Jake Berry MP, Part 2

PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR

The original ‘Jake Berry MP’ was such a hit with the popcorn-munching public that Jac Universal Studios is unashamedly rushing out a sequel featuring our lantern-jawed hero.

In this offering you will meet a number of new faces including another Jake, the police get involved, and there’s a cameo appearance by Boris Johnson.

So dim the house lights, sit back, and prepare to be entertained. (But don’t make too much noise with the popcorn!)

LAST TIME . . .

We left our hero clinging to a ledge above a 1,000 foot drop with the villain about to stamp on his aching fingers . . . oh, sorry, wrong screenplay.

Though it would have been a good place to start because at least we’d know where he was. For Jake Berry is a difficult man to pin down; he ducks and weaves, always on the move, like the Muhammad Ali of the government benches.

Jake Berry on his way to a (pre-lockdown) board meeting of Trotters Independent Traders. Click to enlarge

This tale began last week, you’ll remember, with reports that Berry and his family had turned up at one of their Rhoscolyn properties on Ynys Môn in defiance of lockdown instructions. They had probably come from their London SW1 home.

But Virginia Crosbie the local MP, unexpected victor in last December’s election, insisted that the family had been at Rhyd-y-Bont since February, long before lockdown. It was just that no one had noticed them . . . for three months.

Her exact words, quoted by NorthWalesLive, were: “Mr and Mrs Berry have been living here in the island since February – it is their home.” Though whether telling us that the MP for an east Lancashire constituency lived on Ynys Môn really helped Berry is a moot point.

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Then evidence started dribbling out making it clear that if the Berry family had been at Rhyd-y-Bont since February then Jake Berry had been regularly breaking lockdown. And if they’d arrived on Ynys Môn the week before last, then that too was breaking lockdown. It was no longer a question of whether Jake Berry was guilty, but of which offence.

The unravelling of the alibi also tells us that the local Conservative MP has been telling porkies.

YOU WERE LEFT WONDERING . . .

Now then, let’s clear up a few loose ends from the previous blockbuster. We identified three properties at Rhoscolyn owned or part-owned by James Jacob Gilchrist Berry.

There was Cerrig, part-owned with his parents. Plas Coch, part-owned with his mother and another family member. Then there’s Rhyd-y-Bont, the farm for which he paid £780,000 up front in November.

Correction 19.05.2020: I am now informed that Max Jonathan Berry and Ruth Elizabeth Berry, co-owners of Cerrig, are Jake Berry’s siblings. Lucy Charlotte Berry, co-owner of Plas Coch, is either another sibling or the wife of Max.

I mentioned that there was a fourth property at Rhoscolyn waiting to be identified. Well now I have it. It’s Mountain View which, I’m informed, is next to Silver Bay Caravan Park. Lovely, traditional Welsh names. Names like these being the benefits of tourism and social engineering.

According to the Land Registry title document Mountain View was bought some time ago for £92,000. It’s now for sale with Dafydd Hardy at an asking price of £485,000. (I’ll explain how I came by this information in a minute.)

So that’s four properties, but I’m told there might be more properties in the area owned by Jake Berry. Specifically, the property where his defender, local MP Virginia Crosbie lives when she visits the island. I await information from my man in the shrubbery.

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There was also some uncertainty as to where the Berry family actually lives. Do they have a fixed abode, or do they move with the seasons, like members of some pastoral society, driving their flocks before them?

As I’ve hinted, the permanent abode is in London SW1, a property bought for £2,150,000 in February 2017, with money up front, just like Rhyd-y-Bont. So the Berry clan will in future be moving between London and Ynys Môn with the pater familias making the occasional foray into his constituency.

You’ll see that I have redacted the identifying details from the London property. This seems the right option following a telephone conversation with North Wales Police on Saturday, a convivial chat with a chief inspector who agreed that what Jake Berry had complained about – me putting out his personal details – was already in the public domain via the Land Registry.

What I can tell you is that the London property is in the name of Berry’s wife.

The difference is that the Rhoscolyn properties were known locally and being identified on social media before I got involved. The London address is not publicly known.

THE MAGIC MONEY TREE

Something else I wondered about in the first part was where the lucre is coming from to make these expensive purchases. For Berry is a non-practising solicitor and seems to have no directorships. I remarked that his MP’s salary seems to go a long, long way.

