Bits & Pieces: Bear Grylls, Redrow, Llanelli Poles, Ebbw Ponds

Bear Grylls: ‘It’s not for me, you understand . . . ‘

I’ve written about Bear Grylls, the television personality, survival expert and tourism operator a couple of times recently. Now I find myself writing about him again.

My first mention of Grylls was an almost light-hearted look at his ‘survival camp’ on Llŷn, done only because I’d picked up a leaflet for this nonsense on a visit to Porthmadog. So demanding and dangerous is this camp that it caters for drunks on stag and hen parties. (Scroll down in this post.)

I next wrote about him was in more serious vein, after learning of his involvement with wide boy Gavin Lee Woodhouse – of ‘Wynnborn’ fame – and their joint attempt to take over another piece of Wales and re-name it the Afan Valley Adventure Resort. Read English Tourism in the Colony of Wales.

I have been in contact recently with a Gwynedd councillor who had more to tell me about Bear Grylls, and although this tale takes us back to July 2014 I think it deserves an airing, so I’m reproducing in full an e-mail exchange that took place between Bear Grylls and Councillor Craig ab Iago. (You can either click on the image on the right to enlarge it, or read it in pdf format by clicking here.)

At the time of this exchange Grylls was applying for planning permission to build a new stone jetty on St Tudwal’s Island (which he owns) off the coast of Llŷn. As a follow-up to the official planning application he wrote to all members of the planning committee.

I’m unsure about the propriety, or the legality, of seeking to influence elected representatives in this way. Maybe an Old Etonian who is now a ‘celeb’ regularly uses back channels in order to get what he wants. Of course, what works in London doesn’t always translate to Gwynedd.

First off, let’s remember that this is a planning application by a businessman to make one of his assets more profitable. That’s all there is to it, really, it’s about Bear Grylls seeking to make more money.

But he can’t say that, so he has to try a different tack; he starts off by mentioning his “young family”, which might influence an application to build an extra bedroom but is totally irrelevant in this context.

Then he presents himself as the benefactor to the local community “in and around Abersoch” (i.e. the Cheshire set), and the partner of Trinity House, which maintains St Tudwal’s Island lighthouse.

At which point you might, like me, be wondering: if Trinity House needs a new jetty why couldn’t they apply for it themselves? Come to that, does a body like Trinity House even need to apply for planning permission?

This appeal by Bear Grylls is nothing but simpering, self-serving bollocks; just a cut above, ‘think of all the drowning kiddies, sob! sob!’ I don’t want to dwell on this stomach-churning bullshit any longer.

Thankfully, Craig ab Iago was able to answer Grylls, and he did so with dignity and passion. It is a response worth reading for its honesty, and how it contrasts to Grylls’ artifice and dissimulation. I urge you to read Craig’s cri de coeur and ensure that it has the widest possible audience.

Tourism and the colonisation it encourages is the surest way of destroying our rural way of life. That’s why Wales is being offered little other than tourism. 

 ~ ♦ ~

Redrow Homes, Goetre Uchaf

One of Wales’ great success stories, so the media would have us believe, is Redrow Homes. A company formed by Steve Morgan, with headquarters in Ewloe, Flintshire, and quoted on the FTSE 250. The truth is that Redrow being in Wales is just an accident of geography, there is no commitment to Wales or things Welsh whatsoever.

Proven by the twee names Redrow gives to its developments and the names of its house types – The Ludlow, The Warwick, The Cambridge, The Windsor, The Shaftesbury, etc. But occasionally Redrow gives the appearance of recognising it’s in Wales by using a Welsh name for one of its developments. An example would be Goetre Uchaf in Bangor.

Unfortunately, the ‘commitment’ is just skin deep. Because of course, like so many companies operating in the building trade and property development – and especially in the north – Redrow targets English buyers. So it is with Goetre Uchaf, as this advertisement proves with, ‘Move to North Wales with Redrow Homes’.

If you want further proof, then listen to the start of this video and hear the mangling of Goetre Uchaf. And if these houses are not needed in Bangor – and seeking buyers over the border suggests they’re not – then why was planning permission granted?

