May 112018
 

BIKE PARK WALES AKA PARC BEICIO CYMRU LTD

In the natural world parents must come before children, how could it be otherwise?

But in the world of what passes for business in Wales, by which I mean ‘private’ companies heavily reliant on public money, things can be different. Take the Merthyr Mountain Biking Centre, for example. Well, that’s the name by which everybody knows it, or else BikePark Wales, yet it’s registered with Companies House as Beic Parcio Cymru Ltd, even though there’s not a word of Welsh on the website.

I never cease to be amazed at how many third sector bodies almost entirely staffed by natives of a neighbouring country give themselves Welsh names those running the show can’t pronounce. Or, more sinisterly, bodies getting oodles of public money and known to the world by an English name register themselves with Companies House or the Charity Commission with the Welsh translation of that name. This sleight-of-name can only be done to make it difficult for public-minded citizens like what I am to help the ‘Welsh’ Government keep track on how public money is spent.

As far as I could make out when we previously looked at BikePark Wales (scroll right down) it was a company owned by two husband and wife/partner teams and a New Zealander, the venture situated on land leased from the ‘Welsh’ Government (through Natural Resources Wales). These people also seemed to have their own companies that dovetailed neatly with the publicly-funded Bike Park Wales. (A relationship from which they no doubt profited.)

Who gave BikePark Wales the authority to fine Welsh people for ‘trespassing’ on publicly-owned Welsh land? And who vets the “marshalls” (sic) recruited to their private police force?

I say ‘was’ run by these people because the whole shebang underwent a massive upheaval over the Christmas period, all starting on December 21st.

On that date three directors parted company with Beic Parcio Cymru Ltd leaving only Martin Astley and Rowan John Sorrell in place, but more significantly, on the same day the company was taken over by BikePark Holdings Ltd, which is now the parent company, even though it was only Incorporated with Companies House on 5 October 2017.

Astley and Sorrell are also directors of this new parent company along with Keith Pacey, Tom Spencer and Simon Paul Stephenson.

The Yuletide upheavals may be linked to entries on the Companies House website under the ‘Filing History’ tab. These suggest that incorrect information had originally been supplied to Companies House and perhaps when this became known (to the ‘Welsh’ Government? Companies House?) a new holding company was hastily formed.

So how does the information found on the new forms I mention differ from the information originally submitted to Companies House?

Let’s consider the older form first; this being the “Annual Return made up to 29 May 2011 with full list of shareholders”. (Found under the ‘Filing History’ tab.) The difference between the 2011 original and the 2017 “second filing” is shown in the panel below I cobbled together from the two forms.

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I find it difficult to believe that anyone could make a mistake over how many of just 100 shares were held by each of only four directors.

Keeping to chronological order, on 11 January 2013 there was a sizeable share issue and this explains the allocation we’ll look at next. Again, with a panel compiled from the original submission and its correction.

The original return of May 2013 was signed by Anna Walters, the correction of 23 January 2018 by Astley.

click to enlarge

The amended form sees a new shareholder, this being Back-on-Track Mountain Bike Solutions Ltd, holding 2,795 shares. So who or what is Back-on-Track? Companies House tell us it’s a company based in Pontypool, Incorporated March 2008, and its sole shareholder is Rowan Sorrell.

The two directors of this company are Sorrell and Elizabeth Alexandra Sorrell (formerly Scaife). And for a husband and wife outfit the company is in rude financial health, with total assets less current liabilities for 2017 of £494,952.

If we tot up the shares of Sorrell, Scaife-Sorrell and their company it comes mighty close to the majority shareholding in Beic Parcio Cymru Ltd shown in the document we looked at earlier. But that still leaves the question – why was Back-on-Track Mountain Bike Solutions Ltd left off the document submitted in 2011? I ask because in a small company like Parc Beicio Cymru those involved must know who the shareholders are and how many shares they hold.

Though the figures still don’t add up. The share issue of January 2013 talks of 46,536 ordinary shares being “in issue”. The first document, of May 2013 accounts for just 43,795, but with Back-on-Track added the total comes to 46,590, which of course exceeds the stated issue by 54 shares.

This extra 54 shares seems to be explained in a document lodged with Companies House long after the shares it refers to had been issued.

UPDATE 12.05.2018: An FoI request has now been sent to the ‘Welsh’ Government.

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UPDATE 16.05.2016: A response has been received from the ‘Welsh’ Government. The respondent seems unaware that Bike Park Wales no longer exists. Still, I shall now write to Natural Resources Wales.

BIKEPARK HOLDINGS LTD

Now we return to the newly-hatched parent company, BikePark Holdings Ltd. Who exactly have Sorrell and Astley shacked up with? We certainly know their names: Thomas Anthony John Spencer, Simon Paul Stephenson and Keith Pacey.

If we turn to the Filing history tab of BikePark Holdings, and the ‘Written Resolution’, we see that the new parent company of Beic Parcio Cymru is linked with BCF Ventures Ltd, a company belonging to Tom Spencer and Simon Stephenson.

Companies House tells us that BCF Ventures Ltd is based in Peterborough, in eastern England, and it was Incorporated 5 October 2015. In June 2017 it filed accounts for a dormant company showing just the two shares issued, both held by Spencer.

So BCF Ventures Ltd seems to have done little or nothing before linking up with Parc Beicio Cymru Ltd to form BikePark Holdings Ltd.

Going back to and moving down the Written Resolution we see that Rowan Sorrell and Martin Astley are listed as ‘Managers’.