Though I suppose with the London property being in his wife’s name she might be worth a few bob herself. Alternatively, the SW1 house could have been bought with Berry’s money and registered in her name to throw people of the scent.

On the question of companies and directorships, while there seem to be no current directorships for Jake Berry there have certainly been directorships in the past.

One snippet I was sent mentions a company called Rhoscolyn Limited. I’m afraid I don’t have the context. (Though maybe it’s from the site Company Director Check?) And of course this is how I learnt about Mountain View.

I drew a blank on the Companies House website and other sites, so if anyone out there has information on Rhoscolyn Limited, then it’s the usual routine, either leave it in the old hollow tree or send it to editor@jacothenorth.net.

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Digressing slightly, but staying with the subject of money – always a Conservative MP’s prime consideration – MPs get well paid with expenses. With this in mind I went to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) site to check on Jake the Lad’s expenses.

Which was quite interesting.

For the last full year available, 2018-2019, he claimed £16,618.31 for accommodation in his constituency. That accommodation I understand is Clough Cottage in Rossendale, which is owned by Tony Cope, a bigwig among Rossendale & Darwen Conservatives.

A nice little earner for Tony.

Let’s return to companies and directorships, for while Jake Berry himself seems to be ‘clean’, others close to him do dabble.

There’s PEPC Ltd which was run by Berry’s Parliamentary PA Paul Lambert Fairhurst and his Personal PA Louise Inglis, using a Liverpool address. This company was dissolved in December 2018 without apparently troubling HMRC or anyone else. It just did nothing in its brief existence.

Fairhurst was also involved with a company called PND Group Ltd, with a Manchester address, which went under in March 2020, also after a short period of apparent inactivity.

Inglis was further involved with a company giving a Nottingham address, called Licensing Objective Ltd. It was dissolved in February 2019 after less than five years of shuffling around a bit of small change.

Setting up companies to provide a cover for nefarious activities is something I report on regularly on this blog, but that can’t be the case here, surely? So why set up companies and just let them fold?

Let’s conclude this little excursion into the corporate world by turning our attention to Ford Bridge Farm Ltd. And if that sounds weirdly familiar then it’s because it is of course Rhyd-y-Bont, one of Berry’s Rhoscolyn properties, rendered into English. The sole director is Mrs Berry.

The company gives a correspondence address in the town of Bacup, in Berry’s Rossendale and Darwen constituency. Though why a company that uses a corrupted version of the Ynys Môn property’s name needs to be based in Lancashire is a mystery.

Can anyone offer a suggestion?

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To be exact, Ford Bridge Farm Ltd is headquartered in this splendid old building in downtown Bacup that was available for rent or lease when this Google Earth image was captured in September 2018.

UPDATE: I am indebted to @JanZamosky for suggesting that Mountain View Ltd might have been formed to avoid paying council tax. Would this also explain the more recent Ford Bridge Farm Ltd?

GODFATHERS AND A ROAD TRIP

When Jake Berry’s first child was born in 2017 one godfather was Harry Cole, former co-editor of the Guido Fawkes website and now deputy political editor for the Mail on Sunday. He had rented a flat from Mrs Berry and was the long-time partner of Carrie Symonds. The other godfather was Boris Johnson.

Jake Berry obviously had important and influential friends.

Then on 24 May last year Theresa May surprised no one by announcing that she was jacking in it and told the Tories to look for a new leader. Jake Berry threw himself into Boris Johnson’s campaign.

And it was godfather Harry Cole who reported rather sniffily that Berry was to do a tour of north west England in a “yellow truck like the ones used in the cheesy 1990s American TV series Baywatch”. And for company Berry would have Jacob Rees-Mogg.

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Yes, I know what you’re thinking – what a pleasure it must have been to travel 170 miles in the company of Jacob Rees-Mogg! Though I’m sure there are some who’d feel sorry for Rees-Mogg having to spend that much time with Jake Berry.

Maybe they deserve each other.

One source – who seems to know his stuff – suggests the £4,000 quoted as the purchase price for the Ford Ranger was on the cheap side. While another source might have provided the answer by telling me that Berry sends his PA Fairhurst to auctions on his behalf! Is this covered under MPs’ expenses?

As history now records, it all paid off. Boris Johnson won the leadership vote and the general election in December. Jake Berry was made Minister of State for the Northern Powerhouse. Though Rees-Mogg seems to have fallen from favour since his hommage to a fin de siècle slapper reclining on a chaise longue.

