An Open Letter to David Cameron on the Welsh NHS

Dear Prime Minister,

During the recent election campaign – and even before the campaign started – you made a number of attacks on the NHS in Wales, claiming that the border between our two countries marked the difference between life and death, and that the Labour Party shouldn’t be trusted to run anything. All good knockabout stuff, and when it comes to the Labour Party I’m with you one hundred per cent.

Which means that I’m not writing this in defence of Carwyn Jones and his gang, many of whom seem to be abandoning ship ahead of next year’s Welsh Assembly elections (with three announcing in recent days that they’re standing down). No, my concern is that your regular attacks on the running of the NHS in Wales gives too many people the wrong impression of my country, suggesting that we Welsh are incompetent or incapable of running anything. So I think it’s time to put you straight.

You may have heard that the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, which covers the whole of the north, and its population (2011 census) of 687,937, has been placed in special measures by the ‘Welsh’ Government, with its chief executive suspended. That our largest health board is in trouble should surprise no one, once they’re acquainted with the facts.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that elderly people inevitably put greater demands on the NHS than younger age groups. In north Wales there are 138,325 people over the age of sixty-five, making up some 20% of the population, a figure well above the Welsh average of 18.4 per cent. But what is even more striking is that of the over sixty-fives in northern Wales 61,644, or 44.6 per cent of the total, were born in England.

Within that headline figure there are of course variations. In the local authority area of Conwy just 37.1% 0f the over 65s were born in Wales. Where I live, in southern Gwynedd, the five electoral wards between (and including) Barmouth and Aberdyfi have a combined population of just over ten thousand people . . . of whom nearly one fifth are English pensioners! Or to put it another way, in these five wards only 31.6% of the over 65s are Welsh. And only 43.9% of the total population. Do you think there’s an area of rural England where the English make up less than a third of the 65+ age group, and less than half of the total population? I very much doubt it. You English wouldn’t stand for it.

These figures are quite remarkable, and go a long way to explaining why the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is up Shit Creek. And of course it’s not just the NHS that suffers, other overstretched Welsh budgets must pay for home help and all the other services elderly people need, for many of them have no family living locally, having, effectively, been abandoned in Wales.

Though it’s not just the elderly from England that put a strain on Welsh services. Let me explain the next problem with a question. Where do you think you’d find Wales’ ‘hotspot’ for crime and anti-social behaviour? Some sink estate in Swansea or Cardiff maybe, or some post-industrial wasteland in the former mining valleys? Wrong and wrong – it’s Rhyl; sunny, seaside Rhyl or, to be exact, west Rhyl. Now why do you think that is? Save the old grey matter, I’ll tell you.

For decades Rhyl and the towns along our northern coast have been used as a dumping ground for criminals, paedophiles, drug addicts and others that Liverpool, Manchester and other places in north west England want rid of. These undesirables have been relocated by English local authorities, charities, the Probation Service and other agencies. Another route is social housing, for Welsh housing associations and councils are locked into an Englandandwales allocation system that sees someone making themselves homeless in Stoke on Trent ‘qualifying’ immediately for accommodation in Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant ahead of all locals.

Those I am dealing with here are of course footloose, non-working and benefit-dependent; many with long-term health problems caused by substance abuse and a generally chaotic lifestyle. These, again, put a much greater strain on the Welsh NHS, and other services – not least the police – than others in their age groups. And again, this is a problem that is imposed on Wales (often surreptitiously), making extra calls on our already stretched resources.

These problems I have described are not confined to the north of Wales, they are merely worse there. The issues that afflict Rhyl are now spreading along our coasts, and even inland. The problem of social housing in Wales being used to accommodate white trash from England is now a national problem, but noticeable in rural and coastal areas because so many of the indigenous Welsh have left due to the lack of employment opportunities. And it goes without saying that this unwanted influx is having a very damaging effect on the Welsh language and Welsh cultural identity generally.

The only reason I’m writing this is because although everyone is aware of the problems I’ve listed most people are afraid to speak out in case your attack-dogs in the media start barking ‘racist’ or ‘anti-English’. Though there are also those who feign ignorance. Among these is your new MP for the Vale of Clwyd, Dr James Davies, who focused his recent election campaign on the decline of Rhyl and the state of the NHS in Wales. A campaign from which facts were scrupulously excluded – no wonder you’ve taken a shine to him!

There we are, I’ve had my say. Let me conclude by suggesting that if you and your government are genuinely concerned about the NHS and other deteriorating services in Wales, then there’s a simple option open to you. You can either cough up more money for us to look after people who are in reality England’s responsibility, or you can stop dumping England’s problems in Wales.

