Lobbying in Wales

INTRODUCTION

This piece is prompted by the ‘Welsh Government’ suggesting it wants to address the issue of lobbying. As the website puts it: “The Standards of Conduct Committee is undertaking an inquiry into lobbying and is keen to establish whether lobbying is a matter of concern to the people of Wales”.

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A disingenuously worded paragraph because the hope is that few people will even know about the exercise, fewer still will respond, and that will allow the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ to claim that lobbying is not “a matter of concern” and everything can just carry on as before.

The truth is that Wales desperately needs reform in this area, and it needs to go well beyond a simple register of lobbyists. I say this because lobbying takes a different form in Wales to most other Western countries.

What I’m going to try here is to give examples of different lobbying sectors (that would probably not regard themselves as lobbyists), while also looking at more obvious examples of lobbying.

I warn you, this is a ‘biggie’, pushing 4,000 words. But broken up into sections so you don’t have to take in the full horror of the situation all at once.

So go make a cuppa.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL LOBBY

Since before the first elections to the then Assembly for Wales in May 1999, those looking to benefit from devolution were positioning themselves, even relocating.

For example, the RSPB, which had until then been based – very centrally for an essentially rural organisation – in Powys, decided the time had come to move its Wales regional office to Cardiff.

This had nothing to do with bird migrations, or even the rediscovery of the Lesser-spotted Splott Warbler (previously thought extinct).

No, it was all to do with access to the new decision makers.

For the RSPB and the wider environmental lobby, devolution has been like Christmas, with a constant supply of prezzies delivered by yo ho ho-ing politicians.

Just cast your mind back to last week’s post on this blog, ‘Saving Wales From the Welsh’. One of the organisations mentioned was the Wales Environmental Link (WEL). And I reproduced the panel below, from the Charity Commission website.

Focus on the section I’ve highlighted.

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“At the centre of government decision making” can only mean that the WEL lobbies to influence decisions made by the ‘Welsh Government’.

But do you remember voting for the Wales Environmental Link? Do you remember being offered the chance of voting for the Wales Environmental Link? No, nor me.

As I say, the ‘Save the Planet!’ lobby was out of the blocks early on in the devolution era. Helped to a great extent by ‘insiders’. These came in two forms.

First, civil servants, often from England, always answering to London, and working to a vision of a Welsh countryside without farming.

Second, politicians who, despite what they were elected and paid to concentrate on, always prioritised their real interest of ‘reconfiguring’ – even repopulating – rural Wales.

Inevitably, the two elements worked closely together. Never more so than when Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales* Lesley Griffiths shacked up with her civil servant adviser Gary Haggaty.

But the grande dame of the sector is Jane Davidson. “Minister for Environment and Sustainability from 2007 to 2011 where she was responsible for the Welsh Government agreeing to make sustainable development its central organising principle”, as Wikipedia tells us.

Sustainable development became the “central organising principle” of governing Wales. Let that sink in.

After leaving the Assembly in 2011 Davidson took up a post of Director of the Wales Institute for Sustainability at Trinity St David University, Lampeter.

Davidson was, supposedly, Assembly Member for Pontypridd, but she’d already bought a place down west and was more concerned with pushing through the Hippies’ Charter (One Planet legislation) than with anything happening in Ponty.

From ivory tower to organic cabbage patch Jane Davidson and those she can marshal and organise have wielded an unhealthy influence over successive administrations in Corruption Bay.

The environmental lobby is now one of the most powerful in Wales. It’s why farmers have their backs to the wall, it’s why the M4 was not improved, and why smaller projects, such as the Llanbedr by-pass, have been scrapped.

If this lobby could close Port Talbot steelworks, take away our cars, confiscate all farmland, and turn us into vegans, it would. And the ‘Welsh Government’ would pass the necessary legislation without quibbling.

As gesture politics go, few things are more damaging to the Welsh national interest than deluding yourself that you’re saving the planet while damaging Wales.

*A bizarre title that makes ‘North Wales’ sound like an overseas colony of Corruption Bay.

THE RACE LOBBY

At it’s crudest this is little more than, ‘You Welsh are racist – give us funding’. I examined this racket not so long ago, when the so-called Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union successfully blackmailed the Wales Arts Council and the National Museum.

