“All Aboard the Gravy Train!”

A GUEST POST BY ‘STAN(with minor contributions from ‘Anon’ and Jac)


When Stephen Kinnock was elected MP for Aberavon in the early hours of Friday, 8 May 2015 it was hardly the shock of the century. Aberavon has had a Labour MP uninterrupted since 1922.

The first was James Ramsay MacDonald, who went on to become the first Labour Prime Minister in 1924. Ramsay was a proper bastard, like many MPs really (but by the dictionary definition not the slang one), and was born into a hard working and poor, working class background – the illegitimate son of a farm labourer and housemaid. A complete contrast to young Kinnock then whose parents could hardly be called working class and who from birth had every chance in life. They will doubtless say thanks to the Labour Party!

No-one has had a lower Labour vote in either numerical or percentage terms than Stephen ‘Boyo’ Kinnock did since Ramsay MacDonald was first elected in 1922. In 1922 Ramsay MacDonald had 14,318 votes and a vote share of 46.6%. In 2016 ‘Boyo’ got 15,416 votes and 48.9%. Political anoraks might like to know that Labour’s peak performance was in 1966 when John Morris secured 33,763 votes and a staggering 75.4% vote share. You could say, “how the mighty have fallen”, or even “how the donkeys have woken up” – but “both” is more accurate.

Another fact is that both men were parachuted into the constituency, neither being a local. Ramsay MacDonald would obviously be a very early example of the “parachute” Labour Party candidate, evidently so successful that the Party seems to have adopted the tactic right up to this day. However, whereas he was indubitably Scottish, it is alleged that Stephen Kinnock is Welsh. Correct that – he must be – because he said in his maiden Commons speech that he was “a global Welshman”.

Kinnock maiden speech

What is not in doubt was that he was born in Tredegar in 1970 but from 3 or 4 years of age, young Kinnock lived in England. He received all his Primary and Secondary education there. He went to university to study languages in Cambridge and thereafter seemed to go off to find himself, leaving England in 1992 and studying and working in various countries in Europe and even Africa, collecting a wife and eventually children in Denmark. Whereas the Israelites with all their resources took 40 years to find their Promised Land, Kinnock’s such a bright boy(o) that he did it in just over half the time. He returned to the UK after 20 years, in 2012, to work for an environmental consultancy called Xynteo before discovering at the age of 45 (in 2015) his real purpose in life – to live part-time in a flat in Cwmavon, be the MP for Aberavon and more recently to piss off many of his constituents because of his prominent role in the “Chicken Coup” against his democratically elected Labour Party leader.

He speaks five languages fluently, French, Spanish, Russian, Danish and of course English – but not Welsh, despite his mother Glenys being a Welsh speaker.

This polyglot promised to take Welsh lessons if he became Aberavon MP but that’s typical politician speak for you. There’s no time-frame put to it. So he could start them in 2050 if he wanted and still argue he’d kept his word. He may be a global figure but “Welshman”, let’s pass on that. You can’t help feeling it’s a flag of convenience to endear him to the electorate of a South Wales seat.

But anxious to make a good impression, Boyo was soon up and running after being elected even though Parliament wasn’t opened by The Corgi Woman until 27 May 2015. The local constituency office had been vacated by his predecessor, Dr Hywel Francis. First, because all the staff of a retiring MP have to be laid off, new staff had to be employed. No problem there though. Immediately through the door, in fact taking up her employment on 11 May 2015, just a weekend after the voting result itself, was Ms Cari Morgans. Cari had worked for Peter Hain as his Office Manager. So, she presumably pocketed her redundancy money, as was her entitlement, then walked into an equivalent job almost right next door, on a salary range from about £26K – £38K. Being a woman of some experience she is most likely at the upper end of that range. Incidentally, Cari is also the Neath Port Talbot councillor representing the Tonna ward and pulling in £13,300 a year for that as well.

Welsh Labour, naturellement. Nice work if you can get it. There aren’t many people getting paid over £50K a year in Neath, particularly out of the public sector. But there are more than a few in the local Council. And one of these is likely to be Councillor Anthony J Taylor, who has been the Councillor for the Taibach ward since 2008.

Anthony is already the Cabinet Member for Economic Development & Property Services at Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council. This demanding role (no kidding?) is considered to be full time. It pays a salary of £28,890 per annum. Yet Councillor Taylor is also a Political Advisor for Derek Vaughan MEP. Unfortunately we have no idea whether this is part time, full time, weekends or shifts. Because information on MEPs’ staff is almost impossible to get hold of.

