then it’s because it is of course Rhyd-y-Bont, one of Berry’s Rhoscolyn properties, rendered into English. The sole director is Mrs Berry.
The company gives a correspondence address in the town of Bacup, in Berry’s Rossendale and Darwen constituency. Though why a company that uses a corrupted version of the Ynys Môn property’s name needs to be based in Lancashire is a mystery.
Can anyone offer a suggestion?
To be exact, Ford Bridge Farm Ltd is headquartered in this splendid old building in downtown Bacup that was available for rent or lease when this Google Earth image was captured in September 2018.
UPDATE: I am indebted to @JanZamosky for suggesting that Mountain View Ltd might have been formed to avoid paying council tax. Would this also explain the more recent Ford Bridge Farm Ltd?
GODFATHERS AND A ROAD TRIP
When Jake Berry’s first child was born in 2017 one godfather was Harry Cole, former co-editor of the Guido Fawkes website and now deputy political editor for the Mail on Sunday. He had rented a flat from Mrs Berry and was the long-time partner of Carrie Symonds. The other godfather was Boris Johnson.
Jake Berry obviously had important and influential friends.
Then on 24 May last year Theresa May surprised no one by announcing that she was jacking in it and told the Tories to look for a new leader. Jake Berry threw himself into Boris Johnson’s campaign.
And it was godfather Harry Cole who reported rather sniffily that Berry was to do a tour of north west England in a “yellow truck like the ones used in the cheesy 1990s American TV series Baywatch”. And for company Berry would have Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking – what a pleasure it must have been to travel 170 miles in the company of Jacob Rees-Mogg! Though I’m sure there are some who’d feel sorry for Rees-Mogg having to spend that much time with Jake Berry.
Maybe they deserve each other.
One source – who seems to know his stuff – suggests the £4,000 quoted as the purchase price for the Ford Ranger was on the cheap side. While another source might have provided the answer by telling me that Berry sends his PA Fairhurst to auctions on his behalf! Is this covered under MPs’ expenses?
As history now records, it all paid off. Boris Johnson won the leadership vote and the general election in December. Jake Berry was made Minister of State for the Northern Powerhouse. Though Rees-Mogg seems to have fallen from favour since his hommage to a fin de siècle slapper reclining on a chaise longue.
Though it turned sour for Berry as well because earlier this year he was sacked. Yes, he was allowed to make the ‘spend more time with the family’ excuse and resign. But this was a ‘Make him an offer he can’t accept’ kind of ‘resignation’.
I have no idea what became of the yellow Ford Ranger that must carry so many happy memories. Indeed, it might have been an attempt to recapture those memories that prompted Jake Berry to buy another. There’s certainly one parked now at Rhyd-y-Bont. (Or are we expected to call it ‘Ford Bridge Farm’?)
What’s odd is that the registration for the truck used in last year’s Boris Johnson Productions re-make of Thelma and Louise was CV60 ZJE, while the one parked up now is CV11 JYA.
CV is the registration for Swansea.
Harry Cole told us the road trip vehicle was “formerly used by council street cleaners”. If so, then does Jake Berry have a direct line to Swansea Guildhall that enables him to pick up old council vehicles on the cheap?
Or is there some other explanation? Does anyone recognise those registration numbers?
It’s all very well having a laugh at Jake Berry and the rest of them, but turning us into strangers in our own land is no joke.
Yet we are expected to welcome being priced out of our communities because a lying politician or a trainee hack on a provincial rag tells us that rising property prices is a sure-fire indicator of prosperity.
That may be the case in a normal society, but not in a colony!
Wales may lack the monuments to a great past, and the institutions of a mighty state. But we have something far more important – a sense of nationhood that has survived without these trappings, and in defiance of them.
Today this nation nation is growing restless because the ‘progressive’ parties have failed us.
They’ve failed us because they refuse to accept that there’s a real country beyond Corruption Bay; a country with broken communities and angry people who are sick of funding middle class lesbian co-operatives and other forms of gesture politics.
While we who are trying to combat colonialism are traduced by wassisname, who leads the ‘progressives’, as inherently right wing.
If so, then I’m proud to be a right wing nationalist standing up for my people. It’s more honourable by far than being a smug, two-faced ‘progressive’ collaborating with the colonialist system.
There was nothing to see here, she insisted, because Jake Berry lived in Rhoscolyn. “A few people have been in touch with me regarding the MP Jake Berry living here in the island. Mr and Mrs Berry have been living here in the island since February – it is their home”.
So that’s OK then.
It means that the MP for a Lancashire constituency lives 130 miles away near Holyhead. I wonder how the electors of Rossendale and Darwen would have voted if they’d known that fact before they re-elected him last December.
Perhaps what Ms Crosbie meant to say was explained when a spokesperson on behalf of Mr Berry said: “During a visit to Wales, a family member of Mr Berry started showing signs of Coronavirus. This visit was prior to the Government decision to lockdown.”
So putting together the contributions from Ms Crosbie and the spokesperson, perhaps we should conclude that the Berry family was on Ynys Môn in February when Mrs Berry was taken ill, perhaps one of the children was also unwell, so they all stayed put.
So why did no one notice them until a couple of days ago?
Two points are worth making. First, we are expected to believe that the Lancashire Telegraph sat on this story for two weeks and then published it as ‘News’. Second, Berry is reported to have had his dog with him. So if Virginia Crosbie is correct, and Berry was living at Rhoscolyn, he took the poor mutt on a 260 mile round trip.
But a few days later, on 3 April, Berry himself put out what you see below. So either he was in his constituency, as the message ‘Lovely to see this up in #Darwen’ suggests, or else it was posted from Rhoscolyn, making it a deliberate attempt to deceive his constituents into believing that he was there among them.
But if, as his defenders insist, he has been living at Rhoscolyn since February, then he could only have reached Darwen by breaking the lockdown rules.
The consistent line in all the reports I’ve read says that he was visiting relatives when a member of his family fell ill. This makes a certain sense because Berry’s wife gave birth on or just before 11 February. It would have been natural to have taken the new arrival to be seen by Berry’s parents, who do live at Rhoscolyn.
And then they went home.
In fact, Jake himself is quite the property tycoon; for he either owns outright or has a share in four properties around Rhoscolyn. As his Declaration of Interests makes clear.
One of the shared properties is the one his parents live in.
Another property he owns is Plas Coch. If I’m reading the title document and the women in his life correctly, then he owns this property jointly with his mother and his ex-wife. Which must be a bundle of laughs. But again, this property was also paid for in readies, £249,000 in May 2017.
As I’ve said, Jake Berry is a non-practising solicitor, and as far as I can see there are no directorships or other sources of income. So either there’s family money or else he makes his MP’s salary go a long, long way.
Having mentioned Plas Coch, my man in the bushes tells me that no lights have been seen there in the evening. Though there is a car parked, a silver Volvo XC70. Funny thing is that the MOT on this vehicle expired in January 2019. And the tax ran out in March last year.
Though Jake’s brother is reported to have lived at Plas Coch for a while. Is the car his?
And can anyone identify the fourth property Jake Berry owns on Ynys Môn?
The evidence suggests that the Berry family visited in February with the baby, went back to Lancashire, and turned up again a few days ago after Boris Johnson’s garbled message about staying alert.
I cannot believe that the Berry family is living permanently at Rhyd-y-Bont. It would be too risky. Some local shit-stirrer back in Lancashire would almost certainly find out and our boy would be in trouble.
Though if they are living at Rhyd-y-Bont then, when things get back to normal Jake Berry will be catching the Holyhead to London train on a Monday and making the return trip on Thursday evening or Friday. So when will he find time for his constituency? Or if he spends weekends in his constituency, when will he see his missus and the sprogs?
Alternatively, if it is a holiday home, £780,000 is a hell of a lot to pay. Insulting to the local Welsh people being priced out of the market by people like the Berry clan.
Finally. I’ve just remembered that there is no London property shown in his Declaration of Interests, so where does he live when Parliament is sitting?
The bigger issue here of course is holiday homes. Holiday homes in Wales owned by people who have no connection with our country other than the exploitative and parasitic relationship provided by the property they own.
In this pandemic, the issue has come to the fore in ways I would not have believed possible. There is palpable anger directed at holiday homes and those who own them.
Only yesterday we read that police had to ask a Liverpool family to leave their holiday home in Llandegfan, on the other side of Ynys Môn, for their own safety. This report in NorthWalesLive gives the impression of a crowd of yokels brandishing pitchforks.
Feelings are running high everywhere. But what else can be expected?
Nothing really, because tourism encourages contempt for us and our identity. Wales doesn’t really belong to us, it’s theirs to take and do with as they wish. So come to Wales . . . swamp our communities, ridicule our language, change our ancient place names, and pay £780,000 for a holiday home.
Tourism and the colonisation that always follows has given us areas of our country where we Welsh are in a minority. A constantly diminishing minority. Every year more and more communities cease to be Welsh because of tourism.
There has never been a better time for politicians to get to grips with the problem of holiday homes, but they are too cowardly to grasp the opportunity. Those weaklings in Corruption Bay refuse to give police the authority to make people leave holiday homes and won’t even increase the fine for disobeying lockdown.
In Wales it stays at £60 but in England – where restrictions have been eased! – fines start at £100.
Holiday homes are inseparable from tourism. A tourism industry that is overwhelmingly foreign owned and of little or no benefit to us Welsh. The few benefits more than outweighed by the damage caused.
We have learnt a great lesson during this pandemic – the power of community resistance. When it’s over we must continue refusing to accept holiday homes and saturation tourism.
I think this decision was wrong. Firstly, the names are clearly different, and for Plaid Cymru leaders to argue that Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru was the original name of their party is disingenuous, for that name had fallen out of use when I joined Plaid Cymru in the mid-1960s. Nor is it “widely used by Welsh speakers”. Plaid Cymru is ‘Plaid Cymru’ whether you’re speaking Welsh or English.
What’s more, party logos also appear on ballot papers, further reducing the chances of confusion.
Irrational to maintain the registration of the name ‘Welsh National Party’ having rejected the registration of its Welsh translation, ‘Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru’
Failure to consider the high likelihood that, in Wales, the Welsh translation of the name ‘Welsh National Party’ would become commonplace in the context of the official legal status of the Welsh language
Failure to give adequate reasons to explain why the English name ‘Welsh National Party’ would be unlikely to cause confusion, having accepted that the Welsh name would cause confusion
To address the first point: The registration of ‘Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru’ was rejected because it might be confused with a name no longer used by Plaid Cymru. But even that absurd decision may not invalidate ‘Welsh National Party’ because it’s unclear if the name in one language must be a direct translation of the name in other languages.
Second point: “In Wales”! – where else will the WNP be standing? While “would become commonplace in the context of the official legal status of the Welsh language” needs to be translated . . . into English.
Third point: The rather obvious answer is that ‘Welsh National Party’ is unlike the name of any existing political party. Making this an argument for accepting ‘Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru’ rather than for rejecting ‘Welsh National Party’.
Let us also remember that a few years ago, Plaid Cymru introduced the English language moniker, the ‘Party of Wales’. Though I can understand Plaid being miffed that it never caught on, because from Connah’s Quay to Chepstow people still say ‘Plaid Cymru’.
At the risk of labouring the point, Plaid Cymru is known by that name, and by that name only, all over Wales, and beyond, to speakers of Welsh, English, and all other languages.
Another irony is that Plaid Cymru objecting to a party with ‘National’ in its name. Ironic, because since Dafydd Elis Thomas led the party in the 1980s, and the left took over, ‘nation’, ‘national’, and ‘nationalist’ have been frowned on in Plaid Cymru circles. The party now deals with the geographical expression ‘Wales’, and the people(s) of Wales.
But I suspect there’s more to this harassment of the Welsh National Party than simply trying to sabotage a putative rival. As I’ll try to explain.
But before that, and in response to these latest developments, Gretta Marshall, chair of the Welsh National Party has issued the following statement:
“The WNP is going from strength to strength. The Welsh name put forward is Y Blaid Genedlaethol. We felt this was a sensible compromise. There is no possibility of confusion with any other party in Wales.
Statute law is clear. Once registered, a political party cannot simply be de-registered on a whim no matter who complains. Due process exists. Cardiff Council has already confirmed in writing that our Group of councillors in the Capital is a Welsh National Party Group.
As Party Chair, I am overseeing our action. We have written to the Electoral Commission and the Speaker Committee of the House of Commons.
The obvious thing would have been for interested parties to at least communicate with us. That did not happen, which is unfortunate. “
PLAID CYMRU, FRIEND OF THE UNION
I have long argued that from London’s perspective Plaid Cymru is the perfect ‘nationalist’ party (irrespective of how it might describe itself). For a number of reasons.
To begin with, Plaid always struggled due to the perception of it being a ‘party for Welsh speakers’. Something I encountered again and again when canvassing in the 1960s and 1970s. Being greeted on the doorsteps of east Swansea not with hostility, but an almost apologetic, “Sorry, love, we don’t speak Welsh in this house”.
That perception was a major obstacle to the party’s progress, and unfortunately it was not entirely incorrect. Which was a shame, because I knew so many who were not hostile to the idea of devolution or even independence, but they did feel excluded by Plaid Cymru’s over-emphasis on the Welsh language.
Support for what I’m saying came in September 1997, when the working class areas of Swansea voted heavily for devolution in the referendum. This was the picture from Swansea Bay to the Heads of the Valleys, the region of the shared accent, with the highest percentages of Welsh identifiers.
This region, containing almost half our population, should have been fertile ground for any party preaching radical change with a strong Welsh flavour. It is certainly the key to success in Wales.
But Plaid Cymru’s leadership, understanding little about the southern working class, believed that to appeal to this electorate the party needed to out-Labour Labour – by being more socialist!
