PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
The original ‘Jake Berry MP’ was such a hit with the popcorn-munching public that Jac Universal Studios is unashamedly rushing out a sequel featuring our lantern-jawed hero.
In this offering you will meet a number of new faces including another Jake, the police get involved, and there’s a cameo appearance by Boris Johnson.
So dim the house lights, sit back, and prepare to be entertained. (But don’t make too much noise with the popcorn!)
LAST TIME . . .
We left our hero clinging to a ledge above a 1,000 foot drop with the villain about to stamp on his aching fingers . . . oh, sorry, wrong screenplay.
Though it would have been a good place to start because at least we’d know where he was. For Jake Berry is a difficult man to pin down; he ducks and weaves, always on the move, like the Muhammad Ali of the government benches.
This tale began last week, you’ll remember, with reports that Berry and his family had turned up at one of their Rhoscolyn properties on Ynys Môn in defiance of lockdown instructions. They had probably come from their London SW1 home.
But Virginia Crosbie the local MP, unexpected victor in last December’s election, insisted that the family had been at Rhyd-y-Bont since February, long before lockdown. It was just that no one had noticed them . . . for three months.
Her exact words, quoted by NorthWalesLive, were: “Mr and Mrs Berry have been living here in the island since February – it is their home.” Though whether telling us that the MP for an east Lancashire constituency lived on Ynys Môn really helped Berry is a moot point.
Then evidence started dribbling out making it clear that if the Berry family had been at Rhyd-y-Bont since February then Jake Berry had been regularly breaking lockdown. And if they’d arrived on Ynys Môn the week before last, then that too was breaking lockdown. It was no longer a question of whether Jake Berry was guilty, but of which offence.
The unravelling of the alibi also tells us that the local Conservative MP has been telling porkies.
YOU WERE LEFT WONDERING . . .
Now then, let’s clear up a few loose ends from the previous blockbuster. We identified three properties at Rhoscolyn owned or part-owned by James Jacob Gilchrist Berry.
There was Cerrig, part-owned with his parents. Plas Coch, part-owned with his mother and another family member. Then there’s Rhyd-y-Bont, the farm for which he paid £780,000 up front in November.
Correction 19.05.2020: I am now informed that Max Jonathan Berry and Ruth Elizabeth Berry, co-owners of Cerrig, are Jake Berry’s siblings. Lucy Charlotte Berry, co-owner of Plas Coch, is either another sibling or the wife of Max.
I mentioned that there was a fourth property at Rhoscolyn waiting to be identified. Well now I have it. It’s Mountain View which, I’m informed, is next to Silver Bay Caravan Park. Lovely, traditional Welsh names. Names like these being the benefits of tourism and social engineering.
So that’s four properties, but I’m told there might be more properties in the area owned by Jake Berry. Specifically, the property where his defender, local MP Virginia Crosbie lives when she visits the island. I await information from my man in the shrubbery.
There was also some uncertainty as to where the Berry family actually lives. Do they have a fixed abode, or do they move with the seasons, like members of some pastoral society, driving their flocks before them?
As I’ve hinted, the permanent abode is in London SW1, a property bought for £2,150,000 in February 2017, with money up front, just like Rhyd-y-Bont. So the Berry clan will in future be moving between London and Ynys Môn with the pater familias making the occasional foray into his constituency.
You’ll see that I have redacted the identifying details from the London property. This seems the right option following a telephone conversation with North Wales Police on Saturday, a convivial chat with a chief inspector who agreed that what Jake Berry had complained about – me putting out his personal details – was already in the public domain via the Land Registry.
What I can tell you is that the London property is in the name of Berry’s wife.
The difference is that the Rhoscolyn properties were known locally and being identified on social media before I got involved. The London address is not publicly known.
THE MAGIC MONEY TREE
Something else I wondered about in the first part was where the lucre is coming from to make these expensive purchases. For Berry is a non-practising solicitor and seems to have no directorships. I remarked that his MP’s salary seems to go a long, long way.
Though I suppose with the London property being in his wife’s name she might be worth a few bob herself. Alternatively, the SW1 house could have been bought with Berry’s money and registered in her name to throw people of the scent.
On the question of companies and directorships, while there seem to be no current directorships for Jake Berry there have certainly been directorships in the past.
One snippet I was sent mentions a company called Rhoscolyn Limited. I’m afraid I don’t have the context. (Though maybe it’s from the site Company Director Check?) And of course this is how I learnt about Mountain View.
I drew a blank on the Companies House website and other sites, so if anyone out there has information on Rhoscolyn Limited, then it’s the usual routine, either leave it in the old hollow tree or send it to email@example.com.
Let’s return to companies and directorships, for while Jake Berry himself seems to be ‘clean’, others close to him do dabble.
There’s PEPC Ltd which was run by Berry’s Parliamentary PA Paul Lambert Fairhurst and his Personal PA Louise Inglis, using a Liverpool address. This company was dissolved in December 2018 without apparently troubling HMRC or anyone else. It just did nothing in its brief existence.
Fairhurst was also involved with a company called PND Group Ltd, with a Manchester address, which went under in March 2020, also after a short period of apparent inactivity.
Inglis was further involved with a company giving a Nottingham address, called Licensing Objective Ltd. It was dissolved in February 2019 after less than five years of shuffling around a bit of small change.
Setting up companies to provide a cover for nefarious activities is something I report on regularly on this blog, but that can’t be the case here, surely? So why set up companies and just let them fold?
Let’s conclude this little excursion into the corporate world by turning our attention to Ford Bridge Farm Ltd. And if that sounds weirdly familiar then it’s because it is of course Rhyd-y-Bont, one of Berry’s Rhoscolyn properties, rendered into English. The sole director is Mrs Berry.
The company gives a correspondence address in the town of Bacup, in Berry’s Rossendale and Darwen constituency. Though why a company that uses a corrupted version of the Ynys Môn property’s name needs to be based in Lancashire is a mystery.
Can anyone offer a suggestion?
To be exact, Ford Bridge Farm Ltd is headquartered in this splendid old building in downtown Bacup that was available for rent or lease when this Google Earth image was captured in September 2018.
UPDATE: I am indebted to @JanZamosky for suggesting that Mountain View Ltd might have been formed to avoid paying council tax. Would this also explain the more recent Ford Bridge Farm Ltd?
GODFATHERS AND A ROAD TRIP
When Jake Berry’s first child was born in 2017 one godfather was Harry Cole, former co-editor of the Guido Fawkes website and now deputy political editor for the Mail on Sunday. He had rented a flat from Mrs Berry and was the long-time partner of Carrie Symonds. The other godfather was Boris Johnson.
Jake Berry obviously had important and influential friends.
Then on 24 May last year Theresa May surprised no one by announcing that she was jacking in it and told the Tories to look for a new leader. Jake Berry threw himself into Boris Johnson’s campaign.
And it was godfather Harry Cole who reported rather sniffily that Berry was to do a tour of north west England in a “yellow truck like the ones used in the cheesy 1990s American TV series Baywatch”. And for company Berry would have Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking – what a pleasure it must have been to travel 170 miles in the company of Jacob Rees-Mogg! Though I’m sure there are some who’d feel sorry for Rees-Mogg having to spend that much time with Jake Berry.
Maybe they deserve each other.
One source – who seems to know his stuff – suggests the £4,000 quoted as the purchase price for the Ford Ranger was on the cheap side. While another source might have provided the answer by telling me that Berry sends his PA Fairhurst to auctions on his behalf! Is this covered under MPs’ expenses?
