So let’s turn to the FoI mentioned at the top, and the reason I’m writing this piece.
TOO MUCH TO HANDLE
This FoI request, dated 27 July, simply asked for . . .
a copy of all correspondence, digital or otherwise, both internal and external (including time sent) that reasonably relate to Welsh Government’s use of communications consultancy Lynn to promote the 20 MPH zone law, from 1 July 2022 to date.
It seems straightforward enough, and surely a request easy enough to satisfy, covering just a year, and a single topic.
But the response, as you can read below, makes clear that there was a lot of traffic between Lynn and the ‘Welsh Government’ in that period. For a quick shufty turned up over 2,000 documents!
The number of employees went up from 5 the previous year to 12 in y/e 31 March, 2022, and money in the bank went up from £199,227 to £1,650,756. I’ll repeat that for the hard of reading. Cash in hand, for a small company, went up by £1.45m in a single year.
Yes, creditors account for £1,172,195, but most of that figure is covered by ‘accruals and deferred income’. This probably means income from the previous year, but it’s not money owed to anybody.
And remember, that previous year, ending 31 March, 2021, was the first year in business for the Lynn Group (originally Lynn PR). Which tells us that Shayoni Sarkar Lynn hit the ground running. Dare we assume the work was already promised and all she had to do was set up the company?
How much did Lynn earn in year ending 31.03.2023, the period largely covered by the FoI request, and how much of it came from ‘WelshGovernment’?
Did Lynn have any other clients, or was it just the ‘Welsh Government’? The Spartan website certainly mentions no clients. There are a few campaigns listed, but no claim that Lynn was involved in them.
Come to that, what exactly does Lynn do? What does it offer clients? Here’s Shayoni Lynn to tell us.
Well, whaddya know, it’s “behavioural science“. Which is getting people to believe in things they wouldn’t readily believe in. A kind of brainwashing. Or coercion.
The kind of thing politicians do when trying to push unpopular policies, like, er . . . oh I don’t know, maybe 20mph zones. Which is of course what the FoI request was about.
And she makes no secret of her admiration for the MS for Llanelli (resident in Penarth). Though given the money that association has brought her I can understand why she’s delighted to support Lee Waters and 20mph.
But we are still no nearer to understanding exactly what she did for that money.
The Twitter / X account I grabbed the above image from contains a number of gems that leave us in no doubt as to how Shayoni Lynn operates. It’s the “Scare them shitless” UN-WEF strategy used to get people to believe in the ‘climate crisis’.
Lynn describes it as, “impactful fear appeals“. Yeah, like I said – “Scare ’em shitless“.
From what I can see, the wonderful and universally respected ‘Welsh Government’ is paying this woman – and others – to frighten us into accepting their Globalist agenda.
Is this a proper use of public funding? And how much are we talking about?
Now we have to consider where and how Sophie Howe fits into the picture.
After leaving her sinecure as the Future Generations Commissioner in February Sophie Howe was soon putting herself about.
It couldn’t be because Shayoni Lynn needed influence in Corruption Bay, for she was already living high on the hog of Welsh public funding. There had to be another reason.
Being an aficionado of Mafia movies I know there’s often a scene when the local kingpin insists on a job for a relative. Just think of The Godfather, when young Vito Corleone loses his job in the grocery store to Don Fanucci’s nephew.
Alternatively, the Mob moves somebody into a business they’ve invested in in order to protect that investment.
Which is it with Lynn and Sophie Howe?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not for one minute doubting Sophie Howe’s talents; but let’s be honest, we’re dealing here with ‘Welsh’ Labour, and as political parties go, this lot comes bloody close to being a criminal enterprise.
(Though mentioning ‘enterprise’ in their company might get you whacked!)
I’ve written a lot about those clowns down in Corruption Bay, and the system of third sector spongers, funded pressure groups, and assorted cronies, that serves as an echo chamber protecting them from the reality of an increasingly restless population.
But with Shayoni Sarkar Lynn we have entered new and dangerous territory. For we are being manipulated and frightened into accepting policy decisions over which we were never consulted and with which the majority of us do not agree.
This is a form of totalitarianism. And yet we are paying for it!
And it comes with a failing NHS; with our poorest kids going without meals this summer; with a community in Llanelli on edge as it waits for ‘refugees’ every man and his dog knows are not refugees; as rural Wales is turned into an open-air power station with turbines and pylons – to supply England; and as the no roads, ‘degrowth’ agenda demanded by demented Globalists is imposed.
I therefore call on opposition politicians to demand that this Freedom of Information request be answered properly. Because we are entitled to know how much public money has been paid to Shayoni Lynn and her Lynn Group Ltd to lie to us, and to frighten us.
Because if opposition politicians don’t oppose, and the will of the people can be ignored by a cult-like minority that’s persuaded itself we, the common herd, are stupid and bigoted (and they have), then democracy is as good as dead.
UPDATE: A good source directs me to this Sell2Wales entry (22/12/2021) seeking tenders for: “NPS Media Buying, Integrated Marketing Campaigns and Public Relations Services Framework”. Of 16 applications 12 were accepted.
The 12 were approached for what was now the, “20 mph National Campaign” (17/08/2022), only 5 tendered, and if we click on the tab ‘Full Notice Text’ we see Lynn PR was successful. For some reason, ‘Estimated Total Value’ is left blank.
My source points out: a) Lynn was competing with more experienced and better resourced competitors; b) tenders are not accepted from companies with less than 3 years experience, which should have ruled Lynn PR out.
That Lynn PR got the 20mph contract suggests that someone in Corruption Bay smiled on Shayoni Lynn. That Sophie Howe, the ultimate Labour insider, has joined Lynn, would seem to confirms this suspicion.
But that still leaves the mystery of the work Lynn PR was doing that paid so well before being awarded the 20mph contract.
I promised a piece on Bute Energy, its links with the ‘Welsh Government’, and a few associated snippets, but it’ll have to wait until next week.
I’m sorry I haven’t put out anything for a few weeks, but there’s just been too much to write about, and my lack of self-discipline has resulted in me being too easily distracted, too often.
So here goes, again. With a story that in my opinion is not being properly interpreted. What you’re about to read is my explanation for the adoption of the name Bannau Brycheiniog by the national park formerly known as the Brecon Beacons.
Unless you’ve been trapped underground, cast away on a desert island, or living in Treherbert, you’ll know that the Brecon Beacons National Park recently dropped the English version of its name to be known exclusively as Bannau Brycheiniog.
And the rebranding produced an outpouring of balderdash such as this old blogger has rarely seen.
Though few reached the depth of silliness plumbed by the Park’s chief executive, Catherine Mealing-Jones. The traditional flaming brazier logo had been discarded because it didn’t fit with these times of global warming, she wailed, as she zipped up her Eskimo Nell™ anorak to avoid the icy April blasts.
Here’s the headline from The Times.
But the ‘climate crisis’ is a global fear campaign engendered by those, in the UN and the World Economic Forum, wishing to control your behaviour.
They’ve influenced governments around the world to brainwash millions of kids. That we then have so many worried or even unhinged youngsters is used as proof of the ‘climate crisis’, when in reality it’s proof of brainwashing.
In the Bannau debate the climate hysteria angle was bad enough, but certain sections of the English media seemed to view the changes as Woke. Here’s the headline from the Telegraph.
Now you know me, nobody’s more alert to the lunacies of Wokeness than old Jac, but I didn’t quite see it that way. Worse, for some English writers, Wokeness seemed to be code for anti-Englishness.
Yet the name change, the rebranding, and the bollocks about climate change, was all a distraction from the real story. So pay attention!
Let’s begin by saying that in my view there’s nothing wrong with the name change. ‘Beacons’ may have been a misnomer anyway. Were there ever warning beacons lit there? If so, who were they warning? And who were they warning against?
Look out! A charabanc from Dowlais is heading up the A470!
And as a regular contact pointed out, few people will use the new name anyway. Partly because, unlike the recent name change of ‘Snowdonia’ to ‘Eryri’, it’s too long, and fewer people speak Welsh in Bannau Brycheiniog than in Eryri.
Though to end this section on a lighter note, our ‘Welsh’ TV newsreaders should provide hours of mirth with their mangled pronunciations of Bannau Brycheiniog.
For a few years I’ve been writing about the ‘interesting’ people turning up in south Powys, an area almost co-terminus with Bannau Brycheiniog.
There’s a temptation to just dismiss them as good-lifers, but I believe there’s more to it than that. Some are on a mission.
That latter interpretation certainly applies to those involved at Black Mountains College (BMC). An institution founded by people who had previously worked for George Soros, a man viewed by some as a philanthropist, and by others – including me – as someone on a mission to undermine Western society.
The video below, produced by BMC, makes it clear that the college seeks to enrol those who have already been frightened witless over climate change. Attracting scared kids to Coleg Soros with the promise that they can, “re-engineer the future”.
The video also tells us: “our current predicament is man-made”. And indeed it is.
I believe that Black Mountains College now acts as a ‘hub’ or information exchange for climate alarmists, and this role is encouraged – and funded – by Corruption Bay. Which uses the same illusory threat as justification for imposing 20mph speed limits, waging war on farmers, and generally making us poorer, and our lives more miserable.
The hub may be needed because there’s quite a lot happening in the area.
For a start, let’s remember that Gilestone farm is just a few miles from Coleg Soros. Whatever was planned for Gilestone before the fan was overwhelmed with excrement, I guarantee it would have been justified on ‘environmental’ grounds.
Nonsense of course. It was done to give the ‘Welsh Government’ greater control over the policies and direction of the national park.
The last Conservative member of the park authority, Iain McIntosh, has now resigned. Which leaves a national park authority, with control over planning and other matters, and in a constituency represented in London by a Tory MP, and in Cardiff by a Tory MS, controlled by the Labour party.
But this is how Labour has always operated in Wales. And we see it again with yet another new body ‘tacking climate change’.
Topping the bill is former Labour Assembly Member and Minister for Saving Welsh Polar Bears Jane Davidson. She it was who gave Wales One Planet Developments. Hoping to realise her vision of the Welsh countryside repopulated with frightfully nice English smallholders and OPD dwellers.
Little room for the Welsh in that vision. And there’s little Welsh presence in the group headed by La Davidson.
What we do see is the Green Heath Robinsons at the Centre for Alternative Technology, who’ve received tens of millions of public funding. Our non-Welsh universities are of course represented. As is Coleg Soros, in the form of Art Garfunkel lookalike Ben Rawlence.
(How many such bodies and publications does one small country need!)
It’s a strange document. A mixture of platitudes, anguished concerns for the future, and the kind of ‘Welshness’ John Ford gave us with his adaptation of How Green Was My Valley.
For example, there are regular appearances by an imaginary family named Brychan. They also have impeccably Welsh forenames – Ioan, Mair, Dafydd – in an area becoming less and less Welsh through the activities of the kind of people you’re reading about.
There’s even a Brychan family tree (page 127)! It’s truly weird. Almost unsettling.
Take the ‘Letter from Sian (sic) Brychan to her daughter Megan’, February 20th 2042 (page 75). I suppose some reading this will be reassured to think that we’ll still be writing letters in 2042. Or at least the Brychans will.
In fact, they’re writing to each other all the bloody time. Don’t they talk?
By a painful irony the Brychans are described as, “seventh generation farmers here in the Bannau Brycheiniog” . . . which makes them the very people Green zealots want to remove from the area.
Aside from the Brychans a number of old favourites appear in Y Bannau. Coleg Soros, again; the greenwashers at Stump up for Trees; the secretive Beacons Water Group; and many more favourites that have appeared on this blog.
Perhaps all you really need to know about this management plan is that the foreword comes from Julie James, Minister for Climate Change, and the document first saw the light of day in Corruption Bay, not Brecon.
This is the ‘Welsh Government’s plan for Y Bannau. And if they and their cronies can get away with it, they’ll try it on elsewhere.
There must now be hundreds of Labour-connected enviro-shysters whizzing around Wales – in cars we pay for – attending meetings where they earnestly discuss how to cut emissions and save the planet.
Which tells that the genius behind the re-branding was one Jordan Thorne, who is 34 and has a company called Creo, described by the Mail as “a Cardiff-based marketing agency which has in recent years won a series of lucrative public sector contracts”.
Let’s just flick through the accounts for the Creo companies, see if anything catches Jac’s jaundiced eye. (Though, actually, they’re skeletal ‘unaudited financial statements’.)
Creo Digital shows total assets of £300,172 but has a net deficit of -£55,253.
Creo Interactive Ltd reveals total assets of £522,250 (previous year £365,043); reducing to net assets of £466,437.
Creo Group Holdings Ltd shows total assets of £375,100, made up of fixed assets of £375,000. Taking out liabilities leaves a net figure of -£4,529.
Control over Creo Interactive is exercised by Creo Digital; and Creo Digital is, predictably, controlled by the holding company. Where the 100 shares are split equally between Ward, Coakley, Thorne and Shaw.
Maybe the fixed asset is the Creo premises in the old St Cadoc’s church at 76 Wells Street, Cardiff. Naturally, I wondered who owned it, so I shuffled over to the Land Registry website.
I’m a ‘creative’, do you think I could get a DBW loan?
On a more serious note, seeing as it’s wholly owned by the ‘Welsh Government’, is there genuine scrutiny or oversight of the DBW? And while I’m not suggesting that Labour supporters are favoured by the DBW with its loans policy, I can understand why some might think that.
The MailOnline went big on Thorne’s politics, without properly understanding them. Though the boy has said some nasty things. As the headline put it:
Corbyn-loving Twitter troll and Welsh separatist whose vile posts tell Margaret Thatcher to ‘burn in hell’ and call Conservative ministers ‘Tory scum’
Why are modern Leftists so thoroughly unpleasant? So vindictive? So personal? The kindest thing one can say is that it’s infantile. For let’s remember that Thorne is too young to even remember Margaret Thatcher.
Clearly, he’s far left, and was a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. Then, like a number of other Corbynistas, he turned to Yes Cymru. Though not because he cares about Wales but because he sees Welsh independence as a vehicle for his socialism.
Jordan Thorne wants a Welsh socialist republic. Just like the other Corbyn entryists who nearly wrecked Yes Cymru a couple of years back. (I wrote about it extensively.)
I must admit that I’d never heard of Jordan Thorne. Yet it seems Yes Cymru values him highly enough to have put out a tweet in his defence on Saturday.
I believe that leaping to his defence can be put down to Thorne being a socialist, and the attack coming from a ‘Tory’ source.
