Why only 10% of Welsh housing should be on the open market Part 2: Suggested answers to the most common questions and concerns

This is a guest post by Gruffydd Meredith. It considers important but overlooked aspects of the housing crisis in Wales.

For while holiday homes get most of the attention the problem of properties being bought for other reasons tends to slip beneath the radar. I’m thinking now of properties bought by those settling permanently in rural and coastal areas.

These will often be retirees (who seem to get younger every year), people making a lifestyle choice, those who’ve bought a local business (most of which are now sold online), and others moving to Wales for a whole range of reasons from white flight to health considerations.

And the effects go beyond housing. All the way from village schools closing to social tensions as newcomers try a little too hard to ‘involve themselves’ in village life, with this being perceived by many locals as ‘taking over’.

Take it away, Gruff . . .

It was good to see the discussion following an article I wrote which was published on Nation.Cymru on November 20th 2021, titled ‘Why only 10% of Welsh housing should be on the open market’. There were a great deal of important questions and comments made in response.

The basic premise of the article is this; that Wales should follow the example of the island of Guernsey (and many other countries such as Switzerland and New Zealand) and that all Welsh housing should be divided into two basic groups; a 90% group for the local / national priority market for the present and long term resident citizens of Wales, and the remaining 10% group for the open market and for anyone to buy – with local authorities across Wales also deciding annually how much of the 90% local/national priority market would be available for citizens within the local authority and how much would be available to citizens from the rest of Wales. The 90% / 10% ratio would be an approximate figure to aim for and would unlikely be arrived at perfectly all the time of course.

Ultimately we’re relying on those elected to come up with decent policies and laws in this and other areas but I’ll use this opportunity here to try and respond to some of the main comments, questions or concerns made in response to the original article in the hope of adding to a constructive discussion.

How would you separate the open market housing from the local/national priority housing? How do you decide which property is in which category?

Like in Guernsey, this plan wouldn’t happen overnight. In Guernsey, these two separate priority and open market groups gradually came in after the Second World War with the Housing Control law 1948, when locals were getting pushed out and priced out of the market after the war – it’s taken them many years to gradually develop the two different markets in a rational and reasoned way so that when people buy and sell property in Guernsey they know what sector they are buying or selling in to. And it has naturally developed that open market housing tends to often be more expensive than those on the local priority market. The same could happen in Wales in my view. And if introduced in Wales there will be a transition period to give people plenty of time to know which group they’re buying or selling in to.

The plan obviously wouldn’t be retroactive, wouldn’t affect existing homes or those already living in Wales whomever they are, and would only come in to action at a pre determined point in the future where both home sellers and buyers in the  local/national priority or open market group would know which market they are in or out of. So if a new housing law was passed stipulating the two different markets, both house sellers and house buyers in the future would know what they were doing. If existing home owners never want to sell their home then nothing would change anyhow.

Guernsey. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

In terms of how do you determine which home goes in to which category, I’d propose this as a starter:

It should be fairly straightforward to create a housing act that ensures that most new homes (although not all of course – some could also be in the open market sector) being built in Wales fit in to the local/national priority housing group – new homes that would then retain this local and national ownership priority clause in perpetuity should they be sold again the future.

When it comes to existing homes I’d propose that as a guide, like in Guernsey, a large amount (although not all) of the existing homes on the open market, would tend to be the more expensive homes above a certain rateable value – homes that are, say, over £400,000 in value (this is a suggested example – this figure could also be lower of course). Four hundred thousand pounds is also the point where the Welsh Transaction Tax changes from 5% to 7.5% which might make this a potentially useful place to introduce a small increase. So this housing law wouldn’t affect most of these homes above a suggested figure such as £400,000 or their owners if they wanted to sell their home at any point, which they could do on the open market as they wished and exempt from any housing controls.

This would mean that most homes generally below this example value of £400,000 (adjusted depending on inflation etc.) would then stay in the local/national priority group in perpetuity – therefore enabling a great deal more people to buy affordable homes within their own areas. A team of experienced valuers and deliberators including appointed estate agents within each local authority could fairly determine a balanced approach to decide on these two markets and to engage positively and constructively with home owners and buyers  – a team that would also be accountable to the democratically elected local authority.

What would be my incentive to take part?

Financial incentives could also be offered to the home sellers taking part in the local/national priority scheme. They could be awarded for selling the homes to the priority market at a more affordable price by being guaranteed an upfront set sum from a pot coming from the extra council tax raised on holiday/second homes for example. This way, sellers wouldn’t be out of pocket and their conscience would be clear (if they had one!).

This incentive could also be made even more appealing if sellers in the priority group could also receive some of the Welsh Transaction Tax paid by buyers for homes above £400,000 in the open market group. This tax could perhaps be slightly and reasonably increased – raised from, say, 7.5% to 9% –  generating more funds for this scheme and further compensating house sellers who are within the local/national priority group – this more than making up and perhaps exceeding any difference between an affordable local price and the potential market price. A similar arrangement could also be made when it comes to capital gains tax although that tax is not yet transferred to the Welsh Government. Welsh estate agents could also receive a reasonable percentage from the pot for each house sold (on top of their normal commissions) for making sure that the two different housing markets are properly regulated and administered.

And it might be reasonable that house sellers in the priority group who haven’t found a buyer after a certain time (perhaps after 1 or 2 years as a suggestion) could then sell on the open market.

How would you decide who is able to live where? What gives you the right to decide? Is this racist/sexist/some other ism or ist?

No, this plan isn’t any of the ists or isms and isn’t anti anyone. Nothing would change for anyone already living in Wales – wherever they are from in the world, whether that be Wales, Poland, Kenya, England or Timbuktu. All people who want to move to Wales after the date of the law being enacted would be treated equally. And whether you consider yourself Welsh, Welsh-British, British, English or any other ethnicity, nationality or identity and already live in Wales, this wouldn’t affect you or your home. The new plan would come in to being at a future date and then gradually develop over time as new homes are built and home sellers and buyers take part if buying or selling.

After that future point in time where the new law will come in, any person not already living in Wales having been offered a full time job in Wales who couldn’t find a house on the open market would also be eligible for a house in the priority market. As would any partner, wife or husband and any children. And as would those giving long term care for a family member or partner in Wales. Self employed people who could demonstrate that their work would benefit and contribute to the Welsh economy specifically could also be eligible.

And, like also happens in Guernsey, anyone could also rent in Wales following the same law as that for house buyers or sellers. And once anyone had rented a place in Wales for ten years they would be considered permanent Welsh resident citizens and therefore eligible to buy on the 90% priority market (unless they’ve already managed to rent or buy a place on the 10% open market).

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Social housing could also follow similar priority/open market lines. There needs to be emergency social housing for those that really need it of course, but exploitation of this system has to be stopped to ensure that it’s only those that genuinely need emergency housing that are given it and that local authorities from outside of Wales also don’t fail in their own responsibilities and unfairly pass on the buck by sending people to live in social housing in Wales simply because it’s a cheaper or nicer place to live.

Land ownership laws should also follow similar lines in my view, as many countries such as New Zealand are now also instigating. The present situation of global corporations and financial investment firms buying up Welsh land on a large scale is nothing but very disturbing modern colonialism and land grabbing by modern day robber barons that needs urgent stopping.

Buyers and renters from outside of Wales could also be able to buy or rent a more relaxed, higher capped percentage of apartments and condos in apartment blocks etc. in the bigger towns and cities of Wales. The Swiss government for example, have decided that non-Swiss citizens can still own up to 50% percent of units in large, newly built apartment buildings, which are treated in a slightly more relaxed way in comparison to residential or family homes – whilst general residential properties belonging to non Swiss citizens, are limited to 20% of the housing stock in any Swiss community. The same could apply in Wales, giving a fair and balanced opportunity for all that want to live here and those that already live here.

The vast majority of countries and states in the world, including the present UK state, have tight control on housing and who can live there or not. Wales is a country in its own right and with its own legislative parliament and government, and is no different to any other country.

Not sure about a citizen of Wales being someone who had lived here for ten years… What if you were a nurse who didn’t have a Welsh parent but did have a job? Would you be forced to rent for ten years before being allowed to buy a “home for locals”. Seems rather unfair.

As mentioned, if you had a full time job or an offer of one in Wales I believe it would be reasonable that you should be able to buy or rent within both the priority local/national market or open market group regardless of anything else.

Who counts as a citizen of Wales?

Anyone who lives in Wales can be said to be a de facto citizen of Wales and Welsh law will apply to you whether you’re a person who’s lived in Wales for three months, three years or have always lived here and can trace your heritage to Wales since time immemorial. So when the specific date of this proposed law would come in, whether you’ve already lived in Wales for three months or a hundred years (many congratulations on that if so), whether you are Icelandic, Senegalese, Japanese, Scottish or English, nothing would change and no one would be chasing you out of the country with a broomstick or any other implement.

For the purpose of present or future priority housing eligibility after the official start of the proposed policy, the permanent resident citizens of Wales can be defined as people who were either born in Wales and have at least one parent born in Wales or people who have lived in Wales for a total of at least ten years in any given period/s (or have a full time job here or are long term carers for partners/relatives etc.). Those buying on the open market wouldn’t need any eligibility.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

If you already own your own home in Wales you would keep your existing home and nothing would change. The only thing that would change under this proposal is that your home, if generally under a certain designated value as mentioned, would likely fall within the local/national priority group if you decide to sell in the future, for which you would be compensated to ensure the value would be around the open market price. And, after the law would be enacted, unless otherwise eligible, new people moving to Wales would need to wait ten years for eligibility to buy on the priority market unless they managed to find one on the open market.  If someone had already been living here for 8 years and don’t meet the other eligibility criteria then they would need to wait another two years to become Welsh permanent resident citizens and be able to join the priority market if they want to buy a new place (unless they can find a house on the open market that is).

These points, I’d argue, give a good balance between those who are existing residents and/or have long term connections or family heritage in Wales, and those who have come here more recently and want to make Wales their home – I believe this type of plan would be beneficial to all involved. Stipulating a ten year period or ‘born here with a Welsh born parent’ – similar to the system in Guernsey and Japan as a few examples of many – should stop people exploiting the policy by travelling to Wales to have a child/children here before leaving again knowing that their child would be guaranteed a home in the future. As mentioned, the other 10% of open market housing would stay the same and would have no restrictions whether you are a Welsh permanent resident citizen or not.

Isn’t this kind of bad idea? Imagine the uproar if the English brought in a rule that 90% of homes are allocated only to English people. I can see the headline… “Welsh man trying to buy a home in London due to moving for work not allowed because he is Welsh.”

No, the principle would be fine and fair enough in England as well in my view, although this proposal suggests that people who work or have a full time offer of work in Wales should be able to buy a house or rent in Wales on the priority market (and can buy or rent on the open market without restrictions as well if they want).

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Housing priority rules such as these are already in place in many parts of England such as the Peak District, the Lake District and the North York Moors, and this type of regulation is seen in most of the world’s countries including the Channel Islands (Jersey also has similar housing rules to Guernsey) and the UK state as a whole of course. This is increasingly becoming a global problem which is being tackled.

Although these proposals aren’t just about England and treat all people wishing to move to Wales equally, these issues are also relevant to England and her citizens. English citizens also have a right to have reasonable policies in place and to not be priced out and driven out of their local areas (including in London). As does Guernsey. As does Wales and any other country. Wales and the Welsh Government should, in my view, support a similar proportionate scheme in England and elsewhere if that is what the people of England or elsewhere want.

Rights of peoples and nations under international law

A final point about rights of peoples and nations under international treaty.

As mentioned, the vast majority of countries and states in the world, including the present UK state, have tight controls on housing and who can live there. Wales is a country in its own right, with its own legislative parliament and government, and is no different to any other country. Colonialism is also a crime as recognised in international law and as seen in The Geneva Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

No government needs to constantly apologise or justify why they work to have the interests of the country and the citizens of that country as its main focus. That is supposedly the whole point of a national government and of democracy in the first place and it doesn’t mean that that country is anti anything or anyone or doesn’t care and won’t reach out to others who are in need. We constantly (and rightly) hear protesting against colonialism and imperialism being used against countries and peoples all across the world, many of these seriously marginalised. Yet, according to some it’s perfectly acceptable for this to happen in Wales and if we try and manage the problem then we are somehow the narrow minded extremists.

I would suggest that it is those who strongly oppose any management of this issue and condone mass colonialism are the ones who are pushing narrow minded and dangerous extremism. We the citizens of Wales, whomever and wherever we are in Wales and whatever our background and origin, also have a right not to be colonised or be displaced from our own communities and land.

