Poor old Swansea! victim of devolution and Cardiff-centricity

PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR

THE TOWN I LOVED SO WELL

As you’re probably aware, I am a native of Swansea; as it says on my Twitter profile, “A Jack by blood, birth, upbringing and inclination”. Despite having spent most of my life away from the city it remains my home town, it’s where my roots lie, and it’s where my heart will ever be. (Cue violins.)

When I was very young Swansea was still pulling itself together after being knocked about by the Luftwaffe, and despite the disastrous rebuilding of the centre we kids accepted it – ‘modern, see’. Of course, our parents and grandparents missed the old town, Ben Evans department store (‘the Harrods of Wales’) and all the rest.

And as Dylan Thomas reminds us in Return Journey, so much else was gone, including the famous Kardomah cafe, where he had ‘argued the toss’ with Vernon Watkins, Dan Jones, Arthur Janes and the rest of the gang.

A view from pre-war Swansea, courtesy of Swansea Recalled, click to enlarge

On the economic front, the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s were pretty good, you could tell the boss to F— Off on Friday and find a fresh job on Monday.

Despite what Turks and other disbelievers might say, we had the best rugby team in Wales; in summer, Glamorgan could pull 20,000 to St Helen’s, and in football, well, most of the 1958 World Cup team came from Swansea, and if Big John hadn’t been hacked out by the Hungarians in the previous game we would have beaten Brazil and won the competition.

Obviously there was some disappointment when in 1955 Cardiff was named capital, but we soon got over it because what did the title mean in practical terms? So we shrugged and continued to enjoy being the pre-eminent sub-species.

But since the 1980s it’s been noticeably downhill for Swansea in just about every conceivable sphere. And devolution has only made things worse.

BALLS, AND PLAYING SILLY BUGGERS

I’ve mentioned St Helen’s Rugby and Cricket Ground (to give it its full name), which opened in 1873 and held Wales’ first-ever home rugby international in 1882. It hosted rugby internationals until 1954. I suppose some might say that Swansea’s decline began when it lost rugby international games to Cardiff. For Swansea’s loss is invariably Cardiff’s gain.

Glamorgan v West Indies at St Helen’s, August 1950. Courtesy of Casgliad y Werin. Click to enlarge.

Since losing rugby international matches in 1954 St Helen’s has also lost Glamorgan CCC games to the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, where crowds are smaller than they were at St Helen’s. So the move would appear to make no economic sense, but that’s to miss the point, for the Swalec Stadium was built so that Cardiff can host England games. Yes, honestly. This of course brings money into the city, but with collateral damage in the loss of our national cricket team.

A loss the political and business leaders of Cardiff consider a price worth paying. Which tells us a number of things, among them that it’s not simply Swansea that loses out to Cardiff’s insatiable greed and self-aggrandisement.

Of course, some of Swansea’s wounds are self-inflicted. The city centre is a disaster area. The planning of traffic movement, one-way systems, pedestrianisation and the rest could have been handed over to a bunch of ten-year-olds forty years ago and today they could be showing their adult children around the city with pride – because they couldn’t have done a worse job than successive city administrations. Administrations that, with all-too-brief interludes, have been Labour.

The most recent such interlude was from 2004 until 2012 when the Liberal Democrat-led Swansea Administration ran the council in coalition with assorted others. In 2004 Plaid Cymru had five councillors, the group led by Darren Price, but refused to join the coalition, deluding itself it held the balance of power and could therefore dictate things. Which didn’t work out, so towards the end Price was having regular and quite open meetings with David ‘Il Duce‘ Phillips, the Labour leader, and ‘Rocking’ Rene Kinzett, local Tory hetman.

This unholy alliance eventually triumphed and Il Duce was restored to power in 2012, carried aloft by a crowd of thousands marching down the Mumbles Road singing the Red Flag interspersed with throaty renditions of For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow. (OK, I made that bit up.)

Alas, ‘Rocking’ Rene fell from grace, and his fall was complete when he was caught with child pornography. Il Duce was soon overthrown in a coup and also ended up in court, but for fly-tipping and taking over somebody else’s garage, with the rightful owner describing Phillips as a “nutcase”!

click to enlarge

In the elections of 2008 Plaid Cymru went down to one seat, and since 2012 it has had none. Darren Price crossed over and sold his soul to Beelzebub. (Trans: is a councillor in Carmarthenshire serving His Omnipotence Mark James.) Today Plaid Cymru barely exists in Swansea. Some ‘Party of Wales’, eh?

