Merthyr Ski Slope


The latest mega-project to be promised to the Heads of the Valleys is the Merthyr Ski Slope. But the goodies don’t end with just a ski slope, no, sir! for according to WalesOnline and Siôn Barry:

“The proposals also include plans for:

  • The largest indoor water park in the UK alongside an indoor surf simulator
  • An indoor bike and skate park
  • An equestrian centre
  • A survivor adventure park, aimed at families and for corporate team bonding, as well as an air park and zipline
  • Log cabin and yurt accommodation
  • Two new hotels, with spa and conference facilities, as well as retail and restaurant units
  • An element of residential development”

Grizzled old men up on Dowlais Top have dreamed all their lives of just one of these coming to Merthyr, and now they all arrive together!


According to Siôn Barry, behind this realisation of so many dreams we find a company called Marvel Ltd, which has “signed an agreement with Snowsport Cymru Wales”. Marvel is represented by Leigh Large and Snowsport Cymru/Wales by Robin Kellen. So what do we know about these two?

Picture courtesy of WalesOnline. Does the body language tell us anything?

Let’s start with Kellen and Snowsport Cymru/Wales. Kellen lives in Cardiff and is the Secretary of this organisation that began life back in 1994 as The Ski Council of Wales. As far as I can see skiing has been his life, so it’s no surprise to see him involved.

Leigh Large of Marvel Ltd is less easy to figure, and although he’s Canadian I can’t find any evidence of him being involved in winter sports. Not only Canadian but a true son of the Commonwealth, for he has business interests in the British Virgin Islands, where I’m sure winter sports are less popular than back home.

According to Siôn Barry, “Utilising an existing mountain at the site, which Marvel acquired in 2013, it would be the longest indoor ski facility in the UK, eclipsing the 180-metre slope at Chill Factore in Manchester.”

After reading that I thought to myself, how did Marvel “acquire” the site in 2013, and from whom? Come to that, who or what is Marvel? All good questions, with answers in very short supply.

This is the only Marvel Ltd I could find on the Companies House website. But Large has no connection with this company. There are many dozens of companies with ‘Marvel’ appearing somewhere in the name but I didn’t have time to go through them all, so I took a different course.


Searching the Companies House website for Leigh Large I came up with Leigh Gerald Large. One company of which he’s a director is K10 Apprenticeships Ltd (formerly Reds 10 Trading Ltd). It was here I learnt he was Canadian, but I was surprised to read that he lived in Norway.

Maybe someone can wade through this Charge taken out with LGT Capital Invest (Ireland) Ltd and explain why a company with a net book value of £12,510 needed a global investment outfit like LGT?

The next company on the list is Spruce Fields Ltd. Large is the sole director and owner of the company. His country of residence is now given as Canada. The other two directors resigned 12 July 2017. One was Perry Johnson of Merthyr.

Next up is Crystalrock Ltd, involved in the buying and selling of real estate. Although the company’s address is in Essex, there are some Welsh connections. Among former directors are William Derek Snowdon of Llwyn y Brain Mawr Farm, Creigiau, Leighton Michael Davies of Aberdare, and Perry Johnson, again.

Large became a director on 27 August 2010, the day Snowdon and Davies resigned, with Johnson providing the continuity.

Snowdon, Davies and Johnson are also directors of Merthyr Tydfil Football Club Ltd, a company currently docked up Shit Creek.

Late development: Compulsory strike-off proceedings have begun against Crystalrock Ltd. Posted on Companies House website September 11, dated September 12.

The next company linked with Leigh Gerald Large is Pine Fields Private Ltd, also in real estate. Large was a director 24 August 2010 to 11 July 2017, and we also find Perry Johnson (24 August 2010 – 8 February 2013).

On the same day, July 5, that Large ceased to be “a person with significant control” the company was transferred to the ownership of Cherry Blossom Global Ltd . . . of the British Virgin Islands.

