Afan Valley Adventure Resort – here we go again!

My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.

In keeping with the promise made above, this is an update to a story I was reporting on a few years back rather than a new investigation. I’m returning to it now because there have been significant developments.

MEMORY LANE

The plan to build a big adventure park in the Afan Valley, behind Port Talbot, complete with a hotel and lodges, offering ski slopes and cycle routes, was the brainchild of self-made con man Gavin Lee Woodhouse.

At one point, maggot-munching Bore Grylls was on board, but his enthusiasm cooled, perhaps when he realised the kind of  ‘businessman’ he’d got himself involved with.

But the ‘Welsh Government’ believed every word from Woodhouse, and in addition to offering him a £500,000 grant for his Caer Rhun hotel near Llanrwst, our tribunes were ready to throw more money at him in the Afan Valley.

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Woodhouse’s empire came crashing down when investors in his properties – some of which were never built – persuaded the media to take an interest. Now, I believe, it’s in the hands of the Serious Fraud Office.

Woodhouse’s umbrella company was Northern Powerhouse Developments Ltd, but the company set up for the Afan Valley extravaganza was the imaginatively named Afan Valley Ltd.

If you click on the ‘Charges’ tab for Afan Valley you’ll see that there are two outstanding charges. One in the name of Clive Mishon, the other 360 Mi Ltd, a company owned by Mishon that is now in liquidation.

I’ve never been entirely sure where or how Mishon fits into the picture, but he was certainly on the ground before Woodhouse. We know that because in May 2013 he was a founding director of short-lived Afan Solar Ltd. Next, perhaps after learning the sun doesn’t shine all the time in Wales, he joined Afan Energy Ltd in April 2014.

Both are long since dissolved. Afan Energy, in which Mishon was a shareholder, was written off with debts of £596,391.

Though still in existence is Marcol Industrial (Afan Energy) LLP.

Let’s remind ourselves there are three land titles making up the area involved. All mentioned in the Administrator’s progress report for Afan Valley Ltd of August 20.

The first, WA519567, was bought by Afan Valley Ltd with a loan from Clive Mishon. CYM471819 was bought in the same manner. CYM60212 is owned by Clive Mishon.

The Administrator’s report suggests that Clive Mishon is an unsecured creditor and will get the money he loaned when the land is sold.

We must assume the land has been sold because of the press release put out last week by Neath Port Talbot Borough Council telling the world that the project was back on track under new management.

Though Mishon is still involved, perhaps because the project can’t proceed without the land he owns. Besides which, Mishon has associates, involved with companies registered in places that enjoy more sunshine than Wales.

NEW FACES, OLD FACES, MASKS AND DISGUISES

Having read the press release you’ll know that those who’ve taken over are said to be the Salamanca Group Ltd and Wildfox Resorts Afan Valley Ltd. Let’s start with Wildfox, where the two directors are Martin James Bellamy and Benjamin Daniel Lloyd.

The initial share issue was for 101 shares. One hundred held by Wildfox Resorts Group Ltd, formed March 16, 2021 (as Kikai Group Holdings Ltd), the other by Clive Mishon.

All 100 shares in Wildfox Resorts Group Ltd are held by Lloyd and significant control is exercised by his company, Caer Capital Ltd. Caer Capital was formed September 15.

Lloyd lives in Wales but uses as an address, 21 Ganton Street, Soho, London W1F 9BN.

Lloyd has been involved with a number of property and buy-to-rent companies since 2016, but it all looks small scale compared to what’s planned for the Afan Valley.

The main vehicle for Lloyd’s ambitions seem to be Project Three Developments Ltd, where he’s in partnership with Gareth Vaughan Morgan and Benjamin Peter Hugh Wells.

This company claims ‘tangible assets’ of some four million pounds, almost certainly property bought with loans from the Development Bank of Wales.

The most recent company is Wells Lloyd Ltd, formed as recently as June this year. Has this new company been cobbled together to cash in on the Afan Valley bonanza?

Strengthening the local connection is another Lloyd company, Kikai RGI Ltd, where the other director is Lewis Ashleigh Peach, who gives a Caerffili address. Most of the shares (70%) are held by Wildfox Resorts Group Ltd, with Peach holding the remainder through his Arete Group Holdings Ltd. Arete was formed March 16, 2021.

But is Lloyd really the man behind the revived Afan Valley project? He’s certainly not mentioned in the press release from Neath Port Talbot council.

Yet ownership of Wildfox Resorts Afan Valley Ltd, the company mentioned in the NPT press release, seems to trace back through Wildfox Resorts Group Ltd and Caer Capital Ltd to Benjamin Daniel Lloyd.

To give you some idea of the size of the project, here’s the plan submitted by Gavin Woodhouse’s Afan Valley Ltd with the planning application.

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Now let’s turn to the Bellamy-Salamanca angle.

We find a host of Salamanca companies, all based at 3 Burlington Gardens in London’s Mayfair. The link between them is Martin James Bellamy.

An interesting name I keep seeing in connection with Salamanca is Lord David Triesman. A very wealthy man.

Another name shared by a number of companies is Rocksteady.

Where Lloyd crops up again as a director of Rocksteady Resorts Group Ltd of 21 Ganton Street, Soho. This company was formed on March 17, 2021, which is appropriate as another of the directors is Irishman Paul Christopher Baker. The third director is Martin James Bellamy. All shares are held by Rocksteady Group Ltd, formed March 16, 2021.

Another Rocksteady company was Rocksteady Resorts Ltd, launched March 11, 2020. Also interesting because the two directors were Baker and Peter Macandless Mundell Moore.

You see Moore in the group photo above. He was the expert brought in by Gavin Woodhouse to give his project credibility. Moore is invariably referred to in media reports as ‘the man who brought Center Parcs to the UK’.

Moore left Rocksteady Resorts March 9, this year, and the company was dissolved July 6.

The three directors at Rocksteady Group Ltd are Bellamy, Baker and Lloyd. The 200 shares are split equally between Set in Stone Holdings Ltd and CLLP Ltd. Both give London addresses.

One of the four CLLP directors is Hossam AlSaady, of Saudi Arabia(?). The others are Lloyd, Bellamy, and Anthony John Rowland. AlSaady runs Above Wealth LLP with Rowland. A company that helps the über rich find a home for their money.

Until 3 April, 2021, Set in Stone was using as its address, The White House, St. Mary’s Well, Bay Road, Swanbridge, Penarth CF64 5UJ. It files as a dormant company, showing just a single £1 share, presumably held by Paul Baker who was the only director until 17 March, 2021, when he was joined by Laura Lynn Baker, an American resident in Wales.

The shares in CLLP Ltd are held by MJB Capital (Lancelot Place) Ltd, 100 B shares; and Lancelot Developments Ltd, 325 A shares. All shares in MJB (Lancelot Place ) Ltd are held by MJB Capital Ltd. Lancelot Developments is controlled by Dr Chander Kanta Sabharwal and Dr Narinder Nath Sabharwal.

At MJB Capital, serving as directors, we find Bellamy and Ms Darina Kogan, a US lawyer now resident in England. Though she is Russian by birth.

This very recent item from the Daily Telegraph tells us that Mrs Bellamy – as we must now call her – is the daughter of Russian oligarch Valery Kogan.

So, I would guess that Martin Bellamy is, as reports tell, the driving force behind the revived Afan Valley project. Lloyd, Baker, et al make up the supporting cast.

Martin Bellamy

If nothing else, Bellamy knows billionaires who could easily finance the Afan Valley Adventure Resort. Among them, his business partner, and his father-in-law.

We are talking serious money here, and individuals with very powerful friends and allies, up to and including Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

SKATING ON THIN ICE

But there are other companies in the shadows. One being Afan Valley Resort Ltd, formed March 19, 2021. The two directors are Baker and Bellamy. The shares are all held by Rocksteady Resorts Group Ltd. The address is 21 Ganton Street, Soho.

There’s also Afan Valley Resort Management Ltd, Incorporated March 23, 2021. The two directors are, again, Baker and Bellamy. The single share is owned by Afan Valley Resort Ltd. Also using the Ganton Street address.

Another company bringing together Bellamy and Lloyd, and another company formed in March of this year, is Kogan Bellamy Lloyd Ltd.

It might be worth having a look at a couple of other companies Baker has been involved in, interesting for the American involvement, though also a bit worrying.

First, there’s E-Ventus Energy Ltd, with its registered address at the White House in Penarth. The other directors in this company were fellow Irishman John Connolly, who was resident in the USA, and US citizen John Spence, also resident in the USA.

The filed documents show an interesting story. The directors folded the company in February 2018, perhaps in an attempt to escape their debts. The creditors appealed to the High Court and the company was restored to the register. You don’t often see this kind of document; it’s worth reading.

The accounts for E-Ventus Energy are long overdue at Companies House. I wonder how much they owe?

Another strange company Baker was involved with was Deeside Hockey Ltd. The address given was 3rd Floor, 5 Temple Square, Temple Street, Liverpool, L2 5RH, but we can be fairly certain that the name referred to Deeside in Flintshire. In fact, there is a Deeside Dragons Ice Hockey Club playing in Queensferry.

Deeside Hockey was Incorporated August 5, 2015, first gazetted November 1, 2016, and finally dissolved January 17, 2017.

There were three directors at the start; Baker – resident in Wales – plus two resident in the USA, Wayne Gary James Scholes, and Trevor Damon Suelze. Baker pulled out September 14, 2015 and was replaced by American Collin Zito.

All the shares in Deeside Hockey Ltd were held by Red Hockey Ltd, since renamed Telford Ice Sports Ltd. And what a story we have here!

Launched in August, 2013 the first director was Scholes. Suelze joined in October. Baker joined in February, 2015. All using the Liverpool address.

Other directors came and went, and shares were issued, but this company was soon in trouble and eventually, after a lengthy process, it was dissolved in June this year.

The liquidator’s reports refer to ‘a number of questionable transactions’, and the company owed creditors almost half a million pounds.

In a Companies House Return of February 2015 we are told that all 1000 shares in (then) Red Hockey Ltd were owned by Really Epic Dog Ltd, operating out of the same Liverpool address with Scholes, Suelze, and Zito, as directors.

This company has creditors to whom it owes £4.9m. Most of this is explained by (allegedly?) transferring money between related companies run by the same directors.

At the same address were also Really Epic Dog Holdings Ltd, Really Epic Dog Publishing Ltd, and Gods knows how many other companies with no visible means of support.

So who are these Americans or US residents with whom Baker is associated? (For Suelze may be Canadian, and Scholes British.)

From someone else who was briefly a director of Red Hockey Ltd, South African resident Servaas Hendrik Theron, we have an address: General Counsel, 5225 Wiley Post Way, Suite 150, Salt Lake City, Utah 84116.

Googling that address turned up Red Touch Media and Wayne Scholes. There’s even a Wikipedia entry. Collin Zito is Chief Operations Officer at Red Touch.

Red Touch Media is now Liverpool Digital Media Ltd. The latest accounts show a company heavily in debt.

TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF IT

We would appear to have a number of potential sources for the money to re-launch and complete the Afan Valley Adventure Resort.

Martin Bellamy has his business partner Lord Triesman, and his father-in-law Valery Kogan. Either of them could finance this project from their small change. But if one of them was funding this project why do we see such a supporting cast?

And why so many Afan Valley companies?

And let’s not forget the Saudi link provided by Hossam AlSaady. Or if not a link to Saudi Arabia, then to one or more partners of his Above Wealth LLP. One of which is Swiss fund managers Gottex.

Then, we have the intriguing connection, via Liverpool, with the USA and, more specifically, the state of Utah.

What are we to make of Scholes, Suelze, and Zito, and their involvement in Deeside Hockey, the liquidator’s reference to ‘questionable transactions’, the unpaid creditors, and the labyrinth of linked companies all owing each other money?

Given their forays into the leisure business I would be disappointed to learn that these people are in any way involved at Afan Valley.

The connection between them and the resurrected Afan Valley venture is of course the Irishman, Paul Christopher Baker.

Baker is very much a player now at Afan Valley.

We find him at Afan Valley Resort Ltd with Martin Bellamy. The duo are together again at Afan Valley Resort Management Ltd. The duet becomes a threesome when Lloyd joins them at Rocksteady Resorts Group Ltd. The three then do an encore at Rocksteady Group Ltd.

All four companies formed 16 – 23 March, 2021.

And let’s not forget dissolved Rocksteady Resorts Ltd, where we would have found Baker and Peter Moore. Formed in March 2020 and put down a year later, with the name carried on by others.

Though I was struck by one very curious Companies House filing for this company, which I reproduce below.

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Was Paul Baker formerly known as Paul Morris, and did he change his name? Or did whoever registered the company with Companies House not know Baker’s name?

Whatever the answer, the name given on the company’s Certificate of Incorporation is definitely Paul Christopher Morris.

Baker’s association with the Utah Scousers and their Deeside Hockey, plus his role with E-Ventus, the company the High Court restored, might suggest he has a somewhat ‘cavalier’ attitude to business.

But what about the boys from round by ‘ere, like?

Well, Benjamin Lloyd’s Wildfox Resorts Afan Valley Ltd may be the real deal and his route to fame and fortune. Or it may be just a distraction.

His mate, Lewis Peach, is the other director of Kikai RGI Ltd. (Another company formed in March, 2021.) But a few years ago Peach was running a gym in Caerffili.

In the Caerphilly Business Forum Awards for 2017 we read: ‘Entrepreneur of the Year – sponsored by Coleg y Cymoedd: Lewis Peach – Peak Performance Fitness Solutions.’ (Did you know we have no word in Welsh for the English term entrepreneur?)

But Lewis is a Renaissance Man, cos when he’s not pumping iron we find him at Pure Structured Finance. This company was formed in December 2019, and according to Companies House its address is opposite McDonald’s in Llanishen. Yet the website I just linked to says it operates out of 3 Burlington Gardens, London, W1S 3EP.

And if that address sounds familiar then that’s because it’s where we find Martin Bellamy’s Salamanca empire.

Wheels within wheels. So many connections. Pathways and dead-ends. No wonder old Jac is getting quite dizzy – and alcohol plays no part. Honest!

A FEW QUESTIONS WITH WHICH TO CONCLUDE

These questions are addressed to Neath Port Talbot Borough Council and the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ on behalf of those still interested in how Wales is mis-ruled.

  • Do you know who is really behind this revived project, and where the money is coming from?
  • Why do you think this project needs so many companies?
  • How would NPT Council and the ‘Welsh Government’ feel about the project funding coming from Russia or Saudi Arabia?
  • There are persons with questionable business records linked with the project. What are their roles?
  • Will those now behind the project follow the discredited Gavin Woodhouse model of selling shares in the lodges and the hotel rooms?
  • Have those behind the project requested grants from the ‘Welsh Government’, or loans from the Development Bank of Wales?
  • How much public money will be spent on infrastructure – roads, etc – for the Afan Valley Adventure Resort?
  • What measures will NPT Council and the ‘Welsh Government’ put in place to ensure that contracts are placed with local firms and the better jobs allocated to local people?
  • Given that the Afan Valley Adventure Resort will mean tens of thousands more cars travelling from England into Wales, and back, every year, how does this square with the ‘Welsh Government’s ambition for Wales to single-handedly save the planet?
  • Will there be an extra charge for chalets and hotel rooms offering uninterrupted views of the surrounding wind turbines?

Labour politicians in Neath Port Talbot and Corruption Bay may be desperate to claim more ‘investment’, but rest assured, boys and girls, I shall be keeping a jaundiced eye on the Afan Valley Adventure Resort.

Because I’m sure there’ll be more to tell you in the months ahead.

UPDATE 20.10.2021: The Western Mail published an article this morning that was clearly designed to boost the project and make it clear that those now involved had no connection with the misdeeds of Gavin Lee Woodhouse.