But voters in the south supported Labour for the same reason stockbrokers in Surrey and hedge fund managers in Hertfordshire vote Tory – naked self-interest. Of course there were socialists among the Labour voters, but most put up with the leftie dreaming just so long as Labour delivered on wages and holiday pay and lower taxes.
But in its naiveté, Plaid’s out-of-touch hierarchy saw red flags, barricades and electoral success . . . but realised nothing more than a few false dawns.
And now, things are even worse, for Plaid Cymru seems to have abandoned the practical and self-serving ‘socialism’ of the old southern working class in which I grew up for lunacies straight off California’s campuses.
This combination of still being perceived as a Welsh language party while now insisting that 16-year-olds can have gender reassignment surgery on demand – and branding as a fascist transphobe anyone who disagrees – has as much chance of electoral success as I have of becoming chairman of Cardiff City Supporters Club.
But if you were sitting at a desk in London wouldn’t you adore a no-threat nationalist party like Plaid Cymru? Wouldn’t you do your best to support it . . . and slap down any rival threatening to expose and replace it?
Which is why I suggest there may be more to this quibbling over party labels than meets the eye.
Away from the hair-splitting, Plaid Cymru could be in its death-throes anyway. Having failed to win in the south (or the north east), and having done no more than retain its four seats in last December’s elections (and come no better than third anywhere else), Plaid Cymru is more penned in to its heartland than ever.
A socially conservative heartland that votes Plaid Cymru for very similar reasons to die-hard Labour areas in the south vote as they do – perceived self-interest and force of habit.
But through emigration and colonisation – issues Plaid Cymru has refused to confront (especially the latter) – it’s only a matter of time before people in these areas give up on Plaid Cymru and resign themselves to the Cornwallisation of what was Y Fro Gymraeg.
But if a new party emerges – be it the Welsh National Party or Gwlad – to address the problems of lack of investment, low wages, poor infrastructure, house prices, saturation tourism, etc., etc., then such a party could both outflank Plaid Cymru in its heartland and also appeal to those urban areas Plaid Cymru has scarcely penetrated.
PLAID CYMRU, LABOUR’S LITTLE HELPER
Despite all the huffing and puffing Plaid Cymru has no chance of blowing down Labour’s house. In fact, it’s not really trying. Because in Plaid Cymru’s weltanschauung Labour, despite being the dominant party, isn’t really the opposition, let alone the enemy.
No, comrade, the enemy is always the Conservative and Unionist Party. The Tories are no more or less Unionist than Labour . . . but of course they’re a party of the right.
Grasp that and you’ll realise that Wales’ constitutional relationship with England and the state of the nation are of secondary importance to how the governing party in London is viewed through Plaid Cymru’s ideological prism. And this explains, a) why Plaid Cymru attracts leftist fringe elements, and b) why it’s forever cwtshing up to Labour.
For don’t be fooled by the sound bites and the electioneering – Plaid Cymru has no real desire to overcome ‘Welsh’ Labour, and if it did by some chance get more AMs then it would almost certainly and immediately offer a coalition deal.
LABOUR’S LITTLE HELPER 2; WHERE IT GETS PERSONAL, AND WHY
The Welsh National Party is not a one-man band, far from it, but because Neil McEvoy is involved, and because there are elements in Plaid Cymru that regard him as Beelzebub’s emissary on Earth, this personalises the attacks.
A clear case of insider advantage, even corruption. But, again, Neil McEvoy became the villain for exposing it!
And yes, it’s the same woman, Nerys Evans, who’d been involved with the Ofcom scandal. I understand that when she ceased to be an AM Plaid Cymru, as a farewell gift, presented her with a lovely moral compass.
No doubt it will turn up one day on The Antiques Roadshow. Unused.
Hinkley Point nuclear power station is in Somerset, but dumps its contaminated mud off the coast at Cardiff. As a Cardiff AM Neil McEvoy was doing his job in asking for an Environmental Impact Assessment. Plaid Cymru thought he was being ‘confrontational’.
The body involved in both cases was Natural Resources Wales, an agency of the ‘Welsh Government’. Making Plaid Cymru more concerned with saving Labour’s blushes than with serving the national interest.
Later, when Neil McEvoy criticised the decision to allow the CEO of Natural Resources Wales to retire and walk away, leadership candidate Rhun ap Iorwerth and Llywydd (Speaker) Elin Jones were said to be “furious” at his impertinence.
But Elin Jones is very close to Labour. Here’s a photo I’ve used recently showing her with Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs in a Dublin bar with Griffiths’ boyfriend ‘Game Show Gary’ Haggaty earlier this year.
Few images illustrate the closeness of the Labour-Plaid Cymru relationship than a Welsh-speaking woman from a farming background sharing a glass of porter with two people intent on destroying the Welsh family farm and all it stands for.
It was inevitable that Neil McEvoy’s enemies would strike back. First, in March 2017, Labour-controlled Cardiff city council suspended him on a trumped-up charge of ‘bullying’. He was in fact standing up for a woman getting a rough deal from the council.
Eleven days later, as pay-back for exposing the Deryn-Ofcom scandal – and at Deryn’s insistence!– Plaid Cymru followed Labour’s lead and also suspended him.
He tells us that, “a group of domestic violence survivors and women’s activists has written to Plaid Cymru calling for the party to review its support for Mr McEvoy”. The group was represented by Rachel Williams . . . who just happens to be a member of the Labour Party hiding behind a third sector body. (And there are hundreds of them in that disguise.)
Later we read, “fellow (Plaid Cymru) AMs complain of him (Neil McEvoy) being in a ‘continual attack mode'”. In other words, Plaid Cymru is criticising Neil McEvoy for attacking the Labour Party, the corrupt and incompetent buffoons who have run Wales into the ground.
The leaks came from Labour First Minister Carwyn Jones’ office to Deryn, where Jo Kiernan could be found. Kiernan was a former adviser to Jones. The following week it was she that Carwyn Jones phoned soon after hearing of Sargeant’s suicide. One of two calls he made to Deryn.
What we see at work here is the unwritten alliance between the self-styled ‘progressive’ parties Labour and Plaid Cymru, lobbyists, civil servants (answering to London), and the third sector. They mwah away in the swamp of Corruption Bay and they all have the knives out for Neil McEvoy because he knows how they operate, and worse, he threatens their cosy and corrupt relationships.
Another recent example of the alliance in operation was in November 2019, when Neil McEvoy tried to introduce a register for lobbyists, an initiative that was opposed by both Labour and Plaid Cymru. With their opposition choreographed by Deryn.
Though, strangely, in 2016 Plaid Cymru was in favour of a register of lobbyists. Google still shows the link (below), but the information has disappeared from the Plaid Cymru website. Fancy that!
Yes, Neil McEvoy brings down trouble on his own head, but he does it for the right reasons, because his ‘crime’ is – exposing corruption.
As if all that wasn’t enough to make enemies for him in Plaid Cymru and Labour there are also very important political and financial considerations.
In 2016, Neil McEvoy, standing as a Plaid Cymru candidate in the Cardiff West constituency, almost beat Mark Drakeford, the current First Minister of the so-called ‘Welsh Government’.
And the vote was most definitely for Neil McEvoy rather than for Plaid Cymru, as the results in the other Cardiff seats made clear. In next year’s elections to what is now the Welsh Parliament Neil McEvoy will be standing again in Cardiff West, and he has a very good chance of winning.
Which means that another motive for Plaid Cymru attacking him and the WNP is to protect the First Minister. For he drives the gravy train.
If Plaid Cymru had two heads it would have one stuck up its own arse and the other stuck up Labour’s.
THE NASTY PARTY
By being what it has become, Plaid Cymru obviously attracts the young idiots with their absurd ’causes’, and their black and white take on everything. But most of them will, hopefully, mature.
But Plaid also has an already mature element that should know better, but behaves irresponsibly and vindictively, egging on the young hotheads. We saw it with the horrific treatment of Dilys Davies.
One of these is Rhian Fitter, who tweets as ‘Mrs Eff’, @ichy_vagenda. She recently attacked Neil McEvoy over an incident from 1996, when he was a young teacher in Pontypool.
The facts are that returning from a school trip to France, and arriving back in Pooler after midnight, two local ne’er-do-wells tried to hijack the bus full of kids. There was a bout of fisticuffs and Neil McEvoy managed to get the two off the bus. The fight continued on the street and the hijackers’ mates turned up, which resulted in Neil McEvoy getting a bit of a kicking. This has left him with impaired hearing.
But the bus got away and the kids were safe.
Neil McEvoy told the story at a Plaid conference, but because it puts him in a favourable light there are some in Plaid Cymru who say he must be lying. Rhian Fitter being one, though why she chose to dredge it up when she did can only be guessed at.
Not only did she dredge the story up but she re-wrote it. For Neil McEvoy never claimed the incident took place in the Middle East, nor did he mention guns. Rhian Fitter knows that full well but still feels it’s OK to lie because she’s attacking Neil McEvoy.
She even organised a poll. Given her followers the outcome was predictable. Though she didn’t have it all her own way.
What I find fascinating here is that Rhian Fitter, while telling lies about Neil McEvoy, and generally traducing his reputation, accuses him of trying to discredit Plaid Cymru! Breathtaking double standards.
But of course Rhian Fitter is a ‘progressive’, a native of the sunlit uplands. She is both morally and intellectually superior to people like Neil McEvoy, and me. And as is the way with her kind, she entertains no doubts.
A few more nasty and inaccurate tweets were posted. Until eventually it dawned even on Rhian Fitter that she may have gone too far, and so she deleted some of them.
But even in ‘apologising’ she can’t resist having a Parthian shot with ‘aliens’!
I shall end this section with a salutary tale from Swansea, illustrating how vindictive Plaid Cymru can be, and where it gets them.
An old mate of mine is Ioan Richard, who served the Mawr ward on the outskirts of the city for decades, both on the old Lliw Valley district council and then the unitary Swansea city council. He was Lord Mayor 2011/12.
Ioan fell out with Plaid Cymru many years ago and stood as an independent for most of his political life. In 2004 he and other independents went into coalition with the Liberal Democrats to run the city council. Plaid Cymru, which had a chance to join the coalition, chose to sit in opposition with the bruvvers.
It is believed that the order to stick with Labour came from Plaid Cymru HQ.
In 2012 Plaid Cymru threw a lot of resources into targeting Ioan’s seat in Mawr, unsuccessfully. Dai Lloyd and his cohorts were seen daily in a semi-rural ward the party had previously neglected. Ioan won. Labour came second.
Plaid Cymru lost their five seats in Swansea, and now the party is little more than a shadow in my home city.
In 2008 in the Llansamlet ward where another old friend, Dr John Ball, had been the party’s first Swansea councillor, Plaid Cymru was even beaten by the BNP!
The parallel is in Plaid Cymru cwtshing up to Labour and attacking a man who wants better for Wales after seeing through Plaid Cymru’s hypocrisy from the inside.
Since Dafydd Wigley was deposed Plaid Cymru has just gone through the motions of being an alternative to the Labour Party. In reality, there is an agreement between the two parties to hoover up the non-Tory vote.
And they can get more votes by staying separate than by officially merging.
An agreement helped by both wanting just enough power and money from London to fund their growing networks of cronies, and also to indulge in the gesture politics and the virtue signalling they prioritise.
And London, even with a Tory government in power, will be happy to fund this corruption in order to ensure that there’s no serious threat from Wales.
Don’t you find it strange that with less than a year to go to the 2021 elections to the Welsh Parliament, and with Labour in power for over two decades, Plaid Cymru is more concerned with attacking a new party that’s hardly got off the ground?
What are we to make of this?
Next year, anyone who cares about Wales would be a fool to vote for Plaid Cymru because a vote for Plaid Cymru will be a vote for the Labour Party . . . and for Deryn . . . and for the third sector . . . and for colonial rule. If you are determined to vote for the pond life of Cardiff Bay it would make more sense to cut out the middle man and give your vote directly to Labour.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. Because next year you will be offered alternatives to those who have betrayed us; you will be able to vote for new parties, with fresh ideas, and candidates who will put Wales and Welsh interests first.
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
This a complicated story, so I advise you to pay attention. I’ve written about Dawnus and Hydro Industries a few times in recent years, but now I want to go back, ten years and more, to the start of this story. I shall use information from a number of sources, primarily Rebecca Television, the greatly missed Cneifiwr blog, and another well-informed source.
We’ll begin in March 2006 when it became clear that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was winding down its Llangennech site in Llanelli and the prospect was causing some consternation in the locality.
Soon after the closure, early in 2009, the ‘Independent’-Labour-run Carmarthenshire County Council purchased the site and immediately sold it on to a commercial entity. Which raised a number of questions, aired in this report from May of that year.
First, why couldn’t this commercial entity, R & A Properties, have bought the site from the MoD? Second, why wasn’t R & A Properties registered with Companies House? Third, who was behind R & A Properties?
The answer to the first question will be given later.
Question 3 was answered very quickly when we were told that one of those behind the scheme was David Francis Pickering, former captain of the national rugby team and then chairman of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU). Working with his “lifelong friend” Robert Nigel Lovering.
So we have The Labour Party in control in Westminster, Cardiff Bay, the Shire Hall (coalition), and a staunch Labour supporter gets handed the deal of his life with the old MoD site in Llangennech. Such serendipity!
But back to the questions.
The second question was answered by David Pickering when he said, “I know some people will find it strange that R & A is not a limited company but we’ve been advised to do it this way by our professional advisers.” So they paid someone to ‘advise’ them to enter into a multi-million pound deal using a non-existent company! Advice like that might explain Pickering’s business record, which we’ll look at in a minute.