If you have the stomach for this tale of extortion and cowardice, then read, Corruption Bay and a tale of Cymrophobia (23.08.2021), Arts Council of Wales and Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union, an update (31.08.2021), and Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union Unmasked (06.09.2021).

In brief, the Arts Council of Wales was pressured into ‘commissioning’ a report from the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union. An ad hoc group capitalising on the George Floyd killing by using ‘discrimination’ as the key to future funding.

In the race lobby sector we find another grande dame, in the form of Rose Mutale Nyoni Merrill, who you can read about in the first section of this miscellany from May 2018.

Her empire is founded on Bawso, which has accumulated quite a few properties around Wales over the years. And you’ll be glad to hear that Mrs Merrill has not neglected her own property portfolio.

But that’s how it is in the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party. You work for and promote the party, and preferment and funding will be your reward. Even if it’s public money down the drain.

And the showering of goodies can extend to your loved ones, involved in other fields.

As happened with Travers Merrill, Mutale’s hubby; given the cushy number of chief executive at Rhondda Life, a ‘regeneration’ project in the Rhondda Fach. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything, by the look of it.

It 2012 it was announced that the project was in receivership. And having looked through the documents filed with Companies House I get the impression there was something akin to jiggery-pokery going on in Ferndale.

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For example, in the last accounts filed, for y/e July 31, 2012, the company is said to own freehold property valued at £1.5m. This is presumably the building you see in the image above.

The property eventually realised £295,000. Even allowing for the way liquidators dispose of such properties, that is quite a difference. But the bottom line is that the building was never worth £1.5m.

Over-valuing assets is a tactic used by many who’ve appeared on this blog over the years: money launderers, mortgage fraudsters, and other crooks.

(There is an obvious link in terms of directors between Rhondda Life and Blaenllechau Community Regeneration, which went belly-up around the same time.)

But of course, this being Wales, a ‘Welsh Government’ cock-up leads to a cover-up. It was years before the truth started coming out. Due in no small part to the persistence of Leanne Wood, a politician for whom I have the highest regard.

(Keyboard explodes!)

THE HOMELESSNESS LOBBY

A few years back I submitted an FoI request asking about organisations in Wales “combatting homelessness”. Specifically, how many were there?

The response told me there were 48! In a country of just over 3 million people. There are probably more by now. “It’s them wicked Tories, innit”.

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But then, when you think about it, when you remember the kind of country Wales is, and the kind of lobbying I’ve described, 48 shouldn’t surprise anyone. The more the merrier. It’s only public money after all.

As with the other sectors, many of the homelessness racketeers have moved to Wales in the era of devolution. Which is bad enough, but to keep the funding flowing these people – just like their counterparts in other sectors – will import a steady stream of ‘clients’ from over the border.

It’s a form of human trafficking.

We see here the fundamental and uncomfortable truth about third sector lobbyists in Wales.

Identify or invent a ‘problem’ in order to get funding. Then, with the help of an ever-compliant media and understanding politicians, the ‘problem’ must persist – to guarantee continued funding!

Let the good times roll!

Many of those now running the dozens of homelessness organisations have worked for the Labour Party or for Plaid Cymru, others will move on to work for these parties.

Or join some other publicly-funded gravy train.

To get a taste of what I’ve written over the years on this subject try, ‘Another “homelessness” outfit!’ (16.04.2020). Or just put ‘homelessness’ into the search box on top of the sidebar to open up a library.

THE “WOMEN WITH PENISES” LOBBY

A relatively recent arrival on the lobbying scene in Wales is the transsexual lobby. Represented by Stonewall, the former lesbian and gay organisation.

To begin with, and as you’ve probably guessed, Stonewall has its claws into the ‘Welsh Government’ for funding. The panel below shows that in the 18 months up to March 31, 2021, only the UK government gave more money to Stonewall than the boys and girls of Corruption Bay.

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But this being Wales, Stonewall has also been able to influence – if not dictate – legislation. To the extent of the ‘Welsh Government’ agreeing to what  Stonewall would like to see in law rather than what the 2010 Equalities Act actually says.