♦ end ♦

Gilestone Revisited

I took a week off last week. It was too hot for blogging. For which we must all blame anthropogenic global warming. Then again, it might just have been normal summer weather.

It certainly was when the rain arrived. So different to when I was a boy . . .

Back then, summer started in mid-March, many over the age of 50 were dead from heatstroke and malaria by the time we celebrated the Feast of Saint Blodwen of Cwmrhydyceirw. And we played cricket ‘frae morning sun till dine’.

Happy days!

BACKGROUND

To get the background for this story – fast developing into a saga – you’d better read Green Man, Red Herring? (20.05.2022) about the purchase, by the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’, for £4.25m, of Gilestone farm, just outside Talybont-on-Usk.

According to the aforementioned ‘Welsh Government’, the farm was bought in order to be leased to the Green Man festival. Yet the Green Man submitted no business plan, and says it has no intention of leaving its current venue at the Glanusk estate, a few miles down the road.

For these and other reasons I suggested the Green Man angle was perhaps a distraction. I’ll go further now and suggest that Gilestone itself might not be the thread to follow if we want to know what’s really going on.

There seem to be two possible ways of explaining it. Both start from the same point.

WATERSHED AGRICULTURAL COUNCIL

And that point is the visit to Wales in March 2018 by a delegation from the Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC), based in the Catskill Mountains of New York State. This trip was organised and hosted by Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water.

It was arranged to coincide with the Watersource 18 Conference.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

This northern reach of the Appalachian mountain chain supplies New York City with its drinking water, and of course NYC wishes to ensure a supply of good drinking water.

As the video below explains, legislation introduced in 1990 meant that water for NYC would need to be more rigorously treated, but one option was prohibitively expensive, even for the Big Apple.

The need to find a cheaper alternative to the $5 – 7bn outlay on a new filtration plant led to the link-up between NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Catskill farmers, foresters and others.

Following that visit to Wales in March 2018 for the Watersource conference the next contact was in June 2019, when a party representing Dŵr Cymru visited the Catskills.

There was another US visit later that year. This time a Dŵr Cymru representative and some Beacons farmers went over. Among those who made this trip were Richard Roderick, who farms across the Usk from Gilestone, and Keri Davies of Crai.

Representing Dŵr Cymru was Nigel Elgar, the project manager for DC’s Brecon Beacons Mega Catchment scheme. So here’s another video!

(How many more transatlantic trips would there have been without Covid?)

In December 2019 Roderick and Davies were together again as guests at a meeting of Natural Resources Wales Land Management Forum Agri-Pollution Sub Group.

This was around the time Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths (and Gary) started blaming farmers for every bit of crud in every waterway in Wales.

An anti-farmer campaign that resulted in the notorious ‘NVZ’ legislation.

The next step was the formation, in May 2020, of the Beacons Water Group CIC (BWG). Roderick and Davies were among the six directors, as was Charles Weston, who owned Gilestone. But at the formation of BWG – some two years before Gilestone was sold to the ‘Welsh Government’ – Weston gave a Crai address.

Had he already vacated Gilestone? Had it already been bought?

A fourth Founding Father was Anthony Hugh Martineau. He farms land at Llangorse lake owned by the Raikes family of Treberfydd House.

Martineau is also an ‘advisor’ in sustainable agriculture at Black Mountains College in Talgarth. Which is interesting because back in New York State there’s Bard College, another George Soros-backed institution.

And Bard College seems to work with the Watershed Agricultural Council.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Perhaps to complete the circle, Dŵr Cymru is chummy with Soros College, Talgarth. Our water supplier is sponsoring an Ecological Futures Camp in August.

So if you want to learn how to catch and skin an illegally released beaver, and then turn the pelt into a nice pair of slippers for Auntie Ceinwen, get your name down now!

Oh, I can’t wait!

‘WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE . . . ‘

So, as I suggested in a tweet last week, the events around the Gilestone purchase could be all about Dŵr Cymru getting together with farmers to ensure a constant supply of good drinking water.

But if we were simply talking about clean drinking water, then I might not be writing this. For who could argue against?

There has to be more to it.

Let’s think back to the video we looked at earlier. The one in which we were told that the Watershed Agricultural Council came into being as a result of new and more stringent regulations regarding water quality.

That’s true, though things got off to a rocky start. There was clearly local opposition to what them folks from the big city wanted to do.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Though relations between NYC authorities and Catskill farmers seem to have improved, perhaps because (penultimate paragraph): “Farmers have been given 100% funding from WAC for infrastructure to improve water quality. WAC is trusted intermediary and all work is locally led, science based and voluntary with no regulations.”

By comparison, I get the impression that the ‘Welsh Government’ and Natural Resources Wales hope to use new regulations to bankrupt farmers and free up land.

Though I’m writing about the USA I still don’t understand why Dŵr Cymru needed to go there to learn about clean drinking water. They could have gone anywhere in Europe without the cost and environmental damage of transatlantic flights.

Some might conclude – as I have done – that certain agencies in Wales were attracted to New York City’s watershed model for reasons other than just clean water.

Either way, I’d like to know how or through whom Dŵr Cymru first made contact with those US organisations.

Whatever the answer, it would not justify spaffing £4.25m of public money.

SO WHAT ELSE COULD IT BE?

The Watershed Agricultural Council website has a page on Conservation Easements. A term and a concept with which I was unfamiliar. I found it fascinating.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

This is how Wikipedia describes these arrangements.

‘In the United States, a conservation easement (also called conservation covenantconservation restriction or conservation servitude) is a power invested in a qualified private land conservation organization (often called a “land trust“) or government (municipal, county, state or federal) to constrain, as to a specified land area, the exercise of rights otherwise held by a landowner so as to achieve certain conservation purposes.’

The Environment Act 2021 that comes into effect in England on September 30 allows for Conservation Covenants. Read about it here. Note the references to “carbon offsetting” and “carbon insetting”.

I’m not aware of similar Welsh legislation, but the ‘Welsh Government’ usually follows London’s lead. Often with ‘variations to accommodate local circumstances’.

Let’s go back to the Watersource 18 conference in March 2018. Also attending were New York City Department of Environment’s Water Supply Bureau and, giving the keynote speech, the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC).

These bodies remind us that Conservation Easements / Covenants are not the only way for land to be used or acquired for ensuring water quality and other purposes.

The website for the Catskills Watershed Corporation tells us:

‘The CWC was officially born January 17, 1997 with the signing of the landmark New York City Watershed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between City, State, Federal and environmental entities and Watershed municipalities. The MOA and associated Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD), allowed the City to avoid building an expensive facility to filter its Catskill-Delaware Water Supply as long as it proved it could keep this surface supply clean through land acquisition, regulations and city-funded, locally-administered environmental protection programs.’

“Land acquisition . . . environmental protection programs”.

Then, this NYC Department of Environmental Protection document says something very similar (paragraph 5):

‘In the late 1990s, DEP began a Land Acquisition Program to protect water quality in its reservoirs by preserving key parcels of land in the watershed. Since then, DEP has acquired more than 100,000 acres of land in the Catskills, including many tracts that were historically used for agriculture or rented by neighboring farmers.’

“Land Acquisition Program . . . tracts that were historically used for agriculture”.

I guess whether Conservation Easements / Covenants benefit farmers depends on who’s wielding the power.

Statements made and attitudes displayed in recent years by representatives of the ‘Welsh Government’ towards the farming community and the countryside in general make me pessimistic.

BEACONS WATER GROUP

I’m intrigued by the rather mysterious Beacons Water Group CIC. One thing I find odd is that – even allowing for Covid – a Community Interest Company has gained no new members in over two years of its existence.

Is it a closed shop?

Come to that, which ‘community’ does it represent? And in which way? When I checked the BWG entry on the Companies House website, and in particular the Certificate of Incorporation, there, under ‘Objects’, I found what you see below.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

It struck me as being rather vague. With no mention of water despite ‘Water’ appearing in the company name. And why ‘visitors’ (before ‘residents’) – is it a tourism group?

There are six directors of the Beacons Water Group.

Two were taken on a trip to the USA by Dŵr Cymru, and ‘debriefed’ on their return by Natural Resources Wales. A third had his farm bought by the ‘Welsh Government’ for a grossly inflated price. A fourth farms land owned by a local squire and is connected to a Soros-backed institution.

The other two directors I haven’t really checked on yet.

It stinks! (And I’m not talking agricultural pollution of watercourses!)

CONCLUSION

We have been lied to about the purchase of Gilestone farm. Especially the reason given for buying it. The Green Man festival is peripheral to these machinations, if it’s involved at all.

Gilestone being bought for an insane amount of money cannot be divorced from the owner, Charles Weston, belonging to the in-crowd Beacons Water Group.

Is Gilestone the first of many purchases of farms close to a watercourse? Though how many farms in Wales are not close to a watercourse!

There may be partnership in the USA between farmers and officialdom but that won’t happen in Wales, where too many civil servants and politicians regard George Monbiot as the ultimate authority on Welsh farming.

What you’ve read here is about water only in so far as water quality might in future be used to appropriate farmland. This explains the attraction of the Catskills model to certain agencies in Wales.

As I’ve suggested, it was no coincidence that the absurd ‘NVZ’ legislation, pretending a highly localised issue is a nationwide crisis, was dreamed up at the very time others were to-ing and fro-ing across the Atlantic.

Because the NVZ regulations are also about land, rather than water.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Bristol Fashion, Local Benefits, Magic Wallpaper, Island In The Sun, Maasai Resistance, Gilestone Update

This week I bring yet more tales of colonialism dressed up as ‘saving the planet’; involving assorted enviroshysters, multifarious con men; all aided, abetted, and funded, by those collaborating buffoons down Corruption Bay.

This is another biggie, but broken down into easily-digestible chunks. (Add condiments and flavourings to taste.)

BRISTOL FASHION

Let’s begin with a piece from the Cambrian News, a ‘paper that circulates along Cardigan Bay, with its main office in Aberystwyth.

For reasons I’ve never been able to fathom, I’m blocked from the CN Twitter account. Me! I can only assume it’s a case of mistaken identity.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

The story we’re going to look at tells that the National Trust is to take over the running of the Hafod (Uchtryd) Estate, inland of Aberystwyth, just east of Pont-Rhyd-y-Groes. The estate seems to be owned by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and run in partnership with the Hafod Trust (HT).

Here’s the leaflet on Hafod issued by NRW.

Though when I tried to find out from the Land Registry website who owns what I drew a blank. Using the LR map search brought up what you see below. Yet this area must be part of the estate, with Hafod church, the public park, even a car park.

It was the same across the whole site, apart from the individual dwellings. Nor could I find a definitive map of the estate.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

But as I say, it seems NRW owns the estate, but leases it to HT. Confirmed by the HT accounts referring to a holiday cottage known as Hawthorne Cottage / Pwll Pendre, and the title document saying this property was leased in December 2000 for 25 years from The National Assembly for Wales.

It could be the same lease arrangement for the whole estate. So, with the lease coming to an end in just over three years, NRW and / or the ‘Welsh Government’ decided that instead of renewing the lease with the Hafod Trust they’d turn to the National Trust.

I suspect the Hafod Trust has been largely left to its own devices at the estate, but now it looks as if it’s either relinquishing control over Hafod, or else it’s being elbowed out.

The Hafod Trust had one full-time and a few part-time employees. These are joining the National Trust.

What we see happening at Hafod is in keeping with NRW’s activities. Which include undermining Welsh agriculture, encouraging corporate greenwash, and giving away bits of Wales to enviroshysters and assorted bodies from over the Dyke.

Or else buying land as a stage for its own planet-saver posturing.

At Hafod the beneficiary is a quintessentially English organisation, the National Trust. Yes, it adds ‘Cymru’ to fool gullible natives, but fundamentally it remains manicured lawns, print frocks, and, “More tea, vicar?

Though there was attempted infiltration by Wokies. So maybe now it’s, “Pour your own tea, you myth-peddling, white supremacist running-dog of imperialism”.

Or not, as the case may be.

Whatever, here’s how the takeover is described on the NT website.

Note, “National Trust Cymru and Natural Resources Wales have come together with support from Welsh Government to secure the estate’s future.” This, I assume, means financial support.

But why should the ‘Welsh Government’ pay a wealthy organisation like the National Trust anything to take over an asset from which the NT is guaranteed to make money?

