May 292018
 

This is a bumper edition, some 3,600 words, enough to keep you going for a week. It comprises six different reports so you don’t need to gorge and make yourself ill, you can take it one piece at a time. Enjoy!

MRS AND MR MERRILL

Rose Mutale Merrill (née Nyoni), doyenne of the race relations industry in Wales, head of Bawso, and involved with so many other organisations, a Labour Party insider and enforcer, has figured on this blog many times. News now reaches me of yet another string to her bow.

For it is alleged that she has built up quite a property empire in some desirable locations in and around Cardiff. One such property being 6 Mitre Place, in Llandaf, quite close to the cathedral. This cost her £223,600 in May, 2005.

This was before her marriage to Travers Merrill in or around October 2008, he of Rhondda Life fame. ‘Rhondda Life?’ Well, yes, it was a venture which, according to this report, seems to have targeted the gourmet tourists with which the Rhondda Fach is inundated.

Or, to put a less generous interpretation on it, it was yet another non-starter claiming hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money in an attempt to be seen to be doing something in a Labour heartland and, more importantly, providing cushy numbers for Labour Party time-servers.

Travers Merrill was chief executive of Rhondda Life, though when the inevitable collapse came about, Shippo of Llais y Sais was considerate enough to see that Merrill’s name did not appear.

Looking through the papers filed with Companies House I see that after the liquidators – based in Leicester! – had taken their pound of flesh Rhondda Life seems to have been left with 43 pence in the kitty. Another great success for the Poverty Party.

This is what happens when socialists are allowed anywhere near public money (click to enlarge)

But let us hie again to leafy Llandaf.

What I found strange about the title document for 6 Mitre Place was that even though the property was bought before the nuptials in the autumn of 2008 the title document has been amended to show Mutale’s married name, but the erstwhile Raymond Blanc of Ferndale is not mentioned. Which suggests that she is the sole owner.

Not content with just one property she then purchased another not far away, opposite Llandough Hospital. And there have been other purchases since to give Rose Mutale Nyoni-Merrill what I’m told now amounts to quite a property portfolio.

My informant – who I’m sure is mistaken – suggests that there might have been ‘confusion’ in the purchase of 6 Mitre Place, confusion as to the source of the deposit for the property. Perhaps money got mixed up somehow. But as I say, my informant is almost certainly wrong.

Before bidding this formidable woman farewell, another informant tells me that Mrs Nyoni-Merrill is/was lined up – certainly, shortlisted – for the job of Older People’s Commissioner. Can this be true?

Y WLADFA

In 1968 our national rugby team made its first trip to Argentina. As might be expected, contact was made with the descendants of the Welsh settlers in Patagonia. The BBC’s Onllwyn Brace – former rugby international himself – made a wonderful film of Alun Williams and others on that trip south.

Here’s a link to that 40 minute film (in Welsh). I urge you to find time to watch it. (Though the beginning could have benefited from editing.)

The Welsh Rugby Union has arranged another trip to Argentina for next month, playing two tests against Los Pumas. Given that this will be the fiftieth anniversary of that first tour, our cousins in Patagonia anticipated a visit, hoping that one of the test matches might be played in Trelew, or Puerto/Porth Madryn as on the last tour in 2006.

But it seems the WRU attaches no great importance to the Patagonia connection, or the Welsh language. As I discovered when our Patagonia correspondent supplied me with the information below.

Still from film of 1968 visit to Patagonia (click to enlarge)

Let me start by emphasising that the host country chooses venues for test matches involving touring teams, and for this tour Unión Argentina de Rugby (UAR) eventually gave the tests to the cities of San Juan and Santa Fe, both west of Buenos Aires and well over a thousand kilometres north of the Welsh settlements.

And even after the decision of the host country the venues still have to be confirmed by World Rugby.

When it became clear that no test match would be played in Patagonia the emphasis shifted to laying on entertainment and sight-seeing tours for WRU representatives, especially players, and of course fans, in order to raise money for the local Welsh schools. But for this to happen, the tour operators, responsible for arranging the fans’ itineraries, would need to play ball.

My source’s first contact with the WRU was a phone call on 27 September from chairman Gareth Davies (following a number of telephone calls to him and his secretary). Davies passed the job on to Mark Killingley, Head of Digital and Communications. Killingley appears to be an internet/PR expert who joined the Welsh Rugby Union in 2016 from its English counterpart the RFU

Following that telephone conversation my contact sent an e-mail reiterating the hope that the Welsh Rugby Union would – irrespective of where the test matches were held – show support for the Welsh language in Patagonia, specifically for the schools.

“As I explained on the phone, we would like to organise a series of events for both the fans and the WRU, with all money raised being used by the 3 Welsh language schools in Patagonia for the benefit of Welsh language teaching. To have the best chance of getting the UK Rugby tour companies on board, we would like to make an announcement as soon as possible. And, in order to get the best response from the Rugby Tour companies, we would like to have the open support of the Welsh Rugby Union.”

Contact was also made with Gullivers Sports Travel of Gloucester, the Welsh Rugby Union’s official travel agents. Because of course the WRU had said they wouldn’t do anything that conflicted with what Gullivers was arranging.

