Miscellany 26.11.2020

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

This is the roundup I promised last week before the Knighton piece just grow’d like Topsy and took over.

Here you’ll find updates on old favourites plus some new faces. Combined they’ll provide a sobering read and a reminder of what a mess Wales is in, due partly to useless, lying politicians down Corruption Bay.

PLAS GLYNLLIFON

This fine old mansion that I’ve written about so many times in recent years in the Weep for Wales series has been sold. Also, the Seiont Manor.

At one time both were owned by Paul and Rowena Williams, but they ran into problems and soon had ‘partners’ in their hour of need. In the form of Myles Cunliffe and his oppo, the ‘King of Marbella’, Jon Disley, always looking for companies in trouble.

And now they’re all gone.

Lest we forget, Paul and Rowena Williams. Click to enlarge

I look forward to learning the identity of the new owners, but I’m fairly sure that he / she / they will fall into one of the following categories. We can but hope that it’s the third.

  • More crooks looking to use the Plas for nefarious purposes.
  • Dreamers, with wonderful ideas but neither the ability nor the money to carry them out.
  • Somebody, or some company, with both the right ideas and the money to realise them.

TRANSPORT FOR WALES GOES OFF THE RAILS

You’ll remember that the Wales and Borders rail franchise was run for some years by Arriva Trains. There were many critics. So when the franchise came up for renewal a couple of years ago it was awarded to French-Spanish partnership KeolisAmey.

That didn’t work out either, with KeolisAmey being fined £3.2m in January for its poor service, with Covid adding more misery through falling passenger numbers. Now the rail service is being nationalised by the ‘Welsh Government’.

Despite my right of centre views on economic and other matters, I believe that essential services should be run by the state as national assets. With one condition, and that is that these services should be run by people who know what they’re doing.

That will not happen in Wales. The statist majority in Corruption Bay has taken over the railways not to provide a better service but because they’re control freaks. Don’t be surprised if the signalling system is handed over to a third sector body approved by lobbyists Deryn.

Unbeknownst to most of those who drive under Machynlleth’s railway bridge, there is a depot nearby where the trains from the Cambrian Coast and the Aberystwyth-Shrewsbury lines are brought overnight for cleaning, maintenance, and repair.

It’s a major employer in the town. (But perhaps not for much longer, thanks to Transport for Wales. An issue I might return to in a later post.)

Two men have been hanging around Mach’ railway station for a few weeks. For a while, no one knew who they were, or what they were doing. I think I now have the story.

As part of the Covid-19 arrangements extra portakabins were brought in for the staff. Hired from a company called W H Welfare, part of the Kelling Group of Normanton, in West Yorkshire, a few miles south east of Leeds.

The two mystery men are security guards who came with the portakabins. The problem being that the portakabins are inside the compound, behind the security gate, and the portakabin guards do have not have clearance to enter the compound. So they’re stuck outside, and to look useful, or just to while away the time, they seem to turn up to meet the trains.

But Machynlleth ain’t Grand Central Station. So that doesn’t give them much to do.

Now these two security men must be staying locally, which means that their wages and accommodation will be included in the portakabin hire charge.

The incompetence doesn’t end there. The portakabins run on a generator – a petrol generator. There is no petrol on site except in the workers’ cars. Everything else is diesel.

Am I making this up? No. Am I drunk? How dare you!

So, we have two men at a small Welsh railway station, doing sod all, but costing a lot of money. Because of course it’s all being paid for by Transport for Wales. Which means the ‘Welsh Government’. Which means you and me.

Portakabins1
Potakabins3
Portakabins2
PlayPause
Shadow

It’s reasonable to assume that Machynlleth isn’t the only station or depot for which these portakabins were hired. Plus of course the security men. So how much money is being squandered in this way?

And come to that, is there nowhere in Wales where portakabins could have been sourced? And sourced cheaper? I’m sure there is. Which means that in addition to the incompetence we have the issue of a ‘Welsh Government’ agency sending money out of Wales.

It looks as if someone in Transport for Wales has made a massive cock-up. Or is someone getting a backhander from a firm in West Yorkshire?