Derek Vaughan

He is a relatively new kid on the block, only leaving Cardiff University in 2001 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. His first job was with NPT Council as an Anti Social Behaviour Prevention Officer. Being Neath Port Talbot that’s probably such a stressful job that in less than two years he was recuperating in a job working in Cardiff for Carwyn Jones as a Political Advisor. A lot less stress there then, presumably the most difficult part of the job being trying to stay awake in any meeting longer than five minutes with Carwyn. Can he bore for Wales! Anthony did this for six years, presumably without being caught nodding off, before being recruited by Derek Vaughan in July 2009, when Derek became an MEP.  Like Anthony, Derek was an NPT Councillor – in fact, he was Council Leader when he jumped on board the Brussels Gravy Train Express. And what a small, incestuous world this is. It was Anthony J Taylor who acted as Proposer for one Stephen Kinnock in the nominations for the May 2015 General Election. Definitely one to watch!

But let’s get back to Cari (she might be feeling neglected by now). Cari saw some major workplace changes as a result of having a new employer who had lived such a cosmopolitan, privileged lifestyle, hobnobbing it with so many heads of state as the escort of the then Prime Minister of Denmark (aka Mrs Kinnock). And let’s not forget all those senior executives of multi-nationals and global conglomerates in his work at the World Economic Forum. That’s WEF to those who understand what it does, but WTF! to some of us who must wonder just what the hell these exclusive gatherings get up to. Coffee machines were bought in to the Aberavon office, as was a “milk frother“. This latter piece of kit was a complete mystery to his Aberavon constituents and it has been rumoured it was acquired so they would come to his office in their droves just to see this marvellous invention in action. Most people in the constituency are used to their coffee in granules or powder out of a jar, onto a teaspoon, into the mug, boiling water, top up with milk then drink the bloody stuff.

To further reflect his suave, sophisticated, but domesticated image, he bought a sofa for the office too. Or rather – we did. You don’t think they buy these things with their own money, do you?

Milk Frother

Now the speed of this recruitment of Cari Morgans displayed an efficiency seldom seen in the public sector, which is usually so bound up in rules and regulations and red tape that it can take three months to draft a letter. So how did this happen? Well, IPSA guidelines (the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority) for the employment of MPs’ staff are very helpful and set out the procedures to be followed.

And these include “advertise the vacancy and conduct appropriate assessments to ensure you have the best candidate for the role”. Note there’s a tremendous amount of latitude here – it doesn’t say formal interviews and it doesn’t say you need to shortlist. But it does say advertise and it does say appropriate assessments, so these were obviously undertaken here, weren’t they? In which case, if he was asked, you’d hope young Kinnock will tell us – not that we doubt him, of course.

But one thing that Boyo has not done, to his credit, is follow the nepotistic practices of his predecessor, Dr Hywel Francis, as well as his neighbour in the office next door. Because Hywel employed his wife, Mair, as a Senior Parliamentary Assistant. This meant she was able to keep him company in his London work, a nice touch when you are getting on in age, and you feel the cold at night. When she finished along with Hywel in 2015 her salary is recorded as between £40K – £45K.

She would also have been entitled to a redundancy payment to soften the blow of loss of employment. Let’s be honest though, it’s doubtful she would have wanted to continue in her role. Which is just as well because as we shall soon discover, waiting in the wings was another candidate that was eminently suited to the job and who no doubt came “highly recommended” with great references, just like Ms Morgans.

Labour logo

Oh, let’s not forget “the bloke next door”. That happens to be David Rees, the Aberavon AM who occupies the office suite next to young Kinnock’s. Not to be outdone in the nepotism stakes, Rees employs his daughter Angharad Nia Thomas as a Researcher and Communications Officer (part-time) for 22.3 hours a week.

So it’s clear that Boyo has a precedent, almost a Labour Party custom and practice, to employ a close relative. But let’s be fair, an Office Manager’s or Researcher’s salary is chicken-feed compared to what Mrs Stephen Kinnock, aka Helle Thorning-Schmidt gets as Chief Executive of Save the Children International where she has been working since 4 April 2016. She is paid $344,887 USD annually and works out of the UK. That’s nice and convenient for the Kinnocks because they are now able to share a flat that they (or maybe just Stephen) own in Brent, North-West London. Breaking that Dollars figure down into Pounds Sterling she gets £258,816 give or take a few bob. Kinnock gets £74,962 as basic salary, plus expenses. Beers on them then the next time they drop in to Taibach and Port Talbot Working Men’s Club.

Of course, you don’t just need local staff. So to help him out in his Westminster role, and as his Mrs clearly didn’t want the job, Boyo took on a certain Madeleine Jennings as a Senior Parliamentary Researcher. Now guess who Madeleine worked for? You’re getting good at this by now, or you should be. Yes, she too worked for the Orange Baron (when he was just a plain “Orange” patently). Madeleine didn’t stay long with Boyo, leaving in January 2016 to follow her calling to social work.

But someone’s slipped up because she is still listed on the Register of Members’ Secretaries and Research Assistants, as at July 2016.

