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’.
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.
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.
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.)
Geraint Davies is the Labour MP for Swansea West.
At a 16 May anti-Israel rally, he says "I am with you". Then he hands the mike to a man who joins blood chanting. He is swiftly followed by "Khaybar, oh Jews" shouting, the vicious racist call to murderous hatred.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.)
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 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.
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’.
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?
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’?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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’?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
'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'.
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.
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?
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.)
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.’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
But this project throws up yet more questions about our ‘serial entrepreneur’.
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.
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.
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 authority3/ NI, income tax, benefits, married persons allowance – HMRC, central government 4/ Driving licence – DVLA, central government5/ 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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 latest post is in part an update of, and in part a sequel to, last week’s post.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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!)
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?
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.
Over the years I’ve read a lot of political nonsense and outright bullshit in the Western Mail, much of it emanating from the Labour Party. But all records were broken on Friday, February 26, 2021 when Llais y Sais gave us a sneak preview of a speech to be delivered by First Minister Mark Drakeford.
To help you fully appreciate the levels of dishonesty contained in the speech I shall produce the offending article and then walk you through it paragraph by numbered paragraph.
Let’s start with the headline and the opening paragraphs. Home rule within the UK is impossible, for without a written constitution it could, like devolution, be undone at any time. (Come to that, how does ‘home rule’ differ from devolution?)
And even with a written constitution, an unequal Union such as the UK allows the dominant partner to do what it damn well likes. As England has for centuries.
No, let’s be honest, home rule is an unworkable nonsense. The truth is that Labour in Wales is alarmed by the possibilities unveiled by the Internal Market Act, which allows London to ignore the devolution settlement almost entirely.
Home rule would have offered no defence against the Internal Market Act.
Though Labour’s hostility to this Act was not prompted by thoughts of what’s best for Wales but by the fear that Boris Johnson and his mates might start threatening Labour’s hegemony in Wales, and the crony networks the party has built up over the past 22 years.
Now let’s go through the rest of the article, focusing on the more interesting paragraphs.
PARAGRAPH 4: “Internationalist not nationalist. Outward facing, not inward looking”, says Drakeford. Now this could either be a call to arms and a commitment to global humanity or a pathetic justification for having done nothing for Wales for the 22 years of devolution.
Because we’re dealing with ‘Welsh’ Labour, it is of course the latter.
Wales is the poorest country in Europe. Not so long ago I would have said ‘Western Europe’, but now the countries of the former Soviet bloc have caught us up and in many cases overtaken us.
The truth is that ‘Welsh’ Labour and its so-called ‘Welsh Government’ should be doing a lot more looking inward; then they might appreciate this country’s problems, its real needs, and address them before riding off on Quixotic crusades to save the planet.
PARAGRAPHS 5 & 6: These continue in the same toe-curling vein, with the predictable use of, “progressive” (‘pass my revolver, wife!’), and even “destiny”!
Though, chwarae teg, I did agree with, “Yes to a Wales that takes ownership of its own destiny” . . . but home rule ain’t gonna deliver that.
PARAGRAPH 7: Drakeford believes the coming Senedd election is a contest unlike any other. Indeed it is, and it could be his last. Go for it, Neil!
PARAGRAPH 8: This is where we learn that Labour has a new strapline – ‘Moving Wales Forward’. God! I wish I’d thought of that!
Can’t you just hear kids shouting it as they whizz by on their bikes! Young women having it tattooed on their intimate parts! Football and rugby crowds – when they’re allowed back, of course – chanting it on the terraces!
What a response to all those who want to move us back. Though Nationalists like me also want to move forward, to independence; and even the anti-Welsh mob want to move forward, by consigning devolution to the dustbin of failed political initiatives. (Where it belongs.)
When you think about it, the only ones who want to stand still, maintain the status quo, are the devolutionists, and where are they to be found? Er, in the Labour Party.
PARAGRAPHS 9 – 12: Here it’s appeals to, ” . . . our tenacity . . . our institutions and sense of social solidarity . . . characteristics that will shape . . . generations to come”. Then it’s, “from the coal field (sic) to the rugby field . . . work together . . . shared experience . . .”.
The kind of vacuous rambling that would shame a be-medalled Latin American caudillo.
PARAGRAPHS 13 – 16: I was obviously unfair in suggesting that 22 years of devolution under ‘Welsh’ Labour has been a disaster – for we are a “world leader in recycling”!
That will be a great consolation to those queuing at food banks, and those being forced out of the communities in which they were born and raised, and where they’d hoped to die.
Twice we see the “National Forest” mentioned. Does this mean that the ‘Welsh Government’ has a plan to develop a forestry industry in Wales, generating wealth, creating jobs, and sustaining communities?
Don’t be silly, Jac, it’s, “for people to further enjoy Wales’ natural beauty”. In other words – more fucking tourism! But worse, this project could also be seen as meeting the demands of Monbiot and his disciples, those who want to dispossess our farmers and take over their land.
The war on farmers becomes clear again with, “tackling agricultural pollution”, presumably into our waterways. Yet most of the pollution in our rivers has nothing to do with agriculture.
Of course this truth does not serve the ‘Welsh Government’s anti-farming agenda. Consequently, it will never be admitted by Natural Resources Wales, or Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs. And certainly not by Lesley’s civil servant lover Gary Haggaty.
But I suppose what pissed me off most in this section was the reference to “investment in new green jobs”. This is not new, we’ve been hearing it for over twenty years. But how many jobs has ‘green energy’ created?
Think of the massive Pen y Cymoedd wind farm, one of the largest in Europe. Does it employ any local people? Certainly, no jobs were provided at earlier stages because the towers, motors, and blades were made in Germany and Denmark.
The only real benefits the local community sees is the £1.8m doled out every year as a Community Fund by the owner of the wind farm, Swedish company Vattenfall. Which only makes me wonder how much of a killing Vattenfall is making.
This Community Fund is just crumbs from our own table.
Despite Labour claiming for two decades or more that renewables would create jobs, and be a great boost to the Welsh economy, the reality is that the ‘Welsh Government’ has simply allowed Wales to be exploited, with no benefits at all for us.
It’s no longer coal mines, slate quarries, or dams and reservoirs, it’s wind and solar farms, and wave energy. But Wales continues to be exploited by strangers.
Therefore only a fool would believe Labour’s promise to deliver in the future what it has already been promising to deliver for so long. ‘Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me’.
PARAGRAPHS 17 – 22: Here, gentle reader, we reach new heights of hifalutin vacuity before plumbing the depths of cringe-inducing attempts at eloquence.
Though it started encouragingly, because when I read “generations who come after us” I thought at first it was a reference to Burke’s Contract, but no.
This is followed by. “We are so lucky in our country, to have all the natural resources we need to put Wales at the forefront of the global energy revolution which the world will need: wind, water and wave”.
And here, Drakeford is absolutely right – we do have all these resources! But we don’t own any of them. They don’t generate wealth or jobs for us. For as I say, that’s because ‘Welsh’ Labour encourages strangers to exploit our homeland as if it was some 19th century African ‘possession’.
Then comes the empty promise of jobs, again. Before we are exhorted to, ” . . . make our contribution to securing the future of our beautiful but fragile planet”.
(Cue violins and rustling Kleenex.)
This sententious drivel exposes where Labour has gone wrong and how it has failed Wales.
Saving the planet – as if we could! – has done nothing for us. The promised jobs never materialised. Even if they had materialised we would have been working for foreign companies because Labour does not want successful Welsh companies, with Welsh businessmen regularly exposing the bruvvers’ idiocies.
No, Labour wants the quiet life of foreign companies uninterested in Welsh politics and a third sector of Labour cronies forever finding problems for Labour to fund while blaming someone else.
But nothing exposes the reality of Wales today, and Labour’s shortcomings, more than the fact that nowhere in Drakeford’s waffle does he say, ‘Vote for us on our record’.
All he can offer is pie in the sky, recycled promises on green jobs, and more saving the planet. Nowhere does he talk of what really matters to most Welsh people: health, education, jobs (that might actually materialise), and housing they can afford.
Labour has pandered to certain alien lobbies at the expense of the Welsh people for too long, and this cannot go on. Labour must be removed from power in May.
And remember! a vote for Plaid Cymru is a vote to keep Labour in power.
I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL PROBABLY NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.
I had planned a piece on May’s Senedd elections (or whenever they’re held). But then I realised there are a couple of factors still playing out that will impact mightily on that election. I mean Coronavirus and the effects of Brexit.
So, I’ve put that planned piece on the back burner. There’ll be plenty of time to return to it when the picture has become a little clearer.
Instead, I shall deal with another issue that will certainly impact on the election and more widely on Welsh public and political life in the years ahead. Though to refer to it as a mere ‘issue’ fails to do it justice.
IN MY BEGINNING
I got involved in the nationalist movement in the mid-1960s. Driven by patriotism, a lifelong love of history, and a growing interest in politics that soon made me realise my country was not being treated fairly.
I’m not sure there was a single ‘trigger’, but Tryweryn certainly influenced my conversion. If I had any doubts, then Aberfan ended them.
I wanted independence to improve the lives of the people I cared about: my family, my neighbours, my community, and my nation. I wanted independence to protect my country from neglect or exploitation, and to defend what made us Welsh.
My Wales had no bogeymen, no minorities against which retribution was sought, and there was no irredentist dimension. My nationalism was, and remains, purely defensive; the only people who need fear it are the enemies of my country and my people.
If what I’ve written strikes anyone as ‘blood and soil’ nationalism then that really is your problem, not mine.
I cannot think of any reason for wanting independence other than to serve the best interests of the greatest possible number of Welsh people.
THE LEFT AND THE INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT
On December 19 Yes Cymru put out what seemed at the time to be a harmless enough tweet welcoming Conservatives into the ranks. The tweet ended with a recognition of the “compatibility” of conservatism and independence.
This tweet outraged the hard left and the woke (increasingly difficult to tell apart) and within an hour it was taken down.
A generous interpretation might be that those who demanded its removal don’t know the difference between Conservative and conservative. For I’m a lifelong believer in Welsh independence who is a conservative, but not a Conservative.
A less charitable, and more worrying, interpretation would be that for some in the new independence movement neither Conservatives nor conservatives are welcome. This they seem to justify by arguing that Wales is a ‘socialist country’, with a ‘radical tradition’.
But how true is that?
The claim that Wales is a socialist country is premised on the fact that the Labour Party and Plaid Cymru together usually get a majority of the votes cast in elections.
Though in the December 2019 Westminster elections Labour gained 40.9% while Plaid Cymru got only 9.9%. Giving a combined total of just 50.8%.
In the most recent elections to the National Assembly (as was) in 2016, the combined percentage of the constituency vote was 55.2%. For the regional lists, the ‘socialist’ total was 52.3%.
But these figures are misleading because how many of those who vote for Plaid Cymru and Labour are really socialists?