MARGAM MOUNTAIN

Last month I brought you the tale of yet another foreign-owned windfarm being dumped on Wales with the enthusiastic support of the planet-savers in the ‘Welsh Government’ and Plaid Cymru.

You’ll find it here, just scroll down to the section, “Another ‘Community-owned, local benefits’ wind farm. Not”.

Image: Beryl Richards. Mynydd Margam. Click to enlarge

As I wrote in that earlier piece, “this particular project is a joint English-Irish venture. From Ireland we have state-owned ESB, while from England (possibly Scotland) we have Coriolis Energy Ltd.”

As you can see from the link, the website is very basic, perhaps explained by the fact that Companies House tells us Coriolis Energy is almost £100,000 in debt.

It’s difficult to figure out why ESB needs Coriolis. Maybe it’s to fulfil a similar role to that of Invis Energy of County Cork, which has been working on Meenbog wind farm, on the Donegal-Tyrone border.

Where there was recently a massive slippage of peat into the Mourne Beg river, part of the Foyle system. Just watch the trees go sailing by in the video!

 

The lesson here is that erecting bloody big wind turbines, each one sunk into thousands of tons of concrete, will have consequences when such idiocy is encouraged in sensitive environments.

Such as Irish peat bogs, and Welsh hillsides from which thousands upon thousands of rain-absorbing trees have been cut, and from which acres of equally absorbent peat has been removed.

Another worry for those living close to the proposed development on Mynydd Margam is that the planned turbines will be 750 tall. As any child playing with blocks will tell you, the higher you try to build it, the more difficult it gets to keep it standing.

Which is why I was not surprised to learn from a regular correspondent in northern Sweden – who took time off from herding his reindeer – that a 755 foot turbine in his neck of the woods had recently come crashing down. Here’s a report from ABC News.

I believe a re-think is needed. Not just on this development on Margam Mountain but on all onshore wind developments in Wales. Because . . .

  • No permanent jobs have resulted from the dozens of wind farms desecrating our countryside. 
  • No manufacturing has been encouraged by the ‘Welsh Government’ so that we can build the turbines here – they’ve all been imported.
  • First by smoky ships, and then by huge, diesel-powered trucks and trailers, before trees are felled and peat removed to accommodate them in concrete bases the size of football pitches. Making a nonsense of wind turbines’ claimed green credentials.
  • In fact, before a blade turns, each wind turbine will have caused more damage to the environment than it can make up for in its short and fitful life.
  • No Welsh companies have emerged to run or own wind turbines other than tiny, ‘hippy’ enterprises reliant on public largesse.
  • No skills base has been developed that Wales could benefit from and export.
  • And it’s increasingly likely that wind turbines contribute to flooding.

The ‘progressive’ parties have allowed – even encouraged – Wales to be exploited and cheated in this way just so that they could look virtuous to a certain lobby.

When it comes to serving England’s interests, things in Wales are not a lot different in the 21st century to earlier times. Just disguised by the gloss of devolution, and bullshit about ‘Wales saving the planet’.

But it’s the same old exploitation.

BRYN LLYS

Where would a roundup like this be without a trip to Bryn Llys or, more specifically, Caernarfon magistrates court.

The latest of the Duggan gang to appear has been Jon Duggan himself, on November 16. His large dogs got out – again! – and attacked neighbours’ poultry. But of course, in the parallel universe inhabited by these clowns, it was probably the chickens’ fault.

I’m afraid I can’t link to any press report because I can’t find one. But Duggan was fined £300. Then there was compensation of £30, victim surcharge of £32, and CPS costs of £640. Making a grand total of £1,002.00.

Bryn Llys, aka ‘Snowdon Summit View’. Click to enlarge

I know those are the facts because my source is reliable, and I have even been supplied with a case number.

In related news, Bryn Llys Ltd is threatened with strike-off by Companies House. Though I suppose this company might have already served its purpose.

By which I mean the Duggan gang’s MO is to start a company, open bank accounts, sign up for credit accounts with assorted suppliers and then order goods and equipment, sell it all on, then let the company be struck off, or liquidate it, without paying for anything.

Finally, the deadline for Duggan to comply with the Enforcement Order and remove the unauthorised roadway he has laid on his recently acquired land was Friday, November 20. He has of course made no effort to comply. Cyngor Gwynedd has been informed.

