Money Does Grow On Trees!

Yes, don’t worry, I am winding down, and eventually retiring, but I’m bringing out this ‘special’ for two reasons.

First, because the picture it paints of Carmarthenshire County Council  – and, to a lesser degree, Dyfed Powys Police – is rather worrying. I feel this merits a wider audience so as to serve as a warning to us all.

Second, we are dealing with trees, and unscrupulous companies and individuals that trade in woodland. In 2022 we shall be hearing a lot more about trees, and also about unscrupulous companies and individuals.

This is another ‘biggie’, 3000+ words; but broken down into easily-digestible and nourishing chunks. Yes, nourishing. Enjoy!

‘WOODLANDS FOR SALE’

We’ve all seen them, in both Welsh and English, the roadside signs reading, ‘Coedwig ar Werth’, ‘Woodland for Sale’. Most belong to Woodland Investment Management Ltd (WIM), trading as woodlands.co.uk.

If this sounds familiar, then it’s because I’ve mentioned these people before in, for example, One Planet Developments, getting devious, in July 2020. Now more information has come my way, which prompts this article.

Specifically mentioned in the earlier articles was Allt y Gelli, between Llangynog and Llanybri. There, WIM carved up the old woodland into saleable parcels and flogged them off with names like Coed Aberoedd, Allt y Castell, Coed Gwas y Neidr, and Coed Tâf.

These ranged in size and price from £19,000 for 2.5 acres to £55,000 for just under 8 acres. And the process continues.

In the panel below you see, left to right: an OS map of the area twixt Llangynog and Llanybri, with the area I’ll discuss in a minute circled in red. The woodland is Allt y Gelli.

The central image highlights the parcel of 8.25 acres labelled Coed Ffordd Pererin, which recently sold for £65,000.

While the image on the right shows an adjacent plot outlined in blue for which a man from Guildford, in the county of Surrey, was hoping to get planning permission.

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I assume he wishes to be a lumberjack. For last year he intimated to Carmarthenshire County Council his desire to build a ‘shed’, some 8.5 metres long, 2.9 metres to the eaves, and 4.8 metres to the ridge.

A substantial structure for the ‘Storage of forestry extraction equipment / Tractor shed & maintenance bay for aforementioned equipment’. Who could refuse such a request – for he might have already bought his check shirts!

To their credit, the council responded to this enquiry by informing him that a full planning application would be required. To wit: ‘Its (the proposed building’s) use for the storage and maintenance of forestry extraction equipment isn’t reasonably necessary for the purposes of managing the woodland based upon the small scale tree felling and timber extraction proposed.’

As far as I can see, no planning application resulted. Why ever not?

Maybe he realised he’d been rumbled; as this letter of objection suggests.

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Let’s be quite blunt here. Woodland Investment Management Ltd is an unscrupulous operator. It buys woodlands, asks for planning permission for roads, ostensibly for forestry work, yet in reality the roads are needed to make the property more accessible and saleable in smaller plots.

Alternatively, WIM just sells off unimproved woodland knowing the new owner will carve it up and flog it off in smaller chunks.

First the timber is harvested and then the parcels sold as off-grid retreats or holiday homes. Not the glorified allotments described on the WIM website. Think how difficult it would be looking after an allotment 300 miles away!

This is what the same company has done with other woodland in this locality, I’m referring now to Plas Estate Woodlands. (The ‘Plas’ referred to is Coomb Mansion, once used as a Cheshire Home.)

The title document tells us that Woodland Investment Management paid £385,000 for this land in 2006, which this report from last April suggests is now in three parts, Allt y Hendre, Allt y Coomb and Allt Tre-hyrn. These lie to the east of Allt y Gelli, and can be seen in the image on the left in the panel above.

On page 3, the title document helpfully lists the owners of plots already sold off.

While Carmarthenshire County Council is to be commended for rejecting the enquiry about a palatial tractor shed, the question remains – what will the council do if this person – and others – just go ahead and build without planning consent?

Moving back to Llangynog, locals are also concerned about land that is or was owned by Mark Oriel, who appeared on this blog in June 2020, in One Planet Developments. Oriel got a mention back then because he’d applied for retrospective planning permission for an OPD at Pentowyn farm, just across the estuary from Laugharne.

Shamelessly lifted from an earlier piece this shows the rough triangle formed by the A40, the Tywi, and the Tâf. The woodland highlighted is Allt y Gelli. Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

As far as I can see this Pentowyn application – No: W/40691 – has stalled, for nothing has been added to the documents available on the council’s website since revised drawings appeared on April 30, 2021.

Which might explain Oriel turning his attention to land he owns / owned at Llangynog. Land he certainly bought for £25,000 in 2007 from – who else! – Woodland Investment Management Ltd.

Many trees have been cleared and one suggestion made is that a woman from Lampeter plans to grow vegetables on the site. Whether she has bought it from Oriel is unclear. The Land Registry says he is still the owner.

OK, my red outline is a bit wobbly, but it’s been a hard Christmas and New Year. What with the Jack Daniel’s and the mince pies, the Malbec and the Christmas pudding. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

No doubt this woman will claim sound ecological credentials for her activities, with her vegetables fed only the finest yak manure (flown in daily from Mongolia) . . . yet to make way for this horticultural extravaganza many of the mature trees you see in the image above have been felled.

But wait! Isn’t the ‘Welsh Government’ paying for trees to be planted? Well, yes indeedy . . . but only if they’re planted by global corporations and hedge funds as carbon capture scams that allow them to carry merrily on, emitting . . . carbon.

And of course the Labour Party and its little Plaid Cymru helpers don’t mind at all if this ‘Look-at-virtuous-little-Wales!’ posturing removes farmers from the land and destroys Welsh communities.

And let’s not forget the wind turbines. Natural Resources Wales has admitted to felling some two million trees to make way for the concrete and hardcore these useless monstrosities need. How many more trees have been felled by private forestry owners?

But on the plus side, covering Welsh hills with concrete to increase the run-off of rain is of great benefit to the parched valleys and dry river beds below. The former Pontypridd desert is blooming again!

This policy of ‘plant-a-tree-chop-down-a-tree might make sense to somebody. But it strikes me as confused and inherently contradictory virtue signalling. 

Alternatively: Purest bullshit.

Locals fear that Mark Oriel’s land is destined to become a collection of shit-in-the-stream dwellings. Though nothing resembling a planning application, or even a pre-application enquiry, has found its way to County Hall.

Yet these recent images show a site being cleared of trees, and roadways being laid. I’m told these roadways go off on ‘spurs’ that just come to a dead end. Which makes perfect sense if each spur will lead to a chalet or a mobile home.

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The evidence suggests that Mark Oriel, or perhaps the person to whom he’s sold the land, is sub-dividing it with a view to selling it off in plots.

Maybe Mark Oriel will contact me (as he’s done before) with answers to these questions:

1/ Do you still own this land?

2/ If so, what are your plans for it?

3/ If you’ve sold it, who did you sell it to?

Questions worth asking because clearing woodland, laying trackways, then selling off plots to those wanting to live on those plots in chalets, sheds, tepees, and trailer homes, is happening all over the ‘triangle’. And has been for some time.

In one notorious case, near to the settlement of Llangynog, there was an example that at one time had as many as twenty structures on it used either as permanent or seasonal dwellings.

(And when I say ‘seasonal dwellings’, I am not referring to clans of hunter gatherers. These were holiday homes.)

UPDATE: Feedback suggests that Mark Oriel has indeed sold the land. It is rumoured that the lady originally interested has ‘passed it on to friends’. Which makes things very opaque. And worrying.

‘WHAT’S MINE IS MINE . . . AND WHAT’S YOURS IS ALSO MINE’

This chapter begins with another purchase from Woodland Investment Management.

But it went much further. The purchaser was not satisfied with what he’d bought in 2007 and soon took over land belonging to a woman who had recently been widowed. When she complained she was threatened with physical violence.

The poor woman went to Dyfed Powys Police who decided they could do nothing because, I’m told, they chose to view it as a civil case of Adverse Possession rather than the criminal offence of Aggravated Possession.

After repeated threats against her the widow became too afraid to take civil action.

Bizarrely, she was also threatened by the council, perhaps because they believed she was responsible for the chalets and other unauthorised dwellings on the land that had been stolen from her!

Some of the chalets and other structures in Coedfryn woods, none of which have planning permission and all of which have had enforcement notices served. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

The villain responsible appears not to have registered his ownership with the Land Registry, or else had someone else pose as the owner. (Something we’ve seen at Bryn Llys and elsewhere.)

This wasn’t the first time he’d taken over someone else’s land. A source tells he’d also been, ‘Active in the Mumbles area. I spoke to a farmer who told me —– had taken over some of his farmland claiming adverse possession. The farmer got him off eventually, but described —– as a vicious bully who would use intimidation and the threat of force (guns mentioned) should anyone cross him.’

This man we’re discussing hailed from Pontarddulais. He died in 2019.

I’ve chosen not to name him partly because he is recently deceased and therefore unable to answer for himself. Also, because with a common Welsh name it’s difficult to track him down. A problem compounded by the fact that he was a man who seemed to have disliked paperwork and official records. His dealings were often cash in hand and word of mouth.

But the physical and anecdotal evidence is there in abundance. As you can see in the previous image, and the one below.

The narrow strip of woodland in the centre of the image on the left is shown again in an aerial image on the right. At one time there were 20 dwellings there. All unauthorised. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

From 2007 until April 2021 Carmarthenshire County Council (CCC) received many, many complaints, from individuals, the community council, and county councillors, about Coedfryn wood, but did nothing.

Well, to be fair, enforcement notices were issued . . . but, er, never enforced.

Hopes were raised in April 2021 when the community was informed by CCC that money had been set aside and enforcement would be implemented. So the people of Llangynog waited, and waited . . . and waited.

Again, nothing happened.

Then, in September, in a complete about turn, the council decided to effectively write off outstanding enforcement orders. Read the relevant document.

Having failed to discharge its responsibilities to the law-abiding, council tax-paying citizens of Llangynog and other communities Carmarthenshire County Council was now trying to absolve its guilt by wiping the slate clean and handing victory to thieves, thugs, squatters, drug dealers and God knows who else.

What a testament to local government in Wales!

When the people of Llangynog were eventually informed of this decision they were told it was ‘not in the public interest’ to pursue these historic enforcement notices. How is the ‘public interest’ being served by this decision? Who are ‘the public’?

Here is the community council’s response to the chief executive of Carmarthenshire County Council last week. It’s worth reading because it lists the various problems in the area, all of which are attributable to the failings of the council.

There now seem to be new owners. One chancer swaggering about trying (and failing) to impress people is Steve Ryan of Weston-Super-Mare. He’s another who seems to own nothing in his own name.

Though there is certainly land there owned by a resident of Weston-Super-Mare, but she’s named Cecilia Polisario O’Callaghan. In fact, she appears to own the trackway running to the settlement of chalets and other constructions. Here’s the title document.

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But if Ryan owns this land why isn’t it in his name? Come to that, why doesn’t his name appear on any other documents? Because he claims to own everything. Does he need to hide his assets?

Though as I say, he seems to be telling the truth about living in Weston-Super-Mare, apparently with a woman who also has an Hispanic-sounding name.

What I find intriguing though is that Ryan claims to have interests in Mumbles.

Another proprietor at Coedfryn woods is Ivan Wallace of Swansea. He owns land alongside the trackway. But again, there’s a wee mystery.

The address given to the Land Registry when the land was bought or transferred to him in 2010 was c/o a council-owned property in Loughor. For the past 7 or 8 years he’s lived in the city centre, alone, in a house owned by a woman who appears to be a social worker or a carer of some kind.

When we turn to Coedfryn Wood itself it’s almost impossible to know who owns what. At least, with Woodland Investment Management – as we saw at Plas Estate Woodlands – we can see the buyers of the individual plots, and get the Land Registry title numbers.

But when WIM sells to unscrupulous individuals, who have an aversion to official records, who then sell or lease individual plots, for cash, it becomes very difficult to establish ownership.

The appalling lack of professionalism in the county’s planning department was eventually observed by others.

And following Audit Wales’ damning review of the council’s planning services last year there was a big shake-up of the planning department. (This might explain the decision to wipe the slate clean.)

From the Summary of the Audit Wales report into CCC’s planning dept. It mentions ‘enforcement’. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Though the problem with wiping the slate clean is that of course the problems remain unsolved. So I’ll address Carmarthenshire County Council’s planning department directly.

You and / or your predecessors have made the department a laughing-stock. The unscrupulous know they can do anything anywhere, and, then, if you are stirred into action, your enforcement notices can be ignored because you won’t follow them up.

All the while communities like Llangynog are betrayed. Their people robbed and threatened while you hide in County Hall.

Here’s my suggestion.

You have the information you need from the community council and your own records. So work it out with the police and one fine day descend on the Llangynog area and make it clear to all malefactors that unauthorised work is to cease, with chalets and other structures without planning permission to be removed. Then remedial work is to be undertaken.

Fail to do this and you’ll end up in the same mess as your predecessors. Do it and not only will you be serving those who pay your salaries, but you will send out a message that will save the council a lot of work in future, and the county’s communities a lot of misery.

WALTER MITTY GETS IN ON THE RENEWABLES SCAM

As we’ve seen, the drive to be environmentally friendly, encouraging people to live a simpler life, and in other ways save the planet, obviously attracts crooks and con men because there’s easy money to be made.

We’re moving a little further east now, but staying in the county of Carmarthenshire, to not far from the great metropolis of Llanelli.

Those of you familiar with the A484 as it runs north from Pembrey to Kidwelly will know that it crosses low-lying, marshy terrain. Part of it known as Kidwelly Flats.

So you might be surprised to learn that someone wants build a solar farm there. Opposite Pembrey International Airport.

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That someone is Arthur Edwyn Turner-Thomas. For that’s the name given on the title document for ‘The Pen, Pembrey’. Though on this Companies House entry for Richard Thomas and Co (Hydro) Ltd he is elevated to Sir Arthur Edwyn Turner VC.

It should go without saying that he is neither a knight nor has been awarded the Victoria Cross. He is, as the title to this section suggests, a fantasist.

But not to be entirely dismissed, because he’s also a practising con man.

Artists who appeared at his Tenby Folk Festival in August 2008 – headlined by Cerys Matthews – are still wondering what happened to the £30,000 collected by Arthur Turner-Thomas – cos they never saw a penny of it!

The report I’ve linked to tells that the festival was organised through the Field Admiral’s company Wicked Wang Promotions Ltd. That company must have folded, but a new company with the same name was launched in January 2017. With ‘Edwin’ serving as secretary and ‘Edwyn’ as director.

The thing about this company is that the latest available accounts claim it has assets of £137,526. Yet in October 2020 Sir Arthur Edwyn Turner VC applied to strike the company off. Had creditors caught up with him?

In December 2020 there was certainly an objection to the striking off, and the company is now in a state of limbo, with accounts a year overdue. I wonder where the money is?

Anyway, moving on . . . Arthur applied to build a small solar farm on the marshland he owns. The community council objected, a plan so absurd that Carmarthenshire County Council turned it down!

But the Field Admiral is still making money from the site because I’m told the ‘Welsh Government’ has given him a grant to look after some trees. Which, to judge by the pictures I’ve been sent, he is not doing very well.

And whaddya know – a shipping container has appeared, just as in Llangynog. I wonder what that will be used for?

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It should go without saying that Field Admiral of the RAF Lord Sir Arthur Edwyn Turner-Thomas VC, Croix de Guerre, Congressional Medal of Honour, Iron Cross (First Class), Woodcraft Badge, was once a Plaid Cymru candidate. And is probably still a member.

But who’s going to notice one more nutter among the Bangor ‘No Debating!’ Society, the Splott Terfhunters Alliance (pile-on training every Tues & Fri), and the Knit Your Own Antifa Balaclava Collective?

UPDATE 12.01.2022: I’ve received more photographs. I’m still intrigued by that storage container. The trees are obviously thriving under the Grand Vizier’s stewardship. I’m assured that that is an eco-friendly tyre dump. And look at the little rocking-horse. Ahh!

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CONCLUSION

Politicians in Wales, especially on the left, have been suckered by those who’ve hijacked an environmental crusade for personal gain. Which is why we have rural slums springing up everywhere, burning wood, polluting watercourses, and paying nothing towards the services they have no intention of abandoning.

And it can only get worse.

For the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ wants to throw money at global corporations and hedge funds, to encourage them to buy up Welsh land, to destroy rural communities, in order to claim that they are offsetting their carbon emissions.

Add this to the problems of holiday homes, Airbnb, etc . . .

As with wind turbines, there will be no jobs, no investment in Wales, just more ‘climate colonialism’. Though Wales can not really be classed among the ‘developing countries’. No, under authoritarian crony socialism we’re going backwards.

Though we’d win an Olympic gold if the IOC introduced Gesture Politics as an event.

It’s only a matter of time before some lying bastard turns up in Corruption Bay with a bag of magic beans. He’ll claim they grow into trees with wind turbines instead of branches; and instead of leaves, the branches will sprout little solar panels. Ahhh!

I hope I’m not giving you ideas, Sir Arthur!

♦ end ♦

 




‘Renewables’: The Great Welsh Rip-off

My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.

I hadn’t planned on writing this but, you know how it is . . . somebody puts you on to something, you start making enquiries, and before you know it you’re muttering, ‘devious bastards’, and the PC is working overtime.

This post might also be useful as a guide for anyone wanting to use the online register available at Companies House.

BACKGROUND

Let’s start with a report from WalesOnline last Wednesday. The headline quotes a local councillor comparing a planned solar farm at Bryn-y-rhyd farm, Llanedi, to the drowning of Capel Celyn. I’m partial to a bit of hyperbole myself, but I think Gareth Thomas went over the top.

Though the quality of the report itself was dire, so maybe it needed a bit of spicing up. Here’s how the third paragraph began:

'The Tryweryn Valley in Wales, which included the village of Capel Celyn, was flooded in 1965 to create a new reservoir'.

You won’t need to wonder any more where the ‘Tryweryn Valley’ was – it was in Wales!

Although this proposed project was being discussed by Carmarthenshire councillors the matter is out of their hands because, with a claimed output above 10MW it qualifies as a Development of National Significance. Which means the decision will be made by the so-called ‘Welsh Government’, using its new in-house Planning Inspectorate.

Here’s a link to the relevant Planning Inspectorate documents.

In England, projects of up to 50 MW are decided by local councils. In other words, by those elected by local people. So here we see another example of democracy being eroded in Wales.

In fact, the legislation giving power over wind farms in England to local authorities and the legislation doing the exact opposite in Wales were part of what I view as a package. With the ‘Welsh’ legislation compensating for the English.

The planned solar farm is very close to Pont Abraham Services, where the M4 becomes the A48. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

A project such as Bryn-y-rhyd would almost certainly be rejected in England, and this helps explain why Wales carries a disproportionate burden when it comes to so-called ‘renewable energy’ projects.

In an attempt to polish this turd the ‘Welsh Government’ has enthusiastically welcomed this colonialist coercion – by dressing it up as ‘Wales saving the planet’.

For in it, the creepy-crawlies of Corruption Bay saw opportunities and openings.

And so we end up with the insane situation of solar farms being located in southern Wales rather than southern England where, not only would they enjoy more sunshine, but they’d be nearer customers, thereby losing less in transmission.

The report I’ve linked to would also have us believe that the planning application for this development came from the Pegasus Group. Well, yes, and no, as I’ll explain.

Before moving on, here’s another attempt to mislead:

'The planning committee set out specific issues it wanted addressed. These included a detailed and robust decommissioning plan for the solar farm once its 40-year lifespan drew to an end'.

There’s not a hope in hell of this solar farm lasting 40 years in our climate. But whenever it pegs out, those behind it will be long gone. The firm(s) involved will either have gone bust or moved offshore.

The only way to ensure that there’s money at the end to clear up the mess is to get that money paid up front.

FOLLOW THE MONEY

When I start on a job like this, among the first things I do is go to the Land Registry website and see who owns the property. Which I did, and I was quite surprised at what I turned up.

The title document tells us there are two owners. One is Sir John Michael Dillwyn-Venables-Llewelyn. (Or Venables-Llywelyn.) The other is David Richard Mount.

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The Dillwyn-Llewelyn clan of nearby Swansea were 19th century industrialists, MPs, and even pioneer photographers.

As for David Richard Mount of Camberley, Surrey, I have no idea who he is.

Let’s return to Pegasus, mentioned in the WalesOnline report I linked to earlier. Those of you with the benefit of a classical education will know that Pegasus is the winged horse of Greek mythology.

Though we are looking for something more prosaic, and this is it – the Pegasus Planning Group. Their job is to knock planning applications into shape. They front for developers. We can now dismiss Pegasus.

We need to focus on Brynrhyd Solar Farm Ltd. Which is mentioned later on in the title document. Where we see that the owners have leased land to the company.

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This is a new company, formed as recently as October 2019. That said, some of the directors have a lot of experience in grant / subsidy grabbing renewables.

For example, Ian Lawrie has been a director of 60 solar companies since 2007. The total is 58 for his compatriot Colm Killeen. Yet two other directors, Anouska Morjaria and Toby Virno, didn’t get in on the solar racket until last year.

An even more recent recruit is Moritz Ilg.

So, who’s behind Brynrhyd Solar Farm Ltd?

To find out we need to go to the Companies House entry. Click on the People tab; then, just below it you’ll see a tab, Persons with significant control, which identifies Foresight Island GP Solar Portfolio Ltd.

This makes sense, because if we click the Charges tab it tells us that Foresight Island has made a loan to Brynrhyd Solar Farm.

Next, go to the Filing history tab. Click on the entry for 20 October 2021 and you’ll see that on that date all the shares in Brynrhyd Solar farm Ltd were transferred from Island Green Power Ltd to Foresight Island GP Solar Portfolio Ltd.

It might be worth noting in relation to this company that there has been one share issue after another over the past year. Which suggests the company is gearing up for future activity.

(Island Green is one of the Ian Lawrie companies. And there’s more than one company with the Island Green name.)

Coming to a valley near you – with wind turbines on the hills? All foreign owned. Every penny leaving Wales. Providing no jobs. ‘But it’s OK, cos we are savin’ the planet, innit’. Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

The next question must be, who owns Foresight Island GP Solar Portfolio Ltd. By going through the same procedure as before we turn up two names. One is Denis John O’Brien of Bermuda, the richest living Irishman. The second, and the majority shareholder, is Foresight UK Solar Development Holdco Ltd.

So . . . who owns Foresight UK Solar Development Holdco Ltd?

And the answer to that is Blackmead Infrastructure Ltd, for which you’ll see the correspondence address is c/o Foresight Group LLP, The Shard, 32 London Bridge Street, London, England, SE1 9SG.

I bet you can guess the next question!

And the answer to who owns Blackmead Infrastructure Ltd is Averon Park Ltd. Clicking on the People tab tells us nothing, so we need to go to Filing history and see who owns the shares.

There, in a confirmation statement of 21 October this year, we see that all but one of the Averon Park shares is held by Foresight Fund Managers Ltd.

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Foresight Fund Managers Ltd is in turn owned by Foresight Group Holdings (UK) Ltd.

And then, finally, when we look to see who controls Foresight Group Holdings (UK) Ltd we find the name of Bernard William Fairman. He founded – with Peter English – the Foresight Group in 1984.

Companies House suggests that Fairman is a resident of Jersey. Or maybe he just uses a PO Box there. Either way, I am fairly certain he does not live in the UK.

On top of which, he does not seem to be a director of any company registered with Companies House. And hasn’t been a director since 2010.

Here’s a wee graphic I knocked up to help you remember.

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But why would anyone need such an extended chain of companies?

WHEN DO ‘CONNECTIONS’ BECOME CORRUPTION?

Last month I wrote about Bute Energy, another arriviste outfit hoping to make a pile out of pretending to be concerned about the environment. In the case of Bute, it’s 16 new wind farms in Wales. Yes, sixteen. Here’s the piece I wrote.

Bute Energy’s 16 planned wind farms. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

There is no way that any company from outside of Wales would be that ambitious unless it had insider knowledge or it had got the nod from politicians and / or planners.

Bute has gone for the ‘belt and braces’ approach.