That said, not all the wounds were self-inflicted, and not when it comes to the state of the city centre. For long before the rise of internet shopping started doing its damage Swansea’s city centre was being undermined by out-of-town shopping, though as I say, this time the council was not entirely to blame.

Certainly not when it came to the Swansea Enterprise Park on the east side of the River Tawe, overlooked by Bonymaen and Llansamlet, the first and largest Enterprise Zone (as it originally was) in the UK, covering some 735 acres. Planned for light manufacturing and warehousing retailing was given the green light by Nicholas Edwards, Secretary of State for Wales under Margaret Thatcher until 1987.

Major stores and other retail outlets locating to the Enterprise Park certainly hurt the city centre, but then, Edwards couldn’t be bothered with that, because he had bigger fish to fry. For Nicholas Edwards was a man with big plans for Cardiff through the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation, set up by him to pump public money into land owned by Associated British Ports, of which he just happened to be the leading director.

This, perhaps the biggest single rip-off of public funding in Welsh history, is detailed in Corruption Bay, a document I compiled almost 20 years ago, but the facts, and the interpretations, still hold up.

DEVOLUTION – SHAFTED AGAIN!

Corruption Bay also explains why our Notional Assembly came to be located in Cardiff Bay – for the benefit of Associated British Ports, and as a ‘consolation prize’ for the opera house was that was never built. For among the countless ‘hats’ worn by Nick Edwards were director of the Welsh National Opera and chairman of the Cardiff Bay Opera Trust.

Even though Cardiff Bay eventually won the Assembly Swansea Guildhall was the only site that met the criteria on value for money and availability set out by Secretary of State Ron Davies in the search for a home for the new institution after negotiations over Cardiff City Hall – the assumed location for the Assembly – collapsed. But once again, Swansea was done down by certain influencers in Cardiff. (Explained in Corruption Bay.)

This competition ‘won’ by Swansea seems to have been written out of recent Welsh history; but then, as Churchill said, history is written by the victors, and what passes for the ‘Welsh media’ is the voice of Cardiff. (Fortunately, the subterranean and bomb-proof Jo’tN archives contain a library of newspaper articles from the period.)

After the ‘competition’ was launched, and as the terrifying prospect of the Assembly being housed in Swansea sunk in, the Western Mail and the rest of the ‘Welsh media’ went into hyper-drive, even accusing politicians and civil servants of leaning on Ron Davies to favour Swansea, as this ludicrous article from 3 March 1998 spells out.

click to enlarge

Yes, Rachel Lomax, then top civil servant at the Welsh Office, had been born in Swansea; and yes, there was something odd and unconvincing about her spat with council leader Russell Goodway over leasing Cardiff City Hall; but there was never any danger of the Assembly not being in Cardiff, but it was going to the Bay, for the benefit of Nick Edwards and his mates in Associated British Ports.

Which meant that the real beneficiaries of a National Assembly for Wales were a bunch of Tories who had always opposed devolution. They laughed all the way to their banks. (Which were probably offshore.)

And poor old Swansea got shafted, yet again.

NOTHING CHANGES

In recent years Swansea has received further blows in the form of rail electrification ending at Cardiff thanks to Chris Grayling, the man who never gets anything wrong; and the plug being pulled on the tidal lagoon.

How energetically Swansea’s case was argued by the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ is anyone’s guess. If I had to put money on it, I’d say the response was, ‘OK, fair enough, we’ll pass the message on’.

Even after the disappointment of electrification and the tidal lagoon there were still bright spots in the gloom. Among them, the growing reputation of Swansea University, and its increasingly lucrative spin-offs.

Since 1998, when the Times and Sunday Times started publishing their ‘Good University Guide’, Cardiff University had been top in Wales, but by 2016 things were changing in favour of Swansea University. A change confirmed in the 2019 Guide. (Though for some reason WalesOnline thinks the change happened in 2019!)