As Irving Berlin put it: There May Be Trouble Ahead.

Especially after First Minister Drakeford made an ass of himself. You used the term, so tell us, what is a, “transgender woman”?

It appears that the voice of Stonewall in Wales is Lu Thomas. You’ll have noticed her name if you followed the links in the section on the race lobby. She’s a Labour insider with far too much influence in the Bay.

As I suggest, she was deeply involved, with her business partner, Jon Luxton, another Labour insider, in the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union scam.

Her Linkedin profile says she’s managing director of Final Say Wales, which seems to be a rather sad attempt to roll back Brexit. I dug this out, but I couldn’t find much more. My guess would be it’s died a natural death in the face of reality.

The other outfit mentioned on her Linkedin page is Re:cognition. An odd fish, this; not least because there’s a reputable company with a very similar name.

Lu Thomas was previously director of a company known as Cognition Training Ltd, along with Jon Luxton. This went into liquidation in December 2018 owing close on £35,000, most of it to the tax man.

The latest incarnation, Re:cognition Training CIC has only Luxton as a director. So is Lu Thomas an employee?

Whatever the answer, through political connections Re:cognition gets commissions from the ‘Welsh Government’.

For as the latest accounts tell: “We chaired and developed an LGBTQ+ strategy for Welsh Government where we managed the LGBTQ+ stakeholder group, ensuring voices from across wales (sic) was heard.”

But I bet that only certain voices were allowed to be heard.

And you won’t be surprised to learn that Re:cognition has also been given a gig by Labour-controlled Cardiff City council.

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This probably helped inform the ‘Welsh Government’s current – and possibly unlawful – position on “trans rights”. But then, when it comes to surveys, it all depends who you talk to.

What Lu Thomas and others have learned from many years of working with and influencing politicians is that if you put your mind to it you can find racism, environmental damage, transphobia, etc., etc., just about anywhere.

And then you can capitalise on your ‘find’.

THE REFRESHINGLY HONEST AND CORRUPT COMMERCIAL LOBBY

Those we’ve looked at so far have been insiders, dealing with civil servants and politicians they know. These activist-lobbyists have, in a number of cases, previously worked for the ‘Welsh Government’, or for individual politicians.

They are invariably associated with not-for-profit organisations. Which means few jobs for anyone not linked to a particular clique of insiders, and little by way of a contribution to the wider economy beyond the increased spending power of clique members.

But we are asked to ignore this and focus instead on the incalculable benefits to society as a whole from ‘doing good’.

Though I fail to understand how a Welsh community is improved by a third sector body or a housing association importing into that community from England ex-cons, petty criminals and drug addicts.

Nor do I pretend to understand the doublespeak that gave us a policy (OPDs) designed, we were told, to reduce Wales’ carbon footprint . . . that invites into Wales people to live on previously unused land; who drive elderly diesel vehicles, keep farting animals, and cannot live without wood-burning stoves.

It’s refreshing then to be able to focus on a lobbying activity motivated by unalloyed greed and promoted through in-yer-face corruption. Though it adheres to the model herein explained in that it is facilitated using Corruption Bay insiders.

I’m referring now to the many, many companies under the Bute Energy umbrella, and their plans for at least 20 new wind farms in Wales. Shown in red print in the map below.

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Here’s a pdf document listing the companies I’m aware of, but new ones are being formed all the time. (The company names are hyperlinks.)

To understand the brazen corruption involved you’ll need a few introductions. Let us look first at Bute Energy’s ‘Welsh Advisory Board’. A totally unnecessary group formed purely to justify paying certain people for their influence with the ‘Welsh Government’.

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On the left, we see Derek Vaughan, former Labour MEP. Not known to have any knowledge of or interest in wind turbines or renewable energy of any kind.

On the right is John Uden, partner of Labour MS, Jenny Rathbone, who sits on the Senedd’s Climate Committee. His knowledge of three-arm bandits is believed to be on a par with Vaughan’s.

The other two may be there to act as a distraction. The jury’s out on them. Though I’m told ‘John Cwmbetws’ already has a bloody big turbine on his land.

