Questions; One Obvious, One Less So

I have just watched Week In Week Out on BBC 1 Wales. It dealt with con man Chris O’Neill who was given £125,000 by the Welsh Government to help ex-servicemen get their lives together with his organisation Forces for Good. His imaginative methods included buying a speedboat, a couple of new cars, and gambling . . . presumably in the hope of raising yet more money for needy old sweats.

The obvious question is, why were so many people taken in by such an obvious con man? As a man who knew him for what he was pointed out, someone should have noticed that every time he was asked a tricky question his eyes rolled up into his head as he thought of an answer. There was nothing spontaneous about him. It was all clearly an act. So why were there not even the most basic background checks?

The other question I have may not be so obvious. Given that O’Neill is English, and was planning to bring English ex-servicemen into Wales, why did the Welsh Government – or its civil servants – decide that Forces for Good was a proper use of funding allocated to Wales and presumably meant to be used for those living here?

Forces for Good is being reported as if it’s a scandalous one-off. Those of us who pay attention to these things know better. This case is just another illustration of the incompetence and bias of those allocating the funding given to ‘Wales’. Another reminder that the priority in future must be re-uniting ‘Wales’ with the Welsh.

4 thoughts on “Questions; One Obvious, One Less So

  1. He sounds like he was buying prizes for Bullseye. Seriously though, Radio Wales’ coverage of this story was incredibly biased. They played a tiny clip of the crook, then outed Elfyn Llwyd as being completely taken in by the crook. Then they (naturally) played a clip of Simon Western who was only “initially” conned.

    1. Jac

      Thinking of Weston, and at the risk of appearing insensitive, I can’t recall anyone who has made such a career out of having been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      And I say that as someone who met and supped with a number of those who were on the Sir Galahad soon after they came home. One – from my part of Swansea, as it happened – got married in this village. (You ought to have seen him and his mates’ faces when the low-flying jets came down the valley.) Like too many of his mates he took to the drink and died too young.

      Nobody seems to remember them. They’re best forgotten. They’re an embarrassment. Which is why a genuine Forces for Good would deserve support. That being so, and seeing as the UK government is ultimately responsible, why doesn’t it do more?

    1. Jac

      I look in on Oscar from time to time, but some of those he attracts are positively antediluvian. Few if any see the wider picture of public funding up for grabs to any glib shyster or Labour crony who hoves into view. Though glad to see you make the point about failed schemes on Anglesey.

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