I live in Plaid Cymru’s safest seat, Dwyfor Meirionnydd, but few of the Plaid supporters I know could be described as socialists. Most are cultural nationalists and / or social conservatives. It’s a similar picture throughout Plaid Cymru’s western heartland.
Turning to Labour; yes, the vote looks impressive, but to assume that all Labour voters are socialists is nonsense.
The average Labour voter supports the party because he or she believes Labour will raise wages and benefits. The closest this constituency comes to socialism is on specific issues such as the NHS. But again, self-interest dominates.
So, what of Wales’ claimed ‘radical tradition’?
Since the Second World War radicalism – in the sense of challenging the role of the English monarchy and the legitimacy of the British state in Wales – has come exclusively from nationalists.
In the same period Wales has seen strikes, perhaps most memorably the two miners’ strikes, but again, these were about protecting jobs and communities, they were not a fight for socialist ideology.
Socialists are understandably reluctant to concede any of this because it undermines their claim to a monopoly on radicalism. Also because the rise of nationalism in the 1960s had the effect of turning many in the Labour Party into simpering royalists or tub-thumping Unionists. Something that embarrasses many on the left.
The fact is that socialism in the UK was, at a very early stage, broken and domesticated as the Labour Party, and brought into the constitutional fold. Thereby allowing the UK to avoid the political upheavals seen elsewhere in Europe.
Yet many on the left of the independence movement can make common cause with ‘socialists’ who are diehard Unionists, while rejecting those who sincerely believe in independence because they’re not socialists.
The only interpretation is that socialism is more important for these people than Welsh independence, with the independence movement being just another vehicle for their socialism.
As for the alleged radical tradition, yes it’s there, though sporadic and localised. In the 19th century, the Merthyr Rising, Chartists, Rebecca, Ceffyl Pren, Scotch Cattle, Tithe Wars, were all rooted in an outraged sense of social justice; defending family and community but owing absolutely nothing to Marxist dogma.
What’s happened since is that socialists have tried to re-write history by adopting movements and causes that were never at all socialist.
But even if Wales was a socialist country that would still not be reason enough to exclude others from what should be an ideology-free independence movement.
“DOCTRINES FASHIONED TO THE VARYING HOUR” *
What Labour cleverly did in the twentieth century was to capitalise on the legitimate demands of working class people and promote those demands with more vigour than the Liberal Party.
Which explains why the Labour Party displaced the Liberal Party a century ago as the main opposition to the Conservatives.
But once Labour started going beyond demands for higher wages, better working conditions, etc., into the abstract and the esoteric, promoting socialism for socialism’s sake, then it always lost support.
As we enter the third decade of the twenty-first century the rupture between ideological socialists and the working class is almost complete. To the point where today’s left liberal elite positively despises the white working class.
It’s been summed up brilliantly by trade unionist and lifelong Labour member, Paul Embery, in his new book Despised: Why the Modern Left Loathes the Working Class. As he points out, there are elements of the contemporary left that detest working class values of family, community, tradition and patriotism.
This contemptuous attitude has now reached Wales; it has infected Labour and Plaid Cymru; it has spread to Yes Cymru, and it’s threatening the independence movement.
(Though in fairness, Labour has been far cleverer than Plaid Cymru in keeping the single-issue fanatics, the anti-Semites and other undesirables at bay.)
This new, woke left exercises influence wholly disproportionate to its numbers. As we saw with the removal of that Yes Cymru tweet.
This is done by taking a Manichean position in which they are right and those who disagree with them are not just mistaken, or wrong, but positively evil.
Perfectly exemplified by Leanne Wood and others in Plaid Cymru.
Ask how Antifa rioting and burning shops in Portland, Oregon on a nightly basis promotes anything other than violence and you’ll be met with, ‘Antifa stands for anti-fascist, so only fascists question Antifa’.
Of course! But that still leaves unanswered the question of how burning shops and attacking innocent bystanders and police is fighting fascism.
Here’s another tweet concerning Yes Cymru exposing this attitude. Thomas Wynne Lewis argued that Yes Cymru must appeal to “people on all sides of the political compass”, Luke Williams pretended to agree – then accused Yes Cymru of having “platformed fascists”!
I’m sure this never happened, but as I’ve just said, in the black and white world of the woke left those who contradict them, point out their errors, are, ipso facto ‘fascists’, ‘racists’, ‘transphobes’, etc., etc. End of debate.
This intolerance in defence of ‘toleration’, this refusal to accept alternative views in defence of ‘diversity’, this ‘no platforming’ in defence of ‘freedom of expression’, is now causing problems in the independence movement.
I’ll conclude this section with another tweet, or rather a retweet, this one from a doyen of the wokies, Aled Gwyn Williams. Williams is a member of both Plaid Cymru and Yes Cymru. (As is Teifi.)
“You’re never innocent if you’re a Tory”, the image tells us. Who could argue, for those two in their wingback armchairs are surely the Fred and Rose West of Acacia Avenue.
Remember, folks – these lunatics walk among us!
Let’s push the boat out and imagine Andrew R T Davies, former leader of the Assembly Tories undergoing a genuine conversion to Welsh independence. Despite this being a coup for the movement, and likely to encourage others to support independence, he would be rejected by those we’ve met here.
He would be damned by people who are simply using the independence movement to promote whichever fleetingly popular lunacies torment them.
* ‘The Deserted Village’, Oliver Goldsmith
‘WHY DO WE WANT IT!’
There are a number of factors explaining the increase in support for independence, unfortunately, many of them are tangential, exploitative, or simply wrong.
To begin with, there’s Brexit, and the belief that an independent Wales would join, or re-join, the EU. A belief strengthened by Plaid Cymru recently saying – without apparently consulting anyone, or checking the referendum result – that an independent Wales would become a member of the European Union.
No mention was made of a fresh referendum.
Yet another example of leftist elitist arrogance, echo chamber decision making, and out of step with the wishes of the people.
Recently exposed with an interesting poll on Twitter, not least for the fact that 2,214 people voted. And because there was a majority for ‘Full Independence’ over ‘Independence within the EU’.
If that vote can be achieved on Twitter, where ‘certain views’ tend to dominate, then in the real world the majority would be even greater.
Others are now considering independence because of the present Conservative government in London. Disliking BoJo and the gang is perfectly understandable, but hardly a good enough reason to want Welsh independence.
What happens if Labour wins the next election? Would that mean that an unequal and exploitative Union becomes acceptable again?
A third element increasing support for independence emerges from the foliage in the form of the planet-savers. I don’t wish to be dismissive; I’m quite fond of planet Earth myself, but too many of those I’m thinking of – just like the wokies – see an independent Wales as a blank canvas, with them monopolising the crayons.
To explain this dichotomy we need to remember the canvas and crayons I just mentioned. Even under devolution the Greens, in various forms, have found it far too easy to dictate what passes for ‘Welsh Government’ policy.
The Greens have decided to support independence because they believe they can easily persuade the government of an independent Wales to implement their polices, without the need for any democratic mandate, and thereby use Wales as a platform from which the rest of the world can better see their virtue signalling.
The benefits of these policies to the Welsh people would be zero because as Angela Womak, deputy leader of the Green Party of Englandandwales, put it:
Wales “tackling the ecological and climate emergencies”, is unadulterated bollocks. To suggest that a tiny country can make any significant difference is laughable.
Whether it’s Brexit, Boris Johnson, or environmental concerns, these alone – even collectively – are the wrong reasons for wanting independence.
DEVOLUTION IS DEAD
The battle-lines are being drawn between those who want to abolish the Senedd and assimilate Wales into England, and those of us wanting Wales to be independent.
There will be few speaking up for devolution because it has failed. Wales is a worse place in 2021 than she was in 1999 partly because successive administrations have pandered to vociferous minorities rather than address the needs of the great majority of the nation.
The upcoming contest over Wales’ future could be a close call, and that’s why anyone supporting independence, from any background, and of any political orientation, should be welcomed. None should be excluded.
But those joining simply to promote their pet issue, and then seeking to exclude those who don’t agree with them that it’s the most important thing in the world, need to be taken aside and spoken to.
For these will alienate more people than they will ever attract.
Those taking an interest in independence need to be assured that the direction of ideological travel for an independent Wales, the spending and other priorities, will be decided by the Welsh people, in democratic elections, after independence is achieved.
It will be a blank canvass, and we’ll all have a chance with the crayons.
For my part, I still want independence to improve the lives of the people I care about: my family, my neighbours, my community, and my nation. I want independence to protect Wales from neglect or exploitation, and to defend what makes us Welsh.
I see no reason to change. I never have, and I never will.
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
A few weeks back I wrote Elections, May 2021, which some may have thought was a bit premature. Well, things have hotted up and there’s no doubting it now – the election campaign has definitely started!
THE ‘NATIONAL MOVEMENT’
In this piece I’m going to focus on elements of what is often referred to as ‘the national movement’. Partly because I’ve been part of this movement for over 50 years and partly because that’s where much of the action seems to be at the moment.
Let’s start with Yes Cymru, which has seen phenomenal growth this year, with the trend accelerating in recent weeks. But this growing interest in independence has not resulted in any increase in support for Plaid Cymru
In fact, according to the latest Welsh Political Barometer Poll Plaid Cymru remains in third place for the constituency vote next May (but up by 2%), and in the same position for the regional list vote (down by 1%).
The poll predicts Plaid will win 15 seats, and if Labour only wins the 25 predicted then we’re in for a Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition. Five years of virtue signalling, pumping more money into the third sector, being told what to do by lobbyists and civil servants, while blaming every Tom Dick and Boris for Wales’ continuing economic and social woes.
In August, there had been a YouGov poll which suggested that, with Don’t knows removed, 51% of Labour voters would support independence if the option was put to them in a referendum. The same poll suggested that only 45% of those who voted for Plaid Cymru in December 2019 would definitely vote for independence.
Which highlights two problems for Plaid Cymru.
On the one hand, most of those who could be won over to independence do not vote for Plaid Cymru, and never will. While on the other hand, the party has in recent years attracted oddball cliques that see Plaid Cymru as just another mouthpiece for what really matters to them, and these have little or no interest in Wales or in Welsh independence.
This is bad news all round for Plaid Cymru, and yet it’s a problem that often afflicts socialist or ‘progressive’ parties, as this tweet, quoting Irish revolutionary, James Connolly, reminds us.
The message there, and certainly the lesson for Plaid Cymru, is that in Ireland, in the early twentieth century, the socialist movement stayed focused on Ireland, and independence. It did not allow itself to be sidetracked by cranks and dilettantes.
Plaid Cymru not benefiting from the growth in support for Yes Cymru, or from the increasing interest in the option of independence, explains them desperately pushing the idea that anyone leaning in that direction must vote for the party – because there is no alternative.
