More From The ‘Vipers’ Nest’

JAC O’ THE NORTH PRODUCTIONS® PROUDLY PRESENTS ANOTHER CHAPTER IN THE NEVER-ENDING SWANSEA LABOUR PARTY SAGA – AN ONGOING BLOCKBUSTER OF SEX! VIOLENCE! CORRUPTION! BACK-STABBING! NEPOTISM! DUPLICITY! NAKED AMBITION! POLITICAL INTRIGUE! AND, INEVITABLY, MISUSE OF PUBLIC FUNDS!

 

THE ASSAULT

In recent years I have written many times about the thoroughly dysfunctional Labour Party in the city of my dreams, and now, with heavy heart, I must do so again. (Sob, sob, sob, sigh.)

You may recall a news story from earlier this year in which Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris was accused of attacking colleague Jenny Lee Clarke, because – the victim alleged – of her sexuality. At the time of the alleged assault both women were working for Siân James, the previous Labour MP for Swansea East, succeeded by Harris in the general election of May 2015.

Bizarrely, shortly after the alleged assault Jenny Lee Clarke met with Carolyn Harris at the latter’s home – this was on December 14th 2014 – and came away with a quite remarkable document – a handwritten letter promising that if elected in the May 2015 election then Clarke was guaranteed a full-time job.

Here’s the Sun‘s account of the incident. Here it is in the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, and Wales Online. In a couple of the links I’ve given we read a Labour spokesman saying, “It is town hall politics from a little place in South Wales. It’s a nest of vipers.” A bit insulting to Swansea, but he was spot-on about the “nest of vipers”, which gave me the title for this post.

It is noticeable that WalesOnline puts a totally different slant on the story: the MP is the real victim and the accuser now stands accused. Clearly Shippo [as he insists I call him] had been briefed by his mates in the Labour Party. And not for the first time.

WalesOnline

The truth is that the case against Carolyn Harris was not ‘dropped’ at all, the police took no action because the complaint against her was made outside the six-month time limit for common assault allegations. Or rather, no prosecution took place due to someone’s decision to class the incident as common assault. A more serious charge could have been laid and the six-month time limit would not have applied.

Without inferring anything it’s worth mentioning that complaints against, or incidents involving, senior public figures such as MPs go straight to the chief constable’s office. And may then be referred to a higher authority.

I was not in that office when the incident occurred, but I am reasonably certain that the assault reported by Ms Clarke happened if only because there was a witness, a Paulette Smith, who is the Labour councillor for the Clydach ward on Swansea council. She is reported in the Sun as saying, “I heard a blood-curdling scream. I saw Carolyn pulling her hair. I thought she’d gone mad.”

So, for the time being, let’s take it as read that the assault took place, on November 24th, 2014, and the complainant’s statement – a copy of which I have seen – was timed by D C Ben Rees in Swansea Central Police Station at 13:24 on January 27th, 2016. The following day Jenny Lee Clarke was dismissed by Carolyn Harris MP.

As for the allegations of financial irregularity and Clarke being investigated, well, on the evening of Friday last, the 15th, I am told that Ms Clarke received a phone call from a female police officer at Swansea Central to tell her that she is indeed being investigated for fraud.

WHITEROCK AND HALF-FORGOTTEN MEMORIES

Seeing as fraud has been mentioned, I am indebted to the help I’ve received from ‘Stan‘ on the Neath Ferret site, who has considerable experience of digging through parliamentary expenses and the like. He it was who alerted me to money being paid to a firm called Whiterock, which seemed to be the biggest outgoing from the Swansea East Labour Party constituency office apart from staff salaries.Whiterock 1

Making my own enquiries through other information received, the earliest invoice I could find was for July 2011. I reproduce it here (click to enlarge). You’ll see from the invoice that the company is called, variously, Whiterock Consulting (top right), White Rock Research and Consultancy (bottom right), and whiterock-wales.com (bottom left).

The name(s) may come from a place I recall from my youth. The White Rock copper works – established in 1737 and demolished in 1963 – was near to the site of today’s Liberty Stadium, and I believe there was even a petition to have the Swans’ and Ospreys’ new home named the White Rock Stadium.

Naturally, I searched on the Companies House website for a company by any of those names at the address given, 2 Princess Way, in the city centre, though at a different address I eventually I came up with this. And here is the website for Whiterock-Wales Ltd. A very basic website that is never updated and offers the barest details. For example, it doesn’t even say who runs this company, it list no clients, it’s basically nothing more than an ‘enter your details here’ template.