Any payment should have been by the National Trust to the ‘Welsh Government’, which is entrusted with getting the best possible value from the disposal of publicly-owned assets.

And there was no mention of the HT trustees. Though a few other people are mentioned.

First, there’s Lhosa Daly, the “Interim Director of National Trust Cymru”.

Then there’s Clare Pillman, chief executive of Natural Resources Wales. She has a fascinating background, and has been involved in numerous extravaganzas of the ‘Rule Britannia’ variety.

Finally, speaking for the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ we have, “Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden“. Which a correspondent thought was odd, wondering why it wasn’t someone with an environmental or conservation portfolio.

He has a point. But after a bit of digging, it all became clear. Certainly after seeing Daly’s Twitter account.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Daly is a solicitor, and has been chair of the Bristol branch of the Institute of Directors. She first came to Wales in September 2018 to work for the National Trust as assistant director of operations for South Wales.

She gives as her location on Twitter, “Western Gateway”. Which seems to have begun life as a ‘Sub-national Transport Body’ for local authorities in south west England, but has somehow morphed into a plan for a cross-border “powerhouse”.

In other words, the Greater Bristol Region.

Daly was appointed to the Western Gateway board just over a year ago. Which I find interesting. For she joins the Greater Bristol gang and then she’s made head of the National Trust in Wales. Are these appointments connected?

I ask because I’m sure the National Trust in Wales will be one of the bodies contributing to the development of the ‘Western Gateway’, ostensibly speaking for Wales.

Which hat will Lhosa Daly be wearing?

Oh, I almost forgot, she would also have the option of wearing her Wales Arts Council hat.

I’m certain Ms Daly lives in Bristol. Which is fitting, because Dawn Bowden, the Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, who has been instrumental in the deal for the NT to take over Hafod, is also from Bristol.

Did Bowden and Lhosa Daly know each other before the discussions over the Hafod Estate? And if it wasn’t due to the Bristol connection, why was Bowden involved at all? It’s outside her remit.

The map below shows Hafod Estate contains a lot of trees, part of which is said to be a “working forest”. But if Hafod is to be devoted to tourism (which is what the National Trust is all about) will there be a place for a commercial timber operation?

Perhaps not. But as we know, nowadays there are other ways of making money from trees – without touching them! And so I predict that Hafod will prove a nice little earner for the National Trust.

Image OS Maps. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

One of the first acts of a devolved government should have been setting up a Welsh organisation to do the work of the National Trust. A body looking after our heritage, on our behalf, and answering to us, the Welsh people. But the opportunity was spurned.

Which is why, after 23 years of devolution, we are discussing an Englishwoman representing our ‘Welsh Government’; another, Natural Resources Wales; with the two handing over another Welsh treasure to an English organisation run locally by a third Englishwoman.

This is colonialism. And even without the Bristol connection, this reeks of yet another ‘Welsh Government’ gift to a favoured body in a deal done behind closed doors with no pretence of a tendering process.

LOCAL BENEFITS (WELL, LOCAL TO SOMEWHERE)

The next report also comes from the Cambrian News, and concerns that other enviroshyster money-spinner – wind turbines.

Specifically, a test mast to be erected at Bryn Brawd, the highest point in an area described in the caption accompanying the image used by the CN as being, “on the outskirts of Llanddewi Brefi”.

In fact, it’s quite some distance from the south-eastern suburbs of that metropolis lying between Cwmann and Tregaron.

Image OS Maps. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

On the plus side, the company involved is Waun Maenllwyd Wind Energy Hub Ltd. Probably a Welsh company. Phew!

Well . . .

There is indeed a company of that name but – and you won’t believe this – it’s based in Bristol! And until March this year it was known as BPUWL 11 Ltd. In fact, there’s a slew of companies using those letters as a name.

One of them, BPUWL 16 Ltd, also changed its name in March, to Craig y Geifr Wind Energy Hub Ltd. It shares the Bristol office address, and officers, with Maenllwyd Wind Energy Hub Ltd.

From what I’ve learnt, Craig y Geifr is a ridge or an escarpment between Nant-y-Moel in the Ogwr Valley and Pentre in the Rhondda.

Image: Bing Maps. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

And it looks to be quite a beautiful area. A reminder of what our southern valleys were like before industrialisation.

© Copyright Alan Hughes and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Seeing as there are plantations close to Craig y Geifr, I assume that the land is owned by Natural Resources Wales. As for Bryn Brawd, I’m not sure. Unfortunately, the Land Registry offers no help.

So let’s focus on the two companies, Waun Maenllwyd Wind Energy Hub Ltd and Craig y Geifr Wind Energy Hub Ltd. What can the Companies House website tell us?

Now pay attention, because this may not be easy to follow.

When we click on the ‘People’ tab, and then, ‘Persons with significant control‘, we bring up the name, Belltown Power UK Wind Ltd. When we find the entry for this company, and go through the same procedure, we bring up Foresight Belltown UK Wind Development Ltd.

Following the pattern with Foresight Belltown UK Wind Development Ltd we bring up Blackmead Infrastructure Ltd. Same procedure for Blackmead brings up Averon Park Ltd.

Wee digression.

Averon Park has three directors. One is Philip Lloyd-Jones, described as ‘adviser’. The name is Welsh, so I got to wondering. And I found a solicitor of that name in Mold. Though since early in 2018 the practice has been part of Gamlins.

Unusually, for an enquiry like this, Gamlins is a Welsh company. Though Philip Lloyd-Jones is not listed among the directors. But we do find Vernon Oliver in what would otherwise be a Welsh girl band.

But I digress! Again.

Returning to Averon Park, all but one of the shares are held by Foresight Fund Managers Ltd. Which is in turn owned by Foresight Group Holdings (UK) Ltd. And, finally, Foresight Group Holdings (UK) Ltd is owned by Foresight Group founder Bernard William Fairman, using a Guernsey address.

The name ‘Foresight’ should ring a bell. These are the buggers who, thanks to the encouragement of the ‘Welsh Government’, have been buying up farms on which they’re going to plant ‘carbon capture’ trees.

Having received so much bad publicity over the trees scam it looks as if Foresight might be switching to wind farms. But staying in Wales because those assholes in Corruption Bay are such a pushover.

But of course Foresight only manage other people’s money. In the case of the two windfarms we’ve looked at, the clue as to whose money it could be might be found in the ‘Belltown’ element of the names.

Because I suspect that Foresight has linked up with Belltown Power, a company now based in London but founded by US citizen Michael Joshua Kaplan.

North Data provides some information on Kaplan. Beneath the Network diagram it lists various companies, and the top one, Awel Newydd Cyf – owned through Petersham Holdco Ltd – should interest my Welsh readers.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

I can’t tell you much more about this company, I certainly couldn’t find a website, only various company profiles. What I do know is that it’s linked to Foresight, it was based in Bristol, though one entry gives an address in Mold.

Now who do we know in Mold? Thinks . . .

The accounts for y/e April 1, 2021 show ‘Plant and Machinery’ valued at £53,672,808 (before depreciation). That kind of money is not to be sniffed at.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

How come we haven’t heard of this great Welsh success story?

I’ll spare you another twisty-turny route, but ultimate ownership of Awel Newydd Cyf rests with Stephen George Geddes, who’s married to Clarissa vom Hagen-Plettenberg, is the grandson of the 1st Baron Geddes, and great-grandson of Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria.

Takes me back to fin de siècle Vienna! You should have seen me in my hussars uniform! Waltzing the night away. 

That may all have come crashing down in 1918, but over a hundred years later we find Hapsburg descendants exploiting us!

Staying with Foresight, it seems they’re busy across Wales.

These links tell they’re in league with Tilhill Forestry and Coleg Cambria Llysfai in the north east. But Foresight is based in the Shard! Those working for Foresight don’t know one bloody tree from another. But here they are burnishing their environmental credentials by paying Tilhill to give courses.

There’s even a video!

And Foresight seems to be embedded in the ‘Welsh Government’, for the name crops up everywhere in WG publications. Such as here (page 22).

Finally, and most worryingly of all, Foresight is allowed to brainwash young children. Here they are, again collaborating with Tilhill, using kids from Talyllychau to plant trees on a farm Foresight has bought!

Did Carmarthenshire education authority know about this insulting bullshit? What the hell was the teacher thinking to allow the kids in his care to be brainwashed by a company buying up local farms?

And have you heard of a ‘seed portfolio transaction‘? No, nor me. But that’s the kind of business Foresight is doing at Banc Farm, where those kids were exploited.

There’s more information here. It looks as if money is being made by Foresight before the trees are even planted.

‘PSSST, I GOT A GREAT IDEA’

At a recent gathering of the Honourable Company of Magic Bean Salesmen many toasts were drunk to the ‘Welsh Government’ and associated bodies.

Hardly surprising when we recall how many schemes of dubious merit (I will say no more than that!) have received funding in Wales. A new one came to my attention a few weeks ago.

Here’s a report showing Julie James, Environment Minister in the ‘Welsh Government’ looking interested in magic wallpaper that it’s claimed can replace radiators as a source of heat. James should be interested because her lot are funding this project for Melin Homes in Torfaen.

“Do it come in a nice red flock? Cos our tŷ bach is cowin’ freezin’ in the winter. Send some round to my office, love”. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

So who is the lucky recipient of this ‘Welsh Government’ largesse? The company mentioned is NextGen. So, you know me . . .

There are many, many ‘NextGen’ companies, but we need to look at this one. Despite the quite impressive website, NextGen Heating Ltd is a one-man band, and it’s in debt.

Not a great start.

The sole director is Clive David Osborne. Yet in all the reports on the ‘magic wallpaper’ his name was never mentioned, just the incomplete and misleading name of his company. So what’s his record?

I’ve drawn up a list of companies he’s been involved with in recent years. There have been others, but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt that he played a minor role in their demise.

I’ve included Crush Holdings because it may link with something else I’ll be telling you.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

With so many failures I began to wonder how he kept the wolf (re-introduced to Berkshire in a rewilding project) from his door. The answer may be provided by the Paradise Papers.

For Clive David Osborne is linked to an enterprise in Malta. An island where just about anything goes. “You want an EU passport, Mr Putin? No problemo”. “You want an annoying blogger whacked? Leave it to us”.

Here’s the link. (The nodes are moveable.)

It tells us that Osborne is director, secretary, and judicial representative for Mosta Electronics Centre on Constitution Street in the town of Mosta. Though the website only mentions founder, Joseph Zerata.

The Mosta Electronics emporium in Mosta, Malta. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

So what is the connection between Clive David Osborne and the Mosta Electronics Centre? I can’t know for sure, but one possibility might take us back to his flirtation with those Sons of Nippon.

For a bloke in the pub told me it’s possible to buy equipment online that can access satellite TV, for free, and that this equipment can be had from certain Mediterranean islands where rules about such things are somewhat lax.

Alternatively, and seeing as Mosta Electronics sells Chinese brands such as (the German-sounding) Haier, maybe this ‘magic wallpaper’ technology comes from the land of the Uyghur concentration camps. A country whose most noteworthy contribution to humanity in recent years has been Covid.

Whatever the answer, we know enough about Clive David Osborne to ask why the hell Melin Homes let him in the door, and why the ‘Welsh Government’ is funding his ‘magic wallpaper’.

I look forward to hearing the answers.

ISLAND IN THE SUN

The Conservative and Unionist Party MP for Ynys Môn is Virginia Crosbie, and she’s appeared on this blog in the recent past. This was when Covid first hit and questions were being asked about where she was living, and whether she was breaking lockdown.

Similar questions were asked of her friend and parliamentary colleague, Jake Berry, who owns a number of properties in the constituency she represents. Questions were also being asked about his movements during the pandemic.

Just type their names into the search box to get more information.

The reason you’re reading about Crosbie is due to her opposition to a 1200-acre solar farm on the island. And anti-nuclear lefties telling her to “smell the coffee”. (Do people still use that silly expression?)

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Let me make clear that I was against the proposed Wylfa B because the construction phase would have damaged a fragile cultural identity, and that’s without considering the strain that would be put on local infrastructure and housing by thousands of workers, almost all of whom would come from outside of Wales.

But I am not opposed to nuclear in principle, and there are smaller options to Wylfa B.

The company behind this solar array is Lightsource BP Renewable Energy Investments Ltd. Here’s their website, and here’s their Companies House entry.

Previously known as Lightsource Renewable Investments Ltd, and then Lightsource Renewable Energy Investments Ltd, the ‘BP’ was added in February 2018 when BP Alternative Energy Investments Ltd (formerly BP Biofuels UK Ltd) took over.