Pine Fields bought up two parcels of land which may now be part of the planned project. The first, in August 2011, was land at Heolgerrig for £450,000. Then, in October 2012, there was a purchase of land to the north of Upper Colliers Row (Land Registry title number CYM536607).

Though, confusingly, Crystalrock is said to have bought the same land at Heolgerrig in July 2010. Certainly the same title number is quoted, CYM457235. The figure given is £350,000.

I suspect it’s explained below. The land went from Merthyr Village Ltd (of which more below) to Crystalrock, and then on to Pine Fields.

The penultimate company we’ll look at is Impara Ltd, in the management consultancy business. Large and Johnson both joined the company 14 June 2011. Johnson left 23 April 2012 but Large stayed on until 11 July 2017. In April 2017 Impara also moved to the BVI.

From May 2012 Impara owes Cherry Blossom Global Ltd for land lying to the south of Miners Row, Aberdare, over the hill from the planned ski slope. Title numbers WA951436 and WA948019.

Finally – and something of a departure, this – we come to the Loughton Care Centre Ltd in Essex. Large was a director from 25 November 2011 to 8 September 2014. During his time there the company was owned by Pear Blossom Global Ltd, until it was transferred in December 2016 to Gibson Propco Ltd, a holding company.

You will have noticed that there are a lot of trees in these company names. I suppose spruce and pine might remind a Canadian of home, whereas cherry and pear might put him in mind of warmer climes, perhaps the British Virgin Islands?

But I could make no connection between Leigh Gerald Large and a company with ‘Marvel’ in the name.


Among the many companies with which William Derek Snowdon of Creigiau has been involved we find property company Merthyr Village Ltd which, despite the name, is now registered in Essex. Snowdon was a director from 10 August 2000 until 20 September 2012.

The company is now run by sole director Richard Frank Arnold of Essex . . . who at various times has also been a director of those other companies we’ve just looked at: Spruce Fields, Pine Fields, Impara and Crystalrock.

Others involved with Merthyr Village at various times were the Holloway clan, who were or still are also directors of Merthyr Tydfil Football Club.

Merthyr Village is in debt to the tune of almost two million pounds, and was briefly put in the hands of Receivers in September 2014. But while it might be cash poor it could be asset rich.

Some years ago, and only so as to make the land safe, you understand, Merthyr Village wanted to remove 1.2 million tonnes of coal. Ungrateful locals misinterpreted this as an open cast mining scheme by stealth.

So who owns Merthyr Village now? Here’s the latest list of shareholders available on the Companies House website, dated 24 June 2016. Let’s go through it and account for the 11,268 shares, but ignoring shareholders with 100 shares or less.

(Though one name that caught my eye among the smaller shareholders was Paul Sugrue.)

Here’s the breakdown: Victor Johnson 501 shares; Kaykem Fast Foods Ltd 309; Gary Charles Newell 1,047; Orange Blossom Global Ltd 3,245; Derek Saddler 252; William Derek Snowdon (T/A Commercial Legal Solutions) 4,944. With Snowdon owning a further 92 shares in his own name. So who are these shareholders?

Victor Johnson is Victor Herbert Johnson, with companies in Swansea and Llanelli. Kaykem Fast Foods is run by a Turkish family, and may at one time have owned part of the Rhydycar West land. Gary Charles Newell turned up nothing on Companies House, but this Canadian fits the bill. Orange Blossom Global Ltd is clearly another of the ‘tree’ companies based on the BVI, and is probably Leigh Gerald Large. Derek Saddler is unknown. William Derek Snowdon we’ve already met.

I’m still not absolutely clear which company now owns the land involved, certainly it’s not the company quoted by Siôn Barry, Marvel Ltd, unless this is a new entity or a name change yet to be registered with Companies House. But that may not matter so much, for we certainly know the principal players.

Let’s proceed on the assumption that the site is still owned by Merthyr Village Ltd. (Though ownership could have transferred to one of the BVI companies.)