Yes Cymru then tried to reassure us that it is neither left nor right, with this tweet yesterday morning. But just a few hours before, had put out the tweet below.
What the hell has Welsh independence got to do with illegal immigrants crossing from France to England? The answer should be – Nothing.
But what the tweet above reveals is that whoever wrote it wants an independent Wales with open borders. A socialist Wales. A Wales following the Globalist agenda.
The stances taken by the loudest elements in Yes Cymru; on immigration, gender ID, climate hysteria, ‘White supremacy’, and all the other Woke nonsense only serves to alienate many in a socially conservative country, making independence less likely.
Jordan Thorne and Creo got the rebranding contract due to Labour party connections. Thorne joining Yes Cymru may be part of Labour’s infiltration of that organisation.
For there have been other attempts, such as the absurd ‘Labour for an Independent Wales‘ (linked with, ‘DUP for a 32-County Republic’). Plus individual Corbynistas and Momentum members have been identified on this blog and elsewhere.
And let’s not forget that Labour is a control-freak party that wants to run just about every organisation in the country. Labour will often use the Welsh language to placate the easily duped, and to disguise its true intentions.
The name change was the dead cat thrown on the table to distract the media and those who rely on the media to do their thinking for them. It’s really about the takeover of Bannau Brycheiniog by a political party with no democratic mandate.
Done so that it can implement the Globalists’ Net Zero lunacies, and in so doing, ‘re-model’ the landscape, the economy, even the demographics of the area.
Having succeeded in south Powys Labour can now impose its will – and its supporters – on other areas that do not vote Labour. It must be done this way because . . .
Despite its dominant role Labour is a minority party. Winning the votes of less than 20% of the electorate in 2021. This is another reason why the party must rely on corruption and cronyism to exert control. With many of the cronies imported.
In practical terms this insidious spread of Labour influence, this crony shadow state, means that even if Labour was to lose the next Senedd elections in 2026 (unlikely given the rigged ‘party list’ system it wants to introduce) it could carry on running Wales – for it would take years to dismantle the system Labour had created.
Clearly, Wales is not a democracy. Wales is run as a one-party state. Shame on Plaid Cymru for lending this corrupt system a veneer of credibility with its support.
I for one would shed no tears if Westminster chose to restore some semblance of democracy to Wales.
For both seem to be funded to shield Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water) and others from criticism by blaming livestock farmers for all river pollution. Also, to pursue the so-called ‘Welsh Government’s Net Zero lunacy and, in so doing, serve the globalist agenda.
With a few twists.
Wildlife and environmental groups tend to contain more ‘zealots’, which results in hysteria, and a readiness to tell lies. Which in this context is often accompanied by a thinly-disguised contempt for Wales and Welsh identity.
One example might be the charity Wildlife Trusts Wales (WTW) choosing to dissolve itself, while the local trusts for which it served as the umbrella organisation joined England’s Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts. You’ll learn more about this as you read on.
As I say, there will be similarities with last week’s piece, but also differences. And I promise a bit more in the way of polemic. Ol’ Jac gonna let rip!
It’s fairly big, so go make a mug of something before settling down to enjoy it.
WHO’S WHO IN THE FLEECE JACKETS
Let’s start by looking at the organisational setup.
The clip below from the Charity Commission entry tells us that the RSWT now views Wales and England as a single unit, whereas Scotland and Northern Ireland are treated separately. Even the Isle of Man gets more respect than us.
But then, when you surrender your separate identity this is what you can expect.
And yet, the pretence of an independent existence is maintained by a Wildlife Trusts Wales website. Where WTW describes itself as: ‘one of five Wildlife Trusts in Wales’ which, again, makes no sense. Yes, there are five, I just listed them, and they’re all area specific, so where and how does WTW fit in?
It’s all very confusing. Perhaps deliberately so.
At the foot of the WTW website home page we are given Companies House and Charity Commission numbers. The latter draws a blank because the charity was closed March 31, 2021. While the Companies House entry tells us that the company voluntarily dissolved earlier this year.
So why hasn’t the information on the website been updated? If it’s claimed WTW still exists, then what form does that existence take?
And what happened to the money?
Well, the final accounts for the WTW (y/e 31.03.2021) seem to show, at the foot of page 19, that the cash left when the company folded was divvied up among four of the five trusts I mentioned earlier.
Brecknock received nowt because it had not long before merged with the South and West Wales Wildlife Trust, which for some reason was itself left out. (Why didn’t ‘Brecknock’ make the obvious merger, with Radnorshire? Or why not a Powys trust?)
You’ll see that £234,320 went to the ‘All Wales Conservation Strategy’. Does anyone know what that is? I’ve tried Googling but nothing comes up. Do the funders know where their money’s going?
The more I thought about this wildlife trusts reconfiguration the stranger it appeared. I mean, just think about it.
Before devolution we had local wildlife trusts with Wildlife Trusts Wales serving as the umbrella body. Yet now, when wildlife trusts deal with Y Senedd, when there’s separate Welsh funding, different legislation, they do away with their national body in order to, effectively, become English wildlife trusts.
This move makes no sense on any rational or practical level. How then can it be explained? I really would like to know.
Whatever ethereal form Wildlife Trusts Wales now takes the wraith clearly retains the strength to use a Twitter account. Here’s a gem put out on Monday.
To describe Wales as ‘one of the most nature depleted countries in the world’ is hysterical nonsense and an insult to us as a nation.
While suggesting that farming is to blame rather gives the game away.
The image used in the tweet comes from this source, linked with Denmark farm, near Lampeter, where we find another gang of alien envirogrifters. A farming source tells me the allegation made in the image may be libellous.
We saw in last week’s piece that river charities saw a remarkable increase in official funding at the very time Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths (and Gary) was formulating her draconian and ‘unworkable’ NVZ legislation.
Well, no. It’s explained by the fact that Lesley (and Gary) wanted a stream of pollution stories in order to justify that NVZ legislation.
Stories that were also music to the ears of Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water) bosses, because it deflected attention from the water company’s pollution.
We see something very similar in wildlife trusts.
Let’s start with the North Wales Wildlife Trust. Where total income more than doubled between 2017 and 2021. The largest element of that increase is (in various forms) government funding, up from £180,440 in 2017 to £1,970,000 in 2021.
Moving south we come to the intriguing anomaly of the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust. Intriguing for in the old 13-county arrangement you will recall that Radnorshire was quite small in size and had the lowest population of all our counties.
The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales has seen income increase by 50% in the period we’re looking at, but government grants increased from £21,300 in 2017 to £748,050 in 2021. Then throw in assets of some £5m.
So everything looks just tickety-boo on the financial front for our English-registered wildlife trusts.
I am indebted to one of the few honest journalists left in Wales for drawing my attention to a disgraceful incident last November, at a hearing of the Senedd’s Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee.
Rachel Sharp of the zombie-like Wildlife Trusts Wales and Wales Environmental Link (WEL) alleged that along with all the other evils livestock farmers are responsible for they also use growth hormones, which eventually end up in our streams and rivers.
The truth is that growth hormones have been banned in the UK since 1981. Welsh livestock farmers do not use growth hormones.
After protests from farming unions and Tory MS Sam Kurtz apologies were issued. But as we’ve come to expect from these envirofanatics it’s never an honest ‘I was wrong’. It’s always qualified, position shifting, hoping the original lie lingers.
But this time they’d gone too far, and it wasn’t just Rachel Sharp telling porkies. Also there representing Wales Environmental Link was Creighton Harvey, also a trustee of Afonydd Cymru Cyf.
Here’s how the Pembrokeshire Herald reported it.
‘The evidence of Ms Sharp’s fellow representative from Wales Environment Link was also riddled with errors.
Creighton Harvey told the Committee that agriculture was the largest polluter of Wales’s watercourses.
The largest polluters are water companies, industrial users, and domestic users’.
To begin with, it keeps up the pretence of the defunct Wildlife Trusts of Wales. But concludes by informing us that Rachel Sharp is also ‘a group member of the Welsh Water Independent Environment Advisory Panel’.
She was forced on the constituency party by her friends in both Plaid Cymru and Labour. For in the Corruption Bay circles in which Mari Arthur moves party labels mean little as long as you’re ‘on the right side of history’.
The Independent Environmental Advisory Panel is clearly a group that allows Dŵr Cymru and envirozealots to agree their narratives in the war on livestock farmers and draw attention away from Dŵr Cymru itself, the biggest culprit.
There should be no place in Welsh public life for Rachel Sharp of the mythical Wales Wildlife Trusts, the all too corporeal Wales Environmental Link, and the Dŵr Cymru claque in the laughably named Independent Environmental Advisory Panel.
I suspect Rachel Sharp’s mask slipped last November when she forgot where she was; because when she and others of her ilk usually talk with politicians and civil servants – and of course, Dŵr Cymru – they tend to reinforce each other’s self-serving prejudices about livestock farmers.
But she’ll survive. For she has powerful friends, among those who’ve been elected, and those we’ve never heard of.
Another name that caught my eye among the Wales Environmental Link luminaries was Natalie Buttriss, whose Linkedin profile (here in pdf) tells us she’s ‘Director of Wales The Woodland Trust’. This outfit previously used the name Coed Cadw for its Welsh operations, but this pandering to the indigenes seems to have been dropped.
Native of Bristol Buttriss was in at the start of the Summit to Sea land grab. For which she appeared on this blog four years ago in The Welsh Clearances. Her contempt for farmers was made obvious in this radio interview with the BBC’s Farming Today.
I have always believed that Buttriss was so arrogant, so dismissive of the interests of livestock farmers, because she believed she had the full support of the ‘Welsh Government’.
For in that interview she suggests that subsidies would be withheld or cut to make farmers fall into line. She wouldn’t have said that unless certain Bay politicians had promised to play the heavies.
As we know, climate alarmists have too much influence with the media, partly through having brainwashed two generations of schoolchildren and college students, and partly through funding – ever wondered why Bill Gates gives money to the BBC?
Or perhaps, more pertinently, why the BBC is allowed to accept his funding?
But the propagandising is not confined to the BBC.
Last Friday ITV’s Wales at Six ran a piece about cooperation between the Rhug Estate and the Welsh Dee Trust. A relatively harmless little filler.
But the newsreader, Andrea Byrne, dropped into the report: “Rivers like the Wye and the Usk are virtually dead and no longer able to support an abundance of fish like trout and salmon and other wildlife“.
Bizarre, and completely untrue. But from where did ITV Wales get that lie?
Because if it’s true then somebody should tell Harry Legge-Bourke of the Glanusk estate; for he advertises, ‘fantastic fishing on 5 miles of double bank fishing on the River Usk offering day tickets for Trout and Salmon rods’.
No one disputes that these rivers could be healthier, but they’re far from ‘virtually dead’, as ITV Wales would have us believe.
And if these rivers are in decline, then whose fault is that? Because if the finger of guilt is being pointed in the wrong direction to protect the guilty party then things are unlikely to improve.
There is constant financial backing and other support for those who tell lies about livestock farmers from those who benefit from and capitalise on those lies.
I’m often inclined to believe in coincidences. But not this time. What I’m describing is too widespread, across too many sectors.
If it quacks like a duck, and it waddles like a duck . . .
The environmental / wildlife / Nature bodies in Wales are like exotic organisms in a Petri dish. Forever growing, dividing, re-forming, changing appearance and colour, and multiplying through the introduction of fresh viruses.
There are many reasons why there should be no further public funding for these groups. You’ve read some of those reasons here. But Sebastian and Claudia needn’t go without because there are plenty of funding streams they could tap into.
Another option would be George Soros. Contact details can be had from Coleg Soros in Talgarth, where environmental and wildlife groups already have many contacts.
Bottom line, and last word . . .
It’s obscene that a country – especially our country – gives tens of millions of pounds every year for truth-averse zealots to enjoy sinecures fretting over toads and butterflies while our people die because ambulances don’t turn up.
As the title suggests, this week’s offering is a miscellany, bits and pieces from hither and yon. Covering . . .
Wind turbine disposal.
Fears for the planning system in the north west.
Awkward locals opposing the hundreds of executive homes Aberdyfi so desperately needs.
A development in the ongoing saga of the Llanbedr by-pass.
A new environmental group (cos we haven’t got enough).
More on Gilestone farm.
My unanswered FoI to the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party.
‘Welsh Government’ funds National Trust (cos NT’s a bit short at the moment).
Is ‘Welsh Government’ flogging off executive homes in Cardiff?
Enviroloonies saving Wales from the curse of employment.
Stumping up for the ‘Welsh Government’s favourite farmer.
‘Welsh Government’ wants more trees . . . but fewer farmers.
Enlarging the Senedd, or making the pig-sty bigger.
This is a monster issue, over 5,000 words; but you can take it a piece at a time. And because it is such a substantial offering late in the week, don’t expect anything next week.
WHERE WILL ALL THE TURBINES GO?
A couple of weeks ago I submitted a Freedom of Information request to the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ asking who was responsible for disposing of wind turbines when they come to the end of their working lives.
Given that the lifespan of a turbine is 15 – 25 years we must have in Wales a few hundred turbines approaching decrepitude. With hundreds more in their ‘middle age’, and plans in the system to erect God knows how many others. (Bute Energy alone wants 20 new wind farms.)
It seems to me to be an important question. Hence the FoI request.
It tells me that, ‘Responsibility for decommissioning wind turbines lies with the developer/operator of the site’.
Richard Spear of the Planning Inspectorate concludes his response with: ‘In addition, developers/operators should ensure that sufficient finance is set aside to enable them to meet restoration obligations. A local planning authority may require financial guarantees by way of a Section 106 planning obligation / agreement, as part of the approval of planning permission to ensure that restoration will be fully achieved.’
It’s worth pointing out that in most cases it was the ‘Welsh Government’ that gave planning permission for wind turbines, often over-riding local authorities. The ‘Welsh Government’ should therefore have seen to it that each developer paid a ‘bond’, up front, to ensure there will be enough money to restore each site.
But those buffoons down Corruption Bay were so concerned with making ‘planet-saving’ gestures that they couldn’t see beyond their own wagging fingers.
I predict with certainty that in the near future, we – by which I mean Wales – will find ourselves lumbered with ‘orphan’ wind turbines that will cost us a hell of a lot of money to demolish. And then more money to restore the sites they’ve come from.
On the plus side, it means that turbine blades from the Continent can come to landfill sites in Wales!