~ ♦ ~

Pole Polling

I am indebted to another source for making me realise that, with two elections coming up, ‘Welsh’ Labour will again target the Polish vote in Llanelli (and perhaps elsewhere). For Labour has worked assiduously over the years to exploit forge links with the Polish community in the town.

The starting point would appear to be 2004 when, according to this WalesOnline article from May 2014, a desperate Pole went into the office of the SaveEasy Credit Union in downtown Llanelli, where manager Jeff Hopkins was eventually able to find a Polish speaker to help him.

From this encounter grew the Welsh Polish Mutual Association which opened in 2006 to help Polish migrants arriving in the town. The chairman of the Association is the aforementioned Jeff Hopkins. In an earlier incarnation he had been the agent for Denzil Davies, the town’s Labour MP from 1970 until 2005.

A SaveEasy Credit Union employee involved with the new Association was Halina Ashley, Polish herself. It should go without saying that Mrs Ashley is also a member of the Labour Party. I suppose it’s reasonable to assume that Mrs Ashley was the Polish speaker Jeff Hopkins was able to find on that Sunday morning back in 2004.

The official opening took place in September 2006, conducted by Edwina Hart. From its outset the Association was funded by the ‘Welsh’ Government, partly through the ill-starred Communities First programme, which was finally put out of its misery in February.

Though the Polish-Welsh Association was not registered as a company until 27 February 2013. On the Companies House website you’ll see that the only director other than Hopkins is Janice Williams, a Labour county councillor. Williams has also been a director of the local Citizens Advice Bureau, that body taken over by the Labour Party years ago.

To this day, I understand, the ‘Welsh’ Government funds the Welsh Polish Mutual Association centre in Llanelli, and pays for the ‘Welcome’ packs for arriving Poles, with the SaveEasy Credit Union paying the overheads for the building.

Though I must confess to being appalled to read my source suggesting, “It would not be a surprise to discover that the packs contain postal voting forms . . . I am led to believe that Llanelli Labour have form regarding this”.

I had just put away the smelling salts after reading that when I found myself scrabbling for them again on reading that Hopkins and Ashley have access to confidential data that could be of great use to the Labour Party in targeting the Polish vote.

As I said to myself, ‘But they would never do anything like that, because to do so would contravene the Data Protection Act 1998.’ That said, there is some evidence . . .

The leaflet below, for example, from last year’s Assembly election, is obviously for the benefit of Polish voters; and seeing Mrs Halina Ashley, a woman they know, in the company of the Labour candidate, clearly carries the message, ‘Vote Labour!’.

click to enlarge (no, it wasn’t me what ripped it.)

The Polish vote in Llanelli may not be as large as in some English towns, but it still makes up five or six per cent in the wards where Poles tend to congregate. The percentage is higher in the Tŷ Isha ward where not so long ago the Safer Community Action Group was set up to counter the allegedly anti-social behaviour of gangs of drunken young Polish males.

The group was supported by thirsty Labour councillor and recipient of someone else’s liver, Keri Thomas, on the grounds that the Polish influx “put a burden on services, on the GPs and the hospitals and the schools”. (You couldn’t make this up, could you?) Like most Labour politicians, Thomas is talking rubbish.

The Polish migrants are overwhelmingly healthy young men, consequently they are unlikely to be a burden on the health service. If Keri Thomas and others are so concerned about people moving to Wales and putting a strain on our services why do they say nothing about retirees, or the substance-abusing riff-raff and others with ‘issues’ who get priority treatment from housing associations and other agencies?

Knowing ‘Welsh’ Labour as we do, and with the evidence from last year’s election to guide us, it is entirely reasonable to assume that ‘inside information’, unavailable to other parties, is being used to target the Polish vote in Llanelli for both the council elections and the UK general election

Footnote: Councillor Janice Williams is standing down next month in the Lliedi ward, where one of the Tory candidates is a Stefan Ryszewski. Woe! Woe! Even the Fates mock Labour!

~ ♦ ~

Pond Life in Ebbw Vale 

A Gwent source tells me of an interesting sale taking place at 5pm today, in the Park Inn Hotel at Llanedeyrn in Cardiff. (If you hurry, you might still make it!) His interest was aroused by one particular lot of three former feeder ponds for the local steelworks and the land around them.