Though it turned sour for Berry as well because earlier this year he was sacked. Yes, he was allowed to make the ‘spend more time with the family’ excuse and resign. But this was a ‘Make him an offer he can’t accept’ kind of ‘resignation’.

I have no idea what became of the yellow Ford Ranger that must carry so many happy memories. Indeed, it might have been an attempt to recapture those memories that prompted Jake Berry to buy another. There’s certainly one parked now at Rhyd-y-Bont. (Or are we expected to call it ‘Ford Bridge Farm’?)

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What’s odd is that the registration for the truck used in last year’s Boris Johnson Productions re-make of Thelma and Louise was CV60 ZJE, while the one parked up now is CV11 JYA.

CV is the registration for Swansea.

Harry Cole told us the road trip vehicle was “formerly used by council street cleaners”. If so, then does Jake Berry have a direct line to Swansea Guildhall that enables him to pick up old council vehicles on the cheap?

Or is there some other explanation? Does anyone recognise those registration numbers?

CONCLUSION

It’s all very well having a laugh at Jake Berry and the rest of them, but turning us into strangers in our own land is no joke.

Yet we are expected to welcome being priced out of our communities because a lying politician or a trainee hack on a provincial rag tells us that rising property prices is a sure-fire indicator of prosperity.

That may be the case in a normal society, but not in a colony!

Wales may lack the monuments to a great past, and the institutions of a mighty state. But we have something far more important – a sense of nationhood that has survived without these trappings, and in defiance of them.

Today this nation nation is growing restless because the ‘progressive’ parties have failed us.

They’ve failed us because they refuse to accept that there’s a real country beyond Corruption Bay; a country with broken communities and angry people who are sick of funding middle class lesbian co-operatives and other forms of gesture politics.

While we who are trying to combat colonialism are traduced by wassisname, who leads the ‘progressives’, as inherently right wing.

If so, then I’m proud to be a right wing nationalist standing up for my people. It’s more honourable by far than being a smug, two-faced ‘progressive’ collaborating with the colonialist system.

♦ end ♦

 




‘Seasonal properties’

PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR

The coronavirus lockdown has confirmed some things that we already knew, such as the fact that many of our politicians, both in London and Cardiff, are incompetent dissemblers. Which leads me to hope that many of them pay the price when we next have a chance to vote.

Though less well known was the fact that there seems to be no legislation stopping some oaf stacking up his supermarket trolley with toilet rolls; with Mrs Oaf following behind, her trolley containing enough pasta to feed a small Italian town for a month.

And why is there apparently no law against a retailer profiteering in a crisis by charging £20 for a pack of twelve toilet rolls?

RECAP: ACTION AND REACTION

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced lockdown on Monday 23 March and the problems for Wales began on the first weekend following that announcement. The examples in the panel below come from different parts of the country but the picture was very similar everywhere.

It was a case of fearful locals responding to ignorant and inconsiderate holiday home owners and tourists.

Some of the attitudes on display from those who felt they had a God-given right to come to Wales and do as they like, and some of the responses. Click to enlarge.

Though there was an improvement the following weekend, and the Easter weekend that followed that.

In part due to more of our neighbours belatedly accepting that a ‘stay at home’ directive had been issued, and obeying it. But also attributable to an increased police presence on major roads, coupled with car parks and tourist attractions being closed off, and other measures to deter people from travelling into Wales or else turning them back when they’d arrived.

Even so, the selfish, the inconsiderate, and the downright arrogant, just kept coming. And now, just before Easter, they were getting imaginative about it. For as WalesOnline reported, holiday home owners were sending their luggage by courier and driving down in empty cars in case they were stopped by police.

A ploy made easier by a number of holiday home owners claiming their second home as their main residence. Thus escaping the council tax surcharge on holiday homes and even registering their car(s) from the holiday home in order to get cheaper car insurance.

(Someone also tried to explain to me that there’s some Capital Gains Tax advantage . . . but I think I fell asleep. Zzzzzzzzz.)

Below you’ll see the original Facebook post that alerted us to the scam and is quoted in the WalesOnline article I’ve just linked to. I know Wyn Humphreys, he had a garage and repair shop in Aberdyfi for many years, he knows the community well. He’s now based in Tywyn and has car parts delivered by courier every day, so he knows the drivers.