This episode was covered in September, in ‘Bryn Llys, the Liverpool connection‘. That Liverpool connection was solicitor Kathryn Elizabeth Parry. She’d had her own company, Parry and Co Solicitors Limited, since liquidated; and now she’s a partner in a company formed in October last year, Victor Welsh Legal Limited.

A dicky-bird tells me that when Duggan appeared before the bench to answer for the Great Chicken Massacre he was accompanied by a female solicitor from Liverpool.

Fancy that!

COMPANIES HOUSE

Over the years I’ve complained about Companies House being toothless, nothing more than a filing system, or a box-ticking exercise. Here’s a recent example that came to my attention in a roundabout sort of way.

Someone got in touch because they were angry at certain new properties in Llanarthne, a village just off the A40, roughly midway between Llandeilo and Carmarthen. These were four- and five-bed ‘executive homes’ in the Mulberry Grove development.

The development’s name, and the prices being asked, suggested that the developer was not anticipating many local buyers.

Click to enlarge

The company behind it was GS6, formed as recently as May 2018. The project had been funded, in part at least, by Emma Ruth Developments Limited. And it’s when I looked at this company that I got a bit of a shock.

The last accounts filed were for year ending 30 October 2016! And these showed a net book value of just £949.00.

Companies House made the gesture of compulsory strike-off towards the end of 2018, but it was discontinued after an objection. But in 2019 – nothing! And nothing in 2020 until I contacted them. The company is now scheduled for strike-off to begin December 1st.

The response I got a few days ago reads:

“I can advise that the company has already been reminded accordingly to deliver the outstanding accounts in accordance with the Companies Act 2006.

Our records show that accounts for the period ending 30/10/2017, 30/10/2018 and 30/10/2019 and also the confirmation statement for the period ending 14/06/2020 remain overdue and we are currently taking action to remove the company from the register. 

In order to proceed with this course of action it is necessary to issue statutory letters to the company leading to a publication in the London Gazette.

Any objections against the proposed dissolution will be considered once the notice of our intention has been published in the London Gazette. All creditors and interested parties should be aware that objection must be in writing and need to be provided with supporting evidence.

Also, if you believe that the company or any of its employees have acted fraudulently then this matter should be reported to Investigation and Enforcement Services. The Company Investigations team within the Insolvency Service has the power to investigate limited companies where information received suggests corporate abuse; this may include serious misconduct, fraud, scams or sharp practice in the way a company operates. They have investigatory powers to look into the affairs of a company where this is evidence of fraud or misfeasance and can be contacted at
Intelligence.live@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk”

I’m not sure if Emma Ruth Developments has acted fraudulently but I’d like to know how a company that shouldn’t even be in existence is allowed to lend money to another company.

I might also ask why Companies House has done sod all for so long . . . but I’d be wasting my time.

KNIGHTON HOTEL

Last week we were in Knighton, reading about a bunch of selfless people on a civilising mission. En passant I mentioned the Knighton Hotel, where once Paul Williams was cock o’ the walk . . . or something.

A source informs me that the old pile has been sold. And the new owner is Na’Ím Anís Paymán. A 26-year-old German citizen of German and Iranian Baha’i origins who grew up in Albania and studied at Cambridge. More in this brief autobiography.

The two-part Knighton Hotel. Click to enlarge

In fact, he seems to be quite the self-publicist, with a number of videos online. But he still comes across as a likeable young man.

Paymán has formed a number of companies since 2015 and I have no reason to suspect that he’s anything other than a genuine young entrepreneur looking to make himself rich. An ambition that causes me no sleepless nights.

In the hope that it riles lefties, I’ll say it again: a genuine young entrepreneur looking to make himself rich.

If he does that by providing work for local people, if he uses local companies, tradesmen and suppliers, then all well and good.

If he takes a wrong path, then I’m sure I’ll be writing about him again.

RSL FUNDING

I recently gave you the figures for amounts of Social Housing Grant (SHG) received by our Registered Social Landlords, otherwise known as housing associations. Here’s a link to the table I put together. (Scroll left?)