First, by recruiting Corruption Bay insider David Taylor. Who has served as Spad to a number of high-profile Labour politicians. Bute has given him shares and allowed him to set up his own Moblake companies through which they fund him, and from which he appears to be paying himself some £200,000 a year.

They have also taken under the Bute wing former Labour MEP Derek Vaughan CBE. (These Welsh socialists do love their English ‘honours’!) Vaughan sits as chairman on Bute’s Welsh Advisory Board.

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But it gets worse.

Labour MS Jenny Rathbone, in her Register of Interests, says that her partner, John Uden, also sits on this Board. Uden is an almost complete stranger to Wales and knows sod all about renewables. But this is a great example of what Labour Party influence can achieve in Wales.

Even though Rathbone declares this, the entry is still incorrect because Bute Energy’s projected wind farms are not confined to ‘Powys, RCT and North Wales’.

‘North Wales’! What a dismissive attitude from a woman who has done well out of our country. First, in the third sector, and more recently, the Assembly / Senedd.

And I suggest her Register of Interests also needs to be updated because I’m fairly sure that planning applications have now been submitted for one or two Bute projects.

But isn’t Labour doing well out of Bute Energy! David ‘Aneurin Glyndŵr‘ Taylor is pulling down some £200,000 a year. Derek Vaughan chairs Bute’s Welsh Advisory Board. And Labour MS Jenny Rathbone’s partner also sits on the Board!

Any other Labour snouts in the trough?

Perhaps the bigger worry is that Rathbone sits on the Senedd’s Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee. Which means that the committee on which she sits makes decisions that benefit Bute Energy, and her partner.

And herself. For Jenny Rathbone has many shareholdings in Green energy companies, and environmental outfits. Did she buy these shares? Were they gifted to her? Did she find them in her Christmas crackers?

Jenny Rathbone’s shares portfolio. Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

Rathbone may not be adjudicating on individual planning applications from Bute Energy or the companies in which she has shares, but her influence is more extensive, in that her committee directs policy from which all companies involved in the renewables business benefit.

Jenny Rathbone must be removed from the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee.

This kind of thing might be acceptable in Corruption Bay, but out in the real world it smells of corruption.

As we saw in the previous section, the Foresight Group figures big in the chain behind Brynrhyd Solar Farm. And if the name sounds familiar then that’s because the Foresight Group is also buying up Welsh farms on which to plant trees, so as to profit from the carbon capture scam.

Foresight appear in this BBC Wales news report. Though if you’ve got a few hours to spare, or if ‘global warming’ has snowed you in, you can sit down and read ‘National Forest for Wales – The Woodland Investment Grant, rules booklet’.

And to get a broader picture, to realise how other countries are being affected, particularly Scotland, I recommend this piece by Laurie Macfarlane. Where the whole carbon capture / net zero racket is succinctly explained.

'In order to meet net-zero targets, two different levers can be pulled: emissions can be reduced directly or they can be "offset" with measures to remove carbon from the air at some point in the future. Unsurprisingly, many governments and businesses view the latter as the more appealing option, as it avoids the difficult task of curbing emissions, which underpins the profitability of many of the world's largest industries.'

As yet, I am not aware of the Foresight Group recruiting Labour ‘fixers’ to smooth the path for their developments. But if they haven’t done so yet, then I’m sure they will.

I say that because Foresight has big plans for carbon capture tree planting.

And Foresight won’t just be operating under its own banner. There’s also Blackmead Forestry Ltd. For here again, we see massive share issues in the past 18 months in readiness for fresh acquisitions and ‘investments’.

A share issue that increased from £20,000,100 in June 2020 to £79,103,712 a year later.

Foresight is buying farms for carbon capture, planning solar farms, and so it should go without saying that it’s also into wind farms. In partnership with Belltown Power Ltd of Bristol.

Already operational are Tirgwynt, near Carno, Powys; Gelliwen, near Caerffili; and Tai Hen, ’22 Km north of Anglesey’.  One in the planning stage is Waun Maenllwyd, north east of Lampeter.

There will be more. Many, many more.

But the threat is not just from the big boys.

There are countless small groups buying up parcels of Welsh farmland. One to which I was recently directed is The Carbon Community (TCC) of Windsor, Berkshire. It’s a company, and also a charity.

For £619,254 TCC bought land close to the Brecon Beacons National Park. It has been assisted in this project by Natural Resources Wales.

There are many other alien groups like The Carbon Community. Funded and in other ways helped by the ‘Welsh Government’ and its agencies to take over Welsh land.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES?

There comes a point when some followers of a political creed or philosophy are willing to do the wrong thing for what they believe to be a just cause. Often accompanied by something approaching religious fervour.

For example, murdering the Romanov children was a terrible act, but ‘justified’ as a necessary step in the progress of a Revolution that would bring universal benefits.

You can phrase it any way you like. ‘The end justifies the means’. ‘Can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs’. ‘There will inevitably be collateral damage’. Etc., etc.

An important point being that, just like a Mafia hit, there was nothing personal in it. No motivating antipathy or underlying vindictiveness. In contrast to the ‘Welsh Government’s dealings with farmers.

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For some years farmers have been villainised by environmental zealots like George Monbiot as frightful people who must be removed if the rest of us are to breathe free . . . or to breathe at all!

The ‘Welsh Government’ of Jenny Rathbone, Lee Waters, Julie James, Lesley Griffiths (and Gary), sing from the Monbiot hymn sheet in their efforts to persuade us that Wales would be a better place without farmers.

This then explains farmers being robbed of EU funding, the fantasy of OPDs, Future Generations gobbledegook, and the ‘Welsh Government’ encouraging rewilding land grabs like Summit to Sea.

Another front in the war on Welsh agriculture came with Lesley Griffiths (and Gary) introducing legislation premised on the lie that farmers and only farmers are responsible for pollution in our rivers.

Nakedly anti-farmer legislation, now undermined after it emerged water companies give major corporations a free ride – while themselves pumping shit into rivers and seas. (And it’s not confined to England.)

All this has been made possible because what passes for the media in Wales is either supine or useless. Increasingly made up of semi-literate English graduates from ‘our’ universities writing about a country of which they know nothing.

As for political opposition, where is it to come from? The Conservatives will never object to the anglicising of Wales and profits for their friends in the City. The Greens support the strategy wholeheartedly. The Lib Dems are dead and buried.

That leaves Plaid Cymru . . . which last week signed up to a deal with Labour!

Despite being a party with its support concentrated among socially conservative rural voters, the tail wags the dog in that the party is controlled by urban leftists, and will support the ‘Welsh Government’ all the way in virtue signalling their way to national bankruptcy.

Let’s now consider the ‘collateral damage’ I just hinted at.

AGENDAS: STATED AND UNSTATED(?)

What we see in Wales today is being done ostensibly in the service of the environment, and the ‘Green economy’, but it takes us into very dangerous territory.

For none of the wind turbine or solar panel parts are made in Wales. The companies that own these installations are all outside of Wales. As are the companies currently buying up farmland on which to plant trees, or leasing land for solar farms.

Earlier we met Sir John Michael Dillwyn-Venables-Llewelyn, owner of Bryn-y-rhyd farm. Yes, Sir John’s ancestors grew rich on the industrial growth of Swansea – but they also created thousands of jobs for people like my ancestors.

How many jobs has the Green economy created in Wales, for Welsh people? Where are the benefits to Wales? (Apart from Labour insiders lining their pockets of course!)

Unreliable ‘renewables’ are achieving nothing . . . well, other than making rich men even richer, through burdening those already struggling with higher electricity bills.

Yes, comrade – welcome to 21st century ‘socialism’. My arse!

What credibility does ‘Wales saving the planet’ have after Glasgow? After China, Russia, India, even Australia, basically said, ‘We are not wrecking our economies so that tax-averse billionaires with private spaceships can promote their global agenda’.

Given that Wales sees no benefits, plus the fact that Wales can make no impact, paying foreign ‘investors’ to exploit our homeland and displace our people, suggests that ‘saving the planet’ is an ever-shrinking fig leaf for an older, and darker, agenda.

♦ end ♦

 




Miscellany 27.10.2021

My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.

This week’s offering is a bit different, but it’s a format with which regulars will be familiar. I’m going to cover a few topics and I’m sure everyone will find something to pique their interest.

It’s a biggie, but broken up into easily digestible – and nutritious! – chunks.

AFAN VALLEY ADVENTURE RESORT

Following last week’s blog piece devoted to the relaunched AVAR project the ‘Welsh’ media played its usual role by allowing those I’d written about to respond. And just like a Taliban press conference, no questions were asked.

The piece below appeared in Llais y Sais on Wednesday. It’s worth a few comments.

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According to the article, the project’s funding is coming from ‘Octopus Real Estate’. Oh no it’s not. For this is a one-woman company formed in April to buy a property in Wiltshire.

And so I presume it refers to one of these pension fund Limited Partnerships, Octopus Commercial Real Estate Debt Fund II and Octopus Commercial Real Estate Debt Fund III.

But which one? And, again, what is the ultimate source of the money?

The Beans on Toast followed up on the same day with this. Also authored by Richard Youle.

In it we read head honcho Martin Bellamy quoted as saying: “I would be very interested in ensuring that local people get the opportunity for employment.”

Which is a very convoluted statement. What the hell is, ‘I would be very interested‘ supposed to mean? Because I would be ‘very interested’ in winning the Lottery. But it ain’t gonna happen.

Then there’s, ‘ensuring that local people get the opportunity for employment’. So does that mean they’ll be allowed to complete an application form – which will then be binned?

Why couldn’t he just say, in a clear and unambiguous way, ‘We shall give locals priority when it comes to recruitment’?

It would be nice to think that local Labour councillors will press Bellamy on this, demand a firm commitment to employing as many locals as possible, and not just in the low-pay jobs. But there’s more chance of me winning the Lottery.

But these plugs for AVAR throw up other questions.

In the Neath Port Talbot Borough Council press release of October 12 we read that the project is now called Wildfox Resort Afan Valley. And there are two Wildfox companies.

The first is Wildfox Resorts Afan Valley Ltd. The other is Wildfox Resorts Group Ltd. Both companies formed March 16, 2021 by Benjamin Daniel Lloyd who was later joined by Bellamy.

Then there are the Rocksteady companies, Rocksteady Resorts Group Ltd and Rocksteady Group Ltd, where we find Lloyd and Bellamy joined by the interesting Paul Christopher Baker. These two companies were also launched in March.

And they weren’t the only companies launched that month

Are Lloyd and Baker still involved? Why were so many companies formed in March?

This story ain’t going away, and neither am I.

TREASURE ISLAND

This saga began with the plan for a £1.3bn tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay, promoted by a geezer who never quite managed to come across as kosher. Whatever, the plan was thrown out by the UK government in June 2018.

Then Swansea City Council stepped in with a Tidal Lagoon Task Force. This heralded the ‘Dragon Island’ chapter, promising 10,000 floating homes.

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Behind the plan, according to WalesOnline, was:

'Malcolm Copson who lists previous projects including Dubai's Atlantis the Palm resort and the delivery of Disneyland Paris, is behind the plans in SA1.

Mr Copson, who founded and co-runs Hong Kong based company MOI Imagineering, has been advising the tidal lagoon taskforce set up by the Swansea Bay City Region'.

As late as last month it was being reported that this project was still going ahead.

But now, in the past few days, everything seems to have changed as we turn to chapter 3, and new characters, with the £1.7bn Blue Eden project. Said to have one great advantage over its predecessors in that it will not require public funding.

And while what passes for the Welsh media has stressed the involvement of DST Innovations Ltd of Bridgend, RE News makes clear that DST leads ‘an international consortium’. Though quite what ‘leads’ means is unclear.

The new project is explained in this ITV report with a video interview with Tony Miles, the man said to be behind the project. If I sound unconvinced it’s because of the US connection and events last year in West Virginia.

It’s worth mentioning that this project includes a battery factory promising jobs for over 1,000 people. Which lives up to the company’s name in that it uses locally available anthracite coal rather than imported, and expensive, rare earth metals. Explained here.

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So what can Companies House tell us about DST Innovations. Well, for a start, it’s based in Bridgend and it was Incorporated in November, 2011.

The latest accounts (to November 30, 2020) show Assets of over £5m, of which only £113,076 is Tangible assets. The remainder being accounted for with shares.

Looking at the distribution of those shares we see that lead director Tony Miles has 183,100, but his holding is dwarfed by the 750,000 of Etive Investments, and the 619,413 of RC3 Inc. So who are these major shareholders in the new Swansea Bay project?

Etive Investments is a name that has cropped up in New Zealand, South Africa, and Luxembourg. I think we should focus on the third one because DST Innovations is mentioned.

RC3 Inc could be a Green building company in Kentucky or an apparently inactive company in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I’m not familiar with US terminology but I get the impression this second company may have been struck off.

Whatever the company’s status, RC3 of Baton Rouge is definitely more promising due to the presence of a William Wray as president. (Though the RC3 parent company, may be in Delaware.)

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Since April last year four long-time directors have left DST Innovations and one new director has joined. The new boy is William Wray III, a US citizen. I think it’s reasonable to assume that William Wray of RC3 is William Wray III.

And is his possibly struck-off company a major shareholder?

Another major US shareholder is Blue Rock Manufacturing LLC, with which DST Innovation entered into a partnership last year in West Virginia. This also seems to be a battery plant using coal.

“The new development is at the forefront of green technology,” Gov. Jim Justice said during a virtual press conference, “using existing organic materials, such as coal, and creating new clean energy storage solutions.”

What struck me about this piece from the Governor’s office last November was mention of the Swansea Bay plant, before most of us here knew about it. Council leader Rob Stewart is even shown in a video call with the WV Governor.

It seems obvious that Swansea council has been involved with DST for at least a year before any public announcement of the new project.

How is this West Virginia battery project progressing? Does anyone know?

As a Jack, I would love to see this venture succeed and create a few thousand jobs in the old home town. But given the two false starts I’m not hanging out the bunting yet.

And I still want to know more about some of those involved. I would expect our politicians and media to be equally inquisitive.

THE ‘SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR’

A regular reader was looking for an eatery in the Vale of Glamorgan and remembered Fredwell, a new place that opened in August, so he went online to check the menu. What he found surprised him.

For the website says the establishment has already received full marks on the food hygiene rating, which is impossible, as it takes a while for the process to be gone through. What was also odd was that the rating was shown in English only. (In Wales, of course, these notices are bilingual.)

The matter was reported to the Food Standards Agency Wales, who had no record of the place, and also to VoG council, who responded with: ‘Thank you for your email.  We do not have a record of the business you mention so we will look to ensure that the relevant action is taken. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.’

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Naturally, he got to wondering who runs the place.

The answer is that it’s Fredwell Cafe and Restaurant Ltd, Incorporated as recently as the first of this month. The directors are Christopher John Birch, Jak Rhys Bjornstrom, and Kieron Roy Phillips.

I’m going to dismiss Phillips and focus on the other two. For in recent years they’ve been involved with many, many companies. Often under the umbrella of the Birch Group.

(Takes deep breath . . . )

Haus-keeping Ltd. Incorporated April 13, 2019. Still bumbling along with accounts showing assets of a few hundred pounds.

Birkenhaus Events Ltd. Incorporated April 16, 2019, Dissolved September 7, 2021 without filing accounts.

Artemis Securities and Technologies Ltd. Incorporated June 11, 2019, and Dissolved without filing accounts March 23, 2021. The third director was Lee Williams.

Haus Realty Ltd. Incorporated June 11, 2019. Bjornstrom and Birch were joined October 14 by new director Carina Alexandra Henriques. For some reason Bjornstrom’s name is spelled ‘Bromstrom’.

Alder Birch Properties Ltd. Incorporated June 24, 2019. A few other Birches involved but the company doesn’t seem to be doing anything.

Birch-Bjornstrom Investments Ltd. Incorporated September 18, 2019, as Birkenhaus Investments Ltd. A dormant company with filed accounts showing only the share issue.

Apollo Franchising Ltd. Incorporated October 3, 2019, Dissolved without filing accounts April 6, 2021. The only share held by Birkenhaus Investments Ltd (later Birch-Bjornstrom Investments).

Haus CDF 20 UK Ltd. Incorporated January 29, 2020, Dissolved August 3, 2021, without filing accounts.

Entrepreneur Consulting Ltd. Incorporated April 22, 2021. For some reason Bjornstrom does not appear as a director, but he and Birch each hold one share.

CJ Haus Holdings Ltd. Incorporated May 30, 2020.

Jak Property Construction Ltd. Incorporated July 30, 2021. Joining them as a director is Altaf Hussain. Hussain has had a number of companies, most of them now dissolved.

There are other companies in the cleaning business. And I’m sure there are yet other companies I didn’t unearth.

So many companies in such a short space of time is not a good look, especially with so many of them folding without apparently doing anything.

But Christopher John Birch has other irons in the fire, for he’s also in the holiday home business. In fact, when Pembrokeshire County Council recently increased the council tax surcharge for holiday homes the BBC went to him for a quote.

And a very bizarre one he gave, wearing his Holiday Homes Wales hat.

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He seems to be saying, ‘Well, yeah, holiday homes are bad for Welsh people, but on the plus side – they bring in people from England’.  What planet is this guy from?

Incredibly, as I was writing this, I received an e-mail from another source, telling me that Birch is also making a nuisance of himself in Newport.

My fresh source wrote:

'Do you know of a bloke called Chris Birch? Chris J Birch - Birkenhaus Investments (birchgroup.org.uk)

He was in the Mirror after he said he woke up gay when he did a handstand in a rugby match playing as a flanker.

His agency has taken over the Boilermakers Club presumably on Dr ---------'s instructions and he stuck a site notice on it before Newport planners turned it down yet again. It is now one of many derelict monuments to Welsh Labour's shameful neglect of this area, which they seem to have completely abandoned to drugs and destitution.

Birch is almost certainly getting Welsh government money and claims to have offices in The Shard and Paris.

He basically manages properties with huge numbers on AirBnB.'

Here’s an image of the Boilermakers Club in Crindau from Google Street View.

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In this report from WalesOnline in May we read that Birch claims to have conducted an opinion poll among local residents which conveniently found they favour his plans to convert the building into a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO).

My source describes this claim as ‘baloney’. No survey was undertaken.

UPDATE 04.11.2021: Vale of Glamorgan council has replied to the complaint:

"I am emailing to update you following your concerns about Fredwell café, Cowbridge. A visit has been made to the premises and I can confirm that the café / restaurant is not yet open and is not trading.  Therefore there is no requirement for them to register with our department until at least 28 days before they open. I have noted that on their website they are showing a food hygiene rating of 5 and have requested that this is removed, to which they have agreed."

HOUSES OF MULTIPLE OCCUPATION

A house of (or in) multiple occupation is, as the name suggests, a commercial or domestic property adapted to house a number of tenants in separate units, though perhaps sharing a kitchen and other facilities.

A HMO could also be a house accommodating students, and there could be too many of them in some neighbourhoods, which creates problems for other residents.

But a HMO can also be a property used by a private landlord, a housing association, or a third sector body, to house those recently released from prison, or perhaps drug and / or alcohol abusers.

A pattern we are familiar with in Wales. The worst example would be Rhyl, where criminals and undesirables from north west England are dumped. A problem now spreading to Colwyn Bay and other towns.

But it’s not confined to the north coast. I have reported on the problems of Tyisha in Llanelli. Again, the problems are largely imported. Then there’s the area from Dyfatty flats down to High Street station in Swansea.

It’s a national problem that could be far less of a problem if the ‘Welsh Government’ and local authorities were in possession of cojones.

Anyway, my source was kind enough to supply photos of notices Birch has recently put up on the old Boilermakers Club.

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But this project throws up yet more questions about our ‘serial entrepreneur’.

To begin with, and according to the Land Registry, Birch doesn’t own the property. The owner is listed as Signature Realtors Ltd, of St Mellons. Check the title document and plan.

There is no obvious connection between Birch and the family running Signature Realtors. Has he bought the property but not registered the change of ownership with the Land Registry? Is he acting for the owners? Or what?

Whatever the answer, I suspect that Birch’s plan for the building is to have a HMO housing people the neighbours would rather not have there. Why do I think this?

As you’ve read, Chris Birch recently formed a company with Altaf Hussain. Hussain has worked with a man who has the background and the connections to supply Birch and Bjornstrom with tenants.

That said, my source insists there’s not a hope in hell of Birch getting planning permission from Newport council for the increasingly dilapidated Boilermakers Club. So is he hoping for intervention from another quarter?

Locals are more concerned that the the building will left insecure and get broken into by delinquents who’ll turn it into a crack house.

Even away from the Boilermakers Club there is still plenty to give cause for concern. For I turned up a few other things that make me worry about Birch and Bjornstrom.

For a start, and until quite recently, Jak Rhys Bjornstrom was Jack Rhys Powell. Why the change? Oh, yes, and the name is normally spelt Björnström, Jack.

Then there’s the Birch Group website, which gives as the address, 1 Boulevard Victor, Paris 75015. Impressive. But don’t run away with the idea that this is some plush suite of offices. It’s a building run by the company FlexibleHub.

They probably forward any mail.

And then there’s the unfortunate business of the food hygiene rating . . .

There’s also the mystery of the money, or lack of it. Because I didn’t find any company with which Birch and Bjornstrom / Powell are involved that had any money. So, if they do have money, where is it?

Setting up new companies every week is one thing, being a genuine entrepreneur is something entirely different.

The kindest thing might be to say that in Birch and Bjornstrom / Powell we are dealing with a couple of fantasists. Whether they’re harmless or not is yet to be established.

GWYNEDD’S HOLIDAY HOMES PREMIUM RIP-OFF

Councillor Gruff Williams has been in touch with concerns about the ways in which the Council Tax Premium Fund (CTPF) on holiday homes is being used by Cyngor Gwynedd. The information he sent raises other issues.

Gruff represents the Nefyn ward on the Llŷn peninsula. Llŷn approximates with Dwyfor.

To help you understand the issue it might be best to think of Gwynedd and its total population of 121,874 people as being split into three parts.

Arfon, in the north, is focused on the largest Gwynedd settlements of Bangor and Caernarfon. The 2011 population was 60,573.

Dwyfor contains the settlements of Porthmadog, Pwllheli, and of course Abersoch. Population (2011) 27,725. Arfon and Dwyfor made up the old county of Caernarfonshire. (Which also included areas now in the County Borough of Conwy, such as the towns of Llanrwst, Conwy and Llandudno.)

And then there’s Meirionnydd, the former county of Merioneth(shire), containing Blaenau Ffestiniog, Barmouth, Tywyn, Harlech, and the old county town of Dolgellau. Population (2011) 33,576.

You’ll see that the population of Arfon is almost that of Dwyfor and Meirionnydd combined. And with that comes political clout.

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The issue Gruff raises is that most of Gwynedd’s holiday homes are in Dwyfor. Naturally, locals in the area expected that the CTPF money raised would be used to help young people being forced out of their home areas by holiday home buyers, retirees, and others.

But no. For Gwynedd’s Plaid Cymru councillors have other ideas.

This article from the North Wales Chronicle gives a good report of the debate a few weeks back, when Plaid’s councillors thwarted Gruff’s attempt to benefit the areas suffering worst. (Though for some reason Gruff is referred to only as ‘Councillor Williams’, while his famous father, Owain, is named.)

There were some amazing contributions to the debate.

Councillor ‘Cai Larsen stated he had a “fundamental problem” with the issue of spending money only where it was raised’.

Where the money was raised is only part of the issue, Larsen; we also have to ask why it was raised.

‘Cllr Nia Jeffreys said that affordable housing was “an issue which knows no boundaries,”

Why is she talking about affordable housing when the issue is holiday homes?

‘Bangor councillor Richard Medwyn Jones added: “There are big issues here with over 2,000 on the city’s waiting list. If we stuck to this same principle I could put a motion forward that Bangor’s money stays in Bangor, but that’s what this is all about.”’

In 2019 Bangor had a population of 18,322, roughly half of them students. I’d like to know how many of the 2,000 on the waiting list have local connections.

When it comes to ‘Bangor’s money’ – by which Cllr Jones presumably means council tax raised – this is largely spent in Bangor. I’m sure the city council, and mayor Owen – Don’t Ask Me About My Genitals – Hurcum see to that.

