I’m sorry I haven’t put out anything for a few weeks, but there’s just been too much to write about, and my lack of self-discipline has resulted in me being too easily distracted, too often.
So here goes, again. With a story that in my opinion is not being properly interpreted. What you’re about to read is my explanation for the adoption of the name Bannau Brycheiniog by the national park formerly known as the Brecon Beacons.
Unless you’ve been trapped underground, cast away on a desert island, or living in Treherbert, you’ll know that the Brecon Beacons National Park recently dropped the English version of its name to be known exclusively as Bannau Brycheiniog.
And the rebranding produced an outpouring of balderdash such as this old blogger has rarely seen.
Though few reached the depth of silliness plumbed by the Park’s chief executive, Catherine Mealing-Jones. The traditional flaming brazier logo had been discarded because it didn’t fit with these times of global warming, she wailed, as she zipped up her Eskimo Nell™ anorak to avoid the icy April blasts.
Here’s the headline from The Times.
But the ‘climate crisis’ is a global fear campaign engendered by those, in the UN and the World Economic Forum, wishing to control your behaviour.
They’ve influenced governments around the world to brainwash millions of kids. That we then have so many worried or even unhinged youngsters is used as proof of the ‘climate crisis’, when in reality it’s proof of brainwashing.
In the Bannau debate the climate hysteria angle was bad enough, but certain sections of the English media seemed to view the changes as Woke. Here’s the headline from the Telegraph.
Now you know me, nobody’s more alert to the lunacies of Wokeness than old Jac, but I didn’t quite see it that way. Worse, for some English writers, Wokeness seemed to be code for anti-Englishness.
Yet the name change, the rebranding, and the bollocks about climate change, was all a distraction from the real story. So pay attention!
Let’s begin by saying that in my view there’s nothing wrong with the name change. ‘Beacons’ may have been a misnomer anyway. Were there ever warning beacons lit there? If so, who were they warning? And who were they warning against?
Look out! A charabanc from Dowlais is heading up the A470!
And as a regular contact pointed out, few people will use the new name anyway. Partly because, unlike the recent name change of ‘Snowdonia’ to ‘Eryri’, it’s too long, and fewer people speak Welsh in Bannau Brycheiniog than in Eryri.
Though to end this section on a lighter note, our ‘Welsh’ TV newsreaders should provide hours of mirth with their mangled pronunciations of Bannau Brycheiniog.
For a few years I’ve been writing about the ‘interesting’ people turning up in south Powys, an area almost co-terminus with Bannau Brycheiniog.
There’s a temptation to just dismiss them as good-lifers, but I believe there’s more to it than that. Some are on a mission.
That latter interpretation certainly applies to those involved at Black Mountains College (BMC). An institution founded by people who had previously worked for George Soros, a man viewed by some as a philanthropist, and by others – including me – as someone on a mission to undermine Western society.
The video below, produced by BMC, makes it clear that the college seeks to enrol those who have already been frightened witless over climate change. Attracting scared kids to Coleg Soros with the promise that they can, “re-engineer the future”.
The video also tells us: “our current predicament is man-made”. And indeed it is.
I believe that Black Mountains College now acts as a ‘hub’ or information exchange for climate alarmists, and this role is encouraged – and funded – by Corruption Bay. Which uses the same illusory threat as justification for imposing 20mph speed limits, waging war on farmers, and generally making us poorer, and our lives more miserable.
The hub may be needed because there’s quite a lot happening in the area.
For a start, let’s remember that Gilestone farm is just a few miles from Coleg Soros. Whatever was planned for Gilestone before the fan was overwhelmed with excrement, I guarantee it would have been justified on ‘environmental’ grounds.
Nonsense of course. It was done to give the ‘Welsh Government’ greater control over the policies and direction of the national park.
The last Conservative member of the park authority, Iain McIntosh, has now resigned. Which leaves a national park authority, with control over planning and other matters, and in a constituency represented in London by a Tory MP, and in Cardiff by a Tory MS, controlled by the Labour party.
But this is how Labour has always operated in Wales. And we see it again with yet another new body ‘tacking climate change’.
Topping the bill is former Labour Assembly Member and Minister for Saving Welsh Polar Bears Jane Davidson. She it was who gave Wales One Planet Developments. Hoping to realise her vision of the Welsh countryside repopulated with frightfully nice English smallholders and OPD dwellers.
Little room for the Welsh in that vision. And there’s little Welsh presence in the group headed by La Davidson.
What we do see is the Green Heath Robinsons at the Centre for Alternative Technology, who’ve received tens of millions of public funding. Our non-Welsh universities are of course represented. As is Coleg Soros, in the form of Art Garfunkel lookalike Ben Rawlence.
(How many such bodies and publications does one small country need!)
It’s a strange document. A mixture of platitudes, anguished concerns for the future, and the kind of ‘Welshness’ John Ford gave us with his adaptation of How Green Was My Valley.
For example, there are regular appearances by an imaginary family named Brychan. They also have impeccably Welsh forenames – Ioan, Mair, Dafydd – in an area becoming less and less Welsh through the activities of the kind of people you’re reading about.
There’s even a Brychan family tree (page 127)! It’s truly weird. Almost unsettling.
Take the ‘Letter from Sian (sic) Brychan to her daughter Megan’, February 20th 2042 (page 75). I suppose some reading this will be reassured to think that we’ll still be writing letters in 2042. Or at least the Brychans will.
In fact, they’re writing to each other all the bloody time. Don’t they talk?
By a painful irony the Brychans are described as, “seventh generation farmers here in the Bannau Brycheiniog” . . . which makes them the very people Green zealots want to remove from the area.
Aside from the Brychans a number of old favourites appear in Y Bannau. Coleg Soros, again; the greenwashers at Stump up for Trees; the secretive Beacons Water Group; and many more favourites that have appeared on this blog.
Perhaps all you really need to know about this management plan is that the foreword comes from Julie James, Minister for Climate Change, and the document first saw the light of day in Corruption Bay, not Brecon.
This is the ‘Welsh Government’s plan for Y Bannau. And if they and their cronies can get away with it, they’ll try it on elsewhere.
There must now be hundreds of Labour-connected enviro-shysters whizzing around Wales – in cars we pay for – attending meetings where they earnestly discuss how to cut emissions and save the planet.
Which tells that the genius behind the re-branding was one Jordan Thorne, who is 34 and has a company called Creo, described by the Mail as “a Cardiff-based marketing agency which has in recent years won a series of lucrative public sector contracts”.
Let’s just flick through the accounts for the Creo companies, see if anything catches Jac’s jaundiced eye. (Though, actually, they’re skeletal ‘unaudited financial statements’.)
Creo Digital shows total assets of £300,172 but has a net deficit of -£55,253.
Creo Interactive Ltd reveals total assets of £522,250 (previous year £365,043); reducing to net assets of £466,437.
Creo Group Holdings Ltd shows total assets of £375,100, made up of fixed assets of £375,000. Taking out liabilities leaves a net figure of -£4,529.
Control over Creo Interactive is exercised by Creo Digital; and Creo Digital is, predictably, controlled by the holding company. Where the 100 shares are split equally between Ward, Coakley, Thorne and Shaw.
Maybe the fixed asset is the Creo premises in the old St Cadoc’s church at 76 Wells Street, Cardiff. Naturally, I wondered who owned it, so I shuffled over to the Land Registry website.
I’m a ‘creative’, do you think I could get a DBW loan?
On a more serious note, seeing as it’s wholly owned by the ‘Welsh Government’, is there genuine scrutiny or oversight of the DBW? And while I’m not suggesting that Labour supporters are favoured by the DBW with its loans policy, I can understand why some might think that.
The MailOnline went big on Thorne’s politics, without properly understanding them. Though the boy has said some nasty things. As the headline put it:
Corbyn-loving Twitter troll and Welsh separatist whose vile posts tell Margaret Thatcher to ‘burn in hell’ and call Conservative ministers ‘Tory scum’
Why are modern Leftists so thoroughly unpleasant? So vindictive? So personal? The kindest thing one can say is that it’s infantile. For let’s remember that Thorne is too young to even remember Margaret Thatcher.
Clearly, he’s far left, and was a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. Then, like a number of other Corbynistas, he turned to Yes Cymru. Though not because he cares about Wales but because he sees Welsh independence as a vehicle for his socialism.
Jordan Thorne wants a Welsh socialist republic. Just like the other Corbyn entryists who nearly wrecked Yes Cymru a couple of years back. (I wrote about it extensively.)
I must admit that I’d never heard of Jordan Thorne. Yet it seems Yes Cymru values him highly enough to have put out a tweet in his defence on Saturday.
I believe that leaping to his defence can be put down to Thorne being a socialist, and the attack coming from a ‘Tory’ source.
Yes Cymru then tried to reassure us that it is neither left nor right, with this tweet yesterday morning. But just a few hours before, had put out the tweet below.
What the hell has Welsh independence got to do with illegal immigrants crossing from France to England? The answer should be – Nothing.
But what the tweet above reveals is that whoever wrote it wants an independent Wales with open borders. A socialist Wales. A Wales following the Globalist agenda.
The stances taken by the loudest elements in Yes Cymru; on immigration, gender ID, climate hysteria, ‘White supremacy’, and all the other Woke nonsense only serves to alienate many in a socially conservative country, making independence less likely.
Jordan Thorne and Creo got the rebranding contract due to Labour party connections. Thorne joining Yes Cymru may be part of Labour’s infiltration of that organisation.
For there have been other attempts, such as the absurd ‘Labour for an Independent Wales‘ (linked with, ‘DUP for a 32-County Republic’). Plus individual Corbynistas and Momentum members have been identified on this blog and elsewhere.
And let’s not forget that Labour is a control-freak party that wants to run just about every organisation in the country. Labour will often use the Welsh language to placate the easily duped, and to disguise its true intentions.
The name change was the dead cat thrown on the table to distract the media and those who rely on the media to do their thinking for them. It’s really about the takeover of Bannau Brycheiniog by a political party with no democratic mandate.
Done so that it can implement the Globalists’ Net Zero lunacies, and in so doing, ‘re-model’ the landscape, the economy, even the demographics of the area.
Having succeeded in south Powys Labour can now impose its will – and its supporters – on other areas that do not vote Labour. It must be done this way because . . .
Despite its dominant role Labour is a minority party. Winning the votes of less than 20% of the electorate in 2021. This is another reason why the party must rely on corruption and cronyism to exert control. With many of the cronies imported.
In practical terms this insidious spread of Labour influence, this crony shadow state, means that even if Labour was to lose the next Senedd elections in 2026 (unlikely given the rigged ‘party list’ system it wants to introduce) it could carry on running Wales – for it would take years to dismantle the system Labour had created.
Clearly, Wales is not a democracy. Wales is run as a one-party state. Shame on Plaid Cymru for lending this corrupt system a veneer of credibility with its support.
I for one would shed no tears if Westminster chose to restore some semblance of democracy to Wales.
In addition, hundreds of millions of pounds are showered every year on magic bean salesmen (and saleswomen), many of whom are from outside of Wales but can sniff easy money.
BLACK CAT COUNTRY
That heading’s a reference to Cydweli (Kidwelly). It’s explained here . . . sort of. Though I loved the reference to the “zealous Welsh” attacking the Norman castle and the town full of alien settlers.
If the town was destroyed and the inhabitants killed then describing our ancestors as ‘zealous’ seems a little inadequate. Even trivialising. Though I’m not criticising our forbears, for all nations have the right to respond to invasion and the threat of becoming strangers in their own country.
Some of you will remember that I’ve written about Cydweli before, a little town west of Llanelli, just up the road from Porth Tywyn, where I’ve often sojourned.
In fact, this piece is a follow-up to something I wrote back in January last year. Here’s a link to that earlier post, ‘Tourism or Survival: Wales Must Choose‘, scroll down to the section, ‘Tourism Making Life Difficult for Locals’.
Last year I looked at attempts to re-vitalise the local economy through tourism, which of course brought the threat of the usual problems – holiday homes, few worthwhile jobs, the area attracting retirees and good-lifers, etc.
That attempt was called the Black Cat Tourism Strategy, and in the summer of 2021 we learnt that it had secured £270,000, “to implement a two-year strategy aimed at growing the visitor economy in Kidwelly and Mynydd-y-garreg” (a village to the north east of the town).
To judge by its Facebook page, the Hub has come to the end of the line. Confirmed, it would seem, by this notice from the town council.
Though I was amused by the fact that most of the comments to the Hub’s valedictory FB post last October were of the, “When can I have my – – – – back?” type, rather than, “We’ll miss you”.
If you scroll down a wee bit further, you’ll come to the FB post you see below. And this is our destination – The Gwên Gwen Festival 2022. (‘Gwen’s smile’?)
My information is that the bulk of the grant money spend in 2022 went on the Gwên Gwen festival, and it’ll be the same again this year. Most locals believe this is not money well spent. Few turned up last year, and this year’s event doesn’t promise to pull in the punters either.
One person who recently contacted me was relaying the concerns of others about what the £270,000 allocated to The Black Cat Tourism Strategy had actually been spent on.
My source wrote, referring to last year’s Gwên Gwen bash:
“Tried getting answers as to where the cash has gone. A massive spend of funds where no one turned up apart from organisers families and a bunch of local hippies. Labour councillor involved and now director of CIC company for same festival this year. Council would not give me figures for cash lost.”