Which leaves just Keith Pacey, who is well known to the business world, seemingly specialising in mergers and buy-outs. Here’s his Bloomberg profile. He is non-executive chairman of Places for People Leisure, which would seem a good fit for Merthyr Bike Park.

Information courtesy of Bloomberg, click to enlarge

Pacey is clearly the director with the money in BikePark Holdings Ltd. Confirmed by going back to the Companies House website and checking through the charges (debts or obligations).

But first, let’s consider the charges against the original company, Parc Beicio Cymru Ltd. There are no fewer than seven outstanding. These charges belong to Allied Irish Bank, Welsh Ministers, Finance Wales, plus Kevin Pacey and a debenture held by former director Ian Campbell Officer who left 21 December 2017. And two months later set up Wye Mountain Biking Ltd.

The charge held by Pacey is in the form of a Guarantee and Debenture in relation to £3,787,308. The same amount appears in relation to a charge listed against BikePark Holdings Ltd.

Moving on to BikePark Holdings Ltd we see, in addition to the charge held by Pacey, one against Welsh Ministers and one against Allied Irish Bank. So clearly, the ‘Welsh’ Government knows about Beic Parcio Cymru Ltd being taken over by BikePark Holdings Ltd . . . and presumably approves.

WHO? WHAT? WHY? WHEN?

Here are a few questions relating to events around Christmas time last year:

  1. Why did Beic Parcio Cymru Ltd submit two corrected documents to Companies House?
  2. Who discovered the errors in the originals?
  3. Were those ‘errors’ genuine mistakes or attempts to deceive?
  4. Why did Ian Campbell Officer part company with Beic Parcio Cymru?
  5. Why did Beic Parcio Cymru need Spencer and Stephenson, and their hitherto dormant company BCF Ventures Ltd, seeing as the financial backing needed appears to come from Pacey?
  6. What exactly is the fresh money for?
  7. Is BikePark Holdings Ltd (or anyone else) buying the site from the ‘Welsh’ Government?
  8. Is BikePark Holdings raising money to renovate or expand its Merthyr operation?
  9. How deeply in debt are Beic Parcio Cymru Ltd and BikePark Holdings Ltd, and is the Welsh public purse in danger of having to cover debts incurred by either company?
  10. Is the ‘Welsh’ Government happy with recent developments, and how does it feel about those running this valuable asset being based further and further away from Wales?

‘WELSH’ TOURISM

It would be nice to think that the developments at Merthyr are an aberration, that English companies and individuals getting rich by exploiting Welsh assets is a rarity, but it’s not. Just a few miles from Merthyr as the crow flies the ‘Welsh’ Government is handing over another large tract of Welsh land to yet another bunch of spivs English company.

And this will all be done in the name of  “building the Welsh economy”.

Of course there’ll be jobs for locals . . . the kind of jobs that are always provided in colonial situations. But the money will flow east and the top jobs will go to people who’ve moved west. For us it’ll be: “Can you drive a lawnmower, Taff? . . . Can your girlfriend serve coffee? . . . Nice ass on her, bit of a go-er, is she? . . . Oi, careful, Dai – do you want the job or not?”

And things have got worse under devolution. Yes we’ve always been exploited by England, but I can remember when a boy could leave school with little in the way of skills or education and still get a well-paid job underground or in a factory, steel or tinplate works. A job that made him feel like a man among men.

Now, increasingly, all we’re offered is wiping wrinkly Saxon backsides and making our betters feel welcome in our country.

But this is how it must be under devolution run by a socialist-Unionist party. On the one hand Plaid Tlodi Cymru is incapable of creating jobs because your average Labour politician knows less about economics than he/she knows about Lithuanian poetry; and on the other hand – being control freaks – they’re terrified of a healthy economy, run by businessmen and entrepreneurs who’ll see through them, so we end with up a bloated and suffocating third sector run by Labour-supporting parasites.

And because the Wales Poverty Party is Unionist it must run Wales in the interests of England and the English. Which brings me back to the Merthyr Mountain Biking Centre, and the Afan Valley Resort, and Surf Snowdonia, and Bluestone, and all the rest.

‘Croeso!’

Has any word in any language in the whole history of the human race been so traduced and corrupted that it has lost all meaning? What should exude warmth, sincerity and hospitality is now just a robotic slogan stripped of all human emotion and often mouthed from behind a rictus smile.

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“Croeso, we hope you’ll like us . . . and we don’t mind if you take over our country . . . cos we’ve been conditioned to cringe like this . . . would you like me to say something in Welsh so you can laugh?”

Yeah, ‘Croeso’.

♦ end ♦

  62 Responses to “BikePark Wales”

  1.  

    Wales is a soft target for a variety of venturers, fringe financial institutions and other assorted poseurs who might generically fall into a category of financial engineers. Why do I say this ? Well, often the common characteristic is that they seek Welsh government funding either direct (Skates & co) or via an intermediary such as a 3rd sector conduit or even local authority, while placing little or none of their own capital (if they ever have any) at risk.

    A whole host of advisors and facilitators have grown in this environment germinated in the heat generated by politicians wanting to be seen to be doing something. These include the major firms of accountants/auditors/consultants and niche/boutique organisations with a penchant for devising and negotiating some exotic financing structures. They wheel these deals or mechanisms into meetings with politicians and civil servants who often can’t tell shit from chocolate but won’t dare admit their lack of knowledge and nod sagely while the shirts are lifted off their backs.