But when you think about the panel above, if Plaid Cymru was the party it pretends to be then it wouldn’t need people to ‘lend’ it their vote. Anyone wanting or even considering independence would already be a Plaid Cymru voter.
That Plaid’s support remains static, uninfluenced by the rise in support for independence, speaks volumes.
And of course, Plaid Cymru is no longer the only party promoting independence. We now have Gwlad and the WNP.
The argument used against these newcomers is that they will ‘split the nationalist vote’, which is laughable. By being unable to win over independence-minded supporters of other parties, and with so few in its own ranks wanting independence, Plaid Cymru is already splitting the nationalist vote.
Or, maybe, it has failed dismally to maximise the nationalist vote.
The truth is that the new parties can only increase the nationalist vote by attracting those who wouldn’t ‘lend’ their vote to Plaid Cymru if the offer came gift-wrapped and with a weekend in Tenby thrown in.
Plaid Cymru will, I’m sure, lose votes to Gwlad. I’m thinking of socially conservative nationalists who’ve stuck with the party despite the lurch to the left and who, more recently, have been alienated by the intolerant advocates of identity politics.
If these traditionalists desert in any substantial number then Plaid Cymru will be even more under the control of the aforementioned cranks and dilettantes. Irrespective of who is paraded as the party ‘leader’.
As for those Labour voters prepared to go for independence if a referendum was held, we know where they live. The great majority of them in the urban south between Burry Port and Blaenavon. And many of them voted for Brexit.
Yet Plaid Cymru has recently said that an independent Wales will be a member of the European Union, no ifs or buts. And with no mention of a referendum!
A political party talking down to those it claims to want as voters deserves to be rejected. But this contempt for the white working class seems to be the norm among socialist parties nowadays.
Though maybe some half-hearted effort will be made to reach out to the anglophone working class.
For Plaid Cymru recently applied to register a new descriptor with the Electoral Commission. That new descriptor is New Wales Party, NWP.
What a coincidence! For earlier last month the WNP applied to register as the Welsh Nation Party, WNP.
After I’d been alerted to it I put out the above tweet last Friday. On Monday, there was an article in Llais y Sais. Now why the hell would something apparently so minor justify such an article?
Though according to the article, the decision to apply to the Electoral Commission for the change was not made by the National Executive Committee of Plaid Cymru. So who was responsible? The cleaner at Tŷ Gwynfor?
Who’s running this show!
Something else that struck me about the article was that the writer, Martin Shipton, seemed to have forgotten that Plaid Cymru already had the English name Party of Wales. Is that to be dropped?
But it didn’t end with the article. There was even an editorial!
So much coverage for Plaid Cymru, insisting the change had been under discussion for yonks! A cynic might suggest it sounds like Plaid Cymru desperately trying to explain itself after being caught out in a spoiling tactic intended to confuse voters.
It also suggests that Martin Shipton might be going soft on Plaid Cymru.
Plaid Cymru’s shortcomings may be exposed to the world but it still has options for promoting itself and attacking rivals. Within Yes Cymru, Plaid Cymru supporters urge members to join the party, and last weekend we saw Plaid use an old subsidiary in the form of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (CyIG), the Welsh Language Society.
At the CyI AGM a motion was passed saying, “the pressure group would refuse to engage with anyone whom in their words: ‘promote and tolerate prejudice against any groups, be they LGBT +, black people, migrants or women’.”
And that included Gwlad!
An interesting choice of words, though. “Tolerate prejudice” rather than being prejudiced is straight from the BLM playbook, where not being racist isn’t enough. And I was struck by the use of “migrants” rather than ‘refugees’. Basically, anyone should be allowed to move anywhere without any checks.
Infantile, open borders, anti-Western drivel.
Though consistent. Because Cymdeithas yr Iaith wants Wales to be open to everybody. Which means that a group trying to keep Welsh alive as a community language seems unaware that the biggest threat to the language is inward migration to the language heartlands.
That motion suggests CyIG’s priority now is playing politics rather than saving the language.
Just like Plaid Cymru Cymdeithas suffers from the problem of grabbing off-the-shelf global positions and being unwilling or unable to modify them for Wales.
Look around Europe at small nations or minority groups, Basques, Corsicans and others. Yes, they have socialist parties or groups, but their socialism is used to benefit their people and promote their cause. Not so in Wales.
Saving the planet means covering Wales in foreign-owned wind turbines that create no jobs and put only crumbs into Welsh communities. While supporting migration makes it ‘racist’ to challenge the colonisation of Wales.
Which makes Wales unique in having ‘socialists’ unwilling to challenge colonialism in their own country!
Yet there’s humour in everything. And while Cymdeithas yr Iaith has clearly been infiltrated by the ‘wokies’ there remains the long and embarrassing shadow of Saunders Lewis.
Saunders Lewis was a founder member of Plaid Cymru, an academic, WWI veteran, a playwright, author, convert to Catholicism, and well to the right of the political centre. His 1962 radio lecture, Tynged yr Iaith (the Future of the Language) was the inspiration for the formation of Cymdeithas yr Iaith.
But the wokies cannot acknowledge Saunders Lewis. He cannot even be named! As we see in the panel below taken from the Society’s website.
It’s surely only a matter of time until the reference to “a leading academic” is also excised. I can see the next version – ‘Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg was formed at a congress of workers, peasants and intellectuals that had gathered to discuss sending volunteers to Cuba to fight US imperialist aggression’. Right on!
Joking aside, there’s little in the short term that Plaid Cymru, Yes Cymru, Cymdeithas yr Iaith, Gwlad or the WNP can do to bring Welsh independence nearer. I say that because factors beyond our control are likely to be much more influential.
I’m thinking now of Scottish independence, and the reaction to that of the Labour Party in Wales. Or perhaps it won’t be the party itself that puts Wales on the path to the final rupture but the party’s voters.
I’m suggesting that those who reject Plaid Cymru could help deliver independence. What irony that would be. So much for Plaid Cymru being ‘the only way’!
In the meantime, the UK state will do what it can to support Plaid Cymru. Because as I never tire of telling you, from London’s perspective Plaid Cymru is the ideal ‘national party’.
In a flattering light Plaid Cymru can pass for a national party, but its true benefit lies in its dog-in-a-manger role, blocking the emergence of genuine nationalist parties. Its leaders are biddable, easily seduced with peerages and other ‘honours’, but the party – and this extends to its subsidiary groups – is no threat whatsoever to the constitutional status quo or the colonisation of Wales.
For what more could Mother England ask?
IN OTHER NEWS . . .
Limbering up for May’s elections has not been confined to the disparate elements of the national movement, and confirmation of this has come from wildly differing directions.
Let’s start with an old favourite on this blog.
You’ll recall that a couple of years back, and by a substantial majority, members of the self-styled Wales Green Party voted against becoming . . . . the Wales Green Party. Thereby and irrevocably confirming that they were naught but the local branch of the Green Party of Englandandwales.
But lo! even these colonialist carpet-baggers have sensed the changing mood and are now in favour of Welsh independence! As reported here in Left Foot Forward. (Of which I am an avid reader.)
“Wales can stand alone”, says Siân Berry . . . but not, apparently, her party’s members in Wales. Driving this inconsistency ad absurdum we could have an independent Wales in which elections are contested by the Green Party of Englandandwales.
At the very least, and if only, for once, to be consistent, the Greens in Wales should now break from England to form a genuine Wales Green Party. To not do so makes them look like opportunists jumping on a bandwagon.
Let me explain what drives this new-found enthusiasm for our national liberation. For it dovetails perfectly with what attracts the oddballs, cranks and dilettantes I mentioned earlier to Plaid Cymru.
Under devolution, and especially with the virtue-signallers managing the show, pressure groups and assorted cranks have realised they can wield influence in Wales to an extent that would not be tolerated in better regulated countries.
This unwelcome phenomenon explains, for example, why we have One Planet Developments. Put simply, Wales is becoming internationally known as a ‘soft touch’.
The thinking therefore runs . . . ‘If we can get all this in a devolved Wales, then we could control an independent Wales’. Elections would be a minor inconvenience, for cohorts of Estuary English-speaking charlatans in Corruption Bay would control the political process and the spending priorities.
The only way out of this nightmare is to stop voting for politicians and political parties manipulated by people who simply want to use our country, and our money, to fulfil their fantasies.
In my earlier piece I told you about a new grouping called the Independent Alliance for Reform.
This has been formed by David Rowlands, who was elected in 2016 as the Ukip AM for South Wales East; Caroline Jones, elected at the same time for Ukip in South Wales West; and Mandy Jones, who took over the North Wales Ukip seat vacated when Nathan Gill resigned in 2018.
This could be a half-way house, and the word to emphasise may be Reform. I say that because the Electoral Commission’s website tells us that an application has recently been received, and is under consideration, to relaunch the Brexit Party as Reform UK.
If I’m right, then this would leave Neil Hamilton as the last man standing of the 7 that made up Ukip’s 2016 intake.
The other player for the Brexit / London-knows-best vote is of course the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party. No doubt, some time between now and next May they’ll realise that what they seek to abolish has changed its name.
For the first time in a long time Welsh politics is looking interesting. Partly because of what’s happening in Wales, but mainly because of what’s happening in London, and Scotland, and elsewhere.
For the arrogance, ineptitude and corruption we see from the Conservative government in Westminster has done more to make Welsh independence an attractive proposition than anything happening in Wales.
With the SNP more likely to deliver Welsh independence than Plaid Cymru.
And while Wales voted for Brexit, we did not vote for the looming disaster that will make us even poorer, perhaps turning Holyhead and Fishguard into ghost towns.
All that being so, it really is time for Plaid Cymru to adopt a little humility and accept the realities of modern Wales. Which are:
1/ Plaid Cymru is not the only party or group advocating independence.
2/ Most of those coming around to the idea of independence do not vote for Plaid Cymru and are unlikely to ever vote for Plaid Cymru.
3/ The independence movement contains individuals, groups and political parties with which Plaid Cymru will not see eye to eye. Grow up and accept it!
4/ However, if ideological purity is more important than independence, and if Plaid Cymru continues to align itself with Unionist parties, cranks and others exploiting Wales, then it must expect to be regarded with suspicion.
5/ Ultimately, Plaid Cymru is faced with a simple choice. Either be part of the movement for Welsh independence, or else remain a self-deluding obstacle to achieving independence.
6/ Things are moving in ways that leave Welsh politicians impotent. So look beyond the Corruption Bay bubble, take in the bigger picture, and be ready to seize the opportunities that will surely come our way.
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
The next elections for the Welsh Parliament are just over six months away; so this week I’m taking a break from crooks, money-launderers, con men, enviroshysters, third sector leeches to focus on politicians.
Reading that, the cynics among you will say, “So no great change there, then, Jac!”.
How dare you be so disrespectful of our tribunes! Go stand in the corner!