I tried to dig the figures out for myself. There seemed to be three obvious places to look: the town council records, the Hub accounts, and the company I assumed would have been set up to manage the Black Cat Tourism initiative.
Working backwards, the Gwên Community and Regeneration CIC wasn’t set up until February this year. (The grant, remember, was allocated in June 2021.) Thus far, the only document filed with Companies House is the Certificate of Incorporation.
Towards the end of that document we read this minor masterpiece in grant-grab waffle. It really is a gem. I speak as someone who’s read many over the years, and penned a few myself.
If we go back to the clip above from the town council minutes of October 2021, we see four names listed in connection with the Black Cat Tourism Strategy. These are: Christine Lamble-Davies, Michelle Collins, Suki Baynton, Aled Westlake.
I believe they’re in this video from March 2022, asking for suggestions. Which could be seen as being open to ideas . . . or possibly not having a clue themselves what to do.
So, in no particular order, here are brief bios . . .
But apart from that early mention, I’m not sure what role, if any, Collins played thereafter. There’s certainly no mention of Black Cat on her Linkedin. But she does get a mention here, on the Saatchi Art website.
Aled Guto Westlake, is another artistic type, who lived in Llansamlet, on the east side of Swansea, but seems to have moved to Mynyddygarreg.
His Linkedin profile suggests that he still sees himself as being part of the Black Cat set-up. This, plus his side-line in photography, would appear to be his employment.
What a cosy place Mynyddygarreg must be! Dare I suggest, incestuous?
Suki Baynton I mentioned in the earlier piece, so I might as well lift something from that to give her bio.
The Black Cat project lead is Suki Baynton, who recently arrived from the Cynon Valley, where I’m told she was Contaminated Land Officer for Rhondda Cynon Taf council. She was certainly Property Manager for Ashfield Solutions for a while.
We see Suki in the above picture, on the right, in the red coat. (See image below.)
Suki has also launched her own company, Room Publishing Ltd. The website tells me it’s a load of New Age bollocks; but then, I’m a cynical old bastard who grew up in the real world.
Clearly, Labour councillor ‘Crish’ Davies is the continuity factor. The one who’s been there throughout.
This new company could be seen as the Hub reborn. Though why did it take so long, because the Hub didn’t expire unexpectedly?
While these three directors are presumably entrusted with salvaging something from the disaster, and seeing out Gwên Gwen 2, are any of the four we read about earlier, and saw in the video, still involved?
If not, why?
I don’t like banging on about money, but seeing it wasted annoys me. Especially when Cydweli needs money spent on infrastructure repairs and other things.
But certainly not a hippy gathering that was a disaster last year, and with not a hope in hell that this year’s Gwên Gwen will be any more successful.
Here are some photos I was sent of the town. They show, clockwise: the old town hall, falling down and resulting in detours; the town square; the field opposite the Co-op, home to the Gwên Gwen festival; and the building that was used by the Hub.
A few pints of Felinfoel might help. Perhaps many pints of Felinfoel.
P.S. Last year’s headline act, Kosheen, also come from Bristol.
I don’t want anyone to think I’m picking on Cydweli. I’m just using it as an example for something that’s happening all over Wales.
My introduction gave a litany of some big scandals that got reported, but it’s also the few hundred grand here, a million or so there, that escape wider attention. Call it political patronage, call it rewarding grass-roots activism, call it anything you damn well like, but by and large it achieves next to nothing.
This system of dishing out grants to anyone with connections, or who can put together the kind of tosh we read earlier, is damaging Wales. It’s a major reason three dollops of European structural funding achieved nothing.
This was unique. All other countries and regions of Europe that received this funding used it wisely. None remained poor enough to qualify for a third hand-out.
But Labour Party stooges like the WCVA will pretend this wasted money achieved something. That’s how the system works: Labour gives money to its cronies who then produce reports telling us what good use was made of the funding.
But then, if I give my grandchildren money will they admit they wasted it?
The biggest beneficiary of EU funding was the third sector. Now that EU funding has ended – but to ensure these shysters continue living high on the hog – other budgets must be raided. (“Your promised by-pass! What by-pass?”)
Unfortunately, it’s no longer just local groups; for under devolution Wales has seen a tidal wave of gobshites preaching climate disaster, poisoned rivers and habitat loss; berating us for our racism and our transphobia – and demanding that we pay them well for their insulting rants.
But enough of those colonialist parasites, let’s finish in that nice little town where an underage Jac used to drink when him and his mates would get the train down from Swansea to go camping. Happy days!
Ah! the Brangwyn Hall. I remember being slung out of there many years ago. It was a Labour Party do, with that son of Abersychan, Roy Jenkins, topping the bill. (Ere he and others left to form the SDP.)
Anyway, Woy had got to the bit in his peroration where he proclaimed to the assembly that he too was Welsh . . . at which point a young Jac jumped up and shouted ‘You’re no Welshman!’ (My outburst may have contained an expletive attributive.)
I was immediately attacked by some old crow sitting behind me, who laid into me with her umbrella! A possible headline from the Evening Post flashed through my mind – ‘Nationalist yob beaten to death by umbrella-wielding Labour granny’.
I was saved from this undignified and premature fate by the ‘stewards’ (i.e. Labour heavies) dragging me off towards the huge front doors. With a few reminders along the way that my contribution was not appreciated. (‘Troublemaker, ew are!’)
‘PROGRESSIVE’ MELIN DRAFOD
In this section I shall refer more than once to the briefly successful far Left takeover of YesCymru in 2020 and 2021.
I wrote about this extensively at the time and so, to catch up with what I wrote, type ‘YesCymru’ in the search box atop the sidebar.
The event later this month in the Brangwyn is organised by think tank Melin Drafod. And you don’t need to think too hard to realise what anyone attending is likely to hear.
All the speakers are on the Left. Or the far Left. Or the Woke Left. Call it what you will.
But ‘progressive’ is the label behind which they all hide nowadays. Such a nice word, harmless and unthreatening. Who among us could object to ‘progress‘?
Me. Because I recognise rebranded Marxism.
Helping me appreciate that the ‘progress’ demanded by those who’ll gather where a young Jac was assaulted by a Bolshie harridan is worrying.
But let Melin Drafod speak for itself:
‘Not independence for its own sake’. What is that trying to say – patriotism is not enough? Or is it a veiled threat to scupper any form of independence that doesn’t meet with the approval of the far Left?
There is so much to read into that section.
My views on ‘climate change’ are well known – it’s not happening. The myth is being kept alive by ‘environmentalists’ and others who’ve staked their reputations on it and can’t afford to backtrack, with supranational bodies thinking ‘global warming’ gives them the excuse to control human behaviour worldwide.
And does anyone seriously believe that racism is a ‘scourge’ in modern Wales? Who but the seriously unhinged could insult us by equating Wales in 2023 with Arkansas or the Transvaal a few decades back?
Only perhaps those with a vested interest in using the allegation of ‘racism’ to slander political opponents and to promote their own interests.
The latter might apply to Melin Drafod National Committee member Harriet Protheroe-Soltani, of the Wales Refugee Council. Like all third sector bodies, this one thrives by inventing or exaggerating a problem – and then demanding funding to tackle that problem.
Ms Protheroe-Soltani of Momentum was also employed by YesCymru when it fell briefly under the control of the far Left in 2020 / 2021.
Sam Coates is another member of the National Committee.
His Twitter account tells that he is a socialist first, then a Welshman. Which would appear to bear out that for these ‘progressives’ Wales comes second to their ideological priorities.
Significantly, perhaps, there’s no mention of independence.
And, again, it’s worth returning to the far Left takeover of YesCymru, for Coates wrote this essay in July 2021, and it’s revealing. (Available here in pdf format.) Not just about Coates but about the others who’ll be at the Brangwyn later this month.
He writes: ‘In 2017, I rocked up to the Hen Coleg yn Aberystwyth on a baking hot day to attend YesCymru’s AGM. It was a friendly room of about 50 people, mostly middle age, and mostly white.’
‘Mostly white’ – in a country that is 95% White! Would Coates and the comrades be happier if YesCymru was a majority non-White organisation, and therefore grotesquely unrepresentative of Wales?
As unrepresentative as those who’ll be at the Brangwyn Hall.
Referring to the rigged YesCymru elections of May 2021 that saw the far Left briefly take control, Coates writes: ‘Hundreds of members attended the online event, and used a voting tool used by many other political organisations to choose members of the new Central Committee’.
It would appear that when he wrote of those ‘hundreds’ voting Coates had forgotten that a few paragraphs earlier he’d talked of YesCymru having 18,000 members. Presenting us with the obvious question: why were just 2-3% of the members able / allowed to vote?
But let’s remember some of the tweets from ‘progressives’ celebrating victory!
Coates’ whole essay is an apology for an attempted far Left takeover; and it’s riddled with inaccuracies, misrepresentations and outright lies.
The other members of Melin Drafod’s National Committee seem to be Plaid Cymru members, and others who were involved in the near-destruction of YesCymru in 2021. I’m thinking of Llywelyn ap Gwilym, and Siôn Jobbins, Chair of YesCymru who eventually jumped ship.
Then we have Elin Hywel and Colin Nosworthy of Undod, the source of so much of the poison that almost finished off YesCymru.
And of course there are one or two on the National Committee from the Labour Party.
WHO’S COMING TO THE SUMMIT AND WHO’S NOT INVITED?
Let’s start by listing those political parties and organisations that are not invited by Melin Drafod (or whoever) to the portentously dubbed ‘Independence Summit’.
First off, there’s the party to which I belong, Gwlad. Then there’s Propel. There’s also the Sovereign Party / Plaid Sofren. So without going too far, we’ve already found three registered political parties, with councillors, made up of serious and experienced people, with all three parties committed to Welsh independence.
So why didn’t Melin Drafod invite them?
The listed speakers are advertised as follows . . .
‘Anthony Slaughter (Wales Green Party Leader), Adam Price MS (Plaid Cymru Leader), Cllr Rachel Garrick (Welsh Labour for Independence), Sam Coates (Undod), Gwern Evans (YesCymru), Luke Fletcher MS, Mirain Owen (Cymdeithas yr Iaith) and others’.
So let’s begin with Slaughter, and remind everyone that there is no Wales Green Party! There is only the Wales branch of the Green Party of England.
In 2018 Green Party members in Wales had the chance to create a separate Wales Green Party, they voted not to. The main reason for that was that most Green Party members in Wales are English.
Then, last year, the Green Party of England in Wales claimed to be in favour of Welsh independence! Plaid Cymru fell for it and was happy to enter some sort of agreement with them.
No individual, group, or party, sincere about Welsh independence, should even talk to a colonialist outfit that refuses to even recognise the existence of our country.
Plaid Cymru I’ll leave until last.
‘Welsh Labour for Independence’ (WLfI) is another piece of nonsense. Labour is a Unionist party. Any Labour member who wants independence is in the wrong party. Maybe some now realise that.
During the struggle for YesCymru LfIW was prominent in undermining sensible committee members and replacing them with some real nutters. Working from the shadows was Rob Lloyd of Prestatyn, while out there on the Welshpool barricades was Benji Gwalchmai.
Where are they now? How I miss them!
We already know all we need to know about Sam Coates and Undod.
Yet he brings another Aberystwyth connection to the party. Which I’ll explore shortly.
Cymdeithas yr Iaith is not worth dwelling on. Hopelessly Woke it overlaps with Undod and other far Left groups like Plaid Cymru’s youth wing, Plaid Ifanc, where pronouns are of paramount importance.
So, finally, let’s give some thought to Plaid Cymru which, in most people’s eyes, is ‘the nationalist party’, and the leading voice for Welsh independence.
On the one hand, Plaid activists seem to be more at home at Gay Pride parades than at marches for independence; while the party is being eaten away from the inside by a combination of back-stabbing and sexual misbehaviour.
The party tries to keep things under wraps but news of the obsession with other people’s ‘bits’ inevitably reaches the public domain.
When it’s like this at the top of the party – and I mean, the very top – then no one should be surprised that lower down the pecking order we find bizarre behaviour.
The image below (which I pixelated) is of someone who works for a Plaid Cymru MS showing what he proposes to do when he catches whoever is behind an anonymous ‘I know what you did!’ Twitter account accusing him of . . .
Plaid Cymru is a mess, however you look at it, and from top to bottom. To say it’s lost its way would be wrong . . . for that would suggest Plaid’s leadership in recent decades ever knew where it was going.
I think Plaid Cymru is now too far gone for the change of leadership Arfon Jones calls for to make any difference. My view is that Plaid should do the honest thing and merge with Labour.
They deserve each other.
RUM, REGGAE, AND ‘AN UNTAINTED, LEFT-WING, WELSH ALTERNATIVE’
I mentioned earlier that Aberystwyth businessman, Gwern Evans, is CEO of YesCymru. And he’s not the only one speaking at the Brangwyn bash from that lovely town where a dashing young blade spent a weekend in the police cells.
For Melin Drafod Chair, Dr Talat Chaudhri is mayor of the town. Also living in Aber’ is secretary Mererid Boswell, and former chair of YesCymru, Siôn Jobbins.
UPDATE: I am indebted to Jon Coles for telling us that Colin Nosworthy is a press officer for Aberystwyth University.