It further informed us that the funding is coming from ‘Octopus Real Estate’. But I doubt it. For this is a one-woman company formed in April to buy a property in Wiltshire.

Presumably it refers to one of these pension fund Limited Partnerships, Octopus Commercial Real Estate Debt Fund II and Octopus Commercial Real Estate Debt Fund III.

But which one?

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England’s wind turbines – in Wales!

My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.

Last week, I introduced you to the Bute empire, based in Edinburgh and London, which, under a variety of company names, is planning many new wind farms in Wales.

This week’s piece is partly a recap, partly putting a new slant on things, and partly some fresh thoughts on the unequal relationship between Wales and England.

MAPPING IT OUT

Here are the location-specific Bute Energy companies, sixteen in all, each with a link to the relevant Companies House entry. Is there a project near you?

Twyn Hywel Energy Park Ltd / Rhiwlas Energy Park Ltd / Banc Du Energy Park Ltd / Aberedw Energy Park Ltd / Moelfre Energy Park Ltd / Mwdwl Eithin Energy Park Ltd / Garreg Fawr Energy Park LtdBryn Gilwern Energy Park Ltd Nant Mithil Energy Park LtdLan Fawr Energy Park LtdWaun Hesgog Energy Park Ltd Esgair Galed Energy Park Ltd Llyn Lort Energy Park LtdNant Ceiment Energy Park LtdNant Aman Energy Park LtdTarenni Energy Park Ltd

The full list of recent company formations, and other background information, can be found here.

I’ve now drawn up a map showing what I hope is the correct location of each of Bute’s planned wind farms. I can’t be absolutely sure because in most cases all we have is a company name, and that name could fit a number of locations.

The names Rhiwlas and Moelfre, for example, can be found in many locations.

But by ruling out urban areas, National Parks, etc., etc . . .

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To help them build these wind farms, Bute’s head honcho, Oliver James Millican, and his constantly growing band expect help from both Labour Party insider David James Taylor and Lesley Griffiths MS, the Minister for Rural Affairs in the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’.

I’m not exactly sure what’s expected from Taylor, but he’s been made a Member of Grayling Capital LLP, and he’s also been given shares in Windward Enterprises Ltd, both in his own name and that of his company Moblake Associates Ltd.

Taylor seems to be paying himself some £200,000 a year from Moblake Ltd but the skeletal accounts give no indication of where the money originates. Though, strictly speaking, and quoting the ‘accounts’, the money is, ‘an interest free loan and does not have a repayment date’.

But seeing as Taylor is the sole Moblake director, and holds the only share, for him to ‘repay’ Moblake would just be transferring money from one pocket to another.

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From Ms Griffiths Millican and whoever he might be working with obviously expect planning permissions. I’m not for one minute suggesting favouritism, let alone inducements. It’s simply that, as we saw when she overruled the Planning Inspector’s decision on Hendy Wind Farm, she has the final say.

Griffiths and Taylor are well known to each other. It would be unusual if they weren’t, seeing as they belong to the same political party and are both from the north east. Here’s Taylor out canvassing for Lesley Griffiths in the 2016 Welsh Assembly elections.

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A WEE DIGRESSION, BUT INTERESTING

Something I didn’t explore in the previous post was the fact that Taylor, Griffiths, Sophie Howe (Commissioner for Greenwash), and others, were on the same side before and after the Carl Sargeant suicide in November 2017.

This picture below, from 2014/15, shows, left to right, Carl Sargeant, Sophie Howe, a former Spad to Sargeant (though when the photo was taken she was deputy to former MP Alun Michael, the South Wales PCC), Lesley Griffiths, and Leighton Andrews AM for Rhondda, who lost his seat in 2016 to Leannein Wood.

David Taylor worked as a Spad or trouser presser for Andrews, and his loyalty to the party was rewarded when, in 2016, he was the Labour candidate for the North Wales PCC post. He lost out to Arfon Jones, the Plaid Cymru candidate.

L to R: Carl Sargeant, Sophie Howe, Lesley Griffiths, Leighton Andrews. Click to open in separate tab

The thing about this picture is, it’s not a ‘work’ photo, they’re out together relaxing. They know each other, they obviously enjoy each other’s company.

After Sargeant’s suicide they all rallied to his defence, or at least, they didn’t do any favours to then First Minister Carwyn Jones, lobbyists Deryn, and others coming under fire. Lesley Griffiths is quoted more than once in this report.

In this piece, we read that Sophie Howe: ‘ . . . told Coroner John Gittins: “I find that incredible that he (Sargeant) can be sacked without being told what the allegations were.”’

While Leighton Andrews has plenty to say on his blog.

In this November 2018 report from the Wrexham Leader we are told that, ‘The inquest also heard a statement from David Taylor, a friend of Mr Sargeant who was previously employed by the Labour Party.’

It’s all coincidence, no doubt, but from this small group around Carl Sargeant we have three – Howe, Griffiths, Taylor – currently contributing to Wales being ripped off by every shyster who can spin a line about saving the planet.

‘JUST A FEW QUESTIONS, SIR’ (Oh, the times I’ve heard that!)

I wrote to Bute Energy last Tuesday morning, ahead of office hours, giving them the chance to clarify a few points for this follow-up.

My questions were:

  1. When and where did you first meet David James Taylor?
  2. Were you introduced to Taylor? If so, by whom?
  3. What is your relationship with Taylor’s Moblake companies?
  4. Why did you make Taylor a Member of Grayling Capital LLP?
  5. Why did you give Taylor (and Moblake) shares in Windward Enterprises
  6. Have you met Lesley Griffiths, Welsh Government Minister for Rural Affairs? If so, where and when?
  7. Did you have advance warning of Ms Griffiths’ overturning a Planning Inspector’s decision on Hendy Wind Farm in October 2018?
  8. Why did you recruit former Labour MEP Derek Vaughan to chair your Welsh Advisory Board?
  9. Why does your Welsh Advisory also have as a member John Uden, a former London police officer now specialising in property security, who, apparently, has no Welsh connections?
  10. Why do you have so many wind farms planned for Wales?
  11. You don’t know Wales, so how did you find these sites? Did someone recommend them?
  12. Do the principals in Bute and the other companies have any experience in engineering, construction, renewables, or related fields?
  13. Do you really intend building wind farms or will you simply obtain planning permission and then sell the sites?
  14. Talking of the sites, have you been promised that, if necessary, powers of compulsory purchase will be exercised on your behalf?
  15. Do you have contact details for David James Taylor?
  16. Do you have anything you’d like to say?

I’m still waiting for answers.

Having mentioned the ‘skeletal accounts’ of David Taylor’s Moblake Ltd I naturally got to wondering about the accountant.

At the start, Moblake’s registered address was in the West End of London, at 109 Gloucester Place. It’s the tidy-looking gaff with the blue door. Though the company registered at that address, Adams Mitchell Ltd, was only formed in August 2019.

In fairness, it looks as though David Taylor was simply using Gloucester Place as an accommodation address. The ‘accounts’ submitted were all his own work.

Though the most recent accounts are a tale of West End to East End. For Moblake’s latest accounts were signed off by Naail & Co Ltd, a husband and wife outfit on Lambeth Walk in property leased with money borrowed from banks.

But the accounts remain unaudited. The accountant just signed off what Taylor put in front of him.

Accountant’s contribution to the latest Moblake Ltd accounts (y/e 30.04.2021). Click to open in separate tab.

Couldn’t David Taylor have found a nice, respectable accountant in Wales who would have presented fully audited and verified accounts?

Makes you wonder.

‘HERE YOU ARE, TAFF – DON’T SAY WE DON’T GIVE YOU NOTHING’

Maybe I’d better explain what I mean by the heading to this article about England’s wind turbines in Wales. Now pay attention, because this is a bit complicated, and prefaced with, ‘As I understand it . . . ‘.

In 2015 legislation was passed, covering England and Wales, that gave local planning authorities – i.e. councils – powers to decide on wind farms of 10MW and above. (They already had the power over smaller installations.)

This had been mooted for some years and finally came into effect, on June 18, 2015. With political spin about upholding election promises by letting ‘local people have the final say on wind farm applications’.

Hinting that this was a decision dictated by electoral considerations. For wind farms are erected in rural areas, and the rural areas of England are overwhelmingly Conservative in their political sentiments.

The Conservative and Unionist Party would lose MPs and councils if a Tory government in London over-ruled local councils to impose wind farms on areas where locals didn’t want them.

The map below might help illustrate my point.

You can do your own by going to this site, and by playing with the various layers on the interactive map you can end up with whatever your heart desires.

Image: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy / Barbour ABI. Click to open in separate tab

To reproduce my map, from the menu on the left: In ‘Energy Type’, keep Wind Onshore. In ‘Energy Capacity’, 10MW and Above. In ‘Status’, Application Submitted, Awaiting Construction, Operational, and Under Construction.

If we could add a layer giving political features it would show that Tory-voting England is almost entirely free of wind farms.

Below you’ll see an extract from a relevant UK government publication. This makes it clear that the 2015 legislation covered England and Wales.

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Obviously, this legislation means there will be hardly any wind farms in England. And that will result in the UK struggling to meet its climate change obligations. It will also be bad news for the Tories’ business friends who milk the subsidies paid for renewable energy.

Which is why I am convinced pressure was applied from London on the ‘Welsh Government’ for Wales to accept more and more wind farms.

This explains why the legislation was reversed in Wales to make wind farms of 10MW Developments of National Significance, meaning local authorities must either grant planning permission or expect to be over-ruled if they refuse planning permission. For the ultimate power rests with Welsh ministers. (Here’s the link.)

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This explains how, in 2018, Lesley Griffiths was able to over-rule both Powys County Council and the Planning Inspector on Hendy wind farm.

Ordinarily, Wales and England moving in separate directions would be something I’d applaud, but not this time.

Perhaps someone in the ‘Welsh Government’ can explain why 10MW wind farms are Developments of National Significance in Wales, but not in England. 

Especially as we share the same National Grid and the electricity generated by ‘Welsh’ wind farms will most likely go to England.

As I’ve said, I’m convinced pressure was applied from London, perhaps via the civil servants operating in Wales who answer to London. The ‘Welsh Government’ couldn’t admit that, so it was glossed over with the Well-being of Future Generations Act, which came into force in April 2016.

Followed by pious declarations to make Wales ‘carbon neutral’ and then, like a maiden aunt having an attack of the vapours, declaring a ‘Climate Emergency‘.

As if anybody outside of Corruption Bay gives a toss!

These bouts of orchestrated hysteria turned planting wind farms all over Wales into an environmental crusade. The panel below, from this ‘Welsh Government’ site, explains why someone thinks we needed this legislation.

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Note that climate change, over which Wales can have no effect, is more important for the ‘Welsh Government’ than spheres where it could make a difference.

Priorities, eh!

CONCLUSION

Despite the apparent divergence of approach over Developments of National Significance in 2015/16 we are, effectively, still in the Englandandwales model.

Making wind farms another example of devolution being used to serve England’s interests rather than ours. Consider this . . .

Just imagine if a Tory government in Westminster had said, ‘We don’t want wind farms in England – so we’re going to dump them all in Wales’. There would have been a national outcry.

Yet that is what has happened!

It’s the old story of Wales being exploited for the benefit of England. And just as with our water, we are not compensated for what we export.

Wanting Wales to be ‘carbon neutral’ and declaring a ‘Climate Emergency!’ is just vain posturing to disguise Wales’ subordinate status. Play-acting that won’t improve the lives of Welsh people, or make any difference to climate change.

And things might be about to get a whole lot worse.

For the number of wind farm applications is accelerating. Not only do we have Bute Energy’s 16 projects, there’s also the monster turbines planned for Y Bryn, between Port Talbot and Maesteg; while more recently I’ve learnt of a plan for turbines above coal tips at Ynyshir in the Rhondda Fach.

Yes, honestly, above coal tips.

How many more are planned that we haven’t yet heard about?

There is nothing to be said in favour of wind turbines. In their brief and intermittent lives they do not repay the environment for the damage caused in making, transporting, and erecting them. They are all built and owned by foreign companies. They provide no jobs. They despoil our landscapes. They kill birds. They cause flooding.

But never mind, we’re serving England’s interests. Again.

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‘Energy Parks’ – new name, but same old corruption, same old exploitation

My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.

The previous post was a cri de coeur from someone who by chance had learnt that she is to have a wind farm plonked on her doorstep. Which is often how people find out.

Because in the early stages of wind farm projects those pushing them like to tread carefully, and operate in the shadows. Which encourages skulduggery and often results in what can only be described as corruption.

Yes, I know, that will shock and surprise many of you. But it happens, even here, in planet-saving, refugee-welcoming, men-with-cervixes accepting Wales; where self-absorbed nobodies flit about the Bay out-mwahing each other as they await the next ishoo over which to drool and became instantly knowledgeable.

BACKGROUND

I must begin with a sizeable recap, because if you don’t understand what has gone before then you’ll have difficulty making sense of what’s happening now. And what is likely to happen in the future.

About three years ago I was contacted by people in central Powys who were fighting against the imposition of a wind farm. What resulted from that approach was Corruption in the wind? in November 2018.

This was followed up in August 2020 with, Corruption in the wind 2, Labour snouts in the trough.

The story began with the strange case of Hendy Wind Farm, not far from Llandrindod. To cut a long story short . . .

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Planning permission was refused by Powys County Council in April 2017, at a meeting where there occurred an episode worth recounting. (And here I lift a section from my November 2018 offering.)

‘Back in 2017, on April 27 to be exact, there was a curious scene played out at a meeting of Powys County Council’s planning committee. At a point in the meeting after the committee had refused planning permission for Hendy and was about to discuss further conditions for Bryn Blaen, a woman who had been sitting with the developers tried to hand a note to one of the committee members.

The woman had to be forcefully ushered away. She was recognised as a lobbyist, working for Invicta Public Affairs, a company based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne . . . 

It was Anna McMorrin, who had been recruited by Invicta in October 2016 for no reason other than she was a Labour Party insider, having joined the party when she was a student, and as a result of her subsequent career she knew exactly who to approach to get things done.

While she was working for Alun Davies they began an affair which resulted in both leaving their long-term partners. They now live together.

In the general election of June 2017 Anna McMorrin was elected Labour MP for Cardiff North.’

When McMorrin became an MP her profile obviously increased, and she could hardly be expected to raise the hopes of elderly councillors by slipping them billets-doux during planning committee meetings.

A replacement would have to be found.

Inevitably, the Hendy developers appealed against the council’s decision but the appeal was dismissed by a planning inspector in May, 2018. Then, just five months later, Lesley Griffiths, Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Secretary for the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ over-ruled the planning inspector.

Here’s the letter Lesley Griffiths sent to Keith McKinney of Aaron and Partners LLP, a firm of Chester solicitors acting for the developers Hendy Wind Farm Ltd. Which is directly owned by DS Renewables LLP and ultimately owned by U + I Group Plc.

You’ll note that Griffiths says the justification for her overruling the planning inspector is that Hendy Wind Farm is a Development of National Significance (DNS).

Yet Wales already produces roughly twice as much electricity as we consume, with the extra going to England for no remuneration. So Hendy and all the other developments planned cannot be in the Welsh national interest. Which means they must be in the national interest of England or the UK.

Suggesting that Wales is being lumbered with an unfair and disproportionate number of the UK’s wind farms. Take Scotland out of the calculation and it becomes even more obvious that Wales is suffering an excessive number of wind turbines in order to protect English landscapes.

But it’s OK, because this exploitation is presented as little old Wales saving the planet.

It’s unusual for a minister to overrule the Planning Inspectorate. And because the Planning Inspectorate plays by the same DNS rule-book Griffiths’ decision made a number of people suspect that other factors or influences might have been at play.