THE 2016 RESULT
Let’s start by reminding ourselves of the overall result from the previous election in 2016.
The first thing you might notice is that despite these elections being organised under a system of proportional representation the result, certainly for Labour, the biggest party, gives an outcome not a lot different to first past the post.
You’ll also see that the main challengers get seats roughly in line with their share of the vote, with the smaller parties generally losing out. It’s a system designed to protect the Labour-dominated status quo in Wales, while also stifling ‘insurgent’ parties.
This system has worked to perfection in Wales because the Conservatives are unlikely to ever gain a majority of seats. And when Labour fails to get a majority then Plaid Cymru or the Liberal Democrats will always be there to help.
After the 2016 election Labour went into coalition with the sole Liberal Democrat AM. Which meant that parties with a total of 38% of the vote were able to form an administration.
Is this really how PR is supposed to work?
THE LABOUR PARTY
At the risk of sounding uncharitable, the great thing the Labour Party has had going for it is . . . not being the Conservative Party. The advertising campaigns, the policy drafting, the tub-thumping and the sloganising could all have been ignored in favour of the simple message – ‘Vote for us, cos we’re not the Tories’.
And it’s worked, for almost a century.
In England, the decline of traditional industries, and their associated trade unions, have weakened the Labour Party. Labour in Scotland suffered the same problem, exacerbated by the rise of the Scottish National Party to the point where Labour is hanging on for dear life, with just one Westminster MP left.
In Wales, Labour has fared better because we’ve been spared the corrupting influence of prosperity, and also because there is no equivalent of the SNP. Of course, Plaid Cymru likes to view itself as the Welsh SNP but the SNP set out to destroy the Labour Party in Scotland whereas Plaid Cymru seeks to keep its Welsh branch alive and in power.
How Labour will do next May depends to a considerable extent on perceptions of the Conservative government in London. For while Scotland has a vigorous national media allowing elections to be influenced by Scottish issues, the absence of a Welsh media worthy of the name means that here we tend see Englandandwales elections.
The exception being perhaps areas with high numbers of Welsh speakers who are less reliant on news from London.
On issues of the day, there is a general and widespread belief that the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ has handled the Covid-19 pandemic better than Johnson, Hancock, Jenrick and the rest of the gang up in London.
But then, being seen as less incompetent than that crew is no great achievement.
When we address purely Welsh issues, it’s difficult to think of anything Labour has to crow about. For Wales continues to fall behind other countries in areas like wealth, health, housing and education.
Cardiff seems to be prospering but away from the Lesser Wen the country can be divided into post-industrial areas experiencing managed decline and rural areas undergoing engineered population change from Welsh to English.
Labour leader, Mark Drakeford, is less oleaginous than his predecessor, Carwyn Jones, but still a difficult man to like. Despite the Brownie points gained for Covid-19 there remain plenty of bear traps for him to negotiate between here and next May.
By any criteria one cares to apply, Labour has been a failure since 2016. Labour has failed Wales since the dawn of devolution in 1999. But for the reasons I’ve given, Labour will still emerge as the largest single party, with around 30% of the vote.
But well short of a majority of seats.
If nothing else, such a result should increase calls for more Senedd Members and a system of true proportional representation.
THE CONSERVATIVE AND UNIONIST PARTY (CUP)
The last few years have been a series of peaks and troughs for the CUP, with Brexit almost tearing the party apart under Theresa May. Things took a turn for the better when Boris Johnson became party leader and won a famous victory in December . . . since when it’s been downhill again.
In last December’s election the Tories won a number of seats in the north, most notably, Wrexham, held by Labour since 1931. But the overall vote in Wales only increased by 2.5%. The real story was that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party saw its Welsh vote go down by 8%.
Things have not gone well for the CUP since that December election for all sorts of reasons. Such as a number of the new intake being pretty odious specimens.
The new MP for Ynys Môn, Virginia Crosby, has appeared on this blog a number of times, usually defending her colleague and MP for Rossendale and Darwen, Jake Berry. Berry owns properties around Rhoscolyn and earlier this year people were asking if he was breaking lockdown restrictions to travel between his Welsh properties, his London home, and his constituency.
The situation does not look like improving for the Tories, for two main reasons.
Let’s look first at Covid-19. As I said in the previous section, the Conservative government in London has had a disastrous pandemic: incompetence, lies, contracts to cronies, it’s all there, and this will be remembered next May.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Tories seem determined to alienate even more people by insisting that the ‘Welsh Government’ is being anti-English when – for perhaps the first time ever – it prioritises the interests of Wales.
I believe it’s the latter, because in spouting this nonsense, the Tories are playing to a particular gallery. I’m thinking now of the anti-Welsh, gammony element that might otherwise be seduced by the growing number of splinter group parties on the BritNat fringe. (I’ll come to them later.)
The other problem of their own making is, again, Brexit. Of course Wales voted for Brexit, but I’m sure very few of us voted for privatising the NHS, chlorinated chicken, and undermining the Welsh farming industry. I certainly didn’t.
But it’s now become clear that a No Deal Brexit was always the favoured option for the CUP leadership in London. Which will mean the City of London remains at the centre of the biggest money-laundering network in the world; the NHS is opened up to US Big Pharma; and we have to get used to food products from the USA, where standards in both hygiene and animal welfare are more ‘relaxed’.
All the Welsh CUP MPs voted for this deal. Which is not clever for people representing constituencies with large numbers of farmers . . . and their extended families . . . and contractors to the industry, and so many others who rely to a greater or lesser degree on agriculture for their livelihoods.
There will be a price to pay next May for the coronavirus cock-ups and the shafting of our farmers. And while the Tories in Corruption Bay weren’t responsible, it’ll be some of them who’ll pay the price.
Other factors working against the Conservatives will be the Englandandwales media/election paradigm and the Vera Lynn Fan Clubs competing for regional votes.
For all these reasons I expect the CUP representation in the Welsh Parliament to fall.
PLAID CYMRU THE PARTY OF WALES
Although Plaid Cymru won 12 seats in 2016 the party is now down to 10. Lord Elis Thomas, the constituency member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, left to become a Labour-supporting Independent; and Neil McEvoy, the regional AM for South Wales Central, left to sit as an Independent before forming the Welsh National Party (WNP).
A further change since 2016 is that Plaid Cymru also has a new leader in Adam Price. Perhaps the best thing that can be said about him is that he’s not former leader, Leanne Wood.
For most Welsh voters Plaid Cymru is the party of Welsh independence, but as I’ve argued, Plaid Cymru is a party that sought more autonomy for Wales, more funding for Wales, and the creation of a new class of politicians and administrators made up of . . . well, the kind of people who populate the upper echelons of Plaid Cymru.
This was to be a system that created a new class that Djilas would have recognised enjoying prestige and influence without the responsibility of having to fund it. Devolution, with a bit more power, many more sinecures, and lots more money, is the end of the line.
Plaid Cymru was always Cymru Fydd resurrected, not a Welsh Sinn Féin. Until, that is, it moved to the left in the 1980s and really screwed itself up. Enjoying only a brief period of coherence under the leadership of Dafydd Wigley and the first Assembly elections in 1999.
Today we again see a schizophrenic party where Welsh-speaking social conservatives from the rural heartlands mix uncomfortably with some real oddballs and a few with views that should have denied them membership.
Plaid Cymru is today one of those confused leftist parties that is vehemently opposed to intolerance . . . except when it’s those it approves of being intolerant.
As a leftist party Plaid Cymru believes that, thanks to the capitalist system, we’re either going to fry due to global warming, or else we’re going to drown from rising sea levels, so Wales must play its part in trying to avert these outcomes.
In practice, that means supporting wind turbines that create no jobs and simply exploit Wales. Where profits flow to a City hedge fund, or a multinational, or a state-owned energy company from Scandinavia.
Except on issues that are largely irrelevant to Wales – where Plaid Cymru can play gesture politics – the party comes across as weak and indecisive. Take holiday homes. Plaid talks the talk but it won’t walk the walk.
At present Welsh local authorities can impose a council tax surcharge on holiday homes up to 100%. The only council that levies the 100% is Labour-controlled Swansea. (And despite what you might think, there are many holiday homes on the waterfront, in Mumbles, and of course around Gower.)
But Gwynedd, where Plaid Cymru is in control, imposes only a 50% surcharge. It’s a similar picture in Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire.
On independence, Plaid Cymru has been outflanked and overtaken by Yes Cymru. While on the party political front there are two new challengers in the form of Gwlad and the Welsh National Party (WNP). Both are unequivocal about prioritising Welsh interests, and are fully committed to achieving independence.
So you really have to wonder what Plaid Cymru stands for nowadays, and where it’s going. That’s certainly what Welsh voters will be doing in May. Many will conclude that Plaid Cymru has hit the buffers.
Which certainly seems to be the case.
For while opinion polls tell us that more and more people are prepared to consider independence, those same polls show little or no increase in support for Plaid Cymru. Recent polls show 51% of Labour voters prepared to consider independence, but only 71% of Plaid Cymru voters!
What’s going wrong for Plaid Cymru?
In a nutshell, Plaid Cymru believes that the only acceptable vision of independence must be well to the left of centre, pro EU, in favour of open borders, anti Trump, and dragging a whole baggage train of ishoo-of-the-month idiocies that turn off most voters.
Dogmatic to the point of being unelectable.
Plaid Cymru always failed to engage with the urban, anglophone population. After the disappointment of Brexit, the success of the Brexit Party (winning the May 2019 EU elections in Wales and the UK), and BoJo’s victory last December, many in Plaid Cymru – like the US Democrats – have given up trying to win over stupid, racist, poor whites.
They find it preferable to retreat into their cocoons of progressive self-righteousness in the echo chamber of social media.
Which is why I believe Plaid Cymru will lose Ceredigion and also end up with fewer Members from the regional lists.
There’s a temptation to be very unkind in this section . . . but it’s not in my nature to put the boot in when somebody’s down. And boy! are the Liberal Democrats down.
It’s an amazing decline for the party of David Lloyd George, but entirely predictable when we consider the quality of leaders and representatives in recent years at both Welsh and UK level. I’m not sure if Ms Williams holds group meetings with herself but I’m sure she will have thought the same thing many a time.
And yet, despite currently being down to a solitary representative, the Liberal Democrats could be the big winners in May next year.
As I’ve suggested, the CUP has pissed off a lot of people, and most certainly a lot of farmers. Few will know that better than Kirsty Williams, a farmer’s wife.
Obviously, I’m not privy to what goes on at Welsh Liberal Democrat Party meetings (I can never find the telephone kiosk!) but I’m sure Kirsty Williams has hopes for the seats of Montgomeryshire to the north and Ceredigion to the west. (If the students in Aber’ and Lampeter have forgiven the Lib Dems for reneging on tuition fees.)
