Cardigan Castle, Equinox, Gareth Wardell, Terry Matthews


Not a lot to report from the Gang of Five and I probably won’t do another post until I get something important to report. But if I am silent then you mustn’t think I’m ignoring Timms and the gels; no, siree, it’s because I’ve decided to approach the problem from a different angle.

Though one thing that does merit mention, something now obvious beyond any doubt, is the disturbing fact that those who have been sacked, forced out, or ‘encouraged to leave’, such as Director Cris Tomos, Eduction Officer Rhian Medi, and others, are all local and Welsh. Those taken on in this period, from Facilities Officer Sue Lewis to the caretaker and the gardener, are all English. The pattern in the employment policy of the Castle is now unmistakable – Welsh out, English in.

Of all the things going wrong at Castell Aberteifi this might be the ugliest and most reprehensible. And yet, local politicians will stay schtum, and the only criticism we’re likely to hear will be levelled against anyone complaining against this discrimination, as the Cambrian News cranks up the ‘outrage’ to direct its venom at the ‘racists’ asking for Welsh people to be treated fairly.



On a lighter note, while visiting the website of Equinox, the Castle’s PR outfit, I was surprised to see a photo containing David Phillips, the man overthrown last year from his position of leader of Swansea council. The Equinox picture is of one of the company’s clients, the Swansea Bay City region project, though it’s at least a year old (see below), as Phillips was also given the heave-ho from the board of the city region outfit. (He’s the one in the centre, under the England flag.)

Equinox Phillips

Predictably, the board has among its members the leaders of the four local authorities involved, but strangely, in the case of Carmarthenshire, and only Carmarthenshire, we find a second representative. And who might that be? Meryl Gravell of course. Can anyone offer a suggestion as to why Carmarthenshire, but not Swansea (with its greater population) or any of the other councils, should have two representatives?

Ere his downfall I regularly chronicled Phillips’ deeds and utterances on this blog (just use the Search box atop the sidebar); indeed, I even gave him a nickname. In fact, I’m almost missing him, for he provided the citizenry of Swansea with hours of harmless fun. Such as going out in public, in daylight, in a red duffle coat? I repeat, a red duffle coat. Not even the Celtic scarf could save him from the fashion police.

In the duffle coat picture I’ve linked to, and on the extreme right, we can see acolyte and protégé Councillor John Charles Bayliss, one of the students Labour had to recruit to compensate for the party’s failure to find local candidates who could write their own name without biting off the tip of their tongue. After a few years of being a professional councillor Bayliss has at last found gainful employment, as an ‘account executive’ with PR outfit the Remarkable Group.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no objection to councillors earning an honest crust away from the council chamber. Indeed, it can be viewed as a good thing, otherwise we’d be lumbered with councils made up of the retired, the unemployable and the permanently sick (as has often been the case with Labour groups). No, the problem arises over the kind of work they do, and whether they might have been employed in the hope they can swing decisions to the advantage of their employers’ clients.

Not that I am for one minute suggesting that this is why the Remarkable Group recruited Councillor Bayliss – heaven forfend! – but I cannot help noticing that among his new employer’s clients we find many companies raking in the loot from wind farms, solar complexes and other activities that usually face local opposition and often struggle to gain planning consent. And as it says on John Boy’s Linkedin profile, his employer provides, “communications support for clients across England and Wales navigating the complex planning application process”.

Bayliss Remarkable

Which is a load of old bollocks. Because the big companies that are Remarkable’s clients employ lawyers and planning experts who understand planning law better than most councillors; what they’re really looking for is an extra advantage from having ‘someone on the inside’. So, without downplaying his undoubted abilities, I think it’s reasonable to assume that John Charles Bayliss would never have landed the job with the Remarkable Group had he not been a member of the party controlling Swansea council. Moving on, but not far, in any sense . . .



To save you scratching your head, or Googling, he was the Labour MP for the Swansea constituency of Gower from 1982 until 1997.