Companies House tells us that Whiterock Wales was Incorporated on August 11, 2015, and the Company Number is 09726831. It’s two directors are Lawrence David Bailey and Susan Bailey.

One obvious question is, ‘If this company was only formed in August 2015, what company was issuing the invoices going back to 2011?’. And it may be worth adding that all these invoices are unnumbered. The other question is, ‘Who are Lawrence and Susan Bailey?’ That’s another story in itself, so here goes.

ENTER LAWRENCE ‘THE LIBIDO’ BAILEY

Lawrence Bailey is a former council leader, and a former Lord Mayor. He came to grief about ten years ago when indecent images were found on three separate computers despite previous warnings. Private Eye bestowed on him the coveted Pornographer of the Year award. In his defence, let me say that this was all adult stuff.

In addition to the porn, computer engineers found “253 documents, mostly letters to the Swansea Evening Post under false names and / or from phoney addresses, or else using names and addresses of real people without their knowledge. Bailey argued that ‘writing letters to the press under pseudonyms “was widespread practice in political life in Wales”‘. What he meant to say was that it is widespread in the Labour Party. It obviously helped that his lover at the time was chief reporter on the Evening Post.Whiterock 2

While Googling for more info on Bailey I came up trumps with this story linking him with the Swansea East Labour constituency office. Observant readers will have noticed that the Sun story, although undated, was obviously printed just before last year’s general election; Lawrence Bailey then went legitimate and registered his company with Companies House a few months later. This is no coincidence, it’s a case of cause and effect.

Of course, when Carolyn Harris was elected as MP last May she told Lawrence Bailey to sling his hook, and to stop embarrassing the constituency party . . . well . . . no – she kept him on and started paying him even more! The most recent invoice I have is dated August 2015 (for the month of July) but ‘Stan’ tells me there are more records to be found on the IPSA website, though it should be borne in mind that even IPSA is always a month or two behind.

So the first invoice from Lawrence Bailey back in 2011 was for £862.50 a month, and by July 2015 he’s getting £1,550 a month. That’s one hell of an increase. But what does he actually do for it? ‘Stan’ tells me it’s listed on the IPSA website under ‘Professional Services (Staff)’ – maybe he writes letters for Carolyn Harris!

Though cynics might suggest that the relationship between the Swansea East constituency office and Whiterock Wales is just another example of something the Labour Party does so well – circulating public money amongst its members with no discernible benefit to the public.

UPDATE 29.04.2016: Here is ‘Stan’ of Neath Ferret‘s final figures for money received by Lawrence Bailey / Whiterock from the Swansea East Labour constituency office.

KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY

Before leaving the matter of the finances of the constituency office it’s worth mentioning a couple of other invoices. (Reproduced below, click to enlarge.) These are for £6,500 in total, both from April 2015, and both made out to DCG Property Services at a private dwelling in the Gendros district of Swansea.

This work was commissioned by Carolyn Harris just before she was elected MP. Siân James of course would have stood down by then, and Harris was running the show in anticipation of being elected the following month.

Harris son invoices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m told that DCG Property Services is run by an individual, DH, who has a mate who is also a builder, and that this fellow-builder mate just happens to be Carolyn Harris’ son. The word is they did the work together, and presumably split the money.

——————————————

To conclude: My interpretation of events is that the assault took place as reported. Carolyn Harris may have offered her victim a job as a way of silencing her. The role of South Wales Police in all this is somewhat questionable. The role of the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party and its alter ego unions is despicable. I am also persuaded that Carolyn Harris is a rather unpleasant, bullying individual none too careful in her use of public money.

However . . .

SEEDS OF DOUBT

But, then, out of a clear blue sky, came other information, that in many ways contradicted this interpretation. This fresh information came in the form of e-mails with what looked like a genuine name attached. So what does this other information suggest?

Before I go into that let me theorise that for all I know this other source could be Carolyn Harris, or perhaps someone close to her. I offer the second possibility because the source couldn’t immediately reply to my questions and had to check with her “friend”.

Even so, what this source had to say makes a lot of sense because it ties up with other information in my possession.

*

INVASION OF THE TROTS

At the risk of repeating myself, let me say that nothing in this fresh information persuades me that Jenny Lee Clarke – or indeed Cllr Paulette Smith – has lied about the assault by Carolyn Harris MP.

What concerns me is how the assault might subsequently have been exploited by shit-stirrers with no commitment to Swansea and who, despite their age, still love to plot and play student politics.