And there may be others with Aberystwyth connections. Not Sam Coates, obviously; not after his chastening experience of stumbling into a gathering of the Llanbadarn chapter of the Afrikaner Broederbond.
However you cut it, Aber’ will be over-represented at this Swansea gig. And then I came across something last week, which is intriguing, but needs an intro.
There is an intermittent column in the Cambrian News by a Gareth James.
This was the piece drawn to my attention, last November. It contained this line: ‘Like it or not, mid Wales is woke, for mid Wales is about sharing mid Wales with everyone’, plus a few passages that the source interpreted as threats against those who refused to accept Wokeness.
Then, a couple of weeks later, came this extraordinary piece calling for Dyfed Powys Police to be more ‘woke’, following what the writer interpreted as racial profiling that targets his sons. (Here in pdf format.)
You’ll also see, at the top of the article ‘The View from the Vaults’, these being the Weston Vaults pub in Aberystwyth. Now renamed Irie’s Rum Bar and Reggae Lounge.
Another long, rambling piece, but when I read the final paragraph a light went on in my head – a new political party that is ‘an untainted, left-wing, Welsh alternative’.
Is Gareth James trying to tell us something?
Is this what Talat Chaudhri, Sam Coates and the rest have in mind? Is this what Melin Drafod is hoping comes out of the Brangwyn Hall meeting?
Whether it’s a new party or simply closer co-operation between existing far Left groups, this Independence Summit looks like another attempt by the far Left to take over the independence movement.
If so, then it becomes the duty of those of us with a broader view of Wales to challenge these people. For if it became accepted among the general public that these fanatics are the only ones wanting independence then Wales is finished.
Independence must promise, and deliver, the inclusivity the far Left always demands of others but never practices itself.
I have warned many times before, and I make no apologies for doing so again, that what these Green-Woke-Leftists want is independence for a small country whose politicians can then be bullied and blackmailed into implementing their fantasies.
This capture from the website of Labour for an Independent Wales reminds us that, for them, independence is simply the route to socialism.
It’ll be something like the Wales we know today: a country falling apart at the seams because weak politicians are dominated by lobbyists, pressure groups and third sector organisations. But it’ll be a hell of a lot worse!
There’ll be nothing in it for you and me, Dai. For our people; or for our Wales.
For decades we’ve been hearing that water is a diminishing commodity, and with an ever-expanding global population we’ll soon be fighting over water resources.
Though these predictions often came from the same people who at different times – or even simultaneously – could predict icebergs in Swansea Bay and no snow on Yr Wyddfa.
It was the usual nonsense from the usual sources.
And yet, in Wales now, water is being used as a weapon. Not by us against our village-drowning neighbours but by politicians and others, supposedly serving Wales and Welsh interests, against a section of the Welsh population.
If that necessitates twisting the facts, and taking control of certain bodies, either through funding or placement of personnel, then so be it.
This is another big one, so I’ll say what I always say: Don’t rush it, take your time, savour it, and you’ll enjoy it far more.
BULLSHIT FOR WHICH BULLS ARE BLAMELESS
It’s been accepted for many years that there might be a problem with nitrate discharges, from some dairy farms, mostly in the south west. This highly localised problem explained why Natural Resources Wales classified just 2.4% of Welsh farmland as ‘vulnerable’.
When asked to revisit the issue NRW produced a report in September 2016 that (on page 13) suggested, ‘Adoption of the targeted approach would mean an increase in the total area designated from 2.4% to approximately 8% which includes those areas newly identified by NRW’.
A targeted approach was obviously the sensible and fair way to go, but then the politicians got involved. One politician in particular.
The elections of May 2016 saw Lesley Griffiths re-elected for Labour in Wrecsam. Her Senedd bio then tracks her meteoric rise to voodoo doll status in farmhouses across the land. (Soon to be accompanied by Gary.)
First, she was made Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs. In November 2017 the job title changed to Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs. Then, 0n 13 December 2018, she was handed her baton as Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs.
Despite the facts of the matter, and the sensible proposal from NRW, just before Christmas 2017 Lesley Griffiths declared that the whole of Wales was at risk of NVZ pollution. Using this to announce an all-Wales regime.
After a year of being fed a diet of undiluted pollution La Griffiths announced in November 2018 that her mind was made up and she would introduce what she considered to be the necessary legislation.
After a slight delay due to Covid the implementation date was set for April 1, 2021.
But then things started to go awry for the so-called ‘Welsh Government’.
For in addition to the all-Wales approach the acceptable nitrogen level in Wales was to be 170kg/ha, compared to 250kg/ha in England and Scotland. This was so obviously unfair, in a country where farmers are, on average, less affluent than their English and Scottish counterparts, that it tended to give the game away.
Because there would of course be a financial burden for farmers. Though I’m sure that those trying to put livestock farmers out of business knew exactly what they were doing
The backtracking had begun. With Plaid Cymru taking the credit. For despite being Labour’s partner in a coalition that dare not speak its name, the reaction from Plaid’s large rural vote was giving the party’s leaders serious concerns.
Some cynics – not me! – might wonder what Plaid has offered in return.
The NVZ proposals couldn’t withstand scrutiny from any fair-minded observer because they had little to do with pollution. NVZ was a stick with which to beat livestock farmers, hopefully putting many out of business to release land for other purposes. Land coveted by many in the offstage chorus influencing our Lesley.
To support and legitimise this attack on livestock farming we were expected to believe that only farmers are responsible for polluting our waterways and seas.
Which meant that Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water), the worst culprit, got a free pass. How did that come about?
All will be explained later in this piece.
THE MEMSAHIBS OF KNIGHTON AND CONSIDERATIONS OF CHICKENSHIT
This section is part digression, part lead-in.
A group that has figured on this blog a few times is a coven of Green-Left-Woke crones who’ve imposed themselves on the border town of Knighton. There are a few men associated with them, perhaps even more unhinged than their female comrades.
Rather than doing the honest thing and just staying away altogether on Remembrance Sunday they insist on making a nuisance of themselves by placing wreaths of white poppies on the war memorial. (Dressed à la mode Michael Foot.)
You will not be surprised to learn that these biddies have formed a Knighton and District Refugee Support Group. Reluctance to welcome with open arms complete strangers from far-off lands will see you labelled a ‘racist’.
An epithet also hurled at those not condemning the fascists of the Israeli state.
The gang’s environmental credentials are on extravagant display with Sustainable Food Knighton. Which, in practice, is little more than a vendetta against a local chicken farm.
The attack is mounted on two fronts. One, it’s cruel to the chickens. Two, intensive chicken farms are a big, big source of river pollution.
Without being able to consult the chickens it may be impossible to address the first point. The second is more relevant to this article because it’s used over and over again by environmental Non-Governmental Organisations (eNGOs).
Especially those that allege chicken farms in Powys are severely damaging the rivers Usk and Wye.
But what are the facts?
Well, for a start, there are more, and bigger, chicken farms in Shropshire and Herefordshire, as the map below shows. So if chicken shit is a problem in Wales then it could well be coming from over the border.
Then again, it might not be a problem at all. Or, it’s a problem that’s being exaggerated.
For anecdotal evidence suggests there are even more chicken farms in the Severn catchment area, the Trent catchment area, etc. But there are far fewer complaints from these areas.
Which could mean that either shit from Welsh chickens is particularly toxic – in which case every one of the little buggers should be killed immediately! – or there’s a purpose behind the lying.
Confirmed by this graphic released by the Environment Agency relating to the Wye in England. Note the section I’ve highlighted in the second level. The tributaries mentioned are also in England.
Something also worth contributing here is that arable farmers use chicken manure as a fertiliser.
So even if chicken shit is the problem, it’s more likely to come from over the border; either directly from chicken farms or indirectly from arable farms.
And there’s yet another consideration to take into account. Certain interests are pushing us towards a meat-free diet, and in this scenario many view arable farmers as part of the solution. Which might explain them also getting a free pass.
The suspicion of an anti-livestock farming agenda being served was strengthened last month by a ‘report’ on BBC Wales about pollution on the Wye. One of the most biased pieces of television journalism I have ever seen.
Let me explain why I say that:
Passing references were made to sewage, but we were left in no doubt that the real culprits are farmers.
But only livestock farmers, with the programme focusing on one particular chicken farm.
There was no reference to the fact that the Wye is a cross-border river.
And the situation herein described is very much the same with more terrestrial eNGOs. ‘Environmentalists’ opposed to livestock farming take control of existing groups or set up new ones – and never go unfunded again!
Time now to turn our attention to the increasingly well-funded bodies looking after our various rivers, and we find new ones forming all the time. With the money available perhaps explaining the proliferation?
Here’s a table I’ve draw up, in pdf format (with working links) that I hope lists all the various river outfits operating in Wales. If you know one I’ve left out, then please let me know.
You’ll see that some are specific to one river while others are more general, some even claiming to be national in their scope.
Let me say at the outset, there are many genuine people involved in river trusts, boards, etc; not least, anglers, whose only concerns are for the health of our rivers, fish stocks, and other environmental matters.
But unfortunately, there are others, either looking out for themselves, or involved for a different purpose.
Go through the table I’ve linked to, particularly the ‘Comments’ section, and you’ll see substantial inputs of official funding in recent years.
Take the North Wales Rivers Trust for example. Total income in the year ending 31.03.2022 was £241,790. Of which £241,690 came in ‘Welsh Government’ grants.
And it’s a similar story with other river bodies. Though much of the increase, instead of being shown as coming from ‘government grants’ or ‘government contracts’, is disguised as, ‘Income – charitable activities’ on the Charity Commission entry.
That is one hell of a jump in just four years! One way of interpreting the big increase is the ‘Welsh Government’ – or Dŵr Cymru? – paying CEO Harriet Alvis’s salary.
Because don’t you find that strange?
A river group that has meandered happily along for 15 years suddenly needs a CEO.
Equally thought-provoking is Gail Davies-Walsh becoming CEO of Afonydd Cymru.
Making me wonder if Gail Davies-Walsh and Harriet Alvis were ‘placed’ in the West Wales Rivers Trust and Afonydd Cymru to push the ‘Welsh Government’s anti-farming campaign, and also to protect Dŵr Cymru.
For there is a certain ‘circularity’ to it all. ‘Welsh Government’ and Dŵr Cymru would no doubt explain the increase in funding by the ‘state of the rivers’, which then justifies the attack on livestock farming.
A ‘circularity’ made even more suspicious by the fact that these vast increases in funding occur at exactly the same time Lesley Griffiths was hatching the absurd and punitive NVZ legislation.
If I’m wrong then maybe someone can give another reason for our river bodies being showered with cash from 2016.
Not far away is the South East Wales Rivers Trust, which also saw its income more than double between 2017 and 2021. Explained as funding from, ‘Natural Resources Wales, Welsh Water, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, Welsh Government with European Funds’.
The ‘disguised grants’ I referred to earlier was money paid to Afonydd Cymru Cyf and then distributed to the individual water groups. Afonydd Cymru’s own accounts tell us ‘Income from government grants’ jumped from zero in 2019 to £894,700 in 2020.
Afonydd Cymru may operate like the Wales Council for Voluntary Action does in relation to the third sector. That is, acting as a conduit for ‘Welsh Government’ funding in the hope of disguising the source of the funding.
But the money filtered through Afonydd Cymru is small beer compared to the £13.8m up for grabs in the Four Rivers For Life project, administered by Natural Resources Wales. (Though £4.5m actually goes towards ‘quaking bogs’.) The four rivers being the Tywi, Teifi, Cleddau and – it should go without saying – the Usk.
This might explain the recent formation of the Save the Teifi campaign. Though information is difficult to find. For example, the social media links at the foot of the website home page don’t work.
The only name mentioned in the Tivy-side article is ‘Councillor John Davies’. This must be ‘John Cwmbetws’, of Bute Energy’s Welsh Advisory Board. Bute being a Scottish company that wants to build twenty or more wind farms in Wales, some with the tallest towers yet seen on land.
Well connected, is John. In Llanelwedd, Corruption Bay, and other places.
The Ffynnone group might be trying to stay anonymous, but one name has been given to me. It’s Jessica McQuade who, I’m told, not long ago moved to Llandudoch, across the Teifi estuary from Aberteifi.
Her Twitter account confirms the link with the Save the Teifi campaign.
What struck me was that McQuade and Harriet Alvis, the CEO at the West Wales Rivers Trust and, since last month, a director at Afonydd Cymru, are both followed by the Brecon Beacons Mega Catchment.
But what is McQuade’s and Alvis’s connection with this Dŵr Cymru outfit? And with Dŵr Cymru itself?
Jessica McQuade’s Save the Teifi / Ffynnone group has already received ‘Welsh Government’ funding. She could be another one ‘placed’ to push the ‘Welsh Government’s anti-farming campaign / WEF’s Agenda 2030 and, of course, to shield Dŵr Cymru.
As I suggested earlier, all the money recently being splashing around, with a veritable tsunami of new funding approaching, may also explain the new groups springing up. Here are some more.
Let me conclude this section with a tweet from Jessica McQuade who, you’ll remember, is busy with the Save the Teifi campaign since moving to north Pembrokeshire, but whose day job is with the World Wildlife Fund.
Now why would the WWF be interested in food? And trust me – that is human food she’s referring to.
Because, gentle reader, the WWF is no longer about saving pandas; it is a full-on, far left organisation totally committed to the anti-farming and the anti-human – ‘reduce the population’ – agenda.