In the ten years 2010-2011 to 2019-2020 the headline figure for SHG was £966,608,902. Obviously, some RSLs got more than others, and none got more than Labour’s favourite RSL, where the CEO is the wife of a Cardiff Labour councillor.

For Wales & West Housing was handed the princely sum of £99,483,507.

I have since received the figures for RSL funding in addition to SHG, for the period 01.01.2010 to 31.10.2020. The funding covered is: Housing Finance Grant, Affordable Housing Grant, Rent to Own, Physical Adaptation Grant, Innovative Housing Programme (grant and loan), Land for Housing Scheme (loan) and Registered Social Landlord Loans.

Eleven local authorities received a total of £19,969,000. While our RSLs were given £370,738,000. Once again, the big winner was Wales & West, with £39,341,000.

Combining the funding from various pots gives us £1,337,346,982. That is £1.34bn.

Of which Wales & West has received £138,824,507. Just over 10% of all the funding given to some 30 or more active RSLs.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR MILFORD HAVEN?

The Milford Haven Waterway is one of the finest deep-water anchorages on Earth, and has been recognised as such for centuries. In recent times it has attracted oil and gas companies because their huge tankers can be easily accommodated.

The area also attracts its share of con men. Who can forget Admiral Wing Commander of the SAS Fabian Sean Lucien Faversham-Pullen VC, Croix de Guerre, Iron Cross (1st Class), Purple Heart and the Order of Lenin, who planned to turn Fort Hubberstone in Milford Haven into a home for ex-service personnel.

The Last Post was blown for Camp Valour CIC a year ago. Read about it here.

Hot on the heels of the Camp Valour project at Fort Hubberstone came a group of ‘investors’ looking to buy a different fort, The Old Defensible Barracks in Pembroke Dock. I wrote about that in Old Defensible Barracks, and the imaginatively titled sequel, Old Defensible Barracks 2.

Old Defensible Barracks. Click to enlarge

Those involved had not yet bought the Barracks when I first wrote about them, or certainly, the Land Registry had not been informed of a change of ownership. This has now been registered and we can see from the title document that the owners are Walker Property Developments Limited.

This company was launched 14.08.2018 as Muniment Yorkshire Ltd. It became Walker Property Developments 06.07.2019, before changing its name again 02.10.2019 to VR 1844 Limited.

I assume that VR stands for Victoria Regina and 1844 tells us that the Old Defensible Barracks was built in that year.

Despite the developers saying they planned to turn the old place into apartments (see the article below, and here in pdf format), I suspected that the real attraction was the closeness to the estuary, connecting with Brexit and the need for space to park lorries. Because there is an extensive piece of land between the Barracks and the water, clearly visible in the image above.

Click to enlarge

And of course, the Pembroke-Rosslare ferry is almost next door.

This suspicion was strengthened by the Singapore connection found with the directors of Walker Property Developments – including the eponymous Walker, who lives there – and Singaporean connections with another coastal site, in the Six Counties, and again, very close to ferry ports.

Lorry parks may still be the objective, but as I mentioned towards the end of the second article, there is also the possibilty of Milford Haven, or the whole Waterway, becoming a freeport. Which, again, could account for the interest from Singapore, which is perhaps the biggest freeport in the world.

Others have also been buying sections of the Waterway shoreline. With interest coming from equally exotic locations: Cyprus, Jordan . . . Carmarthenshire.

Let’s start in September 2015, with WalesOnline gilding a press release – no questions, no critical analysis. To believe the report, a company nobody’d heard of was going to bring 560 jobs to Milford Haven over the next five years through, “£685 million in a Centre of Renewable Energy Excellence”.

The company named in the fable was, “Cypriot-owned energy company” Egnedol Ltd. We were told it had bought the former Gulf refinery at Waterston and the neighbouring RNAD mine depot at Blackbridge.

The biomass facility planned for Blackbridge was turned down in June 2018.

Click to enlarge

There are a number of Egnedol companies, with the Blackbridge site owned by Egnedol Pembroke Eco Power Ltd, according to the Land Registry title document.

The old refinery site nearby appears to be owned by Egnedol Bio-Energy Limited. Certainly, that’s what the Land Registry document suggests.

