Clear Water, Poisoned Debate

For decades we’ve been hearing that water is a diminishing commodity, and with an ever-expanding global population we’ll soon be fighting over water resources.

Though these predictions often came from the same people who at different times – or even simultaneously – could predict icebergs in Swansea Bay and no snow on Yr Wyddfa.

It was the usual nonsense from the usual sources.

And yet, in Wales now, water is being used as a weapon. Not by us against our village-drowning neighbours but by politicians and others, supposedly serving Wales and Welsh interests, against a section of the Welsh population.

If that necessitates twisting the facts, and taking control of certain bodies, either through funding or placement of personnel, then so be it.

This is another big one, so I’ll say what I always say: Don’t rush it, take your time, savour it, and you’ll enjoy it far more.

BULLSHIT FOR WHICH BULLS ARE BLAMELESS

It’s been accepted for many years that there might be a problem with nitrate discharges, from some dairy farms, mostly in the south west. This highly localised problem explained why Natural Resources Wales classified just 2.4% of Welsh farmland as ‘vulnerable’.

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When asked to revisit the issue NRW produced a report in September 2016 that (on page 13) suggested, ‘Adoption of the targeted approach would mean an increase in the total area designated from 2.4% to approximately 8% which includes those areas newly identified by NRW’.

A targeted approach was obviously the sensible and fair way to go, but then the politicians got involved. One politician in particular.

The elections of May 2016 saw Lesley Griffiths re-elected for Labour in Wrecsam. Her Senedd bio then tracks her meteoric rise to voodoo doll status in farmhouses across the land. (Soon to be accompanied by Gary.)

First, she was made Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs. In November 2017 the job title changed to Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs. Then, 0n 13 December 2018, she was handed her baton as Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs.

Despite the facts of the matter, and the sensible proposal from NRW, just before Christmas 2017 Lesley Griffiths declared that the whole of Wales was at risk of NVZ pollution. Using this to announce an all-Wales regime.

After a year of being fed a diet of undiluted pollution La Griffiths announced in November 2018 that her mind was made up and she would introduce what she considered to be the necessary legislation.

After a slight delay due to Covid the implementation date was set for April 1, 2021.

But then things started to go awry for the so-called ‘Welsh Government’.

Despite an (unsuccessful) appeal by NFU Cymru the debate was noticeably widening as others took an interest, and could see how disproportionate to the scale of the problem Cruella de Griff’s proposals were.

For in addition to the all-Wales approach the acceptable nitrogen level in Wales was to be 170kg/ha, compared to 250kg/ha in England and Scotland. This was so obviously unfair, in a country where farmers are, on average, less affluent than their English and Scottish counterparts, that it tended to give the game away.

Because there would of course be a financial burden for farmers. Though I’m sure that those trying to put livestock farmers out of business knew exactly what they were doing

The backtracking had begun. With Plaid Cymru taking the credit. For despite being Labour’s partner in a coalition that dare not speak its name, the reaction from Plaid’s large rural vote was giving the party’s leaders serious concerns.

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A Plaid Cymru source said their party had pushed Labour ministers to act‘.

Some cynics – not me! – might wonder what Plaid has offered in return.

The NVZ proposals couldn’t withstand scrutiny from any fair-minded observer because they had little to do with pollution. NVZ was a stick with which to beat livestock farmers, hopefully putting many out of business to release land for other purposes. Land coveted by many in the offstage chorus influencing our Lesley.

To support and legitimise this attack on livestock farming we were expected to believe that only farmers are responsible for polluting our waterways and seas.

Which meant that Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water), the worst culprit, got a free pass. How did that come about?

All will be explained later in this piece.

THE MEMSAHIBS OF KNIGHTON AND CONSIDERATIONS OF CHICKENSHIT

This section is part digression, part lead-in.

A group that has figured on this blog a few times is a coven of Green-Left-Woke crones who’ve imposed themselves on the border town of Knighton. There are a few men associated with them, perhaps even more unhinged than their female comrades.

Catch up with them in Colonialism in microcosm, or Knighton.

They perform the full far left agenda:

Rather than doing the honest thing and just staying away altogether on Remembrance Sunday they insist on making a nuisance of themselves by placing wreaths of white poppies on the war memorial. (Dressed à la mode Michael Foot.)

Are they reprising a scene from a horror movie? Click to open enlarged in separate tab

You will not be surprised to learn that these biddies have formed a Knighton and District Refugee Support Group. Reluctance to welcome with open arms complete strangers from far-off lands will see you labelled a ‘racist’.

An epithet also hurled at those not condemning the fascists of the Israeli state.

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The gang’s environmental credentials are on extravagant display with Sustainable Food Knighton. Which, in practice, is little more than a vendetta against a local chicken farm.

The attack is mounted on two fronts. One, it’s cruel to the chickens. Two, intensive chicken farms are a big, big source of river pollution.

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Without being able to consult the chickens it may be impossible to address the first point. The second is more relevant to this article because it’s used over and over again by environmental Non-Governmental Organisations (eNGOs).

Especially those that allege chicken farms in Powys are severely damaging the rivers Usk and Wye.

But what are the facts?

Well, for a start, there are more, and bigger, chicken farms in Shropshire and Herefordshire, as the map below shows. So if chicken shit is a problem in Wales then it could well be coming from over the border.

Then again, it might not be a problem at all. Or, it’s a problem that’s being exaggerated.

Knighton is circled in green. Note on which side of the border the chicken farms south of the town are to found. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

For anecdotal evidence suggests there are even more chicken farms in the Severn catchment area, the Trent catchment area, etc. But there are far fewer complaints from these areas.

Which could mean that either shit from Welsh chickens is particularly toxic – in which case every one of the little buggers should be killed immediately! – or there’s a purpose behind the lying.

It’s the latter.

A suspicion reinforced by the Environment Agency recently concluding that the bigger culprit in the Wye catchment is arable farmers, who are mainly found on the England side of the border.

Confirmed by this graphic released by the Environment Agency relating to the Wye in England. Note the section I’ve highlighted in the second level. The tributaries mentioned are also in England.

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Something also worth contributing here is that arable farmers use chicken manure as a fertiliser.

So even if chicken shit is the problem, it’s more likely to come from over the border; either directly from chicken farms or indirectly from arable farms.

And there’s yet another consideration to take into account. Certain interests are pushing us towards a meat-free diet, and in this scenario many view arable farmers as part of the solution. Which might explain them also getting a free pass.

The suspicion of an anti-livestock farming agenda being served was strengthened last month by a ‘report’ on BBC Wales about pollution on the Wye. One of the most biased pieces of television journalism I have ever seen.

Let me explain why I say that:

  • Passing references were made to sewage, but we were left in no doubt that the real culprits are farmers.
  • But only livestock farmers, with the programme focusing on one particular chicken farm.
  • There was no reference to the fact that the Wye is a cross-border river.
  • Despite being fronted by Wyre Davies the star of the show was Gail Davies-Walsh, who became CEO of Afonydd Cymru Cyf on February 22 2021, and secretary on March 11.
  • Afonydd Cymru (Rivers of Wales) serves as the umbrella body for the more local river groups.
  • Her Linkedin profile (here in pdf) tells us that until September she was Head of Natural Capital for the Wye and Usk Foundation‘. ‘Natural Capital’ seems to be code for, among other things, greenwashing. Certainly tree planting.
  •  Revealingly, Linkedin also tells us that Gail Davies-Walsh worked for Dŵr Cymru for almost 14 years, up until January 2020.
Gail Davies-Walsh. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Gail Davies-Walsh took the idea for the programme to the BBC. Which would raise more concerns about linkages, and influence.

Another who joined Afonydd Cymru recently is Harriet Alvis, (Linkedin in pdf) CEO at West Wales Rivers Trust, and co-editor of FISH, the magazine of the Institute of Fisheries Management.

More on both in a mo.

And the situation herein described is very much the same with more terrestrial eNGOs. ‘Environmentalists’ opposed to livestock farming take control of existing groups or set up new ones – and never go unfunded again!

A phenomenon reported on this blog many times. Try Enviroshysters flock to Wales for easy money, Invasion of the Enviroshysters (PG), or Back to the Land!.

TINKLING RILLS AND STREAMS OF POLLUTING CASH

Time now to turn our attention to the increasingly well-funded bodies looking after our various rivers, and we find new ones forming all the time. With the money available perhaps explaining the proliferation?

Here’s a table I’ve draw up, in pdf format (with working links) that I hope lists all the various river outfits operating in Wales. If you know one I’ve left out, then please let me know.

You’ll see that some are specific to one river while others are more general, some even claiming to be national in their scope.

Let me say at the outset, there are many genuine people involved in river trusts, boards, etc; not least, anglers, whose only concerns are for the health of our rivers, fish stocks, and other environmental matters.

But unfortunately, there are others, either looking out for themselves, or involved for a different purpose.

Go through the table I’ve linked to, particularly the ‘Comments’ section, and you’ll see substantial inputs of official funding in recent years.

Take the North Wales Rivers Trust for example. Total income in the year ending 31.03.2022 was £241,790. Of which £241,690 came in ‘Welsh Government’ grants.

From the Charity Commission entry under ‘Financial history. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

And it’s a similar story with other river bodies. Though much of the increase, instead of being shown as coming from ‘government grants’ or ‘government contracts’, is disguised as, ‘Income – charitable activities’ on the Charity Commission entry.

Such as here with the West Wales Rivers Trust. The Charity Commission graph shows income soaring from just £3,750 in y/e 31.03.2017 to £541,140 for y/e 31.03.2021.

That is one hell of a jump in just four years! One way of interpreting the big increase is the ‘Welsh Government’ – or Dŵr Cymru? – paying CEO Harriet Alvis’s salary.

Because don’t you find that strange?

A river group that has meandered happily along for 15 years suddenly needs a CEO.

Equally thought-provoking is Gail Davies-Walsh becoming CEO of Afonydd Cymru.

Making me wonder if Gail Davies-Walsh and Harriet Alvis were ‘placed’ in the West Wales Rivers Trust and Afonydd Cymru to push the ‘Welsh Government’s anti-farming campaign, and also to protect Dŵr Cymru.

For there is a certain ‘circularity’ to it all. ‘Welsh Government’ and Dŵr Cymru would no doubt explain the increase in funding by the ‘state of the rivers’, which then justifies the attack on livestock farming.

A ‘circularity’ made even more suspicious by the fact that these vast increases in funding occur at exactly the same time Lesley Griffiths was hatching the absurd and punitive NVZ legislation.

If I’m wrong then maybe someone can give another reason for our river bodies being showered with cash from 2016.

Back to the riverbank . . .

On the other side of the country the wealthy Wye and Usk Foundation’s income from government grants and contracts jumped from £404,950 in 2018 to £934,670 in 2020.

Not far away is the South East Wales Rivers Trust, which also saw its income more than double between 2017 and 2021. Explained as funding from, ‘Natural Resources Wales, Welsh Water, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, Welsh Government with European Funds’.

The ‘disguised grants’ I referred to earlier was money paid to Afonydd Cymru Cyf and then distributed to the individual water groups. Afonydd Cymru’s own accounts tell us ‘Income from government grants’ jumped from zero in 2019 to £894,700 in 2020.

Afonydd Cymru may operate like the Wales Council for Voluntary Action does in relation to the third sector. That is, acting as a conduit for ‘Welsh Government’ funding in the hope of disguising the source of the funding.

But the money filtered through Afonydd Cymru is small beer compared to the £13.8m up for grabs in the Four Rivers For Life project, administered by Natural Resources Wales. (Though £4.5m actually goes towards ‘quaking bogs’.) The four rivers being the Tywi, Teifi, Cleddau and – it should go without saying – the Usk.

This might explain the recent formation of the Save the Teifi campaign. Though information is difficult to find. For example, the social media links at the foot of the website home page don’t work.

This report in the Tivy-side Advertiser in August links the group with Ffynnone-Community Resilience and mentions ‘spokespersons’, but gives no names. Is it a secret society?

The only name mentioned in the Tivy-side article is ‘Councillor John Davies’. This must be ‘John Cwmbetws’, of Bute Energy’s Welsh Advisory Board. Bute being a Scottish company that wants to build twenty or more wind farms in Wales, some with the tallest towers yet seen on land.

Well connected, is John. In Llanelwedd, Corruption Bay, and other places.

The Ffynnone group might be trying to stay anonymous, but one name has been given to me. It’s Jessica McQuade who, I’m told, not long ago moved to Llandudoch, across the Teifi estuary from Aberteifi.

Her Twitter account confirms the link with the Save the Teifi campaign.

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What struck me was that McQuade and Harriet Alvis, the CEO at the West Wales Rivers Trust and, since last month, a director at Afonydd Cymru, are both followed by the Brecon Beacons Mega Catchment.

This is the group created by Dŵr Cymru following its link-up with the Watershed Agricultural Council in New York State, in the area that supplies New York City with water. I wrote about this group in my previous post. It’s another outfit with very little information publicly available.

But what is McQuade’s and Alvis’s connection with this Dŵr Cymru outfit? And with Dŵr Cymru itself?

Jessica McQuade’s Save the Teifi / Ffynnone group has already received ‘Welsh Government’ funding. She could be another one ‘placed’ to push the ‘Welsh Government’s anti-farming campaign / WEF’s Agenda 2030 and, of course, to shield Dŵr Cymru.

As I suggested earlier, all the money recently being splashing around, with a veritable tsunami of new funding approaching, may also explain the new groups springing up. Here are some more.

There’s the Cardiff Rivers Group, containing a few Sherman luvvies, set up in October 2020. Bay-watchers may recognise one or two of the trustees.

Then there’s the Welsh Rivers Union, which has a website, and a Twitter account from February last year, but seems to be unregistered as either a company or a charity.

Next, there’s the Wye Salmon Association, whose Twitter account started in September last year. This too seems unregistered.

Finally, and most recently, there’s Friends of the Upper Wye. Which registered as a charity in March this year.

Let me conclude this section with a tweet from Jessica McQuade who, you’ll remember, is busy with the Save the Teifi campaign since moving to north Pembrokeshire, but whose day job is with the World Wildlife Fund.

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Now why would the WWF be interested in food? And trust me – that is human food she’s referring to.

Because, gentle reader, the WWF is no longer about saving pandas; it is a full-on, far left organisation totally committed to the anti-farming and the anti-human – ‘reduce the population’ – agenda.

And also believe me when I tell you that the WWF wields great influence with the ‘Welsh Government’, and in the Bay more generally.

‘FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE FARMERS . . . ‘

The ‘Welsh Government’ – and, indeed, the Bay establishment – has bought into the UN’s Agenda 2030 and the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset.

Both posit that burping, farting farm animals are destroying the environment; so we should switch to eating plant-based foods, insects, and gunge marketed as ‘artificial meat’.

Obviously, this will mean many fewer livestock farmers in Wales. Perhaps none. But that’s no problem, because the land vacated is already earmarked for tree planting, rewilding, conservation projects and other activities from which Welsh people will be largely excluded unless needed for window-dressing.

To facilitate this clearance programme livestock farmers must be blamed for things that are not their fault. This frees Dŵr Cymru from criticism. An objective easy to achieve given the influence the water company wields within ‘Welsh Government’.

To ensure that everyone sings from the same hymn sheet the ‘Welsh Government’, Dŵr Cymru and other official bodies are more than willing to fund assorted eNGOs which, in return, may accept ‘appointees’.

What I’m alluding to is little different to Bill Gates funding the BBC, the Guardian, New York Times, CNN and countless other media outlets around the world. He doesn’t do it in defence of the truth, he does it to ensure the media he funds will promote his and the World Economic Forum’s agenda.

‘He who pays the piper calls the tune’.

Headlines like this, frightening people into obeying the WEF agenda, don’t come cheap. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Wales, being a poor country, and a corrupt, one-party state, with no effective political opposition, and no functioning media, is especially vulnerable to powerful forces seeking to impose an agenda.

If farmers can be defeated, and the food supply controlled by forces you will have difficulty identifying, let alone challenging, then we will have already lost. Because who controls the food supply controls the world.

It’ll be too late to complain when your car is confiscated, or when your access to your bank account is blocked because you said something on social media that somebody, somewhere, didn’t like.