Come on Madeleine or Stephen – pull your finger out and get it off there. Madeleine should be well aware of what can happen when you neglect these little administrative matters. After all, her previous boss Peter Hain cocked up big time when he was angling for Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, famously forgetting to register or oversee the timely registration of donations. He declared in his memoirs Outside In that it was “the biggest mistake of my political career” to run for the Deputy Leadership. Surely that sums up the measure of the guy? He voted for the Iraq War and subsequently against investigations into it. Yet it’s an unsuccessful leadership campaign compounded by managerial and administrative incompetence that’s a greater faux pas than supporting an illegal war that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands, countless people maimed and a whole region destabilised with little sign things will ever come right again.

There’s one other thing before this staffing business is wound up. Hain and his office didn’t just stop with Cari and Madeleine in being a source of staff for other MPs. Yet another of his employees, a chap called Matthew Ward, went on to work for Madeleine Moon, the Bridgend MP.

SCoW Club

One good thing IPSA has done is investigate those cases of retiring MPs and MPs who lost their seats, and what happened to staff laid off as a result. It found that a total of £925,000 was paid to 125 people laid off before the general election, but each and every one had a job with a different MP within 10 weeks! No doubt some or all of the ex-Peter Hain staff referred to above are in this group.

In the case of these appointments it’s important for the public to have confidence in the recruitment process. But the trouble is that we don’t know whether IPSA procedures are being followed. Because IPSA will not tell you, saying it’s a matter for the MPs themselves. They’ve been asked, in the case of the recruitment of Cari Morgans, and thrown it back as a matter for Stephen Kinnock.

But if MPs don’t ‘fess up, we’ll never know. This is a loophole that needs to be closed. There has always been nepotism and cronyism and there always will be. Therefore, the disinfectant of full transparency is needed so that if it does occur we know that due process has been followed at least in advertising jobs. When these appointments take place behind closed doors it is just not on – because we are talking about a lot of public money here. Providing “jobs for life” for the chosen few in some constituencies. Or rather, most constituencies in Donkey Land in Cymru.

Of course, a sense of perspective is needed. In many cases – we’d like to think all – the best person for the job may be getting it. But when MPs are themselves given the job of hiring and firing the staff they need, it needs to be done by processes that the public can get to the bottom of. IPSA turning its back on checking its own guidelines are being followed is totally unacceptable.

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48 thoughts on ““All Aboard the Gravy Train!”

  1. Myfanwy

    Neil Kinnock endorses Owen Smith in the press, while chastising Corbyn for not showing ‘leadership’ and commitment to the remain campaign, basically furious, that the gravy train has been derailed. Kinnock and his fellow travellers on the gravy train, can be seen as anti Welsh as their self serving ride to wealth and power, contributes nothing to the survival and enrichment of Welsh Culture and Society. In fact their self serving ride, distances them so much from their roots and their constituents, that they inevitably move away from Wales and from those who recognise them for the self servers that they are.


    1. Myfanwy

      A comment from this article summed up Neil Kinnock and his self serving ways nicely.


      2h ago
      7 8

      Kinnock opposed the principle of the EU but seemed to change his mind once they gave him a fist class ticket on the gravy train.
      Kinnock opposed the principle of the House of Lords but then seemed to change his mind once he and Mrs K received remain.
      These are indisputable facts Guardian

  2. Not-A-Donkey-Voter

    Outside of Labour’s beloved ‘project-Cardiff’? Welsh Labour has IMO absolutely zero intention whatsoever to significantly improve or change the lives of people living in deprived and poverty stricken communities. Deliberate economic partition and exclusion! Stuff of Labour strategy. Bacteria is better fed in agar filled Petri dishes and Labour and its beneficiaries treat the ‘excluded parts’ of Wales like one big f#cking Petri dish for it to feed in. Labour can then better continue its existence year in year out with all the undeserved patronage, nepotism and jobs for the boys stuff etc. Other peoples misery and poverty =’s a vastly better chance of getting a seat on the ‘bogus-socialist-impostor’ filled gravy train………….. It’s standing room only down these parts!

    1. Big Gee

      Now imagine, if Labour (as we know it – because I honestly don’t think the Corbyn types are the same) ACTUALLY rose everyone out of poverty, got social justice, fairness and equal opportunities for all – who would have most to lose? The Labour of old (or ‘New’ labour – take your pick) of course! It just doesn’t pay them to do it, because whilst we have deprived areas in our country, they have a ready made ‘donkey’ voting herd to feed off.

      1. Not-A-Donkey-Voter

        Can’t argue with that! This economic partition and exclusion has happened both outside of London/Greater London in England and in Wales outside of Cardiff and its local surrounding area’s. The thing is? It’s just so sad. Rock and a hard place stuff for millions no matter who has been in power. The Tories have absolutely no intention whatsoever to help these economically ignored area’s and neither do Labour. So its a case of these poor and deprived area’s and regions becoming 2nd class recipient(s) of ‘trickle-down-economics’ i.e. the best they can seriously hope for is crumbs.