I hedge my bets because there are caveats attaching to the ownership of both sites.

The Blackbridge site has received loans from Suleiman Al Daoud, of Amman, Jordan. Who in September became a director of Egnedol Wales Limited. So he could be said to now own the site. By the same token, he could also be said to own the oil refinery site.

UPDATE: I got to wondering about Suleiman Al Daoud. The Al Daoud Group is an established company that seems to concentrate on residential properties and retail complexes in Jordan.

I can’t find any evidence of the Group operating outside of Jordan. So what attracted Suleiman Al Daoud to Milford Haven?

Then there is yet another company, Egnedol UK Limited, which uses a Milford Haven address but with directors Dr Robert Prigmore and Steven Whitehouse living in the Ammanford area.

Prigmore and Whitehouse appear in the other Egnedol companies, together with Antonis Andrea Antoniadis, who maintains the Cyprus connection.

The RNAD site is marked with the red spot and the oil refinery site is to the right of it. Click to enlarge

And if Cyprus and Jordan weren’t enough overseas involvement, Prigmore and Whitehouse have yet another company, Azolis UK Ltd, formed as recently as September this year, where we find two French directors.

Explained by the fact that this latest company is an offshoot or subsidiary of French renewables company Azolis, which has offices in Fontainebleau and Casablanca.

So, all this overseas interest in Milford Haven Waterway, what does it mean? What does the future hold? The possibilities appear to be:

  • Brexit-related, possibly lorry parks.
  • Hoping to cash in on the Swansea Bay City Deal.
  • Anticipating a freeport and getting in ahead of the rush.
  • A home for nuclear subs when Scotland goes independent.

One thing I guarantee. Whatever happens, it’ll be strangers reaping the benefits, as always. That’s the way Wales is run, and devolution has brought no improvement.

In fairness, the ‘Welsh Government’ may have no influence over what’s happening on the Milford Haven Waterway. It could all be planned at a higher level and those clowns might be told at a later date.

Then again, why bother!

♦ end ♦

 




31 thoughts on “Miscellany 26.11.2020

  1. Sian Caiach

    Haven’t the UK Government been saving the Haven for Trident? Its practically the only decent harbour able to take them after Scottish Independence and far enough from London to take a direct strategic hit or nasty accident without causing too much outrage in the Capital and home counties?

    1. Dafis

      If a hostile power lobbed a big one into the Haven you can be assured that a big one would also be arriving over Central London either just before or after. The Haven was on the high threat level list during the Cold War because of the refineries so nothing much changes, just the jobs disappear. Mushroom clouds all round in that case.

      A different threat is posed by our relatively new “hostile powers”, the likes of IS and AQ, who would most likely procure at most a couple of weapons and then it’s a case of whether they want to max out on population centres or go for a big military target. My money would be on Palace of Westminster, Buck House and the City, all tucked neatly under one cloud. The second would be earmarked for the “Big Satan”, Washington, or the newer demon, Paris. That’s assuming they could deliver it without blowing their fingers off first.

    1. Someone sent me an interesting link yesterday. You’ll note that for this programme of peat restoration Wales has been split into four regions – North, Mid, South and – Pen y Cymoedd! Which suggests there must be a real problem there.

      That there’s a problem is supported by the fact that RCT council refuses to allow an independent inquiry into recent flooding. An issue that Plaid Cymru is trying to exploit. Though given Plaid’s love affair with renewables, and if the turbines are the problem, then this could backfire.

      A question raised by my source was, if the problems at Pen y Cymoedd have been caused by the wind farm developer, why is the remedial work being paid for out of Welsh public funds?

      1. Brychan

        If you look at the Vettenfall annual report you will see that there is a government bond held as a liability, an amount that has to be accumulated during the lifetime of a wind farms to pay for any environmental issues and eventual remediation of the site. It applies to all their investments in Sweden, Canada and Poland. It’s a legal requirement there. No such provision exists for Penycymoedd.

  2. Brychan

    Taking a step back and looking at Milford Haven and the future got me thinking.

    Solar panels in Wales are daft. In Arabian deserts they make sense. Desalination to make water is their need, and if they also make hydrogen via electrolysis then they can export it.