The catalogue makes interesting reading, for it contains all manner of properties but a majority seem to be small terraced houses of the kind that often make the news when a London ‘paper reports, ‘Englishman buys whole Welsh street for £37.50, ha! ha!’

Which says something about many things, such as the ‘Welsh’ Government’s neglect of the Valleys, and our relationship with England. Consider also that many of these humble dwellings being auctioned are repossessions, each one representing someone’s dashed hope of owning a home. But the Daily Mail don’t give a fuck about that.

In March 2009 the Newport-based South Wales Argus reported that the ‘Welsh’ Government had given £150,000 to transform the site in question, the Argus even saying that work had started. Yet to look at the site now it appears that little if anything was ever done.

click to enlarge

So the questions are:

  • What happened to the £150,000?
  • Why wasn’t the area improved as promised?
  • What’s been happening for the past 8 years?
  • Who owns this land today?
  • Why is it being sold?

Maybe the ‘Welsh’ Government is hoping that Bear Grylls and ‘Wynnborn’ Woodhouse come galloping over the Beacons, bugles blowing and flags fluttering, to unveil their plan for the Waun-y-Pound Aquatic Adventure Resort, replete with crocodiles and piranhas – let the good times roll!

~ ♦ end ♦ ~

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> one of the Tory candidates is a Stefan Ryszewski.

Polish Tories can be very reactionary. I remember Terlezki screwing up a Liberal campaign in a Cardiff seat by volunteering to stand for the party and then publicly on the final day for submission not putting in his papers. Shortly afterwards he revealed himself in his true colours.


Yes he was educated at Ysgol Strade Llanelli and is a bit youthful, but he’s enthusiastic and willing to have a go at the dopey Nia and the others standing for that seat. Tough proposition but I suspect that when he finishes his studies at Swansea Uni ( I think ) he’ll be off to something more promising. Sort of bright young spark that should have been drawn to Plaid – I wonder why he chose to follow a different path ? Perhaps he was put off by photo shoots and talk shows featuring dull grey men and women in grey suits spouting PC bullshit while the country was falling down around them.


Met old Stefan many years ago and although quite reactionary he was quite a decent bloke at the personal level. On chatting about his early years it became obvious that they had been a lot rougher than the formative years of many of his contemporaries who criticised him. His early experiences led to his acute hatred of the Communist Eastern bloc and he held many of the localised tribal prejudicies of the Ukraine/Polish border areas ( which had been quite fluid ) where betrayal and shifting of allegiances were common currency. He probably thought that shafting the Liberals was a good bit of harmless fun – lot healthier than its great leader of the time – Thorpe, I believe. Seems that the Liberal leadership has a continuing streak of deviance running through it since Joe Grimond stepped down.


Pete Wishart’s tweet , in your tweet’s column, hits the nail bang on the head. The witch May had yapped on since last July that she had a mandate by virtue of the Tory majority in 2015 then someone finally got through that myopic wrap around her daft head that her majority was under threat due to a wholesale fiddling of expenses ! The party of integrity could be downed by an audit of how it spent money in the GE campaign! Tut.

Amazing how fast the whole cart of nonsense is falling apart. No policy to talk of from the party in government. Lots of platitudes, cliches, personal abuse and other assorted verbal emptiness. This witch makes Nicola Sturgeon look like a giant – the Scottish leader speaking in measured tones delivering clarity of thought and when attacked on performance often able to counter with equally measured statements either defending or explaining the defects. This GE is already exposing how shallow most of UK politics has become. Big opportunity for Leanne to stand above the mediocrity of other leaders, or ease back into their comfort zone and pass on the chance to smash the credibility of some of those opponents.

David Robins

Leanne’s already missed that boat. I’ve sent back the Blaid’s begging letter for this election with a note saying I’ll donate once there’s a strategy. Labour’s little helper needs to offer a bit more than hand-wringing about La Patrie En Danger from Les Tories Miserables. I don’t want Plaid MPs who will ‘ensure Wales’s voice is heard’. Children ask to be heard. Adults act for themselves. It’s called independence and it’s a clamour that seems to be working in Scotland. Leanne needs to be replaced by someone who knows that the first job of a nationalist party is to bring down the respectable, quisling party that stands guard between them and the hardline unionists. Sinn Fein understood that in 1918. The SNP understands it perfectly. Why is Leanne so dim?