Wardell is the son of legendary Gwendraeth barber Jack Wardell, but he himself resisted the temptation to offer customers ‘Something for the weekend’ and took himself off to the London School of Economics before getting a gullible electorate to vote for him. Curiously, I could only find four photographs of Wardell online, and all are marked ‘Copyright Victor Patterson’, a Belfast photographer! So that’s why you’re not getting a mugshot. (Though you’re not missing much!) In fact, there’s little information of any kind about Wardell on the internet, unless you’re prepared to dig. Which I enjoy!

So what is he doing nowadays? Well, here’s an example. Swansea council’s planning committee recently considered an application for 14,970 solar panels in the Cockett Valley. The application had been made in the name of Renewable Developments (Wales) Ltd, run by one Huw Davies, a former fixer for the late Bryn Llewellyn, of Abergelli Farm, Felindre, on the outskirts of Swansea, who was a self-made multi-millionaire in haulage and small coal mines.

(Having mentioned Abergelli Farm, it’s probably worth adding that Davies is planning a 299Mw gas-fired power station there that will – it’s argued – complement the Swansea tidal lagoon. This is being promoted by Abergelli Power, which seems to be acting in concert with Millbrook Power, which is in turn a subsidiary of Watt Power Ltd of Edinburgh.)

As you might expect, the local residents objected to the solar scam scheme, partly because the Cockett Valley is a ‘green wedge’ in an increasingly built up area. Their councillor, Ann Cook, who sat on the planning committee, conscientiously represented the wishes of her constituents by objecting to the planning application. In fact, at the July 14th planning committee meeting most Labour councillors on the planning committee voted against the application.

But by the time the planning application was reconsidered on August 11th the situation had changed dramatically. The Labour councillors trooped into the meeting holding each other’s hands and all bar one voted for the solar rip-off, while Ann Cook, the local councillor, was allowed / instructed to feign sickness rather than turn up and risk losing her (and Labour’s) seat by voting in favour of something her ward was vehemently against.

At this second meeting applicant Huw Davies was allowed to address the committee. Sitting alongside him, glaring at the assembled councillors, was Gareth Wardell, even though he had no obvious connection with the application. He certainly doesn’t seem to be on the company’s books.

I’ve already mentioned the lack of photographs of Wardell, and then there’s his Wikipedia entry, which is skeletal. Though a little digging did put flesh on the bones. For example, I found this on a Bloomberg page, which lists Wardell as “Energy Advisor – Planning” to an outfit called the Camborne Energy Group Ltd. When I checked Camborne Energy on Company Check I was confronted with about a dozen companies of that name, at the same Cardiff address, and all marked “dissolved”. Though there is a company in Bridgend called Camborne Energy Investments (10) Ltd, described as “active”, but does no trading! Who starts up so many companies, to do nothing? And why?

Another company with which Wardell is, or was, linked is 3C Energy. Now this may or may not be an Irish company, it certainly had an address in Dublin. The panel below (click to enlarge) is taken from a cached version of the site because all links to 3C websites are broken. Note again, Wardell’s usefulness is made clear – his ability to get planning permission.

Wardell Advisor

As with Camborne Energy Investments Ltd, we find multiple identities for 3C Energy. The only one of which that appears to be trading, 3C Renewable Energy Investments Ltd, is based in Cardiff and has a net worth of £-86,195. At 11 Oaklands Road, Bridgend, the same address as one of the Camborne companies, we find 3C Energy Developments (1) Ltd. And you will not be surprised to learn that we find the same man mentioned as director of both, Jonathan David Townend. But since June 26th, we also find Wardell as a director. The companies Townend has been involved with deserve a post on their own, but who is he?

I have argued for many years that the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party is corrupt to its core. It’s members as venal and selfish as those of any party the bruvvers and sissters condemn. What you have just read is, perhaps, another example of that venality.

Without wishing to unduly excite his lawyers it’s pretty clear that Gareth Wardell advertises himself as a kind of gun for hire. A man who, for a price, will use his influence within the Labour Party to get planning permission for the rogues inhabiting the renewables sector, parasites feeding off the public purse who, in truth, have no more concern for the environment than I have for the well-being of the Labour Party.