Fossil fuel giant BP getting into renewables is the most obvious kind of greenwash.

But don’t get me wrong, old Jac’s got nothing against oil and gas, because I’ve still got enough operational grey matter to know that we can’t live well without them, whether there’s a war in eastern Europe or not.

What’s more, I know who’s pushing us towards expensive and unreliable alternatives to oil, gas, coal, and nuclear. And I know why they’re doing it. They are not friends of Western society.

If the ‘Welsh Government’, and our local authorities, were sincere in their commitment to the environment, they’d tell BP and all the other enviroshysters to reduce their carbon footprint rather than cover good land with wind turbines, solar farms, and sterile, monoculture forests.

But that would deny our politicians the opportunities they crave to ponce around and posture, claiming to be saving the planet. 

Because that’s what it’s all about – political posturing.

MAASAI RESISTANCE

Let me draw your attention to something happening in east Africa. As I understand it, the Tanzanian government has agreed to enclose land for ‘reserves’ on which Gulf royals can go trophy shooting.

There are so many wrong things bundled up in what I’ve just written. But no doubt a great deal of money changed hands.

The Maasai, who claim the land, are being denied access. But they’re fighting back. As this tweet explains. While Modern Ghana reports that a policeman has been killed.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Wouldn’t it be great if shyster greenwashers and land-grabbing ‘environmentalists’ got that kind of reception in Wales!

The international message: This land is our land!

GILESTONE UPDATE

Finally, a few weeks ago, in Green Man, Red Herring?, I reported on the curious business of the ‘Welsh Government’ paying £4.25m for Gilestone Farm, at Talybont-on-Usk.

The purchase was allegedly made for the Green Man festival . . . which said it had no intention of relocating from the Glanusk Estate, had not submitted a business plan, and seemed almost as surprised as the rest of us by the news of its good fortune.

In the hope of getting a bit more information I submitted a Freedom of Information request. Here’s the link to the response received yesterday.

It confirms there was no tendering process to invite bids from others who might have been interested, no business plan has been received from Green Man, but the purchase was still made on solid economic grounds. Absolutely absurd!

Previous owners of the land had stressed to me that while the farm was indeed valuable, the real value lies in the substantial deposits of sand and gravel on which the farm sits.

So in my FoI I asked who now holds the mineral rights to the land.

The question was not answered, on the grounds that the information is available elsewhere. Which would be true if the details of the recent purchase were available on the Land Registry website. But for whatever reason, the most recent title register available lists the sale in 2010.

So, really, I know little more than I’d already learnt from my own enquiries.

The purchase of Gilestone Farm is yet another deal done with public money, in secret, by an administration that is out of control, out of its depth, and no longer cares what people think.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Lobbying in Wales

INTRODUCTION

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

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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

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

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

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

So go make a cuppa.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL LOBBY

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

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

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

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

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

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

Focus on the section I’ve highlighted.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE RACE LOBBY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everything, by the look of it.

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

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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

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

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

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

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

(Keyboard explodes!)

THE HOMELESSNESS LOBBY

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

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

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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

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

It’s a form of human trafficking.

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

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

Let the good times roll!

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

Or join some other publicly-funded gravy train.

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

THE “WOMEN WITH PENISES” LOBBY

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

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

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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

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

And then you can capitalise on your ‘find’.

THE REFRESHINGLY HONEST AND CORRUPT COMMERCIAL LOBBY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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

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

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But no mention of where the money came from!

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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

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

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

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

THE PROFESSIONAL LOBBYISTS

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

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

Let’s just look at two of them.

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

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

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

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

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONCLUSION

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

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

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

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

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

RECOMMENDATIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


‘Saving Wales From The Welsh’

“LISTEN TO US”

Lurking behind the barns in the Gilestone saga I published last week were environmental / wildlife groups. Now I think they need some sunlight.

What prompted my decision was a tweet I saw just over a week ago. The idea that a wildlife trust should be directing the ‘Welsh Government’s farm funding is bizarre.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

As I asked in a tweet of my own: “Is the ‘Welsh Government now consulting foxes on chicken coop security?”

The wildlife trusts and environmental groups I’ve encountered in Wales tend to be run by zealots believing the Welsh countryside faces few problems that couldn’t be solved by getting rid of livestock farmers.

Predictable when we remember that these groups contain a worryingly high percentage of vegetarians and vegans. And others of a dictatorial bent.

The man who put out the tweet is CEO of the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust. Registered as both a company and a charity.

The Trust is doing very well for itself. With net assets of £2,196,206 in 2021, against £1,899,611 the year before. And £288,436 in the bank (£147,097 in 2020).

That was despite writing off a debt of £10,296 owed by Radnorshire Wildlife Services Ltd. (In all my years of blogging I have encountered few successful ‘trading arms’. They must serve some other purpose.)

On page 6 of the 2021 accounts and annual report we see this ambition set out.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

“What do we want?”

“Thirty per cent!”

“When do we want it?”

“No later than 2030!”

It’s worth using the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust as an intro to the bigger picture.

ENGLANDANDWALES

The Radnorshire Wildlife Trust is, as the annual report and accounts tells us, a member of The Wildlife Trusts (TWT). The result of a re-organisation you can read about circled in the panel below.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Is that progress? Strikes me as a step backwards.

Wildlife Trusts Wales maintains the pretence of independence with a website of its own. (Look top left.) Though the contact address is now in Nottinghamshire.

Then, perhaps to confuse things further, the charity, Wildlife Trusts Wales Ltd, seems to be ploughing on, yet the company dissolved itself in March.

In its latest report and accounts (at the foot of page 1) Wildlife Trusts Wales says, “WTW Council unanimously agreed that Wildlife Trust Wales should dissolve as a separate charity”, so why hasn’t it happened?

Wildlife Trusts Wales has chosen to be the local branch of an English body and hopes we’ll generously view it as having a separate existence. A bit like the Green Party.

OUT OF THE WOODWORK

After casting in the direction of James Hitchcock I hooked a few fish.

One specimen I dragged up from the murky depths was a Dr Paul Tubb. (I was tempted to take it easy on him because he might be related to Ernest of that ilk, who gave Hank Williams one of his best songs.)

It wasn’t long into our exchange, with me being the restrained and muted presence I always am, before Tubb came out with this!

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

As I was quick to clarify – ain’t nothing “so-called” about my nationalism.

Another attempt to silence us by playing the ‘ugly nationalism’ card. Opposing the takeover of our country regularly draws this response, but the takeover itself is just fine. Perhaps even a moral crusade.

I introduce that elevating consideration after being confronted by it in a document produced by Woodknowledge Wales. Which is about as Welsh as the East India Company was Indian.

Here’s the document I’m talking about.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

On page 17 you’ll find the section above. Here’s my interpretation of what it says.

  • In addition to taking England’s wind turbines, and providing England’s water, Wales should also become England’s forest.
  • Farming is in the way of “re-forestation”.
  • “Natural colonisation of land” (by flora and fauna) is not a “morally justifiable . . . option for Wales”.  

The claim that there is a moral dimension to this scam is self-deluding bullshit. These are grant-grabbing tree-planters, not theologians or moral philosophers.

But enough of that, for I’ve been neglecting Tubby. He and I exchanged a bit more banter before it died a death.

Then, on the Monday, I received an e-mail from a complete stranger. It contained a link to the tweet you see below.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

The glasnost reference is to a blog produced by the late Dušan ‘Jacques’ Protić, who believed that both Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones were dangerous nationalists . . . because they spoke Welsh! To Protic the Welsh language was the root cause of all Wales’ problems.

Protic was a ranter, and always good for a laugh. I often pictured him, crowned with a battered šajkača, pounding furiously away on his laptop . . . never dreaming he had a fan in Dr Paul Tubb.

Another irritating little git who popped up was a certain Rob Thomas. A twitcher from Cardiff Met. His party piece was referring to me as “anonymous tweeter and conspiracy theorist ‘Jac'”.

It got a bit boring after a while. So did he.

Someone else who joined in was a man with a beard, but no name; he was simply the “Welsh manager” for the Confederation of Forest Industries (UK) Ltd, headquartered in Edinburgh.

And there were others.

In fact, it’s quite amazing – and worrying – how many ‘afforestation’ groups there are out there. And how few of them, if any, are genuinely Welsh.

HOW MANY GROUPS DOES IT TAKE TO PLANT A TREE?

One, very influential outfit, is the Woodland Trust, which seems to be involved in most wood-related scams. An English organisation that followed the time-honoured route of opening a branch within whispering distance of Corruption Bay and giving itself a Welsh name, Coed Cadw.

But it’s simply a flag of convenience, for ‘Coed Cadw’ doesn’t exist for Companies House, or the Charity Commission, or the Financial Conduct Authority.

Another organisation I haven’t yet mentioned, but which has increasing influence over the ‘Welsh Government’, is the World Wildlife Fund. Which has an office and a website but, again, no existence independent of its UK / England HQ.

Then there’s a crew I may have neglected until now, Wales Environment Link (WEL), which sees itself as an umbrella organisation for environmental groups.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

When we look at the trustees we find at the top of the list, Roger Thomas, who is also a trustee at Tir Coed and Coed Cymru Cyf. (Not to be confused with Coed Cadw, the Woodland Trust’s Welsh disguise.)

Thomas is also a director at the Centre for Alternative Technology.

Another trustee is Natalie Roxanne Buttriss. Who deserves special mention.

Back in October 2018 she appeared in The Welsh Clearances. She was then Wales Director of the Woodland Trust, which was a partner with Rewilding Britain in the Summit to Sea project, a very ambitious land grab that was derailed by colonialist arrogance rousing local resistance.

I reproduce a photo from that post. It says so much. It shows Buttriss presenting a petition to Mike Hedges, Labour AM for Swansea East, I don’t know what post he held then. (Don’t care.)

A petition demanding – what else? – more trees! But it only managed to get a miserable 2,385 signatures. Yet it was still accorded an official presentation and media coverage . . . while petitions with many more signatures are effectively binned.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

When the memsahibs shout, the native politics-wallahs come running.

Among the full-time staff at WEN we find Llinos Price, of whom the less said the better. (Put her name into the search box atop the sidebar.) Also, former Labour spad, Liz Smith. Then there’s Rory Francis, who too has worked as a spad, and more recently for Friends of the Earth and Coed Cadw / Woodland Trust.

It really is revolving doors between ‘charities’ and politics, with none of those involved having any experience of business, and a lifetime spent wholly reliant on public funds.

But it’s not just identifiable organisations we should worry about; there are also loners, operating below the radar, who surface for other reasons.

This was the case with Sharon Girardi and her beavers at Blaeneinion. She came to my attention only because her response to Covid made the news. I started digging and then published ‘Enviroshysters flock to Wales for easy money‘.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Blaeneinion has been owned since 2009 by a company registered in Gibraltar.

How many more Blaeneinions are there?

Let me end this section by reminding you that we are not just talking about land, and trees, for the enviroshysters also want our coastal waters.

According to the Rewilding Britain website back then the Summit to Sea project wanted 10,000 hectares of land and 28,400 hectares of sea.

And as we saw earlier, the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust has a core objective to, “Ensure 30% of the land and 30% of the sea is actively managed for wildlife by 2030”.

Not only are these vegan environmentalists determined to end livestock farming in Wales, they also wish to abolish commercial fishing.

POWYS, THE EPICENTRE

There were until recently 5 wildlife trusts in Wales. The North Wales Wildlife Trust, the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW), and then three in Powys.

We’ve looked at the one for Radnorshire, but there is also the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, and there was a Brecknock Wildlife Trust until it merged with WTSWW.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Quite remarkable when you think about it. Powys, with less than 5% of Wales’ population, had 60% of the country’s wildlife trusts. And post merger, still has 50%.

How do we explain this? Being so large, and sparsely-populated, Powys obviously attracts the kind of people we’ve encountered in this article. But there may be other factors at work.

A number of those I encountered in my research still live over the border, often just over the border. Wales obviously attracts them because funding is more readily available here.

James Hitchcock, the CEO of Radnorshire Wildlife Trust, with whose tweet this piece began, was formerly Estates Senior Manager at Herefordshire Wildlife Trusts.

Powys is also within reasonable travelling distance of almost any part of England, which makes it convenient for greenwash ‘investors’.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

There are other organisations helping to turn Harri Webb’s ‘Green Desert’ into a wooded wildlife paradise; among them, Soros College, Talgarth.