And also believe me when I tell you that the WWF wields great influence with the ‘Welsh Government’, and in the Bay more generally.
Both posit that burping, farting farm animals are destroying the environment; so we should switch to eating plant-based foods, insects, and gunge marketed as ‘artificial meat’.
Obviously, this will mean many fewer livestock farmers in Wales. Perhaps none. But that’s no problem, because the land vacated is already earmarked for tree planting, rewilding, conservation projects and other activities from which Welsh people will be largely excluded unless needed for window-dressing.
To facilitate this clearance programme livestock farmers must be blamed for things that are not their fault. This frees Dŵr Cymru from criticism. An objective easy to achieve given the influence the water company wields within ‘Welsh Government’.
To ensure that everyone sings from the same hymn sheet the ‘Welsh Government’, Dŵr Cymru and other official bodies are more than willing to fund assorted eNGOs which, in return, may accept ‘appointees’.
What I’m alluding to is little different to Bill Gates funding the BBC, the Guardian, New York Times, CNN and countless other media outlets around the world. He doesn’t do it in defence of the truth, he does it to ensure the media he funds will promote his and the World Economic Forum’s agenda.
‘He who pays the piper calls the tune’.
Wales, being a poor country, and a corrupt, one-party state, with no effective political opposition, and no functioning media, is especially vulnerable to powerful forces seeking to impose an agenda.
If farmers can be defeated, and the food supply controlled by forces you will have difficulty identifying, let alone challenging, then we will have already lost. Because who controls the food supply controls the world.
It’ll be too late to complain when your car is confiscated, or when your access to your bank account is blocked because you said something on social media that somebody, somewhere, didn’t like.
So stand with the farmers, and stand up to those who threaten them. Because those who threaten the farmers also threaten you.
As the title suggests, this week’s offering is a miscellany, bits and pieces from hither and yon. Covering . . .
Wind turbine disposal.
Fears for the planning system in the north west.
Awkward locals opposing the hundreds of executive homes Aberdyfi so desperately needs.
A development in the ongoing saga of the Llanbedr by-pass.
A new environmental group (cos we haven’t got enough).
More on Gilestone farm.
My unanswered FoI to the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party.
‘Welsh Government’ funds National Trust (cos NT’s a bit short at the moment).
Is ‘Welsh Government’ flogging off executive homes in Cardiff?
Enviroloonies saving Wales from the curse of employment.
Stumping up for the ‘Welsh Government’s favourite farmer.
‘Welsh Government’ wants more trees . . . but fewer farmers.
Enlarging the Senedd, or making the pig-sty bigger.
This is a monster issue, over 5,000 words; but you can take it a piece at a time. And because it is such a substantial offering late in the week, don’t expect anything next week.
WHERE WILL ALL THE TURBINES GO?
A couple of weeks ago I submitted a Freedom of Information request to the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ asking who was responsible for disposing of wind turbines when they come to the end of their working lives.
Given that the lifespan of a turbine is 15 – 25 years we must have in Wales a few hundred turbines approaching decrepitude. With hundreds more in their ‘middle age’, and plans in the system to erect God knows how many others. (Bute Energy alone wants 20 new wind farms.)
It seems to me to be an important question. Hence the FoI request.
It tells me that, ‘Responsibility for decommissioning wind turbines lies with the developer/operator of the site’.
Richard Spear of the Planning Inspectorate concludes his response with: ‘In addition, developers/operators should ensure that sufficient finance is set aside to enable them to meet restoration obligations. A local planning authority may require financial guarantees by way of a Section 106 planning obligation / agreement, as part of the approval of planning permission to ensure that restoration will be fully achieved.’
It’s worth pointing out that in most cases it was the ‘Welsh Government’ that gave planning permission for wind turbines, often over-riding local authorities. The ‘Welsh Government’ should therefore have seen to it that each developer paid a ‘bond’, up front, to ensure there will be enough money to restore each site.
But those buffoons down Corruption Bay were so concerned with making ‘planet-saving’ gestures that they couldn’t see beyond their own wagging fingers.
I predict with certainty that in the near future, we – by which I mean Wales – will find ourselves lumbered with ‘orphan’ wind turbines that will cost us a hell of a lot of money to demolish. And then more money to restore the sites they’ve come from.
On the plus side, it means that turbine blades from the Continent can come to landfill sites in Wales!
Should this come to pass then it will doubtless be claimed as ‘foreign investment’.
WILD WEST SHOW?
I am indebted to a regular source for news of concerns about the Gwynedd and Môn Joint Planning Policy Committee. To be clear, this is not the planning committee, deciding on planning applications, but the policy committee that determines in more general terms where development will be allowed.
Although Gwynedd is a large council in area, much of the planning responsibility falls to the Snowdonia National Park; which leaves the council to oversee a few ‘islands’ – Tywyn, Barmouth, Blaenau Ffestiniog – then Porthmadog and Llŷn, and finally, the northern coastal strip taking in Caernarfon and Bangor and running to Abergwyngregyn.
For like many rural authorities Ynys Môn is prone to being controlled by a few forceful individuals, often holding sway through membership of an organisation claiming to be heirs to the Knights Templar and other exotic fraternities.
Never more true than in keeping to the Templar talent for accruing wealth. Though I’m unsure if the medieval predecessors were as cunning as their heirs in planning matters and the allocation of contracts.
For who could forget Ceredigion when Dai Lloyd Evans and his merry men ruled the roost? Those were the days! The late Paul Flynn, sitting on the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Select Committee, referred to Ceredigion Council as “The Wild West Show”.
But then, as we saw in Carmarthenshire during the halcyon days of Mark James, sometimes, with largely rural authorities, the boss man doesn’t even have to be a councillor.
My source’s concern is that the chairman of the joint planning policy committee is a member of this group to which I have alluded. And while I’m sure he’s a splendid fellow, with a good firm handshake, I can understand my source’s misgivings.
Someone else giving my informant food for thought is the young man who’s now Senior Executive Officer at Gwynedd’s Housing and Property Department.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s an educated boy, studied . . . Welsh, and, er . . . Music.
But then, it is suggested by cynics that the boy’s father’s friendship with Gwynedd’s Head of Finance may have played a role in the appointment.
O tempora! O mores!
ABERDYFI EXECUTIVES MUST BE HOUSED!
When I first saw this news item I thought to myself, ‘Hang on, Jones, isn’t this the development Ann Clwyd was banging on about decades ago?’ And I’m sure it is.
For the woman who went on to become MP for the Cynon Valley has connections to Aberdyfi and the wider Dysynni area. I have a photo of a young Ann Clwyd with my sister-in-law when the latter was the village carnival queen back in the mid-sixties.
It’s difficult to comprehend how this project has resurfaced, or why it wasn’t killed off decades ago. What does it say about our planning system?
Aberdyfi may be a sizeable village; a few pubs, a few caffs, shops, and an unhealthy number of estate agents. But it backs up to a cliff, with the sea on the other side, and there’s just one road in and out, the A493. A crash or some other hold-up on that road and Aberdyfi is almost inaccessible except by boat or helicopter.
Sticking to housing, Aberdyfi may be the financial, commercial, and industrial hub of the south Meirionnydd coast, but the village needs 401 ‘executive homes’ like our cat needs fleas.
One of the more intriguing stories to make the news recently was the report that Gwynedd County Council is to appeal to the UK government for funding to build the Llanbedr by-pass, a project cancelled last year by the ‘Welsh Government’.
The reason this is intriguing is because the council is controlled by Plaid Cymru, and down in Corruption Bay that party is in cahoots with the local branch of the Labour Party, an arrangement generally referred to as an ‘alliance’.
Though the Senedd Member representing Llanbedr seems to be going out of his way to piss off his supposed allies.
Last month he dared ask the ‘Welsh Government’ why it paid £4.25m for Gilestone farm when the asking price appeared to be £3.25m. A good question. We’d all like to hear the answer. (More on Gilestone below.)
Another explanation might be that despite most Plaid SMs self-flagellating for the heinous sins of the White man and the harm they themselves do the planet by simply existing, many Plaid supporters still associate ‘woke’ with getting up in the morning.
They inhabit the real world where decent infrastructure and communications still matter. That mythic land far, far away, where people have to drive to work. And to the shops. To the doctor, dentist, etc., etc.
You know, the Welsh countryside, of which Labour is so wilfully ignorant.
I’ve tweeted a few times about this rather mysterious group, I may even have mentioned it here, on the blog. One reason I call it mysterious is because all I knew about it was gleaned from a GoFundMe page. (You’ll see there’ve been two donations in the past three months.)
Another reason for the ‘mysterious’ tag was that neither the website nor the GoFundMe page gave any names. And I get rather suspicious of organisations that run themselves.
And when you read the justification for Tir Natur you immediately think, ‘Hang on, I’ve read that before!’ And so you have, many times. It probably comes from an environmental / rewilding template available online.
Now a source informs me that Tir Natur has finally gone legit and registered as a charity. This move is mentioned on the GoFundMe page, though when I checked a few days ago it hadn’t been updated since the application in March to the Charity Commission.
The contact address given on the Charity Commission website is, ‘Y Beudy, Lanlwyd, Pennant, Llanon, Ceredigion SY23 5JH’. This is on the B4577 between Cross Inn and Llanarth.
To confuse the picture, the GoFundMe page says, ‘Newport, Pembrokeshire’. Though my source and I suspect those involved don’t live in either Ceredigion or Pembrokeshire.
And does Wales really need yet another environmental / rewilding group?
My source has now sent me this from a recent release by Tir Natur. Knowing more of such things than I he tells me that the image shows a European bison and a golden eagle. Neither of which of course is native to Wales.
They were introduced to the Trust’s other site in Devon, but removed due to fears of bTB. And they had to leave another site in Scotland when the government concluded they were dangerous and non-native.
I was a bit perplexed by the reference in the second FoI to the ‘James Report’. And then it came back to me . . .
Julie James, the current Minister for Climate Change in the ‘Welsh Government’ has been involved with Gilestone for many years, before she was even elected to what was then the Welsh Assembly in 2011.
It’s a strange affair, with some dark corners, some very dark corners indeed. What I’ve been told involves the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, certain environmental busybodies, previous owners of Gilestone and a supporting cast that includes a retired Met cop with an ‘interesting’ record.
And of course, Julie James, then a solicitor in Swansea; whose relationship with some of those involved is worth looking into. No, nothing like that. (Really!)
I may be in a position to say more in the near future.
Also worth mentioning is that a number of people are convinced the money to buy Gilestone came from Julie James’ department’s piggy-bank.
If true, then why did Vaughan Gething, Minister for Economy, take the rap in the Senedd? Maybe his ignorance of the deal explains why he spent so much time extoling the virtues of the Green Man festival rather than answering questions he’d been asked about the purchase of Gilestone.
Though another explanation for the delayed accounts might be that the ‘Welsh Government’ is virtually broke. For that’s what another source tells me.
If true, then this might explain the Llanbedr by-pass and other projects being scrapped.
‘O what a tangled web we weave . . . ‘.
LABOUR PARTY FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST
As you know, I’ve written about Bute Energy a number of times. They even got a mention at the end of paragraph 2 in the first section of this post.
What became clear once I started looking into Bute’s activities in Wales was that this company had very quickly realised that Labour Party support would be a big help in realising its plans for 20+ wind farms.
Which explains why Bute recruited to its Welsh Advisory Board redundant Labour MEP Derek Vaughan, and John Uden, the partner of Labour MS Jenny Rathbone, who sits on the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee.
Quite what this Welsh Advisory Board advises on is not stated, but I think we can all guess. And the recruitment didn’t end there.
Also taken aboard the treasure ship Bute was David James Taylor, former spad to Labour stars, from Peter Hain to Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones. Taylor was made a partner in Bute-linked outfit Grayling Capital LLP (though he’s since left), and also given shares in Windward Enterprises Ltd, another Bute company. (Which he still holds.)
It occurred to me that if Bute Energy was so keen to cwtsh up to Labour then political donations should be considered. And so I wrote to the Bruvvers’ HQ in Cardiff.
On June 8 I sent this e-mail:
‘Bute Energy Ltd (Co No: 12474011), in various guises, seeks to build – or at least, obtain planning permission for – some 20 wind farms in Wales. A company has been formed for each wind farm.
Has the Labour Party in Wales / ‘Welsh Labour’ party received a donation or donations from Bute Energy Ltd, or from companies under the Bute Energy umbrella, or from leading director Oliver James Millican, or from other persons, perhaps former employees of Labour politicians?’
But I have received neither acknowledgement nor reply. Can you believe that – the Comrades ignoring me!
The ‘Welsh Government’ has gifted an English organisation worth billions of pounds a Welsh asset and also handed over £700,000 for ‘capital investment’. From which the National Trust will profit, through charging visitors.
Many of whom will be Welsh.
And there will almost certainly be more than £700,000. For a well-informed contact with whom I shared this information in advance reminded me that the National Trust will now be eligible for Glastir woodland grants.
Note that this generosity is explained by quoting the “‘Welsh Government’ wellbeing objectives”. This refers to the Well-being of Future Generation (Wales) Act 2015. Airy-fairy nonsense that has since been used to justify every insanity hiding under the ‘environmental’ blanket.
Environmental concerns are used to disguise giving away our homeland piece by piece – ‘Cos we are savin’ the planet, like’.