Though in fairness, there does seem to have been a company, or rather, a Limited Liability Partnership, called R&A Properties, for it’s mentioned in the accounts of Hydro Industries Ltd for y/e 31/03/2016. (More on Hydro Industries anon.)
The problem here is that R&A Properties LLP does not exist, or it has certainly never been registered with Companies House. So from what parallel dimension did this creature slip through the Llangennech portal to help Hydro Industries?
A company called R & A Properties Cardiff Limited was eventually Incorporated 5 March 2019, with Pickering, Lovering, and Wayne Preece (of Hydro Industries) as directors. Why it took so long to legitimise R & A is a mystery that might be answered later in this posting. Though why ‘Cardiff’ should be in the name, seeing as the correspondence address given for the company is the Stradey Business Park in Llangennech, remains a mystery.
The deal in 2009 was justified because Pickering and his mates had a ‘blue chip’ company lined up to provide dozens or hundreds of top-notch jobs. The number given seemed to depend on who you spoke to and which way the wind was blowing.
Later in 2009 we learnt that Thales UK, part of the French defence giant, would be adapting the Bronco All Terrain Tracked Carrier built by a Singapore company and re-branding them ‘Warthogs’ for deployment with the British Army in Afghanistan.
As you’ve read, the 37-acre site was bought from the MoD by Carmarthenshire County Council and soon sold to the mysterious R & A Properties LLP.
The Land Registry turns up nothing for Stradey Business Park or Stradey Park Business Centre. You have to use the LR map, which produces two separate titles. The first, CYM462190, for ‘Land on the north side of Mwrwg Road, Llangennech’. The second, CYM458189, ‘Land on the south side of Mwrwg Road, Llangennech’.
There is a third title, mentioned on both of these documents, it’s CYM444641, but it seems to be unavailable at the Land Registry website.
What we learn from these documents is that Robert Nigel Lovering owns both titles . . . or rather, they were bought with loans from Lloyds Bank Plc and The Secretary of State for Defence, with Carmarthenshire County Council chipping in later.
Moving on . . . early in 2009 the MoD sold the Llangennech site to Mark James, aka Carmarthenshire County Council, and he quickly sold it on to his mates, Dai Pickering and Robert Lovering.
And that answers the first question we left hanging earlier – why couldn’t R & A Properties have bought the site directly from the MoD? Answer: R & A couldn’t buy directly from the MoD because Lovering was getting a loan from the MoD to make the purchase. So it had to go through Carmarthenshire County Council.
For a very similar reason, the loan from the council in December 2012, was made not for the purchase of the site but to improve it.
You’ll have noticed that only Lovering’s name appears on the title documents. So why is that?
If we look at the companies David Pickering has been involved with, most are dissolved. The only ones still standing fall into three categories: 1/ Companies he left, 2/ Companies associated with the WRU, 3/ Companies Pickering has joined or formed in recent years. We’ll look at this final category in a minute.
It’s difficult to escape the conclusion that Pickering is a failed businessman whose public profile and many contacts can still get his size 12s under boardroom tables.
COOL, CLEAR WATER
One hypothesis to explain this remarkable deal in Llangennech must be . . .
The MoD had agreed the Warthog deal with Thales in 2008, but was reluctant to invite Thales to do the work at Llangennech themselves because politicians and media might view that as too close a relationship between the British Ministry of Defence and what was after all a French company.
With the added advantage of Llangennech being well off the beaten track for the London redtops.
So I make no apologies for again using this scene from the Godfather, in which Willie Cicci gives evidence to a Congressional hearing. For just like the Corleone family the MoD needed ‘buffers’ between them and Thales.
It’s difficult to explain the convoluted sale in any other way.
One of the companies with which Batty was involved – one of the few still afloat – is the Langland Bay Golf Club Ltd. One of Swansea’s better golf clubs in an up-market suburb. In fact, this part of the city figures more than once in this narrative.
For not only does Lovering live in Langland Bay, but Preece is also a resident. And among the previous directors of the Langland Bay Golf Club I see Huw Wyn Price. Price and his wife were the founding directors of Lancehawk Ltd in 1986. Lovering joined on 1 July 1999 and seems to have taken over, to the extent that he is now the only director.
I assume the company is doing well because I see 12 satisfied charges over the years, some with lenders I’ve never heard of. The accounts, unaudited and abridged, show Total Net Assets of £872,709.
‘Lancehawk’ has a certain martial ring to it. And so I wouldn’t be surprised if it has done work for the Ministry of Defence. The address given for Lancehawk used to be Lovering’s Langland Bay home, but now it’s relocated to – where else? – the Stradey Business Park.
Maybe someone else thought Lancehawk sounded a bit too ‘Up yours!’ which might explain the company trading as the rather blander European Telecom Solutions (ETS).
Though the ETS website doesn’t seem to be maintained very well. For example, the latest ‘News’ is for September 2018. Has nothing happened in the last year and a half? Why is there no mention of Covid-19 such as I find on every other website I visit these days? Don’t tell me ETS is another ‘buffer’!
Another Lovering company to add to the line-up is R & A Secure Services Ltd, formed 6 September 2012. That ‘R & A’ again. But it can’t be the ethereal company we seek because Lovering is the sole director. Its correspondence address was in central Swansea, but last September it moved. You have one guess!
Preece, as I’ve said, seems to have been involved in no company before 2011, with the exception of the rather odd Brightley, but then in 2012 and 2013 Preece joined a number of companies under the ‘Hydro’ banner, all based on the Stradey Business Park. In chronological order they were:
Hydro Industries Marine Ltd Formed 29 November 2012 with Preece, Lovering and Philip Graeme Morgan as directors. The company seemed to do nothing and was dissolved via compulsory strike-off 14 July 2014.
Hydro Industries Ltd Formed 2 September 2010 by Janine Morgan, who I assume is the wife of Philip Morgan, who joined her 1 April 2011. Next came Christopher Lewis 27 June 2011, and then Pickering, Preece and Lovering 2 January 2013. More recently we have seen a number of luminaries climb aboard. One of those new arrivals is Robert Brooks, who I’m told lives or lived just around the headland from Langland Bay in Caswell Bay. The Morgans left 6 August 2014.
Hydro Strata Ltd (formerly Hydro Mining Ltd). Formed 11 March 2013 with Preece and Morgan as directors. Never more than a dormant company and it was dissolved via voluntary strike-off 25 April 2017.
Hydro Utilities Ltd Formed 4 April 2013 with Morgan and Preece as directors. Morgan left 5 August 2014 and the company drifted towards voluntary strike-off 25 April 2017.
Hydro Environmental Systems Ltd Wayne Preece was in on the ground floor with Morgan 3 May 2013. Morgan left 5 August 2014 and Pickering joined 19 June 2019. Accounts and confirmation statement are overdue.
Hydro Marine & Salvage Ltd Preece and Morgan were there at the kick-off 7 October 2013 but Morgan left 5 August 2014. Dissolved by voluntary strike-off 25 April 2017.
Hydro Oil & Gas Ltd Preece and Morgan from the start 7 October 2013, Morgan left 5 August 2014 and Preece called it a day with voluntary strike-off 25 April 2017.
What I find strange here is that the late Philip Morgan (he died suddenly in the early part of 2018) was an expert in his field, academically recognised. Morgan’s departure from the Hydro companies in August 2014 can be explained by him setting up KP2M Ltd in April 2014, which trades as Power & Water from its Llansamlet base.
Yet what knowledge of water did Preece bring to the party, with his background in Sony televisions and Thales?
And yet despite Preece’s apparent lack of knowledge of H2O Hydro Industries thrives. For as we read recently, the company has been awarded two lucrative contracts in the Middle East. One is in Saudi Arabia, and then there’s a £150m gig in Egypt.
Things are certainly looking up at Hydro Industries. Just compare the balance sheets below, covering a 4-year period. What you see represents quite a turnaround in just a few years. Did they find a Fairy Godmother?
For remember, this impressive improvement preceded the Middle East contracts!
Here, in pdf format is the latest distribution of shares, dated 2 September 2019. Note that although Robert Lovering ceased to be a director 1 July 2019 he retains his share holding.
Let’s now go back to the time before Preece joined Morgan at the Hydro companies.
THALES COME, THALES GO
After losing his managerial job with Sony in Bridgend – the plant finally closed in early March 2006 – Preece found himself doing fixed-term contracts for Thales UK. This gave him a foot in the door.
And tells me that by late 2008 Preece knew about the deal Thales had struck with the MoD to convert the 100+ Singapore-built Broncos into Warthogs. He now used whatever influence he had to get Thales to bring the work to Wales.
But he needed help.
If they didn’t already know each other then this is when the troika formed. Preece had the contacts with Thales (possibly also the MoD); I believe Lovering certainly had the MoD contacts (which is why the site was ‘sold’ to him); and then there was Dai Pickering, with his Labour Party contacts, and his rugby anecdotes guaranteeing him the best biscuits in Mark James’ private suite.
This explains why, in defence of the deal, the council said the sale had been agreed with persons “known to some officers”. For Mark James, then the county CEO, is a big rugby fan, and has used council money and sweetheart deals to benefit the local Scarlets.
And the generosity was reciprocated. For as Cneifiwr reports: “Shortly after the council approved the purchase and simultaneous resale of the site in February 2009, the chief executive of Carmarthenshire County Council accepted an invitation from David Pickering to a rugby international.”
The Ministry of Defence was quite happy to sell the Llangennech site to the county council on the understanding that the council immediately sold it on to Preece, Lovering and Pickering. This may be the reason that the partnership back in 2009 had to be kept under wraps.
Despite all the hype, the brass bands and the kids waving flags to welcome Thales, the French outfit didn’t stay very long. So, why did Thales pull out? Well, here’s what I’ve been told . . .
Thales signed the lease agreement with Lovering, or Lovering and Pickering, or all three, before the site had actually been bought. Which of course made the agreement invalid. Possibly illegal.
This cock-up was perhaps attributable to the fact that the agreement had not been concluded by Thales’ Properties Department, as would have been normal, but by another arm under some Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) measure.
In an attempt to cover up le désastre I’m told that the final page of the lease agreement, with signatures and dates, ‘went missing’. When it ‘reappeared’ the time lords had worked their magic – for now it showed that the site had been purchased before the lease agreement was concluded between the mysterious R & A Properties and Thales.
But this was only a short-term measure. Once Thales held one of its regular checks on lease agreements, which would examine all documentation, the feline would be free of the encumbering sack.
And so Thales pulled out and took the work elsewhere. Search for ‘Llangennech’ or ‘Llanelli’ on the Thales website and nothing comes up. It’s as if this chapter never happened.
Which was a great pity. For while it lasted Thales provided good jobs and the workforce repaid the company by making big profits on each vehicle. A million pounds per vehicle has been quoted to me.
But Thales upped sticks and took the work away to less favourable locations, with inferior facilities, and more expensive premises. A ‘lean-to’ in Glasgow that could barely accommodate the vehicles was mentioned, as was a much more expensive venue in Sussex that lacked a decent crane.
So everyone lost out . . . except perhaps those who had screwed up.
Because I am convinced that the British government stepped in when it became obvious that Dawnus was on the ropes and going down for the count.
I say that because a) Dawnus was operating in Sierra Leone and other ‘sensitive’ areas of West Africa where China is extending its influence; b) because expensive plant and machinery was shipped out to West Africa – out of reach of liquidators and creditors – before the collapse; c) because administrators reports have been delayed for another year; and d) because the two phoenix that rose from the Dawnus flames, DIG International Group Ltd and DIG Civil Engineering Ltd, moved in March from the old Dawnus depot in Clydach to . . . go on, have a guess!
In addition to the main depot and yard at the old Players Tinplate works site in Clydach, Dawnus also had a presence in the Ashmount Business Park in Llansamlet. Very close to where Hydro Industries began life in 2010 as Watertec Solutions Ltd. And where today we find Power & Water.
Are these coincidences?
I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I just know enough about how the world works to know that the UK government, or the MoD, or certain other agencies, don’t open offices abroad and put up a brass plate reading ‘Spies ‘R’ Us’. It’s done subtly, often using phoney companies as fronts.
Or recruiting genuine companies already operating in an area of interest. There might be an approach along the lines of, ‘As you’re out there, old boy, we were wondering . . . ‘. Nothing 007 about it, just keep your eyes and ears open and we’ll have the occasional chat.
Or it might just be supporting British companies in Africa and elsewhere in order to counter the influence of rivals. Today, in Africa, that means China.
Those who’ve seen the wonderful film, Our Man in Havana, will recall that Alec Guinness’s character, James Wormold, is a vacuum cleaner retailer recruited by MI6. It may have been a piss-take by writer Graham Greene, but he knew what he was writing about, he’d been recruited by MI6 himself. And posted to – of all places! – Sierra Leone.
The different trajectories of the Dawnus group and Hydro Industries, and the Thales debacle, all link through a number of factors.
First, we have various arms of the UK government treating Wales as a colony, and interfering in our political and economic life. Then there’s the lack of openness and accountability at local government level. The ‘pliability’ of those elected to Corruption Bay. The cupidity of certain BritNat businessmen. And finally, good old-fashioned Labour Party cronyism.
And I haven’t even mentioned the drones, but that can wait.
Do you still want to know what’s wrong with Wales?
♦ end ♦
P.S. The British military has always directed operations at Llangennech and that is still the case. Which is why I should have mentioned Rick Libbey, a 30-year-service man who is Chief Operating Officer for Hydro Industries.
It’s pretty clear who really calls the shots at Hydro.
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
Here’s something to keep you occupied in these long days of lockdown after you’ve finished mowing the lawn, walking the dog, and counting your bottles of Malbec.
This is another bumper issue, some 4,500 words, but it’s made up of a number of unrelated reports, so there’s no need to gorge; take your time and enjoy!