                                                                                                             Jac

 

P.S. Pass this on to your boy Jimbo. He obviously needs to learn the truth about what’s happening in his constituency.

cc the Welsh media and the Welsh political class. Both too scared to speak the truth. They deserve each other.

44 thoughts on “An Open Letter to David Cameron on the Welsh NHS

  1. dafis

    Well written Jac, but you cannot expect an economic illiterate who is wedded to a class supremacist world view to have any regard or respect for the grim facts on the ground ! Now had you invited him around to Chez Jones for a spot of dinner, fine wines etc the whole thing might have stood a few seconds chance before being “delegated” to one of his minnions tasked with burying anything that smells of trouble.

    1. I doubt if Cameron will will read it, but that’s not the intention. This is aimed primarily at those mentioned at the very bottom, in the ‘cc’.

      Though I don’t understand why anyone should run away from these linked issues of the elderly and the white trash being moved to Wales. There’s nothing nationalistic about it, certainly not racist. If you move tens of thousands of elderly people, drug addicts, etc into an area then this will impact damagingly on the local provision of health and other services. This is elementary economics.

      The mystery is why our politicians – especially Labour – and our media ignore this obvious factor contributing to the decline in the NHS. By ignoring Wales being used a dumping ground they merely ensure that it continues and that the NHS declines even further, to provide more ammunition for Cameron and his boys.

      So we have a situation in which Labour politicians know what’s happening, and they know how it impacts on the NHS, but they stay silent. Which leads to the conclusion that they welcome this influx because it’s destroying Welsh identity, and bankrupting the NHS is a price worth paying to achieve the objective so many in the Labour Party have cherished for generations.

      1. dafis

        I don’t disagree with anything you say and accept the main purpose of the article.

        We now have the ridiculous situation where politicians of a U.K orientation are hard at it trying to outdo each other in adopting a tough line on immigration ( to the U.K. ) because amongst other consequences it has a seriously distorting effect on the services such as NHS and schools in certain parts of the U.K., and is allegedly placing a huge additional burden on the funding of those services to the point where it can no longer be tolerated.

        However, switch focus slightly and adopt the same critical prism to Wales, or parts of, and those same politicians will often be found in the vanguard pouring scorn on “narrow nationalism”, “open racism” and digging up all sorts of pejorative and emotional bullshit in support of their “case”, just because most of the problem in Wales derives from migrants over Clawdd Offa.

        This issue of funding the gross imbalance caused by this demographic shift must rank high on the agenda of any Party seeking our support in 2016. I would also seek a longer term policy adopted where such demographic movement would no longer be permitted unless it was able to stand some tests, like a case of Welsh families returning to Wales. The matters touched upon by Carol below are clear evidence that dumping dysfunctionals in Wales is racing ahead, adding to the imbalances caused by movement of peaceful but sick and culturally hostile older folk.

        We must as a matter of urgency start articulating coherent stances on the behaviour of Housing Associations, private developers and others who are prime movers and beneficiaries in the colonisation problem and a good stepping off point would be to cut their funding. Is there a party in Wales willing to do that ?

        1. dafis

          post script to above – just found this story –

          Helen Mary Jones and Simon Thomas seek nomination for Mid and West Wales regional list for Plaid Cymru – Wales Online

          doesn’t fill me with optimism that we’ll get people willing to seriously upset the PC PC view that these subjects are best handled “sensitively”

  2. Carol

    This so true, I had the misfortune to work in Rhyl, the number of english problem people dumped there with no intention of working, is unbelievable. Seeing Rhyl torn apart and becoming a no go area is tragic, Colwyn Bay, parts of Llandudno, and even Conwy with its small terraced housing becoming single mother haven for northern England.
    I see youngsters born and bred in Wales at the bottom of the housing list , because incomers have more problems, more kids etc, and jump the queue. Drunken disturbances and vandalism in Conwy town committed by single mothers whilst drunk, is on the increase, locals leave and houses are bought as investment properties, so increasing the flow of problem people,

  3. Ianto Phillips

    I remember seeing Cameron attacking Milliband over “weaponising the NHS” on the leaders debate, and thinking that it was a good chance for Leanne Wood to tear a stripe of Cameron for his astounding hypocrisy, encourage proper debate over the Welsh NHS and stand up for Wales- all in one fell swoop, which any politician worth their salt would have been able to do without standing up for Carwyn Jones and Labour, which is of course no more her job than yours.

    In my naivety, I was actually surprised when she stood there and didn’t even try to say anything.
    And there is plenty to be said even without the effects you describe above.

    However, despite lip service paid to condemning such attacks, I’ve come to think that Plaid Cymru are quite happy with the attacks on the Welsh NHS, perhaps fondly thinking that they will pick up votes because of it.