Should this come to pass then it will doubtless be claimed as ‘foreign investment’.
WILD WEST SHOW?
I am indebted to a regular source for news of concerns about the Gwynedd and Môn Joint Planning Policy Committee. To be clear, this is not the planning committee, deciding on planning applications, but the policy committee that determines in more general terms where development will be allowed.
Although Gwynedd is a large council in area, much of the planning responsibility falls to the Snowdonia National Park; which leaves the council to oversee a few ‘islands’ – Tywyn, Barmouth, Blaenau Ffestiniog – then Porthmadog and Llŷn, and finally, the northern coastal strip taking in Caernarfon and Bangor and running to Abergwyngregyn.
For like many rural authorities Ynys Môn is prone to being controlled by a few forceful individuals, often holding sway through membership of an organisation claiming to be heirs to the Knights Templar and other exotic fraternities.
Never more true than in keeping to the Templar talent for accruing wealth. Though I’m unsure if the medieval predecessors were as cunning as their heirs in planning matters and the allocation of contracts.
For who could forget Ceredigion when Dai Lloyd Evans and his merry men ruled the roost? Those were the days! The late Paul Flynn, sitting on the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Select Committee, referred to Ceredigion Council as “The Wild West Show”.
But then, as we saw in Carmarthenshire during the halcyon days of Mark James, sometimes, with largely rural authorities, the boss man doesn’t even have to be a councillor.
My source’s concern is that the chairman of the joint planning policy committee is a member of this group to which I have alluded. And while I’m sure he’s a splendid fellow, with a good firm handshake, I can understand my source’s misgivings.
Someone else giving my informant food for thought is the young man who’s now Senior Executive Officer at Gwynedd’s Housing and Property Department.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s an educated boy, studied . . . Welsh, and, er . . . Music.
But then, it is suggested by cynics that the boy’s father’s friendship with Gwynedd’s Head of Finance may have played a role in the appointment.
O tempora! O mores!
ABERDYFI EXECUTIVES MUST BE HOUSED!
When I first saw this news item I thought to myself, ‘Hang on, Jones, isn’t this the development Ann Clwyd was banging on about decades ago?’ And I’m sure it is.
For the woman who went on to become MP for the Cynon Valley has connections to Aberdyfi and the wider Dysynni area. I have a photo of a young Ann Clwyd with my sister-in-law when the latter was the village carnival queen back in the mid-sixties.
It’s difficult to comprehend how this project has resurfaced, or why it wasn’t killed off decades ago. What does it say about our planning system?
Aberdyfi may be a sizeable village; a few pubs, a few caffs, shops, and an unhealthy number of estate agents. But it backs up to a cliff, with the sea on the other side, and there’s just one road in and out, the A493. A crash or some other hold-up on that road and Aberdyfi is almost inaccessible except by boat or helicopter.
Sticking to housing, Aberdyfi may be the financial, commercial, and industrial hub of the south Meirionnydd coast, but the village needs 401 ‘executive homes’ like our cat needs fleas.
One of the more intriguing stories to make the news recently was the report that Gwynedd County Council is to appeal to the UK government for funding to build the Llanbedr by-pass, a project cancelled last year by the ‘Welsh Government’.
The reason this is intriguing is because the council is controlled by Plaid Cymru, and down in Corruption Bay that party is in cahoots with the local branch of the Labour Party, an arrangement generally referred to as an ‘alliance’.
Though the Senedd Member representing Llanbedr seems to be going out of his way to piss off his supposed allies.
Last month he dared ask the ‘Welsh Government’ why it paid £4.25m for Gilestone farm when the asking price appeared to be £3.25m. A good question. We’d all like to hear the answer. (More on Gilestone below.)
Another explanation might be that despite most Plaid SMs self-flagellating for the heinous sins of the White man and the harm they themselves do the planet by simply existing, many Plaid supporters still associate ‘woke’ with getting up in the morning.
They inhabit the real world where decent infrastructure and communications still matter. That mythic land far, far away, where people have to drive to work. And to the shops. To the doctor, dentist, etc., etc.
You know, the Welsh countryside, of which Labour is so wilfully ignorant.
I’ve tweeted a few times about this rather mysterious group, I may even have mentioned it here, on the blog. One reason I call it mysterious is because all I knew about it was gleaned from a GoFundMe page. (You’ll see there’ve been two donations in the past three months.)
Another reason for the ‘mysterious’ tag was that neither the website nor the GoFundMe page gave any names. And I get rather suspicious of organisations that run themselves.
And when you read the justification for Tir Natur you immediately think, ‘Hang on, I’ve read that before!’ And so you have, many times. It probably comes from an environmental / rewilding template available online.
Now a source informs me that Tir Natur has finally gone legit and registered as a charity. This move is mentioned on the GoFundMe page, though when I checked a few days ago it hadn’t been updated since the application in March to the Charity Commission.
The contact address given on the Charity Commission website is, ‘Y Beudy, Lanlwyd, Pennant, Llanon, Ceredigion SY23 5JH’. This is on the B4577 between Cross Inn and Llanarth.
To confuse the picture, the GoFundMe page says, ‘Newport, Pembrokeshire’. Though my source and I suspect those involved don’t live in either Ceredigion or Pembrokeshire.
And does Wales really need yet another environmental / rewilding group?
My source has now sent me this from a recent release by Tir Natur. Knowing more of such things than I he tells me that the image shows a European bison and a golden eagle. Neither of which of course is native to Wales.
They were introduced to the Trust’s other site in Devon, but removed due to fears of bTB. And they had to leave another site in Scotland when the government concluded they were dangerous and non-native.
I was a bit perplexed by the reference in the second FoI to the ‘James Report’. And then it came back to me . . .
Julie James, the current Minister for Climate Change in the ‘Welsh Government’ has been involved with Gilestone for many years, before she was even elected to what was then the Welsh Assembly in 2011.
It’s a strange affair, with some dark corners, some very dark corners indeed. What I’ve been told involves the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, certain environmental busybodies, previous owners of Gilestone and a supporting cast that includes a retired Met cop with an ‘interesting’ record.
And of course, Julie James, then a solicitor in Swansea; whose relationship with some of those involved is worth looking into. No, nothing like that. (Really!)
I may be in a position to say more in the near future.
Also worth mentioning is that a number of people are convinced the money to buy Gilestone came from Julie James’ department’s piggy-bank.
If true, then why did Vaughan Gething, Minister for Economy, take the rap in the Senedd? Maybe his ignorance of the deal explains why he spent so much time extoling the virtues of the Green Man festival rather than answering questions he’d been asked about the purchase of Gilestone.
Though another explanation for the delayed accounts might be that the ‘Welsh Government’ is virtually broke. For that’s what another source tells me.
If true, then this might explain the Llanbedr by-pass and other projects being scrapped.
‘O what a tangled web we weave . . . ‘.
LABOUR PARTY FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST
As you know, I’ve written about Bute Energy a number of times. They even got a mention at the end of paragraph 2 in the first section of this post.
What became clear once I started looking into Bute’s activities in Wales was that this company had very quickly realised that Labour Party support would be a big help in realising its plans for 20+ wind farms.
Which explains why Bute recruited to its Welsh Advisory Board redundant Labour MEP Derek Vaughan, and John Uden, the partner of Labour MS Jenny Rathbone, who sits on the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee.
Quite what this Welsh Advisory Board advises on is not stated, but I think we can all guess. And the recruitment didn’t end there.
Also taken aboard the treasure ship Bute was David James Taylor, former spad to Labour stars, from Peter Hain to Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones. Taylor was made a partner in Bute-linked outfit Grayling Capital LLP (though he’s since left), and also given shares in Windward Enterprises Ltd, another Bute company. (Which he still holds.)
It occurred to me that if Bute Energy was so keen to cwtsh up to Labour then political donations should be considered. And so I wrote to the Bruvvers’ HQ in Cardiff.
On June 8 I sent this e-mail:
‘Bute Energy Ltd (Co No: 12474011), in various guises, seeks to build – or at least, obtain planning permission for – some 20 wind farms in Wales. A company has been formed for each wind farm.
Has the Labour Party in Wales / ‘Welsh Labour’ party received a donation or donations from Bute Energy Ltd, or from companies under the Bute Energy umbrella, or from leading director Oliver James Millican, or from other persons, perhaps former employees of Labour politicians?’
But I have received neither acknowledgement nor reply. Can you believe that – the Comrades ignoring me!
The ‘Welsh Government’ has gifted an English organisation worth billions of pounds a Welsh asset and also handed over £700,000 for ‘capital investment’. From which the National Trust will profit, through charging visitors.
Many of whom will be Welsh.
And there will almost certainly be more than £700,000. For a well-informed contact with whom I shared this information in advance reminded me that the National Trust will now be eligible for Glastir woodland grants.
Note that this generosity is explained by quoting the “‘Welsh Government’ wellbeing objectives”. This refers to the Well-being of Future Generation (Wales) Act 2015. Airy-fairy nonsense that has since been used to justify every insanity hiding under the ‘environmental’ blanket.
Environmental concerns are used to disguise giving away our homeland piece by piece – ‘Cos we are savin’ the planet, like’.
The truth of course is that this legislation simply rolled out the red carpet for colonialist exploitation.
It even talks of future generations. But those future generations won’t be Welsh.
Main points seem to be that negotiations with the National Trust have been going on since June 2019; no one else was invited to express an interest; NRW has no idea why Dawn Bowden was involved; NRW will continue to manage the Hafod Estate forestry operation.
My attention has been drawn to this rather curious site which suggests some kind of partnership between the ‘Welsh Government’, the National Eisteddfod, and a company called LivEco, to build “sustainable homes at affordable prices”.
The location of these desirable properties being Great House Farm in Cardiff, between Culverhouse Cross and St Fagan’s National Museum of History.
So let’s look at this company, LivEco. Companies House tells us LivEco Homes Ltd was formed in September 2018, but it’s dormant. The sole director is a Welshman, Daniel James Ball, who seems to live in West Sussex.
Ball’s active company is Mulcare-Ball Ltd. The other director being a woman I assume to be his wife.
So why are we being asked to believe that a dormant company is building these dwellings at Great House Farm?
Mulcare-Ball has an arrangement (charge) with the Principality Building Society. Though the date given here is February 2, 2013, the document itself takes us back a year and also mentions Hale Construction Ltd.
If it’s this company, then Hale Construction was a one-man band on Merseyside, Incorporated December 2011 and Dissolved August 2015 without, apparently, making a penny.
Another company worth mentioning is Great House Farm Community Ltd, which I assume to be a residents’ association. This was Incorporated in March 2013, which makes sense; though the only director or member was Ball until June 25 last year. When he was replaced by two others using Great House addresses.
First, it tells us that Daniel James Ball and his wife bought this land in July 2009. We also learn that the properties built by Mulcare-Ball Ltd are being leased rather than sold.
The ‘Welsh Government’ has more than once expressed a desire to phase out leasehold in Wales, so why is it in partnership with a company building properties to lease?
Or, to put it another way, why does the ‘Welsh Government’ need to be involved at all? The same question could be asked of the Eisteddfod.
I may return to this subject.
The Aberpergwm mine, near Glyn-Neath, produces highest quality anthracite coal that is used for all manner of purposes, including water filtration. But it will not be chucked on a fire or shovelled into a furnace.
And it is a standard, commercial entity. Not a Community Interest Company (CIC), or any form of community benefit framework. I suspect it claims to be an umbrella group for smaller, more local organisations.
Though I’m not aware of any genuinely local opposition at Aberpergwm itself. Certainly not from the 200 or so people who work there. Nor from the businesses benefitting from the money those workers put into the local economy.
The address given for the Coal Action Network is Halton Mill, in Lancaster, north west England, owned by Green property developer Lancaster Cohousing. Which suggests it’s little more than an accommodation address for CAN. They certainly don’t get a mention on the website.
It would be easy to dismiss the Coal Action Network as just another little gang of over-excited eco zealots. But these groups often front for bigger players, or there’s serious money behind them.
So be watchful out there. Protect Welsh jobs and Welsh interests from the misguided attention of the brainwashed foot-soldiers of the World Economic Forum and others with globalist agendas designed to crush the little guy. Agendas enthusiastically endorsed by socialists.
And, finally, look out for these clowns sending letters to local papers, lobbying politicians, and pretending they’re local objectors.
Though cut through the enviro-bullshit and SUFT seems to be little more than a greenwashing operation for Utility Warehouse.
Most of those involved with SUFT have either relocated to Wales or don’t even live in Wales. For as with all these ‘conservation’ land grabs, Welsh involvement is minimal.
Though the website informs us, of the man in the photograph, and founder of SUFT, ‘Dr Keith Powell is a seventh-generation Black Mountains farmer and a vet’. Though I don’t think he’s actually done much farming, and came home when he realised there was serious money to be made in trees.
Stump Up For Trees is registered as a charity. Though when I went to the Charity Commission website to check the details I was somewhat surprised not to see Powell listed as a trustee. I assume the desired impression is that of hands-off trustees.
Then he and his companion on the US trip (and at the debriefing), Keri Davies, set up the Beacons Water Group. And do you know who joined them at BWG – none other than Charles Weston, the man who sold Gilestone to the ‘Welsh Government’ for the ludicrous sum of £4.25m!
As if that wasn’t enough, another BWG director, Tony Martineau, teaches at Coleg Soros, Talgarth. While George Soros’ favourite educational establishment, Bard College, has links with the Watershed Agricultural Council, the hosts for the 2018 US trip.
Enough! Old Jac can’t take any more connections.
Why should the ‘Welsh Government’s favourite farmer be involved with Stump Up For Trees? Then again, why not, he seems to be involved in everything else?
To make sense of the ‘Welsh Government’s latest assault on the farming industry you must understand the Labour Party’s relationship with the Welsh countryside.
Labour has no MPs and no SMs representing rural constituencies. For these seats either vote Conservative, Plaid Cymru or, irregularly, usually in Powys, Liberal Democrat.
It wasn’t always so.
There was a time within living memory when Labour could rely on the votes of farm labourers, and even smaller farmers. Also, other rural, working class people. The Merionethshire seat – now part of Dwyfor Meirionnydd and held by Plaid Cymru for almost 50 years – was a straight fight between Labour, centred on the slate town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, and the Liberals, still relying to a great extent on the chapel vote.
Then came the 1960s, and the national reawakening. The protests and the bombs. Tryweryn, Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru (MAC), the Free Wales Army (FWA), Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg CyIG) . . . and the rise of Plaid Cymru.