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The greater imagination and evasiveness employed by holiday home owners was mirrored by an increased hardening of attitudes on the part of the locals. Brilliantly shown in this short video from Julian Lewis Jones.

Julian is an actor, I understand, but I’ll forgive him that, and if I ever bump into him when this is all over I’ll buy him a pint. Or whatever actors drink.

Desperate for news of any kind the media contributed to the rising anger by reporting on acts of idiocy. With the information often provided by the police.

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There was an increasing polarisation between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ that I found intriguing to observe. Not least because the ranks of the ‘Us’ contained some strange bed-fellows.

UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCES

Clearly, coronavirus and the lockdown have made residents of rural areas focus on holiday or second homes in ways that few people could have predicted beforehand.

For we’ve experienced an upsurge in bad feeling that’s got stronger as the lockdown has progressed, to the point where the hostility directed against holiday homes is now as widespread and virulent as I ever remember it. (And believe me, I go back a bit!)

Some reading this will dismiss concern over holiday homes as a ‘nationalist thing’, but it’s not. I know people – of the BritNat persuasion – who have been out on patrol, searching for and then reporting occupied holiday homes. I put it down to the ‘Spirit of the Blitz’ – like a WWII ARP warden reporting someone whose windows weren’t completely blacked out.

A kind of Blitz without the Luftwaffe.

But whatever the explanation, if I had raised the subject of second homes with these corona-zealots a month ago, they would have defended holiday homes with the usual ill-thought responses, ‘good for the economy’, ‘locals don’t want them’, ‘that’s just anti-English’, blah, blah, blah.

But in recent weeks – and I have seen it myself! – English people living locally have been out ‘harassing’ (as one holiday home owner put it) English second home owners. This has taken some getting used to.

We can see and hear it in the video below from WalesOnline. Because the people staying in the Airbnb property are not being harangued by someone native to Penmachno.

The property is owned by a woman who lives in France, and her explanation for renting it soon starts to unravel.

Of course it’s a health issue for those I’m talking about. And when lockdown is over feelings will subside . . . but things will never be the same as they were before. The animosity towards holiday homes generated by so many of them being owned by selfish and arrogant bastards will never disappear entirely.

It’s almost inevitable that viewing holiday homes in a new light has spilled over into a more guarded attitude towards tourism generally. Again, a response to selfish and irresponsible behaviour, this time on the part of many thousands of people who seem to think that Wales has no existence other than as a holiday destination.

CHANGING THE NARRATIVE

You’ll see that this post is entitled ‘Seasonal properties’, a term that may be new to you, as it was to me when I read it on the NorthWalesLive (Daily Post) website, and used by North Wales Police.

It also appeared as an item in the BBC Wales coronavirus rolling news (below).

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The story is that a person or persons unknown painted ‘Go home’ on holiday homes near Pwllheli marina, not far from the town centre. I know the area myself, I walk there when the wife fancies a day out in Pwllheli. There are eight ‘townhouses’ known as ‘Marina View’, let out as self-catering units.

Embarrassed by the attention, the owner of one or more of the properties defended himself by claiming that the properties were “available” for key workers.

GogPlod took up the theme and embellished it with the strange statement you’ve read in the image above. Let’s look at it again, paragraph by paragraph.

“The owners of the properties and the key workers are making a significant sacrifice to contribute to the collective response to the coronavirus outbreak.”

But there’s nobody staying in those properties. And if key workers were staying in them, then the owner(s) – rather than having empty properties earning nothing – would be having an income. How would that be a ‘sacrifice’?

“From our patrols we can say that the vast majority of seasonal properties are not occupied by tourists and have been given up to local people.”

Where the hell were these ‘locals’ living before coronavirus hit? In caves? Under boulders? Down in the sewer systems? Everyone living in the north will know that’s more bollocks. Does the person who wrote it even know northern Wales?

“Now more than ever we cannot afford to divert our stretched emergency services away from the work of collectively tackling this pandemic.”

The emergency services may be stretched, but with that daubing we’re talking about half an hour’s work for a PCSO. If time is so precious why waste it on a propaganda exercise?

“Ask yourself how you would feel if returning to this after a long shift keeping the community safe.”

This is clever, it appeals to emotion over reason, but it’s just more bollocks. Because no key workers are staying in those 8 semi-detached, holiday let, ‘townhouses’.