I know the boys and girls at Black Mountains College don’t like me harping on about their George Soros connection . . . so I shall keep doing it!

FINAL THOUGHTS

By accepted yardsticks such as health service delivery, education, infrastructure, standard of living, etc., we Welsh are worse off today than we were in 1999.

Unless they can serve as commuter communities for Cardiff and Newport the towns and villages of the Valleys undergo managed decline; Swansea is fed crumbs; the north east is being merged with north west England; the north coast is becoming the A55 commuter belt for Merseyside, Manchester, and Cheshire; our western coastal areas are no-go areas for our people due to property prices; while the rural heartland is bought up by carbon capture scammers and enviroshysters – with the support of the ‘Welsh Government’.

If it’s not the ‘Welsh Government’ buying up land for the claimed climate emergency then it’s Natural Resources Wales (NRW). Among their recent acquisitions is Ty’n y Mynydd on Ynys Môn.

But what can we expect from an organisation that puts out 1960s peace and love bollocks like: ” . . . reflective walk . . . ‘Children of the Revolution’ . . . thanks and love . . . for what we’d done for Wales”.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

What they’d done for Wales!!! They are buying up our country with our money and handing it over to strangers. (And look at the goody bags! We also paid for them.)

Every last one of them should be deported. Along with the others mentioned here. Plus the politicians, the civil servants, the lobbyists, and anyone else linked to the cess-pit that is Corruption Bay.

Let’s have a clean sweep so we can all breathe purer air.

Dominic Driver, who was responsible for that toe-curling tweet, is Head of Land Stewardship at NRW, so he presumably had a hand in the purchase at Ty’n y Mynydd. He taught at Harrow School and lives in the Cotswolds. Neis.

But that’s Wales for you. Or rather, for them.

The writing is on the wall. And the message reads: “R.I.P. Wales, the country that sacrificed itself pandering to strangers ‘saving’ a planet that was never in danger”.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Green Man, Red Herring?

When someone drew my attention to the Green Man festival being gifted a farm by the so-called ‘Welsh Government’ I thought to myself, “I’m sure I’ve written about those buggers recently”; but no, I was thinking of the Green Gathering.

There are just so many using the ‘Green’ label, desperately trying to look enviro-virtuous! Bullshit, most of the time.

For those who may not recall it, the Green Gathering featured last September in Invasion of the Enviroshysters (PG), scroll down to the relevant section.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

The more recent story I’m referring to appeared last Friday on the BBC Wales website. A strange piece in many ways. For a start, why would the ‘Welsh Government’ buy a farm and then hand it over to people running a music event?

As is so often the case in these investigations, one thing leads to another. And that’s what happened here.

GILESTONE FARM

As you’ve seen from the link above, the story begins with, Gilestone farm, near Talybont-on-Usk. The property can be found on the map below, with the farm name highlighted in the centre.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

To understand what’s happening now, and the anger it’s causing, we need to step back a bit, some 17 years.

And let’s introduce Geraint John Thomas, whose family has farmed in the Talybont area for centuries, maybe a millennium. He owned Gilestone Farm.

I won’t go into too much detail, partly because I may be meeting up with Geraint and his wife Chris early next week. But enough has already emerged to put out what you’re about to read.

Which will make any Part 2 I produce a kind of prequel. (Just think Godfather.)

Another reason for doing it this way is that my digging has unearthed intriguing links that may help us understand what’s happened at Gilestone.

Anyway, let’s sketch in the background. The problems began with planning permission granted by the Brecon Beacons National Park planning department in 2005 for caravans and camping at Gilestone farm.

By 2007 it had become clear that the BBNP, or certain individuals, had screwed up rather badly. (Which might explain the record being scrubbed, for I could find nothing on the BBNP website relating to that planning case.)

This report from 2008 tells that the planning department was by then, effectively, in special measures.

By 2010 we are reading that a High Court judge had quashed the original planning consent and, following very expensive litigation, the owners of Gilestone Farm found themselves with little alternative but to sell up.

This report from September 2018 tells us that Geraint and Chris Thomas, with their 5 children, have started afresh near Aberaeron. And being the grafters they are, they’ve made a success of their new ventures.

Then, just a year ago, their story was updated by WalesOnline. They’re obviously prospering . . . which is not always popular in socialist Wales.

But then, last Friday, all the bad memories were brought back with the report I linked to earlier. Though what I found odd was that neither the ‘Welsh Government’ nor the Green Man was prepared to talk to the media, so who leaked the story?

After reading that report, Christine Thomas put out a piece on her Facebook page, from which I reproduce the extract below.

   “We had sheds burnt down, we were banned from local shops and pubs, the children were bullied every day in school- it was horrific
     All because we had planning for a caravan park, and the locals did not want valleys people there
     The welsh government were instrumental in what happened to us-

HANDS ACROSS THE POND

The man who bought Gilestone Farm from Geraint and Chris Thomas was Charles William Weston, who made the purchase in the name of Sharpness and Severn Transport Ltd, which has been renamed – rather modestly – CWW Farming Ltd.

I had trouble figuring out exactly what Weston owned at Gilestone because the property seems to have been broken up into a number of different titles. There is even an instance of the same title number relating to different sections of the overall holding.

These are the titles I found, and here’s a pdf version with working links. (Click on the title number.)

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Weston now seems to have betaken himself in the general direction of the City of my Dreams; specifically, the area around Crai.

Though he maintains a couple of companies containing the “Gilestone” name, such as Gilestone Leisure Ltd, Incorporated 02.12.2014, and Gilestone Glamping Ltd (Inc 02.12.2019).

To keep himself busy, Weston has also joined the recently-formed Beacons Water Group CIC (BWG). An interesting outfit this, which you’ll be reading more about.

There are six directors. Four have surnames we’d expect to find in a Welsh farmers’ organisation, the other two are Weston, and Anthony Hugh Martineau. The latter lives on a farm and is also Head of Sustainability at Map of Ag.

Another member is Richard James Roderick, chairman of the Brecon and Radnor branch of the National Farmers Union (NFU).

The BWG  is generally described as a “farmer-led” group set up to guarantee water quality in the area. And who could argue with that? As ever, the truth is rather more complex. Let’s start with this extract from the BWG 2021 accounts.

We learn the inspiration for the Beacons Water Group came from Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water, following a visit made to the Catskills region of New York state. The Catskills form the northern end of the Appalachian mountain chain.

The ‘BBMC’ referred to is Brecon Beacons Mega Catchment. Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

The Catskills initiative is called the Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC) and is controlled to some extent, and funded, by New York City – to which the area supplies water – and the US federal government.

Revealingly, perhaps, the internet address for WAC is nycwatershed.com.

Though on reading about the WAC, the question that formed in the old Jac noggin was, “How did Dŵr Cymru even learn about this initiative so far away?”

The panel above goes some way towards answering that question by mentioning two trans-Atlantic visits. The first was in March 2018, when a group from the WAC visited Wales. As we see from the Dŵr Cymru tweet below, retweeted by the WAC.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Then, in October 2019, a contingent from Dŵr Cymru reciprocated with a visit to the Catskills. But I could find no mention of this on the WAC Twitter account.

UPDATE 23.06.2022: Here’s a report of the visit by Dŵr Cymru accompanied by some Powys farmers.

Though what you see below from around the time of the Dŵr Cymru visit may put us on the path to enlightenment.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

The Bard College mentioned in the tweet is a Woke-Left institution in New York State favoured and funded by George Soros. The Manipulative Magyar’s influence in Wales is often channelled through Black Mountains College in Talgarth.

That’s right! – just a few miles from Gilestone Farm.

In One Planet, Future Generations & George Soros (June 2019) I explained that there are clear connections between Soros and Black Mountains College.

BMC Chief Executive Ben Rawlence worked for Soros’s Open Society Foundations, also Human Rights Watch, a body that has seen much Soros funding.

BMC Trustee Dr William Herbert Newton Smith was, as the BMC website tells us: ” . . . for 20 years head of George Soros’s higher education programme, establishing over 20 universities around the world.”

These included the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. Until my mate, Vik, gave them the bum’s rush.

Among the BMC ‘advisors’, along with Sophie Howe, Jane Davidson, and other Labour deadbeats, we find “Hugh Martineau Sustainable Agriculture Consultant”.

Yup, the same Martineau we saw earlier at the “farmer-led” Beacons Water Group.

Martineau is clearly well in with the Corruption Bay establishment. Here we see him being promoted by the ‘Welsh Government’s Wales Rural Network. Though what a chilling phrase “farming newcomers” is. Just think about it.

Hugh Martineau is on the right, local NFU chairman, Richard Roderick, is on the left. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

If we were talking about young Welsh people from farming backgrounds they’d already know more than Martineau. Which means that the headline can only refer to those, almost certainly from outside of Wales, buying Welsh farms.

Or taking on Welsh farms someone else has bought for them?

The link between Black Mountains College, Bard College, and George Soros, was recently strengthened through the Open Society University Network (OSUN).

Soros unveiled OSUN at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2020. Read this article. This really is Orwell’s Ministry of Truth. We have arrived in 1984.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

If we turn to Black Mountains College most recent accounts (page 4, under ‘Operations’) we read: “BMC was inducted into the global Open Society University Network (OSUN), allowing us to offer our programmes to students from 50 institutions around the world”.

But no mention of Uncle George!

I suggest you read the latest accounts to help you grasp the links between BMC and other institutions, such as the Centre for Alternative Technology. And the funding from the ‘Welsh Government’, through the Arwain programme and other sources.

One organisation linked to BMC – and don’t fall off your chair in surprise! – is Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water, which is sponsoring the Ecological Futures Camp in late August – early September. (Take a look at the other sponsors!)

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

The accounts also mention (page 4) an anonymous gift of £50,000. Bloody hell! Should a small educational establishment in receipt of public funding be allowed to receive large, anonymous donations?

But this generosity is dwarfed by the gift from Jenny Mathilde Daneels Watt of Switzerland. Jenny splashed out £960,000 last year to buy Troed-yr-Harn, a 120-acre grassland farm and then, so we are told, she lets Black Mountains College have use of it for a peppercorn rent.

Isn’t that nice of her, boys and girls!

Here’s the title document for the farm (no plan available), and here’s the title document for an extra little piece she bought (with plan).

So another Welsh farm is lost to the nation.

The question you’re all asking is, “Who the hell is Jenny Mathilde Daneels Watt of Switzerland and why would she be so generous to Black Mountains College?”

I’m asking the same question. Answers on a postcard, please!

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

Why would the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ pay £4.25m for a farm it seems unsure what to do with, and then say it will be rented or leased to an organisation that has yet to make a comment, and has presented no business plan?

Part of the answer is, in a word, control.

Understand that we are dealing here with the socialist mindset that wants to control Wales and almost every aspect of Welsh life. If this can’t be done openly and directly, then it will be done surreptitiously, through proxies.

This is how the Labour Party has operated in Wales for a century. It explains the corruption, the cronyism and, regrettably, Wales’ poverty relative to other countries.

Why should farming, or the land, be treated any differently?

But before explaining what I think is behind the purchase of Gilestone Farm take a few minutes to enjoy Vaughan Gething, Minister for Economy (‘economy’!), flim-flam his way through questions in the Senedd on Wednesday.

Also understand that the Labour Party is ideologically and emotionally hostile to farmers and landowners. I could bore you with an explanation that takes us from the Inclosure Act (1773) via the Tolpuddle Martyrs (1834) to Kinder Scout (1932), but I’ll spare you.

Let’s now focus on the sale of Gilestone Farm.

I can’t be sure how and by whom the trans-Atlantic link was established, but at some point the idea that the mayor of New York City can influence farmers many miles away in the Catskills became seen as a good idea, to be replicated in Wales.

Which explains why the Beacons Water Group CIC was set up soon after the link was established between our own water supplier and the area supplying NYC.

Among the directors of BWG we found Richard Roderick, the local NFU branch chairman. Interestingly, Roderick farms directly across the Usk from Gilestone Farm.

Another BMC director is Alun Thomas, who farms within waving distance over Llangorse lake of Hugh Martineau.

Making the Beacons Water Group a cosy little gang. What’s more, there are plans to extend the idea, thanks to Cardiff University, which often seems to be joined at the hip with the ‘Welsh Government’.

The link in the previous paragraph takes you to a page headed: “Environmental resilience for water in rural Wales”. We read of, “Creative partner collaboration with Mrs Penelope Turnbull”.

Penelope Turnbull designs the interiors of cruise ships! She’s also been a window-dresser for Harrods!