        1. Big Gee

          You are absolutely right – it is a phenomenon that has manifested itself as a schism between he affluent English capital city and the rest of England. It is also manifesting itself here in Wales, as the politicians here try to establish a ‘Mini Me’ of London in Kerdiff.That shows that the problem is not party specific, but establishment specific.

          The discontent is obvious – as witnessed by the support that Corbyn is gleaning from the grass roots of his party (who have been the victims between that ‘rock & a hard place’). It also influenced the ‘Brexit’ referendum where the poor and deprived found an opportunity to stick two fingers up at the establishment in London. It is not an UK only phenomenon, as it can be seen happening all over the western hemisphere. It is the only reason why Trump has garnered such support in the US – it’s a protest against the establishment, and the way it has relentlessly marched on to create a world government commonly referred to in political circles as the New World Order.

          It goes back a VERY long way. Here’s a quote from Disraeli:

          “The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes.” Benjamin Disraeli, first Prime Minister of England, in a novel he published in 1844 called Coningsby, the New Generation.

          I have compiled a list of over seventy similar quotes – all pointing in the same direction. You can read them by clicking on this link:

          Web page containing a collection of QUOTES

          If you have the time and inclination to verify their validity by your own research, you are most welcome to do so.

          What it shows is that we are currently witnessing the outworking of what has been repeated over and over as a stream of warnings by people who are in the know over a long period of time. The resultant awakening is now taking place as a backlash to what has been relentlessly in progress, and witnessed by the increasing pressures imposed on ordinary people.

      2. If traditionally Labour have had the support of deprived areas, then it´s not rocket science to see that pragmatically it pays them to keep these areas poor, and hence Labour vote fodder … until they eventually disconnect completely and vote UKIP in desperation. Hasn´t that already started to happen?

  3. Big Gee

    I’ve just read the info. in those two links you provided Marconatrix. Yep it confirms my suspicions from the start – he is I believe a human variant of cochlea – i.e. a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod (that uses slime to move around):

    1. dafis

      Bloody hell, Gee I think I stepped on that thing late last night when I popped out the back last thing to check the gate was locked ( stopping wasters getting in, not stopping my missis getting out ! )

  4. Here are a couple of things I happened to stumble upon which might interest you here. The first one is really for the links which are almost all to English language sites. They demonstrate that Owen Smith is a true Marxist (of the Groucho persuasion … ¨I have principles, and if you don´t like them, then I have others¨) :


    Whereas this article seems to be straining nepotism, career politics etc. even by Welsh ´Labour´ standards :


    Enjoy … If that´s the right word …

  5. Stan

    I’m afraid the Neath Voice Facebook forum died a death over a year ago, killed off by the new Neath MP, Christina Rees. Allegedly it was put to sleep because of the difficulty her new staff had in handling the site, plus spam and hacking problems, and “rather negative comments about individuals”. It was a site that welcomed contributions as long as you thought everything in Neath was perfect and the sun shone from morning until night. I know of people who sought to put comments on about the drunks sleeping in shop doorways and other anti-social problems in the town and these were censored out. It wasn’t good for the town’s image. So it wasn’t really a Neath Voice. More a Neath Labour Party Voice.

    Colonel Jessep (Jack Nicholson) summed it up in that film A Few Good Men when he said “You can’t handle the truth”.

    1. Big Gee

      Well the remark about “it is not easily managed with many spam and hacking attempts” is a load of crap for a start – the spam and ‘hacking attempts’ (I doubt if she’d spot a ‘hack’ if it jumped out in front of her and bit her in the arse) is a security issue for Mr. Mark Zuckerberg and his expansive staff anyway – not the Facebook clientele. The real reason is exposure and of course “rather negative comments about individuals” – ho-hum, getting nearer the truth now are we? . . .

      It’s always a risk to put your balls in someone else’s fist – as Jac well knows from his expensive lesson with Google Blogger.

      Anyone who depends on Facebook, Twitter or blogging sites like Blogger are ALWAYS at risk of being either censored (gagged) or will have the plug pulled by person or persons unknown, if they don’t like the content (usually the TRUTH).

      If Neath Voice genuinely wants to be resurrected in safety, then I’m always here to help out – I don’t do ‘plug pulls’ even when deluged with threatening letters from parasites in suits located in ‘legal’ offices in the capital!

  6. Very interesting reading. I think the Orange one is still wielding a lot of power being on various ‘boards’. Wasn’t he fighting for a Cardiff Bay barrage? Then there’s also his wife now on boards chairing the task task group which came to the conclusion that parts of Wales should be farmed off to various English City Regions. The north east to become a part of Cheshire for example. She was against devolution when the referendum was put before us.

    Can’t you or somebody post that piece on Neath Voice facebook page. Mind you, I doubt it will remain for long and you’ll be banned pretty sharpish.