    The end result is a series of dodgy deals all coated with a thin laquer of credibility but prone to falling apart as soon as anyone starts sniffing around with a serious critical intent. By then the chancers have moved on to their next “big thing” sometimes having the gall to call again at Cardiff Bay with yet more propositions to “kick start” the recovery of the Welsh economy. Given the dullness that appears to exist at epidemic levels in our governing institutions it is not really surprising that the spivs are having a field day with our scarce resources.

    •  

      An excellent post Dafis.

      Everyone and his dog who have an interest in these things are painfully aware of this. The problem lies with the lack of acumen and the general standard of AMs we have in The Bay (just look at their background CVs before they became career politicians – you’ll find nurses, teachers and solicitors). Then add in the ‘sons of the manse’ within Plaid and there’s your recipe for disaster. Their advisors are no better and when you throw in the odd ‘think tank’ and lobbyists this is the mess you land up with.

      It’s a simple case of Labour cronyism within the third sector, and an inability to understand these things, either wilfully or due to basic raw ignorance.

      We need to throw in a few ferrets to sort out the rats in that place. Hopefully Ein Gwlad will provide those in the fullness of time.

    •  

      Excellent post by Dafis. Just take a look at the whole ‘Circuit of wales’ fiasco. It was blindingly obvious from the start that the venture was deeply flawed (to say the least). The obvious questions (in order) were;
      ? is investment in development of a racing circuit anywhere in UK likely to be an
      economically sensible proposition ? NO
      ? what economic advantages does Ebbw Vale possess as the location for a motor racing
      circuit versus the obvious location of somewhere in Oxon ? NONE
      ? What advantages does the Ebbw vale site have then ? A SOFT TOUCH WELSH
      GOVERNMENT AND CHEAP LAND.

      The debacle cost the Welsh taxpayer at least £9M. Nuff said

  2.  

    Its a sure sign that a Welsh name has been translated by someone with no understanding of the language when they make basic dictionary errors: ‘Beic Parcio’, a verb where there ought to be a noun. It reminds me of the Dyfed Powys Police website where “Drop in surgery” (an opportunity to talk one-to-one with a local police officer) is translated “Galw i mewn llawfeddygaeth” (sounds painful).

    •  

      But why has no one told them? Or has someone told them and they just don’t care?

      •  

        It’s called ‘tokenism’ Jac – to keep the natives quiet. They don’t really care a fig. They have web sites in Cymraeg, because they are obligated to do it by statute. When it comes to names of companies, they do it because they think that the daft natives will in some way accept them better. Just look around the supermarkets etc. They don’t do it because they are principled, they do it because they think it appeases the ‘foreign’ speaking natives.

        •  

          Talking of websites, ‘Beic Parcio Cymru Ltd’ had theirs done by a firm in Cornwall. Another example of their commitment to Wales.

        •  

          Very occasionally supermarkets get it spectacularly right. In Tesco in Wrexham there used to be a sign (still is for all I know – it’s nearly ten years since I was in there…) which in English said “Single-portion dog food”. Why so specific? Well, so the Welsh translation could say “Bwyd ci un dogn”. Brilliant!

        •  

          It’s so bad Big Gee largely because we the natives accept it so readily. Most of the visible lack of bilingualism is actually very easy to counter, and could very quickly be changed if enough of us had a mind to do that.

          Just imagine a relatively small group of activists randomly selecting busy supermarkets in a tourist area in high season going in and staging a ‘supermarket sweepstake’ type action with the intention of blocking up the tills with shopping trollies full of food and then leaving the shop. Chaos and crucially hitting them where is really hurts, economically. This kind of action was effective prior to the current tendency to reduce staffing through the introduction of self-service tills, and would be even more effective now, as the supermarkets just don’t have the staff to deal with such random actions.

          And in place of the tokensim that so many Welsh speakers accept, real demands should be being made such as, at the very least, bilingual labelling of all products sold. The very vulnerability of the main supermarket chains and their low profit margins would make these companies eager to come to an agreement over the issue.

          Most arguments over the provision of signage and labelling in Cymraeg come down to an issue of monetary cost, so the aim needs to be to make it more expensive to not provide signage, goods and services in Cymraeg.

          Of course, such actions on their own could be somewhat muted if the message wasn’t able to get out, and that is a real possibility in these days of monopolised local media and state censorship/bias. Fortunately there is now a plethora of news broadcasting in English that is somewhat antagonistic to the London/Washington line. International news based TV stations such as RT, Press TV or TRT World, (which in recent months poached both Jamie Owen and Iolo ap Dafydd) would quite possibly be interested in using a story of natives striking back, despite their own channels’ dubious political/financial basis.

          I always remember thinking when Cymdeithas yr Iaith started their campaign to persuade mobile phone companies to provide services in Cymraeg, (and how successful was that? Why is it that Cymdeithas’ campaigns seem to fizzle out?). No doubt the phone companies were a legitimate target in a campaign to get large corporations to recognise Cymraeg, but the choice of mobile phone companies I felt to be inordinately cack handed, as they are hardly the most visible of entities. Supermarkets are much more visible, and much more vulnerable to wildcat actions that have large social and economic impact.

          Talking of mobile phones, why are we still waiting to get interfaces on Android phones in Cymraeg? Wouldn’t it be a project worthy of WAG funding? I feel pretty insulted when I see that Icelandic speaking people have the choice of an interface in their own language, whilst I do not.

          •  

            Ah! Cymdeithas yr Iaith, I remember them back in the 1960s. Surely they aren’t still going? If so, they must have gone undercover.

  3.  