UPDATE 17.06.2022: John Davies is of course Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society. Which makes him an ideal influence within the farming community, and he might even be able to find sites for Bute.

Indeed, a beneficiary of the planned Moelfre site is vice-chair of the Board, Harry Fetherstonhaugh.

But of even more interest is David James Taylor, who has served as a spad to former First Ministers Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones, and also former Secretary of State for Wales, Peter Hain. Quite the lad about the corridors of power, our Dai.

Taylor tends to work under the radar and is nowhere mentioned on the Bute website. But he, like Vaughan and Uden, was recruited by Bute Energy for one reason and one reason only – his contacts in the Labour Party.

He holds shares in Bute company, Windward Enterprises Ltd, both in his own name and that of his company Moblake Associates Ltd. Taylor was also – until people noticed – a partner in another Bute company, Grayling Capital LLP.

His lucre from Bute Energy was channelled through Moblake Ltd. This company was wound up in April with sole director Taylor owing the company £605,872 that he’d taken out in interest-free ‘loans’ with no repayment date.

But no mention of where the money came from!

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Taylor has set up a new company, Earthcott Ltd, so maybe Bute’s future payments will be channelled through this new venture. Then again, seeing as we know about it . . .

I won’t go over any more old ground, it’s all covered in previous pieces on this blog such as ‘Corruption Is Such An Ugly Word . . . But I Can’t Think Of Anything Else To Call It!’ (06.12.2021), and ‘Bute Energy Selling Wales For Danegeld‘ (21.02.2022), in which I explain how Scottish company Bute Energy has linked up with Danish investors.

Yes, folks, Scots, Danes, everyone gets a slice of the action, except the native Welsh. Unless of course you’re well connected down Corruption Bay.

That’s how a corrupt, third world country operates.

THE PROFESSIONAL LOBBYISTS

In addition to those already looked at, who might be termed ‘amateur lobbyists’, there are also companies that are quite open about what they do. Which is, helping commercial outfits, often from outside of Wales, get what they want from the ‘Welsh Government’.

But they also dabble in politics. And for unregulated bodies they have far too much influence.

Let’s just look at two of them.

Starting with a company that’s appeared on this blog a number of times, Deryn Consulting. Run by former politicians and spads, but keeping up with the Woke agenda by recruiting enviromarxists and promoters of BLM.

The majority of Deryn’s shares are owned by former Labour spad Cathy Owens, with a minority nestling in the neatly-manicured hands of former Plaid Cymru Welsh Assembly Member Nerys Evans.

Over the years Deryn has been involved in a number of unsavoury incidents, I’ll just mention two.

The first was the Ofcom contract, a gem of its kind. This report from October 2017 will give you the story. And the image below of a WalesOnline headline from August 2017 leads on to another element of the Deryn saga.

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You’ll see that Neil McEvoy, was at that time, still a Plaid Cymru AM, but he’d blotted his copybook big time by challenging third sector shenanigans and exposing Deryn.

For party leader at that time was Leanne Wood, a personal friend of those whose lives were being made difficult by Neil McEvoy. He’s told me more than once that he was ordered to lay off Deryn. He didn’t.

He was too honest to stay silent when surrounded by institutionalised corruption, and so he had to go. First from Plaid Cymru, and then from the Senedd.

Around the time of the Ofcom scandal people at Deryn were briefing against Carl Sargeant, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children in the ‘Welsh Government’.

Those at Deryn employed in this dirty work were colluding with over-wrought but ever-cooperative third sector women. Some of whom had also made unfounded allegations against Neil McEvoy.

What’s worse, there were politicians, supposed allies of Sargeant, also briefing Deryn. The conduit here was Jo Kiernan, former senior spad to First Minister Carwyn Jones.

From Carwyn Jones’ staff Kiernan knew that Carl Sargeant was to be sacked before the poor bugger himself knew, and she was briefing others.

Carl Sargeant was sacked on November 3, 2017 and took his own life four days later.

As I was writing this I got to wondering about the Deryn finances, and so I went to the Companies House website. Where I found the latest accounts. Or rather, the unaudited financial statement up to December 31, 2020.