All unconvincing excuses for Plaid Cymru-controlled Gwynedd council to put the holiday home surcharge money into the central pot and use it in other ways . . . mainly in Arfon.

The figures for how Council Tax Premium Fund will be spent can be found here, in Gwynedd’s Housing Action Plan 2020/2021 – 2026/7.

Let’s look at 4c (page 25), which deals with ‘innovative housing’. All the funding for this, £1.2m, comes from the CTPF. I suppose ‘Innovative housing’ could mean OPDs.

On page 27 we see that £2.5m is coming from the CTPF for ‘Extra care housing for the elderly’. Now I’m not a heartless bugger who wants to see Nain living in a cardboard box, but this should have come from core funding, not from money raised to mitigate the problem of holiday homes.

And there are other examples where Cyngor Gwynedd makes a mockery of the whole reasoning behind the Council Tax Premium Fund.

Another worry is that much of the CTPF money is to be distributed to housing associations. Private companies now that refuse to give priority to locals in social housing allocations. And then build ‘affordable’ homes that locals can’t afford.

But Gruff’s concerns made me think of another problem. Which is that the number of holiday homes in Wales is almost certainly underestimated.

BEATING THE SYSTEM

I recall a source in Pembrokeshire contacting me just before the December 2019 UK general election to say that ‘hordes’ of second home owners had turned up to ensure that the constituency remained Conservative. (The ‘Corbyn factor’.) Clearly, they were registered to vote at their second home.

Then, during the Covid lockdown, when police were stopping cars travelling into Wales, using vehicle registrations to establish home addresses, it became clear that some people had their cars registered at their holiday homes.

Something else that came to light during the Covid lockdown was that others stopped by police were travelling to holiday homes they claimed as their main residence.

This scam normally operates by one of a couple registering at the home address, the other at the holiday home, and pretending that it’s a full-time residence. Not only does this avoid the second home surcharge it even gets a 25% council tax reduction for a single (adult) resident.

I contacted someone who is well-versed in such matters, and he tells me that the facts can be established by cross-referencing. He wrote:

'Databases that should contain the real permanent address:

1/ Council Tax – Local authority.
2/ Electoral register – Local authority 
3/ NI, income tax, benefits, married persons allowance – HMRC, central government 
4/ Driving licence – DVLA, central government
5/ GP – NHS, Welsh Government.

It’s not possible to access the NHS record, 5, even for a police officer, without a court warrant, however, if 1 and 2 differs from 3 or 4 then the property is evading second home premium. You will only get cheaper car insurance if 4 matches 1, and students are the only residents where 2 and 3 can differ. Of course, not only are those that ------ ---------- has identified get a polling card, they would also be eligible for free prescriptions, and a bus pass at 60, even though they don’t really live permanently in Wales.

3 and 4 is subject to a general data comparison sweep to identify car crime.'

My well-informed source then went on to suggest a simple measure for establishing the facts.

'The first method of detection is to place a FoI request to the council asking for the number of single person discount properties on the books, over the last five years, per ward. It will show up as a surge of such properties when the council tax premium is introduced or raised. This gives an indication of the scale of the problem and which wards are particularly affected. We all have local knowledge that this is the case, but it needs to be quantified. Prosecuting fraud works on evidence, not on anecdote.'

Therefore, I suggest that we all submit FoI requests to our local council asking a) for the number of single-person discounts on their books over recent years, and, b) whether the council checks that those claiming single-person discount are genuine.

I’m sure my countless socialist followers will appreciate the unfairness of prosecuting locals – usually women – when their boyfriend moves in, while some bugger with a new Range Rover parked outside Cartref Mon Repos gets away with the surcharge and pockets a 25% discount!

BRYN LLYS

Regular readers will be familiar with this incredible story of a family of crooks named Duggan that bought a little farmhouse, Bryn Llys, not far from Caernarfon, knocked it down, built a monstrosity they called Snowdon Mountain View, broke all the planning rules, tore up hedges, chopped down trees, tried to intimidate neighbours, etc., etc.

If you’re up to it, you could start with Lucky Gwynedd – more ‘investors’, scroll down to the section ‘Castle’ Gwynfryn, and then the section Bryn Llys aka ‘Snowdon Summit View’. You can then work back from there.

The Duggans are fraudsters and con men from West Yorkshire. When the father got sent down the son took over the business and moved to Wales, bought Bryn Llys, and spent a lot of their money on the new property.

‘Snowdon Mountain View’. Click to open in a separate tab

The problem was that they weren’t supposed to have any money, so all manner of subterfuges had to be employed. Including getting a sap named Andrew Battye to put his name on the title document and pretend he owned Bryn Llys.

The Duggan gang at Bryn Llys soon got pally with another unwelcome arrival in the form of Aaron Hill, who lived in Caernarfon. Where he was bullied by them nasty Cofis!

It’s a harrowing tale. I urge you to read it with a tissue to hand.

Though urinating through the letter box sounds a trifle risky. Especially if there’s a dog in the house.

Jon Duggan bought land off Hill, with money Hill loaned him! Because of course if Duggan is seen to have money the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 comes into play.

Another case I was looking into at the request of concerned neighbours was the ambitious plans for Gwynfryn Plas, an old gentry mansion near Llanystumdwy. The bloke making trouble here was Phillip Andrew Bush, who seems to have made his money from taking derelict ships to be broken up on Asian beaches.

I’m not saying that Bush is a crook, but a man is judged by the company he keeps.

And Bush was soon keeping company with Aaron Hill, even selling him some Gwynfryn land. It was also reported that the Duggan gang had been sighted there

Amazing how these people find each other! Is it some form of echolocation, like bats?

To cut a long story short . . . it was reported that Hill and Bush had boasted of new ventures in Scotland. And now I hear that the Duggan family – but not the whole gang – has also removed itself to Yr Hen Ogledd.

Word is that the Duggans are in Dumfries. Home to Queen of the South FC. (Not a lot of people know that.) I’ve been to Dumfries a few times. Nice town. Looking forward to going back.

While they have decamped, faithful family retainer and failed rocker, Shane Baker, has been trying to sell off the family assets. Which of course they don’t really own!

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Of course, what Baker will not tell any prospective buyer, but what my local source reminds me is:

'This is the land which was formerly attached to 4 Glanrafon Terrace, Nebo and, through which, Jonathan Duggan built a new access track to Bryn Llys and which he later purchased from Aaron Hill.

There is no mention of the Enforcement Order for the removal of the access track and restoration of the land to its original state.'

Which means that anyone silly enough to buy this land could be buying into a whole lot of trouble. So steer well clear.

You have been warned!

As this has been a biggie, and it’s taken up quite a bit of my time, don’t expect anything next week. I’m supposed to be bloody retiring!

♦ end ♦




England’s wind turbines – in Wales!

My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.

Last week, I introduced you to the Bute empire, based in Edinburgh and London, which, under a variety of company names, is planning many new wind farms in Wales.

This week’s piece is partly a recap, partly putting a new slant on things, and partly some fresh thoughts on the unequal relationship between Wales and England.

MAPPING IT OUT

Here are the location-specific Bute Energy companies, sixteen in all, each with a link to the relevant Companies House entry. Is there a project near you?

Twyn Hywel Energy Park Ltd / Rhiwlas Energy Park Ltd / Banc Du Energy Park Ltd / Aberedw Energy Park Ltd / Moelfre Energy Park Ltd / Mwdwl Eithin Energy Park Ltd / Garreg Fawr Energy Park LtdBryn Gilwern Energy Park Ltd Nant Mithil Energy Park LtdLan Fawr Energy Park LtdWaun Hesgog Energy Park Ltd Esgair Galed Energy Park Ltd Llyn Lort Energy Park LtdNant Ceiment Energy Park LtdNant Aman Energy Park LtdTarenni Energy Park Ltd

The full list of recent company formations, and other background information, can be found here.

I’ve now drawn up a map showing what I hope is the correct location of each of Bute’s planned wind farms. I can’t be absolutely sure because in most cases all we have is a company name, and that name could fit a number of locations.

The names Rhiwlas and Moelfre, for example, can be found in many locations.

But by ruling out urban areas, National Parks, etc., etc . . .

Click to open in separate tab

To help them build these wind farms, Bute’s head honcho, Oliver James Millican, and his constantly growing band expect help from both Labour Party insider David James Taylor and Lesley Griffiths MS, the Minister for Rural Affairs in the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’.

I’m not exactly sure what’s expected from Taylor, but he’s been made a Member of Grayling Capital LLP, and he’s also been given shares in Windward Enterprises Ltd, both in his own name and that of his company Moblake Associates Ltd.

Taylor seems to be paying himself some £200,000 a year from Moblake Ltd but the skeletal accounts give no indication of where the money originates. Though, strictly speaking, and quoting the ‘accounts’, the money is, ‘an interest free loan and does not have a repayment date’.

But seeing as Taylor is the sole Moblake director, and holds the only share, for him to ‘repay’ Moblake would just be transferring money from one pocket to another.

Click to open in separate tab

From Ms Griffiths Millican and whoever he might be working with obviously expect planning permissions. I’m not for one minute suggesting favouritism, let alone inducements. It’s simply that, as we saw when she overruled the Planning Inspector’s decision on Hendy Wind Farm, she has the final say.

Griffiths and Taylor are well known to each other. It would be unusual if they weren’t, seeing as they belong to the same political party and are both from the north east. Here’s Taylor out canvassing for Lesley Griffiths in the 2016 Welsh Assembly elections.

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A WEE DIGRESSION, BUT INTERESTING

Something I didn’t explore in the previous post was the fact that Taylor, Griffiths, Sophie Howe (Commissioner for Greenwash), and others, were on the same side before and after the Carl Sargeant suicide in November 2017.

This picture below, from 2014/15, shows, left to right, Carl Sargeant, Sophie Howe, a former Spad to Sargeant (though when the photo was taken she was deputy to former MP Alun Michael, the South Wales PCC), Lesley Griffiths, and Leighton Andrews AM for Rhondda, who lost his seat in 2016 to Leannein Wood.

David Taylor worked as a Spad or trouser presser for Andrews, and his loyalty to the party was rewarded when, in 2016, he was the Labour candidate for the North Wales PCC post. He lost out to Arfon Jones, the Plaid Cymru candidate.

L to R: Carl Sargeant, Sophie Howe, Lesley Griffiths, Leighton Andrews. Click to open in separate tab

The thing about this picture is, it’s not a ‘work’ photo, they’re out together relaxing. They know each other, they obviously enjoy each other’s company.

After Sargeant’s suicide they all rallied to his defence, or at least, they didn’t do any favours to then First Minister Carwyn Jones, lobbyists Deryn, and others coming under fire. Lesley Griffiths is quoted more than once in this report.

In this piece, we read that Sophie Howe: ‘ . . . told Coroner John Gittins: “I find that incredible that he (Sargeant) can be sacked without being told what the allegations were.”’

While Leighton Andrews has plenty to say on his blog.

In this November 2018 report from the Wrexham Leader we are told that, ‘The inquest also heard a statement from David Taylor, a friend of Mr Sargeant who was previously employed by the Labour Party.’

It’s all coincidence, no doubt, but from this small group around Carl Sargeant we have three – Howe, Griffiths, Taylor – currently contributing to Wales being ripped off by every shyster who can spin a line about saving the planet.

‘JUST A FEW QUESTIONS, SIR’ (Oh, the times I’ve heard that!)

I wrote to Bute Energy last Tuesday morning, ahead of office hours, giving them the chance to clarify a few points for this follow-up.

My questions were:

  1. When and where did you first meet David James Taylor?
  2. Were you introduced to Taylor? If so, by whom?
  3. What is your relationship with Taylor’s Moblake companies?
  4. Why did you make Taylor a Member of Grayling Capital LLP?
  5. Why did you give Taylor (and Moblake) shares in Windward Enterprises
  6. Have you met Lesley Griffiths, Welsh Government Minister for Rural Affairs? If so, where and when?
  7. Did you have advance warning of Ms Griffiths’ overturning a Planning Inspector’s decision on Hendy Wind Farm in October 2018?
  8. Why did you recruit former Labour MEP Derek Vaughan to chair your Welsh Advisory Board?
  9. Why does your Welsh Advisory also have as a member John Uden, a former London police officer now specialising in property security, who, apparently, has no Welsh connections?
  10. Why do you have so many wind farms planned for Wales?
  11. You don’t know Wales, so how did you find these sites? Did someone recommend them?
  12. Do the principals in Bute and the other companies have any experience in engineering, construction, renewables, or related fields?
  13. Do you really intend building wind farms or will you simply obtain planning permission and then sell the sites?
  14. Talking of the sites, have you been promised that, if necessary, powers of compulsory purchase will be exercised on your behalf?
  15. Do you have contact details for David James Taylor?
  16. Do you have anything you’d like to say?

I’m still waiting for answers.

Having mentioned the ‘skeletal accounts’ of David Taylor’s Moblake Ltd I naturally got to wondering about the accountant.

At the start, Moblake’s registered address was in the West End of London, at 109 Gloucester Place. It’s the tidy-looking gaff with the blue door. Though the company registered at that address, Adams Mitchell Ltd, was only formed in August 2019.

In fairness, it looks as though David Taylor was simply using Gloucester Place as an accommodation address. The ‘accounts’ submitted were all his own work.

Though the most recent accounts are a tale of West End to East End. For Moblake’s latest accounts were signed off by Naail & Co Ltd, a husband and wife outfit on Lambeth Walk in property leased with money borrowed from banks.

But the accounts remain unaudited. The accountant just signed off what Taylor put in front of him.

Accountant’s contribution to the latest Moblake Ltd accounts (y/e 30.04.2021). Click to open in separate tab.

Couldn’t David Taylor have found a nice, respectable accountant in Wales who would have presented fully audited and verified accounts?

Makes you wonder.

‘HERE YOU ARE, TAFF – DON’T SAY WE DON’T GIVE YOU NOTHING’

Maybe I’d better explain what I mean by the heading to this article about England’s wind turbines in Wales. Now pay attention, because this is a bit complicated, and prefaced with, ‘As I understand it . . . ‘.

In 2015 legislation was passed, covering England and Wales, that gave local planning authorities – i.e. councils – powers to decide on wind farms of 10MW and above. (They already had the power over smaller installations.)

This had been mooted for some years and finally came into effect, on June 18, 2015. With political spin about upholding election promises by letting ‘local people have the final say on wind farm applications’.

Hinting that this was a decision dictated by electoral considerations. For wind farms are erected in rural areas, and the rural areas of England are overwhelmingly Conservative in their political sentiments.

The Conservative and Unionist Party would lose MPs and councils if a Tory government in London over-ruled local councils to impose wind farms on areas where locals didn’t want them.

The map below might help illustrate my point.

You can do your own by going to this site, and by playing with the various layers on the interactive map you can end up with whatever your heart desires.

Image: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy / Barbour ABI. Click to open in separate tab

To reproduce my map, from the menu on the left: In ‘Energy Type’, keep Wind Onshore. In ‘Energy Capacity’, 10MW and Above. In ‘Status’, Application Submitted, Awaiting Construction, Operational, and Under Construction.

If we could add a layer giving political features it would show that Tory-voting England is almost entirely free of wind farms.

Below you’ll see an extract from a relevant UK government publication. This makes it clear that the 2015 legislation covered England and Wales.

Click to open in separate tab

Obviously, this legislation means there will be hardly any wind farms in England. And that will result in the UK struggling to meet its climate change obligations. It will also be bad news for the Tories’ business friends who milk the subsidies paid for renewable energy.

Which is why I am convinced pressure was applied from London on the ‘Welsh Government’ for Wales to accept more and more wind farms.

This explains why the legislation was reversed in Wales to make wind farms of 10MW Developments of National Significance, meaning local authorities must either grant planning permission or expect to be over-ruled if they refuse planning permission. For the ultimate power rests with Welsh ministers. (Here’s the link.)

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This explains how, in 2018, Lesley Griffiths was able to over-rule both Powys County Council and the Planning Inspector on Hendy wind farm.

Ordinarily, Wales and England moving in separate directions would be something I’d applaud, but not this time.

Perhaps someone in the ‘Welsh Government’ can explain why 10MW wind farms are Developments of National Significance in Wales, but not in England. 

Especially as we share the same National Grid and the electricity generated by ‘Welsh’ wind farms will most likely go to England.

As I’ve said, I’m convinced pressure was applied from London, perhaps via the civil servants operating in Wales who answer to London. The ‘Welsh Government’ couldn’t admit that, so it was glossed over with the Well-being of Future Generations Act, which came into force in April 2016.

Followed by pious declarations to make Wales ‘carbon neutral’ and then, like a maiden aunt having an attack of the vapours, declaring a ‘Climate Emergency‘.

As if anybody outside of Corruption Bay gives a toss!

These bouts of orchestrated hysteria turned planting wind farms all over Wales into an environmental crusade. The panel below, from this ‘Welsh Government’ site, explains why someone thinks we needed this legislation.

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Note that climate change, over which Wales can have no effect, is more important for the ‘Welsh Government’ than spheres where it could make a difference.

Priorities, eh!

CONCLUSION

Despite the apparent divergence of approach over Developments of National Significance in 2015/16 we are, effectively, still in the Englandandwales model.

Making wind farms another example of devolution being used to serve England’s interests rather than ours. Consider this . . .

Just imagine if a Tory government in Westminster had said, ‘We don’t want wind farms in England – so we’re going to dump them all in Wales’. There would have been a national outcry.

Yet that is what has happened!

It’s the old story of Wales being exploited for the benefit of England. And just as with our water, we are not compensated for what we export.

Wanting Wales to be ‘carbon neutral’ and declaring a ‘Climate Emergency!’ is just vain posturing to disguise Wales’ subordinate status. Play-acting that won’t improve the lives of Welsh people, or make any difference to climate change.

And things might be about to get a whole lot worse.

For the number of wind farm applications is accelerating. Not only do we have Bute Energy’s 16 projects, there’s also the monster turbines planned for Y Bryn, between Port Talbot and Maesteg; while more recently I’ve learnt of a plan for turbines above coal tips at Ynyshir in the Rhondda Fach.

Yes, honestly, above coal tips.

How many more are planned that we haven’t yet heard about?

There is nothing to be said in favour of wind turbines. In their brief and intermittent lives they do not repay the environment for the damage caused in making, transporting, and erecting them. They are all built and owned by foreign companies. They provide no jobs. They despoil our landscapes. They kill birds. They cause flooding.

But never mind, we’re serving England’s interests. Again.

♦ end ♦

 




Enviroshysters flock to Wales for easy money

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. POSTINGS WILL PROBABLY BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

As is so often the case, this week’s post began life with someone sending me a ‘this might interest you’ snippet. Sure enough, it did. Because once I started digging, all sorts of interesting information came to light.

LIFE WITH THE BEAVERS

It all started with a news item from the Cambrian News, about a ‘conservation retreat’ not allowing onto the property people who had been vaccinated against Covid-19. I don’t buy this ‘paper and I try to avoid reading it because I’ve never trusted the Cambrian News. (I give some reasons in this short pdf document.)

As you’ll see, the CN report gives the name of no individual so, on the assumption that this ‘conservation retreat’ doesn’t run itself, and isn’t run by the beavers, I started my enquiries.

I soon realised that the story had also appeared in English dailies, and they had no hesitation in naming Sharon Girardi as the woman running Blaeneinion. So why would the local rag be so reticent to name her? Local weeklies survive by naming local people doing this and that. That’s why locals buy them.

Image: Daily Mail. Click to open in separate tab.

Next step was to the Land Registry, to see who owns Blaeneinion. And now it gets really interesting. Here’s the LR title document. I suggest you open it in another tab and keep it open.

You’ll see, on the first page, that the property is owned by Endeavour Ltd, a company registered in Gibraltar. And that it was bought for £595,000. At the foot of page 2 we read that Endeavour Ltd bought Blaeneinion on November 13, 2008.

Next stop, Gibraltar.

Companies House in Gib is quite efficient and helpful, and so I had few problems in buying a company profile for Endeavour Ltd. Though, this being Gibraltar, the paperwork doesn’t tell us much. Here it is anyway.

We learn that Endeavour Ltd was set up April 14, 2008. Some 7 months before the purchase of Blaeneinion. Perhaps created specifically for that purpose. Maybe other properties were bought.

Two thousand shares were issued and they’re all held by Gibraltar International Trust Corporation Ltd (GITCO). An old entity, this; Incorporated in November 1968.

You will not be surprised to learn that GITCO appears in the Panama Papers, where it links with other exotic forms of commercial life such as Cathay Transport Ltd of the Bahamas.

Image: International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Click to open in separate tab

But, thanks to Open Corporates, we also find GITCO linked with a new company nearer home.

I’m referring now to Friar Street Properties Ltd, Incorporated with Companies House as recently as March 29, 2021. There, among the directors, we see Gibraltar International Trust Corporation Ltd.

Why would Gibraltar International Trust Corporation be named as a director for a small-scale property company operating out of the red brick office in Worcestershire of Hayward Wright Accountancy Group? Especially as this new company seems to be the only one in the UK with which GITCO is officially linked.

This sumptuous accommodation seems to be the base for Alistair Graeme Hayward-Wright, director of Friar Street Properties and many other companies. Though the latest accounts filed suggest that Hayward Wright Accountancy Group is a dormant company.

Back to Sharon Girardi. She’s not named on the LR title document as a leasee, so it’s reasonable to assume she’s the owner. As such, she must be Endeavour Ltd of Gibraltar. If not, then she’s fronting for someone.

The Daily Mail report tells us that, ‘She has previously been backed by the Forestry Commission to plant 34,000 native saplings at her Blaeneinion estate’. But the FC doesn’t operate in Wales, that role here is filled by Natural Resources Wales.

The image above – of Ms Girardi with ‘Mr Beaver’ – was used in the Daily Mail report I linked to, but I think it appears first in this Daily Mirror article from September 2015. Though the beavers had arrived in 2011.

From the Mirror article we learn that Sharon Girardi kept the wolf from her door through Airbnb. Though as a rewilder, shouldn’t she have welcomed Mr Wolf?

From the Daily Mirror, September 2015. Click to open in separate tab

The more I think about it, the more bizarre this whole story becomes. I can’t help feeling that there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

  • It starts out with someone buying a remote property for £595,000 without need of a mortgage.
  • But they claim they can’t make ends meet with organic veg so they go in for Airbnb.
  • Which means that despite claims about conservation and rewilding, what we see at Blaeneinion is to all intents and purposes a tourism business.
  • How much has Natural Resources Wales or any other agency of the ‘Welsh Government’ paid to Endeavour Ltd or Sharon Girardi?
  • Assuming Sharon Girardi is Endeavour Ltd of Gibraltar, what is the ‘Welsh Government’s position on funding companies based in tax havens?
  • Come to that, why did Sharon Girardi feel the need to buy Blaeneinion by this roundabout route?
  • Though if she’s not the owner, then who is?
  • What is the connection between Endeavour Ltd and Friar Street Properties Ltd?

HORSING AROUND

Not far from Blaeneinion there is a similar but larger venture, only this time, instead of beavers, it’s Konik horses . . . at the moment. And while beavers were once native to Wales I’m pretty sure our ancestors never saw these critters.

They’ve gained quite a bit of publicity over the years, they’ve even appeared on this blog, in The Green Menace, back in August 2018. Here’s a BBC report about them.

(It seems Wales has no native horses that could have been used.)

As the BBC report tells us: ‘Cambrian Wildwood wants to extend native woodland from 10 to 100 acres across its land using natural projects. It is looking after a 350 acre site which was acquired by Wales Wild Land Foundation (WWLF) on a 125-year lease from the Woodland Trust, which bought the land.’

Wales Wild Land Foundation operates as Cambrian Wildwood. It’s explained here, with maps, in the Management Plan 2017 – 2022. And the plans are ambitious. Some might say unrealistic. Even worrying.

On page 13 we read: ‘All other native species, including large herbivores, will be present. Some animals requiring cooperation and agreement across a large area of landscape will be longer term considerations: for example, wild boar, moose, bison and red deer.’

There are some pretty hefty beasts named there, with the potential to cause a great deal of damage. Will a bunch of enviro-dreamers, with no experience of domestic livestock let alone wild animals, really be able to restrict them to the 350 acres they manage?