The representative at Gullivers that my source met – after travelling to England on other business – had never heard of the Welsh colony in Patagonia and showed no interest in learning. Gullivers would only go to Patagonia if the UAR held one of the games down there.

More bad news came with BBC Wales’ refusal to allow sales of the 1968 film I’ve linked to above, despite Cardiff University having prepared a transcript of the film to enable subtitles.

Even after the UAR announced the venues the Welsh community was still optimistic of getting fans to visit and were working flat out. As my source put it in another e-mail to Killingley, “We have a meeting of the Welsh schools in Patagonia this weekend, and I will travel to Trelew next Wednesday (600km!!), to try and finalise at least a programme for the fans.”

Making clear that the only thing being asked of the Welsh Rugby Union was an expression of support for what hard-working and dedicated people were doing down in Patagonia in the hope that tour operators would make it easier for fans to get down there.

E-mails continued to fly between Wales and Provincia Chubut in the desperate hope that the WRU might be persuaded do something – anything! – to recognise the Welsh colony in Patagonia and show support for it, for the Welsh language, and the schools helping keep it alive.

But it soon became clear to my correspondent that this was a forlorn hope.

The WRU made it clear that no players would be coming to Patagonia – ‘But we can send our CEO’.

‘No, I think people down here want to meet the players, but if they can’t come then how about donating some items that could be raffled to raise money for the Welsh schools?’

‘Oh, no, we couldn’t do that without a recognised charity being involved’.

‘For God’s sake these schools are recognised by the Argentina Ministry of Education – and we had to fight to get that recognition for Welsh language schools’.

On March 27, in what was close to the final communication, the Welsh Rugby Union was told:

“Throughout my communication with the WRU, we have tried to make a number of suggestions about how the WRU could help the survival of the Welsh language in Patagonia and each suggestion has met with resistance or rejection and never with any suggestion about how the WRU could help.

The WRU is obviously not willing to assist official representatives of the Welsh communities in Patagonia, who are asking for a simple endorsement of fund-raising initiatives which should align with the broad interest of a very public Welsh organisation. We have pointed out to you that this tour occurs 50 years after the first tour, where the WRU and the BBC went to great lengths to publicise the Welsh communities in Patagonia. You wear your commitment to the Welsh language very openly on your sleeves.”

As things stand, our cousins will next month be laying on events and food, entertainment and sight-seeing trips in the hope that fans will somehow make their way south from the northern cities. And it’s being done without any support whatsoever from the self-styled Welsh Rugby Union. Though in fairness, maybe Gullivers Sports Travel has now got the message, though it might have been garbled in transmission.

click to enlarge

With its three feathers badge and its constant fawning over the English royals the Welsh Rugby Union is a national disgrace. Nothing exposes its ambivalent Welshness more than its attitude to the language, both at home and overseas.

Thank God we’ve got a national football team with a governing body far more supportive than the WRU of the language, perhaps even some of our footballers display a little more pride in their roots than many of our rugby players. For example, it was great to see Gareth Bale leave the field in Kiev on Saturday, after scoring his wonder goal, with the national flag draped over his shoulders.

click to enlarge

Which seems to be part of a pattern.

For I’ve noticed in fifty years and more of following Welsh sport that our football fans seem to be increasingly dedicated to the team, and to Wales; whereas the death of heavy industry in the south seems to have robbed rugby of its traditional support base, for which spangly cowboy hats, inflatable daffodils and an endless supply of expensive beer are no real substitute.

But then, it’s all money.

DELTA WELLBEING LTD

Readers of this blog, and indeed other blogs, especially those focusing on Sir Gâr, will be alert to any mention of Wellbeing, the catchword for the private healthcare development, shopping mall, leisure centre, 86-lane bowling alley, and home for the Welsh space programme, planned for Delta Lakes in Llanelli. Something of which we first became aware with the publication of this document (page 25, section 5.4).

The grand venture originally involved a company known as Kent Neurosciences Ltd, now, alas, dissolved. Among the directors of this enterprise we find a Professor Robert Marc Clement, a Turk by birth now expanding young minds at Swansea University.

Which is convenient, for Swansea University is a partner in the Delta Lakes project.

I have written nothing about Clement myself but he appears regularly on The Eye, a blog written by one of my biggest fans, Phil Parry, who is forever quoting me, updating his biography, and using my photos without permission. (You rascal, you!)

Kent Neurosciences’ place at Delta Lakes may now have been taken by Delta Wellbeing Ltd, Incorporated as recently as January this year with a single one pound share. The company was formed by a Russell Holmes Thompson from what I believe to be his home address in Wolverhampton.

So why would someone form a company in Wolverhampton that is obviously linked to Delta Lakes in Llanelli? Come to that, who is Russell Holmes Thompson? Well, he seems to have been involved in many companies over the years, a number of which are in the health and care sector.