What Wardell does may be legal, then again it may not. Perhaps it depends where the line is drawn between lobbying and exerting undue pressure in order to influence planning and other decisions for the material gain of those exerting the pressure. Where Wardell appears to be clever is in having few if any direct involvements with the projects for which he’s lobbying. Take the Cockett Valley solar farm, he seems to have no official or registered connection with the applicant, so why was he ‘phoning and in other ways applying pressure on Labour councillors, especially the ward councillor?

Wardell’s influence can obviously swing things in Swansea, but how far does that influence reach? Can he affect decisions made by the Notional Assembly and the ‘Welsh’ Government? Whatever the answers, this little tale, this potted biography, is an indictment of the planning system, the political system, and the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party.



When the unlamented David Phillips was overthrown in Swansea he also lost his role as chairman of the Swansea Bay City Region consortium, though at the time he seemed to think he could carry on with the city region role. Others clearly had different ideas. He was replaced by Sir Terry Matthews, usually described as ‘Wales’ richest man’ or ‘Wales’ most successful entrepreneur’. (‘Entrepreneur’, a word for which there is no Welsh equivalent, by the way.)

I’ve never been too sure who exactly appointed Matthews, was it the members of the consortium, or the ‘Welsh’ Government? Recent statements by Matthews only add to my confusion.

Speaking last week at a question and answer session held at Trinity St. David University’s Carmarthen campus Matthews declared that he is “in favour of Carmarthenshire branding itself as region of Cardiff to boost the area’s economy”! Carmarthenshire, remember, is to the west of Swansea, and at the nearest point is over 50 miles from Cardiff, the county council is a member of the Swansea Bay city region, yet Matthews is telling Carmarthenshire to link itself with Cardiff! Then, when asked by a student how Carmarthenshire could compete with big cities, Matthews’ response was “You can cheat”!

Terry Matthews

And Matthews has form when it comes to advising people to lie, and be “shifty”. Around the same time he told business leaders in Gwent to tell people they’re based in Cardiff. Here’s a response to that suggestion in the form of a letter published in the South Wales Guardian.

Matthews is supposed to be heading the Swansea Bay City Region project, yet seems more concerned with promoting Cardiff, which makes me even more suspicious of his appointment. For I have regularly argued that the Swansea Bay City Region was added as an afterthought in order to disguise the fact that the Cardiff City region was all that really mattered to the ‘Welsh’ Government. Which makes me suspect that it was the ‘Welsh’ Government that appointed Matthews, perhaps to ensure that the Swansea Bay City Region isn’t too successful, and doesn’t interfere with Cardiff’s ambitions. Certainly, that’s the only interpretation to draw from the man’s bizarre statements.

But, for a minute, let’s listen to Matthews, let’s take his advice ad absurdum. If what he advises for Carmarthenshire, Swansea and the Valleys is credible, then why doesn’t he suggest that Cardiff brand itself as part of Bristol, after all, Bristol is a much more attractive and famous city? Why stop there – why shouldn’t every city from Plymouth to Inverness pretend to be part of London? ‘But wait!’ I hear you cry, Cardiff’s on the up, getting a lot of positive publicity from major sporting events being held in the city, such as the 2017 Champions League final.

OK . . . let’s consider that for a minute. It is generally agreed that the greatest final of all time was in 1960, when the great Real Madrid team of Puskas, di Stefano, Ghento and the rest beat Eintracht Frankfurt 7 – 3 before 127,621 fans. That game was played at Hampden Park, Glasgow. How much did Glasgow really benefit from that in hard, economic terms? The same could be asked of more recent venues, cities such as Athens (1983), Seville (1986), Istanbul (2005), Lisbon (2014). Like Glasgow, all great cities, but I think someone’s over-egging it to suggest that a few hours of television exposure will have investors rushing, and ‘swarms’ of people wanting to settle in any city hosting a major sporting event.

Matthews gravell

Though if there is some truth in this, then Swansea is obviously getting more regular and wholly positive global exposure from the Swans playing in the Premier League. All Swans’ games are televised around the world, with massive audiences when they play one of the ‘big’ clubs. And what’s more, the name ‘Swansea’ is inescapable, it’s visible from the score to the players’ shirts. By comparison, when people view the 2017 Champions League final they’ll only be interested in the two teams, not that it’s taking place in Cardiff.