    I think questions need to be directed to the landowner. Who are these “marshals” who have the power to “fine on the spot”. Under what statutory provision ? And how are the funds received from fines used.

    •  

      And of course the landowner is the ‘Welsh’ Government, or is it us?

    •  

      Here’s a FoI I’ve just sent to the ‘Welsh’ Government. Bike Park wales Foi 1

      •  

        Will be interesting to see what fudge you get in response to those queries.

      •  

        I’d be interested to know under what authority ‘mashalls’ have the right to issue fines to people out walking in what was previously ‘open-access’ forestry commission land ?

        Another example..

        It is a motoring offense to park on a ‘clearway’ identified with white line on the side of a trunk road. Such a streach of road is the verges to the A470 at Storey Arms. This stretch of road is next to the car park at Pont ar Daf and is the main starting point for the footpath up Penyfan. Pont ar Daf car park used to be free.

        In 2016, NRW felled about seven acres of trees adjacent to the old car park and subsequently, in 2017, the National Park Authority awarded planning permission to the National Trust to expand the car park from 50 to 263 parking spaces. National Trust now own the extended Pont ar Daf car park.

        National Trust have their own ‘parking subsidiary’ who charge for parking on all their sites in England and Wales. It is called “National Trust Car Parks” who are a registered organisation who have a license to access DVLA records to obtain the driver details from number plates. A bit like Parking Eye or Indigo who run hospital car parks at UHW.

        Free parking is available to National Trust members at Pont ar Daf. but non-members pay the fee, or are subject to a Penalty charge Notice . The pay-and-display machines allow National Trust members to scan in their membership card bar code which prints a free parking ticket. The result is that National trust tourists get free priority parking but locals up from the valleys for a stroll or walk the dog now have to pay, get a PCN or risk being fined for roadside parking.

        •  

          You make an interesting point Brychan, there is a ‘National Trust Car Park’ in Southgate, Gower. Locals ignore the Pay and Display machines, because they know that the signs are in English only not bilingual. So fines are not enforceable, but tourists fill the machines. The Trust know this and send a guy along as muscle but locals give there names and address and say ‘take me to court, now fuck off’.

      •  

        Excellent questions. Look forward to the answers. From my experience of dealing with Welsh Government FOI team they do not normally acknowledge receipt of information requests and it usually requires a reminder after 20 working days, with Information Commissioner copied in, before any attempt is made to respond, or maybe I’m on a “black list” !

    •  

      I’m not a lawyer but even basic “O level” law teaches you that trespass is generally a tort or civil wrong. I doubt that the statement on the website that “tresspassers” (sic) will be fined on the spot by marshalls is legally enforceable and is accordingly just a frightener – or bullshit as I’d prefer to call it. Trespassers are owed a duty of care just as legitimate users of the facility would be. Forcibly detaining a kid or adult on a bike under threat of demanding payment of money as a fine should get the perpetrators in very hot water indeed – that in itself would likely constitute a criminal offence. It will be interesting to see how the FoI request is dealt with.

      •  

        As Stan says, trespass to land is a civil wrong under the law of tort. Trespass is not, for the most part, a criminal offence. However, trespass on residential property which amounts to ‘squatting’ has been a criminal offence since 2012.

        The civil law provides remedies to those who are harmed by the conduct of other people. Trespass to land is one of the oldest actions known to the common law and consists of any unjustifiable intrusion by a person upon the land in possession of another. When a trespass is alleged, it is for the trespasser to justify the ‘trespass’ to avoid the consequences; for instance, they have a licence to occupy the property, or a legal right of way across someone’s land.

        To prove trespass there must be an intention to interfere with the right of possession, and this includes removing a part of land or property belonging to someone else. Even a minimal encroachment on someone’s property may amount to trespass.

        Trespass to land does not require proof of damage for it to be actionable in the courts. If damage is caused by a trespasser, a charge of criminal damage can ensue.

      •  

        There is a criminal act of trespass but it only applies to MoD, civil nuclear and royal sites. It’s provided for in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. The advantage of making this ‘criminal’ is that it allows for detention of ‘terrorists’, but if it’s a ‘protester’ like the Faslane or Hinkley Point demo’s it’s possible to ‘arrest and remove’ and then ‘drop charges’ for reasons of public relations. Most of the royal estates (England only) are included, like Windsor Castle, as well as Downing Street and the Westminster House, although the Senedd and the Scottish Parliament is not.

        Specific legislation applies to railways.

        Civil trespass applies to all other property and removal and eviction has to take place through the civil courts, unless the act of trespass is a public order issue, where a warranted police officer can remove a person for their own safety such as a shooting range, fields where there are dangerous animals like galloping horses during fox hunts, etc. The arresting powers have to be proportionate, and are often done as a public order offence often termed ‘breach of the peace’.

        The key feature of the ‘BikePark Wales’ site is that it is in Wales and the Welsh Government used a statutory instrument to provide all land formally owned by CCW and FC (now NRW) as ‘freedom to roam’ as a designation under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (Wales Orders). To lift the principle of freedom to roam on this land there has to be a ministerial order. Examples include tree felling for safety, scientific study for protection of flora/fauna, and applications from local authorities for sporting events like motor vehicle rallying. These ‘licenses’, signed off by government ministers have to be temporary, apply to specific period of time and a designated area.

        It is important to discover which minister ‘signed off’ the banning of the public from the Merthyr site and how long it will last. Is it included in the lease?