He must have been previously known to Carmarthenshire County Council because on February 4 he ceased to be “a person with significant control” and a day later he was joined as director by Mrs Samantha Watkins, an employee of the council. On the same day the company’s address moved from Wolverhampton to the Dafen Industrial Estate in Llanelli.

click to enlarge

Then, mysteriously, Watkins ceased to be a director on the 8th, but returned on March 20 accompanied by Owen William Bowen, possibly another council employee. So it was no surprise to see on March 23 Carmarthenshire Council listed as “a person with significant control”.

Which means that between February 8 and March 20 Thompson was officially the sole director despite having officially relinquished “significant control”. Odd, that.

As we know, Carmarthenshire County Council is simply Mark Vincent James, its chief executive (and Cardiff Bay property tycoon), by another name. And Delta Lakes is his gift to posterity, his lasting legacy for the grateful citizenry of Carmarthenshire, and nothing must be allowed to interfere with this vision.

So let’s keep an eye on Delta Wellbeing Ltd and the Delta Lakes project generally. Keep tabs on how much of the county’s money is used on this project, what other partners emerge, how much of the Swansea Bay City Deal money is diverted, what role is found for Marc Clement, how many new homes will be needed to help fund it, etc.

This could run and run!

CASTING A LONG SHADOW

The tragic death of Carl Sargeant AM last November lifted the lid a little on the links between politicians, their advisers, PR outfits, third sector parasites and other denizens of that cess-pit known as Cardiff Bay.

Fresh information reaches me that makes the whole business look even more distasteful.

I’m told that following Sargeant’s death, Christina Rees, MP for Neath and Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, had to be forced by other Welsh MPs to make a statement of condolence. Because, I’m told, she, or perhaps her political adviser, former Cardiff councillor, Luke Holland, had been briefing against Carl Sargeant, and that the briefings continued against former AM Leighton Andrews, Sargeant’s friend and defender.

There was outrage within the Labour Party over the behaviour of Rees and Holland, which the bruvvers managed to keep within the party (easy given the absence of a Welsh media) but even so, Holland’s position became untenable and he left, or was forced to leave, Ms Rees’ office.

So what did the boy do next?

He did what everybody in his position does – he set up a PR outfit! This one called Cathod Du (Black Cats) Consultancy Ltd, Incorporated November 30. It seems to have no website and no presence beyond the few sparse documents at Companies House, but that may not matter, for it might now have a specific purpose, or a single client.

click to enlarge

I’m told that Holland is a supporter of Vaughan Gething, who a few days ago announced that he was running for Labour leader in the Assembly. And in the best traditions of Welsh politics it is further suggested that Cathod Du may act as a conduit for funding the Gething campaign.

To complicate matters even further, Mark Holland is married to Louise Magee, the general secretary of Plaid Tlodi. Magee was heavily involved in Sargeant’s sacking on November 3. I believe it was she who sent the e-mail informing him of his dismissal.

Then, in a plot twist few writers would dare commit to paper – Magee was appointed by the party to be Jack Sargeant’s agent in his campaign to succeed his father! Understandably, the welcome mat was not rolled out for her on Deeside, so she booked into a hotel outside of the constituency and kept a very low profile.

And to round off this tale of betrayal and incestuous relationships I also hear that soon after being appointed the Poverty Party’s general secretary last April Magee gave hubby Holland the job of being her press officer, without the post being advertised and at a higher salary than other staff.

If so, this isn’t listed on his Linkedin profile, nor can I find information anywhere else, so can anyone confirm this?

I was told long before Carl Sargeant’s death that Vaughan Gething was Carwyn Jones’s chosen successor. Given how instrumental Jones’s staff and former staff were in the campaign against Sergeant, Magee’s role, and how that links with Holland, and how Holland may now be Gething’s bagman, it does make you wonder.

 

AIRBRUSHED HISTORY

One of the few Twitter accounts I follow is the excellent Welsh not British and his On This Day feature, which last week reminded us of the Mold Riots of 1869. Just as well because I’m sure few of us know of this episode.

click to enlarge

Like so many events in our history the Mold Riots have either been corrupted or ignored entirely. And yet, here we have Welsh miners suffering discrimination, being denied work, then arrested, with the episode eventually resulting in soldiers shooting down people in the streets of a Welsh town.

So how come ‘Welsh’ Labour doesn’t commemorate this event?

The simple answer is that any issue that pits Wales against England or Welsh against English must be avoided like the pox in case it encourages nationalist sentiment which might result in more people questioning the benefits to Wales of being in the Union with England.

But equally, taking the side of England or the English would be damaging for the party, so it’s best that certain issues and incidents are ignored entirely.

For when it comes to Wales the Labour Party is primarily a Unionist Party, everything else is secondary. The ‘socialism’ is just sloganising; the ‘concern’ for the downtrodden is nothing more than posturing to justify the maintenance of the party’s third sector auxiliary force; while the hostility to capitalism is an excuse to explain sheer incompetence from arseholes incapable of organising an economy.

Next year marks the 150th anniversary of the Mold Riots. The Poverty Party won’t commemorate the event but those who died and the others who suffered such blatant and racist discrimination should be remembered. They deserve it.

Let’s do it in 2019!

