The Alliance Against Livestock Farming

This week’s piece about wildlife trusts and environmental groups complements what I put out last week about the assorted river charities.

For both seem to be funded to shield Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water) and others from criticism by blaming livestock farmers for all river pollution. Also, to pursue the so-called ‘Welsh Government’s Net Zero lunacy and, in so doing, serve the globalist agenda.

With a few twists.

Wildlife and environmental groups tend to contain more ‘zealots’, which results in hysteria, and a readiness to tell lies. Which in this context is often accompanied by a thinly-disguised contempt for Wales and Welsh identity.

One example might be the charity Wildlife Trusts Wales (WTW) choosing to dissolve itself, while the local trusts for which it served as the umbrella organisation joined England’s Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts. You’ll learn more about this as you read on.

As I say, there will be similarities with last week’s piece, but also differences. And I promise a bit more in the way of polemic. Ol’ Jac gonna let rip!

It’s fairly big, so go make a mug of something before settling down to enjoy it.

WHO’S WHO IN THE FLEECE JACKETS

Let’s start by looking at the organisational setup.

As I said in the intro, Wildlife Trusts Wales recently put itself out of business so that the five regional trusts – North, Montgomeryshire, Radnorshire, South and West, Gwent – could become full members of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT).

Explained at the foot of page 1 in the 2021 WTW accounts.

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The clip below from the Charity Commission entry tells us that the RSWT now views Wales and England as a single unit, whereas Scotland and Northern Ireland are treated separately. Even the Isle of Man gets more respect than us.

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But then, when you surrender your separate identity this is what you can expect.

And yet, the pretence of an independent existence is maintained by a Wildlife Trusts Wales website. Where WTW describes itself as: ‘one of five Wildlife Trusts in Wales’ which, again, makes no sense. Yes, there are five, I just listed them, and they’re all area specific, so where and how does WTW fit in?

It’s all very confusing. Perhaps deliberately so.

At the foot of the WTW website home page we are given Companies House and Charity Commission numbers. The latter draws a blank because the charity was closed March 31, 2021. While the Companies House entry tells us that the company voluntarily dissolved earlier this year.

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So why hasn’t the information on the website been updated? If it’s claimed WTW still exists, then what form does that existence take?

And what happened to the money?

Well, the final accounts for the WTW (y/e 31.03.2021) seem to show, at the foot of page 19, that the cash left when the company folded was divvied up among four of the five trusts I mentioned earlier.

Brecknock received nowt because it had not long before merged with the South and West Wales Wildlife Trust, which for some reason was itself left out. (Why didn’t ‘Brecknock’ make the obvious merger, with Radnorshire? Or why not a Powys trust?)

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You’ll see that £234,320 went to the ‘All Wales Conservation Strategy’. Does anyone know what that is? I’ve tried Googling but nothing comes up. Do the funders know where their money’s going?

The more I thought about this wildlife trusts reconfiguration the stranger it appeared. I mean, just think about it.

Before devolution we had local wildlife trusts with Wildlife Trusts Wales serving as the umbrella body. Yet now, when wildlife trusts deal with Y Senedd, when there’s separate Welsh funding, different legislation, they do away with their national body in order to, effectively, become English wildlife trusts.

This move makes no sense on any rational or practical level. How then can it be explained? I really would like to know.

Whatever ethereal form Wildlife Trusts Wales now takes the wraith clearly retains the strength to use a Twitter account. Here’s a gem put out on Monday.

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To describe Wales as ‘one of the most nature depleted countries in the world’ is hysterical nonsense and an insult to us as a nation.

While suggesting that farming is to blame rather gives the game away.

The image used in the tweet comes from this source, linked with Denmark farm, near Lampeter, where we find another gang of alien envirogrifters. A farming source tells me the allegation made in the image may be libellous.

The Denmark Farm Conservation Centre has gone the way of so many outfits that appear on this blog – it was Dissolved earlier this year. With two outstanding charges.

FILTHY LUCRE

We saw in last week’s piece that river charities saw a remarkable increase in official funding at the very time Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths (and Gary) was formulating her draconian and ‘unworkable’ NVZ legislation.

Such propinquity!

Well, no. It’s explained by the fact that Lesley (and Gary) wanted a stream of pollution stories in order to justify that NVZ legislation.

Stories that were also music to the ears of Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water) bosses, because it deflected attention from the water company’s pollution.

We see something very similar in wildlife trusts.

Let’s start with the North Wales Wildlife Trust. Where total income more than doubled between 2017 and 2021. The largest element of that increase is (in various forms) government funding, up from £180,440 in 2017 to £1,970,000 in 2021.

Plus assets of around £3m.

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A ten-fold increase in government funding will support a few beavers.

The picture at the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust shows a more modest but still healthy increase in funding. To which we must also add assets pushing £3m.

Moving south we come to the intriguing anomaly of the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust. Intriguing for in the old 13-county arrangement you will recall that Radnorshire was quite small in size and had the lowest population of all our counties.

But the local wildlife trust paints a different picture. Total income doubled between 2017 and 2021 and there are assets of over £2m. There were no assets in 2019.

The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales has seen income increase by 50% in the period we’re looking at, but government grants increased from £21,300 in 2017 to £748,050 in 2021. Then throw in assets of some £5m.

Finally, to Gwent. Where income has increased at a more modest rate apart from a huge blip in 2018 accounted for by Heritage Lottery funding for a project on the Gwent Levels. But with assets around the three million pound mark.

So everything looks just tickety-boo on the financial front for our English-registered wildlife trusts.

BARE-FACED LIES

I am indebted to one of the few honest journalists left in Wales for drawing my attention to a disgraceful incident last November, at a hearing of the Senedd’s Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee.

Rachel Sharp of the zombie-like Wildlife Trusts Wales and Wales Environmental Link (WEL) alleged that along with all the other evils livestock farmers are responsible for they also use growth hormones, which eventually end up in our streams and rivers.

The transcript is here (123) and the video here.

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The truth is that growth hormones have been banned in the UK since 1981. Welsh livestock farmers do not use growth hormones.

After protests from farming unions and Tory MS Sam Kurtz apologies were issued. But as we’ve come to expect from these envirofanatics it’s never an honest ‘I was wrong’. It’s always qualified, position shifting, hoping the original lie lingers.

But this time they’d gone too far, and it wasn’t just Rachel Sharp telling porkies. Also there representing Wales Environmental Link was Creighton Harvey, also a trustee of Afonydd Cymru Cyf.

Here’s how the Pembrokeshire Herald reported it.

‘The evidence of Ms Sharp’s fellow representative from Wales Environment Link was also riddled with errors.

Creighton Harvey told the Committee that agriculture was the largest polluter of Wales’s watercourses.

The largest polluters are water companies, industrial users, and domestic users’.

So who is Rachel Sharp?

Well, as we know, she’s a trustee of Wales Environmental Link. But this profile from the ‘Welsh Government’ website tells us a bit more. And it’s fascinating.

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To begin with, it keeps up the pretence of the defunct Wildlife Trusts of Wales. But concludes by informing us that Rachel Sharp is also ‘a group member of the Welsh Water Independent Environment Advisory Panel’.

So what’s that? Here’s a clue from the Dŵr Cymru website.

We’re told, ‘The Chair is Mari Arthur, Director of Cynal (sic) Cymru’. But Mari Arthur left Cynnal Cymru in July 2018, after just 4 months. Is this another site in need of updating?

Mari Arthur now runs Mari Arthur Marketing, but hasn’t yet registered it as a company. Among her clients we find Cynnal Cymru. Also, joined-at-the-hip ‘Welsh Government’ and Cardiff University.

Her other companies include Afallen LLP and Tetrimteas Cyf.

If the name Mari Arthur rings a bell it’s because she so badly damaged Plaid Cymru in Llanelli, a seat the party had been nurturing since the days of the great Carwyn James.

She was forced on the constituency party by her friends in both Plaid Cymru and Labour. For in the Corruption Bay circles in which Mari Arthur moves party labels mean little as long as you’re ‘on the right side of history’.

The Independent Environmental Advisory Panel is clearly a group that allows Dŵr Cymru and envirozealots to agree their narratives in the war on livestock farmers and draw attention away from Dŵr Cymru itself, the biggest culprit.

There should be no place in Welsh public life for Rachel Sharp of the mythical Wales Wildlife Trusts, the all too corporeal Wales Environmental Link, and the Dŵr Cymru claque in the laughably named Independent Environmental Advisory Panel.

I suspect Rachel Sharp’s mask slipped last November when she forgot where she was; because when she and others of her ilk usually talk with politicians and civil servants – and of course, Dŵr Cymru – they tend to reinforce each other’s self-serving prejudices about livestock farmers.

But she’ll survive. For she has powerful friends, among those who’ve been elected, and those we’ve never heard of.

Another name that caught my eye among the Wales Environmental Link luminaries was Natalie Buttriss, whose Linkedin profile (here in pdf) tells us she’s ‘Director of Wales The Woodland Trust’. This outfit previously used the name Coed Cadw for its Welsh operations, but this pandering to the indigenes seems to have been dropped.

Native of Bristol Buttriss was in at the start of the Summit to Sea land grab. For which she appeared on this blog four years ago in The Welsh Clearances. Her contempt for farmers was made obvious in this radio interview with the BBC’s Farming Today.

I have always believed that Buttriss was so arrogant, so dismissive of the interests of livestock farmers, because she believed she had the full support of the ‘Welsh Government’.

For in that interview she suggests that subsidies would be withheld or cut to make farmers fall into line. She wouldn’t have said that unless certain Bay politicians had promised to play the heavies.

The ‘Welsh Government’s hand was not revealed because the opposition to Summit to Sea made backers like Rewilding Britain pull out and the whole thing seemed to fall apart.

Or maybe it’s still out there, lurking in the undergrowth, waiting to re-emerge.

As we know, climate alarmists have too much influence with the media, partly through having brainwashed two generations of schoolchildren and college students, and partly through funding – ever wondered why Bill Gates gives money to the BBC?

Or perhaps, more pertinently, why the BBC is allowed to accept his funding?

But the propagandising is not confined to the BBC.

Last Friday ITV’s Wales at Six ran a piece about cooperation between the Rhug Estate and the Welsh Dee Trust. A relatively harmless little filler.

But the newsreader, Andrea Byrne, dropped into the report: “Rivers like the Wye and the Usk are virtually dead and no longer able to support an abundance of fish like trout and salmon and other wildlife“.

Bizarre, and completely untrue. But from where did ITV Wales get that lie?

 

Because if it’s true then somebody should tell Harry Legge-Bourke of the Glanusk estate; for he advertises, ‘fantastic fishing on 5 miles of double bank fishing on the River Usk offering day tickets for Trout and Salmon rods’.

No one disputes that these rivers could be healthier, but they’re far from ‘virtually dead’, as ITV Wales would have us believe.

And if these rivers are in decline, then whose fault is that? Because if the finger of guilt is being pointed in the wrong direction to protect the guilty party then things are unlikely to improve.

There is constant financial backing and other support for those who tell lies about livestock farmers from those who benefit from and capitalise on those lies.

I’m often inclined to believe in coincidences. But not this time. What I’m describing is too widespread, across too many sectors.

If it quacks like a duck, and it waddles like a duck . . . 

CONCLUSION

The environmental / wildlife / Nature bodies in Wales are like exotic organisms in a Petri dish. Forever growing, dividing, re-forming, changing appearance and colour, and multiplying through the introduction of fresh viruses.

There are many reasons why there should be no further public funding for these groups. You’ve read some of those reasons here. But Sebastian and Claudia needn’t go without because there are plenty of funding streams they could tap into.

For example, and seeing as they’re promoting the agendas of the UN and WEF, one possibility must be the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Another option would be George Soros. Contact details can be had from Coleg Soros in Talgarth, where environmental and wildlife groups already have many contacts.

Bottom line, and last word . . .

It’s obscene that a country – especially our country – gives tens of millions of pounds every year for truth-averse zealots to enjoy sinecures fretting over toads and butterflies while our people die because ambulances don’t turn up.

♦ end ♦

© Royston Jones 2022


Clear Water, Poisoned Debate

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

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

It was the usual nonsense from the usual sources.

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

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

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

BULLSHIT FOR WHICH BULLS ARE BLAMELESS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All will be explained later in this piece.

THE MEMSAHIBS OF KNIGHTON AND CONSIDERATIONS OF CHICKENSHIT

This section is part digression, part lead-in.

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

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

They perform the full far left agenda:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But what are the facts?

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

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

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

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

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

It’s the latter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me explain why I say that:

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

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

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

More on both in a mo.

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

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

TINKLING RILLS AND STREAMS OF POLLUTING CASH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because don’t you find that strange?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to the riverbank . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE FARMERS . . . ‘

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘He who pays the piper calls the tune’.

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

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

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

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

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

♦ end ♦

© Royston Jones 2022


Gilestone: Thinking Outside The Box

In this post I’ll be setting out my thoughts as to what I believe lies behind the purchase of Gilestone farm. To some extent I’ll be launching a kite, but I believe it flies.

If you disagree, then feel free to tell me. Just click on the ‘Comments’ tab.

QUICK RECAP

Earlier this year the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ paid £4.25m to buy Gilestone farm, near Talybont-on-Usk, in south Powys. The reason given was to provide a permanent base in Wales for the Green Man Festival.

This music festival currently holds its events on the Glanusk estate, a few miles down the river near Crickhowell, but is said to want a place of its own, to diversify ‘the brand’.

Lacking the finance to buy a place of their own it is also claimed that GM boss Fiona Stewart demanded that her friends in the ‘Welsh Government’ buy a place for her. And she does have many friends in Corruption Bay.

My first post on the subject was, Green Man, Red Herring?, back in May. And as the title suggests, even then, I was not entirely convinced by the official story about the farm being bought for the music festival. Something didn’t add up.

So I did some digging.

And I shall begin this latest post by taking you back to where my earlier digging took me – the Catskills of New York State. The area from where New York City draws its water. I dealt with this relationship in that first Gilestone piece.

This Catskill-Delaware Watershed is supplemented lower down the Hudson River by the smaller Croton Watershed.

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Following contact by Dŵr Cymru (DC) a visit was made to Wales in March 2018 by representatives of the Watershed Agricultural Council. This visit was reciprocated in October 2019, when a party from the Beacons visited the Catskills.

One result of these trans-Atlantic jollies was the formation in May 2020 of the Beacons Water Group CIC (BWG). That the one was the inspiration for the other is made clear in the company’s Certificate of Incorporation.

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In the panel above you’ll see mention of ‘BBMC’. This is Dŵr Cymru’s Brecon Beacons Mega Catchment. This Dŵr Cymru video tells a little more.

But it makes little sense. OK, so the Beacons supplies southern Wales with water. That is understood. But what was to be learnt from linking up with the New York City Watershed Agricultural Council?

HANDS ACROSS THE SEA

We are expected to believe that the BWG and BBMC, both inspired by the US link-up, exist solely to ensure cleaner water from the Beacons for DC’s existing customers.

The problem I have with this interpretation is – if true, then what has Dŵr Cymru being doing up until now? And did DC need to go to the USA to learn about water quality?

Which is why I suspect these new bodies might serve some purpose other than simply improving water quality, or some purpose additional to that objective.

Let’s look again at the US exemplar.

As the pre-internet flyer below makes clear, the reason for introducing the Watershed scheme was to impose stricter regulations on farmers in the Catskills.

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To some extent, this was understandable, everybody wants clean drinking water. It’s a global human necessity that too many are still going without. Also, irresponsible farmers can be a source of pollution.

That was what lay behind the Watershed Agricultural Council. (Here’s a brief history.) Farmers were cajoled, persuaded, and paid, to keep the water clean. I’ve found nothing to make me suspect there was a hidden agenda.

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But I do believe that on this side of the Atlantic some looked at the Catskills and saw a model to be replicated; with others welcoming a model that could be adapted to enforce local observance of Globalist diktats.

And so, what we see emerging in the Beacons is, up to a point, about water quality; but also about using water quality to make life difficult for farmers, done in order to facilitate the ‘Welsh Government’s implementation of the UN’s Agenda 2030 and The Great Reset of the World Economic Forum.

Which, among other demands, insist on reducing the numbers of livestock farmers.

But what I believe is planned for the Beacons goes beyond the ‘Welsh Government’s war on farming, and owes more to the principal aim of the Catskills model.

QUI BONO?

As we’ve read, one of the most important aspects of the whole Watershed project is the claim that it enjoys the co-operation of farmers.

In the hope of reprising that bucolic camaraderie the Brecon Beacons Mega Catchment will play the role of the Watershed Agricultural Council, with the Beacons Water Group serving to demonstrate farmer involvement.

I’d like to give you more information about the BBMC but it seems to be pretty sparse. There is a Twitter account, that hasn’t posted for months, and the same applies to the Facebook page.

With very little information on the Dŵr Cymru website.

Though I did turn up this picture, from February, of what is said to be the BBMC steering group. The picture comes from the Twitter account of Dave Ashford.

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Ashford works for the ‘Welsh Government’ but was, from May 2020 to April 2022, seconded to Dŵr Cymru as ‘Brecon Beacons Mega-Catchment Programme Manager’.