Click to open in separate tab

On the same page we read: ‘For the foreseeable future, it is presumed that the large carnivores (bear, wolf and lynx) will not be present on the site, and it is considered beyond the scope of Cambrian Wildwood to promote these species.’

A confusing sentence, that. It starts off by suggesting that large carnivores might be a long-term ambition, with the concluding phrase hinting that it might be achieved by someone other than Cambrian Wildwood.

So which is it? And if these animals are out of the question, why mention them at all?

Bears strolling into Mach’ for a few pints of a Saturday night, and wolves taking down Mrs Evans on her way to the Co-op, should certainly get the old town rocking.

As I’ve said, Cambrian Wildwood is the operating name for the Wales Wild Land Foundation. So let’s turn our attention away from carnivores stalking the denizens of Machynlleth to a form of parasite to be found a-plenty in the nearby hills.

Wales Wild Land Foundation is a CIO; that is, a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Here’s the link to its Charity Commission page.

You’ll see that it was formed in 2014, which makes perfect sense. For in December 2013, Alun Davies, then Minister for Natural Resources and Food in the ‘Welsh Government’, announced that the maximum 15% of CAP payments would be transferred from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2.

Which meant taking money from Welsh farmers and transferring it to what were euphemistically called ‘other rural activities’. In other words, those who had lobbied against farmers and expected to profit from the diverted funding.

My notations in red. Click to open in separate tab

It may have taken a while to start, but the funding is definitely flowing now. As you’ll see from the table above, ‘Welsh Government’ funding for the WWLF rose from nowt in y/e 31.03.2018 to £349,773 in y/e 31.03.2020.

If it keeps increasing at that rate they’ll soon be grazing thoroughbreds at Bwlch Corog!

And what’s the money for? Well, I suppose a cynic might say it’s for ‘looking after’ land that could just as easily look after itself. But nice work if you can get it.

And when ‘Dr’ Jane Davidson, former ‘Welsh Government’ Minister for Environment and Sustainability (2007 – 2011), is your Patron, then the funding from Corruption Bay tends to flow much more freely.

The long-term ambition seems to be to buy the 350 acres currently leased from the Woodland Trust and fit it into something bigger.

This piece from GlobalGiving talks of, ‘7,000 acres of native woodland, heathland and rivers will be restored. Animals like red squirrel, water vole, wild horse, deer and bison will be living in the wildwood.’

Actually, it’s 7,413 acres, or 3,000 hectares. And it seems to be part of the Dyfi Biosphere project. Explained here.

Click to enlarge

I wonder how much local people know about these plans.

But then, locals aren’t important. What matters is that those drawing up the plans have the ear of politicians and civil servants in Corruption Bay. And that they are united in wanting to replace farmers and other ‘obstructive’ indigenes in order to free up vast tracts of our country.

How many jobs and business opportunities will the Dyfi Biosphere create for Welsh people? Very few, if any. But I guarantee we’ll be paying for it.

In fact, I’m beginning to wonder how much we’ve already paid. Let me explain.

The land in question can be easily identified from various images supplied in assorted locations.

But before moving on, I just want to set out a bit more information and some more thoughts. See what you make of it all.

The first piece of evidence is the maps locating the land in question. Due to the recognisable outline it was easy enough to find the title documents on the Land Registry map search. Which is where it gets interesting.

Because I suppose the first question is – why did the Woodlands Trust buy land on which there were hardly any trees? The only sensible answer must be that they intended to plant trees.

Click to open in separate tab

The title document for the purchase of the land tells us that the transfer was completed May 31, 2017. And whaddya know – the lease agreement is dated the very same day!

Clearly, the lease was agreed before the purchase was made; and more than likely, it was that agreement that prompted the purchase. But let’s think about this a little more.

The Woodland Trust bought rough upland pasture, heath and bog. Which it immediately leased to the Wales Wild Land Foundation, for an unspecified amount. Though as we are clearly paying the lease we’re entitled to know much it is.

As the annual report for y/e 31.03.2020 tells us, WWLF expects to be getting a lot of money in future from the ‘Welsh Government’. This explains the increased income we saw in the table above.

Which means that . . .

 . . . the ‘Welsh Government’ is giving hundreds of thousands of pounds, maybe millions, to the Wales Wild Land Foundation to improve land that belongs to an English organisation, the Woodland Trust. Unless of course, WWLF itself buys Bwlch Corog. 

Either way, where is the benefit to Welsh people from throwing vast amounts of public funding at schemes like this? This kind of spending can only be justified on projects owned by and open to the Welsh public. It should not subside hippy fantasies.

‘Welsh Government’ pays one bunch of strangers to lease land from another bunch of strangers and increase the value of that holding, while simultaneously undermining Welsh farmers so as to free up more land for more strangers.

The overall strategy is pretty obvious.

And as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, this all links with that lebensraum venture, the Summit to Sea rewilding project. But the WWLF gang got cold feet when the public pressure mounted against Summit Sea.

From the Wales Wild Land Foundation annual report. Click to open in separate tab

I’ve written about this episode of colonialist arrogance more than once. So just type ‘Summit to Sea’ in the search box.

Though from thinking about Blaeneinion, Bwlch Corog and other examples it looks as if Summit to Sea may still be going ahead, incrementally, without much fanfare.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT

The ‘progressive’ consensus in Corruption Bay is so wedded to reducing investment, so addicted to greenwash in all its forms, that what we Welsh need no longer figures in their calculations.

This explains why Welsh farms are being bought by hedge funds and others from the City of London.

It may even be valid to compare Wales under devolution with post-colonial Africa. Where we see newly-independent countries ruled by crooks who encourage foreign exploitation but dress it up as ‘investment’ or some other bullshit term.

Because when you think about it, someone buying a holiday home is ‘investing’ in Wales.

These lies make leaders look good but work against the interests of the people they claim to represent. That seems to be the situation both in Africa and Wales.

Click to open in separate tab

Devolution has been a disaster. Not just by the yardsticks of health, wealth and education. But also because we own less of Wales today than we did in 1999.

That’s a sobering thought; and no amount of airy-fairy gestures and ‘look at us!’ virtue signalling can disguise that we are becoming strangers in our own country.

Corruption Bay, including those we elect, is conspiring in this displacement.

Blaeneinion, Bwlch Corog, OPDs, Summit to Sea, etc., etc., tell us the truth about Wales today; who the system really benefits, and where we Welsh fit in.

Before long we won’t fit in anywhere.

♦ end ♦

 




Senedd Elections 2021

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

This is the first of my promised reviews of next month’s elections. This initial foray into a crowded field is longer than intended, so take your time.

I’ve concentrated on those parties with a chance of winning seats, so apologies to the Communist Party of Britain, Captain Beany, the Freedom Alliance, the Socialist Party of Great Britain, the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, the Welsh Christian Party, the Workers Party, and any others I may have missed.

A more specific and detailed approach may follow in subsequent pieces . . . unless I lose interest entirely.

The risk of simply switching off is real, partly because we lack inspiring politicians and partly because the liars and the bullshitters are already at work and – unchallenged by our wonderful media – spewing forth all manner of nonsense.

Not content with being conduits for misinformation certain elements of the media themselves contribute to the confusion by pretending that only ‘establishment’ parties are standing. Or maybe they believe that only establishment parties should be heard.

WHO’S STANDING?

This time round there are more candidates representing a wider range of political perspectives than in any previous Assembly / Senedd elections. From the genuinely nationalist Gwlad to the extremes of the BritNat fringe.

While many are trying to paint these elections as being about Covid, the truth is that the big question lurking in the shadows is whether Wales should become independent or cease to exist in any meaningful form.

As for what we have now, there are few ready to speak up for it. In fact, I’m amazed that anyone has the chutzpah to defend devolution on the record of the past 22 years.

LABOUR

Which might explain why the Labour Party is asking for another 5 years to do the things it’s failed to do over the past two decades and more. An example would be introducing a register of lobbyists.

On BBC Radio 4 last week, Vaughan Gething, the ‘Welsh Government’s health minister, told listeners that his party was “entirely open” to introducing such a register. Yet they could have done so in January 2018. And even earlier in 2013.

The truth is that, in Wales, the term ‘lobbyist’ is interchangeable with ‘third sector’. And the third sector is ‘Welsh’ Labour’s private army, soaking up hundreds of millions of pounds of public money in providing sinecures for Labour cronies, in return for which the third sector will support Labour in any way it can, including attacking Labour’s opponents.

Image BBC. (I used to have a suit like that, but it was more of a powder blue, with narrower lapels.)

Perhaps the major problem for Labour is that it’s beginning to look clapped out, devoid of fresh ideas, and relying more than ever on voters’ blind, family loyalty – and not being, ‘them wicked Tories’.

Which no longer works, as we saw in the December 2019 UK general election, when Welsh Labour seats fell to, ‘them wicked Tories’. More may go the same way next month. Certainly, there’s not a hope in Hell of Labour getting near the 30 seats needed to form an administration.

That said, there is a widespread perception that Labour is faring less badly here in the popularity stakes than in England. (In Scotland, of course, Labour is now neck-and-neck with the Monster Raving Loony Party.)

Why this might be so mystifies me. Could it be the magnetic personality of Mark Drakeford? Or maybe the abundance of talent we see lined up behind him? Or could it be that the other ‘major’ parties are so unappealing that by comparison any bunch of muppets might look half competent?

(Please don’t think that I’m trying to insult muppets by comparing them to ‘Welsh’ Labour politicians!)

Some argue that Drakeford has handled the pandemic and its restrictions better than Boris Johnson. I don’t buy that. Labour in Wales clearly panicked when restrictions on pubs, gyms and other establishments were lifted in England, and this explains why they brought forward the lifting of restrictions in Wales . . . which now take effect before the elections on May 6 rather than after.

Of course, there may be another explanation for the timing. If so, then it escapes me. I’m open to suggestions.

What’s not in doubt is that Labour will need all the help it can get. Poll findings published last Friday by YouGov put Labour on just 29%, with the Conservatives romping ahead on 43%. These are of course UK figures, but even so, Labour is also in trouble in Wales.

The only question is how far short of the target 30 seats Labour will fall.

PLAID CYMRU

I’m turning to Plaid Cymru now not because it’s the second largest party in Wales (it’s not, by a long way) but because to have any hope of staying in control Labour will probably need to go into coalition with Plaid Cymru.

And the terms of this coalition have been discussed for months. So it makes sense to lump Plaid Cymru in with Labour. So remember, folks . . .

A vote for Plaid Cymru will be a vote for Labour.

Yes, Plaid Cymru talks of winning the election, and of becoming the largest party, but the kindest way of describing such suggestions is wishful thinking.

Because for many years Plaid Cymru has been drifting ever further left. This course to political irrelevance might appear to have changed with the crushing defeat inflicted by party members on far left leader Leanne Wood in 2018, but that would be to misinterpret the situation.

The 77.7% that voted against Leanne Wood is the silent majority, playing little part in the running of the party. Those who support Wood – a vociferous and nasty minority – still control the party’s direction of travel. Largely through intimidation.

Intimidation of the kind that can get a Member of the Senedd to apologise for daring believe that a person with a penis and testicles could be anything other than a woman. And worse, suggesting that transphobia may be rather less heinous and genocidal than pushing Jewish children into gas chambers.

Happier times. Helen Mary Jones MS meets Teifi, and a dog’s best friend, Aled Gwyn Williams.

These are the sort of people that might reluctantly agree to take action against child trafficking, but only on condition that it didn’t involve discrimination against the ‘child-trafficking community’. Because in their world just everyone belongs to a ‘community’ – which is of course oppressed – except those who are part of the white, western patriarchal system, which does the oppressing.

What a fucked-up world these lunatics have invented! Worse, many of them genuinely believe they are living this nightmare. Others just encourage them in that belief.

Even figurehead party leader Adam Price was forced to grovel to this carnival of grotesques. Because they call the shots nowadays in Plaid Cymru. Them and the anti-Semites, and those who believe that the priority for Wales should be extending Harri Webb’s Green Desert to the whole country.

The long-gone Lamb Inn, Merthyr, which Dic Penderyn is said to have frequented, and where a young Jac sank many a pint. Happy days!

A green desert with no nation, no jobs (not for us, anyway), no homes; an emptiness exploited by foreign enviroshysters and renewables mountebanks in order to ‘Save the Planet!’.

It’s no coincidence that Labour pretends to have bought into this planet-saving bollocks. Because if you’re saving the planet, then it stands to reason we don’t need jobs; for example, Port Talbot steelworks can go. And the only roads we’ll need are those to bring our neighbours to and from their holiday homes. We Welsh won’t need roads because we won’t be able to afford cars. But don’t worry, because we’ve always got our rail system – a mere three days to travel from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth. (Don’t forget to change at Scunthorpe Low Level!)

Let’s cut the bullshit. ‘Wales saving the planet’, ‘Green jobs’ (that never materialise), are simply excuses for Wales being a basket-case economy.

Anyone arguing that the future economy of Wales lies in foreign-made and foreign-owned wind turbines and solar panels, providing not a single Welsh job, is either a fool or a liar.

Regrettably, the left in Wales is replete with both.

Perhaps to distract us from its internal problems, and the lack of an economic strategy not approved of by Saint Greta, Plaid Cymru promises a referendum on independence in the first term of a Plaid administration.

Cynics will point out that Plaid is not going to win the elections. Also, that there’ll be many in the Party of Wales happy to ‘lose’ such a referendum.

I’ll conclude this section with an observation I’ve made before, and I’m not the only one to have said it. There is a growing interest in independence; one recent poll put it as high as 39%, but Plaid Cymru’s support has remained static.

It’s as if a growing section of the Welsh public is considering independence . . . but they don’t want it delivered by Plaid Cymru. To think the unthinkable (for some, anyway) . . . Plaid Cymru may be the reason more people aren’t considering independence.

My interpretation is that while it’s well chronicled that socialist parties in the West have largely lost the (white) working class through pursuing policies designed to appeal to ethnic minorities and middle class left liberals, the problem for Plaid Cymru is that it had few working class votes to begin with.

Which leaves Plaid Cymru fighting a 20th century class war with 21st century ‘Woke’ warriors. This, and the elitist obsession with ‘the environment’ – rather than the issues people care about – will not pull in many new punters.

CONSERVATIVE AND UNIONIST PARTY

There’s no question that the Tories are riding high, but considering the opposition they face, maybe they should be doing even better.

For as we’ve seen, the opposition is composed of a Labour Party with 22 years of failure to its name, and a party even further to the left in thrall to identity politics extremists.

Add to that the popularity of BoJo and his jolly band up in London and the Conservatives should be heading for control in Corruption Bay. But that may not be the case.

One problem the Tories face is a combined opposition, one that works well because Plaid Cymru wins seats in areas where Labour is a lost cause. Whereas the Tory vote is more evenly spread across the land than the more ‘focused’ support enjoyed by their socialist opponents.

But this time around things might be different. I say that because of the BritNat parties. If I can remember them all . . . There’s the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party, then there’s Reform UK (formerly the Brexit Party), and, finally, Ukip.

I suggest that they could combine because, with the demotion of Suzy Davies and other broad hints – not least the promotion of Suzy’s anti-devolution son – the Conservative and Unionist Party has made clear that it’s worried by the rise of the BritNats, and will defend its lawn from their tanks.

Yet when all is said and done, they have so much in common.

Where it could get very interesting would be if the Conservatives emerged from next month’s elections as the largest party.

(It should go without saying that sometimes, my brain enlivened with the produce of Argentina, I dream of Labour and Plaid Cymru combined falling short of 30 seats!)

Andrew R T Davies, Leader, again, of the Conservative and Unionist Party in Wales. Another blue suit? Mmm . . .

As the largest party the Tories could just plough on and test the resolve of opponents with popular policies. I mean, if they promised to take a chainsaw to the third sector and invest the money saved where it could do more good, who would dare object?

Well, obviously, the Labour Party would object because it wants to keep Wales poor, blame the Tories, and keep getting elected. The third sector, constantly moaning about Welsh deprivation while doing little or nothing to remedy it, is essential to this scam. Plaid Cymru’s attitude to the third sector is little different to Labour’s.

But what of the others heretofore mentioned, the Queen and Country boys; what if they cobbled together enough seats to push the Tories towards the required 30?

It’s possible, because even though this election is difficult to call, due to the number of parties and candidates involved, we can be almost sure that the three largest parties will get fewer second preference votes and therefore fewer regional members.

I could live with a Conservative-BritNat parties coalition for a number of reasons.

In the short term, I would expect it to undo the socialist webs that Labour has spun to enmesh and enfeeble Wales over the past two decades. I would also expect such a coalition to put an end to Labour’s war against Welsh farmers.

In the longer term, the unrelenting Britishness might be the kick in the nuts some people need to accept that independence is the only option.

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

Well, what can I say without being cruel?

I will say this . . . I’d be pleased to see William Powell back in the Senedd. He’s a decent man and his heart’s in the right place, which is more than can be said for most of those who’ll be elected on May 6.

THE GREEN PARTY OF ENGLANDANDWALES

This is a party made up largely of Green white settlers, some of whom espouse colonialist views that might have embarrassed old Leopold II.

An attitude exemplified by their refusal a few years back to actually create a Wales Green Party, preferring to stay part of the England Green Party. In Scotland, the Green Party is Scottish, and has long supported independence.

The non-existent ‘Wales Green Party’ now claims to also believe in independence, not because they care about me or you, but because they see an independent Wales as somewhere they can wield influence that will in no way be hindered by their lack of electoral support.

Which, in a sense, takes us back to lobbying.

The shameless opportunism of the Greens is not a lot different to the entryism we’ve seen recently from far left loonies who have jumped on the indy bandwagon since Comrade Corbyn was given the bum’s rush.

The one consolation, of sorts, is that just about every other party now pays lip-service to the Greens’ message. Which is not good for Wales but, on the plus side, it makes the Green Party of Englandandwales largely redundant.

That can only be good.

THE BRITNAT PARTIES

As I said earlier, these are Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party, Reform and Ukip. They are almost guaranteed to win some seats, and they will naturally align with the Conservative and Unionist Party.

These possibilities are discussed above and there’s not a lot to add.

Beowulf Headbanger celebrating VE day. Now that he’s recovered a little he’s allowed out to canvass for the Abolish the Welsh Party.

No doubt the BritNats will insist there are great ideological differences between them, but these are little more than degrees of anti-Welshness.

Of course, they’ll say they aren’t anti-Welsh, just anti-devolution. But as we know, let someone talk long enough about their opposition to devolution and before long hostility to the Welsh language and other indicators of a separate Welsh identity emerge. Such as the existence of Welsh national sporting teams.

And yet, they’re right. Devolution, and the corruption-infested swamp that is Cardiff Bay, should be done away with. But in favour of independence.

That’s why I believe the BritNats can be useful idiots in realising their worst nightmare.

NORTHERN LIGHT

In the next couple of years Scotland will either become independent or else the UK will slip into some kind of ‘soft’ (maybe not so soft) totalitarianism in order to thwart Scottish independence. At this moment I can’t see any other outcome.

Either of those eventualities will be a wake-up call for Wales. Either of them will tell us that it’s time to go, time to leave the United Kingdom.

When we’ve reached either outcome, anyone still arguing in favour of the UK will be acting out of self-interest or contempt for Wales. Among them we’ll find people like the Kinnocks, discredited Tories, holiday home owners, and others whose objections must be brushed aside.

This is why I tell everyone to watch what’s happening in Scotland. Because events in the Old North could have a bigger impact on Wales’ future than anything we do down here.

WALES’ BEST HOPES

As many readers will know, I had a hand in the formation of new, conservative-ish nationalist party, Gwlad. A party that was desperately needed to represent those who reject incompetent Labour, Rule Britannia Conservatives and BritNats, and Woke Plaid Cymru.

Gwlad is standing a good slate of candidates in next month’s elections. As WalesOnline said in an article last week: “Gwlad has put forward 14 constituency candidates and 21 candidates across the regional lists. Aside from Labour, Tories, Plaid, Lib Dems and Reform UK, they have the most candidates seeking election on May 6.”

Not bad for a party formed just a few years ago. Click here to download the full Manifesto.

Among the many excellent candidates is Rhydian Hughes, standing in his own patch of Clwyd West. Here’s a leaflet being distributed in the constituency.

Though I won’t be able to vote for Gwlad in my constituency of Dwyfor Meirionnydd, that’s because the party is not standing in seats held by Plaid Cymru. But I will be able to vote for our excellent list candidates in Mid and West Wales.

My constituency vote will probably go to the Propel candidate, Peter Read; but the Llais Gwynedd candidate, Glyn Daniels, is also in with a shout.

Having mentioned Propel it’s only right that I tell you a little more about this other new and genuinely Welsh party.

Most of you will have heard of Neil McEvoy. Despite what his opponents would like you to believe, Propel is not a one-man band; Neil is the leader, but he has a good team around him.

As a Member of the Senedd Neil McEvoy has made himself unpopular with Labour and Plaid Cymru through exposing the corruption and duplicity that characterises Cardiff Bay. (Anybody who can piss off both Labour and Plaid Cymru is OK with me.)

Also because, when standing for Plaid Cymru in 2016, he came within 1,176 votes of defeating Mark Drakeford in Cardiff West. Neil McEvoy is standing against Drakeford again, making this one of the more intriguing constituency contests.

(As an example of the way the media is misreporting these elections, Cardiff West is being portrayed by some as a straight fight between Labour and Plaid Cymru!)

Click to enlarge

The fact that Labour and Plaid Cymru attack Neil McEvoy with almost equal vehemence helps expose a long-standing relationship between two self-styled ‘progressive’ parties. The coalition that might emerge after May 6 would be just a continuation of this co-operation.

I’m not absolutely sure, but I’m fairly confident that Gwlad and Propel are not standing against each other in any constituency. I’m not aware of any electoral pact, I think it just panned out that way.

My advice therefore is to put Wales first by voting for Gwlad or Propel. Both parties are new, but fresh thinking is exactly what Wales needs at this critical juncture.

Because, and I repeat: the next few years are about choosing between independence and assimilation. Which do you want?

♦ end

 




Guest post: ‘A sustainable Wales . . . or not’

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

As it says in the title, this a guest post, and from someone who knows of what they speak. Read it carefully, for it contains valuable insights that you’re unlikely to get elsewhere.

Specifically, this post is about Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ) legislation and the vote on March 3 that saw the ‘Welsh Government’ push through its draconian measures which are simply another attack on our farmers.

The fact that most of the pollution doesn’t even come from farms is not simply irrelevant to Labour politicians, it’s ignored completely.

To understand the bigger picture you must realise that the local branch of the British Labour Party is a statist outfit that wants to control everything and everybody, either directly, or else through its agencies in the third sector and elsewhere.

As the writer explains, Labour politicians don’t like farmers because farmers own land (kulaks, see), and they tend to be independently-minded, with a habit of standing up for themselves. What’s more, they’re adept at recognising bullshit.

So farmers have to go. This will be justified on environmental grounds. Freeing land for hippies, rewilders and foreign investors.

This control-freakery also explains why Wales is a basket-case economy. Labour does not want free-thinking indigenous entrepreneurs, even if they provide jobs and make Wales prosperous. Far better to keep Wales poor, blame somebody else, and keep getting elected.

The resultant poverty can also be justified with envirobollocks – ‘What ew mean ew got no job – look at all them wind turbines saving the planet. You selfish bugger!’

Well, of course, that’s not strictly true. Labour politicians and their third sector cronies will always have jobs. Enviroshysters – almost all of them from outside of Wales – will also have jobs. It’s ordinary Welsh people who lose out.

The message is simple. Don’t vote Labour in May’s Senedd elections. Don’t vote for Plaid Cymru either, because Labour will need a coalition with Plaid to stay in power.

Now read what our guest writer has to say . . .

So, in the last month or so, Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment has pushed on with legislation she said she would not push on with 11 times. This was on the basis that agricultural incidents had not decreased from the 3 a week figure that is regularly quoted. As of 3rd March, the regulations will now progress following the Senedd vote.

There are various figures banded around as to why this has been a trigger point and why such an aggressive move has been taken, in the middle (and it is the middle) of the COVID crisis and indeed the aftermath of the Brexit deal.