Labour now saw its hegemony in Wales threatened by a new force that it believed to be essentially rural in character. Certainly rural in origin. And Labour has been wary of the countryside, and its native inhabitants, ever since.
In many Labour politicians this suspicion became outright and undisguised hostility.
The rise of the environmental movement, coupled with the powers given by devolution, have allowed the Labour Party through successive ‘Welsh Governments’ to exert control over rural areas where it has little or no electoral support. While more recently, under the influence of ‘environmentalists’ eyeing Welsh land, exacting what can only be interpreted as revenge.
Which brings us up to date.
Labour’s activists in rural areas tend to be English, middle class, vegetarian (if not vegan, or subsisting entirely on water and good karma), most of them climate / environment ranters who compare hard-working farmers to concentration camp guards.
Though this latest pronunciamiento from Corruption Bay also helps us understand the long-term objectives. And makes a few other things clear.
The ‘Welsh Government is attempting a divide and rule strategy with farmers. Certain farmers are being wooed, and so perhaps is the National Farmers Union. And it seems to be working.
It’s no coincidence that these favoured farmers tend to be Tory-voters, on better land, suited to tree planting, and in almost exclusively English-speaking areas.
Which means that the excluded farmers are more likely to be found on marginal land, more difficult for growing trees, possibly tenant farmers, and certainly more likely to be Welsh speaking. (And Farmers Union of Wales members?)
In fact, areas such as the Summit to Sea rewilding project was hoping – with ‘Welsh Government’ support – to take over. The areas from where Labour, in the 1960s, perceived the ‘threat’ to have emerged.
Which means that this assault on farmers might be interpreted as an attack on the Welsh language, and Welsh rural culture in general. If so, then the politicos in Corruption Bay, and the enviroshyster land-grabbers whispering in their ears, are in for a fight.
Predictably, the announcement was welcomed by Kate Beavan. Who’s she? You haven’t been paying attention, or following the links, have you?
Kate Beavan may have been recruited to Coed Cymru by director Philip David Jayne, who lives in Crughywel.
Yet more bloody connections!
To explain . . .
Coed Cymru is one of the 357 (and rising) ‘woodland’ groups currently operating in Wales. Fighting like ferrets in a sack to take over Welsh land and get their sweaty mitts on Welsh public funding.
When you check out the Companies House entry for Coed Cymru Cyf you realise that, despite the company name, there’s little Welsh involvement.
But plenty of Welsh funding.
‘Plus ça change . . . ‘.
UKRAINE AND THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM
It would be inhuman to suggest that anything good is coming from the death and suffering in Ukraine. And I won’t do that, but harsh lessons are being learnt.
Among them, the realisation that to pretend an advanced economy can rely on intermittent renewables to supply its energy needs is madness. As Germany is learning.
The drive for ‘Net Zero’, orchestrated by The United Nations and the World Economic Forum, is taking hits daily as collateral damage from the conflict in Ukraine. With Germany perhaps the biggest loser.
We are in dangerous times. Supranational bodies like those mentioned want to regulate all aspects of human behaviour. They have captured many national governments, media outlets, and social media giants, who are urged to suppress divergent views as ‘disinformation’.
The justification being that the planet is in grave danger, and so we need to be saved from ourselves . . . all for our own good, of course.
With the result that we are sleepwalking into a form of totalitarianism that sits astride the unicorn of environmentalism.
And this is another reason we – through arming and exploiting brave Ukrainians – are waging war on Russia – because Vladimir Putin refused to bow to these supranational tyrants.
But the ‘Welsh Government’ surrendered long ago. And gave up Wales for sacrifice.
But part of the bigger package was a change in how Senedd members will be elected in future. And this proved much more contentious. With four constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) – Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda, Swansea East, Llanelli – voting against.
To explain . . .
Under revised parliamentary boundaries Wales will have 32 Westminster seats. (Down from the current 40.) What Labour proposes (and Plaid Cymru presumably agrees with) is that these new constituencies should be paired, giving us 16, and that each of them should elect six Senedd Members, thus making up the 96 total.
This is to be done using the ‘closed list’ system. Voters choose a party and have to then accept the party’s choice of candidates.
This is a system designed to favour larger parties and to inhibit the emergence of new parties. Which is no more than we should expect from Labour. For like so many political parties with a socialist heritage Labour is fundamentally undemocratic.
I’m still waiting for Labour’s partner in the current alliance down Corruption Bay to explain why it’s gone along with this system. Though I get the impression Plaid would rather not discuss it.
Labour has tried desperately to polish this turd by promising gender equality. But as Labour has signed up to self-identification, and is a major financial backer of Stonewall, it will obviously accept as ‘women’ men who identify as women.
Which could mean that the new system, designed to achieve gender balance, actually gives us a lower percentage of biological females than we see in the Senedd today!
And then there are other minorities, those so vocal in “breaking down barriers” . . . most of which they themselves have erected. (Or simply imagined.) They’ll demand to be ‘excluded’ no longer. And because they support the Labour Party because the Labour Party funds them their wishes will be granted.
That could give us a Senedd in which the majority is grossly underrepresented.
But who cares – ‘Cos it’s progressive, innit!’
My position is that I do not accept this anti-democratic nonsense. And I would support the UK government stepping in to block it. In fact, I would support the UK government putting an end to devolution itself.
For devolution has delivered nothing to those with whom I identify.
Whereas the SNP in Scotland, returned time after time, has made many Scots believe their country could be even better with independence, here in Wales, the incompetence and waste our people have experienced from malleable mediocrities in Corruption Bay for 23 years makes too many Welsh believe that independence would be even worse.
I remain a nationalist who wants independence, but I see devolution not as a stepping-stone but an obstacle. Maybe that was the intention all along.
And when you think back to what you’ve read here, can you disagree?
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘In the United States, a conservation easement (also called conservation covenant, conservation 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’.
‘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.’
‘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.
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?
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!)
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.
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.
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 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.)
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!
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.
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.
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'”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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!
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”.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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?
“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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Though what you see below from around the time of the Dŵr Cymru visit may put us on the path to enlightenment.
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.
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.”
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
The Green Man? Even if this outfit is taking over Gilestone, it’s just a distraction.
At the very end of the latest Heritage Great Britain Annual Report & Accounts we read that everything is owned by a Jersey company:
So the Snowdon Mountain Railway Ltd is owned by Heritage Great Britain PLC which in turn is owned by Cherberry Ltd of Jersey.
And as I found out when writing the earlier piece, Cherberry Ltd of Jersey is in turn owned by Dukla Ltd of Gibraltar, set up August 2015. And Dukla is probably owned by a company based in an even more sun-blest location.
So it’s Snowdonia to Liverpool, Liverpool to Jersey, Jersey to Gibraltar, Gibraltar to God knows where.
Which means that the patriotically named Heritage Great Britain PLC is ultimately owned by an entity based offshore. But why would a company running tourist attractions need such a twisted web of ownership?
His interests are now looked after by his son, Allan James Stuart Leech, who sits as a director on the boards of these companies.
The reason I’m returning to the Snowdon Mountain Railway is because of its new hybrid locos, built by Clayton Equipment of Staffordshire. Word has it that these new locos are not performing as hoped.
As you can read in this piece from the Rail Technology Magazine website, “SMR plan to operate at Llanberis entirely on battery power, operate the generator charging on the uphill journey, turn off the generator on the downhill journey and use the regenerative braking to recharge the battery packs”.
The problem I’m hearing about seems to be two-fold. First, the batteries don’t charge as the loco descends, with the brakes on; and second, the brakes themselves don’t work too well as brakes. And with each battery weighing ten tonne, this is a serious matter.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions these problems have been hidden, but they won’t go away. And with the SMR planning a full switch to electric and hybrid technology they need to be fixed, pronto.
Due to this problematic investment in hybrid locos, and the loss of income from Covid-19, there must be a possibility that the Snowdon Mountain Railway will soon be seeking financial support from the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’.
The ‘Welsh Government’ should not give a penny to a company that is ultimately owned by persons or companies based in tax havens.
BALA LAKE RAILWAY
One toy train that is definitely seeking ‘Welsh Government’ money is the Bala Lake Railway.
The BLR line currently runs from Llanuwchllyn up the eastern – Llangower – side of Llyn Tegid to Pen-y-Bont station, near to where Afon Dyfyrdwy (Dee) leaves on its journey to the border and the sea.
Last Friday we learnt that the Bala Lake Railway is asking the ‘Welsh Government’ for £2.5m to extend the line to a new station in the town of Bala. And the ‘Welsh Government’ seems keen on giving the money. (Kenny – ‘Flint Ring’ – Skates is already brushing his teeth for the photo op as you read this.)
Then, in a couple of places, I read, as the aim: “To advance enjoyment, education and learning and to promote regional public benefit through the restoration, maintenance and exhibition by operation steam locomotives, rolling stock and other railway artefacts directly associated with the slate industry of north Wales and in particular those regions of Dinorwic and Penrhyn.”
But the Bala Lake Railway runs along a stretch of the old line from Barmouth to Ruabon. It has no connection with the slate industry, and certainly not with Dinorwic or Penrhyn. (Did I say ‘Penrhyn’! That BLM woman will be after me!)
So who runs this show . . . from Shepton Mallet? The six trustees are: Squadron Leader Toby Kenneth Watkins, Steve Valentine, Julian Peter Charles Birley, Roger Hine, Christina Lillian Kennedy, Steve Davies.
Hine was quoted: “I didn’t expect to be cut off in peak season. My next door neighbour runs a guest house and said it was typical in Wales because they are not tourism-orientated.” Useless bloody Welsh! Thank God the English come here to run the tourism industry for us. Did I just say, ‘for us’!
Steve Valentine “owns and runs an award-winning confectionery company in Bala which is also the town’s largest single employer”. This is presumably Gwynedd Confectioners, though the company registered with Companies House is Sweet Valentine Limited, with a Porthmadog address.
I would have expected to see ‘trading as’ somewhere in the Sweet Valentine documents filed with Companies House, but I couldn’t find anything.
Two military officers, someone awarded the British Empire Medal, and the rest suggest a very English establishment outfit. The only thing the Bala Lake Railway seems to want from us is our country and our money.
The question is, boys and girls: Should £2.5m of Welsh public money be used to fund a hobby train, one encouraging the ‘Playground Wales’ tourism that is turning us into strangers in our own country, or should those involved be told to steam off into the sunset?
Answers on the usual post card, please. (And if you’ve run out just send me a message on a post card and I’ll send you some more.)
Another of the ‘Great Little Trains of Wales’ is the Welsh Highland Railway, which runs the 25 miles from Caernarfon to Porthmadog via Beddgelert. At ‘Port’ it links with the Ffestiniog Railway that goes on to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
These lines are for tourists, few locals can afford to use them. I say that because it costs £80 for two to make the 15-mile trip from Caernarfon to Beddgelert in a ‘seating bay’, which I assume to be two, facing bench seats.
Which reminded me of something written by Julian Birley B.E.M. on the BLR Trust website; talking of narrow gauge railways, he said: “Largely based in rural regions, these railways are becoming a lifeline for people in areas of high unemployment and in need of regeneration.”
How true is that?
But I digress.
The reason I’m introducing the Welsh Highland Railway is because one of its directors is David Edward Firth, who happens to live in Beddgelert, so I’m sure he uses the train regularly . . . without having to pay.
Another company of which Firth is a director is Glaslyn Leisure Ltd. I’m sure the name won’t mean anything to you and I only came across it in a story about five holiday homes being sold in Beddgelert. Being sold together as an ‘investment’.
They seem to be in a cul-de-sac off the main A498.
I suppose £1.2m for five holiday homes in a place like Beddgelert is about right, but when I checked the company accounts an anomaly was revealed. For according to the accounts, or rather, the unaudited financial statement, the company’s tangible assets / net book value amount to only £275,524.
Almost a million pounds less than is being asked for the Beddgelert properties. How is this explained? In two words – debts and depreciation.
The creditors are almost certainly the four directors of Glaslyn Leisure and the debt is presumably what it cost them to buy the land and build the six properties.
Perhaps the real anomaly is depreciation. For in the real world, and especially with holiday homes in Wales, values increase every year; but in declarations to Companies House owners are allowed to apply depreciation of 2% a year on freehold property and 20% on fixtures and fittings.
Which means, over a period of time, property that is increasing in value can, on paper, be made to lose value. Clever, no?
To help me make sense of things I drew a table. Starting in 2010 we see that the fixed assets / book value stood at £526,612 which, a decade ago, with property markets still suffering from the financial crisis of 2008, might have represented some two thirds of what the properties would have fetched if they’d been sold.
This sale – the ‘disposal’ mentioned in the financial statement – also explains the reduction in the amount owed to creditors from £519,280 in 2017 to £266,433 in 2018.
I was able to get details of Plas Tegfryn from the Land Registry, but the properties for sale – Sygun, Aran, Y Garn, Hebog, Craig-y-Llan – seem not be registered by name or number. (I got the names from AirBnB.)
And of course we aren’t told how much these properties have earned in the two decades since they were built. So it could be £1.2m clear profit from the sale. Perhaps more. And it will all go to England.
I’ve included this story because it tells us so much about what’s wrong with Wales.
On the one hand we have narrow gauge railways, run by strangers, for the enjoyment of strangers; with hardly any local involvement, but always looking for Welsh public funding by suggesting they provide some public service!
And then we have the kind of tourism-linked property speculation we see in Beddgelert. But not limited to this or any other area.
For as a correspondent from Llandysul wrote a few days ago: “Stories from all directions about ‘selling a shithole house in England and buying three here. One to live in and two to rent out’. I think we’ve had it now.”
This is a decent, caring Welsh person resigned to the death of his nation.
Talking of property speculation reminds me of Jake Berry, the Conservative and Unionist MP for Rossendale and Darwen in east Lancashire. Berry owns an unknown number of properties on Ynys Môn.
One of those properties is Rhyd-y-Bont, at Rhoscolyn, an area of the island being rapidly cleansed of the Welsh and other undesirables. Berry, or his wife, Alice Molly Radclyffe Berry, bought it last year for £780,000.
The name of this rural retreat translated into English takes us to Ford Bridge Farm Ltd, a company formed in May, that uses the address of an accountant in Bacup, in Berry’s constituency. The directors are Berry and his wife, with said accountant, Paul Fitton, serving as secretary.
There have been some developments worth reporting. I just hope I can explain them.