So stand with the farmers, and stand up to those who threaten them. Because those who threaten the farmers also threaten you.

♦ end ♦

© Royston Jones 2022


Miscellany 07.07.2022

As the title suggests, this week’s offering is a miscellany, bits and pieces from hither and yon. Covering . . .

  • Wind turbine disposal.
  • Fears for the planning system in the north west.
  • Awkward locals opposing the hundreds of executive homes Aberdyfi so desperately needs.
  • A development in the ongoing saga of the Llanbedr by-pass.
  • A new environmental group (cos we haven’t got enough).
  • More on Gilestone farm. 
  • My unanswered FoI to the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party.
  • ‘Welsh Government’ funds National Trust (cos NT’s a bit short at the moment).
  • Is ‘Welsh Government’ flogging off executive homes in Cardiff?
  • Enviroloonies saving Wales from the curse of employment.
  • Stumping up for the ‘Welsh Government’s favourite farmer.
  • ‘Welsh Government’ wants more trees . . . but fewer farmers.
  • Ukraine.
  • Enlarging the Senedd, or making the pig-sty bigger.

This is a monster issue, over 5,000 words; but you can take it a piece at a time. And because it is such a substantial offering late in the week, don’t expect anything next week.

Capice?

WHERE WILL ALL THE TURBINES GO?

A couple of weeks ago I submitted a Freedom of Information request to the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ asking who was responsible for disposing of wind turbines when they come to the end of their working lives.

Given that the lifespan of a turbine is 15 – 25 years we must have in Wales a few hundred turbines approaching decrepitude. With hundreds more in their ‘middle age’, and plans in the system to erect God knows how many others. (Bute Energy alone wants 20 new wind farms.)

It seems to me to be an important question. Hence the FoI request.

I was also mindful of what happened when certain opencast mining sites came to the end of their working lives . . . and it was found that responsibility for restoring those sites had been transferred to companies located in the British Virgin Islands.

You might also like to read this 2014 report produced for the ‘Welsh Government’ and entitled, ‘Research into the failure to Restore Opencast Coal Sites in South Wales’.

When we add the birds and bats they kill wind turbines’ environmental credentials are on a par with Jack the Ripper’s contribution to the welfare and well-being of streetwalkers. Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

Here’s the response I received to my FoI.

It tells me that, ‘Responsibility for decommissioning wind turbines lies with the developer/operator of the site’.

Richard Spear of the Planning Inspectorate concludes his response with: ‘In addition, developers/operators should ensure that sufficient finance is set aside to enable them to meet restoration obligations. A local planning authority may require financial guarantees by way of a Section 106 planning obligation / agreement, as part of the approval of planning permission to ensure that restoration will be fully achieved.’

It’s worth pointing out that in most cases it was the ‘Welsh Government’ that gave planning permission for wind turbines, often over-riding local authorities. The ‘Welsh Government’ should therefore have seen to it that each developer paid a ‘bond’, up front, to ensure there will be enough money to restore each site.

But those buffoons down Corruption Bay were so concerned with making ‘planet-saving’ gestures that they couldn’t see beyond their own wagging fingers.

I predict with certainty that in the near future, we – by which I mean Wales – will find ourselves lumbered with ‘orphan’ wind turbines that will cost us a hell of a lot of money to demolish. And then more money to restore the sites they’ve come from.

And that’s without deciding what to do with the blades, because they cannot be recycled. Most go into landfill. Just as well we’ve left the European Union, because the EU has banned landfill disposal.

On the plus side, it means that turbine blades from the Continent can come to landfill sites in Wales!

Should this come to pass then it will doubtless be claimed as ‘foreign investment’.

WILD WEST SHOW?

I am indebted to a regular source for news of concerns about the Gwynedd and Môn Joint Planning Policy Committee. To be clear, this is not the planning committee, deciding on planning applications, but the policy committee that determines in more general terms where development will be allowed.

Although Gwynedd is a large council in area, much of the planning responsibility falls to the Snowdonia National Park; which leaves the council to oversee a few ‘islands’ – Tywyn, Barmouth, Blaenau Ffestiniog – then Porthmadog and Llŷn, and finally, the northern coastal strip taking in Caernarfon and Bangor and running to Abergwyngregyn.

Crossing over, readers may remember that for a few years Ynys Môn council was in special measures. This was ostensibly for failings in education delivery, but it went well beyond that.

For like many rural authorities Ynys Môn is prone to being controlled by a few forceful individuals, often holding sway through membership of an organisation claiming to be heirs to the Knights Templar and other exotic fraternities.

Never more true than in keeping to the Templar talent for accruing wealth. Though I’m unsure if the medieval predecessors were as cunning as their heirs in planning matters and the allocation of contracts.

For who could forget Ceredigion when Dai Lloyd Evans and his merry men ruled the roost? Those were the days! The late Paul Flynn, sitting on the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Select Committee, referred to Ceredigion Council as “The Wild West Show”.

But then, as we saw in Carmarthenshire during the halcyon days of Mark James, sometimes, with largely rural authorities, the boss man doesn’t even have to be a councillor.

My source’s concern is that the chairman of the joint planning policy committee is a member of this group to which I have alluded. And while I’m sure he’s a splendid fellow, with a good firm handshake, I can understand my source’s misgivings.

Someone else giving my informant food for thought is the young man who’s now Senior Executive Officer at Gwynedd’s Housing and Property Department.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s an educated boy, studied . . . Welsh, and, er . . .  Music.

But then, it is suggested by cynics that the boy’s father’s friendship with Gwynedd’s Head of Finance may have played a role in the appointment.

O tempora! O mores!

ABERDYFI EXECUTIVES MUST BE HOUSED!

When I first saw this news item I thought to myself, ‘Hang on, Jones, isn’t this the development Ann Clwyd was banging on about decades ago?’ And I’m sure it is.

For the woman who went on to become MP for the Cynon Valley has connections to Aberdyfi and the wider Dysynni area. I have a photo of a young Ann Clwyd with my sister-in-law when the latter was the village carnival queen back in the mid-sixties.

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It’s difficult to comprehend how this project has resurfaced, or why it wasn’t killed off decades ago. What does it say about our planning system?

Aberdyfi may be a sizeable village; a few pubs, a few caffs, shops, and an unhealthy number of estate agents. But it backs up to a cliff, with the sea on the other side, and there’s just one road in and out, the A493. A crash or some other hold-up on that road and Aberdyfi is almost inaccessible except by boat or helicopter.

Sticking to housing, Aberdyfi may be the financial, commercial, and industrial hub of the south Meirionnydd coast, but the village needs 401 ‘executive homes’ like our cat needs fleas.

The company behind this zombie scheme is Hillside Parks Ltd, run by Christopher John Madin, who I believe is the son of John Hardcastle Dalton Madin, the architect responsible for much of post-War central Birmingham.

So stick that up your Bullring!

LLANBEDR BY-PASS

One of the more intriguing stories to make the news recently was the report that Gwynedd County Council is to appeal to the UK government for funding to build the Llanbedr by-pass, a project cancelled last year by the ‘Welsh Government’.

The reason this is intriguing is because the council is controlled by Plaid Cymru, and down in Corruption Bay that party is in cahoots with the local branch of the Labour Party, an arrangement generally referred to as an ‘alliance’.

Though the Senedd Member representing Llanbedr seems to be going out of his way to piss off his supposed allies.

Last month he dared ask the ‘Welsh Government’ why it paid £4.25m for Gilestone farm when the asking price appeared to be £3.25m. A good question. We’d all like to hear the answer. (More on Gilestone below.)

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Another explanation might be that despite most Plaid SMs self-flagellating for the heinous sins of the White man and the harm they themselves do the planet by simply existing, many Plaid supporters still associate ‘woke’ with getting up in the morning.

They inhabit the real world where decent infrastructure and communications still matter. That mythic land far, far away, where people have to drive to work. And to the shops. To the doctor, dentist, etc., etc.

You know, the Welsh countryside, of which Labour is so wilfully ignorant.

TIR NATUR

I’ve tweeted a few times about this rather mysterious group, I may even have mentioned it here, on the blog. One reason I call it mysterious is because all I knew about it was gleaned from a GoFundMe page. (You’ll see there’ve been two donations in the past three months.)

Another reason for the ‘mysterious’ tag was that neither the website nor the GoFundMe page gave any names. And I get rather suspicious of organisations that run themselves.

Why ‘Wales-Based’, can’t they bring themselves to say ‘Welsh’? Click to open enlarged in separate tab

As I say, there was a rudimentary website. And a mention a year ago on the Cardiff Greenpeace Facebook page. (But no names there either.)

And when you read the justification for Tir Natur you immediately think, ‘Hang on, I’ve read that before!’ And so you have, many times. It probably comes from an environmental / rewilding template available online.

Now a source informs me that Tir Natur has finally gone legit and registered as a charity. This move is mentioned on the GoFundMe page, though when I checked a few days ago it hadn’t been updated since the application in March to the Charity Commission.

The contact address given on the Charity Commission website is, ‘Y Beudy, Lanlwyd, Pennant, Llanon, Ceredigion SY23 5JH’. This is on the B4577 between Cross Inn and Llanarth.

To confuse the picture, the GoFundMe page says, ‘Newport, Pembrokeshire’. Though my source and I suspect those involved don’t live in either Ceredigion or Pembrokeshire.

But at least the Charity Commission gives us names. So who are these four people named as Tir Natur trustees? Do you know them? What are their plans?

And does Wales really need yet another environmental / rewilding group?

STOP PRESS!

My source has now sent me this from a recent release by Tir Natur. Knowing more of such things than I he tells me that the image shows a European bison and a golden eagle. Neither of which of course is native to Wales.

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Though breeding pairs of European bison can be found at the Wildwood Trust’s Wildlife Discovery Centre in Kent.

They were introduced to the Trust’s other site in Devon, but removed due to fears of bTB. And they had to leave another site in Scotland when the government concluded they were dangerous and non-native.

Are they now destined for Wales?

Incidentally, that place in Kent is where the poor lynx that ended up at Borth ‘Zoo’ came from.

GILESTONE FARM, AGAIN

A number of Freedom of Information requests – in addition to my own – have been submitted regarding the purchase by the ‘Welsh Government’, for £4.25m, of Gilestone Farm at Talybont-on-Usk.

Here’s one. Here’s another.

I was a bit perplexed by the reference in the second FoI to the ‘James Report’. And then it came back to me . . .

Julie James. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Julie James, the current Minister for Climate Change in the ‘Welsh Government’ has been involved with Gilestone for many years, before she was even elected to what was then the Welsh Assembly in 2011.

It’s a strange affair, with some dark corners, some very dark corners indeed. What I’ve been told involves the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, certain environmental busybodies, previous owners of Gilestone and a supporting cast that includes a retired Met cop with an ‘interesting’ record.

And of course, Julie James, then a solicitor in Swansea; whose relationship with some of those involved is worth looking into. No, nothing like that. (Really!)

I may be in a position to say more in the near future.

Also worth mentioning is that a number of people are convinced the money to buy Gilestone came from Julie James’ department’s piggy-bank.

If true, then why did Vaughan Gething, Minister for Economy, take the rap in the Senedd? Maybe his ignorance of the deal explains why he spent so much time extoling the virtues of the Green Man festival rather than answering questions he’d been asked about the purchase of Gilestone.

Finally, might these shenanigans explain why the ‘Welsh Government’ is so far behind with its accounts?

Though another explanation for the delayed accounts might be that the ‘Welsh Government’ is virtually broke. For that’s what another source tells me.

If true, then this might explain the Llanbedr by-pass and other projects being scrapped.

‘O what a tangled web we weave . . . ‘.

LABOUR PARTY FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST

As you know, I’ve written about Bute Energy a number of times. They even got a mention at the end of paragraph 2 in the first section of this post.

What became clear once I started looking into Bute’s activities in Wales was that this company had very quickly realised that Labour Party support would be a big help in realising its plans for 20+ wind farms.

Which explains why Bute recruited to its Welsh Advisory Board redundant Labour MEP Derek Vaughan, and John Uden, the partner of Labour MS Jenny Rathbone, who sits on the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee.

Bute Energy’s Welsh Advisory Board. Click to open enlarged in open tab

Quite what this Welsh Advisory Board advises on is not stated, but I think we can all guess. And the recruitment didn’t end there.

Also taken aboard the treasure ship Bute was David James Taylor, former spad to Labour stars, from Peter Hain to Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones. Taylor was made a partner in Bute-linked outfit Grayling Capital LLP (though he’s since left), and also given shares in Windward Enterprises Ltd, another Bute company. (Which he still holds.)

It occurred to me that if Bute Energy was so keen to cwtsh up to Labour then political donations should be considered. And so I wrote to the Bruvvers’ HQ in Cardiff.

On June 8 I sent this e-mail:

‘Bute Energy Ltd (Co No: 12474011), in various guises, seeks to build – or at least, obtain planning permission for – some 20 wind farms in Wales. A company has been formed for each wind farm.

Has the Labour Party in Wales / ‘Welsh Labour’ party received a donation or donations from Bute Energy Ltd, or from companies under the Bute Energy umbrella, or from leading director Oliver James Millican, or from other persons, perhaps former employees of Labour politicians?’

But I have received neither acknowledgement nor reply. Can you believe that – the Comrades ignoring me!

‘WELSH GOVERNMENT’ FUNDS NATIONAL TRUST

About a month or so ago we heard that the National Trust was taking over the Hafod Estate in Ceredigion. I covered it here, in the section ‘Bristol fashion’.

The article in the Cambrian News to which I’ve linked suggests there may have been funding involved. To clarify this point I submitted a Freedom of Information request to the ‘Welsh Government’.

Here is the response I received yesterday. With the important bit extracted below.

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The ‘Welsh Government’ has gifted an English organisation worth billions of pounds a Welsh asset and also handed over £700,000 for ‘capital investment’. From which the National Trust will profit, through charging visitors.

Many of whom will be Welsh.

And there will almost certainly be more than £700,000. For a well-informed contact with whom I shared this information in advance reminded me that the National Trust will now be eligible for Glastir woodland grants.

As if that wasn’t enough, my contact also suggests that, because the announcement was made by Dawn Bowden, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, there will probably be Arts grants as well.

Note that this generosity is explained by quoting the “‘Welsh Government’ wellbeing objectives”. This refers to the Well-being of Future Generation (Wales) Act 2015. Airy-fairy nonsense that has since been used to justify every insanity hiding under the ‘environmental’ blanket.

Environmental concerns are used to disguise giving away our homeland piece by piece – ‘Cos we are savin’ the planet, like’.

The truth of course is that this legislation simply rolled out the red carpet for colonialist exploitation.

It even talks of future generations. But those future generations won’t be Welsh.

UPDATE: Well, whaddya know, a couple of hours after putting out this post I got a reply from Natural Resources Wales to my FoI of June 16.

Main points seem to be that negotiations with the National Trust have been going on since June 2019; no one else was invited to express an interest; NRW has no idea why Dawn Bowden was involved; NRW will continue to manage the Hafod Estate forestry operation.

GREEN HOUSING

My attention has been drawn  to this rather curious site which suggests some kind of partnership between the ‘Welsh Government’, the National Eisteddfod, and a company called LivEco, to build “sustainable homes at affordable prices”.

The location of these desirable properties being Great House Farm in Cardiff, between Culverhouse Cross and St Fagan’s National Museum of History.

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So let’s look at this company, LivEco. Companies House tells us LivEco Homes Ltd was formed in September 2018, but it’s dormant. The sole director is a Welshman, Daniel James Ball, who seems to live in West Sussex.

Ball’s active company is Mulcare-Ball Ltd. The other director being a woman I assume to be his wife.

So why are we being asked to believe that a dormant company is building these dwellings at Great House Farm?

Mulcare-Ball has an arrangement (charge) with the Principality Building Society. Though the date given here is February 2, 2013, the document itself takes us back a year and also mentions Hale Construction Ltd.

If it’s this company, then Hale Construction was a one-man band on Merseyside, Incorporated December 2011 and Dissolved August 2015 without, apparently, making a penny.

Another company worth mentioning is Great House Farm Community Ltd, which I assume to be a residents’ association. This was Incorporated in March 2013, which makes sense; though the only director or member was Ball until June 25 last year. When he was replaced by two others using Great House addresses.