The truth of course is that this legislation simply rolled out the red carpet for colonialist exploitation.
It even talks of future generations. But those future generations won’t be Welsh.
Main points seem to be that negotiations with the National Trust have been going on since June 2019; no one else was invited to express an interest; NRW has no idea why Dawn Bowden was involved; NRW will continue to manage the Hafod Estate forestry operation.
My attention has been drawn to this rather curious site which suggests some kind of partnership between the ‘Welsh Government’, the National Eisteddfod, and a company called LivEco, to build “sustainable homes at affordable prices”.
The location of these desirable properties being Great House Farm in Cardiff, between Culverhouse Cross and St Fagan’s National Museum of History.
So let’s look at this company, LivEco. Companies House tells us LivEco Homes Ltd was formed in September 2018, but it’s dormant. The sole director is a Welshman, Daniel James Ball, who seems to live in West Sussex.
Ball’s active company is Mulcare-Ball Ltd. The other director being a woman I assume to be his wife.
So why are we being asked to believe that a dormant company is building these dwellings at Great House Farm?
Mulcare-Ball has an arrangement (charge) with the Principality Building Society. Though the date given here is February 2, 2013, the document itself takes us back a year and also mentions Hale Construction Ltd.
If it’s this company, then Hale Construction was a one-man band on Merseyside, Incorporated December 2011 and Dissolved August 2015 without, apparently, making a penny.
Another company worth mentioning is Great House Farm Community Ltd, which I assume to be a residents’ association. This was Incorporated in March 2013, which makes sense; though the only director or member was Ball until June 25 last year. When he was replaced by two others using Great House addresses.
First, it tells us that Daniel James Ball and his wife bought this land in July 2009. We also learn that the properties built by Mulcare-Ball Ltd are being leased rather than sold.
The ‘Welsh Government’ has more than once expressed a desire to phase out leasehold in Wales, so why is it in partnership with a company building properties to lease?
Or, to put it another way, why does the ‘Welsh Government’ need to be involved at all? The same question could be asked of the Eisteddfod.
I may return to this subject.
The Aberpergwm mine, near Glyn-Neath, produces highest quality anthracite coal that is used for all manner of purposes, including water filtration. But it will not be chucked on a fire or shovelled into a furnace.
And it is a standard, commercial entity. Not a Community Interest Company (CIC), or any form of community benefit framework. I suspect it claims to be an umbrella group for smaller, more local organisations.
Though I’m not aware of any genuinely local opposition at Aberpergwm itself. Certainly not from the 200 or so people who work there. Nor from the businesses benefitting from the money those workers put into the local economy.
The address given for the Coal Action Network is Halton Mill, in Lancaster, north west England, owned by Green property developer Lancaster Cohousing. Which suggests it’s little more than an accommodation address for CAN. They certainly don’t get a mention on the website.
It would be easy to dismiss the Coal Action Network as just another little gang of over-excited eco zealots. But these groups often front for bigger players, or there’s serious money behind them.
So be watchful out there. Protect Welsh jobs and Welsh interests from the misguided attention of the brainwashed foot-soldiers of the World Economic Forum and others with globalist agendas designed to crush the little guy. Agendas enthusiastically endorsed by socialists.
And, finally, look out for these clowns sending letters to local papers, lobbying politicians, and pretending they’re local objectors.
Though cut through the enviro-bullshit and SUFT seems to be little more than a greenwashing operation for Utility Warehouse.
Most of those involved with SUFT have either relocated to Wales or don’t even live in Wales. For as with all these ‘conservation’ land grabs, Welsh involvement is minimal.
Though the website informs us, of the man in the photograph, and founder of SUFT, ‘Dr Keith Powell is a seventh-generation Black Mountains farmer and a vet’. Though I don’t think he’s actually done much farming, and came home when he realised there was serious money to be made in trees.
Stump Up For Trees is registered as a charity. Though when I went to the Charity Commission website to check the details I was somewhat surprised not to see Powell listed as a trustee. I assume the desired impression is that of hands-off trustees.
Then he and his companion on the US trip (and at the debriefing), Keri Davies, set up the Beacons Water Group. And do you know who joined them at BWG – none other than Charles Weston, the man who sold Gilestone to the ‘Welsh Government’ for the ludicrous sum of £4.25m!
As if that wasn’t enough, another BWG director, Tony Martineau, teaches at Coleg Soros, Talgarth. While George Soros’ favourite educational establishment, Bard College, has links with the Watershed Agricultural Council, the hosts for the 2018 US trip.
Enough! Old Jac can’t take any more connections.
Why should the ‘Welsh Government’s favourite farmer be involved with Stump Up For Trees? Then again, why not, he seems to be involved in everything else?
To make sense of the ‘Welsh Government’s latest assault on the farming industry you must understand the Labour Party’s relationship with the Welsh countryside.
Labour has no MPs and no SMs representing rural constituencies. For these seats either vote Conservative, Plaid Cymru or, irregularly, usually in Powys, Liberal Democrat.
It wasn’t always so.
There was a time within living memory when Labour could rely on the votes of farm labourers, and even smaller farmers. Also, other rural, working class people. The Merionethshire seat – now part of Dwyfor Meirionnydd and held by Plaid Cymru for almost 50 years – was a straight fight between Labour, centred on the slate town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, and the Liberals, still relying to a great extent on the chapel vote.
Then came the 1960s, and the national reawakening. The protests and the bombs. Tryweryn, Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru (MAC), the Free Wales Army (FWA), Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg CyIG) . . . and the rise of Plaid Cymru.
Labour now saw its hegemony in Wales threatened by a new force that it believed to be essentially rural in character. Certainly rural in origin. And Labour has been wary of the countryside, and its native inhabitants, ever since.
In many Labour politicians this suspicion became outright and undisguised hostility.
The rise of the environmental movement, coupled with the powers given by devolution, have allowed the Labour Party through successive ‘Welsh Governments’ to exert control over rural areas where it has little or no electoral support. While more recently, under the influence of ‘environmentalists’ eyeing Welsh land, exacting what can only be interpreted as revenge.
Which brings us up to date.
Labour’s activists in rural areas tend to be English, middle class, vegetarian (if not vegan, or subsisting entirely on water and good karma), most of them climate / environment ranters who compare hard-working farmers to concentration camp guards.
Though this latest pronunciamiento from Corruption Bay also helps us understand the long-term objectives. And makes a few other things clear.
The ‘Welsh Government is attempting a divide and rule strategy with farmers. Certain farmers are being wooed, and so perhaps is the National Farmers Union. And it seems to be working.
It’s no coincidence that these favoured farmers tend to be Tory-voters, on better land, suited to tree planting, and in almost exclusively English-speaking areas.
Which means that the excluded farmers are more likely to be found on marginal land, more difficult for growing trees, possibly tenant farmers, and certainly more likely to be Welsh speaking. (And Farmers Union of Wales members?)
In fact, areas such as the Summit to Sea rewilding project was hoping – with ‘Welsh Government’ support – to take over. The areas from where Labour, in the 1960s, perceived the ‘threat’ to have emerged.
Which means that this assault on farmers might be interpreted as an attack on the Welsh language, and Welsh rural culture in general. If so, then the politicos in Corruption Bay, and the enviroshyster land-grabbers whispering in their ears, are in for a fight.
Predictably, the announcement was welcomed by Kate Beavan. Who’s she? You haven’t been paying attention, or following the links, have you?
Kate Beavan may have been recruited to Coed Cymru by director Philip David Jayne, who lives in Crughywel.
Yet more bloody connections!
To explain . . .
Coed Cymru is one of the 357 (and rising) ‘woodland’ groups currently operating in Wales. Fighting like ferrets in a sack to take over Welsh land and get their sweaty mitts on Welsh public funding.
When you check out the Companies House entry for Coed Cymru Cyf you realise that, despite the company name, there’s little Welsh involvement.
But plenty of Welsh funding.
‘Plus ça change . . . ‘.
UKRAINE AND THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM
It would be inhuman to suggest that anything good is coming from the death and suffering in Ukraine. And I won’t do that, but harsh lessons are being learnt.
Among them, the realisation that to pretend an advanced economy can rely on intermittent renewables to supply its energy needs is madness. As Germany is learning.
The drive for ‘Net Zero’, orchestrated by The United Nations and the World Economic Forum, is taking hits daily as collateral damage from the conflict in Ukraine. With Germany perhaps the biggest loser.
We are in dangerous times. Supranational bodies like those mentioned want to regulate all aspects of human behaviour. They have captured many national governments, media outlets, and social media giants, who are urged to suppress divergent views as ‘disinformation’.
The justification being that the planet is in grave danger, and so we need to be saved from ourselves . . . all for our own good, of course.
With the result that we are sleepwalking into a form of totalitarianism that sits astride the unicorn of environmentalism.
And this is another reason we – through arming and exploiting brave Ukrainians – are waging war on Russia – because Vladimir Putin refused to bow to these supranational tyrants.
But the ‘Welsh Government’ surrendered long ago. And gave up Wales for sacrifice.
But part of the bigger package was a change in how Senedd members will be elected in future. And this proved much more contentious. With four constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) – Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda, Swansea East, Llanelli – voting against.
To explain . . .
Under revised parliamentary boundaries Wales will have 32 Westminster seats. (Down from the current 40.) What Labour proposes (and Plaid Cymru presumably agrees with) is that these new constituencies should be paired, giving us 16, and that each of them should elect six Senedd Members, thus making up the 96 total.
This is to be done using the ‘closed list’ system. Voters choose a party and have to then accept the party’s choice of candidates.
This is a system designed to favour larger parties and to inhibit the emergence of new parties. Which is no more than we should expect from Labour. For like so many political parties with a socialist heritage Labour is fundamentally undemocratic.
I’m still waiting for Labour’s partner in the current alliance down Corruption Bay to explain why it’s gone along with this system. Though I get the impression Plaid would rather not discuss it.
Labour has tried desperately to polish this turd by promising gender equality. But as Labour has signed up to self-identification, and is a major financial backer of Stonewall, it will obviously accept as ‘women’ men who identify as women.
Which could mean that the new system, designed to achieve gender balance, actually gives us a lower percentage of biological females than we see in the Senedd today!
And then there are other minorities, those so vocal in “breaking down barriers” . . . most of which they themselves have erected. (Or simply imagined.) They’ll demand to be ‘excluded’ no longer. And because they support the Labour Party because the Labour Party funds them their wishes will be granted.
That could give us a Senedd in which the majority is grossly underrepresented.
But who cares – ‘Cos it’s progressive, innit!’
My position is that I do not accept this anti-democratic nonsense. And I would support the UK government stepping in to block it. In fact, I would support the UK government putting an end to devolution itself.
For devolution has delivered nothing to those with whom I identify.
Whereas the SNP in Scotland, returned time after time, has made many Scots believe their country could be even better with independence, here in Wales, the incompetence and waste our people have experienced from malleable mediocrities in Corruption Bay for 23 years makes too many Welsh believe that independence would be even worse.
I remain a nationalist who wants independence, but I see devolution not as a stepping-stone but an obstacle. Maybe that was the intention all along.
And when you think back to what you’ve read here, can you disagree?
This piece is prompted by the ‘Welsh Government’ suggesting it wants to address the issue of lobbying. As the website puts it: “The Standards of Conduct Committee is undertaking an inquiry into lobbying and is keen to establish whether lobbying is a matter of concern to the people of Wales”.
A disingenuously worded paragraph because the hope is that few people will even know about the exercise, fewer still will respond, and that will allow the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ to claim that lobbying is not “a matter of concern” and everything can just carry on as before.
The truth is that Wales desperately needs reform in this area, and it needs to go well beyond a simple register of lobbyists. I say this because lobbying takes a different form in Wales to most other Western countries.
What I’m going to try here is to give examples of different lobbying sectors (that would probably not regard themselves as lobbyists), while also looking at more obvious examples of lobbying.
I warn you, this is a ‘biggie’, pushing 4,000 words. But broken up into sections so you don’t have to take in the full horror of the situation all at once.
So go make a cuppa.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL LOBBY
Since before the first elections to the then Assembly for Wales in May 1999, those looking to benefit from devolution were positioning themselves, even relocating.
For example, the RSPB, which had until then been based – very centrally for an essentially rural organisation – in Powys, decided the time had come to move its Wales regional office to Cardiff.
This had nothing to do with bird migrations, or even the rediscovery of the Lesser-spotted Splott Warbler (previously thought extinct).
No, it was all to do with access to the new decision makers.
For the RSPB and the wider environmental lobby, devolution has been like Christmas, with a constant supply of prezzies delivered by yo ho ho-ing politicians.
“At the centre of government decision making” can only mean that the WEL lobbies to influence decisions made by the ‘Welsh Government’.
But do you remember voting for the Wales Environmental Link? Do you remember being offered the chance of voting for the Wales Environmental Link? No, nor me.
As I say, the ‘Save the Planet!’ lobby was out of the blocks early on in the devolution era. Helped to a great extent by ‘insiders’. These came in two forms.
First, civil servants, often from England, always answering to London, and working to a vision of a Welsh countryside without farming.
Second, politicians who, despite what they were elected and paid to concentrate on, always prioritised their real interest of ‘reconfiguring’ – even repopulating – rural Wales.
Inevitably, the two elements worked closely together. Never more so than when Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales* Lesley Griffiths shacked up with her civil servant adviser Gary Haggaty.