He is now back with the ‘Welsh Government’, as ‘Stakeholder Engagement Manager to help develop a future Sustainable Farming Scheme for Wales’. Here’s his Linkedin page. (Here in pdf format in case you can’t access it.)

Didn’t Dŵr Cymru itself have anyone who could have done this job, for water is its business after all? Couldn’t Natural Resources Wales have provided someone?

Is secondment like this a common practice? Because if nothing else, it gives the impression that the Catchment project is pushing a political objective rather than promoting an environmental agenda.

In the photo above, Dave is fifth from the left. Third from the right is Richard Roderick, of Newton Farm, next door to Gilestone. Richard is a local National Farmers Union chief, and chairman(?) of the Brecknockshire Agricultural Society.

Now the thing about Richard Roderick is that he is also a director of Beacons Water Group CIC. Another director is Keri Howell Davies, who made the trip to the USA with Roderick in October 2019.

Someone else we find among the BWG directors is Charles Weston, the man who sold Gilestone farm to the ‘Welsh Government’. Fancy that!

Talking of whom, I’m going to push the boat out and suggest that . . .

The purchase of Gilestone for a very generous £4.25m might have been a reward for the seller, Charles Weston, as much as, or rather than, a favour for the Green Man Festival. If that’s right, then what did Weston do to deserve such generosity?

Might it have anything to do with Weston’s principle company, CWW Farming Ltd, being previously known as Sharpness and Severn Transport Ltd, a company having nothing to do with farming?

Sharpness being a small town and port on the Severn in Gloucestershire. From where the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal runs to Gloucester docks. Just before reaching Gloucester this canal links with the Thames & Severn Canal which, as the name suggests, connects the Severn with the Thames just west of Oxford.

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Why am I telling you this? My thinking will be explained in the next section. (If you haven’t already guessed!)

Let’s conclude this section by reiterating that it looks very much to me, and to farmers in contact with me, that the leadership of the NFU, both in Wales and at Englandandwales level, has signed up to Agenda 2030 and The Great Reset.

Here we see Minette Batters, NFU president, proudly wearing her Agenda 2030 badge. And who’s that with her? Why! – it’s the WEF’s new man in No 10!

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The top brass at the NFU have the sense – and the political nous – to realise that livestock farmers, especially in Wales, are to be culled. They, the chiefs, will look after themselves, and then it’s every ‘Indian’ for himself.

In Wales that means complying with, perhaps even pretending to agree with, the ‘Welsh Government’s hysterical responses to an imaginary climate disaster.

Nothing to do with saving the planet, it’s pure self-interest.

THE BIG PICTURE

Let’s accept that the trans-Atlantic trips make no sense whatsoever if Dŵr Cymru is simply going to look after water in the Brecon Beacons for its existing customers. In other words, the ‘day job’.

There has to be more to it than that. (Now we come to the ‘kite’ I mentioned earlier.)

Let’s start with a few established and incontestable facts.

Due to an expanding population, and rising living standards in recent decades, the demand for water has increased dramatically in southern England, resulting in a growing problem of water shortages.

Water will be have to be brought in from somewhere else.

That ‘somewhere’ is usually identified as Wales. The mayor of London in 2011 – a certain Boris Johnson – suggested it. And in August of this year Conservatives were even pushing the idea of a ‘Great Boris Canal’ to ‘transfer water from Wales to the south of England’, according to Nation.Cymru.

In the same month the GMB trade union was arguing for Welsh water to be pumped to England.

The subject of west to east (and north to south) water transfer has been discussed by various bodies, off and on, for decades. The difference now may be that ‘climate change’ can be used to push on with the proposed ‘national’ water grid.

The extract below comes from a debate in the House of Lords in March 2012.

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My reading of the situation is that there is already a plan in place to move water to England from the Brecon Beacons.

Not only is it roughly the same distance from London as the Catskill watershed is from New York City but the infrastructure is largely in place, and what’s needed is either under construction or could be done relatively easily.

Also remember that Fiona Stewart told the BBC that the Gilestone purchase was the ‘Welsh Government’s idea. Claiming ministers “came to me” with the proposal.

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As I suggested earlier, Fiona Stewart may have been pressing her friends in Corruption Bay to help her and the Green Man Festival, maybe even buy her a farm; but I don’t think she was asking for, and she didn’t expect, Gilestone.

Let’s now look at the OS map of Gilestone farm. In particular, look at the course of the river Usk and the Monmouthshire & Brecon canal. Nowhere do they come closer to each other than at Gilestone.

Transferring water from the Usk to the canal, and then on to England, would be fairly easy. Given that the Usk regularly floods Gilestone farm such engineering work could even be dressed up as a flood prevention scheme.

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And the engineering work involved would expose the large and very valuable sand and gravel deposits that lie beneath Gilestone.

Also worth remembering is Gilestone’s proximity to both Llangorse Lake and Talybont reservoir. Shown below in the image from Google Earth.

So many water resources so close to Gilestone: river, canal, lake, reservoir.

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Llangorse is the largest natural lake in central and southern Wales. Talybont reservoir is the largest stillwater lake in the south, and owned by Dŵr Cymru.

And to end this section, let’s remember the skulduggery that preceded Weston’s purchase of Gilestone.

I have spoken with Gilestone’s previous owners, and I am in no doubt that they were forced out. Instrumental in the campaign to get them to sell to Weston was a solicitor named Julie James. She was elected to the Welsh Assembly in 2011 and is now Minister for Climate Change.

She is still deeply involved with Gilestone.

CONCLUSION

The plan to transfer water from the Brecon Beacons to England has been hatching for a considerable time.

In addition to the River Usk and the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal it may also involve the River Wye. Which would explain the hysteria from an ever-growing number of conservation groups on these rivers – always blaming Welsh livestock farmers for anything less than crystal-clear water.

Though the Environment Agency (England’s equivalent of Natural Resources Wales) points the finger at arable farmers, who are almost all on the English side of the border. While poultry units, targeted by colonialist ecowhiners, get an almost clean bill of health.

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Charles Weston may have bought Gilestone of his own volition, but I’m inclined to believe there was some agency involved. If so, which agency might that be?

I concede that my theory hinges on various facts being part of a coherent whole rather than just coincidences. Anyway, here are the facts, interpret them as you will:

  • For many years there have been influential voices calling for water to be transferred from Wales to southern England.
  • Charles Weston, has a background in transport and shipping, and long-established links to Sharpness, from where there is a direct waterway to London.
  • For some reason Weston moved to Wales and started buying land, including Gilestone, the previous owners having been hounded out by a campaign involving a lawyer who is now a ‘Welsh Government’ minister.
  • Gilestone seems ideally placed for any scheme for transferring water from Wales to London.
  • For no obvious reason a link was forged between Dŵr Cymru and the Watershed Agricultural Council in New York State. The WAC exists solely to guarantee a regular supply of clean drinking water to New York City.
  • This US link gave us the Brecon Beacons Mega Catchment and the Beacons Water Group. The justification for these two groups has been ‘explained‘ in terms that are risible and vague to the point of being utterly vacuous.
  • The ‘Welsh Government’ bought Gilestone farm from Charles Weston for an inflated sum. We were told the purchase was made for the Green Man Festival’ – but Fiona Stewart says, “They (WG) came to me”!

I believe this kite flies!

And if I’m right, then Gilestone was ‘secured’ for future use when Weston bought it; and now, the ‘Welsh Government’s purchase could signal that things are moving on to the next stage.

Of course the ‘Welsh Government’ might be ignorant of the bigger picture. This would explain why it cannot give a plausible explanation for buying Gilestone farm.

This ignorance could also be attributed to the Drakeford Gang acting under orders. Perhaps the project is managed by civil servants, working in Wales but answering to their bosses in Whitehall.

Though I find it difficult to believe that Julie James is wholly in the dark.

Supplying water to London would certainly explain the Catskills connection, which otherwise makes no sense at all. For it’s the perfect template if the plan is for a hilly and largely agricultural area to supply a city of 9 million people roughly 100 miles away.

With the ‘Welsh Government’ seizing the opportunity presented by the water transfer project to make life even more difficult for our livestock farmers.

Two birds with one stone. And two blows against the interests of the Welsh people.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Chisellers From Chislehurst

I’m returning to a couple of devious characters involved in running retirement and care homes in Wales. Both appeared in the previous ‘Miscellany‘ posting; in the section, ‘The Old Folks At Home’.

Reminding us that the care home sector is a bit of a mess, and will inevitably attract grifters like Mohanananthan Kuhananthan and Raqia Bibi.

And I warn you now, it’s worse than I originally thought. Then again, it’s a modus operandi we’ve encountered in the recent past with another crook.

So stay tuned!

Since that post appeared on September 28 there have been developments. A piece appeared in WalesOnline last Friday telling of more problems in homes run by Bibi and Kuhananthan.

Followed by the article below in last Saturday’s Western Mail.

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Two care homes were mentioned that I hadn’t found in my research for the earlier piece: Manor Park Care Centre, in Wrecsam, run by Manor Park Residential Home Ltd; and Plas-y-Bryn, near Cross Hands, run by Comfort Care Homes (Plas y Bryn) Ltd.

Though Manor Park is owned by Manor Park Property Company Ltd. Here’s the title document. The only director is Mohanananthan Kuhananthan. But the accounts – for a dormant company – show assets of only £100. So where’s the property being hidden?

I had considered making up a table of the companies with which the Gruesome Twosome are or have been involved, but there are just too many. Another problem is that they’ve also been involved in companies where they were not shown as directors on the Companies House website.

UPDATE 14.07.2022: What the hell! I trawled the Companies House website and found 57 companies one or both of them has been involved with. Here’s the list, most recent at the top, each name is a hyperlink that will take you to the relevant CH entry.

To explain what I mean by that suggestion of the ‘hidden hand’, let’s look at a care home in Newport, which got a mention in the earlier post and then an update.

I’m referring to the Danygraig Nursing Home on Quantock Drive, run by Comfort Care Homes (Danygraig) Ltd. This company received loans in June from the Development Bank of Wales.

It seems the first thing done with this new money was to pay off an earlier loan from posh banker Coutts & Co.

As I made clear in the update, Bibi has never been a director of this company, and Kuhananthan left in January 2020. However . . .

When we click on the ‘Persons with significant control’ tab we bring up Dreams Care Homes (RB) Ltd, launched December 3, 2021. And notified to Companies House as taking control of Danygraig on 24 August, 2022.

Not long after the DBW loans were secured.

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The two registered directors of Dreams Care Homes are Bishwa Tara Ghimire and Basanta Nepal. Both were aboard 3 December, 2021 when the company was launched.

Nepal joined the Danygraig Company 17 May, 2022, and Ghimire followed on June 6, the very day of the DBW loans. Nepal is said to control the company. The DBW loan relates to this company also.

Even though there’s no mention of Raqia Bibi and Mohanananthan Kuhananthan I suggest that the ‘(RB)’ in Dreams Care Homes (RB) Ltd is a bit of a giveaway.

So where might Kuhananthan have gone after ostensibly severing ties with the Newport home? Well, I was as surprised as you’re going be, to learn that in June 24, 2021, the imaginative Mr Kuhananthan launched MK Global Movie Production Ltd.

Like most of his companies, this venture is already heading for the rocks. And yet, what I found fascinating was that there was an initial issue of 1000 x £1,000 shares. Which works out at exactly £1,000,000!

I’m not for one minute suggesting it’s the same money, but just weeks after the Development Bank of Wales slipped the readies to the care home in Newport – where he’d been a director – our boy set up a new company with capital of one million pounds.

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A company that I guarantee is planned to fold as soon as is decently possible. Which will effectively write off £1,000,000.

And look at the address for this imaginative departure from granny farming – ‘RB Management Consultancy, 1 Bromley Lane, Chislehurst Business Centre, Chislehurst, England, BR7 6LH’.

Again, I suggest we can all guess what the ‘RB’ stands for.

The company providing that accommodation address is otherwise known as RBMC Global Ltd, set up by Raqia Bibi in February 2017. She was joined by Kuhananthan in April 2021. Though you have to wonder why he bothered, seeing as RBMC Global files as a dormant company.

Which means that Kuhananthan joined a dormant company just two months before he decided to become a movie mogul. (Was he inspired by The Producers?)

On the very same day as RMBC Global was launched, another Bibi-Kuhananthan epic was unleashed on an unsuspecting world. This being RB Care Homes Ltd. Which is also filing as dormant.

Contradicting its prone position I found a glossy sales brochure for RB Care Homes Ltd, which seems to trade as Luxury Property Global. Or should that read traded, for the website is defunct.

Whatever the answer, that brochure alone must have cost a few bob to knock up and to print. All 18 pages of it.

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Getting the picture now? If not . . .

Bibi and Kuhananthan seem to be acquiring care homes and then leasing or selling the rooms in those homes. Described in the brochure as ‘Buy to let’.

They could be running any number of homes in Wales on this model, in many or most cases working through proxies and using companies unknown to local authorities, Care Inspectorate Wales, and others.

UPDATE: When I published what you see above, earlier today, I was unsure if Kuhananthan and Bibi had actually sold or leased any rooms. A bit more digging has turned up the evidence.

The Administrator’s report for Nant-y-Gaer Ltd, dated 30 June, 2022, from which the panel below is extracted, makes it clear that 26 rooms were leased, for 250 years, at the Wrexham Care Centre.

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Those who bought the leases have formed a group, The RB Action Group(?), claiming £2,074,984.

If it was done at one care home, then it’s reasonable to assume that Kuhananthan and Bibi were pulling the same stunt at their other homes. In fact, the report I’ve linked to talks of ‘associated companies’.

Questions need be asked as to how ‘Welsh Government, Care Inspectorate Wales, and local authorities, allowed these shysters to operate for so long.

Which fits with the curious arrangements I mentioned in the previous post, in which the company supposedly owning a business or property is, effectively, dormant, while an unknown entity actually owns the building and runs the business.

In the recent case in Pontypridd, the company mentioned as running things is RB Care Homes Ltd, which produced the brochure yet, as you’ve just read, files as a dormant company, and has nothing in the way of assets other than £1,000 in the bank.

The Land Registry title document tells us the property is actually owned by Pontypridd Care Home Ltd.

Both companies run by Raqia Bibi and Mohanananthan Kuhananthan.

It was a very similar picture in Wrecsam over 3 years ago. The report I’ve just linked to mentions ‘Wrexham Care Centre’. There was certainly a company of that name, but it also filed as a dormant company, with no assets beyond another £1,000 in the bank. It was Dissolved 24 May, 2022. Bibi was a director, but not Kuhananthan.

The property was in fact owned by Nant-y-Gaer Ltd (the former name of the home). Bibi was a director there at the death, but Kuhananthan had departed in October 2015.

Finally, there was also Nant-y-Gaer Hall Ltd, wound-up in March 2020, Bibi ceased to be a director 15 July, 2019, Kuhananthan 21 April 2017.

Yet the June 2019 report in the Leader says the home was run by Raqia Bibi and Mohanananthan Kuhananthan. But in June 2019 Kuhananthan was not a director of any of the three connected companies.

His involvement was limited to Nant-y-Gaer Hall Ltd where, after ceasing to be a director in April 2017, he remained in control until the bad publicity of June 2019 may have forced him out 18 July, 2019.

Nant-y-Gaer Hall Ltd is still in existence, with two outstanding loans, but has been without a single director since Raqia Bibi resigned in July 2019, also following the unfavourable publicity.

Were the council and Care Inspectorate Wales even aware of Nant-y-Gaer Hall Ltd?

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Which, by a roundabout route, brings us back to RBMC Global and RB Care Homes, and the same questions – if both have been filing as dormant, who’s running the show, and what happened to the money attracted by that ‘imaginative’ sales brochure?

Bibi and Kuhananthan dabbling in the lease / buy-a-room business was not of itself illegal, but it offers great scope for criminality, including money laundering.

I referred earlier to this being an MO we had encountered before, and indeed we have. Just think back to Gavin Lee Woodhouse, of Northern Powerhouse Developments, the self-styled ‘Wolf of Wharf Street’.

Grand lad, our Gavin . . . apart from being a lyin’, thievin’ little bastard.

Despite it all, not so long ago representatives of the ‘Welsh Government’ were fighting to shake Gavin’s hand. I treasure the image below. But what happened to little Kenny Skates? Did he disappear one moonlit night while dancing in the Flint Ring?

I do so miss him!

April 2017. What could possibly go wrong? Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Gavin took a great liking to Wales, buying up hotels from Llandudno to Tenby. Then leasing the rooms individually, a kind of timeshare arrangement. You lease a room from Gavin, then you get paid when someone stays in it.

‘Lubbly jubbly!’ Order your Ferrari now!

One of the properties Woodhouse bought was the Fishguard Bay Hotel. It was run by (and perhaps renamed) Wyncliffe House Hotel Ltd. Here’s the relevant Land Registry title document. Scroll down to see the 125-year leases of individual rooms.

At the time I was writing about Woodhouse I also bought a few of the lease documents from the Land Registry, and my suspicions were raised.

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It seemed to me that not all the stated lessees were kosher. There were exotic addresses given that would have been difficult if not impossible for HMRC or anyone else to trace.

Then I remembered that the timeshare business, which is very similar to what we’re discussing here provided golden opportunities for money laundering.