Something else that makes me a little wary of this whole project is what I learnt from the Land Registry title register.

First, it tells us that Daniel James Ball and his wife bought this land in July 2009. We also learn that the properties built by Mulcare-Ball Ltd are being leased rather than sold.

The ‘Welsh Government’ has more than once expressed a desire to phase out leasehold in Wales, so why is it in partnership with a company building properties to lease?

Or, to put it another way, why does the ‘Welsh Government’ need to be involved at all? The same question could be asked of the Eisteddfod.

I may return to this subject.

NO COAL

The Aberpergwm mine, near Glyn-Neath, produces highest quality anthracite coal that is used for all manner of purposes, including water filtration. But it will not be chucked on a fire or shovelled into a furnace.

It is rarely if ever burned.

In January, approval was given for mining operations to continue. This prompted the Green Party of Englandandwales to burst into, ‘When will they ever learn’, with Julie James’ deputy Lee Waters joining in the chorus.

(In an eye-watering falsetto because someone had him by the balls!)

The latest news is that a legal challenge is to be mounted by a group called the Coal Action Network (CAN). If you’ve never heard of them, that may be because the company wasn’t formed until February 16.

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And it is a standard, commercial entity. Not a Community Interest Company (CIC), or any form of community benefit framework. I suspect it claims to be an umbrella group for smaller, more local organisations.

Though I’m not aware of any genuinely local opposition at Aberpergwm itself. Certainly not from the 200 or so people who work there. Nor from the businesses benefitting from the money those workers put into the local economy.

The address given for the Coal Action Network is Halton Mill, in Lancaster, north west England, owned by Green property developer Lancaster Cohousing. Which suggests it’s little more than an accommodation address for CAN. They certainly don’t get a mention on the website.

It would be easy to dismiss the Coal Action Network as just another little gang of over-excited eco zealots. But these groups often front for bigger players, or there’s serious money behind them.

So be watchful out there. Protect Welsh jobs and Welsh interests from the misguided attention of the brainwashed foot-soldiers of the World Economic Forum and others with globalist agendas designed to crush the little guy. Agendas enthusiastically endorsed by socialists.

And, finally, look out for these clowns sending letters to local papers, lobbying politicians, and pretending they’re local objectors.

STUMP UP FOR TREES, INTERTWINING

A group getting a lot of publicity, and regular attention from the ‘Welsh Government’, is Stump Up For Trees (SUFT). Predictably, and like so many others of its type, this little enterprise is based in south Powys.

Though cut through the enviro-bullshit and SUFT seems to be little more than a greenwashing operation for Utility Warehouse.

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Most of those involved with SUFT have either relocated to Wales or don’t even live in Wales. For as with all these ‘conservation’ land grabs, Welsh involvement is minimal.

Though the website informs us, of the man in the photograph, and founder of SUFT, ‘Dr Keith Powell is a seventh-generation Black Mountains farmer and a vet’. Though I don’t think he’s actually done much farming, and came home when he realised there was serious money to be made in trees.

Stump Up For Trees is registered as a charity. Though when I went to the Charity Commission website to check the details I was somewhat surprised not to see Powell listed as a trustee. I assume the desired impression is that of hands-off trustees.

But who do we see there!

Why! it’s Richard James Roderick, who farms across the Usk from Gilestone farm. As I told you in my earlier post ‘Gilestone Revisited’, Roderick was taken to the USA in 2018 by Dŵr Cymru. After which he was debriefed by Natural Resources Wales’ Land Management Forum Agri-Pollution Sub Group.

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Then he and his companion on the US trip (and at the debriefing), Keri Davies, set up the Beacons Water Group. And do you know who joined them at BWG – none other than Charles Weston, the man who sold Gilestone to the ‘Welsh Government’ for the ludicrous sum of £4.25m!

As if that wasn’t enough, another BWG director, Tony Martineau, teaches at Coleg Soros, Talgarth. While George Soros’ favourite educational establishment, Bard College, has links with the Watershed Agricultural Council, the hosts for the 2018 US trip.

Enough! Old Jac can’t take any more connections.

Why should the ‘Welsh Government’s favourite farmer be involved with Stump Up For Trees? Then again, why not, he seems to be involved in everything else?

And even though the Bruvvers in Corruption Bay love Roderick, he’s a ronk Tory.

MORE TREES . . . OR ELSE!

To make sense of the ‘Welsh Government’s latest assault on the farming industry you must understand the Labour Party’s relationship with the Welsh countryside.

Labour has no MPs and no SMs representing rural constituencies. For these seats either vote Conservative, Plaid Cymru or, irregularly, usually in Powys, Liberal Democrat.

It wasn’t always so.

There was a time within living memory when Labour could rely on the votes of farm labourers, and even smaller farmers. Also, other rural, working class people. The Merionethshire seat – now part of Dwyfor Meirionnydd and held by Plaid Cymru for almost 50 years – was a straight fight between Labour, centred on the slate town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, and the Liberals, still relying to a great extent on the chapel vote.

Will Edwards, last Labour MP for Merionethshire, 1966 – 1974. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Then came the 1960s, and the national reawakening. The protests and the bombs. Tryweryn, Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru (MAC), the Free Wales Army (FWA), Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg  CyIG) . . . and the rise of Plaid Cymru.

Labour now saw its hegemony in Wales threatened by a new force that it believed to be essentially rural in character. Certainly rural in origin. And Labour has been wary of the countryside, and its native inhabitants, ever since.

In many Labour politicians this suspicion became outright and undisguised hostility.

The rise of the environmental movement, coupled with the powers given by devolution, have allowed the Labour Party through successive ‘Welsh Governments’ to exert control over rural areas where it has little or no electoral support. While more recently, under the influence of ‘environmentalists’ eyeing Welsh land, exacting what can only be interpreted as revenge.

Which brings us up to date.

Labour’s activists in rural areas tend to be English, middle class, vegetarian (if not vegan, or subsisting entirely on water and good karma), most of them climate / environment ranters who compare hard-working farmers to concentration camp guards.

This is the background for understanding the Welsh Government’s latest attack on farmers encouraged by – possibly written by – the aforementioned environmental groups.

Though this latest pronunciamiento from Corruption Bay also helps us understand the long-term objectives. And makes a few other things clear.

The ‘Welsh Government is attempting a divide and rule strategy with farmers. Certain farmers are being wooed, and so perhaps is the National Farmers Union. And it seems to be working.

It’s no coincidence that these favoured farmers tend to be Tory-voters, on better land, suited to tree planting, and in almost exclusively English-speaking areas.

Which means that the excluded farmers are more likely to be found on marginal land, more difficult for growing trees, possibly tenant farmers, and certainly more likely to be Welsh speaking. (And Farmers Union of Wales members?)

In fact, areas such as the Summit to Sea rewilding project was hoping – with ‘Welsh Government’ support – to take over. The areas from where Labour, in the 1960s, perceived the ‘threat’ to have emerged.

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Which means that this assault on farmers might be interpreted as an attack on the Welsh language, and Welsh rural culture in general. If so, then the politicos in Corruption Bay, and the enviroshyster land-grabbers whispering in their ears, are in for a fight.

Predictably, the announcement was welcomed by Kate Beavan. Who’s she? You haven’t been paying attention, or following the links, have you?

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Kate Beavan, as the Stump Up For Trees website tells us, ‘ . . . joined SUFT at the beginning of 2021. She is actually employed by our partners and friends, Coed Cymru.’

Kate Beavan may have been recruited to Coed Cymru by director Philip David Jayne, who lives in Crughywel.

Yet more bloody connections!

To explain . . .

Coed Cymru is one of the 357 (and rising) ‘woodland’ groups currently operating in Wales. Fighting like ferrets in a sack to take over Welsh land and get their sweaty mitts on Welsh public funding.

When you check out the Companies House entry for Coed Cymru Cyf you realise that, despite the company name, there’s little Welsh involvement.

But plenty of Welsh funding.

‘Plus ça change . . . ‘.

UKRAINE AND THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

It would be inhuman to suggest that anything good is coming from the death and suffering in Ukraine. And I won’t do that, but harsh lessons are being learnt.

Among them, the realisation that to pretend an advanced economy can rely on intermittent renewables to supply its energy needs is madness. As Germany is learning.

The drive for ‘Net Zero’, orchestrated by The United Nations and the World Economic Forum, is taking hits daily as collateral damage from the conflict in Ukraine. With Germany perhaps the biggest loser.

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Another casualty could be the Netherlands, where farmers, fishermen, truckers and others are protesting because the government wants to reduce the number of farms by 30 per cent.

But the mainstream media largely ignores this!

We are in dangerous times. Supranational bodies like those mentioned want to regulate all aspects of human behaviour. They have captured many national governments, media outlets, and social media giants, who are urged to suppress divergent views as ‘disinformation’.

The justification being that the planet is in grave danger, and so we need to be saved from ourselves . . . all for our own good, of course.

With the result that we are sleepwalking into a form of totalitarianism that sits astride the unicorn of environmentalism.

And this is another reason we – through arming and exploiting brave Ukrainians – are waging war on Russia – because Vladimir Putin refused to bow to these supranational tyrants.

But the ‘Welsh Government’ surrendered long ago. And gave up Wales for sacrifice.

ENLARGED SENEDD

Last weekend in a smoke-free conference room ‘Welsh’ Labour decided to back the plan for increasing Senedd numbers from the current 60 to 96. Which was widely supported, I believe only the Conservative and Unionist Party was opposed.

But part of the bigger package was a change in how Senedd members will be elected in future. And this proved much more contentious. With four constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) – Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda, Swansea East, Llanelli – voting against.

To explain . . .

Under revised parliamentary boundaries Wales will have 32 Westminster seats. (Down from the current 40.) What Labour proposes (and Plaid Cymru presumably agrees with) is that these new constituencies should be paired, giving us 16, and that each of them should elect six Senedd Members, thus making up the 96 total.

This is to be done using the ‘closed list’ system. Voters choose a party and have to then accept the party’s choice of candidates.

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This is a system designed to favour larger parties and to inhibit the emergence of new parties. Which is no more than we should expect from Labour. For like so many political parties with a socialist heritage Labour is fundamentally undemocratic.

I’m still waiting for Labour’s partner in the current alliance down Corruption Bay to explain why it’s gone along with this system. Though I get the impression Plaid would rather not discuss it.

Labour has tried desperately to polish this turd by promising gender equality. But as Labour has signed up to self-identification, and is a major financial backer of Stonewall, it will obviously accept as ‘women’ men who identify as women.

Which could mean that the new system, designed to achieve gender balance, actually gives us a lower percentage of biological females than we see in the Senedd today!

And then there are other minorities, those so vocal in “breaking down barriers” . . . most of which they themselves have erected. (Or simply imagined.) They’ll demand to be ‘excluded’ no longer. And because they support the Labour Party because the Labour Party funds them their wishes will be granted.

That could give us a Senedd in which the majority is grossly underrepresented.

But who cares – ‘Cos it’s progressive, innit!’

My position is that I do not accept this anti-democratic nonsense. And I would support the UK government stepping in to block it. In fact, I would support the UK government putting an end to devolution itself.

For devolution has delivered nothing to those with whom I identify.

Whereas the SNP in Scotland, returned time after time, has made many Scots believe their country could be even better with independence, here in Wales, the incompetence and waste our people have experienced from malleable mediocrities in Corruption Bay for 23 years makes too many Welsh believe that independence would be even worse.

I remain a nationalist who wants independence, but I see devolution not as a stepping-stone but an obstacle. Maybe that was the intention all along.

And when you think back to what you’ve read here, can you disagree?

♦ end ♦

© Royston Jones 2022


Lobbying in Wales

INTRODUCTION

This piece is prompted by the ‘Welsh Government’ suggesting it wants to address the issue of lobbying. As the website puts it: “The Standards of Conduct Committee is undertaking an inquiry into lobbying and is keen to establish whether lobbying is a matter of concern to the people of Wales”.

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A disingenuously worded paragraph because the hope is that few people will even know about the exercise, fewer still will respond, and that will allow the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ to claim that lobbying is not “a matter of concern” and everything can just carry on as before.

The truth is that Wales desperately needs reform in this area, and it needs to go well beyond a simple register of lobbyists. I say this because lobbying takes a different form in Wales to most other Western countries.

What I’m going to try here is to give examples of different lobbying sectors (that would probably not regard themselves as lobbyists), while also looking at more obvious examples of lobbying.

I warn you, this is a ‘biggie’, pushing 4,000 words. But broken up into sections so you don’t have to take in the full horror of the situation all at once.

So go make a cuppa.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL LOBBY

Since before the first elections to the then Assembly for Wales in May 1999, those looking to benefit from devolution were positioning themselves, even relocating.

For example, the RSPB, which had until then been based – very centrally for an essentially rural organisation – in Powys, decided the time had come to move its Wales regional office to Cardiff.

This had nothing to do with bird migrations, or even the rediscovery of the Lesser-spotted Splott Warbler (previously thought extinct).

No, it was all to do with access to the new decision makers.

For the RSPB and the wider environmental lobby, devolution has been like Christmas, with a constant supply of prezzies delivered by yo ho ho-ing politicians.

Just cast your mind back to last week’s post on this blog, ‘Saving Wales From the Welsh’. One of the organisations mentioned was the Wales Environmental Link (WEL). And I reproduced the panel below, from the Charity Commission website.

Focus on the section I’ve highlighted.

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“At the centre of government decision making” can only mean that the WEL lobbies to influence decisions made by the ‘Welsh Government’.

But do you remember voting for the Wales Environmental Link? Do you remember being offered the chance of voting for the Wales Environmental Link? No, nor me.

As I say, the ‘Save the Planet!’ lobby was out of the blocks early on in the devolution era. Helped to a great extent by ‘insiders’. These came in two forms.

First, civil servants, often from England, always answering to London, and working to a vision of a Welsh countryside without farming.

Second, politicians who, despite what they were elected and paid to concentrate on, always prioritised their real interest of ‘reconfiguring’ – even repopulating – rural Wales.

Inevitably, the two elements worked closely together. Never more so than when Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales* Lesley Griffiths shacked up with her civil servant adviser Gary Haggaty.

But the grande dame of the sector is Jane Davidson. “Minister for Environment and Sustainability from 2007 to 2011 where she was responsible for the Welsh Government agreeing to make sustainable development its central organising principle”, as Wikipedia tells us.

Sustainable development became the “central organising principle” of governing Wales. Let that sink in.

After leaving the Assembly in 2011 Davidson took up a post of Director of the Wales Institute for Sustainability at Trinity St David University, Lampeter.

Davidson was, supposedly, Assembly Member for Pontypridd, but she’d already bought a place down west and was more concerned with pushing through the Hippies’ Charter (One Planet legislation) than with anything happening in Ponty.

From ivory tower to organic cabbage patch Jane Davidson and those she can marshal and organise have wielded an unhealthy influence over successive administrations in Corruption Bay.

The environmental lobby is now one of the most powerful in Wales. It’s why farmers have their backs to the wall, it’s why the M4 was not improved, and why smaller projects, such as the Llanbedr by-pass, have been scrapped.

If this lobby could close Port Talbot steelworks, take away our cars, confiscate all farmland, and turn us into vegans, it would. And the ‘Welsh Government’ would pass the necessary legislation without quibbling.

As gesture politics go, few things are more damaging to the Welsh national interest than deluding yourself that you’re saving the planet while damaging Wales.

*A bizarre title that makes ‘North Wales’ sound like an overseas colony of Corruption Bay.

THE RACE LOBBY

At it’s crudest this is little more than, ‘You Welsh are racist – give us funding’. I examined this racket not so long ago, when the so-called Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union successfully blackmailed the Wales Arts Council and the National Museum.

If you have the stomach for this tale of extortion and cowardice, then read, Corruption Bay and a tale of Cymrophobia (23.08.2021), Arts Council of Wales and Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union, an update (31.08.2021), and Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union Unmasked (06.09.2021).

In brief, the Arts Council of Wales was pressured into ‘commissioning’ a report from the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union. An ad hoc group capitalising on the George Floyd killing by using ‘discrimination’ as the key to future funding.

