Family silver

PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR

In this post I want to pull together a number of threads without, I hope, complicating the story too much.

TOWER COLLIERY

Let’s start by going back to this post I wrote last December and scroll down to the section headed ‘The left betrays Wales, again’. What I tried to explain was the recent history of the Tower Colliery site since deep mining finished in January 2008.

I wrote that the closure was followed by a short period of opencast mining, to extract some six million tons of anthracite coal. This began in May 2012 and ended in March 2017, when new environment regulations meant that Aberthaw power station could no longer take Tower’s coal.

From what I can make out, this opencast operation was a partnership between the original Tower Colliery Ltd (Incorporated 28.11.1994), Tower Regeneration Ltd (Inc 20.08.2009), and a company from north east England called Hargreaves Services Plc As explained here.

The open cast site seems to be owned by Tower Regeneration with a loan from Forward Sound Ltd, a company linked to Hargreaves.

Tower Colliery Ltd is ultimately owned by Goitre Tower Anthracite Ltd. The 488 Goitre shareholders are I assume former miners and the relatives of former miners. With the maximum individual holding apparently limited to 8,260 of the 2,164,075 shares.

With open cast mining finished, what is to become of this high and windy, but scenically attractive, area?

The answer would appear to be . . . zip wires!

‘TOP O’ THE WORLD, MAM’

The title of this section is taken from that great film noir, White Heat, and the line spoken by Cody Jarrett, played by James Cagney, before the gas tank on which he’s standing explodes. (Obviously, in the movie, Jarrett says ‘Ma’, not ‘Mam’.)

I use it because Rhigos can give that top of the world feeling. And that’s where we are, on the A4061 that makes its way from the A465 Heads of the Valleys road down into the Rhondda. On the map below you’ll see, marked with a red cross, the Rhigos Viewpoint, a large lay-by giving superb views over the surrounding country.

Image courtesy of Google Earth. Click to enlarge.

Not only that, but in bad weather the Rhigos Viewpoint serves as a temporary depot for Rhondda Cynon Taf gritting lorries, allowing them to travel in both directions and avoid the climb up from their regular depots in the valley below.

Why then was the Viewpoint recently put up for sale?

Click to enlarge

We see that the online sale document is dated 27 June and Lesley Griffiths’ letter to Lee Waters AM is dated 16 July. Between these dates concerned locals noticed the sale, someone living in Llanelli contacted his AM, Lee Waters, who wrote to Ken ‘Flint Ring’ Skates; the civil servants in Cardiff or wherever realised they’d been rumbled, pulled the advert, and Lesley Griffiths replied to Lee Waters denying any sale.

A little episode that does not reflect well on those who manage Wales for their bosses in London. Lesley Griffiths in particular is getting a bit of a reputation for being averse to the truth.

Returning to Rhigos . . . If we look at this image of the viewpoint and lay-by we see, centre right, Craig y Llyn, the jumping-off point for one of the three planned zip wires.

Image Courtesy of Google. Click to enlarge.

Maybe the real question is, if the Rhigos Viewpoint is to be included in the Zip World project, why was it advertised for sale clearly hoping nobody would notice? Was the plan for it to be bought by some intermediary who would then profit from selling it on to Zip World?

But that suggestion hints at corruption – naughty boy, Jac! – and this is Wales, where corruption is unknown.

There is no question in my mind that the sale of the Rhigos Viewpoint links with the promised arrival of Zip World.

And while the plans shown in the WalesOnline report for the car park, toilets and office accommodation clearly refer to the property owned by Tower Colliery (scroll down to the plan), I believe the Zip World project goes way beyond what is owned by the former miners and their families.

UPDATE 02.08.2019: A message reaches me saying that the advertisement was no ‘mistake’ but was in fact the ‘Welsh Government’ covering its arse by meeting its legal requirements. The land can now be handed over – to Zip World? – and the WG can say, ‘We advertised it, but no one was interested’.

ZIP WORLD

As we know, this is the company that runs zip wires at Penrhyn near Bethesda, and Betws-y-Coed, with underground trampolines at Blaenau Ffestiniog.

There were big changes in Zip World companies towards the end of last year affecting Zip World Ltd, Zip World Fforest Ltd, and Zip World Group Holdings Ltd. What is termed “a management buy-out” took place which means that the parent company is now ZWPV Ltd (Inc 24.10.2018).

But it’s not that straightforward, for at the foot of the final page of the most recent accounts we read that, “Due to the shareholdings in place at ZWPV Limited, the directors consider Sean Taylor to be the ultimate controlling partner”. That is, Sean Wallace Taylor.

Click to enlarge

So, if not a one-man band, then the Zip World companies would certainly appear to be under the control of a single individual. And it gets a little more complicated when we look at this new parent company, ZWPV Ltd.

There are six other directors, who all give as their address, ‘Zip World Base Camp, Denbigh Street, Llanrwst, Wales, LL26 0LL’. But for head honcho Taylor, the address given is, ‘8th Floor, One Central Square, Cardiff, United Kingdom, CF10 1FS’.

And among the directors giving the Llanrwst address is Giles Alexander Thorley, who joined the company 21 February 2019. This is odd, because Thorley is CEO of the Development Bank of Wales. So either he’s moonlighting or else he’s there in an official capacity. I hope it’s the latter, which probably means Thorley’s there representing the ‘Welsh Government’.

But let’s return to Taylor’s Cardiff address. Seeing as parent company ZWPV has its address in Llanrwst like everything else and everybody else, why would Taylor’s individual address be in Cardiff?

Or to put it another way, who else might we find on the 8th Floor at One Central Square to explain Taylor using it as his address? Well, the whole floor is the domain of solicitors Blake Morgan, a company that of course has many clients, including the ‘Welsh Government’ and its various agencies.

Which makes a certain sense, and other pieces are falling into place as I write this to support that presumption.

Before moving on to consider what might really be happening up at Rhigos I want to go back to ZWPV. (What does the ‘PV’ stand for?) It was Incorporated 24 October 2018 with Sean Taylor holding the only share. On St David’s Day there was an allotment of over 14 million shares, including 92,500 preference shares.

While under ‘Filing history’, for 12 March, you’ll see ‘Resolutions’, an arrangement entered into with LDC Parallel (Nominees) Ltd, designed to raise money through selling those 92,500 preference shares.

Companies using the term ‘Nominees’ have, or find, investors who remain anonymous.

So if I’m following this thread properly: the main Zip World companies are now huddled under the umbrella of ZWPV Ltd controlled by Sean Wallace Taylor who, through an agreement with LDC Parallel (Nominees) Ltd, is looking to sell shares to investors who will remain anonymous.

Click to enlarge

There are a number of other companies bearing the ‘LDC Parallel’ name, numbered I to VIII, with all but the last of them based in Aberdeen.

Finally, we learnt earlier this month of another interesting figure who has joined the Zip World board. This being Greg Evans, who, as this blurb tells us, is . . .

“A former US Navy Petty Officer and Centrica Energy Director of Nuclear and Renewables, he is recognised as a thorough leader in safety leadership in both nuclear and renewable power generation.

His work in renewables saw him leading major infrastructure project (sic), including the design, development and commissioning phases of the £1.2 billion Lincs Wind Farm.”

Intriguing. Though like me, I’m sure you’re wondering why a man with a background in nuclear and renewable energy has joined a tourist operation like Zip World.