As history now records, it all paid off. Boris Johnson won the leadership vote and the general election in December. Jake Berry was made Minister of State for the Northern Powerhouse. Though Rees-Mogg seems to have fallen from favour since his hommage to a fin de siècle slapper reclining on a chaise longue.
Though it turned sour for Berry as well because earlier this year he was sacked. Yes, he was allowed to make the ‘spend more time with the family’ excuse and resign. But this was a ‘Make him an offer he can’t accept’ kind of ‘resignation’.
I have no idea what became of the yellow Ford Ranger that must carry so many happy memories. Indeed, it might have been an attempt to recapture those memories that prompted Jake Berry to buy another. There’s certainly one parked now at Rhyd-y-Bont. (Or are we expected to call it ‘Ford Bridge Farm’?)
What’s odd is that the registration for the truck used in last year’s Boris Johnson Productions re-make of Thelma and Louise was CV60 ZJE, while the one parked up now is CV11 JYA.
CV is the registration for Swansea.
Harry Cole told us the road trip vehicle was “formerly used by council street cleaners”. If so, then does Jake Berry have a direct line to Swansea Guildhall that enables him to pick up old council vehicles on the cheap?
Or is there some other explanation? Does anyone recognise those registration numbers?
It’s all very well having a laugh at Jake Berry and the rest of them, but turning us into strangers in our own land is no joke.
Yet we are expected to welcome being priced out of our communities because a lying politician or a trainee hack on a provincial rag tells us that rising property prices is a sure-fire indicator of prosperity.
That may be the case in a normal society, but not in a colony!
Wales may lack the monuments to a great past, and the institutions of a mighty state. But we have something far more important – a sense of nationhood that has survived without these trappings, and in defiance of them.
Today this nation nation is growing restless because the ‘progressive’ parties have failed us.
They’ve failed us because they refuse to accept that there’s a real country beyond Corruption Bay; a country with broken communities and angry people who are sick of funding middle class lesbian co-operatives and other forms of gesture politics.
While we who are trying to combat colonialism are traduced by wassisname, who leads the ‘progressives’, as inherently right wing.
If so, then I’m proud to be a right wing nationalist standing up for my people. It’s more honourable by far than being a smug, two-faced ‘progressive’ collaborating with the colonialist system.
There was nothing to see here, she insisted, because Jake Berry lived in Rhoscolyn. “A few people have been in touch with me regarding the MP Jake Berry living here in the island. Mr and Mrs Berry have been living here in the island since February – it is their home”.
So that’s OK then.
It means that the MP for a Lancashire constituency lives 130 miles away near Holyhead. I wonder how the electors of Rossendale and Darwen would have voted if they’d known that fact before they re-elected him last December.
Perhaps what Ms Crosbie meant to say was explained when a spokesperson on behalf of Mr Berry said: “During a visit to Wales, a family member of Mr Berry started showing signs of Coronavirus. This visit was prior to the Government decision to lockdown.”
So putting together the contributions from Ms Crosbie and the spokesperson, perhaps we should conclude that the Berry family was on Ynys Môn in February when Mrs Berry was taken ill, perhaps one of the children was also unwell, so they all stayed put.
So why did no one notice them until a couple of days ago?
Two points are worth making. First, we are expected to believe that the Lancashire Telegraph sat on this story for two weeks and then published it as ‘News’. Second, Berry is reported to have had his dog with him. So if Virginia Crosbie is correct, and Berry was living at Rhoscolyn, he took the poor mutt on a 260 mile round trip.
But a few days later, on 3 April, Berry himself put out what you see below. So either he was in his constituency, as the message ‘Lovely to see this up in #Darwen’ suggests, or else it was posted from Rhoscolyn, making it a deliberate attempt to deceive his constituents into believing that he was there among them.
But if, as his defenders insist, he has been living at Rhoscolyn since February, then he could only have reached Darwen by breaking the lockdown rules.
The consistent line in all the reports I’ve read says that he was visiting relatives when a member of his family fell ill. This makes a certain sense because Berry’s wife gave birth on or just before 11 February. It would have been natural to have taken the new arrival to be seen by Berry’s parents, who do live at Rhoscolyn.
And then they went home.
In fact, Jake himself is quite the property tycoon; for he either owns outright or has a share in four properties around Rhoscolyn. As his Declaration of Interests makes clear.
One of the shared properties is the one his parents live in.
Another property he owns is Plas Coch. If I’m reading the title document and the women in his life correctly, then he owns this property jointly with his mother and his ex-wife. Which must be a bundle of laughs. But again, this property was also paid for in readies, £249,000 in May 2017.
As I’ve said, Jake Berry is a non-practising solicitor, and as far as I can see there are no directorships or other sources of income. So either there’s family money or else he makes his MP’s salary go a long, long way.
Having mentioned Plas Coch, my man in the bushes tells me that no lights have been seen there in the evening. Though there is a car parked, a silver Volvo XC70. Funny thing is that the MOT on this vehicle expired in January 2019. And the tax ran out in March last year.
Though Jake’s brother is reported to have lived at Plas Coch for a while. Is the car his?
And can anyone identify the fourth property Jake Berry owns on Ynys Môn?
The evidence suggests that the Berry family visited in February with the baby, went back to Lancashire, and turned up again a few days ago after Boris Johnson’s garbled message about staying alert.
I cannot believe that the Berry family is living permanently at Rhyd-y-Bont. It would be too risky. Some local shit-stirrer back in Lancashire would almost certainly find out and our boy would be in trouble.
Though if they are living at Rhyd-y-Bont then, when things get back to normal Jake Berry will be catching the Holyhead to London train on a Monday and making the return trip on Thursday evening or Friday. So when will he find time for his constituency? Or if he spends weekends in his constituency, when will he see his missus and the sprogs?
Alternatively, if it is a holiday home, £780,000 is a hell of a lot to pay. Insulting to the local Welsh people being priced out of the market by people like the Berry clan.
Finally. I’ve just remembered that there is no London property shown in his Declaration of Interests, so where does he live when Parliament is sitting?
The bigger issue here of course is holiday homes. Holiday homes in Wales owned by people who have no connection with our country other than the exploitative and parasitic relationship provided by the property they own.
In this pandemic, the issue has come to the fore in ways I would not have believed possible. There is palpable anger directed at holiday homes and those who own them.
Only yesterday we read that police had to ask a Liverpool family to leave their holiday home in Llandegfan, on the other side of Ynys Môn, for their own safety. This report in NorthWalesLive gives the impression of a crowd of yokels brandishing pitchforks.
Feelings are running high everywhere. But what else can be expected?
Nothing really, because tourism encourages contempt for us and our identity. Wales doesn’t really belong to us, it’s theirs to take and do with as they wish. So come to Wales . . . swamp our communities, ridicule our language, change our ancient place names, and pay £780,000 for a holiday home.
Tourism and the colonisation that always follows has given us areas of our country where we Welsh are in a minority. A constantly diminishing minority. Every year more and more communities cease to be Welsh because of tourism.
There has never been a better time for politicians to get to grips with the problem of holiday homes, but they are too cowardly to grasp the opportunity. Those weaklings in Corruption Bay refuse to give police the authority to make people leave holiday homes and won’t even increase the fine for disobeying lockdown.
In Wales it stays at £60 but in England – where restrictions have been eased! – fines start at £100.
Holiday homes are inseparable from tourism. A tourism industry that is overwhelmingly foreign owned and of little or no benefit to us Welsh. The few benefits more than outweighed by the damage caused.
We have learnt a great lesson during this pandemic – the power of community resistance. When it’s over we must continue refusing to accept holiday homes and saturation tourism.