This skeletal document tells us that Deryn, with 9 employees, has assets of just £63,836.

But where are the real figures? Where’s the rest of the money? Where’s the turnover for the year? Is everything done with brown envelopes?

There’s something squalid and distasteful about Deryn. More worrying is that Owens, Evans and Kiernan seem able to open any door in Corruption Bay.

The bad news is that Deryn isn’t the biggest PR company down the Bay. The big kid on the block now is Camlas, formerly Positif Politics Ltd. The change of name last November is linked to the departure of Positif founder Daran Hill, who ceased to be a director in September. (Though he still seems to hold a majority of the shares.)

I’ve heard rumours, involving the local gendarmerie; but you know me, I try to avoid tittle-tattle in favour of facts and informed speculation.

Back in August 2020, in the early days of investigating Bute Energy and David Taylor, I ran across Hill’s name in connection with a wind farm planning application, so I contacted him. The resultant Twitter exchange can be read below.

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The Bute account at Camlas is currently handled by Matt Hexter.

Did David Taylor direct Bute Energy to his mate Daran Hill, or was it vice versa?

Going through who’s who at Camlas brings up the usual list of former politicians and spads, Mainly Plaid Cymru, but also Labour and now, with the recruitment of former AM, Angela Burns, the Conservative and Unionist Party is also represented.

But with Plaid Cymru firmly in control through Managing Partner and Co-Owner Rhodri ab Owen, brother to Plaid Cymru MS Rhys ab Owen; while the other Managing Director and Co-Owner Naomi Williams was a spad to former Plaid AMs Dafydd Elis Thomas and Dai Lloyd.

Plaid Cymru is of course in an alliance with the Labour Party in the Senedd. And even without an alliance, the two parties are never far apart.

Finally, and turning to Companies House, Camlas is another disappointment. All that’s filed is another bare bones ‘financial statement’.

I’m sure these minimalist filings are perfectly legal, but I believe that with companies such as Deryn and Camlas exercising unaccountable influence in Welsh public life we are entitled to know more about them.

CONCLUSION

In normal countries, with normal economies, lobbying is conducted by business interests and often involves donations to political parties. In other words: lobbying decides which company or corporation gets the contracts.

And while this may be undesirable, it usually delivers jobs and generates wealth. The country benefits, the losers tend to be commercial competitors. Who, had they been successful, would also have created jobs and generated wealth.

The political elite controlling Wales wants a quasi-socialist state in which they exercise power through patronage and hand-outs. The last thing this elite wants is a decent economy and an entrepreneurial class challenging its diktats and exposing its weaknesses.

And this explains why, in Wales, lobbying takes the form of fawning and cajoling by pressure groups that share the political outlook of the elite. These demand legislation beneficial to their cause, also funding and publicly-owned assets.

This must then be disguised with flim-flam like, “public good”, “future generations”, and other specious and unquantifiable ‘benefits’. Which we are told to accept as some kind of substitute for a decent economy and a prosperous country.

RECOMMENDATIONS

To begin with, we obviously need a definition of lobbying.

I would suggest: Anyone seeking to influence politicians, either directly or indirectly, through civil servants, advisers, or by any other means, in the hope of securing personal or corporate financial gain, or in order to influence legislation.

There should be a register of such persons. And a diary kept of all meetings between lobbyists and politicians, civil servants or advisers; both those meetings that have been held, and those planned for the future. The subject matter of these meetings must also be stated clearly and unambiguously.

Both the register and the diary should be updated daily and made available online.

To monitor lobbying will require a new post, and it will need to be filled by someone untainted by Corruption Bay. For once, I would have no objection to filling an important post in Wales with a complete stranger.

But I remain open to suggestion, so let’s have your comments. The ‘Welsh Government’ is also asking for your views, so don’t forget to write.