I believe the 538 acres of land at Rhydycar West was originally owned by Celtic Energy, but then passed to Merthyr Village Ltd, a reassuring name with strong connections to the area and the town’s football club.

So how and when did the Canadian Leigh Gerald Large get involved?

The earliest link I can find for Large with anyone based in Wales comes through Pine Fields Private Ltd, now of the British Virgin Islands. Incorporated 24 August 2010 with Large and Perry Johnson as founding directors. Johnson, as a director of Merthyr Tydfil Football Club Ltd, could have introduced Large to others who were both directors of the football club and Merthyr Village, which owned the Rhydycar West site.

On 30 October 2013 the last two football-connected directors of Merthyr Village left, and on the same day Richard Frank Arnold of Essex joined, and has been the sole director ever since.

A few days after Pine Fields was set up Large joined Crystalrock where Davies, Johnson and Snowdon had been directors since the early days back in 2004. Arnold became a director on the same day and left 28 March 2013. At various times Arnold has been a director of two other companies with which Large is or was involved; Impara and Spruce Fields.

Another name connected with a number of Large’s companies is William John Handley of East Sussex, an accountant and a director of 69 companies. One of those he owns is West Wales (Property Investment) Ltd, which seems to have been dormant since it was set up in 1987.

What might have started as a few well-connected locals dreaming of making big bucks from property deals seems now to have been taken over by outsiders with a partiality for the British Virgin Islands and other ways of doing business that are less than transparent.

The one person with a Welsh address who has any substantial holding – in fact, he’s the largest shareholder in Merthyr Village – is William Derek Snowdon of Llwyn y Brain Mawr farm, Creigiau, Cardiff. Snowdon, a solicitor, who was suspended by his professional body last year “for having no proper accounting system”.

This might explain why there was no public announcement of Snowdon’s involvement in the project. Then again, his company might simply be holding shares for someone else.

I suggest that because if we refer back to the list of Merthyr Village shareholders we see that Snowdon has 92 shares in his own name. These I believe are his. Whereas the much bigger holding of 4,944 shares are listed as “William Snowdon (T/A Commercial Legal Solutions)”. These could belong to someone else.

For example, if most of these Commercial Legal Solutions shares belong to Leigh Gerald Large then, together with his Orange Blossom Global Ltd holding of 3,245 shares, he is the majority shareholder.

Come to that, and given his travails with the Solicitors Regulation Authority, is Snowdon’s company Commercial Legal Solutions still in business and entitled to hold shares for anybody? If not, shouldn’t the information available on the Companies House website be updated?

Finally, I suspect that the other man in the picture above, Robin Kellen, of Snowsport Cymru/Wales, has been roped in because, well, if you want to promote a project built around a ski slope it helps to have somebody on board who knows something about skiing.


The gushing piece by Siôn Barry told us that the company behind the Merthyr ski slope project is Marvel Ltd. But it’s not, so what company does Canadian Leigh Gerald Large represent?

The piece I’ve referred to made no mention of public funding for this project, but we can almost guarantee that public funding will be demanded – and lots of it! To avoid another Circuit of Wales I suggest that the ‘Welsh’ Government (and perhaps also Merthyr Borough Council) makes it clear from the outset that there will be no public funding for this project.

Circuit of Wales, a warning from the very recent past . . . and very close by

If the ‘Welsh’ Government has already promised funding then it needs to explain why it has got involved with so many iffy characters and tax-haven companies.

Someone might also like to do some digging into the roles played by Richard Frank Arnold and William John Handley.

JAC SAYS . . .

The Barry piece says of the project, “it would be the longest indoor ski facility in the UK, eclipsing the 180-metre slope at Chill Factore in Manchester”, without, apparently, understanding the difference.

In a conurbation like Greater Manchester there are a few hundred thousand people earning good money in a diversified economy. This gives these people and their families a considerable amount in disposable income, some of which they will spend on entertainment and leisure, such as that provided by the Chill Factore.