I think the answer lies in: ” . . . to strengthen the management team and take the business to the next level”. With the emphasis on ‘next level’. Which might be another way of saying diversification.

One disturbing possibility pulls together Evans’ background in the nuclear industry and the fact that Zip World uses quarries and mines. Could this be about the storage of nuclear waste?

HOW MIGHT IT ALL FIT TOGETHER?

OK, so what’s the big picture?

A company that has been well favoured by the ‘Welsh Government’ in its northern ventures has decided to move south. Details were announced in February this year and probably accounts for the reorganisation in the Zip World group.

Also, in October last year, both Zip World Ltd and Zip World Fforest Ltd cleared charges with Finance Wales Investments (10) Ltd. Seeing as Giles Alexander Thorley, CEO of the Development Bank of Wales, is also a director of FWI (10) Ltd, maybe these charges had to be cleared before he could join the revamped set-up in February this year.

Though note also the involvement of Blake Morgan.

Click to enlarge

Let’s take another look at the layout of the land at Rhigos. It will help explain what I believe is planned.

The picture below is taken from the Viewpoint looking looking west. It shows the ridge of Craig y Llyn, from where one of the zip wires will start, and below it lies the lake to which the name refers, Llyn Fawr. (There’s a Llyn Fach further over.)

You’ll notice that one side of the lake is straight, and that’s because it’s a reservoir, as is Llyn Fach, they both supplied Tower Colliery.

Click to enlarge

It’s time now to introduce someone you’re probably familiar with. Someone else who can be found on the eighth floor with Blake Morgan.

I’m referring to Shire Oak International Ltd (SHI). And whaddya know – one of the two directors of SHI is Mark Shorrock, who was of course the mastermind behind the proposed Swansea tidal lagoon, rejected by the UK government last June.

So is he involved at Rhigos, has Sharrock’s gaze been distracted from Mumbles? Of course, sharing the Cardiff address with Sean Taylor of Zip World could be pure coincidence, but I think not.

For while we all associate Mark Shorrock with tidal lagoons, he is a man with fingers in many pies. There’s quarries, for a start, such as Dean Quarry in Cornwall, from where he hoped to get the stone for the Swansea lagoon wall.

Another ‘pie’ is renewable energy; solar, wind and pumped storage. And companies such as Shire Oak Pumped Storage (Llanddulas) Ltd, which was struck off in April. This is a fate that befalls many of Shorrock’s companies. The boy’s had some bad luck.

Which may be why the ‘Welsh Government’, in the form of Carwyn Jones (remember him?), promised to chip in with £200m when the UK government shafted his plans for Swansea Bay.

Not only that, but he got quite comfy down in the City of my Dreams, and was well regarded by Swansea University. Where the Uni had the third floor of the Civic Centre on Oystermouth Road all to themselves, for their Centre for Regional Innovation, under recently departed Marc Clement.

A local source tells me that at one time there were no fewer than seven Shorrock companies on the third floor. Though getting information on them from either the council or the university proved futile, they always had an excuse.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR RHIGOS?

Whether Shorrock has teamed up with Zip World or not at Rhigos I’m certain that the ‘Welsh Government’ is involved because, through Natural Resources Wales, it owns so much of the land up there; including the two lakes, the escarpment and the forests.

But even if Shorrock is not involved, if his being at the same Cardiff address as Sean Wallace Taylor is pure coincidence, then whatever is planned for Rhigos still goes way beyond zip wires.

The clues are there:

  • There’s the reorganisation of the Zip World group towards the end of last year.
  • Then the new company linked up with LDC Parallel (Nominees) Ltd to find secret investors.
  • We have the CEO of the Development Bank of Wales becoming a director of the new Zip World parent company. (To look after ‘Welsh Government’ interests, in the form of land and assets to be handed over?)
  • Then there’s the curious aborted sale of a prime piece of property in the form of the Rhigos Viewpoint that saw a ‘Welsh Government’ Minister misleading us.
  • Finally, a new director joins Zip World very recently who has no experience in tourism, but whose field of expertise is nuclear and renewable energy.

To understand what I think is happening at Rhigos you have to remember that the ‘Welsh Government’ has massive assets in publicly-owned land, much of it held by Natural Resources Wales, which of course took over Forestry Commission land. Forestry managed by NRW accounts for 6% of the total area of Wales.

There is pressure from various quarters to ‘monetise’ these assets, and if that can be done behind a green smokescreen then so much the better. We see it all over Wales in forests where thousands of trees have been felled to make way for wind turbines and the roads serving them. More damage is done in building, transporting and erecting wind turbines than they ever recoup in their short working lives.

From Natural Resources Wales website. Click to enlarge

The high ground at Rhigos provides the perfect opportunity to ‘monetise’ some NRW assets. There may indeed be zip wires, but they won’t come alone. There will be cabins, maybe a hotel and other facilities, perhaps wind turbines and some scheme involving Llyn Fawr and Llyn Fach. Perhaps even the storage of nuclear waste.

With the package dressed up as an ‘adventure resort’ such as Gavin Woodhouse promised for the nearby Afan Valley. For, remember, with the M4 and the Heads of the Valleys road providing access, plus almost two million people within 40 miles of Rhigos, there is a much bigger customer potential than for any venture in the north.

Whatever is planned for Rhigos, the ‘Welsh Government’ should pause and ask itself what it’s getting involved in, and with whom. For example, is there any concern over ZWPV’s anonymous backers?

If Shorrock’s involved, then is he being thrown a bone for losing out on the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon? And if so, do we owe him anything?

And if we’re going to give honesty a romp in the summer sunshine, then maybe we can also have explained to us the relationship between the ‘Welsh Government’ and its assorted agencies on the one hand, and certain favoured Cardiff legal firms and people like Sean Wallace Taylor and Mark Christopher Shorrock on the other?

How do it all fit together, innit?

To conclude; my reading of the Rhigos situation is that deals are being struck in the background, with our assets; and this will result in some people making a lot of money, yet once again, we, the Welsh people, will lose out.

But this is unavoidable in a colonialist environment when the local political class can be dictated to by their colonial masters and also wound around the fingers of the money men.

An independent Wales run by such people – or those hoping to replace them – would see us receiving food parcels from Venezuela. And they’d probably celebrate such shows of ‘solidarity’.

♦ end ♦

 

64 thoughts on “Family silver

  1. Brychan

    Llyn Fawr is enhanced as a reservoir and there’s a large diameter pipe from it.

    It was formally used to supply water under gravity for the washery and for dust suppression. Conveyors used to run down to the bunkering and a railway loading station, through a special tunnel under the A465. Next to Hirwaun industrial estate. This is also where the water pipes run. There is also another artificial lake, a short distance away at Penderyn, in an old quarry. This affords excellent site dynamics for a ‘pump storage scheme’, similar to Llyn Stwlan.

    There also used to be a small gas power station generator at the Tower colliery site, using methane drainage from old underground workings. Water from Llyn Fawr was ‘pulsed’ into the shaft pillar under gravity, pushing up-cast methane into the generator.

    There is obviously an issue with any tidal barrage down in Swansea. It cannot generate electricity during slack. Low and high tide. A solution is to ‘store some energy’ via a pump storage scheme at times when tides race. Just to cover the slack period.

    If this is, or was, part of the tidal barrage proposal I would have expected the proposal to be shouted from the rooftops. Green energy 24/7. However, no such rooftop shouting took place which leads me to suspect something dodgy to be happening.