    Of course, in the absence of them standing up for Wales, they won’t, and any votes lost go elsewhere.

    So Plaid Cymru seem to be happy with weaponising the NHS as some sort of mediaeval loose cannon, destroying themselves more than the enemy.

    it seems to me they would rather any such reasons as you give in the above article were swept under the carpet, partly as they could be perceived as “excuses” for Labour- and ineffectual attacks on Labour are, to Plaid Cymru, far more important than standing up for Wales.

    That’s as well as the “racism” nonsense, of course.

    1. I think you’re right, there are elements in Plaid Cymru that are quite happy to hear Cameron and other Tories attack Labour’s running of the NHS in Wales in the hope that it might gain the party votes. But Plaid did not benefit last month from those attacks, and will not benefit next May.

      Plaid’s only hope to become an effective party is to focus on Welsh issues from a Welsh perspective, which means dealing with the issues I’ve dealt with in this post. But Plaid won’t do that. Consequently it is condemned to a slow, lingering death as some vague and incoherent Green-Left party becoming increasingly irrelevant to the needs and concerns of Welsh people.

      Quite frankly, I think it would be better for all concerned – except our masters – if Plaid Cymru was speedily dispatched . . . and it doesn’t need to be painless.

  4. The Earthshaker

    We all know Plaid’s leadership won’t listen, but I agree with Ianto there are other ways Plaid Cymru could challenge Labour if the issues you raise make them squeamish. A good example of why they aren’t making progress in the Valleys at least (apart from lack of members and local branches) was the calling of a by election in Caerphilly last week.

    The by election for July has been triggered by UKIP calling on the Labour councillor Gerald Jones who got elected as MP for Merthyr & Rhymney in May to honour his promise and stand down as a councillor now that he’s been elected to Parliament. In one move UKIP has challenged Labour who weren’t prepared for a by election so soon, undermined Plaid Cymru who are pretty strong in the Borough and created the impression they are the main challengers for the seat.

    On a side note Im sure Helen Mary Jones had been selected to fight Llanelli, is she following Leanne Wood ensuring a safety net in case the voters reject her again?

  5. Albert Hill

    Enjoyed the Twitter spat between Jac and a couple of rather dim Plaid “lefties.” It’s a pity that these folk never come here to defend their viewpoint.

    What I’d like to ask the Helen Mary’s of this world is what proportion of the Welsh budget they’d happily pay out to support the health needs of elderly incomers? 1%? 10%? 100%?

    Clearly there has to be a limit on how much a small, poor neighbour can contribute to cover the costs of a richer country with 20 times the population and a penchant for moving here when their productive lives are over. And every pound spent is one pound less for our own needs.

    I’m afraid too many Plaid Cymru supporters are quite happy to speak out about, say, Israeli settlement on the West Bank while saying nothing about the ethnicide in its own backyard.

    It’s a cowardly party that won’t even discuss the problems of rural Wales for fear it says something to upset the London arbiters of “morality” whose approval they so desperately crave.

    1. These Plaid Lefties are both hypocrites and liars.

      The one who started the spat last night @mamgwyllt clearly has a thing about child abuse, which is a terrible thing, and something I have tweeted about, but I’m not obsessed with it, or any other subject. Among her tweets were: “@JacotheNorth Kick the old and frail Englishers out. Oh, and the white trash and people w/mental health problems, single” and “Aw, & I’m sad that he prefers to project his hate onto old English ppl rather than abusive VIPs”.

      I don’t hate elderly English people nor do I advocate kicking them out. What I have said is we must either stop them coming here or else get England to pay for its responsibility. As for the white trash, I plead guilty, I’d kick them all out tomorrow. But it seems I’m a legitimate target because I’m not attacking “abusive VIPs”. Plaid Cymru is full of single-issue obsessives using the party to promote a multitude of narrow agendas that exclude Welsh interests.

      With the result that Plaid Cymru supports the Third Sector and the colossal waste of Welsh funding for which the Third Sector is responsible, it also promotes an open door immigration policy for Wales dressed up as ‘welcoming’ refugees and others in need. In the Plaid scheme of things everyone deserves support except Welsh people wishing to defend Welsh nationhood because we embarrass Plaid Cymru in the eyes of those who matter – the Left-Green metropolitan elite and the Guardian readers.

      All of which means that Plaid Cymru has nothing to say to Welsh people, and this is reflected in the declining share of the vote. Plaid Cymru has spent 90 years misleading us and failing us, it’s time more people realised this and turned their backs on Plaid Cymru.

      And by the way, I don’t want them coming here to “defend their viewpoint”. They’ve got enough forums of their own.