How the fuck did she get this gig!

What does she know about farming? Or water quality? Come to that, why does a group set up to improve water quality on Welsh farms need a “Creative partner”?

Has the world gone mad, or is it just Wales? This could drive me to drink!

End of digression-rant.

Those belonging to the BWG are viewed as ‘good’ farmers, environmentally responsible and therefore to be favoured by politicians and their minions.

‘Good farmers’ will promote the globalist agenda that seeks to destroy livestock farming and have us eat gunge made in a factory owned by the increasingly weird, if not sinister, Bill Gates.

This couples with a change of tack from the ‘Welsh Government’.

For it has become clear, even to the blinkered and insensitive denizens of Corruption Bay, that hedge funds and City investors buying up Welsh farmland for various forms of greenwash does not go down well with the Welsh public.

Far better for the ‘Welsh Government’ to buy farmland and hand it over to favoured individuals and groups. Or it may be Dŵr Cymru doing the buying, or Natural Resources Wales. 

Here’s a recent example of such a purchase.

Without the trans-Atlantic link facilitated by Soros-backed institutions, we would not have seen the creation of the Beacons Water Group, and without the BWG the ‘Welsh Government’ would not have bought Gilestone Farm from Charles Weston.

The real story here may be the adoption and adaptation of a US arrangement that will be used by the ‘Welsh Government’ to reward those farmers who follow the globalist agenda while isolating those with principles.

Pour encourager les autres.

A bit crude, maybe incomplete, but this is how I see the general flow of influence or power in the subject you’ve reading about. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

The Green Man? Even if this outfit is taking over Gilestone, it’s just a distraction.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


A Response to . . .

. . . Wales Tourism Alliance, UK Hospitality Cymru, and Professional Association of Self Caterers UK. And the article below, which I reproduce from last week’s issue of the Cambrian News.

The article reports a desperate attempt to stop the closing of the loophole that allows holiday home owners to claim their property is a business and thereby avoid paying the council tax surcharge on holiday homes.

I have chosen to write this because rarely have I read such self-serving and unadulterated bilge / bollocks / bullshit. (Take your pick.)

It begins with the foundation lie that holiday homes in Wales are owned by locals; that is, Welsh people. Once the foundation is laid a whole house of lies can be built upon it.

It can be argued that to close the loophole, or to increase the council tax surcharge, will damage Welsh communities economically, will result in locals having to sell out to “wealthier outsiders” and – to cap it all – these moves will harm the Welsh language.

INTRODUCTION

I propose to go through the article and address the points made in the order they were made. But let me begin by introducing the organisations being quoted in the article.

First, the Wales Tourism Alliance (WTA), formed in 1998 (I quote from the WTA website) ” . . . when the National Assembly for Wales was established and the responsibility for tourism was devolved from Westminster to Cardiff”.

The WTA website is in English only.

Explanation: Viewing devolution as a Welsh Nationalist plot the (largely English-run) tourism industry in Wales decided to draw the waggons into laager.

UK Hospitality Cymru (UKHC) is another of those English organisations that pretends to have a Welsh presence by adding “Cymru” to the name. The contact details are all for the London office.

Finally, we have the Professional Association of Self Caterers UK (PASC UK), which doesn’t even bother with the pretence of adding “Cymru” or “Wales”. It got involved in Wales when the Wales Association of Self-Catering Operators (WASCO) folded in 2020.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

PASC UK would no doubt be treating Wales as a region of England were it not for the proposed legislation reminding its Board – none of whom seem to have any connection with Wales – that things are different here.

Here’s the article I’m referring to. I suggest you read it and as you read give some thought to what is really being said. (It’s available here in pdf format.)

Health warning! Those with a low boiling point should not proceed.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

DAMAGING TOURISM

Let’s start the dissection of the article in paragraph 3.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

It seems that the three organisations quoted believe that the proposed legislation will damage the tourism industry. By which I assume they mean that Wales will see fewer tourists, and the impact of tourism on Wales will be reduced.

Would that be a bad thing?

Tourism is Welsh communities taken over and anglicised. (Think Abersoch, Aberdyfi, and other places.) It’s increased traffic, environmental damage, shit on Yr Wyddfa. Do we really want to keep these things at their current level?

Of course not. These are things we should be seeking to reduce or banish entirely.

Turning to the economic argument . . . how many tourism businesses are owned by Welsh people? How many Welsh people have jobs in tourism that pay enough to enable them to buy a home in a tourism ‘hot-spot’, like Abersoch? (Or anywhere else?) How many people does the tourism industry employ in November, or February?

GREEN TOURISM, HONEST!

Moving on to paragraphs 9 and 10.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Paragraph 9 contains a plea to increase the letting threshold from 70 to just 105 days (rather than the proposed 182) in return for which the three groups will work towards making tourism “greener”.

How, exactly?

Will tourists come by train and then use the extensive Welsh network to travel around the country? Or perhaps they’ll walk? Hire a mule?

Let’s be honest; these groups realise that the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ has succumbed to climate hysteria and they’re just playing on that.

Though it does raise an interesting point. Because if the ‘Welsh Government’ wants higher self-catering occupancy rates then that will inevitably mean more tourists, and more car journeys, and more pollution.

How does that square with the ‘Welsh Government’s belief that Wales can single-handedly save the planet?

Paragraph 10 ends with the claim that the proposed legislation will have “a disproportionate and damaging economic impact on . . . communities”.

Presumably the communities being destroyed by holiday homes!

This claim seems to be based on the argument that people staying in rented accommodation put money into the local economy. Which is no doubt true.

Taken to its logical conclusion, the greatest benefit, with the most money going into the local economy, will be achieved if holiday homes become permanent homes for Welsh families.

FEWER HOLIDAY HOMES WOULD BE BAD FOR LOCALS

Paragraphs 11 and 12 (below) plumb new depths of desperation. And dishonesty.

The three organisations claim legislation that might force cheats into either paying what they’re supposed to pay, or else sell up, will be of no benefit to local people. “It will reduce local owners’ ability to earn an income”.

To begin with, few holiday homes are owned by local Welsh people. But here the ‘Welsh Government’ should simply make exemptions for those that are.

Will this be discriminatory? Of course it will, but it would also mean the ‘Welsh Government’ would be prioritising the best interests of the indigenous population.

Would it be anti-English? Of course not. People from Namibia, Bolivia and Kazakhstan with holiday homes in Wales would be equally affected.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

There would, it’s claimed, be “a decline in secondary jobs in hospitality, retail, house maintenance and cleaning”. An old one, this. A variation on the theme of holiday homes putting money into the local economy.

It’s such obvious nonsense that those spouting it must think we’re idiots!

As for “house maintenance”, I live in a village with far too many holiday homes, and I’m amazed by the tradesmen’s vans I regularly see from exotic locations over the border. The areas where the holiday home owners live.

If I had the power I would introduce a fine for any home owner not employing local tradesmen. And a public flogging for a repeat offence.

Paragraph 12 reads, “(The proposed legislation) will not safeguard the Welsh language as these businesses will be lost to wealthier outsiders prepared to meet the higher costs of having a second home or self-catering business in Wales.”

Is it being suggested that holiday homes now safeguard the Welsh language? If so, then they really do think we’re stupid!

Though I agree with them that if the current loophole is closed, and the 300% council tax surcharge levied, then many properties will come on the market. But will they really be bought by “wealthier outsiders”?

And if they were, then what would it mean?

Nothing, really, except that our councils could be getting a good income from the 300% surcharge and those holiday homes that were falsely claiming to be businesses will have to be run as real self-catering businesses – providing all the benefits the three organisations claim such enterprises provide.

Everybody wins . . . except those currently cheating the system

In my opinion, closing the loophole and raising the surcharge to 300% would reduce the demand for and the attractiveness of holiday homes and result in property prices in rural areas of Wales falling. Which would mean more properties coming within the financial reach of local people. 

And if the 300% holiday home council tax surcharge doesn’t bring enough properties within the reach of locals, then we should raise it to 500%.

“WITHOUT HOLIDAY HOMES YOU’D ALL STARVE!”

Finally, to paragraph 15, which warns that the economy of rural Wales will collapse if holiday home owners currently gaming the system are made to pay their full whack.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

To begin with, let’s consider the term, “self-catering”. It means catering for oneself. And here’s an example of what it means.

I see people arriving in my village for a week or two in a holiday home and it often takes a good half an hour to unload the car – because they’ve brought just about everything bar the kitchen sink. (Same applies to those staying in caravans.)

Yes, they go to local restaurants, pubs, and other places. But what they spend in the local economy is – for obvious reasons – exaggerated.

It takes us back to the point I made earlier. No matter how much holiday homes may contribute to the local economy that contribution would be dwarfed by locals living in those properties for 12 months of the year.

A child could understand that. Why do the defenders of holiday homes pretend not to?

CONCLUSION

The report produced by the Wales Tourism Alliance, UK Hospitality Cymru, and Professional Association of Self Caterers UK purports to promote the self-catering sector but reads like a defence of those exploiting the existing loophole by pretending their private holiday homes are businesses.

Then, by proposing that the minimum occupancy time for a property to qualify as a genuine rental should increase from the current 70 days a year to just 1o5 days, the three organisations tend to undermine their own case.

Proposing such a low level of occupancy does nothing for the image of a thrusting, non-seasonal tourism sector without which we Welsh would be reduced to cannibalism.

Especially as on the PASC UK website we read of Council member Robert Kennedy and his wife that, “In just 3 years their non-agency on-line marketing strategy grew the business to 90% occupancy”. That’s 328 days a year.

But at the end of the day, we are discussing tourism. And as I have said repeatedly, the damage inflicted on Wales by tourism far outweighs any benefits seen by Welsh people.

Anything that can ameliorate or reduce the impact of tourism in general and holiday homes in particular should be supported. So back the closing of the loophole. Insist that your council imposes the 300% surcharge. And demand a tourism tax.

Then ensure that the money collected does not make its way to Corruption Bay, or to third sector bodies, or to housing associations. That money must be used in the areas damaged by tourism for the benefit of local people, especially younger people looking to buy a home in which they can raise a family.

What these three, essentially English, organisations, are saying is: “You couldn’t manage without us”. The traditional response to uppity natives.

Reminding us that tourism in Wales is a largely colonialist activity. One country being used for the benefit and enjoyment of another – and then told to be grateful for being exploited.

Well they know where they can stick that!

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Anti-Social Housing and Other Rackets

INTRODUCTION

Everyone I think accepts that in Wales we have a dysfunctional housing or property sector; one not fit for purpose, and one that certainly doesn’t serve the needs of the Welsh people.

But I’m not simply talking about holiday homes and English migrants squeezing us out of the private housing market, though that is the biggest problem in rural areas, especially in the west.

No, the issues in Welsh housing go beyond asking £2.2m for a ‘fisherman’s cottage’. There are problems less obvious, that don’t attract such attention. And yet, if these problems were remedied, then the money saved could go towards solving other issues.

In this post I shall deal with two of those problems.

GANGLAND ABERYSTWYTH

There have been persistent reports of trouble in Aberystwyth of a kind that almost beggars belief. I quote from this recent report, “There’s been a number of instances where a fight took place between rival gangs from the midlands (sic), apparently, who were fighting over a turf war.”

The area worst affected is close to the castle, in the Rheidol ward. Here’s a map of that ward, with one address marked with an x on Upper Great Darkgate Street. I’ve done this because I’m going to tell you a little story.

So make yourselves comfortable.

Rheidol ward shaded. Also showing the ward’s territorial waters. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

This part of the town, Upper Great Darkgate Street, between Clock Square and the castle, holds fond memories for me. For back in the ’60s it was home to two great pubs, The Angel and The Farmers, next-door to each other.

I sank many a pint in both. And oft-times in wonderful company. I have great memories of Cayo on his accordion leading the ensemble.

Happy days!

The Farmers is closed, but the Angel is still open, but obviously not what it used to be, to judge by this review. Though if they think this is the dirtiest, scruffiest pub in Wales, then the Sheppey family of Pontypool enjoy a very sheltered life.

Note the reference to this pub being “full of drug people”.

Click to open in separate tab

The reason you’re traipsing down Memory Lane with me is because, back in June 2019, I was in the vicinity when I came across a strange scene. The road around the clock tower was blocked off by the police and I could see somebody up on a second floor window sill, apparently threatening to jump.

I joined the small throng that had gathered to shout advice to the would-be jumpee. (For next to suspenders and stockings few things get the old Jac adrenalin pumping better than a raucous mob!)