SEND US YOUR SICK AND YOUR ELDERLY, WALES CAN AFFORD IT!

The Conservatives have once again raised the issue of free prescriptions, and once again, they’ve done it without really grasping the problem.

As the article from Llais y Sais tells us, people have been getting Bonjela, Strepsils, and even deodorants on prescription, which is guaranteed to get ‘Apoplectic of Cowbridge’ choking on his single malt but doesn’t amount to much in the greater scheme of things. For the abuse of the free prescription legislation is only the tip of the iceberg.

That’s because free prescriptions attract into Wales large numbers of people who would otherwise be spending a sizeable amount of money every month on prescription charges, for there are no free prescriptions in England. These will be people with serious and long-term conditions.

I see such people every day in Tywyn, and they can be found in every other small town in Wales.

Quite obviously, the demands such people make on the NHS will not be restricted to prescription charges. In fact, prescription charges will be only one small part of the burden imposed by a high dependency group attracted to Wales in the first instance by free prescriptions.

click to enlarge

For they will also require hospital treatment, therapy and carers, there may be a nurse calling regularly. Or perhaps it’s transport, from the Wales Mobility and Driving Assessment Service, funded by the ‘Welsh’ Government. Its headquarters are at Rookwood Hospital in Cardiff but it has a northern office in Rhyl and ‘outreach’ services at Newtown, Oswestry and Pembrokeshire.

All of which adds up to a hell of a lot more in monetary terms than prescription charges.

Of course a high percentage of the people we’re discussing will be middle-aged and elderly, which helps explain why we also read in the article, “The number of ‘drugs for dementia’ items rocketed by 1,473% – up from just over 11,000 in 2002 to nearly 179,000 in 2017”.

An iron law of the relationship between Wales and England says: ‘Anything which makes Wales attractive to English people will result in large numbers of English people moving into Wales’.

It would be nice if this was a booming economy, an abundance of well-paid jobs, and a labour shortage, but it’s not. (Of course, many of the better jobs are reserved for English people, but that’s simply because of our colonial status.)

Apart from that, what attracts people to Wales in 2018 – especially the retired and other non-working groups – is cheap property prices (or easy access to social housing), nice scenery, few ‘ethnic minorities’, and free prescriptions.

Yes, Northern Ireland and Scotland also have free prescriptions, but they do not have large numbers of English people, moving in every year. Those that do move are more likely to be students than retirees.

It’s difficult to understand why the situation we experience today could not have been foreseen, and the problem mitigated with a residency period of say 10 years in Wales before anyone qualified for free prescriptions.

Or maybe it was foreseen.

Because if someone wanted to skew Welsh health and sickness statistics, over-burden our NHS, in order to paint a picture of we Welsh being unable to run our own affairs, then free prescriptions is a bloody good way of doing it.

I leave you with the words of a ‘Welsh’ Government spokesperson: “Free prescriptions were introduced in Wales as a long-term investment to improve people’s health”. The truth is that free prescriptions have made Wales a less healthy country.

♦ end ♦

 

  36 Responses to “News Round-up 29.05.2018”

  1.  

    Anyone interested in reading a fictionalised but contemporary account of the Mold Riots may do so in my translation of Daniel Owen’s classic novel “Rhys Lewis”. See https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rhys-Lewis-Minister-Bethel-Signature/dp/0956703135” (which includes a review so you don’t need just to take my word that it’s any good) or (a better place to buy it) http://www.gwales.com/goto/biblio/en/9780956703132/.

    •  

      Admittedly, I use the episode to have a go at the Labour Party but it goes beyond that because until a few years ago I knew nothing about it.

      Why isn’t it up there with the Merthyr Rising, the Chartist march on Newport, Rebecca, Scotch Cattle, Tonypandy, Llanelli and the rest?

      Or, given the cultural and linguistic dimension, why isn’t remembered along with the Blue Books?

      •  

        Yes, it’s a strange thing; I’d never heard anything about it either until I was researching the background to Rhys Lewis.

        Maybe there’s an opportunity here; flag up the anniversary and make it a publicity opportunity for the party. It wouldn’t do the book sales any harm either!

        In fact, seriously, the story as Daniel Owen tells it is a good antidote to the myth that industrial Wales has somehow always been socialist. Quite the contrary: Owen has one of the key characters, the wise old chapel elder Abel Hughes, saying “But these strikes are a very strange thing. They’re things that have come from the English; they don’t belong to us, and I fear that they will do a lot of harm to this country”, and even the miners’ leader, Bob Lewis (Rhys’s elder brother), when addressing the miners, saying that the English managers “were oppressing the miners and damaging the interests of the owners” – recognising in a very Gladstonian Liberal way the fact that the interests of the miners and owners were very much aligned.

        I have plenty of friends in Mold; I’ll ask around to try to find out if there is in fact anything planned to mark the event.

        •  

          Seeing as next year is the 150th anniversary I believe we should celebrate it, otherwise there’s the risk of someone else doing a ‘misinterpretation’.