What this new information suggests is that Trotskyist interlopers Bob Clay and his wife Uta – he English, she Austrian – are exploiting the situation in order to remove Caroline Harris and replace her with Andrea Lewis, Country music diva and a councillor for the Morriston ward. Morriston is also represented by current council leader, Rob Stewart, who is said to be unduly influenced by Bob Clay. (I thought I’d better cover myself by saying ‘current’ because you never know in Swansea.)

Vipers

I have written about the Clays before, a number of times, and as I say, it now appears that they are seeking to use assault victim Jenny Lee Clarke and witness Paulette Smith to remove Carolyn Harris, though my mystery source argues that the assault itself is a fabrication and the beginning of the plot.

All very strange, but given some credence by this remarkable document headed “To oblige CH (Carolyn Harris) to retire”, almost certainly written by Bob Clay and signed by him, Jenny Lee Clarke and Paulette Smith. Note that Bob Clay was uncertain whether to move on Harris before the Assembly elections in May or whether to bide his time. It may be significant that this document was signed on January 20th, a week before Jenny Lee Clarke went to the police.

My mystery informant goes further, writing, “Lots of people think the assault story is something Bob Clay cooked up to get Harris thrown out. He is now shitting himself because the story backfired and ended up in the Sun and Daily Mail. His branch want him suspended and deselected as a the councillor. There is infighting everywhere and Wales Labour is pretending nothing is happening”.

So how did the story make the tabloids? Did someone deviate from the script?

*

TRADITIONAL LABOUR VALUES

I’d like to end on a lighter note, if that’s possible when talking about the Labour Party in Swansea. But I enjoyed this story because it reminded me of traditional ‘Welsh’ Labour values. And I am nothing if not a traditionalist.

A while back now an Indian restaurateur wanted permission to demolish a two-storey building on St Helen’s Road and replace it with a three-storey building with a restaurant on the ground floor and staff accommodation above. Planning officers recommended refusal, but it soon became clear that the Labour councillors had decided beforehand to grant planning permission, and so the application was allowed.

Soon afterwards, my mate, who was on the planning committee, and also voted in favour, got a phone call from the Indian restaurateur. He said, ‘Mr R——, you must bring your wife down for a meal’. Taken slightly aback my mate replied, ‘That’s very kind of you but councillors have to be careful about that sort of thing’. The disappointed restaurateur responded with, ‘But the other councillors have been! And (a leading Labour councillor) even had his wedding reception here!’ (I should add that this is a very upmarket Indian restaurant.)

Let me make it clear that I am not for one minute suggesting that this hospitality was not paid for in full. Labour councillors – as we all know – do not accept freebies.

This restaurateur is expanding his empire, and recently sought permission for a takeaway in Killay (where he already has a restaurant), and the property in question is on the busy Gower Road, which at that point has double yellow lines. Again, the Labour members on the planning committee nodded it through despite the obvious issues and some 25 individual objections plus a petition with a further 77 names.

The Indian restaurateur in question himself lives in one of the big houses further along Gower Road, here’s a photo of his home taken within the past couple of days.

Gower Road

*

SUMMARY

The Labour Party came into being to fight entrenched and unrepresentative power, yet now, in Wales, it has become that very same thing itself; corrupt and representing nothing but the selfish interests of its members and hangers-on.

Because Labour can offer favours, jobs, sinecures, council seats, and positions as an MP or an AM it inevitably attracts chancers, crooks, careerists and just about anybody looking for easy money and a cushy life.

This contempt for the public at large is nowhere more evident than in Swansea where Labour is in a permanent state of civil war. Its members more concerned with plotting against each other than with running the city effectively.

But this is what results when any political party enjoys unchallenged power for too long. It gives us a corrupt and self-serving gang able to hang on to power because Wales lacks a party like the SNP to apply the coup de grace.

Worse, the party that likens itself to the SNP, the party whose leader loves to be photographed with Nicola Sturgeon, will be in coalition with Labour after May 5th. Which means that nothing will change.

 ~ § END § ~

 

COMING SHORTLY: In my next post (out perhaps on the 25th) I plan to look at what’s happening in our housing associations. There’s talk of collapse, council takeover, merger, incompetence and God knows what else. I shall be paying particular attention to Cantref and RCT Homes, so I would welcome any information on these, or indeed any other housing associations.

Either use the contact box at the head of the sidebar or write to editor@jacothenorth.net.