But the grande dame of the sector is Jane Davidson. “Minister for Environment and Sustainability from 2007 to 2011 where she was responsible for the Welsh Government agreeing to make sustainable development its central organising principle”, as Wikipedia tells us.
Sustainable development became the “central organising principle” of governing Wales. Let that sink in.
After leaving the Assembly in 2011 Davidson took up a post of Director of the Wales Institute for Sustainability at Trinity St David University, Lampeter.
Davidson was, supposedly, Assembly Member for Pontypridd, but she’d already bought a place down west and was more concerned with pushing through the Hippies’ Charter (One Planet legislation) than with anything happening in Ponty.
From ivory tower to organic cabbage patch Jane Davidson and those she can marshal and organise have wielded an unhealthy influence over successive administrations in Corruption Bay.
The environmental lobby is now one of the most powerful in Wales. It’s why farmers have their backs to the wall, it’s why the M4 was not improved, and why smaller projects, such as the Llanbedr by-pass, have been scrapped.
If this lobby could close Port Talbot steelworks, take away our cars, confiscate all farmland, and turn us into vegans, it would. And the ‘Welsh Government’ would pass the necessary legislation without quibbling.
As gesture politics go, few things are more damaging to the Welsh national interest than deluding yourself that you’re saving the planet while damaging Wales.
*A bizarre title that makes ‘North Wales’ sound like an overseas colony of Corruption Bay.
THE RACE LOBBY
At it’s crudest this is little more than, ‘You Welsh are racist – give us funding’. I examined this racket not so long ago, when the so-called Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union successfully blackmailed the Wales Arts Council and the National Museum.
In brief, the Arts Council of Wales was pressured into ‘commissioning’ a report from the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union. An ad hoc group capitalising on the George Floyd killing by using ‘discrimination’ as the key to future funding.
In the race lobby sector we find another grande dame, in the form of Rose Mutale Nyoni Merrill, who you can read about in the first section of this miscellany from May 2018.
Her empire is founded on Bawso, which has accumulated quite a few properties around Wales over the years. And you’ll be glad to hear that Mrs Merrill has not neglected her own property portfolio.
But that’s how it is in the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party. You work for and promote the party, and preferment and funding will be your reward. Even if it’s public money down the drain.
And the showering of goodies can extend to your loved ones, involved in other fields.
As happened with Travers Merrill, Mutale’s hubby; given the cushy number of chief executive at Rhondda Life, a ‘regeneration’ project in the Rhondda Fach. What could possibly go wrong?
Everything, by the look of it.
It 2012 it was announced that the project was in receivership. And having looked through the documents filed with Companies House I get the impression there was something akin to jiggery-pokery going on in Ferndale.
For example, in the last accounts filed, for y/e July 31, 2012, the company is said to own freehold property valued at £1.5m. This is presumably the building you see in the image above.
The property eventually realised £295,000. Even allowing for the way liquidators dispose of such properties, that is quite a difference. But the bottom line is that the building was never worth £1.5m.
Over-valuing assets is a tactic used by many who’ve appeared on this blog over the years: money launderers, mortgage fraudsters, and other crooks.
But of course, this being Wales, a ‘Welsh Government’ cock-up leads to a cover-up. It was years before the truth started coming out. Due in no small part to the persistence of Leanne Wood, a politician for whom I have the highest regard.
THE HOMELESSNESS LOBBY
A few years back I submitted an FoI request asking about organisations in Wales “combatting homelessness”. Specifically, how many were there?
The response told me there were 48! In a country of just over 3 million people. There are probably more by now. “It’s them wicked Tories, innit”.
But then, when you think about it, when you remember the kind of country Wales is, and the kind of lobbying I’ve described, 48 shouldn’t surprise anyone. The more the merrier. It’s only public money after all.
As with the other sectors, many of the homelessness racketeers have moved to Wales in the era of devolution. Which is bad enough, but to keep the funding flowing these people – just like their counterparts in other sectors – will import a steady stream of ‘clients’ from over the border.
It’s a form of human trafficking.
We see here the fundamental and uncomfortable truth about third sector lobbyists in Wales.
Identify or invent a ‘problem’ in order to get funding. Then, with the help of an ever-compliant media and understanding politicians, the ‘problem’ must persist – to guarantee continued funding!
Let the good times roll!
Many of those now running the dozens of homelessness organisations have worked for the Labour Party or for Plaid Cymru, others will move on to work for these parties.
Or join some other publicly-funded gravy train.
To get a taste of what I’ve written over the years on this subject try, ‘Another “homelessness” outfit!’ (16.04.2020). Or just put ‘homelessness’ into the search box on top of the sidebar to open up a library.
THE “WOMEN WITH PENISES” LOBBY
A relatively recent arrival on the lobbying scene in Wales is the transsexual lobby. Represented by Stonewall, the former lesbian and gay organisation.
To begin with, and as you’ve probably guessed, Stonewall has its claws into the ‘Welsh Government’ for funding. The panel below shows that in the 18 months up to March 31, 2021, only the UK government gave more money to Stonewall than the boys and girls of Corruption Bay.
But this being Wales, Stonewall has also been able to influence – if not dictate – legislation. To the extent of the ‘Welsh Government’ agreeing to what Stonewall would like to see in law rather than what the 2010 Equalities Act actually says.
As Irving Berlin put it: There May Be Trouble Ahead.
It appears that the voice of Stonewall in Wales is Lu Thomas. You’ll have noticed her name if you followed the links in the section on the race lobby. She’s a Labour insider with far too much influence in the Bay.
As I suggest, she was deeply involved, with her business partner, Jon Luxton, another Labour insider, in the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union scam.
Her Linkedin profile says she’s managing director of Final Say Wales, which seems to be a rather sad attempt to roll back Brexit. I dug this out, but I couldn’t find much more. My guess would be it’s died a natural death in the face of reality.
This probably helped inform the ‘Welsh Government’s current – and possibly unlawful – position on “trans rights”. But then, when it comes to surveys, it all depends who you talk to.
What Lu Thomas and others have learned from many years of working with and influencing politicians is that if you put your mind to it you can find racism, environmental damage, transphobia, etc., etc., just about anywhere.
And then you can capitalise on your ‘find’.
THE REFRESHINGLY HONEST AND CORRUPT COMMERCIAL LOBBY
Those we’ve looked at so far have been insiders, dealing with civil servants and politicians they know. These activist-lobbyists have, in a number of cases, previously worked for the ‘Welsh Government’, or for individual politicians.
They are invariably associated with not-for-profit organisations. Which means few jobs for anyone not linked to a particular clique of insiders, and little by way of a contribution to the wider economy beyond the increased spending power of clique members.
But we are asked to ignore this and focus instead on the incalculable benefits to society as a whole from ‘doing good’.
Though I fail to understand how a Welsh community is improved by a third sector body or a housing association importing into that community from England ex-cons, petty criminals and drug addicts.
Nor do I pretend to understand the doublespeak that gave us a policy (OPDs) designed, we were told, to reduce Wales’ carbon footprint . . . that invites into Wales people to live on previously unused land; who drive elderly diesel vehicles, keep farting animals, and cannot live without wood-burning stoves.
It’s refreshing then to be able to focus on a lobbying activity motivated by unalloyed greed and promoted through in-yer-face corruption. Though it adheres to the model herein explained in that it is facilitated using Corruption Bay insiders.
I’m referring now to the many, many companies under the Bute Energy umbrella, and their plans for at least 20 new wind farms in Wales. Shown in red print in the map below.
To understand the brazen corruption involved you’ll need a few introductions. Let us look first at Bute Energy’s ‘Welsh Advisory Board’. A totally unnecessary group formed purely to justify paying certain people for their influence with the ‘Welsh Government’.
On the left, we see Derek Vaughan, former Labour MEP. Not known to have any knowledge of or interest in wind turbines or renewable energy of any kind.
On the right is John Uden, partner of Labour MS, Jenny Rathbone, who sits on the Senedd’s Climate Committee. His knowledge of three-arm bandits is believed to be on a par with Vaughan’s.
The other two may be there to act as a distraction. The jury’s out on them. Though I’m told ‘John Cwmbetws’ already has a bloody big turbine on his land.
Indeed, a beneficiary of the planned Moelfre site is vice-chair of the Board, Harry Fetherstonhaugh.
But of even more interest is David James Taylor, who has served as a spad to former First Ministers Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones, and also former Secretary of State for Wales, Peter Hain. Quite the lad about the corridors of power, our Dai.
Taylor tends to work under the radar and is nowhere mentioned on the Bute website. But he, like Vaughan and Uden, was recruited by Bute Energy for one reason and one reason only – his contacts in the Labour Party.
His lucre from Bute Energy was channelled through Moblake Ltd. This company was wound up in April with sole director Taylor owing the company £605,872 that he’d taken out in interest-free ‘loans’ with no repayment date.
But no mention of where the money came from!
Taylor has set up a new company, Earthcott Ltd, so maybe Bute’s future payments will be channelled through this new venture. Then again, seeing as we know about it . . .
Yes, folks, Scots, Danes, everyone gets a slice of the action, except the native Welsh. Unless of course you’re well connected down Corruption Bay.
That’s how a corrupt, third world country operates.
THE PROFESSIONAL LOBBYISTS
In addition to those already looked at, who might be termed ‘amateur lobbyists’, there are also companies that are quite open about what they do. Which is, helping commercial outfits, often from outside of Wales, get what they want from the ‘Welsh Government’.
But they also dabble in politics. And for unregulated bodies they have far too much influence.
Let’s just look at two of them.
Starting with a company that’s appeared on this blog a number of times, Deryn Consulting. Run by former politicians and spads, but keeping up with the Woke agenda by recruiting enviromarxists and promoters of BLM.
The majority of Deryn’s shares are owned by former Labour spad Cathy Owens, with a minority nestling in the neatly-manicured hands of former Plaid Cymru Welsh Assembly Member Nerys Evans.
Over the years Deryn has been involved in a number of unsavoury incidents, I’ll just mention two.
The first was the Ofcom contract, a gem of its kind. This report from October 2017 will give you the story. And the image below of a WalesOnline headline from August 2017 leads on to another element of the Deryn saga.
You’ll see that Neil McEvoy, was at that time, still a Plaid Cymru AM, but he’d blotted his copybook big time by challenging third sector shenanigans and exposing Deryn.
For party leader at that time was Leanne Wood, a personal friend of those whose lives were being made difficult by Neil McEvoy. He’s told me more than once that he was ordered to lay off Deryn. He didn’t.
He was too honest to stay silent when surrounded by institutionalised corruption, and so he had to go. First from Plaid Cymru, and then from the Senedd.
Around the time of the Ofcom scandal people at Deryn were briefing against Carl Sargeant, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children in the ‘Welsh Government’.
Those at Deryn employed in this dirty work were colluding with over-wrought but ever-cooperative third sector women. Some of whom had also made unfounded allegations against Neil McEvoy.
What’s worse, there were politicians, supposed allies of Sargeant, also briefing Deryn. The conduit here was Jo Kiernan, former senior spad to First Minister Carwyn Jones.
From Carwyn Jones’ staff Kiernan knew that Carl Sargeant was to be sacked before the poor bugger himself knew, and she was briefing others.
Carl Sargeant was sacked on November 3, 2017 and took his own life four days later.
This skeletal document tells us that Deryn, with 9 employees, has assets of just £63,836.
But where are the real figures? Where’s the rest of the money? Where’s the turnover for the year? Is everything done with brown envelopes?
There’s something squalid and distasteful about Deryn. More worrying is that Owens, Evans and Kiernan seem able to open any door in Corruption Bay.
The bad news is that Deryn isn’t the biggest PR company down the Bay. The big kid on the block now is Camlas, formerly Positif Politics Ltd. The change of name last November is linked to the departure of Positif founder Daran Hill, who ceased to be a director in September. (Though he still seems to hold a majority of the shares.)
I’ve heard rumours, involving the local gendarmerie; but you know me, I try to avoid tittle-tattle in favour of facts and informed speculation.
Back in August 2020, in the early days of investigating Bute Energy and David Taylor, I ran across Hill’s name in connection with a wind farm planning application, so I contacted him. The resultant Twitter exchange can be read below.
The Bute account at Camlas is currently handled by Matt Hexter.
Did David Taylor direct Bute Energy to his mate Daran Hill, or was it vice versa?
But with Plaid Cymru firmly in control through Managing Partner and Co-Owner Rhodri ab Owen, brother to Plaid Cymru MS Rhys ab Owen; while the other Managing Director and Co-Owner Naomi Williams was a spad to former Plaid AMs Dafydd Elis Thomas and Dai Lloyd.
Plaid Cymru is of course in an alliance with the Labour Party in the Senedd. And even without an alliance, the two parties are never far apart.
I’m sure these minimalist filings are perfectly legal, but I believe that with companies such as Deryn and Camlas exercising unaccountable influence in Welsh public life we are entitled to know more about them.
In normal countries, with normal economies, lobbying is conducted by business interests and often involves donations to political parties. In other words: lobbying decides which company or corporation gets the contracts.
And while this may be undesirable, it usually delivers jobs and generates wealth. The country benefits, the losers tend to be commercial competitors. Who, had they been successful, would also have created jobs and generated wealth.