In the race lobby sector we find another grande dame, in the form of Rose Mutale Nyoni Merrill, who you can read about in the first section of this miscellany from May 2018.

Her empire is founded on Bawso, which has accumulated quite a few properties around Wales over the years. And you’ll be glad to hear that Mrs Merrill has not neglected her own property portfolio.

But that’s how it is in the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party. You work for and promote the party, and preferment and funding will be your reward. Even if it’s public money down the drain.

And the showering of goodies can extend to your loved ones, involved in other fields.

As happened with Travers Merrill, Mutale’s hubby; given the cushy number of chief executive at Rhondda Life, a ‘regeneration’ project in the Rhondda Fach. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything, by the look of it.

It 2012 it was announced that the project was in receivership. And having looked through the documents filed with Companies House I get the impression there was something akin to jiggery-pokery going on in Ferndale.

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For example, in the last accounts filed, for y/e July 31, 2012, the company is said to own freehold property valued at £1.5m. This is presumably the building you see in the image above.

The property eventually realised £295,000. Even allowing for the way liquidators dispose of such properties, that is quite a difference. But the bottom line is that the building was never worth £1.5m.

Over-valuing assets is a tactic used by many who’ve appeared on this blog over the years: money launderers, mortgage fraudsters, and other crooks.

(There is an obvious link in terms of directors between Rhondda Life and Blaenllechau Community Regeneration, which went belly-up around the same time.)

But of course, this being Wales, a ‘Welsh Government’ cock-up leads to a cover-up. It was years before the truth started coming out. Due in no small part to the persistence of Leanne Wood, a politician for whom I have the highest regard.

(Keyboard explodes!)

THE HOMELESSNESS LOBBY

A few years back I submitted an FoI request asking about organisations in Wales “combatting homelessness”. Specifically, how many were there?

The response told me there were 48! In a country of just over 3 million people. There are probably more by now. “It’s them wicked Tories, innit”.

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But then, when you think about it, when you remember the kind of country Wales is, and the kind of lobbying I’ve described, 48 shouldn’t surprise anyone. The more the merrier. It’s only public money after all.

As with the other sectors, many of the homelessness racketeers have moved to Wales in the era of devolution. Which is bad enough, but to keep the funding flowing these people – just like their counterparts in other sectors – will import a steady stream of ‘clients’ from over the border.

It’s a form of human trafficking.

We see here the fundamental and uncomfortable truth about third sector lobbyists in Wales.

Identify or invent a ‘problem’ in order to get funding. Then, with the help of an ever-compliant media and understanding politicians, the ‘problem’ must persist – to guarantee continued funding!

Let the good times roll!

Many of those now running the dozens of homelessness organisations have worked for the Labour Party or for Plaid Cymru, others will move on to work for these parties.

Or join some other publicly-funded gravy train.

To get a taste of what I’ve written over the years on this subject try, ‘Another “homelessness” outfit!’ (16.04.2020). Or just put ‘homelessness’ into the search box on top of the sidebar to open up a library.

THE “WOMEN WITH PENISES” LOBBY

A relatively recent arrival on the lobbying scene in Wales is the transsexual lobby. Represented by Stonewall, the former lesbian and gay organisation.

To begin with, and as you’ve probably guessed, Stonewall has its claws into the ‘Welsh Government’ for funding. The panel below shows that in the 18 months up to March 31, 2021, only the UK government gave more money to Stonewall than the boys and girls of Corruption Bay.

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But this being Wales, Stonewall has also been able to influence – if not dictate – legislation. To the extent of the ‘Welsh Government’ agreeing to what  Stonewall would like to see in law rather than what the 2010 Equalities Act actually says.

As Irving Berlin put it: There May Be Trouble Ahead.

Especially after First Minister Drakeford made an ass of himself. You used the term, so tell us, what is a, “transgender woman”?

It appears that the voice of Stonewall in Wales is Lu Thomas. You’ll have noticed her name if you followed the links in the section on the race lobby. She’s a Labour insider with far too much influence in the Bay.

As I suggest, she was deeply involved, with her business partner, Jon Luxton, another Labour insider, in the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union scam.

Her Linkedin profile says she’s managing director of Final Say Wales, which seems to be a rather sad attempt to roll back Brexit. I dug this out, but I couldn’t find much more. My guess would be it’s died a natural death in the face of reality.

The other outfit mentioned on her Linkedin page is Re:cognition. An odd fish, this; not least because there’s a reputable company with a very similar name.

Lu Thomas was previously director of a company known as Cognition Training Ltd, along with Jon Luxton. This went into liquidation in December 2018 owing close on £35,000, most of it to the tax man.

The latest incarnation, Re:cognition Training CIC has only Luxton as a director. So is Lu Thomas an employee?

Whatever the answer, through political connections Re:cognition gets commissions from the ‘Welsh Government’.

For as the latest accounts tell: “We chaired and developed an LGBTQ+ strategy for Welsh Government where we managed the LGBTQ+ stakeholder group, ensuring voices from across wales (sic) was heard.”

But I bet that only certain voices were allowed to be heard.

And you won’t be surprised to learn that Re:cognition has also been given a gig by Labour-controlled Cardiff City council.

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This probably helped inform the ‘Welsh Government’s current – and possibly unlawful – position on “trans rights”. But then, when it comes to surveys, it all depends who you talk to.

What Lu Thomas and others have learned from many years of working with and influencing politicians is that if you put your mind to it you can find racism, environmental damage, transphobia, etc., etc., just about anywhere.

And then you can capitalise on your ‘find’.

THE REFRESHINGLY HONEST AND CORRUPT COMMERCIAL LOBBY

Those we’ve looked at so far have been insiders, dealing with civil servants and politicians they know. These activist-lobbyists have, in a number of cases, previously worked for the ‘Welsh Government’, or for individual politicians.

They are invariably associated with not-for-profit organisations. Which means few jobs for anyone not linked to a particular clique of insiders, and little by way of a contribution to the wider economy beyond the increased spending power of clique members.

But we are asked to ignore this and focus instead on the incalculable benefits to society as a whole from ‘doing good’.

Though I fail to understand how a Welsh community is improved by a third sector body or a housing association importing into that community from England ex-cons, petty criminals and drug addicts.

Nor do I pretend to understand the doublespeak that gave us a policy (OPDs) designed, we were told, to reduce Wales’ carbon footprint . . . that invites into Wales people to live on previously unused land; who drive elderly diesel vehicles, keep farting animals, and cannot live without wood-burning stoves.

It’s refreshing then to be able to focus on a lobbying activity motivated by unalloyed greed and promoted through in-yer-face corruption. Though it adheres to the model herein explained in that it is facilitated using Corruption Bay insiders.

I’m referring now to the many, many companies under the Bute Energy umbrella, and their plans for at least 20 new wind farms in Wales. Shown in red print in the map below.

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Here’s a pdf document listing the companies I’m aware of, but new ones are being formed all the time. (The company names are hyperlinks.)

To understand the brazen corruption involved you’ll need a few introductions. Let us look first at Bute Energy’s ‘Welsh Advisory Board’. A totally unnecessary group formed purely to justify paying certain people for their influence with the ‘Welsh Government’.

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On the left, we see Derek Vaughan, former Labour MEP. Not known to have any knowledge of or interest in wind turbines or renewable energy of any kind.

On the right is John Uden, partner of Labour MS, Jenny Rathbone, who sits on the Senedd’s Climate Committee. His knowledge of three-arm bandits is believed to be on a par with Vaughan’s.

The other two may be there to act as a distraction. The jury’s out on them. Though I’m told ‘John Cwmbetws’ already has a bloody big turbine on his land.

UPDATE 17.06.2022: John Davies is of course Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society. Which makes him an ideal influence within the farming community, and he might even be able to find sites for Bute.

Indeed, a beneficiary of the planned Moelfre site is vice-chair of the Board, Harry Fetherstonhaugh.

But of even more interest is David James Taylor, who has served as a spad to former First Ministers Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones, and also former Secretary of State for Wales, Peter Hain. Quite the lad about the corridors of power, our Dai.

Taylor tends to work under the radar and is nowhere mentioned on the Bute website. But he, like Vaughan and Uden, was recruited by Bute Energy for one reason and one reason only – his contacts in the Labour Party.

He holds shares in Bute company, Windward Enterprises Ltd, both in his own name and that of his company Moblake Associates Ltd. Taylor was also – until people noticed – a partner in another Bute company, Grayling Capital LLP.

His lucre from Bute Energy was channelled through Moblake Ltd. This company was wound up in April with sole director Taylor owing the company £605,872 that he’d taken out in interest-free ‘loans’ with no repayment date.

But no mention of where the money came from!

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Taylor has set up a new company, Earthcott Ltd, so maybe Bute’s future payments will be channelled through this new venture. Then again, seeing as we know about it . . .

I won’t go over any more old ground, it’s all covered in previous pieces on this blog such as ‘Corruption Is Such An Ugly Word . . . But I Can’t Think Of Anything Else To Call It!’ (06.12.2021), and ‘Bute Energy Selling Wales For Danegeld‘ (21.02.2022), in which I explain how Scottish company Bute Energy has linked up with Danish investors.

Yes, folks, Scots, Danes, everyone gets a slice of the action, except the native Welsh. Unless of course you’re well connected down Corruption Bay.

That’s how a corrupt, third world country operates.

THE PROFESSIONAL LOBBYISTS

In addition to those already looked at, who might be termed ‘amateur lobbyists’, there are also companies that are quite open about what they do. Which is, helping commercial outfits, often from outside of Wales, get what they want from the ‘Welsh Government’.

But they also dabble in politics. And for unregulated bodies they have far too much influence.

Let’s just look at two of them.

Starting with a company that’s appeared on this blog a number of times, Deryn Consulting. Run by former politicians and spads, but keeping up with the Woke agenda by recruiting enviromarxists and promoters of BLM.

The majority of Deryn’s shares are owned by former Labour spad Cathy Owens, with a minority nestling in the neatly-manicured hands of former Plaid Cymru Welsh Assembly Member Nerys Evans.

Over the years Deryn has been involved in a number of unsavoury incidents, I’ll just mention two.

The first was the Ofcom contract, a gem of its kind. This report from October 2017 will give you the story. And the image below of a WalesOnline headline from August 2017 leads on to another element of the Deryn saga.

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You’ll see that Neil McEvoy, was at that time, still a Plaid Cymru AM, but he’d blotted his copybook big time by challenging third sector shenanigans and exposing Deryn.

For party leader at that time was Leanne Wood, a personal friend of those whose lives were being made difficult by Neil McEvoy. He’s told me more than once that he was ordered to lay off Deryn. He didn’t.

He was too honest to stay silent when surrounded by institutionalised corruption, and so he had to go. First from Plaid Cymru, and then from the Senedd.

Around the time of the Ofcom scandal people at Deryn were briefing against Carl Sargeant, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children in the ‘Welsh Government’.

Those at Deryn employed in this dirty work were colluding with over-wrought but ever-cooperative third sector women. Some of whom had also made unfounded allegations against Neil McEvoy.

What’s worse, there were politicians, supposed allies of Sargeant, also briefing Deryn. The conduit here was Jo Kiernan, former senior spad to First Minister Carwyn Jones.

From Carwyn Jones’ staff Kiernan knew that Carl Sargeant was to be sacked before the poor bugger himself knew, and she was briefing others.

Carl Sargeant was sacked on November 3, 2017 and took his own life four days later.

As I was writing this I got to wondering about the Deryn finances, and so I went to the Companies House website. Where I found the latest accounts. Or rather, the unaudited financial statement up to December 31, 2020.

This skeletal document tells us that Deryn, with 9 employees, has assets of just £63,836.

But where are the real figures? Where’s the rest of the money? Where’s the turnover for the year? Is everything done with brown envelopes?

There’s something squalid and distasteful about Deryn. More worrying is that Owens, Evans and Kiernan seem able to open any door in Corruption Bay.

The bad news is that Deryn isn’t the biggest PR company down the Bay. The big kid on the block now is Camlas, formerly Positif Politics Ltd. The change of name last November is linked to the departure of Positif founder Daran Hill, who ceased to be a director in September. (Though he still seems to hold a majority of the shares.)

I’ve heard rumours, involving the local gendarmerie; but you know me, I try to avoid tittle-tattle in favour of facts and informed speculation.

Back in August 2020, in the early days of investigating Bute Energy and David Taylor, I ran across Hill’s name in connection with a wind farm planning application, so I contacted him. The resultant Twitter exchange can be read below.

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The Bute account at Camlas is currently handled by Matt Hexter.

Did David Taylor direct Bute Energy to his mate Daran Hill, or was it vice versa?

Going through who’s who at Camlas brings up the usual list of former politicians and spads, Mainly Plaid Cymru, but also Labour and now, with the recruitment of former AM, Angela Burns, the Conservative and Unionist Party is also represented.

But with Plaid Cymru firmly in control through Managing Partner and Co-Owner Rhodri ab Owen, brother to Plaid Cymru MS Rhys ab Owen; while the other Managing Director and Co-Owner Naomi Williams was a spad to former Plaid AMs Dafydd Elis Thomas and Dai Lloyd.

Plaid Cymru is of course in an alliance with the Labour Party in the Senedd. And even without an alliance, the two parties are never far apart.

Finally, and turning to Companies House, Camlas is another disappointment. All that’s filed is another bare bones ‘financial statement’.

I’m sure these minimalist filings are perfectly legal, but I believe that with companies such as Deryn and Camlas exercising unaccountable influence in Welsh public life we are entitled to know more about them.

CONCLUSION

In normal countries, with normal economies, lobbying is conducted by business interests and often involves donations to political parties. In other words: lobbying decides which company or corporation gets the contracts.

And while this may be undesirable, it usually delivers jobs and generates wealth. The country benefits, the losers tend to be commercial competitors. Who, had they been successful, would also have created jobs and generated wealth.

The political elite controlling Wales wants a quasi-socialist state in which they exercise power through patronage and hand-outs. The last thing this elite wants is a decent economy and an entrepreneurial class challenging its diktats and exposing its weaknesses.

And this explains why, in Wales, lobbying takes the form of fawning and cajoling by pressure groups that share the political outlook of the elite. These demand legislation beneficial to their cause, also funding and publicly-owned assets.

This must then be disguised with flim-flam like, “public good”, “future generations”, and other specious and unquantifiable ‘benefits’. Which we are told to accept as some kind of substitute for a decent economy and a prosperous country.

RECOMMENDATIONS

To begin with, we obviously need a definition of lobbying.

I would suggest: Anyone seeking to influence politicians, either directly or indirectly, through civil servants, advisers, or by any other means, in the hope of securing personal or corporate financial gain, or in order to influence legislation.

There should be a register of such persons. And a diary kept of all meetings between lobbyists and politicians, civil servants or advisers; both those meetings that have been held, and those planned for the future. The subject matter of these meetings must also be stated clearly and unambiguously.

Both the register and the diary should be updated daily and made available online.

To monitor lobbying will require a new post, and it will need to be filled by someone untainted by Corruption Bay. For once, I would have no objection to filling an important post in Wales with a complete stranger.

But I remain open to suggestion, so let’s have your comments. The ‘Welsh Government’ is also asking for your views, so don’t forget to write.

They’ll be delighted to hear from you! Or maybe not.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Diversity and Inclusivity in the Socialist Nirvana of Wales

INTRODUCTION

The Merriam-Webster definition of Nirvana is, “a place or state of oblivion to care, pain, or external reality”. Oblivion to reality certainly applies to the socialist lunacies besetting Wales.

Who but those oblivious to truth could believe that Wales can save the planet, that decent jobs, infrastructure, education and heath care are for sissies, and that women have penises?

Merriam-Webster also mentions, “alcohol-induced nirvana”. Bloody hell! I’ve been there a few times. Does that make me a Buddhist? 

IT ALL BEGAN . . .

. . . with a couple of tweets on Sunday from the BBC. Both linked to this article.

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The Women’s Equality Network (WEN) Wales is worried that not enough candidates from ethnic minorities are standing in next month’s council elections. But WEN is not an organisation dealing with ethnic minorities, so why raise the issue?

Before answering that, let’s take a look at WEN.