From the ‘Welsh Government’ website. Click to open in separate tab

And then . . . it was noticed that Labour insider David James Taylor had slipped on to the stage. Was he the replacement for Anna McMorrin?

In this website – put up I assume by objectors – Taylor’s company Moblake is named as working for the developers. Though as I’ll explain in a minute, there are two Moblake companies. And Taylor’s connection to those developers goes beyond Moblake.

Taylor is described in this piece as a ‘Former Labour spin doctor’. To give you some more information I shall shamelessly lift a section from last year’s piece:

‘Back in the early part of 2009 a bright lad in the Labour Party launched a website attacking his party’s political opponents. The site’s name cleverly linking the names of Labour icon Aneurin Bevan and national hero Owain Glyndŵr. As background music it even employed Tom Jones’s Delilah.

How we laughed!

But it all came unstuck and caused the bruvvers considerable embarrassment. First Minister Rhodri Morgan was particularly irked because Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones had been portrayed as a clown. In normal circumstances this wouldn’t have mattered, but Labour was in coalition with Plaid Cymru at the time.

The website itself has long disappeared into the ether, but this old blog will give you a flavour. Though the Aneurin Glyndŵr Twitter account lives on.

The photo below shows Taylor canvassing for Lesley Griffiths in the 2016 Assembly elections along with some kids shipped in from England. (He’s the chubby chappie at the back.)

Around the same time he stood as the Labour candidate for the North Wales PCC post, but lost. Which would have left him looking for a suitably remunerative position.

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Taylor had worked as a spad for Peter Hain when the Sage of the Serengeti was Secretary of State for Wales, and has also served as head cook and bottlewasher to former Labour Assembly Member Leighton Andrews.

Taylor joined the party while still in nappies and chaired his local constituency association before leaving kindergarten. In short, he is Labour through and through, and is very well connected in the Welsh branch of the UK Labour Party.

Additionally, he’s from the north east, and knows Lesley Griffiths personally.

WHAT A BUTE!

There is something of a changing of the guard in 2017/18. Not only do we see Taylor taking over from McMorrin as the Labour Party / lobbyist presence but those originally behind Hendy wind farm are overshadowed by new players.

The linkage between the new and the old can be found in the company originally named Windward Generation Ltd, then Bute Energy Ltd, and finally, RSCO 3750 Ltd.

The first two directors were Oliver James Millican and Lawson Douglas Steele, both using the address of the Edinburgh Solicitors’ Property Centre at 90a George Street. They were joined 6 days later by Steven John Radford of Hendy Wind Farm Ltd.

Radford left in December 2019 and in the same month Stuart Allan George joined. Millican, Steele, and George will dominate this narrative from now on through a galaxy of companies under the Bute Energy umbrella.

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To help you make sense of it I offer this table, with working links, that shows the various companies involved at the outset of the Hendy scenario and how, since they appeared on the scene, Millican, Steele, and George seem to be planning wind farms – now renamed ‘energy parks’ – all over Wales.

Since April 2020 there have been 20 new companies. Most of them location specific. See how many you can identify.

Earlier I mentioned David Taylor’s two companies called Moblake. These are Moblake Ltd (formerly Moblake Wind Ventures Ltd), and Moblake Associates Ltd. Despite the suggestion in the name of the second, Taylor is the sole director of both.

The latest unaudited financial statement for Moblake Ltd (not to be confused with audited accounts) show a healthy balance of £765,000. The ‘Nature of business (SIC)’ says that this company deals in ‘specialised construction activities’.

From the latest accounts, y/e 30.04.2021. We can guess where the money came from. Moblake is just a conduit. Money goes in one end and Taylor takes it out at the other end. Click to open in separate tab.

The Moblake companies were formed a week before Lesley Griffiths wrote to the developers’ solicitor advising that the Hendy Wind Farm was going ahead. What a coincidence!

Which I find curious. For Taylor has neither qualifications nor experience in the field of construction. I’ve read somewhere that he took time out from being a political fixer to study cyber security in the USA.

To further the pretence of Welsh involvement in or benefit from these projects Bute has recruited or appointed a Welsh Advisory Board headed by former Labour MEP Derek Vaughan.

UPDATE 15.10.2021: We now learn from her entry on the Register of Interests that senior Labour MS Jenny Rathbone‘s partner is a member of the Advisory Board. I believe this ‘partner’ to be Derek Vaughan.

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Since leaving the Metropolitan Police in 2002 John Uden has been involved in property security. His Linkedin profile says: ‘Six years as an area residential and commercial facilities manager. Two years as a city centre estate manager’.

Why would the Bute Energy crew need his expertise if their projects are just about remote and isolated wind turbines?

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Having touched on Taylor’s background, it’s worth adding that Millican, Steele, and George have never driven a digger for Wimpey either. Their expertise is in real estate and equities.

Which raises a number of possibilities.

Until he discovered an interest in wind turbines Millican was a director of companies under the Parabola label. Companies such as Parabola Estate Holdings Ltd, operating out of the same London address as his more recent wind farm ventures.

A director of this and many other companies is 72-year-old Peter John Millican, who I assume to be the father of 40-year-old Oliver Millican.

Given that Millican junior is in ultimate control of all the wind farm companies I can’t help wondering whether he has really branched out on his own or whether he’s still working for daddy. Or perhaps fronting for someone else.

To summarise, we have the three musketeers from Caeredin, and their man on the ground in Wales, David Taylor, none of whom has any obvious background in engineering or renewables. Nor are they believed to be card-carrying members of the Greta Thunberg Fan Club.

Which suggests to me that they’re just in it for the money. With that money assured through being able to influence the ‘Welsh Government’.

For it wasn’t Taylor’s sparkling repartee that persuaded the Bute gang to make him a member of Grayling Capital LLP, and a shareholder in Windward Enterprises.

All of which leads me to wonder if this lot will erect a single wind turbine.

Because having apparently secured the rights to so many sites all they need do on each is spend a few thousand for a planning application and, once that’s secured, each site becomes worth millions.

And we are talking tens of millions of pounds, possibly nine figures, for a total outlay of less than a million pounds, and without having to do any real work.

Not far from Hendy Wind Farm, nearer to Llangurig, we find Bryn Blaen. A modest affair of 6 turbines with a tip height of 100m and a potential output of just 14.1MW. This too was launched by Steven John Radford, the man behind the Hendy project.

The latest accounts (to 30 September, 2020) show ‘Tangible assets’ of £35,567,344. And this figure has been reduced by the estimated cost of removing the turbines when their days are done, and restoring the site.

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Though I predict it will be a hard job getting those responsible to restore wind farm sites. We might see companies locating offshore, as we saw with those seeking to avoid cleaning up opencast coal sites. A famous example being Celtic Energy.

Incidentally, Celtic Energy was advised by M & A Solicitors, which changed its name to Acuity Law and then advised Stan ‘The Pies’ Thomas on his notorious acquisition of public land.

I wrote about it back in the early part of 2016, with Pies, Planes & Property Development, soon followed by Pies, Planes & Property Development 2. ‘Planes’ refers to Stan and his brother Peter selling Cardiff airport to the ‘Welsh Government’ for a ludicrously high price.

When dealing with the ‘Welsh Government’ the Thomas brothers adhere to the old maxim, ‘Sell high, buy low’. With which the ‘Welsh Government, apparently, agrees.

Acuity Law still does a lot of work for Whatshisname and his gang. God help us!

Let’s conclude this section with a bit more information on Bryn Blaen. Radford and other directors left the company in February 2020. They were replaced by Stephen Richard Daniels, Edward William Mole, Benjamin Alexander Phillips, and Roger Skeldon.

Together, the three for whom I’ve provided links, hold 1,647 directorships, and a hell of a lot of the companies are dissolved.

It might be worth keeping an eye on Bryn Blaen.

IT COULD HAVE BEEN SO DIFFERENT

Consider this: We have a ‘Welsh Government’, and it wants to fight climate change by covering Wales in wind turbines.

The obvious course to have taken would have been to build up a Welsh renewables industry. Welsh companies could have been formed, could have grown and prospered; created jobs, built up local skills, and put wealth into local economies.

Had this been done we could today have Welsh companies erecting wind turbines around the world. Using highly-skilled Welsh technicians and engineers. Bringing money back to Wales.

But no.

Instead, our colonial elite behaved like procurers, offering Wales up to foreign investors and companies for them to do with as they wished. The former sometimes based in tax havens, the latter often state owned, such as Sweden’s Vattenfall, which owns our largest wind farm, Pen-y-Cymoedd.

But it will get worse before it gets better. Because in some ways Bute Energy’s plans may represent the last hurrah for increasingly discredited onshore wind.

The next scam is tree planting. Which is why . . .

When independence is seen to approach the first priority must be to seal off Corruption Bay and block all escape routes. Then flood the place. Have gangs of likely lads at each exit to mercilessly deal with anyone trying to get out.

Because . . . can you imagine giving more power, and more money, to those we find in that nest of vermin? The jumped-up councillor politicians, their spads, and other hangers-on; the third sector parasites dreaming up new ‘problems’ they can use to bleed us dry; the (unregistered) lobbyists; the civil servants taking orders from London; the enviroshysters and other ‘influencers’ directing ‘Welsh Government’ policy.

They must all be swept away.

If independence offers nothing but devolution on steroids, then here’s one lifelong nationalist who will reject it. My independence, whilst being free of ideological pre-conditions, demands a fresh start, with a different model, and in a new place.

A new system that works for the Welsh people, not against us.

♦ end ♦

 




More wind turbines!

My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, Malbec, books, but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.

As you can see this contribution is an anonymous guest post from another Welsh community being threatened by foreign-owned wind turbines erected – we are told – to save the planet, but providing no benefits whatsoever to Wales.

You’ll also see that the writer seeks help from someone who is clever, cheap, and cheerful. Well, I’m certainly clever, and I don’t charge, but whether I’m cheerful depends on a number of factors. Such as whether anybody’s pissed me off, how the Swans are doing, the latest lunacies out of Corruption Bay, and whether I’ve had a glass or twa or the Argentine nectar.

The area affected by the proposed wind turbines is inland of Abergele. Not far from Llanfair Talhaiarn, of blesséd memory. For many, many years ago a gang of us hired a Ford Transit van in Swansea and did a wee tour of the area. We were headed for Squire Wynne’s place at Garthewin.

Anyway, we got a bit boisterous in one the Llanfair pubs and were ejected. (Can you believe that!) So we made a dash for the village’s other pub. But like a scene from a Bergman movie, as we drew near, the big front door was slowly closed with a deathly creak.

The bastard in the first pub had obviously phoned ahead!

Happy days!

Now read on . . .

ENGLISH VERSION

250 Metre Onshore Wind Turbines – Paradise Lost or Paradise Regained?

I had a strange and surreal ‘Mabinogion’ or ‘Under Milk Wood’ type dream last night, I was talking to an industrial wind energy company representative from another country.  Rather he was condescending whereas I was rendered gobsmacked (the correct technical term to describe this state eludes me). He took undue delight in telling me that the Welsh Government designation of pre-assessed status for wind energy generation afforded to my home (Future Wales Plan 2040) gave his company ‘presumed consent’ to build a huge industrial wind site, unprecedented in size and scale. This entails placing 250-metre-high turbines (Bendigeidfran – like but without getting his feet wet) extending some 3 or 4 miles across the beautiful hinterland of rural Conwy and all this barely 700 metres from our front door and newly established small glamping business.

The dream became more bizarre. This ‘pre-assessed’ status, based on prior Development Framework Plans and an evidential basis we are still awaiting full sight of was sanctioned in February 2021 during a global pandemic. This status was apparently not known to our Assembly Member, neither of the respective two county councillors, nor three relevant community councils whose parishes had acquired the prestigious accolade of being sacrificed as collateral damage, to save the planet by selling our landscape, ecology, souls, livelihood, and wellbeing to finance the unfaltering altruism of multi -national constellations of hedge fund and venture capitalists.

The threatened area. Click to open in separate tab

In fact, we shouldn’t have known about it at all, but for the integrity and courtesy of good neighbours who had received a ‘Noise Agreement’ to sign along with an annual financial incentive. We then became aware that the company had been in negotiations with several landowners since September 2020, nine months earlier. I understand that the recognised industry terminology or parlance to describe this practice is ‘public engagement and consultation’, requiring no doubt years of university education to hone the required skills.

The dream became a nightmare. We have inadvertently found ourselves bound in a Sisyphean Greek fable, attempting whilst blind folded to complete a highly complex – albeit extremely interesting – jigsaw, without as yet the benefit of the complete picture.  Further exacerbated by the inevitable one or two critical pieces lurking in the dark corners under the sofa cushions destined to remain forever hidden or inadvertently coming to light when seeking the TV remote control.

Who would have thought that I’d be rapidly including ‘Clean Energy?’ to my limited but highly exclusive repertoire of specialist subjects for any potential Mastermind invitation (alongside cast on techniques in fair isle knitting and Sunday School sol – ffa if you’re interested). Topics include constraint payments (money for switching them off), wildlife and ecology impacts including flooding risks, overseas production, the mining of precious metals, visual and noise pollution … and all the pioneering developments in more effective and efficient clean energy options.

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It’s clearly a long time since I was in school, but not quite that long ago that I couldn’t see that the maths nor the logic didn’t quite add up. In focusing on hitting targets, it seems to me that we are in danger of missing the point and losing all common sense within the unquestioned and well -rehearsed Mantra.

We haven’t objected to smaller scale local initiatives, it’s the unprecedented size and scale of this proposal and what it will herald that is of concern. Of course, we’ll be labelled as NIMBYs, (whereas FISBY ‘Fine In Someone else’s Back Yard especially if I get paid for it’ is perfectly acceptable though not as catchy), whilst the developer will be welcomed as a returning Messiah laden with gifts and distributing charity and largesse to the grateful natives.

Please someone wake me up and tell me it’s all a bad dream or if as I fear, this is our new reality – is there someone out there who could help give a small rural community a fighting chance with this? We need someone clever (essential); cheap (essential) and cheerful (preferably). Thank you for reading.

Chwarae Teg – Hen Dro Sal

Jac’s PS: A new company has been formed for this project, Moelfre Energy Park Ltd (they’re not called wind farms any more). The single share issued, thus far, is held by Bute Energy (Cambria) Ltd. Look at the directors of Moelfre Energy Park and Bute Energy (Cambria) Ltd and you’ll see some Edinburgh gents who have appeared on this blog before. Read Corruption in the wind 2, Labour snouts in the trough.

∼ ♦ ∼

FERSIWN GYMRAEG

Tyrbeinau Gwynt Tir 250 Metr – Adennill Paradwys ynteu Paradwys Coll?

Cefais freuddwyd Dan y Wenallt a Mabinogaidd ei naws, enbyd o od neithiwr. Roeddwn yn siarad efo cynrychiolydd cwmni gwynt diwydiannol o wlad arall, wel i ddweud y gwir ‘roedd o’n nawddoglyd a finna’n gegrwth.

Ymhyfrydodd wrth ddweud wrthai fod statws dynodedig ynni gwynt Llywodraeth Cymru  (Cynllun Cymru’r Dyfodol 2040) fy nghynefin, yn sicrhau ‘caniatad wedi ei ragdybio’ i’w gwmni, adeiladu maes ynni gwynt diwydiannol, cwbl ddigynsail o ran maint a graddfa. Gosod tyrbeinau 250 metr o uchder (megis Bendigeidfran ond heb wlychu’i draed) ar  draws 3 – 4 milltir  berfeddwlad hyfrytaf Conwy, a’r cyfan 700 metr o’n haelwyd a’n menter glampio bychan ni.

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Aeth y freuddwyd yn fwy rhyfedd fyth. Cytunwyd ar yr ardaloedd dynodedig hyn, yn derfynol ym mis Chwefror 2021, ynghanol pandemig fyd eang. Er holi a holi rydym yn parhau i aros am y dystiolaeth lawn sy’n rhoi sail i’r penderfyniad.