        It’s important to get to the bottom of the claimed arrangement, as we know that the National Trust want to introduce a fee for access to copa’r Wyddfa. They wanted to pursue a ministerial license in order to charge a fee at particular peak periods but it was found unworkable, as removal of trespassers dangerous and there being ‘political difficulties’.

        Info from ‘petrol head’ at the burger van…

        The use of the word ‘Marshals’ suggest they use the same type of license that applies to ‘motor vehicle rallying’, an example is the license issued to Carmarthen Motor Club in Brechfa Forest. It applies for the whole day, the council suspends access to footpaths and bridleways and the licence from NRW applies to land in a designated area to be policed by ‘marshals’. Appointed security staff can go ‘hands on’ to remove a trespasser for reasons of safety, it has to be proportionate and only if they are ‘accredited’ with a SIA license. There is no ‘financial penalty’ for transgressors although all the ‘marshalling cost’ is paid for by event organisers,

        •  

          Your contributions on legalities is priceless Brychan. What an enlightening and interesting contribution. Thank you.

        •  

          On the one hand the ‘Welsh’ Government wants to allow ‘right to roam’ and ‘freedom to paddle’ opening up our country to visitors. Natural Resources Wales are under orders to maximise their assets, which sees huge wind farms in Welsh forests and yet when these assets are handed over to companies like Bike Park Wales access is curtailed.

          Is there a contradiction here or is this how it’s supposed to work – free access for outsiders to our countryside and waterways but not for locals in areas like Merthyr?

          •  

            Most of NRW land is in public ownership in rural areas is because the ‘English aristocracy’, who stole and occupied the land in prior centuries, it was then donated it to the state in lieu of tax in the 20th century. In industrial areas, the land came into public ownership with the nationalisation of the coal industry. Both have since been planted with conifers. So when they are ‘maximising their assets’, for whom? This land was stolen from us in the first place, then we had to buy it back again, and now we are banned from using it by our own government. A major ‘incentive’ for this recent invasion on our lands is the changes made to the agricultural policy. Instead of subsidy to rear food, they now give grants to rear tourists. So who benefits?

          •  

            When I see these cases of abuse by scheming corporate leaders and government in its capacity as landowner it makes me want to drive them all back to the land to spend say 5 years doing manual labour raising crops on moderately fertile ground and rearing various live stock where the terrain supports only rough grazing, with minimal mechanization – so no sitting on one’s ass on a tractor all day. Bit of back to the land rehabilitation therapy for those wankers in grey suits who think it’s a great wheeze fetching shysters into Wales turning it into a fuckin’ playground for overfed and often overpaid urban slobs.

          •  

            … and while I’m feeling so shirty about this land ownership and land use business, why the hell do these H.A’s want to gain access to cut price land (as noted in your earlier tweet) when it will escalate in value as soon as it’s in their books ? Go and redevelop brown field sites you lazy scumbags. A recycled cyanide or explosives site is good enough for the purpose especially as imports will be given priority anyway. Dai and Gladys from the same community with 2 kids will always be at the back of the queue when some Brummie or Scouser with a needle hanging out of his arm comes along with an hard luck story.

          •  

            I can see me using this one, Dafis: “some Brummie or Scouser with a needle hanging out of his arm”.

          •  

            On reflection,I agree. Amend to a set of dots or dashes to enable insertion of words/terms like Cockney, Mancunian, etc etc where the words Brummie or Scouser do not appear relevant to the person with the needle hanging out of his arm.

            Equally where “needle hanging out of his arm” is not relevant there must be scope for inserting brief descriptives like ” with a nasty proclivity for kiddie fiddling” or whatever criminal and antisocial habits the prospective tenant brings to enrich our communities.

          •  

            I’ve settled on: “A low-life from one of England’s cities with a needle in his arm and a police record as long as your arm”.

          •  

            Obviously you have a masterly command of the English language, while I’m stuck at the level of Presbyterian hate preacher !

          •  

            You flatterer, you!

          •  

            “right to roam” was mostly an exercise in opening up green spaces for townies to go wandering with little or no regard to livestock and other rural economic activity. Most of those taking advantage actually behaved themselves but could not understand the landowner/user’s anger, and sometimes loss, when some urban dope left gates open or allowed dogs to chase livestock.

            Passing on large tracts of land in public ownership to corporate entities without full disclosure is a much bigger offence. Many of these corporates are shadowy, and the deals are seldom if ever disclosed unless a Jac goes digging and burrowing. These need much closer regulation and a transparency for public scrutiny way beyond a bureaucratic box-ticking procedure.

          •  

            There are always going to be dipstick townies who will ignore every rule in the book when it comes to interacting with our beautiful landscape, but it’s largely an issue of ignorance and lack of familiarity with the countryside. Education is the key there, but unfortunately, the lowest common denominator needs to be accounted for. Just as there are the idiots who walk up Yr Wyddfa in daps and a T shirt, there will be those who will litter/fly-tip and leave gates open. .

            Perhaps there should be a tourist tax, the proceeds of which could be used to provide a year-round warden and tourist information service employing local people at decent wages? Also, currently much of the work maintaining the paths up some of our national attractions are maintained by volunteers, some of the proceeds of a tourism tax could be used to pay genuine local people, (i.e. those who have lived, and contributed for a period of five years or more, who crucially, speak Cymraeg) to do the work.

            A related issue, the rate of council tax levied on any property used for tourism, (holiday homes, cottages intended for holiday rental/AirBnB) needs to be punitively taxed and conversely serviced accommodation that provides decently paying all year round jobs promoted, particularly social enterprises by local communities looking to improve the local economy for local benefit.