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
This a complicated story, so I advise you to pay attention. I’ve written about Dawnus and Hydro Industries a few times in recent years, but now I want to go back, ten years and more, to the start of this story. I shall use information from a number of sources, primarily Rebecca Television, the greatly missed Cneifiwr blog, and another well-informed source.
We’ll begin in March 2006 when it became clear that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was winding down its Llangennech site in Llanelli and the prospect was causing some consternation in the locality.
Soon after the closure, early in 2009, the ‘Independent’-Labour-run Carmarthenshire County Council purchased the site and immediately sold it on to a commercial entity. Which raised a number of questions, aired in this report from May of that year.
First, why couldn’t this commercial entity, R & A Properties, have bought the site from the MoD? Second, why wasn’t R & A Properties registered with Companies House? Third, who was behind R & A Properties?
The answer to the first question will be given later.
Question 3 was answered very quickly when we were told that one of those behind the scheme was David Francis Pickering, former captain of the national rugby team and then chairman of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU). Working with his “lifelong friend” Robert Nigel Lovering.
So we have The Labour Party in control in Westminster, Cardiff Bay, the Shire Hall (coalition), and a staunch Labour supporter gets handed the deal of his life with the old MoD site in Llangennech. Such serendipity!
But back to the questions.
The second question was answered by David Pickering when he said, “I know some people will find it strange that R & A is not a limited company but we’ve been advised to do it this way by our professional advisers.” So they paid someone to ‘advise’ them to enter into a multi-million pound deal using a non-existent company! Advice like that might explain Pickering’s business record, which we’ll look at in a minute.
Though in fairness, there does seem to have been a company, or rather, a Limited Liability Partnership, called R&A Properties, for it’s mentioned in the accounts of Hydro Industries Ltd for y/e 31/03/2016. (More on Hydro Industries anon.)
The problem here is that R&A Properties LLP does not exist, or it has certainly never been registered with Companies House. So from what parallel dimension did this creature slip through the Llangennech portal to help Hydro Industries?
A company called R & A Properties Cardiff Limited was eventually Incorporated 5 March 2019, with Pickering, Lovering, and Wayne Preece (of Hydro Industries) as directors. Why it took so long to legitimise R & A is a mystery that might be answered later in this posting. Though why ‘Cardiff’ should be in the name, seeing as the correspondence address given for the company is the Stradey Business Park in Llangennech, remains a mystery.
The deal in 2009 was justified because Pickering and his mates had a ‘blue chip’ company lined up to provide dozens or hundreds of top-notch jobs. The number given seemed to depend on who you spoke to and which way the wind was blowing.
Later in 2009 we learnt that Thales UK, part of the French defence giant, would be adapting the Bronco All Terrain Tracked Carrier built by a Singapore company and re-branding them ‘Warthogs’ for deployment with the British Army in Afghanistan.
As you’ve read, the 37-acre site was bought from the MoD by Carmarthenshire County Council and soon sold to the mysterious R & A Properties LLP.
The Land Registry turns up nothing for Stradey Business Park or Stradey Park Business Centre. You have to use the LR map, which produces two separate titles. The first, CYM462190, for ‘Land on the north side of Mwrwg Road, Llangennech’. The second, CYM458189, ‘Land on the south side of Mwrwg Road, Llangennech’.
There is a third title, mentioned on both of these documents, it’s CYM444641, but it seems to be unavailable at the Land Registry website.
What we learn from these documents is that Robert Nigel Lovering owns both titles . . . or rather, they were bought with loans from Lloyds Bank Plc and The Secretary of State for Defence, with Carmarthenshire County Council chipping in later.
Moving on . . . early in 2009 the MoD sold the Llangennech site to Mark James, aka Carmarthenshire County Council, and he quickly sold it on to his mates, Dai Pickering and Robert Lovering.
And that answers the first question we left hanging earlier – why couldn’t R & A Properties have bought the site directly from the MoD? Answer: R & A couldn’t buy directly from the MoD because Lovering was getting a loan from the MoD to make the purchase. So it had to go through Carmarthenshire County Council.
For a very similar reason, the loan from the council in December 2012, was made not for the purchase of the site but to improve it.
You’ll have noticed that only Lovering’s name appears on the title documents. So why is that?
If we look at the companies David Pickering has been involved with, most are dissolved. The only ones still standing fall into three categories: 1/ Companies he left, 2/ Companies associated with the WRU, 3/ Companies Pickering has joined or formed in recent years. We’ll look at this final category in a minute.
It’s difficult to escape the conclusion that Pickering is a failed businessman whose public profile and many contacts can still get his size 12s under boardroom tables.
COOL, CLEAR WATER
One hypothesis to explain this remarkable deal in Llangennech must be . . .
The MoD had agreed the Warthog deal with Thales in 2008, but was reluctant to invite Thales to do the work at Llangennech themselves because politicians and media might view that as too close a relationship between the British Ministry of Defence and what was after all a French company.
With the added advantage of Llangennech being well off the beaten track for the London redtops.
So I make no apologies for again using this scene from the Godfather, in which Willie Cicci gives evidence to a Congressional hearing. For just like the Corleone family the MoD needed ‘buffers’ between them and Thales.
It’s difficult to explain the convoluted sale in any other way.
One of the companies with which Batty was involved – one of the few still afloat – is the Langland Bay Golf Club Ltd. One of Swansea’s better golf clubs in an up-market suburb. In fact, this part of the city figures more than once in this narrative.
For not only does Lovering live in Langland Bay, but Preece is also a resident. And among the previous directors of the Langland Bay Golf Club I see Huw Wyn Price. Price and his wife were the founding directors of Lancehawk Ltd in 1986. Lovering joined on 1 July 1999 and seems to have taken over, to the extent that he is now the only director.
I assume the company is doing well because I see 12 satisfied charges over the years, some with lenders I’ve never heard of. The accounts, unaudited and abridged, show Total Net Assets of £872,709.
‘Lancehawk’ has a certain martial ring to it. And so I wouldn’t be surprised if it has done work for the Ministry of Defence. The address given for Lancehawk used to be Lovering’s Langland Bay home, but now it’s relocated to – where else? – the Stradey Business Park.
Maybe someone else thought Lancehawk sounded a bit too ‘Up yours!’ which might explain the company trading as the rather blander European Telecom Solutions (ETS).
Though the ETS website doesn’t seem to be maintained very well. For example, the latest ‘News’ is for September 2018. Has nothing happened in the last year and a half? Why is there no mention of Covid-19 such as I find on every other website I visit these days? Don’t tell me ETS is another ‘buffer’!
Another Lovering company to add to the line-up is R & A Secure Services Ltd, formed 6 September 2012. That ‘R & A’ again. But it can’t be the ethereal company we seek because Lovering is the sole director. Its correspondence address was in central Swansea, but last September it moved. You have one guess!
Preece, as I’ve said, seems to have been involved in no company before 2011, with the exception of the rather odd Brightley, but then in 2012 and 2013 Preece joined a number of companies under the ‘Hydro’ banner, all based on the Stradey Business Park. In chronological order they were:
Hydro Industries Marine Ltd Formed 29 November 2012 with Preece, Lovering and Philip Graeme Morgan as directors. The company seemed to do nothing and was dissolved via compulsory strike-off 14 July 2014.
Hydro Industries Ltd Formed 2 September 2010 by Janine Morgan, who I assume is the wife of Philip Morgan, who joined her 1 April 2011. Next came Christopher Lewis 27 June 2011, and then Pickering, Preece and Lovering 2 January 2013. More recently we have seen a number of luminaries climb aboard. One of those new arrivals is Robert Brooks, who I’m told lives or lived just around the headland from Langland Bay in Caswell Bay. The Morgans left 6 August 2014.