    To Milford Haven.

    https://safety4sea.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/LH2-ship-hydrogen-e1533115041294.jpg
    Hydrogen ship.

    There are pilot plants in Western Australia and have signed export deals with Japan.
    Meanwhile the Welsh Government just sponsor yurts for hippys.

    1. Jonathan Edwards

      Brychan, you sound like Govan Davies. I met him once and he had some weird and wonderful design for a ship to use his wharf. I had worked for P&O and NYK Line so it was interesting, but probably unworkable. But I respect his inventiveness, as well as everything else he achieved. The reason I care about shipping is exactly as other comments suggest. I have ancestors in 2 of the 3 graveyards in Dinas Cross who were mariners ie both sides of the family. it was bad enough when Thatcher removed capital allowances on UK shipping to promote outsourcing. P&O did warn her. In the case of the Welsh government it was a case of Labour neglect – the Unions warned them – and arrogance. I was escorted from the building when I turned up at West Glam with a plan to buy 25% of the Swansea ferry for Wales.

      1. Brychan

        One of the inefficiencies of the current importation from Saudi in oil tankers and LNG from Qatar at Milford Haven is that the tankers go back empty. It’s better be fill the tanks with cattle slurry on a return loop. They desperately need the manure to increase the organic content of soil in bringing deserts back into agricultural production, while in Wales it’s a difficult to manage by-product. On it’s own a ridiculous idea, but as a closed loop, capacity utilisation. Same would apply to Bantry Bay in Ireland.

        That would be a Govan Davies thinking.

        One of the things I always think of when I see places like Gelli Aur, and Bwlch Arian, some of these communities pre-date or originate at Roman occupation, is that there must have been a market for high value smelted metals. It wasn’t overland via England by pack-horse, that would have been ridiculous. It was of course by ship, a sophisticated sea trade on the western approaches. The return journey trade was probably olive oil, wine and spice. Also, the saints of the pre-Augustine Celtic church also appear to be Breton, Irish, Cornish and Roman even after they left. I’d sure they didn’t use the M4. It was an advanced sophisticated trading operation that pre-dated England, something we never see in our history books.

        It’s also what bought King Swain of Denmark to Abertawe.

  3. Brychan

    Throughout the ‘Weep for Wales’ saga about Plas Glynllifon I have always commented that the future of this building is not a couple of dodgy chancers like Paul and Rowena Williams nor with shady spiv mittys like Mylo.

    What is required is a substantial corporate investment to renovate it into five star hotel.

    There is a problem with tourism in Wales, besides the damaging effects on local communities, the reality is that candy floss, caravans and ice cream does not offer all-year employment nor economic prosperity. What does is a quality provision with properly financed investment.

  4. Jonathan Edwards

    Interesting how conversation about ships/port switches to one about railways. Wales used to be a maritime nation, when shipping provided lots of jobs with a career pattern. All those crwts who signed on as ship’s boy and ended up Master, probably with shares in ships. All gone. Milford Haven/P.Dock are a harbour, not a couple of railway stations. But sadly, Wales has withdrawn from shipping. Yes, it is because of this maverick thing. You need disrupters like Govan Davies. Only one in Wales now is McEvoy. They can pick him off……

    1. Go to any old cemetery along Cardigan Bay and count the ‘Master Mariner’ headstones. Near to me, ships were built in Aberdyfi, here’s a great photo of old Aberdyfi; real sailors, not weekend tossers with floating holiday homes. Porthmadog was a major shipbuilding centre. I think I’m right in saying that Merioneth had a bigger population in 1841 than in 2011.

      A local economy, largely built by locals, in isolated – pre-railway – communities trading with the world and bringing a lot of money to Welsh communities. A population that was almost exclusively Welsh speaking.

      Now Aberdyfi ‘boasts’ the most expensive property prices in Wales, and the indigenous element in the population declines year on year. You’ll be lucky to hear Welsh spoken by anyone.

      All this achieved by: better communications (with England); the promotion of Wales as a ‘tourist destination’ (resulting in no jobs and holiday homes); and more recently, the refusal of those useless bastards in Corruption Bay to do anything about us becoming strangers in our own country.