But lo! out of a clear blue sky, and just before Christmas, came the bombshell that senior figures at Swansea University had been suspended. Apparently this was connected with the University’s links to the Wellness Village in Llanelli, pet project of His Omnipotence Mark James.

Llanelli’s planned Wellness Village, click to enlarge

Now I won’t deny that the Wellness Village project may be the ultimate vanity project; and maybe the University’s involvement should have appeared more institutional than personal; but at the same time, I can imagine certain interests in Cardiff jumping at the opportunity to take Swansea University down a peg or two. And the ‘Welsh Government’ was only too happy to assist.

Vice-Chancellor Richard Davies has been replaced by Paul Boyle, an uninspiring Englishman who is “looking forward to being back by the sea!” – is he going paddling? No doubt Boyle is under instructions to rein in Swansea’s ambition and not get ideas above his University’s ordained station (below Cardiff in any rankings that matter).

UPDATE 13.03.2019: Just one day after I published this post the Western Mail, which used to be known as Llais y Sais (voice of the English), and could more correctly be re-named Llais Caerdydd (voice of Cardiff), published another piece it hoped would reflect badly on Swansea University. The unmistakeable message in the unattributed article is that these donations are ‘irregular’, perhaps dirty money.

click to enlarge

AND THEN THERE’S THE WELSH RUGBY UNION

It’s difficult to know where to start with this section, because rarely, even in the history of Wales, have so many been pissed off by so few. The few in question belong to the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and something called the Professional Rugby Board. Few would have heard of the PRB until last week.

For it was last week we heard that the WRU intended forcing through a merger of the Ospreys (the West Glamorgan region) and the Scarlets, the Llanelli super club. Not only that, but we also learnt that the WRU had previously tried to force through a ‘merger’ of the Ospreys with Cardiff Blues, another club that rejected regional rugby back in 2003.

No matter on which level we consider this, or from which angle we approach it, these proposed ‘mergers’ are insane. The Ospreys are Wales’s most successful rugby outfit yet the WRU wants to do away with them.

And then, how drunk do you have to be to think that Swansea rugby fans, having seen their team killed off, would travel the 40-odd miles to support Cardiff?

And when it comes to the takeover by Llanelli Scarlets, the WRU’s argument is that the Ospreys are broke while the Scarlets are in rude financial health. Llanelli Scarlets were for a long time kept afloat by the WRU, then Carmarthenshire County Council – Mark James again – took over the life-support system and poured in millions of pounds of council taxpayers’ money.

People in the world of rugby are laughing openly at the Welsh Rugby Union. Click to enlarge

Not only that, but all manner of imaginative special arrangements were dreamed up by Mark James to keep Llanelli Scarlets, and their white elephant stadium, afloat. Because Parc y Scarlets has never been financially viable. Whereas the Ospreys have no such worries because they share the Liberty Stadium with the Swans.

Mark James retires in June, and when he’s gone those who have cowered in his shadow this many a year may grow cojones and start questioning some of his decisions. Not least why Carmarthenshire County Council has written off millions of pounds owed to the people of Carmarthenshire by Llanelli Scarlets. And why revenue was lost in ‘concessions’ and all manner of questionable arrangements.

But anyone, in the Welsh Rugby Union, or anywhere else, who thinks that Llanelli Scarlets is a financial success story must be relying on the kind of accountants who appear on this blog . . . and often appear before a judge and jury.

Looking east, the WRU owns Newport Dragons, the least successful of our four ‘regions’. Newport is the same distance from Cardiff as Llanelli is from Swansea, so why not merge Cardiff and Newport into a South East region, and have them play at a new stadium to be built in Pontypridd or Pontypool? For neither Cardiff nor Newport has made any serious attempt to engage with their Valleys’ hinterlands. Making a mockery of ‘regional rugby’.

Another aspect is that these absurd mergers were proposed because the WRU wants a new region in the north. Back in 2003, when regional rugby was being discussed, David Moffett, then group CEO of the Welsh Rugby Union, proposed four regions: North, West (Llanelli, Swansea, Neath and others playing in Swansea), South (Cardiff, Pontypridd, Bridgend and the Central Valleys), and East (Gwent).

click to enlarge

Llanelli, Cardiff and Newport refused to become regions but called themselves regions anyway, and the WRU caved in. Swansea and Neath merged to form the Ospreys, a genuine region, and they are now being rewarded with oblivion.