            However, something urgently needs to be done about all those caravan parks that blight our landscape.

          •  

            Keep reading the this blog, all these points have been covered.

        •  

          When I say “galloping horses during fox/drag hunts”, there is ample ‘case law clarification’ here, due to ‘saboteurs’.

          It is usual for the staff employed by the hunt to be ‘vetted’ and many will also hold gun licenses. So those tasked with preventing trespassing on private or public land under an agricultural lease during a hunt would apply and be successful in obtaining SIA licenses. The hunt, being well funded will pay for their staff to obtain these.

          It is also legal for a mounted rider on a horse to ‘punch or whip’ any sabateur who attempts to grab the bridle or saddle of the horse. This is to prevent the horse ‘rising up or bucking’ injuring the rider, as long as the action is proportionate and reasonable.

          This doe not apply to quad or mountain bikes. Here the rider is wholly responsible for control of their ride.

  4.  

    Off topic, but not by much, your tweet column sets me off again ! Call centres, run by outfits that are driven by the “cheap deal” and little else, seem to have much favoured status among decision makers down the Bay. Whenever I’m on the receiving end of calls I am often struck by the crass stupidity of the callers. A genuinely bright one is a rarity. Much of this is due to the fact that the foot soldiers in call centres are mentally whipped, driven, bullied and spat out if they don’t hit some spurious results targets/goals.

    If Governments wish to intervene then more effort should go into finding meaningful employments for these (mostly) young people, instead of grabbing the first “gift” wrapped in cheap shiny paper. Our “leaders” have swallowed the bullshit peddled by the corporate sharks that low cost is the only way forward. Well it is if your only goal is to fill the sharks’ boots with loot and fuck everybody else !

    As for that tweet referring to Plaid as Wales’ identity party – well you got to laugh. It’s been working its collective nuts off trying to make Welsh identity an irrelevance as it sanitises the country prior to its absorption into some bigger and more equal ( of course) entity like the EU,or just England ! There again the FT wrote it, and it’s party to the AngloBrit strategy of rubbing out all other identities using the word “identity” in a pejorative sense.

    Finally Ofcom. No surprises here although I rated Elinor on the few occasions I had contact. But Rhodri … what a wanker. He’s got form ever since his early days as an activist and I’m sure that Paddy has more rows of ducks on this one ready to launch if Rhodri decides to blow back.

  5.  

    Excellent digging again and nice one sending the FOI off, be interesting to see what comes of it because you wont be reading any of this in the Merthyr or Rhymney Express anytime soon, its all adverts and press releases from the Labour parasites Dawn Bowden AM and Gerald Jones MP and the ‘independent’ group who ‘run’ the Council, they’re as bad as the Labour muppets.

    Both Dawn and Gerald are too dull and partisan to understand the implications of these developments at the Bike Park and both should be asking questions but like good lap dogs they only see jobs, something Merthyr and most of the Valleys are crying out for.

    And as were on the matter in case anyone hasn’t read it Dr Daniel Evans had written an excellent article for Nation.Cymru about FDI or inward investment as its better known following Virgin media’s announcement of 800 jobs going in Swansea, its ideological, but makes some decent points about Labour’s economic policy which encourage what the Bike Park is all about.
    https://nation.cymru/2018/wales-poverty-is-no-accident-elites-have-a-vested-interest-in-us-remaining-poor/

    I’ve got a good mind to send it to the local politicians and ask them to comment.

  6.  

    Natural Resources Wales have chartered a plane from Coventry to test ‘chemical spraying’ over the valleys of South Wales….
    https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/strange-plane-been-circling-south-14657462

    •  

      Obviously, NRWs experiments is nothing to do with modelling ‘spraying over the sea’.

      The valleys present wind sheer and thermals in the atmosphere that only happens over land. The valleys having a distinct topography. At 4000ft the spray has no agricultural application, however, it is the ‘critical altitude’ where raindrops form within clouds. It’s where planes of this type are used to ‘seed’ clouds with a solution of potassium iodide to make it rain.

      Back at the time of the Chernobyl disaster, the Russian military did exactly that. To wash out radioactive particles in the atmosphere over sparsely populated Belarus to protect cities like Moscow, Voronezh, Nizhny Novgorod, and Yaroslavl to the east. Is the south Wales trail an experiment to protect the cities of the Midlands if a similar incident happens at Hinkley Point?

      We already know that NRW has been offering up the south Wales coast as a dumping ground for nuclear contaminated mud.

      •  

        Bloody hell!

      •  

        An alternative explanation has just come in from in the United States.

        https://www.aaas.org/sites/default/files/Sorooshian_Armin_USIRAN.pdf

        In this case the ‘just water’ actually contained trace amounts of ‘propan-2’. In the US they do pollution monitoring experiments. This water-soluble organic liquid (but in itself is toxic) which can be chemically ‘barcoded’. It’s a component of ‘smart water’ as it can contain a unique identifier when collected as a sample. In atmospheric conditions and sunlight this chemical can react with metallic particles, most detectable is aluminium isopropoxide, with similar results for the heavier metals. It precipitates out as dew during the nigh time atmospheric temperature inversions. The samples were then collected using ‘dew meshes’ and analysed using ‘nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy’ to gave a ‘pollution map’ of the valleys in the San Bernardino mountains around Los Angeles.

        I notice that the ‘experimental flight’ over the valleys was just east of Port Talbot steelworks. It was also in the evening, on a warm day. It would have been possible to collect samples overnight in the western valleys as the area also provides ample road access.