16 thoughts on “More From The ‘Vipers’ Nest’

  1. So why do the Welsh still vote Labour, what will it take for the scales to fall from their eyes?

    So far the SNP have managed a difficult balancing act. Only half of Scots favour independence at the moment, and most of them are probably fairly middle-of-the-road types. How to keep these folk on board without jettisoning the party´s more radical policies? How to stay on track while coming under attack from a minority of loony lefties trying to split the indy vote, aided and abetted naturally by the MSM and unionist infiltrators? All I can say is ¨so far so good …¨

    I suspect that in Wales the divide might be greater and so the balancing act involved in holding together radical reformers on the one hand and more ´traditional´ old-school Nats on the other, might be a lot more difficult. Is this the problem, and if so what is the solution? What do you think?

    1. dafis

      In that last paragraph you say – “……. the divide might be greater and so the balancing act involved in holding together radical reformers on the one hand and more ´traditional´ old-school Nats on the other, might be a lot more difficult……..” Therein lies the error of your analysis.

      What constitutes a radical reformer in today’s Wales ? Hard to tell as it’s a species which at first glance doesn’t crop up so frequently. Arguably some of our language activists might have aspired to that kind of identity but they often turn out to be single issue agitators without the peripheral vision to grasp the significance of some of the manouvers taking place around them. All well and good sounding off about the impacts of increasing numbers of migrant Anglos turning up in Wales and their detrimental effect on the native language, demands on social and health services, schools and crime/delinquency stats. But the real ( radical ) remedy may well be in stopping them coming in the first place. Now a fence a la Hungary is not on the cards but some prioritizing in the housing market would go some way to stop the blatant cherry picking of rural and semi rural homes. Other radicals used to grow/develop through the labour movement but generally matured into premier league fat cats later in life – so much for that. Many of our young talent now grow up superficially radical yet end up working in social services, housing associations and local authorities ( and I need say no more about that path to realisation of smug self- ambitions ! ). Of course they continue to play politics cropping up frequently within deviant groups Like Welsh Labour or “day dreamer” sects like Plaid Cymru and the Greens. Grim, isn’t it ?

      As for the old school nats, well most of them disappeared a long time ago. I think it’s Gwilym who has frequently railed against the influences of the Sons of the Manse, Plaid’s precursor to the Tory craze for “posh boys”. Now these boys had pretensions of radicalism, knew how to write pseudo Marxist articles and wave a placard or two. But, couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery. These toxic “thought leaders” worked hard to water down any hint of unadulterated nationalism initially using a strong traditional Left (nearly Marxist) theme as the mix to shift the thinking. Later. of course we had the emergence of the real poison, a poncy, pale pink, metropolitan pseudo socialism, the kind of muck that creates problems that need solving by all the assorted agencies specially created to employ like minded folk. And that is what we have today. It inhabits much of the upper and middle levels of Welsh Labour and runs through Plaid like a stick of rock.

      Old school Nats are still around, not many on street corners, but they do pop up from time to time on sites like this and also address audiences on other sites where the reception often ranges from cold to openly hostile. We like to think that our views sometimes strike a chord even one that prompts a negative reaction. All too often there is silence because the subjects we dare address and comment upon are a taboo zone for most of our formal political representation.

      Your questions might therefor need reconfiguration – try ” Given all these problems, how can we reach a workable mix of solutions ? Are you prepared to think beyond the boundaries of the current Groupthink prevalent within formal Welsh politics ?” or something along those lines. It will take many good heads with willing hearts to iron that lot out especially as we appear to be heading into troubled times on the industrial and political front where our main bodies politic will be focussing principally on their own survival despite their protestations about the interests of the community at large.

      1. Diolch yn fawr am hynny, Dafis, diddorol iawn i gyd. Rhaid i fi feddwl tipyn ar y hyn dych chi wedi ei sgwennu.

        One query though, are there no centre-right types in Welsh nationalism, that was what I mainly had in mind by ´old-school Nats´.

        As for radical moves, in the present Tory lead UK climate, things once taken more or less for granted, like universal free health care and education, now begin to appear extreme. The Scottish Government is making moves towards land reform, a long-standing ´smoldering issue´, but are judged far too timid by some, since they can´t afford to frighten the horses, that is their more comfortable-off middle-class followers.

        1. dafis

          Bore da. The centre right popoulation within Plaid has dwindled with very few people who could be regarded as such – maybe Wigley is the only surviving senior politician with those attributes. Plaid have done a job of marginalising that type of thinking electing to pursue a mix of ideas that do nothing other than position the party “Left of Labour” an irrelevant position on an outdated spectrum as, for many, voting for Labour is a matter of lifelong habit rather than ideology !