They’ll be delighted to hear from you! Or maybe not.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


34 thoughts on “Lobbying in Wales

  1. David Robins

    Drakeford’s cancellation of the M4 ‘improvements’ was the right decision, but for the wrong reasons. It was no improvement to run miles of duplicate motorway through some quite sensitive countryside for the benefit of people who commute to Bristol. I gather he was unable to rebut the argument of the Future Generations Commissioner that the scheme could not be reconciled with the ‘Welsh’ government’s environmental aims, though I imagine Drakeford could have winged some constructive ambiguity had he wished. His full reasons are doubtless more complex, but finance was a big one. Spending over a billion on one small corner was something even he couldn’t defend. That BoJo wants the scheme reinstated should worry anyone concerned that the UK government does not have Welsh interests at heart.

    For me, the point is that a real Welsh government would never have got to this point in the first place. Pouring hundreds of millions into east-west links with England, while neglecting the glaring gaps in north-south provision, displays the priorities of an extractive colonial regime. Two cheers for Drakeford for changing course; three if he spends the money on an Aberystwyth to Caerfyrddin railway. One cheer if he wastes any of it on Stonewall stickers.

  2. Brychan

    On 28th October 2017 the political correspondent of the Daily Telegraph, Laura Hughes received information from a still undisclosed source, that Stephen Crabb MP had been exchanging historical texts of a sexual nature with female. It was later revealed that this female had previously been interviewed by Crabb for employment within his parliamentary office and also that Laura had verified text messages with the complainant and the “complainants’ friend” as corroboration prior to publication.

    On 3rd November 2017 that Deryn was briefing to the press that Carl Sargeant had been sacked as a minister after allegations of groping of a female had been presented, in person, to Carwyn Jones FM and also that this briefing was being distributed by Deryn to the press even prior to Carl Sargeant being informed of the sacking and the allegations.

    The veracity or otherwise of these episodes of misconduct is not the subject of my comment.

    I question the source. Why did Deryn Consulting have a ‘dirt file’ on politicians and acting as a conduit to the media in these matters? For what purpose or means of leverage and influence they were using this information? Why is/was a private lobby firm acting as complaints interlocuter?

    1. The short answer is the ‘interconnectedness’ of Corruption Bay. As I point out in my blog piece, working for Deryn was Jo Kiernan, formerly top spad with FM Carwyn Jones. She was in regular contact with his staff. But beyond that, there is an unhealthy relationship between politicians, third sector bodies, and lobbyists. A relationship that will always work against the best interests of democracy and the population at large.

      1. Dafis

        The Telegraph reported that : “Boris Johnson was urged by an economic adviser to follow Germany by temporarily suspending green taxes to ease cost of living pressures at a private meeting last month.”

        No doubt the bimbo lobbyist that nibbles his nuts every day persuaded him to ignore silly advisers and keep on reading up on the latest edition of the green gospels ! As for Drakeford and Co much as they might enjoy a similar nibble they are so far gone on the green bullshit that they are likely to award a prize to the first fuel company that pushes diesel beyond 2.50 a litre !

        1. Brychan

          Green levies is an independence issue.

          Wind turbines exports the revenue and leaves a damaged bog and a steel pole. Planting forest is evicting farmers and gifting land to England. However, if any levee is invested in tidal lagoons then that is fixed and future revenues can be kept in Wales.

          A tidal lagoon is like the Suez canal.
          Once the British empire is evicted, it’s still there.
          Where do we find ap Nasser?

          1. Dafis

            “Green levies is an independence issue.” Correct. That truth is being ignored by those who purport to lead the independence movement currently. Instead they wallow in the greenwash end of the Bay, despite foul odours from the emissions of corruption. They prefer to keep on funding a technology that is patchy at best and only does a good job of filling the coffers of assorted globalist corporates.

          2. Lagoon for Swansea Bay? Yeah, at an average of 68 MW for a Grid of 64,000MW it sounds great and costs a lot, but it is supposed be free according to Swansea Labour. So why look a gift horse in the mouth? The tides are stationary four times a day but in between it rages up and down the Severn Sea bringing all sorts of political flotsam and jetsam, quite a bit of which ends up as members of our Senedd and County Hall Chamber members.