        The strange thing is, why the secrecy from NRW?
        What’s with the ‘at sea’ press release when it was obviously over land?
        Why use an airport in England, the one located farthest away from the sea?

      •  

        US and probably UK military are using expensive computers to engage in this kind of speculative predictive analysis deploying millions, no billions of development resource to come up with reliable future scenarios.

        But we’ve got Brychan ! , who has an uncanny knack for tuning into the “most likely outcome” . Now the tossers who only see the superficial veneer of behaviours and believe everything slung at them by Westminster, the Bay and the MSM will look a bit bemused, give a shake of the head and stroll off muttering “man’s a nutter” or something similar. But he raises a plausible scenario especially as the mud issue was kept moderately quiet until some “undesirables” started kicking up a fuss. Perhaps if one of these planes was shot down as it flew over the Bwlch …….

  7.  

    Just been over onto Nation.Cymru to have a browse over recent scribblings. Some interesting and contentious) articles and comments on there but it seems to be run as a bolt on to Facebook which I find really surprising given recent scandals involving that platform. And there’s no way I’ll have anything more to do with that Facebook operation as it is unlikely to clean itself up, only go through some superficial manouvres to give itself a sanitised image. I messaged IMJ to get some idea of why he elected to go this way but no reply received.

    Sad really because there’s some stuff on there that needs to be tackled head on, like the presence of some guys in denial who think there’s nothing wrong in supressing dissent within the party and that a further shift leftwards will bring electoral rewards ! These need to be confronted as they make the pseudo Stalinists running the party think that there is a groundswell of positive support out there for their antics. Looking on the bright side Ein Gwlad will find communities in many parts of this country receptive to messages that address real challenges & issues rather than irrelevant, obscure, abstract thoughts with no action plans envisaged

    •  

      Yes, I messaged IMJ about it as well and got no reply. I can’t understand it; the volume of comments has dropped dramatically since he introduced the Facebook plug-in, and I’d be surprised if the general readership hasn’t dropped as well – I certainly don’t go there as often as I once did.

      •  

        When we get Ein Gwlad on it’s feet and we launch our public web sites, it would make good sense to have a public Forum bolted on, so that not only can we harvest policy suggestions from the public, by inviting contributions, it would be a small step to have a news and opinions, with comments section – just like NC, i.e. a fully fledges news outlet. All comments would be moderated and it would be a platform to not only provide an on-line news service, but it would certainly raise our profile in the public’s eyes.

        If present press & media outlets currently in Cymru are run by the Labour party, via Trinity Mirror, I can see no problem running a similar competing service for our party. We have a strong supporters list, with many talented people some of whom have already volunteered their IT services.

        This would be a first for any home grown political party, and it would balance out the unfair Labour backed service that we presently have in Cymru. It will have to be slick and professional, the key would be the content. It doesn’t require lots of money, just good voluntary support to run it. At present, Plaid have virtually hijacked NC for that role.

        Whilst I quite like NC, it is not run very professionally, being apparently weak in the IT department. There’s a niche to fill here.

        •  

          You’re right about Trinity Mirror supporting Labour, it always has, but what about the BBC, ITV and the others? The important thing for them is not a specific political party but the Union, so if the Hokey-Cokey Party was the biggest party in Wales, and as long as it was Unionist, it would get the media support.

          An alternative news service is imperative, Wales needs it and it must be promoted internationally; so that if a journalist or a broadcaster in Estonia or Ecuador wants information on Wales they’re able to get more than one viewpoint. A good journalist, wanting to give his/her readers/listeners/viewers a balanced interpretation of Wales will quote both and let the audience make up its own mind.

          To ensure that any nationalist news service isn’t ignored in favour of getting quotes from the two main UK parties we must promote the idea that the big issue in Wales is independence and as all the other parties are on the same side it doesn’t matter which of them is quoted. The vote in the Assembly last night will be a big help in promoting that view.

          All that remains then is to elbow Plaid Cymru aside.

          •  

            Indeed, what many don’t realise is that the BBC in particular is the establishment’s extremely powerful propaganda mouthpiece, and by extension the establishment’s Union protector – regardless of who is in power at Westminster. Ironically, we, the public fund that establishment propaganda mouthpiece. ITV also, but to a lesser extent, because they are not held by the short and curlies by the establishment. However their agenda is mostly dictated to by the mainstream (false) news media, and often lazy journalism, where they adopt the role of ‘repeater stations’ repeating what is being put out by other mainstream sources, instead of investigating and researching the news themselves. That’s why the alternative ( free) media needs to be encouraged through the internet.

            The press and online news media sources in Cymru is monopolised by Trinity Mirror – on what is perceived as Labour’s divine right of political occupation ground in our country. We have to break that monopoly, by presenting something that is well subscribed to by the people of Cymru. To do that the standard needs to be good, and the content interesting, professional, sensible, fair and balanced. The counterbalance, generating well researched and always truthful and untainted by dogma or doctrine news content. Telling it as it truthfully is, and of course with independence as the central plank of opinion and comment.

            There are quite a few attempting this in Cymru, however they are hamstrung in many ways, including their IT skills unfortunately.

            It’s certainly a subject area that we need to focus intently on for the future. Elbowing Plaid to the side is an increasingly diminishing task – they seem intent on committing hara-kiri anyway. The big target is Labour in the industrialised south.