Yn ol a ddeallwn nid oedd y statws yma yn wybyddus i’n haelod seneddol, nag i wleidyddion lleol na sirol, sydd a’u plwyfi breintiedig wedi eu dethol ar gyfer achub y blaned. Ac yn sgil hynny aberthu tirwedd ac ecoleg, a bywoliaeth, llesiant ac eneidiau ninnau drigolion – er mwyn ariannu anhunanoldeb dibendraw cytser rhyngwladol o gyfalafwyr menter.

Ni ddylem ni wybod hyd yn oed ‘rwan. Oni bai am hygrededd a chwrteisi cymdogion da a dderbyniodd ‘Gytundeb Swn’ gyda chymhelliant ariannol blynyddol i’w arwyddo, fe fyddwn ni dal yn y niwl. O dipyn i beth fe ddaeth yn amlwg fod trafodaethau y datblygwyr gyda thirfeddianwyr wedi cychwyn naw mis ynghynt. Deallaf mai’r terminoleg swyddogol o fewn y diwydiant ar gyfer yr arferion rhain ydy, ‘Ymgysylltu ac Ymgynghori gyda’r Cyhoedd’, sgiliau mae’n rhaid wrth flynyddoedd o addysg Prifysgol i’w mireinio siwr o fod.

Fe drodd y freuddwyd yn hunllef. Rydym yn gaeth mewn chwedl Roegaidd Sisyphean, yn ceisio llunio jig-so cymhleth (er un hynod diddorol), heb weld y llun cyfan, hyd yma. Yn anorfod mae na ddau neu dri o ddarnau coll yn celu yn nhragwyddoldeb ebargofiant encilion y soffa.

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Pwy feddyliai y byddwn yn ychwanegu ‘Ynni Glan?” i’m repertoire cyfyng ond hynod ddethol ar gyfer y gwahoddiad Mastermind (ynghyd a dulliau gweu Fair Isle a Sol-Ffa Ysgol Sul). Mae’r meysydd llafur yn cynnwys, Taliadau Cyfyngiad (arian i’w diffodd); effeithiau ar fywyd gwyllt ac ecoleg gan gynnwys llifogydd, dulliau cynhyrchu gan gynnwys concrid a mwynau gwerthfawr, ynghyd a’r holl ddulliau amgen cyffrous sydd yn fwy effeithiol ac effeithlon.

Mae na amser maith er pan fues i’n ddisgybl ysgol ond nid cweit mor hir imi beidio a gweld nad ydy’r rhesymeg na’r syms yn taro deuddeg. Wrth ganolbwyntio’n unllygeidiog ar wireddu targedau mae’n amlwg imi ein bod yn methu’r pwynt a fod synnwyr cyffredin wedi diflannu o fewn y Mantra.

Nid ydym wedi gwrthwynebu datblygiadau eraill lleol, maint a graddfa y safle sydd yn ein dychryn. Wrth gwrs fe gawn ein collfarnu a’n labelu’n NIMBYs, (dydy’r term FISBY ‘Fine In Someone else’s Back Yard especially if I get paid for it’ ddim cweit mor fachog), tra chaiff y datblygwr, sy’n addo rhannu elusen a largesse i’r werin dlawd ond  diolchgar, groeso y Meseia dychweledig.

Gall rhywun fy neffro o’r hunllef plis neu os mai dyma yw ein normal newydd oes rhywun gall gynnig cymorth i gymuned fechan wledig? Rydan ni angen rhywun clyfar (hanfodol), rhad (hanfodol) a llawen (dewisol). Diolch am ddarllen.

Chwarae Teg – Hen Dro Sal.

♦ end ♦

In the next day or two I shall bring out a supplementary piece explaining certain connections between wind farm developers, movers and shakers with political connections, and politicians making decisions on wind farms.

There is definitely corruption involved. The only question is: How far does this corruption reach?

 




Enviroshysters flock to Wales for easy money

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. POSTINGS WILL PROBABLY BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

As is so often the case, this week’s post began life with someone sending me a ‘this might interest you’ snippet. Sure enough, it did. Because once I started digging, all sorts of interesting information came to light.

LIFE WITH THE BEAVERS

It all started with a news item from the Cambrian News, about a ‘conservation retreat’ not allowing onto the property people who had been vaccinated against Covid-19. I don’t buy this ‘paper and I try to avoid reading it because I’ve never trusted the Cambrian News. (I give some reasons in this short pdf document.)

As you’ll see, the CN report gives the name of no individual so, on the assumption that this ‘conservation retreat’ doesn’t run itself, and isn’t run by the beavers, I started my enquiries.

I soon realised that the story had also appeared in English dailies, and they had no hesitation in naming Sharon Girardi as the woman running Blaeneinion. So why would the local rag be so reticent to name her? Local weeklies survive by naming local people doing this and that. That’s why locals buy them.

Image: Daily Mail. Click to open in separate tab.

Next step was to the Land Registry, to see who owns Blaeneinion. And now it gets really interesting. Here’s the LR title document. I suggest you open it in another tab and keep it open.

You’ll see, on the first page, that the property is owned by Endeavour Ltd, a company registered in Gibraltar. And that it was bought for £595,000. At the foot of page 2 we read that Endeavour Ltd bought Blaeneinion on November 13, 2008.

Next stop, Gibraltar.

Companies House in Gib is quite efficient and helpful, and so I had few problems in buying a company profile for Endeavour Ltd. Though, this being Gibraltar, the paperwork doesn’t tell us much. Here it is anyway.

We learn that Endeavour Ltd was set up April 14, 2008. Some 7 months before the purchase of Blaeneinion. Perhaps created specifically for that purpose. Maybe other properties were bought.

Two thousand shares were issued and they’re all held by Gibraltar International Trust Corporation Ltd (GITCO). An old entity, this; Incorporated in November 1968.

You will not be surprised to learn that GITCO appears in the Panama Papers, where it links with other exotic forms of commercial life such as Cathay Transport Ltd of the Bahamas.

Image: International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Click to open in separate tab

But, thanks to Open Corporates, we also find GITCO linked with a new company nearer home.

I’m referring now to Friar Street Properties Ltd, Incorporated with Companies House as recently as March 29, 2021. There, among the directors, we see Gibraltar International Trust Corporation Ltd.

Why would Gibraltar International Trust Corporation be named as a director for a small-scale property company operating out of the red brick office in Worcestershire of Hayward Wright Accountancy Group? Especially as this new company seems to be the only one in the UK with which GITCO is officially linked.

This sumptuous accommodation seems to be the base for Alistair Graeme Hayward-Wright, director of Friar Street Properties and many other companies. Though the latest accounts filed suggest that Hayward Wright Accountancy Group is a dormant company.

Back to Sharon Girardi. She’s not named on the LR title document as a leasee, so it’s reasonable to assume she’s the owner. As such, she must be Endeavour Ltd of Gibraltar. If not, then she’s fronting for someone.

The Daily Mail report tells us that, ‘She has previously been backed by the Forestry Commission to plant 34,000 native saplings at her Blaeneinion estate’. But the FC doesn’t operate in Wales, that role here is filled by Natural Resources Wales.

The image above – of Ms Girardi with ‘Mr Beaver’ – was used in the Daily Mail report I linked to, but I think it appears first in this Daily Mirror article from September 2015. Though the beavers had arrived in 2011.

From the Mirror article we learn that Sharon Girardi kept the wolf from her door through Airbnb. Though as a rewilder, shouldn’t she have welcomed Mr Wolf?

From the Daily Mirror, September 2015. Click to open in separate tab

The more I think about it, the more bizarre this whole story becomes. I can’t help feeling that there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

  • It starts out with someone buying a remote property for £595,000 without need of a mortgage.
  • But they claim they can’t make ends meet with organic veg so they go in for Airbnb.
  • Which means that despite claims about conservation and rewilding, what we see at Blaeneinion is to all intents and purposes a tourism business.
  • How much has Natural Resources Wales or any other agency of the ‘Welsh Government’ paid to Endeavour Ltd or Sharon Girardi?
  • Assuming Sharon Girardi is Endeavour Ltd of Gibraltar, what is the ‘Welsh Government’s position on funding companies based in tax havens?
  • Come to that, why did Sharon Girardi feel the need to buy Blaeneinion by this roundabout route?
  • Though if she’s not the owner, then who is?
  • What is the connection between Endeavour Ltd and Friar Street Properties Ltd?

HORSING AROUND

Not far from Blaeneinion there is a similar but larger venture, only this time, instead of beavers, it’s Konik horses . . . at the moment. And while beavers were once native to Wales I’m pretty sure our ancestors never saw these critters.

They’ve gained quite a bit of publicity over the years, they’ve even appeared on this blog, in The Green Menace, back in August 2018. Here’s a BBC report about them.

(It seems Wales has no native horses that could have been used.)

As the BBC report tells us: ‘Cambrian Wildwood wants to extend native woodland from 10 to 100 acres across its land using natural projects. It is looking after a 350 acre site which was acquired by Wales Wild Land Foundation (WWLF) on a 125-year lease from the Woodland Trust, which bought the land.’

Wales Wild Land Foundation operates as Cambrian Wildwood. It’s explained here, with maps, in the Management Plan 2017 – 2022. And the plans are ambitious. Some might say unrealistic. Even worrying.

On page 13 we read: ‘All other native species, including large herbivores, will be present. Some animals requiring cooperation and agreement across a large area of landscape will be longer term considerations: for example, wild boar, moose, bison and red deer.’

There are some pretty hefty beasts named there, with the potential to cause a great deal of damage. Will a bunch of enviro-dreamers, with no experience of domestic livestock let alone wild animals, really be able to restrict them to the 350 acres they manage?

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On the same page we read: ‘For the foreseeable future, it is presumed that the large carnivores (bear, wolf and lynx) will not be present on the site, and it is considered beyond the scope of Cambrian Wildwood to promote these species.’

A confusing sentence, that. It starts off by suggesting that large carnivores might be a long-term ambition, with the concluding phrase hinting that it might be achieved by someone other than Cambrian Wildwood.

So which is it? And if these animals are out of the question, why mention them at all?

Bears strolling into Mach’ for a few pints of a Saturday night, and wolves taking down Mrs Evans on her way to the Co-op, should certainly get the old town rocking.

As I’ve said, Cambrian Wildwood is the operating name for the Wales Wild Land Foundation. So let’s turn our attention away from carnivores stalking the denizens of Machynlleth to a form of parasite to be found a-plenty in the nearby hills.

Wales Wild Land Foundation is a CIO; that is, a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Here’s the link to its Charity Commission page.

You’ll see that it was formed in 2014, which makes perfect sense. For in December 2013, Alun Davies, then Minister for Natural Resources and Food in the ‘Welsh Government’, announced that the maximum 15% of CAP payments would be transferred from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2.

Which meant taking money from Welsh farmers and transferring it to what were euphemistically called ‘other rural activities’. In other words, those who had lobbied against farmers and expected to profit from the diverted funding.

My notations in red. Click to open in separate tab

It may have taken a while to start, but the funding is definitely flowing now. As you’ll see from the table above, ‘Welsh Government’ funding for the WWLF rose from nowt in y/e 31.03.2018 to £349,773 in y/e 31.03.2020.

If it keeps increasing at that rate they’ll soon be grazing thoroughbreds at Bwlch Corog!

And what’s the money for? Well, I suppose a cynic might say it’s for ‘looking after’ land that could just as easily look after itself. But nice work if you can get it.

And when ‘Dr’ Jane Davidson, former ‘Welsh Government’ Minister for Environment and Sustainability (2007 – 2011), is your Patron, then the funding from Corruption Bay tends to flow much more freely.

The long-term ambition seems to be to buy the 350 acres currently leased from the Woodland Trust and fit it into something bigger.

This piece from GlobalGiving talks of, ‘7,000 acres of native woodland, heathland and rivers will be restored. Animals like red squirrel, water vole, wild horse, deer and bison will be living in the wildwood.’

Actually, it’s 7,413 acres, or 3,000 hectares. And it seems to be part of the Dyfi Biosphere project. Explained here.

Click to enlarge

I wonder how much local people know about these plans.

But then, locals aren’t important. What matters is that those drawing up the plans have the ear of politicians and civil servants in Corruption Bay. And that they are united in wanting to replace farmers and other ‘obstructive’ indigenes in order to free up vast tracts of our country.

How many jobs and business opportunities will the Dyfi Biosphere create for Welsh people? Very few, if any. But I guarantee we’ll be paying for it.

In fact, I’m beginning to wonder how much we’ve already paid. Let me explain.

The land in question can be easily identified from various images supplied in assorted locations.

But before moving on, I just want to set out a bit more information and some more thoughts. See what you make of it all.

The first piece of evidence is the maps locating the land in question. Due to the recognisable outline it was easy enough to find the title documents on the Land Registry map search. Which is where it gets interesting.

Because I suppose the first question is – why did the Woodlands Trust buy land on which there were hardly any trees? The only sensible answer must be that they intended to plant trees.

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The title document for the purchase of the land tells us that the transfer was completed May 31, 2017. And whaddya know – the lease agreement is dated the very same day!

Clearly, the lease was agreed before the purchase was made; and more than likely, it was that agreement that prompted the purchase. But let’s think about this a little more.

The Woodland Trust bought rough upland pasture, heath and bog. Which it immediately leased to the Wales Wild Land Foundation, for an unspecified amount. Though as we are clearly paying the lease we’re entitled to know much it is.

As the annual report for y/e 31.03.2020 tells us, WWLF expects to be getting a lot of money in future from the ‘Welsh Government’. This explains the increased income we saw in the table above.

Which means that . . .

 . . . the ‘Welsh Government’ is giving hundreds of thousands of pounds, maybe millions, to the Wales Wild Land Foundation to improve land that belongs to an English organisation, the Woodland Trust. Unless of course, WWLF itself buys Bwlch Corog. 

Either way, where is the benefit to Welsh people from throwing vast amounts of public funding at schemes like this? This kind of spending can only be justified on projects owned by and open to the Welsh public. It should not subside hippy fantasies.

‘Welsh Government’ pays one bunch of strangers to lease land from another bunch of strangers and increase the value of that holding, while simultaneously undermining Welsh farmers so as to free up more land for more strangers.

The overall strategy is pretty obvious.

And as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, this all links with that lebensraum venture, the Summit to Sea rewilding project. But the WWLF gang got cold feet when the public pressure mounted against Summit Sea.

From the Wales Wild Land Foundation annual report. Click to open in separate tab

I’ve written about this episode of colonialist arrogance more than once. So just type ‘Summit to Sea’ in the search box.

Though from thinking about Blaeneinion, Bwlch Corog and other examples it looks as if Summit to Sea may still be going ahead, incrementally, without much fanfare.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT

The ‘progressive’ consensus in Corruption Bay is so wedded to reducing investment, so addicted to greenwash in all its forms, that what we Welsh need no longer figures in their calculations.

This explains why Welsh farms are being bought by hedge funds and others from the City of London.

It may even be valid to compare Wales under devolution with post-colonial Africa. Where we see newly-independent countries ruled by crooks who encourage foreign exploitation but dress it up as ‘investment’ or some other bullshit term.

Because when you think about it, someone buying a holiday home is ‘investing’ in Wales.

These lies make leaders look good but work against the interests of the people they claim to represent. That seems to be the situation both in Africa and Wales.

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Devolution has been a disaster. Not just by the yardsticks of health, wealth and education. But also because we own less of Wales today than we did in 1999.

That’s a sobering thought; and no amount of airy-fairy gestures and ‘look at us!’ virtue signalling can disguise that we are becoming strangers in our own country.

Corruption Bay, including those we elect, is conspiring in this displacement.