      2. Brychan

        A register of lobbyists would have meant a civil servant recording the presence of Jo and Cathy at the gossip fest with Carwyn in 2017, while Carl was alighting from Gerallt Gymro at Connahs Quay. He would have known he had a chance to defend himself. I know he was Labour but the way in which he was treated was a disgrace. This insider dealing not only allows corruption in the Bae but also undermines any elected member, regardless of party, and debases individuals to trial by accusation and rumour. Cathy, of course, was an obnoxious bully while a Spad and now works as chief dirt disher and chamber rat, and Jo is the same kiss and tell as she was in school in Llanharri. Meanwhile Nerys pours the prosecco.

  3. Dafis

    Read some coverage today of the rail dispute. So called private rail companies who never seem to be profitable or cash positive always run back to government for handouts and top ups. The system has achieved nothing other than create a large number of over paid senior execs, middle managers and selected “grades” of rail worker. Train drivers are not alone in being out of sync with others in public service but their current positive differential is hair raising ( not in my case as there is no hair to raise so it’s just my temper !). Yet wankers like Drakeford will egg these guys on – “yes yes go for more”- just because they are relics from the good old days of nationalised railways so must be part of the Socialist brotherhood. The fact that increased operating costs end up being paid out of the public purse is conveniently forgotten. And it probably never occurs to Drakeford and his ilk that many of the “brothers” are more in tune with Faragist ideals than with his soppy vision of socialist utopia.

    1. David Smith

      My take on the railways in Britain is that their running combines the worst failings of the public and private sectors: public sector inefficiency, bloat and duplication, and private sector gouging, shareholder and fatcat parasitism, and rundown and defunding of less profitable services with no regard for the social good.

  4. If the Archbishop of Canterbury delivered proof of sleaze and / or corruption in Cardiff Bay, and swore himself on the Bible that it was true, nothing would be done about it by any Welsh Authority – Police or Auditor or Senedd Members in any Party or Standards Committees or Ombudsman or lastly and sadly – the public of Wales. It’s part of the Welsh culture. It makes “Griffiths” the fictional Councillor in ‘Pobl y Cwm’ look like a bungling sad amateur. Maybe the script writers of ‘Pobl y Cwm’ could make a stronger exposure using reality TV !

  5. The former Geography Teacher who became Labour MP for Gower, ended up as a “Lobbier” around the greater Swansea area blatantly phoning Councillors asking them to vote for projects (plural) – Cockett Valley Solar was just one – ask the former Labour Councillor for Cockett who lost the nomination for the seat. There was nothing subtle about it. At least he was up front about it. It’s far more sleazy these days in the dark spider’s web in Cardiff Bay.

  6. Jac, do you think Wales is as bad for the rot, and ‘state within a state’ cesspit status as the City of London? In fact, I’ll say worse, because the latter at least enriches its denizens.

    1. What goes on in the City of London is good old-fashioned greed. Usually without hypocrisy.

      Unlike Corruption Bay where nonsense like saving the planet, fighting racism / transphobia, is used to justify the scams. And then there’s bullshit like ‘right side of history’, suggesting that there is something pre-ordained about the success of these morally superior positions – and therefore resistance is not only futile but proves what an evil bastard you are.

      What it really proves is that we are dealing with brainwashed members of a cult prepared to deny a reality catching up with them every day.

      1. Dafis

        What you and cymrosmith are touching upon is the all too frequent preference among us Welsh to engage in non productive chatter. This has morphed into the current vogue for gesture politics, virtue signalling and all those other expensive non-productive activities. What differentiates it dramatically from past time wasters is that too much if not all of this current activity is being funded by the public purse. Much of its useless or harmful outputs attracts government support while real value adding commercial activity is looked upon with disdain. Turning this tide will be a massive challenge as the bad habits are not confined to the Plaid – Labour -Green – Lib Dem axis of self destruction. Tories here in Wales and in London are also wedded to the same mix of bullshit and delusion, although they really love the greenwash aspects of Greta’s gospels in the big city.

        1. Greenwash means big profits. Businessmen realise that. But to understand Boris’s take on the environment you must understand the influence of the Goldsmith brothers on Carrie Johnson. She almost married one of them.

          1. David Smith

            What made me laugh was that whole ‘Nation of sanctuary for refugees’ bit. Alright certainly a noble idea, or at least it sounds like one, but immigration is a reserved Westminster matter! How on earth would they effect this initiative without a grasp on that single crucial lever of power?