I genuinely doubt if that statement was written by a police officer, unless it was one with certain political leanings who also had some knowledge of psychology and propaganda techniques.

A statement that so shamelessly over-eggs a very minor incident and misrepresents the truth can only damage the credibility of Heddlu Gogledd Cymru.

It is the kind of statement that might have been issued by a political commissar speaking in the name of an organisation back in the old USSR. For example: ‘The Basket-weavers Union of Kazakhstan condemns in the strongest possible terms the US Army’s incursion into Laos’.

Image courtesy of Merriam-Webster. Click to enlarge

In the West this work is usually referred to as psychological operations, but it fulfils a very similar role. In addition to MI5 and MI6 and the traditional intelligence units of the British army we have recently seen the emergence of the 77th Brigade to combat ‘cybernats’ and others perceived to be enemies of the state. Is the 77th Brigade now handling NWP’s press releases?

The comparison with commissars and psyops is valid because the statement issued by North Wales Police was political. It even introduced a newly-coined term with ‘seasonal properties’; suggesting someone, somewhere, had realised that ‘second homes’ and ‘holiday homes’ had pejorative connotations.

It’s the introduction of this term, and the way it’s been used in that bizarre statement that tells me those who watch over us are getting concerned about the increasingly hostile focus on holiday homes, and where it might lead.

The reporting of the Pwllheli graffiti was an attempt to take control of the narrative.

Others took up this change of tack, for now it was Welsh idiots causing the problems. And what about this nutter going by motorcycle from Swansea to Fishguard to take some photos. Bloody Welsh!

STORM CLOUDS RETURN

But then, just when it seemed that hostility towards ‘seasonal properties’ was abating, along came another hammer blow. One that might prove fatal to the ‘commissars’ hope of returning Wales to the resigned acceptance of holiday homes from the pre-coronavirus days.

For we learnt that those holiday home owners who had cheated our local authorities out of council tax – by claiming that their property was a small business – are in line for a windfall in the form of Covid-19 compensation, anything from £10,000 to £25,000. This news re-ignited the pissed-on embers.

The leaders of Gwynedd, Anglesey, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire councils have all called on their councils not to make the payments until checks have been made to sort the genuine small rural businesses from second home owners cheating the rest of us.

Though according to Councillor Elwyn Vaughan payments are already being made in Powys. But then, many of the rat-race escapees who run Powys council probably sympathise and identify with holiday home owners.

Though it was disappointing to read deputy council leader Aled Davies respond with, “These businesses, which include farm diversification projects, holiday chalets and second homes when let, make a valuable contribution to our tourism offer and our local economy”.

Listen, Aled, genuine small businesses like farm diversification projects will not lose out. But your knee-jerk reaction makes you sound as if you want to pay everyone, including the cheaters.

So, is that your position, Aled, to pay everyone – cheques without checks? If so, how does such an attitude protect the interests of the people of Powys?

Courtesy of BBC Wales. Click to enlarge

But then, Aled’s a member of the Conservative and Unionist Party, so he might blindly defend holiday homes even if they were rented out to the biological warfare division of the People’s Liberation Army . . . and local authorities picked up the tab.

The Covid-19 compensation payouts will be another headache for the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’, already buckling and looking beaten by the pandemic itself. Yet it’s a problem they could have avoided years ago by closing the legal loophole that allows this chicanery.

But as we know, and as I’ve explained on this blog, the ‘Welsh Government’, and the civil servants that control it, hate almost everything about the Welsh countryside – except what is alien, intrusive, and damaging to Welsh identity.

Thirty and more years ago I recall politicians loftily insisting that they would never submit to the ‘terrorists’ of Meibion Glyndŵr. The implication being that if the arson campaign against second homes ceased then something might be done about the problem. (For no one denied they were a problem.)

Here we are, thirty years on, and nothing has been done; the problem is worse than ever. After two decades of devolved government, after 21 years of ‘Welsh solutions for Welsh problems’.

If anyone attacks a ‘seasonal property’ then the police should head straight to Cardiff Bay and arrest London’s management team; both those masquerading as the political leadership of Wales and the puppet-master civil servants.

For that’s where the blame will ultimately lie.

♦ end ♦





Wales and Coronavirus 2

PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR

I know I often start with an apology (I have a lot to apologise for), and this time is no exception. I’d toyed with the idea of writing about other subjects, but there really isn’t much point.