Whatever the WRU’s grand plan may have been – and I’m being generous in assuming there is, or was, a coherent plan – viewed from Swansea this looks like just another Cardiff-based organisation doing Swansea down.

And if the WRU has its way and destroys the Ospreys then a new rugby entity will almost certainly emerge in Swansea and may have no alternative but to affiliate to the English Rugby Football Union. Is that really what those clowns in the WRU and the PRB want?

MAKING SENSE OF IT

Sticking with the Welsh Rugby Union for a minute, nothing surprises me when it comes to that BritNat-Masonic outfit, forever fawning over English royals, with its ludicrous feathers badge. Other countries have emblems representing the country and its people, Wales has one representing an individual claiming to be ‘Prince of Wales’ who has as much claim to the title as my cat.

Looking back to 1955 and the announcement that Cardiff was the official capital of Wales, maybe the rot set in for Swansea then, for it was obvious that, being more convenient for England, all manner of agencies would base themselves in Cardiff. Since then it’s been a drip-drip effect.

Devolution should have ‘evened things out’, but instead it’s made them worse, and not just for Swansea but for every part of Wales other than Cardiff. It used to be said – I heard it back in the 1970s – that devolution would simply give us ‘Glamorgan County Council on stilts’. Devolution has actually given us Cardiff City Council on steroids.

The reason devolution has failed ninety per cent of Wales economically is that concentrating everything in Cardiff has made it easier for bodies concerned only with Cardiff to influence decisions for Wales. For example, I guarantee that the denizens of the Cardiff and County Club have more influence on the economic life of Swansea than Swansea council and all the politicians the Swansea region sends to Cardiff Bay and Westminster combined. And that influence is malign.

And Swansea has no independent voice to speak up for her. The Evening Post, once Wales’s biggest selling daily ‘paper (it may still be), is now printed in England and censored in Cardiff, and losing readers fast; partly because it refuses to criticise the Labour Party, whether in County Hall or Cardiff Bay.

And all the while, thanks to this combination of Labour ineptitude, the lack of an effective media, and Cardiff pushing to become a major provincial city on a par with Bristol or Leeds, Swansea and the rest of the country must pay the price.

Poor old Swansea!

♦ end ♦

UPDATE 15.03.2019: From today’s Western Mail. BBC Radio Wales is dropping Mal Pope of Swansea from its schedules and it looks as if it’s also closing the historic Alexandra Road studios from where Dylan Thomas broadcast.

click to enlarge

32 thoughts on “Poor old Swansea! victim of devolution and Cardiff-centricity

  1. Robert George Morgan

    What you have said is correct, I once wrote to the Evening Post to criticise SCC on austerity adjustments, in saying if they stopped doing everything more than twice would save a fortune.
    Example, Castle gardens, bendy bus, now the Kingsway, which again will be a white elephant.
    The poor shop keepers will never get the footfall past their doors due to SCC policy, they do not want cars in the city centre. What a load of bollocks. Couldn’t run a school trip.

  2. Ron Tovey

    Wrote twice to the Beans on Toast before last elections asking labour council and government candidates to declare on election leaflets whether they were Momentum supporters or not.
    Not an unreasonable request.
    Unsurprisingly, neither letter was published.
    So sad, the Beans on Toast once had a great local political team.

    1. Beans on Toast has gone to the dogs since the takeover by Trinity Mirror, now Reach, and since control passed to the Western Mail/Echo/WalesOnline in Cardiff. Which is why it won’t criticise or embarrass Labour or stand up for Swansea. It’s no longer a local newspaper.

  3. Bit harsh on Newport I think – I believe the Newport Gwent Dragons were a genuine region formed from Newport and Ebbw Vale (who had an excellent team at the time). Admittedly they insisted on the Newport moniker, but at the time all the regions except the Warriors had something similar. The real cheek is Llanelli Scarlets claiming most of the rest of Wales, and Cardiff Blues apparently representing the Valleys – bet they love that up in Pontypridd!