        •  

          A few years ago I came across another instance of the Welsh language being banned in the North Wales coalfield, in one of the pits outside Wrecsam. Anyone seeking a job down the mine was questioned about which language they normally used; if the interviewer was able to discover that the candidate’s first language was Welsh and that their English was rudimentary, they didn’t get the job.
          The vast majority of colliery-owners in Denbighshire and Flintshire were from England, and I’d be surprised if other collieries didn’t have the same language policy as the one I’m referring to. (it was somewhere near Coedpoeth, I think).

          •  

            It would be interesting to get more information on that. I can remember Coedpoeth back in the 60s being described as ‘the most Welsh part of Wrexham’. Go back another century, to the time of the Mold Riots, and it would have been almost totally Welsh speaking.

          •  

            Coedpoeth certainly one of the top five Welsh-speaking villages outside Wrecsam percentage-wise, and still in the top five. But the numbers have fallen drastically in the last twenty years, for reasons with which you and other subscribers will be familiar. Now about 18.5% of the village speak it.

            But it has at least got a Welsh-medium secondary school, and everyone wants to get their kids into it.

            Mold’s about 21%. As you say,in the 19th Century, the overwhelming majority spoke it. As for the riots, the town is commemorating the event, even if Cardiff Bay isn’t.

    •  

      When Cllr Sean Rees (Glanymor) went on a march commemorating the deaths when Churchill ordered troops to fire on the 1911 railway strikers, he was critisised by a Mr Herbert of Plaid Cymru and former Royal Greenjackets. He quoted an exchange between Sean and Huw Edwards (BBC and Llangennech) calling it hypocrisy.

      Having parachuted in a disastrous parliamentary candidate from Cardiff (Mari Arthur) and then locked-out the town branch, they launched a hate campaign on social media.

      https://twitter.com/GeorgeLlanelli/media
      Scroll down to see abuse.

      George Herbert (Mari Arthurs’ favourite fortune teller and spiritualist) is originally from London, retired to Wales after having served with 3 Royal Green Jackets. His favourite past-time is tweeting pictures of Welsh people dressed as bananas (taken during a fair trade campaign) linked to abusive messages about town councillors.

      This is Plaid Cymru 2018.

      It should be noted that in the town council elections in 2017 Mr Herbert, although an offical Plaid Cymru candidate actually came bottom of the poll and was soundly rejected by the people of Glanymor ward (441 votes). While Sean Rees as a Plaid councillor was elected with 650 votes.

      We see Leanne Wood the leader of Plaid Cymru condemn ‘online trolls’ from the stage of the Hay festival. Perhaps she should turn her attention to the vitriol being thrown at Welsh people in Llanelli – from her own party.

  2.  

    that last section – relating to health and free prescriptions in particular – needs hammering home consistently. Apart from the gross stupidity you focus upon we also have G.P’s taking the soft option and doling out all sorts of stuff free of charge when it can be bought for less than the cost of processing a prescription “over the counter” . Indeed many G.P’s are just too willing to dole out dope in any case. They are “incentivised” by big pharma who often peddle drugs that arrest conditions but also lead to other complications long term. A serious review of the whole mess is needed.

  3.  

    Come, come Jac. To think that the WRU may have any interest in the Welsh language, our heritage or identity is pure folly in itself. Just as they have turned Welsh rugby into nothing more than a coporate jamboree with just one aim, to make as much money as quickly as is possible.They view anything else as just a side show and unworthy of consideration, the word Welsh in WRU is simply there for marketing purposes. Rather unsurprisingly, for quite sometime they have been following a similar structural model as that of the English RFU, because as we know, they do things so much better east of Offa. The FAW is light years ahead of the WRU in projecting a positive image of our country overseas.

    That the people at Gullivers were totally ignorant of the Welsh settlement in Patagonia should not come as a surprise, however shocking it may be to those of us with a taste for Argentinian wines and a less insular, Anglophilic view of the world. I wonder if when England next tour Australia whether Gullivers will consider excursions to Uluru. Or are they equally ignorant of the importance of that site to the indigenous people of Australia?

  4.  

    I wouldn’t bother commenting on the WRU’s antics normally but as I am feeling particularly niggly and hostile this afternoon I will make an exception just to say that this disinterest in Patagonia so typifies the attitudes of generations of blazeratti that have occupied executive and committee roles in that most useless of bodies. Had Patagonia been part of the Empire and now within the Commonwealth their attitude would be entirely different. I don’t have any strong feelings about ownership of Falklands/Malvinas but there are many people in Wales who still resent the Argentine people having the temerity to make any sort of claim on those islands. These men at the WRU (and the vast majority have been men with a woman not appointed until fairly recently, I’m informed) just feed off the corporate tit and grovel around the three feathers and anything associated with them. Loyalist Masonic arselickers of the worst kind. Rant over, I feel better already.

  5.  

    A planning application will be considered on 6th June by Pembrokeshire National Park Planning Committee. It relates to the new proposed Premier Inn at Glasfryn, St Davids. This proposal has met with significant local opposition 281 letters of objection and an online petition gaining over 2800 signatures.

