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.