    1. Not to begin with, it was Newport Dragons, then ‘Gwent’ was added, but the crowd still chanted ‘Newport! Newport!’

  4. According to Radio Wales, a source in the WRU claimed that Ospreys initiated talks about a merger because they could no longer afford to play at the Liberty.

    1. “A source in the WRU”, and who believes the WRU?
      And even if it’s true, the Ospreys may have considered a merger, but the WRU is pushing a takeover.

      1. Brychan

        The last stadium I went to watch rugby was …

        (a) owned by the city,
        (b) is also home to TWO top flight soccer teams,
        (c) plays it’s top fight rugby 300 miles away,
        (d) has two airports,
        (e) has integrated trams as well as high speed electric trains
        (f) has a shoot first policy on organised corruption
        (g) has a comparatively miniscule national rugby budget,
        (h) full of heritage buildings not demolished for 2000 years,
        (i) and put in two excellent tries against Wales.

        The WRU has a problem and it’s not playing talent or venues.
        The WRU problem is – itself.

  5. Dafis

    Fond memories of Swansea. Trip up from the wilds of rural north Sir Gar was usually fun. Back in those days the Whites had nearly as much support down there as the Scarlets simply because some of our boys ventured across the Llwchwr without feeling homesick ! Some even went further and played for Neath or Aberavon.

    It was in Swansea that I first spent time talking to Tony Lewis. He was a guest of HMP Swansea and we’d gone up to see Cayo but he had a shed full of family or friends in while Tony had no visitors. So we bowled in and spent time with the man and the screws were tidy about it having tipped us that Tony was without visitors . Lasting impression was that there was a lot of respect in there for the FWA crew among staff and guests. So all the bollocks that’s been trtted out since comes from people who never knew the real score.

    On your broader theme of corruption Swansea has suffered but really this is a blight across our entire country. It may have been limited in its extent some decades ago but the last few decades, certainly since 1979, has seen a more rapid extension of klepto behaviours and abuse of powers, generally for enrichment of self and circle of contacts.

    Classic example is the tendency for all “senior executives” in public sector and 3rd sector to screw big salaries out of their organisations simply because they make idiotic comparisons with private sector rewards. This has led to some inadequate chaps ( yes, mostly male) earning well north of 100K when really they would struggle to hold a job at half that salary in a well run commercial venture. This exemplifies a wholesale institutional shift where layers of people are “in on it”. These people then form a community which moves around from job to job often harvesting enhanced severance payments in the process. Just one example of the rot that has set in and how people get recruited into it thus effectively stifling criticism from within.

  6. Anonymous

    Off topic but not far from our minds, Adam Price referred to Mark Drakeford as “a liar or a fool”. Adam should have known better, drawn from our collective experience with Brexit and its invidious binary choice, and declared that Drakeford is possibly a liar AND a fool given his penchant for complying with the line laid down by Labour H.Q. ( the real one not the pretend thing in Cardiff ). Still it was mildly refreshing to see a Plaid man chucking any kind of abuse at the Labour muppets.

    1. It was also funny to see Drakewell’s response, like some maiden aunt who’s been outraged by somebody offering her a quick leg-over.

      1. Brychan

        Those remarks are completely out of order. Mark Drakeford said was he was ‘deprecating’. The record shows that he was, in fact, defecating.

  7. Dafis

    Swansea Uni has been engaged in borderline activities for ages. However that doesn’t make it any different to any of the Unis in Wales or indeed elsewhere in the UK. Vice Chancellors and some of their more eminent underlings have often displayed an appetite for scoring a big deal without really having regard for any kind of consequences. Like their opposite numbers elsewhere in the public sector they have craved the rewards being filched by underperforming senior execs in the private sector and set out to find ways and means of posturing as “big players”.

    Creative accounting and use of arms length companies and other variations of the “efficient structures” peddled by the major firms of accountants now proliferate among these institutions. Yet they are still falling short in their core business of educating and research let alone dabble in the dark arts of financial engineering.

    Much of the present predicament derives from a mindset initially fostered by the free market “thinking” ( a gross abuse of the word!) of the Thatcher clique. It was then expanded without restraint by the Bliar regime with its insane belief that all and sundry should get a degree even if they couldn’t apply what they’d been taught, or worse still couldn’t understand what they had studied. Almost instantaneous devaluation of any standards in education coupled with the later Coalition’s change in student funding has created a massive uncollectable debt at the Student Loans organisation.