WEN is registered as a company limited by guarantee (‘Ltd’ exempt), and a charity. It depends mainly on funding from the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ in the form of an Equality and Inclusion Grant. In 2021 this amounted to £145,000, up from £119,904 in 2020.

There are five employees in 2022 (in addition to the Director), up from four last year. The panel below shows the staff members towards the end of last year (left) compared to the staff members now as shown on the WEN website.

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With the Director pulling down £47,677 we can be fairly certain that most of the remaining £109,375 (from a total 2021 income of £157,052) went on the other four salaries. We can also assume that the grant will be increased in 2022 because there’s now another staff member.

And it seems growth doesn’t end there. This advertisement is for a ‘Senior Partnerships Fundraiser’ on a one-year contract at £31,365.

I quote from the advertisement:

“Funded by the Third Sector Resilience Fund“. This is administered by the WCVA, a front for the ‘Welsh Government’, used to disguise funding from that source.

“We particularly welcome Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), disabled and LGBTQ+ candidates”. Mmm, does that mean straight, White, able-bodied Welsh need not apply?

“Homebased anywhere in the UK”. Does that mean that knowledge of Wales is not required?

“Lived experience of . . . a protected characteristic”. ‘Lived experience’, that phrase so beloved of the Woke. Does WEN – like the ‘Welsh Government’ – accept Stonewall’s interpretation of ‘protected characteristics’, or does it stick to the law?

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Applicants for the job are invited to reply to the Polly Symondson Recruitment Agency . . . in Cheltenham, England.

WEN may also have been looking earlier this year for a Freelance Policy Researcher, at £250 to £300 a day.

Who says Wales is a poor country!

So, WEN is complaining there aren’t enough ethnic minority council candidates. Horrified that just 1.8% of candidates in 2017 came from ethnic minorities, while the figure quoted for the “ethnically diverse population” of Wales (2021) is 5.2%.

Thankfully this is not a problem at WEN. From a total complement of six, at least three of the staff belong to ethnic minorities. Two seem to be White English. While the sixth is the obligatory token Welsh person.

UPDATE 29.04.2022: I’ve found a petition for: “more Black, Asian, and ethnic minority women, LGBTQ+ women, disabled women, and women with other protected characteristics in . . . a Senedd that is gender balanced and reflective of the whole Welsh population.”

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It gained just 199 signatures. Take out WEN staff, their friends, family, and the members of the Splott Intersectional Mud Wrestling Club and this petition does not suggest massive support from the real world.

(Of the 199 votes only 148 came from Wales (74%). The others came from: Nigeria 32, England 10, Netherlands 6, and one each from Scotland, Germany, China. So which WEN staff member has contacts in Nigeria?)

DIVERSITY! WHAT BOLLOCKS IS SPOUTED IN THY NAME!

So who are the six women running Women’s Equality Network (WEN) Wales? Let’s start at the top, with the director, Catherine Fookes.

Her Linkedin page tells us that she was privately educated in England (Godolphin) before attending Middlesex University where she studied Business (with two years in France). Her Masters in Development Studies was done at Bath, her thesis on Plan International.

Catherine Fookes is the longest serving staff member at WEN, having joined in September 2017. Perhaps her appointment was reward for her valiant efforts to become Labour’s Welsh Assembly Member for Monmouthshire in 2016. Here’s her election leaflet.

Her Twitter account tells she’s standing again for Labour in next month’s council elections. (And she was elected.)

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The only other survivor from those named as WEN staff in the accounts signed off in November last year is Megan Evans, the token Welsh presence.

I can’t find much information on Megan Evans, but her profile on the WEN website tells us: “She is passionate about gender equality, intersectional feminism, LGBT rights, and racial justice”. We only need climate hysteria for a Woke nap hand.

“Intersectional” is of course another Woke mantra.

Moving on to the newcomers . . .

Evelyn James, the Diverse5050 Campaign Manager was recruited, presumably, as result of this advertisement:

The Diverse5050 Campaign is an agreement between Labour and Plaid Cymru that certain groups – primarily ethnic and (self-ID) gender – should be over-represented in politics.

The campaign is “run in partnership with our steering group ERS Cymru, Race Council Cymru, and EYST Wales”. These are bodies run by Labour Party cronies, are funded by the ‘Welsh Government’ (though it should be the Labour Party), and have appeared on this blog.

For example, Ethnic Youth Support Team is where we would have found Rocio Cifuentes as Chair before she was elevated to the £95,000 a year post of Children’s Commissioner for Wales. A post for which Labour Party membership was her best – perhaps only – qualification.

I wrote about this in January, in ”Welsh’ Labour – Corrupt To The Core’.

Turning now to Joys Njinji, Mentoring Project Manager and Annmarie Brown, Mentoring Project Officer, almost certainly recruited through the advertisements to which I’ve linked their job titles.

Which leaves Jessica Laimann, Policy and Public Affairs Officer.

She was recruited by WEN last year, and before taking up the post she was “Assistant Democratic Services Officer at Carmarthenshire County Council”.

I almost choked on my laverbread sandwich when my rheumy old eyes alighted upon “Democratic” and “Carmarthenshire County Council” in the same sentence. Somebody must have a sense of humour!

Or else things have really gone to the dogs since Mark James ceased being CEO and de facto council leader.

SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW, SAME INTENTION

To understand Diversity Quotas it may be worth considering a couple of references: one from the past; the other bang up to date. And then try to synthesise them.

Writing this I was immediately struck by a parallel from the recent past and across the water. Unlikely as it might at first sound, that example is political gerrymandering in the Six Counties.

Derry. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

In Derry, for example, gerrymandering guaranteed the Protestant-Unionist minority control of the Corporation in a city with a Catholic and Nationalist / Republican majority. (Explained here in a one-minute video.)

Classic gerrymandering along those lines can’t work in Wales because we do not have segregation. Which leaves the Left seeking to limit the number of representatives from the majority population in other ways.

Of course they will deny this. Whining that they simply want “fair representation” for “under-represented” groups, and only “racists” would oppose this innovation.

But it don’t matter how you cut it, the end result will be the same – minorities enjoying representation disproportionate to their numbers in a given council area, or in Wales as a whole.

Coming up to date, and back to the poisoned well of Wokeism from which WEN has clearly drawn too many buckets . . . the demand for quotas also smacks of Critical Race Theory ‘equity’ (not to be confused with equality).

CRT’s ‘equity’ is race-obsessed discrimination that guarantees everybody loses out.

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But it still gives the Left power and influence out of all proportion to the support it enjoys among the population at large. Worse, it’s the tail of the extreme Left wagging dogs like Labour, Plaid Cymru, Greens.

But this should not surprise anyone familiar with Welsh politics; for too many of those now involved in politics and public life in Wales have previously worked for ‘charities’ and pressure groups. These outfits get their agenda implemented through influencing politicians – not from selling their programme to the public.

This is one reason Corruption Bay has no register of lobbyists.

CONCLUSION

Additionally, there are two fundamental flaws in what passes for the reasoning underpinning minority candidate quotas. These fallacies are:

  1. That only a member of an identified minority can represent other members of that minority.
  2. That members of a minority will only accept being represented by someone from their minority.

It is a cause for concern that the ‘Welsh Government’ – and its little helper – agree that favoured minorities should be assured preferential treatment – at the insistence of third sector operatives, many of whom hope to benefit personally from the agreement.

And if the candidate quotas WEN is calling for are introduced, then how long until the Left demands we introduce a new method for counting the votes? Surely, it will be argued, votes from members of the majority community should count for less than votes from members of “disadvantaged” or “traditionally oppressed” minorities?

That question is not entirely rhetorical. Because that is the direction many on the Left want to take us.

At present, anyone can apply to join a political party and then seek to become a candidate. Political parties are then free to choose their candidates without any outside interference.

This is how it should remain. To deviate from a system that treats all as equal could be the first step on a very slippery slope.

end

 

© Royston Jones 2022


The Great Rip-off: On Land, At Sea, In Space!

On this blog I have consistently argued that I want Wales to operate less like a colonial possession and more like countries run by politicians who prioritise the material well-being of the people in those countries.

The so-called  ‘Welsh Government’ clearly thinks I’m asking for too much. For it continues to encourage and facilitate the exploitation of our homeland by foreign companies and other agencies.

Methods now being employed to disguise the nature of the beast include a veneer of Welsh involvement. And it is no more than a veneer. An expensive veneer, because it’s often paid for from the Welsh public purse.

Another way of thinking about this ‘veneer’ is to view it as the classic variant of colonialism that allows members of a native elite to profit from the plundering of their country and its resources. It both buys their loyalty and disguises the colonialism.

ON LAND

This is what I’ve been reporting with Bute Energy, that multi-headed monster that emerged from nowhere, with no background in renewables, and no Welsh connection, but which is now hoping to erect 20 wind farms in Wales.

Explained here in, ‘Corruption Is Such An Ugly Word . . . But I Can’t Think Of Anything Else To Call It!’

Bute set up a totally superfluous ‘Welsh Advisory Board’ in order to provide sinecures for redundant Labour MEP Derek Vaughan, and John Uden, partner of Labour MS Jenny Rathbone.

I’m uncertain of Dr Williams’ political loyalties while John Davies is a rural ‘Independent’. Perhaps even one of Pembrokeshire’s Independent Independents (I have trouble keeping up). Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

The only ‘advice’ Bute expected from this Board was to be told who they should see to get things done. Better still, to hear, ‘Leave it to me, I’ll have a word with ———-‘.

It stinks. But it didn’t end there.

Winner of the Farley’s Rusks Chubby Cheeks Competition 1986, and later spad to the Labour mighty, David James Taylor, also had his snout firmly in the Bute trough. Though his membership of linked Grayling Capital LLP ended in September, after the spotlight fell on him.

But Taylor still has shares in Windward Enterprises Ltd, the owner of Bute Energy Ltd, which in turn owns the 20 companies, one for each of the proposed wind farms. These shares are held in his own name and that of his company, Moblake Associates Ltd.

The lucre from his association with Bute seems to have been shovelled to his company Moblake Ltd, from which Taylor then paid himself £605,872 in roughly three years. This was done in the form of ‘loans’ that don’t need to be repaid!

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Taylor’s latest venture, also based at 69 Lambeth Walk, is Earthcott Ltd. Set up just before he quit Grayling Capital. Unsurprisingly, this new company is also in the flim-flam and door-opening business.

So we have a company, Bute Energy, and its associated entities, hoping to make a lot of money out of Wales. Perhaps for the minimal outlay of 20 planning applications. Which I’m sure Bute believes will be waived through.

And as I suggested last week with Bute Energy Selling Wales For Danegeld? Bute may already have made a pile from whatever agreement has been reached with Danish investors.

Now it’s time to move offshore, so don your oilskins and adopt a jaunty nautical stance. (But anyone attempting Robert Newton impersonations will be keelhauled!)

ALL AT SEA

It may have escaped your notice, but Wales has vibrant offshore wind and wave industries. Or at least, that’s what we’re being told.

Though the offshore wind turbines seem limited thus far to the north coast. Which presumably means they’re the profitable responsibility of the Crown Estate. (Devolved in Scotland but not in Wales.)

Which is why I was surprised that the Welsh National Marine Plan – produced by the ‘Welsh Government’ late in 2019 – only mentioned the Crown Estate in passing. Almost as if the ‘Welsh Government’ wants us to believe that Gwynt y Môr and the other arrays are all their own work, with the benefits accruing to Wales.

Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

It should go without saying – this being Wales – that these offshore wind farms are all foreign-owned. Keeping to this template, the latest array proposed, Awel y Môr, will be owned by German company RWE.

But it’s not just wind turbines fixed to the sea bed that Corruption Bay encourages. There are also plans for floating turbines, and wave energy.

Which is a cue for us to head down to Pembrokeshire, where we find Mor Glas Wind Farm Ltd (16.08.2021) and Mor Gwyrdd Wind Farm Ltd (ditto) sharing an address in Pembroke Dock.

The directors of both companies are Joseph Geraint Kidd who, to his credit, describes himself as Welsh rather than British on Companies House documents; and Niamh Kenny, who is Irish.

Kidd has had a number of other companies to his name, among them Venn Associates Ltd (13.06.2019). We’ll return in a moment to Venn and Niamh Kenny.

Before that, let’s remind ourselves that Pembrokeshire is quite a hot-spot for marine renewables. As I reported here in August 2020 with Wales and envirocolonialism.

Another company hoping to cash in is Cambrian Offshore South West Ltd (09.01.2019). Companies House tells us that the splendidly monikered Diccon Stideford Rogers of Falmouth is the only director. From the same source we learn that a confirmation statement is overdue.

In fact, I’m wondering if this outfit is still afloat, because there seems to have been no activity on the very basic website for over a year.

It would be a pity if Cambrian Offshore sank without trace, because last August the Development Bank of Wales loaned the company £650,000. DBW tried to cover itself with a charge against the assets; though whether Cambrian Offshore has assets to that value is debatable.

Perhaps Diccon’s other companies will chip in.

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Sue Barr’s Linkedin page makes no mention of Cambrian Offshore, despite her being described as Managing Director. But it does introduce us to other players. Among them Marine Energy Wales, where we find Joseph Geraint Kidd again, on the Advisory Board. Also the Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum.

I wonder how much the locals down there know of these organisations, these wonderful plans? And will they see any benefits?

Let’s return to Joseph Geraint Kidd and Niamh Kenny. As we’ve seen, they are linked through the two companies, Mor Glas Wind Farm Ltd and Mor Gwyrdd Wind Farm Ltd.

But both have fingers in other pies.

Here’s Niamh Kenny’s Linkedin page. The recent appointments listed are:

DP Energy, but we must assume she’s left because she certainly doesn’t figure in the company’s ‘team’.

Also, from January 2021, she’s been a self-employed ‘Renewable Energy Specialist’.

While from May 2021 Niamh Kenny has also been Project Developer at NMK Renewables and SBM Offshore. The first is, presumably, her company, using her initials; while the second is a major Dutch company.

Finally, we see that Niamh Kenny is a partner in Hiraeth Energy. And who could argue with this ‘local benefits’ mission statement:

Fine words. But are they anything more than fine words? Click to open enlarged in separate tab

My initial inquiry established that Hiraeth is a partner in Climate Cymru, a clique of planet savers subsisting on a diet of fully organic public funding. Climate Cymru contains some organisations I regard with suspicion, a few with contempt.

Then I found Hiraeth in glorious isolation as Hiraeth Energy LLP (21.07.2021). That is, Limited Liability Partnership, an opaque arrangement often used to cover up shady dealings. A LLP doesn’t have directors, it has members. Which explains Niamh Kenny’s relationship.

And among the other members of Hiraeth we find the aforementioned Venn of Joseph Geraint Kidd.

There is one Companies House entry for Venn Associates Ltd (13.06.2019) that tells us Kidd is the sole director; but there is another entry that lists, in place of directors, Hiraeth LLP and Afallen LLP.

Hiraeth, we know about, but who or what is Afallen LLP? For Afallen is also listed as a member for Hiraeth LLP. The Afallen website proclaims: “What Wales does today, the world will do tomorrow”.

I hope to God that is just hyperbole, because if it’s a prediction, and anywhere near true, then I’ll seriously consider drinking myself to death.

Can you imagine a world ruled by the kind of duplicitous and incompetent buffoons that inhabit Corruption Bay? No, don’t even think about it!

Companies House tells us that the original partners in Afallen LLP (04.10.2018) were Dr David Owain Clubb, Mari Frances Arthur, and RTRT Consulting Ltd of Penarth. Though Clubb was soon replaced by his company Cymorth Clubb Cyf (05.11.2018). They have of course been recently joined by Kidd’s Venn Associates. It’s all very incestuous.

If the names Clubb and Arthur sound familiar, it’s because . . .

Clubb is the brother of former Plaid Cymru CEO Gareth Clubb. While Arthur caused disruption a few years back when her friends in Plaid HQ imposed her on the winnable Llanelli seat.

This imposition resulted in mass resignations locally and Plaid Cymru handing the seat to Labour. A rum do. Very rum.

So, to sum up: Joseph Geraint Kidd of Pembrokeshire has linked with Niamh Kenny of County Cork who is knowledgeable about offshore renewables. It appears she is also familiar with some big hitters in the business.

Companies that might be interested in Pembrokeshire.