You buy a run-down hotel or apartment block in some Mediterranean locale. Next, you form a timeshare company. Then, you tart up the building, get some glossy brochures printed. Finally, you start selling leases to genuine buyers. But you can also sell the same leases to entirely fictitious buyers and take in money you can’t otherwise account for.

Bingo! Money laundered.

And there are other ways of taking people’s money with timeshare. Some of those involved in such scams have appeared on this blog, mentioned in a long-running saga.

Buy a few hotels and you can defraud any number of people, and launder a hell of a lot of money. The same applies to care homes.

I’m not sure if Gavin Woodhouse went in for retirement homes in Wales, but as the video above makes clear, that was certainly his planned route to riches over the border. But he wasn’t interested in buying existing care homes like Bibi and Kuhananthan – Gavin was going to build new.

Well, no, he wasn’t. He had no intention of actually building the care homes, just in taking the money from investors he’d suckered.

Described by a high court judge as ‘thoroughly dishonest’. No shit, Sherlock!

The Wolf of Wharf Street had other plans to bring joy and prosperity to Wales, as we see in the image above of Woodhouse with Labour luminaries.

For he is said to have come up with the idea for the Afan Valley Adventure Resort. He even roped in no less a personality than Bore Grylls. (Who is probably in Ukraine right now stealthily and mercilessly dispatching Russian generals.)

All joking aside, there are so many questions.

How many homes are Raqia Bibi and Mohanananthan Kuhananthan still involved with in Wales, directly or indirectly? How many of them are run on the ‘invest-in-a-room’ model?

Does anyone know? Is anyone asking?

What’s the legal situation if some old dear gets raped, robbed, or dies in an accident in a room where responsibility might be difficult to establish because ownership rests with a shady company in the British Virgin Islands?

Finally, let me suggest that it would be a good idea for ‘Welsh Government’, Care Inspectorate Wales, our councils, to establish exactly who ultimately owns each and every care home, if only to ensure they’re not dealing with shell companies.

As they have been too often in the very recent past.

♦ end ♦

© Royston Jones 2022


Miscellany 28.09.2022

I hadn’t planned on putting out a post this week. But people contact me and say, ‘Have you seen this, Jac?’; and most of the time I can politely respond and let it pass. But now and again I get a clutch of reports or leads that are worth bringing together in a post like this.

It’s big, 4,500+ words, but as I always say, you can take it a section at a time.

And because it’s so big, and it’s taken so much work, don’t expect anything next week.

SYCHARTH UPDATE

The previous post was about my visit to Sycharth on September 16, and my disappointment with state of the site. Which prompted a reader to write to Cadw, the agency responsible for conserving our heritage.

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Here are the points he raised with Cadw:

  • The stile to Sycharth is in a poor condition.
  • Car parking is insufficient.
  • The whole site is in a mess. An hour with a strimmer would do wonders.
  • The information board does not mention much of  Cymru’s history.
  • Its neglect is a travesty and an insult to our past and heritage.
  • Utterly shameful behaviour on your part.

To which Cadw responded with this. Which tells us the site belongs to the Llangedwyn Estate. More particularly, Nicholas Watkin Williams-Wynn.

A couple of phrases from the Cadw response are worth focusing on.

‘Sycharth  . . . forms part of a working tenant farm under the Llangedwyn estate with permissive public access and parking at its discretion’.

‘Cadw installed the car park (four cars max) and access works (stile?) in 2010-2011 but their maintenance is again the responsibility of the owners.’

So it’s up to the Llangedwyn Estate whether people are allowed to visit Sycharth. And could, presumably, block public access. It’s also the Estate’s responsibility to maintain car parking and access. To judge by what I saw there, the Estate is doing its best to discourage visitors.

Is this some old dynastic feud being played out in the 21st century?

So I ask again: If the so-called ‘Welsh Government’ can find £4.25m to buy Gilestone farm for an English music festival, for purposes that are yet to be explained, why can’t it find the money to buy a site of national if not international importance and maintain it adequately and respectfully?

FREELOADERS IN FREEPORTS

Freeports are back in the news. And it seems Wales is getting one. Either in Holyhead or Milford Haven and Port Talbot.

Let’s start in Holyhead.

Now the Conservative MP for Ynys Môn, Virginia Crosbie, is a big supporter of freeports, and has staked her reputation on turning a run-down ferry port into a beacon of global trade that will bring into Caergybi the riches of the Orient, the gold of the Indies, and of course – Guinness from Dublin.

Here she is setting out her ambition in a mercifully short video.

Though in truth, freeports rarely live up to their billing. And often involve very murky dealings. Private Eye has been following the evolution of the Tees Freeport in north east England. And produced the report below in the issue before last. (Available here in pdf format.)

N.B. Political donations are not to be confused with bribes and backhanders; and if friends of London politicians get juicy contracts then it can only be because their firms are best able to deliver.

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Tees-side is a heavily built-up area, with a population pushing 380,000. And after the loss of its heavy industry – particularly steel – there is a widespread perception that the area is ‘owed something’.

Holyhead, by comparison, is a small town, with not much to speak about other than the ferry port to Ireland.

Until it closed in 2009, a major local employer was the Anglesey Aluminium smelter, with its private jetty. The plant received its electricity from Wylfa nuclear power station, some 15 miles away, another major employer that is now gone.

Roughly one thousand jobs paying good wages lost, but never mind, we’ll obey those who know best and stick in a few wind turbines and wave machines – plenty of jobs and unlimited cheap energy. Not.

The vacant site was taken over by Anglesey Aluminium Metal Renewables Ltd which in January 2016 became Orthios Power (Anglesey) Ltd. The site eventually being used for a plastics-to-oil operation.

But this folded earlier this year, with debts estimated at some £200m. And the end came suddenly, certainly for the staff. I’m told there was just a 10-minute warning not to start the next shift!

There are many Orthios companies listed with Companies House, none going back further than 2009 and most formed in the past three years. The ultimate holding company seems to be Orthios Operations Ltd, formerly Orthios Group (Holdings) Ltd.

So what happens now?

Well, the old smelter site has been bought by ferry operator Stena, and this is how a source on the island explains it . . .

‘Now of course they (Stena) can shift the dockside car parks elsewhere leaving nice waterside development plots. Just the sort of place to build a cable plant so they can load directly onto ships. The sort of cable company Virginia Crosbie MP was courting … the one owned by a Tory donor’.

He’s referring to Tratos, another local company hoping to benefit from offshore wind farms. Well, when I say ‘local’, it might be local if you were living in Italy. As the report makes clear.

From North West Wales Conservatives website. Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

This further report will explain a bit more of what’s going. Though you may not need to read beyond the headline: ‘Holyhead could get 300 cable jobs if area gets freeport status – says firm run by Tory party donor’.

Not much more to say really. Stena is leading the Freeport bid, and now Stena is pulling out the stops to get an ‘anchor’ company located in Holyhead. As is the local MP.

To finish this piece on Holyhead I have to mention Jake Berry MP. Now Jake is MP for a constituency in north west England, but he owns a number of properties on Ynys Môn. During the Covid lockdown it was rumoured that Virginia Crosbie was living in a property owned by Berry.

In addition to his post as party chairman, new Prime Minister, Liz Truss (I know you’re all impressed!), has made Berry Minister without Portfolio. Which may not sound much, but it kind of gives him a free hand.

That appointment was announced September 7. The day before the announcement, Berry resigned from the Northern Research Group Ltd (northern English Tory MPs), where he held the controlling interest. Also from Ford Bridge Farm Ltd.

Now why would he do that?

Ford Bridge Farm is of course an English rendering of his – or his wife’s – Rhyd y Bont farm at Rhoscolyn, on Holy Island. This is the smaller island, off the main island, and where Holyhead is located. Which means that Jake would be very close should the freeport materialise. A neighbour!

Rhyd y Bont circled. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Does Jake Berry anticipate benefitting in some way from a freeport at Holyhead? Or am I being too cynical? Cynical! Moi!

By comparison, the southern rival seems far less well advanced. In fact, we could be forgiven for thinking it’s hardly off the ground. This report would suggest that it was launched as recently as last week.

Though this piece from November 2020 suggests the Port of Milford Haven has been thinking about a freeport for some time.

Milford Waterway. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

The more recent activity may be due to the fact that in May it was announced that the 45km limit (for the extent of freeport status) could be extended in Wales. This could certainly explain the southern bid combining Milford Haven with Port Talbot.

Which are 87km apart, as the fabled crow flies.

This somewhat bizarre combination is presumably justified by links between Milford Haven and Swansea Bay. As show in the image below. Which strikes me as being a wee bit desperate. For example, the Llandarcy refinery closed in 1998.

And would a freeport in Milford make the oil, gas, or electricity flow any faster?

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My insular source believes that for all sorts of reasons the southern bid will win out. I’m not so sure. For with local boy Jake Berry working his magic behind the scenes, and his good friend Virginia Crosbie staking her political reputation on it, I would not be at all surprised to see the £26m freeport pot head up the A5 rather than down the M4.

But whichever direction the loot heads the lucky recipients will need to watch out for sharks circling – but these won’t be in the water. They’ll be arriving in Beemers and hoping to dazzle with PowerPoint presentations and insincere smiles.

And, dare I say it, ‘inducements’. There, I’ve said it.

And I say it because a freeport in either Holyhead or Milford / Port Talbot will attract grifters like the fresh laverbread stall in Swansea market draws discerning gourmets.

NAILING THE VOICES?

This section is decidedly odd, and I wasn’t sure about using it, so please understand if certain details are withheld. (Especially towards the end.) But I do have the information and the relevant documents.

It started when someone got in touch, saying she had information on Gilestone, but what she offered was unconnected incidents jumbled up with snippets from hither and yon.

The long and winding road somehow took us to Ammanford. And Alan Delaney Tait. If the name rings a bell it’s because Tait claims to hear voices of women and children being abused, hurt, even killed. These sounds either come from beneath his property or from tunnels nearby.

Tait has turned his ‘voices’ into a cottage industry. With many videos on YouTube and other platforms. That said, they don’t get many views. This one, with 40k, is probably the most popular.

Most people, including the local police, dismiss Tait as a publicity-seeking crank. No tangible evidence of human trafficking has ever been found. In fact, there is nothing beyond Tait’s recordings; and as has been pointed out, these could have been made anywhere.

Doing a quick check for Tait on the Companies House website turned up some interesting stuff. Now I’m not sure from where Tait originates, but he’s been living in Ammanford in recent years.

And yet Companies House gives out eight companies for ‘Alan Delaney Tait’ with addresses in Ystalyfera, in the Swansea Valley.

With other companies where he drops the ‘Delaney’ and becomes plain ‘Alan Tait’.

Such as Alan Dee UK Ltd. (I love the way some use ‘UK’, hoping their enterprise will be mistaken for the local branch of a global empire.) Then there’s UKWide Contract Services Ltd,  ADT UK Wide Ltd and, finally, Number Plates Online Ltd.

In recent years the focus of operations seems to have switched to Derbyshire, in the East Midlands. With The Three Boars Guesthouse Ltd and Chal Rentals Ltd.

For these Derbyshire-based companies Tait has as co-director the gloriously monikered Carlos von Gallo. Who has his own YouTube channel, where he puts out nothing but Tait’s Ammanford ‘recordings’.

‘Von Gallo’ is listed as the sole shareholder at the two companies’ deaths, but does he really exist?

What the 14 companies I’ve given here have in common is that after a short life – in some cases very short – they all went under. There are no survivors.

Something else I found intriguing was that for almost all Tait’s companies there was an issue of a single £1 share (if it was him alone) or £2 if there was another director (Tait’s wife or ‘von Gallo’). With two notable exceptions.

These were The Old Coal Store, with a share issue of £25,000, and Barlas Eren Sezer Ltd, with a share issue of £125,000.

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I don’t wish to cast aspersions but, if I had money I couldn’t account for, then disguising it as a share capital in a company doomed to fail, might have its attractions.

In his ‘voices’ videos Tait points the finger at the nearby Sophia Nails. He further claims that the leaseholder was a Vietnamese woman named Trang Thanh Tran. She is now said to run T Nail Spa in the centre of Swansea.

There is a company of that name where she is listed as sole director. But the single £15,000 share is held by Thi Hai Nhung Nguyen who gives as his address another nail bar, this one on Chepstow Road in Newport.

Tran’s partner, or husband, Quang Lam, was the leaseholder in Ammanford and also at Heaven Nails in Llanelli. He was sent down for 5 years for belonging to a gang growing and distributing cannabis.

There are a number of ‘Heaven Nail’ companies, all but one run by Vietnamese nationals.

The Vietnamese connection may be significant because some comments to the YouTube videos claim to have heard Vietnamese being spoken by the ‘voices’.

But the problem with Tait is that even if he’s telling the truth about the voices, and the Vietnamese connection, one look at his business record tells us that he is, to put it generously, ‘unlucky’, with so many failed companies to his name. 

Despite Tait being so ‘unlucky’, I was still left wondering . . . and so, motivated by nothing beyond idle curiosity, I Googled ‘Sophia Nails’, the name of the Ammanford salon. What popped up was the Sophia Nail Spa in Porth, in the Rhondda.

At which point things got a bit strange.

For in February this year a company, Sophia Nail Spa Ltd, was launched. The only director is a 23-year-old Vietnamese named Thien Van Hoang.

And although the company uses 22 Hannah Street, Porth, as its correspondence address, the Certificate of Incorporation gives Hoang’s address as 31 Ridley Terrace, Sunderland.

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At this point is might be worth suggesting a few things.

  • First, whoever’s running the Porth nail bar may know nothing about the company that’s using the same name.
  • Next, Thien Van Hoang may not even know he is named as director of Sophia Nail Spa Ltd. I have come across other examples of people being listed as company directors without their knowledge.
  • Finally, Thien Van Hoang may never have visited Sunderland.

But to find another Vietnamese connection is intriguing. Not least because it seems nail bars are used by Vietnamese criminals for exploiting women and girls, also for money laundering. The same gangs that are involved with cannabis. And not just in the UK.

Just type ‘Vietnamese nail bars trafficking’ into your search engine and you’ll bring up countless news reports. It’s big business.

Which may also explain Sophia’s Nail Bar at 9 Oxford Street, Mountain Ash. (Shown in image below.) Which more recently seems to have been known as New Star Nails. Which again is odd, because a company of that name folded in July 2018.

The secretary and the only director are both of Vietnamese extraction.

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Returning to Porth, if we look at the building in which Sophia Nail Spa is located we see a block – 20-25 Hannah Street – with a second floor and, in part, a third floor.

Another company listed at this block was a sporting establishment (darts, snooker, etc), on the first floor, which in July changed its name and apparently became a bar. All the old directors left and a single new director arrived, a 22-year-old woman with an unmistakably Welsh name.

I’m not saying young Welsh women shouldn’t run bars, but . . .

For a start, ingress and egress to a bar on the first floor will only be possible by a flight of stairs from the street. Would a council – even Rhondda Cynon Tâf – grant a drinks licence to a place where people would regularly fall or be pushed down the stairs?

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On a weekend a fleet of ambulances would be needed to carry away the injured. And as we know, Wales doesn’t have a working fleet of ambulances.

Something’s not right. The old Jac nose is all a-quiver.

From countless previous cases in Wales and across Europe, Vietnamese nationals owning or running nail bars should have aroused the suspicions of both local councils and the police. 

Finally, the company that owns that 20-25 block on Hannah Street in Porth is based just a mile and a half, as the crow flies, from Gilestone Farm!

I am not suggesting anything. It’s just a small world and Wales is a small country.

THE OLD FOLKS AT HOME

Someone contacted me suggesting I might be interested in the latest in a series of bad news stories about care homes. And this one really is bad.

Like so many of the care homes in Wales, Pontypridd Nursing Home is run by a company based outside of Wales. In this case, RB Care Homes Ltd, of Chislehurst in Kent. The RB stands, presumably, for director Raqia Bibi.

I can’t find a website but there is a Twitter account with nothing posted for three years. It’s a similar story with the Facebook page.

I suspect this company has gone under. Maybe not officially, but Companies House is still waiting for accounts that should have been submitted by November 30 last year. I don’t think they’re coming.

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Despite the parlous state of RB Care Homes, and other companies of hers we’ll look at in a minute, Raqia Bibi was, as late as June this year, being held up as an exemplar of good practice in the sector!

Truly amazing!

Pontypridd Nursing Home wasn’t Ms Bibi’s first venture into care homes, nor her first foray into Wales. For she has a string of companies behind her, including you’ll notice, Wrexham Care Centre.

Where some three years ago she also made the news for the wrong reasons. You’ll see that her partner in Wrecsam was Mohanananthan Kuhananthan. With whom the story takes a bit of a twist. But be patient.

For a start, Wrexham Care Centre Ltd was always a dormant company, with money going through Nant-y-Gaer Ltd, which is also in administration.

Then, you’ll remember that the news report I linked to at the top of this section said that the Pontypridd Nursing Home is run by RB Care Homes Ltd, which may be true. But that company has also been filing as dormant since it was Incorporated in February 2017.

The report made no mention of Pontypridd Care Home Ltd, owned by Mohanananthan Kuhananthan. With Raqia Bibi as co-director. Which may be explained by the fact that it’s this company that actually owns the property on Maesycoed Road, for which it claims to have paid £1.5m in May 2012.