          As for radicalism, that is an overused word but in our context defence of real services has to be a central, core policy stance. The big dispute starts with defining “real service” as a lot of “service” has been created to benefit the service provider rather than the real needs of communities. Market forces ? or a corrupt interventionist agenda ?

          1. I agree with your last point, unfortunately left to itself almost any institution becomes self-perpetuating and self-serving.

            As to the centre-rights, while this is certainly not my position it has to be accepted that a significant proportion of perfectly nice ¨ordinary folk¨ are small-c conservative, liable to vote ¨new Labour¨ or ¨old Conservative¨ or ¨Liberal¨ according to how the political ground shifts and the various parties position themselves.

            Now it seems to me that if you genuinely believe in democracy you can only attain independence by having a good majority of the electorate on side. Which means we have to face the uncomfortable fact that we need the support of at least a proportion of the more conservative traditional types. Given that the Labour party doesn´t seem to have a clue what it stands for anymore, and that the Tories are well and truly showing their fangs as the Nasty Party, this might be a very good time to make gains amongst the ´middle-of-the-road´ types, especially when you bear in mind that they outnumber the fiery radicals several times over.

            If Plaid are to do this they need to come over as a safe pair of hands with a genuine interest in the welfare of the population, (and that would have to be the whole voting population as is now in Wales, not just those who you´d consider to be ´Welsh´), in sharp contrast to the rudderless self-serving morass that Labour have become.

            Is that really so hard to achieve? To aim for a Wales that is a modern small nation that looks after it´s citizens and promotes it´s own special culture and values? Or has creeping Anglicisation (or NeoCon Americanisation?) already gone too far?

            1. dafis

              Institutions in Wales have historically been run for or taken over by a mix of “establishment insiders”. That in itself is not unusual, but here the insiders have developed a set of values and goals which only reflect community needs as a matter of coincidence, not deliberate response. This self serving characteristic is now rampant, blatantly in your face, yet no party resolves to purge it. Instead a “tour of duty” in party politics is seen as a stepping stone to institutional office, with really successful types travelling back and forth serially.

              Your observations about the middle of the road is fair enough,though much of that space is now occupied by an indifferent population who don’t give a damn about issues like poverty or cultural decline, unless they too become threatened. That threat has not as yet manifested itself to prompt a serious response. Indeed this middle ground and the “working working class” ( as opposed to the assorted underclass) tend to flock towards UKIP or ultra Tory reactions when there is a perception of threat, like immigration from E Europe, Asia, Africa. This is partly due to that other issue you mentioned – creeping Anglicisation/ Yankee culture which is a part of the globalisation phenomenon. Consumerism has been used to render a large slice of our population into a passive condition which regards any challenge to the conformist status quo as a threat. Our political parties operate within this static, almost stagnant pool of voters with shifts happening only at the margins where there is a degree of ( passing) disaffection.

              If there was a fire we could poke it and stimulate some flames, but the analogy fails because there are so few embers left that could be stimulated to forge some real change, or am I missing something ?

              One last point on your final paragraph – you know my predispositions regarding Anglicisation of Wales from earlier comments. Those people who see all sorts of threats deriving from immigrants from “elsewhere” perversely fail, or refuse to acknowledge, the very same problem here in Wales. The wider UK reaction to immigration dresses itself up in neo Nazi garb and speaks a silmilar idiom, yet little or nothing is said about it. However a Welsh response to the more local migrant issue stimulates a hysterical Anglo Brit rant about the latent Fascism of those concerned about the language and our identity. Howzat for a duality of outlook, often in the same people.

          2. Neil Singleton

            Interesting that you mention Wigley, as the old adage comes to mind ” to change anything, you have to be in power”., I recall that, in the run up to the Welsh Assembly Election which resulted in a Labour/Plaid coalition, Wigley’s mantra was ” don’t mention the language and we’ll pick up seats”. This almost non-nationalistic approach, whilst it irritated the die-hard “independence/compulsory Welsh for all” element, did (almost) what Wigley had forecast, and Plaid entered into the coalition with Labour for 4 years (something that Leanne conveniently omits to mention when she’s on her “17 years of Labour failure” kick).