What I presume Ms Kenny does not have is political connections in Wales. Which is where I suggest Afallen comes in.

For Arthur and Clubb are also in the door-opening business. Just like those taken on by Bute Energy. And now, with Labour and Plaid in alliance, well-connected members of both parties can expect to be in demand.

These are the kind of people who flit between politics, third sector, and private companies; providing nothing in the way of public benefit, but always guaranteed publicity from a compliant media and access to their politician friends.

THE FINAL FRONTIER

There was considerable chortling last week at the news Wales has a space programme.

Did you ever read such bollocks! Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Though let me put your mind at rest in case you’re worrying about Welsh public funding being used to land a non-binary and intersectional party of Wokeonauts on a dreary rock, far, far away . . .

(Though the idea is not without its attractions.)

There is no Welsh space programme. It’s just the Corruption Bay gang trying to put a Welsh spin on orders from London. And not for the first time. Or the last.

Though we could still end up financing a scheme from which we’ll see no benefits.

Let’s look at this scam in greater detail. Starting with the front page from last week’s Cambrian News. Having a couple of comedians accompany the headline is very fitting. We’ll soon meet another.

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The CN’s inside pages went for broke. Even giving us a piece by Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for the Economy. (There – what did I promise you!)

Having a Minister for the Economy in Wales is like having a Minister for Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia. Neither’s expected to do much.

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From that inside spread you’ll see Llanbedr and Aberporth mentioned. Which should give you a clue as to what we’re really talking about here. But if you’re still struggling . . . it’s drones and missiles, possibly satellites. But dressed up as a ‘space programme’.

I’ve written about Llanbedr a few times. First, here, in Miscellany 15.01.2020 (scroll down to section ‘Llanbedr Airfield’). A week later with Come Fly With Me. And then, in December 2020, it was Lucky Gwynedd – More ‘Investors’ (‘Fly boys’).

Remarkably, a week after that final piece appeared, the loans Snowdonia Aerospace LLP had received from the Secretary of State for Defence and the ‘Welsh Ministers’ over 8 years earlier were paid off.

These loans were made so that Snowdonia Aerospace could lease Llanbedr from its nominal owner – ‘The National Assembly for Wales’. Which means that we paid an English company to lease property from us!

That’s how to run a country!

Though whether any money was really paid is another matter. Perhaps to avoid giving ammunition to a nosey blogger someone thought it best to write off those debts.

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Alternatively, it was all a sham, with no money being loaned in the first place, with maybe Llanbedr staying in MoD ownership.

Whatever happened, the key player in this, in the assorted entities involved, the Byzantine dealings, seems to be Lee John Paul. Learn more about him in those earlier posts to which I’ve linked.

It’s reasonable to assume that Paul is well connected with the defence establishment. Otherwise the Ministry of Defence would not have loaned him money or allowed him to use Llanbedr airfield.

For Llanbedr was not Paul’s first venture with former MoD sites in Wales. He was also involved in a company promising to turn RAF Brawdy into a business park.

Brawdy Business Park Ltd gave up the ghost in April 2013 owing a lot of money. Some of it to the Welsh Development Agency.

Llanbedr airfield. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

This whole idea of a ‘spaceport’, and where to locate it, is political. It’s about flying the flag. The Union flag. Which is why a site in SNP-run Scotland beat Llanbedr to the prize.

So what we’re discussing here is at best the consolation prize; and an exercise in turd polishing on the part of the ‘Welsh Government’.

With that in mind, here’s what I think is really happening at Llanbedr . . .

By promising skilled jobs the Ministry of Defence – operating through, or in partnership with, private companies – hopes the ‘Welsh Government’ and Cyngor Gwynedd will cough up funding for a ‘spaceport’.

This, as we highly-trained defence analysts are wont to say, is a load of old bollocks. First, because the reality will just be upgraded drone and missile testing, Second, rural Wales does not have the skills needed, and training is unlikely to be provided.

Then there’d be the security dimension. I remember how RAE Llanbedr operated. All the best jobs went to retired service personal – who’d signed the Official Secrets Act – while cooks and cleaners were recruited locally.

The proof for me that the Llanbedr Spaceport is just a PR exercise lies in other actions by the ‘Welsh Government’. 

Because if Llanbedr was going to be Gwynedd’s Cape Canaveral, with thousands of highly-skilled local employees, then Corruption Bay would not have pulled the plug on the planned by-pass.

Somebody’s lying.

As yet, we don’t know the Welsh beneficiaries of this particular fairy tale, but as with renewables and other scams, they will emerge.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Guest Post by Neil McEvoy: The Rotten Heart of Welsh Politics

As the title tells you, this is a guest post by former Plaid Cymru MS Neil McEvoy. 

Neil has made enemies. When you know who those enemies are then, just like I did, you’ll warm to him. A man I’ve always found to be straight, honest, and approachable.

Neil’s enemies tend to have certain things in common. Almost without exception they belong to the ‘progressive’ – if not Woke – consensus that dominates the cess-pit I always refer to on this blog as ‘Corruption Bay’.

These are politicians, third sector / pressure groups (who have more influence over ‘our’ politicians than we do), unregulated lobbyists (ditto), and ‘journalists’ so supine they might as well be on the Labour-Plaid-Green payroll. Perhaps they are.

This is the new colonial elite. The creation of devolution. They will fight to keep devolution, they will demand more power (and money) from London for their gravy train, but the thought of independence terrifies them.

Now read on.

In May 2016, I made the mistake of thinking that as a Plaid Cymru politician, I had been elected to hold the Government to account and to be an opposition politician.

I quickly found out that my job was to not rock the boat, not to expose scandals, but to toe the line. Plaid Cymru was furious when I asked questions about Deryn’s client ACT obtaining £113 million from the Welsh Government.

They were furious when I asked questions about Deryn’s dodgy contract with OFCOM. I was told many times to leave it well alone. I later discovered that Deryn itself had asked Plaid Cymru to rein me in. My senior advisor was told to tell me to stop asking questions about Plaid Cymru’s lobbying firm, or “face the consequences.”

I had to go home to my wife to tell her that my ability to pay our mortgage would be gone, if I continued to ask questions which powerful people did not want put. My wife was rock solid and said that if we had a choice between earning a good living, or sticking to our principles, then we would stick to our principles. Very soon after getting married, my wife realised why I told her to not take my surname. Let’s just say life is never dull.

Eleven days after the story about Deryn which I was supposed to ignore became public, I was suspended from the Plaid Cymru Senedd Group, supposedly for being found guilty of bullying by the Ombudsman for saying that I wanted to restructure Cardiff Council to change eviction processes and stop people being evicted.

Plaid just did not care about us winning seats in the Council Elections in 2017. It was clear that senior people wanted us to lose. I was reminded at the time that they did not want me elected in the first place.  In 2016, we were the busiest Plaid team in Wales, but I was the only candidate in a target seat to lose party funding. They also took Senedd staff off me at a crucial point and gave them to Simon Thomas; more about him later. Anyway, as you can gather Plaid Cymru used Senedd staff to campaign politically in Senedd time. Every party does this. It would be odd if they didn’t.

Moving on, I was the first politician in 17 years to ask to see Government Ministers’ diaries. I had a whistle blower about a matter and I needed to prove certain meetings had taken place. The Government refused to publish the diaries retrospectively, but after a fuss agreed in early 2017 to publish them going forward. I was still able to prove that lobbyists had access to ministers by simply flashing around a photograph of lobbyists with ministers in the Senedd.

Both Labour and Plaid Cymru voted against my proposal to bring in rules for lobbyists in Wales. This keeps covered the awkward fact that Welsh politics is run by a small group of people, who do not want scrutiny.

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In March 2017, complaints were made about me, almost all connected to Deryn. It was pay back time.

After the 2017 election in June, I suspended my office manager. There were complaints he had harassed a young female and I had witnessed one incident myself. Members of the public had also complained about him for not doing his job; one person also witnessed the harassment. Michael Deem had also misused my office budget, causing me to have to pay for an expensive unwanted item myself. Shockingly, I later discovered that Deem had taken photographs of a child protection file and kept the details of the children on his phone. I was sickened and staggered. I sacked him.

The man who had harassed a young woman and had stored details of children on his phone was supported by Plaid Cymru and he made further complaints about me. He was later employed by the Plaid Cymru Senedd member who replaced me, Rhys ab Owen, whose brother Rhodri is a lobbyist, who worked with Daran Hill at Positif Politics. Rhodri Ab Owen is now managing partner and co-owner of a re-branded Camlas Public Affairs, listing big pharmaceuticals as clients.

The complaints process took on a life of its own. The BBC’s Aled ap Dafydd always knew more than me about what was going on. He became the first journalist who I refused to deal with. I later discovered he was in a relationship with Plaid Cymru’s Head of Communications, who was later given a top job by Plaid Cymru’s Presiding Officer at the Senedd.

Plaid Cymru denied on behalf of Deryn that the complaints about me were coordinated. Please note that a political party was answering for a lobbying firm.

The Deryn issue rumbled on. I understand they monitored me closely. My complaint had merit and they lost the disputed contract.

OFCOM admitted fault.

Rhodri Williams who oversaw the contract process left OFCOM and re-appeared as the Chair of S4C.

I was really unhappy with the Standards Complaints process. Before it began, a key organiser of the complaints, who had known the former Standards Commissioner for decades had a meeting about me. I was not allowed to attend and there were no notes of the meeting. I stated that the former Standards Commissioner had allowed himself to be lobbied.

I was so concerned at what was happening that I requested the audio recordings of my hearings. It took some time to get them, but it was worth the wait. I heard the former Standards Commissioner making a derogatory remark about me when I was out of the room. The complainant and Standards staff were present when it was said.

In the public interest and for self-defence, I then decided to secretly record everything when I was out of the room.  If the hearing was at 9am, I would place my phone under the table on record at 8.15am. I would usually irritate the Standards staff by then turning up late for the hearing, which gave them plenty of time to voice their true feelings about me. This went on for months, with hours of audio footage. I heard the investigators discussing the case with the complainant, who was offered advice and help in his career. I heard about a lack of evidence against me. I also listened to the same complaints made about another MS not taken forward. I also heard about a really serious matter just brushed under the carpet.

It was also shocking to hear about staff saying they had consulted with a senior member of the Senedd staff who was open to just seeing my appeal against guilt, “just thrown out,” before I had even made the appeal. This was the basis for the police investigation into Standards staff, which did not result in charges being laid by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Knowing what I knew, I pulled out of the farce and refused to play any further part on legal advice.

Months later, my staff member was threatened with imprisonment; I felt that things had gone too far and I pulled the trigger on the recordings. The Standards Commissioner resigned. At that point, the so called investigation should have been dismissed.

My press conference can be viewed here:

The complaints process was delayed, which provoked what I can only describe as “fury”.

A new commissioner came in and continued a very unjust process as I see it.

I continued my work exposing what I could:

Two Welsh Government properties being sold at almost a £1 million loss.

Light bulbs costing £245 and being fitted in just a few minutes.

Our office brought the plutonium laced nuclear mud scandal to public attention.

I blew the whistle of the fake fire safety certificates in the cladding scandal.

I was vilified in writing by Plaid Cymru Members of the Senedd for attacking the early retirement of Natural Resources Wales’ Chief Executive, after the £39 million wood contract being found to be unlawful by the Auditor General.

I pursued many family cases and employed a social worker to do so. Supporting a child alleging abuse in care got me called a bully again and banned from the Council for 4 months. The alleged abuser started the complaint. An issue conveniently ignored by ‘journalists’, politicians and useful idiots on new media, all eager to stick the boot in, whilst ignoring the poor child’s allegations.

I pleaded with journalists to give the child a voice, but the author of the WalesOnline article today, Ruth Mosalski and her husband Cemlyn Davies of the BBC had no appetite to find out what had happened to the child. I am still as disgusted now as I was then at how those people had such little care for what a child said happened to it. Shame on them. I can look in the mirror in the morning without guilt. I cannot see how they can do the same thing.

Shamefully, when I said that the paedophile Plaid MS Simon Thomas should have gone to jail, disciplinary action was taken against me for bringing Plaid Cymru “into disrepute”.

This made me feel sick and I ultimately withdrew my application to get back into Plaid Cymru. We backed Dewi Evans in his bid to clean up Plaid, but he was prevented from campaigning and bureaucratic means were used to stop members voting. My time with Plaid, such a disorganised hypocrisy was over in the Autumn of 2019. A once proud Plaid Cymru has been reduced to being a poodle for the corrupt Labour Party, cheaply bought off with press opportunities, appointments on public bodies and jobs.

Fast forward to September 2021 and the complaints process was complete and written up. The reports were held back until now, just as the Council election campaign is starting.

I deny doing anything other than being a politician. I did my job. My staff printed and folded material for example opposing Cardiff’s Local Development plan and I did so unashamedly. I paid for the folding machine.

I am supposedly guilty of using electricity for political purposes. Are they serious?

Who does not do that? Both Labour and Plaid Cymru Senedd Groups were also found guilty of misusing public resource for political purposes, but those details were not covered by the Welsh media. Plaid Cymru used the Senedd restricted areas for party political filming, but nothing was done.

I did interview someone on the Senedd estate about a political job; which party political group has not done that? I did attend a party political meeting on the Senedd estate for which Plaid Cymru kindly provided the invite and minutes to the Standards Commissioner. The irony is that Leanne Wood’s staff booked the room, yet it was me who carried the can. I did organise a few political meetings in my office. Which MS has not done that?

The Standards Commissioner got the most basic details wrong. I did correct him on the Committee, but that did not make the report. For example, he accused me of employing a family member who is no relation to me at all!

One staff member did have an exchange of messages with a complainant. It was not a wise move, but after being harangued in public by the same person who was worse the wear for alcohol, it was difficult to look too unkindly on the exchange.

If anyone ever has the chance to look at all the documentation regarding the complaints, they will see that the complaints changed as the process went on. I was first accused on producing 250,000 leaflets on the Assembly printer. A simple look at the manufacturing specification showed that this was impossible. Eventually, the total was boiled down to a few thousand.

When I was in the Senedd, I donated my councillor allowance to various causes. I am not motivated by money. On the grounds of natural justice, I will not pay the sum of money plucked out of thin air, because I do not owe anybody anything. I pay my way and I will not credit such a shocking stitch up with any financial contribution.

The good in all this is that Propel was born. We are still not even one year old, but have so much going for us and a collective of people in every Welsh constituency who support freedom and social equality. We have had a belly full of the rotten core at the heart of Welsh politics. A democratic Welsh revolution, underpinned by a Welsh constitution is our aim.

Propel is uncomplicated, principled, and intent of giving Wales a much better option for all our futures. I’r gad and watch this space.

♦ end

 

‘Welsh’ Labour, Corrupt To The Core

Yes, I am retiring, but it’s been postponed for a bit. There are just so many crooks, lying bastards, enviroshysters, drum-banging Unionists, head-banging Lefties, charlatans and others demanding a mention that I must yet tarry.

OUR NEW CHILDREN’S COMMISSIONER

Last Monday it was announced that Rocio Cifuentes is to be Wales’ new Children’s Commissioner. The media made a big play of her being the child of Chilean ‘refugees’.

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Which is interesting, and no doubt her parents experienced problems, though I’m at a loss to understand how being a Chilean-born leftist qualifies Rocio Cifuentes to be the Children’s Commissioner in Wales.

I can only assume that, apart from her loyalty to the Labour Party, what qualifies her for the £95,000 a year role is being CEO of the Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team Wales. Shortened to Ethnic Youth Support Team (EYST) on the Charity Commission website.

For those unfamiliar with how these things work in Wales, let me explain. In the years following the introduction of devolved government certain interests realised there were oodles of public funding on offer if the right emotions could be excited.

Among them, those who formed EYST in 2007. But unlike Cardiff and Newport there is no sizeable BAME population in Swansea, so the ‘need’ for the new organisation had to be exaggerated if not invented.

For that’s how it works. The permanently offended latch onto an ‘issue’, play it up (even import it), and demand funding; the ‘Welsh Government’ is happy to give money on the understanding that the body funded will be an asset to the Labour Party.

The page of EYST staff reminds us that in the BAME organisations of Wales some religions and ethnicities are over-represented, while others are almost totally absent.