    There are of course millions of pounds held by RCT council paid to them over the years as part of an escrow agreement during open cast mining. It is supposed to be spent on site reclamation. It is widely believed that this fund is underpaid, or that the council haven’t been reliable custodians of this cash. A pot exists, but it’s contents deficient. I suspect the zip-wire fandango to be part of the cover up or used as a cash cow by the leeches mentioned above.

    Who will ask the question in the Senedd?

    1. Nantywenallt

      Many inaccuracies here I must reply the Llyn Fawr reservoir serves the Rhondda Fawr with water nothing to do with Tower Colliery operations, also gas extraction and electricity generation was done by pumping methane from the 5ft/7ft faces again water from Llyn Fawr wasn’t used. The Tower surface mine is the only opencast in Wales to be fully bonded with regards to restoration there is a significant amount left in the escrow account this is overseen by the coal authority who represent RCT as an expert so that the site is restored in accordance to planning conditions. Also there is no way this area will be used to store nuclear waste where will it be placed.

      1. Regarding restoration, earlier this year the council agreed to a change. Land that was supposed to have been contoured will now be flat. Also mentioned was the need to maintain access to the mine entrance. All coming after the big shake-up in Zip World.

        And when it comes to the storage of nuclear waste, if London wants it to happen then they’ll make the community an offer it can’t refuse.

      2. Brychan

        An additional 26p per tonne of coal excavated from the open cast site was paid to a community benefit fund. According to the amount of coal excavated this means that £845,000 was deducted from the overall community fund and is supposed to be spent on an “Environmental Resource Centre”. This was also to employ two local staff for 25years as part of the agreement. RCT council awarded planning permission for this in 2011 but this has now expired. It was meant to be an ‘passive building’ with all the eco-credentials. A replacement planning application has been submitted which is just a concrete building with two rooms, a toilet and a green painted roof, and no mention of the promised jobs.

        https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/rct-council-news-tower-colliery-16244821

        Just prior to this current application Tower disclosed that there was ‘nowhere near that amount of money available’ but would not disclose how much money was available. The ERC was Tower’s additional pledge to residents when they were applying for planning permission for the opencast, now they say no legal agreement was entered into. They also say the escrow fund £28 per tonne in 2015 was dropped to £20 per tonne in 2016 due a fall in the sale price per tonne. A drop in sale price does not make the scar on the landscape easier to fix. So despite what you say, the fund is obviously deficiant Still no statement of the value of the pot.

        You make an interesting claim about water supply that I was not aware of. I can assure you a washery and dust suppression uses water and it was gravity fed, so it must come from Llyn Fawr (doesn’t flow uphill) but it’s interesting you say that it’s still public supply. This means the underground drift tunnel, or a pipe specific for this purpose runs to the Fernhill workings in Blaenrhondda. Who owns this? What effect will current proposals have on water supply to Rhondda?

        1. nantywenallt

          I tried to offer a reasoned explanation after your inaccuracies, you are mixing up the restoration bond (paid during surface mine operations) with the Tower fund these are two different entities, the local community has benefited quite well so too has other south Wales communities out of the fund. Tower washery was fed with water from former coronation drift which was used in the washery process, it never came from an open water body it was essentially groundwater. Tower colliery methane was extracted via 12 pumps from the 5ft/7ft faces under Glyncorrwg to the electric generation plant no water was used. The water pipe connects Llyn Fawr to the Rhondda it is not connected to Tower Colliery. Hope this clarifies your points.

      3. Brychan

        There is no need to ‘pump methane’ it will rise automatically from pit bottom once ventilation is terminated. It’s considerably lighter than air and will need a need a separation stack well above the ignition concentration. But it does have an inconsistent flow. The districts you mention of the Tower underground workings were indeed, methane rich, and these headings at the time of surface generation must have been in a state of collapse, with a heavily fractured goaf. The faces you mention were retreat extraction and there would have been up-heave from farewell rock and leakage upwards into the shale strata. In order to gain a consistent flow to the surface generator a method of displacement is required to obtain continuity of methane supply. Pulsed displacement is the world standard, and was the forerunner of fracking. If water was not used as a control mechanism, what was?

        1. Nantywenallt

          I am trying to offer a reasonable response to your inaccuracies on this blog. The restoration bond/escrow account is a different entity to the Tower fund which is what you elude to. Local community groups have done well from the fund so too has the wider coalfield communities. The Tower colliery washery was gravity fed from the former coronation drift portal this water is groundwater from an upper aquifer there is no way the EA/NRW would allow abstraction from a open water body such as Llyn Fawr
          to abstract water. The pipe connection from Llyn Fawr to the Rhonnda is not connected to the Tower Colliery workings it was built in 1911 to serve Rhondda with water this is where the iron age hoard was found when the reservoir was constructed.
          .Methane was extracted by drilling numerous boreholes into the face the gas was then drawn out using 12 pumps in the Glyncorrwg area no water was ever used it was designed by Hyder consulting. I believe nuclear waste couldnt be stored with the hydrogeological setting in this area it wouldnt happen, also the geology isn`t right either with regards to the engineering properties of the rockmass, a granite/igenous setting would be more conducive.

  2. Dafis

    Read this earlier but held off commenting because I thought that major opposition parties at Y Cynulliad – Plaid “fit to govern” Cymru and the Tories who are ” always looking for value for money in any investment” would have kept the site busy with enquiries for further and better information with which to skewer Smiler Skates and Fibber Griffiths.

    However the silence is deafening. Possibly this silence is attributable to the Tories still in shock after hearing boy Cairns making a complete and utter cock of things in an R4 interview. Boy left whatever brain he possesses with his hair brush this morning !

    As for Plaid, well on reflection it’s a bit early for the Party’s leadership team to pronounce on these prospective investments as they have not yet disclosed their policies on aid to Venezuela and their attitude to transgender staff and customers using ladies loos while still possessing a full set of man tools. The environmental and financial merits of the proposals will go by without scrutiny other than the nod and wink for which the Welsh authorities are so renowned.

    1. I have an apology. Due to sheer incompetence and a slight hangover this piece went online before I’d finished tidying it up. Sorry about that.

      1. Dafis

        It was tidy when I first read it, now it’s even tidier. However I’m deeply disappointed, like the tweet in the right hand column, that you have once again failed to score at all on the racism, sexism and fascism counts – nil points all round. Partly to compensate I did refer to Ms Griffiths as a Fibber just to raise the game a touch.

        Brychan’s comment relating to imaginative, innovative energy generation serves to highlight how desperately thick all those highly paid minions are in the Bay Bubble and beyond. Not an ounce ( or even a gram) of creativity from those dimwits. No chance of lightbulb moments among that lot.

        1. I was going to refer to Lesley Griffiths as the ‘Minister for Ugandan Affairs’, but then I though, ‘Nah, don’t be so nasty, Jones’.

          1. Dafis

            That would have been unecessarily nasty, inflicting that on the Ugandans who are jolly nice people.

    2. Brychan

      Dafis, it is not “too early for the Plaid Cymru leadership team to pronounce on these issues”. Well, they’ve have had at least a month!!

      It was me who raised the issue with Lee Waters AM some time ago. I copied in Leanne Wood AM and also copied in the editor of the community forum AberdareOnline, where matters were subsequently publicised. Two things happened, firstly the good people of the Cynon, once aware, made their own representations, and secondly, Waters evidently followed it up with Skates and Griffiths. He copied me in on the reply between ministers, as displayed above.