    1. Swansea University has done what all universities have been encouraged to do, and that is diversify, to set up spin-offs that create money and jobs. And it’s been successful, but the success stories have been overshadowed by the involvement with Mark James and the Wellness Village. Because Mark James has pissed off so many people, been so arrogant in his behaviour, that the Wellness Village proved to be his nemesis.

      On the academic front, Swansea University has been very successful of late, and has overtaken Cardiff in the rankings. Which is very awkward, and embarrassing, because Cardiff Uni belongs to the Russell Group, the association of top universities, but how long can it maintain that status when Swansea is a better university? And it’s not only the prestige of the University that’s at stake, because when Cardiff council or anyone else goes off looking for investment “best university in Wales, member of the Russell Group” will be one of their selling points. They can no longer say that.

      As in so much else, Cardiff’s only real competitor in Wales is Swansea, so when Cardiff sets itself the target of leaving Wales behind to become a player alongside Bristol, Leeds and other major provincial centres – which is the ambition of the political and business elite of Cardiff – then the last thing they can afford is to be undermined from the rear. So Swansea must be kept in its place.

      Among other things, this explains us not having a national cricket team, it explains the lunacy of doing away with Alun Wyn’s rugby team, and it almost certainly explains the ongoing attacks on Swansea University.

  8. Dafis

    Don’t think for one moment that Swansea Uni’s involvement with Meryl’s Health Farm is the only time the institution has gone off the straight and narrow. However that is not my point, which is simply that deviant behaviour of various kinds is now at epidemic levels among most if not all leading Uni’s in Wales and the UK. The stupid bastards can’t get enough of it.

    No doubt all this has been triggered by the surge in “big is beautiful” driven by the Bliar initiatives to let every buffoon in the land acquire degrees. By those yardsticks Swansea Uni is successful and no doubt it turns out high %ages of First and Upper Seconds, but we also know that those standards have been eroded over the last 20-40 years by that competitive pressure introduced by the industrialisation of higher education. In that matter Swansea are just as guilty as Cardiff

    Swansea can take credit for some good innovative applications of technologies researched and incubated prior to full commercialisation. But that can also be said of Cardiff and Glamorgan/ South Wales (Poly as was). Which only goes to prove that if a Uni can do this good stuff why does it ever need to go after the scams and dodgy deals as is often the case ?

    1. I agree that universities have been ‘industrialised’ and nowadays turn out thousands of over-qualified shelf-stackers and call centre staff who would not have been admitted to university thirty or forty years ago.

      Why get involved with Mark and Meryl? I’m not sure, maybe it was just over-reach.

      1. Dafis

        may have had something to do with Clement need to reassert himself after the Univ of Wales fiasco – remember the POWIS scheme? Prince of Wales Innovation Scholars ! someone was getting down to some serious arse licking there with a bigger bauble as the long term ( or maybe medium term goal ). Anyway all sorts of irregularities came tumbling out of the cupboard and Mk Clement had to beat a retreat and ended up teaming up with old buddies like the V-C at Swansea and Andrew Davies, that eminent non-academic who somehow grabbed a plum post in academia. Meryl’s Wellness show was just a gift that Clement & co could not resist no matter how improbable its integrity.

        Check out some of the stories dating from early this decade and see how POWIS and the UW leadership got carried away on a global schmoozing programme. Money no object obviously. Fingerprints of big spenders all over it.

  9. Dafis

    your tweet – the man singing is Merle Haggard old time buddy of Johnny Cash and other good guys. Was in the clink when Cash did a show apparently and was moved to go straight take up the music and the rest as they say is history. SKY Arts sometimes do shows recalling Cash and others and Merle often turned up. Died on his birthday in 2016 according to Google.

  10. Dafis

    Having enjoyed an interlude checking out Merle Haggard ( who did time for his crimes ) I then got hit with yet another tale of the deep duplicity and utter corruption that exists and has existed for a long time in British politics.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/14/david-steel-faces-suspension-from-lib-dems-over-cyril-smith-revelation

    Shame Smith is gone and ducked justice but there again there’s a big chunk of the British elite who see nothing wrong in his activities

  11. D

    As well as the reasons given in the article, one must not forget the useless councillors who we have there, not just those mentioned.