      Old Salts outside Penhelig Arms

      1. David Smith

        As a sort of dual-pronged peninsula, our ‘surface area to volume ratio’ is much larger than England’s. Of course the seafaring iconography of this island is all Nelson and Empire to most people’s perception.

    2. Dafis

      I switched the focus off the maritime to rail by linking the depressed, precarious nature of both modes. The Cleddau in particular is seriously neglected by UK government and I see very little evidence so far that Llywodraeth y Bae has any more ambition for that superior maritime resource. Given the fixation with leisure and tourism why have they not fostered more interest in some real up-market big spend activity instead of filling the county with low spend holiday parks and camp sites. Answer- it about following the line of least resistance and provides a superficial sense that “something is being done”. Of course the real opportunities lie in reviving the commercial activity aligning it with the emerging technologies that could easily be domiciled in the adjacent areas.

      On a different maritime note I watched with interest a programme about Ruth Jones, the actress/comedian whose roots are in Porthcawl , a few weeks ago. She was investigating her ancestry and it was a fairly short leap back in time to her great grandparents family in New Quay. For a couple of generations it resembled a “busload” of seafaring types, some making it to master while others died young early in their seafaring careers, killed in accidents, lost at sea etc etc.

      As Jac says the graveyards of those coastal villages and towns are full of sailors, peacetime and wartime veterans. In those days of real hardship at least young lads could get a job at sea where they felt they had real worth instead of serving burgers or ice cream for a few months of the year. No wonder any young person with ambition gets the hell out of it as soon as possible nowadays. We can never retrieve what we had in the past but we need to be a lot more assertive about that which we need for the future. Maybe that Future Generations Commissioner might have some bright ideas but based on what’s been churned out so far I ain’t holding my breath.

  5. Jac you just wrote :- “Throughout history it tends to be mavericks who get things done”. That’s true in Swansea – it was Gerald Murphy a local Labour Leader of zeal who got Swansea a Leisure Centre and a decent Shopping Quadrant Centre. Eventually he ended up in the mire. Then it was lesser mavericks, a bunch of small clods in Labour, that followed him that let the Leisure Centre decay into closure. Their mire lost them control of the City although one escaped to Cardiff Bay to wallow there in hesitant obscurity. Luckily the Swansea electorate voted in a new regime in Swansea for eight years from 2004 to 2012 who reopened the Leisure Centre and kept things tidy as Caretakers until old voting habits returned another odd ball lot of Students and Corbynites with a smattering of the old guard. They’ve had eight years of internal spats with traffic lights mostly on red for their eight years 2012 to 2020. What will their legacy be for Swansea? Copper or Gold?

    1. Neil Singleton

      I have relatives in the North East, and many in Newcastle and it’s environs still reminisce fondly about T Dan Smith, a Murphy like colossus who dragged the city of Newcastle up by it’s bootstraps. When reminded that Smith, like Murphy, was caught with his hand in the till and jailed, he is invariably still excused by “at least he got things done.”

  6. David Smith

    I’d be interested to know, perhaps as a follow-up to this article, whether the Puppet Parliament are also funding the ‘ and Borders’ bit of the Wales and Borders franchise. Namely those very Welsh services, that run between Chester and Liverpool, Chester and Birmingham via Stafford, and Shrewsbury and Manchester. Looking at these destinations now, it just occurred to me that to even refer to them as ‘border’ regions is a blatant untruth. So the branding of the operator as Transport for Wales is a lie, and the you’d-think-it-to-be-more-technical franchise name is another lie.

    Geographical naming conventions on this island give a window to perceived priorities, and as a corollary, marginalisation. Like how ‘The North’ is used in a UK wide context without the ‘of England’ qualifier; Westminster’s Northern Powerhouse is very much targeted towards the middle of this island. Say no more about the E(W)CB, or how many companies make themselves look a little silly in their official letter and email footers by declaring themselves to be registered in England, when the actual legal jurisdiction is England and Wales.

    It’s funny how this tiring trope has been flipped on its head when a rail franchise has a name which implies nothing of the major English conurbations it serves deep within its territory, and the two operator brands have made reference only to Wales. I’m convinced this is a deliberate tactic used to bolster the large deficit Wales ‘officially’ runs with the UK, just yet another fudge to the figures showing how poor and dependent we are.