Blaeneinion, Bwlch Corog, OPDs, Summit to Sea, etc., etc., tell us the truth about Wales today; who the system really benefits, and where we Welsh fit in.

Before long we won’t fit in anywhere.

♦ end ♦

 




Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union unmasked

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. POSTINGS WILL PROBABLY BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

This is the third posting on the report accepted by the Arts Council of Wales and the National Museum from the mysterious and hitherto unidentified Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union (WAARU).

The WAARU submission was one of three (out of 34 applications) accepted by the two bodies ‘to undertake a series of in-depth research conversations’, with a view to ‘widening engagement‘ in the arts.

Click to open in separate tab.

Before starting, let’s just pause to consider the name of the group, Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union (WAARU). Clearly, whoever set up this group had already decided that there were racists in the Welsh arts scene. The kind of report the WAARU would produce was therefore entirely predictable.

I am now almost certain that I know who was involved in producing this scandalous report. Though many questions remain.

First, we’ll consider the report itself, then I’ll identify those I believe are responsible for the report, and finally, pose some questions.

THE REPORT

We don’t have space to go through the full report so instead, I’ll do what many of us do in such circumstances and head for the Recommendations. Except that in the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union document there are no Recommendations.

Instead we find, beginning on page 27, ‘Our List of Demands’.

These Demands are broken down into ‘Immediate’, which must be met within 14 days of the two bodies concerned receiving the report. ‘Short Term’, within six months. ‘Medium Term’, 6 to 12 months. ‘Long Term’, 1 to 2 years.

Before looking at the Demands themselves I’ve taken the following extract from ‘Principles’ on page 29, which sets the tone for what follows.

‘NMW-AC and ACW cannot accept that the racist situation we find ourselves in needs to change without equally accepting the role they play in maintaining it. As a result of this, they cannot be trusted to lead us out of this situation and must hand over significant power to Black and non-Black people of colour . . . .NMW-AC and ACW have been upholding white supremacist ideology.’

Suggesting that the Arts Council of Wales and Amgueddfa Cymru are irredeemably racist and should hand over the reins to, presumably, the authors of the report.

Moving on to the Demands themselves, starting at the foot of page 29 we read:

‘A budget commitment for at least five years offering regular and substantial grants for Black and non-Black artists of colour (prioritising people who experience multiple marginalisation). Access to the grant will not be conditional or selective.

Funding to shift from being governed by ‘outcomes’ (including artwork production, public exhibition and ‘community’ workshops) and towards self-identified/ self-measured artist development or community activity.

The only way I can interpret this is that Black and non-Black artists of colour should get paid for doing nothing. Perhaps get paid just for being, er, Black and non-Black artists of colour.

On page 30 we read an appeal for ‘democratisation and transparency’ . . . in a report that is itself unsigned and completely anonymous! (Page 23 is even headed: ‘The need for transparency’!)

On page 31:

‘All expressions of interest / applications longer than 500 words and interviews involving preparation tasks must offer payment to people from marginalised backgrounds as a means of positive action towards more diverse applicants. In a similar vein, all interview offers must come with a clear offer of access costs towards child care, time off work etc (which can be accessed anonymously).’

Demanding payment for completing application forms. But only for people from ‘marginalised backgrounds’.

I think we can safely assume that ‘marginalised backgrounds’ is another way of saying, ‘Black and non-Black artists of colour’.

On page 33:

‘If an employee from a marginalised community feels they need to leave their place of work due to discrimination, they will receive their full salary over the duration that they were contracted to work.’

‘Marginalised community’ is yet more code.

Here’s something else that caught my eye, this time from page 34:

‘NMW-AC and ACW should not be the sole bodies in charge of large budgets and / or distribution of funds. This process should be decentralised to other individuals and organisations, to increase transparency.’

That word ‘transparency’ again. And, again, it’s about money. Money. Money.

Towards the bottom of the same page we encounter:

‘A transformative justice and care fund made available for Black and non-Black people of colour, disabled and neurodivergent people, trans and queer people, people on low-income and people with refugee/asylum seeker status who work as freelance artists or as art workers, who have experienced harm and traumatic experiences within NMW-AC, ACW and all their funded organisations.’

‘I’ve had a traumatic experience with the vending machine – pay me!’ No, I’m not being flippant; it’s just that this section doesn’t explain what qualifies as ‘traumatic’. Though I’m sure we can guess who will qualify – and it won’t be no old honky like Jac!

You may – like many others – be confused by the report’s use of the term ‘Black and non-Black people of colour’. Helpfully, it’s explained in a footnote to page 3.

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It’s all-embracing: Navajo and Nepalese, Hausa and Han, Mongol and Melanesian.  Lumping non-white humanity under one clunky label to align them all against the pith-helmeted white supremacists of the Arts Council and the National Museum.

It’s really sad, almost delusional; the idea that non-white people everywhere share the views of some far left malcontents in the Cardiff arts scene.

This ‘report’ from the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union is a ransom note. And like all ransom notes its authors remain anonymous. The other similarity with a ransom note is that its primary purpose is to extract money.

THE UNMASKING

In case you’re new to this saga, it may be worth glancing at the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union (WAARU) Twitter account, which suggests the WAARU was born in early July, 2020.

As I wrote in ‘Corruption Bay and a tale of Cymrophobia‘: ‘The first tweet was on July 6, 2020, followed by a flurry of tweets that ended on August 11. There was nothing then until a retweet on Oct 20. A further retweet in November, another in December. Then nothing until April 18 and 19. A final retweet on May 14, attacking Israel, and nothing since.’

What’s remarkable about this Twitter account is that there is no mention of the tender to the Arts Council, or of the tender being accepted, or of the WAARU getting paid for the report, and then the report being published.

Yet this is the sole achievement of the WAARU. It’s almost certainly why the WAARU was set up. So why are those involved so reticent to claim the accolade?

This is a question that will probably remain unanswered. Though one possibility is that tweets were deleted before I saw the Twitter account. I suggest that because the response to its publication guaranteed the report would be an orphan.

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And yet, the answers to who is involved in the WAARU can be found in the documents I’ve used or referred to in the previous two posts.

Let’s start with something that appeared in an update to the previous post. Put up after a source suggested that when dealing with anonymous Twitter accounts it can often be rewarding to check on the first followers.

Here they are. Reading from the bottom up, we see that the first follower was @radha_sophia. Then comes @Durre_Shahwar, then @tayloredmonds, and so on.

A number of the other early followers have appeared in the previous blogs. Who could forget that master of the iambic hexameter Beau W Beakhouse? And then there’s BLM supporter Letty Clarke of Artes Mundi.

Note also that one follower is @WICFCardiff, which is a group called Where I’m Coming From. Of the first five followers, one is the group itself, and three of the others appear to be members.

WAARU Twitter follower number one, @radha_sophia, does not list Where I’m Coming From in her bio, but she is certainly linked. As this testifies. Note also the reference to ‘Sadia Hameed’. This being Sadia Pineda Hameed, the partner of Beau W Beakhouse.

Here’s @radha_sophia retweeting the WAARU launch tweet almost immediately it was issued. Do you find her message mildly threatening?

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You’ll see in the link to the WICF piece that @radha_sophia is named as Radha Patel. Which is her real name. Or, in full, Radha Mukesh Patel.

The Arts Council / Amgueddfa Cymru advertisement for tenders went out June 29, 2020 on the Sell2Wales site. In an update, on September 29, 2020 – giving the names of the successful applicants – we find an address for the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union.

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That address is in Pyle, just outside Bridgend.

The Land Registry website gave me ownership details for the property, and I recognised the family name. Next, it was over to 192.com to check on who actually lives there. And guess what – living at that address is Radha Mukesh Patel.

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So Patel’s family home in Pyle was given to the Arts Council as the address of the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union.

But how much of a hand did Patel herself have in the writing of the report for which the Arts Council and Amgueddfa Cymru were happy to part with a few thousand pounds of our money?

Maybe not a lot. She’s more likely to be one of a number of contributors.

Either way, here’s another tweet from Radha Patel, from August 2020, when she was presumably in Scotland. She doesn’t want to eat in a white-owned establishment.

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Moving on . . .

If we’re looking for a group that might have co-ordinated this exercise, then the previously mentioned Where I’m Coming From fits the bill very well.

As we’ve seen, its founder-members are among the earliest followers of WAARU and it connects with other significant actors in this scam. For I have no hesitation in using that word.

Beakhouse and Hameed of Lumin may be in the mix, but I think it would be more rewarding to focus on the Arts Council – specifically, Artes Mundi – and the Future Generations Commissioner’s office.

For if we look at the Artes Mundi Twitter account we see that it is currently co-operating with Where I’m Coming From. And if you click on the short video, there, at 0:41, we see Letty Clarke herself.

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While in the latest tweet on her personal Twitter account Letty Clarke promotes Hanan Issa, who comes in at number 5 in the WAARU Twitter followers.

Letty Clarke is a busy woman, and she’s named in its metadata as the author of the ‘Wales, Culture & Race Taskforce‘ (WCRT) document of June 2020. Prepared for the Senedd by yet another group of disgruntled BAME arts sector operators.

What happened to the WCRT, and the cash it was promised, is still debated.

I believe Letty Clarke had a hand in producing the WAARU report. But the involvement of Artes Mundi may not be limited to her.

For also listed among the first followers of the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union we find another Artes Mundi Curator, Melissa Hinkin.

Responsibility for the report may extend further.

The ‘widening engagement’ exercise undertaken by the Arts Council was probably initiated by this report, ‘Well-being of Future Generations Increasing Participation in Areas with Under-developed Reach of the Arts – Arts Council of Wales’.

Sure enough, at number 3 among the first ten WAARU followers we find Taylor Edmonds, the Poet in Residence at the Future Generations Commissioner’s office. She is also a ‘team member of @WICFCardiff’.

What the hell does a Poet in Residence do, anyway? Wander around the office sighing, looking for a chaise longue on which to drape oneself in the hope of attracting the muse?

But what if the muse appears at 4:55 and everybody’s off down the pub at 5 for Sharon from Accounts’ birthday piss-up?

‘Oh, Muse, it’s a bit awkward now . . . can you come back tomorrow?’

The impetus for the WAARU and the Mary Celeste-like Wales, Culture and Race Taskforce was the killing of George Floyd 5,000 miles away.

An event irrelevant to Wales encouraged some in the Cardiff arts scene to make unfounded allegations of racism and demand money for perceived injustices. Encouraged by a ‘progressive’ Cardiff Bay establishment ready to roll over and take the blame for slavery, colonialism, and a raft of other crimes of which we Welsh are innocent.

I’ve drawn up a timeline that might help. (The links all work.)

I am now 85% certain that the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union report was compiled by persons named above. Employees of publicly-funded bodies and others involved in the arts sector in Wales.

This sordid episode raises a number of questions.

UPDATE 08.09.2021: The update is just too big to put up on the blog, so it’s available here in PDF format.

WE NEED ANSWERS

A well-connected source tells me that in his experience no public body gives a contract such as we’ve discussed to a group with no record, no references, no money, no nothing.

Especially when there were 34 applications to choose from.

Click to open in a separate tab

Another source thinks that if this had taken place in the world of finance it would be called insider dealing. Which is why I earlier referred to what we’re discussing as a scam.

Now for the questions:

  1. Whose decision was it to advertise for organisations to tender for the ‘widening engagement’ research?
  2. Can we see a copy of the tender brief?
  3. Who sat on the scoring panel to select the successful tenders?
  4. Can we see a breakdown of the scores awarded to each tender?
  5. Who at the Arts Council of Wales signed off the award of the contracts?
  6. Why did no one at the Arts Council appreciate the contradiction in a report repeatedly calling for ‘transparency’ itself being anonymous?
  7. Into whose bank account was payment for the WAARU report paid?
  8. Have the Welsh Arts Council and Amgueddfa Cymru already met or do they intend meeting any of the ‘Demands’ in the WAARU report?
  9. How far up the Arts Council totem pole does knowledge of and participation in the WAARU deception extend?
  10. Will those responsible for this deception now be dismissed?
  11. What safeguards will ‘Welsh Government’ put in place to ensure that no more public funding is siphoned to cronies in this way? (Or is that the wrong question to ask of a political party and an administration built on cronyism?)
  12. Will the Wales Audit Office investigate the procedures by which public funding was used to produce what is little more than a racist ransom note?

CONCLUSION

When people on the Far Left work themselves into a frenzy of Woke self-righteousness, to the point where they claim to see ‘fascism’ and ‘racists’ everywhere, then campaigns against racism often end up being racist themselves.

Even more so when they contain unsubtle references to what those behind the report clearly regard as an over-emphasis on Welsh cultural identity.

What makes this case even worse is that there appears to have been collusion from within Welsh public bodies and national institutions. Public bodies and institutions funded by the Welsh public purse.

Wales is a tolerant and welcoming country. When those who claim otherwise use imported terms like ‘systemic racism’, resort to silly words like ‘microaggressions’, and flirt with anti-Semitism and Cymrophobia then they invalidate whatever cause they think they serve.

What I also found revealing about this report was that it contained a litany of vague complaints but a complete absence of specific examples; with not a single case that could be investigated. Let alone substantiated.

Innuendo and hyperbole, sloganising and insults, are no substitute for hard facts.

To the members of the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union, and others like them, I say: Instead of standing outside shouting and chucking stones, why not come in; join us, integrate?

We really aren’t that bad.

♦ end ♦

 




Arts Council of Wales and Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union, an update

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. POSTINGS WILL PROBABLY BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

This is a follow-up to last week’s post, ‘Corruption Bay and a tale of Cymrophobia‘. You’ll remember that we looked at how Labour Party insiders were paid to produce reports that would guide more ‘inclusive’ policy at the commissioning bodies, the Arts Council of Wales and the National Museum.

UPDATE

One of these submissions, from the mysterious Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union, painted a picture of Wales as some kind of Hell on Earth where ‘creatives’ of a non-Caucasian pigmentation are brutally discriminated against.

It was reminiscent of the hysteria I’ve been writing about in connection with YesCymru. Where some of those involved in the failed Woke-Left takeover wanted us to believe that ‘women with penises’ are being butchered on Welsh streets by mobs of transphobes.

What I found revealing was that neither those suggesting rampant transphobia or a whites-only arts scene are prepared to debate. Any dialogue must start from a blind acceptance of their ‘facts’.

A few tit-bits have come to light since the previous post went out. For example, someone drew my attention to the metadata naming authors for the three reports.

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The report from Labour insiders Lu Thomas and Jon Luxton named Luxton as the author. But the other two reports listed Arts Council employees as authors. Which might at first sight seem a bit odd, though there could be a simple explanation.

Such as the reports being submitted in MS Word or some other format and the Arts Council converting them to PDF.

If that is not the explanation, then what is?

Despite the ‘authorship’, there is no real issue with the Richie Turner Associates’ report because the contributors are named in the report.

It’s the third report, from the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union, that’s causing concern. Because no individual or contributor is named anywhere.

Anyway, in the hope of helping me make sense of the bigger picture, a few people made suggestions. Pointed me in certain directions. So off I went.

NATURE OF THE BEAST

It’s fair to say that Amgueddfa Cymru was almost a ‘passenger’ in this exercise, so I’m ruling them out to focus on The Arts Council of Wales.

The current Chair is Phil George, who I speculated was a Labour Party supporter. His immediate predecessor in the post, from 2007 – 2016, was David Burton Smith, whose political leanings have never been in doubt.

For Dai Smith – father of unsuccessful challenger to Jeremy Corbyn, Owen Smith – is another creature of the left. One of those historians who, like Neil Kinnock, believes Wales isn’t worthy of study until the Industrial Revolution and the creation of a proletariat.