            1. But don’t ever forget how popular Wigley was as an individual. I recall ‘pundits’ saying ‘Oh, he’s too emotional, he loses his temper, he gets angry’, not realising that these human qualities appealed to many, many Welsh voters pissed off with castrated automata, devoid of human emotion and reading from scripts.

            2. Just as the SNP are trying to downplay a second referendum right now, at least until after the election, as they have to increase their number of seats to keep up the momentum and that means getting votes from many who are not (yet?) sold on indy. Also they want to see how the EU referendum goes, but after that the signs are that it will be ¨full ahead¨ from then on.

  2. Stan

    Great stuff, Jac. After reading this sorry tale I am left wondering just how much lower the reputation of the Labour Party in Swansea can go. But I feel particularly sorry for any decent people in that Party (are there any?) who are now aware of some of what is going on, and even more sorry for the public who have placed their trust in this bunch of unsavoury characters.

    And what a fascinating website you have revealed to us in Whitecock Whiterock Consulting. I was left with the distinct impression that they do the same as a lot of PR companies, and specialise in peddling complete bullshit. I may be mistaken because linking to “What we do” reveals an image that is clearly not bullshit at all. I assume it’s meant to represent a pile of white rock but it actually reminds me of a pile of donkey shit. But they attempt to tick all the right boxes. They offer “jargon-free advice”, and into the mix throw in such gems as “devise & deliver innovative strategies…….. formulate methods to share your plans with stakeholders………help shape a project but also add specific value………..advice with an edge” etc etc. Still, there must be something in it because Sian James has found their services necessary for the last four years of her tenure, and Carolyn Harris obviously carrying on with Whitecock Whiterock since she took up office. Personally, if I was Carolyn I’d ask for all my (or rather, the public’s) money back, because if what’s coming out of Swansea East is a PR success story, well Old Bailey has been getting tens of thousands over the years under false pretences.

  3. The Earthshaker

    Further proof as if it were needed that it’s all about the Labour Party, its power and influence and not the gullible folk who vote for them. Don’t feel bad Valley’s Labour Councils are as good at wasting public money and channelling money to their friends and family as Swansea and it’s about someone did an expose of Cardiff Labour’s factions, the defections, backstabbing, bribes, self interest and open warfare that erupts every time Labour’s elected in the city.

    Carolyn Harris strikes me as a typical Labourite, not too bright, been a member since birth, hates Welsh ‘Nats’, easily led and happy to follow the party line in the hope of getting rewarded, hence her becoming an MP, she was also happy to clean for the queen the dozey mare, I bet her constituents were delighted.

    As for Lawrence Bailey’s anonymous letter writing skills they were also put to good use on the now defunct Insideout Jaxxland blog, he was a regular contributor known for its carping at Swansea Council when it was Lib Dem run, when Labour won it back in 2012 the blog fell out of use.

    As I’ve said often in the comments here, what would I give for a well read welsh media that had the guts to expose these shams – keep up the good work.

  4. dafis

    Much as I don’t like Labour politicians and their perverse sense of “service” the conditions that prevail in Labour led councils also turn up in most other local authorities be they led by Labour or any party ( or dodgy “Independents”). Local government has developed into a big racket and at its core is our dependence on grants and other forms of state ( UK and EU ) funding. The boys and girls down at County/City Hall will bend rules, twist and turn with gymnastic flair to max out on funding for pet projects and ideas presented by their circle of supporters. In turn, the Assembly heads in the same direction with patronage and old loyalties overriding any strategic direction of policy and fund distribution.

    1. Stan

      Fair comment, Dafis. Without wishing to come at this from any particular ideological perspective, I believe some people in local authorities and the third sector often behave in a manner that shocks the average citizen because they are not spending their own money. Their funding largely comes from other sources, like Mam and Dad used to give you pocket money. I once had the misfortune to have a job where I witnessed huge sums of money pumped into urban regeneration in the Valleys, via the WDA. There was often insufficient thought given to what return there would be on this “investment”. The pet projects of the WDA officer in charge of grant funding for the area were nearly always the flavour of the day. I have seen buildings refurbished at the costs of £100,000s with little or no regard for an enduser. After a high standard of refurbishment they were left boarded and locked up. What a bloody waste – of money, of time, but more so – opportunity. And don’t get me going on what would happen as the end of the financial year beckoned. Spend, spend, spend like a gambling addict let loose in a casino. And like the gambling addict – little or nothing to show for it. There has to be a better way.

      1. dafis

        Stan You have summed it up accurately. More about “Me” and “my powers” and little if any to do with the needs of communities.

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