A PEOPLE THAT ISN’T TAUGHT ITS HISTORY . . .
I watched a documentary the other week about Arthur, Duke of Brittany, who may have had a stronger claim to the English throne than his Uncle, John, and his claim was even supported by John’s brother, Richard I, ‘Coeur de lion’. Having raised an army to challenge his uncle, young Arthur blew his opportunity, was captured and – if contemporary rumours are to be believed – came to a particularly gruesome end.
The programme established that John was a very nasty piece of work, possibly a psychopath. He also drank heavily and often flew into uncontrollable rages. It was best not to be around him when he’d ‘taken a drink’ (as great-aunt Fastidia might have phrased it).
My ears pricked up when one of the contributors to the programme, seeking to establish John’s credentials as an all-round murderous bastard, mentioned his killing of young Welsh hostages at Nottingham castle. This was something I’d never heard about, so obviously I checked. It was true.
At a low point in his glorious career Llywelyn Fawr was held in check by his father-in-law John by the surrender of some 28 young hostages, sons of Gwynedd’s leading families. When Llywelyn next flexed his muscles the boys were hung from the castle walls. Reported here in ‘Nottinghamshire History’.
“In order to keep the Welsh Prince Llewellyn in subjection, John, had taken as hostages 28 boys, ranging from 12 to 14 years of age, and kept them in his Castle at Nottingham. It is said the news came to the King while staying at his hunting palace at Clipstone that the Welsh Prince had again broken out in revolt. Hastily summoning his followers, he held a Council beneath the spreading branches of an oak tree (now known as Parliament Oak), when the execution of the hostages was decided upon. Then he swore ‘by the teeth of God’ that he would not eat again until he had wreaked his vengeance, and mounting his steed, he rode in all haste to Nottingham Castle, where he gave instructions for the execution of the hostages, as a preliminary to quelling the rising; and the shameful order was immediately carried out before his eyes, the boys being taken from their play—some screaming, others pleading in vain for mercy—and hanged on the Castle walls.”
Both the murder of Arthur of Brittany and the killing of the hostages are in some accounts attributed to William de Braose, 4th Lord of Bramber, who often served as John’s very willing torturer and executioner.
The title Bramber comes from the family’s castle in Sussex, but De Braose was more active in the March, as Sheriff of Hereford and Lord Abergavenny. And while John was reviled in the north west William made his enemies at the opposite corner of the country, due to the Massacre at Abergavenny Castle in 1175.
The facts are that Seisyll ap Dyfnwal, ‘Lord of Upper Gwent’, was invited to a Christmas feast at the castle, along with his eldest son, his followers and their attendants. Being invited guests, they followed custom and left their weapons outside. Once inside, the doors were locked and de Braose’s men attacked and killed their Welsh guests.
It is then rumoured that after the massacre de Braose rode to Seisyll’s home and killed his younger son Cadwaladr after snatching him from his mother’s arms.
De Braose’s behaviour is ‘excused’ by arguing that Seisyll ap Dyfnwal had killed de Braose’s uncle, Henry FitzMiles, so it was tit for tat. But attempting to wipe out the male lines of the leading Welsh families in the locality suggests de Braose was trying to expand his own land holdings.
In 1182 Hywel ap Iorwerth of Caerleon had Dingestow castle, near Chepstow, destroyed and Abergavenny castle burnt by Seisyll’s relatives. De Braose was not there but his men were taken captive.
After it was burnt again, this time by Glyndŵr’s forces in 1404, Abergavenny castle ceased to be used as a fortification and gradually fell into disrepair.
‘These were brutal times, they all behaved like that’, is what you’ll hear from defenders of the Union. But I don’t recall any incident in which our ancestors behaved with such barbarity, depravity and duplicity.
If they had, we’d have been taught it in school. You can be sure of that.
ONE PLANET DEVELOPMENTS REVISITED, AGAIN
Back in December – in an update – I mentioned that a Neil Moyse, who lives on a OPD at Tir y Gafel in Pembrokeshire, is applying to build another OPD at Llyn Adain Gwydd, near the village of Meidrim in west Carmarthenshire. The village to which I trace my direct paternal line.
In a nutshell, Moyse wants planners to believe that a family of four will be able to support themselves as gardeners on 1.63ha of land, even though a great part of the holding will remain uncultivated. Much of it, in fact, is water, accounting for the ‘Llyn’ element in the name.
But any property built in such an attractive location will be valuable, especially if it is imaginatively ‘extended’, perhaps in the manner of Bryn Llys, at Nebo. Which, I’m sure you’ll recall, transmogrified from a traditional Welsh farmhouse into a mansion betraying the aesthetic sensibilities we associate with Lottery winners, or in this case, a gang of fraudsters.
I’m not for one minute suggesting that Moyse is a crook like those at Bryn Llys, but neither am I persuaded that this is a simple One Planet Development. And if the Moyse family moves to Llyn Adain Gwydd what happens to their property in Pembrokeshire?
My understanding was that OPDs offer a chance for people to exchange the crass materialism of the modern world for lives attuned to the rhythms of nature, not for building property empires.
All of which would be reason to reject this application, but a little bird in the tree tells me that Moyse and his kin are pretty irresponsible to boot.
For I hear that during this period of lockdown the Moyse family travels almost every day from their Pembrokeshire property to their new lakeside estate near Meidrim. Is this ‘essential travel’? And now they’ve even pitched a tent!
My little bird also says . . .
“Black sheeting . . . ‘shines’ across valley and due to cutting down of many trees is much more open to view. . . . people turned up today in massive camper van looking . . . to camp out . . . The wood behind Mr Moyse’s plot belongs to Woodlands.co.uk. This wood has camper vans sited in it that are there illegally. People are coming and going and fire smoke can often be seen. They have blocked the public footpath and even after representations from local council have not reopened. These are friends of Mr Moyse . . .”
As I’ve explained many times before, OPD is just another tactic in the wider strategy of dispossessing us Welsh and replacing us with a new population. Because in 20+ years of devolution those cringing bastards down Corruption Bay have done nothing to benefit those who belong in this country.
And if you want an example of the ecological credentials claimed by these OPD land-grabbers, then I’ll let my little dicky bird finish its song with, “otters and geese that have been nesting and breeding for decades have not been near this year.”
Visualise an unspoilt area of Welsh land, a sylvan gem. Would you rather see otters gambolling there or gangs of arrogant English hippies in camper vans and silly houses, incessantly burning wood while pontificating about saving the planet?
The greatest contribution these people can make to the Welsh countryside is to leave it.
Gary is a senior civil servant, but more importantly, the lover of Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment Energy and Rural affairs in the ‘Welsh Government’.
In the piece in which he debuted a few weeks back I mis-spelt his name as Haggarty. Sorry about that, Gary, but we all make mistakes.
Anyway, I asked if anyone had information on Gary, so I could ‘pad out’ his biography, as it were. And I had a few responses, so here’s some more information that I put out recently. Here in pdf format.
I’m told he’s originally from Portsmouth, or thereabouts. He is said to have been a leading light in the Young Socialists, or its replacement, Young Labour.
How Gary came to Wales is unclear – did he attend university here? – but until some 10 or 12 years ago he was employed in in the ‘Welsh Government’s regional office in Llandrindod Wells, and he is believed to have lived in Abbey Cwm Hir.
‘Game Show Gary’ left his wife and child/children for another woman, a younger woman who was also a work colleague. Gary is said to be a great one for ‘helping’ young female colleagues. Very much a hands-on approach.
Once in Cardiff, as Head of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Strategy, and administering the Glastir and Farming Connect programmes, he stated, more than once, that “Farmers in Wales are over supported and under taxed”. His hostility towards farmers was made clear in other ways.
And yet, despite his openly expressed hostility towards Welsh farmers he progressed within the ‘Welsh Government’s departments dealing with farming! In May 2016, Lesley Griffiths was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs. This would have brought her into direct connect with Gary Haggaty . . . and their contact soon became very direct.
When the affair between Griffiths and Haggaty became public knowledge last year he was assigned the post of Deputy Director, Community Safety Division within Welsh Government. And if you’re wondering what the Community Safety Division is, it’s an excuse for Wales not having power over policing. In the early days of devolution it was known as the Crime Reduction Unit.
Up until his transfer Haggaty was advising Lesley Griffiths on ways to make life difficult for Welsh farmers, done in order to make land available for hippies and rewilders, eco-zealots and zip wires. In other words, anybody but the Welsh. Seeing as they’re still an ‘item’ he’s probably still advising her.
But forget the affair. The real cause for concern should be that a man like Gary Haggaty, with his blatant and regularly expressed hostility to Welsh farming, should ever have been in a position of influence within the ‘Welsh Government’.
But he was. And there are many other civil servants like him in Wales, who answer to London, dictate to the ‘Welsh Government’, and do serious damage to our country and our nation.
I’m sure there are people out there with more information on ‘Game Show Gary’ Haggaty, so just leave it in the usual tree-trunk.
AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE
We have 48 bodies in Wales ‘combating homelessness’. (Or did have in 2017, now it’s probably more.) You might think that with so many battalions in the field Wales is on its way to victory over homelessness, but that would be to misunderstand the strategy at work and the objective.
There are CEOs pulling down £80,000+ a year and many other Labour Party cronies doing very nicely out of maintaining high levels of homelessness . . . so this is a ‘war’ that must not be won.
Among the major players in the homelessness racket is Llamau, which has appeared on this blog many times. Like so many third sector bodies in Wales Llamau seems to be run by female English disciples of Common Purpose, the liberal freemasonry, who specialise in screwing public money from thick-as-shit Labour politicians with no better ideas on how to use money.
Here’s a little tale about Llamau’s CEO which gives an idea of how things link up in Cardiff Bay, and the incestuous political culture that prevails in that cess-pit.
In the ongoing – unending? – leftist-third sector witch-hunt against Neil McEvoy, Frances Beecher was one of the complainants. (And was almost certainly encouraged to make her fatuous contribution by Deryn Consulting.)
But enough history. For I bring tidings of Llamau expanding.
There was an organisation called the Swansea Young Single Homeless Project (SYSHP) which did good work in the ugly lovely town for almost thirty years, but on 1 October 2019 it merged with Llamau. Or rather, Llamau took it over 3 October 2018, when the SYSHP trustees/company directors were given the heave-ho and replaced with Llamau appointees.
Among the replacements was lawyer Thomas Graham Breed who – on 23 January this year – became a director of Capital Law in Cardiff. (Belated congratulations, Graham.) This is one of the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’s favoured legal firms. A great deal of Welsh public money goes to Capital Law.
It was obviously a hostile takeover and you have to wonder why SYSHP succumbed to it so meekly. Were they told it was a fait accompli, and given the choice between takeover and collapse?
It being a done deal might explain why the Supporting People Grants (the mainstay of SYSHP funding), administered by the ‘Welsh Government’, fell from £832,938 in y/e 31.03.2018 to £644,215 in y/e 31.03.2019.
While other funders, including the Lottery, thought SYSHP was a good enough bet to increase their funding.
It’s very odd, because with such well-connected and influential new hands on deck you would expect ‘Welsh Government’ funding to have increased . . . unless, as I suggest, it was an engineered failure to facilitate complete takeover.
According to the latest available accounts for SYSHP as a condition of the takeover “. . . the charity (SYSHP) will meet all of its liabilities and then transfer over the remaining assets to Llamau at their fair value . . .”. but Llamau now owns the Swansea Young Single Homeless Project, and its assets.
I can only assume that all outstanding debts and charges are to be paid out of the remaining SYSHP funds and whatever is left transfers to Llamau. Including the prime assets of 51 & 52 Walter Road in central Swansea.
What we see here is another example of an organisation using its influence in Cardiff Bay to promote itself in other parts of Wales at the expense of rivals who do not have the ear of our wise and incorruptible tribunes, and do not socialise with the civil servants who manipulate said tribunes.
This phenomenon – the norm in third world countries – explains so many things. For example, it tells us how Wales & West Housing has become our only truly all-Wales housing association.
Another manifestation of this phenomenon, one I note as I travel around, is that Cardiff estate agents get business all over Wales. It’s so sad that there are no estate agents in other parts of the country.
Yes, devolution’s been good for some in Cardiff. As long as you’ve got the connections.
Dawnus did a great deal of work in West Africa, and it was suggested that Ebola in that region went some way to deciding Dawnus’s fate. For the company’s decline was said to have begun with the Ebola outbreak in January 2014.
Not long after Ebola hit we saw the arrival on the scene of Nicholas Charles Down, whose Linkedin profile suggested he’d worked mainly outside the UK. Though it’s difficult to figure out if he’d been brought in to try to save Dawnus or to administer the last rites.
And now it appears that Down is neither the director of any company nor is he involved with a Limited Liability Partnership. So where did he go?
The reason I got interested in the Dawnus story was that I received a number of reports saying that the most valuable machinery was shipped to West Africa towards the end of 2018, when the shit was visibly heading – if in slow motion – towards the fan.
The photographs below that were sent to me purport to show the heavy stuff en route to the docks for shipment to West Africa.
Two companies emerged from the catastrophe. The first was Dawnus International Group Ltd, formed 22 March 2019, which shook off the ‘Dawnus’ tag by becoming DIG International Group Ltd less than a week later. The second was DIG Civil Engineering Ltd, formed 9 April 2019, but still a non-trading company according to Companies House.
The two companies shared an address in Clydach before moving last month to Stradey Business Centre in Llangennech, Llanelli. Which is interesting, because this gives me the opportunity to introduce another player in the form of Hydro Industries, also based at Stradey Business Centre.