On the Companies House website, at the top of an entry, all company names are given in upper case, so I was amazed to see, Ford Bridge, FARM LTD. Also, this curiosity has a date of birth! Though December 1983 is also when Jake Berry’s wife was born.
Had she changed her name?
At the second attempt I found another entry for Ford Bridge Farm Limited, with Palatine Hill Limited listed as an appointment. This is in addition to the original entry given above.
Palatine Hill could be a ‘Russian doll’ arrangement for Jake and his missus’ property dealings, set up to deter enquiries – cos there’s some nosy buggers out there! I suppose the next step would be offshore, but that might look bad, even for a Tory MP.
I suggest that because checking the ‘Filing history’ I saw this entry for 31 July, 2020 “Withdrawal of the directors’ residential address register information from the public register”. And if you want a ‘company snapshot’ then you’ll need to cough up £15.
As you all know, the Palatine Hill was one of the seven hills of Ancient Rome. It’s where the toffs were said to live. Which is entirely fitting for upwardly mobile Jake and Alice Berry.
But under no circumstances should it be confused with the Capitoline Hill or any of the other five. And it’s nowhere near Blueberry Hill, of which the late Antoine ‘Fats’ Domino so often sang.
See, you don’t just get informed on this blog, you get bloody well educated as well.
ONE PLANET DEVELOPMENTS
Towards the end of August I wrote Black Mountains College, in which we looked at this project in Talgarth, Powys that seeks to become a kind of university for eco-warriors.
One of the sidetracks down which comments took us led to the OPD settlement at Rhiw Las, near Whitland in Carmarthenshire. I’d been keeping an eye on this through regular updates from Companies House on Rhiw Las Ltd, a company formed in September 2013.
But of course, filings to Companies House can’t always tell us what’s happening on the ground. And that’s why I’m indebted to those who commented to the blog or contacted me in other ways.
The 21.5 acre Rhiw Las site is made up of four couples living on separate OPDs, each of roughly 5 acres. Planning permission was granted by the Planning Inspectorate in June 2016 after being rejected by Carmarthenshire planning committee.
The stated thinking behind OPDs is to encourage people to live self-sufficient, off-grid lifestyles, in order to reduce Wales’ carbon footprint. The fact that all those choosing to live on OPDs have moved to Wales, thereby increasing Wales’ carbon footprint, is an inconvenient truth and therefore ignored.
As it is set out in the ‘Welsh Government’s Technical Advice Note 6 the strategy is about “delivering sustainable rural communities”. And what a welcome innovation this will be, for in the 10,000 years since the retreat of the ice Wales has never known sustainable rural communities.
Soon after releasing into the wild the piece about Black Mountains College news started arriving about the denizens of Rhiw Las. One couple in particular may have been telling porkies about where they live, and what they do.
I’m referring now to Chris Vernon and Erica Thompson. That’s Dr Chris Vernon, who works for the Met Office in Bristol; and Dr Erica Thompson, a Fellow of the London School of Economics.
When she’s not teaching in London, or attending conferences, or at her holiday home OPD, Erica Thompson is chairwoman of the One Planet Council. Which means that she knows the buzz-words, she has the connections, and the buttons she needs to push are invitingly illuminated.
OPDs can look commendable, deserving of support, until you learn more and appreciate the bullshit involved.
Great dollops of which can be found in the Management Plan for Rhiw Las, that accompanied the planning application. It makes a big thing of the availability of wild food. But if you’re going to use wild food to strengthen your case then you might as well say there’ll be lots of air to breathe, and birds singing, and flies flying . . .
One Planet Developments are supposed to be about people doing things for themselves, not relying entirely on Mother Nature . . . plus of course, the Met Office and the LSE.
Then there’s Wycliffe Tippins, another resident of Rhiw Las. It seems Wycliffe lives or works in Gloucestershire. As a comment to the Black Mountains College post told us, “Wycliffe is a computer games developer. Another useful addition to the rural skillset at Rhiw Las !”
What’s more, not so long ago, Wycliffe was advertising for unpaid help to look after his OPD while he was designing computer games in England.
And before he was even using the static caravan on his visits to Wales, and before Rhiw Las was given planning permission, Wycliffe was demanding a strong Well-being of Future Generations Bill! Which would of course be of benefit to him and his friends.
Which meant he was trying to influence Welsh legislation when he wasn’t even pretending to be living here! Arrogant colonialist fucker!
Another member of the Rhiw Las gang who may be working full-time in England is Dr Paul Jennings. But what I found really interesting about him came from this interview with Lowimpact.org in April.
Contrary to what I’m sure most of us believed, according to Paul Jennings, ‘The (OPD) policy is intended to strengthen local, rural economies in Wales – it’s not about self-sufficiency.’ Though in other areas he agrees with us.
Over at Lammas we find Cassandra Lishman, the ‘Woman of the Willows’. Are she and her husband living a self-sufficient, off-grid lifestyle? Almost certainly not, for as the article tells us, hubby “Nigel has a ‘conventional’ job as a care support worker.”
To which he drives every day.
“Cassie is at pains to stress that living at Lammas – reliant upon sun, water and wind for power, and running smallholdings in tune with nature – does not preclude having a ‘normal’ life”.
All they really want is a cheap place in the countryside. And it has to be the Welsh countryside because no other country on Earth has been so stupid as to submit to these people by introducing the OPD system.
Once they’ve got their little bit of heaven, built for a few thousand pounds, it can be sold for a premium price as a dwelling in open country.
Clearly, the OPD system is being abused on a massive scale. And yet the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ refuses to intervene, leaving local planning authorities helpless. And so the envirocolonists keep coming, in an ever-increasing tide.
Here’s what one local source told me:
“As far as I can tell there in no policing by Pembs CC and given the fear of litigation that Carm CC suffered at the hands OPD lawyers they are reluctant/can’t afford to enforce any of the planning restrictions imposed originally
I foresee many of the properties sold as general housing with a very large garden and a lifestyle
Sure as hell nobody local will be buying these properties as it will be cash buyers only, I somehow doubt that they are mortgageable
Lammas is a shambles and beyond any controls it seems. The latest episode is —– laying down on the track to stop a farmer hedge cutting because he can’t get his hay equipment to fields further up the hill
There are more appearing in the valley and it is divisive. A farmer is buying blocks of land just to prevent more arrivals as he is already surrounded.
They are not going away so sooner or later most will be sold on the open market.
I don’t see the an end to it.
Wealthy incomers, from SE England and Bristol queuing up to buy a toy farm in countryside, working from home and not having the skills abide to OPD planning conditions. What then?
The farms are being fragmented and they will never be able to be reinstated as a viable family farm of the type that has built the indigenous community”.
I know it’s easy to laugh at these people and their pretensions, but they are ambitious, greedy, well connected, and dangerous. Never forget that the clowns in Corruption Bay have already bent over backwards to do their bidding.
The ambition I’m referring to stretches way beyond the few settlements we see today, mainly in the south west. According to Paul/Tau Wimbush, a Lammas guru, Wales could easily accommodate another 115,000 eco-holdings. That’s 414,000 people – all them land-grabbing charlatans, with few living the life they’ll claim to be living.
Chris Vernon agrees that there should be many more faux OPDs. Go to 7:10 in this video to hear him say: “There is no reason why Wales couldn’t support several tens of thousands of smallholdings in the open countryside”.
Glynllifon is a name you’ll be familiar with, but this section has nothing to do with Plas Glynllifon, the old mansion south of Caernarfon that has attracted so many crooks over recent years.
No, this Glynllifon is on Ynys Môn, near Marianglas, with Benllech to the south and Moelfre to the north. Though just like its mainland namesake it also attracts crooks!
As I was informed in a couple of anonymous e-mails earlier this month telling me that certain ‘businessmen’ had a project at Traeth Bychan, Marianglas, and that a company called Glynllifon Ltd was involved.
This company was formed 10 June last year, with Neil Moir as sole director. (The name is sometimes spelt ‘Muir’.) The company soon took out two loans with Goldcrest Finance Ltd to buy the Glynllifon hotel. Goldcrest Finance is yet another “specialist lender based in central Manchester”. How many of them are there?
Here’s the Land Registry title document. I suggest you keep it open in another window. Because before moving on to the latest developments I’d like to concentrate on the title document for a bit.
Going back to 1999 (page 2) it would appear that the Glynllifon Hotel passed from people named Beardsley to a Lesley Karen Boshell. Yet on page 3 we find that, “A Deed dated 17 September 2015 made between (1) Thelma Eileen Beardsley and (2) Ocean and Country Developments Limited contains restrictive covenants.”
Turning to Ocean & Country Developments Ltd we find Ronald Kenneth Boshell of Cheshire as a director. It’s reasonable to assume that he is related to Lesley Karen Boshell.
Ocean & Country Developments is heavily in debt and the debt may be explained by an outstanding charge held by ‘The Santhouse Pensioneer Trustee Company Limited Marc Howard and Avis Howard’ against . . . the Glynllifon Hotel. Marc Howard is the other director, with Boshell, of Ocean & Country Developments.
The Boshells were obviously living on Ynys Mon in January 2005 because this report from the Daily Post tells us that one of the Boshell children was hit by a car on the way to school.
The report also told us that, “Mr Boshell and wife Leslie (sic) said they closed the hotel last year because the road was so dangerous”. The hotel was called the Beauchelles Hotel (geddit?), though closing due to traffic is unlikely.
UPDATE 22.09.2020: My suspicion has been confirmed – the Beauchelles Hotel was Glynllifon. Sources say it went downhill, almost as if it was designed to fail.
One source sent me a photo of Ronnie Boshell, now domiciled in Spain.
“Cllr Durkin said: ‘For years now Benllech and its surrounding areas has seen a number of its prominent hotels and properties purchased by property developers just to be closed down with no work done. (My emphasis.)
‘They have been left dangerously, inadequately secured and are blots on the beautiful landscapes.”
He drew attention to Y Gorlan, on Benllech promenade, which has already been set on fire, has been left open to the elements and has become a magnet for unsuspecting children to get injured or killed.
Some of the eyesores also include the Bay Court Hotel, the Bryntyrion (sic) Hotel and the Beauchelles Hotel, which Cllr Durkin says are letting the village down.'”
It could be that companies were being set up, and property bought, to launder money. Such things happen.
The image below, from Google, was captured in July 2016. It would appear to show some plan to develop the Glynllifon site as apartments and holiday cottages, perhaps by Ocean & Country Developments Ltd.
The Boshells, or Beauchelles, appear to have moved back to north west England.
The empty and semi-derelict Glynllifon Hotel has now been bought by Glynllifon Ltd and Neil Moir. So who exactly is he?
THE winner of top TV quiz Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is set to lose his fortune – because he is a crook.
Millions saw 51-year-old Neil Muir land a £64,000 prize this week. But under the programme’s rules he is BANNED from entering.
Muir has convictions for theft, deception and forgery. And Rule 6 says: “You must… have no criminal convictions (subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974).” London TV company Celador launched an investigation yesterday.
Although his roots seem to be in north west England Moir is, I believe, living on Ynys Môn. In Bodorgan, on the opposite side of the island to Marianglas.
In recent days the Glynllifon Hotel has been in the news because the planned development – if it’s not another money laundering operation! – plans to open under the ‘Traeth Bychan Heights’ label. This has upset many locals angry at so many traditional names being lost.
(Bryn Llys has been renamed ‘Snowdon Summit View’.)
Now what interest would Shane Baker have in the Marianglas / Benllech area? Silly me! – it’s where the police found his boss John Joseph Duggan hiding out. Though given what we now know about the area I can’t help wondering who owned the property in which Duggan was hiding.
I’m sure I’ll return to this story in future posts. If anyone has more information, then get in touch.
Toy trains, ‘investment’ holiday homes, Tory MPs’ property empires, envirocolonists and outright crooks are just the same monster glimpsed in different lights. All elements of a colonial system that no longer simply exploits but also destroys.
Either we start taking back control, from those you’ve read about, and from those who refuse to take action against them, or it will be victory for Shane Baker and those who agree that doing away with everything that makes us Welsh is progress.
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
Black Mountains College got a mention in the previous post, since when the Annual Review and Financial Statement has become available on the Companies House website. This new document throws up a number of matters worthy of comment. There are also other issues that need an airing.
IN THE BEGINNING
There are two companies using the Black Mountains College name.
The first, Black Mountains College Ltd, was Incorporated 3 October, 2017, and I suspect it was something of a false start. I say that because it was set up as a private limited company, and it’s now dormant.
The difference being that with the first company the directors would have been fully liable had it gone belly-up, but with the second incarnation the directors can only be made to cough up a maximum of £10 each.
The directors of Black Mountains College Ltd are Dr William Newton-Smith and Ben Rawlence. Newton-Smith is also a director and trustee of the second company, while Rawlence is now CEO.
Potted biographies for the directors/trustees of the Black Mountains College Project can be found on the BMC website. I’ll provide further information as this article develops.
The BMC offers a degree course with a partner university that I can’t find named on the site, but which might be Trinity St David’s of ‘Dr’ Jane Davidson. An institution that has been moving steadily east from Lampeter and Carmarthen so much in recent years that it’s only a matter of time before it crosses the border.
The BMC also offers, “further education vocational training in future skills. We aim to get you ready for a high-tech, low carbon future with skills such as seasonal catering, organic horticulture, coppicing, coding and regenerative farming.”
‘Seasonal catering’ can only mean tourism. God help us!
In a highlighted block we read: “Powys is facing a ‘catastrophic’ risk of a collapse in its working age population. The rural economy is facing several existential threats”.
And yet, Ben Rawlence is right, though I suspect he doesn’t know the reasons.
Powys has been neglected for the whole period of devolution because the Labour Party hates rural areas – where it has little support – and encourages attacks on agriculture, the mainstay of the rural economy, from the eco-warriors and rewilders now rallying to the BMC standard. To complete the picture Powys – like other rural areas of Wales – is filling up with retirees.
Result: A collapse in the working age population of Powys . . . but it doesn’t really matter because there are few jobs! That’s the ‘Welsh Government’s strategy for rural areas – neglect the needs of the indigenous Welsh to facilitate managed economic decline which will be disguised by the indigenes being replaced by a largely non-working population.
The way to improve the situation is to build up an economy creating jobs for local people. This will not be achieved by attracting basket-weavers and organic radish growers who will never be more than self-employed.
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
As I mentioned at the top, what prompts this piece is the availability of the latest Annual Review and Financial Statement. Here’s the link again, to help you follow where I’m going. Maybe keep it open in another window.