      1. dafis

        missed all that ! – who are these abusive V.I.P’s ? or is this just another red herring floating about to avoid confronting the real problems inflicted upon our communities. Those who perceive themselves as V.I.P’s are the bastards who are abusing existing laws, regulations and related mechanisms to dump social misfits by the truckload into areas of Wales already struggling to manage with their indigenous issues. Frankly, I AM coming around to hating the relocated dysfunctional units and also some of the elderly English when they arrive here and start bleating straight off that they don’t like the f***in’ language, that the natives are hostile ( more of them should be, then word might get around ) and things ain’t like they thought they would be ! All they have to do is return to their roots, where their identity, culture and values are relevant

      2. Brychan

        I also notice mamgwyllt has an obsession with child abuse, Jac.

        On 25th June she tweeted the message “This Wacko statue used to stand outside Fulham FC. Is it a coincidence that their nickname is The Cottagers?” along with a photo of the statue of Michael Jackson which used to reside outside Fulham football ground, Craven Cottage.

        Michael Jackson is considered a paedophile. The term cottaging being a slang name for gay men who used to frequent public toilets for casual encounters at a time when homosexuality was illegal or socially excluded.

        The twitter account, Ymlaen2016, is evidently an official social media stream relating to next years elections. The comment is a deliberate attempt to conflate male homosexuality with child molestation.

        Perhaps mamgwyllt should be reminded that it was not homosexuals who were convicted of assisting the Pontypridd singer Ian Watkins of Lostprophets. It was the mother of the child concerned. Also, if heterosexual wife beater, Mark Bridger had not been dumped in Wales from the West Midlands, then perhaps April Jones of Machynlleth might still be alive.

        There is no correlation between gay men and child abuse. It is an unacceptable slur against tens of thousands of gay men in Wales emanating from a social media stream using the Plaid Cymru logo.

        1. ‘mangwyllt’ is obviously someone with an obsession that influences almost everything else in her life. So I blocked her.

  6. YBarddCwsc

    “The problem of social housing in Wales being used to accommodate white trash from England is now a national problem, but noticeable in rural and coastal areas because so many of the indigenous Welsh have left due to the lack of employment opportunities. “

    It is surely the latter that is the real problem. South Gwynedd is slowly de-populating. So, if there were no English incomers, it follows that there would be empty houses and derelict farms.

    I am sympathetic to the points that you make, but David Cameron might legitimately say that the Welsh do bear some responsibility for the Welsh economy. No one — whether Welsh Labour or Plaid Cymru or the Tories — has come up with a real vision for the future of rural Wales. Compare this, for example, to the SNP, who have championed the green economy for rural Scotland, promoted the Scottish food and drink industry and protected the Scottish fishing fleet.

    To give a contrasting example, Cambridge is in a very rural (& formerly rather backward) part of the East of England. But, Cambridge has a hugely booming economy that spills out into its rural hinterland in East Anglia.

    So, if I was trying to develop a plan for the economy of North West Wales, I’d probably start by trying to develop the universities of Bangor and Aberystwyth, so that they spawn science parks and start-up companies. If the economy of Gwynedd remains as it is, if there are no well-paid jobs or opportunities, then young people will continue to leave … and they will be replaced by retirees or the houses will be empty.

    I have been a keen reader of your blog for some time, and I agree with many of the points you make — but it would be interesting to hear some possible solutions to the problems of North West Wales.

    1. dafis

      You must have been “cwsg” for a long time – Sorry you missed all the action of last few decades, but seriously the decline in indigenous job opportunities and the influx of a ( relatively ) wealthy 2nd home, retirement, and dropout/ good lifer mix is a pretty toxic hit for any region to take in.

      There was never a really serious, committed long term attempt at gearing the “peripheral” regions to adapting to newer forms of economic activity, most funding diverted to South and North East Wales with disappointing outcomes even in those regions. Wedded to a focus on tourism, there was an inevitable shift to seasonal employment on low wages. Better than nothing but hardly likely to enable natives to compete with incomers, many of whom took a shine to these areas when on holiday. Later migration became more commercialised on an industrial scale by estate agents, and of course our 3rd sector which has enthusiastically embraced the idea that a move to Wales works wonders for people who don’t feel very good about themselves !

      Where was the native Welsh venturing & enterprise culture ? you may ask. Well that’s a good one to solve and might be the key to the door of a more stable, less dependent future. To date Welsh government’s attempts at developing an entrepreneurial culture have generated more heat than light, probably because, in my opinion, you don’t “create” entrepreneurs you foster them( if any intervention is valid).