I suggest we need a new descriptor for this particular gravy train.

GRIFTING, DRIFTING

Being a Labour Party loyalist Rocio Cifuentes always supports the right causes. And one of those of course is Palestine. The problem here is the line to be walked between sticking up for the Palestinian people without being anti-Semitic.

Thinking she was walking the line might explain why the new Children’s Commissioner was at a rally in Swansea last May. The clip in the tweet below starts with one of the local MPs speaking and ends with extremists chanting anti-Semitic slogans.

(Ms Cifuentes and her mother are under the parasol.)

Unfortunately, that ‘rally’ was not Ms Cifuentes only flirtation with anti-Semitism. Her name appears here (scroll down) above that of Sahar al-Faifi.

At around 40 seconds into the video Geraint Davies hands the microphone to Nizar ‘Neezo’ Dahan, the organiser of the rally. Born and raised in Swansea, he’s a bit of a lad around the ugly lovely town.

In addition to them both being at the rally last June Dahan and Cifuentes are known to each other because EYST has given ‘Neezo’ quite a few gigs.

This article gives more information about the rally. It tells us ‘Dahan’s Twitter account talks of “Zionist scum” and “dirty Zionist rats”‘.

There’s nothing new in substituting ‘Zionists’ for ‘Jews’, and using support for ‘Palestine’ to veil anti-Semitism. We’ve seen it employed by both Islamists and the far right for many years.

Back in the ’80s I recall the National Front getting coverage through the activities of a Wyn Davies in Cardiff. This was the ‘intellectualised’ NF following the arrival in England of Roberto Fiore in October 1980, and him influencing Nick Griffin and others.

I remember one day, in Machynlleth, seeing lamp-posts bearing stickers put up by Davies’s group that read, ‘Buy Palestinian goods’!

It’s just political semantics, mis-labelling, to make certain views more palatable. Pretend that all Jews are Zionists and being ‘anti-Zionist’ then becomes the clever way to be anti-Semitic.

As I suggest, ‘Neezo’ is worth a section. Here’s his Linkedin profile to help you with some background. You’ll see that he’s been about a bit, which can often be confusing. And confusion may account for the first cause for concern.

According to Linkedin Dahan was in Olchfa Comprehensive School, Swansea, 1999 – 2006; then Cardiff Metropolitan University, 2006 – 2010. But somehow, 2002 – 2007, from the age of 14, he’s also running a post office in Killay, on the west side of Swansea!

(Here’s a version I’ve saved in case the online original becomes unavailable.)

In 2015 he was putting himself about as a property developer. Here’s a piece about a chapel he’d bought in Gorseinon. The article also mentions another chapel that had been bought in Clydach.

Ebenezer Chapel, Gorseinon, owned by Nizer Dahan. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

During this excursion into the property market Dahan had two companies to his name. Renaissance Home Development Ltd*, and Grape Vine Promotions Ltd.

Neither company filed accounts with Companies House before being dissolved, so we have no way of knowing how much was made from stripping the two chapels and selling off the pews and other elements.

His career path then veered from the murky world of property to the perhaps murkier world of foreign aid. Which did not go unnoticed in Corruption Bay – for he was soon nominated for an international award. Which might suggest he has contacts.

In the ‘Welsh Government’ handout we read;

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This is the Human Relief Foundation. It’s registered with the Charity Commission.

The panel above also mentions the charity Dahan himself had set up, ‘an initiative called SHARP (Swansea Humanitarian Aid Response Project) . . . raising funds for people in dire need’.

I’ve found a Facebook page for SHARP, but nothing more. There’s certainly no charity of that name registered with the Charity Commission. We know SHARP collects money, so how is that money accounted for?

*There was also Renaissance Home Developments Ltd. Incorporated 20.07.2017, Dissolved 21.09.2021. Who is two companies with almost exactly the same name designed to fool? 

In the two companies I’ve mentioned Dahan is ‘Nizer Nizer Dahan’. But in more recent companies he’s Nizar Nageb Dahan. Did he change his name?

These new companies are, in chronological order: Afiyah Co Ltd, Neezo Ltd, and Dr Krepz Ltd. With Afiyah Dahan describes himself as an ‘International Project Manager’. For Neezo he’s a ‘Consultant’. While at Dr Krepz he’s a ‘Project Manager’.

The three companies give different Swansea addresses.

Afiyah’s only accounts thus far show a deficit of £1,900. The other two companies are too new to have submitted accounts.

Neezo Ltd is a one-man band. At Dr Krepz – which sells over-priced sneakers and little else – we find as the other director, Ataur Rahman, who was also a director at Grape Vine Promotions. While at Afiyah, the other directors are Waseem Iqbal and Ahmed Abdulla. Whose full name is Ahmed Radwan Kaid Abdulla.

And it’s to Abdulla we next turn our attention.

CONTRACTS, CONTACTS?

Before teaming up with Nizar Dahan in Afiyah Abdulla had his own one-man band in Adwiya Ltd. This was another ‘mayfly’ company, here and gone without alighting long enough to file accounts with Companies House.

But in recent years the vehicle for Abdulla’s ambitions has been Digipharm Switzerland GmbH based in Basel. The company is also UK registered from a London address.

Here’s the Digipharm website and the Twitter account.

The reason Ahmed Radwan Kaid Abdulla took himself off to Switzerland was due to the fact that he was no longer able to practise as a pharmacist in the UK. This followed a rape case, in Swansea.

The charge was that Abdulla, then a pharmacist working for Boots, had raped a woman while she was asleep. At his trial in April 2012 the jury found him not guilty. (Though I can’t find a news report of the trial.)

But his professional body, The General Pharmaceutical Council, found his evidence to be ‘unreliable’, preferring to believe the woman, and struck him off the register. As the report I’ve linked to says:

‘The case was the first time the GPhC had taken forward a fitness-to-practise hearing for a serious sexual assault after a registrant had been acquitted of rape by a criminal court.’

Here’s the full report of the GPhC’s Fitness to Practise Committee. In addition to the rape the hearing discussed Abdulla’s use of cocaine and other drugs.

The committee’s report is worth reading. If you don’t have time to read the full document then skip to the conclusions, from page 43.

The committee’s conclusion in relation to the rape charge. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

The bracing Swiss air seems to have done Abdulla the world of good. For while the most recently available accounts for Digipharm tell of a deficit in excess of £100,000 things have improved since then.

To begin with, there was an £11 million share issue just under a year ago. The other shareholders are, I assume, representatives of Paris-based, Gulf owned, Gawah Holdings Inc. While ‘Smith Mike’ is Digipharm’s Chief Technology Officer.

Shareholdings in Digipharm. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

I suggest Gawah as investors because . . . well, it’s all over the internet.

The reason for that, and the reason Gawah wants a share of the action, is that Digipharm has landed contracts with the Welsh NHS. Here’s a report from a few days ago.

Though Digipharm has been crowing about the link-up for some time.

It appears that Digipharm is acting as an intermediary between pharmaceutical giant Roche and NHS Cymru / Life Sciences Hub Wales, described as, ‘an arm’s length body of Welsh Government’.

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Which means that a man effectively found guilty of rape by his professional body is now back in Wales and coining it with a contract from the ‘Welsh Government’.

And if Abdulla has links to the Labour Party how is this Digipharm contract any different to Tory ministers in London giving NHS contracts to friends, political allies, relatives, or even the bloke running their local pub?

UPDATE: I learn that Ahmed Abdulla was an invited speaker at a ‘Value in Health Week’ in October 2020 at Swansea University. We know universities are ‘close’ to the Labour Party, but bloody hell, don’t they do any checks!

RANDOM QUESTIONS

  • Rocio Cifuentes will be in post as Children’s Commissioner when the council elections are contested in May. Will she be able to canvass for her father José who is standing for Labour in the Dunvant and Killay ward in Swansea? He spoke at that infamous ‘rally’.
  • What is the purpose of the company Afiyah Co Ltd set up recently by Nizer Nageb Dahan and disqualified pharmacist Ahmed Radwan Kaid Abdulla?
  • How was contact made between Ahmed Abdulla / Digipharm and NHS Cymru and Life Sciences Hub Wales?
  • Did NHS Cymru and Life Sciences Hub Wales know that Abdulla had been struck off by the General Pharmaceutical Council as it was convinced he was a rapist and definitely a user of illegal drugs?
  • Given Ahmed Abdulla’s known liking for Class A controlled drugs is it wise to enter any arrangement with him involving, ahem, ‘pharmaceuticals’?

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Labour Party is drifting further and further away from those on whom it relies for electoral support, and others in whose interests it should be working.

Instead, those important to Labour politicians, those who get the funding, those who direct ‘Welsh Government’ policy, are the lobbyists and the special interest groups, assorted shysters, ishoo-mongers, extremists.

Plaid Cymru is now propping up this corrupt and discredited system. They deserve each other. But Wales deserves so much better.

♦ end ♦

© Royston Jones 2022


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 ♦

 




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!

Click to open in separate tab

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 ♦




This is where I came in

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.

Well, the election is over, a rather disappointing election for the national cause and those wanting independence.

Though the performance of Gwlad, the party to which I belong, was not surprising. A new party trying to get itself known in a pandemic, and almost ignored by the colonial media, was always going to struggle.

The other new party, Propel, is probably disappointed, and I’m not sure what went wrong. Though I do know that in the Cardiff West constituency dirty tricks may have affected party leader Neil McEvoy’s vote. Though perhaps not enough to cost him victory.

But the real under-achievers were, again, Plaid Cymru. With the 2016 figures bracketed, this was the party’s result last week: Seats 13 (12), constituency vote 20.3% (20.5%), regional vote 20.7% (20.8%).

Plaid Cymru’s disappointment didn’t end with the Senedd elections. In 2016 the party’s candidates won the Police and Crime Commissioner elections for North Wales and Dyfed Powys. Last week they lost North Wales.

Better was expected. One reason being that after 22 years of decline under Labour, and a bunch of Tory chancers running things up in London, it was felt that many voters would be seeking a third option.

Also, Plaid Cymru was supposed to be the main beneficiary of 16 and 17 year olds being given the vote.

Alas, it did not come to pass.

TWO STEPS FORWARD, THREE STEPS BACK

The title of this week’s offering is of course something you’d have heard in cinemas when I was a bright young thing adorning the salons of Manselton, Brynhyfryd and contiguous neighbourhoods. (Yea, even unto Cwmbwrla and ‘the cowin’ Hafod’.)

I use the phrase here because the position of Plaid Cymru today is not greatly dissimilar to when I joined the party in the mid 1960s, before Gwynfor Evans’ famous Carmarthen by-election victory of July, 1966

Back then Plaid Cymru was perceived by most people to be a party for Welsh speakers, and for rural areas. Due to that perception, Plaid Cymru was unable to make much of an impression east of Carmarthen and Conwy.

What’s changed?

Well, obviously, Plaid Cymru now has MPs, and we have a devolved parliament . . . but as a political force, Plaid Cymru is penned into its western strongholds as much as it ever was in the past.

And yet, it could all have been so different. For in 1999, in the first Assembly elections, Plaid Cymru came within a fat whisker of winning. The threat of victory so frightened certain people, in Wales and elsewhere, that inspirational leader Dafydd Wigley was removed.

It was downhill for Plaid Cymru from then on.

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To the point where Plaid Cymru’s plight today should surprise no one. Because the party now labours (no pun intended) under a double handicap, the second element self-inflicted.

To begin with, it is still perceived as a Welsh language party; second, it moved to the left – in the hope of taking Labour votes – at the same time as the (white) working class across the Western world was moving to the right.

The move to the left might have been in response to Tony Blair and his successor Gordon Brown making the Labour Party more centrist. If so, then it was a silly and damaging response to the success of New Labour.

YES CYMRU

Since my previous pieces Hopes of Welsh independence being jeopardised by the hard left and Senedd elections: Hard left to win by stealth I’ve received more information about goings-on inside Yes Cymru.

I won’t say any more about Dr Dilys Davies and her treatment by that organisation because lawyers may now be involved. And as regular readers will know, I already have enough solicitors’ letters.

Pile 7 (/36) of my legal correspondence. Click to enlarge

But there’s still plenty to report. First, here’s the agenda for the AGM on the 22nd.

Obviously there will be elections to the Yes Cymru Central Committee but there will also be discussion of submitted motions. Most of these appear to be procedural, so I’ll just mention Motions 1 and 2.

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You will see in Motion 1 considerable emphasis on Central Committee members being or identifying as female or non-binary. These posts are unlikely to be filled by anyone you or I would regard as a woman. (Henceforth to be known as a ‘birthing person’.)

Which raises an interesting question.

Can someone decide to identify as a woman / birthing person simply to stand for election? Or to put it another way, for how long will someone have had to identify as such before they can stand? Is there a ‘qualification period’? (Should I have used the word ‘period’?)

Thinking about the whole issue of self-identification . . .

If someone can ‘identify’ as a woman / birthing person when they are clearly a man then should self-identification be restricted to the human race? For example, could I identify as a rabbit, then demand to be recognised as belonging to a persecuted group, and insist on joining Yes Cymru’s Central Committee? Because wabbits have all sorts of enemies, human and animal.

(Though I would insist that the Central Committee contained no one identifying as a fox or a stoat. We must not tolerate coneyphobes!)

Motion 2, to set up an Equality and Diversity Sub-committee, is an obvious attempt by the left and the wokies to further strengthen their grip on the running of Yes Cymru.

God only knows how Yes Cymru has survived for so long, and flourished, without an Equality and Diversity Sub-Committee.

Clearly, ‘diversity’ is being used to fill the Central Committee and other roles with more leftists. For almost all those being co-opted or put up for election under various labels are from the far left / woke faction.

Which means that in pursuit of ‘diversity’ Yes Cymru will in fact become less diverse, just more of a far left organisation.

But why would the far left and its wokie foot-soldiers want to take over Yes Cymru? Are they really that supportive of Welsh independence?

After sifting through information received, following various contributions on social media, and asking pertinent questions of people in the know, I think I’ve figured out the left’s plan.

NO CYMRY?

Mark Hooper, prominent member of Plaid Cymru, heads up the Banc Cambria project, and he’s stepping down from the Central Committee of Yes Cymru at the upcoming AGM. I’ve always found Mark to be a decent bloke and, for a socialist, quite clubbable and real world rooted.

On Saturday Mark put out a curious tweet, which you can read below, together with a response.

Like Chantel Mathias, I too wondered what making Wales, “a safe space for everyone who chooses Wales as their home” has to do with the campaign for independence.

If it had just been Mark Hooper saying it then perhaps I might have passed over it and moved on, but I keep hearing this sentiment from others in Yes Cymru. Even from those seeking to join the Central Committee at the AGM.

For example, among the latter we find Scott Mackay of Yes Cymru Abertawe. His statement contains the phrase, ” . . . an inclusive, diverse Wales where anyone who wants to call it home is welcome”.

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Laudable, no doubt. But what I found strange about Scott Mackay’s pitch to the YC members is that while he mentions “engaging with the Welsh independence movement” I’m not sure if he actually supports independence.

That’s because ‘engaging’ is such a strange word to use in this context. Kind of detached. I would have expected to read ‘joining’ or ‘supporting’.

Anyway, you know me; I may be a bastard but I try to be a fair-minded bastard, so I dropped Mark Hooper a DM: “You get a wee mention in tomorrow’s blog piece. What did you mean by “safe space for everyone who chooses Wales as their home”? Does that extend to the Cheshire Set who’ve taken over Abersoch? The retirees pricing locals out of the housing market and overburdening the NHS?”

He responded in his usual courteous fashion, but he didn’t answer my question.

Anyway, moving on . . .

Someone rejecting nomination to the Central Committee is Dr Jen Llywelyn. While one who yesterday announced that he was standing down is founder-member Iestyn ap Rhobert. I think both could be described as moderates who’ve focused on independence.

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LEFT TURN . . . FAR LEFT TURN

With moderates pulling out it would appear that the far left has been given a clear run. But let’s return to the question of why the far left would want to take over Yes Cymru, and how it might use that control.

There are a number of ways of looking at this.