    1. Hain was – might still be – promoting the Severn Barrage, right across the estuary.

      As for his wife, you’re right, for some reason the ‘Welsh’ Government put her in charge of that project which decided to allow the north east to be taken over by north west England. A dangerous woman, who has never to my knowledge stood for election yet wields far too much power.

      What piece are you referring to on the Neath Voice Facebook page?

      1. dafis

        the wife of the Orange Baron – jeez I luv that name, that was Stan who coined that one ? you are a poet ! Anyway Mrs Orange, a.k.a Dr Elizabeth Haywood, was a long term career manager within WDA, may have got onto the Board in its latter days, then shot off to a brief senior tenure in London with some Trade /Industry body probably lobbying which maybe is where she bumped into Orange face when he was a mere politician without noble title. She then took over a “boutique executive search” i.e headhunting business, which ran well for a while but seems to have failed to cover its costs later on which led to its demise.
        With her list of contacts from WDA and the links via her Permatanned partner she was undoubtedly able to build an excellent prospect list for selling services and often the same people would be candidates for some of the more senior jobs that she handled. Bit incestuous but that’s how things “work” when you climb the corporate ladder in the UK – that’s why we have this iniquitous daisy chain of “connected folk” running most of our major corporates and institutions in the UK and this extends into Wales.
        As a distant observer I would say that she was quite unblemished in her pre Orange career. Her early track record had given her a foundation of ability and connected influence that enabled her to assume some of those more recent quasi governmental roles. However her current situation becomes corrupted by the increasingly political nature of her activities. Committees reaching insane conclusions about the best direction for future policy in Wales are not new but they are becoming more frequent. Labour in Wales does nothing other than imitate the worst features of Cameron’s special adviser cluster with unelected spads taking over direction of policy from elected politicians and senior public servants.
        All this leads me to the conclusion that the lady has been seduced by the trappings of unelected power when the abilities she displayed in her earlier career could have cast her in a role that would be far less open to accusations of political motivation and worse.

        1. Stan

          Think that’s a good assessment of Liz and her CV there, Dafis.

          In Hain’s autobiography Outside In he says about his wife’s business in trouble. It needed “recapitalising” was how he put it. The newspapers at the time were reporting debts of about £1 million, a heck of a lot I’d have thought for a recruitment agency type firm. She apparently had a deal with a buyer almost done then they pulled out last minute due to a story in the News of the World alleging her firm had won public sector contracts because of influence he had as a Minister. He was scathing about the Murdoch Press as a result. About two years after the collapse of his wife’s business he had Outside In serialised in a better quality journal, the Sunday Times, Murdoch owned of course. Money trumps principles every time.

          I’d advise others not to read Outside In because like most autobiographies it fails because the writer doesn’t see themselves as the outside world sees them. It’s an exercise in self aggrandisement, Hain’s arrogance and Narcissism jumping out in page after page. But I had it for 1p from an online bookshop. It’s been worth that to me for the stories about Hain it’s given me for my writing.

      2. I was suggesting to post this piece on Neath voice. But now I’ve learnt it no longer exists. I did post a couple of your posts there in the past Jac. I know some others had done the same. WnB used to post there too before he was banned as I was. I then created another profile and was banned a second time. They didn’t like any postings which weren’t on message. There was some bloke with the surname Jenkins who was one of the moderators. I’m told he was a local Labour councillor. I was also told that the page was moderated by Hain’s office staff. The research carried out by you Jac and Stan etc needs to get to the donkey voters and there were quite a few on that ‘site’. I can remember one bloke telling me that he was from generations of hard and proud Welsh speaking steel workers and was a member of the ‘Labour family’ to use his words. I attempted to challenge him with some of beliefs but he disappeared into the ether. How can you educated such donkeys? It’s a case of keeping chipping away I suppose. Maybe the web for the first time can give access to some of them……

        1. That’s something you soon learn about our Labour ‘democrats’ – if they don’t like what you’re saying then they shut you up. Thankfully, the internet makes it much more difficult for them.

        2. When the ´donkey vote´ collapses it can be sudden. Don´t despair, take heart from Glasgow etc. As I´ve said before though, the big issue in Wales is hopefully not ¨when will Labour collapse¨ but rather ¨what´s going to replace it?¨

  7. dai

    You can look at any Labour constituency in Wales – Merthyr for example has Gerald Jones’s partner on then payroll and the Council leaders wife as well.

    While this is a slur on the use of public taxes it is also a political slur as any constituent complaints get bogged down in the constituency surgery. I bet there are problems in NPT/Aberavon that are not seeing the light of day as there are in Merthyr. At least in Merthyr they have the balls to confront the Leader when he’s having a quiet pint in Gower [as per his twitter feed I think this was revealed]. He apparently found it most upsetting.