Let’s start on page 3, under ‘Financial Review’. You’ll read mention of funding from the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority. This came from the Authority’s Sustainability Fund and totalled £82,500. This was matched with a further £45,000 from the Ashley Family Foundation.
At the very bottom of the page you’ll read of a “large private donation” of £103,000. Perhaps you’ll agree with me that that seems a rather odd amount. Is it a more rounded figure in some other currency, and if so, which currency might that be?
Scrolling down . . .
Top of page 4 tells of £97,000 over two years from the National Lottery Community Fund, People and Places. Plus “several private donations of 5k”. I shall return to this in a moment.
Page 11 reminds us that last year Black Mountains College received a £45,000 grant from the Community Foundation in Wales. This is a funder I’m unfamiliar with, and even after visiting the website I’m still not clear where its money comes from, or how it operates. All I can tell you is that it’s another Englandandwales outfit. (Scotland and Northern Ireland are not covered.)
There’s obviously money coming in, but I was still surprised to see £122,415 spent on “Legal & professional fees”, compared to just £6,040 the previous year. Though I’m sure very little of this would have gone on legal fees.
Part of this sum (plus match funding) went to employ a Communications Director three days a week. Which means that the greater part went on professional fees.
Under ‘Expenditure’ on page 4 we see the likely beneficiary in The Philanthropy Company. Certainly, Black Mountains College gets a mention as a client of the fund-raising Philanthropy Company.
Though for a fledgling organisation with not a lot of cash that is a big outlay. Some might say extravagant.
On the plus side, staff costs soared from £23,890 in 2019 to £105,979 in 2020.
Which is what it’s all about, bringing jobs to Powys . . . but not for locals.
LIFE’S A LOTTERY . . . OR MAYBE NOT!
If you’ve been paying attention then you’ll remember that I told you about £97,000 promised by the National Lottery Community Fund, People and Places.
The reason I’m returning to this is that the Black Mountains College is unusually well connected when it comes to the National Lottery. In fact, of the seven directors/trustees two have Lottery connections – and I don’t mean selling tickets in a corner shop!
Which I find odd, considering that she was there at the start of BMC, on September 7, 2018. As was David Isaac.
In fact, seeing as David Isaac served on the Lottery from 2014 to 2018, and Elizabeth Passey was reappointed for a second term in 2018, they would have served together.
Equally puzzling is that Ms Passey’s BMC bio (scroll down to ‘Trustees’) does not mention her Lottery role.
Almost as if we’re not allowed to see Lottery and BMC together.
I won’t say too much as I’m already knee-deep in solicitors’ letters, but two out of seven directors/trustees having top jobs with the Lottery, and the Lottery then shelling out £97,000 for BMC, with possibly more to come, is food for thought.
Certainly got me thinking.
UPDATE 30.08.2020: A number of comments have drawn our attention to the fact that David Isaac has done very well for himself, very well indeed. Whereas some are homeless, most of us satisfied with one home, the greedy wanting two, but Dai has got three, maybe more. ‘Champagne socialist’, the Daily Mail called him.
The more we learn about Black Mountains College the more obvious it becomes that they’re a bunch of ‘We know best’ poseurs, charlatans and interlopers.
From my executive swivel chair the Black Mountains College looks like a milking machine. A few people, sensing the zeitgeist, have seen a chance to both enhance their reputations in certain circles while also pulling down a bit of moolah.
I certainly don’t believe it started as described by Emma, when, “On a wintry night in 2016, with wind rattling the windows, Ben and his neighbour Owen talked about the frightening future that their young daughters would inherit.”
Makes it sound like they were waiting for Heathcliff and Cathy!
On nights such as that I find the best thing to do is to relax with a glass or twa while listening to Hank Williams singing some particularly soulful numbers, then putting on a good pair of woolly socks and going to bed.
However it started, the Black Mountains College had to be in Wales. After TAN 6 and One Planet Developments, the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, and the ‘Welsh Government’ declaring war on farmers, just about every eco-shyster on planet Earth was Googling ‘Wales’.
Go to 7:10 in this video to hear some arrogant interloper named Chris Vernon opine: “There is no reason why Wales couldn’t support several tens of thousands of smallholdings in the open countryside”.
How many, exactly, Chris, 30,000, 50,000? Whose country are we talking about, Chris?
And how many Welsh farming families will have to lose their land to accommodate these tens of thousands of smallholdings? Or, if the smallholdings would be on land that is currently unused, how the hell would that be helping the environment?
If Black Mountains College takes off then Chris Vernon and his ilk will have their mother church. Somewhere ‘safe’ for their kids to be educated. And BMC will attract more Chris Vernons to Wales.
In another contribution Ben Rawlence urges us to ‘decolonise’ this, that and t’other. But it never occurs to the Ben Rawlences of this world that they can be as guilty of colonialist behaviour, especially in Wales, as those on the political right they are so ready to condemn as “threats to the liberal order”.
(Trans: The Orwellian-sounding “threats to the liberal order” means those who won’t submit to the left liberal climate alarmist agenda. Or those who can think for themselves and won’t be dictated to.)
Let’s finish with another rhetorical flourish from Rawlence’s piece in the IWA publication. A paragraph towards the end begins with, “The college of the future cannot be a college on the hill, an ivory tower divorced from its environment.”
Yet that’s exactly what the cult-like Black Mountains College wants to be. And that’s why it must not be funded from the public purse.
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
Envirocolonialism may not be a term you’re familiar with, but I’ve coined it to describe two separate but linked phenomena.
The first of which is companies from outside of Wales building wind farms, wave power installations, and other facilities, that provide few if any jobs for Welsh people and contribute little or nothing to the Welsh economy.
The second is eco-warriors of various hues, including ‘rewilders’, also from outside of Wales, demanding land and funding to put into practice what are often insane schemes working against the interests of Welsh people and their communities. Or simply milking the funding system.
Yet both these forms of envirocolonialism are encouraged by the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’, which dresses up this exploitation as an economic strategy by which Wales will become prosperous while also saving the planet.
This lie, and the ugly colonialism it disguises, must be exposed and rejected.
‘BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND’
Last week the Guardian told us that the Crown Estate had given permission to a subsidiary of the French oil giant Total for floating wind turbines off the north coast. The English Crown giving a French company the go-ahead in Welsh waters.
One of the Irishmen is also found at Simply Blue Energy (Scotland) Ltd, but the other director is Scottish, with an Edinburgh address. The secretary, though, lives in County Louth, some distance from both The Rebel County and Auld Reekie.
This announcement was soon followed by news of what I take to be a separate development of some 100 turbines. The beneficiary here is RWE Renewables, the German conglomerate. With the the usual flotilla of small companies from over the border following in the giant’s wake.
There will soon be wind turbines off the coast from the border to the Menai Strait. And the benefits for Wales will be counted in a few dozen jobs. Though from what I hear, those already doing the jobs seem to have arrived from a few hundred miles east of Mostyn docks.
But never mind! There may be no Welsh companies involved, and no Welsh jobs, but we can still get a warm glow from sitting in our deck chairs, looking out to sea at hundreds of wind turbines making Wales’ contribution to saving the planet.
A contribution so insignificant that it can be wiped out by just one more coal-fired power station in China or a day’s logging in Amazonia.
RIDING THE WAVE . . . BUT NOT IF YOU’RE WELSH
With wind power being unreliable, the short life span of the turbines, the landscape damage, the killing of birds and bats, and now the increased risks of flooding, public opinion is turning against onshore wind power.
This goes some way to explaining the increase in offshore wind power, such as we looked at in the previous section, and also wave-generated energy.
Which is the cue to introduce another company, one that hasn’t gone through the charade of taking out a Pembrokeshire address.
In fact, it would be odd if Wave Hub had moved to Wales . . . seeing as it’s 100% owned by Cornwall County Council. And before the council took control in November 2017 Wave Hub had been owned by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
According to the linked article, the City Deal will provide £28 million with this “expected to help leverage a further £32 million of public and private funding”. No doubt a sizeable chunk of the remaining £32 million will come from the Welsh public purse.
And what will we get in return?
Research and development will almost certainly be conducted outside of Wales, and we can guarantee that Wales will not see the profits. Which leaves jobs. How many will there be and who’ll be monitoring the situation to ensure that locals get them? Answers: very few; nobody.
So let’s stop deluding ourselves and recognise a rip-off when it’s staring us in the face and twisting our gonads.
Here’s my interpretation of Wave Hub’s move to Wales.
Once it became clear there were to be City deals for Swansea and Cardiff clever minds in London sat down and thought, “OK, so we’re giving the Taffs this money . . . now how do we get back as much of it as possible?”
The Swansea Bay City Deal was signed off in March 2017 by Prime Minister Theresa May. The gestation period would have been at least a year. So let’s see how that fits with the Wave Hub timeline.
Despite having been in existence since December 2011 the accounts for y/e 31 March 2016 show net assets of just £3,638. A company just ticking over, maybe waiting for a project.
March 2017, Swansea Bay City Deal signed off.
November 27, 2017, Cornwall County Council takes control of Wave Hub Ltd. Is this to make it more acceptable to the Welsh public?
September 18, 2019, Piers Basil Guy sets up Guy Energy Ltd. Hoping to make a bit for himself on the side?
June 11, 2020, announcement of £60 million funding for Wave Hub at its ‘Welsh’ operations.
June 11, 2020, elsewhere we read, with no mention of Pembrokeshire: “The South West Floating Offshore Wind Accelerator is being led by Wave Hub in collaboration with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), University of Plymouth, University of Exeter, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, A&P Group, Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council.
Why the hell are WE, through the Swansea Bay City Deal and the ‘Welsh Government’, funding a project with no Welsh presence beyond a shed in Pembrokeshire? Where are the benefits for Wales?
All the companies listed for Piers Basil Guy are owned by Vattenfall, the Swedish company that has so much influence with the ‘Welsh Government’. A number of the wind farms listed were built on land managed by Natural Resources Wales, an agency of the ‘Welsh Government’. This includes of course the massive Pen y Cymoedd.
Money is being showered on a company that might, or might not, be owned by Cornwall County Council. Either way, it has but the lightest of footprints in Wales and shouldn’t be given a penny until we are assured of tangible benefits.
Finally, is there a connection between Simply Blue (Wave Hub) Ltd and Wave Hub Ltd?
Up at the other end of the country from Pembrokeshire a genuinely Welsh outfit, Menter Môn, also has plans for wave energy, but it is being thwarted by a cat’s paw acting for Natural Resources Wales and the ‘Welsh Government’.
Perhaps what the RSPB and NRW found offensive was, “Morlais is a Menter Môn project which aims to benefit local communities . . .”. That’s not how envirocolonialism works.
Though there has been opposition from other quarters, mainly the Trearddur Bay Sailing Club and the owners of ‘seasonal properties’ at Rhoscolyn. This explains the intervention of the constituency’s Conservative candidate a few weeks before last December’s general election.
She gets out of him what he has perhaps been primed to say – the Morlais project could be bad for tourism. Mmm. Is that a negative any more?
Virginia Crosbie, friend, possibly tenant, of Jake Berry, the Tory MP for Rossendale and Darwen in east Lancashire. How many properties does Berry now own on Ynys Môn?
Joking aside, let me spell this out quite clearly, for the avoidance of any doubt.
The RSPB would not have objected to this scheme if it had come from a developer viewed more favourably by Natural Resources Wales and the ‘Welsh Government’, neither of which wants to encourage genuinely Welsh initiatives.
TALES OF THE RIVERBANK
For a couple of years now a few people have been urging me to take a peek at the The Wye and Usk Foundation. At first sight, there seems to be nothing to worry about, the Foundation is a body trying to improve rivers and riparian environments. It of course works closely with Natural Resources Wales.
Admittedly, it’s a cross-border organisation, with most of the territory it covers being in Wales but, as is usually the case, with a majority of its trustees from outside.
But then, the more you look at the Wye and Usk Foundation the more the doubts creep in. It can be a little thing, such as this sentence found under ‘Climate Change’, on page 5 of the latest Trustees’ report.
“The summer drought also led to an increase in fodder crops being grown in the Welsh uplands which pose a serious risk to our rivers this winter.”
This is an organisation based in Wales, so why not just say, “uplands”? Using the term “Welsh uplands” makes it sound like an alien, and hostile, area. Something that could have been written by a 12th century Norman chronicler.
And of course, there’s the inference that Welsh farmers harm rivers. Which could have been written by that scourge of Welsh hill farmers, George Monbiot.
“In the west of Britain, the main issue is livestock farming. As dairy and poultry units have consolidated, the manure they produce is greater than the land’s capacity to absorb it. As an agricultural contractor explained to the Welsh government, some farmers are deliberately spreading muck before high rainfall, so that it washes off their fields and into the rivers. A farm adviser told the same inquiry that only 1% of farm slurry stores in Wales meet the regulations.”
Follow the link and you’ll see that the person who made that allegation about farmers deliberately spreading muck before rain was allowed to remain anonymous. (If he or she ever existed.)
In the same article Monbiot also wrote: “The Wye itself is dying at astonishing, heartbreaking speed.” Yet the The Wye Usk Foundation is far more upbeat. But then, Monbiot is a polemicist and a scaremonger, with a strategy to follow.
Basically, Monbiot’s message is: ‘Welsh farmers are bastards, get them off the land and then turn the land over to people like me’.
So, does George Monbiot have links to The Wye and Usk Foundation?
TALGARTH, SEAT OF LEARNING
The Wye and Usk Foundation is based in Talgarth, and among the trustees we find Elizabeth Passey, formerly of US investment bank Morgan Stanley, and now the Big Lottery Fund. Ms Passey is also a trustee of the Black Mountains College Project in Talgarth. Though for some reason Ms Passey’s role with the Big Lottery is not mentioned in her BMC bio, below.
On the BMC website Passey is said to hail “from a corn merchant family on the Welsh borders.” But from Talgarth it’s the English borders. It’s only the ‘Welsh borders’ for people who see Wales through English eyes, or from an anglocentric perspective . . . such as those involved in the Black Mountains College Project.
We see the £75,000 grant last year from the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority. A fresh grant of £49,036 from Arwain (money taken from farmers in the transfer from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2 made by Alun Davies in 2013). Also, £16,750 from the National Lottery Community Fund. For which BMC can no doubt thank Ms Passey.
There are now three full-time employees; and while no one earns more than £60,000 we can be sure that with staff costs of £105,979 there are three people each earning a good screw.