          •  

            Correction Gee – and you will appreciate my point – your last sentence should have read …..”Labour in the rapidly de-industrialised, dependency driven South”. Nevertheless it is their dominance that has to be replaced by a movement better attuned to dragging this country up off its arse instead of keeping it in a near poverty dependency condition.

            Even our business community, or much of it anyway, carps on about needing support for this or that, yet the same people have bitched on for years about benefit claimants. My stance, which I recommend to others, is that we should be equally firm & fair with all segments of society that need support from time to time. Benefit fraudsters should get walloped, and equally the “entrepreneurial” shysters ( with whom we are well familiar) should get short shrift when caught out. Better still have a system in place that puts them under scrutiny from the outset. Best to stop waste rather than clean up after the event.

            A real unpleasant bi-product of the current Labour dominance is their cavalier treatment of areas outside their sphere of dominance. I’m sure this accounts partly for their willingness to back any old nonsense labelled tourism. Doesn’t matter that more “remote” parts of Wales get handed over to some dodgy venturer from beyond Offa’s Dyke to do as he chooses, not many votes in the balance. Sign of the times that they now see tourism as an easy solution to the decline of the old industrial areas hence mickey mouse schemes turning up in Merthyr. Maybe this is a good thing in that the feeble employment contracts most likely on offer will stimulate a bit of a reaction which can be turned into a more assertive opposition in the area. Don’t rule out Dawn and Gerald then turning out to protest a la Nia and Waters, such is the duplicity of Labour’s elected representatives !

          •  

            I stand suitably corrected Dafis. You’re absolutely right, and yes, your point is totally appreciated!

            The rest of your post is spot-on as well.

          •  

            I have similar feelings over Nation Cymru’s move to using Facebook comments. It seems such a retrograde step, and like others, I have contacted IMJ over it, but like others, haven’t had the courtesy of even an acknowledgement.

            Changing to using Facebook comments also seems to be a negation of Nation Cymru’s mission statement of providing an independent news service for Wales. I believe that the site was hacked, and maybe that’s why the option of using Facebook comments was taken, but it seems bizarre to me. And yes, this smack of poor IT skills, as it’s hardly rocket science to beef up security on a server. (No, I don’t know how to do it, but as a regular Linux user, I do know that there is plenty of security available ‘out there’ and plenty of support for anyone wanting to implement it, so there is really no excuse to use Facebook at all, thus compromising the privacy of everyone making comments, or effectively censoring those of us who occasionally have something interesting/valid to say.

    •  

      The standard and relevance of Nation.Cymru articles is still good, but since half the value of the site was the comments, then it has lost half its value.
      I like the look of the Bella Gwalia blog, although it’s lucky if it gets more than two comments per article. At least it’s not dependent on Facebook.

  8.  

    The “company address game” cuts both ways Jac. As a director of a company promoting a major, job creating leisure development in Swansea a few years back, I was advised by a former Welsh Governent Economic MINISTER to register the company in England, as it would be more advantageous in terms of financlal and other support from the public purse….”inward investment see!”
    This has been the case since the 1970’s, when the red carpet was rolled out to Japanese, American, German companies which took the cash and have mostly disappeared. Meanwhile, excellent job creating projects by local companies were given the bum’s rush by the Welsh Assembly/Government pen-pushers, on instructions from the Minister(s) concerned.

    •  

      Indeed, the things we suspect that happen behind closed doors, but have no material evidence for, are well and truly exposed there. There IS a nasty and insidious mindset behind the way things are done. We only see the results of such advice and decisions at ministerial level, when they see light of day by people who experience and expose them. Thank you very much for that. I don’t suppose you’re in a position to name names for Jac?

      •  

        A certain female former Minister for Business, Enterprise and Technology made the suggestion to a director of the company concerned.

        •  

          A woman of substantial proportions? (Which seems to apply to many female Labour politicians from Swansea.)

          •  

            As Sophie Tucker succinctly put it ” nobody loves a fat girl, but oh how a fat girl can love!”

          •  

            As I have writ somewhere else, there was a time, when I was a youth, certain drinking establishments would often be entertained by some old bird getting up and doing her Sophie Tucker impersonation. For some reason I think of the ICI club in Landore and the Tredegar Arms down the Sandfields. Happy Days! Click here – Sophie Tucker

    •  

      That is bloody incredible! And yet it makes sense!

  9.  

    Beth am hwn: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-44127068

    Tybed os mae’r gwerthwyr cyffuriau hyn yn dod i Gymru trwy tai cymdeithasol? Dwi’n gwynto scandal!

    •  

      heb os nac onibai gyfaill, mae’r diawled yn cynyddu’n ddyddiol. As Jac has evidenced on numerous occasions the influx of dubious characters with a variety of criminal and anti social tendencies is being fostered by H.A’s who are chasing funds regardless of consequences to the wider communities which end up hosting these people. How’s that for being awfully polite about one of our major social problems caused unnecessarily by people with questionable motives and loyalties ?

  10.  

    just had a brief spat with some sensitive soul over on the Golwg site. Had referred to the intensive Anglicisation of large tracts of rural Wales as a “plague” and the muppet starts trotting out the old Hitler line – that’s what the mad Adolf used to say about the Jews . This twat could not see that the Anglo invader is more deserving of comparison with Hitler and we the Welsh are in a situation akin to the Jews. Just that our extermination will happen by stealthy assimilation unless the Anglos get impatient in which case get your gas masks on sharpish !

  11.  

    […] in May I wrote about BikePark Wales, yet another example of Welsh assets being handed over to a bunch of strangers in order that they […]

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