So I’m offering a second helping of Wales and Coronavirus, with perhaps an entertaining digression or twa.

THE CASE OF THE MISSING TESTING KITS

Politicians have been under the spotlight in this crisis, which will return to haunt some of them. For many politicos are being exposed as liars, others as incompetents, while the worst of them are both, and more.

Let’s take the case of the testing kits that the ‘Welsh Government’ insists it ordered from Roche, an order that it’s alleged was cancelled by the Swiss pharma giant when the UK government got involved and put in a bigger order.

A few things strike me as odd about this incident. First, the ‘Welsh Government’ has produced no evidence of an order being placed, let alone accepted. Second, after an initial flurry of outrage London’s local management team seems to have fallen into line, leaving Drakewell looking increasingly like a compliant ‘regional leader’ in a totalitarian state.

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But let’s be generous, and assume that even if the order wasn’t actually placed, that negotiations were at least underway. That being so, was Whitehall tipped off about the ‘Welsh Government’ – for once! – looking up to the job, even upstaging BoJo’s gang?

This might explain why the deal between the ‘Welsh Government’ and Roche fell through. But if so, who tipped off Whitehall?

My money would be on civil servants, more specifically, senior civil servants of the type appointed by London and answering to their masters in the Great Wen. And when they’re not carrying clecks they’re implementing orders from London, often dressed up as ‘Welsh legislation’.

But even before the Roche incident, we now know that an offer was made in early March to carry out testing, but the offer has been ignored, according to Professor Andrew Godkin of the School of Medicine in Cardiff.

The BBC reported:

‘Prof Godkin, who leads the School of Medicine, said Wales has significant laboratory capacity to help ramp up the numbers of Covid-19 tests.

“It’s been deeply frustrating. We flagged up what was available about three weeks ago,” he said.

“We certainly have the capacity here and in Cardiff University to really offer… a considerable number of tests.”‘

Why hasn’t this offer, from an institution within miles of Corruption Bay, been taken up?

Whatever the truth about the testing kits from Roche, the ‘Welsh Government’ has clearly surrendered control to Downing Street. With the result that when it comes to testing kits, personal protection equipment (PPE), Wales will get whatever London decides.

And so, here we are, a month or more into this crisis, and front line staff in our health service are still waiting for tests and PPE. The conclusion I draw is that the ‘Welsh Government’ has chosen not to act contrary to London diktats, even when to do so would be best for Wales.

Which makes devolution rather pointless.

Though of course, it could all be a cunning plan worthy of Baldrick. For ‘Welsh’ Labour likes nothing more than to blame somebody else for anything that goes wrong. By surrendering control over the fight against coronavirus to London Cardiff Bay might be seen as getting itself off the hook.

ANOTHER WEEKEND INFLUX

While it wasn’t as bad as the previous weekend there was still a sizeable influx of selfish idiots who just don’t care about risking other people’s lives. Liz Saville Roberts MP even reported that second home owners were sharing information on how to avoid police checks, like it was some game.

As that tweet from LSR suggests, the police seem to have been more proactive this weekend, stopping people and asking them where they were going, and why.

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The evidence popped up regularly on Twitter, with reports of vehicles also being stopped on Dyfi Bridge at Machynlleth (a boundary between GogPlod and Dyfed Powys), and also around Bala.

But this tweet put out on Friday evening by a councillor on Ynys Môn would suggest that nothing was being done on the bridges linking the island with the mainland.

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Perhaps his cri de coeur was answered, for the following day police were out, but getting in their way was the new MP for the island, Virginia Crosbie. For as we know, Tory politicians can’t resist a photo opp with police. (Though of course there are 20,000 fewer cops since 2010.)

Though you have admire her brass neck. To begin with, Conservatives love holiday homes, most Tory MPs have at least one. And I guarantee that Crosbie garnered quite a few votes from holiday home-owning families that live in safe Tory seats, and could afford to vote from their holiday homes in a marginal constituency like Ynys Môn.

Though the ultimate hypocrisy was her claim that it’s all being done to help the NHS. The health service would be coping a hell of a lot better with this pandemic if her party had put more money in over recent years.

If those clowns in London she regards as the government could just arrange for front-line health staff to be tested, and to have PPE, she’d look less like a politician exploiting global misery to promote herself.