    The planning meeting will be at Ty’r Pererin, Quickwell Hill, St Davids, from 10am.

    http://www.westerntelegraph.co.uk/news/16251260.Thumbs-up_on_cards_for_St_Davids_Premier_Inn/

    Obviously, a corporate bucket hotel will not only have a disastrous effect on the existing provision in St Davids but also plunge the local offering downmarket. It will become the CandyFloss of Cathedrals.

    https://www.change.org/p/no-to-premier-inn-in-st-david-s-pembrokeshire

    What has not been publicised so far is that the 63-bedroom Premier Inn (with cheap restaurant) is within the application is a plan for 38 “affordable rented flats” via Pembrokeshire Housing Association, which in itself is a sweetener for 32 properties for sale as second/holiday investments, to be built and marketed by Mill Bay Homes.

    •  

      This is a complicated and divisive issue that has caused considerable bitterness in St David’s. Many locals welcome the Premier Inn and the housing, arguing that the bulk of the opposition comes from those running twee, and “over-priced” bed and breakfast establishments, and kindred spirits, who tend to be well-off and have their origins a long way from Pembrokeshire.

      One of the best weapons held by the opposition to the plan is that twee and overpriced though their establishments may be, these latter-day Basil Fawltys still source almost everything locally. Which will not be the case with Whitbread-Premier Inns.

      Then we have the presence of Pembrokeshire Housing and its now fully privatised subsidiary Mill Bay Homes (which still owes the parent company millions of pounds). Does St David’s really need 38 flats for rent? Or are most of them earmarked for the staff that Premier Inns will be bringing in?

      The article in the Pembrokeshire Herald talks of Mill Bay Homes offering some of its properties as “shared ownership”, but what MBH offers on its other sites is not shared ownership but the chance to buy a share of the lease. Which throws up the curiosity of the ‘Welsh’ Government trying to phase out leasehold deals in the private sector but apparently turning a blind eye to it being done by privatised subsidiaries of housing associations.

      Confusion or double standards?

      •  

        If the issue in the market is ‘twee overpriced B&Bs’ then the existing market demonstrates the solution. A quality and tailored Jurys or Hyatt type of investment. This would not only keep the quality and local supply chain, but also provide better paid employment opportunities for the area. All a Premier Inn would provide is minimum wage slavery. It would not evict the small scale ‘twee’ colonists you highlight. It should also be noted that the land to be used is not Welsh owned. Like the Travelodge at St Clears, it will be closely followed by a drive-thru McDonalds and a lunge down-market. Do this to St Davids is like saying good to put a caravan park on Abaty Ystrad Fflur or a Glamping site on Castell y Bere, “because it provides a someone a part time job’. These are not the jobs Wales needs. The person who stuffs a pillow at the Premier Inn on the minimum wage will never be able to buy back the ‘twee cottage’ that’s currently owned by a previous incomer you identify. It just re-enforces colonialism.

        •  

          This is the infernal “travel and hospitality” sector again. Not much point engaging in the debate over hotels, whether they should be “budget” or ” prestige”, as the net result is the same – ownership by some big corporate outfit that takes profit and employs locals on marginal rates with contracts to match. The stinky bit is the activities of that Housing Association yet again with its package of “affordable” and investment properties. All designed to keep natives on the breadline while big corporate pigs empty the trough as fast as they can guzzle, which is not a good prospect for local supply chains either.

          •  

            The issue of ‘post colonial tourism’ is being addressed by the ANC in South Africa.

            In one camp you had the ‘leftists’ and in the other camp you had the ‘libertarians’. After the end of the apartheid era the global hotel chains were in there like a rash, but instead of liberating the black population they just used them as slaves and most still lived in shanty towns pitched just out of sight of the ‘resort’.

            The ANC government wanted to change this, and some American and Arab enterprises stepped up to the plate with a unique offering.

            Hyatt invented a brand previously aimed at wealthy black tourists who don’t lie on sunbeds to get a tan. It purchased white estates (which included private beaches and hunting estates), filled the establishments with local blacks on the full living wage, championed gourmet African food, and put the vacation emphasis on culture.

            A Hyatt boutique enterprise in St Davids would be ideal.

            Evict all the low spend English people off Freshwater West. Ban caravans and deck chairs. Charge Arabs and Yanks $100 a pop to access the beach, half being retained as tourism tax. Pay local Welsh people the best wages in the industry. Offer cheap mortgages to their local staff. Encourage the Welsh language as a ‘sophisticated cultural experience’. Minimise the natural environment impact.

            However, I also realise this may make the Labour Party choke on their CandyFloss Brummie entitlement culture.

            Example..
            https://www.mrandmrssmith.com/luxury-hotels/marataba

            I don’t need look to England to see the future of Wales. There’s a whole world out there that’s managed to shake off the empire. We must learn from them. I want to see the likes of Peter Hain return to Africa and sweep the floors of a Xhosa community centre, not lord over the Welsh. In India they install zip wires between the turrets of colonial forts and graze cattle on the old viceroy estates. These are the examples we need to emulate. The Pembrokeshire National Park is as valuable as Yellowstone, Kruger or Uluru. Selling short is a mugs game.