You’ll have to go back to last year’s articles to get the full import, but to cut a long story short, there has always been military and defence industry involvement in the margins of this saga. French defence giant Thales being one of the players. For a time Thales had a presence on the same Llanelli estate where we find the DIG companies, and Hydro Industries.
The thing about Hydro that I found remarkable was who got involved with this rather obscure little company in Sosban last year. Though it might be relevant that among the original Hydro directors is arch BritNat and former chairman of the Welsh Rugby Union, David Pickering.
In June 2018 Guto Harri joined the board of Hydro. That’s Guto Harri who regularly appears on Newsnight, the former BBC journalist and communications director for Boris Johnson when BoJo was mayor of London.
Harri was soon joined by Diane Marguerite Marie Briere de’Lisle, who is course French, and the wife of Admiral Insurance founder Henry Englehardt. Then came Henrietta Baldock of Bank of America and Legal and General Assurance. With Robert Brooks as secretary. ‘Who him?’ I’m not sure, but I guarantee he don’t live round by ‘ere.
There’s no doubt in my mind of UK government involvement in the demise of Dawnus. Our masters in London might not have caused the Dawnus collapse but they took advantage because Dawnus was involved in a strategically important region.
I suggest that the involvement of the UK government explains why the ‘Welsh Government’ offered Dawnus no real help – the pretend politicos down Cardiff docks were warned off.
Around the same time Hydro ‘won’ the Saudi and Egyptian contracts its business address moved from Llangennech to Berkeley Square in West London. (That’s Berkeley Square of nightingale fame.) Quite a move for a company started by a bunch of Turks.
So who now owns Hydro Industries?
Come to that, who now owns the machinery in West Africa? Was it shipped home to pay off creditors? I doubt it very much. Those shipments of machinery from Wales to West Africa in late 2018 were made to keep assets away from liquidators and creditors. That machinery and equipment is there now winning hearts and minds, and combating the spread of Chinese influence.
The irony is that Hydro Industries, and to a lesser extent Dawnus, provide clean drinking water to those who realise the importance and value of this essential commodity. While here in Wales, the whining invertebrates calling themselves the ‘Welsh Government’ are quite happy to give away our water!
UPDATE: I’ve been sent something that links with both Dawnus and the point I made in the earlier section about Cardiff estate agents getting the work all over Wales. This is the old Dawnus depot in Clydach, up for sale on Prime Location, with details available from Alder King of Cardiff, which has its HQ in Bristol.
OH GOODY! ANOTHER WIND FARM
A few years back there was an attempt to plant yet more wind turbines near the A44 as it snakes its way up from Aberystwyth to meet the A470 at Llangurig. The project was imaginatively named Mynydd y Gwynt.
Those behind it seem to be a family of local landowners who’d already diversified in a number of ways. To promote its scheme the clan had linked with Isle of Man-based company Renewable Energy Holdings Plc.
Now there’s another wind farm scheme, this one called Lluest y Gwynt. The company Lluest y Gwynt Wind Farm Ltd was formed in June 2018 . . . just months after the Court of Appeal hammered the final nail in the Mynydd y Gwynt coffin.
So is Lluest y Gwynt just Mynydd y Gwynt under a slightly changed name, and at a site very close by?
There have been a few dozen Eco2 companies over the past twenty years but the most recent additions to the stable have been, Eco2 LYG Limited, Incorporated 24 May 2018. And Eco2 Dulais Limited (27 November 2019). Darwell is the major shareholder in both, with a line-up of shared directors.
The documents received by the Planning Inspectorate for Lluest y Gwynt can be viewed from this link.
Statkraft, like all investors hoping to exploit poorer countries, seeks out those with access to the local ‘chiefs’. So it has linked with Cardiff-based Eco2 to gain access to local politicians and decision makers.
I’m sure that Statkraft is hoping Eco2 CEO Dr David Williams will be able to help. For having served as chairman of the ‘Welsh Government’s Energy and Environmental Sector Panel from January 2011 to August 2018 he must know a few movers and shakers down Corruption Bay.
There’s nothing new in this. When I wrote Corruption in the wind? in November 2018 I recounted the amusing tale of a mystery woman frantically lobbying in April 2017 on behalf of those behind some Powys wind farms. (Scroll down to section headed ‘Mystery woman’)
That woman was Anna McMorrin, live-in lover of Alun Davies AM, who became the MP for Cardiff North in the June 2018 election. McMorrin wasn’t employed by the investors behind Hendy and Bryn Blaen wind farms because she knew owt about wind turbines, she was employed solely because she knew people down Cardiff docks who could make the decisions the investors wanted.
And it’s the same with Statkraft and Eco2.
Lobbying down Corruption Bay isn’t restricted to Deryn Consulting and other lobbying firms, for Labour insiders also feather their nests from knowing who to schmooze. And Labour Party insiders doing so well from this system explains why there is no register of lobbyists down the Bay.
Will Lluest y Gwynt succeed where Mynydd y Gwynt failed? Perhaps. But why should we cover more of Wales with ugly and inefficient wind turbines to kill red kites and other birds while increasing the risk of flooding, and all done to enrich a company owned by the government of one of the richest countries on Earth?
Finally, it’s worth remembering that Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, will have a big say in whether or not to allow Lluest y Gwynt wind farm, So who do you think Statkraft and Eco2 should have a quiet word with; you know, someone who might be able to influence her?
Watch this space.
‘SEASONAL PROPERTIES’, AN UPDATE
In the previous post I reported on a minor act of vandalism in Pwllheli and the bizarre response of North Wales Police.
Someone painted ‘Go home’ on a number of holiday flats near the marina and GogPlod responded by waxing lyrical about key workers staying in these properties, even pleading, ‘How would you like it . . . ?’ – even though no one was staying in them! I described this contribution from the local gendarmerie as ‘bollocks’, even questioning whether it had originated with the police.
Though I was certainly enchanted by the new term, ‘seasonal properties’.
I’m beginning to suspect that when it comes to holiday homes or ‘seasonal properties’ the police would rather not be bothered. Yes, they’ll do some patrolling on main roads for the benefit of the cameras but confronting some selfish bastards sitting it out in their or someone else’s holiday home is just too much trouble.
AND, FINALLY . . .
There are those who say, “Oh there’s nothing wrong with devolution, it’s the fault of the Labour Party. Get rid of them and everything will be fine”. Having given this view the consideration it deserves (about 0.3 seconds) my response is – bollocks!
Wales is now so hopelessly corrupted, its political class, public officials and burdensome third sector motivated either by serving themselves or else serving England – often both – that nothing short of very radical change can improve things for the great majority of our people.
Consequently, any intellectual under-achiever who suggests that things would be better with a Plaid Cymru management team in Cardiff Bay, or a Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition, should receive either a pitying pat on the head or a kick up the arse. (Perhaps depending on whether you’ve ‘taken a drink’.)
If next year’s Assembly elections go ahead we must ensure there are not enough AMs from Labour and Plaid Cymru to form a coalition. That must be the starting point for the change Wales needs.
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
The coronavirus lockdown has confirmed some things that we already knew, such as the fact that many of our politicians, both in London and Cardiff, are incompetent dissemblers. Which leads me to hope that many of them pay the price when we next have a chance to vote.
Though less well known was the fact that there seems to be no legislation stopping some oaf stacking up his supermarket trolley with toilet rolls; with Mrs Oaf following behind, her trolley containing enough pasta to feed a small Italian town for a month.
And why is there apparently no law against a retailer profiteering in a crisis by charging £20 for a pack of twelve toilet rolls?
RECAP: ACTION AND REACTION
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced lockdown on Monday 23 March and the problems for Wales began on the first weekend following that announcement. The examples in the panel below come from different parts of the country but the picture was very similar everywhere.
It was a case of fearful locals responding to ignorant and inconsiderate holiday home owners and tourists.
Though there was an improvement the following weekend, and the Easter weekend that followed that.
In part due to more of our neighbours belatedly accepting that a ‘stay at home’ directive had been issued, and obeying it. But also attributable to an increased police presence on major roads, coupled with car parks and tourist attractions being closed off, and other measures to deter people from travelling into Wales or else turning them back when they’d arrived.
Even so, the selfish, the inconsiderate, and the downright arrogant, just kept coming. And now, just before Easter, they were getting imaginative about it. For as WalesOnline reported, holiday home owners were sending their luggage by courier and driving down in empty cars in case they were stopped by police.
A ploy made easier by a number of holiday home owners claiming their second home as their main residence. Thus escaping the council tax surcharge on holiday homes and even registering their car(s) from the holiday home in order to get cheaper car insurance.
(Someone also tried to explain to me that there’s some Capital Gains Tax advantage . . . but I think I fell asleep. Zzzzzzzzz.)
Below you’ll see the original Facebook post that alerted us to the scam and is quoted in the WalesOnline article I’ve just linked to. I know Wyn Humphreys, he had a garage and repair shop in Aberdyfi for many years, he knows the community well. He’s now based in Tywyn and has car parts delivered by courier every day, so he knows the drivers.
The greater imagination and evasiveness employed by holiday home owners was mirrored by an increased hardening of attitudes on the part of the locals. Brilliantly shown in this short video from Julian Lewis Jones.
Julian is an actor, I understand, but I’ll forgive him that, and if I ever bump into him when this is all over I’ll buy him a pint. Or whatever actors drink.
There was an increasing polarisation between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ that I found intriguing to observe. Not least because the ranks of the ‘Us’ contained some strange bed-fellows.
Clearly, coronavirus and the lockdown have made residents of rural areas focus on holiday or second homes in ways that few people could have predicted beforehand.
For we’ve experienced an upsurge in bad feeling that’s got stronger as the lockdown has progressed, to the point where the hostility directed against holiday homes is now as widespread and virulent as I ever remember it. (And believe me, I go back a bit!)
Some reading this will dismiss concern over holiday homes as a ‘nationalist thing’, but it’s not. I know people – of the BritNat persuasion – who have been out on patrol, searching for and then reporting occupied holiday homes. I put it down to the ‘Spirit of the Blitz’ – like a WWII ARP warden reporting someone whose windows weren’t completely blacked out.
A kind of Blitz without the Luftwaffe.
But whatever the explanation, if I had raised the subject of second homes with these corona-zealots a month ago, they would have defended holiday homes with the usual ill-thought responses, ‘good for the economy’, ‘locals don’t want them’, ‘that’s just anti-English’, blah, blah, blah.
But in recent weeks – and I have seen it myself! – English people living locally have been out ‘harassing’ (as one holiday home owner put it) English second home owners. This has taken some getting used to.
We can see and hear it in the video below from WalesOnline. Because the people staying in the Airbnb property are not being harangued by someone native to Penmachno.
The property is owned by a woman who lives in France, and her explanation for renting it soon starts to unravel.
Of course it’s a health issue for those I’m talking about. And when lockdown is over feelings will subside . . . but things will never be the same as they were before. The animosity towards holiday homes generated by so many of them being owned by selfish and arrogant bastards will never disappear entirely.
It’s almost inevitable that viewing holiday homes in a new light has spilled over into a more guarded attitude towards tourism generally. Again, a response to selfish and irresponsible behaviour, this time on the part of many thousands of people who seem to think that Wales has no existence other than as a holiday destination.
CHANGING THE NARRATIVE
You’ll see that this post is entitled ‘Seasonal properties’, a term that may be new to you, as it was to me when I read it on the NorthWalesLive (Daily Post) website, and used by North Wales Police.
It also appeared as an item in the BBC Wales coronavirus rolling news (below).
Embarrassed by the attention, the owner of one or more of the properties defended himself by claiming that the properties were “available” for key workers.
GogPlod took up the theme and embellished it with the strange statement you’ve read in the image above. Let’s look at it again, paragraph by paragraph.
“The owners of the properties and the key workers are making a significant sacrifice to contribute to the collective response to the coronavirus outbreak.”
But there’s nobody staying in those properties. And if key workers were staying in them, then the owner(s) – rather than having empty properties earning nothing – would be having an income. How would that be a ‘sacrifice’?
“From our patrols we can say that the vast majority of seasonal properties are not occupied by tourists and have been given up to local people.”
Where the hell were these ‘locals’ living before coronavirus hit? In caves? Under boulders? Down in the sewer systems? Everyone living in the north will know that’s more bollocks. Does the person who wrote it even know northern Wales?
“Now more than ever we cannot afford to divert our stretched emergency services away from the work of collectively tackling this pandemic.”
The emergency services may be stretched, but with that daubing we’re talking about half an hour’s work for a PCSO. If time is so precious why waste it on a propaganda exercise?
“Ask yourself how you would feel if returning to this after a long shift keeping the community safe.”
This is clever, it appeals to emotion over reason, but it’s just more bollocks. Because no key workers are staying in those 8 semi-detached, holiday let, ‘townhouses’.
I genuinely doubt if that statement was written by a police officer, unless it was one with certain political leanings who also had some knowledge of psychology and propaganda techniques.
A statement that so shamelessly over-eggs a very minor incident and misrepresents the truth can only damage the credibility of Heddlu Gogledd Cymru.
It is the kind of statement that might have been issued by a political commissar speaking in the name of an organisation back in the old USSR. For example: ‘The Basket-weavers Union of Kazakhstan condemns in the strongest possible terms the US Army’s incursion into Laos’.
In the West this work is usually referred to as psychological operations, but it fulfils a very similar role. In addition to MI5 and MI6 and the traditional intelligence units of the British army we have recently seen the emergence of the 77th Brigade to combat ‘cybernats’ and others perceived to be enemies of the state. Is the 77th Brigade now handling NWP’s press releases?
The comparison with commissars and psyops is valid because the statement issued by North Wales Police was political. It even introduced a newly-coined term with ‘seasonal properties’; suggesting someone, somewhere, had realised that ‘second homes’ and ‘holiday homes’ had pejorative connotations.