Realising I was going to use this image sent me to the Land Registry website, where I was able to establish that the property in question – No 50 – is owned by our old friends Wales & West Housing.

Here’s the Land Registry title document.

The property was originally bought by Cymdeithas Tai Pumlumon in 1989, which merged with Cymdeithas Tai Dyffryn Teifi in 1993 to form Cymdeithas Tai Cantref. Cantref was eventually swallowed up by Wales & West in 2016.

Which is just before the problems in this part of Aberystwyth started.

By clicking on Cantref: ‘Welsh’ Labour Takeover Challenged? you’ll get more information and links to all my previous postings on the subject.

I used that title in 2016 because Wales & West is the ‘Welsh Government’s favourite housing association. Group CEO Anne Hinchey – who’s never knowingly missed a photo op – is the wife of Cardiff Labour Councillor Graham Hinchey.

Wales & West has an appalling record for dumping petty criminals and drug addicts on Welsh towns and villages. In this news report from January 2018 W&W admits there have been “issues” in Lampeter.

That’s because Wales & West is a business, and housing England’s problems pays well. Which goes hand in hand with W&W rejecting its responsibility to Welsh communities, or Wales in general, and its “Do we have to!” attitude towards the Welsh language.

Though this recent report from the Tivy-Side Advertiser about W&W’s plan to damage a community in north Pembrokeshire makes clear that locals now know exactly how Wales & West operates.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

But Wales & West is not alone in causing the kind of problems we see in Aberystwyth. A few other housing associations do the same thing, then there are third sector bodies, and private landlords. Often working together, as we saw in Tyisha, Llanelli.

But what makes Wales & West especially damaging is that it’s the biggest housing association in Wales, and it achieved that position through favouritism and funding from the ‘Welsh’ Labour ‘Government’, and through operating a business model that a more responsible organisation would reject.

Can you imagine a Labour Party election manifesto that read: “We shall increase funding to housing associations and third sector bodies so they can bring into Wales more criminals, drug addicts and families from hell”?

No, neither can I. But it’s what they do.

“MOVING TO WALES”

On Sunday someone drew my attention to this story he’d picked up in KentOnline.

It seems that Kayleigh Parnham can no longer afford to rent a home for herself and her three children in Kent and so, “in a few weeks’ time she will be moving more than 200 miles away to Wales”.

Later we read, “Miss Parnham says a friend who found herself in a similar situation moved to a town in Wales – so she has decided to follow suit, successfully applying for a council house.”

(Though of course “council house” in this instance could mean any kind of social housing, which would include housing association properties.)

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

The question many of you are now asking is – How does this woman qualify for social housing in Wales? So let’s examine some possibilities. (Here I am indebted to a couple of people who contacted me after I put out this tweet on Sunday.)

The article tells us that Kayleigh Parnham has lived in Kent all her life. This rules out her having local connections with any part of Wales. But it mentions her “friend” who made the move, so is she claiming kinship with this trailblazer and saying she needs to be near relatives?

Because this is a loophole often exploited.

This loophole also explains how a youngster who’s got into trouble is ‘adopted’ by Wales-based do-gooders and then, within months, his extended criminal family appears. And is immediately housed.

Cos there’s good money to be made.

Another scam, rife in coastal areas, is to move your family into a caravan – plenty available, especially in winter – claim “cramped living conditions”, etc, then tell the nice lady from Cwmscwt Housing Association that little Chardonnay is coughing all the time and you’ll soon be offered a nice big house.

Or, if that doesn’t appeal, then find anywhere to live, stick it out for six months and, bingo! – you qualify as ‘local’. Look you.

I even knew one guy, came down from Manchester, pitched a tent on Tywyn beach for himself, his wife, and their 5 kids. An absolute rogue. I used to go drinking with him. I even got talked into ferreting for rabbits one forgettable Sunday.

But these scenarios don’t seem to apply here. It looks as if Kayleigh Parnham, living in Kent, is just waltzing straight into a home in Wales. A country she may never even have visited.

The photo in the article I’ve linked to shows Ms Parnham with her two daughters, but there is a third child, her son, 12-year-old Alex. And as this article from the Daily Mirror informs us, Alex has ‘issues’.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Not only are we taking in a family with no Welsh connections, it looks as if one of the children will need expensive treatment.

Thank God Wales is a wealthy country!

But it’s not just Kayleigh Parnham and the friend who preceded her coming to Wales.

This story carried by CornwallLive is headlined: “Ponsanooth mum might be forced to move to Cardiff after eviction notice”.

I love the use of “forced”. But then, I’d have to be dragged kicking and screaming to live in Cardiff . . . and I’d leg it at the first opportunity.

To misquote that great Swansea poet, Harri Webb. Better a shed in Landore than a mansion in Lisvane.

The issue for mother-of-four Rae Layton in Cornwall is Section 21 notices, which allow a landlord to evict a tenant with just two months notice. Often done to switch that property to Airbnb or to sell as a retirement / holiday home.

Or else the sitting tenant is evicted and the property is rented out again at a greatly increased rent. Which is what seems to have happened to Laura Williams of Penzance, another woman with four children.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

One contact on Sunday directed me to the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, and in particular sections 73 and 75. Where we read that Wales has an obligation to house the homeless, no matter where they come from. In some circumstances the obligation extends to those who are intentionally homeless.

This looks like another nice little earner.

Because I bet that a Welsh council or housing association taking in a family from almost anywhere in England will be able to charge the ‘home’ authority more than they could charge local tenants. And the ‘home’ authority won’t mind paying because it’ll still be cheaper than if they’d housed that family locally.

As with housing criminals, drug addicts, neighbours from Hell, it’s a business model.

But what about local people waiting for social housing, who see people with no local connections being housed ahead of them time after time after time, because they are “priority cases”?

I don’t wish to appear heartless, these women obviously need help. But they should not be our problem. Section 21 evictions are happening all over England – do we take them all in?

CONCLUSION

It doesn’t matter which vantage point you take, or which sector you focus on, the housing market in Wales is screwed.

In the village where I live every property that comes up for sale is bought by an English buyer. Either as a holiday home or somewhere to retire to.

There’s little demand for social housing because there is no employment locally, so young people leave. This explains the closure of the village school, the age profile, and the language shift.

I was only able to buy the house I live in thanks to Right to Buy legislation. This provided the only chance for most locals to buy a home in many parts of Wales. Especially coastal and rural areas.

But the socialists in Corruption Bay did away with Right to Buy. Hypocrites, many owning two or three properties. That’s ‘socialism’ for you.

A country with a modicum of self-government becoming increasingly less accommodating to its native population suggests either a malevolent guiding hand or incompetence such as no nation should be expected to tolerate.

Radical action is needed to put things right. Here are some suggestions:

  • Instead of tinkering with council tax rates that councils will never have the balls to implement, the ‘Welsh Government’ should itself impose a 500% national surcharge on all holiday homes.
  • Airbnb and similar operations should be banned from Wales.
  • Canada recently introduced a two-year ban on most foreigners buying domestic property. Denmark and New Zealand have similar legislation. Why can’t something similar be done in Wales?
  • Failing this, then we must have a split market such as operates on the Channel Islands. This sees most properties reserved for local buyers, with a smaller ‘open’ market accessible to everyone.
  • Something that could be implemented tomorrow – and should be – is the ‘Welsh Government’ ceasing to fund housing associations and third sector bodies that bring in criminals and other undesirables from England. (A practise that should surely compete with Einstein’s [alleged] definition of insanity.)
  • Close the loophole that allows the victim of a greedy landlord in the bucolic idyll of Scrotum Parva to qualify immediately for social housing in Wales. This is England’s problem, not ours.
  • Make local connection the overriding qualification for social housing in Wales. And someone has to have lived in Wales for at least 5 years before they qualify as ‘local’.

The options are endless for those with imagination and the will to implement the kind of legislation Welsh people need. Regrettably, both imagination and the will to act in the nation’s interests are alien to the political class that claims to be running Wales.

But something must be done to straighten out a housing sector currently working against Welsh interests; otherwise Welsh people becoming strangers in their own country will be perfectly justified in taking matters into their own hands.

Finally, and this should go without saying – don’t vote for a socialist party tomorrow. Vote for a party that is uncompromisingly Welsh or, seeing as these are local elections, give your vote to a decent independent candidate.

♦ end ♦

© Royston Jones 2022


Diversity and Inclusivity in the Socialist Nirvana of Wales

INTRODUCTION

The Merriam-Webster definition of Nirvana is, “a place or state of oblivion to care, pain, or external reality”. Oblivion to reality certainly applies to the socialist lunacies besetting Wales.

Who but those oblivious to truth could believe that Wales can save the planet, that decent jobs, infrastructure, education and heath care are for sissies, and that women have penises?

Merriam-Webster also mentions, “alcohol-induced nirvana”. Bloody hell! I’ve been there a few times. Does that make me a Buddhist? 

IT ALL BEGAN . . .

. . . with a couple of tweets on Sunday from the BBC. Both linked to this article.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

The Women’s Equality Network (WEN) Wales is worried that not enough candidates from ethnic minorities are standing in next month’s council elections. But WEN is not an organisation dealing with ethnic minorities, so why raise the issue?

Before answering that, let’s take a look at WEN.

WEN is registered as a company limited by guarantee (‘Ltd’ exempt), and a charity. It depends mainly on funding from the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ in the form of an Equality and Inclusion Grant. In 2021 this amounted to £145,000, up from £119,904 in 2020.

There are five employees in 2022 (in addition to the Director), up from four last year. The panel below shows the staff members towards the end of last year (left) compared to the staff members now as shown on the WEN website.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

With the Director pulling down £47,677 we can be fairly certain that most of the remaining £109,375 (from a total 2021 income of £157,052) went on the other four salaries. We can also assume that the grant will be increased in 2022 because there’s now another staff member.

And it seems growth doesn’t end there. This advertisement is for a ‘Senior Partnerships Fundraiser’ on a one-year contract at £31,365.

I quote from the advertisement:

“Funded by the Third Sector Resilience Fund“. This is administered by the WCVA, a front for the ‘Welsh Government’, used to disguise funding from that source.

“We particularly welcome Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), disabled and LGBTQ+ candidates”. Mmm, does that mean straight, White, able-bodied Welsh need not apply?

“Homebased anywhere in the UK”. Does that mean that knowledge of Wales is not required?

“Lived experience of . . . a protected characteristic”. ‘Lived experience’, that phrase so beloved of the Woke. Does WEN – like the ‘Welsh Government’ – accept Stonewall’s interpretation of ‘protected characteristics’, or does it stick to the law?

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Applicants for the job are invited to reply to the Polly Symondson Recruitment Agency . . . in Cheltenham, England.

WEN may also have been looking earlier this year for a Freelance Policy Researcher, at £250 to £300 a day.

Who says Wales is a poor country!

So, WEN is complaining there aren’t enough ethnic minority council candidates. Horrified that just 1.8% of candidates in 2017 came from ethnic minorities, while the figure quoted for the “ethnically diverse population” of Wales (2021) is 5.2%.

Thankfully this is not a problem at WEN. From a total complement of six, at least three of the staff belong to ethnic minorities. Two seem to be White English. While the sixth is the obligatory token Welsh person.

UPDATE 29.04.2022: I’ve found a petition for: “more Black, Asian, and ethnic minority women, LGBTQ+ women, disabled women, and women with other protected characteristics in . . . a Senedd that is gender balanced and reflective of the whole Welsh population.”

Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

It gained just 199 signatures. Take out WEN staff, their friends, family, and the members of the Splott Intersectional Mud Wrestling Club and this petition does not suggest massive support from the real world.

(Of the 199 votes only 148 came from Wales (74%). The others came from: Nigeria 32, England 10, Netherlands 6, and one each from Scotland, Germany, China. So which WEN staff member has contacts in Nigeria?)

DIVERSITY! WHAT BOLLOCKS IS SPOUTED IN THY NAME!

So who are the six women running Women’s Equality Network (WEN) Wales? Let’s start at the top, with the director, Catherine Fookes.

Her Linkedin page tells us that she was privately educated in England (Godolphin) before attending Middlesex University where she studied Business (with two years in France). Her Masters in Development Studies was done at Bath, her thesis on Plan International.

Catherine Fookes is the longest serving staff member at WEN, having joined in September 2017. Perhaps her appointment was reward for her valiant efforts to become Labour’s Welsh Assembly Member for Monmouthshire in 2016. Here’s her election leaflet.