Which means that while local authorities and others go chasing dormant companies for money those companies don’t have, the assets themselves are owned by companies they may know nothing about. It’s a popular trick.

Maybe Wrecsam and Rhondda Cynon Tâf councils, or anyone else owed money from the collapse of nursing / care homes, should consult their lawyers about refocusing any claims.

Kuhananthan has other companies. Many companies. Four under the Comfort Care Homes brand suggest operations in Wales. With, in some cases, money owed to the Development Bank of Wales. These relate to the Danygraig Nursing Home, in Newport.

What I find extraordinary is that these DBW loans were made in June, when it would have been obvious, after the most cursory of enquiries, that not only are Kuhananthan’s companies in deep trouble, but that the man himself may not be entirely above board.

UPDATE 10.10.2022: It may be worth clarifying that Kuhananthan was no longer a director of Comfort Care Homes (Danygraig) Ltd when the DBW loans were made, and Bibi had never been a director. But this company is owned by Dream Care Homes (RB) Ltd, formed in December 2021. And while they’re not shown as directors of this company either, I suspect the ‘RB’ tells us something.

Kuhananthan’s Welsh involvement doesn’t end with the examples given.

Through the company Mufulira Ltd, which Kuhananthan joined in May 2018, and was followed by Raqia Bibi in July 2021, they own Ridgeway Care Centre in Pembrokeshire, which must be worth a few bob.

The entrance to the Ridgeway Care Centre, Llawhaden, Pembrokeshire. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

In fact, the latest accounts seem to value Ridgeway at just short of two million pounds. That said, while it might be owned by Mufulira – another company in trouble – Mufulira itself is owned by Comfort Care Homes Ltd, which we know is yet another Kuhananthan and Bibi company.

Maybe Pembrokeshire County Council should also be on alert, and realise who owns Ridgeway. But then, Kuhananthan-Bibi companies appear to have no assets beyond the buildings, all of which have loans or mortgages against them.

I didn’t have the time to go any deeper, but I suggest for anyone so inclined, that Kuhananthan and Bibi are worthy of further investigation.

Before finishing this section, here’s another interesting connection.

We earlier encountered Nant-y-Gaer Ltd, which I suggested was the Kuhananthan-Bibi company actually running the home of that name in Wrecsam. (Now ‘Wrexham Care Centre’.) But there’s also a Nant-y-Gaer Hall Ltd.

When going through the details for Nant-y-Gaer Hall Ltd I noticed that Kuhananthan gave as his address 83 Dyserth Road in Rhyl. Where we find Sandy Lodge Hospital, run buy Medirose Healthcare.

A company formed as recently as November 2020 and filing as dormant.

However, 83 Dyserth Road is owned by HuaTong Ltd, a company that somehow manages to make a loss every year. The directors and owners are Chinese citizen, Wang Liu, and Sharvanandan Arnold, who has cropped up before in connection with fellow Sri Lankan Mohanananthan Kuhananthan

I conclude that care for the elderly in Wales is an utter shambles. It’s attracting unscrupulous if not crooked operators. They’re drawn by easy money and the lack of adequate oversight.

As a start, and a show of intent, I would like the ‘Welsh Government’ and Care Inspectorate Wales to announce they will not register or deal with any care home, nursing home, or other facility, where Mohanananthan Kuhananthan and Raqia Bibi are involved.

To lighten the mood a little, though not too much . . .

I genuinely worry about the care of the elderly because I’m not getting any younger myself. Will I be properly taken care of when my kids dump me in the Uncle Joe Sunshine Home for Unrepentant Fascists and Incorrigible Transphobes?

SOURCES

I had planned to have a section dealing with information I’d received from a source somewhere within the ‘Welsh Government’ detailing the nepotism and corruption all around.

And of the power wielded by those connected with housing associations, often in areas that have nothing to do with housing, and how the Wales Council for Voluntary Action is almost an arm of government.

Also some of the names I’m called in Corruption Bay. Some so bad he / she couldn’t even put them into print! Well, I was mortified. Mortified, I was!

But on reflection I feel it could be dangerous for this person if I was to go into details. So I’ll leave it there.

The information I’ve received thus far was posted anonymously to Gwlad and passed on to me. But I do wish to maintain contact.

So we need to think how this might be achieved.

GLOBALISTS

In recent years it has become increasingly clear to me that much of what I report on is simply the ‘Welsh Government’ and various agencies in Wales adopting and promoting agendas dreamt up elsewhere.

‘London’, is only part of the answer. And an increasingly irrelevant part.

A few years ago I wouldn’t have been writing this, but the Covid ‘pandemic’ and the way it was seized upon by politicians and others opened my eyes, and it helped me see the bigger picture.

That bigger picture of unelected, supranational bodies imposing agendas on governments and other institutions that impact on just about everybody on Earth.

In particular, I’m referring to the World Economic Forum. Made up of politicians, bankers, and multi-billionaires like Bill Gates, George Soros and Mark Zuckerberg. This self-electing elite – like almost all previous elites in human history – believes it is made up of essentially decent people, who are obviously smarter than the rest of us, and should therefore run the world.

Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

It reminds me of a couple of lines from Tom Paxton’s 1960s protest song, Daily News.

J. Edgar Hoover is the man of the hourAll that he needs is just a little more power

Just like J Edgar Hoover all the new global elite needs is a little more power. And then a little more. And then . . .

(Never agreed with his politics but I always thought Paxton was the best – certainly the most versatile – of the 60s folk / protest singer-songwriters. Love songs, political songs, humorous songs, kids’ songs, he could do them all.)

The principal tool the new elite uses to exert control and impose its agenda is climate disaster. Just like the Nazis they realise that to impose your will you need to frighten people with an imagined or overblown ‘threat’.

For the Nazis, it was the Jews, the Communists, Versailles; but for Klaus Schwab and his gang it’s global warming – and it’s all our fault. So we must change our behaviour to make up for the damage we cause, in ways that will be decided for us.

And it’s the West that must be targeted. Partly because the West is the richest and most advanced area of the globe, and also because concepts of individual liberty are more highly developed and valued in the West than most other parts of the world.

This explains the many-fronted attack on Western civilisation by the globalists and their foot-soldiers on the Left. With their initiatives denied / defended / promoted / hidden / (depending on requirements) by their allies in Mainstream Media and Big Tech.

It also explains much of what we see in Wales: the war on farmers, the lack of spending on infrastructure, the 20mph speed limit, our hills being ravaged by wind farms.

The crises we see approaching, food shortages due to the war on farmers, power cuts thanks to a campaign against fossil fuels and increased reliance on useless ‘renewables’, no petrol or diesel to run our vehicles, being locked out of your bank account for holding the ‘wrong’ views, political unrest resulting from these problems, unnecessary lockdowns and dangerous vaccinations justified by a virus with increasingly suspect origins, even the war in the Ukraine, have all been engineered, and could all have been avoided.

Because it’s all about control. Over us. By them.

Compared to forced chipping of children, and silencing those who challenge the WEF narrative, Lee Waters stuffing the National Infrastructure Commission with cronies representing housing associations, Sustrans / Deryn (Waters is ex Sustrans himself), and the M4 corridor, is small beer.

And no less than we have come to expect from Welsh politicians.

I’ll end with a little history lesson cum allegory that might explain how I see things.

Carlos Marcello was the Mafia boss of New Orleans for many years, and one of the most powerful gangsters in the USA. Then in 1960 John F Kennedy became President; he appointed his brother Bobby as Attorney-General, and Bobby went after the Mob.

Predictably, many leading figures in organised crime wanted to whack Bobby Kennedy; but Marcello sagely observed that if you cut off a dog’s tail he can still bite you, so it was better to go for the head.

Which helps explain why Marcello is strongly suspected of being implicated in JFK’s assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963. He probably was involved, but this wasn’t a straightforward Mafia hit, and they didn’t act alone.

The point I’m making is that I’m spending too much time on a ‘tail’. And while I shall continue to report idiocy like Gilestone, in future I intend paying more attention to the ‘head’.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Sycharth: A National Treasure Neglected

I hadn’t planned on writing anything for a while, but after visiting Sycharth today, the home of Owain Glyndŵr, I am compelled to put a few thoughts into words.

Fortunately, I took a long way home, stopping here and there; which gave me time to cool down, reflect on what I’d seen, and think about what I was going to write.

First, I’m going to provide a map, for anyone minded to visit. I’m doing this because you’ll see no directional signs of any kind for Sycharth . . . until you’ve found it! I’m not sure if SatNav can cope.

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Sycharth is close to the border, on a narrow road south of the village of Llansilin, and once you’ve found it, you’d better hope you can park your car, for there are just four parking spaces. When I arrived today all four spaces were taken.

(My clutch then took a bit of a hiding as I engaged in some dextrous parking.)

Before heading to Sycharth proper I read the information board put up by Cadw, the ‘Welsh Government’ agency with responsibility for the site.

Talking of sites, and Cadw, I’m writing this on September 16, the day we celebrate the life and heroic deeds of Owain Glyndŵr; and yet the homepage of the Cadw website has not a single mention of him – it’s all Anglo-Norman castles.

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The information board is very light on, well, information. Which results in this rather curious phrase: ‘ . . . yet by 1405 it (Sycharth) had become a burnt-out shell at the hands of Prince Harry (the future Henry V).’

Without the context of a brutal and bloody war of national liberation that reads as if this Harry bloke should have been banged up for being a pyromaniac.

The cars already parked in Sycharth’s miniscule car park seemed to belong to school teachers, up on the mound with a bunch of kids. Once I’d frightened them off I had the place to myself.

But before even getting to the hallowed ground I had to negotiate the stile. Now I’m six foot tall and reasonably fit, but many others would have struggled. One step was missing and the whole bloody thing looked as if it was about to collapse into firewood.

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After negotiating the stile I had to traverse the ground to the remains of the motte and bailey, and that meant dodging cowpats. Yes, I appreciate that Sycharth is on the land of a working farm. But even so . . .

If the so-called ‘Welsh Government’ can find £4.25m to buy flood-prone Gilestone farm – ostensibly for the Green Man Festival – then I’m sure to God it can find a few thousand to buy the field containing the home of Owain Glyndŵr.

It certainly could if it wanted to.

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I’m not suggesting that Sycharth be rebuilt, or that it needs a 500-space car park. (The local roads couldn’t cope.) But the site could be bought, and tidied up. With room for 15 – 20 cars. And it could definitely be better signposted.

The bottom line is that I believe we should show more respect for, and gratitude towards, Owain Glyndŵr. Because if it had all ended in 1283, then there might have been no Wales today.

One job that could be done immediately is to replace that completely uninformative information board! And put up a few bloody signposts.

Because at present the whole site carries an air of neglect, as if certain people wished they didn’t have to bother. As if they don’t really want anyone going to Sycharth.

Another example of this neglect would be the weeds crowning the mound.

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I know Cadw is little more than English Heritage (West) and interested only in Anglo-Norman castles and the income they generate, but things need to change.

Cadw needs to be reminded that it is first and foremost a body celebrating and conserving Welsh history. And to us, as a nation, Sycharth is more important than Caernarfon castle.

It may be humble by comparison, but the princes that lived at Sycharth were our princes.

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As I got back to my car a few other people were arriving. Pilgrims, by the look and sound of them. I hope their faith helped them overcome the disappointment I’m sure they felt at what they found.

Maybe I should have warned them about the stile, and the cowpats, but I was too busy thinking about those anglocentric crawlers at Cadw.

And also thinking about us as a nation, for tolerating what I’d just seen.

UPDATE 28.09.2022: By an amazing coincidence someone else visited Sycharth around the same time I did, drew attention to exactly the same issues I commented upon (even down to the broken stile), and also called for the site to be taken into public ownership. Amazing!

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Gilestone Farm: It’s Who You Know!

As evidence trickles out about the purchase – by the so-called ‘Welsh Government’, for £4.25m – of Gilestone farm, the picture just seems to get murkier.

That’s because every new revelation, or attempted explanation, raises more questions. Though one thing becoming clear is that in this area of southern Powys and rural Gwent, there is a network of well-connected individuals profiting from political patronage, and the public purse.

CONNECTIONS

It was difficult deciding which thread to start with. The one I’ve chosen may seem innocuous enough, but stick with it because it does lead somewhere, and connections will reveal themselves.

Let’s start in July 2018, when the ‘Welsh Government’ published Achieving our low-carbon pathway to 2030. This is what it says at the top of the Introduction.

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To explain. The World Economic Forum, using the pretext of a ‘climate catastrophe’ that isn’t happening, seeks to impose an unelected global government made up of political leaders, major corporations like Vanguard and Blackrock, and multi-billionaires such as Gates, Soros, Zuckerberg and others.

One of the ploys being used to exert control over us is the claim that there is too much carbon about. We are expected to believe that an element essential to life on this planet is in fact killing us! So the world needs to ‘decarbonise’.

The document to which I’ve linked invites responses. And here’s a further link, this time to the summary of those responses.

Being badly advertised outside of environmental circles the responses predictably suggested fewer cars, more wind turbines, and increased brainwashing of children. (Scroll down to page 84 for the organisations that responded.)

You’ll see that the report on the responses was compiled by Miller Research (UK) Ltd. Here’s the company website, and if you scroll down you’ll see that the main office is in Abergavenny, fast becoming the enviroshyster epicentre of our Wye-Usk Fertile Crescent.

On the Companies House entry for Miller we see that the sole director of the company is the eponymous Nicholas FitzHardinge Miller. The unaudited financial statement (y/e 31.07.2021) would suggest that the company is doing fairly well, with 12 employees and retained earnings of £473,108.

While the website makes it obvious where the money comes from. For in addition to the ‘Welsh Government’ Miller does work for other bodies I guarantee you’re familiar with.

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There are no entities there that I’d regard as genuine commercial clients. They seem to be the kind of lucrative gigs you’d get if you were well-connected down in Corruption Bay. Or to the Labour Party.

Miller Research is also used by the ‘Welsh Government’ to research and evaluate. Here are examples. ‘Rural Wales – Evidence Base Research‘ and ‘Evaluation of the Wales Rural Network Support Unit‘. Yet I can’t see a link to any findings, any final report.

While there’s a company Twitter account Miller also has his own account where, a few months back, he recommended a book approved by the otherworldly fanatics of Extinction Rebellion.

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‘Degrowth’ is code for turning the clock back on human progress. Especially in the West, or perhaps only in the West. And not for everybody.

An administration in thrall to the World Economic Forum employed a company owned by an individual who supports Extinction Rebellion. The outcome of the ‘consultation’ on decarbonisation was beyond predictable. It was pre-determined.

GOOD MONEY AFTER BAD

Another company Miller has been associated with is Blurrt Ltd. Which is, alas, no longer with us, having gone the way of so many of the companies that appear on this blog.

As a Victorian headstone might have put it, ‘Received into the bosom of the Great . . . ‘ er, well, Receiver.

But Blurrt is a story worth telling. Here’s the link to the Companies House entry that will help you follow the tale.

Formed in June 2012, by Jason Robert Smith, Blurrt’s product, ‘allows users to listen, analyse, showcase and engage with social audiences in real time’, which television companies thought might be useful.

And yet, confusingly, in his Twitter bio, Nick Miller, of ‘Monmouthshire, UK’, describes himself as, ‘Founder at Blurrt’.

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It’s confusing because according to the documents filed with Companies House Smith alone formed the company and wasn’t joined by Miller and Andrew Paul Cargill until October of 2012. (Cargill left on February 12, 2014.)

Is Miller saying he was involved before becoming a director and a shareholder? But if so, then what form might that involvement have taken? And would it allow him to claim that he was the ‘founder’?

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The day Cargill left, two new directors joined. These were Lloyd Gooding (son of Alf Gooding), and would-be media tycoon Huw Marshall. Marshall was representing S4C, for the following month we read, S4C takes stake in Blurrt.

By an amazing coincidence, Marshall gets a mention in the latest issue of Private Eye. 

The involvement of S4C links with investment made in Blurrt Ltd. Though around the same time the company was also seeking other funding and seems to have raised £504,135 from 182 investors.

In a return made to Companies House June 26, 2014 we see that the largest shareholder was Nicholas FitzHardinge Miller, with 360 in his own name and a further 240 in the name of Miller Research.

Marshall was replaced as S4C’s representative on July 6, 2015 by Phillip Gwynne Evans, who lasted until December 21, 2018.

The investment did not work out. We know that because this report of Westminster’s Welsh Affairs Committee, from July 2019, says that: ‘S4C has confirmed to the Committee that its investments in Blurrt have since been written down to zero.’

Is that saying the debt from 2014 was written off? Presumably because there was no hope of it being recovered. And yet . . .

There was a further loan from S4C Digital to Blurrt in July 2017. A month or so later there was a loan from Finance Wales Investments (now the Development Bank of Wales). These are both outstanding.

Founder Jason Robert Smith ceased being a director in October 2017. Which left Lloyd Gooding and Nicholas FitzHardinge Miller minding the shop.

I have difficulty understanding these further loans. Partly because S4C may have had to write off the 2014 loan, and partly because by 2017, when the two loans were made, the good ship Blurrt was securely moored up Shit Creek.