So I’m predicting that the Liberal Democrats could double, or even treble, their representation in May 2021. These are the three constituencies mentioned, and there might even be a regional list seat.
VERA LYNN FAN CLUBS
This is where it gets tricky, because the landscape on the BritNat right is forever shifting. Hardly surprising when we look at the personalities involved, and realise how many of them are often described as ‘interesting’, or ‘eccentric’ (code for ‘absolute nutter’).
Back in 2016, the big winner among this section of the electorate was UKIP, with 13% of the vote and seven seats. The Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party did not stand constituency candidates and got just 4.4% of the regional vote (which was still more than the share won by the Green Party of Englandandwales).
Since 2016 UKIP has had eight or nine UK leaders, numerous resignations, and in Corruption Bay is now reduced to the solitary – but dapper – form of Neil Hamilton. In fact, I’m not sure if Neil Hamilton isn’t the current party leader. Or was that last month?
Not so long ago the Abolish lot was the fringe of a fringe, but now it boasts two Members of the Senedd, Gareth Bennett and Mark Reckless. Though you’ve gotta be pretty desperate to boast about those two.
I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at those UKIP meetings because by comparison ferrets in a sack are models of harmony and co-existence.
The most recent development is that Rowlands and the Jones women have formed a new group, the Independent Alliance for Reform. And if that name doesn’t stir something deep inside you – other than wind – then you are beyond hope.
It is obviously designed to be interchangeable with or to complement Aux barricades!
And all the while, in the wings, observing, is Nigel Farage. Will his Reform Party put in a late appearance, or will it be the promised relaunch of the Brexit Party? Though with Brexit almost done what would be the platform?
For let us remember that the Assembly elections of May 2016 were held just ahead of the EU referendum and were almost overshadowed by it. This propinquity benefited Ukip.
One thing’s for sure, if all the parties we’ve looked at in this section fight all the seats then we’ll be royally entertained by the stars they’ll recruit from Wetherspoons and other squelchy underfoot salons. A goodly number of whom will have to withdraw before the election after saying or doing something really stupid.
The BritNat right has no hope of a constituency seat, so hopes rest on the regional lists. Which means that a lot will depend on whether they fight each other or come to some arrangement.
I suspect there are still enough “Brexit means Brexit” types out there to win 3 seats.
THE SERIOUS ABOUT WALES PARTIES
Looking around Wales and seeing the mess this country is in is painful enough, but when you realise that none of the existing parties offers any hope of meaningful change, then new parties will be formed.
And that’s exactly what’s happened; and why we have Gwlad and the WNP.
I am a member of Gwlad and played a small part in its creation, but it was easy for me to withdraw to the blogosphere because the party is in such capable hands.
I like to think that Gwlad combines patriotism with pragmatism. For example, in believing that relying on handouts from London, as Labour and Plaid Cymru prefer, only perpetuates the misconception that Wales could never stand on her own two feet economically.
There are radical yet practical proposals across the board. We’ve already touched on Plaid Cymru’s fear of upsetting second home owners – a number in their own ranks – with meaningful levels of council tax; well, Gwlad does not hesitate to demand a 500% council tax surcharge.
Predictably, the criticism levelled against Gwlad by Plaid Cymru is that we shall “split the nationalist vote”. This is nonsense, because Plaid Cymru has already split – or certainly, limited – the nationalist vote by its inflexible and off-putting socialism.
This is borne out in recent elections and in even more so in recent opinion polls.
What Gwlad will do is reach out to those who want, or would be prepared to consider, independence, but could never vote for a hard-line socialist party also lumbered with the tag of still being a party only for Welsh speakers.
Gwlad could come through a crowded field to win a constituency seat and should certainly collect 3 or 4 regional list seats.
Of course, I’ve met Neil McEvoy a few times and we exchange the occasional e-mail, Wales is a small country after all. But I really don’t know much about his new party beyond what I read in the media.
Though I do know a few others involved with the WNP.
Over the years I’ve sunk a few pints with Councillor Keith Parry . . . and I’m still haunted by a car journey one very rainy night as I tried to concentrate on the road ahead while my mate and Keith’s Jewish wife argued over the Israeli-Palestinian conundrum.
I feared it was all going to end in a fight and a fireball car crash. Phew!
Many observers try to say that Neil McEvoy only took the course he did in forming the WNP because he was effectively thrown out of Plaid Cymru. They couldn’t be more wrong.
Neil has been in politics a long time, and he knows what’s wrong with Wales. On one level it’s London’s political, economic and cultural stranglehold, but on the local level it’s the Labour Party and Plaid Cymru.
Labour holds power on local councils and in the Senedd . . . simply to be in power; to stop someone else getting the salaries and the expenses, attending the bun-fights and the jollies. Labour has little intention – and no real incentive – to improve the lives of our people because for a century it has capitalised on Wales’ deprivation.
Plaid Cymru, as I’ve said, is a party of gestures and abstractions. It is the twenty-first century political equivalent of those medieval divines who would argue over how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.
But actually doing anything? Forget it!
But if one of his constituents persuades him they’re getting a raw deal, then Neil McEvoy will take up the case and demand something be done about it. And he sometimes ruffles feathers doing it. But if kids are sharing a bedroom with rats, or there’s water rippling down the kitchen wall . . .
Neil McEvoy is a do-er, a man who believes in the direct approach; and that makes the anguished attitudinisers of Plaid Cymru very nervous. And never more so than when he confronts the Labour Party.
Sticking it to the man may outrage the sensitive flowers of Plaid Cymru but it goes down well with real people, on the streets of Cardiff, and elsewhere in Wales. People want their problems solved, they do not want to be patronised, or taken for granted, by an aloof and self-serving political class.
The big test will come in the constituency seat of Cardiff West, where McEvoy will be standing against First Minister Drakeford. Plaid Cymru will of course be splitting the nationalist vote in the hope of securing victory for Mark Drakeford.
Neil McEvoy’s street cred and his sheer hard work might win Cardiff West next May, plus a couple of regional list seats.
My very personal belief is that Gwlad and the WNP should not get in each other’s way next May. Neither has the strength yet to fight a full national election so it’s in their interests, and more importantly, it’s in Wales’s interests, for there to be some kind of deal.
I obviously can’t account for all those who might be standing next May, there’s bound to be a wild card or two. But what you’ve just read is how I see it panning out.
Other factors will I’m sure influence voters. Perhaps the UK government’s Internal Markets Bill; supposedly about ‘repatriating’ powers from the EU but which, in reality, gives BoJo’s gang the power to trample all over devolution.
Perhaps it will even be used to challenge the 1707 Act of Union.
More specific to Wales is a growing awareness of and dislike for the chumminess of Cardiff Bay. The air of cronyism and unaccountability exemplified by Labour and Plaid Cymru refusing to bring in a register of lobbyists.
The problem in this area is obvious, but there are always excuses for doing nothing. This is because Labour and Plaid Cymru are too close to those who might be held to account by such legislation.
Another issue that might influence some voters to take a punt on a new party is the widespread perception that Cardiff gets everything. Which doesn’t change when an MS goes to Cardiff promising to speak up for his area . . . only to be sucked into the swamp that is Corruption Bay.
But perhaps we should remember Harold Macmillan’s response when asked what was most likely to influence or derail political plans. Supermac is said to have replied: “Events, dear boy, events.”
In other words, that which cannot be foreseen. Six months is a very long time in politics.
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
We are confronted by a paradox. The stock of housing in Wales is growing, yet less and less of it is accessible to Welsh people.
What I’m describing is a bizarre housing system that works against the native population while promoting the interests of strangers. A system too complex and too consistent in its outcomes to be attributed to incompetence or happenstance.
Once the bigger problem is deconstructed and its component parts exposed, then remedies present themselves. All that’s needed then is the political will to implement those remedies.
In this article I shall explain a problem and then make one or more suggestions for tackling it. I’m sure many of you reading this will have your own ideas – so let’s hear them.
PRICES, TOO HIGH AND TOO LOW
When dealing with house prices we find problems at both ends of the scale. On the one hand, houses are being built in many areas that most locals can’t afford – but that’s OK because they’re not intended for us.
Take Newport, Pembrokeshire, a ‘holiday hotspot’. Locals are being squeezed out of the local housing market and this shortfall is then used to justify building new housing . . . that is also beyond the reach of locals!
Those who profit from trading in undesirables – with the full support and financial backing of the ‘Welsh Government’ – were initially attracted to Ty Isha by low house prices, and they have succeeded in driving property values down even more!
Some of those interviewed in the report are now trapped in houses they have lived in all their married lives but can only sell at a price below what a house such as theirs would fetch in a normal neighbourhood.
Yet in a system that prioritised Welsh needs the small terraced houses of Ty Isha would make ideal starter homes for young people.
SUGGESTIONS: In the case of Newport, Pembs and countless other such developments, the answer is that we simply do not allow the building of new properties that locals either do not wish to buy or cannot afford to buy.
I’ll explain later how we could both achieve this and forecast local need.
To argue that allowing such properties takes the pressure of the existing stock, thereby making many such properties available for local buyers, is absolute bollocks. The numbers wanting to relocate to Wales is limitless, and the demand for holiday homes insatiable.
As for Ty Isha, funding should be withdrawn from any third sector body importing problems from outside of Wales to any part of Wales. The same should apply to housing associations.
I shall also offer suggestions for achieving these objectives.
Those whose properties have been devalued, and their lives affected by the riff-raff dumped around them, should be compensated by the ‘Welsh Government’.
THE NUMBERS GAME
Let’s now focus on the problem of houses being built in numbers greatly in excess of what Wales needs. And, again, at prices most of us can’t afford. This is particularly noticeable in the eastern parts of the country as English commuters look west for cheaper housing and nicer scenery.
Black-spots are along the A55 in the north and the M4 in the south and, since the removal of tolls on the Severn Bridge, increasingly evident in southern Gwent, including the city of Newport. An example would be the 900 dwellings of the ‘urban village’ planned for Mamhilad, north of Pontypool, towards Abergavenny, but close enough to the M4 for Bristol commuters.
Building in Wales to meet a demand from England has also become noticeable around Wrexham in recent years. It begins with the ‘Welsh Government’ producing absurd population projections to justify building an excessive number of new houses.
Then, when the projections are shown to be exaggerated, the Planning Inspectorate insists on sticking with the original number of new houses. This article explains it well.
I looked into this problem back as March 2014 in a piece I wrote about Denbighshire. The council said, “Look, the latest projections suggest a smaller population increase, so we don’t need to build so many new houses”.
The Planning Inspectorate’s response was, “Yes, you’re right about the population projections . . . but we insist on sticking with the original number of new dwellings”.
A response like that sort of gives the game away, doesn’t it?
Back in 2011 the ‘Welsh Government’ was insisting that the population of Wrexham would increase by 20% in the near future, then the projected increase reduced to 10%, and the latest calculation is that the borough’s population will actually fall by 1.5% by 2028! Yet the number of houses ‘needed’ must remain the same as when an increase of 20% was forecast.