            The problem is not some twee English lady selling tea cakes. It’s our own government.

        •  

          There’s also the language issue. If Llandudno is anything to go by, Premier Inns are invariably managed by English staff brought in for the purpose. The staff meetings at Llandudno are conducted purely in English, with an initial apology to Welsh-speaking staff.

          •  

            This is almost inevitable with English companies operating in Wales. Retailers – especially supermarkets – seem to be the worst offenders.

  6.  

    The film of the 1968 Gwladfa tour was effin’ fantastic. I was struck by the conversation between the bloke in the blazer and the Patagonian Welshman who drove him through the desert, when, in response to the question “Do your children speak Welsh?”, the driver replied “No, Spanish”. (Shades of Wales 100 years ago).

    Huw Edwards’s recent documentary on Y Wladfa showed that this is beginning to change, there is a lot of pro-Welsh goodwill floating around the pampas, and even non-Welsh Patagonian children are learning Welsh to a reasonable fluency level.

    Dafis: ‘Blazeratti” – I love that!

    By the way, Jac, the comments section of your previous report, on our beloved Secretary of State and his unionist proclivities, seems to be no longer accessible.

    •  

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. Ir was nice to see Alun Williams again.

      As for the blog not taking comments for the previous post, I can’t see anything wrong at my end. But the site was migrated earlier in the week to a new server and now it’s more secure (https rather than the old http) and this has resulted in a few hiccups. I shall consult my technical supremo, Gwilym, to see if he can throw any light on the matter.

      •  

        ‘Supremo’ WOW – I’ve never been called a Supremo before. Shame on you Jac, you know what a shrinking violet I am – the embarrassment of it all is killing me.

        Fine this end Wrexhamian. Clear the cache in your browser and try again. If others at the client end, like Jac, can vouch that it’s displaying OK in their browsers, then the problem is local and not common.

        It’s important to use httpS in the prefix to the domain – as Jac has said, this is now a secure site (note the little green padlock – just like the banks’ websites)! You may have fragments in your browser’s cache that still directs to an address starting with just http.

        •  

          ………….except I have a little amber alert at the top of the page – site address box ? – telling me that this site is not secure ! Not that I ever experienced any intrusions via Jac’s blog anyway. Sport websites can be real buggers for harbouring malware pirates.

          •  

            This whole site, is working with SSL security. This means that when directing your browser to the site https:// should be used rather than the non secure http:// prefix. Some may experience problems if they use http:// to try and access this site.

            The reason for the ‘little amber alert’ as you called it Dafis, (notice it’s not a dark padlock with a RED line diagonally across it), denotes that there are certain items on the page that originate from other sites that are not secure (no SSL). E.g. if a link to a remote site, or a reference in the page to an image that is from a non secure source, then it will trigger that icon in the address bar of the browser. Showing that the site is secure, but certain elements inserted on the page might link to sites that are not secure. All information from this site to the server and visa versa is encrypted.

            This does NOT mean that the SITE is not secure, but that certain CONTENT that links to outside sources may not be secure.

            I hope that clarifies things a little.

        •  

          Yes, dim problem rwan, Gee. Diolch.

          •  

            Ardderchog. Fe fydd pawb yn canu o’r un llyfr emynau cyn bo hir!

          •  

            Duw, it’s good to have boys about who know their stuff – as the mullah with no fingers said when packing detonators !

  7.  

    For those not familiar with Ffos y Fran, it’s a huge open cast coal mine near Merthyr Tydfil. The current extraction of coal reserves started in 2017 and is due to exhaust in 2022. The license to mine was issued by Natural Resources Wales and as the mine has severe environmental impact, it drew up an ‘escrow agreement’ that the enterprise would pay £625,000 per quarter into a restoration fund.

    https://www.millerargent.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/2013-2.jpg
    c – Miller Argent.

    This fund is required to be £15million in value when mining completes.

    The local authority, Merthyr Tydfil Borough Council, which granted planning permission, is the administrator of this fund. Restoration costs was estimated at £62million, to the Welsh Government is committed to finding £47million to restore the site in 2022, even if the mining company pays in its share of the restoration costs.

    It appears that a legal dispute is now being played out in the high court between the mining company and the scared and depleted council. The quarterly payments are not being made.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-44335857

    All is not well. The mining company who’s generic name at the time of start of works was Miller Argent Plc have performed a number of legal distancing acts of responsibility. The Miller Argent (big money) was excluded responsibility at the beginning of the venture and in 2018 the ‘Blackstone’ was invented as the operating brand (little money) who are now wholly responsible for the site and restorative obligations.

    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/04261274
    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/06330412
    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/04261269

    Strangely, not only has this legal battle ensued in the high court over payments into the restorative fund, but the outstanding debt (an asset charge) on plant and machinery due to HSBC Equipment Finance has been paid up early, in April of this year. This is not mentioned in the BBC report. Usually, such charge would be kept for the whole length of time the plant and machinery is in use. In other words, up to 2022.