Leisure and entertainment in a city like Manchester is additional to, and dependent upon, a vibrant and diversified economy. But here in Wales the ‘Welsh’ Government wants to cut out the economy bit and go straight to the leisure part, using it as a substitute for an economy.

Or, to look at it in a wider context; the low wage – and often seasonal – jobs provided by leisure facilities will be in Wales while the jobs paying the good money, enabling people to enjoy those facilities, will be in England. This is using Wales as England’s playground.

This project suggested for Merthyr is simply the latest in a long line of major leisure developments hailed as the economic salvation of Wales. In the north we have Surf Snowdoniazip wires everywhere, even giant trampolines underground in Blaenau.

Planned for the south we have the Afan Valley Adventure Resort. (Which I’ve written about.) While someone else hopes to give us yet another outdoor pursuits centre, this one near Carmarthen.

And what do they all have in common? They’re all foreign owned, the top jobs always go to outsiders, leaving the shitty, low-paid jobs for the natives. Classic colonialism. Yet to the ‘Welsh’ Government this is an economy, this is the future.

To cap it all, the ‘Welsh’ Government is proposing to remove almost all restrictions on access to the countryside. In other words, ramblers, canoeists, anyone, can come to Wales and do what they damn well like. The proposal has been welcomed by a host of English organisations such as The Open Spaces Society and Cycling UK.

Once again the ‘Welsh’ Government is prepared to legislate not for Wales and the Welsh but for the benefit of the English who regard Wales as their playground. A Labour administration will do this because it cares nothing for the countryside and has no better ideas, while it will be supported by Plaid Cymru because Plaid always grovels to the English middle classes.

The consultation period runs until the end of September. Make your objection to Wales being destroyed in order that strangers can ‘enjoy’ our homeland. You might also tell those clowns down Cardiff docks to back off from the idiocy that’s proposed for Rhydycar, and those behind it.

This has been a very complicated piece to write, so if I’ve made a mistake, please let me know. And if anyone has further information, then just send it to

♦ end ♦

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Ali Chaplin

I was very much interested in the connections you have made in your articles to the British Virgin Islands and trees.

There does appear to be something in the water in BVI as I know another company who previously owned this site has sold it’s opencast mining interests to companies there – all named after trees.

• Twitter: @georgemonbiot. A fully referenced version of this article can be found at – Article published I believe in The Guardian

I quote a passage from one of the articles

In 2010 Celtic Energy sold the land rights, and the liabilities, at East Pit, Margam and two other mines, to a company in the British Virgin Islands called Oak Regeneration, for £1 a mine. Oak Regeneration then passed the liabilities to Pine Regeneration, Beech Regeneration and Ash Regeneration, none of which appear to have the assets required for restoration. Five senior executives at Celtic Energy walked away with benefits worth more than £10m


When I was in school, I did A level geography – part of our course was to study new developments (be it housing or commercial developments) Luckily for us, a major new housing development was in the planning stages and we were invited along to Merthyr Tydfil Football Club to witness the unveiling of the plans for the brand new Merthyr Village… The Merthyr Village site (which is where this proposed leisure village is going…) was going to have HUNDREDS of new homes (I seem to remember 800 being the number that was passed around but I may be remembering incorrectly – this was a looooong time ago!!!) A number of local councillors were present at this “unveiling” – and they were all terribly excited at the prospect of this new housing estate coming to the town. One elderly male councillor (I believe he was the councillor for Abercanaid) asked me for my thoughts on the proposed development. I told him that the houses looked lovely… but would be far too expensive for me as I would be a first time buyer. He said “well that’s why you need to get yourself a good husband. A man who can buy you a nice little house” ???? I wish I could remember that councillors name! At the time I remember thinking “why exactly are there councillors here pushing this?” The houses hadn’t been given the go ahead yet (as far as I was aware!) and there had to be major site surveys conducted first. As it turned out, they couldn’t do any building on the site because it was once an area that had been extensively coal mined and there were massive holes popping up everywhere!
There is definitely something fishy going on… I will be spending most of the evening trying to find out who the bloody hell these people are and why they’re so keen to stick a sodding ski slope in a town that has already had a ski slope which FAILED.