Clearly, a lot of nonsense is spouted by the Cardiff propaganda machine (otherwise known as the ‘Welsh media’) which tries to justify the disproportionate investment and expenditure in Cardiff. Yet this, as the letter-writer to the South Wales Guardian pointed out, is the real problem. It is a dangerous and anti-national strategy that risks alienating other parts of the country, and poses the very real danger that large parts, especially in the north, will identify even more strongly with coterminous areas of England.

Devolution should mean nation building, not favouring one city over all other parts of the country. It’s about time those clowns down Cardiff docks, and the civil servants who manipulate them, realised that the strategies pursued since 1999 are dividing not uniting us. (Though from the perspective of the civil servants, answering to London, maybe this is the strategy.) The areas that were poor in 1999 are relatively poorer today, compared with Cardiff, and almost all other parts of Europe.

Wales needs a strategy to bring us together; the south east, the north, the Green Desert, and of course the Swansea Bay area, where those involved in the city region project might start asking themselves whether Terry “region of Cardiff” Matthews is the right man for the job.

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I have added a comment re Gareth Wardell Could you confitrm receipt ?


Don’t know who you are or what you’re about but Gareth Wardell is an individual with no morals, loyalty or conviction. I have known him for decades . Do not trust him with anything that may be of any importance. he is what other people have made him.

Billy Upland

Going back to my earlier comment (No.5 in this list) we should note that the Student Prince John Boy of Swansea Council has a photograph album on this TWITTER columns of 138 photos. On going tediously through the boring lot it is notable to see that now not one single one contains any hint of the GLBT pink items that used to fill his Tweets and Profile and list of causes. There has been a complete and REMARKABLE purge. How REMARKABLE! What disloyalty to his once upon a time celebrated cause.
Mentioning Swansea Council – how about an up date on the CLAYS of Swansea who glorify Corbyn’s cause.

erineirin (@erineirin)

Jac, nothing to do with CC although I’m visiting it next week but have you noticed how the English press gets everything wrong about Wales? Last week, in the ‘I’, Harlech Castle had moved to Anglesey!

Wheezy does it

On the right of the picture is an interesting character: David Pugh, the disgraced former Cabinet member from Pembrokeshire’s County Council.

Mr Pugh moved heaven and earth to prevent examination of documents in a grants scandal affecting Pembroke and Pembroke Dock (at the very least!), including accusing a councillor who was active in demanding scrutiny of lying during a council debate on the matter. He even claimed to have personally inspected the locus in quo.

Sadly for Dave it all went south when it emerged that what he claimed to have examined could not be accessed in the way he alleged and also that he had detected the existence of a side elevation to a property which did not exist. To make matters worse, the Chair of the Council’s own Audit Committee used his standing to force a reluctant Council to examine key documents. Once that process started it emerged that officers had signed off on works that had never been done, had permitted one builder to gain a competitive advantage by tendering on an entirely different specification than other tendering builders, and had changed the minutes of meetings to erase evidence of their (at best) negligent conduct.

The Police investigation into exactly who knew what where and when is ongoing.

Interestingly, the Chair of the Audit Committee who forced the Council’s hand, John Evans MBE was forced out a few months later and he was replaced by Peter EM Jones – late of one of the Council’s own solicitors and closely associated with the Swansea Bay Futures project.


I suspect that John Evans really pissed off the in-house mafia at Pembs C.C because he publicly indicated that there wasn’t enough for them all to do, that pay could be slashed dramatically for their overblown jobs, and that there was scant if any regard for “value for money” as the service end of the machine had insufficient priority in their ( the bureaucrats) vision. Subsequent events, with the departure of the Chief Exec, have vindicated Evans’ stance but since his departure in 2014 the surviving rump of Pembs coucillors and executives have succeeded thus far in sweeping much of their mess under assorted carpets.

rob morgan

I agree with what you have written, when SIR Terry was first introduced by Scc I thought that NEWPORT is a tip why can’t he sort his own back yard. As for solar parks etc I couldn’t believe why they are so blinded by rubbish facts, until now.