It’s the introduction of this term, and the way it’s been used in that bizarre statement that tells me those who watch over us are getting concerned about the increasingly hostile focus on holiday homes, and where it might lead.
The reporting of the Pwllheli graffiti was an attempt to take control of the narrative.
But then, just when it seemed that hostility towards ‘seasonal properties’ was abating, along came another hammer blow. One that might prove fatal to the ‘commissars’ hope of returning Wales to the resigned acceptance of holiday homes from the pre-coronavirus days.
For we learnt that those holiday home owners who had cheated our local authorities out of council tax – by claiming that their property was a small business – are in line for a windfall in the form of Covid-19 compensation, anything from £10,000 to £25,000. This news re-ignited the pissed-on embers.
The leaders of Gwynedd, Anglesey, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire councils have all called on their councils not to make the payments until checks have been made to sort the genuine small rural businesses from second home owners cheating the rest of us.
Though according to Councillor Elwyn Vaughan payments are already being made in Powys. But then, many of the rat-race escapees who run Powys council probably sympathise and identify with holiday home owners.
Though it was disappointing to read deputy council leader Aled Davies respond with, “These businesses, which include farm diversification projects, holiday chalets and second homes when let, make a valuable contribution to our tourism offer and our local economy”.
Listen, Aled, genuine small businesses like farm diversification projects will not lose out. But your knee-jerk reaction makes you sound as if you want to pay everyone, including the cheaters.
So, is that your position, Aled, to pay everyone – cheques without checks? If so, how does such an attitude protect the interests of the people of Powys?
The Covid-19 compensation payouts will be another headache for the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’, already buckling and looking beaten by the pandemic itself. Yet it’s a problem they could have avoided years ago by closing the legal loophole that allows this chicanery.
But as we know, and as I’ve explained on this blog, the ‘Welsh Government’, and the civil servants that control it, hate almost everything about the Welsh countryside – except what is alien, intrusive, and damaging to Welsh identity.
Thirty and more years ago I recall politicians loftily insisting that they would never submit to the ‘terrorists’ of Meibion Glyndŵr. The implication being that if the arson campaign against second homes ceased then something might be done about the problem. (For no one denied they were a problem.)
Here we are, thirty years on, and nothing has been done; the problem is worse than ever. After two decades of devolved government, after 21 years of ‘Welsh solutions for Welsh problems’.
If anyone attacks a ‘seasonal property’ then the police should head straight to Cardiff Bay and arrest London’s management team; both those masquerading as the political leadership of Wales and the puppet-master civil servants.
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
This is just a ‘quickie’ to reassure my countless fans in Corruption Bay that the Grim Reaper has not come a-calling at Chateau Jac.
Were that to happen then the weeping and wailing would be heard from the Afan Valley Adventure Resort to Llangefni Shire Hall. (How are those projects progressing, by the way?) The resultant tsunami of grief from political and third sector circles, the tourism industry, and those who have come to Wales to invest dirty money, would take us from pandemic to total catastrophe. Catastrophe, I tells ye!
As the title suggests, this piece is about homelessness. I take the view that it’s inevitable people will become homeless; some through no fault of their own, others though making the wrong lifestyle choices. Whether both groups should be helped in the same way, and treated equally, is a discussion for another time and another place.
My criticism stems from the fact that there are clearly individuals and organisations exploiting homelessness in their own interests. The evidence is everywhere. When I submitted a FoI to the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ in late 2017 the reply told me that Wales already had 48 organisations involved in what I make no apologies for having called ‘the homelessness racket’.
And now I’ve run across another member of the cartel, this one called Housing Justice, yet another English organisation that has added ‘Cymru’ to its name and branched out into Wales in the era of devolution. And it’s always Wales, never Scotland.
They come because they know they’ll got a good reception – and funding – from the ‘Welsh Government’. For nowhere else on Earth does the third sector exercise such influence over an administration. In fact, it is part of the administration.
That, and the fact that due to policing, justice and prisons not being devolved, added to the mess of a privatised and inefficient probation service, has resulted in Wales becoming a dumping ground for England’s problems.
In terms of funding, Housing Justice – which is both a company and a charity – is not a major drain on the public purse like some of the other players in the business. Its role seems to be more of a facilitator, or a link. What I’m trying to explain will become clear later.
As I said, this is an English organisation, with its headquarters in London, and run by Christians of various denominations. Housing Justice Cymru was set up in 2016, though this brief article suggests that HJ was already operating here, with Wales regarded as a ‘region’. Presumably of England.
For the piece I’ve just linked to tells us, “first director will be Sharon Lee, currently acting coordinator for Housing Justice’s Faith in Affordable Housing project, Wales region”.
You’ll probably remember that Wales & West CEO, Anne Hinchey, is also a devout Christian, as are others connected with W&W. Which I’ve always thought was odd. For Wales & West is undoubtedly one of Labour’s favoured housing associations, if not the outright favourite.
And yet, most of the bruvvers I’ve known over many years have been either agnostic or atheist. How do we reconcile a secular political party being so close to a housing association where, when it comes to recruiting and promoting staff, Christian belief may be more important than the qualifications and qualities necessary to run a multi-million pound business?
Before getting back to Housing Justice Cymru I’d like to mention something I picked up in the Annual Report and Accounts for 2019. On page 12 we read that among new projects set up in 2018 was one in ‘Chester (West Chester)’. So I checked the map provided by HJ, and I even tried Googling ‘Housing Justice Chester’ but there was nothing. The nearest shelter seems to be in Ellesmere Port, which is north of Chester.
Mildly confused, but undaunted, I pressed on.
From what I can gather, Housing Justice Cymru‘s initial focus of operations was on Swansea Bay, with shelters in the city itself and in Neath Port Talbot. This may be due to the presence in Penclawdd of Mandy Bayton, a director of Housing Justice and something of a leader among those on a mission to do good.
But then, late in 2018, HJC launched night shelters in various Wrecsam churches. And once again we see the Wales & West link at work, for CEO Anne Hinchey never misses a photo opportunity.
I’m in no doubt that the Wrecsam night shelter links with the opening of HMP Berwyn, the UK’s largest prison, the previous year. For prisoners released from Berwyn, with nowhere to go, become Wales’s responsibility, even though most of them come from outside Wales.
I’m equally sure that the Wrecsam night shelter is the one referred to as ‘Chester (West Chester)’ in the HJ Annual Report. This is reminiscent of the ‘West Cheshire’ deception used by estate agents hoping to sell local properties to those who can be persuaded that Froncysyllte and Rhosllanerchrugog are Anglo-Saxon place names.
But if you really are that stupid, then Jac’s got magic beans . . .
Though in the case of Housing Justice Cymru I’m sure it’s a genuine mistake. Which means that HJC thinks the largest town in northern Wales is part of Chester.
I mention it because it might link with this story from the BBC yesterday about cabins for homeless people in Llandudno and Bae Colwyn. Though Housing Justice Cymru is not mentioned, only Cais. If they’re both running schemes for the homeless in these towns then rough sleepers should be well catered for.
But will there be enough to go round? Or will we see homelessness outfits fighting on the streets of Rhyl, Prestatyn and Colwyn Bay just like the drugs gangs from north west England fight in these towns over their customers?
What am I saying! There’s plenty more over the border, both homeless and drug addicts.
Cais, you’ll recall, appeared here not so long ago, in this post. Cais is one of the major players in the A55 homelessness/social dumping racket. With the latest accounts reporting an income of £10m, half of which goes on salaries – £70,000+ for the CEO – but still manages to leave £1.6m in the bank.
According to the Charity Commission website Cais operates in ‘Lancashire and throughout Wales’ but the ‘area of benefit’ is ‘Wales and the Marches’. The composite below makes me think of a number of problems.
First, putting Lancashire ahead of Wales rather gives away Cais’ priorities (though the map also covers Cumbria!). Second, how can importing criminals and drug addicts from Manchester and Liverpool be of ‘benefit’ to Wales, or the Marches? Third, how can the ‘Welsh Government’ and local authorities fund an organisation that is so obviously working to the disadvantage of Wales?
Clearly Cais and Housing Justice treat Wales with some contempt. To them we are just an appendage into which England’s problems can be dumped. But that’s how the homelessness racket operates.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that homeless people/rough sleepers move around of their own volition, but what we have in Wales is organisations that are quite blatant in importing homeless and rough sleepers. While in the north the problem has been exacerbated by the opening of HMP Berwyn, with capacity for over 2,000 prisoners.
Before finally explaining what I believe is going on, here’s another little insult from the Housing Justice Cymru Facebook page.
“We simply can’t find enough ways to say thank you”, it says. Why not try ‘Diolch’?
Incidentally, the Caer Las mentioned in the FB post is another third sector outfit based in Swansea that deals almost exclusively with released prisoners, who are often housed in cheap property bought in residential areas. Caer Las has made itself very unpopular over the years, especially in Llanelli.
In addition to setting up night shelters and serving up hot soup, Housing Justice Cymru is also in partnership with housing associations; not just Wales & West but also Pobl.
Proof comes in the form of Jonathan Hughes, based in Swansea, who “is a Catalyst Worker for Housing Justice in Wales”. (I thought it was called Housing Justice Cymru.) Before joining Housing Justice Cymru Hughes was Director of Development (West) for the Pobl Group, headquartered in Newport.
Now to explain what I believe is behind it.
Like other homelessness organisations Housing Justice Cymru controls valuable ‘assets’ – in the form of homeless people. Which makes HJC attractive to housing associations. Wales & West of Cardiff has a limited presence in the Swansea area; how better to increase its footprint than by linking – via the Christian connection – with a group already established in the area.
In the north, we have a Category C prison that is way too big for our needs providing a regular supply of ‘clients’ for third sector bodies like homelessness organisations, using Welsh public funds. (Or whatever is left over after salaries, junkets and jollies.) Berwyn has become a magnet for both third sector outfits and housing associations.
In addition, we have bodies like Cais importing directly.
But the ‘homelessness’ organisations have to be there first to confirm that people are homeless and in need of somewhere to live. These then become prospective tenants for Wales & West and others. And because of the backgrounds and ‘issues’ of these homeless, housing associations can demand – and get – top dollar.
In essence, we have developed a system that sees housing associations ‘feed off’ homelessness organisations. For housing associations this is much more lucrative than housing law-abiding and hard-working Welsh people.
And to help facilitate this relationship we have people like Sharon Lee, director of Housing Justice Cymru and chair of Wales & West. And she’s not the only one with a foot in both camps.
The third sector in Wales is, increasingly, run by people who have moved to Wales themselves making careers out of exploiting others that they or someone else has dumped on us. And we pay for this.
Not just in direct funding, but also in blighted communities, added pressure on the NHS, more work for our police and courts. So look at the big picture, which is so easily lost when you’re on the moral high ground hugging each other for being so virtuous.
When Labour loses next year’s Assembly elections, whoever takes over should reform the third sector as a priority. And use the money saved for what Wales really needs.
Little things like an economy, an education system, a health system, infrastructure and all the other things prosperous and well-run countries take for granted.
For just as nobody ever got rich working for somebody else, no country ever prospered from allowing itself to be constantly shat on by its neighbour.
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
In recent years I’ve written a few articles – too many to list here – about the unrelenting assault on Welsh farming and rural life. A campaign that sees Welsh politicians used as puppets by senior civil servants serving interests other than those of Wales and Welsh people.
This post is in the form of an update.
THE GATHERING STORM
Arraigned against our farmers are politicians in London of assorted political hues, left-‘Green’ politicians in Corruption Bay, civil servants linking Westminster and Whitehall with Cardiff docks, and land-grabbing ‘environmentalists’ who tend to be either strident memsahibs or darlings of the Guardianistas.
Now on the one hand, we all want cleaner water. But it looks as if Ms Griffiths and her friends have been over-zealous in their attempts to give us crystal clear rills, rivers we can cross by walking on the backs of spawning salmon, and lakes home to old slappers catching the swords that are regularly chucked in.
But on the other hand, we don’t want to drive farmers out of business using sly and underhand methods. Well, I don’t, but there are some who do, and Ms Griffiths is an ally of theirs, possibly no more than a tool.
In both statements you will see reference to Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ). This term is used to describe areas, “that contain surface water or groundwater that is susceptible to nitrate pollution from agricultural activities”.
The percentage of Welsh land designated NVZ currently stands at 2.4% (750 farm holdings) and there was an understanding that the percentage would increase – Natural Resources Wales recommended 8% – but Ms Griffiths has proposed that the whole country becomes a NVZ. (So you’ll understand the response of the farming unions.)
A flick through those responses makes it clear that farmers’ bodies were outnumbered by angling clubs and environment groups, a number of them Englandandwales bodies. (I’m thinking here of the National Trust, the RSPB, Marine Conservation Society and the Angling Trust.) And the way the responses came in suggest that members and supporters were whipped into line.
One question considered the effects of an All-Wales NVZ on the Welsh language. There was a majority view that enforcing an All-Wales regime would be damaging to the Welsh language because the (often unnecessary) expense involved could prove too much for the smaller family farm. But in the very last paragraph we read:
“One respondent who agreed with the question thought language should not be a fundamentally important factor in any new regulations. However, it was essential that a Welsh identity was maintained through clean waters and a beautiful countryside.”
So there you have it. Remove Welsh-speaking farming families and Welsh identity will be perpetuated by the water nymphs and sword-catching slappers to which I heretofore alluded.
But I repeat, I want to see clean rivers and lakes; it’s just that I believe this can – and must – be achieved without waging war on the farming community. Which is what it seems motivates Ms Griffiths and her pals, using the findings of a consultation process skewed by those with many years experience in such dark arts.