The accounts for year ending December 31, 2017 show debts of £467,329. While some of this may be attributed to the two loans, the debt for the previous year was a worrying £118,085.

This looks like a gambler on a losing streak throwing good money after bad. But let’s remember who the ‘gamblers’ were, and whose money they were squandering!

The last Blurrt accounts filed were for year ending December 31, 2018. And they are not a pretty sight. It might help if you visualise the bracketed figures in red.

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It’s difficult to comprehend why so much money was pumped into a lost cause. Was it to help out certain well-connected persons?

BABYLON-ON-USK

There are a couple of other companies with which Nick Miller is associated that are worthy of mention as they help fill out the picture.

First, we have Llanvetherine Properties Ltd. This seems to be the company for the  cottages rented out at Pen-y-Wyrlod farm. This is where Nick lives with his partner, Sarah Dickins. That is, the Sarah Dickins, Economics Correspondent for BBC Wales.

Sarah is a star, and if you want to book her you’ll have to go through her agent.

Just last week Sarah Dickins did a piece on the Green Man Festival and Gilestone farm. I’m prepared to bet that Sarah Dickins and the Green Man’s Fiona Stewart know each other. Maybe quite well.

The piece told us that the new venture at Gilestone – whatever it is – will support farmers and young people. Did we ever doubt it! But will it be intersectional and carbon-neutral, that’s what we all want to know.

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In all seriousness, I get the impression that the Gilestone / Green Man story is changing from week to week. And not one version I’ve heard is plausible. Perhaps the truth can’t be told because it’s too embarrassing for certain politicians.

No wonder the ‘Welsh Government’ is now refusing to answer Freedom of Information requests about this shambles.

Nicholas FitzHardinge Miller and Sarah Dickins are of course denizens of the Fertile Crescent, where a certain milieu is especially favoured by Corruption Bay.

In addition, I bet Sarah Dickins has connections all over the place that could be of use to a company ready to . . . oh, I don’t know, maybe help various bodies go through sham consultations in order to arrive at pre-determined conclusions.

Another company registered at Pen-y-Wyrlod is Blue Egg Productions Ltd. As Sarah Dickins holds the shares this may be the vehicle through which her BBC salary is paid.

If so, didn’t the BBC put a stop to this practice some years ago?

Or is this the piggy-bank for the money earned from the speaking engagements and opening food banks?

Another of Sarah Dickins’ interests is the Abergavenny Food Festival, where she’s a director. It takes place this coming weekend. One of those performing will be Rob Penn of greenwash outfit Stump up for Trees.

An outfit looked on with great favour down the Bay.

I can’t help wondering if telling us trees are edible might be advice, preparing us for the dark times after the WEF has put farmers out of business and we are being forced to eat insects and ‘meat’ produced by Bill Gates.

Earlier we saw Sarah Dickins’ partner Nick Miller recommend Jason Hickel’s book Less is More. Sarah is also a Hickel fan. Here she is retweeting him misrepresenting this year’s monsoon in Pakistan as evidence of global climate catastrophe.

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Note the political bias and dishonesty that underpins the Green movement. To believe those carefully selected maps China, which opens a new coal-fired power station almost every day, is one of the good guys, a victim of the evil White man.

PULLING SOME THREADS TOGETHER

I’ve elsewhere referred to southern Powys and rural Gwent as ‘Cotswolds-on-the-cheap’, which on reflection is unfair, because it’s scenically and in other ways more attractive than the Cotswolds.

But property is certainly cheaper, and this draws people to the area. Which helps expand the network, that will in turn support the UN’s Agenda 2030 and the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset.

Or ‘Build back better’, as Charles III urges.

Which leads to the belief – shared by the ‘Welsh Government’ – that these objectives are so existentially important they must be achieved at any cost. Which in turn explains the war on traditional Welsh farming; covering our hills with unreliable, bird-slicing wind turbines; and making the rest of us poorer, colder, and hungrier.

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For of course it’s we who will sacrifice for these agendas, not those who promote them.

Being fundamentally Green Left the network is obviously short on political allies in a region which, at Westminster and Senedd levels, votes Conservative.

At Powys County Council level there are 9 Labour members, all from Brecon town and the top end of the Swansea Valley, otherwise it’s mainly Lib Dem and Tory, with what appear to be three unaligned groups, and three Plaid Cymru members.

Which is why, when viewed from a Labour Party perspective, funding and generally supporting its few but high-profile supporters is seen as a good investment – it gives Labour influence in an area where it has very little electoral support.

The purchase of Gilestone farm is part and parcel of the culture of cronyism and corruption that has developed under devolution, that sees the ‘Welsh Government’ and its agencies favouring organisations and individuals with a preferred ‘outlook’.

But this funding and favouritism is not like me slipping my grandson a tenner; for what Labour is doing impacts adversely on others. It involves public money. In some cases it will have national implications.

That’s because Labour’s system of cronyism and patronage works both ways. For example a few zealots in the system explains the ‘Welsh Government’ becoming a major funder for trans extremist group Stonewall, and how that group was able to influence policy decisions in Corruption Bay.

QUESTIONS

I’m going to finish with a few questions addressed to no one in particular down in Corruption Bay. Cynics might suggest I’m simply howling into the void. Again.

That void where there should be a system of accountability.

  • Was the contract to produce findings of the consultation exercise on ‘Achieving our low carbon pathway to 2030’ put out to tender? 
  • If so, how was this done?
  • How many responses were there?
  • If there was no tendering process, why not?
  • Given Nicholas FitzHardinge Miller’s clear and zealous belief in anthropogenic climate change, was Miller Research Ltd the right choice for this work?
  • Or does that bias explain why Miller Research Ltd was chosen?
  • The same questions on tendering and bias attach to the other contracts this company has secured with the ‘Welsh Government’ and other Welsh public bodies and institutions.
  • Why did S4C and Finance Wales Investments make further loans to Blurrt Ltd in 2017 when that company was clearly in financial difficulties and after S4C had seemingly written off a previous loan made in 2014?
  • Seeing as Blurrt Ltd was Dissolved in July 2021 are we to assume that these two loans from 2017 have also been written off?
  • Whether they’ve been written off or not, what amounts are involved?
  • If they have not been written off, then what steps are being taken to secure their repayment?
  • Will Miller Research Ltd be tasked with evaluating whether the purchase of Gilestone farm was public money well spent . . . and recommend that more farms be bought?

As I say, these questions are rhetorical. For the ‘Welsh Government’ is now refusing to answer FoI requests on a range of embarrassing issues, using all sorts of unconvincing reasons.

But then, when you have so much to hide . . .

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Back to the Land!

After taking August off (and enjoying the break) I’m back to report on an event planned for later this month.

In fact, I enjoyed the break so much, and found writing this such hard going, that it might be a while before the next piece appears.

HOW IT BEGAN

A couple of weeks ago someone sent me news of a gathering to be held in the Community Centre, Knighton, on September 17, when many of us will be nursing hangovers from celebrating Glyndŵr’s Day.

Knighton Community Centre has been mentioned on this blog before, after falling into the clutches of white settler Labour activists; who now wage war on local farmers, welcome refugees to an area where they themselves are not universally welcome, and generally play latter-day left liberal colonialists.

For no longer is it Bible and bullets, now it’s saving us through a combination of uplifting sermons from the Rev Monbiot and those organic thingeys they eat at Felicity’s aerobic knife-throwing class.

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But I digress.

To expose the dishonesty behind this event I shall go through those named as being involved before concluding with . . . well, my conclusions. What else?

CAMPAIGN FOR THE PROTECTION OF RURAL WALES (CPRW)

Let’s start with some background. The CPRW has been pootling along for almost a century as a charity, but now things are changing. Most significantly, with the formation of a company in late May this year.

Though I’m assured there’s no significance to this other than the trustees ensuring they are not personally bankrupted by legal action against the CPRW.

Which also means that, at the moment, the CPRW has two charities with the same name registered with the Charity Commission. One will soon be closed.

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Previous CPRW presidents have included politician Megan Lloyd George and BBC broadcaster Wynford Vaughan Thomas. Clough Williams Ellis, of Portmeirion fame, was also deeply involved for many years as both chairman and president.

The current president of the CPRW is TV celeb Jules Hudson, who is believed to live in Herefordshire. Possibly Hertfordshire. But definitely not Wales. He’s famous for programmes like Escape to the Country and Countryfile.

In his favour, he has a Labrador called Iolo.

The chair of the Brecon & Radnor branch is Jonathan Halsey Luke Colchester, who has recently moved to Clyro. From where he runs his company, Courtenay Advisers Ltd.

I am informed by a very reliable source that the Brecon & Radnor branch of the CPRW is particularly hostile towards farmers.

That being so, why is the local CPRW branch organising a bash with the title ‘Welsh Food & Farming’? The answer to that question will become clear as you read on.

There are farmers, and there are farmers.

THE FERTILE CRESCENT

One of the CPRW’s recent recruits is associated with another new outfit, Friends of the Upper Wye (FUW), registered with the Charity Commission in March this year. (Though I’m assured she’s an admirable and well-intentioned lady.)

This will no doubt complement the Wye & Usk Foundation (WUF) which is about a lot more than just angling. The WUF is based in Talgarth, close to Coleg Soros.

Over the years the WUF has received millions in funding from or via the ‘Welsh Government’, much of it handed over by an official whose attitude to money might have been compared by my dear mamgu to that of an inebriated seafarer.

An amazing episode, with apparently no oversight whatsoever. It is even suggested that some favoured bodies didn’t even need to make an application – it was a case of, “Would you like some more money?”

OK, so it’s not exactly a crescent, but did I ever claim to be an artist? Click to open enlarged in separate tab

For the Fertile Crescent formed by the Usk and the Wye is something of a magnet for those seeking to save us benighted natives from ourselves. And for others with even less noble intent.

There’s yet another organisation, formed last year, in the Welsh Rivers Union (WRU), based on the Usk at Llanvihangel Gobion. This claims to be a collective of ‘citizen-funded’ community groups defending our rivers.

If it gets airborne it will be made up of the usual ‘community groups’ composed of people who were living somewhere else not so long ago.

Though as yet, it’s not registered as either a company or a charity. It may be just a website, and a Twitter account.

Oh, I almost forgot Afonydd Cymru Cyf, also based in Talgarth. Where income from government grants leapt like a returning salmon from £10,000 in 2018 to £894,704 in 2020.

Afonydd Cymru’s chair is Viscount Christopher Mills, of Kensington, who served as regional director of the Environment Agency in Wales (before the creation of Natural Resources Wales). Among the trustees is Joe Pimblett, CEO of the Severn Rivers Trust, based in Worcestershire.

When it comes to the Fertile Crescent even the Blesséd Monbiot has made a film, Rivercide (what a wit!), in which one of the supporting cast was Lesley Griffiths (sans Gary), and she reminded us that no matter what the facts may say, it’s always farmers wot we must blame.

St George thought the culprits were chickens, which appear at number 2, after humans, in his forthcoming opus, ‘Species To Be Exterminated If We Are To Save The Planet’. (Chickens have apparently deposed sheep in Monbiot’s demonography.)

Why this obsession with the Usk and the Wye? Is it because they’re close to Bristol? Or is their cross-border nature, demanding ‘co-operation’, the attraction?

Of course, there are rivers within Wales in far worse condition than the Wye and the Usk, so why are these ignored? Three reasons, perhaps.

First, these other rivers run through more populated areas with few stretches of open country attractive to those in search of a rural idyll, or intent on ‘habitat restoration’ (aka ‘rewilding’).

Second, while there may be areas meeting the criteria further west, there the Welsh language would be a consideration. And after the resistance to Summit to Sea the land-grabbers are wary of getting another bloody nose.

Third, they are entirely within Wales.

Never lose sight of the fact that for many, water quality is a stalking-horse, used against farmers so as to free up their land for other purposes. And the ‘Welsh Government’ wholeheartedly supports this agenda.

UPDATE: Here’s a recent example of pollution on the Wye that clearly has nothing to do with farmers.

LOCAL GROWERS AND FARMERS

A source informs me that the ‘local grower’ is the bloke from the organic food shop in Knighton, where you buy the knobbly carrots and the misshapen parsnips. Ach y fi!

(Though there may be others attending, more deserving of the billing.)

As for the ‘local farmers’, it seems these will both come from Herefordshire, which may be fairly local to Knighton (/Tref y Clawdd) but are not, unless we want to be irredentist about this, Welsh.

More pragmatically, whether we view Herefordshire as the ‘lost lands’ or not, the area will not be affected by any legislation or initiatives emanating from Corruption Bay.

Even so, to help give a fuller flavour of the event, I’ll tell you who they are.

One is ‘RegenBen’, of Townsend Farm, near Ross-on-Wye. Which, as the name suggests, is on the River Wye. Ben is a director of the Oxford Farming Conference, an organisation I’m told represents big landowners, yeoman farmers and the like.

(I was also told that a famous Welsh farmer went there to speak a few years ago, and has never felt more out of place.)

The makeup of the Oxford Farming Conference probably explains why a rival was set up in 2010 called the Oxford Real Farming Conference.

From what I can see the older body caters for those with inherited land while the upstart is more attractive for Greens looking to get their hands on someone else’s land. I wouldn’t be comfortable with either.

The other ‘local farmer’ is from ‘Wild by Nature’, of Lower House farm, just over the border from Llanthoney, close to Llanveynoe. (These corrupted spellings!)

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Looking at a map I see that both of them are close to the border, but neither is particularly ‘local’ to Knighton. The first is roughly 45 miles away, the second almost 50.

I suspect that both have been invited because they are well-connected, and have diversified into ‘artisanal’ food produce and other activities.

The Rhug Estate model, if you like.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve stopped many times at the Rhug restaurant and shop, and like some urchin from a Dickens novel gazed at goodies I can’t afford.

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Though ‘farm shop’ really is a misnomer. It suggests Mrs Evans in a shed at the bottom of the farm drive selling goods cheaper by cutting out the middle man. In reality it’s a place where the price of everything is marked up.

Few locals can afford to shop there. That’s why the Rhug ‘farm shop’ is on the A5.

Even so, I’m sure a farm shop can be a nice little earner, and so I wasn’t surprised to learn that ‘Wild by Nature’ already has one. While RegenBen’s website tells us: ‘Our plans are to share the fruits of our labour by opening a farm shop’.

There are of course some excellent farm shops in Wales. One is Bargoed Farm / The Moody Cow, near Aberaeron, run by the former owners of Gilestone Farm, and visited very recently by Conservative Senedd leader Andrew R T Davies MS.

But how many farm shops can Wales support?

SOIL ASSOCIATION

The Soil Association, headquartered in Bristol, is another of those English organisations that recognises the existence of Scotland, but not Wales. We, presumably, are part of England.

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The Soil Association is registered as both a company and a charity. And with an annual income of over £23m it is no shoestring outfit. Of course the Scottish Soil Association is registered separately in Scotland.

In addition, there is The Soil Association Land Trust ‘established to acquire and maintain farmland sustainably’. Which might be worth bearing in mind, and could explain The Soil Association’s interest in Wales, a country I’m sure it will quickly recognise if the ‘Welsh Government’ offers to buy it a farm.

NATURE FRIENDLY FARMING NETWORK

The company of that name was launched in July 2018. Though there has been quite a turnover of directors in the four years since then. Of the eight original directors, five have left, including two who were obviously Welsh.

NFFN has an impressive website, telling us of a Welsh Steering Group, with two group members serving as directors.

Here’s a page giving some responses from the Welsh Steering Group to the ‘Welsh Government’s Sustainable Farming Scheme that emerged in July.

Hilary Kehoe, the Chair, mentions the ‘changing climate’. Rhys Evans thinks the ‘devil will be in the detail’. But Hywel Morgan was ecstatic. I was not surprised to learn that Hywel is involved with the ‘Welsh Government’s Farming Connect scheme.

The Nature Friendly Farming Network is looking to hire a £29,000 a year Communications Officer. Having recently recruited a Farmer Engagement Officer on the same salary. But who’s funding these posts?

For the financial situation is not impressive. I appreciate that it’s a company limited by guarantee, but even so, I would have expected to see more than £69 in the kitty. Which is what the latest accounts (to y/e 30.06.2021) show.

Yes, NFFN has assets of £199,317, but this sum is exceeded by money owed to creditors.

On the ‘Nature Means Business‘ page we read: ‘Right now, farm businesses are facing a multitude of challenges: climate change, unpredictable weather patterns, changes to future farm payment schemes and adjusting to new consumer demands’.

To prioritise ‘climate change’ (when it’s becoming clear that climate change has been – at the very least – exaggerated), and then virtually repeat it with ‘unpredictable weather patterns’, before mentioning farm payments, is revealing.

With no mention at all of the threat from mandatory afforestation, farms being bought for greenwashing, and restrictions applied by politicians and administrations that are blatantly anti-farming.

These priorities are evident throughout the website. The image below is from the Fund Us page. And again it’s ‘climate in crisis’, ‘wildlife declining’, ‘habitats being lost’.

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The Nature Friendly Farming Network seems to be an environmental organisation that recruits farmers. There’s nothing wrong with that, farmers care deeply about the environment that provides livelihoods for them and their families.

But it’s a question of priorities. The first of which has to be supporting farmers – who will then look after the environment

STUMP UP FOR TREES

This organisation has appeared on this blog a number of times, so I won’t dwell on it again.