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Though maybe I’m being a bit harsh, for we mustn’t use coronavirus to score political points, must we? Though if that’s the case, then someone should have told ‘Barry’ Lee Waters, Sosban’s AM.

Plaid Cymru put out a statement over the weekend urging people to stay at home, and when it was retweeted by ITV Wales’ Welsh political editor, Adrian Masters, Waters jumped in with both feet to infer that Plaid was being anti-English.

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Obviously the boy hadn’t read the full statement that Adrian Masters had so helpfully retweeted. (Quelle twat! as we used to say in Swansea.) Though Barry’s contribution reminds us of another political party that has problems with holiday homes. His own.

Which is strange, for we should expect any socialist or social democratic party to be opposed to holiday homes on a number of grounds, but not ‘Welsh’ Labour, which has tied itself up in all sorts of knots.

Lee Waters often gets confused over health matters. Here’s a pic from a couple of years ago, showing him with the Llanelli MP, Nia Griffith, protesting against hospital closures introduced by their own ‘Welsh Labour Government’ in Cardiff. No wonder they both look so sheepish. Click to enlarge

Mainly because from a ‘Welsh’ Labour perspective holiday homes is a ‘nashie’ issue, the kind of thing that people like me are supposed to get vexed about. Which is true, up to a point, I suppose, but it’s hardly an obsession with me, as you’ll realise from searching this blog.

But because that’s how Labour in Wales frames it, doing anything to discourage the growth in the number of holiday homes is seen as a concession to political opponents.

The collateral damage of hard-working local people priced out of the property market, and the destruction of Welsh communities and even Welsh identity, is acceptable because by and large the areas worst affected don’t vote Labour.

Which in practical terms, results in ‘Welsh’ Labour being as indulgent towards holiday homes as the Conservative and Unionist Party.

While Plaid Cymru’s request was for no one to travel unnecessarily, Visit Wales still has trouble telling tourists and holiday home owners to stay out, as this tweet put out on Saturday makes clear. They can’t quite bring themselves to say, ‘Don’t travel INTO Wales’.

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We’ve had two weekends of ignored lockdown and now we face Easter weekend, for which I’m sure the police are preparing. Though I would suggest that rather than random checks all over the country, or responding to tweets such as that from Councillor Carwyn Jones, checks on the border would be more effective.

Wales is a small country with a limited number of decent, cross-border roads, maybe a dozen in all. You’ll see that I’ve made three additions to the motorway and trunk road map reproduced below. All three cross the border into Powys, with the A44 being the only road into Aberystwyth from the east, the A489 links with the A470 heading north towards Snowdonia, and the A438 runs down to the Beacons.

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Just having a police presence from Friday morning on these roads where they cross the border would have an effect. Pulling over motor homes and towed caravans would obviously make sense, as would stopping anyone who looks a bit ‘touristy’.

And if such a tactic proves successful then we could make it permanent!

PROFITEERING

We’ve all heard reports of coronavirus being used to bump up prices by shysters like Mike Ashley of Sports Direct, but it’s not just the usual suspects, as I found out last week.

I was looking for a new scanner/printer and after deciding on the model I wanted I went online to compare prices. To my surprise – as I’ve never bought from them before – John Lewis Partnership offered the best deal. So I ordered my machine, an Epson ET-7750 at £549.

I then had an e-mail telling me that the order was being processed. Before, bizarrely, receiving another e-mail saying that my contact details had been changed. Not by me they hadn’t! This was followed by, ‘We are unable to process your order’, and then a cancellation.

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Curious, I went to the John Lewis website. The machine I’d ordered was still there of course – but the asking price had gone up by £50 since I’d placed my order!

Obviously I had to find another supplier. I went to one I’d never heard of before, Box.

I paid just over £10 more than I’d originally paid John Lewis, but at least there was no nonsense about ‘changed details’, and it even arrived on Saturday, not on Monday as I’d expected.

But being the curious bugger I am, after placing my order I went back to the Box website – and saw that the price had increased by £30 in less than 24 hours!

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It seems obvious to me that with so many stores closed online retailers feel they can charge whatever they like. So if you’re shopping online – be careful!

‘ALL PULLING TOGETHER’

In a number of ways it seems that the UK government is using the coronavirus crisis to override devolved administrations and possibly undermine devolution. How far this will go remains to be seen.