Though I’d love to know why ‘Legal and professional fees’ jumped from £6,040 in 2019 to £122,415 in 2020.
Now we move south west, to the Rhondda, accompanied by Messrs Blake and Ham.
HONEST RIP-OFF OR PATERNALISM?
As any self-respecting crow will tell you, the distance between the hill station of Talgarth and the native settlement of Treherbert is just over 20 miles. Though they can appear to be much further apart.
“A former mining village has been awarded nearly £250,000 to develop Wales’ first community ownership project.
The Skyline project wants to take charge of about 1.5 sq miles (4 sq km) of forestry around Treherbert, Rhondda Cynon Taff.
It wants to create jobs in forestry and provide timber for affordable homes.
It also hopes to open up space to grow vegetables and encourage use of the woods for education and leisure.
The money will be used to develop the ideas with the hope of getting up to £2.5m from the National Lottery climate action fund to put their plans into action.”
There is clearly local enthusiasm, but who’s running the show, and what are their ultimate intentions?
We see mention of the Skyline project. I visited the Skyline website, where I found this video of an event held in Cardiff on May 1, 2019.
We hear Chris Blake, because Skyline is run by his Green Valleys company from Talgarth.
We also hear from Ian Thomas who, despite the name, does not sound as if he’s from round by ‘ere. He represents the ‘social enterprise’ Welcome to our Woods. In big type the home page of the Welcome to our Woods website tells us: “We are a community partnership in the Upper Rhondda Fawr, South Wales Valleys UK.”
‘South Wales Valleys UK’! Yet again, that ‘outsider’ phrasing.
WTOW Ltd is a company that has been going since 7 November 2014. Ceri Nicholas, a local who features prominently in the video below, was in at the start, but ceased to be a director in March this year. Why leave when things are about to take off?
Apart from Ian Thomas the directors are Simone Jayne Devinett of the Rhondda Housing Association; and Phillip John Vickery, who used to work for Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services and uses a Haverfordwest address.
In the video, locals are given bit parts, but at 2:04 we meet Sonya Bedford, introduced as ‘Head of Energy Stephen Scown Solicitors’. The name is in fact Stephens Scown, and it’s based in Devon. What the hell is she doing there?
The trip to Scotland is revealing, if only for the kind of people they met up there.
All the talk of growing vegetables, and living in cheap, timber housing suggests One Planet Developments. Which only adds to the feeling that this Rhondda project might simply be using locals to further the ends of a select group of outsiders.
People who are largely unemployable in the real world, whose companies are unviable, but who survive through political patronage, public funding, and of course Lottery funding. Which is where Elizabeth Passey of the National Lottery will come in handy.
To complete the picture of a scam being run by outsiders, for outsiders, the BBC was kind enough to tell us that the project manager is Melanie Newton.
If that name rings a bell it’s because Melanie was, until very recently, CEO of Summit to Sea, with which George Monbiot and others were deeply involved. This was an attempt to take over a vast area inland and north of Aberystwyth, evict the farmers, plant millions of trees, and introduce all sorts of exotic animals.
Those involved in this population replacement scheme were encouraged by the ‘Welsh Government’s threat to use Brexit as a weapon against farmers. Explicit in Brexit and our land. In fact, the ‘rewilders’ probably influenced the writing of the document.
One obvious channel of influence would have been ‘Game Show Gary’ Haggaty, advisor to and lover of Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs. Gary hates farmers. So do too many of the civil servants advising that shower in Corruption Bay.
So maybe the people of the Rhondda should worry that the real plan may be to get rid of them, forest the valley floor, and bring in lynx, beaver, and God knows what else. Because Melanie has form, and so do some of the others involved.
The Valleys Regional Park seems to be one of the Labour Party’s periodic attempts to convince Valleys’ voters that they aren’t being taken for granted. The document is page after page of what Monbiot imagined he saw in the Wye, though not without black humour.
Extolling the natural beauty of the Valleys, on page 14 we see:
Fitting, because Davies’ partner is Anna McMorrin. She has been mentioned a few times on this blog, lobbying for London investors wanting to despoil Powys with wind turbines. She’s been the Labour MP for Cardiff North since the June 2017 general election.
And talking of the Labour Party, Melanie Newton is a staunch supporter, if not a card-carrying member.
Connections. Connections. Connections.
TOMORROW BELONGS TO THEM?
What I’ve described here is not sincere people saving the environment of Wales for the Welsh but a network of ruthless grant-grabbers and would-be colonists trying to take it from us. Which means that at every opportunity Welsh people, and especially farmers – because they hold so much land – must be demonised.
This explains the borderline racism about ‘upland Welsh’ from the Wye and Usk Foundation, and the anonymous ‘sources’ quoted by George Monbiot.
The environment of Wales is being saved by and for more enlightened and superior people. Reminiscent of the Nazi’s idea for removing lesser races from conquered territories in the east and reintroducing (even back breeding) lost species such as the Auroch.
“Lutz began calling for the transformation of newly conquered lands in the east in order to recreate the primordial forest described in the epic Germanic poem Nibelungenlied. Lutz and Hermann Goering, founder of the Gestapo and president of the Reichstag, became friends and went hunting in traditional dress and armed with spears to try and recreate the heroism of ancient German mythology.”
I’m not suggesting that the rewilders plan ‘Beowulf weekends’, where blond and hearty computer programmers from Solihull roam newly-forested hills dressed as Anglo-Saxon warriors before retiring to the Hall for a saga, a skinfull of ale, and a bit of wenching.
But who knows?
This colonialist approach to rewilding goes hand in hand with Wales making such a disproportionate contribution to ‘saving the planet’ that Lesley Griffiths adopts the persona of a madam greeting punters: “Ev’nin’, ducky, which bit of Wales would you like to have your way with?”
Of course we must protect the Welsh environment, and sensibly increase the use of renewable and clean energies. But this must be done in the interests of Wales; not by using climate change to cloak exploitation, or to promote a form of conservation that is paternalistic colonialism flirting with ethnic cleansing.
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
Yes, I promised there wouldn’t be anything until next Monday, but something came up and I thought, ‘Why not?’ And seeing as I’m spoiling you, next week’s offering might now be later than I’d promised.
You can have too much of a good thing!
ESCAPEES ON THE DYFI
This story starts with a report on the North Wales Live website of beavers in Afon Dyfi. A similar report appeared in the Western Mail yesterday. These beavers shouldn’t be there, of course, but they are, and no one seems to know who put them there!
Which could happen, I suppose. Anyone can walk into a pet shop and buy a mating pair of beavers . . . then mislay them somewhere near Machynlleth. It must happen all the time.
Another area being targeted by beaver lovers is in Carmarthenshire, where we find the Bevis Trust. The website tells us that the Trust, ” . . . manage wildlife on our 300 acre farm in Carmarthenshire and on other farms in the south west of Wales.”
Are we dealing here with a Welsh farming family wishing to reintroduce species that have not been found in Wales for centuries?
No prizes for guessing the answer to that question, for we are now in the murky world of ‘rewilding’.
Companies House tells us that the Bevis Trust for Wildlife Management is based at Penllynin Farm, west of Carmarthen. Seemingly run by Dr Nicholas Christopher Fox and the woman I take to be his Swedish wife, Barbro Ingrid Margareta.
Financially, the most recent ‘Micro company’ accounts (y/e 31.12.2018) give fixed assets of £444,733 (the farm?), but a negative figure for ‘total net assets’. This being accounted for by ‘current liabilities’.
I wondered who owns the farm, but when I tried my luck on the Land Registry website I found that Penllynin farm is not registered. Which is odd. Has it recently changed hands, with perhaps new ownership details being processed, or is someone trying to hide something?
Though there are two charges against the company. One seems to be a bank loan for the purchase of Vowley farm, near Royal Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire. The farm probably contributes most of the £2,320,764 in fixed assets. There is also a newly-minted Vowley Management Company Ltd.
With almost six million pounds of ‘assets’ accounted for by ‘debtors’. Who might they be? On page 7 of the latest accounts we read:
So – and not for the first time – we are dealing with linked or interlocking companies with money passing between them. Let’s see if we can figure out what’s what.
Wingbeat Ltd has “the same ultimate controlling party”. It never seems to have traded, with the one-time assets made up almost entirely of stocks, and the latest accounts showing a negative value of over one million pounds, accounted for by ‘creditors’. Presumably other Fox companies.
The other company mentioned in the capture above is Mickelbo Ltd, which is rather interesting. Not least because from its Incorporation in December 2003 until February 2007 it was known as International Wildlife Consultants Ltd.
I referred to money passing between the various companies owned by Nicholas and Barbro Fox. Go back to the 2004 accounts for Mickelbo Ltd (then International Wildlife Consultants Ltd) and you’ll read, in the final entry:
It was the same in the following year’s accounts. Charging their company for use of their land. All perfectly legal.
The change of company name in 2007 is due to the complete change in business, from a wildlife consultancy to a buy-to-rent landlord. This explains 40 outstanding mortgages. A number of these mortgages refer to properties in Carmarthen, Whitland, St Clears.
All 100 shares in Mickelbo are owned by International Wildlife Consultants (UK) Ltd. Which is why we can read this in the latest Mickelbo accounts:
Let’s recap. A couple of strangers decide Wales looks attractive. They start buying up land and property – then they rent it back to us! They have created not a single job. They now want permission to release beavers into Welsh rivers.
Because they’re curious to see what will happen. But unconcerned about the damage these animals might cause, and the livelihoods and leisure activities they could harm.
MONEY ON THE WING
In addition to beavers the Foxes are also interested in hawks. As we see with The Festival of Falconry and The Falconry Heritage Trust. We find other directors at these two charities, with an eclectic collection at the second representing China, Italy, USA, Japan, Netherlands, Belgium and Mongolia. (There is of course no Welsh involvement.)
The Festival of Falconry is filing as a dormant company with debts of £1,587. The Falconry Heritage Trust is in much better financing shape, thanks to . . .
This grant seems to have been sat on for a decade and explains the bulk of the one and half million pounds currently in the kitty.
The donor, “Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, colloquially known by his initials as MBZ, is the Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces”.
His official biography paints him as a liberal; no mention of chopped-up journalists or adulterers being stoned to death. But then, in the Gulf, these considerations are relative.
Compared to Hitler and Stalin Mussolini looked almost cuddly.
Though going through The Falconry Heritage Trust accounts I was surprised to read, “Dr N Fox, a trustee of the charity, is a director and shareholder of International Wildlife Consultants Ltd”.
This was the previous name for Mickelbo, the new company has ‘(UK)’ in the name. Can’t they keep up with their own name changes?
So, we know there are beavers in the Dyfi, the Foxes want them in Carmarthenshire, while in Llandrindod we find yet another group with beavers straining at the leash. (Or however beavers express their deep yearning for liberty.)
From WTW we learn there is a single Trust for the whole of the north, another for ‘south and west Wales’, a third for Gwent; but instead of there being one for Powys, ‘Brecknock’, Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire have one each.
Now you might expect an organisation representing Welsh wildlife bodies to be located somewhere rural . . . but you’d be wrong. The registered office for Wildlife Trusts Wales is in Mount Stuart Square, in the black heart of Corruption Bay.
For Wildlife Trusts Wales is as much about lobbying politicians and influencing civil servants as it is about protecting wildlife. And of course, ensuring a steady flow of public moolah to create jobs . . . to employ people to lobby . . .
Just like George Monbiot and his Summit to Sea gang of ‘rewilders’, the WTW sees Brexit as a great opportunity. That’s because the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ will in future control the agricultural purse-strings. (Unless Westminster takes back that power.)
Just like the Monbiot gang the ‘Beavers Everywhere!’ crew believe they can persuade the ‘Welsh Government’ to re-label and divert farm payments to them.
It’s spelled out quite brazenly in the most recent annual report (top of page 2). We read that the ‘Welsh Government’ being in control of farm funding represents, “Significant opportunity to influence future payments”.
And the enviro-colonists of WTW have every right to be optimistic. For the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs is Lesley Griffiths, who is shacked up with ‘Game Show Gary’ Haggaty. He belongs to a clique of civil servants believing that all farmers – but especially Welsh farmers – are absolute bastards, and should be cleared off the land.
‘BEAVERS, WHAT BEAVERS?’
It seems clear that the runaway – swimaway? – beavers on the Dyfi have been there for a few years . . . without anyone doing anything about it. The agency that should have been taking an interest is Natural Resources Wales.
Now you know me, I don’t like twisting the knife, but NRW has not had a good press of late. Most memorably with the timber sales, something that was never properly explained. But that’s Wales – a colony run by a corrupt management team with neither an effective political opposition nor a media to hold it to account.
Deposed NRW chair, Diane McCrea, entered the revolving door from which popped her replacement Sir David Henshaw, who was, ” . . . born and bred in Liverpool”, but has “lived in North Wales for a number of years”. So he knows Wales like the back of his hand.
Then there’s CEO Clare Pillman who, in a different role, played her part in inflicting HMP Berwyn on us.
Though while the majority of the members are imports, there is also Geraint Davies described – because he’s the only one – as a “fluent Welsh speaker”. (Being a mere native, Geraint of course comes at the bottom of the list.)
At NAAONB we find office manager Amber Carter. Amber previously worked for Wildlife Trusts Wales and Environment Wales (the forerunner to Natural Resources Wales).
Did I say cosy? It’s positively incestuous!
Another who caught my eye was Chris Blake, for he is also involved with the Simon and Garfunkel tribute act at the putative Black Mountains College. An institution that provides “planet-centric education”. So there!
I wrote about them here and here. (You will need to scroll down.)
His brief bio on the BMC website tells us that Blake is a director of Green Valleys CIC .
Unfortunately, administrative expenses took £178,338, and the bottom line, with everything taken into account, was a deficit for the year of £235,023. Bank loans and overdrafts accounting for £120,000 of that.
Making me wonder if any green energy companies make money. Would any of them survive without grants and other hand-outs?
Another member of the NRW Board worthy of mention is Dr Elizabeth Haywood, aka Mrs Peter Hain. Because for a woman with not a democratically cast vote to her name she plays a worryingly influential role in Welsh political and public life.
“Purely advisory roles, surely, Jac?”
Mmm. But when you consider how lazy and useless the Labour politicos of Corruption Bay are, and the fact that she’s the wife of a party heavyweight who outranks them all, then Haywood’s ‘advice’ will go a long way to determining policy.