      You will see Griffiths was very much aware of the kickback from readers of AberdareOnline, and mentions it.

      Leanne did not reply, nor did she even acknowledge my original communication. So although it is one of the biggest ripoff/investments on the mountain above her own constituency, she chose deliberately to ignore the matter. Fortunately others with their eye on the ball got a reprieve for a much loved and utilised asset for the community and the web of ownership and in-house deals starting to emerge is telling the story.

      I fear there’s still more to this than so far uncovered. The Tories are just minions to the viceroy, Waters probably knows danger and incompetence in the Labour fold when he sees it, and Plaid need to wake up and start looking at the real issues facing the communities of Wales.

  3. Red Flag

    The sites of these Zip Worlds give access to large disused underground installations – such as old copper mines, old coal mines, cave networks etc etc. Just the sort of thing that is ideal for the highly profitable industry of storing nuclear waste from the de-commissioning of nuclear sites. Wylfa for example.

    Having someone in the hierarchy of your company who is “A former US Navy Petty Officer and Centrica Energy Director of Nuclear…..” would be of great help and give you legitimacy in government circles I would have thought.

    Just sayin’

    PS – just for reference a naval petty officer is the rough equivalent of an Army sergeant major.

    1. I was thinking more of his subsequent work in renewables, but you could be right about the storage of nuclear waste. What’s certain is that Evans would not have joined if this was just about zip wires.

    2. Red Flag

      “PS – just for reference a naval petty officer is the rough equivalent of an Army sergeant major.”

      For purists, it’s actually slightly lower than an Army sergeant major, but slightly higher than an Army staff sergeant/colour sergeant

        1. Red Flag

          CPO is sort of in-between a Warrant Officer Class 2 Sergeant Major and a Warrant Officer Class 1 Sergeant Major.

    3. Brychan

      Such matters are the preserve of our Westminster overlords. The UK government launched a consultation last year on nuclear repositories. As far as I’m aware only Gwynedd council responded with ‘fuck off’. The public event in Swansea was cancelled and this was explained being due to the possibility of hostilities. Strangely, there is no response from RCT council or they have chosen to keep their response secret. It’s worth noting that Rhondda Tunnel, which runs to the Afan valley is still owned by Highways England.

  4. Brychan

    Off topic but I have recently been questioned by Plaid members who I still talk to, as why I post comments to the Jac o the North. Evidently this particular blog post has raised some interest. Here is just one example to explain my answer.

    When David Duke was gaining political support in the United States in the early 1990s. Duke was a previous type of Trump/Boris/Farage. It’s explains how Duke was defeated back then and why the ‘liberal elite’ some 30 years later failed to effectively tackle Trump.

    Read this

    “What the left never understands is we need to stop approaching elections like the goddamned debate team and start approaching it like the right does. Like a cheerleading team.” – Tim Wise.

    This has lessons for Wales and it’s not about virtue signals. Plaid Cymru will not win by being on the moral high ground and by ‘talking down’ to the huge number of people in Wales who voted for the Brexit Party. It’s about making those people proud to be Welsh and to start striving for independence, not who’s the most politically correct Guardian reader. Welsh nationalism needs to get down and dirty. We need to define our independence message above all other concerns and dump all the electoral pacts with ‘progressives’ and spouting ‘politically correct bullshit”.

    Isn’t this what McEvoy does in Cardiff?
    We need people like him in all parts of Wales.

    1. Dafis

      Thank you Brychan for restating that very fact. I think it was in comments on earlier Jac “productions” that I stated much the same thing – no rocket science involved, just a matter of observing closely events in various environments and the processes/procedures applied and learning what succeeded and what failed. Don’t political parties employ people to do just that, or has it become the norm to just sit in the echo chamber and feed off the groupthink garbage ?

      In an urban setting with its own demographic mix the activist McEvoy is an obvious success because he tackles issues that bother people and he does so in a robust businesslike way. This is a template that could easily be replicated across Wales although the shape and nature of the activism would vary depending on the local demographic and the needs/pressures upon those communities. That’s why any successful nationalist party has to be a broad church at ease with providing a political home to a diversity of views, ideology and characteristics.

  5. Ian

    Regarding McEvoy, you just don’t get it, do you? He has narcissistic personality disorder. He is not interested in anything other than his own glory and the money that he can make from pursuing glory.

    He was frozen out of Labour because he is a liar, a bullshitter, a fraud and a bully. He has been frozen out of Plaid for the same reasons. Rhun was very supportive during 2015/16. Why has he turned against McEvoy? See above.

    The people McEvoy associated with in his rise to prominence, from 2012, were (1) Matthew (Bum)Ford, an ex-Green who worked for Jill Evans for years, followed by your hated third sector RSPB and CPRE! He was an avowed bully at school and has tried bullying many other staffers in Plaid. He is a sociopath. (2) is Ed Gareth Poole, an ex LibDem who joined Plaid in 2012. He is the genius behind the Wales Governance Centre’s reports showing that Wales is massively in the red, which hugely undermines arguments for independence.

    My belief is that Ford and Poole are working for nefarious actors linked to the EU or U.K. How strange that this trio are all ex-members of other parties!

    You, Dafis and Brychan constantly pushing McEvoy is hard to fathom. What has he achieved? The Ely victory was at Labour’s nadir and was all about getting out Plaid’s existing vote of 600. Nothing special.

    If McEvoy were ever to lead Plaid it would be electoral suicide. With his personality and past behaviours the UK media would have a field day. Plus, he’s not especially bright, unlike Adam and Rhun.

    But the fact of the matter is that he’s finished in Plaid. So why doesn’t he join Ein Gwlad? It’s strange that the debate at Copa in Caernarfon has not been mentioned or broadcast by McEvoy, given that he would livestream himself wiping his arse. Strange too that Gruff Meredith has made no mention of the event either as Cymru Sovereign or The Sovereigner – despite the two being sat next to each other. What was said during the debate.

    My conclusion is that either or all of you, Dafis and Brychan are compromised and are attempting to tarnish, split and destabilise the National Movement. Shame on you if this is true.

    1. Speaking for myself (I’m sure Dafis and Brychan will speak for themselves), I’ve never believed that McEvoy is without fault, that he is some kind of Messiah. What I do believe is that he brings a whole new dimension to the national movement that has been sadly lacking.

      As for Rhun ap Iorwerth changing his tune, well, since he’s been in Cardiff he has obviously come under the influence of certain groups in the Bay. To be blunt about it, those who drove Carl Sargeant to suicide. Neil McEvoy gets a great deal of support simply by being a victim of these bastards. Maybe you should be asking why nothing is done about these people. Why these people and organisations with not a democratic vote between them are so influential in Welsh political and public life.

      To suggest that we are compromised, and attempting to destabilise the national movement is insulting. I am a nationalist who disagrees with Plaid Cymru on many things, and especially I disagree with the intolerant young extremists of Plaid Ifanc, and Undod, and Undeb Plaid Cymru. But I am totally committed to independence.

      You’ve been here before spouting your hatred for Neil McEvoy. In future, come up with hard evidence or stay away, because I won’t publish anything from you.