    1. dafis

      Count himself lucky. In some parts of the world the Merthyr handshake would not suffice, more like some solid shot behind his earhole, but there again who’d want to waste a bullet on some third rate local politician ?

      That Gerald Jones business was a hoot, I remember Guido getting hold of it early on and taking the piss. Sadly the one eyed regulars on his site too readily jump to the conclusion that everybody in Wales is like that, and when we have the temerity to join in their banter and give back a little of what they dish out they don’t like it one little bit. At least it serves to remind us that many of our English neighbours have no affection for the Welsh and all this bullshit about us being one happy group of nations on this Island is just that – bullshit.

    2. Stan

      Dai – your reference to the Merthyr Brotherhood made me look up what has gone on there in more detail. Guess where I found it? Look up Jac’s blog dated 3 July 2015 where what he has exposed about the cronyism there makes Neath and Aberavon look kindergarten stuff. I hadn’t read this article before – unbelievable. The blatant gifting of publicly funded jobs for so many of the boys (and girls) – no wonder the Donkey Vote areas of Wales are such a laughing stock. Come election times why don’t the opposition parties just publish Jac’s article and shove it through the letterboxes?

  8. Marcos

    Shock horror; MPs and political advisors making merry with public money. Who’d have thought it? An awful lot of words, hardly a group left in patronised, from the local pub bore to reveal what everybody already knows. Yawn.

    1. While informed individuals like you might instinctively know ‘they’re all at it’, I suspect you’d be hard pressed to come up with specifics. So read and learn!

    2. dafis

      You read like one of those chisellers that’s making a good living sucking off the public purse. Or maybe so deeply embedded in dependency culture that you dare not raise a query just in case they cut off some of your handout ?. Believe me, these bastards will cut off benefits and raise taxes long before they forego any of their ill gotten gains.

    3. Stan

      Sorry to have bored you then, Marcos. Of course we know that the Labour Party, particularly Welsh Labour, is riven with nepotism and cronyism but often you’ve got to dig below the surface to find out just how many examples there are. When this article was being put together I questioned the statement in the title block “corruption and misuse of public funds”. After I did so I realised that we’d become so accustomed to jobs handed out to relatives and friends that we almost accept it as a given. As a result I’d lost focus on the fact that it was corruption. Your comments seem to endorse this loss of focus and laissez-faire attitude to it. But corruption and misuse of funds isn’t necessarily illegal. It can also be morally and ethically wrong – which I think any fair minded person would agree with.

      I didn’t explore it in the article (it was rather long – I don’t possess Jac’s unique cutting flair!) but working for an MP not only pays really well – it brings you membership of one of the best pension schemes to be had. As a member of staff you are automatically enrolled into the MPs’ Pension Scheme, non-contributory, the state (us) paying in 10% of those generous salaries into the pot per annum. I don’t begrudge any worker getting membership of a decent pension scheme. But it can’t be right that securing these benefits is solely the purview of the MP him/herself, who can dish out such rewards to close relatives and good pals.

      1. dafis

        “…….paying in 10% of those generous salaries into the pot per annum. …….” ……and the f***in’ rest !!

        Stan , those final salary pension deals are almost extinct. They almost only exist now in the public sector where the complex maths of actuarial practice have long since been set aside and replaced by the more rigorous ” sod it, let some other bastard pay” policy. Some years ago it was reckoned that a combined contribution of approx. 24% was required to fund a n/80ths pension based on average final salary over last 3 or 5 years service at age 65. Usually this deal also paid out n x 3/80ths of same final salary as a tax free lump sum, and had built in some kind of indexation factor for future increases. Lovely stuff. Given the piss poor investment record of most British institutions I suspect it would take stacks more to properly fund this level of benefit.

        Now some places like British Steel/Corus/Tata have managed to hang on to these types of deals but they have been steadily eroded by funding difficulties and an ownership that was happy to snaffle big dividends or payments to parent co’s while carping about incomes in retirement for the ordinary rank and file. Of course Labour and politicians in general are above this kind of pain so they carry on as though the grim realities were only hurting in a parallel universe.

        1. Stan

          Thanks for putting me right on that. So in actual fact the pension benefits they get are not only many times more expensive to provide than the simplistic 10% employers’ contribution set out in their Scheme, but for the bulk of us in society, we are as likely to find something as generous handed us on a plate as to be bitten by a unicorn. No wonder Neil and Glenys have perpetual smirks on their faces and they’ve encouraged the lad into something similar.

          1. dafis

            If they are “funding” it at 10% then it will be a grossly underfunded scheme which requires dollops of extra Government funds to keep it from sinking without a trace as there is no way that a 10% funding rate scratches the surface. Now there is an iniquitous fact hiding under the surface here, that is that much of the public sector’s pension scheme provision, and the state pension scheme, are “funded” on a pay as you go basis – there is no real framework of providing benefits out of an invested fund with regular actuarial monitoring to ensure solvency of said pension schemes. “Pay as you go” means just that – today’s pension payments are drawn out of today’s revenue stream i.e HMRC & Treasury are the ultimate paymasters and all these schemes would fall flat if they were cut adrift tomorrow.