For coronavirus is now up there with World War II, the monarchy, World Cup 1966, the Falklands, the death of Diana, Only Fools and Horses, and the 2012 Olympics, as a ‘shared experience’. Something that we are expected to believe transcends national and regional differences, and makes distinctions of class, religion and of course, politics irrelevant.

Coronavirus will be milked for all it’s worth, and of course it explains why Her Maj made an address to the Commonwealth on Sunday. (You missed it!)

The problem is of course, that we aren’t ‘all in it together’.

Let us visualise a member of the Cheshire Set, with private health care, and let’s call him Dominic. Let’s further assume that he drives down in his Merc to spend a weekend in his holiday home, and while in Wales he infects old Mrs Roberts with Covid-19 then fucks off back to his big house in Wilmslow before Mrs Roberts dies.

Yeah, I suppose that could be a shared experience; cos Dom must have had coronavirus for him to infect Mrs Roberts. Stands to reason.

And just as Hitler had Versailles, those arseholes in London feel they too must have someone to blame, or a distraction. But with so much Chinese money sloshing about in London they can’t imitate their orange friend in Washington and call it the ‘Chinese Virus’ . . . so they pick on footballers!

Matt Hancock, the uninspiring Health Secretary in the UK government, has demanded that footballers give up a chunk of their earnings in the fight against coronavirus. Specifically, for hospices.

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Perhaps a case could be made for paying these players less because football, like all other sports, has been suspended until the crisis has passed. But if the issue is money, then a few hundred footballers taking a pay cut isn’t going to make much difference. And how would the money be collected? Or even assessed? If their clubs pay them less is Hancock planning to ask Liverpool and Manchester City and Arsenal for whatever they’re not paying Salah, de Bruyne, Lacazette and the rest?

But if money is the issue, then a hell of a lot more could be raised from the Tories’ tax-avoiding friends, with their tax haven companies, as Gary Lineker has suggested. (There’s no, ‘if they possibly can’ about it, Gary. They definitely can!)

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Staying with the beautiful game, why am I and millions of others still having to pay Sky, BT, Premier Sports and Amazon Prime for football that’s not being played? Will Hancock talk to Rupert Murdoch and others to get our subscriptions suspended until football resumes? Will he hell!

But it’s not a question of money. No amount of money collected now can make much difference in the fight against coronavirus. The problems in the NHS are structural and of long standing. The money should have been invested years ago, over the last few decades in fact.

Which makes having a pop at footballers a cheap publicity stunt from a cheap politician.

Another ‘national treasure’ recruited in the fight against coronavirus and for British unity is Florence Nightingale. The new emergency hospitals in England have been named after her, and of course the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, home to the Welsh Rugby Union, has followed NHS England’s lead.

But in Glasgow the emergency hospital was named after Louisa Jordan, a WW1 nurse from Maryhill, who died working in Serbia. She is still fondly remembered by the Serbs. (Serbia suffered more casualties per capita than any other country.)

This decision has outraged those who wear Union Jack underpants beneath their kilts and support a certain football club. One such was former Labour MP Douglas Alexander, who detected ‘small-minded nationalism’ at work.

To believe Douglas Alexander, naming a hospital in Glasgow after a woman from that city who lost her life helping others is wrong, but to name it after a woman who did a great job of self-promotion in one of Britain’s countless 19th century colonialist adventures, but who has no connections with Scotland, is the right thing to do.

Here, as with Barry Lee Waters, we see the BritNat mind at work. Scottish or Welsh nationalism (bad) is detected in the most harmless gesture, but it would be blind to British nationalism (good) if London sent in the tanks and started arresting people.

WHAT NEXT?

Coronavirus is having strange effects. In this posting I’ve found myself defending Plaid Cymru and agreeing with Gary Lineker.

Regular readers will know that I am no friend to Plaid Cymru; but what is not so well known is that I was no fan of Lineker the footballer, I think he ruins Match of the Day with the faux mateyness, and I detest even more his liberal pontificating on social media.

But there you go, these are not normal times. And the worst is yet to come, in terms of deaths, and in disruption to what were our everyday lives.

Political leadership in both London and Cardiff has failed us. The economy is already severely damaged, house prices will collapse, savings and investments will suffer, and by this time next year our lives could be framed by very different political and economic paradigms.

There is no going back to things as they were pre Covid-19. That system has been found wanting. Once the worst of coronavirus is behind us Wales must have a fresh start. And that can only mean independence.

♦ end ♦