Rob Morgan


When Tony Blair foisted the ‘city regions’ on the north of England, due to the North East rejecting devolution, the exemplar for such a construct was then Detroit Metro. Although one of the downsides of this was social cleansing of the city centre by moving poor people out into the periphery and a real estate boom in the city centre, it had temporary success. The Detroit County Area attracted over $15 billion of inward investment. It was set up by federal legislation to allow enhanced civic taxation. However, this was just an artificial bubble, and by 2013, the city region filed chapter 9 bankruptcy. The property boom (artificially created) crashed, and the poor people in the satellite counties were plunged into poverty. Essentially, the City Region concept is to socially cleanse poor people from the urban centre and launch a temporary speculative real estate boom, stimulated by public money, in the civic centre. Whilst large amounts of new money is ploughed into transport infrastructure by selling dodgy bonds to the banks, that debt comes back to haunt. The people of Genesee, Monroe and Washtenaw have nice new trams into Detroit Central, but no jobs to go to, their perceived purpose. The property speculators, Terry Matthews types, have run off to Florida. Strange that these ‘city region gurus’ don’t quote Detroit anymore.

A Black

Yes , from left Dave Gilbert, Phillips, Steven Philips NPT, don’t know who’s on the right, can anyone help. It is taken at the Tower Hotel in Jersey Marine.
Looking at the venues where the meetings are held, the number of informal dinners they arrange, I wonder what’s their budget, and who provides it.

A Black

Your right, who he reports to , and who they speak to, most of the comrades dont know him, they started after he finished, or are not from the area.
Would anyone regularly attend planning committee meetings in the public glarry, for the love of it.

A Black

Dave Gilbert is the on the left in your photo, an economic development officer with West Glamorgan moving on to NPT then Carmarthenshire, a Hereford United supporter he lives near Hay on Wye, was chief executive for a while, , when James had his problems. Don’t know who Wendy Walters or Helen Morgan are.

Gareth Wardell turns up regularly at planning committee meetings of Swansea and NPT, always with agenda and making notes, no one knows him, he stated he’s a consultant? someone said he works for celtic energy?

The board must have been set up by those down at Cardiff docks, to achieve what, apart from organising informal dinners, as you rightly state, worth of further investigation.

Billy Upland

You mentioned the Student Prince of Swansea otherwise known as John Boy. The Link to his career history and CV was quite impressive – even his school record. Surprisingly he had omitted all references to his great activities in the Gay Liberation Lesbian Transgender Group. This really came as a mega surprise from John Boy. Has he reorientated himself? Or does he not wish to embarrass his new colleagues at the Remarkable Group? Maybe his boss is homophobic. If you read this John Boy you should rewrite your CV and do not be shy to state what you been involved so deeply in for most of your adult life especially in college and Council. Don’t abandon your Gay friends especially those in the Dubai sunshine.


Fancy coming on here and tipping out the contents of someone’s closet. What a wicked thing to do. You’ll be showing pictures of him being intimate with a piece of pork ( or even a sheep ) next !

A Black

Who appointed or removes the representative? just as confused as you Jac.Looking at the boards minutes it seems its run by Stephen Philips the chief executive of Neath Port Talbot, the phone number is in the council offices, he appears to be organising everything including 2 informal dinners, Sept and Nov. Carmarthenshire have four representatives listed in the last board minutes.


Arthur Emyr has worked ( may still do so ? ) for Assembly, majoring on attracting major events, mostly sporting but maybe conferences and other “gatherings” so falls generally into the Inward investment and/or hospitality sectors. Probably takes this SBCR task on as part of his wider brief, and helps reinforce that Assembly “owns it”.

Mr Gilbert is/was employed by 1 or more of the local authorities in Econ development/planning or similar. His name turns up from time to time. Probably climbed the greasy pole maybe to Director level, secured a tidy pension then buggered off to “do a Wardell” Nice work if you can get it !


Always look forward to your articles Jac and you don’t disappoint this time either. It’s time to get rid of this corrupt rabble and ensure the whole of our country is treated equitably bit I fear Plaid is no longer fit for purpose to accomplish the eradication of corruption from public life.Many thanks,once again for your exposures( are you sure you weren’t involved with”Rebecca”)


most of the Plaid “leadership” is busting its chops waiting to jump on to this bandwagon. Some of them have already “transitioned” into “meaningful leadership roles”, mostly 3rd sector or fringe public sector bodies/ agencies etc where no doubt their networking abilities will be of some use in the conduct of “business”. It certainly helped them get those jobs anyway. Duw a’n helpo !!!!!