As the map above makes clear, the planned developments are all to the north or the east of the town, in other words, convenient for Cheshire. Or rather, convenient for those who aren’t wanted in Cheshire, in order to preserve property values in Wilmslow, Alderley Edge and the other communities of the ‘Golden Triangle’.
What has clearly been happening is that the ‘Welsh Government’ (or others acting in its name) has been producing what it knew to be inflated, contrived, population projections. Done to justify building excessive numbers of new dwellings.
When the population projections were exposed as bogus, and revised downwards, the Planning Inspectorate stuck with the discredited figures in order to push on with building what were now clearly excessive numbers of new houses.
And by so doing the Planning Inspectorate exposed a dishonest system.
SUGGESTIONS: To begin with, calculations to determine how many new homes an area needs must be based on what the people of the area need, not on how many properties developers think they can sell. In fact, I can’t think of any good reason why developers need to be involved in assessing demand.
The Wrecsam area being used to take pressure off Cheshire is part of the wider integration strategy of the Mersey Dee Alliance. A giveaway is estate agents referring to the area as ‘West Cheshire’.
The Planning Inspectorate does not serve Welsh interests, it never has. It must be replaced with a new Welsh body free from political interference and divorced from commercial interests.
Why can’t we have a register of those who think they’ll be looking to buy a new home within an area; something similar to the waiting list for social housing. Once people grasp that contributing to such a database will make it more likely they’ll find the home they need then the more likely they’ll be to participate.
A perennial issue in Wales and the Covid lockdown has highlighted the problem. First, it was people sneaking to their holiday homes for lockdown rather than staying at their usual residence, while more recently it’s been the increased demand for holiday homes.
The latest figures for Gwynedd suggest that 40% of the properties being sold in the county are now bought for use as holiday homes. Take the towns out of the calculation and it’s reasonable to assume that a majority of the properties in villages and in the countryside are being sold as holiday homes.
Gwynedd council is run by Plaid Cymru but it has only imposed a 50% surcharge on holiday homes. Yet another example of Plaid Cymru wringing its hands, “Oooh, isn’t it awful, something should be done”, yet when a roar of defiance was needed Plaid Cymru could only whimper.
This is Plaid Cymru terrified of being called ‘anti-English’. That mauling Glenys Kinnock handed out to Ieuan Wyn Jones on Question Time in February 2001 has left a deep and painful scar.
Compare Gwynedd to Swansea, where the Labour-controlled council has imposed a 100% surcharge, (which also applies to properties left empty for a long period). And in case you think this is only a gesture because the city has few holiday homes, there are many hundreds in the waterfront area, and of course, on Gower.
All the arguments used in defence of holiday homes are self-serving bullshit. “Nobody else wanted the place” . . . “But we put so much money into the local economy!” . . . “An essential part of the tourism industry”, etc, etc.
SUGGESTIONS: One simple change in the law would go a long way to easing the misery of holiday homes.
Legislation stating that only 10% of properties in any electoral ward can be registered as holiday homes, with the figure reducing to 5% in 2030 would have a number of immediate effects.
First, in wards where more than 10% of properties are currently registered as holiday homes such legislation would immediately curtail future demand. Knowledge of the change in 2030 would remove the threat of further properties being bought as holiday homes.
Resulting in more properties, at reduced prices, becoming available for locals.
Severe penalties must be imposed for using a property as a holiday home when it is not registered for that use. And the loophole allowing holiday homes to escape council tax by registering as a business must be closed.
To further reduce the demand for holiday homes and increase their contribution to the local community council tax should be charged at a rate of 200%.
Some may think that a 5% figure is too low, others that it’s unduly generous. My belief is that no area of Wales should suffer more than 5% of its housing stock being used by strangers flaunting their greater wealth.
RETIRING TO WALES
An often overlooked factor in inflating house prices is retired and elderly people moving to Wales. The negatives increase when we remember that the older a person is the more likely they are to need medical care of some kind. This is a universal truth.
Which means that this influx will obviously impact on our NHS and other services.
In fact, it’s difficult to think of any benefit Wales derives from people in the older age brackets moving in. But that doesn’t stop some from trying.
Some three years ago I wrote to the ‘Welsh Government’ with a few questions on this subject. What I received by way of an answer contained a paragraph that has caused either mirth, or head shaking, whenever people read it. (For the full letter, click here.)
On a planet where all other countries view an ageing population as a ‘ticking time-bomb’ Wales alone sees the takeover by alien wrinklies as something positive. Or rather, the ‘Welsh Government’ wants us to believe it does.
This is the sort of nonsense that officialdom spouts when it’s cornered. I say that because while the letter I received makes highfalutin’ references to “liberty of movement” the truth is that the ‘Welsh Government’ has enacted legislation that encourages retired and elderly people to move to Wales.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine that Welsh people going into care can hold on to £50,000, I might benefit from such a provision myself one day. But it also encourages into Wales people who have spent their working lives elsewhere. And the cost of looking after these elderly goes into the debit column of our national accounts and is used to prove that Wales is a financial basket-case.
I see a boy at the back with his hand up, “How big is the problem, Sir?”
Here’s a table I compiled using data from the 2011 Census. You’ll see that in some local authority areas only a minority of the population in the 65+ age bracket was born in Wales.
With the problem not confined to the north, just look at Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. There’s a definite correlation between tourism and the numbers of retired and elderly people moving to an area.
Though Flintshire would appear to buck the trend in that it is not a tourism hotspot, but even so, half of the over 65s were born in England. While this can be partly explained by maternity services being located in Chester I can also suggest another explanation.
Let’s say you’re a likely lad living on the Wirral. Aunt Mabel is going to leave you her money, a nice round figure of £100,000. If she goes into a local care home you might only see £23,350, but take her to Mold or Connah’s Quay and you’re guaranteed at least £50,000. More if you can get the local authority to cough up.
And, anyway, is the old girl going to know where she is!
Finally, let’s not forget the political dimension to this phenomenon. It has been proven time after time that the older an English voter is the more likely that person is to be royalist, patriotically British, pro-Brexit, conservative and Conservative.
From a Welsh perspective, encouraging retired and elderly English people into Wales is both an economic and a political disaster. But it benefits England for the same reasons.
SUGGESTIONS: There’s no need to deny Welsh people the £50,000 limit, but insist on 20 years residency in Wales before anyone qualifies.
And let’s stop building retirement bungalows and flats to be advertised over the border. Many of those who move to such properties may be fit and active when they arrive, but Father Time will soon do his work.
Only a country run by idiots drives out its own young people and replaces them with another country’s elderly.
At one time it was so simple – local authorities built and rented council houses. You put your name down on the list and you waited your turn. Obviously there was favouritism shown in certain allocations, but by and large the system worked to the benefit of Welsh communities.
Then came the housing associations and the transfer of council housing stock.
There’s a general and touching misconception that Registered Social Landlords (RSLs), more commonly known as housing associations, have simply replaced councils, and that social housing is universally available for those who cannot afford to buy a home but would rather not rent from a private landlord.
That was the intention, and that may have been how it started under the new system, but things got much more complicated as years went by. Much more complicated.
There are a number of fundamental problems with the way RSLs now operate.
1/ To begin with, social housing in Wales is locked into an Englandandwales system. This was explained to me in December 2010 in a response I received from Nick Bennett, who was then CEO of Community Housing Cymru, the umbrella organisation for housing associations.
He wrote, “There are over 2 million people on waiting lists for social housing”. This figure cannot be for Wales alone, and yet it was provided by the head of the body supposedly responsible for social housing in Wales. And only in Wales.
Bennett emerged a couple of decades ago from under a lily pad in Cardiff Bay as a fully-formed Spad, before becoming a business partner of Labour’s Alun Davies. He then served as CEO at Community Housing Cymru from 2006 to 2014, and since leaving CHC he has guarded the posterior regions of our politicians and civil servants as the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.
Corruption Bay in mortal form.
Who gets a vacant house may be decided by a third sector body, in contact with a sister body in England, which has ‘recommended’ Chardonnay and her six semi-feral children; the little darlings having been chased out of their last home by neighbours fed up with the thieving and the vandalism.
They get priority treatment, “Cos they is homeless, innit. Little kiddies, look”.
It was never explained why this was done. And no politicians asked . . . because they didn’t want to know. ‘Priority cases’ are still being dumped in Wales, every day.
2/ A more recent problem with housing associations – and there are dozens of them, competing with each other – is that they are now privatised, but still in receipt of public funding.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, nearly all of them have subsidiaries, or private companies that are not subsidiaries but still members of the group. And then there are the partners.
This diversification has led to the mis-use of public funding, an almost complete lack of monitoring and accountability, and RSL group members building private housing for open market sale. Sold to retirees (officially ‘downsizers’), buy-to-rent landlords (officially ‘investors’), and even as holiday homes. While also selling shares in leasehold properties, with the agreements poorly explained and many duped into thinking they’re buying a freehold property.
This, remember, is the hated leasehold system that the ‘Welsh Government’ elsewhere opposes. Yet it is funding RSLs who then slip money under the table to subsidiaries, or partners, to con people into buying a share in a leasehold property.
What a system! What a ‘government’! What a country!
SUGGESTIONS: The bottom line is that what Wales needs is social landlords renting decent housing to Welsh tenants. Nothing more.
We don’t need subsidiaries of RSLs using diverted public funding to build and sell buy-to-rents in Pembrokeshire. Nor do we want convoluted arrangements using Chinese money to build more retirement bungalows and flats on the north coast.
Housing associations are past their sell-by date. A root-and-branch reform of the social housing system is needed. Wales must leave behind the mess created by ‘diversification’ and adopt a system closer to the original council housing model.
One big question will be what happens to the housing stock currently held by RSLs. Seeing as almost all of it was either built by local authorities, or built since stock transfer with money from the ‘Welsh Government’, a strong case could be made to bring it back into public ownership.
This twilight zone of private bodies living off the public purse while also taking out commercial loans with banks and behaving like private developers must end.
In the meantime, to avoid the dumping of undesirables, no one should be allocated a social tenancy by a RSL unless that person has been resident in Wales for at least 10 years.
We have a housing sector in Wales that has for years been steadily divorcing itself from the needs of our people. The situation has worsened under devolution.
There is clearly a strategy to settle in Wales as many people as possible who are loyal to the UK or England, in order to ‘secure’ Wales. We can expect this assault on Welsh identity to intensify with Scotland looking more and more likely to choose independence in the next few years.
There is one final weapon in the armoury that can be employed to stem the tide of colonisation. That is the Land Transaction Tax (LTT). It replaced Stamp Duty and it’s already in operation.
Below is a table I’ve compiled showing the current LTT rates with higher rates I’m suggesting as a way to curb the invasion. ‘Existing main residence’ is self-explanatory. Holiday homes are covered by ‘Existing higher residential’.