The political elite controlling Wales wants a quasi-socialist state in which they exercise power through patronage and hand-outs. The last thing this elite wants is a decent economy and an entrepreneurial class challenging its diktats and exposing its weaknesses.
And this explains why, in Wales, lobbying takes the form of fawning and cajoling by pressure groups that share the political outlook of the elite. These demand legislation beneficial to their cause, also funding and publicly-owned assets.
This must then be disguised with flim-flam like, “public good”, “future generations”, and other specious and unquantifiable ‘benefits’. Which we are told to accept as some kind of substitute for a decent economy and a prosperous country.
To begin with, we obviously need a definition of lobbying.
I would suggest: Anyone seeking to influence politicians, either directly or indirectly, through civil servants, advisers, or by any other means, in the hope of securing personal or corporate financial gain, or in order to influence legislation.
There should be a register of such persons. And a diary kept of all meetings between lobbyists and politicians, civil servants or advisers; both those meetings that have been held, and those planned for the future. The subject matter of these meetings must also be stated clearly and unambiguously.
Both the register and the diary should be updated daily and made available online.
To monitor lobbying will require a new post, and it will need to be filled by someone untainted by Corruption Bay. For once, I would have no objection to filling an important post in Wales with a complete stranger.
But I remain open to suggestion, so let’s have your comments. The ‘Welsh Government’ is also asking for your views, so don’t forget to write.
They’ll be delighted to hear from you! Or maybe not.
The Merriam-Webster definition of Nirvana is, “a place or state of oblivion to care, pain, or external reality”. Oblivion to reality certainly applies to the socialist lunacies besetting Wales.
Who but those oblivious to truth could believe that Wales can save the planet, that decent jobs, infrastructure, education and heath care are for sissies, and that women have penises?
Merriam-Webster also mentions, “alcohol-induced nirvana”. Bloody hell! I’ve been there a few times. Does that make me a Buddhist?
IT ALL BEGAN . . .
. . . with a couple of tweets on Sunday from the BBC. Both linked to this article.
The Women’s Equality Network (WEN) Wales is worried that not enough candidates from ethnic minorities are standing in next month’s council elections. But WEN is not an organisation dealing with ethnic minorities, so why raise the issue?
Before answering that, let’s take a look at WEN.
WEN is registered as a company limited by guarantee (‘Ltd’ exempt), and a charity. It depends mainly on funding from the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ in the form of an Equality and Inclusion Grant. In 2021 this amounted to £145,000, up from £119,904 in 2020.
There are five employees in 2022 (in addition to the Director), up from four last year. The panel below shows the staff members towards the end of last year (left) compared to the staff members now as shown on the WEN website.
With the Director pulling down £47,677 we can be fairly certain that most of the remaining £109,375 (from a total 2021 income of £157,052) went on the other four salaries. We can also assume that the grant will be increased in 2022 because there’s now another staff member.
And it seems growth doesn’t end there. This advertisement is for a ‘Senior Partnerships Fundraiser’ on a one-year contract at £31,365.
“We particularly welcome Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), disabled and LGBTQ+ candidates”. Mmm, does that mean straight, White, able-bodied Welsh need not apply?
“Homebased anywhere in the UK”. Does that mean that knowledge of Wales is not required?
“Lived experience of . . . a protected characteristic”. ‘Lived experience’, that phrase so beloved of the Woke. Does WEN – like the ‘Welsh Government’ – accept Stonewall’s interpretation of ‘protected characteristics’, or does it stick to the law?
So, WEN is complaining there aren’t enough ethnic minority council candidates. Horrified that just 1.8% of candidates in 2017 came from ethnic minorities, while the figure quoted for the “ethnically diverse population” of Wales (2021) is 5.2%.
Thankfully this is not a problem at WEN. From a total complement of six, at least three of the staff belong to ethnic minorities. Two seem to be White English. While the sixth is the obligatory token Welsh person.
UPDATE 29.04.2022: I’ve found a petition for: “more Black, Asian, and ethnic minority women, LGBTQ+ women, disabled women, and women with other protected characteristics in . . . a Senedd that is gender balanced and reflective of the whole Welsh population.”
It gained just 199 signatures. Take out WEN staff, their friends, family, and the members of the Splott Intersectional Mud Wrestling Club and this petition does not suggest massive support from the real world.
(Of the 199 votes only 148 came from Wales (74%). The others came from: Nigeria 32, England 10, Netherlands 6, and one each from Scotland, Germany, China. So which WEN staff member has contacts in Nigeria?)
DIVERSITY! WHAT BOLLOCKS IS SPOUTED IN THY NAME!
So who are the six women running Women’s Equality Network (WEN) Wales? Let’s start at the top, with the director, Catherine Fookes.
Her Linkedin page tells us that she was privately educated in England (Godolphin) before attending Middlesex University where she studied Business (with two years in France). Her Masters in Development Studies was done at Bath, her thesis on Plan International.
Catherine Fookes is the longest serving staff member at WEN, having joined in September 2017. Perhaps her appointment was reward for her valiant efforts to become Labour’s Welsh Assembly Member for Monmouthshire in 2016. Here’s her election leaflet.
Her Twitter account tells she’s standing again for Labour in next month’s council elections. (And she was elected.)
The only other survivor from those named as WEN staff in the accounts signed off in November last year is Megan Evans, the token Welsh presence.
I can’t find much information on Megan Evans, but her profile on the WEN website tells us: “She is passionate about gender equality, intersectional feminism, LGBT rights, and racial justice”. We only need climate hysteria for a Woke nap hand.
Evelyn James, the Diverse5050 Campaign Manager was recruited, presumably, as result of this advertisement:
The Diverse5050 Campaign is an agreement between Labour and Plaid Cymru that certain groups – primarily ethnic and (self-ID) gender – should be over-represented in politics.
The campaign is “run in partnership with our steering group ERS Cymru, Race Council Cymru, and EYST Wales”. These are bodies run by Labour Party cronies, are funded by the ‘Welsh Government’ (though it should be the Labour Party), and have appeared on this blog.
Which leaves Jessica Laimann, Policy and Public Affairs Officer.
She was recruited by WEN last year, and before taking up the post she was “Assistant Democratic Services Officer at Carmarthenshire County Council”.
I almost choked on my laverbread sandwich when my rheumy old eyes alighted upon “Democratic” and “Carmarthenshire County Council” in the same sentence. Somebody must have a sense of humour!
Or else things have really gone to the dogs since Mark James ceased being CEO and de facto council leader.
SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW, SAME INTENTION
To understand Diversity Quotas it may be worth considering a couple of references: one from the past; the other bang up to date. And then try to synthesise them.
Writing this I was immediately struck by a parallel from the recent past and across the water. Unlikely as it might at first sound, that example is political gerrymandering in the Six Counties.
In Derry, for example, gerrymandering guaranteed the Protestant-Unionist minority control of the Corporation in a city with a Catholic and Nationalist / Republican majority. (Explained here in a one-minute video.)
Classic gerrymandering along those lines can’t work in Wales because we do not have segregation. Which leaves the Left seeking to limit the number of representatives from the majority population in other ways.
Of course they will deny this. Whining that they simply want “fair representation” for “under-represented” groups, and only “racists” would oppose this innovation.
But it don’t matter how you cut it, the end result will be the same – minorities enjoying representation disproportionate to their numbers in a given council area, or in Wales as a whole.
Coming up to date, and back to the poisoned well of Wokeism from which WEN has clearly drawn too many buckets . . . the demand for quotas also smacks of Critical Race Theory ‘equity’ (not to be confused with equality).
CRT’s ‘equity’ is race-obsessed discrimination that guarantees everybody loses out.
But it still gives the Left power and influence out of all proportion to the support it enjoys among the population at large. Worse, it’s the tail of the extreme Left wagging dogs like Labour, Plaid Cymru, Greens.
But this should not surprise anyone familiar with Welsh politics; for too many of those now involved in politics and public life in Wales have previously worked for ‘charities’ and pressure groups. These outfits get their agenda implemented through influencing politicians – not from selling their programme to the public.
This is one reason Corruption Bay has no register of lobbyists.
Additionally, there are two fundamental flaws in what passes for the reasoning underpinning minority candidate quotas. These fallacies are:
That only a member of an identified minority can represent other members of that minority.
That members of a minority will only accept being represented by someone from their minority.
And if the candidate quotas WEN is calling for are introduced, then how long until the Left demands we introduce a new method for counting the votes? Surely, it will be argued, votes from members of the majority community should count for less than votes from members of “disadvantaged” or “traditionally oppressed” minorities?
That question is not entirely rhetorical. Because that is the direction many on the Left want to take us.
At present, anyone can apply to join a political party and then seek to become a candidate. Political parties are then free to choose their candidates without any outside interference.
This is how it should remain. To deviate from a system that treats all as equal could be the first step on a very slippery slope.
On this blog I have consistently argued that I want Wales to operate less like a colonial possession and more like countries run by politicians who prioritise the material well-being of the people in those countries.
The so-called ‘Welsh Government’ clearly thinks I’m asking for too much. For it continues to encourage and facilitate the exploitation of our homeland by foreign companies and other agencies.
Methods now being employed to disguise the nature of the beast include a veneer of Welsh involvement. And it is no more than a veneer. An expensive veneer, because it’s often paid for from the Welsh public purse.
Another way of thinking about this ‘veneer’ is to view it as the classic variant of colonialism that allows members of a native elite to profit from the plundering of their country and its resources. It both buys their loyalty and disguises the colonialism.
This is what I’ve been reporting with Bute Energy, that multi-headed monster that emerged from nowhere, with no background in renewables, and no Welsh connection, but which is now hoping to erect 20 wind farms in Wales.
Bute set up a totally superfluous ‘Welsh Advisory Board’ in order to provide sinecures for redundant Labour MEP Derek Vaughan, and John Uden, partner of Labour MS Jenny Rathbone.
The only ‘advice’ Bute expected from this Board was to be told who they should see to get things done. Better still, to hear, ‘Leave it to me, I’ll have a word with ———-‘.
It stinks. But it didn’t end there.
Winner of the Farley’s Rusks Chubby Cheeks Competition 1986, and later spad to the Labour mighty, David James Taylor, also had his snout firmly in the Bute trough. Though his membership of linked Grayling Capital LLP ended in September, after the spotlight fell on him.
The lucre from his association with Bute seems to have been shovelled to his company Moblake Ltd, from which Taylor then paid himself £605,872 in roughly three years. This was done in the form of ‘loans’ that don’t need to be repaid!
Taylor’s latest venture, also based at 69 Lambeth Walk, is Earthcott Ltd. Set up just before he quit Grayling Capital. Unsurprisingly, this new company is also in the flim-flam and door-opening business.
So we have a company, Bute Energy, and its associated entities, hoping to make a lot of money out of Wales. Perhaps for the minimal outlay of 20 planning applications. Which I’m sure Bute believes will be waived through.
Now it’s time to move offshore, so don your oilskins and adopt a jaunty nautical stance. (But anyone attempting Robert Newton impersonations will be keelhauled!)
ALL AT SEA
It may have escaped your notice, but Wales has vibrant offshore wind and wave industries. Or at least, that’s what we’re being told.
Though the offshore wind turbines seem limited thus far to the north coast. Which presumably means they’re the profitable responsibility of the Crown Estate. (Devolved in Scotland but not in Wales.)
Which is why I was surprised that the Welsh National Marine Plan – produced by the ‘Welsh Government’ late in 2019 – only mentioned the Crown Estate in passing. Almost as if the ‘Welsh Government’ wants us to believe that Gwynt y Môr and the other arrays are all their own work, with the benefits accruing to Wales.
It should go without saying – this being Wales – that these offshore wind farms are all foreign-owned. Keeping to this template, the latest array proposed, Awel y Môr, will be owned by German company RWE.
But it’s not just wind turbines fixed to the sea bed that Corruption Bay encourages. There are also plans for floating turbines, and wave energy.
In fact, I’m wondering if this outfit is still afloat, because there seems to have been no activity on the very basic website for over a year.
It would be a pity if Cambrian Offshore sank without trace, because last August the Development Bank of Wales loaned the company £650,000. DBW tried to cover itself with a charge against the assets; though whether Cambrian Offshore has assets to that value is debatable.
Also, from January 2021, she’s been a self-employed ‘Renewable Energy Specialist’.
While from May 2021 Niamh Kenny has also been Project Developer at NMK Renewables and SBM Offshore. The first is, presumably, her company, using her initials; while the second is a major Dutch company.
Finally, we see that Niamh Kenny is a partner in Hiraeth Energy. And who could argue with this ‘local benefits’ mission statement:
Then I found Hiraeth in glorious isolation as Hiraeth Energy LLP (21.07.2021). That is, Limited Liability Partnership, an opaque arrangement often used to cover up shady dealings. A LLP doesn’t have directors, it has members. Which explains Niamh Kenny’s relationship.
And among the other members of Hiraeth we find the aforementioned Venn of Joseph Geraint Kidd.
Hiraeth, we know about, but who or what is Afallen LLP? For Afallen is also listed as a member for Hiraeth LLP. The Afallen website proclaims: “What Wales does today, the world will do tomorrow”.
I hope to God that is just hyperbole, because if it’s a prediction, and anywhere near true, then I’ll seriously consider drinking myself to death.
Can you imagine a world ruled by the kind of duplicitous and incompetent buffoons that inhabit Corruption Bay? No, don’t even think about it!