To begin with, let’s remind ourselves that the far left’s influence in Plaid Cymru was slightly weakened when Leanne Wood so disastrously lost the 2018 leadership contest. More recently, the influence of the far left was curbed in the Labour Party after Jeremy Corbyn was toppled following the general election debacle in December 2019.

It’s in these parties that we find the far left in Wales. Being the beast it is, the far left is forever looking for fresh organisations to take over and use to promote the socialist message.

In the Welsh context, Yes Cymru, with its 18,000 members, was an obvious target. Those pre-Covid Yes Cymru marches were the most impressive shows of public support for any political cause that Wales has seen for decades. With all the flags and the good-natured crowds, who could fail to be impressed?

We can guarantee that the committee of the Karl Marx Social Club (Bingo Tuesday and Friday) were attracted. It explains what we now see being played out – a takeover of Yes Cymru by the hard left.

Click to enlarge

If the takeover is successful then Yes Cymru will go in for further ‘diversification’. In practice, this will mean issuing statements, perhaps organising marches, against the usual bugbears of the left: police brutality, Israeli brutality, racism, transphobia, Islamophobia, a Tory government in London, Robertsons golliwog badges being sold under the counter at car boot sales, etc., etc.

And of course, there will be support for unlimited immigration. Because the left always supports unlimited immigration. (Spouting ‘diversity’ and humanitarian considerations, but prepared to cause social dislocation in the hope of increasing the vote for leftist parties.)

And socialism is the driving force here, not considerations of what’s best for Wales, or the Welsh. Not so long ago Aled Gwyn Williams was a loyal and vocal member of Plaid Cymru, and remains influential in Yes Cymru (though he has been told to tone it down a bit), but socialism is what really matters to him.

Speaking of Williams, someone contacted my server claiming copyright infringement. This relates to images I’ve recently used on this blog, which I believe were picked up from Twitter. They show Aled Gwyn Williams on his trip west to harass Dr Dilys Davies, and another showing Williams wining and dining with a few friends.

Who could have made this complaint? Will it result in yet more correspondence from yet another shyster lawyer?

I suggest the sentiments we’ve heard expressed show support for unlimited immigration because the ‘Welsh Government’ already has a plan to make Wales a ‘Nation of Sanctuary’. The document I’ve linked to is remarkable in a number of ways. Not least the fact that it differentiates between asylum seekers and refugees, but finds no room to mention economic migrants.

Suggesting that this document, like so many carrying the imprimatur of the ‘Welsh Government’ was written by a third sector group hoping to squeeze more money out of a poor country.

This would certainly explain the talk of,” . . . an inclusive, diverse Wales where anyone who wants to call it home is welcome”.

And as I suggested in my DM to Mark Hooper, if you believe in open borders then you must accept the ethnic cleansing taking place in our rural areas, and especially in our coastal communities.

Click to enlarge

Nor can those holding up the Croeso! banners complain about Welsh communities being blighted by drug addicts and petty criminals dumped on them by third sector bodies working with private landlords and housing associations.

This social dumping has been a problem on the north coast for decades, especially in Rhyl. But now southern towns with cheap properties are experiencing it. Towns such as Llanelli, Neath, and even Briton Ferry.

But everybody is welcome in diverse and inclusive Wales! No matter what the cost.

When the left takes over Yes Cymru it will have far more important things to worry about than community cohesion, law and order, the economy, Welsh nationhood, Wales being colonised . . . or independence.

Because if it isn’t dropped entirely, then expect independence to become just one issue among many.

LAST CHANCE

Yes Cymru members have one last chance to offer our people what Dr Craig Dalzell of Common Weal describes as a ‘Future neutral’ campaign for independence.

Yes Cymru must be a broad church, welcoming all who want independence, and it must focus solely on independence; because the alternative is an organisation in which unity is compromised by members being herded into different pens, classified by gender, race, sexuality, etc.

With the thought police deciding who is allowed in to what will quickly degenerate into just another far left protest group. Those same thought police will unleash the pack on anyone who dares challenge them, or expose their intolerance.

Just ask Dr Dilys Davies.

The odds are already stacked in favour of the left and the wokies because the proceedings of the 22nd will be online, which will favour their youthful supporters.

But if those with Wales’ best interests at heart are not prepared to stand up to the extremists and the obsessives then you can kiss goodbye to the Yes Cymru you joined. The Yes Cymru you helped build.

Because after May 22 it will exist in name only.

♦ end ♦

 




Senedd elections: Hard left to win by stealth

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.

Last week, in discussing the suspension from Yes Cymru, on the most spurious of grounds, of Dr Dilys Davies, I offered you ‘Hopes of Welsh independence being jeopardised by the hard left’.

This latest post is in part an update of, and in part a sequel to, last week’s post.

INTRODUCTION

In that previous piece I explained the infiltration of Yes Cymru by left wingers who are more likely to be promoting their own agendas than serving Welsh interests.

I also tried to explain the linkage between the doctrinaire ‘hard’ left and the ‘fluffier’ wokies, especially those who believe transsexuals are a persecuted minority in Wales that must not just be protected, but promoted and grown.

Following that piece I suffered considerable online abuse, people saying they wanted to attack me, even kill me. Moi! loveable old Jac!

This is the kind of thing I’m talking about.

Click to enlarge

Aled Gwyn Williams, poisonous little troll of Maesteg, was no doubt angry that my blog piece had been taken up by Llais y Sais, where Martin Shipton gave him a few mentions.

This was perhaps payback for Shipton being attacked last year by the usual suspects for daring to wonder why BLM protests were allowed during Covid lockdown.

For this he was removed from a judging panel by the touchy-feely, state-funded, left liberals of Literature Wales, an organisation where ‘diversity’ now takes precedence over good writing.

Shipton was quoted in a Nation.Cymru article saying, “Many of the tweets questioned my right to express an opinion, called into question my credentials as a journalist and attacked me on the basis of my age.”

Tell me about it!

But it was all rather naïve of Shippo. For as we learnt from the USA and elsewhere, marches, riots, arson, looting, even murder and mayhem, were perfectly acceptable during lockdown – as long as it was BLM or Antifa doing it.

Click to enlarge

Further news came in after last week’s post was published, some of which I added as an update, and so you may have missed it. Also, information to which I’ve been directed in recent days.

HARD LEFT INFILTRATES, PROMISES SOCIALIST UTOPIA OF . . . GULAGS

As a late addition to last week’s post I mentioned that Yes Cymru had taken on a Campaigns Officer. Her name is Harriet Protheroe-Soltani (formerly Protheroe-Davis), originally of Merthyr.

What’s important about her is that she comes from Momentum, or Welsh Labour Grassroots, as it tends be more popularly known in Wales. By either name this is the hard left group that gathered around Jeremy Corbyn capturing and, for a while, controlling the Labour Party.

Since Corbyn’s fall parasitic Momentum has sought new hosts.

A year ago Harriet Protheroe-Soltani stood for Momentum’s National Coordinating Group (NCG), seeking to represent the ‘North West and Wales’ region.

She was elected and became “vice chair of the campaign group Momentum”. By March this year Protheroe-Soltani was a YesCymru activist.

When standing for the Momentum NCG last year this is what she had to say to the Momentum membership in her election pitch:

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The penultimate sentence is chilling. It suggests that those who are democratically elected to the Senedd by the Welsh people will be dictated to by left wingers like her.

Another hard left woman who has adopted the cause of Welsh independence is infamous anti-Semite Kerry-Anne Mendoza, editor-in-chief of far left media site The Canary. I think she has ‘bought a place’ near Abergavenny.

I don’t accept that these women really care about Wales, or about us. I say that because the left is inherently unpatriotic. To them, patriotism is either passé or downright evil.

One of Aled Gwyn Williams’ playmates’ recently used the term ‘flagshaggers’ to describe Welsh patriots. (He’s the one in the centre of the picture below.)

Not long before, in a truly bizarre tweet – even by their standards – he challenged ‘flagshaggers’ to a cage fight! Everybody had a good laugh.

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The hard left supports Welsh independence for its own reasons. Reasons that would be of no benefit to the Welsh people. For example, the left would do nothing to combat the ethnic cleansing taking place in our rural areas as they believe in open borders and free movement of people.

Consequently, the independent Wales they promise would be an absolute nightmare. As we were reminded by the comedian in the centre of the picture above . . . who fantasises about gulags!

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And he is not joking! That’s how unhinged the hard left / wokies have become.

These are the people taking over and reshaping the movement for independence, and it makes sense.

For reading Momentum literature certain things become obvious. Regular references to the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights tell that this issue is being used by Momentum to cause disruption in ‘target groups’.

It worked its magic on the Labour Party and now we see the hard left using its useful idiots the wokies to cause disruption with transphobia allegations in Wales. Especially within Plaid Cymru and the independence movement.

THE HARD LEFT UNDERMINING THE NATION

When it’s not talk of gulags and cage fights with ‘flagshaggers’, or dictating policy to the ‘Welsh Government’, then leftists engage in other attacks on the nation.

Here are two examples from last week.

To believe the first, the movement for Welsh independence owes virtually nothing to white, heterosexual Welsh people!

“Bigots and fascists” is code for, ‘anyone who refuses to accept the hard left / wokie message’. That is, most of us.

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According to Welsh Communalists of the World Yes Cymru was “only possible” due to the LGBTQ community and the Kurds. Now, I have supported the Kurds ever since I became aware of their plight – and this was long before the clowns I’m writing about were born – but to give the Kurdish diaspora in Wales such influence would probably embarrass the Kurds themselves.

Yet – and this is surely the clincher! – what Welsh Communalists of the World says is “a scientific fact”. So there!

Who are these idiots?

A brief background may be needed for you to understand the second example.

A recent proposal to the Snowdonia National Park Authority by Gwynedd councillor John Pughe Roberts called for our highest mountain to be known only as ‘Yr Wyddfa’.

This has excited the representatives of the ‘visitor economy’ (love that term!) who claim the tourists won’t like it. Citing the fact that no one visits Mont Blanc or Benidorm.

It’s this suggestion from Cllr Roberts that encouraged the Twitter contribution you see below from @henpbapur.

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It’s difficult to know where to start with this, but let’s try some facts. Colonel Sir George Everest was born into a family of butchers turned lawyers from London. They’d made enough money to buy a sizeable estate near Crughywel.

There is some dispute as to where George Everest was born, in 1790, but he was certainly baptised in London and educated in England before joining the East India Company as a cadet and sailing for India in 1806. He died at his London home in 1866 and is buried in London.

His connection with Wales, therefore, is tenuous in the extreme. He may never have set foot here! For all sorts of reasons, to call him a Welshman is absurd.

But none of this matters to those, infected with transient lunacies, who want to paint us Welsh as colonialist oppressors. Though even if Everest was Welsh, would that make us all guilty?

Following World War Two the Allies decided that guilt for the Holocaust and other crimes would be borne by those who were guilty – not by the whole German nation. That was the correct thing to do then, and now.

But under the influence of Black Lives Matter, and its mantra that all white people must carry the guilt for slavery and colonialism some young person in Wales uses George Everest to pin the guilt of colonialism on the whole Welsh nation in 2021!

And by so doing, she lines up with some Cheshire Set shite in Abbasock who thinks using the name Yr Wyddfa is racist!

Whose side is she on?

She doubled down on her silliness with the tweet you see below.

No, I’ll tell you what’s ‘toxic’ and ‘shallow’ – blaming people for things they had no hand in, and arguing for collective guilt. Because that’s how dictators and genocidalists ‘justify’ their crimes.

THE HARD LEFT, YES CYMRU, AND THE COALITION

One of the many curiosities of the Welsh political scene nowadays is a group calling itself Labour for an Independent Wales. As you can see if you click on the link, the homepage of the group’s website proclaims ‘Socialism through independence’, leaving us in no doubt of its priority.

(Mercifully, there’s no mention of gulags. Or of challenging ‘flagshaggers’ to a scrap.)

On the executive committee of @LabforIndyWales we find Martyn Shrewsbury, snake oil salesman of Swansea and former luminary of the Liberal Democrats. Shrewsbury has appeared on this blog more than once. (Just put his name in the search box atop the sidebar.)

The rest seem to be the usual mix of dinner party socialists, those still fighting Brexit, and yet more opportunists dreaming of exploiting an independent Wales.

The leader and spokesperson for this merry band is Ben Gwalchmai, who is the fourth of Labour’s four candidates on the Mid and West Wales list for Thursday’s election. Which means he’s got as much chance of being elected as I have.

I mention Comrade Gwalchmai because, idly searching the web the other night, I came across a podcast in which he appears, alongside Harriet Protheroe-Soltani of all people. She of Yes Cymru and Momentum.

If nothing else, it tells us that they know each other. Which is no great surprise.

But the reason I mention it is because I’m told Gwalchmai has been having discreet talks with the leadership of Yes Cymru. The organisation that so recently attracted Protheroe-Soltani. This might be significant.

Because despite Yes Cymru’s claims to not be aligned with any political party, it became obvious soon after YC’s launch that it was an extension of Plaid Cymru. While the claim to being ideology-free has been destroyed by Yes Cymru’s surrender to the far left and the left’s wokie dupes.

Then, other sources tell me that the details of the post-election coalition between Labour and Plaid Cymru have already been settled. Plaid Cymru is being coy about it so as not to alienate its supporters.

I’ll remind them: A vote for Plaid Cymru is a vote for Labour.

It would make perfect sense for potential partners in any coalition to have made the initial contact through proxies. Or should we view it as Yes Cymru acting as matchmaker?

One thing is absolutely certain. The hard left has extended its influence in Wales without ever putting its agenda to the electorate. It has achieved this influence through the time-honoured methods of entryism and operating through surrogates.

The little chart I’ve drawn up explains how I see the flow of left wing influence. You’ll note that while Labour is obviously targeted, the ultimate targets are Yes Cymru and Plaid Cymru. In fact, Plaid Cymru might be seen as the end of the line.

Making the party of Saunders Lewis and Gwynfor Evans the Labour Party by another name.

The trickle down effect.

Undod is a far left group containing a number of extremists and oddballs, some of whom crop up in the company of Aled Gwyn Williams. With its emphasis on class war it’s about as relevant to the 21st century as whalebone corsets.

“One of the reasons we decided to call ourselves Undod was as a permanent reminder that the working class have more in common with one another than they do with the political and business elites in this country.”

As I said earlier, the left is always unpatriotic, and Undod is no exception. It seeks to divide the Welsh nation on class lines while forging alliances with the toiling masses elsewhere. It’s almost nostalgia socialism; the sort of thing that can only appeal to the truly embittered or the too-young-to-know-better.

Plaid Ifanc, the youth wing of Plaid Cymru, is another far left organisation, with its number one objective being to make Wales independent . . . and then join the EU! Being generous, I’ll suggest its members are too young to remember the 2016 referendum in which Wales voted to leave the EU.

There is no mention on the Plaid Ifanc website of the citizens of an independent socialist Wales having a referendum to decide whether they want to join the EU.

There are other groups and social media accounts that I could have mentioned but these would be more peripheral.

Though one deserving a mention, which seems to be another front for Momentum, is Acorn. Formed in 2014, it describes itself as “a mass membership organisation and network of low-income people organising for a fairer deal for our communities”.

Deliciously vague . . . but who could criticise!

LOOKING AHEAD

There will be a Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition after Thursday’s elections, but the real victor will be the hard left, which has infiltrated both parties, and will, as Harriet Protheroe-Soltani warned, “set the narrative” for the ‘Welsh Government’. It could be argued that this infiltration made the coalition almost inevitable.

Can merger be far behind?

From then on it will be virtue signalling on steroids!

The planet will be saved by banning private transport while also getting rid of farmers and their farting livestock; the world’s refugees will be encouraged to come to Wales; police will be defunded and their bicycles emblazoned with ‘ACAB’; England’s homeless will be housed; gender dysphoria counselling will be available to foetuses; the stocks will be brought back for flagshaggers; the currently under-funded third sector will enjoy a golden age of largesse; anyone asking, ‘But what about the economy?’ will be re-educated . . . and Wales will sink into (even greater) poverty and utter chaos.

I can only hope that a few years of the lunatics running the asylum leads to our people coming to their senses, and from then on voting for parties with no hidden agendas, and only Wales’ best interests at heart.

♦ 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