This proposal to extend NVZ must not be looked at in isolation, for it is part of a wider strategy to ‘discourage’ traditional farming and open up the Welsh countryside to new ideas . . . and a new population.
Which means that pleasing a few thousand hippies and eco-fanatics was seen to be more important than providing an economy, a health service, an education system an infrastructure, and all the other things needed by three million people.
And remember! in 2009 Wales was managed by a Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition.
‘One Wales: One Planet’ led, in October 2012, to the ‘Welsh Government’s Technical Advice Note (TAN) 6, which allowed One Planet Developments. A measure intended to attract hippies into Wales and allow them to build what they like, wherever they choose; with local planning authorities forced to give them planning permission, often retrospectively.
Wales is the only country in the world to have enacted this hippies’ charter.
No other country entertains anything like this bullshit.
More recently we have seen the arrival of the memsahibs and the Monbiots demanding huge swathes of our homeland in which they can play silly buggers. I’ve dealt with this in The Welsh Clearances of 16 October 2018 and a number of times since. Just type ‘rewilding’ or ‘Summit to Sea’ in the search box on top of the sidebar to find these further contributions.
There is is no question that influencers have been working on the ‘Welsh Government’ for a decade or more, and they have tended to be men with little understanding of or sympathy for farming, and very often a poorly concealed hostility towards Welsh farmers.
We should not be surprised therefore that through the malign influence of this cabal Welsh farming has been weakened by one cut after another, to the advantage of the hippies, the memsahibs and the Monbiots.
They always encourage legislation against farmers, nothing is ever done for farmers.
Most of those I’m referring to have been mentioned in previous blog posts, but now I want to focus on one who has been rather overlooked, Gary Haggarty. No, this is not Gary Haggarty, the UVF killer and supergrass, but Gary Haggarty, former Rural Director for the ‘Welsh Government’.
But more importantly, Haggarty is the partner of Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs in the ‘Welsh Government’. Their affair was kept secret for quite some time but has been widely known about for at least a year.
Haggarty has form, for he is said to be the genius behind the decision to take money off farmers with the 2013 ‘Pillars’ decision.
Responsibility for replacing of the Tir Mynydd scheme with the unpopular Glastir arrangement is also laid at his door. Glastir tends to regard traditional Welsh farming as just another rural activity, little different to organic hobby farming. Which of course fits perfectly with the overall strategy.
When Brexit came along Haggarty saw another weapon he could use and he rolled it out with the September 2018 consultation document, ‘Brexit and our land: Securing the future of Welsh farming’. The second element in that title is quite insulting considering what we know about Haggarty’s attitude to farming and farmers.
The ‘Welsh Government’s response to the results of the consultation process is contained in this document.
A further publication in July 2019 was ‘Sustainable Farming and our Land’, which was described by its ‘author’, Lesley Griffiths, as ‘revised proposals’ following the responses received to the ‘Brexit and our land’ consultation, also ‘authored’ by Griffiths.
Or were they, because of course the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs was in a relationship with a man on a mission to bring Welsh farmers to heel? And so I have no doubt that he wrote most of what appeared in these publications. And she was happy to let him do it.
Which means that a man with not a single democratic vote to his name is dictating policy to the wretched and useless ‘Welsh Government’. And Gary Haggarty is not the only one.
So much for devolution!
This relationship was known about in Cardiff Bay for a long time, but Haggarty was only reassigned when it became public knowledge. Yet the relationship was improper whether it was public knowledge or not. They should have been separated, professionally, as soon as the affair became known about.
BEST OF FRIENDS
As I say, the relationship between Griffiths and Haggarty is now out in the open, as shown by the image below, taken in a Dublin bar on 8 February, the day of the Ireland v Wales rugby international.
On the left we see the happy couple, and on the right, Elin Jones, the Plaid Cymru AM for Ceredigion and Llywydd (Speaker) in the Senedd. And is that Llais y Sais columnist Carolyn Hitt behind Jones? If so, what’s a nice girl like her doing there?
You could say that seeing Labour and Plaid Cymru politicians sharing a convivial jar in a Temple Bar pub shows how civilised Welsh politics is. Not really.
Could you imagine Elin Jones sharing a Guinness with Andrew R T Davies, or his successor, Paul Davies? Or enjoying a snifter and a risqué joke with Mostyn? (Neil Hamilton, to you.)
And if Neil McEvoy had walked through the door Elin Jones would have screamed, switched off his microphone, summoned the gardaí and demanded that they drag him off to Kilmainham to be summarily executed.
Let Uncle Jac interpret that photograph for you. What it says is this: In next year’s Assembly elections Labour will fall well short of a majority of seats, consequently its only hope of staying in power lies in a coalition with Plaid Cymru. Therefore a vote for Plaid Cymru in 2021 will be a vote for Labour.
So don’t be fooled by the playful sparring you’ll see in the election campaign. It’s only done to fool mug punters. Don’t you be one of them!
Something else that strikes me is that Elin Jones, from a farming background, has no problem socialising with people inflicting so much pain on Welsh farming. A testimony to the amnesiac qualities of the Cardiff Bay air.
There was a piece of good news for our farmers last week. And unwelcome news for those wanting to displace them. For that’s where we’re at: two sides, one still in possession of its ancestral land, and the other prepared to use all manner of tactics to take possession.
This is semi-naked colonialism, with native ‘friendlies’ who have jumped into bed with the enemy justifying their treachery by pretending it’s done for the greater good of saving the planet.
“The report comes from the Natural Capital Committee (NCC), which says planting trees into peat bogs would prove a serious mistake.”
But don’t worry, for those pulling Lesley Griffith’s strings will still want wind turbines plonked on peat, to cause flooding and other problems – and it will all be done in order to save the planet!
Left to these people, Welsh identity itself will be destroyed . . . to save the planet. Gesture politics all the way.
Devolution does not work for us Welsh. Devolution benefits a colonial management class that just rubber-stamps decisions made by strangers acting against the Welsh national interest. We must move on to independence and reclaim our country from both our external enemies and their internal allies.
♦ end ♦
UPDATE 16.04.2020: Conservative MPs from Wales have written to Lesley Griffiths condemning her treatment of Welsh farmers over NVZ. (Did they also send Gary a copy?) Will Plaid Cymru also defend our farmers, or will they side with their Labour friends? (Available here in pdf.)
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
I know I often start with an apology (I have a lot to apologise for), and this time is no exception. I’d toyed with the idea of writing about other subjects, but there really isn’t much point.
So I’m offering a second helping of Wales and Coronavirus, with perhaps an entertaining digression or twa.
THE CASE OF THE MISSING TESTING KITS
Politicians have been under the spotlight in this crisis, which will return to haunt some of them. For many politicos are being exposed as liars, others as incompetents, while the worst of them are both, and more.
Let’s take the case of the testing kits that the ‘Welsh Government’ insists it ordered from Roche, an order that it’s alleged was cancelled by the Swiss pharma giant when the UK government got involved and put in a bigger order.
A few things strike me as odd about this incident. First, the ‘Welsh Government’ has produced no evidence of an order being placed, let alone accepted. Second, after an initial flurry of outrage London’s local management team seems to have fallen into line, leaving Drakewell looking increasingly like a compliant ‘regional leader’ in a totalitarian state.
But let’s be generous, and assume that even if the order wasn’t actually placed, that negotiations were at least underway. That being so, was Whitehall tipped off about the ‘Welsh Government’ – for once! – looking up to the job, even upstaging BoJo’s gang?
This might explain why the deal between the ‘Welsh Government’ and Roche fell through. But if so, who tipped off Whitehall?
My money would be on civil servants, more specifically, senior civil servants of the type appointed by London and answering to their masters in the Great Wen. And when they’re not carrying clecks they’re implementing orders from London, often dressed up as ‘Welsh legislation’.
‘Prof Godkin, who leads the School of Medicine, said Wales has significant laboratory capacity to help ramp up the numbers of Covid-19 tests.
“It’s been deeply frustrating. We flagged up what was available about three weeks ago,” he said.
“We certainly have the capacity here and in Cardiff University to really offer… a considerable number of tests.”‘
Why hasn’t this offer, from an institution within miles of Corruption Bay, been taken up?
Whatever the truth about the testing kits from Roche, the ‘Welsh Government’ has clearly surrendered control to Downing Street. With the result that when it comes to testing kits, personal protection equipment (PPE), Wales will get whatever London decides.
And so, here we are, a month or more into this crisis, and front line staff in our health service are still waiting for tests and PPE. The conclusion I draw is that the ‘Welsh Government’ has chosen not to act contrary to London diktats, even when to do so would be best for Wales.
Which makes devolution rather pointless.
Though of course, it could all be a cunning plan worthy of Baldrick. For ‘Welsh’ Labour likes nothing more than to blame somebody else for anything that goes wrong. By surrendering control over the fight against coronavirus to London Cardiff Bay might be seen as getting itself off the hook.
As that tweet from LSR suggests, the police seem to have been more proactive this weekend, stopping people and asking them where they were going, and why.
The evidence popped up regularly on Twitter, with reports of vehicles also being stopped on Dyfi Bridge at Machynlleth (a boundary between GogPlod and Dyfed Powys), and also around Bala.
But this tweet put out on Friday evening by a councillor on Ynys Môn would suggest that nothing was being done on the bridges linking the island with the mainland.
Perhaps his cri de coeur was answered, for the following day police were out, but getting in their way was the new MP for the island, Virginia Crosbie. For as we know, Tory politicians can’t resist a photo opp with police. (Though of course there are 20,000 fewer cops since 2010.)
Though you have admire her brass neck. To begin with, Conservatives love holiday homes, most Tory MPs have at least one. And I guarantee that Crosbie garnered quite a few votes from holiday home-owning families that live in safe Tory seats, and could afford to vote from their holiday homes in a marginal constituency like Ynys Môn.
Though the ultimate hypocrisy was her claim that it’s all being done to help the NHS. The health service would be coping a hell of a lot better with this pandemic if her party had put more money in over recent years.
If those clowns in London she regards as the government could just arrange for front-line health staff to be tested, and to have PPE, she’d look less like a politician exploiting global misery to promote herself.
Though maybe I’m being a bit harsh, for we mustn’t use coronavirus to score political points, must we? Though if that’s the case, then someone should have told ‘Barry’ Lee Waters, Sosban’s AM.
Plaid Cymru put out a statement over the weekend urging people to stay at home, and when it was retweeted by ITV Wales’ Welsh political editor, Adrian Masters, Waters jumped in with both feet to infer that Plaid was being anti-English.
Obviously the boy hadn’t read the full statement that Adrian Masters had so helpfully retweeted. (Quelle twat! as we used to say in Swansea.) Though Barry’s contribution reminds us of another political party that has problems with holiday homes. His own.
Which is strange, for we should expect any socialist or social democratic party to be opposed to holiday homes on a number of grounds, but not ‘Welsh’ Labour, which has tied itself up in all sorts of knots.
Mainly because from a ‘Welsh’ Labour perspective holiday homes is a ‘nashie’ issue, the kind of thing that people like me are supposed to get vexed about. Which is true, up to a point, I suppose, but it’s hardly an obsession with me, as you’ll realise from searching this blog.
But because that’s how Labour in Wales frames it, doing anything to discourage the growth in the number of holiday homes is seen as a concession to political opponents.
The collateral damage of hard-working local people priced out of the property market, and the destruction of Welsh communities and even Welsh identity, is acceptable because by and large the areas worst affected don’t vote Labour.
Which in practical terms, results in ‘Welsh’ Labour being as indulgent towards holiday homes as the Conservative and Unionist Party.
While Plaid Cymru’s request was for no one to travel unnecessarily, Visit Wales still has trouble telling tourists and holiday home owners to stay out, as this tweet put out on Saturday makes clear. They can’t quite bring themselves to say, ‘Don’t travel INTO Wales’.
We’ve had two weekends of ignored lockdown and now we face Easter weekend, for which I’m sure the police are preparing. Though I would suggest that rather than random checks all over the country, or responding to tweets such as that from Councillor Carwyn Jones, checks on the border would be more effective.
Wales is a small country with a limited number of decent, cross-border roads, maybe a dozen in all. You’ll see that I’ve made three additions to the motorway and trunk road map reproduced below. All three cross the border into Powys, with the A44 being the only road into Aberystwyth from the east, the A489 links with the A470 heading north towards Snowdonia, and the A438 runs down to the Beacons.
Just having a police presence from Friday morning on these roads where they cross the border would have an effect. Pulling over motor homes and towed caravans would obviously make sense, as would stopping anyone who looks a bit ‘touristy’.
And if such a tactic proves successful then we could make it permanent!
We’ve all heard reports of coronavirus being used to bump up prices by shysters like Mike Ashley of Sports Direct, but it’s not just the usual suspects, as I found out last week.
I was looking for a new scanner/printer and after deciding on the model I wanted I went online to compare prices. To my surprise – as I’ve never bought from them before – John Lewis Partnership offered the best deal. So I ordered my machine, an Epson ET-7750 at £549.
I then had an e-mail telling me that the order was being processed. Before, bizarrely, receiving another e-mail saying that my contact details had been changed. Not by me they hadn’t! This was followed by, ‘We are unable to process your order’, and then a cancellation.
Curious, I went to the John Lewis website. The machine I’d ordered was still there of course – but the asking price had gone up by £50 since I’d placed my order!
Obviously I had to find another supplier. I went to one I’d never heard of before, Box.
I paid just over £10 more than I’d originally paid John Lewis, but at least there was no nonsense about ‘changed details’, and it even arrived on Saturday, not on Monday as I’d expected.
But being the curious bugger I am, after placing my order I went back to the Box website – and saw that the price had increased by £30 in less than 24 hours!
It seems obvious to me that with so many stores closed online retailers feel they can charge whatever they like. So if you’re shopping online – be careful!