Smith worked for the BBC in Cardiff, from 1994, as, ‘Head of Broadcast (English Language). He was responsible for commissioning programmes on the arts and in drama and has also presented award-winning documentaries on the people and culture of south Wales’.

Through a socialist prism, of course.

An interesting insight into colonial Wales, this. For while the Labour Party rails against Tory cronyism, Old Boy networks and the rest, the Buttybond practises something very similar in Wales.

And the Tories are more than happy to let them do it. I’ll explain why a bit later.

Phil George has a long history with The National Theatre of Wales (NTW). In fact, he was one of the founding directors on September 9, 2008. He seems to have left NTW in March 2016, around the time he was appointed Chair of the Arts Council.

I’m told the National Theatre of Wales was always well favoured in Cardiff. One source reports: ‘”BBC Wales” used and uses every opportunity to promote this company. Hardly any arts documentaries are done but in its formative years, 2010, it commissioned a 30 minute advertorial dressed up as a documentary on a National Theatre production’.

It was thanks to Phil George and NTW that Abdul Shayek of London got his foot in the Welsh public funding door.  For Shayek’s Linkedin page tells us that from April 2011 until April 2013 he was a Creative Associate with NTW.

Shayek then branched out to form FIO, a BAME theatre group. Though apparently reliant on funding from the Welsh public purse this didn’t stop FIO taking plays to India. And Shayek ‘representing’ FIO at symposia and the like in Sri Lanka and Australia.

Nice work if you can get it! And especially if someone else is paying.

Another source tells me FIO got some £400,000 in funding over 3 or 4 three years. (It might have been more.) Which pays for quite a few trips to Oz and old Serendip.

Going back to Shayek’s Linkedin bio we see that he left FIO in August 2020 to join Tara Theatre. No, this has nothing to do with halls and High Kings, it’s yet another ‘ethnically diverse’ theatre group. This time in London.

I’m not sure of the reasons for Shayek’s departure, or where this leaves his creation, FIO. The website suggests it’s still going, and the Charity Commission entry implies he’s still involved.

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Whatever the relationship between Abdul Shayek and FIO he still appears to be involved with the arts scene in Wales. And pissing off quite a few people with his involvement in the Wales Culture and Race Taskforce (WCRT).

Which was set up in June 2020 to, ‘challenge the lack of diversity within the arts in Wales and demand systemic change’.

I’m not sure if this was Abdul Shayek’s brainchild or if he just got involved somehow. Certainly, his creation FIO was holding the money donated to WCRT by other arts groups. Said to be £20,000.

You’ll get a flavour of the dispute from the Critically Speaking blog of Jafar Iqbal. (A supporter of Leyton Orient football club.) In particular, read the lengthy comment from ‘pledging organisations’.

If you want to know more about the role envisaged for the Wales Culture and Race Taskforce then you should read this document prepared for the ‘Welsh Government’.

Strangely, in just 452 words this document manages to use the term ‘white-led’ three times. In the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union ‘report’ we encounter the phrase ‘white-led’ 10 times.

When checking the metadata for the document I’ve just linked to, I found the author named as Letty Clarke. So obviously, I wondered who she might be.

You will not be surprised to learn that Letty is also from England, but since January 2020 she has been Curator of Public Programmes at Artes Mundi Prize Ltd. From the Artes Mundi website we learn:

‘Artes Mundi Prize Ltd is a registered non-profit charity that annually relies on support from individuals, corporations, sponsors, trusts and foundations to fund the costs of all our programmes, alongside our core public revenue from Arts Council of Wales and Cardiff City Council’.

The name may sound like a character from a forgotten novel set in 19th century New England, but Letty is of the here and now. And, unfortunately, the ‘here’ is Wales.

Letty Clarke’s Linkedin profile makes it clear that she supports Black Lives Matter, and her Twitter account provides a few gems.

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As many of you will know, investigations are continuing into the death of Mohamud Mohammed Hassan, who died some hours after leaving police custody. But Letty Clarke, after being in Wales for a short time, has already made her mind up.

For according to her Hassan was a victim of ‘police brutality’ and ‘state violence in Wales’. What the hell does she mean by ‘state violence’? There is no Welsh state!

Let me explain the relationship to you, Letty . . . Your country robs my country and by way of compensation doles out money to those buffoons down Corruption Bay, who in turn distribute far too much of that cash to people like you and your friends.

Which means that, one way and another, most Welsh people get screwed twice over.

Up to now in this painful trawl through the ‘Welsh’ arts scene I don’t think we’ve met anyone who is actually Welsh, apart from a few cocks atop the dung heap.

Let’s see if we have any more luck in the next section.

THE SEARCH CONTINUES FOR THE WELSH ARTS ANTI-RACIST UNION

In December 2019 the Wales Audit Office produced a snappily-entitled report, ‘Well-being of Future Generations Increasing Participation in Areas with Under-developed Reach of the Arts – Arts Council of Wales’. You can read it here.

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The Introduction says: ‘This document has been prepared for the internal use of the Arts Council of Wales’. Reminding us that this is an example of the additional public money wasted since the implementation of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, and the creation of the post of Future Generations Commissioner, with of course, a whole new department.

The job of Commissioner was given to Labour time-server Sophie Howe. She had previously worked under Alun Michael, the former Labour MP and now Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales.

Under ‘Contents’ we read: ‘In its efforts to increase participation, inclusion and engagement in areas with under-developed reach of the arts, the Arts Council of Wales (Arts Council) is demonstrating commitment to the sustainable development principle but it recognises the need to further embed the five ways of working.’

Clearly, the Audit Office looked into inclusion in the arts, and made recommendations to the Arts Council. So why, just six months later, did the ACW spaff another £50,000 (minimum) doing what looks like exactly the same thing?

(Note that the Sell2Wales notice I link to is from June 2020. Which is when the Wales Culture and Race Taskforce was set up.)

This duplication produced the three reports dealt with in the previous post, including the submission from the mysterious Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union.

This digression takes us nowhere nearer identifying the person or persons behind the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union. In fact, it’s difficult to get any handle on the WAARU.

One mention I did find was on what I assume to be a podcast. It seems to be called Mostyn, or Lumin, the latter described as, ‘an artist-run radio and publisher led by Sadia Pineda Hameed and Beau W Beakhouse’.

If you scroll down to the bios of others involved, you’ll see this for the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union. But again, no name.

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I’d like to be able to tell you that Hameed is from Froncysyllte and Beakhouse from Llangyfelach, but alas . . .

Beau tells us: ‘I’m originally from Bournemouth but moved around . . . I come from a nature & craft background . . .  My parents were self-employed gardeners, who then went into woodcraft . . . Eventually, I managed to study English Literature at Cardiff University’.

Hameed: ‘I’m from London. I also came to Cardiff to study English Literature at uni and decided to stay ‒ in part because I didn’t really have the money to pursue the arts back in London, but also because I really liked how open the arts scene in Wales is.’

Yes indeedy; the ‘arts scene’ in Wales is open to just about anybody . . . artistic talent is unnecessary, and knowledge of Wales undesirable.

Here’s an example of Beakhouse’s poetry from 2017.

Don’t give up the day job, Beau. Whatever it is.

That we are no nearer fingering who wrote the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union report is understandable, given its reception. But the Arts Council of Wales must know because the WAARU was paid well to insult us.

Which is why I have submitted a Freedom of Information request to the ACW.

But over and above that, this situation of strangers being paid to insult us could only happen in the peculiar circumstances of devolution, which sees politicians and others who superficially oppose each other agree when it comes to Wales, and the Welsh.

UPDATE: Since publishing this piece I have received feedback, including someone drawing my attention to The Future Generations Report 2020. On page 355 we read what you see in the panel:

I have two points to make.

First, ‘learning Welsh on the job’ sounds like a good idea, until you realise it’s often a ruse to give jobs to people most of whom will do no more than go through the motions of taking a few Welsh lessons.

Mark James, former chief executive of Carmarthenshire County Council, would be a great example of this scam in practise.

Second, The Future Generations Commissioner in her 2020 report is quoting Race Alliance Wales (RAW), a body formally launched on December 19, 2019. How the hell did a newly-constituted body become so influential so quickly?

The answer is that those behind RAW are based almost exclusively in Cardiff and well connected in Corruption Bay.

While organisations elsewhere in Wales, established for far longer, representing many more people, but outside the Bay Bubble, are ignored.

This is not healthy; this is not democratic; this should not be the Wales any of us wants to see.

But it’s the Wales we live in.

FURTHER UPDATE: Someone else has been in touch with an intriguing suggestion. Which is, that when an anonymous Twitter account is launched the author is often to be found among the early followers.

In the case of the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union Twitter account the first ten followers can be found here. (Read from the bottom up.) There are quite a few names there that appear in this article.

THE BIT AT THE END WHERE COLOMBO PUFFS ON HIS CIGAR AND . . .

Picking up again on the shared motivations, what I’m hinting at is that these otherwise squabbling interests agree that Wales must be carefully ‘managed’.

Which is why what passes for entertainment on television and elsewhere is banal and superficial. Welsh politics, social issues, and other specifically Welsh matters (when dealt with in English) are often quarantined in programmes broadcast at awkward times . . . which results in hardly anyone watching them.

The same applies more widely, in the fields so copiously manured by the Arts Council. For example, there’s not a hope in Hell of Wales having its own Abbey Theatre.

We are at a stage now where if two plays are in competition for funding, one about Welsh villages being destroyed by excessive tourism, the other about the absence of obstetric facilities for low caste birthing persons in Tamil Nadu, then you can predict with certainty which will enjoy an opening night.

Researching this piece I stumbled on an hour-long lecture by former Arts Council Chair Dai Smith, built around writer Raymond Williams. Smith is speaking at a ‘Cultural Democracy Workshop’ in November 2020.

This was of course delivered at a time when the three reports commissioned by the Arts Council were being prepared. Yes, it was all happening around that time.

Smith makes the point that in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, when Williams was at the height of his intellectual and creative powers, his writing was framed by what he saw as a class struggle. But things have moved on.

(Interestingly, a piece on Williams appeared in UnHerd yesterday.)

Most importantly, the political left in Europe and North America has lost the working class. Which is why Marxism is now promoted through race, environmentalism and gender. And the harder the left pushes these the more it alienates the working class.

No one living just thirty years ago could have envisioned the crazy situation we have reached today. And few political activists of the left under the age of 40 can believe that their ideological predecessors idolised those they regard as stupid, racist, transphobic, climate denying Brexiteers.

The sons and grandsons of Marxist miners are fascist white van men!

A hazy understanding of Marxism re-interpreted by Black Lives Matter almost certainly lies behind the report submitted by the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union. It also explains the report’s acceptance by the Arts Council.

But why would the Old Etonians in Westminster and their civil servant alumni of lesser schools want to push such drivel? The answer is that they share with the Woke-Left establishment in Corruption Bay a desired outcome.

This explains the funding and other encouragement for people from around the world to come here, take funding that should go to Welsh arts, and then call us racist.

London likes the ‘The Welsh are racist’ message because it explains why we oppose holiday homes, and resent being colonised. (It’s why the Telegraph used the WAARU report.) Corruption Bay modifies it to read, ‘Nationalism is racist’ because that can slander those suggesting there is a better way for Cymru than devolution’s cronyism and exploitation. 

Together they tell us why the ‘Welsh’ arts scene today is a revolting mess of talentless dreamers and grant-grabbing shysters. Overwhelmingly alien; with some of those involved positively racist in their attitudes towards us.

Modern Wales in microcosm.

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Corruption Bay and a tale of Cymrophobia

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. POSTINGS WILL PROBABLY BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

This post is about the findings from surveys commissioned by the Arts Council of Wales and Amgueddfa Cymru. The project was entitled, ‘Widening Engagement’.

These reports, or certainly one of them, prompted old Shippo at Llais y Sais to give it something close to the, ‘We Are At War With Germany’ treatment. (Available here in pdf format.)

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Front page lead continued on inside page, completed with a full page of grovelling from the white supremacist running-dogs of the patriarchal imperialist-colonialist system.

The story travelled. Not only did the Daily Telegraph pick it up, but also, from that source, Andy Ngo, in Portland, Oregon, scourge of Antifa.

Even RT.

This passage from the Arts Council website explains the exercise . . .

“At the end of June 2020 Arts Council of Wales and Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales advertised a tender to undertake a series of in-depth research conversations. Our aim was to widen engagement with communities we consistently fail to engage in our work. We received 34 submissions and after a detailed selection process and interviews we decided to appoint three organizations to undertake three very different studies.”

The reports from the three successful tenders have been submitted and are now available online. They are from: Re:cognition, Richie Turner Associates, and the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union.

So let’s look at them in that order.

RE:COGNITION

The first problem I have with these people is the name. Let me explain.

There is a company Re:Cognition, with qualified medical people involved in specialist mental health services. And an annual turnover in excess of £10m. But this was not the company employed by Arts Council of Wales and Amgueddfa Cymru.

For as the report tells us, on the very first page, its authors are Jon Luxton and Lu Thomas, two Labour Party stalwarts from Penarth. (Where Luxton was once mayor.) And wouldn’t you know it – Lu Thomas has appeared on this blog! In Plaid Cymru’s enemy within (scroll down a bit).

Lu Thomas is big in Pride Cymru, and something of a trans fanatic, believing that ‘women with penises’ are being persecuted. Everywhere. By everybody.

Here’s her Linkedin profile. Where you’ll see that she claims to be a director of a company called Cognition.

Cognition Training Ltd, directors Thomas and Luxton, was put out of its misery in December 2018. But even when trading it never provided the income that bought Thomas and her wife their £500,000+ house on Windsor Esplanade.

Image: Mark Lewis. This appeared in a WalesOnline report in July 2018. Click to open in separate tab.

The ‘Cognition’ name was also used by Luxton and Thomas in Cognition Associates. Which produced a website where the latest ‘News’ is from July 2013. Cognition Associates was never registered with Companies House.

And now there’s Re:cognition Wales. Or rather, there’s a website. Note that Thomas and Luxton use a lower case ‘c’, whereas the ‘real’ company spells it ‘Re:Cognition’. But again, this Luxton-Thomas company is not registered with Companies House.

One Lu Thomas company that was registered with Companies House was Pitch Consult Ltd. Incorporated July 15, 2019. Struck off January 5, 2021. No accounts were ever filed.

What I found interesting about Pitch was that the other two directors were Mitchell Theaker and Pearleen Sangha, who you may remember from their appearances on this blog. They were Labour councillors in Swansea; part of the student intake needed to keep up the bruvverly numbers.

Jon Luxton has also been rubbing shoulders with celebrities lately. For listed among the directors in Sound Progression Ltd, along with Luxton, we find Cian Ciaran, of Super Furry Animals, and late of YesCymru. This company was Incorporated June 10, 2019.

Given Luxton’s record its time can not be long.

A glimpse of what Thomas and Luxton do is given in this snippet from the NHS. They work for the Labour Party, in its various forms: ‘Welsh Government’, Cardiff Council, etc.

They also work for bodies reliant on ‘Welsh Government’ funding. Reminiscent of the jobs found for the nephews of made men.

To understand how it operates imagine a phone call from Corruption Bay or City Hall: ‘Oh, hello, Lu, love, how’s it going . . . listen, we want you to do one of your surveys, yeah, here are the findings we want from you’.

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And this is why no ‘survey’ conducted by Thomas and Luxton should be given any credence. They are just Labour Party apparatchiks.

The worry should be that these beneficiaries of Labour cronyism get so much work. Work paid for by the public purse. It’s naked corruption.

But it also explains why they were one of the 3 out of 34 applicants chosen by the Arts Council and the Museum to do the ‘research’.

Page 10 of the Thomas and Luxton report tells us (rather clumsily): ‘To note: only one respondent namechecked the Eisteddfod indicating poor reach into this community of mainly English speakers. this lack of Welsh Language art and culture was also demonstrated in the responses to all other relevant questions.’ 