    2. Stan

      I don’t think there’s anything particularly unusual or sinister about McEvoy’s team having been involved in other political parties. Surely that’s a pretty regular thing to see. We have examples in NPT of a Welsh Labour councillor who was Lib Dem and a Plaid councillor who flirted with the Tories. Even Lord Peter Hain was a Liberal once! Probably half or more Ein Gwlad members have had affiliations to Plaid in the past. The rest, if you believe shouty keyboard warriors like Aled Gwyn Wiliams, were previously members of the Nazi Party. So operating “with the enemy” at some time is not uncommon.

      Sticking labels like “Narcissitic personality disorder” and “sociopath” on people is defamatory unless you can prove it. Can you? Let’s be honest here. Lots of people in politics and operating in the public eye exhibit degrees of Narcissism and some even sociopathy but it would surely require a trained professional in psychology or similar to accurately diagnose such traits/disorders. Are you? Because I think not. Perhaps you have read Psychology Made Simple and now regard yourself as an expert, along with other shit-stirring, bullying (your own epithets) twats who make McEvoy’s life hell, constantly, on the internet.

      I can remember Owen Smith, remember him(?), when he went up against Comrade Corbyn, saying “I want to lead a Labour government…getting us off our knees and turning us into the engine room of our economy. But we can only do that if we’re in power.” I have no time at all for Oily, and little time for JC, but in that respect he was right. And as far as Plaid are concerned, McEvoy and Plaid Cardiff West hold one of the keys to power, if only Plaid would pick it up. I’m not in Plaid but I talk to their members. I have been really surprised by the number who have said to me, if only we had a politician to vote for like Neil McEvoy (here in NPT). McEvoy’s a Marmite figure. It seems you either love the cut of his jib, or hate the guy. But love him or hate him, votes don’t lie. Given a fair crack of the whip, he’s a winner at the ballot box. Which is more than can be said for Plaid as a whole!

      With regard to his membership of Plaid, as I understand it he falls to be judged only on his behaviour since his suspension. That’s been squarely behind Plaid, helping them to unprecedented electoral success in Ely to boot. And anyone being judged also deserves a jury that is impartial, something that is now increasingly difficult, That’s partly because of the unhelpful, mischievous and possibly orchestrated social media posts of people like yourself. How can McEvoy defend himself? If he knuckles down and responds to these smears, he’s accused of bullying and misogyny. If he ignores them people say, well as he’s said nothing, maybe there’s something in it.

      Ein Gwlad are in a similar position now as I see it. A barrage of abusive posts on Twitter have emerged, from people who seem to spend too much of their lives disparaging, insulting and defaming those who don’t follow their own narrow view of what makes a decent Nationalist. There’s no justification for the personal insults directed at Jac o’ the North by people like that prematurely bald bloke with the nice bow-wow. Nor can you justify the outrageous stuff you have posted about other human beings, right here, right now, on Jac’s blog. Take a deep breath and look at yourself, FFS, Ian. Where is all this hate coming from?

      I’ve ranted on because I’m virtually inactive on social media these days – in the main because it’s become an echo chamber for people like Aled Gwyn Wiliams and possibly you. I just can’t be arsed with your ilk any more, TBH.

      Have a good life…….

    3. Brychan

      Ian.

      Is your finding of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) resulting from an interview of McEvoy as a patient, a peer review study of behaviour, and that you are professionally qualified to make such a diagnosis?

      Lets look at the facts.

      Go to twitter or any other social media, in particular videos and photos posted by McEvoy. The photos, videos and narratives of almost all other Plaid Cymru AMs is about themselves and consist of selfies and member groupings. A sort of ‘look at me with the people who admire me’. Not with McEvoy. He puts the issue centre stage, over development of green fields in Cardiff, dumping of nuclear mud, pothole in road, flytipping etc. He plays the role of ‘reporter’. This is not the work of a narcissistic personality, but that of an effective political representative.

      Another specific feature of NPD is lack of empathy. In fact we see that some of the fabricated complaints arise from his activities supporting constituents. Helping a single mother who was facing eviction, assisting a tenant farmer being thown off the land to allow development on green fields, supporting residents where trees in parks are being felled, and often raising issues in the Senedd where constituents are run roughshod by powerful bodies or institutions. This DEMOSTRATES empathy. It is possible for a politician to ignore such matters as it causes strife, but McEvoy always shows empathy and acts on it to resolve the difficulties of others.

      Another variations of NPD is the ‘amorous sort’. The one night stander who seeks sexual gratification from many partners concurrently, a kind of compensatory behaviour. This attribution is often thrown about incorrectly by jilted partners and is a mainstay of civil litigation for personal gain or sympathy by those jilted. I am aware of two ex-partners in this instance. A person who sought substantiation by means of emotional breakdown to get a lighter sentence from a drink driving conviction, disgusting, and one a custodial battle over school catchment area, not uncommon, and well within the normal boundaries of marital strife. If he’d been caught in a brothel or downloading child pornography like other Plaid AMs have then there might be a case of NPD of histrionic proportions. This is NOT the case with McEvoy but I am aware of motive from those who try to attribute this. Message – ‘it’s over, get on with your life’.

      Another variation of NPD is the ‘elitist’. A person who seeks status by association, feels privileged, and is, or likes to be seen as upwardly mobile. The elitists, although not diagnosed with NDP there are examples of this in Welsh politics are they are usually called Sophie, Furlong, Cathy, Nerys and Jo. McEvoy demonstrates none of these features, in fact, quite the opposite, to his own cost, and seeks not to emulate such behaviour.

      I could go on, but the person I am sharing a panad with at the moment IS qualified in making such diagnosis, am grateful for her reasoning. Now have other things to attend to. It has, however, provided a useful diversion. Her message is quite simple, “an obvious attempt to attribute a mental disorder to an adversary in politics in the hope of soliciting a negative response from those who regard people with mental insecurities as inferior or a person to be feared.” In other words trying to denigrate someone by rousing bigotry. Please stop it. Narcissistic behavior is posting photos of Michael Sheen and the singer of the Manic Street Preachers on your twitter account as if to say ‘look how important and connected I am’ although I wouldn’t go so far as saying this is a disorder. Have you sussed, butt.

      1. Superb comment, Brychan. By God! there have been some responses here. I would only add to your list of narcissistic behaviour, making a rare visit to Swansea – which you represent in the Senedd – to get a selfie with Catherine Zeta Jones.

        CZJ Bethan Sayed

        1. Dai Protheroe

          Reported to Sian Gwenllian and Helen Mary Jones! Quite disgusted to hear that Bethan left without giving Catherine an autograph.

        2. Brychan

          Oi ! You leave Catherine alone. Met her in the ‘90s after I came off a train in Pluckley, in Kent while working away. Went to haunted pub near the station with the 57club (gin trolley crowd named after the time of train the from CharX). I noticed her Swansea accent. She was there filming with the Fools and Horses chap. We were chatting but she got a bit mouthy decided it was more important to re-join may Irish and English mates in the bar to watch the footie. I pity Michael Douglas, poor chap. She missed out on me. Wouldn’t think of photo bombing a ‘star’ by association, it’s a bit creepy. I see ‘stars’ as people, no matter how famous they become and certainly not indulge in paparazzi behaviour. Hope Catherine is OK and doesn’t feel used.

      2. Dafis

        Excellent diagnosis of the delinquent, perhaps deviant, contributor. Yet another engaged in deflecting but too wrapped up in his own mission to realise that he is shockingly transparent. He really should try harder next time, better still pack up and go back to polishing egos in a nail bar down the Bay.