Hydro Strata Ltd (formerly Hydro Mining Ltd). Formed 11 March 2013 with Preece and Morgan as directors. Never more than a dormant company and it was dissolved via voluntary strike-off 25 April 2017.
Hydro Utilities Ltd Formed 4 April 2013 with Morgan and Preece as directors. Morgan left 5 August 2014 and the company drifted towards voluntary strike-off 25 April 2017.
Hydro Environmental Systems Ltd Wayne Preece was in on the ground floor with Morgan 3 May 2013. Morgan left 5 August 2014 and Pickering joined 19 June 2019. Accounts and confirmation statement are overdue.
Hydro Marine & Salvage Ltd Preece and Morgan were there at the kick-off 7 October 2013 but Morgan left 5 August 2014. Dissolved by voluntary strike-off 25 April 2017.
Hydro Oil & Gas Ltd Preece and Morgan from the start 7 October 2013, Morgan left 5 August 2014 and Preece called it a day with voluntary strike-off 25 April 2017.
What I find strange here is that the late Philip Morgan (he died suddenly in the early part of 2018) was an expert in his field, academically recognised. Morgan’s departure from the Hydro companies in August 2014 can be explained by him setting up KP2M Ltd in April 2014, which trades as Power & Water from its Llansamlet base.
Yet what knowledge of water did Preece bring to the party, with his background in Sony televisions and Thales?
And yet despite Preece’s apparent lack of knowledge of H2O Hydro Industries thrives. For as we read recently, the company has been awarded two lucrative contracts in the Middle East. One is in Saudi Arabia, and then there’s a £150m gig in Egypt.
Things are certainly looking up at Hydro Industries. Just compare the balance sheets below, covering a 4-year period. What you see represents quite a turnaround in just a few years. Did they find a Fairy Godmother?
For remember, this impressive improvement preceded the Middle East contracts!
Here, in pdf format is the latest distribution of shares, dated 2 September 2019. Note that although Robert Lovering ceased to be a director 1 July 2019 he retains his share holding.
Let’s now go back to the time before Preece joined Morgan at the Hydro companies.
THALES COME, THALES GO
After losing his managerial job with Sony in Bridgend – the plant finally closed in early March 2006 – Preece found himself doing fixed-term contracts for Thales UK. This gave him a foot in the door.
And tells me that by late 2008 Preece knew about the deal Thales had struck with the MoD to convert the 100+ Singapore-built Broncos into Warthogs. He now used whatever influence he had to get Thales to bring the work to Wales.
But he needed help.
If they didn’t already know each other then this is when the troika formed. Preece had the contacts with Thales (possibly also the MoD); I believe Lovering certainly had the MoD contacts (which is why the site was ‘sold’ to him); and then there was Dai Pickering, with his Labour Party contacts, and his rugby anecdotes guaranteeing him the best biscuits in Mark James’ private suite.
This explains why, in defence of the deal, the council said the sale had been agreed with persons “known to some officers”. For Mark James, then the county CEO, is a big rugby fan, and has used council money and sweetheart deals to benefit the local Scarlets.
And the generosity was reciprocated. For as Cneifiwr reports: “Shortly after the council approved the purchase and simultaneous resale of the site in February 2009, the chief executive of Carmarthenshire County Council accepted an invitation from David Pickering to a rugby international.”
The Ministry of Defence was quite happy to sell the Llangennech site to the county council on the understanding that the council immediately sold it on to Preece, Lovering and Pickering. This may be the reason that the partnership back in 2009 had to be kept under wraps.
Despite all the hype, the brass bands and the kids waving flags to welcome Thales, the French outfit didn’t stay very long. So, why did Thales pull out? Well, here’s what I’ve been told . . .
Thales signed the lease agreement with Lovering, or Lovering and Pickering, or all three, before the site had actually been bought. Which of course made the agreement invalid. Possibly illegal.
This cock-up was perhaps attributable to the fact that the agreement had not been concluded by Thales’ Properties Department, as would have been normal, but by another arm under some Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) measure.
In an attempt to cover up le désastre I’m told that the final page of the lease agreement, with signatures and dates, ‘went missing’. When it ‘reappeared’ the time lords had worked their magic – for now it showed that the site had been purchased before the lease agreement was concluded between the mysterious R & A Properties and Thales.
But this was only a short-term measure. Once Thales held one of its regular checks on lease agreements, which would examine all documentation, the feline would be free of the encumbering sack.
And so Thales pulled out and took the work elsewhere. Search for ‘Llangennech’ or ‘Llanelli’ on the Thales website and nothing comes up. It’s as if this chapter never happened.
Which was a great pity. For while it lasted Thales provided good jobs and the workforce repaid the company by making big profits on each vehicle. A million pounds per vehicle has been quoted to me.
But Thales upped sticks and took the work away to less favourable locations, with inferior facilities, and more expensive premises. A ‘lean-to’ in Glasgow that could barely accommodate the vehicles was mentioned, as was a much more expensive venue in Sussex that lacked a decent crane.
So everyone lost out . . . except perhaps those who had screwed up.
Because I am convinced that the British government stepped in when it became obvious that Dawnus was on the ropes and going down for the count.
I say that because a) Dawnus was operating in Sierra Leone and other ‘sensitive’ areas of West Africa where China is extending its influence; b) because expensive plant and machinery was shipped out to West Africa – out of reach of liquidators and creditors – before the collapse; c) because administrators reports have been delayed for another year; and d) because the two phoenix that rose from the Dawnus flames, DIG International Group Ltd and DIG Civil Engineering Ltd, moved in March from the old Dawnus depot in Clydach to . . . go on, have a guess!
In addition to the main depot and yard at the old Players Tinplate works site in Clydach, Dawnus also had a presence in the Ashmount Business Park in Llansamlet. Very close to where Hydro Industries began life in 2010 as Watertec Solutions Ltd. And where today we find Power & Water.
Are these coincidences?
I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I just know enough about how the world works to know that the UK government, or the MoD, or certain other agencies, don’t open offices abroad and put up a brass plate reading ‘Spies ‘R’ Us’. It’s done subtly, often using phoney companies as fronts.
Or recruiting genuine companies already operating in an area of interest. There might be an approach along the lines of, ‘As you’re out there, old boy, we were wondering . . . ‘. Nothing 007 about it, just keep your eyes and ears open and we’ll have the occasional chat.
Or it might just be supporting British companies in Africa and elsewhere in order to counter the influence of rivals. Today, in Africa, that means China.
Those who’ve seen the wonderful film, Our Man in Havana, will recall that Alec Guinness’s character, James Wormold, is a vacuum cleaner retailer recruited by MI6. It may have been a piss-take by writer Graham Greene, but he knew what he was writing about, he’d been recruited by MI6 himself. And posted to – of all places! – Sierra Leone.
The different trajectories of the Dawnus group and Hydro Industries, and the Thales debacle, all link through a number of factors.
First, we have various arms of the UK government treating Wales as a colony, and interfering in our political and economic life. Then there’s the lack of openness and accountability at local government level. The ‘pliability’ of those elected to Corruption Bay. The cupidity of certain BritNat businessmen. And finally, good old-fashioned Labour Party cronyism.
And I haven’t even mentioned the drones, but that can wait.
Do you still want to know what’s wrong with Wales?
♦ end ♦
P.S. The British military has always directed operations at Llangennech and that is still the case. Which is why I should have mentioned Rick Libbey, a 30-year-service man who is Chief Operating Officer for Hydro Industries.
It’s pretty clear who really calls the shots at Hydro.