This is really a statement piece by the Minister to appeal to the environment lobby and her back benchers in the run up to an election. Facts, figures and advice on the regulation from her own regulator, NRW, have been ignored and politics has been front and centre of the decision. Where to go from here? We’ll come back to that a little later.

Jac adds: Not only has Lesley Griffiths been saying it, but her civil servants have also been saying it in responses to members of the public. Click to enlarge

When it comes to Welsh Government, it’s worth taking a look back to see how things have developed.

Firstly, getting rid of scrutiny and the various committees that have provided review and direction has been a key strategy. The Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs (CCERA) Committee has to cover such a broad portfolio that it cannot possibly scrutinise in depth. The simple fact is that scrutiny is now a manufactured process, by invitation if you like, with the environment lobby in the pocket of the Minister, who are anti-agri, anti-fisheries and any other private use of natural resources for economic gain, unless you’re a global investor making a land grab under the guise of rewilding, but we won’t mention that.

Secondly, Welsh Government has struggled for years to work out how they could get their policy objectives imprinted on rural Wales. We’re now in the drive to reverse climate change, de-carbonise and promote Wales to the world as a sustainable nation. Farmers own 70% of our private land. The difficulty with trying to get farmers to comply with change is that they own their land and are a broadly militant and belligerent old bunch who would rather sell a kidney than be told what to do. So, in combination with the agriculture white paper out at the moment consulting on the future farm payments system, Minister Griffiths has slapped an NVZ on the whole of Wales to boot.

When you look at some of the drivers of food industry growth, Minister Griffiths own Food and Drink Strategy 2014 – 2020 has targeted increasing sales by 30% to £7bn turnover. Much rejoicing took place last year when it was proclaimed that Welsh Government had ‘smashed its target’. Now a new strategy needs to be developed and it will be based on ‘sustainability’. It should be remembered that Welsh Government has encouraged and invested in the agri-food sectors rapid growth and the question must be asked as to whether it is now a victim of its own success?

I digress.

You see, if you want a snapshot example of what is in store for agriculture, you only need to look at what Welsh Government has done with another comparator sector over which they have devolved responsibility – fisheries.

A small sector in Wales, but nonetheless regularly rolled out by the Minister with unsubstantiated claims of sustainability for which she now strives. The vast majority of engagement mechanisms with the sector have been withdrawn, because, like farmers, fishermen are too difficult for Welsh Government to deal with.

Unlike agriculture, with land ownership in the hands of farmers, Welsh Government actually does have devolved responsibility for marine and fisheries and in layman’s terms, it owns the sea out to the median line. If there is an example of how not to sustainability management resources, this is it. Regulation, not management, is king, delivering boom and bust fisheries such as our main shellfish species by volume, Whelk, that is exploited largely by businesses outside of Wales. Now where have we heard this before…………oh yes, renewables.

Marine renewables is the Minister’s golden ticket to meeting green energy targets and no one will get in the way. While our many centuries old fishing industry and heritage fisheries such as Teifi Seine nets, coracles and the lave net fisheries on the Severn are regulated (for regulated read bullied) out, the push for action in the climate emergency continues. Fisheries is a shining example of how Welsh Government ‘manages’ its resources and should serve as a warning to what is to come for terrestrial Wales.

So the stage is set for the roll out of the NVZ agricultural pollution regulations that will sit alongside the consultation on the agriculture white paper and an announcement made with regard to the future strategy for the food and drink sector where sustainable food production will be at the core. All very nicely choreographed.

What is amazing in all of this is the almost pathological inability of the Minister to acknowledge the issues caused by sewage outfall and releases by water authorities. This has been documented by the BBC and most recent data provided by the Rivers Trust makes for dire reading. Her responses when questioned on this in Plenary have been evasive to say the least. She doesn’t want to talk about it. She has to get her way with the agri sector to line up the other policy objectives. A savage attack on the proposed regulations took place in the Senedd via a recent Conservative debate and again, while referring to a very recent incident and the ‘one too many’ quote, the reality is that statistically there could have well been another 82 sewage incidents going on the very same day!

I have no doubt that a number of MS’s who have voted on this will not have the foggiest what they are voting for, but will have been lobbied by the ‘bastard farmers’ environment crowd from their Cardiff and London bases. The perverse part of this is that in a drive for Wales to be perceived as one of the world’s most sustainable food producers, Minister Griffiths will designate the whole of the country an NVZ against the advice of her regulator and ignoring the main contributor to water quality issues. How does she think this looks from the outside looking in? We’re a laughing stock.

In sectors that have been under devolved regulation for many years such as fisheries, the Minister now talks about co-management out of regulation with a group they can’t engage with and then at the same time has rejected any suggestion of voluntary co-managed farmer-led approaches to agri pollution that were on the table to move to, yep, you’ve guessed it……..regulation. I would suggest her officials need a Zoom meeting to square the circle here.

L to R: Gary Haggaty, civil servant; Lesley Griffiths MS, Labour, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs; Caroline Hitt, writer for the ‘Western Mail’; Elin Jones MS, Plaid Cymru, Senedd Llywydd (Speaker). The cosiness of Corruption Bay made corporeal in a Dublin bar. Click to enlarge

This will be her modulation moment, akin to the decision made by Alun Davies to move 15% of the budget away from direct payments to Pillar 2 and just look at the success that has been, as highlighted by Wales Audit Office last year and further exposed by Craig Williams MP recently. I could also go into the uplands payments debacle but I won’t.

How the farming unions react to this will be key and a judicial review can be expected. However, there is a wider assault in the offing for rural Wales in the hot off the press Future Wales 2040 in the name of sustainability and climate change. It is a large document, but I would urge anyone who has an interest in the future of this country to read it and then decide how you will vote in May. Future Wales 2040 is the planning template for this country and where this blog has pointed out the follies of various ‘developers’ and ‘investors’, I’m certain we will see more of this to come, at scale.

Without wanting to overstate the position, we may be seeing the managed decline of industries in the same way the coal industry was portrayed – inefficient, dirty and unwanted by those who have never done a hard day’s work in their life. The Valleys have never recovered and now having failed to deliver on economic development, Welsh Government MUST deal with climate change, even if it means forcing through bad regulation to achieve it.

♦ end ♦

 




Welsh independence: Why? For whom?

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL PROBABLY NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

I had planned a piece on May’s Senedd elections (or whenever they’re held). But then I realised there are a couple of factors still playing out that will impact mightily on that election. I mean Coronavirus and the effects of Brexit.

So, I’ve put that planned piece on the back burner. There’ll be plenty of time to return to it when the picture has become a little clearer.

Instead, I shall deal with another issue that will certainly impact on the election and more widely on Welsh public and political life in the years ahead. Though to refer to it as a mere ‘issue’ fails to do it justice.

IN MY BEGINNING

I got involved in the nationalist movement in the mid-1960s. Driven by patriotism, a lifelong love of history, and a growing interest in politics that soon made me realise my country was not being treated fairly.

I’m not sure there was a single ‘trigger’, but Tryweryn certainly influenced my conversion. If I had any doubts, then Aberfan ended them.

From a long time ago. Click to enlarge.

I wanted independence to improve the lives of the people I cared about: my family, my neighbours, my community, and my nation. I wanted independence to protect my country from neglect or exploitation, and to defend what made us Welsh.

My Wales had no bogeymen, no minorities against which retribution was sought, and there was no irredentist dimension. My nationalism was, and remains, purely defensive; the only people who need fear it are the enemies of my country and my people.

If what I’ve written strikes anyone as ‘blood and soil’ nationalism then that really is your problem, not mine.

I cannot think of any reason for wanting independence other than to serve the best interests of the greatest possible number of Welsh people.

THE LEFT AND THE INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT

On December 19 Yes Cymru put out what seemed at the time to be a harmless enough tweet welcoming Conservatives into the ranks. The tweet ended with a recognition of the “compatibility” of conservatism and independence.

This tweet outraged the hard left and the woke (increasingly difficult to tell apart) and within an hour it was taken down.

A generous interpretation might be that those who demanded its removal don’t know the difference between Conservative and conservative. For I’m a lifelong believer in Welsh independence who is a conservative, but not a Conservative.

A less charitable, and more worrying, interpretation would be that for some in the new independence movement neither Conservatives nor conservatives are welcome. This they seem to justify by arguing that Wales is a ‘socialist country’, with a ‘radical tradition’.

But how true is that?

The claim that Wales is a socialist country is premised on the fact that the Labour Party and Plaid Cymru together usually get a majority of the votes cast in elections.

Though in the December 2019 Westminster elections Labour gained 40.9% while Plaid Cymru got only 9.9%. Giving a combined total of just 50.8%.

In the most recent elections to the National Assembly (as was) in 2016, the combined percentage of the constituency vote was 55.2%. For the regional lists, the ‘socialist’ total was 52.3%.

But these figures are misleading because how many of those who vote for Plaid Cymru and Labour are really socialists?

I live in Plaid Cymru’s safest seat, Dwyfor Meirionnydd, but few of the Plaid supporters I know could be described as socialists. Most are cultural nationalists and / or social conservatives. It’s a similar picture throughout Plaid Cymru’s western heartland.

Turning to Labour; yes, the vote looks impressive, but to assume that all Labour voters are socialists is nonsense.

The average Labour voter supports the party because he or she believes Labour will raise wages and benefits. The closest this constituency comes to socialism is on specific issues such as the NHS. But again, self-interest dominates.

So, what of Wales’ claimed ‘radical tradition’?

Since the Second World War radicalism – in the sense of challenging the role of the English monarchy and the legitimacy of the British state in Wales – has come exclusively from nationalists.

In the same period Wales has seen strikes, perhaps most memorably the two miners’ strikes, but again, these were about protecting jobs and communities, they were not a fight for socialist ideology.

Socialists are understandably reluctant to concede any of this because it undermines their claim to a monopoly on radicalism. Also because the rise of nationalism in the 1960s had the effect of turning many in the Labour Party into simpering royalists or tub-thumping Unionists. Something that embarrasses many on the left.

The fact is that socialism in the UK was, at a very early stage, broken and domesticated as the Labour Party, and brought into the constitutional fold. Thereby allowing the UK to avoid the political upheavals seen elsewhere in Europe.

Yet many on the left of the independence movement can make common cause with ‘socialists’ who are diehard Unionists, while rejecting those who sincerely believe in independence because they’re not socialists. 

The only interpretation is that socialism is more important for these people than Welsh independence, with the independence movement being just another vehicle for their socialism.

As for the alleged radical tradition, yes it’s there, though sporadic and localised. In the 19th century, the Merthyr Rising, Chartists, Rebecca, Ceffyl Pren, Scotch Cattle, Tithe Wars, were all rooted in an outraged sense of social justice; defending family and community but owing absolutely nothing to Marxist dogma.

What’s happened since is that socialists have tried to re-write history by adopting movements and causes that were never at all socialist.

But even if Wales was a socialist country that would still not be reason enough to exclude others from what should be an ideology-free independence movement.

“DOCTRINES FASHIONED TO THE VARYING HOUR” *

What Labour cleverly did in the twentieth century was to capitalise on the legitimate demands of working class people and promote those demands with more vigour than the Liberal Party.

Which explains why the Labour Party displaced the Liberal Party a century ago as the main opposition to the Conservatives.

But once Labour started going beyond demands for higher wages, better working conditions, etc., into the abstract and the esoteric, promoting socialism for socialism’s sake, then it always lost support.

As we enter the third decade of the twenty-first century the rupture between ideological socialists and the working class is almost complete. To the point where today’s left liberal elite positively despises the white working class.

It’s been summed up brilliantly by trade unionist and lifelong Labour member, Paul Embery, in his new book Despised: Why the Modern Left Loathes the Working Class. As he points out, there are elements of the contemporary left that detest working class values of family, community, tradition and patriotism.

This contemptuous attitude has now reached Wales; it has infected Labour and Plaid Cymru; it has spread to Yes Cymru, and it’s threatening the independence movement.

(Though in fairness, Labour has been far cleverer than Plaid Cymru in keeping the single-issue fanatics, the anti-Semites and other undesirables at bay.)

This new, woke left exercises influence wholly disproportionate to its numbers. As we saw with the removal of that Yes Cymru tweet.

This is done by taking a Manichean position in which they are right and those who disagree with them are not just mistaken, or wrong, but positively evil.

Perfectly exemplified by Leanne Wood and others in Plaid Cymru.

Ask how Antifa rioting and burning shops in Portland, Oregon on a nightly basis promotes anything other than violence and you’ll be met with, ‘Antifa stands for anti-fascist, so only fascists question Antifa’.

Of course! But that still leaves unanswered the question of how burning shops and attacking innocent bystanders and police is fighting fascism.

Here’s another tweet concerning Yes Cymru exposing this attitude. Thomas Wynne Lewis argued that Yes Cymru must appeal to “people on all sides of the political compass”, Luke Williams pretended to agree – then accused Yes Cymru of having “platformed fascists”!

I’m sure this never happened, but as I’ve just said, in the black and white world of the woke left those who contradict them, point out their errors, are, ipso facto ‘fascists’, ‘racists’, ‘transphobes’, etc., etc. End of debate.

This intolerance in defence of ‘toleration’, this refusal to accept alternative views in defence of ‘diversity’, this ‘no platforming’ in defence of ‘freedom of expression’, is now causing problems in the independence movement.

I’ll conclude this section with another tweet, or rather a retweet, this one from a doyen of the wokies, Aled Gwyn Williams. Williams is a member of both Plaid Cymru and Yes Cymru. (As is Teifi.)

“You’re never innocent if you’re a Tory”, the image tells us. Who could argue, for those two in their wingback armchairs are surely the Fred and Rose West of Acacia Avenue.

Remember, folks – these lunatics walk among us!

Let’s push the boat out and imagine Andrew R T Davies, former leader of the Assembly Tories undergoing a genuine conversion to Welsh independence. Despite this being a coup for the movement, and likely to encourage others to support independence, he would be rejected by those we’ve met here.

He would be damned by people who are simply using the independence movement to promote whichever fleetingly popular lunacies torment them.

* ‘The Deserted Village’, Oliver Goldsmith

‘WHY DO WE WANT IT!’

There are a number of factors explaining the increase in support for independence, unfortunately, many of them are tangential, exploitative, or simply wrong.

To begin with, there’s Brexit, and the belief that an independent Wales would join, or re-join, the EU. A belief strengthened by Plaid Cymru recently saying – without apparently consulting anyone, or checking the referendum result – that an independent Wales would become a member of the European Union.

No mention was made of a fresh referendum.

Yet another example of leftist elitist arrogance, echo chamber decision making, and out of step with the wishes of the people.

Recently exposed with an interesting poll on Twitter, not least for the fact that 2,214 people voted. And because there was a majority for ‘Full Independence’ over ‘Independence within the EU’.

If that vote can be achieved on Twitter, where ‘certain views’ tend to dominate, then in the real world the majority would be even greater.

Others are now considering independence because of the present Conservative government in London. Disliking BoJo and the gang is perfectly understandable, but hardly a good enough reason to want Welsh independence.

What happens if Labour wins the next election? Would that mean that an unequal and exploitative Union becomes acceptable again?

A third element increasing support for independence emerges from the foliage in the form of the planet-savers. I don’t wish to be dismissive; I’m quite fond of planet Earth myself, but too many of those I’m thinking of – just like the wokies – see an independent Wales as a blank canvas, with them monopolising the crayons.

This explains the Green Party of Englandandwales recently announcing its support for independence. Yet this party has so little respect for Wales that not long ago it voted against setting up a genuine Wales Green Party.

To explain this dichotomy we need to remember the canvas and crayons I just mentioned. Even under devolution the Greens, in various forms, have found it far too easy to dictate what passes for ‘Welsh Government’ policy.

Just think of One Planet Developments, Future Generations legislation, funding taken from farmers and given to ‘rewilders’ and other charlatans, etc., etc. And a fat lot of good it’s done.

Western Mail 09.01.2021. Click to enlarge

The Greens have decided to support independence because they believe they can easily persuade the government of an independent Wales to implement their polices, without the need for any democratic mandate, and thereby use Wales as a platform from which the rest of the world can better see their virtue signalling.

The benefits of these policies to the Welsh people would be zero because as Angela Womak, deputy leader of the Green Party of Englandandwales, put it:

Image Nation.Cymru

Wales “tackling the ecological and climate emergencies”, is unadulterated bollocks. To suggest that a tiny country can make any significant difference is laughable.

Whether it’s Brexit, Boris Johnson, or environmental concerns, these alone – even collectively – are the wrong reasons for wanting independence.

DEVOLUTION IS DEAD

The battle-lines are being drawn between those who want to abolish the Senedd and assimilate Wales into England, and those of us wanting Wales to be independent.

There will be few speaking up for devolution because it has failed. Wales is a worse place in 2021 than she was in 1999 partly because successive administrations have pandered to vociferous minorities rather than address the needs of the great majority of the nation.

The upcoming contest over Wales’ future could be a close call, and that’s why anyone supporting independence, from any background, and of any political orientation, should be welcomed. None should be excluded.

But those joining simply to promote their pet issue, and then seeking to exclude those who don’t agree with them that it’s the most important thing in the world, need to be taken aside and spoken to.

For these will alienate more people than they will ever attract.

Those taking an interest in independence need to be assured that the direction of ideological travel for an independent Wales, the spending and other priorities, will be decided by the Welsh people, in democratic elections, after independence is achieved.

It will be a blank canvass, and we’ll all have a chance with the crayons.

For my part, I still want independence to improve the lives of the people I care about: my family, my neighbours, my community, and my nation. I want independence to protect Wales from neglect or exploitation, and to defend what makes us Welsh.

I see no reason to change. I never have, and I never will.

♦ end ♦




Miscellany 26.11.2020

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

This is the roundup I promised last week before the Knighton piece just grow’d like Topsy and took over.

Here you’ll find updates on old favourites plus some new faces. Combined they’ll provide a sobering read and a reminder of what a mess Wales is in, due partly to useless, lying politicians down Corruption Bay.

PLAS GLYNLLIFON

This fine old mansion that I’ve written about so many times in recent years in the Weep for Wales series has been sold. Also, the Seiont Manor.

At one time both were owned by Paul and Rowena Williams, but they ran into problems and soon had ‘partners’ in their hour of need. In the form of Myles Cunliffe and his oppo, the ‘King of Marbella’, Jon Disley, always looking for companies in trouble.

And now they’re all gone.

Lest we forget, Paul and Rowena Williams. Click to enlarge

I look forward to learning the identity of the new owners, but I’m fairly sure that he / she / they will fall into one of the following categories. We can but hope that it’s the third.

  • More crooks looking to use the Plas for nefarious purposes.
  • Dreamers, with wonderful ideas but neither the ability nor the money to carry them out.
  • Somebody, or some company, with both the right ideas and the money to realise them.

TRANSPORT FOR WALES GOES OFF THE RAILS

You’ll remember that the Wales and Borders rail franchise was run for some years by Arriva Trains. There were many critics. So when the franchise came up for renewal a couple of years ago it was awarded to French-Spanish partnership KeolisAmey.

That didn’t work out either, with KeolisAmey being fined £3.2m in January for its poor service, with Covid adding more misery through falling passenger numbers. Now the rail service is being nationalised by the ‘Welsh Government’.

Despite my right of centre views on economic and other matters, I believe that essential services should be run by the state as national assets. With one condition, and that is that these services should be run by people who know what they’re doing.

That will not happen in Wales. The statist majority in Corruption Bay has taken over the railways not to provide a better service but because they’re control freaks. Don’t be surprised if the signalling system is handed over to a third sector body approved by lobbyists Deryn.

Unbeknownst to most of those who drive under Machynlleth’s railway bridge, there is a depot nearby where the trains from the Cambrian Coast and the Aberystwyth-Shrewsbury lines are brought overnight for cleaning, maintenance, and repair.

It’s a major employer in the town. (But perhaps not for much longer, thanks to Transport for Wales. An issue I might return to in a later post.)

Two men have been hanging around Mach’ railway station for a few weeks. For a while, no one knew who they were, or what they were doing. I think I now have the story.

As part of the Covid-19 arrangements extra portakabins were brought in for the staff. Hired from a company called W H Welfare, part of the Kelling Group of Normanton, in West Yorkshire, a few miles south east of Leeds.

The two mystery men are security guards who came with the portakabins. The problem being that the portakabins are inside the compound, behind the security gate, and the portakabin guards do have not have clearance to enter the compound. So they’re stuck outside, and to look useful, or just to while away the time, they seem to turn up to meet the trains.

But Machynlleth ain’t Grand Central Station. So that doesn’t give them much to do.

Now these two security men must be staying locally, which means that their wages and accommodation will be included in the portakabin hire charge.

The incompetence doesn’t end there. The portakabins run on a generator – a petrol generator. There is no petrol on site except in the workers’ cars. Everything else is diesel.

Am I making this up? No. Am I drunk? How dare you!

So, we have two men at a small Welsh railway station, doing sod all, but costing a lot of money. Because of course it’s all being paid for by Transport for Wales. Which means the ‘Welsh Government’. Which means you and me.

Portakabins1
Potakabins3
Portakabins2
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Shadow

It’s reasonable to assume that Machynlleth isn’t the only station or depot for which these portakabins were hired. Plus of course the security men. So how much money is being squandered in this way?

And come to that, is there nowhere in Wales where portakabins could have been sourced? And sourced cheaper? I’m sure there is. Which means that in addition to the incompetence we have the issue of a ‘Welsh Government’ agency sending money out of Wales.

It looks as if someone in Transport for Wales has made a massive cock-up. Or is someone getting a backhander from a firm in West Yorkshire?

MARGAM MOUNTAIN

Last month I brought you the tale of yet another foreign-owned windfarm being dumped on Wales with the enthusiastic support of the planet-savers in the ‘Welsh Government’ and Plaid Cymru.

You’ll find it here, just scroll down to the section, “Another ‘Community-owned, local benefits’ wind farm. Not”.

Image: Beryl Richards. Mynydd Margam. Click to enlarge

As I wrote in that earlier piece, “this particular project is a joint English-Irish venture. From Ireland we have state-owned ESB, while from England (possibly Scotland) we have Coriolis Energy Ltd.”

As you can see from the link, the website is very basic, perhaps explained by the fact that Companies House tells us Coriolis Energy is almost £100,000 in debt.

It’s difficult to figure out why ESB needs Coriolis. Maybe it’s to fulfil a similar role to that of Invis Energy of County Cork, which has been working on Meenbog wind farm, on the Donegal-Tyrone border.

Where there was recently a massive slippage of peat into the Mourne Beg river, part of the Foyle system. Just watch the trees go sailing by in the video!

 

The lesson here is that erecting bloody big wind turbines, each one sunk into thousands of tons of concrete, will have consequences when such idiocy is encouraged in sensitive environments.

Such as Irish peat bogs, and Welsh hillsides from which thousands upon thousands of rain-absorbing trees have been cut, and from which acres of equally absorbent peat has been removed.

Another worry for those living close to the proposed development on Mynydd Margam is that the planned turbines will be 750 tall. As any child playing with blocks will tell you, the higher you try to build it, the more difficult it gets to keep it standing.

Which is why I was not surprised to learn from a regular correspondent in northern Sweden – who took time off from herding his reindeer – that a 755 foot turbine in his neck of the woods had recently come crashing down. Here’s a report from ABC News.

I believe a re-think is needed. Not just on this development on Margam Mountain but on all onshore wind developments in Wales. Because . . .

  • No permanent jobs have resulted from the dozens of wind farms desecrating our countryside. 
  • No manufacturing has been encouraged by the ‘Welsh Government’ so that we can build the turbines here – they’ve all been imported.
  • First by smoky ships, and then by huge, diesel-powered trucks and trailers, before trees are felled and peat removed to accommodate them in concrete bases the size of football pitches. Making a nonsense of wind turbines’ claimed green credentials.
  • In fact, before a blade turns, each wind turbine will have caused more damage to the environment than it can make up for in its short and fitful life.
  • No Welsh companies have emerged to run or own wind turbines other than tiny, ‘hippy’ enterprises reliant on public largesse.
  • No skills base has been developed that Wales could benefit from and export.
  • And it’s increasingly likely that wind turbines contribute to flooding.

The ‘progressive’ parties have allowed – even encouraged – Wales to be exploited and cheated in this way just so that they could look virtuous to a certain lobby.