Based in Abergavenny Stump up for Trees is a greenwash outfit. It’s registered as a charity, and one of the three trustees is Richard James Roderick, who farms next to Gilestone.

By ‘greenwashing’ I mean that SUFT ‘saves the planet’ by planting trees in order for companies to offset their perceived ‘carbon footprint’, which allows them to go on putting out carbon. Its major partner seems to be Utility Warehouse.

Nonsense predicated on there being a ‘climate emergency’ (there isn’t); carbon being damaging to the environment (it’s not); and replacing agricultural land with sterile, monoculture pine forests making sense (it doesn’t).

Even so, Stump up for Trees seems to be well-regarded in Corruption Bay among the connoisseurs, practitioners and dispensers of flim-flam, bullshit, propaganda and other means of deceiving poor old Dai Public.

ABATTOIR SECTOR GROUP

This is yet another organisation based in Bristol and set up as recently as 2020. Though it’s not registered as either a company or a charity because it’s an offshoot of the Sustainable Food Trust.

The ABS is dedicated to keeping smaller, rural abattoirs open, and what carnivore (bares fangs!) could argue with that?

Parent body, the Sustainable Food Trust, is an international organisation with a wider remit to support ‘sustainable farming’. By which I assume that it seeks to avoid the wrath of the swivel-eyed with a modified kind of farming that’s less damaging to Mother Earth.

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It is, as I say, based in Bristol, and I see no mention of Wales on the website. The only Welsh connection I can find is founder Patrick Holden, an organic dairy farmer from the Lampeter area.

Holder is a founder of Sustainable Food Trust and current CEO. He was a former director of the Soil Association.

OUR FOOD

You may need to pay attention with this one. For just as with the previous section we have an organisation operating under a different label. There’s even a third label.

Let’s start with the Our Food website. Scroll down and you’ll read: A project of the Conservation Farming Trust Company Number 10823532′. Which the Companies House website confirms as the number for Conservation Farming Trust.

On the Our Food website we also read: ‘This website was built with support from Monmouthshire County Council, the Brecon Beacons National Park, and the Welsh Government. It is part of a process to build a new campaign in the region to secure 1200 acres for regenerative horticulture for local markets.’

The Our Food 1200 website confirms that the figure refers to the acreage the new organisation hopes to be given. At the time of writing 24 acres had been donated. Though, in fairness, Our Food 1200 was only launched in January. It’s registered as a Community Benefit Company.

Let’s go back to the parent organisation, Conservation Farming Trust. The registered office address is in London, and the three directors live in Ireland (1) and England (2). So no Welsh connections there.

And yet, it seems the only funding Our Food gets is from Welsh sources.

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This funding is presumably justified because Our Food 1200 is looking for Welsh land to be donated. This looks very much like One Planet Developments rebranded. (I’m sure I read a reference to ‘OPD’ on the website.)

As with OPDs, those we’ll find on these over-sized allotments are unlikely to be local. So why are we funding it?

And is it a safe bet? I ask because a driving force behind it all seems to be Duncan Mark Fisher, who serves as both secretary and a member of Our Food 1200. Companies House suggests Fisher’s business record is ‘patchy’, to say the least.

The Conservation Farming Trust may have no connection with Wales, but Our Land, and certainly Our Land 1200, are trying to put down roots. Maybe they’re hoping someone will buy them a farm!

More planet-savers promoting climate hysteria, with the ‘Welsh Government’ and others happy to go along with this exploitative, colonialist nonsense.

LANDWORKERS’ ALLIANCE

What you’ve read thus far has been unadulterated, unsubstantiated and unconvincing bullshit (however sincere some of those promoting it), but this final section outdoes it all. For we are now with the horny-handed sons of toil, straight out of The Grapes of Wrath.

Or those who would imagine themselves so to be.

For I now direct your attention to the Landworkers’ Alliance. Scroll down and you’ll see that this crew aligns itself with the International Peasants Movement. (I’m afraid I let my membership lapse.)

When you join you get given a pitchfork and the addresses of local landlords. (Bastards!)

When Dominic and Eugenie re-imagine themselves as peasants you know you’ve gone so far down the rabbit-hole that you run the risk of being shot by an Australian farmer.

And doesn’t it count as cultural appropriation?

The Landworkers’ Alliance was formed in 2015, and has its registered address in Dorset. Here’s the Companies House entry.

The ‘accounts’ – as with all the outfits I’ve dealt with here – are vague, being little more than unaudited statements. Though I can tell you that the latest such statement (y/e 30.09.2020) gives assets at £151,507 (previous year £66,523). But with no indication of where the money came from.

It would also appear to be a Woke organisation. For which we should be thankful, because trans peasants are never far from my thoughts. (I hope it’s the same for you!)

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The directors are resident in England and Scotland with the exceptions of Katharine Anne McEvoy and Gerald Davies Miles, both residents of Pembrokeshire. The former seems to live in Newport, with the latter to be found at Caerhys Organic Community Agriculture (COCA), near St David’s.

I feel a tear well in old Jac’s eye, for we may finally have found a genuine Welsh farmer! Though whether he’ll be in Knighton is another matter.

Looking briefly at the ‘accounts’ for COCA, or rather, the ‘statement of financial position’, we see a paltry £3,154 for y/e 31.03.2022.

I suspect that COCA is a virtue-signalling side-line, with Caerhys farm itself run as a commercial – if organic – agricultural business, including bed & breakfast.

But the irony.

We have sought for centuries to escape being peasants, in our own country; now we face an invasion of land-hungry Green-Left-Woke carrot-growing poseurs wanting to play at being peasants . . . in our country.

CONCLUSION

The sad truth is that farmers have been badly treated under devolution. And it’s happened in identifiable stages.

It began in 1999 with Labour taking control of the new Assembly. A Labour Party in which too many saw farmers as landowners, and therefore capitalists. Though anyone who can lump together a struggling Welsh hill farmer and the Duke of Westminster really does have a problem.

This encouraged others to join in. I’m thinking now of the environmentalists, the planet savers. Though all too often it was their own interests, and the interests of their cronies, that were being served, not those of the planet.

Chief among them was Jane Davidson, Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing from 2007 to 2011. When her Labour Party was in coalition with Plaid Cymru.

Davidson, a wealthy and privately-educated Englishwoman, was determined to impose her will on us, for the benefit of others like her, no matter what the cost. To us.

Thanks to Davidson we saw TAN 6 in July 2010, the ‘Hippies’ Charter’, which allows English drop-outs to build what they like, where they like.

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In January 2014, Alun Davies, the Minister for Natural Resources and Food, announced that 15% of CAP funding would in future be transferred from Pillar One (i.e. farmers) to Pillar 2 (rural development projects).

‘Rural Development Projects’ means those self-serving ‘community’ schemes dreamed up by Jane Davidson’s friends that benefit no one else.

Wales was further blessed, just a year later, with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. Here you see the Act’s objectives, with my comments.

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This legislation is another example of the Left window dressing a looted store (after inciting the looters with talk of ‘victimhood’ and ensuring the police didn’t get involved.)

Bullshit dreamed up to please enviroshysters and pressure groups. Which has achieved nothing for us Welsh. But it allows the ‘Welsh Government’ to say: ‘We were the first government in the world . . . ‘.

And that, for our politicians, is all that really matters.

More recently, we saw Lesley Griffiths (and Gary), introduce legislation to curb pollution of Welsh waterways. This problem is localised, and there are many culprits, including water companies.

But Lesley (and Gary) pretended to believe that the problem is national, and that farmers are solely to blame.

If you believe that traditional farming methods contribute to anthropogenic global warming, then the sensible approach would have been to sit down with farmers and work out a better way forward.

Instead, and from the outset, Labour politicians chose vilification, lies, confrontation, punishment.

An approach that becomes inconsistent, even sinister, when we think again about Knighton on the 17th. Where ‘Welsh Government’ representatives will be rubbing shoulders with lots of . . . well, farmers.

Clearly, the ‘Welsh Government’ has no problem with farmers as such, so perhaps the problem is only with Welsh farmers.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Miscellany 27.07.2022

This week’s offering kicks off with assorted musings from here and there before returning home to focus on issues that have caught my eye. And if these have a theme then it’s assorted companies and individuals pretending to be what they’re not. In this case, Welsh.

This is another biggie, just over 4,000 words, but you know the spiel – ‘nourishing, easily-digestible chunks, etc., etc‘.

First stop, England, where the Conservatives have committed electoral suicide by getting rid of Boris Johnson and now have to make the choice between Sunak and Truss! Like having to choose which foot to shoot yourself in.

I don’t know the minds of Tory politicians and strategists but I do know that among the working class – male and female – there’s always been a guilty liking for a roguish toff.

And that’s what Johnson is. Nobody ever accused him of having his hand in the till or anything heinous; it was a bit of bullshitting here, a few drinks there, and an over-fondness for the ladies.

Those ‘failings’ might mean some tosser needing to be fanned with a copy of the Guardian in Islington, but they wouldn’t have lost BoJo many votes in Scunthorpe, St Helens, or Sunderland.

“Grand lad is Boris”.

The only ray of sunshine for the Tories comes in the soporific form of Labour leader Keir Starmer.

Now across the Pond, to where Joe Biden – after two injections and two boosters – has caught Covid. Oh dear, what a pity, how sad.

Sleepy Joe is, without a doubt, the worst US president of my lifetime. And I remember Gerald Ford, of whom it was said that chewing gum and tying his shoelaces at the same time was too intellectually demanding.

Though in fairness, Ford could be relied on to do as he was told. Which explains how he got to serve on the Warren Commission looking into the JFK assassination.

Joe Biden clearly has dementia or a similar condition, and looming ever larger over his presidency are the multiple horrors contained in his son Hunter’s laptop.

Many of you will be unaware of this because the left-leaning mainstream media has largely ignored the story. They can’t deny it, because they’ve all read the e-mails and seen the videos. (And laughed along with the rest of us.)

In a nutshell, crack-smoking, sex-addicted Hunter saw himself as an international businessman. Making deals in China, Russia, Ukraine and other places by trading on his father’s name when dad was Obama’s VP.

Joe Biden’s brother James was certainly getting a cut and it looks increasingly likely that Joe himself was also in on it.

The problem is that Hunter just had to keep records. And they were all stored on a laptop he took to be repaired in Wilmington, Delaware, then forgot to collect it, and so the laptop became the property of the repair shop owner.

The only questions now are: 1/ How much longer can Sleepy Joe last? and 2/ What method will his party use to get rid of him?

Finally, in Ukraine, the war grinds on with Russian forces advancing slowly and steadily on all fronts. It seems likely that the whole of the Donbass will soon be in Russian hands, and so will large swathes of territory across the south, perhaps even lovely Odessa.

Basically, those areas where a majority of the population identify as Russian. Areas where the population was treated abominably by Ukrainian forces – often Nazi units – for protesting against the US-engineered Maidan coup of 2014.

This outcome could have been achieved by a plebiscite, but certain interests in the West were determined that corruption-ridden Ukraine, generously supplied with weapons and money – which will never be accounted for – should wage a proxy war.

Jugoslavia all over again; with Russia in the role of ‘baddie’ Serbia, and Ukraine playing the white hat parts of Croatian Ustaše fascists, Bosnian Muslims and their Jihadist allies, and the organ-harvesting, gun-running, drug-smuggling gangsters of the (Albanian) Kosovo Liberation Army

On the plus side . . . it looks like Russia turning off the gas taps has killed Net Zero.

EAT YOUR HEART OUT, ELON MUSK!

An announcement last Thursday from the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ told of an exciting development hoping to overcome the problem of reliance on China for supplies of rare earth elements for electric car batteries.

Followed by a word-for-word ‘article’ in the Wasting Mule on Friday.

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What most people don’t realise (because the media prefers not to tell us), is that electric cars, wind turbines, and solar panels, all need rare earth elements, and we are too reliant for these on China.

Being an expansionist Communist country China is obviously a potential enemy. Then there’s the fact that extracting these metals is dirty and dangerous work, which might be done by members of religious or ethnic minorities undergoing ‘re-education’.

The pieces linked to say the project is being funded by the Ford Low Carbon Vehicle Transformation Fund and uses fewer of the rare earth elements.

Naturally, I got to wondering about the company involved in this exciting venture, named as, ‘Caerphilly-based Deregallera’. And that was the first disappointment, for the company seems to be based near Bradford, in West Yorkshire.

Though in fairness, it was at one time using a Caerphilly address. So let’s put that into its contextual timeline.

Deregallera began life in 2011 in Southampton. Then it was Pontypridd. Then in March 2013 it was down to Cardiff. September 2019 saw a move within Cardiff. In December 2020 it was over to Bristol. Then in April this year it was up to Bingley.

Getting further and further away from the claimed base in Caerffili.

The driving force behind Deregallera is Martin Hugh Boughtwood. His Linkedin profile modestly describes him as a ‘visionary leader’. He has a host of US patents.

So it should go without saying that he’s been involved with a number of companies. Quite a few using the ‘Deregallera’ name. Here they are in a table.

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Among them we see D G Innovate PLC. Which last year was taken over by Path Investments for £32m in a ‘reverse merger transaction’, according to the Annual Report and Financial Statements for Deregallera Ltd (March 2021).

D G Innovate was known by that name between 29.01.2021 and 05.04.2022. Before that it was Deregallera Holdings Ltd (from formation 26.11.2009). And now, since April 5, it’s Deregallera Holdings again!

God, this is confusing! With all the name changes, all the comings and goings of directors, do those involved know which company is which any more?

Talking of directors, D G Innovate PLC seems to have recruited a few this year.

Worth a mention are, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, former governor of Jersey; Dr Patrick Bruce Reith Symonds, formerly of Williams Grand Prix Engineering; and Trevor Gabriel, managing director at Monaco Villas. (Monaco Villas!)

I’m sure they’ll be very happy together in what is obviously another great Welsh venture.

As far as I’m concerned, the jury is out on this one. Those involved have got their hands on money from a fund administered by the ‘Welsh Government’ (which often spells disaster), but how much of that money Wales will see is another matter.

One to watch.

‘WE’RE WELSH, HONEST!’

Another company desperately trying to prove it’s Welsh is our old friend, Bute Energy. Which began life in London, then used an Edinburgh address, but now most Bute companies also use a broom cupboard in Hodge House, Cardiff.

Named of course after Julian Hodge, banker to the Labour Party. Friend and confidante of PM Jim Callaghan and George “Order, Order!” Thomas.

Remember George, Lord Tonypandy? Even by the standards of the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party George Thomas was one of the most odious bastards ever to draw breath.

Not content with a Cardiff address to prove how Welsh it is Bute has recruited Dafydd Williams as a project manager to traverse the land addressing community councils and concerned locals, promising they’ll hardly notice 250 metre tall wind turbines . . . 36 here, another 30 there . . .

Is Dafydd a replacement for David George Taylor? For more on Taylor, and Bute’s Welsh Advisory Board, click here and scroll down to the section ‘Labour Party Freedom of Information Request’.

In search of enlightenment I joined a Zoom meeting of New Radnor community council a few weeks back, where I managed to put some questions to Dafydd Williams, but all I got in return was waffle.

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One Bute site now threatened with 250m (to tip) turbines is Moelfre, inland of Abergele. To put that into perspective, the turbines put up 15 – 20 years ago were rarely more than 100m (often less), the turbines at Pen-y-Cymoedd are 145m.

But locals are fighting back. The image above is taken from a protest leaflet they’ve produced. Read the full leaflet here.

Another area threatened is to the east of Llandrindod. This being Bute’s Nant Mithil site. Here’s the briefing paper produced by Bute.

Bute has set up a company for each of its 20 planned wind farms, or as they now prefer to call them, ‘Energy Parks’. Here’s a map to help you locate them. And here’s more information on the various companies and individuals involved.

The proposal for Nant Mithil is for 36 x 220m (to hub) turbines, with ‘solar energy and battery technology’ not ruled out.

In both the Moelfre protest leaflet and the Bute briefing paper for Nant Mithil you will have seen reference to these being in a ‘Pre-Assessed Area for Wind Energy in Future Wales: The National Plan 2040’. Here’s a link to that document.

On page 94 you’ll find the map you see below. The areas bordered in black have been given over to wind farms. Planning permission is virtually guaranteed. Local resistance will prove futile. (Certainly, that’s the hope in Corruption Bay.)

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Moelfre is in area 1, and Nant Mithil in area 4. Though sources tell me that as much as 75% of Bute’s 200 hectare Nant Mithil site is outside area 4. It’ll be interesting to see how that pans out.

Progress is also being made on other sites. Here’s the Scoping Report for Rhiwlas, near Llangurig. Compiled for Bute Energy by RSK of Bristol.

Other news is that new directors, Forrest, Gruescu and Parkhouse, have joined the gang in certain companies. Aberedw Energy Park Ltd being one. These new boys represent the interests of Bute’s Danish investors.

I covered this development in February, in ‘Bute Energy Selling Wales For Danegeld?’.

Everybody’s ripping off Mam Cymru, thanks to those assholes in Corruption Bay and their obsession with a non-existent ‘Climate Emergency’.

Maybe it’s time the old girl’s sons stirred themselves again, and put a stop to this abuse and exploitation taking place before their eyes.