      Jac’s concerns are therefore quite valid. No use us beating our selves up over a condition that decades of ill thought out planning, or deliberate conspiracy/collusion, have yielded. Government is now all about illusionary “solutions”, no one working in the regime really gives a damn as long as they have a good salary, access to private health services and can send their kids to good schools, and have a job with a tidy pension and early severance terms. The misuse of public funds is massive and could be the subject of an alternative text. Bolt on to that the evident reliance of our business “leaders” on government schemes, grants etc and you have a dependency culture that extends well beyond the perceived limits of the underclass and low earners, and is a UK wide phenomenon to some extent. l

      1. Daley Gleephart

        Some ‘took a shine’ to Wales whilst in one of our lovely seaside prisons as did their wives, partners, and girlfriends during away day visits.

      2. You’re right to start with job loss, Dafis. In the reading and research I’m doing for my magnum opus (yes, I’m still working on it) I can see it starts with job loss. Recently my attention has been drawn to what’s happening in Dyffryn Teifi, and more specifically, Llandysul, and I intend using this area as an example of the problem found all over rural and coastal areas.

        I can recall back in the 1960s and 1970s this area had a number of creameries and cheese-making plants, this was unsurprising seeing as rural Carmarthenshire with adjacent areas of Cardiganshire and Pembrokeshire was the heartland of Welsh dairy farming. Then one by one these milk-processing plants began to close, the milk was now being shipped over the border to create ‘Welsh’ dairy products. What struck me at the time was the reluctance of the Welsh Office, and the Welsh political class generally, to intervene and save the area’s only real industry.

        Hundreds of jobs were lost and many decent Welsh families, those that wanted to work, were forced to leave the area to find work. Now for politicians of all persuasions, and at all levels, a falling population, and empty houses, is bad news because it creates the impression that either they can’t do their job, or they aren’t trying to do their job. Things drifted along with, as you suggest, tourism being promoted as the economic salvation of the area.

        But then, in the 1990s, the strategy seemed to change, the future now lay in building thousands of new houses in Ceredigion. And to carry out this strategy our masters had the perfect man in place in the form of Dai Lloyd Evans, the leader of the council. Although the truth was that Dai and his ‘Independent’-landowner cronies’ primary responsibility was to themselves . . . if anyone else benefited, then they would be happy to take the credit.

        And so it came to pass that Ceredigion began a splurge of house building for which there was clearly no local justification. Though Dai Lloyd Evans tried by arguing that if these lovely, detached 3- and 4-bedroom houses were not built then local youngsters would have nowhere to live. (Yes, he did say that.) To ensure that there were no hold-ups DLLE bought a couple of fields on the outskirts of Tregaron that had been secretly earmarked for ‘development’.

        Why the sudden rush to build houses? Well, and it’s not easy to say this, Cynog Dafis was elected Plaid MP for Ceredigion in 1992, and he held the seat in 1997, increasing his majority. Cynog Dafis stood down on his election (via the regional list) to the Assembly in 1999; Simon Thomas retained Ceredigion with an increased percentage of the vote. The seat of Ceredigion was won for Plaid in the first Assembly elections by Elin Jones with 47.8% of the vote, the nearest challenger, Labour, got 15.7%.

        Now no matter what we may think of Cynog Dafis and Elin Jones, or Plaid Cymru for that matter, someone who knew no better might look at these results and conclude that Ceredigion was being turned into a nationalist stronghold – what to do? Obvious! Build thousands of new houses and attract thousands of English colonists who are never going to vote for Plaid unless the party becomes so wishy-washy as to be no threat to anyone.

        Another vitally important factor in the colonisation strategy is that our masters must ensure there are as many local beneficiaries as possible. In the case of Ceredigion we obviously have Dai Lloyd Evans and his gang, and their extended families. Then there are the estate agents and others. Plus of course the builders. I remember reading a piece in the WM which purported to deal with claims that all this house building in Ceredigion would destroy the language (Which it has) and the owner of a local building firm arguing that his men spoke Welsh, and if they weren’t building these houses then they’d have to leave the area. Ergo building these new houses was actually saving the Welsh language!

        To balance out the influx with a broader social mix, and to ensure the benefits spread more widely among the locals, we have the unrestricted irresponsibility of housing associations and private landlords. So I’ll conclude with a piece of information received from an informant. The biggest private landlord in the Llandysul area, responsible for housing a lot of white trash, is a local Welshman. He justifies his activities by arguing that what he does brings a lot of money into the local economy.

        1. dafis

          Jac

          Thanks for the detailed factual account of what I just knew in my gut.

          Milk processing were substantial employers at Felinfach, NCE, Whitland, H’fordwest, Carmarthen, Llangadog and more beyond that corner of S.W Wales. All gone or “diversified” into some high volume, low labour content activity.