Companies House tells us that the original partners in Afallen LLP (04.10.2018) were Dr David Owain Clubb, Mari Frances Arthur, and RTRT Consulting Ltd of Penarth. Though Clubb was soon replaced by his company Cymorth Clubb Cyf (05.11.2018). They have of course been recently joined by Kidd’s Venn Associates. It’s all very incestuous.
If the names Clubb and Arthur sound familiar, it’s because . . .
This imposition resulted in mass resignations locally and Plaid Cymru handing the seat to Labour. A rum do. Very rum.
So, to sum up: Joseph Geraint Kidd of Pembrokeshire has linked with Niamh Kenny of County Cork who is knowledgeable about offshore renewables. It appears she is also familiar with some big hitters in the business.
Companies that might be interested in Pembrokeshire.
What I presume Ms Kenny does not have is political connections in Wales. Which is where I suggest Afallen comes in.
For Arthur and Clubb are also in the door-opening business. Just like those taken on by Bute Energy. And now, with Labour and Plaid in alliance, well-connected members of both parties can expect to be in demand.
These are the kind of people who flit between politics, third sector, and private companies; providing nothing in the way of public benefit, but always guaranteed publicity from a compliant media and access to their politician friends.
Though let me put your mind at rest in case you’re worrying about Welsh public funding being used to land a non-binary and intersectional party of Wokeonauts on a dreary rock, far, far away . . .
(Though the idea is not without its attractions.)
There is no Welsh space programme. It’s just the Corruption Bay gang trying to put a Welsh spin on orders from London. And not for the first time. Or the last.
Though we could still end up financing a scheme from which we’ll see no benefits.
Let’s look at this scam in greater detail. Starting with the front page from last week’s Cambrian News. Having a couple of comedians accompany the headline is very fitting. We’ll soon meet another.
The CN’s inside pages went for broke. Even giving us a piece by Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for the Economy. (There – what did I promise you!)
Having a Minister for the Economy in Wales is like having a Minister for Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia. Neither’s expected to do much.
From that inside spread you’ll see Llanbedr and Aberporth mentioned. Which should give you a clue as to what we’re really talking about here. But if you’re still struggling . . . it’s drones and missiles, possibly satellites. But dressed up as a ‘space programme’.
Remarkably, a week after that final piece appeared, the loans Snowdonia Aerospace LLP had received from the Secretary of State for Defence and the ‘Welsh Ministers’ over 8 years earlier were paid off.
These loans were made so that Snowdonia Aerospace could lease Llanbedr from its nominal owner – ‘The National Assembly for Wales’. Which means that we paid an English company to lease property from us!
That’s how to run a country!
Though whether any money was really paid is another matter. Perhaps to avoid giving ammunition to a nosey blogger someone thought it best to write off those debts.
Alternatively, it was all a sham, with no money being loaned in the first place, with maybe Llanbedr staying in MoD ownership.
Whatever happened, the key player in this, in the assorted entities involved, the Byzantine dealings, seems to be Lee John Paul. Learn more about him in those earlier posts to which I’ve linked.
It’s reasonable to assume that Paul is well connected with the defence establishment. Otherwise the Ministry of Defence would not have loaned him money or allowed him to use Llanbedr airfield.
For Llanbedr was not Paul’s first venture with former MoD sites in Wales. He was also involved in a company promising to turn RAF Brawdy into a business park.
Brawdy Business Park Ltd gave up the ghost in April 2013 owing a lot of money. Some of it to the Welsh Development Agency.
This whole idea of a ‘spaceport’, and where to locate it, is political. It’s about flying the flag. The Union flag. Which is why a site in SNP-run Scotland beat Llanbedr to the prize.
So what we’re discussing here is at best the consolation prize; and an exercise in turd polishing on the part of the ‘Welsh Government’.
With that in mind, here’s what I think is really happening at Llanbedr . . .
By promising skilled jobs the Ministry of Defence – operating through, or in partnership with, private companies – hopes the ‘Welsh Government’ and Cyngor Gwynedd will cough up funding for a ‘spaceport’.
This, as we highly-trained defence analysts are wont to say, is a load of old bollocks. First, because the reality will just be upgraded drone and missile testing, Second, rural Wales does not have the skills needed, and training is unlikely to be provided.
Then there’d be the security dimension. I remember how RAE Llanbedr operated. All the best jobs went to retired service personal – who’d signed the Official Secrets Act – while cooks and cleaners were recruited locally.
The proof for me that the Llanbedr Spaceport is just a PR exercise lies in other actions by the ‘Welsh Government’.
As the title tells you, this is a guest post by former Plaid Cymru MS Neil McEvoy.
Neil has made enemies. When you know who those enemies are then, just like I did, you’ll warm to him. A man I’ve always found to be straight, honest, and approachable.
Neil’s enemies tend to have certain things in common. Almost without exception they belong to the ‘progressive’ – if not Woke – consensus that dominates the cess-pit I always refer to on this blog as ‘Corruption Bay’.
These are politicians, third sector / pressure groups (who have more influence over ‘our’ politicians than we do), unregulated lobbyists (ditto), and ‘journalists’ so supine they might as well be on the Labour-Plaid-Green payroll. Perhaps they are.
This is the new colonial elite. The creation of devolution. They will fight to keep devolution, they will demand more power (and money) from London for their gravy train, but the thought of independence terrifies them.
Now read on.
In May 2016, I made the mistake of thinking that as a Plaid Cymru politician, I had been elected to hold the Government to account and to be an opposition politician.
They were furious when I asked questions about Deryn’s dodgy contract with OFCOM. I was told many times to leave it well alone. I later discovered that Deryn itself had asked Plaid Cymru to rein me in. My senior advisor was told to tell me to stop asking questions about Plaid Cymru’s lobbying firm, or “face the consequences.”
I had to go home to my wife to tell her that my ability to pay our mortgage would be gone, if I continued to ask questions which powerful people did not want put. My wife was rock solid and said that if we had a choice between earning a good living, or sticking to our principles, then we would stick to our principles. Very soon after getting married, my wife realised why I told her to not take my surname. Let’s just say life is never dull.
Eleven days after the story about Deryn which I was supposed to ignore became public, I was suspended from the Plaid Cymru Senedd Group, supposedly for being found guilty of bullying by the Ombudsman for saying that I wanted to restructure Cardiff Council to change eviction processes and stop people being evicted.
Plaid just did not care about us winning seats in the Council Elections in 2017. It was clear that senior people wanted us to lose. I was reminded at the time that they did not want me elected in the first place. In 2016, we were the busiest Plaid team in Wales, but I was the only candidate in a target seat to lose party funding. They also took Senedd staff off me at a crucial point and gave them to Simon Thomas; more about him later. Anyway, as you can gather Plaid Cymru used Senedd staff to campaign politically in Senedd time. Every party does this. It would be odd if they didn’t.
Moving on, I was the first politician in 17 years to ask to see Government Ministers’ diaries. I had a whistle blower about a matter and I needed to prove certain meetings had taken place. The Government refused to publish the diaries retrospectively, but after a fuss agreed in early 2017 to publish them going forward. I was still able to prove that lobbyists had access to ministers by simply flashing around a photograph of lobbyists with ministers in the Senedd.
Both Labour and Plaid Cymru voted against my proposal to bring in rules for lobbyists in Wales. This keeps covered the awkward fact that Welsh politics is run by a small group of people, who do not want scrutiny.
In March 2017, complaints were made about me, almost all connected to Deryn. It was pay back time.
After the 2017 election in June, I suspended my office manager. There were complaints he had harassed a young female and I had witnessed one incident myself. Members of the public had also complained about him for not doing his job; one person also witnessed the harassment. Michael Deem had also misused my office budget, causing me to have to pay for an expensive unwanted item myself. Shockingly, I later discovered that Deem had taken photographs of a child protection file and kept the details of the children on his phone. I was sickened and staggered. I sacked him.
The man who had harassed a young woman and had stored details of children on his phone was supported by Plaid Cymru and he made further complaints about me. He was later employed by the Plaid Cymru Senedd member who replaced me, Rhys ab Owen, whose brother Rhodri is a lobbyist, who worked with Daran Hill at Positif Politics. Rhodri Ab Owen is now managing partner and co-owner of a re-branded Camlas Public Affairs, listing big pharmaceuticals as clients.
The complaints process took on a life of its own. The BBC’s Aled ap Dafydd always knew more than me about what was going on. He became the first journalist who I refused to deal with. I later discovered he was in a relationship with Plaid Cymru’s Head of Communications, who was later given a top job by Plaid Cymru’s Presiding Officer at the Senedd.
I was really unhappy with the Standards Complaints process. Before it began, a key organiser of the complaints, who had known the former Standards Commissioner for decades had a meeting about me. I was not allowed to attend and there were no notes of the meeting. I stated that the former Standards Commissioner had allowed himself to be lobbied.
I was so concerned at what was happening that I requested the audio recordings of my hearings. It took some time to get them, but it was worth the wait. I heard the former Standards Commissioner making a derogatory remark about me when I was out of the room. The complainant and Standards staff were present when it was said.
In the public interest and for self-defence, I then decided to secretly record everything when I was out of the room. If the hearing was at 9am, I would place my phone under the table on record at 8.15am. I would usually irritate the Standards staff by then turning up late for the hearing, which gave them plenty of time to voice their true feelings about me. This went on for months, with hours of audio footage. I heard the investigators discussing the case with the complainant, who was offered advice and help in his career. I heard about a lack of evidence against me. I also listened to the same complaints made about another MS not taken forward. I also heard about a really serious matter just brushed under the carpet.
It was also shocking to hear about staff saying they had consulted with a senior member of the Senedd staff who was open to just seeing my appeal against guilt, “just thrown out,” before I had even made the appeal. This was the basis for the police investigation into Standards staff, which did not result in charges being laid by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Knowing what I knew, I pulled out of the farce and refused to play any further part on legal advice.
Months later, my staff member was threatened with imprisonment; I felt that things had gone too far and I pulled the trigger on the recordings. The Standards Commissioner resigned. At that point, the so called investigation should have been dismissed.
I pursued many family cases and employed a social worker to do so. Supporting a child alleging abuse in care got me called a bully again and banned from the Council for 4 months. The alleged abuser started the complaint. An issue conveniently ignored by ‘journalists’, politicians and useful idiots on new media, all eager to stick the boot in, whilst ignoring the poor child’s allegations.
I pleaded with journalists to give the child a voice, but the author of the WalesOnline article today, Ruth Mosalski and her husband Cemlyn Davies of the BBC had no appetite to find out what had happened to the child. I am still as disgusted now as I was then at how those people had such little care for what a child said happened to it. Shame on them. I can look in the mirror in the morning without guilt. I cannot see how they can do the same thing.
This made me feel sick and I ultimately withdrew my application to get back into Plaid Cymru. We backed Dewi Evans in his bid to clean up Plaid, but he was prevented from campaigning and bureaucratic means were used to stop members voting. My time with Plaid, such a disorganised hypocrisy was over in the Autumn of 2019. A once proud Plaid Cymru has been reduced to being a poodle for the corrupt Labour Party, cheaply bought off with press opportunities, appointments on public bodies and jobs.
Fast forward to September 2021 and the complaints process was complete and written up. The reports were held back until now, just as the Council election campaign is starting.
I deny doing anything other than being a politician. I did my job. My staff printed and folded material for example opposing Cardiff’s Local Development plan and I did so unashamedly. I paid for the folding machine.
I am supposedly guilty of using electricity for political purposes. Are they serious?
Who does not do that? Both Labour and Plaid Cymru Senedd Groups were also found guilty of misusing public resource for political purposes, but those details were not covered by the Welsh media. Plaid Cymru used the Senedd restricted areas for party political filming, but nothing was done.
I did interview someone on the Senedd estate about a political job; which party political group has not done that? I did attend a party political meeting on the Senedd estate for which Plaid Cymru kindly provided the invite and minutes to the Standards Commissioner. The irony is that Leanne Wood’s staff booked the room, yet it was me who carried the can. I did organise a few political meetings in my office. Which MS has not done that?
The Standards Commissioner got the most basic details wrong. I did correct him on the Committee, but that did not make the report. For example, he accused me of employing a family member who is no relation to me at all!
One staff member did have an exchange of messages with a complainant. It was not a wise move, but after being harangued in public by the same person who was worse the wear for alcohol, it was difficult to look too unkindly on the exchange.
If anyone ever has the chance to look at all the documentation regarding the complaints, they will see that the complaints changed as the process went on. I was first accused on producing 250,000 leaflets on the Assembly printer. A simple look at the manufacturing specification showed that this was impossible. Eventually, the total was boiled down to a few thousand.
When I was in the Senedd, I donated my councillor allowance to various causes. I am not motivated by money. On the grounds of natural justice, I will not pay the sum of money plucked out of thin air, because I do not owe anybody anything. I pay my way and I will not credit such a shocking stitch up with any financial contribution.
The good in all this is that Propel was born. We are still not even one year old, but have so much going for us and a collective of people in every Welsh constituency who support freedom and social equality. We have had a belly full of the rotten core at the heart of Welsh politics. A democratic Welsh revolution, underpinned by a Welsh constitution is our aim.
Propel is uncomplicated, principled, and intent of giving Wales a much better option for all our futures. I’r gad and watch this space.
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!