GILESTONE, REVISITED, AGAIN

To recap: The ‘Welsh Government’ paid £4.25m for Gilestone farm near Talybont-on-Usk which it says will be leased to the Green Man Festival.

I’ll try to avoid some of the rumours I’ve been hearing . . . oh, what the hell!

One has Green Man boss Fiona Stewart telling Minister for Economy  – ‘economy’! – Vaughan Gething that if the ‘Welsh Government’ didn’t buy her a farm she would move the Green Man Festival to England.

Another wanted me to believe that the Green Man will move to Gilestone farm in 2026 because current host, Harry Legge-Bourke of the Glanusk Estate, is getting a divorce. Which seems rather protracted. And why should a divorce make any difference?

Finally, some believe there has long been a relationship between Fiona Stewart and former Gilestone owner, Charles Weston. I had to confirm that this was a business relationship not, er . . . well, you know.

I could find nothing linking them. To help my enquiries I drew up a table of Fiona Stewart’s companies. Which makes strange reading.

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Throughout this saga we’ve been told that the ‘Welsh Government’ has been dealing with the Green Man Festival. Yet the company, Green Man Festival Ltd, formed September 2015, has always filed as a dormant company. The only director, Fiona Stewart.

What’s more, Green Man is controlled by Tree Trunk Ltd. Formed May 2012, this also files as a dormant company. And it’s behind with its filings to Companies House.

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There are two directors. Stewart and Paul Abraham Betesh of Manchester. Betesh has been involved with a number of companies.

The other company using the Green Man label is the Green Man Trust Ltd. You’ll note that it receives funding from the ‘Welsh Government’, the Arts Council of Wales, and Arts Council England.

As well as being a company registered with Companies House it’s also registered with the Charity Commission.

Two of the four directors / trustees are Stewart and long-time business associate, Ian Myers Fielder, with these two exercising control. The other directors / trustees are Natasha Hale, and Joanna Owen, a solicitor working for Commission for Equality and Human Rights in London.

Flicking through the accounts I was struck by some of the other funders, Performing Rights Society Foundation, Ashley Family Foundation, and Cardiff University.

Then, a few days ago, a secretary was appointed, Joana Margarida Martins Rodrigues. Clearly Portuguese, perhaps one of the many Lusitanians to be found in Crughywel.

If we look at the total income for the Green Man Trust we see that it’s risen from £152,643 in year ending 31.12.2020 to £347,417 in y/e 31.12.2021. Which means that the income more than doubled, and is perhaps more than the Trust knows what to do with.

I suggest that because the latest accounts show £266,835 as ‘cash at bank and in hand’.

An interesting contribution to the Gilestone saga came a couple of weeks back from senior civil servant Andrew Slade. To give him his title, Director General, Economy, Skills and Natural Resources.

Here’s the article, in which Slade says that Gilestone may not be a done deal, but also describing the Green Man Festival as the “jewel in Wales’ crown”. A curious remark, and an indicator of Slade’s ignorance of Wales.

Most of those who attend come from England. Many more Welsh people go to the National Eisteddfod, then there’s ‘The Show’ (which was on last week), and even Dolgellau’s Sesiwn Fawr. I wouldn’t expect Slade to know much about the first or the third, but he’s been to Llanelwedd a few times.

It wouldn’t be stretching it to describe the Green Man Festival as an event for the English middle classes, for less than a quarter of the attendees live in Wales.

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I even found a photo of Slade with a bunch of young farmers. (He’s right centre.) Next to him, carefully coiffed, is Gary Haggaty, looking as if he’s about to go on stage to give Mr and Mrs Gripe of Wisbech the chance to win a week for two in sunny Scunthorpe.

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Both Slade and Haggaty have appeared on this blog before. They are civil servants with Defra backgrounds, sent down to keep the natives in check and do whatever damage they could to Welsh farming.

In The Welsh Clearances from October 2018 I used an image from January 2014 of Slade alongside Alun Davies, then Minister for Natural Resources and Food, as Davies announced taking EU funding from farmers and turning it over to ‘Rural Development Projects’. (And we all know what that means!)

Haggaty eventually shacked up with his boss, Lesley Griffiths.

I quote from her official bio: ‘Lesley was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs on 3 November 2017. On 13 December 2018 Lesley was appointed Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs. On 13 May 2021 Lesley was appointed Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd’.

Enough of digression, back to Fiona Stewart and her companies.

The only company I can find that seems to have any serious money is Plantpot Ltd; originally GMF Festival Ltd, before changing into Pot Plant Ltd. This is also controlled by Tree Trunk Ltd.

And let’s remind ourselves that Tree Trunk Ltd is a dormant company behind with its Companies House filings.

At the end of 2020 Plantpot had £1,179,096 ‘cash at bank and in hand’. Up from £656,213 the previous year. Not bad considering the Covid ‘pandemic’. But most of this money is owed to unidentified creditors. Who are they?

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With £169,900 owed to ‘group undertakings’. So does this mean it’s owed to other companies in the Tree Trunk group?

Another concern is that there’s no indication of where the £1m+ in cash came from. What we have instead of audited accounts for Plantpot Ltd is an ‘Unaudited Financial Statement’ made out by Ms Stewart herself.

I’m not suggesting dishonesty, but I am saying there’s a lack of clarity. Which might not matter had the ‘Welsh Government’ not paid £4.25m for Gilestone farm.

Because if the Green Man is the major event it’s said to be, then it must take in millions of pounds, so where is that money accounted for? It certainly doesn’t go through any company using the Green Man name. Is there a company I’ve missed?

If we go back to the table of Fiona Stewart’s companies we see that the newest is Cwningar Ltd, formed in February this year, with its formation almost certainly linked to the purchase of Gilestone farm.

Which is why I suspect that talk of an agreement between the ‘Welsh Government’ and the Green Man Festival is misleading. Fiona Stewart is the Green Man. I believe the farm was bought for Fiona Stewart herself. And for some new venture loosely connected with the Green Man.

I suggest that because Ms Stewart is nothing if not well connected in Cardiff.

This article from May 2017 says, ‘Cardiff University and Green Man will build upon their existing partnership’. Fiona Stewart gushed . . .

“Green Man works with world class talent and Cardiff University is one of the most respected universities on the planet, so it’s definitely top of the bill with me.”

(Pass the sick bag!)

Then think back to the item about the electric car motor, telling us that ‘academics at Cardiff University’ are involved. Dafydd Williams of Bute Energy ‘holds a BSc and MSc from Cardiff University’s School of City and Regional Planning’.

Cardiff University is almost an extension of the ‘Welsh Government’. If you’re well in with Cardiff Uni then doors – and cheque books – open for you in Corruption Bay.

And if, like Fiona Stewart, you’re also connected to Coleg Soros Talgarth, then you can write your own cheque. Which may explain how she acquired Gilestone.

Apart from its location there’s nothing Welsh about the Green Man Festival – just look at the line-up for this year. If Stewart wants to move to England, let her go.

Seeing as the great majority of the visitors come from England moving to that country would be the environmentally sensible thing to do.

Then sell Gilestone and put the money from the sale back into the public purse. Where it belongs. And don’t do the bidding of any other pushy memsahibs.

In conclusion, it’s worth remembering that a great deal of bullshit is talked about the Green Man Festival. Take this June 2019 submission from UK Music to the Senedd’s Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee. (Page 7.)

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Does anyone really think there are 1,500 jobs created on site? If so, there must be almost as many people working at the festival as there are attending!

And no matter what the figure is, those are very, very temporary jobs.

Like I say, bullshit!

CHILD PROTECTION

We live in dangerous times.

Obviously, there’s a war in Ukraine. But then we have supranational organisations like the World Health Organisation and the World Economic Forum trying to impose themselves as some kind of unelected global government.

And recently we’ve had to put up with the swivel-eyed who got really swivelly because of a few fine days – in July! You could sense their disappointment when the bodies weren’t piling up in the streets; their ‘We warned you!’ taunts dying on their lips.

All joking aside, one threat, a very real threat, is shaping up under our noses, with the full support of the ‘Welsh Government’ and the Corruption Bay establishment. Because both have been infiltrated, indoctrinated, or intimidated into supporting Stonewall.

For Stonewall, which started out defending and promoting the interests of gays and lesbians, is now nothing more than a group getting ever more extreme in its promotion of ‘trans rights’ and other issues.

Stonewall is favoured in Corruption Bay, we know that from the amount of funding it’s received from the ‘Welsh Government’.

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Seeing as the Wales Council for Voluntary Action is also funded by the ‘Welsh Government’ the total comes to £241,781. Only UK government departments gave more to Stonewall in the period covered.

Being so favoured Stonewall also has influence in Wales. Influence over legislation. Even to the extent of deliberately misrepresenting existing legislation.

Specifically, the Equality Act 2010. There are 9 protected characteristics under the Act, and this is how the ‘Welsh Government’ interpreted them. They’re correct apart from the one I’ve highlighted.

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What the Act protects is gender reassignment. That is, someone who has undergone surgery. Stonewall would like it to promote ‘chicks with dicks’, and give free rein to male sexual predators pretending to be women.

The ‘Welsh Government’ chose to accept Stonewall’s wishful thinking over the law. And then desperately tried to explain its mistake as being in ‘the spirit of the law’.

The spirit of the law can be elusive, a difficult thing to pin down. But there can be no mistaking the letter of the law. In this case it is quite unambiguous. (Doesn’t the ‘Welsh Government’ have lawyers?)

The ‘Welsh Government’ got it wrong because it listened to Stonewall. That’s because Stonewall has allies in the Bay among Labour insiders.

Which helped Stonewall influence the new curriculum for Welsh schools. But the fightback has started. There will now be a judicial review of the ‘Welsh Government’s proposals.

Here’s a rather long video (almost 2 hours) of a meeting in Bethel, near Caernarfon, where opposition is being organised to the imposition of certain elements of the curriculum.

But it doesn’t end there, for Stonewall also wants to corrupt pre-school children. Those who attend playgroups. Here’s a tweet put out by Stonewall last week.

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When asked to produce the ‘research’ referred to, Stonewall was unable to do so.

Make no mistake, Stonewall wants to push its vile agenda that results in mutilating confused kids into every sphere of our lives, and certain elements on the Left will give all the assistance they can.

Of course, many nursery or pre-school groups in Wales are run by Mudiad Meithrin. Which has, unfortunately, also been infiltrated.

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When I look at the Mudiad Meithrin board of directors I can see a few possible advocates for this dangerous nonsense. One in particular, who was deeply involved in attempts last year to turn YesCymru into TransCymru.

Another, who has recently left the Mudiad Meithrin board, also did great damage to YesCymru before moving on to other things. I’m told he played a big part in turning  Cymdeithas yr Iaith Woke.

Stonewall has walked into a trap of its own making. When you argue there is an ever-expanding universe of genders you will inevitably attract the exhibitionists and the unhinged, and the general public will stop taking you seriously.

Start talking about the sexuality of children and you’ll draw the perverts and the paedophiles. And then the general public will start seeing you as a threat.

An organisation in Stonewall’s position has two options:

    • Paddle back and regain some credibility.
    • Keep paddling furiously for the rapids and prove your critics right.

Stonewall seems to have chosen the second option. Which is bad news for them, but I won’t be shedding any tears.

We must protect our kids from discredited and dangerous beliefs promoted by a few influential individuals who decided those beliefs were ‘progressive’, then bullied others into accepting Stonewall’s lunacies.

It’s time for the ‘Welsh Government’, Mudiad Meithrin, and others, to paddle back, and to root out the influence of Stonewall from all areas of Welsh life.

♦ end ♦

August is normally a slow month for news so, unless the Gorsedd starts an insurrection, the ‘Welsh Government’ announces major investment outside of Cardiff, or Powys is invaded by enviroshysters (damn! too late for that one!), I’ll be back, bright eyed and bushy-tailed, in September.

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Climate Change – That Old Time Religion!

As you may have guessed, I am somewhat sceptical of the claims made by those who insist we’re heading for a climate catastrophe . . . unless of course we do as they tell us.

THE ADVANTAGE OF HINDSIGHT

I’m an old bugger and I’ve been hearing horror stories about climate change all my life. The narratives have varied but the intention was always the same.

For example, back in the 1970s, following a dip in the temperature, there was a fear that aerosols were blocking out sunlight and this was pushing us towards a new Ice Age.

Ain’t seen no polar bears yet in Aberdyfi.

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But the 1970s also gave us our last genuine heatwave; for in 1976 we saw 15 consecutive days when the temperature was 32°C or higher.

Attention then seemed to switch to global warming, but with this prospect still bringing colder weather for north west Europe. For it was believed that global warming would detach huge sheets of ice from the Greenland shelf; these would float southwards and redirect the Gulf Stream.

Even today, some are still prophesying disaster from that direction.

Next, it was the huge and growing hole in the ozone layer that spelt death for us all. I suppose it fixed itself. Here’s what the BBC, a leading purveyor of climate hysteria, has to say.

And who remembers acid rain, that would strip trees of their leaves and their bark, and reduce humans to skeletons if we stepped outside? Nobody mentions it any more, so I guess it went away.

‘Give us your serious face, Sue, there’s a love’. From the BBC Wales website, Saturday afternoon. The only thing missing is the body count. This is play-acting. Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

To give some perspective, here’s a link to some of the ludicrous predictions of climate catastrophe we’ve been served up over the past 50 years or so. Some you’ll remember, some you won’t. Anyone under the age of 40 should read it and then they might understand why older people are rather more sceptical.

THE NEW RELIGION

As a student of history brought up in a moderately religious family it’s fascinating to see a combination of a (would-be) global elite, scientists, politicians and political activists, set up what is in effect their own ‘church’.

Those listed could be compared to a College of Cardinals, bishops, priests, and lay brethren. So it’s worth remembering that . . .

The medieval Church frightened our forefathers with the prospect of eternal damnation, while the new orthodoxy offers lurid prophesies of global disaster; the striking similarity due to the same desired outcome – to exert control over people by frightening them with the prospect of a terrible but unverifiable fate if they don’t obey.

If we accept that analogy, then we are in some kind of time-warp where blind obedience is demanded, and no questions are tolerated. Rejecting the prevailing orthodoxy makes one a heretic.

An old one from ‘Viz’. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

I say that because anyone questioning the ‘science’ today is treated as a heretic would have been in the time of the Inquisition. With today’s heretics, like their predecessors, usually knowing more about the ‘science’ than their persecutors and the whipped-up mob demanding its entertainment.

Thankfully, there’s a ‘Reformation’ in the offing. It will inevitably lead to a ‘Counter-Reformation’; which will – through an excess of zealotry coupled with a paucity of supporting evidence – succeed only in further discrediting what had previously been so widely accepted.

CONTROL THE MESSAGE

The current spell of warm weather being exaggerated by the Met Office and the media into a threat to the human race will be of short duration compared to 1976.

Even so, with an agenda to serve, a few days of warmer than average weather must be pumped up into a life-threatening event. Though, as I read in a tweet a few days ago . . .

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Makes you think, doesn’t it!

People having to choose between heating their homes and eating this coming winter will be due to environmental zealots forcing on us measures to combat a non-existent climate emergency. As a result, winter deaths will be ignored; or if they are noted they will be attributed to ‘extreme weather’, which will of course be linked to the climate emergency.

Another parallel we can draw between today’s environmental establishment and earlier belief systems is their need to control what people see, read, and hear.

In the twenty-first century that means the media. And there is no doubt that the new religion has control over the greater part of what is referred to as the ‘mainstream’ or ‘legacy’ media.

That means radio, television, newspapers and magazines.

Which is why, in spite of censorship, and algorithms, ‘fact-checking’ and Big Tech rooting out ‘disinformation’ (i.e. ‘heretical’ thoughts), we should still be grateful for the internet. Fulfilling as it does the role of a latter-day printing press.

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This control over the established media is both global – though especially pernicious in the Anglophone world – and local.

Wales is not immune to attempts to promote the globalists’ Word at all costs. Even when it means misrepresentation and outright lies.

SOMEONE’S TELLING PORKIES

Monday last week saw the ‘Welsh media’ mount what was clearly a concerted effort to frighten us with images of a dried-up river in Pembrokeshire. All due, it was inferred, to global warming.

But things were not as they seemed. Here are the images.

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Now, at first sight, and to those who might not know the area, those images of dried and cracked mud would suggest a river drying up. But as I say, things are not as they seem.

For the Carew River – that’s Carew Castle in the images – is nothing more than a tidal creek. It flows into the Cleddau and on past Milford Haven to the sea.

Not only that, but there’s a dam, which holds back water to create a mill pond. Although no longer operational, the mill has been restored. And it’s the only tidal mill in Wales.

Which means that the expanse of mud shown in the images is indicative of nothing more than the extent of the mill pond when the tide is in, or when the dam is operating.

This clip from an Ordnance Survey map might explain it better.

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And if you click here you’ll go to a site that tells you more about the mill. Scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see a nice picture of all that ugly mud covered over. In fact, I’m told the mill pond is normally full.

People, myself included, pointed out on Twitter and elsewhere that the images used by the BBC and WalesOnline were misleading. And so, by Wednesday, the caption had changed to say that the image showed the Carew River at ‘low tide’.