I wonder if this ‘finding’ will be used in future by the ‘Welsh Government’ to deny or reduce funding to Welsh language organisations, events, and projects, or in other ways be used to undermine the language?

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The quote above, from page 12 of the report, about sums up what Thomas and Luxton have to say – ‘Do what our friends in the Welsh Government tell you’.

RICHIE TURNER ASSOCIATES

Whoever these are, they compiled, ‘A research report looking at the reasons why D/deaf, disabled, learning disabled and neurodiverse people do not attend arts events or visit National Museums’ Wales or attend very infrequently’.

While that may have been the ostensible reason for recruiting Richie Turner, his Linkedin profile makes his political leanings very clear. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a colourful Linkedin header.

Or one less relevant to Wales.

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Richie Turner is of course another Corruption Bay insider. His jobs and appointments listed on Linkedin suggest someone with strong Labour Party connections. For no one in Wales without Labour Party connections could dream of a CV like that.

So what does the Richie Turner Associates report have to say? Though before you read it, I should say that Richie Turner Associates is not a company or a partnership, just an ad hoc group of his friends and, well, associates.

Richie lives in Hay-on-Wye, which is handy for the books, and the festival.

Those who helped him compile his report, also live in the south east. In fact they all seem to live in Cardiff and Gwent. One of them, Lyndy Cooke, is a former director of the Hay Festival. Nice.

Though the report tells us (page 4): ‘Our research engaged with people across all regions of Wales.’

Possibly. But how well do Richie Turner and his gang know these far-flung ‘regions’?

It might also be asked how well Turner knows his associates. For the woman named throughout the report as ‘Mary Allen’ is surely Mary Allan.

There’s little to take issue with in the Richie Turner Associates report. It’s just a litany of complaints followed by a few recommendations. And concluding with some comic book-style illustrations!

Flicking through it a few things caught my jaundiced eye.

This, for example (page 27): “Arty farty type messaging on advertising, such as Gothic and trendy typefaces also make it hard to read from a few feet away in a wheelchair”.

Who could argue with that?

Whereas I found this a little confusing (page 30): “Some places like museums are too big, with too many people. I need less people to be able to go”.

We obviously can’t have empty museums. Museums that attract no visitors will be closed.

All in all, this contribution from Richie Turner Associates may be regarded as the bland filling between two very unappetising slices of bread.

THE WELSH ARTS ANTI-RACIST UNION (WAARU)

It’s difficult to know what to make of this one. For a start – what or who is the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union?

I found a Twitter account. I think we can assume that it was started in the period of hysteria following the killing of George Floyd, some 5,000 miles away.

In fact, the WAARU Twitter account started up a week or so after the Arts Council and Amgueddfa Cymru decided to launch their ‘research conversations’ at the end of June 2020. What an amazing coincidence!

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The first tweet was on July 6, 2020, followed by a flurry of tweets that ended on August 11. There was nothing then until a retweet on Oct 20. A further retweet in November, another in December. Then nothing until April 18 and 19. A final retweet on May 14, attacking Israel, and nothing since.

Why hasn’t the Twitter account rejoiced in WAARU’s participation in this exercise? I find this very odd.

We can reasonably assume that the WAARU leans politically to the left, maybe quite far to the left.

There is no website for the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union. Just a Gmail address on the Twitter account. So I wrote on Friday morning. I’m still waiting for a reply.

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Anyway, here is the report produced by Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union. However you look at it, it is a remarkable document.

It suggests that the Welsh language is racist and the Arts Council and Amgueddfa Cymru are both run by white supremacists.

There are ten references in the report to these organisations being ‘white-led’. But in a country that is 95% or more white does the writer expect them to be non-white-led? That would make them grotesquely unrepresentative.

There are also references to Black Lives Matter, reminding us that the report is very much of the post-Floyd era. Summed up perhaps with this paragraph from page 24: ‘One participant asked how Amgueddfa Cymru could see itself as combating poverty, when it’s very purpose involved displaying objects from countries whose wealth had been plundered through colonialism.’ 

No, that is not its ‘very purpose’. What a stupid and insulting thing to say! If Amgueddfa Cymru has a ‘very purpose’ then it’s to celebrate the history of Wales.

But that is not atypical. For a number of times this report comes across as either ignorant of recent Welsh history, or misinformed, or just mischievous. Here’s another example, from page 18.

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There is no ‘Welsh Census’, it’s organised by the Office for National Statistics in London. Not so long ago you couldn’t even describe yourself as Welsh on the census form. That’s why I was one of those protesting before the 2001 census.

But the writer of the WAARU report presents the census as more evidence of structural racism within Wales!

Having mentioned the writer, I ask again – who is it? Because there is no name mentioned anywhere in the report. It is anonymous. So why was it accepted? Or to go back to the beginning, why was the WAARU commissioned to write a report?

Are we to believe that out of the 31 rejected applicants there wasn’t one better qualified!

On page 36 we read this passage: ‘Marginalised artists and art workers should receive support to learn different languages, in addition to Welsh. This additional support is necessary because Welsh language policies in current applications can exclude Black and non-Black people of colour’.

What ‘different languages’ are needed in Wales?

The writer is clearly ignorant of the fact that many ‘Black and non-Black people of colour’ were brought up speaking Welsh, or else have learnt to speak Welsh.

And while there’s solidarity implied with the term ‘Black and non-Black people of colour’ this solidarity is not consistent. Because the Twitter account suggests that non-Black People of Colour might be little better than Uncle Toms.

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Finally, most reports end with findings and recommendations. The report from the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union ends with ‘Our List of Demands’. It sounds almost threatening. Like a kidnappers’ note.

Whoever wrote this report may have legitimate grievances, but they’ve gone about airing those grievances in entirely the wrong way.

The national institutions of Wales exist to reflect and to serve the culture, history, identity, and people of Wales. The Welsh language is central to Welsh identity, and for many centuries served as the identifier of Welshness.

Maybe the so-called ‘Welsh Government’ can also remember that.

UPDATE 24.08.2021: Checking the metadata of the three published reports gives Jon Luxton as the author of the Re:cognition report, which is what I would expect. Him or Lu Thomas.

But listed as author for the other two reports are Arts Council of Wales employees.

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There are a number of possible explanations for this. Maybe the original documents were converted from MS Word to PDF format at the Arts Council. If so, why? Those chosen to produce these reports were well paid to do so. Was this work at the Arts council deducted from their fees?

Or is there another explanation?

CONCLUSION

The first report we looked at was produced by Labour Party insiders who carry out research for their comrades. The ‘findings’ are often used to justify legislation and other measures that the ‘Welsh Government’ has already decided on.

I wonder if the ‘Welsh Government’ would pay me to do a survey into the third sector, or housing associations, or tourism . . . or even the ‘Welsh Government’?

The second report told us nothing really except that the Arts Council and Amgueddfa Cymru are doing a bad job when it comes to catering for those with disabilities.

Though much of the feedback was about venues, over which the Arts Council may have little or no control. And as for ’empty museums’ . . .

But that will be overlooked because the report gives the ‘Welsh Government’ another stick with which to beat both organisations.

The third report is just a chip-on-the-shoulder, ‘where’s our grants?’ diatribe. To give it credit for being anything more would be to legitimise the anti-Welsh prejudice running through the report.

Whoever commissioned this report must have known in advance the kind of submission they could expect from the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union. Which means that the WAARU was paid to produce exactly that kind of report.

Let’s remind ourselves who heads the two organisations involved.

Phillip George of the Arts Council was previously,‘ Creative Director of the award-winning production company Green Bay Media which specialised in high-end documentary projects for broadcasters in Wales’.

He left Green Bay on March 31, 2016, when he was appointed to the Arts Council. At that time, Green Bay had 14 outstanding charges (loans, etc) with S4C and Finance Wales.

Phillip George re-joined Green Bay on June 30, 2017, as secretary, though I suppose he could have been acting as a director.

The next development came on July 24, 2018, when all 14 outstanding charges were cleared. The company’s registered address was changed on the same day.

On January 14, 2019, a Declaration of Solvency was made and a liquidator appointed. Green Bay was finally struck off May 19, 2020. With George still listed as secretary.

Were those debts really cleared, or were they written off, or was some other arrangement agreed? And why was Phillip George allowed to re-join Green Bay while serving as Chair of the Arts Council?

I don’t know Phillip George’s politics, but here he is with former Labour MP Kim Howells. Does he share Howells’ attitudes to the Welsh language, devolution / independence?

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Prior to taking up the post Amgueddfa Cymru chief Roger Lewis was CEO at that most BritNat and Unionist of organisations, the Welsh Rugby Union.

It’s the third report, from the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union that’s getting the media attention, and quite rightly so, so let’s give it a few final thoughts.

Although the report ostensibly deals with the Arts Council and Amgueddfa Cymru, by questioning the role of the Welsh language and perceptions of Welsh identity its impact goes well beyond those two institutions.

Doing it from an ethnic minority perspective is clever, because attacking Welsh identity from a BritNat position invariably generates resistance. It’s much smarter to use the race angle, and maybe get some liberals and socialists onside.

Which makes it difficult to pin down the origin of this survey. Because if someone is trying to introduce Critical Race Theory into Welsh public life, for the disruptive effect it guarantees, then that source could be Marxist left or Unionist right.

Whatever the source, if enough people can be persuaded that defending Welshness is ‘racist’, then this will impact negatively on the growing interest in Welsh independence. The ‘racist’ slander can even be used against those demanding action on holiday homes.

Where does it end?

Maybe campaigning against Tryweryn was ‘racist’. And perhaps it’s ‘racism’ that sustains our national sporting teams. Why not just merge with England and join in singing GSTQ at Wembley and Twickers?

No one should be publicly funded to question a nation’s existence. Both bodies must explain why they chose the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union.

We, who’ve paid for it, are entitled to know who wrote the WAARU report.

Finally, perhaps the real lesson from this fiasco is that Wales must have independence. Not just from England, but also from Cardiff Bay.

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Another betrayal of our dead children

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

This is a guest post by Brychan Davies, who regularly comments on this blog with commendable erudition. 

It appears the UK government wishes to divest itself of certain responsibilities for the residue of old coal workings. In other words, tips, slag heaps. This responsibility is to be passed to the ‘Welsh Government’, with the carrot being the power to take over land under the guise of ‘environmentalism’ while putting financial burdens on already poor communities.

The only beneficiaries of this transfer of responsibility would seem to be the third sector parasites and the enviroshysters who already plague our benighted land.

Now read what Brychan has to say . . . 

In a crass act of betrayal the BBC are now telling us that the government in Westminster is seeking to replace the Mine and Quarries Act 1969 by dumping those responsibilities on Ministers of the Welsh Government, along with the financial burden onto the shoulders of the Welsh budget.

The Mines and Quarries Act arose from the Aberfan disaster, where as a result of incorrect monitoring and management of a coal tip of Merthyr Vale colliery above the village of Aberfan, most specifically the previously known underground springs and fluidisation of slurry resulted in a tip slide onto the village and Pantglas primary school on 21st October 1966.

The slide resulted in the deaths of 116 children and 28 adults.

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, the chairman of the National Coal Board, the Baron of Woldingham and former Labour MP, Alfred Robens, stated.

“I wouldn’t have thought myself that anybody would know that there was a spring deep in the heart of a mountain, any more than I can tell you there is one under our feet where we are now. If you are asking me did any of my people on the spot know that there was this spring water, then the answer is, No – they couldn’t possibly . . . It was impossible to know that there was a spring in the heart of this tip which was turning the centre of the mountain into sludge”.

This was despite engineers within the NCB raising the issue, and community groups raising their concerns with Merthyr Council. The result of an enquiry of the disaster was the passing of the Mines and Quarries (Tips) Act 1969. This placed a statutory responsibility for monitoring and remedial action on an “appropriate government minister” to ensure the safety of any remaining tips.

This role was to be carried out by the NCB and then its legacy body the Coal Authority, a public body of the Westminster House currently sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, in London. Most importantly this has responsibility for monitoring and remedial action on water discharges and stability of former coalmines and tips. It is headquartered in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.

The Westminster Government has now instructed the Law Commission of England and Wales to open a consultation on a proposal to devolve this responsibility, which has the full backing of the Welsh Government. The consultation can be seen here.

Ownership of actual coal reserves, legacy land assets and licensing is to remain at UK government level. Only the statutory responsibility for safety and the cost of maintaining legacy tips and watercourses is to be devolved.

The consultations asks the following questions.

1. We provisionally propose that the existing regulatory regime for tips associated with operational mines should not be altered. Do you agree?

This would just make Wales responsible for the legacy costs and no control of any future mineral ownership or exploitation.

2. We seek views on whether a satisfactory definition of a disused coal tip could refer to waste from coal mining and whether it should include express reference to overburden dumps, backfill, spoil heaps, stock piles and lagoons.

There are many valuable assets such as ponds (see Glyncorrwg) and land regenerated as nature reserves which are backfill, spoil heaps, stock piles and lagoons. The consultation asks us whether these should be allowed to be under Welsh control.

4: To the extent that liability under the new regulatory framework rests with the owner of land containing a tip, we provisionally propose that the owner should be defined as the freeholder or a leaseholder under a lease of 21 or more years, except where their interest is in reversion upon a term of 21 or more years. Do you agree?

There is an attempt to make any new landowner or leaseholder, grazing rights, farmers, community groups or councils now responsible for the tip underneath.

5: We provisionally propose that a supervisory authority with responsibility for the safety of all disused coal tips should be established. Do you agree? If not, please set out the alternative that you would favour.

Currently, the Coal Authority carries out that role. Monitoring and sampling. There is a proposal of a new ‘supervisory authority’, this may move such responsibilities either to a new Welsh quango, or hand responsibility to local authorities.

9: We provisionally propose that a central tip register should be compiled and maintained. Do you agree?

A tip register doesn’t currently exist, as there are many very old ad-hoc legacy mines of antiquity that only become known when problems become evident. This was recently seen at Skewen. Currently the Coal Authority inherits responsibility. The new legislation seeks to end this, by ‘it’s not on the register so it’s not our problem, butt’.

31: Do you think that the Welsh Ministers should be able to give directions to the supervisory authority and other relevant parties regarding actions to be taken in response to a coal tip emergency?

This relates to ‘upstreaming’ and ‘downstreaming’ of pollution from mines and tips. It seeks to give authority of the Welsh Minister for the Environment to force surrounding landowners to take their own remedial action when a problem becomes evident, such as covering the cost of extra or replacement or augmentation of drainage. This would most likely involve extra liability insurance of households and businesses in the coalfield.

34: Do you consider that new tip safety legislation should be combined with provision for the consideration of tip reclamation? If so, do you favour any particular model?

This would give the power to Welsh Ministers to ‘nationalise’ land holdings that include legacy mine workings in the name of reclamation. Many former, now landscaped, landholdings are used for low-grade agriculture and forestry. It will give statutory powers to Welsh Ministers to ‘grab’ these assets in the name of reclamation, as there is no definition of that constitutes an already reclaimed site.

On the left Gary Haggaty, civil servant, paramour of and adviser to Lesley Griffiths, the ‘Welsh Government’ Minister for the Environment. (Sitting alongside him.) Both believe that Welsh people own far too much Welsh land, and are determined to remedy this unacceptable situation.

The reality is that the Westminster Government wants to wash their hands of the responsibility for historical expropriation of the Welsh coalfields, and are seeking to hand over these responsibilities to the Welsh Government. They have wrapped the proposal in a sugar coating of ‘environmental opportunities’.  It is designed so Welsh Ministers, can pass the costs to the citizens of former mining communities and carry the cost.

A kind of repeat Aberfan Disaster Fund, the original being used to pay the NCB to remove other coal tips, this 21st century equivalent making Welsh communities pay the ongoing costs and it being given a light coloured greenwash.