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
Here’s something to keep you occupied in these long days of lockdown after you’ve finished mowing the lawn, walking the dog, and counting your bottles of Malbec.
This is another bumper issue, some 4,500 words, but it’s made up of a number of unrelated reports, so there’s no need to gorge; take your time and enjoy!
A PEOPLE THAT ISN’T TAUGHT ITS HISTORY . . .
I watched a documentary the other week about Arthur, Duke of Brittany, who may have had a stronger claim to the English throne than his Uncle, John, and his claim was even supported by John’s brother, Richard I, ‘Coeur de lion’. Having raised an army to challenge his uncle, young Arthur blew his opportunity, was captured and – if contemporary rumours are to be believed – came to a particularly gruesome end.
The programme established that John was a very nasty piece of work, possibly a psychopath. He also drank heavily and often flew into uncontrollable rages. It was best not to be around him when he’d ‘taken a drink’ (as great-aunt Fastidia might have phrased it).
My ears pricked up when one of the contributors to the programme, seeking to establish John’s credentials as an all-round murderous bastard, mentioned his killing of young Welsh hostages at Nottingham castle. This was something I’d never heard about, so obviously I checked. It was true.
At a low point in his glorious career Llywelyn Fawr was held in check by his father-in-law John by the surrender of some 28 young hostages, sons of Gwynedd’s leading families. When Llywelyn next flexed his muscles the boys were hung from the castle walls. Reported here in ‘Nottinghamshire History’.
“In order to keep the Welsh Prince Llewellyn in subjection, John, had taken as hostages 28 boys, ranging from 12 to 14 years of age, and kept them in his Castle at Nottingham. It is said the news came to the King while staying at his hunting palace at Clipstone that the Welsh Prince had again broken out in revolt. Hastily summoning his followers, he held a Council beneath the spreading branches of an oak tree (now known as Parliament Oak), when the execution of the hostages was decided upon. Then he swore ‘by the teeth of God’ that he would not eat again until he had wreaked his vengeance, and mounting his steed, he rode in all haste to Nottingham Castle, where he gave instructions for the execution of the hostages, as a preliminary to quelling the rising; and the shameful order was immediately carried out before his eyes, the boys being taken from their play—some screaming, others pleading in vain for mercy—and hanged on the Castle walls.”
Both the murder of Arthur of Brittany and the killing of the hostages are in some accounts attributed to William de Braose, 4th Lord of Bramber, who often served as John’s very willing torturer and executioner.
The title Bramber comes from the family’s castle in Sussex, but De Braose was more active in the March, as Sheriff of Hereford and Lord Abergavenny. And while John was reviled in the north west William made his enemies at the opposite corner of the country, due to the Massacre at Abergavenny Castle in 1175.
The facts are that Seisyll ap Dyfnwal, ‘Lord of Upper Gwent’, was invited to a Christmas feast at the castle, along with his eldest son, his followers and their attendants. Being invited guests, they followed custom and left their weapons outside. Once inside, the doors were locked and de Braose’s men attacked and killed their Welsh guests.
It is then rumoured that after the massacre de Braose rode to Seisyll’s home and killed his younger son Cadwaladr after snatching him from his mother’s arms.
De Braose’s behaviour is ‘excused’ by arguing that Seisyll ap Dyfnwal had killed de Braose’s uncle, Henry FitzMiles, so it was tit for tat. But attempting to wipe out the male lines of the leading Welsh families in the locality suggests de Braose was trying to expand his own land holdings.
In 1182 Hywel ap Iorwerth of Caerleon had Dingestow castle, near Chepstow, destroyed and Abergavenny castle burnt by Seisyll’s relatives. De Braose was not there but his men were taken captive.
After it was burnt again, this time by Glyndŵr’s forces in 1404, Abergavenny castle ceased to be used as a fortification and gradually fell into disrepair.
‘These were brutal times, they all behaved like that’, is what you’ll hear from defenders of the Union. But I don’t recall any incident in which our ancestors behaved with such barbarity, depravity and duplicity.
If they had, we’d have been taught it in school. You can be sure of that.
ONE PLANET DEVELOPMENTS REVISITED, AGAIN
Back in December – in an update – I mentioned that a Neil Moyse, who lives on a OPD at Tir y Gafel in Pembrokeshire, is applying to build another OPD at Llyn Adain Gwydd, near the village of Meidrim in west Carmarthenshire. The village to which I trace my direct paternal line.
In a nutshell, Moyse wants planners to believe that a family of four will be able to support themselves as gardeners on 1.63ha of land, even though a great part of the holding will remain uncultivated. Much of it, in fact, is water, accounting for the ‘Llyn’ element in the name.
But any property built in such an attractive location will be valuable, especially if it is imaginatively ‘extended’, perhaps in the manner of Bryn Llys, at Nebo. Which, I’m sure you’ll recall, transmogrified from a traditional Welsh farmhouse into a mansion betraying the aesthetic sensibilities we associate with Lottery winners, or in this case, a gang of fraudsters.
I’m not for one minute suggesting that Moyse is a crook like those at Bryn Llys, but neither am I persuaded that this is a simple One Planet Development. And if the Moyse family moves to Llyn Adain Gwydd what happens to their property in Pembrokeshire?
My understanding was that OPDs offer a chance for people to exchange the crass materialism of the modern world for lives attuned to the rhythms of nature, not for building property empires.
All of which would be reason to reject this application, but a little bird in the tree tells me that Moyse and his kin are pretty irresponsible to boot.
For I hear that during this period of lockdown the Moyse family travels almost every day from their Pembrokeshire property to their new lakeside estate near Meidrim. Is this ‘essential travel’? And now they’ve even pitched a tent!
My little bird also says . . .
“Black sheeting . . . ‘shines’ across valley and due to cutting down of many trees is much more open to view. . . . people turned up today in massive camper van looking . . . to camp out . . . The wood behind Mr Moyse’s plot belongs to Woodlands.co.uk. This wood has camper vans sited in it that are there illegally. People are coming and going and fire smoke can often be seen. They have blocked the public footpath and even after representations from local council have not reopened. These are friends of Mr Moyse . . .”
As I’ve explained many times before, OPD is just another tactic in the wider strategy of dispossessing us Welsh and replacing us with a new population. Because in 20+ years of devolution those cringing bastards down Corruption Bay have done nothing to benefit those who belong in this country.
And if you want an example of the ecological credentials claimed by these OPD land-grabbers, then I’ll let my little dicky bird finish its song with, “otters and geese that have been nesting and breeding for decades have not been near this year.”
Visualise an unspoilt area of Welsh land, a sylvan gem. Would you rather see otters gambolling there or gangs of arrogant English hippies in camper vans and silly houses, incessantly burning wood while pontificating about saving the planet?
The greatest contribution these people can make to the Welsh countryside is to leave it.
Gary is a senior civil servant, but more importantly, the lover of Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment Energy and Rural affairs in the ‘Welsh Government’.
In the piece in which he debuted a few weeks back I mis-spelt his name as Haggarty. Sorry about that, Gary, but we all make mistakes.
Anyway, I asked if anyone had information on Gary, so I could ‘pad out’ his biography, as it were. And I had a few responses, so here’s some more information that I put out recently. Here in pdf format.
I’m told he’s originally from Portsmouth, or thereabouts. He is said to have been a leading light in the Young Socialists, or its replacement, Young Labour.
How Gary came to Wales is unclear – did he attend university here? – but until some 10 or 12 years ago he was employed in in the ‘Welsh Government’s regional office in Llandrindod Wells, and he is believed to have lived in Abbey Cwm Hir.