    1. I’m told that Transport for Wales is planning a new service depot in Chester. (Possibly closing the one in Machynlleth. And the one in Holyhead.) Train drivers are being recruited in Shrewsbury. No doubt some of those who’ll be working in Chester, and some of those recruited in Shrewsbury, will be Welsh, but I bet most will not be.

      Yet again, we see an ostensibly Welsh organisation failing to serve Wales as it should. And guess who benefits?

      1. David Smith

        Do I need three guesses as to who or where will be the winner with the plans you mention? I suppose the upcoming butchery of placenames over the on-board tannoy we have to look forward to will provide the answer.

    2. Dafis

      Maybe the “borders” will be annexed into Wales as part of Drakeford’s cunning plan, a “Greater Wales” vision stretching to any city or town which can be reached by train !

          1. David Smith

            Well from Holyhead and Cardiff services run direct as far as London, in addition to either Edinburgh or at least Newcastle, via Birmingham, Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds (I think) from the latter. That would be some annexation!

            1. Dafis

              Drakeford’s ambition may know no bounds, after all he is a Unionist. Maybe he dreams of the running the whole show out of Kairdiff !

              1. David Smith

                Yoonyonists are big believers that the UK is a family of nations who stick together so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. There is no question as to who’s the daddy of this family, mind.

  7. Dafis

    … and on a similar critical theme, look at the state of our railways. No doubt our mate Smiler fancies pulling off a Mussolini and getting the trains running on time. That would be such a big improvement but highly unlikely given the nature of our public sector. The service will probably be run by a guy whose only qualification is that he played with his train set well into his adult life ! At least it stopped him bothering other people’s kids but hardly qualifies him as a man who will get the show running in an orderly and efficient manner. Although services into Cardiff will probably shape up, a bit.

  8. Jonathan Edwards

    Milford Haven, full of contradictions. Nelson called it the best harbour in the world bar Trincomalee. But things keep on not happening there. I remember from my shipping days that people said it was just too far from civilisation ie the Midlands and SE of England. Plus the Admirals and their wives liked being near Harrods and preferred Portsmouth. I also remember from when I did lawyering in Pembroke coming across a local man who gave it a proper go.The scallies would turn up in Pembroke Magistrates and have noone else to turn to for jobs or a reference. Read this from the Western Telegraph 2011
    “I think one man should be credited with the working platform that we have today. Govan Davies spent a vast amount of time and money producing the Port of Pembroke and the working element that we now have. Most of this came from a foresight far in advance of any forward planner that I have encountered in our area before or since. Mr Davies gave us the deep water wharf that enabled the work that has gone ahead in the main area of the dockyard for the last 40 years. As one who has benefited from the facility that he produced through companies that I have worked for, I applaud him personally. I have been amazed at his undertaking and dread to think of how much it would have cost if it had been constructed by a public body or national construction company. If this project was undertaken in this day and age the planning process, health and safety, environmental assessments etc would be in excess of the whole project cost at that time. Mr Govan Davies produced The Port of Pembroke and the benefits to our economy and everyone have been vast. So from me and I hope the whole community of Pembrokeshire thank you Govan Davies.”
    Wyn Jenkins, Monckton

    1. The days of local innovation are long gone, and no longer encouraged, in London or in Cardiff. But with so many foreign interests – with money – buying up bits here and there they must see some potential in that stretch of water. Or else they know something we don’t?

      1. Dafis

        Guys like Govan Davies are no longer encouraged, indeed they are not tolerated by the coterie of grey suits and wokist priorities in Cardiff Bay and those found elsewhere in county halls and regulatory bodies. Bit of a maverick but he got things done. Now we have a glut of soppy tosspots with checklists wanting to know whether you are sufficiently supportive of an assortment of irrelevant ishoos before they give you planning permission let alone any funding support.

        1. Throughout history it tends to be mavericks who get things done. If, as a species, we’d kept on doing things in the same old way, without trying anything new, then we’d still be living the hunter-gatherer existence.

          On the plus side, there’d be no suits, no ‘ishoos’, no third sector.

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