            1. I assumed that they – in the name of ‘Wales’ – were prepared to take a wholly disproportionate number of the refugees coming to the UK.

        2. Matthew C Thomas

          We engage in non productive chatter because culturally we have a deep seated superiority complex towards the English.

  7. Non Davies

    Residents near the proposed ‘Moelfre’ site (1 of many ‘Bute” sites across Wales) received a ‘Noise Agreement’ (the clue is in the title!), along with an ‘introductory’ annual financial incentive, to sign in June 2021. A Bute representative then met with us and advised that the Future Wales Plan 2040 afforded Bute ‘presumed consent’ to place 250-metre-high turbines within 700 metres of our homes and assured us that there had been extensive consultation before the area was designated as ‘pre-assessed’. We were then advised that Bute’s PR Consultant, would convene and attend a meeting to discuss the proposed site in more detail. At the meeting (July 2021) we presumed in good faith that the Noise Agreement could be signed without affecting rights to object to any development. Sadly, this was not the case. Bute representatives, however, would not acknowledge that this was effectively a ‘gagging order’. The Bute PR ‘consultant’ at the meeting was duly identified as David Taylor. After a request to Bute enquiring why DT, their PR Consultant did not feature on their website, and a request for Bute to disclose political affiliations, we haven’t seen nor heard of their ‘PR Consultant’ since.

    1. So when was Taylor last sighted, or heard of? Because he seems to be still on the Bute payroll. Or at least, he still has shares in Windward Enterprises. Other payments may be off the record.

      But as you remind us, Non, the great mystery was why Taylor was never mentioned on the Bute website when he was so clearly an important element of the strategy.

      1. David Smith

        Speaking of Taylors, that Richard Taylor bloke of the Abolish the Welsh Assembly [sic] Party has on his Twitter somewhere in the region of 50k followers last I looked I’m sure. I never knew he was such a big wheel in things! You can of course buy followers in their thousands for a few hundred quid, mind…

        1. He gets a lot of viewers for his little video rants. Some of which are good. He follows me on Twitter, of course.

  8. Llewelyn

    To be fair a lot of us are pleased there’s a minister for North Wales. At least they realise there is a wales above Merthyr. Its a start for us Gogs breaking away from Cardiff.

    What I find annoying is the phrase “In the North of Wales” like we are an appendage. If wales is equal in different areas how come we Never hear in ” The South of Wales” in publicationlikje Nation cymru or Wales on line.

    1. I still find it an odd job title. Why not a Minister for South West Wales? Where does ‘North Wales’ begin? For most people in the south it’s anywhere north of Aberystwyth. And what about ‘Mid Wales’?

    2. David Smith

      Perhaps it’s been influenced by the ‘North of Ireland’ euphemism used by the Shinners et al.?

      1. Llewelyn

        Well just shows how much comtemp Cardiff and its press holds for us Gogs. I seem to remember some (welsh) politician in the 50’s congratulating Cardiff on becoming a capital but warning us gogs that we should be careful not to have a plug/sink hole in Cardiff.

        Its come true. Many have left to work in the assembly, the family homes they would have lived in, turned in holiday lettings/homes have filled the void.

        Welsh speaking public sector jobs attract the crachach to Cardiff, leaving another void here, filled my environmental grant tourism. Try being Welsh and getting a job in an environmental 3rd sector position.

        The Cardiff centric politicians only think of the valleys and a CF postcode, giving lip service to us “in the North of wales”.

        Maybe North wales would have been better of under London rule.

        It’s just an opinion, my opinion, that it’s done nothing for us.

          1. Llewelyn

            I agree, but in many ways North wales is nearer to London than Cardiff. Cardiff is a bit out of the way for us, and the assembly.

            (Excuse typos on last post – no glasses and auto correct!

          2. Llewelyn

            Also I don’t seem to remember us having these kind of problems before the assembly. It was only because of the literal nagging of people in North West wales that the assembly did anything about second homes.

            No votes gained for second home laws in the valleys so they weren’t intially bothered about a bunch of Gogs, in “The North of wales” quicker North wales is away from Cardiff the better.

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