‘Game Show Gary’ left his wife and child/children for another woman, a younger woman who was also a work colleague. Gary is said to be a great one for ‘helping’ young female colleagues. Very much a hands-on approach.
Once in Cardiff, as Head of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Strategy, and administering the Glastir and Farming Connect programmes, he stated, more than once, that “Farmers in Wales are over supported and under taxed”. His hostility towards farmers was made clear in other ways.
And yet, despite his openly expressed hostility towards Welsh farmers he progressed within the ‘Welsh Government’s departments dealing with farming! In May 2016, Lesley Griffiths was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs. This would have brought her into direct connect with Gary Haggaty . . . and their contact soon became very direct.
When the affair between Griffiths and Haggaty became public knowledge last year he was assigned the post of Deputy Director, Community Safety Division within Welsh Government. And if you’re wondering what the Community Safety Division is, it’s an excuse for Wales not having power over policing. In the early days of devolution it was known as the Crime Reduction Unit.
Up until his transfer Haggaty was advising Lesley Griffiths on ways to make life difficult for Welsh farmers, done in order to make land available for hippies and rewilders, eco-zealots and zip wires. In other words, anybody but the Welsh. Seeing as they’re still an ‘item’ he’s probably still advising her.
But forget the affair. The real cause for concern should be that a man like Gary Haggaty, with his blatant and regularly expressed hostility to Welsh farming, should ever have been in a position of influence within the ‘Welsh Government’.
But he was. And there are many other civil servants like him in Wales, who answer to London, dictate to the ‘Welsh Government’, and do serious damage to our country and our nation.
I’m sure there are people out there with more information on ‘Game Show Gary’ Haggaty, so just leave it in the usual tree-trunk.
AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE
We have 48 bodies in Wales ‘combating homelessness’. (Or did have in 2017, now it’s probably more.) You might think that with so many battalions in the field Wales is on its way to victory over homelessness, but that would be to misunderstand the strategy at work and the objective.
There are CEOs pulling down £80,000+ a year and many other Labour Party cronies doing very nicely out of maintaining high levels of homelessness . . . so this is a ‘war’ that must not be won.
Among the major players in the homelessness racket is Llamau, which has appeared on this blog many times. Like so many third sector bodies in Wales Llamau seems to be run by female English disciples of Common Purpose, the liberal freemasonry, who specialise in screwing public money from thick-as-shit Labour politicians with no better ideas on how to use money.
Here’s a little tale about Llamau’s CEO which gives an idea of how things link up in Cardiff Bay, and the incestuous political culture that prevails in that cess-pit.
In the ongoing – unending? – leftist-third sector witch-hunt against Neil McEvoy, Frances Beecher was one of the complainants. (And was almost certainly encouraged to make her fatuous contribution by Deryn Consulting.)
But enough history. For I bring tidings of Llamau expanding.
There was an organisation called the Swansea Young Single Homeless Project (SYSHP) which did good work in the ugly lovely town for almost thirty years, but on 1 October 2019 it merged with Llamau. Or rather, Llamau took it over 3 October 2018, when the SYSHP trustees/company directors were given the heave-ho and replaced with Llamau appointees.
Among the replacements was lawyer Thomas Graham Breed who – on 23 January this year – became a director of Capital Law in Cardiff. (Belated congratulations, Graham.) This is one of the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’s favoured legal firms. A great deal of Welsh public money goes to Capital Law.
It was obviously a hostile takeover and you have to wonder why SYSHP succumbed to it so meekly. Were they told it was a fait accompli, and given the choice between takeover and collapse?
It being a done deal might explain why the Supporting People Grants (the mainstay of SYSHP funding), administered by the ‘Welsh Government’, fell from £832,938 in y/e 31.03.2018 to £644,215 in y/e 31.03.2019.
While other funders, including the Lottery, thought SYSHP was a good enough bet to increase their funding.
It’s very odd, because with such well-connected and influential new hands on deck you would expect ‘Welsh Government’ funding to have increased . . . unless, as I suggest, it was an engineered failure to facilitate complete takeover.
According to the latest available accounts for SYSHP as a condition of the takeover “. . . the charity (SYSHP) will meet all of its liabilities and then transfer over the remaining assets to Llamau at their fair value . . .”. but Llamau now owns the Swansea Young Single Homeless Project, and its assets.
I can only assume that all outstanding debts and charges are to be paid out of the remaining SYSHP funds and whatever is left transfers to Llamau. Including the prime assets of 51 & 52 Walter Road in central Swansea.
What we see here is another example of an organisation using its influence in Cardiff Bay to promote itself in other parts of Wales at the expense of rivals who do not have the ear of our wise and incorruptible tribunes, and do not socialise with the civil servants who manipulate said tribunes.
This phenomenon – the norm in third world countries – explains so many things. For example, it tells us how Wales & West Housing has become our only truly all-Wales housing association.
Another manifestation of this phenomenon, one I note as I travel around, is that Cardiff estate agents get business all over Wales. It’s so sad that there are no estate agents in other parts of the country.
Yes, devolution’s been good for some in Cardiff. As long as you’ve got the connections.
Dawnus did a great deal of work in West Africa, and it was suggested that Ebola in that region went some way to deciding Dawnus’s fate. For the company’s decline was said to have begun with the Ebola outbreak in January 2014.
Not long after Ebola hit we saw the arrival on the scene of Nicholas Charles Down, whose Linkedin profile suggested he’d worked mainly outside the UK. Though it’s difficult to figure out if he’d been brought in to try to save Dawnus or to administer the last rites.
And now it appears that Down is neither the director of any company nor is he involved with a Limited Liability Partnership. So where did he go?
The reason I got interested in the Dawnus story was that I received a number of reports saying that the most valuable machinery was shipped to West Africa towards the end of 2018, when the shit was visibly heading – if in slow motion – towards the fan.
The photographs below that were sent to me purport to show the heavy stuff en route to the docks for shipment to West Africa.
Two companies emerged from the catastrophe. The first was Dawnus International Group Ltd, formed 22 March 2019, which shook off the ‘Dawnus’ tag by becoming DIG International Group Ltd less than a week later. The second was DIG Civil Engineering Ltd, formed 9 April 2019, but still a non-trading company according to Companies House.
The two companies shared an address in Clydach before moving last month to Stradey Business Centre in Llangennech, Llanelli. Which is interesting, because this gives me the opportunity to introduce another player in the form of Hydro Industries, also based at Stradey Business Centre.
You’ll have to go back to last year’s articles to get the full import, but to cut a long story short, there has always been military and defence industry involvement in the margins of this saga. French defence giant Thales being one of the players. For a time Thales had a presence on the same Llanelli estate where we find the DIG companies, and Hydro Industries.
The thing about Hydro that I found remarkable was who got involved with this rather obscure little company in Sosban last year. Though it might be relevant that among the original Hydro directors is arch BritNat and former chairman of the Welsh Rugby Union, David Pickering.
In June 2018 Guto Harri joined the board of Hydro. That’s Guto Harri who regularly appears on Newsnight, the former BBC journalist and communications director for Boris Johnson when BoJo was mayor of London.
Harri was soon joined by Diane Marguerite Marie Briere de’Lisle, who is course French, and the wife of Admiral Insurance founder Henry Englehardt. Then came Henrietta Baldock of Bank of America and Legal and General Assurance. With Robert Brooks as secretary. ‘Who him?’ I’m not sure, but I guarantee he don’t live round by ‘ere.
There’s no doubt in my mind of UK government involvement in the demise of Dawnus. Our masters in London might not have caused the Dawnus collapse but they took advantage because Dawnus was involved in a strategically important region.
I suggest that the involvement of the UK government explains why the ‘Welsh Government’ offered Dawnus no real help – the pretend politicos down Cardiff docks were warned off.