    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/04261274/charges/zOZSlIEs7YDjk03xuBCRV5-Yq58

    Are they going to ‘cut-and-run’ and leave the good people of Merthyr Tydfil will a horrific scar on the landscape, dump the whole clean up costs onto the Welsh Government, and put 200 people out of work?

  8.  

    Your tweet link to an article about the shallow left’s relationship with independence is recommended reading. Jason M McCann hits so many nails smack on the head and it relates so closely to that which we observe going on here in Wales ( and elsewhere) . Trendy pseudo left poseurs sucking up shallow ill thought through drivel and insisting that it offers some kind of rigour and excellence. Plaidistas still in the thrall of the Ms Wood-centred groupthink should read it, but there again they would most likely explain it away as “Fascist, see”

    •  

      What it also tells us is where Plaid Cymru has gone wrong.

      Realising that it was too closely identified with the Welsh language and rural areas in the west and the north Plaid Cymru decided to change, to make itself more electable. But instead of adopting the non-dogmatic and self-serving ‘socialism’ of what was still the Welsh working class, Plaid went overboard for the trendy left and every -ism imaginable. With the result that it is perhaps now less electable than when perceived as ‘the language party’. Certainly when results under Wigley are compared with results under his successors.

      The SNP avoided these ideological and cultural traps to remain a broad church: ‘You believe in independence – support the SNP’. This is why, even before its rise to power, the SNP retained its deposits in Westminster elections, from the Borders to the Northern Isles. It believed in independence, not silly ideologies, and it didn’t prevaricate over independence either, unlike Plaid Cymru, whose position on independence depended on who you were asking and which way the wind was blowing.

      The hole Plaid has dug for itself is now too deep to climb out out. It will stumble on in some form, a party preaching more devolution but really concerned with ishoos that mean nothing to 90% of the Welsh population. The independence banner, and the fight for national rights, will be taken up by others.

      •  

        ….”Realising that it was too closely identified with the Welsh language and rural areas in the west and the north Plaid Cymru decided to change, to make itself more electable”. Maybe, but consider that by 1968 Dr Phil Williams was achieving a serious result in Caerffili by “being Welsh”, but doing it in a way that identified with the communities in that constituency. So they didn’t really need to change, just adapt. The players of that time were able to make a case without turning wholesale somersaults in political posture and a key to doing so was running with bright candidates who had some sort of identity/affinity with those local communities.

        Adopting abstract fruitcake theories and “policy positions” came later as a generation of politicians couln’t be arsed to front up regularly to the business of talking to joe and jane public, preferring instead to engage in sterile incestuous posturing and navel gazing at conferences and weekend gatherings where the latest imported fad was absorbed and the realities of life in Wales conveniently ignored unless they fitted neatly into the boxes designed by the new orthodoxy.

        Brychan’s comment below dissects the present condition admirably particularly the bit about fossils !

        •  

          Yes, I remember the by-elections of the late 1960s, I was there, and yes, Plaid was more ‘Welsh’ in those days and it didn’t do the party any harm. But there was still a general perception that Plaid was ‘the language party’. I can remember knocking on doors in Swansea, introducing myself as representing Plaid Cymru, only to be told – but very politely – ‘Sorry, love, we don’t speak Welsh’.

          As for the leftward drift, you’re right, it began under DET in the 1980s and didn’t take in anything that the working class of south Wales could identify with, it was for Guardian readers and single-issue obsessives only.

          Plaid then made a comeback with Dafydd Wigley and was unashamedly Welsh, and it worked. So Plaid Cymru got rid of him and that’s why we’ve ended up with Leanne Wood.

          Plaid is its own worst enemy. Which is why I’ve always said that there are individuals lurking at the top of the party, often just out of sight, who do not work for Wales. Making Plaid Cymru the ideal national party – for England. Filling the void, inhibiting the emergence of a true nationalist party, but being no threat whatsoever to the status quo.

    •  

      Leanne can steer an even keel but only if she stood back and looked at the real situation. She needs to remove herself from the bubble. Take a walk on Pen Pych or Moel y Ci depending where she is and think about things.

      Correction can just mean writing a few ‘guidance’ emails and a chat with AMs, but she won’t. Maybe she’s afraid or perhaps resides in her own comfort zone.

      (a) You cannot ask voters to vote for a candidate your own party didn’t vote for itself. Imposition of candidates is toxic.

      (b) Diversity isn’t about ishoos. It’s about people. If you suspend or expel people who are not like you, then you alienate whole communities. To be successful you have to represent people, not abstract concerns.

      (c) Policy beyond core values is a tool of engagement and not biblical mantras. As the political landscape evolves you have to adapt, not fossilise.

      (d) Leadership is like conducting an orchestra not writing the music yourself.

      If you look at the SNP and compare it to Plaid Cymru you see that Nicola has nailed all the above characteristics. Leanne has failed in all.

  9.  

    I am someone who has been negatively affected by Bawso and Eyst in Swansea. Major corruption with a lot of evidence. lost as to whom can help me against the disgusting behaviour by these claimed charitable organisations. please can some one help me. Whoever wrote this article has helped me understand more of who runs these organisations. I am on a mission to help expose the bad apples in society

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