When it comes to serving England’s interests, things in Wales are not a lot different in the 21st century to earlier times. Just disguised by the gloss of devolution, and bullshit about ‘Wales saving the planet’.

But it’s the same old exploitation.

BRYN LLYS

Where would a roundup like this be without a trip to Bryn Llys or, more specifically, Caernarfon magistrates court.

The latest of the Duggan gang to appear has been Jon Duggan himself, on November 16. His large dogs got out – again! – and attacked neighbours’ poultry. But of course, in the parallel universe inhabited by these clowns, it was probably the chickens’ fault.

I’m afraid I can’t link to any press report because I can’t find one. But Duggan was fined £300. Then there was compensation of £30, victim surcharge of £32, and CPS costs of £640. Making a grand total of £1,002.00.

Bryn Llys, aka ‘Snowdon Summit View’. Click to enlarge

I know those are the facts because my source is reliable, and I have even been supplied with a case number.

In related news, Bryn Llys Ltd is threatened with strike-off by Companies House. Though I suppose this company might have already served its purpose.

By which I mean the Duggan gang’s MO is to start a company, open bank accounts, sign up for credit accounts with assorted suppliers and then order goods and equipment, sell it all on, then let the company be struck off, or liquidate it, without paying for anything.

Finally, the deadline for Duggan to comply with the Enforcement Order and remove the unauthorised roadway he has laid on his recently acquired land was Friday, November 20. He has of course made no effort to comply. Cyngor Gwynedd has been informed.

This episode was covered in September, in ‘Bryn Llys, the Liverpool connection‘. That Liverpool connection was solicitor Kathryn Elizabeth Parry. She’d had her own company, Parry and Co Solicitors Limited, since liquidated; and now she’s a partner in a company formed in October last year, Victor Welsh Legal Limited.

A dicky-bird tells me that when Duggan appeared before the bench to answer for the Great Chicken Massacre he was accompanied by a female solicitor from Liverpool.

Fancy that!

COMPANIES HOUSE

Over the years I’ve complained about Companies House being toothless, nothing more than a filing system, or a box-ticking exercise. Here’s a recent example that came to my attention in a roundabout sort of way.

Someone got in touch because they were angry at certain new properties in Llanarthne, a village just off the A40, roughly midway between Llandeilo and Carmarthen. These were four- and five-bed ‘executive homes’ in the Mulberry Grove development.

The development’s name, and the prices being asked, suggested that the developer was not anticipating many local buyers.

Click to enlarge

The company behind it was GS6, formed as recently as May 2018. The project had been funded, in part at least, by Emma Ruth Developments Limited. And it’s when I looked at this company that I got a bit of a shock.

The last accounts filed were for year ending 30 October 2016! And these showed a net book value of just £949.00.

Companies House made the gesture of compulsory strike-off towards the end of 2018, but it was discontinued after an objection. But in 2019 – nothing! And nothing in 2020 until I contacted them. The company is now scheduled for strike-off to begin December 1st.

The response I got a few days ago reads:

“I can advise that the company has already been reminded accordingly to deliver the outstanding accounts in accordance with the Companies Act 2006.

Our records show that accounts for the period ending 30/10/2017, 30/10/2018 and 30/10/2019 and also the confirmation statement for the period ending 14/06/2020 remain overdue and we are currently taking action to remove the company from the register. 

In order to proceed with this course of action it is necessary to issue statutory letters to the company leading to a publication in the London Gazette.

Any objections against the proposed dissolution will be considered once the notice of our intention has been published in the London Gazette. All creditors and interested parties should be aware that objection must be in writing and need to be provided with supporting evidence.

Also, if you believe that the company or any of its employees have acted fraudulently then this matter should be reported to Investigation and Enforcement Services. The Company Investigations team within the Insolvency Service has the power to investigate limited companies where information received suggests corporate abuse; this may include serious misconduct, fraud, scams or sharp practice in the way a company operates. They have investigatory powers to look into the affairs of a company where this is evidence of fraud or misfeasance and can be contacted at
Intelligence.live@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk”

I’m not sure if Emma Ruth Developments has acted fraudulently but I’d like to know how a company that shouldn’t even be in existence is allowed to lend money to another company.

I might also ask why Companies House has done sod all for so long . . . but I’d be wasting my time.

KNIGHTON HOTEL

Last week we were in Knighton, reading about a bunch of selfless people on a civilising mission. En passant I mentioned the Knighton Hotel, where once Paul Williams was cock o’ the walk . . . or something.

A source informs me that the old pile has been sold. And the new owner is Na’Ím Anís Paymán. A 26-year-old German citizen of German and Iranian Baha’i origins who grew up in Albania and studied at Cambridge. More in this brief autobiography.

The two-part Knighton Hotel. Click to enlarge

In fact, he seems to be quite the self-publicist, with a number of videos online. But he still comes across as a likeable young man.

Paymán has formed a number of companies since 2015 and I have no reason to suspect that he’s anything other than a genuine young entrepreneur looking to make himself rich. An ambition that causes me no sleepless nights.

In the hope that it riles lefties, I’ll say it again: a genuine young entrepreneur looking to make himself rich.

If he does that by providing work for local people, if he uses local companies, tradesmen and suppliers, then all well and good.

If he takes a wrong path, then I’m sure I’ll be writing about him again.

RSL FUNDING

I recently gave you the figures for amounts of Social Housing Grant (SHG) received by our Registered Social Landlords, otherwise known as housing associations. Here’s a link to the table I put together. (Scroll left?)

In the ten years 2010-2011 to 2019-2020 the headline figure for SHG was £966,608,902. Obviously, some RSLs got more than others, and none got more than Labour’s favourite RSL, where the CEO is the wife of a Cardiff Labour councillor.

For Wales & West Housing was handed the princely sum of £99,483,507.

I have since received the figures for RSL funding in addition to SHG, for the period 01.01.2010 to 31.10.2020. The funding covered is: Housing Finance Grant, Affordable Housing Grant, Rent to Own, Physical Adaptation Grant, Innovative Housing Programme (grant and loan), Land for Housing Scheme (loan) and Registered Social Landlord Loans.

Eleven local authorities received a total of £19,969,000. While our RSLs were given £370,738,000. Once again, the big winner was Wales & West, with £39,341,000.

Combining the funding from various pots gives us £1,337,346,982. That is £1.34bn.

Of which Wales & West has received £138,824,507. Just over 10% of all the funding given to some 30 or more active RSLs.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR MILFORD HAVEN?

The Milford Haven Waterway is one of the finest deep-water anchorages on Earth, and has been recognised as such for centuries. In recent times it has attracted oil and gas companies because their huge tankers can be easily accommodated.

The area also attracts its share of con men. Who can forget Admiral Wing Commander of the SAS Fabian Sean Lucien Faversham-Pullen VC, Croix de Guerre, Iron Cross (1st Class), Purple Heart and the Order of Lenin, who planned to turn Fort Hubberstone in Milford Haven into a home for ex-service personnel.

The Last Post was blown for Camp Valour CIC a year ago. Read about it here.

Hot on the heels of the Camp Valour project at Fort Hubberstone came a group of ‘investors’ looking to buy a different fort, The Old Defensible Barracks in Pembroke Dock. I wrote about that in Old Defensible Barracks, and the imaginatively titled sequel, Old Defensible Barracks 2.

Old Defensible Barracks. Click to enlarge

Those involved had not yet bought the Barracks when I first wrote about them, or certainly, the Land Registry had not been informed of a change of ownership. This has now been registered and we can see from the title document that the owners are Walker Property Developments Limited.

This company was launched 14.08.2018 as Muniment Yorkshire Ltd. It became Walker Property Developments 06.07.2019, before changing its name again 02.10.2019 to VR 1844 Limited.

I assume that VR stands for Victoria Regina and 1844 tells us that the Old Defensible Barracks was built in that year.

Despite the developers saying they planned to turn the old place into apartments (see the article below, and here in pdf format), I suspected that the real attraction was the closeness to the estuary, connecting with Brexit and the need for space to park lorries. Because there is an extensive piece of land between the Barracks and the water, clearly visible in the image above.

Click to enlarge

And of course, the Pembroke-Rosslare ferry is almost next door.

This suspicion was strengthened by the Singapore connection found with the directors of Walker Property Developments – including the eponymous Walker, who lives there – and Singaporean connections with another coastal site, in the Six Counties, and again, very close to ferry ports.

Lorry parks may still be the objective, but as I mentioned towards the end of the second article, there is also the possibilty of Milford Haven, or the whole Waterway, becoming a freeport. Which, again, could account for the interest from Singapore, which is perhaps the biggest freeport in the world.

Others have also been buying sections of the Waterway shoreline. With interest coming from equally exotic locations: Cyprus, Jordan . . . Carmarthenshire.

Let’s start in September 2015, with WalesOnline gilding a press release – no questions, no critical analysis. To believe the report, a company nobody’d heard of was going to bring 560 jobs to Milford Haven over the next five years through, “£685 million in a Centre of Renewable Energy Excellence”.

The company named in the fable was, “Cypriot-owned energy company” Egnedol Ltd. We were told it had bought the former Gulf refinery at Waterston and the neighbouring RNAD mine depot at Blackbridge.

The biomass facility planned for Blackbridge was turned down in June 2018.

Click to enlarge

There are a number of Egnedol companies, with the Blackbridge site owned by Egnedol Pembroke Eco Power Ltd, according to the Land Registry title document.

The old refinery site nearby appears to be owned by Egnedol Bio-Energy Limited. Certainly, that’s what the Land Registry document suggests.

I hedge my bets because there are caveats attaching to the ownership of both sites.

The Blackbridge site has received loans from Suleiman Al Daoud, of Amman, Jordan. Who in September became a director of Egnedol Wales Limited. So he could be said to now own the site. By the same token, he could also be said to own the oil refinery site.

UPDATE: I got to wondering about Suleiman Al Daoud. The Al Daoud Group is an established company that seems to concentrate on residential properties and retail complexes in Jordan.

I can’t find any evidence of the Group operating outside of Jordan. So what attracted Suleiman Al Daoud to Milford Haven?

Then there is yet another company, Egnedol UK Limited, which uses a Milford Haven address but with directors Dr Robert Prigmore and Steven Whitehouse living in the Ammanford area.

Prigmore and Whitehouse appear in the other Egnedol companies, together with Antonis Andrea Antoniadis, who maintains the Cyprus connection.

The RNAD site is marked with the red spot and the oil refinery site is to the right of it. Click to enlarge

And if Cyprus and Jordan weren’t enough overseas involvement, Prigmore and Whitehouse have yet another company, Azolis UK Ltd, formed as recently as September this year, where we find two French directors.

Explained by the fact that this latest company is an offshoot or subsidiary of French renewables company Azolis, which has offices in Fontainebleau and Casablanca.

So, all this overseas interest in Milford Haven Waterway, what does it mean? What does the future hold? The possibilities appear to be:

  • Brexit-related, possibly lorry parks.
  • Hoping to cash in on the Swansea Bay City Deal.
  • Anticipating a freeport and getting in ahead of the rush.
  • A home for nuclear subs when Scotland goes independent.

One thing I guarantee. Whatever happens, it’ll be strangers reaping the benefits, as always. That’s the way Wales is run, and devolution has brought no improvement.

In fairness, the ‘Welsh Government’ may have no influence over what’s happening on the Milford Haven Waterway. It could all be planned at a higher level and those clowns might be told at a later date.

Then again, why bother!

♦ end ♦

 




Miscellany 03.11.2020

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

This week’s piece takes us all over the place to meet interesting characters. Most you’ll be familiar with, but there are some new faces.

JAKE BERRY MP

We start with someone you all know, Ynys Môn landowner and MP for Rossendale and Darwen, Jake Berry.

I’ve written about Berry a number of times. It started when it was reported that, in May, during the first lockdown, he had broken the rules and gone to ground at his holiday home in Rhoscolyn. Yet still travelled regularly to London and his constituency.

More recently, now mindful of the wind direction, and still bitter at being sacked from the cabinet, Berry led a rebellion of sorts by a group of Tory MPs from northern English constituencies.

This did not go down well in No 10 and he was almost certainly reprimanded. (If not debagged and radished.)

So, on Saturday, he appeared in the Times with a ‘good man hard done by’ piece in the hope of gaining sympathy and detracting attention from his perceived treachery. (Unfortunately, it’s behind a paywall.)

I have little interest in the machinations of the Conservative and Unionist Party, but in his orgy of self-pity he pointed a finger at those who had criticised his earlier behaviour, and in doing so he made some wild accusations.

Click to enlarge

The issue was not that he was a ‘newcomer’; the issue was breaking lockdown restrictions and lying about it. Or getting local MP, Virginia Crosbie, to lie for him.

As for the alleged threats to “burn the house down”, who made these threats? Or maybe the question should be – Did anybody make such a threat?

I invite North Wales Police to clarify whether or not they warned Jake Berry that he was a target for arsonists.

But even if he believed he was a target, why would Berry take a pickaxe handle to bed? It would be useless in the event of a fire.

The story took life on Twitter. With what seemed to be mainly anti-abortion Anglo-Catholics jumping in to support Berry, slag off the NHS (for the treatment of Berry’s wife), and of course attack would-be arsonists.

Among them was ‘Petra’. The account looks like a bot, but it still pointed me out as one of the “Ultra-nationalists”. Done in two tweets; or rather, the second seems to be the first re-written.

UPDATE: ‘Petra’ has left the building.

Click to enlarge

What is going on?

Anyway, on Saturday afternoon Gwlad put out a statement making it clear that neither that party nor I had made any threat against Jake Berry.

If Jake Berry believes his business dealings should remain private, if he thinks Welsh people should be ignorant of his growing property portfolio, if he believes rules are for little people, if he can’t take criticism, then he shouldn’t be an MP.

Saturday afternoon was a bit hectic, what with me trying to take in what Berry was suggesting while also watching the rugby (we lost), keeping up with the Swans score (won 2 – 0), and doing a few other things.

And then, by a strange coincidence, and to complicate matters further, I received unrelated information from a source in Berry’s constituency. To explain . . .

In a previous post I wrote about secret funders to the Conservative Party, The Portcullis Club and The United and Cecil Club. These are unincorporated associations, a legal loophole that allows funding to reach the party without anyone knowing the origin of that money.

The money usually goes to the constituency association, but not always. Sometimes it takes devious routes, such as we read about in this story. (‘Aide to Grant Shapps’! God Almighty! Imagine having to put that on your CV.)

Click to enlarge

I’ve dealt with similar deceits in my earlier pieces on Berry.

The report says that the £12,000 involved came via Rossendale and Darwen Portcullis Club. Yet the address given for this ‘donor’ is 6 Manitoba Court, London SE16 7AY, the address of Berry’s parliamentary researcher. Scroll down and click on the number in the left hand column.

Other underhand donations came from The Portcullis Club that year but without the name of the constituency. Though using the same London address.

But then, in 2017, The Portcullis Club seems to have found a local base at Whins House, near Clitheroe. The first mention I can find of Whins House in that connection is here (click on left hand column again). Though strangely, it’s just The Portcullis Club, with no mention of Rossendale and Darwen.

So, what do we know about Whins House?

Well, it’s not just The Portcullis Club that can be found there, for it was the original address for Palatine Hill Ltd. The officers / directors of which are Maria Bernadette Duckworth, Ford Bridge Farm Ltd, Duckworth Estate Company Ltd, with Paul Worrall Fitton as secretary.

So who are they?

Maria Bernadette Duckworth lives – or formerly lived – at Whins House, along with hubby Andrew John Duckworth. Ford Bridge Farm Ltd – aka Rhyd y Bont – is the company of Mr and Jake Mrs Berry, with their solicitor Fitton again serving as secretary. Duckworth Estate Company Ltd is, predictably, the Duckworths’ company.

I use the caveat in relation to the occupants of Whins House because it was for sale earlier this year. Probably linked with what I interpret to be the bankruptcy of Andrew John Duckworth, as suggested in B4 of the Land Registry title document. My source directed me to this report by way of explanation.

The linked companies with stakes in each other make it clear the Duckworths and the Berrys are close. With the Duckworths being quite happy to use their home address for the channelling to Jake Berry of funding from God knows where.

I’m sure their local MP will therefore find some way to return the favour in his friends’ hour of need. Perhaps he’ll add Whins House to his property portfolio.

FUNDING ENVIROBOLLOCKS

This section takes us back a bit, to the days before Natural Resources Wales, when our woodlands were the responsibility of Forestry Commission Wales. It also takes us back to the time before OPDs were legalised with TAN 6, published in July 2010.

And it brings Objective One funding into the mix, reminding us how most of that EU funding was squandered.

The story seems to start in 1996, when Calon yn Tyfu was formed . . . as a ‘workers co-operative’ at Henparcau farm, near Boncath in north Pembrokeshire. Certainly, the company was Incorporated in March of that year.

The website tells us: “Having run an organic fruit vegetable holding at Henparcau for over 15 years, we decided to give the lands and ourselves a rest in 2010 after a frozen winter where we lost our winter crops we refocused towards the woodland work.”

This change of course was possible thanks to the acquisition of Ffynone and Cilgwyn woodland, part of the old Ffynone estate. Over 300 acres then in the stewardship of Forestry Commission Wales, which was distributing some of the Objective One bonanza under a scheme called Cydcoed.

Click to enlarge

In this report Nick Powell of ITV Wales quotes someone describing Cydcoed as, ‘one of the most successful Objective One programmes that ran in Wales … it used woodlands to provide new jobs and opportunities, promote healthy recreation, education and conservation’. It boasts that ‘more than 160 community groups across some of the poorest areas of Wales benefited’.

The subsequent criticism hinged on that term, ‘community group’. For Calon yn Tyfu may have called itself a workers co-operative but it was in fact a private company run by a husband and wife and a third person.

These being Robert David McDowell – who seems to have signed all the company documents I’ve found – Kate Maria Moore, and Andrew Peter Lowe, ‘Laird of Camster’. (In much the same way as I am Tsar of All the Russias.)

Calon yn Tyfu obtained the woodland in 2007 . . . with an Objective One (Cydcoed) grant of £502,000 from Forestry Commission Wales! Just think about that – FCW gave public money to a gang of good-lifers so they could buy public property.

We know that Objective One funding was wasted in Wales thanks to the Labour Party and Plaid Cymru being ideologically opposed to enterprise and business, but there can be few examples of such blatant and indefensible waste.

In total, £18m was dished out under the FCW Cydcoed scheme. And what do we have to show for it?

Manordeifi community council was so unimpressed by the deal that it petitioned the Welsh Assembly which referred the matter to the Auditor General for Wales.

She concluded that no rules had been broken. Which might suggest it was no surprise that schemes for distributing Objective One cash wasted money.

The Auditor General also noted that, “Calon yn Tyfu have made a commitment to dedicate the site under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, which should allow public access to the woodland in perpetuity.”

I’ve searched the Calon Tyfu website but I can’t find any reference to such a commitment. Has it been made?

If not, then in 2027, the company will be able to sell off at a very handsome price what it was given for nothing. That said, ownership in all but name now seems to be exercised by Dutch bank Triodos N V.

Triodos first appeared on the scene in May 2013 with a loan enabling Calon yn Tyfu Cyf to buy Pontnewydd cottage and land nearby for £150,000. Here’s the title document.

In April 2015 Calon yn Tyfu went back to Triodos. This time taking out a loan against the Ffynone woodland. The title document tells us that in 2007 Calon yn Tyfu paid £460,000 for this forest (out of the £502,000 grant from Forestry Commission Wales).

I believe that the money borrowed from Triodos was used, later that year, to purchase Hen Parcau – where Calon yn Tyfu had always been based – for £225,000. That’s what the title document suggests. And although the loan was taken out in the name of the company the house is registered in the name of Robert David McDowell.

The third engagement with Triodos begins on 21 April, 2015, the same day as the second, but leads to a hearing at the County Court in Swansea in October, and what is described as a ‘Charles Court order’. (No doubt, someone will explain.)

This would appear to give Triodos a claim against the whole Calon yn Tyfu operation.

Now were that to happen, then McDowell would still have enjoyed the income from almost 20 years of forestry operations. And of course he would also have the dwelling, Hen Parcau, and the land around it. And it won’t have cost him a penny!

For their part, Dutch bank Triodos will be happy because they’ll own over 300 acres of Wales.

So, everybody’s a winner! Not quite, because of course we Welsh have lost out again. Not only have we lost a bit more of our homeland, but those useless bastards down in Corruption Bay paid somebody to take it over!

I’ve referred to Calon yn Tyfu as envirobollocks, and so it is. A pretentious precursor to the One Planet nonsense. How else are we to read:

“We are interested in working towards a sustainable future, survival cooperation is the concept of exploring what might be required to survive in a post-industrial world and exploring the process of cooperation that we  can start with now that will lead us towards a  sustainable path.”

“Post-industrial world”, be buggered! There are hundreds of thousands of Welsh families living in a post-industrial world of managed decline created by the Labour Party and Plaid Cymru, parties that have fallen over themselves to favour shysters like those we see at Calon yn Tyfu.

Click to enlarge

Having mentioned OPDs I have to introduce ‘Dr’ Jane Davidson. And provide further proof that she is indeed the mother goddess of the OPD firmament, worshipped by those who toil below filling out grant application forms.

A good source tells me, “She (Davidson) does claim that she wrote OPD into TAN 6 expressly to help Lammas rather than interfere in their planning application directly as a then minister”.

What this means is that we suffer OPDs for no better reason than Jane Davidson wanted to help the eco-colonists at Lammas.

When it was suggested that Planning Policy Wales – which TAN 6 supplements –  could be used to help farm succession, Davidson is said to have sneered, “I didn’t write that policy for farmers!”. (With the emphasis on farmers.)

‘Dr’ Davidson became an Assembly Member in 1999. It’s reasonable to assume that she was acquainted with the crew at Calon yn Tyfu. Did she have a hand in this incredible waste of money?

GWYNFRYN

Now we head north to Plas Gwynfryn / Gwynfryn Plas, just outside Lloyd George’s village of Llanystumdwy on Llŷn. I’ve written about it a number of times in recent months so you might want to search for what I’ve written and catch up.

The old mansion ended up as a hotel and is now just a ruin following a fire in 1982. Some suggest the fire was arson.

Y Plas. Click to enlarge

A curious development has been this advert for 17 acres of woodland on the right-hand side of the drive leading up to the Plas. That is, opposite the gate house.

Because if we refer to the Land Registry title document, and scroll down to the plan, we see something odd. The strip in yellow cuts right across the drive, and as A2 in the title document talks of “a good and substantial stockproof fence” it suggests that the drive is effectively blocked! There is certainly no mention of a gate.

Click to enlarge

Another curious feature is that no one in the area knows the owners of this 17 acres. They bought it less than a year ago and are selling it for less than they paid.

Though owner Keith Varley seems to be a genuine businessman with a number of companies to his name. Among them Glan Gors Training Ltd and Glan Gors Management Ltd. Digression alert!

Glan Gors rang a bell and so I checked, and yes, it is Glan Gors in Harlech; where my old mate, the late Barri Edwards, the busking harpist, used to live. Spent some time there. Got some good memories.

I remember calling one morning, planning to take Barri for a pint, but he was boycotting the local pubs (or possibly he was banned). So we sat there, him unshaven, in his underpants. By midday he was on his third can of Guinness. He looked at me and said, “I don’t understand why I can’t pull the women any more, Jac”.

I was lost for words. I just sat there and nodded. God bless you, Barri.

I have no idea why Varley and his partner bought the woodland in the first place or why they’re selling it. And as for the ‘stockproof’ fence across the driveway . . . your guess is as good as mine. I’m open to suggestions.

But it might have had a knock-on effect. Because reports tell that the owner of the land around the old pile, Philip Andrew Bush, of Kent, has been a busy boy of late. He has been harassing neighbours and threatening to knock down a wall that has been in place since 1948 so that he can open up what he claims is a right of way.

He made no answer when asked why he couldn’t use the driveway.

Philip Bush taking a photo of someone taking a photo of Philip Bush taking a photo of . . . Click to enlarge

The truth is of course that even if Bush had access via the driveway it would not be enough for the highways department to agree to the planned 30 residential units in the old Plas. Or perhaps that should read, on the site of the Plas, because it’s in a poor state of repair.