JE Lloyd

Is Bear the son of the sleazy “cash-for-questions” Tory MP who was investigated in the 1990s for taking cash bungs routed through a lobbying company that allegedly originated from Mohammed Al Fayed?


Seems to have inherited the shyster gene from the old man, although Grylls snr seems to have been an even bigger shark than jnr. Right bundle of laughs, what a con artist, even fobbing off the dreadful Christine on innocent little Neil, dear me !

JE Lloyd

More Snake than Bear, it seems


Jac – an even smaller and more worrying world than one might think. Michael Grylls, Neil Hamilton and Michael Brown took money from Greer on behalf of third party clients – but it is alleged that they were joined in this by Sir Peter Morrison, MP for Chester. Evidence was given during the Cash for Questions Inquiry that Morrison received payments even after he ceased to be an MP. Morrison was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Thatcher. Morrison’s name has been consistently linked to the north Wales child abuse scandal, but with rather more evidence behind such claims than some of the other allegations. Other Tories, including Rod Richards and Edwina Currie, are on record as stating that he was involved in the abuse of under-age boys and there are well-founded claims that he was visiting children’s homes in north Wales for unknown reasons. It is also alleged that people were so worried about Morrison’s activities with teenage boys that someone directly warned Thatcher herself – who nonetheless made him deputy chairman of the party. (But then Thatcher personally lobbied for Jimmy Savile to be given a knighthood…) Bear Grylls is an utter tosser, but it is true that he can’t be held responsible for his father’s actions – however in the wake of all this, it would seem that Neil Hamilton is associated with some rather questionable people (people who were at Aberystwyth University with him could tell you all about this but that’s another story). How many of the electorate in Carmarthenshire where Hamilton now intends to stand as a UKIP candidate in the forthcoming General Election actually know about all this?

Chopper Harley

If the honesty and integrity of Craig ab lago is indicative of Gwynedd councillors in general then there is much hope for the future of our little country after all. What a cheesy and possibly unlawful manner by which Grylls seeks to gain approval for this project.


Jac asks – .”…..If Keri Thomas and others are so concerned about people moving to Wales and putting a strain on our services why do they say nothing about retirees, or the substance-abusing riff-raff and others with ‘issues’ who get priority treatment from housing associations and other agencies?”

Spot on Jac. While the influx of East Europeans may have caused a few stresses on communities it has to be remembered that they were shipped in to Wales initially because of shortages in the labour markets. Nothing to with skills per se, just that some jobs were too hard or deemed too dirty for our lovely boys and girls. The sad thing is that over the following decade a whole array of employers and their accomplices in the Cynulliad did sweet FUCK ALL to sort out that problem by training natives and educating them to see some of these jobs in a different light. Yet native lads, ‘ard boys as they liked to be seen, but a bit shy of guts and dead meat in large quantities, were allowed to stay on benefits while the local abattoirs shipped in Portuguese, Poles etc because those guys had no qualms about the jobs and surprise surprise they were content to accept the Nat Min wage !

Because no corrective actions were taken on the matter of a defective labour market the longer term influences of displacement by immigrant workers was used to explain and excuse the growth of the dependency culture which is so corrosive in out communities. Once again the real “fault” lies with policy makers who are too busy cultivating vote catching crap rather than addressing real issues.

And of course the same goes for the “importation” of segments of the population that cause an acute demographic imbalance in many areas burdening health, social care, crime and diverting housing resource which could have been used to improve the lot of natives who need support. I won’t go on at this point to comment on the effects on our identity, language culture etc as my views are well recorded on this blog. Suffice to say that I see no gain to our little country by importing waste from our neighbours !

Labour have now had 18 years to address these issues but they are mostly of their own making or as a result of the Labour regime standing idly by and watching the mess deepen. And the other parties are all guilty of failing to conduct a deep and lasting criticism of these failures.