My suggestions are at the bottom, in yellow. What I’m proposing is higher rates all round for those not already living in Wales. Exceptions could be made for key workers, investors and others deemed necessary for the national good.
I am also suggesting that LTT kicks in lower down the price scale, and there’s a good reason for this. In the Valleys, post-industrial towns, even parts of Swansea, properties sell at prices buyers from prosperous areas of England find irresistible. Many are being bought for the wrong reasons.
Just think back to Ty Isha, Llanelli.
What’s more, most properties bought by retirees will be below the £250,000 threshold, so why should they be free of LTT?
I suppose one response to everything I’ve written will be, “It all depends on the political will”, and clearly that political will is absent. For the following reasons.
Civil servants of the ‘Wales would be better without the Welsh’ mindset ‘advising’ – some shagging! – ‘Welsh Government’ ministers.
A zealously Unionist Labour Party containing too many politicians who can dismiss concern for Welsh identity as ‘ugly and narrow-minded nationalism’. And then of course they have their third sector and housing association cronies to think about.
A Conservative Party (plus a rag-bag of BritNats) who will never object to English people moving to Wales, or the votes they bring. “All British . . . free to move anywhere . . . God Save the Queen.”
A so-called ‘national party’, Plaid Cymru, scared witless of being called anti-English by the anti-Welsh. And anyway, national survival is nowhere near as important as trans rights, BLM, refugees, getting Trump out of the White House . . .
You’ve read that 40% of the properties now sold in Gwynedd are to be used as holiday homes. I’ll bet that another 40% are bought by people moving from England into Gwynedd permanently. And it’s the same in other rural areas.
Thanks to the refusal of successive ‘governments’ in Corruption Bay to build a rural economy, the forced reliance on ‘shit anywhere’ tourism, the neglect of everywhere other than Cardiff . . . Wales, thanks to the ‘progressive’ parties’ refusal to confront the assimilation agenda, is approaching the point of no return.
To refuse to challenge the assimilation agenda is to accept it.
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
After the Jake Berry saga it’s time to move on, though we stay on Ynys Môn for the first couple of pieces, before pushing on, even visiting the city of my dreams.
This is another ‘biggie’ but as usual with this format it’s broken down into digestible portions. So there’s no need to rush, you can take your time. Enjoy!
As we used to hear in the old black and white movies, ‘Dead men tell no tales’. Maybe not, but on Ynys Môn dead men do put in planning applications.
In the previous post, Jake Berry MP, Part 4, I mentioned a property that had swum into view in the course of my investigations into Berry’s little empire. This property may have nothing to do with him, but it became interesting in its own right when I realised that a planning application was submitted in August 2019 – by a man who died early in 2017.
Let me explain, for those who may be unfamiliar with the planning system, that you don’t need to own a property to submit a planning application. A builder, an architect, a relative, even a prospective buyer, can submit a planning application, but this must be done with the consent of the owner. Which presupposes that the owner has not departed for the celestial realm.
Now in this case on Ynys Môn the owner was long dead, and those submitting the planning application knew he was dead. We know they knew because they’d put his name on the planning application with ‘(Deceased)’ alongside it!
Which is difficult to explain; the Will was a straightforward transfer, so why didn’t the person who’d inherited the property put her name on the planning application?
Another curious feature – though it obviously links – is that the Land Registry title document still shows the late Mr Cuddy as the owner. Which might explain why, after putting out a tweet asking why the council had accepted this application from a dead man, I got a Twitter response from the Land Registry.
The LR reminded those in the thread that there is no legal obligation for anyone to update a title document. Which is unfortunately correct. But I believe we are all entitled to know the ownership of property. And money being laundered through property transactions is another reason for making immediate re-registration mandatory.
Does the so-called ‘Welsh Government’ have the power to legislate in this area? And if so, does it have the balls to do what needs to be done?
On the planning matter, I cannot believe that a dead man can be named as the applicant on a planning application. Which calls into question why Cyngor Sir Ynys Môn accepted that planning application.
Again, if this is legal, it should not be. And if the ‘Welsh Government’ can legislate to outlaw the absurdity of dead men making planning applications, then it should do so. Pronto.
Land Registry documents not updated after three years and planning applications in the name of a dead man suggest something is not quite right.
YNYS MÔN 2
I don’t want to paint Ynys Môn as Wales’ Sicily, but strange things do seem to happen there. One I dealt with fairly recently was the sale of the Shire Hall in Llangefni to Tristan Scott Haynes.
To put it mildly, Haynes has a ‘colourful’ past, but the county council saw no problem in selling him their old Shire Hall. And the sale was completed 22 August 2019 with money Haynes had borrowed from Together Commercial Finance Ltd.
The caption tells that Haynes is managing director of Chief Properties Ltd and he also runs a “successful haulage firm”.
Chief Properties was set up in August 2018 for the purpose of buying a property like the Shire Hall. The accounts tell us that the company has fixed assets of £201,942 (the Shire Hall) but is in debt to the tune of £12,460.
As for the “successful haulage firm”, well the next meeting of shareholders will be delighted to learn that Falcon Transportation Ltd‘s total net assets come to £21,282. Roughly what they were the year previously. A truck?
Go back to the caption under the photograph and you’ll read, “(Haynes) had never been to Anglesey before identifying Shire Hall as a possible location”. Which suggests that he found it online. And that any building, anywhere, might have done.
But for what purpose?
As far as I’m aware no work has been done on the Shire Hall, certainly no planning permission has been applied for, so why did Haynes borrow money to buy a building that he seems to have lost interest in?
And if the county council has washed its hands of the Shire Hall don’t the burghers of Llangefni worry about the fate of one of their town’s prime assets?
RHODRI MORGAN AND THE WDA
It’s generally agreed that despite certain failings the Welsh Development Agency was doing a good job in attracting inward investment, and to this day many people still don’t understand why it was done away with.
A comment to the previous post seemed to provide an answer:
“If any target should be in your sites (sic) in terms of Wales’s failing economy, it should be the former First Minister ‘Saint’ Rhodri Morgan. It was he, in a temper tantrum, midway through a phone call with the CEO of the Welsh Development Agency, threw his toys out of the pram when his instruction that the WDA should spend a chunk of it’s budget in a constituency of Cardiff where a certain Mrs Morgan was sitting MP. The CEO politely advised that this request could prove difficult because Cardiff was not in an EU Assisted Area . . . A person present . . . related that the First Minister threw his phone across the room. When he had calmed down (10 minutes later) he rang the CEO back and said that he was scrapping the WDA and bringing it’s functions under Assembly control. The CEO replied ‘Congratulations First Minster, you have just ruined the economy of Wales’ . . . In the 1980’s, 1990’s and into the 2000’s Wales, largely but not exclusively, due to WDA activities, secured 22% of all inward investment into the UK, an incredible achievement . . . Sadly, the Assembly, with it’s suspicion and dislike of any ‘specialisms’ and groaning under the dead hand of so many ‘Sir Humphreys’ presided over the rapid decline of inward investment so that today, it stands at 2% of the UK figure. When the WDA was scrapped, Development Agencies in other countries were delighted . . . I was present at the party held by the Scottish Development Agency to celebrate the demise of it’s principal competitor for inward investment. English Estates, the Development Agency for England, was equally delighted for the same reason. That’s the real story of Wales’s decline as an economic force . . . It will be a huge challenge to reverse this decline, but with the right approach, and a massive change of attitude in Cardiff Bay it conceivably could be achieved.”
This contribution was reinforced in an e-mail from another source which, after a few tweaks, I’m allowed to publish as you see below. This source was also close to the action at the time in question.
“I don’t know (the writer of the comment), but the account with regard to Graham Hawker (CEO) telling Rhodri Morgan he’s screwed the Welsh economy is correct.
While there is much talked about the WDA and it’s dealings in its early to mid years, in its later life it was an organisation of people (predominantly Welsh people) who actually gave a fuck about trying to lift the prosperity of the country. To this day, I am convinced that the termination of the WDA was done out of both jealousy by Welsh Gov and also a disregard by WDA to service the needs and wants of Ministers as they became more and more demanding for information from the organisation. It was not designed to service Welsh Government. It was designed to deliver economic development to external customers and it did it well.
To be fair to Hawker, he had instigated a re-organisation programme that would have addressed some of the issues, but Morgan had made his decision for the bonfire of the quangos. Hawker had resigned in front of Senedd committee. He made Morgan look stupid, who then asked him publicly to reconsider his resignation. He didn’t and he left.
Following Hawker, Gareth Hall was installed as Welsh Gov’s puppet CEO. Rhodri Morgan stated publicly that WDA staff would not see any change in the transition to Welsh Gov. That was total bollocks. There was a culture of cleansing any entrepreneurial spirit and drive in the organisation and a clear move from answering to the WDA board to Ministers. Hall was very close to Marc Clement of Swansea Uni fame. The WDA was being steered by Andrew Davies as Econ Dev Minister at the time, again with close links to Swansea. Make of that what you will.
It is clear that the politicisation of economic development has killed off any hope of raising Wales’s GDP above 75% of the UK average. We are still below it and I blame total and utter mismanagement of EU funds coupled with what you write about regularly – pushing funding to the third sector ‘economy’, crap pet projects (Cardiff Airport) and shysters.
Welsh Gov is a broken organisation. It cannot deliver economic development, full stop.
The wind up of the WDA is a case study of how to destroy exemplar economic development practice and then replacing it with fantasy policies of inclusion, sustainable development, socialist ideologies and then paying those organisations who advocate such tripe to turn up in the Senedd committees to back you up.”
Most students of Welsh politics know that Rhodri Morgan was the kind of man Doctor Johnson would have described as ‘clubbable’; a man who could be relied on for the witty quip or the diverting anecdote, but hard work was not really his bag.
The manner of the WDA’s demise tells us a lot about Rhodri Morgan and the Labour Party. Both quite happy to destroy what they cannot control however damaging such a course of action might be for Wales.
The incident also exposes the damning contradiction of ‘Welsh’ Labour – forever banging on about employment, blaming ‘London’ or the Tories for Wales not having enough decent jobs, but the beast itself is ideologically and temperamentally opposed to the business and commerce that would provide good jobs because it cannot control them.
‘Keep Wales poor, keep Wales dependent, keep Wales voting Labour’?
The first source reminds us that with the WDA gone Wales’ share of the UK’s inward investment fell from 22% to 2%. While the second source tells that the loss of the WDA saw the rise of the third sector, which is under the control of the Labour Party because the ‘Welsh Government’ controls the purse funding.
To the point where, in the parallel dimension that is Wales, third sector bosses receive awards for achievements in business.
From 2007 until 2011 Labour was in coalition with Plaid Cymru, but Plaid made no attempt to bring back the WDA, for Plaid Cymru is another party made up of social workers, academics and others who think making profits and creating jobs is dirty.