          I was never that sentimental about coal, a nasty extractive industry that killed too many. However its demise was akin to economic/industrial “cleansing” getting rid of well paid jobs and replacing them with minimum wage jobs, if at all. Also much of the supply chain – electrical and machine shop contractors, tool makers, fabricators etc went down the plughole because they too were part of that backbone that had to be smashed.

          None dare call it Conspiracy, but if not then it most definitely was an act of war !

        2. Brychan

          You mention milk-processing, Jac.

          One of the big successes of the SNP in Moray and Angus is their support for the micro-distillery businesses for specialist high quality product. Diago fucked off in Scotland the same way as DairyCrest fucked off in Wales.

          Cash employed in whisky production is up-front and profit is not realised until 20 or so years later when the product is ready and sold. The Scottish government provides bank guarantees for these investments from EU funding and also actively promotes the product worldwide. Specialist high-end whisky supports an indigenous workforce employed in high paid jobs in rural areas.

          Take away the duty and tax on a bottle and the gross profit per unit is about the same as a specialist wheel of quality cheese.

          So why doesn’t the Welsh Government do similar to establish and sustain high-end micro-dairy businesses in Sir Gâr and Ceredigion? I notice groups of hippy sponging English settlers can get all sorts of funding for outward bound bunkhouses and wicker craft eco-centres but nothing on offer for indigenous farmer cooperatives on the banks of the Tywi or Teifi. Time to nurture gwin, cig a caws business on a similar model to those supported in Scotland on the banks of the Tay or Spey.

          I can’t help noticing there is a successful indigenous specialist Welsh cheese company based in Rhyl, of all places. But all the Welsh Government cash currently goes to third sector organisations to help the ‘problems’ of those that are socially dumped from England into that particular town. The last publicly funded international promotion for this company of Rhyl was during the opening of the Commonwealth games, paid for and promoted in errr….Glasgow.

          1. The ‘Welsh’ Government and its cronies in the Third Sector have no intention of solving any of Wales’ problems, it’s better to capitalise on them, the Third Sector financially, and Labour electorally, by blaming them wicked Tories . . . even when they aren’t in government! But this charade is coming to an end.

            First, because when the EU announces more details of how the third dollop of structural funds is to be spent, it will be made clear that it cannot be wasted on the Third Sector, again. Also, an increasing number of people are waking up to the fact that Labour may blame the Tories (and anybody else who’s handy) but after being in charge down Cardiff docks for 16 years there comes a point when blaming anybody else fails to convince, which is why Labour is losing support. As for Labour doing anything on the banks of either Tywi or Teifi – good God, man, you’re talking countryside! Sheeps and things.

  7. dafis

    Just stumbled on yet another story of a major payoff at the Assembly :

    Outgoing senior Welsh Government civil servants stand to gain £400,000 in redundancy payouts – Wales Online

    Comments made include :

    Andrew RT Davies, Conservative opposition leader in the Assembly, said: “Whilst we support efforts to reduce the cost of delivering government in Wales, particularly at a time when families across the country are being forced to tighten their belts, the sums involved are a real cause for concern.

    “This rather staggering sum also rather begs the question – if you can afford to lose half of the Welsh Government’s senior management team at the stroke of a pen without compromising delivery, what on earth were they employed for in the first place?”

    Steve Thomas, director of the Welsh Local Government Association, previously said that a significant number of local authorities in Wales have cut back on redundancy payments. Cardiff council, for example, has capped redundancy payments for all staff at under £22,000.

    “It would be interesting to know whether a similar cap will be introduced for senior civil servants,” he said.

    Cardiff may have capped its redundancy scheme but still has to top up pension plans for anybody over 55 who exits on redundancy. 2 recent leavers cost 270k in pension top ups. Nothing like a good gravy train to keep a smile on a mandarin’s ugly puss !

  8. “Ceredigion was being turned into a nationalist stronghold – what to do? Obvious! Build thousands of new houses and attract thousands of English colonists who are never going to vote for Plaid unless the party becomes so wishy-washy as to be no threat to anyone.” On the mark Jac, it’s the same strategy the Brits have always used throughout history, Ireland being a perfect example of colonialism, flood the North with Brit Unionists and eventually claim it as their own.

    1. Yes, and the beauty of the scheme is that you can do it by relying on the greed of people like Dai Lloyd Evans and his gang. Just give them free rein to do what comes naturally, and then let them be the villains of the piece, and the fall-guys.

    2. Colin

      Exactly! And will we ever win this battle by discussion? I doubt it, I think Jac mirrors my own thoughts on a solution, the only way to achieve what we want would to make that the middle ground which calls for a more aggressive campaign to make second homes for a start a less attractive proposition. That is though a less than ideal answer but it almost worked once. Not only are they too afraid to speak, they are too afraid to listen also.