Around the same time Hydro ‘won’ the Saudi and Egyptian contracts its business address moved from Llangennech to Berkeley Square in West London. (That’s Berkeley Square of nightingale fame.) Quite a move for a company started by a bunch of Turks.
So who now owns Hydro Industries?
Come to that, who now owns the machinery in West Africa? Was it shipped home to pay off creditors? I doubt it very much. Those shipments of machinery from Wales to West Africa in late 2018 were made to keep assets away from liquidators and creditors. That machinery and equipment is there now winning hearts and minds, and combating the spread of Chinese influence.
The irony is that Hydro Industries, and to a lesser extent Dawnus, provide clean drinking water to those who realise the importance and value of this essential commodity. While here in Wales, the whining invertebrates calling themselves the ‘Welsh Government’ are quite happy to give away our water!
UPDATE: I’ve been sent something that links with both Dawnus and the point I made in the earlier section about Cardiff estate agents getting the work all over Wales. This is the old Dawnus depot in Clydach, up for sale on Prime Location, with details available from Alder King of Cardiff, which has its HQ in Bristol.
OH GOODY! ANOTHER WIND FARM
A few years back there was an attempt to plant yet more wind turbines near the A44 as it snakes its way up from Aberystwyth to meet the A470 at Llangurig. The project was imaginatively named Mynydd y Gwynt.
Those behind it seem to be a family of local landowners who’d already diversified in a number of ways. To promote its scheme the clan had linked with Isle of Man-based company Renewable Energy Holdings Plc.
Now there’s another wind farm scheme, this one called Lluest y Gwynt. The company Lluest y Gwynt Wind Farm Ltd was formed in June 2018 . . . just months after the Court of Appeal hammered the final nail in the Mynydd y Gwynt coffin.
So is Lluest y Gwynt just Mynydd y Gwynt under a slightly changed name, and at a site very close by?
There have been a few dozen Eco2 companies over the past twenty years but the most recent additions to the stable have been, Eco2 LYG Limited, Incorporated 24 May 2018. And Eco2 Dulais Limited (27 November 2019). Darwell is the major shareholder in both, with a line-up of shared directors.
The documents received by the Planning Inspectorate for Lluest y Gwynt can be viewed from this link.
Statkraft, like all investors hoping to exploit poorer countries, seeks out those with access to the local ‘chiefs’. So it has linked with Cardiff-based Eco2 to gain access to local politicians and decision makers.
I’m sure that Statkraft is hoping Eco2 CEO Dr David Williams will be able to help. For having served as chairman of the ‘Welsh Government’s Energy and Environmental Sector Panel from January 2011 to August 2018 he must know a few movers and shakers down Corruption Bay.
There’s nothing new in this. When I wrote Corruption in the wind? in November 2018 I recounted the amusing tale of a mystery woman frantically lobbying in April 2017 on behalf of those behind some Powys wind farms. (Scroll down to section headed ‘Mystery woman’)
That woman was Anna McMorrin, live-in lover of Alun Davies AM, who became the MP for Cardiff North in the June 2018 election. McMorrin wasn’t employed by the investors behind Hendy and Bryn Blaen wind farms because she knew owt about wind turbines, she was employed solely because she knew people down Cardiff docks who could make the decisions the investors wanted.
And it’s the same with Statkraft and Eco2.
Lobbying down Corruption Bay isn’t restricted to Deryn Consulting and other lobbying firms, for Labour insiders also feather their nests from knowing who to schmooze. And Labour Party insiders doing so well from this system explains why there is no register of lobbyists down the Bay.
Will Lluest y Gwynt succeed where Mynydd y Gwynt failed? Perhaps. But why should we cover more of Wales with ugly and inefficient wind turbines to kill red kites and other birds while increasing the risk of flooding, and all done to enrich a company owned by the government of one of the richest countries on Earth?
Finally, it’s worth remembering that Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, will have a big say in whether or not to allow Lluest y Gwynt wind farm, So who do you think Statkraft and Eco2 should have a quiet word with; you know, someone who might be able to influence her?
Watch this space.
‘SEASONAL PROPERTIES’, AN UPDATE
In the previous post I reported on a minor act of vandalism in Pwllheli and the bizarre response of North Wales Police.
Someone painted ‘Go home’ on a number of holiday flats near the marina and GogPlod responded by waxing lyrical about key workers staying in these properties, even pleading, ‘How would you like it . . . ?’ – even though no one was staying in them! I described this contribution from the local gendarmerie as ‘bollocks’, even questioning whether it had originated with the police.
Though I was certainly enchanted by the new term, ‘seasonal properties’.
I’m beginning to suspect that when it comes to holiday homes or ‘seasonal properties’ the police would rather not be bothered. Yes, they’ll do some patrolling on main roads for the benefit of the cameras but confronting some selfish bastards sitting it out in their or someone else’s holiday home is just too much trouble.
AND, FINALLY . . .
There are those who say, “Oh there’s nothing wrong with devolution, it’s the fault of the Labour Party. Get rid of them and everything will be fine”. Having given this view the consideration it deserves (about 0.3 seconds) my response is – bollocks!
Wales is now so hopelessly corrupted, its political class, public officials and burdensome third sector motivated either by serving themselves or else serving England – often both – that nothing short of very radical change can improve things for the great majority of our people.
Consequently, any intellectual under-achiever who suggests that things would be better with a Plaid Cymru management team in Cardiff Bay, or a Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition, should receive either a pitying pat on the head or a kick up the arse. (Perhaps depending on whether you’ve ‘taken a drink’.)
If next year’s Assembly elections go ahead we must ensure there are not enough AMs from Labour and Plaid Cymru to form a coalition. That must be the starting point for the change Wales needs.
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
The coronavirus lockdown has confirmed some things that we already knew, such as the fact that many of our politicians, both in London and Cardiff, are incompetent dissemblers. Which leads me to hope that many of them pay the price when we next have a chance to vote.
Though less well known was the fact that there seems to be no legislation stopping some oaf stacking up his supermarket trolley with toilet rolls; with Mrs Oaf following behind, her trolley containing enough pasta to feed a small Italian town for a month.
And why is there apparently no law against a retailer profiteering in a crisis by charging £20 for a pack of twelve toilet rolls?
RECAP: ACTION AND REACTION
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced lockdown on Monday 23 March and the problems for Wales began on the first weekend following that announcement. The examples in the panel below come from different parts of the country but the picture was very similar everywhere.
It was a case of fearful locals responding to ignorant and inconsiderate holiday home owners and tourists.
Though there was an improvement the following weekend, and the Easter weekend that followed that.
In part due to more of our neighbours belatedly accepting that a ‘stay at home’ directive had been issued, and obeying it. But also attributable to an increased police presence on major roads, coupled with car parks and tourist attractions being closed off, and other measures to deter people from travelling into Wales or else turning them back when they’d arrived.
Even so, the selfish, the inconsiderate, and the downright arrogant, just kept coming. And now, just before Easter, they were getting imaginative about it. For as WalesOnline reported, holiday home owners were sending their luggage by courier and driving down in empty cars in case they were stopped by police.
A ploy made easier by a number of holiday home owners claiming their second home as their main residence. Thus escaping the council tax surcharge on holiday homes and even registering their car(s) from the holiday home in order to get cheaper car insurance.
(Someone also tried to explain to me that there’s some Capital Gains Tax advantage . . . but I think I fell asleep. Zzzzzzzzz.)