‘Filthy capitalism, innit!’
Much better to live on hand-outs from England. Then enjoy the power of patronage that goes with distributing someone else’s money without the bother of creating it. That is, without the hard work involved organising a national economy.
Which is exactly how the Labour Party views devolution.
And explains why the cycle of decline will continue after next May’s election when Labour will fall short of a majority and need another coalition with Plaid Cymru to stay in power. Plaid Cymru will jump at the opportunity.
And Wales will continue to decline . . . with regular ‘dead cat on the table’ episodes of virtue signalling.
BRIGHTON GREENS DISCOVER GOWER
In my younger days I spent a lot of time on Gower. Oh yes. An aunt and uncle had a house above Port Eynon when such properties could be bought cheaply because most tourists came from within a radius of 40 or 50 miles. They came for a day trip or a holiday, but few of them thought of moving there permanently.
It was on their doorstep, they could visit whenever they liked.
School holidays spent crabbing at Port Eynon were succeeded by teenage years fishing just about everywhere for bass, with Worm’s Head a favourite spot.
In the twenty-first century it was inevitable I suppose that Gower would attract the eco-colonists, those who want to ‘live off the land’ . . . usually someone else’s land, often thanks to big dollops of public funding, and invariably by ignoring planning regulations.
And lo! it has come to pass.
To read the WalesOnline report from which the above image is taken just click here.
The Furzehill project is the brainchild of the Ecological Land Cooperative of Brighton. That is Brighton on the south coast of England. What attracts them to Wales is the One Planet lunacy, which proclaims that in order to reduce Wales’ carbon footprint people must be attracted to Wales to farm virgin land, burn wood, drive vehicles, and generally impose themselves on what were often pristine landscapes.
This is virtue signalling, big time, introduced when Jane Davidson was Minister for the Environment, Sustainability and Housing from 2007 to 2011. This may also have been the period when the ‘Welsh Government’s ‘All Farmers are Bastards’ strategy was formulated. (Was ‘Game Show Gary’ [ahem] ‘advising’ Davidson?)
Nominally, Davidson was AM for Pontypridd, but she didn’t give a toss about Ponty. She was in Corruption Bay to promote her environmentalist friends’ agenda. The rest of the Labour Party could see the advantage in this because it gave scope for virtue signalling on a global stage while putting the boot into rural electorates that refuse to vote Labour.
Davidson went on to become an academic (of sorts) and an even more outspoken advocate for eco-invaders like herself.
Here’s Davidson’s book on her work in government that culminated in One Planet Developments (OPD) and Future Generations legislation. Which have done nothing for us Welsh (it wasn’t intended to) but has achieved brownie points for a party and a system that, while running Wales into the ground, gets plaudits from people like Nikhil Seth who know sod all about Wales.
Furzehill is important, and should be watched, for the following reason.
Up until now OPDs have argued that they improve marginal land or even bring life back to abandoned farms. But Gower is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AOUB). The first area given AOUB status in the whole of this island.
I expect Swansea council to refuse planning permission for these ‘hobbit houses’. If that happens, then there will almost certainly be an appeal to the ‘Welsh Government’. And if those clowns allow the Furzehill project to proceed then National Parks will be the next target for the eco-colonists.
For those unfamiliar with the area, the Llansamlet ward is on the east side of Swansea, above Bonymaen and east of Morriston, straddling the M4. At its edge, Birchgrove runs into Skewen merging Swansea with Neath.
It was an area where the Welsh language was still strong when I was a boy, and Swansea’s first Plaid Cymru councillor was elected by Llansamlet’s voters in the youthful form of my old mate Dr John Ball.
Since then, it’s been pretty much downhill. The ward has been represented by a succession of Old Labour time-servers, enlivened recently by a few exotic imports.
I’m thinking now of Robert (‘call me Bob’) Clay, privately-educated former MP for Sunderland North and his Austrian-born wife Uta. Both moved on in 2017 and I’m told that these devout Marxists now live in a very agreeable detached property in rural Carmarthenshire.
Llansamlet returned another four Labour councillors at the 2017 elections, among them Maureen ‘Mo’ Sykes, of whom I have written before. To remind you . . . Mo Sykes was CEO of YMCA Wales yet under her ‘leadership’ things went to hell. To the extent that YMCA Wales ceased to exist.
The organisation leaked money, she herself left under a big cloud in July 2014, YMCA Wales went into administration in September, the jewel in the crown – Newgale Outdoor Education Centre in Pembrokeshire – was flogged off for £507,000 in June 2015, and the abandoned branches of YMCA Wales were told to affiliate to YMCA England.
They were welcomed with open arms by YMCA England for adopting the ‘national brand’.
So in the age of devolution we took another step backward. The ‘Welsh Government’, which had funded Mo Sykes and should have been asking what the fuck had gone wrong, showed no interest. After buying a nice detached house on a quiet street in Clydach (for a surprisingly low price) Sykes was handed a safe seat for the 2017 city council elections.
And now, if my sources are correct, she’s going home to the Six Counties after living off the public purse for years and doing her bit to integrate Wales into England.
If so, good riddance.
LEENA SARAH FARHAT
Soon after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis Nation.Cymru insulted us with an article by Leena Sarah Farhat telling us that Wales was full of racist cops. I made a comment, suggesting she apologise to our police, but my comment was removed. Bizarrely, left up were comments from an unhinged wokie (not from Muskogee) attacking me in very personal terms!
This moron seemed to think I’d deleted my comment, and even when told he’d taken a wrong turn he kept marching purposefully into the bog. I’ve had dealings with him before, and he’s typical of his kind. Because I’d called him ‘little boy’ or something he tried to brand me a paedophile by suggesting I thought I was dealing with a child!
No, ‘Alan’, I’m know exactly what I’m dealing with, son. A twat.
It got so fractious on the state-subsidised mouthpiece for Plaid Cymru run by the saintly Ifan Morgan Jones that he had to pull all the comments. Something he had to do again on Friday when reporting that Martin Shipton, Chief Correspondent of the Western Mail, had lost his judging job at the Book of the Year Awards, run by Literature Wales, after being targeted by the wokies. (Tell me about it!)
(And if you want a definition of colonial establishment, look no further than Literature Wales.)
But I digress. Who is Leena Sarah Farhat?
From what I could gather, she works at Aberystwyth University. She is also Diversity Officer for the Welsh Liberal Democrats, and their candidate for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr. I’m sure she knows Castell Newydd Emlyn and Llanfihangel Rhos-y-Corn like the back of her delicate hand.
Anyway, later that evening I had one of the strange e-mails I get quite regularly. What I’m describing is the internet age’s equivalent of some bloke emerging out the shadows, collar pulled up and hat pulled down, looking furtively around before handing me the slip of paper that will unravel the mystery.
Or maybe I watch too much film noir.
The terse message contained a link, which I was loath to open in case it contained a virus. But I took a chance and the link took me here. To begin with, I wasn’t sure where I’d landed (I feared it might be one of those pornographical sites I’ve read about), but as I took it in I realised it was some kind of social media platform with people asking Leena Sarah Farhat questions.
Some of her answers were quite strange, others disturbing. Here’s a selection.
Make of it what you will, but here’s my interpretation. Here we have another ‘progressive’ party desperate to be seen to be ‘inclusive’ recruiting someone on whom they haven’t done enough checks, and who turns out to be, if not anti-Semitic, then certainly tacking towards that port of call.
With Plaid Cymru it was Sahar Al-Faifi, with Labour . . . well, take your pick, and now, not to be left out, the Lib Dems will incur the wrath of the Board of Deputies. Good.
What’s more, Agxio is a one-man band, and that one man is Dr Stephen Christie. To read Dr Christie’s Linkedin bio he’s been there, done that, and got the T-shirt. It’s only a matter of time before that photo on his mantelpiece of great-uncle Hamish in his pith helmet makes way for a Nobel Prize.
From Linkedin we learn that since 2011 Christie has been CEO of Neural Insights Ltd, another company based in Dorking. His wife is the only other director. The latest accounts show a company where liabilities exceed assets, though the figures are small. The accounts are ‘filleted’.
Then there’s his chairmanship of MemberMatch Ltd, which helps golfists find playing partners. But he doesn’t seem to have ever been a director, let alone chairman. The latest unaudited financial statement reveals another company in the red.
Dr Christie’s only other extant company, formed in August 2018, is Inbotiqa Ltd. This has Net Liabilities of £107,131 for 2019; which was, admittedly, a big improvement on 2018. The accounts are unaudited.
And it looks similar with Agxio, which is getting funding from the Development Bank of Wales. Dr Currie seems to have spent a great deal of his time figuring out the share issues, just check the filing history.
Don’t get me wrong, Dr Stephen Christie might be a very clever bloke, but his greatest talent may be issuing and selling shares rather than producing anything, or creating jobs.
Furthermore, his ‘presence’ in Aberystwyth may be no more than a letter-box, and so I question whether Agxio should be receiving a penny of Welsh public funding.
To begin with, Coronavirus seems to have impacted on the Conservative vote as if the party’s voters had been confined to care homes; down 11 percentage points from the April poll to 35% for Westminster elections. Labour is up 4 to 39% and Plaid Cymru also up 4 to 15%.
For Welsh Parliament elections, the figures are (constituency first, list second):
Those figures were fairly predictable. Of more interest were the responses when people were asked questions such as: “If there was a referendum tomorrow on Wales becoming an independent country and this was the question, how would you vote? Should Wales be an independent country?”
In answer, 25% said Yes, but 54% said No. When asked whether the Assembly should be abolished, 25% said Yes, 48% said No.
To the multi-option constitutional question the responses were:
As you’re probably aware, a great deal has been made of a figure of 33% in favour of independence. This figure is only arrived at when respondents are given the stark choice between doing away with devolution or going for independence. When the returns were:
Certainly, these findings are generally encouraging. But there’s a long way to go. What I extrapolate from these polls is the following:
Devolution is increasingly discredited. After more than two decades of failure it is under pressure from both those who want independence and those who want integration with England. (Which is what abolishing the Senedd would amount to.)
Plaid Cymru is making little progress despite the increase in numbers prepared to consider independence. There is clearly scope for other parties, especially if those parties are more focused on Wales and Welsh issues.
No account is taken in these polls of how events in Scotland could impact on Wales. I believe that Scotland becoming independent would greatly increase the numbers in Wales choosing independence.
There’s a lot to play for in next year’s elections. And beyond.
As you may know, following a complaint by Jake Berry, the MP for Rossendale and Darwen, currently building a property empire on Ynys Môn, Facebook took down the links I’d posted to the articles about him on this blog.
Well now I’m locked out of my Facebook account altogether, yet it appears to still be open to others. There seems to be no appeal process so is there any way I can just close my Facebook page?