Good work on both articles, this stinks to high heaven.

But to be honest no one knows much about this in Merthyr as hardly anyone reads the Western Mail or the Merthyr Express anymore and if they did the reaction would be great more zero hours jobs (that’s not sarcasm by the way) Valleys folk expectations are so low, this type of developments excites them.

And given that the plans are at so early a stage, is Sion Barry’s article kite flying to see what the reaction would be to building on unsafe land with mine shafts etc?

Talking of Ski Slopes, an artificial Ski Slope was built in Pentrebach, not far from the Hoover Factory years ago and was a big flop, why do the new developers think this will be any more successful?

Sadly Merthyr doesn’t need more of this, there’s already a monstrosity being built with Trago Mills from a bunged land deal from 20 odd years ago. Trago Mills is the Cornish retailer, but its essentially a giant pound shop, with craft tat and kids rides. It’ll kill the new retail parks dead and the town centre probably as well as create massive traffic problems on the A470 and around the town, but the local Independents who now run the Council have given it their blessing.


The question as to the possible ownership of the BVI bodies was possibly answered in the case brought by the SFO. That case was, of course, dismissed in February 2014. :

See here for the SFO’s page. which says: “The alleged conspiracy involved the establishment of companies in the British Virgin Islands in the ultimate beneficial ownership of Eric Evans and David Alan Whiteley and that the freehold title in the four sites was intended to transfer from Celtic Energy to the BVI companies, thus releasing provisions made in Celtic Energy’s annual accounts in respect of financial liability to restore the sites and that this was done for the benefit of the conspirators.”

It will be recalled that the Western Mule reported: “Lord Justice Hickinbottom threw the Serious Fraud Office’s case out saying that the six defendants had not acted unlawfully regardless of whether or not they had acted dishonestly.”


Very good news sir hope to participate in a lot of those events by helping marketing every single event,helping changing 4 a Brighter Wales future,Plp need to realise how nice wales is and start promoting this Country a lot more. HALF THE PLP ABROAD DONT KNOW ABOUT WALES MIND MERTHYR TYDFIL,THESE NEED TO CHANGE,LETS MAKE IT HAPPEN GUY’S


you on the wrong blog ? or been at your neighbour’s meds again ? Stick to your own stuff unless your doctor advises differently. Yes I said doctor, not dealer !

Frank Little
Frank Little

Any sign of Lynn Mittell (Owen Money)?


Excuse my ignorance but what does SIC code 96090 {other service activities not elsewhere classified} mean. Am I the only one wondering what the activity is.


I note a similar type of code used by Pembrokeshire Care Society: 94990 {activities of other membership organisations not elsewhere classified}. Your guess is as good as mine.


You can pick whatever code you like, when you set a company up and that’s just a simple option that takes no thought


The 538 acres of land at Rhydycar West was not originally owned by Celtic Energy, balthough it has passed through their hands with a publically funded escrow provision.

It was originally held by the National Coal Board as a colliery spoil heap. The land was nationalised in 1947 with taxpayers money. The NCB then landscaped the side of the mountain in the early 1970s under the Mines and Quarries (Tips) Act with a mixture of funds from the taxpayer and the Aberfan Disaster Relief Fund.

The lower part was then used to build a section of the A470, and a relief road up towards Bavistocks.

The remaining land was then gifted to the South Wales Regional Coal Company in 1994 upon privatisation. It included a “lump of sum” with comes with the land to do post-industrial landscaping as part of the escorw. SWRC then became Celtic Energy.