Such as her Task and Finish Group into City Regions concluding that the best future for our north east is to be taken over and integrated with the north west of England.
I could understand ‘advice’ like that coming from the English side of the border – “Let us take over Flintshire, Wrexham and Denbighshire for overspill housing in order to protect property values in Cheshire”, but from the Welsh side it sounds like surrender.
Or, more likely, it’s just stating the English position in a way that’s supposed to make it more palatable. It happens all the time.
As I said at the top of this section, I introduced Natural Resources Wales because it is the agency that should have taken action when it became known that beavers had been illegally released into the Dyfi catchment area.
A couple of days ago I put out a tweet that was answered by NRW and then taken up by @Cynfab3 who seems to know about the Dyfi beavers. The responses from NRW tell me they aren’t interested in taking any action.
To cover their own negligence NRW even tries to pass the buck to Dyfed Powys Police!
JAC AND THE BEAVERS
So what is the considered opinion of this august blog towards our furry, flapper-tailed friends?
Let me make it quite clear that I have nothing against beavers. They’ve done me no harm. So, in principle, I would have no real objection to them being reintroduced into Welsh rivers.
But that’s not the point is it?
My objection is based on the fact that this scheming – and law-breaking – is being done by alien groups with an unhealthy influence over civil servants and politicians, the latter elected to serve the Welsh interest. And being done against the wishes of those whose opinions should be paramount and decisive – the local, Welsh population.
Which makes this latest furore contemporary Wales in a nutshell, where everyone’s interests are catered for, except us Welsh. Where you only have to scream “climate change” loudly enough to get what you want.
Resulting in Wales filling up with bullshitters and shysters who spend their time attending conferences, making self-promoting videos, lobbying politicians, milking the public purse – and contributing sod all to the health or wealth of the nation.
Simply creating conditions where you can – quite literally – throw up a shack in open country, just as long as you claim it’s a One Planet Development saving us from global warming. As this recent FoI response makes clear.
Nobody in officialdom cared about this unauthorised OPD, just as nobody cares about the unlawful release of beavers into the Dyfi because the authors are people with names like Guy and Cassandra rather than Gwilym and Cerys.
Am I exaggerating?
As I write, we have tourists dumping rubbish everywhere, blocking roads; Welsh communities are being destroyed by holiday homes and colonisation, yet the ‘Welsh Government’ prefers to sit on its hands, serving the interests of an alien and genocidal tourism industry.
We need a fresh intake of politicians to Corruption Bay prepared to prioritise Welsh interests. Make it happen next year!
The title gives a strong hint of the tenor and quality of IMJ’s piece, which was both antagonistic (towards me) and riven with non-sequiturs. Make up your own minds as to whether he simply got his facts wrong or deliberately misrepresented what I had written.
Let’s start with the title of his piece. What I actually wrote was: “I’m not saying that George Soros controls Wales, but having read what Soros has to say on climate change – and it really is an obsession with him! – he could have dictated everything the ‘Welsh Government’ has put out in recent years.”
By which I meant that the ‘Welsh Government’s output on saving the planet is attuned with the way Soros uses the threat of climate change to enforce the political and other changes he desires. Somehow, from that, Ifan Morgan Jones chose to believe that I think George Soros is running Wales. The generous interpretation would be that he simply missed the ‘not’.
He continued: “Jac o’ the North’s evidence for this ultimately amounts to the fact that some people now working in Wales used to work for projects to which George Soros had given money, and that institutions set up in Wales have ties to institutions to which George Soros has given money.”
In fact, the two people I named, who are behind Black Mountains College, worked directly for George Soros.
One, William Newton Smith was, “For 20 years head of George Soros’s higher education programme”. He was the founding executive chairman of Soros’s controversial Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.
The other, Ben Rawlence, worked for George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, and also Human Rights Watch, a body funded by Soros. Despite being Project Lead of a new higher education college Rawlence appears to have no experience of higher education other than having been a student himself.
As this document makes clear, Black Mountains College “would be part of a global liberal arts network mentored by Bard College, NY, USA.”Bard College is a small, off-Broadway kind of institution kept afloat with Soros money.
And of course the ‘network’ referred to is the other institutions around the globe that Soros funds and through which he exerts his political influence. Many of them set up for him by William Newton Smith.
If further proof were needed of how the policies of the ‘Welsh Government’ chime with the Gospel according to St George, we read in the document I linked to a few paragraphs ago, “It would be a college set up with the Well-being of future generations at its heart”.
If established, Black Mountains College would produce climate change zealots dictating the political agenda in Wales, curtailing our liberties and making an already poor country poorer for no measurable reduction to global warming. This being the virtue signalling for which Wales is famous, and why it’s so attractive to those seeking to use Wales for their own ends.
There is no doubt in my mind that George Soros is the guiding influence behind Black Mountains College.
The final point I wish to address is Ifan Morgan Jones accusing me of being anti-Semitic. He tries to be clever by saying, “Jac himself strenuously denies any accusation of anti-semitism (sic) in his post. He himself never mentions Soros’ Jewishness”.
Consider: Ifan Morgan Jones introduces the issue of George Soros being Jewish, but only in order to suggest that I – who never mentioned it – am anti-Semitic!
I’ve been losing interest in Nation.Cymru for some time. It obviously serves a certain agenda, appealing to an in-crowd. ‘In’ with their own little cliques and echo chambers, but usually out of step with the great majority of our people.
THE MULE KICKS OUT
My piece on Black Mountains College was published last Monday. Ifan Morgan Jones’s attack came out on Tuesday, and then, on Saturday, in the Western Mail‘s ‘Weekend’ supplement (and TV guide) there was a double-page spread extolling the vision of those involved. (Available here in pdf format.)
Well, I’m sure that was the intention, but it was compromised by the statements made by the principals, and of course, the omissions. Let me explain.
To begin with, the article says that Rawlence and Sheers’ ” . . . thinking has has been shaped by the ground-breaking Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act”. The same connection I made in my article.
Later, Rawlence is quoted: “It (BMC) . . . can attract others . . . who want to come and work here”.
Which supports something else I said – “the Black Mountains College will be in Wales, but not of Wales”. For this is not a college as you and I would understand it; BMC will cater for the kind of people who want to drop out on One Planet settlements.
Despite the highfalutin plans, the whole BMC thing still seems rather half-baked. And perhaps amateurishly managed. For the idea is three years old and yet there seems to be no tangible progress to report.
The preferred location for BMC is the old Talgarth mental hospital, which the article told us is privately owned. Again, they’ve known that for three years, so have any moves been made to acquire the building?
I worry, given the involvement of Labour Party heavyweights like Future Generations Commissioner Sophie Howe, and Jane Davidson, former Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing, that the Black Mountains gang are expecting public funding.
I just hope that the redundancies announced at University of Wales Trinity Saint David are in no way connected with Black Mountains College. With UWTSD providing accreditation is BMC also lined up to join the UWTSD group, maybe as a replacement for Lampeter?
Other oddities in the WM report (attributed to Jenny White but almost certainly written by Rawlence and/or Sheers) was the absence of any mention of William Newton-Smith, so trusted by George Soros, who we read about in the first section.
But no signs yet of Uncle George’s money. Maybe he’s hoping some mug will cough up so he won’t need to put hands in his very deep pockets. That ‘mug’ might be us, the Welsh public.
Whatever, we’re entitled to know how Black Mountains College is to be funded. Because I honestly don’t think it’s going to be done through JustGiving.
That the ‘National Newspaper of Wales’ should give them a two-page spread so soon after I asked a few questions, and that Ifan Morgan Jones was even quicker off the mark, tells me that Sheers and Rawlence (who remind me of a Simon and Garfunkel tribute act) must be well connected.
And if that’s the case, then we should be on our guard.
Plaid Cymru’s support for One Planet Developments and related bullshit is not limited to the abstract or the ideological, for some Plaidistas are coining it from the hippy influx.
One whose name keeps cropping up is Vicky Moller of Pembrokeshire. Not only has she built up a nice little portfolio of smallholdings, but she was also a driving force behind OPD legislation. Almost inevitably, she has supported a number of OPD planning applications, including Beeview farm on the slopes of Mynydd Carningli.
And it seems to be generational, for her children are also capitalising on the invasion. Here is the Management Plan for Beeview Farm, where we encounter, on page 73, “energy consultant Jamie Ashe”. By page 79 he has become “reed bed designer Jamie Ashe”. (Is this promotion?)
Now I have never understood why the planet savers think burning wood is acceptable. Maybe it’s because wood is ‘natural’? But so is coal. Even lignite is natural. And yet, those who have been encouraged to move here to reduce Wales’ carbon footprint (work that out!) obviously see nothing wrong in filling the air with wood smoke.
I have driven the A487 past Corris on a windless winter evening and marvelled at the pall of smoke overhanging the valley thanks to the Centre for Alternative Technology cult’s acolytes. Who, with their wood-burning stoves, candles, joss sticks and joints make an Orthodox cathedral at Easter look smoke-free.
With at least one of her offspring benefiting from Beeview ‘farm’ Vicky Moller was herself an enthusiastic backer of this OPD that breached the border defences of a National Park. The first, but certainly not the last.
Moller is a Plaid Cymru Assembly candidate, yet many locals have difficulty understanding what kind of Wales she wants to live in. And their confusion isn’t limited to OPDs.
Pembrokeshire county council wants to close village schools, especially in the Welsh-speaking north of the county. Yet Vicky Moller helped found, and is a big supporter of, Nant y Cwm Steiner school, attended by many of her ‘alternative’ friends’ children. While others prefer home schooling.
But then, since the advent of devolution, the tide has been running against the indigenous Welsh and in favour of those Vicky Moller supports. And others taking over our country.
Things could be about to get even worse.
Because last week, Sophie Howe, the Future Generations Commissioner, called for more climate change funding. Much of her pitch I found uncontentious – more spending on public transport, energy-efficient homes, renewable energy, but then came the sting in the tail . . .
With that kind of money available in the future, what we’ve seen up until now could be viewed as a scouting party for the main force. Things could be about to get a whole lot worse.
It’s been covered by countless media outlets so I’m not going over it again; no, what I want to focus on is protester Janet Barker, “from Builth Wells, Powys . . . who works in environmental education and homelessness prevention, and runs a small holding (sic) and ethical angora business”.
(I was relieved to read that, cos there’s a lot of unethical Angora about. Bastards!)
Another report I dug out told us that her partner is an author. It didn’t take long for them to be identified and located on social media. They live near Llyn Brianne . . . ‘off-grid’, of course.
Peter Barker has written a book entitled System Error. When I first read the blurb and saw that the central character is called Imogen Thomas I began to worry that it might be set in Wales. I worried because the author is from Dorset and his partner from Wigan.
My fears were realised, for Imogen – who is, you’ll be surprised to learn, also a Greenpeace activist – stalks the mean streets of Llandrindod Wells. Here’s a section I lifted from what the author has made available.
This is most definitely Station Crescent not the Nevsky Prospekt, but it has a certain . . . well, a certain . . . oh, what’s the word I’m looking for? It’ll come to me.
As far as I can make out this earthly paradise for ethical rabbits is not a One Planet Development, which serves to remind us that the problem is not limited to OPD.
And yet, I don’t wish to be too harsh (you know me), I’m sure they’re both sincere people. But there’s no way they’re making a living out of a few acres and rabbit fur. (Nor Peter Barker’s riveting prose.) Like virtually all those who come here they either have their own money, or they have family money to fall back on, or else they rely on grants, state benefits and other hand-outs.
Which makes a nonsense of whole premiss that families, with children, can live this way. And you have to worry about the children.
It can’t be done. So why is the ‘Welsh Government’ encouraging this fantasy? And if it’s such a great idea – and it’s obvious that many English people want to try this lifestyle – why aren’t OPD and other initiatives being introduced in England?
Because, yet again, we are being taken for mugs, and Wales exploited.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT . . . OR MAYBE NOT
“Relatively cheap property prices in the county are attracting private providers to places like Swansea, a group of councillors was told.
Swansea currently has 13 homes registered with Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW), with at least four more due to open in the next year. Only one of them is a Swansea Council-registered home.”
The article also made it clear that the problem extends to Neath Port Talbot. So it’s a Swansea Bay problem due to companies from outside of Wales taking advantage of cheaper property here to bring in someone else’s problems.
I don’t want to sound heartless, because these kids have problems, and they need help – but they should not be our responsibility.
And they cost us money. Just read what the police had to contribute to the report.
“In March, South Wales Police chief superintendent Martin Jones said his officers were dealing with missing children and taking care of young people in crisis at weekends due to the increase in children’s residential homes in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.
He said: ‘In these homes there are about 110 children and they’re being brought in from outside Swansea and Neath Port Talbot, that’s putting massive strain on police resources and on social services, and other resources in health.'”
I suppose because this is how Englandandwales must operate. The Valleys and Swansea Bay – accounting for some half the population of Wales – is becoming increasingly attractive to those who run ‘homes’ and the like.
The problem of Swansea’s unneeded children’s homes probably links with another problem I highlighted a few months ago in this post. (Scroll down to ‘Welsh Not 2019’.)
This story made news as a Welsh language issue, with staff speaking Welsh at a care home in Ystradgynlais said to be upsetting residents. No one thought to ask why residents at a home in a largely Welsh-speaking community were unfamiliar with the Welsh language.
And of course this system of social dumping goes a long way to explaining why Wales has such a bloated third sector. (And an overstretched NHS.)
Then, earlier this month, we heard of a case in the Rhondda that followed the same pattern – an English company planning to house highly disruptive youngsters in a Welsh community. The company in question being Rise Care Ltd of Bristol, and so new is this company that no accounts have yet been filed with Companies House.
The reaction was so hostile – problems with similar establishments in Tonyrefail and Ebbw Vale were cited – that even local MP Chris Bryant (Labour) and local AM Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru) were forced to object. (Clearly there were votes to be lost.)
I have a suggestion for Bryant and Wood. Ask Care Inspectorate Wales why it registers such establishments, for unproven companies, in areas where there is no local need? Get to the root of the problem rather than engaging in very public displays of knee-jerk nimbyism to hang on to your seats.
And maybe your party leaders down in Corruption Bay will begin to appreciate that we have a serious, national problem of social dumping on our hands.
Wales is a corrupt country being exploited to benefit anybody and everybody – at our expense. It’s our country yet we are marginalised and exploited.
We need to be more assertive. And it really doesn’t matter how we go about it. Any nation being exploited and invaded has the right to defend itself.