‘ALL PULLING TOGETHER’
In a number of ways it seems that the UK government is using the coronavirus crisis to override devolved administrations and possibly undermine devolution. How far this will go remains to be seen.
For coronavirus is now up there with World War II, the monarchy, World Cup 1966, the Falklands, the death of Diana, Only Fools and Horses, and the 2012 Olympics, as a ‘shared experience’. Something that we are expected to believe transcends national and regional differences, and makes distinctions of class, religion and of course, politics irrelevant.
Coronavirus will be milked for all it’s worth, and of course it explains why Her Maj made an address to the Commonwealth on Sunday. (You missed it!)
The problem is of course, that we aren’t ‘all in it together’.
Let us visualise a member of the Cheshire Set, with private health care, and let’s call him Dominic. Let’s further assume that he drives down in his Merc to spend a weekend in his holiday home, and while in Wales he infects old Mrs Roberts with Covid-19 then fucks off back to his big house in Wilmslow before Mrs Roberts dies.
Yeah, I suppose that could be a shared experience; cos Dom must have had coronavirus for him to infect Mrs Roberts. Stands to reason.
And just as Hitler had Versailles, those arseholes in London feel they too must have someone to blame, or a distraction. But with so much Chinese money sloshing about in London they can’t imitate their orange friend in Washington and call it the ‘Chinese Virus’ . . . so they pick on footballers!
Perhaps a case could be made for paying these players less because football, like all other sports, has been suspended until the crisis has passed. But if the issue is money, then a few hundred footballers taking a pay cut isn’t going to make much difference. And how would the money be collected? Or even assessed? If their clubs pay them less is Hancock planning to ask Liverpool and Manchester City and Arsenal for whatever they’re not paying Salah, de Bruyne, Lacazette and the rest?
But if money is the issue, then a hell of a lot more could be raised from the Tories’ tax-avoiding friends, with their tax haven companies, as Gary Lineker has suggested. (There’s no, ‘if they possibly can’ about it, Gary. They definitely can!)
Staying with the beautiful game, why am I and millions of others still having to pay Sky, BT, Premier Sports and Amazon Prime for football that’s not being played? Will Hancock talk to Rupert Murdoch and others to get our subscriptions suspended until football resumes? Will he hell!
But it’s not a question of money. No amount of money collected now can make much difference in the fight against coronavirus. The problems in the NHS are structural and of long standing. The money should have been invested years ago, over the last few decades in fact.
Which makes having a pop at footballers a cheap publicity stunt from a cheap politician.
Another ‘national treasure’ recruited in the fight against coronavirus and for British unity is Florence Nightingale. The new emergency hospitals in England have been named after her, and of course the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, home to the Welsh Rugby Union, has followed NHS England’s lead.
But in Glasgow the emergency hospital was named after Louisa Jordan, a WW1 nurse from Maryhill, who died working in Serbia. She is still fondly remembered by the Serbs. (Serbia suffered more casualties per capita than any other country.)
This decision has outraged those who wear Union Jack underpants beneath their kilts and support a certain football club. One such was former Labour MP Douglas Alexander, who detected ‘small-minded nationalism’ at work.
To believe Douglas Alexander, naming a hospital in Glasgow after a woman from that city who lost her life helping others is wrong, but to name it after a woman who did a great job of self-promotion in one of Britain’s countless 19th century colonialist adventures, but who has no connections with Scotland, is the right thing to do.
Here, as with Barry Lee Waters, we see the BritNat mind at work. Scottish or Welsh nationalism (bad) is detected in the most harmless gesture, but it would be blind to British nationalism (good) if London sent in the tanks and started arresting people.
Coronavirus is having strange effects. In this posting I’ve found myself defending Plaid Cymru and agreeing with Gary Lineker.
Regular readers will know that I am no friend to Plaid Cymru; but what is not so well known is that I was no fan of Lineker the footballer, I think he ruins Match of the Day with the faux mateyness, and I detest even more his liberal pontificating on social media.
But there you go, these are not normal times. And the worst is yet to come, in terms of deaths, and in disruption to what were our everyday lives.
Political leadership in both London and Cardiff has failed us. The economy is already severely damaged, house prices will collapse, savings and investments will suffer, and by this time next year our lives could be framed by very different political and economic paradigms.
There is no going back to things as they were pre Covid-19. That system has been found wanting. Once the worst of coronavirus is behind us Wales must have a fresh start. And that can only mean independence.
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
Yes, I know I’d promised to write on a couple of other subjects, but this coronavirus pandemic has turned things upside down. It’s certainly impacting on the Jones household.
To begin with, my daily trips to Tywyn for a coffee and a read of the ‘paper are gone. This was often followed by sauntering up and down the High Street, doing a bit of shopping, maybe driving down to Aberdyfi to mooch around some more. But not now.
I’m stuck at home with my long-suffering wife. Fortunately, being a home carer, she’s out quite a lot. Another aid to me keeping cabin fever at bay is to stock up on the Malbec. I’ve found that caressing unopened bottles can have a soothing effect.
Self-isolation has also meant no grandchildren staying, which only adds to the sense of this being a different time. And it’s also quieter outside the house, fewer people about, less traffic. If it wasn’t for the internet it might be like an earlier epoch.
Though perhaps what I miss most is the football. I used to spend at least 25 hours a week watching football. Not just Welsh and English football; I’m just as happy watching La Vecchia Signora or the Jam Tarts. But coronavirus is global, which means there’s no football anywhere. Anywhere! (Yeah, I know, that’s what ‘pandemic’ means.)
So when I’m not online, or out taking my constitutional, listening to music, or up in the attic doing my Fast Eddie impersonations on the kids’ pool table, I’m dipping into my books. Hazlitt has always been a favourite. But when I reached for that little volume of essays the other day I found a page marked with the dust cover, so I opened it . . .
Fortunately I don’t believe in such things. So for all the shysters out there, and the lying politicians – I plan on being around to write about you for some time yet.
THE STORY THUS FAR
The realisation that things were getting serious took a while to sink in, for just about everybody, with the Welsh Rugby Union taking longer than most to get the message.
The Six Nations game against Scotland, scheduled for March 14, was going ahead almost up until the last minute. This despite the other games in Round 5 – Italy v England and France v Ireland – having been called off, and with football and almost every other sport also put on hold around the world.
It wasn’t until the afternoon of Friday the 13th, with Scottish fans safely in Cardiff and spending their money, that the WRU decided to call the game off.
To understand this disregard for the nation’s health you must appreciate what motivates the Welsh Rugby Union, what it regards as important. Vying for top spot are sucking up to English royals, and making money. Everything else is secondary.
In defence of the WRU, no pressure was applied by the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’. As late as Thursday the 12th, Vaughan Gething, the woefully inadequate health minister, saw no need to call the game off. Though in fairness to Gething, this non-decision could itself have been due to pressure from the WRU.
All grist to the mill of cynics believing that too many ‘national’ bodies based in Cardiff bend over backwards to make sure Cardiff never loses out, even when we are threatened by the worst pandemic since ‘Spanish’ Flu a century ago.
In terms of leadership, things have not got any better.
The ‘Welsh Government’ gives its daily briefing and issues advice, which is usually repeating what has already been said in London. Much like the laws passed in Cardiff docks, which are basically the same laws as England with ‘(Wales)’ added.
Exposing a fundamental problem with devolution when it’s run by a timid and unambitious Unionist party stuffed with mediocrities.
Labour has never resolved the conundrum of wanting to make Welsh people feel devolution is relevant to them but not wanting to depart too far from the London line for fear of being branded ‘nationalist’, even when doing things differently would be best for Wales. And so we have a sham devolution that neither enthuses our people nor serves Welsh interests.
All of which makes a mockery of “Welsh solutions for Welsh problems”, which is how devolution was sold to us many years ago.
Yet there are times when ‘Welsh solutions’ are needed. Let’s cast our minds back to last weekend, just after ‘lockdown’ was announced, when workplaces and schools were closed, and people told to stay home. Yet we saw thousands upon thousands of people treat a national emergency as a national holiday and flock to Wales.
While I didn’t expect the ‘Welsh Government’ to close the border and lay minefields, I did think they could have been a little more decisive than they had been the previous weekend over the rugby international, but no; not even when the scale of the irruption had become obvious.
Below you’ll see a few examples of the ignorance and stupidity we were confronted with, and just a few of many instances of locals acting for themselves. (Some still had to do it yesterday.)
These colonialist attitudes are the result of ‘selling’ our homeland for decades as nothing but another nation’s holiday destination. Encouraging the belief that Wales is some kind of Brigadoon that only comes alive when tourists visit.
This belief that Wales exists for no other reason than the enjoyment of tourists results in contempt for us, our history and our very identity.
Out of curiosity, I went to the Visit Wales Twitter account, and what I found was revealing. Up until March 12, two days before the planned Wales v Scotland game and the Stereophonics concert, there is at least one ‘Come to Wales’ tweet per day.
There is then a gap of ten days in which Visit Wales did no more than retweet other organisations’ tweets about coronavirus and, significantly, compensation. Like a rabbit caught in the headlights Visit Wales didn’t seem to know how to react. March 22 was of course the Sunday, and by then it had become obvious even to Visit Wales that locals in tourism hot-spots were organising themselves against irresponsible tourism operators and individuals.
Only then did Visit Wales put out a tweet telling potential visitors to stay away. And this might have been motivated as much by worries about the damage being done to the reputation of the tourism industry as by concern for public health.
If I carry on like this I’ll be accused of ‘politicising’ coronavirus. This was the accusation thrown at Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon when she recognised the threat and acted on coronavirus earlier than Westminster.
I accept that coronavirus knows no national boundaries, while on an island there must be some unity of purpose in the face of such a threat, but Wales still faces problems that will not be appreciated by those giving orders in London.
As we’ve seen, one such problem was holiday homes and tourism, and many thousands of people choosing to self-isolate in Wales. Which exposed another serious failing down in Cardiff.
The ‘Welsh Government’ (and this of course includes Visit Wales) refused to address this problem for far too long because politicians and civil servants in Cardiff have come to believe their own propaganda – Wales cannot survive without tourism, consequently nothing must be allowed to interfere with tourism. Not even a pandemic.
Political leadership has been noticeable by its absence. From London the advice has swung from “Nothing to get alarmed about – let’s all catch it!” (the ‘herd immunity’ approach), to “We’re all gonna die! – everybody stay home!” (lockdown).
While here in Wales, when not acting as an echo chamber, our politicians have been even less inspiring. Just read the article below from yesterday’s Llais y Sais. (Available here in pdf format.)
Did you ever read such waffle from a politician? Was Wales ever cursed with a more evasive and dishonest practitioner of even this disgraced profession? Did you ever see anyone more out of their depth?
Yet here’s the man leading the party and the administration that over the past twenty years has given billions of pounds to the crony-parasites of the third sector, where we find CEOs pulling down £100,000+ salaries – while our nurses don’t have Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
(My wife, who every day visits sick and elderly people received her face mask on Friday.)
Political confusion reigns.
At London level we saw BoJo and the gang spurn the EU’s offer of ventilators; while in Cardiff, the ‘Welsh Government’ turned down an offer of 10,000, EU certified, Lloyds insured, testing kits of the kind used in South Korea.
This despite the World Health Organisation advising ‘testing, testing, and more testing’ as a way to avoid the spread of Covid-19. The only people being tested in Wales are those showing moderate to severe symptoms who might already have infected hundreds of others. Plus of course, politicians and their friends.
Carefully orchestrated communal clapping must not detract from these political failings. And when the coronavirus threat has passed we must remember how our politicians and their system failed us.
In the immediate future we must be on our guard against London using coronavirus to accrete more powers. For while devolution may not be worth defending, moving back to the status quo ante devolution must not be an option either, though it is being aired.
One airing came from a Welsh Labour MP during Scottish Questions last week, when Chris Elmore, the MP for Ogmore suggested that funding for Covid-19 should bypass the Scottish Government and go to local authorities. An interesting suggestion for a number of reasons.
The SNP of course forms the Scottish Government, but at council level we find a number of Unionist-run councils, often controlled by squalid coalitions held together by nothing more than a desire to keep the SNP out of power.
Such an arrangement as we find in the city of Aberdeen where, after the 2017 elections, the SNP was the largest party by some distance but is kept from power by an alliance of Conservatives, Labour and Independents. (Though the Labour councillors have been expelled from the ‘Scottish’ Labour Party for going into coalition with the Tories!)
And while Elwood (or was he one of the Blues Brothers?) may be a nonentity in Wales, representing a rosette-on-a-donkey constituency, he certainly made the news in Scotland. And as the report I’ve linked to from the National puts it, “It was left to Alister Jack, the Tory Secretary of State for Scotland, to remind the Labour frontbencher of how devolution works.”
A Tory MP having to remind an MP of the party that introduced devolution how devolution works. Lord and Lady Kinnock must have been so proud.
Though if wanting to rip up the devolution settlement and insincerely argue that the common weal would be better served by handing money directly to local councils sounds familiar, then that might be because it’s the same thing we hear from the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party. Is Elton a supporter?
If we are to do away with devolution, and that is certainly what I want, then it must be done in order to move forward to independence, not backward to direct rule.
Covid-19 is disrupting all our lives, and will end a few of them; but it has served the purpose of exposing as weak and malleable incompetents those buffoons down Cardiff docks who’ve lied to us for over twenty years about defending Wales.
Stand firm, stay healthy, and when this threat has passed, emerge from self-isolation determined to push on for independence!
♦ end ♦
With Covid-19 dominating the News, and politics in a state of suspended animation, the pandemic even affecting the crooks I so often write about, I may not be posting so frequently over the next few months unless something important happens.