        1. Brychan

          I suspect the duff pseudo diagnosis originally came from someone who did study psychology at university. A subject that Ian barely understands.

          It’s a false narrative put about to attack a popular public representative by the lobbyist clique. My guess is the originator of these slurs currently doing the rounds is someone who scraped a third in the said qualification, spent a very short period as a policy advisor for RSPB, which Ian coincidently mentions. A spiteful soul who relishes in wine bar tittle-tattle and self-interest. The kind of stuff spun in the rumour mill which cost Carl Sargeant his life. Hopefully McEvoy is made of stronger stuff.

          Found a badger set near Cefn Sidan last night. Although quite cute, mummy badger’s got a face like running mascara, evil pinhole eyes, long nose, smells of worms, squats in the latrine rubbing noses with the other girls and has dangerous claws. We named her Llinos.

      3. Wynne

        Marks out of 10

        Reply from Stan 9 out of 10
        Reply from Dafis 9 out of 10
        Reply from Brychan 9 out of 10
        Original comment from Ian 1 out of 10

    4. Brychan

      Additional note – Ian has referred to Jill Evans in his slurs. I have a great deal of respect for Jill, before, during and after my membership of Plaid Cymru. I have known her for 40 years and still consider her a friend. I voted for her in the last election. She’s our representative in Europe during these turbulent times. As for CPRE as a specific geographical boundary, being pro-Welsh does not automatically mean being anti-England. On the RSPB, they lodged an objection to the formation of NRW back in 2012 pointing out the blurring of lines between commercial exploitation and conservation of our landscape, an issue this blog posting is actually about. Is Ian the gutter that Plaid Cymru has become?

  6. Big Gee

    This is the very reason why Ein Gwlad keeps on hammering home the message that we have no preconceived ideology, based on any section of the old political spectrum – on the (now defunct) right/ left single axis paradigm.

    What our people want are policies that address their problems at street level in everyday life. Our primary aim is to gain independence, and do the best we can to raise the living standards and quality of life for our country’s citizens after independence. We don’t care if other parties label those policies as ‘right’ or ‘lft’ wing – if they work to get our nation on it’s feet- hey’ll be adopted.

    Having candle lit vigils for faraway problems, or trying to force the electorate to accept ideological concepts or be seen supporting minority group issues that don’t really concern the majority is not what we’re here for – regardless of of how far up on the moral high ground such actions appear to be. Then to cap it all, the traditional nationalist party tries to ape the policies and actions of other political parties around the UK. They get embroiled in issues they can’t even control and have no say in – like Brexit. Charity begins at home.

    Our problems are home grown, the solutions also need to be home grown and relevant to our people in their everyday lives.

    It is our firm belief that when that message is picked up in all corners of Wales – then we’ll see the floodgates open. We are in the process of doing that. Having got the first stage in place with our formation and our IT platforms, we are now moving on to the second stage – on the doors. By the time the 2021 Senedd elections are upon us, we hope that every adult voter in Wales will have heard of Ein Gwlad, and will know exactly what we are about.

    Time for total change is way overdue.

  7. Wrexhamian

    Dafis’s complaint in Jac’s previous blog (on the Caernarfon march) that ‘unacceptable’ comments on Nation.Cymru are deleted, and that the avenue for making a new comment is no longer there, was correct after all. It’s because Nation.Cymru now seems to have reverted to the previous system whereby you don’t have to be on Facebook. Anyone can now make a comment, including new subscribers.

    In the course of the changeover, however, all previous comments made through Facebook seem to have disappeared. Anyone who, for instance, commented in support of Neil McEvoy in IMJ’s recent article warning of a fictitious pro-McEvoy ‘conspiracy’ in Plaid Cymru’s NEC can, if they, wish, add those comments again.

  8. Dafis

    Ian – Nice to read a negative comment that doesn’t chuck in the usual range of stunted vocabulary – fascist, nazi, racist, mysoginist, phobe-this and phobe-that.

    However that’s about all that’s good about it. As said elsewhere above the man McEvoy is not without flaws but he does go out and work for his communities. He is willing to confront the architects and drivers of serial mismanagement at Council and Cynulliad levels. “Activist” is probably a word that covers much of what he is. You play down the Ely result as something of no consequence, yet the same party fails to contest Brecon & Radnor conceding priority to the LibDems who were content to participate in the infamous coalition. That party whose leader has now been found taking backhanders from some fracking business while spouting the Green line elsewhere. With so much integrity doing the rounds Plaid should be more careful who it pals up with and who it seeks to destroy.

    We can do without the cod diagnosis – narcissistic personality disorder – or is that a recent addition to the default vocabulary of those who wish to impose an unquestioned orthodoxy on the rest of us ?.

    As for the suggestion that I, or the others for that matter, are in some way compromised or whatever else, even working for the State ( Deep or otherwise) is beneath contempt and shame on you for implying it. That said you might be one of those shady jokers who sets out to deliver an outcome in tune with the aims of the UK State. Who knows ?, after all there are plenty in Welsh politics today drawing a handsome salary yet so docile they can’t see the goal let alone score one.

    Thankfully so far the Orthodoxy Police is only a figment of the imagination of a segment of Plaid’s membership. So enjoy the echo of your mutual admiration but don’t try inflicting it on the rest of us as it just doesn’t wash. The attempted enforcement of any political orthodoxy only serves to generate an equal and opposite reaction.

  9. Dafis

    Is this the unit that Ian, our deflector from yesterday, thought Jac Brychan and I belong to ? Dare say I could do with a nice army pension !

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jul/31/army-fights-fake-news-with-propagandists-and-hackers-in-one-unit

    Or is Ian a serving member, a recent recruit perhaps having a clumsy first attempt at “disinformation” ? Would be nice in due course if he could let us know how he’s getting on. Better than lying up in some undergrowth eating rehydrated food and shitting into plastic bags.

    1. Brychan

      My guess is he’s Ian Titherington who loses votes for Plaid as a previous candidate in Cardiff South in Penarth. He might be trying to impress the Deryns to get a shoe-in to Cardiff West.
      https://www.linkedin.com/in/ian-titherington-11618110b/?ppe=1
      Sad really.

      Perhaps he should do in his existing constituency like what McEvoy has done in Cardiff West instead of trying to cuckoo in on the work of others. Notice this civil engineer lectures us in pseudo psychology rather than offer engineering knowledge on the matter in hand up in Hirwaun.

  10. An e-mail has reached me suggesting that the reason the car park was advertised was so that when it is handed over – to Zip World? – the ‘Welsh Government’ can claim it was advertised, but no one was interested.

    In other words, the deal may be done, and the WG is covering its arse.

    1. Brychan

      A faddy tourist trap like a ZipWire has a ‘peaky’ footfall, and the site that can only be accessed by car. A laidage area will be required for those queuing to enter, on an otherwise dangerous road with bends. I think your informant was correct. There was a ‘below the counter’ attempt to hand over this free access point to the countryside for the local community. Far from a civil servant ‘inadvertently doing extra work’ as Lesley Griffiths AM claims, I think the civil servant just did his or her job according to standard process of public tender required by law. Spotted, rumbled and shamed. She says the ‘local amenity is not currently for sale’. So what are the full plans and real proposals the Welsh Government are hiding and wanting to rob the local community of?