Fair enough. But if that’s the Carew at low tide, what’s the message?

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The photographer, Matthew Horwood, had clearly gone up in his balloon for the image used by the Telegraph on Wednesday. But at least, in this image the dam is clearly visible.

Yet the caption still claims that the image shows ‘low water levels’. Which is wrong. The level of water in the Carew is quite normal – just look beyond the dam.

(The misleading picture of Afon Caeriw was still being used yesterday afternoon. Though, perhaps significantly, Horwood’s name does not appear, just Getty Images.)

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Matthew Horwood was a busy boy last week.

For he was at it again on Saturday. This time, with photographs of Llwyn-on reservoir, near Merthyr Tudful. Though the person who sent me the link remarked that the grass we see might suggest the ground has been exposed for some time.

Someone else noticed that the photographs used on Saturday seemed very similar to photographs used in this report from 2020.

What’s more, photographs of Llwyn-on showing other droughts that were not claimed to be heralding Doomsday can be found on the Coflein site.

The truth is that it’s an old reservoir, with outdated infrastructure; and I suspect it now operates at well below its original capacity. Hence the ‘droughts’.

UPDATE 20.07.2022: Someone sent me this photograph of the Carew mill pond taken today. All I can say is, they must have had a hell of downpour in Pembrokeshire last night!

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CALLING MATTHEW HORWOOD

As for the photographer, Matthew Horwood, I reached out to him on Twitter last week, but there was no response. I’ll try again.

Matthew Horwood, your photographs, used by various media outlets last week, were misleading. So here are my questions:

  • Did you submit those photographs yourself as evidence of ‘global warming’? 
  • Were they requested from you by the media outlets that used them?
  • Were you unaware that the River Carew is tidal and that Llwyn-on reservoir is regularly at that level?
  • Do you now intend asking the media outlets involved to clarify what the images actually show?
  • How close are you to the so-called ‘Welsh Government’?

The final question is due to Horwood’s Linkedin profile. To see Drakeford and his favourite university ‘liked’ suggests Horwood may be a member of the Bay in-crowd.

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What’s abundantly clear is that certain interests saw in the recent spell of pleasantly warm and dry weather the opportunity to ratchet up the climate hysteria.

Matthew Horwood and his photographs are an element of that offensive, as is Sue Charles, the weathergirl, looking as if she’s about to burst into tears.

THE BIGGER PICTURE

Not only are we being lied to, but the media is now increasingly self-censoring, which means that the general public is uninformed on world events.

Take Sri Lanka. The violent overthrow of the government was almost impossible to ignore, but it was certainly misreported.

Yes, the economy tanked; yes, the people were hungry. But it came about because the political elite in Sri Lanka followed the dictates of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and made its farmers go organic.

Nearer to home, the government of the Netherlands also wants farmers to use less fertiliser, which the government knows will put many farmers out of business, and so the government has offered to buy their farms.

Dutch farmers have refused to accept these directives and have been protesting for weeks. They have been joined by farmers in Germany, Poland, Italy, Spain.

The latest news is that Dutch farmers are refusing to sell their produce to supermarkets.

Even the Irish Greens are pushing the same ‘Let’s get the farmers!’ line.

But nothing is being reported by the BBC or the rest of the mainstream media. Because the WEF doesn’t want it reported.

About the only mainstream TV coverage I see is from Sky News in Australia!

The agenda of the globalists, and by that term I mean, the United Nations (IPCC), the World Health Organisation (which wants to override national governments in order to impose lockdowns and other measures), and of course, the World Economic Forum, can be summed up as follows.

  • A global government. (For which of course there will be no elections.)
  • In the meantime, national governments should be in the hands of oleaginous creatures who’ve been groomed by the globalists. (Trudeau in Canada and Rutte in the Netherlands are two examples.)
  • Eventually, there will be an end to the nation state. (And, by extension, nations. Especially majority white nations.)
  • An end to farming. (To be justified by claiming that farming causes great environmental damage.)
  • To speed up the end of farming governments, corporations, and individuals, will be encouraged to buy farmland. (Already happening in Wales, elsewhere, and of course, Bill Gates is now the largest private owner of farmland in the USA.)
  • The land released by the end of farming will in many cases be used for ‘habitat restoration’. (That is, rewilding, done by organisations and individuals that are close to the globalist cabal.)
  • Without farming we shall eat insects, and food produced in laboratories. (By happy coincidence Bill Gates, Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and others have been pushing this for a few years.)
  • There will be a cashless society. Everyone will use online banking and every transaction will be recorded. (After all, only criminals use cash!)
  • To increase personal security and reduce crime and terrorism everyone will have a biometric passport or ID. (Maybe a chip implanted, like your dog! Does he complain?)
  • We shall be regularly injected with whatever our globalist masters say is good for us. (Especially those who reject the yummy artificial food.)
  • We must all drive electric vehicles. (Can’t afford one? Don’t worry, walking is good exercise.) 
  • There really are too many of us in the world, so we must reduce numbers. (This is where the game is often given away, with the focus on countries where the birth-rate is below replacement level.)

I could go on, but I’m sure you get the picture. Thankfully, the agenda is coming off the rails because it’s been pushed a little too crudely, and events beyond the globalists’ control could now deal it a death-blow.

Even before the unrest across Europe Justin Trudeau in Canada made a revealing move when he froze the bank accounts of the truckers protesting against the Canadian government’s over-reaction to Covid.

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But fundamental to the agenda is the myth of a planet in danger, for this is the justification for everything else. The planet must be saved by giving up fossil fuels, fertilisers, private transport, real meat, and a host of other things that underpin an advanced society.

Those over-arching priorities coupled with individual mistakes and events beyond our control explain why we are where we are.

Remember . . .

We’re up Shit Creek now partly because we believed Angela Merkel when she downplayed how much the world relies on Russia for gas and raw materials. Partly because ‘renewables’ are expensive and unreliable nonsense. And partly because the globalists will now make us pay for them engineering a war with Russia.

MEANWHILE, IN WALES . . .

The ‘Welsh Government’ surrendered to the globalists without firing a shot in defence of Wales.

Worse, the collaborationist clowns in Corruption Bay see themselves as trailblazers in implementing the globalists’ agenda. Forever claiming to be the ‘first government in the world’ to introduce this, or that.

‘This’ and ‘that’ invariably translate into expensive gestures, and pandering to alien lobbies, neither of which deliver anything tangible or of material benefit for the Welsh people.

And of course, destroying the agricultural sector. For as a regular contributor to the Welsh debate, an academic from Bristol, put it recently . . .

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But now this enthusiasm is taking a more sinister and authoritarian turn.

Last Wednesday, from this tweet, I learned that a motion had been tabled in the Senedd by Jane Dodds, the Liberal Democrat MS for Brecon & Radnor. It was supported by the ‘Welsh Government’ and its little helpers in Plaid Cymru.

Here’s a contribution to the debate from Carolyn Thomas, the Labour Regional MS for North Wales. (Look at those eyes!)

I’ve highlighted a few sections and I’ll explain why.

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This woman has obviously bought into laboratory ‘food’. Then, high priest of the planet savers, and regular Guardian columnist, George Monbiot, gets a mention or two.

Handing back “vast swathes of our land to nature” means nothing of the sort. To begin with, Carolyn Thomas is talking about the Welsh family farm. And the land will be handed over to people like George Monbiot and his cronies, who thankfully failed in one colonialist land grab with Summit to Sea.

“Harnessed by the state” and “kept out of private hands” means nothing more or less than the ‘Welsh Government’ taking over Welsh family farms. Collectivisation that we’ve seen in Communist states.

“A basic income and state-owned green jobs to today’s farmers” means that having bought their farms, perhaps compulsorily, the ‘Welsh Government’ will now employ former farmers on the land they once owned.

If the jobs are state-owned, then those doing the jobs will also be state-owned. We could be going beyond nationalisation here to a form of serfdom.

Ukrainian peasants search for food in the famine that followed Stalin’s collectivisation. Communist politicians taking control of agriculture always results in famine. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

I’d like to dismiss Carolyn Thomas as just another unbalanced Green activist. Or someone who’s been overdoing it on the ganja.

But she’s a politician, a Member of ‘our’ Senedd, belonging to the ruling party. And because no one felt the need to apologise for her attack on the ‘kulaks’ I conclude that her contribution is ‘Welsh Government’ policy.

So let’s remind ourselves that under Labour . . .

Child poverty has increased in all 22 local authority areas; hospital waiting lists lengthen year on year; people are eyeing up which furniture they can sacrifice to keep warm this coming winter; but a bunch of deluded fanatics in Corruption Bay wants to turn Wales into a Communist hell-hole using as their justification a climate catastrophe that’s not going to happen.

This is the kind of moral corruption and intellectual vacuity that led to the medieval Church losing its authority. It grew distanced and divorced from the concerns of the people it claimed to serve.

We are at that point now. We may even have passed it.

The globalists’ dream of being leaders in a new world order, with them knowing where each and every one of us is at all times, what we’ve eaten that day, and what we’ve recently bought, is dead.

Killed by a combination of arrogance, economic realities, and Vladimir Putin.

There’ll be very few politicians pushing Net Zero in January, and I guarantee that for future WEF knees-ups the message for Klaus Schwab will be (adapting Bismarck’s Canossa allusion), “Nach Davos gehen wir nicht, Klaus”.

It would therefore be tragic if those assholes down Corruption Bay ignored the changing realities and tried to implement Carolyn Thomas’s nightmare.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Miscellany 07.07.2022

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

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

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

Capice?

WHERE WILL ALL THE TURBINES GO?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the response I received to my FoI.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WILD WEST SHOW?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

O tempora! O mores!

ABERDYFI EXECUTIVES MUST BE HOUSED!

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

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

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

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

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

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

So stick that up your Bullring!

LLANBEDR BY-PASS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TIR NATUR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STOP PRESS!

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

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

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

Are they now destined for Wales?

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

GILESTONE FARM, AGAIN

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

Here’s one. Here’s another.

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

Julie James. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LABOUR PARTY FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On June 8 I sent this e-mail:

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

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

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

‘WELSH GOVERNMENT’ FUNDS NATIONAL TRUST

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

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

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

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

Many of whom will be Welsh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GREEN HOUSING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I may return to this subject.

NO COAL

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

It is rarely if ever burned.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STUMP UP FOR TREES, INTERTWINING

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

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

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

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

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

But who do we see there!

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

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

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

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

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

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

MORE TREES . . . OR ELSE!

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

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

It wasn’t always so.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which brings us up to date.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet more bloody connections!

To explain . . .

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

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

But plenty of Welsh funding.

‘Plus ça change . . . ‘.

UKRAINE AND THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

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

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

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

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

But the mainstream media largely ignores this!

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

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

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

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

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

ENLARGED SENEDD

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

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

To explain . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

♦ end ♦

© Royston Jones 2022


Why only 10% of Welsh housing should be on the open market Part 2: Suggested answers to the most common questions and concerns

This is a guest post by Gruffydd Meredith. It considers important but overlooked aspects of the housing crisis in Wales.

For while holiday homes get most of the attention the problem of properties being bought for other reasons tends to slip beneath the radar. I’m thinking now of properties bought by those settling permanently in rural and coastal areas.

These will often be retirees (who seem to get younger every year), people making a lifestyle choice, those who’ve bought a local business (most of which are now sold online), and others moving to Wales for a whole range of reasons from white flight to health considerations.

And the effects go beyond housing. All the way from village schools closing to social tensions as newcomers try a little too hard to ‘involve themselves’ in village life, with this being perceived by many locals as ‘taking over’.

Take it away, Gruff . . .

It was good to see the discussion following an article I wrote which was published on Nation.Cymru on November 20th 2021, titled ‘Why only 10% of Welsh housing should be on the open market’. There were a great deal of important questions and comments made in response.

The basic premise of the article is this; that Wales should follow the example of the island of Guernsey (and many other countries such as Switzerland and New Zealand) and that all Welsh housing should be divided into two basic groups; a 90% group for the local / national priority market for the present and long term resident citizens of Wales, and the remaining 10% group for the open market and for anyone to buy – with local authorities across Wales also deciding annually how much of the 90% local/national priority market would be available for citizens within the local authority and how much would be available to citizens from the rest of Wales. The 90% / 10% ratio would be an approximate figure to aim for and would unlikely be arrived at perfectly all the time of course.

Ultimately we’re relying on those elected to come up with decent policies and laws in this and other areas but I’ll use this opportunity here to try and respond to some of the main comments, questions or concerns made in response to the original article in the hope of adding to a constructive discussion.

How would you separate the open market housing from the local/national priority housing? How do you decide which property is in which category?

Like in Guernsey, this plan wouldn’t happen overnight. In Guernsey, these two separate priority and open market groups gradually came in after the Second World War with the Housing Control law 1948, when locals were getting pushed out and priced out of the market after the war – it’s taken them many years to gradually develop the two different markets in a rational and reasoned way so that when people buy and sell property in Guernsey they know what sector they are buying or selling in to. And it has naturally developed that open market housing tends to often be more expensive than those on the local priority market. The same could happen in Wales in my view. And if introduced in Wales there will be a transition period to give people plenty of time to know which group they’re buying or selling in to.

The plan obviously wouldn’t be retroactive, wouldn’t affect existing homes or those already living in Wales whomever they are, and would only come in to action at a pre determined point in the future where both home sellers and buyers in the  local/national priority or open market group would know which market they are in or out of. So if a new housing law was passed stipulating the two different markets, both house sellers and house buyers in the future would know what they were doing. If existing home owners never want to sell their home then nothing would change anyhow.

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In terms of how do you determine which home goes in to which category, I’d propose this as a starter:

It should be fairly straightforward to create a housing act that ensures that most new homes (although not all of course – some could also be in the open market sector) being built in Wales fit in to the local/national priority housing group – new homes that would then retain this local and national ownership priority clause in perpetuity should they be sold again the future.

When it comes to existing homes I’d propose that as a guide, like in Guernsey, a large amount (although not all) of the existing homes on the open market, would tend to be the more expensive homes above a certain rateable value – homes that are, say, over £400,000 in value (this is a suggested example – this figure could also be lower of course). Four hundred thousand pounds is also the point where the Welsh Transaction Tax changes from 5% to 7.5% which might make this a potentially useful place to introduce a small increase. So this housing law wouldn’t affect most of these homes above a suggested figure such as £400,000 or their owners if they wanted to sell their home at any point, which they could do on the open market as they wished and exempt from any housing controls.

This would mean that most homes generally below this example value of £400,000 (adjusted depending on inflation etc.) would then stay in the local/national priority group in perpetuity – therefore enabling a great deal more people to buy affordable homes within their own areas. A team of experienced valuers and deliberators including appointed estate agents within each local authority could fairly determine a balanced approach to decide on these two markets and to engage positively and constructively with home owners and buyers  – a team that would also be accountable to the democratically elected local authority.

What would be my incentive to take part?

Financial incentives could also be offered to the home sellers taking part in the local/national priority scheme. They could be awarded for selling the homes to the priority market at a more affordable price by being guaranteed an upfront set sum from a pot coming from the extra council tax raised on holiday/second homes for example. This way, sellers wouldn’t be out of pocket and their conscience would be clear (if they had one!).

This incentive could also be made even more appealing if sellers in the priority group could also receive some of the Welsh Transaction Tax paid by buyers for homes above £400,000 in the open market group. This tax could perhaps be slightly and reasonably increased – raised from, say, 7.5% to 9% –  generating more funds for this scheme and further compensating house sellers who are within the local/national priority group – this more than making up and perhaps exceeding any difference between an affordable local price and the potential market price. A similar arrangement could also be made when it comes to capital gains tax although that tax is not yet transferred to the Welsh Government. Welsh estate agents could also receive a reasonable percentage from the pot for each house sold (on top of their normal commissions) for making sure that the two different housing markets are properly regulated and administered.

And it might be reasonable that house sellers in the priority group who haven’t found a buyer after a certain time (perhaps after 1 or 2 years as a suggestion) could then sell on the open market.

How would you decide who is able to live where? What gives you the right to decide? Is this racist/sexist/some other ism or ist?

No, this plan isn’t any of the ists or isms and isn’t anti anyone. Nothing would change for anyone already living in Wales – wherever they are from in the world, whether that be Wales, Poland, Kenya, England or Timbuktu. All people who want to move to Wales after the date of the law being enacted would be treated equally. And whether you consider yourself Welsh, Welsh-British, British, English or any other ethnicity, nationality or identity and already live in Wales, this wouldn’t affect you or your home. The new plan would come in to being at a future date and then gradually develop over time as new homes are built and home sellers and buyers take part if buying or selling.

After that future point in time where the new law will come in, any person not already living in Wales having been offered a full time job in Wales who couldn’t find a house on the open market would also be eligible for a house in the priority market. As would any partner, wife or husband and any children. And as would those giving long term care for a family member or partner in Wales. Self employed people who could demonstrate that their work would benefit and contribute to the Welsh economy specifically could also be eligible.

And, like also happens in Guernsey, anyone could also rent in Wales following the same law as that for house buyers or sellers. And once anyone had rented a place in Wales for ten years they would be considered permanent Welsh resident citizens and therefore eligible to buy on the 90% priority market (unless they’ve already managed to rent or buy a place on the 10% open market).