Craig ap Iago sums it all up – I would have said nicely,but not a nice topic. Daily Mail and their ilk would see all this as unnecessary obstruction to “progress”. Bear Grylls is to 21st century Anglo colonialism what goons like Custer was in the mid 19th century U.S.

The actions of Grylls and his kind amount to “Fuck the native culture, kill the language and its customs, I don’t give a shit” and still Welsh people turn out in their 100s of thousands to vote Tory Blue, Red Tory, UKIP and LibDem. Where’s Plaid at national level, they should be raising this kind of matter and demanding a policy to prevent incoming hooligans from destroying the nation and enabling local natives to get on in life.

Big Gee

Picking up on your point about attitudes dafis (. . . actions of Grylls and his kind amount to “Fuck the native culture, kill the language and its customs, I don’t give a shit”. . . ). This is in stark contrast to the attitudes I’ve encountered and spoken to about with many immigrants from eastern Europe.

In school we had ‘left over’ Polish families from the war period. Without exception, they had a healthy attitude towards our local culture and language. They spoke three languages fluently, Cymraeg, Polish & English. Their attitude to the Anglo Saxons was very much in sympathy with us the natives.

About ten years ago I was doing some IT & telecom work at a call centre in Gorslas, Sir Gâr. The local mini market had quite a number of Poles working there. They were all making a huge effort to learn Cymraeg and always finished with ‘diolch’. They were all excited to show off how they were progressing with their efforts to learn Cymraeg, frequently repeating something said in English with the corresponding word or phrase in Cymraeg. What a refreshing and lovely experience for someone like me! On the other hand you often had a ‘Jac Sais’ who had lived in the area for 20+ years and wouldn’t even say ‘diolch’ always responding instead with a ‘thank you’, or ‘sorry I don’t speak Welsh’. Says it all doesn’t it? It’s ATTITUDE – colonial attitude.

I would prefer to see the whole of our country filled by east Europeans, in spaces left by vacated Anglo Saxons, than the ignorant, arrogant increasing numbers of those that walk in our midst these days – and who’ve originated from the wrong side of Clawdd Offa. We should herd our friends from eastern Europe in to our camp (that they would probably find quite comfortable) before they are all corrupted by the Anglo-Brit London ruled Labourites, with their cheesy efforts at tokenism and hypocrisy as displayed in their Polish language literature. The Poles don’t realise how they are being herded up by these creeps as a vote sump to oppose the natives.

Incidentally, an interesting point you make in the previous blog post dafis, about getting some kind of ‘campaign’ going for recognition of our ancient histories by transformation into Braveheart-like film projects. Very interesting. I’m giving it thought . . .


Interesting these personal recollections about contact with assorted nationalities who had relocated to Wales. Post war refugees were an interesting crowd – Poles Hungarians, even Italian POW’s who stayed here after 1945. They and their families were generally quick to adapt, pick up a working knowledge of Welsh and generally get on in their new communities. I have mentioned on here before a very interesting programme that Beti George did for Radio Cymru about evacuees and other migrants of that period. Listening to Cockney lads who had stayed on in Dyffryn Teifi chattering away in Welsh with a bit of an odd accent was music to my ears. Even better hearing an old girl who was evacuated during WW2 denounce recent arrivals for their arrogance and destructive attitudes.

So it seems there was a time when the Sais came in small numbers and assimilated willingly. Now they come in big numbers and very few of them make any kind of effort at all. As for other nations I think it depends on where they go and what their orientation was to begin with. You will see Poles and other Euro nations who just want to be English and come here thinking they are in England, end of. In other cases they might end up in a community, hear Welsh spoken, tune in and decide that it’s a “good thing” to be a touch different just like they might have been in their own homeland where a dialect or minority language might have existed. The good thing about those types is they tend to be drawn to identity rather than piss all over it.

On the matter of our Hanes a Treftadaeth I too am mulling over how it could be presented to the creative community as a series of projects which would be good for Wales and enable them to earn a crust doing something worthwhile ( for a change ! )

Tony Bianchi

I hope the Polish is more correct than the Welsh. Two errors in four words!