Below you’ll see the original Facebook post that alerted us to the scam and is quoted in the WalesOnline article I’ve just linked to. I know Wyn Humphreys, he had a garage and repair shop in Aberdyfi for many years, he knows the community well. He’s now based in Tywyn and has car parts delivered by courier every day, so he knows the drivers.
The greater imagination and evasiveness employed by holiday home owners was mirrored by an increased hardening of attitudes on the part of the locals. Brilliantly shown in this short video from Julian Lewis Jones.
Julian is an actor, I understand, but I’ll forgive him that, and if I ever bump into him when this is all over I’ll buy him a pint. Or whatever actors drink.
There was an increasing polarisation between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ that I found intriguing to observe. Not least because the ranks of the ‘Us’ contained some strange bed-fellows.
Clearly, coronavirus and the lockdown have made residents of rural areas focus on holiday or second homes in ways that few people could have predicted beforehand.
For we’ve experienced an upsurge in bad feeling that’s got stronger as the lockdown has progressed, to the point where the hostility directed against holiday homes is now as widespread and virulent as I ever remember it. (And believe me, I go back a bit!)
Some reading this will dismiss concern over holiday homes as a ‘nationalist thing’, but it’s not. I know people – of the BritNat persuasion – who have been out on patrol, searching for and then reporting occupied holiday homes. I put it down to the ‘Spirit of the Blitz’ – like a WWII ARP warden reporting someone whose windows weren’t completely blacked out.
A kind of Blitz without the Luftwaffe.
But whatever the explanation, if I had raised the subject of second homes with these corona-zealots a month ago, they would have defended holiday homes with the usual ill-thought responses, ‘good for the economy’, ‘locals don’t want them’, ‘that’s just anti-English’, blah, blah, blah.
But in recent weeks – and I have seen it myself! – English people living locally have been out ‘harassing’ (as one holiday home owner put it) English second home owners. This has taken some getting used to.
We can see and hear it in the video below from WalesOnline. Because the people staying in the Airbnb property are not being harangued by someone native to Penmachno.
The property is owned by a woman who lives in France, and her explanation for renting it soon starts to unravel.
Of course it’s a health issue for those I’m talking about. And when lockdown is over feelings will subside . . . but things will never be the same as they were before. The animosity towards holiday homes generated by so many of them being owned by selfish and arrogant bastards will never disappear entirely.
It’s almost inevitable that viewing holiday homes in a new light has spilled over into a more guarded attitude towards tourism generally. Again, a response to selfish and irresponsible behaviour, this time on the part of many thousands of people who seem to think that Wales has no existence other than as a holiday destination.
CHANGING THE NARRATIVE
You’ll see that this post is entitled ‘Seasonal properties’, a term that may be new to you, as it was to me when I read it on the NorthWalesLive (Daily Post) website, and used by North Wales Police.
It also appeared as an item in the BBC Wales coronavirus rolling news (below).
Embarrassed by the attention, the owner of one or more of the properties defended himself by claiming that the properties were “available” for key workers.
GogPlod took up the theme and embellished it with the strange statement you’ve read in the image above. Let’s look at it again, paragraph by paragraph.
“The owners of the properties and the key workers are making a significant sacrifice to contribute to the collective response to the coronavirus outbreak.”
But there’s nobody staying in those properties. And if key workers were staying in them, then the owner(s) – rather than having empty properties earning nothing – would be having an income. How would that be a ‘sacrifice’?
“From our patrols we can say that the vast majority of seasonal properties are not occupied by tourists and have been given up to local people.”
Where the hell were these ‘locals’ living before coronavirus hit? In caves? Under boulders? Down in the sewer systems? Everyone living in the north will know that’s more bollocks. Does the person who wrote it even know northern Wales?
“Now more than ever we cannot afford to divert our stretched emergency services away from the work of collectively tackling this pandemic.”
The emergency services may be stretched, but with that daubing we’re talking about half an hour’s work for a PCSO. If time is so precious why waste it on a propaganda exercise?
“Ask yourself how you would feel if returning to this after a long shift keeping the community safe.”
This is clever, it appeals to emotion over reason, but it’s just more bollocks. Because no key workers are staying in those 8 semi-detached, holiday let, ‘townhouses’.
I genuinely doubt if that statement was written by a police officer, unless it was one with certain political leanings who also had some knowledge of psychology and propaganda techniques.
A statement that so shamelessly over-eggs a very minor incident and misrepresents the truth can only damage the credibility of Heddlu Gogledd Cymru.
It is the kind of statement that might have been issued by a political commissar speaking in the name of an organisation back in the old USSR. For example: ‘The Basket-weavers Union of Kazakhstan condemns in the strongest possible terms the US Army’s incursion into Laos’.
In the West this work is usually referred to as psychological operations, but it fulfils a very similar role. In addition to MI5 and MI6 and the traditional intelligence units of the British army we have recently seen the emergence of the 77th Brigade to combat ‘cybernats’ and others perceived to be enemies of the state. Is the 77th Brigade now handling NWP’s press releases?
The comparison with commissars and psyops is valid because the statement issued by North Wales Police was political. It even introduced a newly-coined term with ‘seasonal properties’; suggesting someone, somewhere, had realised that ‘second homes’ and ‘holiday homes’ had pejorative connotations.
It’s the introduction of this term, and the way it’s been used in that bizarre statement that tells me those who watch over us are getting concerned about the increasingly hostile focus on holiday homes, and where it might lead.
The reporting of the Pwllheli graffiti was an attempt to take control of the narrative.
But then, just when it seemed that hostility towards ‘seasonal properties’ was abating, along came another hammer blow. One that might prove fatal to the ‘commissars’ hope of returning Wales to the resigned acceptance of holiday homes from the pre-coronavirus days.
For we learnt that those holiday home owners who had cheated our local authorities out of council tax – by claiming that their property was a small business – are in line for a windfall in the form of Covid-19 compensation, anything from £10,000 to £25,000. This news re-ignited the pissed-on embers.
The leaders of Gwynedd, Anglesey, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire councils have all called on their councils not to make the payments until checks have been made to sort the genuine small rural businesses from second home owners cheating the rest of us.
Though according to Councillor Elwyn Vaughan payments are already being made in Powys. But then, many of the rat-race escapees who run Powys council probably sympathise and identify with holiday home owners.
Though it was disappointing to read deputy council leader Aled Davies respond with, “These businesses, which include farm diversification projects, holiday chalets and second homes when let, make a valuable contribution to our tourism offer and our local economy”.
Listen, Aled, genuine small businesses like farm diversification projects will not lose out. But your knee-jerk reaction makes you sound as if you want to pay everyone, including the cheaters.
So, is that your position, Aled, to pay everyone – cheques without checks? If so, how does such an attitude protect the interests of the people of Powys?
The Covid-19 compensation payouts will be another headache for the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’, already buckling and looking beaten by the pandemic itself. Yet it’s a problem they could have avoided years ago by closing the legal loophole that allows this chicanery.
But as we know, and as I’ve explained on this blog, the ‘Welsh Government’, and the civil servants that control it, hate almost everything about the Welsh countryside – except what is alien, intrusive, and damaging to Welsh identity.
Thirty and more years ago I recall politicians loftily insisting that they would never submit to the ‘terrorists’ of Meibion Glyndŵr. The implication being that if the arson campaign against second homes ceased then something might be done about the problem. (For no one denied they were a problem.)
Here we are, thirty years on, and nothing has been done; the problem is worse than ever. After two decades of devolved government, after 21 years of ‘Welsh solutions for Welsh problems’.
If anyone attacks a ‘seasonal property’ then the police should head straight to Cardiff Bay and arrest London’s management team; both those masquerading as the political leadership of Wales and the puppet-master civil servants.