      If you don’t want this on your blog Jac, please feel free to remove it

      1. I don’t know what your thoughts are, I’m not a mind reader. I don’t think a return to violence would solve anything, and I’m not advocating a return to violence. What I’ve tried to do with this blog is give people the facts they won’t going get from anywhere else plus, obviously, my interpretations of those facts. If enough people know what’s going on, and only a minority of them is prepared to stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough’, then it becomes more difficult to persist with a system of using Welsh funding to import white trash, and not make holiday homes pay more, and not introduce a tourist tax to help alleviate some the problems tourism brings.

        1. Colin

          I do agree, which is why I said it was less than ideal and certainly not a road I would choose to follow. But is to stand up and say enough is enough actually enough to make ourselves heard? Everything is a compromise, to barter for what what we want will sell ourselves short I think but obviously I don’t know that. I just feel that those who should listen just scrunch it up and call us “Bloody Welsh nationalists!!”, to make ourselves heard is the first step in my opinion but you are 100% right in that a return to violence would make that more unlikely

    1. David, don’t be so impatient! Some suggestions will be included in the piece I’m working on now. But having laid out the problems anyone can suggest remedies, and I’m open to suggestions.

      P.S. And another thing, Dai, we don’t all know the problems. People all over Wales see things happening in their area that they don’t like, things for which they don’t understand the mechanisms. What I’m doing is joining up the dots, making them realise that what they see happening on their patch is part of a national picture, and I explain why it’s happening, and who’s behind it. Until people realise that colonisation is a national problem there’s no point in suggesting remedies.

      1. YBarddCwsc

        I have learnt a lot from your blog, and I’d be interested in your suggestions.

        The SNP have done so well — not just because they have raged against the injustices of the Union — but because they have conjured up a plausible message of hope for the future, a vision of a prosperous New Scotland.

        No-one has managed to do that for Wales.

        Until there is a plausible vision of a prosperous Welsh economy, there is no long term solution to the depopulation of Wales by the Welsh. In my family (and both parents & all four of my grandparents were Welsh), the only people who are still resident in Wales are elderly aunts and uncles. Everyone else — myself and every single one of my cousins and siblings — has left Wales. Everyone under 60 has left.

        Switzerland is a mountainous country with few natural resources, and surrounded by powerful neighbours Wales is a mountainous country with (now) few natural resources and surrounded by a powerful neighbour.

        Switzerland is wealthy because it has invested in education, science, engineering and medicine, and it has developed a stable prosperous high tech economy.

        If it is not too late for Wales, that is what it must now do.

    2. The Earthshaker

      It wont happen, but the obvious place to start is putting pressure on Plaid Cymru controlled Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire councils to introduce a second home/holiday homes tax or create a new expensive council tax band following precedents in Cumbria, western Ireland, rural French authorities and Danish municipal authorities all due to excessive immigration and diluting local communities and then get Plaid Cymru leadership to back them when they’re introduced.

      Next step would be for Plaid Cymru to challenge other Welsh rural/coastal local authorities to follow their lead, the reaction from Unionist sock puppets would be the usual hysterical hyperbole and claims of racism, but if Plaid councils had the balls they’d take the issue all the way to the Supreme Court and let the judges rule in their favour, but there’s more chance of pigs flying.

      I also noticed an earlier comment about the lack of economic ideas for the welsh economy, there’s plenty of them. The Institute of welsh affairs reports and symposium had a raft of ideas earlier this year, the FSB and CBI Wales produces regular reports, welsh assembly committee’s have enquiries and report on economic ideas, Wales has a wealth of economists putting forward ideas, all our Universities have business departments who generate research on what works and the Tories, Plaid Cymru and Lib Dems all regularly put ideas forward. What’s missing is political will to change the status quo and ability to be open minded and look beyond one set of political economic ideas, until that happens were stuck in the depressing mess were in.

  9. YBarddCwsc

    Gwynedd Council do charge 100 per cent Council Tax on second homes, which is the same policy as Cumbria.

    I believe Gwynedd Council are planning to increase it to 150 per cent, which would be the first time anywhere in the UK that a second home is charged Council Tax at a premium to a single home. This is only possible in Wales, and not in England (or as far as I am aware Scotland). Only in Wales has the primary legislation been emended to permit this (at Plaid Cymru’s behest).

    However, the problem is that “second home taxes” are in general easy to avoid.

    For example, a couple owning two houses just puts each house in a single name. Then each house actually qualifies for a Single Person Discount (which means the double home owners are again paying less than the average). Or, a family can simply put the second home in the name of one of the children, or another family member. Or, create a company that holds the second home, so that the homes are in different names and they don’t legally own two homes.

    To be fair, this is a problem everywhere — London, just like Gwynedd, has lots of ghost homes. And London has been no more successful than Gwynedd in solving the problem.