For planning permission to be given for 30 residential units when the only entrance / exit is so close to a junction is not going to happen. (Click here for image.) The council will insist on two entrances, or one entrance and one exit.

Another reason Bush insists on reclaiming his alleged right of way is to gain access to the old laundry, which he says he plans to renovate.

And the best of luck with that. First, because the old laundry has almost collapsed. Second, because it was purpose-built as a laundry, to serve the Plas, and has been used for no other purpose, which means a ‘change of use’ will probably be required.

Gwynfryn laundry. In estate agent jargon, ‘Ripe for renovation’. Click to enlarge

Regular readers will recall that Bush kept the Gwynfryn land after selling the old pile to his good buddy, Aaron Hill, who we’ve encountered before in connection with the crooks at Bryn Llys – who appear in the next section!

The word is that Hill has sold the chapel he was living in in Bontnewydd and his whereabouts are unknown. Though a dicky bird tells me that Hill and Bush have a project planned in Scotland, and that Hill might have already taken the high road.

I know I have readers in Scotland, so be on your guard for Aaron Hill and Philip Bush, two not-to-be-trusted Sassenachs.

I conclude this section with another curiosity. If you go to the Google map for Llanystumdwy, grab the little yellow man, and try to place him on the road that runs past the woodlands that are now for sale, and you’ll find that the road is somehow closed.

Click to enlarge

I’m assured by locals that this stretch of road has always been visually ‘accessible’ on Google maps before. How strange!

BRYN LLYS

Never a dull moment with the Bryn Llys gang.

Let’s start with another court appearance, this one by erstwhile rocker Shane Baker, aka ‘ShakingShane’ (or variants thereof) when he wants to comment on newspaper reports.

He was up before the bench in Caernarfon on Monday last week charged with criminal damage caused whilst driving a large excavator from Bryn Llys to the main road where a buyer was collecting it. He might just be a poor driver or, more likely, this was another crude attempt to widen the access to Bryn Llys.

Baker’s fines and costs came to £660.

His boss, professional fraudster Jonathan Duggan, was in attendance. As was a barrister! For people with no money these buggers seem able to afford everything.

Duggan’s attempts to persuade authorities he’s a farmer continue. A source writes:

“Mr. Duggan has brought more animals onto Bryn Llys, cows, pigs and goats – he is probably going to claim that he is a farmer to justify his road. His goats have already broken a fence and escaped onto neighbouring land as there is no grass left at Bryn Llys.

The neighbouring land owner complained to the police that he was intimidated by a group of people from Bryn Llys and its collection of sheds and caravans as he and a helper returned the animals to the Bryn Llys land and repaired the fence.

I understand that a large police officer visited Bryn Llys over the incident and was subjected to a torrent of swearing and abuse by Mr. Duggan who was told that everything was being recorded by the officer’s camera and it would appear on the police log dealing with the Community Protection Notice warning already served on Mr. Duggan.

Bryn Llys has already had a visit from the RSPCA after someone who came to buy a horse was so shocked about conditions that they contacted the RSPCA. The place is overstocked with animals, hardly a blade of grass and the animal sheds are full of human beings.

What looks like a bird hide with windows has been erected by the lake which was recently dug – I expect that Bryn Llys will be claiming to be promoting wildlife after destroying much of the habitat.”

This report reminds us that quite a settlement is developing at Bryn Llys in various sheds and caravans. All crooks from over the border. How long will this be allowed to continue?

Oh, yes . . . the ‘bird hide’ blew down in last weekend’s storm.

But never mind all that, would you like a holiday at Bryn Llys? Or rather, Snowdon Summit View. You – yes, you – can “win a 3 or 4 night stay in our luxury holiday home in North Wales”. Here’s the Facebook page on which you’ll find the details.

Click to enlarge

So if you want to spend a few days surrounded by criminals, kept awake at night by starving animals, enter the competition.

The blurb says, “set within 30 acres of woodland”. Actually, there is no woodland at all. In fact, there is hardly any grass – that’s why the animals break out onto neighbours’ land looking for something to eat.

Bryn Llys / Snowdon Summit View is a wasteland, a lunar landscape. The nearest trees are in a conifer plantation across the river on someone else’s property. Even the images used on the FB page make it clear there are no trees.

These bastards just can’t stop lying.

Though there is a funny side. Someone set up a phoney competition using the same details. Here’s the link.

This is appalling! Click to enlarge

I hope GogPlod has its finest detectives working on the case to protect the reputations of Jon Duggan, Shane Baker and the other shy and retiring souls at the Snowdon Summit View Meditation Centre.

A WANDERING SHYSTER I (after Gilbert & Sullivan)

I am indebted to a source in Powys for bringing to my attention a would-be impresario by the name of Darren Knipe. Darren has plans for the old library in Knighton.

For he organises things, events and the like. Every community should have a Darren. In fact, it seems that every community in Wales does have one, and at least one. They appear as if by magic when they sniff funding in the air.

As I say, Darren now has plans for Knighton’s old library. It’s all explained on the Facebook page. So let’s go through what it offers.

Darren plans, “an accredited training centre in Community Event Management”. To be funded by . . . The governments new scheme, kickstart . . . the lost generation of 16-25 yr olds . . . making over £3bn available to pay 6 months salary and training”.

Actually it’s £2bn across the UK, though the ‘Welsh Government’ is participating.

He continues . . . “We will be working with Welsh Council of Voluntary Associations (WCVA) as our gateway partner, and will use a mix of mortgages, loans, and Social Enterprise grants to purchase building and startup costs.”

No, Darren, it’s the Wales Council for Voluntary Action. Though this section does take us to the meat – loans, grants, etc.

This is clearly an opportunity that Knighton cannot miss, and Darren warns, “I can run this anywhere, and currently looking at Newtown and Welshpool as options, which will be Knighton’s loss.”

I don’t know how to break this to you, Darren, but I suspect you wouldn’t be missed if you carried out your threat.

Now the thing about Darren is that he has history in these imaginative schemes. Which means that when Darren talks grant-grabbing bollocks he does so with some authority.

Though his business career has not been a cloudless sky.

Last year there was the attempt at crowdfunding, which raised . . . sod all! The money was wanted to teach people how to party. No doubt he does a sideline teaching cats how to catch mice.

Click to enlarge

In his favour, Darren does get about, though success is never a travelling companion.

A tool I use is 192.com and when I checked for Darren Knipe I came up with 14 results, 8 of which I suspect are him. His stay in Pembrokeshire ended in bankruptcy in 2003 or 2004.

Click to enlarge

From there he seems to have moved up to Aberystwyth before operating for a while at Llandegla, just west of Wrecsam. I’m told another bankruptcy or insolvency resulted.

In Llandegla we find Datcloud Ltd, where his partner was a Duncan Charles Ion. The company was formed in August 2014, with Knipe making it to the lifeboat in August 2015 before the good ship Datcloud went down.

Another information technology launch that had them quaking in Silicon Valley was Hootso Ltd. It filed as a dormant company and was eventually put down earlier this year.

Then there’s Dark Olive CIC. (The CIC he refers to on Facebook?) Now, chwarae teg, the latest accounts show a gross profit of £33,985.82, but it was almost all swallowed up in salaries, expenses and other running costs.

The website seems a little ‘threadbare’, as if he had one gig in 2018 and that was it.

The latest venture in which he’s involved, set up in March, is Robins Retreat Ltd, which sees our hero team up with the eponymous Robin Wealleans of Llanybydder. They can rest easy in Silicon Valley and Hollywood because this latest venture is in the holiday business.

Though anyone who thinks there are mountains in Carmarthenshire really should stop taking whatever makes him imagine them. It’s as bad as Duggan’s woodland.

“Mountains of West Wales”! Click to enlarge

In addition to Robins Retreat Ltd there is also Robins Realm Ltd, but Knipe is not involved in this one. Though I would have expected to see him on board another of Wealleans’ new companies as it could be named for him – My Catastrophe Ltd.

Listen to me, Darren . . . stop fantasising about being Knighton’s (publicly-funded) Jean-Michel Jarre and just get a real bloody job.

CONCLUSION

Was any country that hadn’t been militarily invaded and taken over ever cursed with so many undesirable outsiders?

But they come, and they keep coming, because we have politicians that encourage some of these buggers and do nothing to stop the others. Worse, they even fund them!

♦ end ♦

 




Miscellany 14.10.2020

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

This week we’re back to the Miscellany format, with a mixture of updates and new reports. It’s big, but broken up into digestible chunks.

GWYNFRYN 

To make sense of this section you’ll need to know what has preceded it. So if you haven’t read the previous issues I suggest you start with ‘Residential units’ – how many is too many?. This was followed with an update in Poor Wales: magnet for property spivs, fraudsters, and enviroshysters.

What remains of the Gwynfryn estate of Hugh John Ellis-Nanney near Llanystumdwy has been split. Philip Andrew Bush has retained the land for himself after selling the shell of the house – which was badly damaged by fire in 1982 – to his good friend Aaron Hill, with whom Bush stays when he visits the area.

Bush needs accommodation because he may live in Kent, or he may live somewhere more exotic, where vitamin D deficiency is unlikely to trouble the locals. I suggest this possibility because Bush has been associated with a number of companies registered in locations where a very laid back approach is found to keeping records and obeying the law.

We are now asked to believe that this listed building Bush sold to Hill is to be given new life with ’30 residential units’. You can view the rudimentary plans here. The more I learn about this project the less sure I am that much, if anything, of the old building will be re-used.

I say that for a number of reasons.

First, the building has been treated with contempt by Bush and those he has allowed to use it. In the previous posting I mentioned a character named John Day. The pictures below follow his time at Gwynfryn; when Bush allowed Day to use this piece of Welsh history as a scrapyard.

Just click on an image to enlarge it.

You may recall that in an earlier post I referred to plastic chairs from Butlins. One of the images above corrects my mistake.

Then there was the second fire, in 2013. Philip Bush has been so unlucky with fires.

Click to enlarge

Over and above these mishaps the general condition of the old pile suggests it may be past saving. For it’s not just general and gradual decay. Sometimes things take a dramatic turn with a fall of masonry.

Again, click on an image to enlarge it.

So for a number of reasons I suspect that whoever’s behind this project – and the jury’s still out on this – will incorporate very little if anything of the old building into the new. No matter what is claimed in the planning application.

‘SEND A MESSAGE TO LONDON’

The name Tyisha might be familiar because it’s the area near Llanelli railway station that’s plagued by petty criminals and drug addicts. Tyisha is now the most deprived ward in the whole county of Carmarthenshire. Here’s a report from WalesOnline.

You’ll read one local complain, “I think the area’s used as a place to put undesirables . . . a lot of landlords in the area don’t know what their residents get up to and don’t care – they just care about the money in their pockets . . . so many of the drug abusers they’re not even from the area – loads of them are coming here from England, why are they all being dumped here?”

(Many of the ‘landlords’ will be housing associations.)

People are being dumped in Tyisha because a number of third sector bodies and other agencies have found a location with the necessary criteria: working class urban area (locals can be ignored), near railway station (‘clients’ can be put on a train from anywhere), cheap property (ideal for HMOs).

Of course, once the rot sets in there begins a spiral of decline that only benefits those causing the problem. What I mean is that property prices fall even further because nobody wants to live in Tyisha. Those locals who have not moved out are now stuck in houses worth less than they were worth five years ago.

Although Plaid Cymru is supposed to run the county council, and has even held the Llanelli seat in Corruption Bay, the town councillors are overwhelmingly Labour. And some of them are of the worst sort.

Though Gary Jones in Llangennech is definitely one of the better ones (he’s even sent me photos of Dennis Coslett’s grave). But I’m afraid he’s let himself down by his involvement with Tyisha.

Click to enlarge

It pains me to say this, but what I see here is a Labour councillor apparently celebrating the misery brought to an area of his town by his party’s cronies in the third sector and housing associations. It supports the widely-held view that Labour keeps Wales poor in order to blame the Tories and keep getting elected.

What the hell were you thinking, Gary? What is that pose?

Last year it was announced that Tyisha may be in line for cosmetic redevelopment to the tune of over £9m. Which means that Tyisha can look forward to those big flower pots on the streets for the drug addicts and the drunks to use as very public lavatories.

Here’s a suggestion for the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’. Don’t give public funding to your cronies for them to import problems and then we won’t have to spend yet more Welsh public money to remedy those problems. Capiche?

What a way to run a country!

If we had a functioning media then the properties causing the worst problems would be identified, the relevant information obtained from the council and the Land Registry. And then the owners of those properties, and/or those renting or leasing the properties, would be named and shamed.

And then, rather than capitalising on peoples’ misery, the town’s Labour councillors might pull their fingers out and demand an end to it.

OPD GARRISONS

Over the years I’ve written a lot about One Planet Developments. I wish there’d be no need to write anything because I wish the insane TAN 6 legislation had never been passed.

But it was passed and, predictably, it is now being abused. For people soon realised that the OPD route offered a way around the ban on new dwellings in open country. That’s because planning permission is guaranteed if you can satisfy planners the dwelling you want qualifies as an OPD.

We’re at the stage now where a ‘Hobbit house’ that cost a few thousand to knock together with straw bales and bits of spare wood is being offered for sale at £475,000. There is some uncertainty in planning circles as to whether such a structure can be demolished and replaced with a conventional bricks and mortar mansion.

That the seller feels they can ask this price suggests they believe such a transformation can now be wrought.

While on the outskirts of Swansea developers have seen a way to build properties in the green belt – with a few acres of land – by calling them ‘farmlets’. Each of them less than two acres.

Now I learn of yet another innovative approach to OPDs from Swansea, this time a plan to house military veterans. And not just one settlement but “a network of ecovillages”.

I have to confess that when I saw the city of my dreams linked with veterans my heart sank. I immediately thought of this crew, the Democrats and Veterans Party, shown here at one of their shindigs.

Click to enlarge

Though since I wrote about them (scroll down to section ‘(swivel) eyes right!’ they have renamed themselves the Five Star Direct Democracy Party. And they’ll be standing next year in the elections for what they still call the Welsh Assembly.

(It’s going to be a crowded field on the BritNat fringe!)

But thankfully there appears to be no connection between the would-be eco-warriors and those seeking to marry up Great with Britain again.

That said, it’s difficult figuring out which organisation is actually behind this project, because a number are named.

In no particular order, they are: Garrison Farm CIC (originally Project One Ecovillage) a company formed in March; the Community Ecological Land Trust (CELT); and EcoSpace Housing Co-operative, which seems to have an address in Swansea and can be found on the Directory of community-led housing in Wales website, but about which I know little else.

Click to enlarge

The two principals are Christopher John Carree, who lives in Ravenhill, and Ross Edwards of Morriston, who is clearly local. With maybe Carree in the driving seat.

And yet, despite the Swansea connections, the Garrison Farm Facebook page suggests the operation is based in Chester. Though the map is fixed on Brittany!

If we are to have OPDs then I’m sure some would prefer Welsh veterans living on them rather than charlatans from over the border doing well-paid day jobs in England and using the OPD as a weekend retreat.

Something that – coincidentally! –  I’ve exposed quite recently. Scroll down to ‘One Planet Developments’.

As I’ve hinted, the worry is that too often the term ‘veterans’ links with far right politics. And heading out into the boondocks of Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire has echoes of US militias getting away from the federal government.

Maybe Messrs Carree and Edwards can clear things up.

While I was looking into this report I ran across a site that brings together those looking for land in Wales suitable for OPDs. You might want to follow it. If nothing else, reading it will remind you of the threat posed by One Planet Developments.

‘I DON’T WANT TO GROUSE, BUT . . . ‘

Actually, they’re pheasants, but you get my drift. And they’re to be shot on land around Cwmrhaidr, to the south of Machynlleth.

I suppose I first became aware of the issue when I saw a tweet from beaver lover Iolo Williams. Yet another rich person from England has bought a chunk of Wales and proceeded to do whatever he likes.

Iolo Williams calls for Natural Resources Wales to intervene. Touching. He’d have had more chance of a response if he’d called on the Vladivostok fire department.

Click to enlarge

This new site for game shooting is marketed as, ‘Dyfi Falls’ by Guns on Pegs. It’s said to be “near the village of Machnylleth (sic), in mid Wales”.

Another company involved is Cambrian Birds, which is not an escort agency (as I’d hoped), but organises days out for the kind of braying ass prepared to pay £395 for a ‘sock’. (Not sure if that’s one sock or a pair.)

A resistance group was set up on September 30th called Arbed Cwmrhaidr a’r Llyfnant (Save Cwmrhaidr and the Llyfnant).  The group explains that its concerns are not limited to the unnecessary killing of birds for sport:

“The release of 40,000 gamebirds, most of which seem to be escaping into neighbouring farms and woodlands (including SSSIs), are already causing massive ecological damage. They eat endangered plants and animals, compete with native wildlife for food, and their excrement creates ammonia pollution capable of destroying the rare species that are special to this place.

The bulldozing of trees and new roads is devastating this landscape, a famous beauty spot since Victorian times.

Who benefits? Not local people. The company (Cambrian Birds) is registered in Shropshire. The owner is in Essex. The gamekeepers have been brought in. The clients pay over £2500 per day, but it will be invisible to the local economy.”

I’m not sure I approve of, “famous beauty spot since Victorian times”. Wasn’t the area beautiful before it was ‘discovered’ by visitors from over the border? We’re in Columbus territory here.

As you’ve read, the land was bought by a man from Essex and has been leased to Cambrian Birds. If the protesters know the identity of the buyer they seem reluctant to make it public. Thankfully, the quibble-free proprietor of this blog has no such qualms.

Here’s the title document. It tells us that the land was bought by Thomas William Speakman for £4.75m, without apparently needing a loan or a mortgage. I’m afraid the Land Registry did not offer a plan of the land via website enquiry.

How did we get to this situation?

Certain agencies, including the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’, have been so successful in ‘selling’ Wales that many people now see Wales as the new frontier (or maybe the final frontier); a territory just waiting to be ‘opened up’, peopled only by primitive natives who can be brushed aside.

They will continue to believe this until we, the Welsh people, make them realise they’ve got it wrong. And it has to be us because no one else will do it.

To end on a lighter note. Something that occurred to me as I was writing this piece is that these birds are now running wild on land coveted by the rewilders of Summit to Sea.

What do Monbiot and his chorus of memsahibs have to say about this?

AN UNUSUAL SCAM

A good source has been in touch to tell me of a couple in their sixties, husband and wife, man and woman, male and female, who stayed – briefly – in a cottage he owns. They stayed one night, left early the next day and then tried a bit of blackmail.

Which is why they’re appearing here.

They arrived the Friday before last having booked through holidaycottages.co.uk. Within an hour the woman was on the phone complaining that the television didn’t work, the place was filthy, and she had been vacuum cleaning almost since she’d arrived.

When the guests went out for dinner the cleaner checked the place out – everything was fine, and the hoover hadn’t been used.

Early the next morning my source found a scruffy note pushed through his letter-box with a litany of complaints – but the pair had fled! He soon received an e-mail, which read:

“Following our abortive holiday to the above cottage which we left on 3 October 2020 due to dirty condition, missing/not working equipment, we have contacted holidaycottages.co.uk with photographs of the filthy conditions and await their response.

We have given that company 7 days in which to respond to our refund request and advised them that if they do not respond within that timeframe, we will issue county court proceedings (small claims jurisdiction) against them bringing you in as third party defendants.

While we would like to resolve this matter amicably, we shall have no hesitation in publishing our photographs online and commencing said proceedings in the event you or the holiday cottage agent do not strive to reach a mutually acceptable resolution to this matter.

It would appear, thus far, our communications with the company are going unanswered and, hence, court proceedings look inevitable unless you wish to settle this matter yourselves”.

Then the photographs materialised. I’m using just two to make the point. The one on the left is claimed to be from inside the cottage. The one on the right is actually from inside the cottage. Two completely different window frames.

And yet . . . in both images we see the same yard. Someone has gone to the trouble of Photoshopping the image on the left by imposing the phoney window frame onto a genuine picture of the yard below!

Click to enlarge

There was an exchange of e-mails which resulted in the complainant giving her bank details and demanding an instant refund for the two weeks she and her silent husband had paid for.

As far as my source and the local police can figure it . . . the woman would have quickly cancelled or claimed back the payment made on her credit card, then demanded a refund from holidaycottages.co.uk, plus a refund – or more – from my source using the threat of putting the doctored photographs online.

This was too well practised to be a one-off. So if Mrs Sandra T—–t of W—— M—–, Suffolk, tries to book a holiday in your property tell her you’re hosting the Liberal Democrats’ annual conference and both bedrooms are taken.

My source made light of it eventually, and had a little laugh in his final e-mail to her. Here’s an extract:

“But then was it worth it, such a tawdry little scam – surely you are now old enough to see how pathetic you are. You made so many mistakes . . . the fingerprints and some lovely CCTV shots of you enjoying P———. A word of advice, the trouser suit is not a good look in a woman of your age – especially from behind”.

The fellow’s a cad!

THE BLM DIVIDEND

Ever since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis the world has gone a little bit crazy. But there’s never been a better time for those who can sniff out Welsh public funding from a long way away. From England, in fact.

It’s time to introduce Diverse Cymru. The name says a lot.

You must have noticed that any third sector organisation hoping for Welsh money either gives itself a full-on Welsh name or, at the very least, adds ‘Cymru’ to the name of the local branch of an English organisation.

As for diversity, it will ‘represent’ a tiny percentage of the population. In my experience BAME organisations are usually made up of sub-Saharan Africans and those with origins in India or Pakistan. Others, such as the industrious Chinese, seem to be totally absent. And of course, there are white people – usually women – with Labour Party connections, in order to ease the flow of the lucre.

The help such organisations provide to members of the public is debatable, but they serve their primary function, which is to create well-paid sinecures and regular jollies for a class of people, often ‘woke’ to the point of hysteria, who might be unemployable in the real world.

Diverse Cymru made the news recently with this call for more help for BAME people suffering mental health issues under Covid lockdown restrictions. According to Samira Salter of Diverse Cymru, BAME people have been “forgotten about” during the pandemic.

Which is nonsense. George Floyd was killed on May 2, and BAME people have never experienced such solicitous attention as in the period since his death.

Image: BBC Wales. Click to enlarge

The people who have suffered worst under Covid are poor people. And certainly many BAME people fall into that category. But the great majority of poor people in Wales are white. It’s about poverty, not colour.

And if we’re dealing with the mental health issues around Coronavirus and lockdown, then I guarantee that these problems are worse in rural areas, not the cities and towns where BAME populations are largely found.

So who runs Diversity Cymru? A source has given me some information and after reading it I knew what kind of body we are dealing with.

“Lead director is Ms Eunica Aure who’s an economist from the Philippines and was a government Spad there. After a stint in the Asian banking sector she moved to London to work on land evaluation of estates in Afghanistan and now works for WYG the consultants that management consult on overseas aid.

Mr Benjamin Coates. His full time job is Assistant Director & Head of Performance and Effectiveness at Equality and Human Rights Commission, based in London.

Ms Helen Susannah Dodoo. Her daytime job is Assistant General Manager at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, which on her Linkedin profile she has located in New South Wales, Australia. She actually lives in Pontcanna, Cardiff.”

What the hell do these people know about Wales? Who appointed them trustees?

I didn’t believe the bit about New South Wales, so I checked. It’s true.

Click to enlarge

These people, remember, are the trustees of a ‘Welsh’ third sector body that has received millions and millions of pounds of Welsh public funding.

The website tells us, “Diverse Cymru was created in 2010 through a merger between Cardiff and Vale Coalition of Disabled People and Awetu” (Swahili for unity).

Diverse Cymru is either a pantomime horse of an organisation or a clever merger suggesting disabled people and BAME populations have a shared experience of discrimination.

Whatever the answer, how many other BAME bodies are operating in Wales? And how many charities and local government services for the disabled? And how many bodies tackling mental health issues?

With Diverse Cymru we find yet more of the duplication, competition and waste of money that we find wherever we look in the third sector.

Let’s focus on the money for a bit.

The company is actually called Diverse Excellence Cymru Ltd. And it should go without saying that in addition to the grant funding it has also received a loan from the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’s, Finance Wales Investments Ltd.

(And there was me thinking that Finance Wales exists to build up the Welsh economy, to create jobs.)