  11. Dafis

    The “No Surrender” refrain of so many Unionist groups has a certain appeal especially if you are already minded to conform to the AngloBrit ideal and wrap yourself in a Jack ( of the Union variety, of course !).

    Sadly the self appointed guardians of Wales are more likely to say “by all means, sir” when some jumped up Trump impersonator or some spiv with a glossy scam filled brochure turns up at the door. Only question is likely to be ” how much would you like” or are you sure that’s enough”. Maybe a Plaid leader bellowing “no surrender” would make a nice change, after all Paisley and his successors never earned a monopoly on that call to arms.

    1. Brychan

      There are two types of veterans out this weekend.

      HEROES. Former Royal Engineers and RMPs going to Derbyshire to help their serving colleagues guard an evacuated village and running with sandbags and operating reserve fire engines on the pumps. This is where a reservoir wall has been breached. There might even be a “monarch and successors” on site cheering them on.

      COWARDS. Those former servicemen and a few mittys congregating at a car park on the Mumbles Road in Swansea. They are in support of a man who, allegedly, shot children on the streets of Ireland and want to exclude him from deliberations of the crown process. Ironically, they need the ‘protection’ of thugs on motorcycles and will be chanting racist slogans.

      Any former soldiers out there who need to know what category they fall into?

      1. Brychan

        WalesOnline tells us that Paul Summers, an ex-paratrooper, was part of the protest march organised by Millions Veterans March and said that he “turned up to support Soldier F”.

        The 53-year-old from Llanelli said: “I’ve been involved from day one and we’ve been doing this for about 18 months. “We are ex-servicemen out to support our brothers and to show support for veterans that are being prosecuted for serving their country. It’s wrong.”

        https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/hundreds-bikers-marchers-rally-swansea-16693471

        Paul Summers joined the police force after a very short career in the army and the coward decided to come to Wales.

        We find that this is not the first time Paul Summers has been to Swansea. Summers was given a 16 week suspended jail sentence at Swansea Magistrates’ Court in 2007 when he was convicted of hitting a motorist he had pulled over in Llanelli. Not only was he placed under electronic tag, but also ordered to obey a night time curfew as part of the sentence and pay £200 compensation to his victim.

        https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/police-officer-sacked-after-being-2212595

        Following an investigation by the Dyfed Powys Professional Standards Department he was dismissed from the force. Paul Summers is not wanted and is a disgrace to Llanelli, to Dyfed Powys, and Wales as a whole.

        1. With the UK under existential threat the prosecution of ‘Soldier F’ has come at a very convenient time to act as rallying cry for the Unionist far right.

        2. You sure you’ve got the right Summers, Brychan, because the ages don’t fit? The cop was 34 in Nov 2007 and the Summers quoted yesterday was said to be 53.

          1. Brychan

            Possibly, but unlikely. 2007 age the verified datum, 2019 being a claim to a reporter at an event. Please accept apology to subject of latter if I am incorrect. However, I find there is a tendency to sometimes to exaggerate a service record, motive being bravado. I do have experience of quoted age being fluid amongst some veterans (plus or minus an evident age) this is in order to fit exaggerated service claims into actual events. There are only two sources of verification in such matters, the MoD that only by court order PM disclosure, or, of course, the comrades involved. This is an issue in devolved domestic legislation on stuff like priority housing for homeless veterans. The third sector or local authority has no route of verification, unlike the NHS that has medical history and even this is subject to access consent. Only personnel who have left the military since December 2018 will have the ‘pink’ card that includes DoB.

      2. Red Flag

        The motorcyclists are also ex-servicemen. 4000 of them from all over the UK rode through Westminster not long back. There have been demonstrations and vigils going on all over the UK (including NI) for months now by former servicemen and women regarding Soldier A and Soldier F amongst others. There is even a permanent presence outside Parliament. I myself have been on half a dozen or so and will be going on more.

        My first junket to the Province was to Londonderry in the 1970’s ( On and off, I spent over 6 years in the Province). As an infantryman I took part in many many riots in the Bogside during the 1970s. Quite what the dumb-asses thought they were trying to achieve I have no idea. As a rule of thumb we deployed a tenth of the size of the rioters as that was more than adequate to enable us to contain them then break them up and have a break every now and then (we even set-up field kitchens and rest areas in car parks on the Strand etc so that the troops could rotate round and have a bacon butty and a brew). My favourite job was baton gunner blasting baton rounds (rubber bullets) – bloody good fun watching them get knocked on their arses when one of them took a hit – bit like ten pin skittles. I fired over 160 in one shindig. Snatch sqaud was quite a good laugh as well (running out to get the ones knocked over by the baton rounds, subdue them, and drag them back). I don’t know what they thought they were trying to achieve, but we thoroughly enjoyed the riots, they were a bloody good laugh and broke up the monotony of patrolling. Petrol bombs? look good on TV, basically harmless. Favoured tactic was to push them back into the Bogside, Creggan, Shantallow etc then let them trash and burn their own estates while we stood and watched and waited until they got tired, then leather them. Worked every week. They want to be thankful they weren’t dealt with the way rioters in Cyprus, Hong Kong, Aden and other places were dealt with at around the same time – with a volley of baton rounds twice as powerful as those used in the Province, then a volley of shotgun fire, then a volley of rifle fire. Quite effective and ended riots very very quickly

        An Army is an Army. It is not a Police Force and only cretins think otherwise. When you deploy an Army on active operations you are going to get a military response sooner or later. You might keep it under control most of the time with rules such as the Yellow Card (Orders For Opening Fire In Northern Ireland, which incidentally allowed soldiers to legally shoot petrol bombers if they wanted but they rarely did because they couldn’t be arsed – to much paperwork)) but sooner or later you will get a military response and you would have to be a moron to think otherwise. The basic weaponry of the Infantry the SLR initially followed by the L85 IW/LSW (wrongly referred to as the SA-80) are fearsome weapons and at 200m or less will punch clean through a double cavity house wall and anyone behind it with ease. They are designed to go straight through a human being with enough energy to go a considerable distance after that. A military grade 7.62 will go straight through a human being over a mile away with ease so firing them in built -up areas is always going to cause a mishap sooner or later. I once had the pleasure (and it was) of watching a gunmen bleed out where he belonged, in the gutter, after he made a total bollocks of an attempted vehicle hijacking,. The car he tried to hi-jack contained 4 undercover officers, who promptly laid him to waste at point blank range.

        Most of the people – including in the nationalist/republican areas, took no part in the Troubles and were very supportive of the troops. Even in South Armagh (nowhere near as dangerous as it’s image) – where they would chat quite happily with you when you were patrolling, only shutting up when certain individuals appeared.

        PS – No soldier ever shot a child on the streets of Ireland. Ireland is a foreign country. The British Army only deployed to Northern Ireland during Op BANNER.

        1. Very graphic. But I’m more concerned with what happened in Swansea yesterday when veterans protesting about Soldier F somehow ended up with the locals fascists and a biker club from the Valleys that started out as Cardiff City supporters and have never before been political. All confused by there apparently being two different groups involved – Never Surrender Veterans Wales and Million Veterans March – and maybe two different protests.

          It all begins to look like mobilisation for what might follow a No Deal Brexit.

        2. Brychan

          An interesting narrative about a person fighting for their country and a person fighting for someone else’s country.