Her Twitter account tells she’s standing again for Labour in next month’s council elections. (And she was elected.)

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

The only other survivor from those named as WEN staff in the accounts signed off in November last year is Megan Evans, the token Welsh presence.

I can’t find much information on Megan Evans, but her profile on the WEN website tells us: “She is passionate about gender equality, intersectional feminism, LGBT rights, and racial justice”. We only need climate hysteria for a Woke nap hand.

“Intersectional” is of course another Woke mantra.

Moving on to the newcomers . . .

Evelyn James, the Diverse5050 Campaign Manager was recruited, presumably, as result of this advertisement:

The Diverse5050 Campaign is an agreement between Labour and Plaid Cymru that certain groups – primarily ethnic and (self-ID) gender – should be over-represented in politics.

The campaign is “run in partnership with our steering group ERS Cymru, Race Council Cymru, and EYST Wales”. These are bodies run by Labour Party cronies, are funded by the ‘Welsh Government’ (though it should be the Labour Party), and have appeared on this blog.

For example, Ethnic Youth Support Team is where we would have found Rocio Cifuentes as Chair before she was elevated to the £95,000 a year post of Children’s Commissioner for Wales. A post for which Labour Party membership was her best – perhaps only – qualification.

I wrote about this in January, in ”Welsh’ Labour – Corrupt To The Core’.

Turning now to Joys Njinji, Mentoring Project Manager and Annmarie Brown, Mentoring Project Officer, almost certainly recruited through the advertisements to which I’ve linked their job titles.

Which leaves Jessica Laimann, Policy and Public Affairs Officer.

She was recruited by WEN last year, and before taking up the post she was “Assistant Democratic Services Officer at Carmarthenshire County Council”.

I almost choked on my laverbread sandwich when my rheumy old eyes alighted upon “Democratic” and “Carmarthenshire County Council” in the same sentence. Somebody must have a sense of humour!

Or else things have really gone to the dogs since Mark James ceased being CEO and de facto council leader.

SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW, SAME INTENTION

To understand Diversity Quotas it may be worth considering a couple of references: one from the past; the other bang up to date. And then try to synthesise them.

Writing this I was immediately struck by a parallel from the recent past and across the water. Unlikely as it might at first sound, that example is political gerrymandering in the Six Counties.

Derry. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

In Derry, for example, gerrymandering guaranteed the Protestant-Unionist minority control of the Corporation in a city with a Catholic and Nationalist / Republican majority. (Explained here in a one-minute video.)

Classic gerrymandering along those lines can’t work in Wales because we do not have segregation. Which leaves the Left seeking to limit the number of representatives from the majority population in other ways.

Of course they will deny this. Whining that they simply want “fair representation” for “under-represented” groups, and only “racists” would oppose this innovation.

But it don’t matter how you cut it, the end result will be the same – minorities enjoying representation disproportionate to their numbers in a given council area, or in Wales as a whole.

Coming up to date, and back to the poisoned well of Wokeism from which WEN has clearly drawn too many buckets . . . the demand for quotas also smacks of Critical Race Theory ‘equity’ (not to be confused with equality).

CRT’s ‘equity’ is race-obsessed discrimination that guarantees everybody loses out.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

But it still gives the Left power and influence out of all proportion to the support it enjoys among the population at large. Worse, it’s the tail of the extreme Left wagging dogs like Labour, Plaid Cymru, Greens.

But this should not surprise anyone familiar with Welsh politics; for too many of those now involved in politics and public life in Wales have previously worked for ‘charities’ and pressure groups. These outfits get their agenda implemented through influencing politicians – not from selling their programme to the public.

This is one reason Corruption Bay has no register of lobbyists.

CONCLUSION

Additionally, there are two fundamental flaws in what passes for the reasoning underpinning minority candidate quotas. These fallacies are:

  1. That only a member of an identified minority can represent other members of that minority.
  2. That members of a minority will only accept being represented by someone from their minority.

It is a cause for concern that the ‘Welsh Government’ – and its little helper – agree that favoured minorities should be assured preferential treatment – at the insistence of third sector operatives, many of whom hope to benefit personally from the agreement.

And if the candidate quotas WEN is calling for are introduced, then how long until the Left demands we introduce a new method for counting the votes? Surely, it will be argued, votes from members of the majority community should count for less than votes from members of “disadvantaged” or “traditionally oppressed” minorities?

That question is not entirely rhetorical. Because that is the direction many on the Left want to take us.

At present, anyone can apply to join a political party and then seek to become a candidate. Political parties are then free to choose their candidates without any outside interference.

This is how it should remain. To deviate from a system that treats all as equal could be the first step on a very slippery slope.

end

 

© Royston Jones 2022


How Green Is My Racket

THE CARBON COMMUNITY

This post began when I was directed to the tweet you see below. Thirty-two grand is a lot of money, so what is The Carbon Community?

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Well, basically, it seems to be a husband and wife, plus a second woman, who a few years ago set up both a registered company (limited by guarantee, Inc: 21.10.2019), and a charity (06.01.2020).

The husband and wife are Charles Martin Nicholls and Jane Kentish Nicholls. While the third director / trustee is Heather Blain Allen. Here’s Allen’s Linkedin profile.

There is another company, Carbon Community Trading Ltd (Inc: 26.10.20). Jane Nicholls is not a director, and the sole share is held by The Carbon Community.

The use of ‘Trading’ suggests carbon sequestration.

Both companies, and all three directors, give as their address a private property in Windsor, Berkshire, which I take to be the Nicholls’ family home.

In addition, Heather Allen is a director of Carbon Copy Network, which claims to promote ‘local climate action’. This is also a registered company, limited by guarantee (Inc: 14.11.2019).

Most of the projects mentioned on the website are in Wales. Which is odd seeing as none of those involved seems to have any connection with Wales.

Among the other three directors is Claudia Michaela Jaksch, who works for Policy Connect, ” . . . a cross-party think tank. We improve people’s lives by influencing public policy”.

In other words, lobbyists. Who could operate in Wales without having to register.

Were the people whose lives Policy Connect claim to be ‘improving’ ever consulted?

I find that a rather sinister example of the zealots’ “We know what’s best for you”.

The usual mantras from the Carbon Community website. In translation they read: ‘Put farmers out of business – free up land for people like us’; ‘Stick solar panels on your roof – that will never repay the capital outlay’; ‘Get poor people off the roads – making more room for those of us who can afford electric cars’. Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

Moving on . . . what land has The Carbon Community bought?

THE LAND IN QUESTION

Here’s a map of the area where The Carbon Community operates. Close to the Heart of Wales (Swansea-Shrewsbury) rail line and the famous Cynghordy viaduct.

Here’s the map in PDF format. You may wish to keep it open in a separate window because I’ll be referring to it regularly.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Let’s start by going back to the Companies House entry for The Carbon Community. Click on the ‘Charges’ tab and you’ll bring up an outstanding charge for a £200,000 loan made by director Heather Allen. Here in PDF format.

Scroll down to page 32, and above the signatures you’ll see a number of Land Registry title documents mentioned. These are all relevant to this article. (Plus another I dug up elsewhere.)

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Let’s look at them in more detail:

CYM119517 “Land and buildings at Penlan, Cynghordy, Llandovery (SA20 OLW)”. You’ll notice that this title is in the name of Philip Michael Stoyle (of whom more later).

WA851663 “Land at Cynghordy, Llandovery”. This is indeed owned by The Carbon Community, and the lender is named as ‘Heather Allen’. And here we have a plan. Unfortunately, it came in four parts at the end of the title document. I’ve done my best to stitch them together.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

What you see outlined in red is a large area of land lying east of Coed Alltygyrnig, which you’ll find in the centre of the OS map above.

Note also, page 3, paragraph 2: ‘”(21.04.2020) The price stated to have been paid on 20 March 2020 for the land in this title and in CYM119497, CYM119512, CYM800919 and WA852717 was £600,000.”

Which means that Heather Allen’s £200,000 only covered a third of the purchase price. Did the other directors put in £200,000 each? Or did the money come from somewhere else?

Here are the other relevant titles. (Or maybe just the ones I’ve found!)

CYM119512 “Land at Llanerchindda, Cynghordy, Llandovery”. Again, there’s no map, though the land referred to may be included in the plan with WA851663. Llanerchindda can be located centre-left top on the OS map.

CYM119497 “Land lying on the west side of Gwern-Gwinau, Cynghordy, Llandovery”. There is a plan attached, which refers to a footbridge across Afon Brân.

WA852717 “Land at Cynghordy, Llandovery”. This lies to the south east of the main holding shown in the plan with WA851663 (above), separated by a field or two, and backing onto the railway line and Coed Gallt-y-gyrnig on the east.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

CYM800919 “Land at Penlan, Cynghordy’, Llandovery”. This plot was bought by The Carbon Community in March 2020, and must be somewhere near Penlan or ‘Pen-y-lan’ where we earlier found Philip Michael Stoyle.

THE PLANNING APPLICATION

While I was idly Googling various names that crop up in this narrative I ran across a planning application for Gallt y Gyrnig, elsewhere known as ‘Alltygyrnig’, even ‘Galt-y-gyrnig’. Here it is.

The planning application was for the, “Reinstatement of abandoned farmhouse along with the conversion of an adjoining redundant outbuilding to provide additional residential accommodation”.

Full planning approval was granted 21.10.2021.

That’ll cost a few quid.

The map that accompanied the planning application shows that the land in question is across the railway line, and south east of Coed Alltygyrnig.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Even though the planning application was submitted by Charles Nicholls, the property is owned by John Lloyd of Cynghordy Hall. The local Big House.

Has an arrangement been entered into between Nicholls and Lloyd that if planning permission was obtained then Gallt y gyrnig would be rented, leased, or bought?

In total, we’re looking at a substantial amount of land bought or being eyed up by The Carbon Community. And there may be more.

NEIGHBOURS

I earlier mentioned Philip Michael Stoyle, who owns or lives in Penlan or Pen-y-lan. I can’t positively link him with The Carbon Community, but you never know.

What I do know is that he set up two companies in 2014, both with addresses in England. Adviseinc Ltd (26.02.2014) and Philinc Ltd (30.06.2014). Adviseinc still uses a London address, whereas Philinc switched to Penlan in June 2017.

Neither company would be worth dwelling on were it not for the fact that the other director of Philinc is a Paul Horsman. Possibly this Paul Horsman of Greenpeace.

The adjoining parcels of land owned by Stoyle, at Penlan, and Cynghordy Hall at Coed Alltygyrnig, would complement what The Carbon Community already owns.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

On the left we see the land to the east of Penlan / Pen-y-lan owned by Philip Michael Stoyle. This fits atop Coed Gallt-y-gyrnig, owned by Cynghordy Hall.

BUSINESS BACKGROUND

When someone pops up on my radar I like to get at the background. And so it was with Charles Martin Nicholls of The Carbon Community.

To make sense of this whole story we should focus on three companies using the ‘SeeWhy’ name. These are SeeWhy Software Ltd, SeeWhy Holdings Ltd, and SeeWhy (UK) Ltd.

All three went belly-up and were finally dissolved in 2016 and 2017 owing millions of pounds to assorted creditors. The last Summary of Liabilities for SeeWhy Software quoted a deficiency of £5,465,866.50.

The last to go under was SeeWhy (UK) Ltd. The only share held by . . . SAP (UK) Ltd, a subsidiary of German company SAP SE (Societas Europaea).

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Charles Nicholls’ background is obviously in computer software, yet he seems to have reinvented himself as an environmentalist!

Or maybe not. For I suggest this ‘transformation’ can be explained by looking more closely at his links with SAP, and how SAP now links with The Carbon Community.

One obvious link is that SeeWhy was bought by SAP in 2014.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Which means that when the SeeWhy companies with which Charles Nicholls was involved folded, in 2016 and 2017, he was perhaps, if indirectly, working for SAP.

SAP SE

SAP SE is a German software company. Wikipedia says: “SAP is the largest non-American software company by revenue, the world’s third-largest publicly-traded software company by revenue, and the largest German company by market capitalization”.

Possibly the largest company in Germany. Wow!

SAP SE is mentioned on The Carbon Community website but of course that rang no bells for me. But as we’ve seen, it is mentioned in connection with Seewhy (UK) Ltd, and then again in the Annual Report submitted to the Charity Commission, where we read:

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

And while The Carbon Community has relatively little to say about SAP, this major international player is proud to trumpet its involvement in Wales.

In December 2020 the SAP website announced