            Now this risky characteristic has been most visible in the large number of private sector schemes that have gone tits up in recent years ( e.g BHS ) , but it lurks beneath the surface in all schemes public and private sector. If a government really ran into a brick wall then it’s conceivable that they would get round to slashing the benefits paid to public sector employees, although I dare say M.P’s would be among the last to get hit !!

            In the private sector a most insidious form of corruption has featured large companies threatening to withdraw contracts from pension advisers unless their actuaries write a moderately favourable report about the state of the pension fund. This could hide a multitude of sins. But the bubble bursts when something happens like a take over bid. Then along comes another bunch of actuaries , feed the same data into their modelling devices, but critically modify the underlying assumptions ( like rate of growth of fund investments, and rate of growth of liabilities ) and bingo before you can say “Fatso Green is a crook ” you get a fund in deficit. Like Bill Clinton never said ” It’s all about the assumptions buddy ”

            I have digressed but it is worth appreciating that any country ( like Wales ) with a disproportionate population of public sector types runs severe risks with the liabilities attaching to all these lovely people whose needs must be addressed at all times. Any blurb that says that a public servant’s pension is funded by an annual investment of 10% of that person’s salary is a wicked distortion as it will need to be matched by a further top up in due course from another government fund. And it’s all public money your and mine and everybody else’s yet these bastards are treating it like they have owned it from the start.

  9. dafis

    Thank you for that report on a malpractice well known across Wales. You have managed to draw a detailed picture of one part of Wales and it does not take much brain power to appreciate how much this could add up to when taking into account all the Councils, Assembly, Parliament and other public sector jobs that fall under the scope of the Party machine throughout Wales. Now you know this info, most politicians of other parties probably know some or all of it – yet none of the greedy bastards will raise the matter let alone do anything about it. Yet when it comes to cuts in public services we get all sorts of posturing and spouting of clichés from the same bunch of tossers.

    1. On the plus side, one reason we see the same people shifting around filling all the jobs is that ‘Welsh’ Labour is not the career option it once was, and there is difficulty in recruiting decent candidates and staff. This is what I’ve suggested is the problem in Swansea, for with a regular supply of good local candidates Labour would not be reduced to recruiting students and others who soon turn out to be an embarrassment.

      This goes hand-in-hand with declining support at the ballot box. So while it is undoubtedly an ugly show of nepotism and cronyism, see also the other side – this is a party in an irreversible downward spiral desperately trying to hang on to power.

      1. dafis

        I forgot to mention in my earlier comment the part played by the 3rd sector in providing safe havens for politicians who suffer a temporary break in their careers as well as grooming a new generation of aspiring tossers for future roles.

        1. As I recently wrote in, ‘It’s 1988 in Totalitarian Wales’: “Having run Wales for decades the Labour Party can reasonably be compared to the old Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It controls the funding and the patronage, it makes the political appointments, and then there’s Labour’s private army in the Third Sector, which provides the party with foot soldiers, mouthpieces and candidates, and into which deposed or disgraced politicians can be absorbed”.

  10. Gruff Williams

    Neil Kinnock speaks Welsh well. It is the first language for much of his Tredegar family.

    1. Big Gee

      ” . . . . speaks Welsh well” does he? Strange why we haven’t heard one syllable of Welsh from him in all the political years he’s been parasiting off his country’s public funds, and then riding the gravy train in Europe, to fund his lavish ‘champagne socialist’ lifestyle.

      If he does indeed speak the language, then ‘Boyo’ Kinnock’s excuse for not speaking his ‘mother tongue’ (despite apparently being fluent in five other languages) is rather more amazing, as BOTH his parents – according to you – are fluent in the language of heaven.

      Calling himself a ‘unionist’, Kinnock was one of six south Wales Labour MPs to campaign against devolution. He dismissed the idea of a Welsh identity, saying that “between the mid-16th century and the mid-18th century Wales had practically no history at all, and even before that it was the history of rural brigands who have been ennobled by being called princes” – sounds like the typical words of a Welsh speaking son of Tredegar – I DON’T THINK! After all YOU say “It is the first language for much of his Tredegar family” – hmmm, my gut tells me that something doesn’t quite sound right here

      What a strange family, if what you say is true, but there again they’re a bit strange on many levels aren’t they?

      1. I´m always suspicious of these ¨fluent in x languages¨ statements. There will always be exceptional individuals, but on the whole while you probably never forget your native tongue(s), normally to remain fluent in a language you learn as an adult you have to be using it quite a lot. (Passive comprehension is a different matter). Now I find it rather hard to believe that this boyo has the time in his busy life to keep so many linguistic balls in the air at once, and that´s even before we bring Cymraeg into the picture.