Down in the south west, local authorities are coughing up lots of money for Diverse Cymru to deliver services to the disabled which elsewhere, and on the national stage, Diverse Cymru seems to have abandoned.

As the latest accounts tell us, the principle source of funding now is now Direct Payments from the three local authorities of the south west. This explains the office in Carmarthen.

While it seems to have a free hand in the south west, in Newport Diverse Cymru “works alongside the Council’s Independent Living Advisors”. Click to enlarge

For some reason the funding from Pembrokeshire reduced by more than 50% from 2018 to 2019, while the other two authorities increased their payments. What is the explanation for these variations?

Of course, getting paid for delivering services looks a lot better than just getting hand-outs from the ‘Welsh Government’, and this is reflected in the table below.

Click to enlarge

But I return to what I said earlier about Diverse Cymru being an absurd hybrid trying to deliver two unrelated services. Not only that, but we have also found a geographic split between the Cardiff-based, BAME arm, and the council-funded services for independent living for the disabled organised from Carmarthen.

And so I can’t help wondering if any of that money raised in the south west is funding what are clearly the true priorities of Diverse Cymru.

LLANGEFNI SHIRE HALL

It’s time to catch up with another rascal in the manly form of Tristan Scott Haynes who, last year, bought the old Shire Hall in Llangefni, capital of Ynys Môn.

Tristan appeared on this site in Not another one!, after which he was called back for a few curtain-calls in Wales, colonialism and corruption (scroll down to section ‘Llangefni Hire Hall’), Miscellany 06.06.2020 (‘Ynys Môn 2’), before finally putting his head around the curtain in Odds & Sods 22.07.2020 (‘Llangefni Shire Hall’).

In that final appearance I reported that the Shire Hall was up for sale. That, I thought, was the end of it, unless another ‘interesting’ character took the stage.

Click to enlarge

But now I learn that the old monstrosity has been withdrawn from sale.

Not only that, but Haynes is touting for investors. Or rather, he has issued a prospectus that says it’s directed at contractors to fulfil his dream in Llangefni, but as you read the document you soon realise he’s looking for money.

The prospectus is issued by his company Chief Properties Ltd, though it doesn’t say whether it came from the Paris office or the Los Angeles office. In truth, it’s probably from the garage he rents in Bedford.

There is no website for Chief Properties, but I did find a very basic YouTube channel. I suppose it has to be basic because the company has no money and is lumbered with two loans from Together Commercial Finance Ltd, another of the ‘specialist lenders’ that we so often find in Manchester.

Read the prospectus for yourself. (I am indebted to a recipient for sending it to me. He assures me he’s ripped open the sofa and is now going through all his trouser pockets in order to cash in on this unmissable offer.)

As such documents go, it’s badly written. I suppose this would serve as an example, “29th May 2020 Executives of the Anglesey County Council suggests and supports the development of SHIRE HALL to residential use.”

In addition, it’s amateurishly compiled with a number of spelling mistakes. One glaring mistake, due to the large print, is the “Ariel view” provided of the building.

And here’s an example of the gibberish I’m referring to. What the hell is it trying to say? How does the council feel about being associated with this? It reads like a very poor translation.

Click to enlarge

But it’s not all bad, for the prospectus reminds us of Eryri’s claim to fame: “Snowdonia National Park – otherwise known as the adventure capital of the UK”.

The bastion of Welsh resistance to English aggression now reduced to England’s playground. Makes you proud to be Welsh.

♦ end ♦

 




Poor Wales: magnet for property spivs, fraudsters, and enviroshysters

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’m kicking off with an update of last week’s piece about the old Gwynfryn mansion near Llanystumdwy. The ‘main course’ will be a fuller account of the crooks behind the Glynllifon project on Ynys Môn. But I’ve also slipped in a couple of tit-bits: news of the latest windfarm, and the curious business career of the guy at the centre of the cladding scandal in Corruption Bay.

GWYNFRYN

To recap: Plas Gwynfryn / Gwynfryn Plas is a 19th century gentry mansion near Llanystumdwy that ended up as a hotel and was badly damaged by fire in 1982. Since when it has lain empty. Deteriorating.

As I reported last week, plans have recently emerged to convert the old pile into ’30 residential units’.

A planning application has been submitted by Partington & Associates Ltd on behalf of DM Property Group Ltd with David George Taylor a director of both companies. The details can be found by following this link.

Image: Daily Mail. Click to enlarge

The Gwynfryn ruin itself is owned by Aaron Hill, a self-styled ‘property developer’ who drifted into Gwynedd a decade or more ago. He is an associate of the Duggan family of Bryn Llys, criminals of whom I have written a number of times. Most recently, last month, in ‘Bryn Llys, the Liverpool connection’.

Though the ‘developers’ in this instance are Anthony John Wilmott and James Edward Armstrong. The latter has a company called Acquérir Ltd; Wilmott has a few companies of his own; but they get together in Armstrong Wilmott Ltd.

OK, so what’s new?

Let’s go back to the fire in 1982. I’m having this second-hand, of course, but a member of the fire service told a local that the fire was started in a number of different places. Arson was suspected.

Soon after the fire, the owner of Gwynfryn, Philip Andrew Bush, disappeared, and was not seen again until 1995. Around the same time a John Day appeared, apparently acting for Bush, sometimes posing as a prospective buyer.

Day was in fact a scrap dealer and, “Over the next few years he filled the derelict building and grounds with scrap from various locations in the area including the old Butlins, a wood-yard and chapel and many scrap vehicles. This caused great disturbance to the surrounding neighbours”.

Bush seemed to vanish again around 2001/2. Day too, leaving the accumulated junk at Gwynfryn.

Day moved to Llanwnda where he ran a junk/antique business. On the death of his partner a dispute is reported between Day and his late partner’s children, with them getting access to Gwynfryn. I’m told that £20,000 was realised from the 80 tons of metal and vehicles cleared away.

The plastic chairs and other junk from Butlins and elsewhere was left. And is still there.

In the earlier piece I told you, ” . . . in April 1980 a couple named Hooper sold what remained of the Gwynfryn estate to Global Leisure Ltd. In 1995 it was transferred to Magnet International Holdings Ltd, a Guernsey-registered company. Magnet was compulsorily struck off in 2006.”

I have since learnt that on the passing of Magnet International Holdings ownership transferred to Casablanca Investments Inc of Monrovia, Liberia. There are many companies with the same or similar names but I can’t track down that one.

Liberia makes sense given that Bush is said to be in the shipping business. Though some suggest he is not so much a shipping magnate as another scrap merchant. Perhaps involved in this kind of activity.

Also, while Bush may give an address in Switzerland, and perhaps claims to be a tax exile, many believe he lives in England. Kent, to be more exact. And to take exactitude to an even higher lever, the Canterbury-Faversham area.

This Steptoe of the Seven Seas resurfaced again around 2017 and a sale was agreed with Aaron Hill. After which the new owner of Gwynfryn became quite the busy boy, cutting trees, tidying up the drive, and you’ll never guess who helped him – the Bryn Llys gang!

Knowing how altruism weeps from every tattooed and stretched pore I’m sure there was no ulterior motive in them doing this work. Perish the thought!

Then again . . .

To give you some idea of when the latest dynamic duo got involved, Wilmott put out what you see below on his Facebook page 23 April, and Armstrong put out this video a day later.

Click to enlarge

Which means that Wilmott and Armstrong have been involved for at least six months.

It’s also clear that they’ve been dealing with Gwynedd’s planning department, and they’ve found these discussions encouraging. One of them told neighbours that planners are ‘desperate’ to see something done at Gwynfryn.

I do hope this ‘desperation’ hasn’t beguiled the boys into thinking this is in the bag.

Though they might believe they have an ace in the hole. For one of them has stated that there exists legislation allowing old buildings to be developed without restrictions if costs are too high to restore to the building to its original state.

They may believe this gives them carte blanche to do whatever they like at Gwynfryn.

But there are other issues the developers and investors are probably hoping aren’t raised. Which is why I’m raising them!

Image: Google. The entrance to Gwynfryn showing the lodge or gate house. Click to enlarge

For example, there’s the access to Gwynfryn, the only access. Right on a junction. Now this was no problem when the squire was trotting to church of a Sunday in the 1880s; but twenty-first century traffic – especially in the summer months when the ‘residential units’ will be busiest – has to condemn the project to the receptacle marked ‘Trash’.

For I would be surprised, alarmed even, if Cyngor Gwynedd’s Highways Department didn’t have something to say about this accident black spot just waiting to make the front pages of the local weeklies.

Finally, Natural Resources Wales will have to do a bat survey. And although they don’t notice ‘nuclear mud’ when it’s dumped off Cardiff, or iffy timber contracts, they will soon realise that the Gwynfryn ruin is home to many bats.

The bats aren’t alone, for there are owls and other critters to be found in the ruins.

Given the criminals peripheral to this project, and the offshore links, I believe that, to allay the reasonable fears of a number of people, Cyngor Gwynedd must insist that the identity / identities of the investors behind the project be made public.

ANOTHER ‘COMMUNITY OWNED, LOCAL BENEFITS’ WIND FARM. NOT

Do you remember those far-off days when devolution was young, gambolling in the yet empty meadows of Cardiff Bay? When there was hope in the collective Cymric breast as we looked forward to a new era of progress and prosperity?

No, nor me.

Though I do recall that when the ‘Welsh Government’ started implementing the legislation that it insisted was to be our contribution to saving the planet we were promised bounty unlimited in terms of jobs and benefits for hard-pressed rural communities and post-industrial urban areas.

This was the sugar to sweeten the pill of tearing up our forests and peat bogs to plant thousands of wind turbines. And it probably explains Natural Resources Wales, which came into existence, fittingly, on All Fools’ Day 2013.

Since then it’s been a succession of wind farms across the land owned by hedge funds, companies nobody’d heard of ’til they crossed the Dyke, government-owned companies from Germany and Scandinavia, with the only Welsh beneficiaries being hard-pressed – sometimes absentee – landlords.

And now there’s to be another, on Mynydd Margam, above Port Talbot. Though it was announced over a year ago only now is the opposition organising. And that opposition seems to include local Tory MS Suzy Davies.

Image: Beryl Richards. Mynydd Margam. Click to enlarge

Perhaps to vary the mix, this particular project is a joint English-Irish venture. From Ireland we have state-owned ESB, while from England (possibly Scotland) we have Coriolis Energy Ltd.

But of course, no Welsh involvement.

The only director of Coriolis is David Charles Murray, who doubles up as secretary. The company is in debt. Murray is also secretary-director of the Vale of Leven Wind Farm Ltd, a company formed in July last year.

But perhaps both come under the umbrella of Coriolis Energy Developments LLP. Yes, a Limited Liability Partnership, which itself was only formed in July 2019.

There are other Coriolis companies associated with Murray, but they’re either too new to have filed accounts, or they’re in the red, or, in the case of Coriolis Renewable Energy Ltd – the oldest of the Murray Coriolis companies – it was dissolved in 2015.

There’s not a lot there to inspire confidence. Little experience and less money. So why has Murray got the Margam Mountain gig? Well, boys and girls, I suspect he has connections . . . in London.

Which brings me back to Natural Resources Wales. For NRW has given permission for this new wind farm on land it owns.

If you look at the NRW board, then from the chairman down, you’ll find people who would have had trouble finding Wales on a map. That’s because they’ve been appointed by someone, or some committee, outside of Wales.

If we go back to the origin of the NRW, it’s widely known that the new agency took over the responsibilities of Forestry Commission Wales, The Countryside Council for Wales and Environment Agency Wales. What is less well known is that NRW also took powers from the ‘Welsh Government’ – yet we are asked to believe that NRW answers to the buffoons in Corruption Bay!

No, Natural Resources Wales was set up at the instigation of London to facilitate the kind of developments we’re looking at here. But not only wind turbines.

For once you realise the nature of the beast, other things become clear. Such as the matter I hinted at earlier, why NRW was so easily satisfied that mud being dumped off Cardiff from Hinkley Point nuclear power station is safe.

It’s because the word came down – to both NRW and the ‘Welsh Government’ – that the decision had been made. Accept it!

Why couldn’t the ‘Welsh Government’ have set up a company to design and build wind turbines in Wales? It could have created a few thousand jobs and kept a lot of money in the country. And if we’d been good at it, then that company could have competed for contracts around the world.

I’ll tell you why – because that’s not how a colony is allowed to operate.

GLYNLLIFON, YNYS MÔN

Last month I wrote about a development at Marianglas on Ynys Môn. Click here and scroll down to section ‘Glynllifon Ltd’. I suggest you read it to avoid me having to repeat myself, again.

More information has been received. Much more. It’s pretty disturbing to realise that creatures like those you’re going to read about are walking around free. Worse, that they can still find ways to invest money they don’t officially possess.

Money they’ve conned out of decent, hard-working people.

The two I’m going to write about are Neil Moir, a native of Cheshire now living on Ynys Môn, and Rhys Wyn Williams, a local.

Glynllifon. Click to enlarge

Let’s deal with Neil Moir first.

As we read in this report from 1999: ‘THE winner of top TV quiz Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is set to lose his fortune – because he is a crook.

Millions saw 51-year-old Neil Muir (sic) land a £64,000 prize this week. But under the programme’s rules he is BANNED from entering.

Muir has convictions for theft, deception and forgery. And Rule 6 says: “You must . . . have no criminal convictions (subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974).” London TV company Celador launched an investigation yesterday.’

Moir is a fundamentally dishonest individual. A career con man.

By one route or another he found his way to Bodorgan. From where he now runs a number of companies. Here are some more. But Glynllifon Ltd, which owns the Glynllifon Hotel (click for title document), uses an accommodation address in London.

You’ll see that the purchase was made with loans from one of the many ‘specialist lenders’ in Manchester. This one being Goldcrest Finance Ltd. Remember the name, for we’ll return to it later.

Also worth noting is Moir’s company Impactt Properties Ltd, which changed its name from NE11 Ltd in August 2017. There is significance in the ‘tt’ that will be also become clear.

A few years back Moir got involved with local con man Rhys Williams. I can call him that with certainty. Here’s a report from the Daily Post of Williams’ appearance on Y Byd ar Bedwar, complete with video.

Rhys Williams with his wife, Lisa Alaw (nee Saxon). On the right a poster compiled by a man who has lost hundreds of thousands of pounds to Williams. The reference to ‘sex addict is about a trip made, from Spain to Dubai, in which Williams convinced his companion that the investment was sound. While there, Williams spent a lot of time trying to hook up with, er, hookers. Click to enlarge

And because so many of his victims were resident in Spain, here’s a report from Canarian Weekly. He also made the Olive Press. Note that both reports make sure we know Williams is Welsh!

This is a rather complicated story with the potential to overwhelm and confuse, so I’ll try to simplify it.

1/ Rhys Wyn Williams is a fraudster and a con man. He has ripped off many people and owes millions of pounds.

2/ Much of this criminality took place in Spain and the Gulf of Iran. A great deal of the money was channelled though Dubai.

3/ These criminal assets are now being repatriated back to the UK.

4/ Neil Moir acts as front man, helping launder the criminal assets through property deals.

To confirm the Williams-Impactt-Moir link, the three documents below should help. They’re set out in chronological order.

On the left we see an announcement from January 2016 that Rhys Williams was appointed the legal representative of Impactt General Trading Ltd of Dubai. The document signed by Brian Balachander, director and shareholder of Impactt.

In the centre we see a letter(?) from Neil Moir, using his Bodorgan address, and Impactt headed notepaper, telling Czech company Via Aurata Europaea SE that he is ready to receive the “underwriting fee of £150,000.00”. To be sent to the Commercial Bank of Dubai. The UK face of this company is Via Aurata Ltd, but the only director is resident in the Czech Republic.

On the right you’ll see a capture from the Companies House filings for a company called Golden East Limited. This company brings together Moir and Balachander.

A further link comes with this Impactt document signed by Balachander which uses the same font and logo as on the one below used by Moir.

Click to enlarge

(In case the image is a bit large to handle, it’s also available here in PDF format.)

The address for Golden East is Kemp House, 160 City Road, London EC1V 2NX . . . the same address as Moir’s company Glynllifon Ltd. What’s more it was set up 14 June – just 4 days after Glynllifon Ltd. Such coincidences!

Another Moir company at the same address is Helvetia Finvest Ltd. Incorporated in August last year. The other director was Lode Hendrikx, a Belgian, resident in the Netherlands, who I’m told has done bird in Switzerland.

It should be pointed out that the London operation was just a branch of the main outfit headquartered in Maastricht.

The declared directors of Golden East have been Moir, Balachander and John McKenzie, but when we look at the distribution of the shares we see that a majority is held by Vijay Anandan Somu Rao. So who’s he?

Golden East Ltd shares allocation. Click to enlarge

Before moving on, you might as well know that there is also an Impactt company registered in the Netherlands. No surprise there, then!

As we’ve seen, Glynllifon Ltd was the vehicle set up to buy the Glynllifon hotel in September last year for a claimed £850,000. I emphasise ‘claimed’ because the building is worth half that. But paying over the odds is a classic money-laundering tactic.

Though the money to make the purchase allegedly came from Goldcrest Finance Ltd of Manchester, run by a family of Indian heritage. The other directors are John Charles McGuire and Steven Mark Gildea.

I’m fairly sure that McGuire and Gildea both live in Manchester, but Gildea might be of interest to Welsh readers.

I say that because other companies he’s involved with are: White House (Criccieth) Management Ltd; Aber Flats Management Company Ltd and Gwel yr Afon Ltd.

I’m not for one minute suggested that Gildea is up to no good but he is a director of Goldcrest Finance, and there are certainly questions to be asked of any company getting involved with Neil Moir and Rhys Williams.

Though telling Moir and Williams apart may not always be easy. Because there are those convinced Williams uses Moir’s name. It would make sense, because Williams is a bankrupt twice over, and before hiraeth got the better of him in Marbella he pissed off people it’s unwise to piss off.

However it’s being done, Williams and Moir are trying to launder dirty money through various property deals in north west Wales. Another one is the site of the old Marine Hotel in Caernarfon; on North Road overlooking the Menai.

Click to enlarge

Now you know me, I love to make enquiries . . .

The Marine Hotel site was bought in July this year by Malaysian Invest Ltd, a company giving an address we’re very familiar with – 160 City Road, London EC1V 2NX. The only director of this company is . . . yes, Neil Moir!

(Brian Balachander, of Golden East, has associates in Malaysia.)

The money to make the purchase supposedly came from Broadoak Private Finance Ltd of Abercynon . . . sorry! Manchester. Another of those ‘specialist lenders’ that seem to account for most of that city’s financial sector.

But Moir and Williams don’t need to borrow money. So taking out loans could mean:

  • The lender is a distraction to disguise the fact the buyers already have money
  • The lender will be ripped off (as happened with the loans to those who ended up at Plas Glynllifon. See ‘Weep for Wales’).

There was certainly no need to borrow money in this case. Because if we go back to the title document we see that in 2016 this land (with a couple of adjoining titles) was sold for £300,000. This, I’m told, was a cash purchase by Rhys Williams.

So, either Moir has bought the Marine Hotel site off Rhys Williams or, if Williams is using Moir’s name, then he’s bought it from himself. (Again, echoes of Plas Glynllifon.)

Lies, corruption and money laundering from start to finish. And on an inter-continental scale.

Which is why I insist that, as with Gwynfryn, planners and councillors should demand to know who is ultimately behind every commercial property development. Where is the money coming from?

I wish to thank Adrian Parsons, a victim of Rhys Williams, for his valuable contribution to this report.

Having mentioned Plas Glynllifon at Llandwrog more than once you might be interested to learn that Plas Glynllifon Ltd was finally wound up by an order of the court on 21 September. 

At the end, the company left eight unpaid loans with Together Commercial Finance Ltd – yet another of Manchester’s ‘specialist lenders’.

CLAD IN CONFUSION WITH A DOLLOP OF BULLSHIT

If you’ve been following the news then you’ll know that serious concerns have been raised about cladding on blocks of flats in Corruption Bay. And indeed elsewhere in Wales. But as concerns were taken to local MS Neil McEvoy, and given the number of new apartment blocks in Cardiff, that’s been the focus.

Finding the problem was enough of a worry, but now it’s emerged that the certificates saying everything was hunky-dory were faked. This came to light when one of the residents of Century Wharf became suspicious of the signature on the External Wall Fire Review (EWS1).

Image: WalesOnline. Click to enlarge

This concerned resident rang the surveyor – who was horrified to learn that her signature appeared to be on the form, because she had not signed it.

The inspection was undertaken by Specialist Facade Inspections Ltd, a company set up as recently as last October in Newbridge, Gwent; and with just one director, 22-year-old Joshua Tedstone.

Yet the article linked to says: “Paul Tedstone, chief technical officer of Specialist Facade Inspections, founded the company with his son in October last year. The company offers EWS1 certifications, cladding inspections and remedial works like re-cladding.”

So why isn’t the father a director of the company?

Whatever the answer, Tedstone Snr was adamant that he hadn’t forged the signatures either. And I’ve been told he’s probably right.

Even so, I got to wondering about Tedstone, and his background. What I found out makes for interesting reading. Below is a list of the companies Paul Tedstone has been involved with. Many of them have gone belly-up owing a lot of money.

I suppose it could all be bad luck . . . one episode after another of bad luck. But I find it difficult to believe that anybody could be this unlucky.

Paul Tedstone’s business record can be broken into three parts:

1/ From 1996 he was involved in three companies with a Glenn Dunn, all of which failed, one spectacularly, owing over £1.5m.

2/ From 2011 to 2017 he has parted company with Dunn, yet we see more failed companies, setting new records for debt.

3/ From 2018 Tedstone seems to have teamed up with local businessmen running interlinked companies. (The one exception is Alusafe ACM Ltd.)

Here’s the list of companies Paul Tedstone has been involved with in chronological order by his involvement. (And here’s the table in pdf format with working links.)

Click to enlarge

This story is still being teased out, but few will emerge from it with any credit.

Certainly not the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’, which was given some £60m by Westminster for this very purpose . . . but spent it on something else.

HOW DID WE GET INTO THIS MESS?

For socialists like Labour and Plaid Cymru the 18th and 19th centuries were terrible times, ‘the people’ exploited by ‘evil capitalists’. (Leftists love their labels and their cliches!) And yet . . .

Those ‘evil capitalists’ who owned the mines, the slate quarries, the steel and tinplate works, even the great country estates and the big houses – created hundreds of thousands of jobs. Jobs that supported families, and communities, and a nation.

The countryside was dotted with small, family farms. Homes to Welsh families. Each little harbour had its fishing boats.

God! it must have been awful. Marinas and caravan parks and activity centres and holiday homes and OPDs and managed decline are such an improvement.

Today we are expected to welcome crooks and shysters such as you’ve read about here as ‘investors’. We must accept the wind turbines – all foreign owned! – that trash our hills and increase flooding – but create no jobs – because they contribute to saving the planet!

This is little different to 19th century clergymen urging workers and small farmers to accept their lot because there was some intangible reward at some unspecified time in an indeterminate future.

The real message was that there’s sod all for you in this life, Dai. So just accept your lot. It was, ‘Pie in the sky, by and by.’

And it’s the same message today . . . but without the jobs, and without the little fishing fleets, and with the Welsh family farm under concerted attack from socialist politicians in Corruption Bay and their soap-dodging and rewilding friends.

If exploitation was wrong in earlier centuries why is it acceptable now?

Is it because today we are lied to by a ‘Welsh Government’?

A ‘government’ that behaves no different to a third world kleptocracy in the way it allows the country to be exploited, or stands silent rather than confess its impotence. The only difference being that there are (to the best of my knowledge) no offshore accounts, no French chateaux.

That’s because those idiots in the ‘Welsh Government’ are either too stupid to see that they’re running Wales into the grave, or, it’s deliberate, done in order to maintain the system that has served them for a century: Poor Wales – blame the Tories – vote Labour.

That system has certainly served the Labour Party, but it has not served Wales.

Which is why it’s time to get rid of Labour, and their little helpers in Plaid Cymru, and anyone else who believes that socialism serves anyone other than socialist politicians.

Next May’s elections will be your chance to make a change. Use it by voting for Gwlad or the WNP. They’re Wales’ last hope.

♦ end ♦