♦ end ♦

 




This is where I came in

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alas, it did not come to pass.

TWO STEPS FORWARD, THREE STEPS BACK

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

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

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

What’s changed?

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

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

It was downhill for Plaid Cymru from then on.

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

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

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

YES CYMRU

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which raises an interesting question.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NO CYMRY?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, moving on . . .

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

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LEFT TURN . . . FAR LEFT TURN

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

There are a number of ways of looking at this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LAST CHANCE

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

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

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

Just ask Dr Dilys Davies.

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

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

Because after May 22 it will exist in name only.

♦ end ♦

 




“A tsunami of second-home buyers”

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

This week’s offering is about a business I’ve been aware of for some time but have never got around to writing about. Given the raised concerns over the housing crisis in our rural areas I believe the time has come to turn on the spotlight.

WEST WALES PROPERTY FINDERS

This outfit, and the woman who seems to run it, Carol Peett, appear regularly in my Twitter timeline, or else people draw my attention to the business in other ways. That’s because West Wales Property Finders’ business is seeking out second homes and bucolic retreats for wealthy English buyers.

This is why, given the housing crisis in our rural communities, Mrs Peett and her company piss off so many people.

Which in turn explains why someone sent me a photo of a little piece from this week’s Sunday Times, in which Mrs Peett gleefully announced that, “Coastal Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion have seen a ‘tsunami’ of second-home buyers”.

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A strange word to use, ‘tsunami’, and yet, if you think about it, rather apt. For a tsunami is very destructive, and so is the business in which Carol Peett operates.

So who is Mrs Carol Peett?

One of my regular sources of information, Companies House, couldn’t tell me much because there’s no company called West Wales Property Finders (WWPF) registered. Yet the Sunday Times describes Carol Peett as “managing director”. If so, of what?

The only directorship I can find for Carol Elizabeth Poyer Peet is Pembrokeshire Weddings Ltd. Formed in June 2016 and folding in May 2019 without the organist ever striking up Here Comes the Bride.

There may be no company but there is certainly a website for WWPF, where we read that Carol Peett was, “Born and brought up on a farm in Pembrokeshire and with her family being one of the oldest in the County, Carol’s in-depth knowledge of the area, property market and people of West Wales is second to none”.

What pretentious bollocks! Everybody belongs to a very old family, that’s why we’re here today. I have ancestors going back to the Neolithic period, and beyond. If I close my eyes (and take another sip of Malbec) I can see one of these antecedents now, a handsome fellow, clad in well-cut animal skins, blogging for posterity on the walls of his cave.

The claim to being born and brought up on a farm also has a touch of the porky-pies to it. I say that because Carol Peett’s Linkedin profile (here in pdf) says that from 1967 until 1976 she was boarding at private schools in southern England. These were Hanford prep school in Dorset, and the now closed North Foreland Lodge in neighbouring Hampshire.

UPDATE: A comment tells us, “Carol Elizabeth Poyer Lewis born May 1958 in Romsey Hampshire”. Which means she was neither born nor brought up in Pembrokeshire.

Carol Peett (then Lewis) left North Foreland Lodge when she was 18, did not go to university, and worked for many years in England.

The WWPF website brings us up to date with, ” . . . she and Rayner returned to live in Pembrokeshire in 2004″. Though whether hubby, Edward Rayner Peett, had ever previously lived in Pembrokeshire is open to question. And as I’ve said, Carol Peett herself couldn’t have spent much time in Pembrokeshire before returning either.

That year, 2004, is when Carol Peet joined The County Homesearch Company, ” . . . the principal homefinder for Channel 4’s popular TV programme, ‘Location, Location, Location’.” She ran the west Wales office of that company.

The WWPF website tells us that, “With the sale of The County Homesearch Company to American company, Dwellworks, Rayner and Carol felt the time was right to break out on their own and so founded West Wales Property Finders in the Autumn of 2014″.

The problem remains that there seems to be no registered company of that name.

The most recent development according to Linkedin was in August 2018 when Carol Peett became an Associate at Garrington Property Finders. On that company’s website we read that the difference between an estate agent and a property finder is that the former works for the seller whereas Mrs Peett and her ilk work for the buyer.

In the eyes of Garrington Property Finders Scotland is a country unto itself, whereas Wales does not exist. The northern part of our homeland is in north west England, and the southern part in south west England.

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Here’s the Garrington website page for the South West Region, where we learn the company has offices in Exeter, Bristol and Winchester. No mention of Clunderwen, though, where dwell the Peetts.

So what is the relationship between Garrington Property Finders and West Wales Property Finders? Mrs Peett claims to be an ‘Associate’ of Garrington. I know what that term means in the Mob, but what does ‘associate’ mean in this context?

Answers on the traditional and now shamefully under-used post card.

As might be expected, Carol and Rayner Peett are loyal members of the Conservative and Unionist Party. And well regarded, I would guess, because for the December 2019 UK election we find their names atop Simon Hart’s nomination paper for the contest in the Carmarthenshire West and South Pembrokeshire constituency. (Available here in pdf.)

That of course is Simon Hart, the Secretary of State for Wales, who is said to have no more than a holiday home in his constituency. Maybe the Peetts found it for him!

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The fact that Rayner Peett was the proposer, and Carol Peett the seconder, suggests they are well up in the local Conservative Party pecking order, or else close to Simon Hart. Probably both.

We can all speculate as to whether being pally with the local MP helps their business, but we can be absolutely certain that the association does their business no harm.

A business that is both odious and distasteful, for Carol and Rayner Peett contribute to the destruction of Welsh communities. But they are not alone, there are plenty of others in the same line of business.

My view is that Carol and Rayner Peett are simply being true to their natures, and that the real blame lies elsewhere. With politicians aware of the second home problem and associated issues yet choosing to do nothing, and by their inaction allowing the erasing of our identity.

If, as I expect, there is a coalition administration after May’s Senedd elections, with Labour and Plaid Cymru simpering about a ‘progressive’ alliance, ‘wicked Tories’, etc., then they will need to act quickly on the rural housing crisis.

We need punitive taxation on second homes, no loopholes, and a maximum 5% of dwellings in any electoral ward allowed to be holiday homes. We also need to clamp down on the other ways in which Wales is exploited, thereby making it clear to all that Wales is no longer a retirement and recreation area for England.

Rather than making gestures about global problems they cannot influence, perhaps the next ‘Welsh Government’ can focus a little closer to home, stick to the day job by tackling the problems faced by Welsh people and Welsh communities.

There is a storm brewing, and this is inevitable. Because when any nation is being invaded, and overwhelmed, its identity threatened; when people are turned into strangers in their own communities, or expelled from those communities, then resentment will grow.

And if the people’s elected representatives are perceived to be complicit in this tragedy or unconcerned, unwilling for whatever reason to respond, then there will come a reaction from within the people.

The next ‘Welsh Government’ should recognise this. And also recognise that continuing to fail the Welsh people is no longer an option.

♦ end ♦

 




“Education, education, education”

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

The title is of course taken from Tony Blair’s famous speech of May 2001. It seems apposite because this offering is also about the UK Labour Party (Welsh branch) and education.

Last Friday, the BBC Wales website ran a story headlined ‘Black history lessons to be made mandatory in Welsh schools’. (If the link is broken, then the article is available here in pdf format.)

On the same day, Llais y Sais ran a full-page piece (below) by Jane Hutt MS, speaking on behalf of the ‘Welsh Government’, setting out her gang’s plan for an “anti-racist Wales”. (It too is available in pdf format.)

The two pieces are obviously linked. And both connect with a petition from last year demanding that the ‘Welsh Government’, ‘Make it compulsory for Black and POC UK histories to be taught in the Welsh education curriculum’.

It’s clearly orchestrated. And it needs to be answered because this campaign is misinterpreting statistics, telling outright lies, and marginalising the history of the people to whom this country belongs.

Let’s start with the BBC piece.

It focuses on Professor Charlotte Williams, “who led a working group set up by the Welsh government to look at how BAME contributions through history was taught in schools”.

To the surprise of absolutely no one Prof Williams discovered that the current education system could have been designed by the Ku Klux Klan. Her working group made 51 recommendations – all of which have been accepted by the ‘Welsh Government’. Which has also shelled out £500,000 to help implement those recommendations. (With more to follow, I’m sure.)

I can’t tell you much about Professor Williams. She’s probably a Labour Party loyalist, and that explains how she got the gig. That’s how things work in Wales.

Though I’m not clear about her field of expertise and her titles seem to be honorary. Certainly, that’s what’s suggested by this piece on the Bangor University website. (Available here in pdf format.) She’s an honorary professor at Bangor and an honorary fellow at Glyndŵr and South Wales.

In the Bangor University article I’ve linked to Williams says: “We have a rich history in Wales, built on difference and diversity”. Er, no.

For the greater part of our history we have been one people, speaking one language, divided only by geography and dialect. This is what held us together, this is what gave us our sense of ourselves as a people during centuries of conquest and subjugation.

As late as the 19th century that unity was reinforced by the Industrial Revolution and our adherence to the nonconformist denominations. Making me wonder how much Prof Williams really knows about Wales.

The ‘diversity’ to which she refers is very recent. And while its proselytisers preach unity, in practice they label and divide.

While Welsh children are to be taught BAME history the ‘Welsh Government’ has decided they will not be taught their own history, or the history of their country unless this is done through the prism of a ‘diversity’ that is absent from the history of Wales until comparatively recent times.

Something very strange is happening. The desire to tell the story of ‘colonialism, discrimination and exploitation’ is being used to ignore or marginalise the history of an indigenous population with first-hand knowledge of colonialism, discrimination and exploitation.

And this has all been prompted by the death of a man last year in a US city most of you can’t even remember the name of.

Another untruth in the BBC article can be found with, “In 2019, 12% of all pupils aged five and over came from minority ethnic backgrounds . . . according to Pupil Level Annual School Census data.”

We are encouraged to interpret that as meaning 12% of pupils in Welsh schools come from non-white backgrounds. But the source used, StatsWales, makes it clear that’s not the case. What it tells us is that 12% did not identify as ‘White British’.

This 12% is made up of Irish children, Italian children, and Polish children, maybe even white Welsh kids who didn’t want to identify as British.

But if we are to have an à la carte education system then I suggest our pedagogues get their answers ready for when Mrs McGillicuddy rocks up demanding to know why Seamus and Siobhan are not being taught the history of Gaelic Ireland.

Polish history is very interesting as well. And what about the Risorgimento!

It may sound like a good idea, but once history is tailored to group or individual backgrounds then it can become as irrelevant to others as one’s family history.

That’s why sensible countries take the ‘broad sweep’ approach to the history of their country and then fit that national past into the wider, global picture.

Now a quick shufty at the petition.

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A hybrid beast, this. It is addressed to the Welsh Parliament, yet it keeps referring to the UK and Britain.

To take the petition wording at face value it seems to be asking that Welsh children be taught about the experiences of immigrant groups in England. But why?

It also wants our children to learn that Wales, “benefited from colonialism and slavery for centuries”. Did we really! These ‘benefits’ must have passed my family by.

But what is Black and POC history? Is it the history of African people(s)? The spread of Islam? Moghul India? Asia? China? Pre-Columbian America? With nothing to connect these disparate stories other than their contacts with Europeans, at what point will BAME history degenerate into, ‘White bastards . . . ‘.

Finally, let’s look at the Llais y Sais article. There are so many distortions that it’s difficult to know where to start.

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The article is written by Jane Hutt of Surbiton, who spent much of her childhood in colonial Africa. Her career in Wales began in the third sector, which helped her become a Labour councillor. She was then an unsuccessful Westminster candidate before securing the consolation prize of a seat in the new Welsh Assembly in 1999.

So, yet another Labour politician who’s never done a real job.

In the second paragraph Hutt says, “. . . our partners have shared more shocking stories of racism and hate crime endured in Wales”. Who might these ‘partners’ be, I wonder?

I would hazard a guess that these are Labour’s cronies in the third sector and elsewhere. People and groups reliant on public funding that can be best secured by exaggerating a problem and / or telling the ‘Welsh Government’ what it wants to hear.

What’s in it for the Labour Party? Well, the sub-text has always been – from the days of Naz Malik and his Swansea Bay Race Equality Council  – ‘Welsh nationalism is by definition racist’. (Remember Naz?)

In discussing the impact of Covid, Hutt suggests that people from ethnic minority backgrounds have suffered worse than white people. This is more bollocks. The critical factor has been deprivation. The kind of deprivation experienced in the post-industrial communities that the ‘Welsh’ Labour Government has condemned to managed decline. Communities where the population is almost exclusively white, and Welsh.

Towards the end Hutt writes: “We want to make sure that Wales becomes not just non-racist, but anti-racist, by the year 2030”.

‘Non-racist’ means the absence of racism. To go further is to pander to extremists who argue that all white people carry the guilt for slavery and imperialist exploitation. A sentiment we saw articulated in the petition.

We are now in the territory of Critical Race Theory, reporting neighbours for watching Gone With The Wind, and shopping Nain for her Robertson’s golliwog badge. Maybe even self-flagellation.

Wales does not want to go there. Labour should not be taking us towards this fresh kind of intolerance.

And yet Hutt’s overlong homily is not without its unintended humour.

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The idea of Travellers complaining about ‘racism and hate crime’ is laughable. What they’re far more likely to be moaning about is being collared for their criminal behaviour. (Here’s a very recent example.)

‘Colourism’ may be a term many of you are unfamiliar with, but it’s rife in India, where it seems people of darker skin tone tend to be looked down on. All tied up with history, caste, religion, etc. It also seems to operate in the USA. Where, again, it is something found within communities, in this case, African-Americans.

Either way, ‘colourism’ or ‘shadism’ is a complex subject internal to certain countries and groups. It should never be a concern of the ‘Welsh Government’.

Hutt concludes with, “We must stand proud with open hearts and minds, and take positive action to banish racism, discrimination and inequality from Wales”. All very noble, and guaranteed a round of applause at the next Labour Party bunfight.

But this commitment to combating discrimination and inequality would carry more weight if, instead of playing to certain galleries, Labour politicians took action to stop Welsh people being ethnically cleansed from their own communities.

BAME education is so typically ‘Welsh’ Labour – about Wales, but not the Welsh. Twenty-two years of devolution has been all about gestures and virtue signalling for external audiences and tiny groups of activists.

While the essential Welshness of Wales, that sense of identity that brought devolution into being, has been undermined and the threats against it ignored.

Twenty-two years of anti-Welsh devolution.

This is why the Labour Party is opposed to both Welsh language education and the teaching of Welsh history in our schools. They fear it might make our young people more patriotic, and therefore, less likely to vote Labour.

Which is why, the more I think about BAME education, the more I suspect Labour may not have thought this through.

As I’ve just said, Labour does not want to enthuse Welsh children with a sense of patriotism, or worse, grievance. Nor does it wish to encourage anti-British or anti-English sentiment.

But if history is to be taught from a BAME and leftist perspective then how are children to be told about the slave trade, the Amritsar Massacre, An Gorta Mór, the Bengal famine, the coup against Mosaddeq, and so many other episodes of Britain’s past without encouraging a “Bastards!” reaction?

What you’ve read here is my interpretation of the Labour Party pandering to yet another vocal and unrepresentative minority. And while we should all strive to marginalise racism – for it will never be entirely eradicated – I believe that what is being suggested risks damaging the Welsh education system and doing more harm than good for communal relations.

I say that because I can think of few things more insulting than middle class left liberals designing a curriculum that tells kids relying on food banks in post-industrial shitholes that they should feel guilty for being the beneficiaries of slavery and ‘white privilege’. 

It really is time to get rid off these dangerous and insulting clowns in the Labour Party, and the same goes for any other leftist party that might keep Labour in power.

♦ end ♦