    Most second homes are at the expensive end because it is only the most affluent who own them. So the best way to deal with this is to re-band the Council tax, so that homes above the median (which is about 250,000 pounds in Gwynedd) are much, much more aggressively taxed. This is hard to avoid, as it only depends on the price of the home. Also, we should remove all discounts (such as single person discount) once the house is above the median. Discounts simply provide loopholes that the wealthy can exploit.

    So, in this scheme, second home owners with modest properties do escape. But, the tax is easy to implement and more money is raised from the wealthiest home owners (whether single or double) that can then be invested by Gwynedd Council elsewhere.

    1. “Most second homes are at the expensive end because it is only the most affluent who own them.” Wrong, I’m afraid. In my village the second homes are terraced houses, formerly quarrymen’s cottages, and otherwise ideal for local first-time buyers.

      There are of course more isolated holiday homes, but these come with disadvantages. They are more expensive to maintain, to heat and if anything goes wrong – burst pipes in winter, for example – who’s going to know? For all sorts of reasons, a nice place in the village, with a trusty local keeping an eye on things, is the best arrangement.

        1. There is a carefully nurtured misrepresentation that holiday homes are all isolated properties that ‘the locals didn’t want’ because they were in ruins and off the beaten track. This never was true, but it’s a misrepresentation that is widely believed. When I get friends or family visiting from the south they’re amazed that so many small, terraced properties in the village are holiday homes.

        2. Daley Gleephart

          Ah, but that’s an opportunity!!! You can make money by watering their plants, picking up their mail and seeing in deliveries. A new job created!!! Isn’t it wonderful? /sarc/

        3. Colin

          We went for a morning out in Conwy today (pretty place, not been for years), obviously we didn’t go into every shop but everyone we did other than the butchers we were served by someone who sounded very sais

          Daley, many a true word…. I’ll water their plants LOL!

          1. Carol

            They dont have plants just dead weeds and rubbish, everywhere is covered in seagull droppings because they cant be bothered to spike their roofs (why would they, they arn’t bothered) latest sale to someone in Dubai they didnt even view it ?

            1. Colin

              Dubai?!?! God forbid!

              My wife and I walk around our village every evening, a couple of weeks ago a house just on the beach suddenly out of nowhere had a for sale sign with sold stuck on it. The estate agent was from Cheshire (where Wrecsam is these days apparently). After a quick search online we couldn’t find any reference to the house being on the market at any other estate agent, no hint locally that the house was for sale, only in bloody Cheshire!

            2. To be exact, Wrecsam is in ‘West Cheshire’. Though anyone who thinks that Rhostyllen, Coedpoeth, Gwersyllt, Froncysyllte and Rhosllanerchrugog could ever be in ‘West Cheshire’ deserves to be conned.

  10. YBarddCwsc

    Jac, the statement I made is correct for the whole of the UK (perhaps they are distorted by London).

    It would be interesting to see some actual statistics on this for Wales or for Gwynedd.

    I think it will be difficult to frame a “Second Home Tax” that works, except along the lines I suggest (which is certainly better than nothing).

    If you don’t mind me asking, which is your village ?

  11. dafis

    Earthshaker commented “I also noticed an earlier comment about the lack of economic ideas for the welsh economy, there’s plenty of them”……………….. True to a point, but look closely at most of the august bodies generating these ideas nad hence my remark about generating more heat than light. As soon as any idea with potential goes forward to secure support and funding be it from government agencies or the banks/institutions it gets subjected to interference overload a.k.a ” business support”. Now on the face of it this is optional but to progress through the hoops it is advisable to allow your idea to be picked over by sundry consultants, accountants, commitees etc etc and by the time you get to market the bloody thing is stale !! Some people manage to evade all this crap and there are success stories, but don’t rely on those bodies mentioned earlier to cut a dash in leading any kind of recovery as they are mostly self serving feeding off anything that stops long enough to let them peck.

    On 2nd homes a council tax at a visble level i.e 100% of full whack is fair enough and maybe applied at Mid band rates even though the property may be a hole in the wall normally attracting a lower rating. Review impact after 5 years and if it ain’t working move on to something else. People have to realise the impact they have on host communities, and as pointed out by Jac small homes ideal for young starter families are being priced out by (relatively) wealthy incomers. Bad news !

    1. The Earthshaker

      Point taken dafis, I was responding to those who keep saying there are no ideas around to boost the Welsh economy when there clearly are.

      My point about the second homes tax is that more than one local authority implements it otherwise Gwynedd Council is setting itself up for a fall and to be singled out as particularly cruel to English incomers.

OK, you've read what I think, now what do you have to say?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.