          You are of course correct that military intervention is an inappropriate and ineffective substitute for effective policing sanctioned by the community being policed. You offer a prime example. As you know the hijacking of vehicles is for use in proxy bombings was a feature of the paramilitaries in the northern counties. It became necessary for a series of such hijackings to be conducted for one operation. No doubt you were able to report that you managed to ensure the death of a potential informant before useful intelligence could be obtained.

          A full list of victims of the bogside massacre is on the link below. In a charge of murder the definition of a child victim is anyone under the age of 18. I see three.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloody_Sunday_(1972)

          There is a very high barrier of evidence needed for a conviction of murder to key is being to prove beyond reasonable doubt that there was malice a forethought. In a shooting, when the suspect is a civilian, the key to that proof is that a weapon was obtained, loaded, aimed and fired. This does not apply to soldiers, as those features are legitimate upon deployment, so the barrier of proof rests in their use. Evidence would be forensic such as the bullet in the back of the head as point blank range, exit wound to the ground, and the victim already being incapacitated from a previous shot. I understand that is the reason why soldier A was not charged, that evidence being absent, but soldier F was charged.

          Intelligence is everything in counter terrorism activity. After my counter terrorism training it comes natural. The kind of detail like the vehicle registration of a lone motorcycle travelling at 68mph in an easterly direction at 1049hrs on Saturday on the M4 just before Cwmrhydyceirw junction. The distinctive feature being a round red YesCymru sticker on the back of a black helmet. One thing learnt, however, is that the policy of containment fails when operations fall outside areas of control. The only effective bombing by the provos was at Bishopsgate in London. It resulted in the Westminster government being forced to recognise the issue on offer, and accept negotiation.

          I wish the people of Ireland well, and notice in the elections the northern counties for Stormont that no unionist majority was obtained. This is further frustrated by Brexit. I don’t think soldier F should be tried in Derry. Unification would result in the trail having to take place in Hereford, although I think the real motive for conviction is making one individual to be the fall guy for the atrocities of the time. Every time I see a collection for ‘Help for Heroes’ it always reminds me that the British always abandon their wounded.

          1. I agree. Soldier F is being sacrificed. His commanding officers and the politicians who sent the Paras to Ireland should be in the dock.

            1. Brychan

              It’s likely that soldier F is of rank. Different from ‘Private G’ as identified in the enquiry. Of note is the regiment and their skills. Put an infantryman, a para, and a tanky on the target range and the infantryman will always score the best on target. Put the same three between enemy lines and it’s the para who’ll do most damage and survive. Ask the same three to demolish a fuel dump at 22 miles and it’s the tanky who’ll do the job. I have to question the logic of putting a regiment who spend daily training on invading a building in hostile territory and shooting anything that moves into a civilian area at a time of community strife. It will not be the first bullet that tells the story; it will be any subsequent bullet wounds. The definition on ‘overkill’ in civilian murder cases. For paras, that’s their job.

            2. That’s why I’ve always believed the Paras were sent in to intimidate the Catholic population. It backfired badly.

          2. Red Flag

            Brychan, I spent 2 years of my time on G2 duties. The entire effort of G2 was to manouevre the terrorists into a position where the SAS etc could legally liquidate them. Such operations as Loughall, Cookstown etc. No wounded, no prisoners, no wasting money on trials etc. Just a nice neat line of dead onion heads (the nickname for terrorists, who contrary to popular misconception did not wear balaclavas and paramilitary clothing. They wore the sleeve from a jumper over their head turned inside out, coveralls, a pair of surgical gloves and a pair of washing-up gloves and plimsolls).

            You are wrong about the hi-jackings. The overwhelming bulk of hi-jackings were to create barricades and obstacles and diversions in the urban estates.

            As for your Bishopgate line, I think you’ll find the real story is the Provo leadership had hit a dead-end and knew it. The intelligence effort was decimating them with losses and longterm jail sentences, an urban terrorist could look forward to being either dead or serving life within a couple of years of being active and they realised the UK government could quite easily sustain what was going on for centuries if needs be – the Army for example were using it as basically a training ground where young JNCOs could practice tactics and leadership in a real-time live inter-active environment. The upper end of the intelligence services – the ‘spooks’ where having a field day developing technology for the bugging and burgling and intercepting of mail and such like (cameras that looked like dog turds or empty coke cans back in the early 1980’s for example). Even most of the Provos weapons hides – including in the Republic, where alarmed and covered by covert CCTV by the late 1980s/early 1990s and the security forces ran a thing called Op ANGEL whenever a hide was opened (some of the footage was excellent). Even individual weapons of interest that had been located were being left in situ with trackers placed inside them and the ends of the firing pins clipped off so that they would always misfire. Their IEDs were being discovered and booby-trapped in the construction phase and they were riddled with informers at all levels (the great Irish traditions – rebellion and selling your mates to the Crown for money) And that’s before you get to the super-computers that were braking all the data protection laws but exempted under national security grounds.

            ALLEGEDLY, during the initial peace talks at Stormont, the Provos got a bit cocky whereupon Mo Mowlam introduced a man by his first name, who then promptly gave two of them a file each. He and Mowlem withdrew for a short break. The file contained enough bugging and surveillance evidence – including transcripts, photos and documentary evidence of how one had been an informant in his early days etc etc, to put both the Provos away for several lifeterms. When Mowlem returned (without the grey man), the two leading provos (household names) were considerably less cocky and far more co-operative.

            If I could tell you in private some of the things that were going on and how much we knew you would be absolutely stunned.

            And you still seem to look at it as one country when it isn’t. The North is part of the UK.

            1. You have obviously complemented your personal experience – recounted with some gory relish – with considerable study of the Troubles. So I’m surprised you’ve overlooked the atrocities and murders committed by Loyalists run by the army or the intelligence services. Many of them ‘justified’ because the targets were regarded as IRA people. But not always.

              I’m thinking in particular of the bombings in Dublin and Monaghan. Who the fuck thought it was a good idea to plant car bombs on busy Dublin streets timed to explode at rush hour? As you’re probably aware, Andy, this was the worst atrocity of the Troubles; the most costly in terms of loss of life, 27 dead in Dublin, 7 in Monaghan. For obvious reasons, we don’t hear much about this.

              In an earlier comment Brychan mentioned the Bishopsgate truck bomb in 1993, and this can’t be overlooked either. Because to the British elite life is cheap, whether British, Irish or any other. What matters is power and influence, and that must be underpinned with money, with the City at the heart of Britain’s extended financial empire. When the IRA targeted the City of London, and foreign firms threatened to pull out (some did), that sent a message more powerful than any number of deaths or bombs in Ireland.

              Another consideration to factor in is the propaganda war, and the role of the USA. Most people did not understand the complexities of the situation but it was easily reduced to ‘British aggression in Ireland’, and people from Albania to Zambia bought into it. The Irish-American lobby capitalised on this simplistic interpretation to persuade Bill Clinton to get his todger out of Monica’s mouth and head for Ould Oirland.

              Once Uncle Sam got involved, both sides could agree to call it a day without losing too much face.

  12. Dafis

    Ref some of those tweets in the Right hand column today. All this gushing about Plaid getting cosy with the LibDems is a sure sign of Plaid’s political redundancy. Prepared to leave an election to enable a Unionist party of dubious recent pedigree to win. No reported quid pro quo. Living in hope of some goodwill from a party now led by a lady who will take donations from any passing corporate purse regardless of what they represent. Nice work Adam.

OK, you've read what I think, now what do you have to say?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.