The big question is why has the land, and ‘landscape provision’ now passed to this off-shore tax-haven spiv who wants to plant chalets and zip-wires for non-natives when the original purpose of the land gift with attached landscaping cash was to plant trees and re-introduce a natural eco-system as a ‘breathing space’ for the good people of Merthyr Tydfil?


Trees certainly figure large in the names of overseas companies seemingly owning large tranches of land within south Wales. Several of the larger tranches appear not unconnected with opencast mining and seem to include:

Mynydd y Drum, Blaendulais: Ash Regeneration, British Virgin Islands
Selar Open Cast, Cwmgwrach: Sycamore Regeneration, British Virgin Islands
Cefn Cribwr, Bridgend: Beech Regeneration, British Virgin Islands
Opencast workings at Gwauncaegurwen: Pine Regeneration, British Virgin Islands

Surely such trees may not have suffered at the hands of Irma…


I don’t have immediate access to any means of checking the details but it’s highly likely that those “tree based” corporate identities based in B.V.Islands all have several common shareholders and/or directors. Some years ago Celtic Energy got into a spot of bother by avoiding, or failing to undertake statutory responsibilities to “make good” open cast sites that had reached end of working life. I vaguely recall a Cardiff based solicitor was involved with some offshoring activity on behalf of Celtic or its successor entity. These B.V.I bodies are probably the current version of any successor entity. No doubt if there is too much interest taken in their activities they will morph yet again into their next guise.


Dafis is right. All the companies listed by Karen were part of the well known sleight of hand carried out by those in charge at Celtic Energy to try and absolve themselves of their liability to restore the opencast sites at those locations. Certain directors and members of the legal profession were charged with fraud from memory, in a case that cost millions and spectacularly failed. The “Regeneration” tag probably referred to the fact that every one of those sites required restoration. It’s a fascinating tale involving some bizarre and colourful characters, but too long and complicated to cover in the comments here. One of those charged was Richard Walters, son of Dai Walters of Ffos Las fame – Ffos Las of course was a restored opencast site too.


BBC did report the debacle when the SFO had to pay out millions in costs. Extract of Report of Feb 2015 copied below :

Those claiming costs

Eric Evans, solicitor

Alan Whiteley, solicitor

Stephen Davies, barrister

Richard Walters, managing director Celtic Energy

Leighton Humphreys, finance director Celtic Energy

They were represented by 10 barristers including five QCs, while the SFO had two barristers. No wonder they racked up a mountain of costs !


It’s recorded that when this was all being planned, when the barrister Davies’ Clerk heard Celtic had paid him £250,000 up-front for arranging a second opinion on the proposed arrangement, he said “Fuck me! That’s a serious amount of money.” I don’t think the BBC covered that bit though.


another witty observer said, allegedly, after the case got shunted that the judge was so thick he couldn’t tell his arse from a hole in the ground, or in this case several big fuckin’ holes in the ground !


or creating the pretence of being a bit twp maybe, but possibly quite the opposite.


Let’s not have the wool pulled over our eyes,That side of Merthyr is full of coal you only have go down a few feet and you will hit the coal.Before any buildings will be erected that coal will have to be taken out.A further open cast for the town.


Utterly bemused by the notion that an area that was once a hive of industrial activity is now content to accept “playground” status and the piss poor wages that go with it. Rock bottom hourly wages is one thing, add zero hour/flexihour contracts, no benefits like pension,and people wonder why these developments are greeted with next to no enthusiasm by the local job seeking population. Decision makers in the Bay and in big business are so out of touch and don’t really give a damn about grasping realities of such situations.

Big Gee

Well I’m still getting my head around it – and I feel a bit dizzy! What a mammoth task you undertook there Jac. The thought of the work that went into that research, let alone the job of articulating that research makes me recoil in amazement. You deserve a medal!