        As for the ¨no history¨, ¨rural brigands¨ etc. stuff. This is what in Scotland is called ¨The Cringe¨. Beth ydi hynny yn y Gymraeg, tybed?

        1. Big Gee

          I agree. That is also the reason why census stats are so misleading. Many are prompted to say they are ‘fluent’ in Welsh when all they are really capable of is the rudimentary elements of the language. E.g. “Bore da, prynhawn da a diolch”

      2. Gruff Williams

        Big Gee, don’t get me wrong, Kinnock senior is the most appalling Brit and a massive charlatan. He was, however, brought up with Welsh and can speak it well. In his own words he can “rub by”.

        1. Big Gee

          Excuse me for being pedantic Gruff, but is “rubbing by” the same as “can speak it well”?

          My Merseyside born wife can “rub by” a conversation in Welsh, but she would be the first to admit that she’s NOT someone who can “speak it well”. Let’s get real here shall we?

          This is the same as the hoards of Brummie immigrants that I bump into (and believe me it’s not difficult to bump into one in Ceredigion). They invariably justify their move to Wales on the grounds that they have a Welsh surname, one of their great grandparents was Welsh (according to their oral family folklore), or their great auntie Elsie has a Welsh corgi.

          In a word CRAP! Kinnock justifies his Welsh credentials by saying he can “rub by” – bloody pathetic. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. By his words, deeds and actions I would say he is anti Welsh – whether he can “rub by” in the language or not.

          1. Interesting issue here : Can you learn a language to a decent standard without sympathising/empathising with its speakers, their culture, outlook etc. Especially in the case of a small language like Welsh or Basque etc. (as opposed to an international one like English or French). What about the linguists at places like GCHQ who are detailed to learn Welsh ¨to keep an eye on those shifty buggers¨? Do they inevitably ¨go native¨ over time ?

            Come on out and tell us, we know you´re reading this — LOL!

            1. Big Gee

              I’ve always maintained that you can teach a parrot to speak Welsh, but that doesn’t make the parrot Welsh. THAT is why I’m so opposed to ‘parrot-like’ teaching of the language in our schools.

              Turning what you said on it’s head, I firmly believe that it CAN work the other way around.

              Expose a child (or a fair minded adult for that matter) to the accurate and truthful history of a nation, an understanding of the culture and an insight into injustices of the past, that have shaped the culture & heritage of a country, and in most cases they will strain at the leash to learn the language. Anything else is just a boring lesson in word retention and retrieval. A wholly empty exercise.

              That is what I’ve been saying for years about the futility of the work (despite how well meaning) of organisations like Cymdeithas Yr Iaith Gymraeg. It is sheer folly.

              As I’ve also said many times, it’s pointless trying to save the leaves (the language) on the tree, if the tree (the identity of a nation manifested in it’s culture, history and heritage) is being poisoned at it’s roots. It’s the POISONING that needs to be addressed not the leaves!

              1. Myfanwy

                I agree with everything you say here Big Gee, but what measures should be taken to stop the poisoning of Welsh Culture and why haven’t these been implemented already, to stop the rot? It is very insidious, that much of the resistance in dealing with this most fundamental problem, actually comes from those living within Wales who don’t or won’t understand, the vital connection between all the elements of Welsh Culture you discuss, the obvious consequence of this, is the continued anglicisation of Wales.

                1. Big Gee

                  There is a need for a truly Welsh curriculum that teaches our children about these things. All other ‘normal’ countries of the world do that – they teach their citizens about THEMSELVES first and foremost. We have not been a ‘normal’ nation for over 800 years. However, there is the ‘victor vanquished’ syndrome at play as well.

                  In ancient times (and also now in some places) the victor rapes as many women as possible within a defeated nation to establish their own identity. In more modern colonial times the ‘rape’ comes in the form of wiping out the defeated nation’s culture, history, heritage & language – usually through education or the repression of the defeated nation’s identity.

                  There is a solution that could rectify the problem within one generation. How to augment it is another all together more difficult question.

                  See: the essay I wrote on the subject back in 2002.

          2. Gruff Williams

            Kinnock, did not learn his Welsh in school or picked up a few phrases as an adult. He learned it in a family setting through his many Welsh speaking relatives addressing him in Welsh as the git grew up. He has never used the language to reinforce his Welsh credentials, has, as far as I know, never spoken Welsh “publically” and his attitude, as revealed by his obscene comments on Welsh history, reveal a deeply ffyced up psychological relationship with his roots. BG, we are on the same side here. I despise Kinnock, but he is from a largely Welsh-speaking background. Many Brits are.

            1. Big Gee

              Well I’m so glad that we’re both on the same side Gruff!

              If what you say is true, then Kinnock is a far worse example of a ‘bradwr’ than I had previously assumed. The enemy within a nation is always a far more sinister and destructive enemy than the one outside.

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