Garth Wardell is just a small part of a much bigger malaise which somehow thinks it’s “alright” for retired or defeated M.P’s to secure nice earners by deploying their residue of influence in a profitable manner. Most of these jokers leave the Commons with a pension far in excess of the “common” man’s expectations, or, if dumped at election, get a tidy severance pitched at “market leading” rates. Had Mr Wardell or any of the others ( including no doubt our most recent elevated Lord) secured work under a contract of employment then the only question would be about the process of selection, but most of these wide boys prefer to go the “contract for services” or fees route, which effectively means they do little or nothing other than lobbying or bending decision making processes for the benefit of their paymasters.

As for Matthews, well he’s a proven business success story, but he’s done most of it in the wide open spaces of Canada and has little or no surviving empathy with Wales other than being raised in Newbridge and educated at Swansea ! Bit of emotion shows there ! He sees South Wales like one big parish, hell thereare ranches bigger than that in parts of the world, and accordingly he wants to centre it all around the biggest town ( Kairdiff ) with a couple of smaller towns ( Swansea, Newport ) as outer suburbs. The rural bits ? well they for leisure and mineral exploitation ( done in the best possible taste, of course ) So anyone expecting his appointment to bring a fresh wave of support for real economic revival and an upsurge in our identity and culture were really asking too much of a man who is so evidently a globalist. Sad thing is that he is far more likely to get some sort of positive result even by accident than that bunch of introspective muppets that reside in the Bay and in the H.Q’s of our local authorities who will argue at length about sharing cake but be utterly clueless regarding making and baking it !


And given the growth in the market for advice and influence, recently blessed by that perverse Parliamentary watchdog decision, he can probably look forward to a few more assorted fees, retainers as a “Professional man” before he starts dribbling down his shirt, pissing his pants or whatever else retired politicians do in their dotage. Bet he keeps a picture of Osborne on his bedside shelf and thanks God for a regime that looks after “hard working people”.

Dai Dom Da

Perhaps it’s fortunate that the “Celtic Manor” 5 star concrete bunker is closer to Cardiff than it is to Swindon, or Tel would be advising Cardiff to rebrand itself as a suburb of the Wiltshire metropolis.

Here he is in 2013 arguing in the pages of the Swindon Advertiser that Newport should declare itself to be a district of Cardiff:

There is a certain sort of logic to his latest musings about Carmarthenshire because the west of the county is as far from Cardiff as Cardiff is from Swindon.

It surely can’t be long before Terry Matthews pops up in Welshpool, Aberystwyth or even Machynlleth giving them the same advice.

In fact why not ditch the whole Welsh business and rebrand ourselves as Cardiffland?

Readers with long memories may just about recall last year’s Nato summit at the Celtic Manor. Yes, it really was only just a year ago, with the BBC roped in to hype things up. It “put Wales on the map”, would have a lasting legacy and give an enormous boost to the economy, Lucy Owen told us.

I suspect that the only lasting legacy would have been a very healthy boost to Terry’s profits.


Dai, you” suspect that the only lasting legacy would have been a very healthy boost to Terry’s profits”.

Too true, but that was the core of the plan, any other benefits arising would have been coincidental. As things stand Wales is deemed “too small” to have too many global players creaming directly off its flow of revenue. So Matthews probably got picked out of the hat and henceforth he can do no wrong, unless of course he publishes tales about friends in high political office who have dubious proclivities. Others to be elevated in due course include the boss of Admiral Insurance who gets a seriously positive endorsement from the “Welsh” media. Nice guy, but he can’t be that much of an all round good guy ! To his ( Admiral ) credit he has managed to create a major employer of talent thus absorbing what might have been an embarrassing slack in the S.E.Welsh labour market.

Does anyone know any more likely contenders for elevation to the preferred local robber baron list as managed by the global corporate daisy chain and their lackeys in government ?