The bottom line is – we’re being screwed, a) by shyster ‘businessmen’ (if they can qualify as businessmen), and b) our wonderful bonehead AMs in the Bay. More particularly the Labour government that’s been sitting on it’s quim for twenty years, whilst the rest of us peasants go without. People say that devolution was a disaster, the disaster has been letting “Welsh” Labour rule our country on behalf of Westminster for all these years.

It seems that now the other countries in the British (English) Empire cannot be screwed any further, they’ve trained their sights on their little neighbours, most of whom are in a deep slumber and are sleep-walking into the pit.


can’t help thinking that these grand illusionary plans are either a smoke screen for something else or simply bait for extorting funds from unsophisticated investors.

Big Gee

What intricate patterns they weave, all to throw dust in the eyes of the observer. It’s like trying to untangle a ball of snakes isn’t it? And our system has been designed to encourage that, where things get so entangled and complicated that the common man in the street has no stomach to start untangling it, whilst the ‘evil’ money lovers get away with it.

What did Edmund Burke say?

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

Thankfully there is still at least one good man around Abergynolwyn!

Andy E

You mention the British Virgin Islands which is not just a tax haven for the rich, including landowners who own housing association properties in Wales, but a part of the world where it is argued that the locals have not been the main beneficiaries of the tourist dollar. Sadly, it is the locals that will suffer the greatest losses from recent events in the Caribbean as the second homers and tourists take their money elsewhere, after all they have no connection or loyalty to the chosen bit of paradise that they built on or visit. Here is a recent extract from a tourist blog which sums up the fickle nature of the tourist and the subject of his angst was the Dominican Republic not Merthyr:

“I spent the whole week crying over the stray dogs and poverty. Can anyone suggest good places to go in the Caribbean where there are low numbers of stray animals and poverty”

I saw poverty growing up in Wales in the 70’s, poverty that still persists today and the thought of which makes me cry. Tourism is not the solution to our problems in Wales or any other country that suffers from poverty derived from poor governance, corruption or oppression. If people wish to visit our country to enjoy the beauty of Wales they are more than welcome but to visit a place to ride a zip wire or ski or trampoline indoors, something that can be done anywhere in the world, is not sustainable.

If the Welsh Government have money to spare they should spend it on health and education which will deliver real benefits as opposed to giving money to these type of schemes. This administration is like the failing Roman emperor’s giving the people games to distract from their poverty and for the sake of all of us, I look forward to the day this Labour led excuse for a Government also falls!

Jac you are right to call these projects out for the sham and waste of taxpayers money that they are!


Its never the people who benefit though is it? I suspect we will not benefit from these tidal lagoons either. As far as poverty in Wales goes… i think what hurts is the amount of money that was made from coal, that is probably made through other means from our country even today which pulls the heart strings. You see the quality of life in certain parts of our island and wonder why its so bad deep in the Valleys. You expect that kind of thing on Hispaniola… but when you see it it supposed first world countries…

Puerto Rico for example. Part of the USA. Homelessness, stray animals, bankruptcy. 400,000 people have left over the past 7 years. In some ways they are in the same boat as we are: English and the master culture is the only way to advance. They think the nation that is leaving them in that situation – which is essentially doing nothing for them – is one they want to be part of. What is also depressing is the way some of them want to be more American… I can see them giving up their language and culture (Growing NFL fanatics, more English speakers) – it made me realise that our identity being so under threat may not have been totally down to the Blue Books or the Welsh Not – but may have also had many willing participants. Businesses get away with shit because they give them breaks to set up and it just gets abused. Though they actually had a revolt of about 100 nationalists in the 50s… inspired by Ireland’s success. Yanks turned up with 7,000 soldiers.

Colonialism is colonialism where ever you go – poverty usually follows. Only the chosen ones may benefit!