    Remember Chris Holley, Leader of Council who was in charge when social services were in such a shambles and defended the council in its handling of the life and then death of Aaron Gilbert.

    He then moved on to be in charge when Stan Thomas [tax exile], who I presume is a good friend of the top bods of the Assembly as well, got away with buying land so cheap it makes you weep. It seems Stan was well on his way to adding to his wealth [virtually risk free profits] courtesy of you and me and the Welsh taxpayer before the ink was dry. No harm in making money but not when public/civil servants gift it and it is after all land [and money] that belonged to you me and the general Welsh public. We have useless guardians of the children and our wealth and natural and other resources here in Wales.

    Would largesse Chris have sold [or rather gifted] his back garden for a song to a property developer? Hardly likely he would have made sure he got a decent cut of the profit and left the risk entirely to the developer.

  12. Dafis

    Those tweets of 16/03 referring to the Severn Bridge – if it needs to be renamed Pont Alun Wyn will do as an entire generation will know whose bridge it is. I doubt if Alun Wyn Bevan or any other AW would ever care to dispute that. Some of AWJ’s comments in aftermatch interviews have hinted at a strong awareness of his native identity, a depth of real patriotism, which is most welcome after a several predecessors comments coming straight out of the loyalist “Sych Din” compliance playbook. Though it will bring a shudder to those at WRU H.Q who spent the day sucking up to Windsor jnr.

    1. I’m not disputing that Warburton was a very good player, but no great leader. Not in the mould of Alun Wyn Jones. Warburton’s real attraction to the WRU was his outlook on various issues – he was one of them. Which is why his contribution to the national team is exaggerated and he is guaranteed a role in the WRU now he’s retired from playing.

      1. Dafis

        … probably a long run as a media darling first, then he’ll get fitted out for full blazeratti enrolement. Nice feller but way too compliant and unquestioning, which oddly enough is just the ticket for BBC, WRU and most corporate structures.

        1. They don’t want him to do anything too demanding, just be Sam Warburton. They want his face and his voice, nothing more.

          1. Wrexhamian

            Correct. Warburton’s a lovely guy, but he’s at risk of becoming the Dafydd Ellis Thomas of Welsh rugby – unlike AWJ.

            It’s interesting how politically loaded the Welsh national game seems to be now, and not just from the WRU perspective. It’s probably the one area of Welsh life that exhibits unquestioning national self-belief, although the changing attitude towards the Welsh language – on the part of your average Welsh person – is fast approaching a second source of national confidence, but with far more obstacles in its way than an Italian front row.

            1. I remember writing on this blog a few years back that when Warburton, AWJ and Biggar were on the field together Warburton was nominally captain but the on-field leadership came from AWJ and Biggar. It was strange, and made me ask why have a captain who doesn’t lead and exhort his men. I put it down to him coming from Cardiff and being politically acceptable to the WRU hierarchy.

              A hierarchy coming under increasing scrutiny, thankfully.

  13. Dafis

    Your tweet of earlier today relating to Sophie Howe, Guardian of some Futures Bullshit or something similar, caught my eye. The lady, after a night on the town, had to call a taxi ! Poor gal, in her job surely there’s a chauffeur driven Jag or Range Rover on standby 24/7 courtesy of Cynulliad to ensure that Drakeford’s elite Gestapo officials don’t run the risk of mixing with mere mortals. Wales must be poorer than I had imagined.

  14. Dafis

    Looks like the WRU are diversifying into hotels – hospitality – in which they are “experts” simply because they have boxes all around the stadium. What could go wrong ?

    https://www.insidermedia.com/insider/wales/welsh-rugby-union-to-turn-historic-city-centre-property-into-luxury-hotel?utm_source=wales_newsletter&utm_campaign=wales_news_tracker&utm_medium=top_story_article

    Mega million investment, no doubt topped up by a dollop from Smiler Skates, yet there is an alarming reluctance to allocate some additional funds into the 4 regions to create a semblance of competitiveness on the field and in player rewards

Now what do you have to say?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.