I think sometimes that people are unaware of where the money from our days of Iron and Coal actually went. It can feel like it dissipated and dissapeared when the Butes of this world departed, but they didn’t all depart though did they. The Lord Tredegars of this world may be gone through lack of heirs, but the Bailey Brothers – Crawshay and the first Baronet Joseph, parked themselves nicely the other side of the Beacons and their descendents now party and intertwine seemlessly with the aristocracy. They are still here and very quiet – conveniently residing in Estates, like Glan Usk etc, partying, shooting, fishing and riding with their neighbours in large estates in Herefordshire – doing Green Man festivals and living a very comfortable and wealthy existence.

The question is are these people, people who could be good for Wales going forward or they going to step in and ensure the British cause is safe and secure abovce all else. I’d be pretty confident that they aren’t keen on Labour socialism, but suspect they might be alarmed at thoughts of Welsh nationalism.

Should we be thinking about people like this when we posture and hypothesise about a furture Wales.


The Morgans in particular show a family that was bought off and colonised. Bought off by the Tudors… then conveniently later their properties passed to individuals like Charles Gould through heiresses. Those left either never did have an allegiance to Wales (The Herberts) or are no longer the same families who fought for Wales in times gone by. Remember… lands and titles are dispensed to good little boys who obey their masters.


In Merthyr it makes me curious how succesful and prominent people who are lucky to born with the surname Lewis seem to be. It’s a very common name, I know like Jones and Davies I suppose, but it seems to be a good one to have in Merthyr- former Barons of Merthyr were Lewis’s, the Key Directors of Ffos-y-fran are Lewis’s – they even have a prominent AM don’t they or has Huw retired now – certainly gone very quiet these days – oh and he got a dodgy campaign donation didn’t he from the unrelated Lewis’s at Ffos-y-Fran, but with so many Lewis’s about it’s just an inevitable that there will be coincidences like that I guess.

Obviously there’s no obvious link between the new Ski lot and the others like Miller Argent at Ffos-y-Fran (now passed over to Gwent Investments), but it will be interesting to watch out for any coincidences that crop up either with these, or links to celtic energy or both.


I was thinking more about the ones who were never Welsh, because they’ve comsr here and chosen never to be, like the Baileys etc.

We will never have independence with a big swathe of estates owned by the aristocracy running from Chippenham to Lampeter, only interrupted by military areas which are really all part of the same thing.

The opencast mining going on today is a realisation that not much has really changed. The Labour Party being complicit these days is the eye-opener in that they and the aristocracy are actually intertwined. The reasons for the Labour movement in Wales are over when they promote, assist and benefit from the very things that they were spawned to fight against.

The poverty and issues of the Valleys in which no compensation or really significant funds for recovery were ever provided contrast starkly with the places on the other side of the Beacons where the money created is still being leveraged to support lavish lifestyles.

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose


Aristocracy are like anyone… you do have good ones and bad ones. Just like you have good and bad people. What I don’t approve of is that the English supplanted the Welsh more than anything. I think we all try to keep what we have… and unless we’re going to be like Soviet Russia where everyone had the same stuff and there was little incentive to go into more difficult professions (look at it this way… not everyone can be a Doctor). The system is far from perfect but there will always be a pyramid and always people on the bottom. There will always be poverty. But I don’t think those aristocratic families will be rich forever… as I said about the Welsh families before them, they got replaced… as much as there is upward mobility there’s also downward mobility.

The wheel keeps spinning.


This well researched article by Chris Bryant, MP for Rhondda describes how the Aristocracy has clung on to their wealth and power in the “quiet” behind the scenes way you mention.

It’s just a shame, that Chris Bryant didn’t expend the same amount of critical energy in this other article, while discussing, in a very reductive way, why he thinks the Welsh valleys are not interested in independence, but then he is signed up to Labour and to keeping the status quo, so that Wales is firmly controlled in the Union.


Everybody probably shell shocked by Labour’s advance in the Welsh polls. I’m going to read this tomorrow. Been a long day at work.


Yes its working … When i heard this story last week i thought ei ei what’s up here then? Another predictable explanation , thanks Jac