Welsh Independence And The Left

I’m kicking off 2023 with thoughts on independence; more exactly, the kind of independence being offered by those who’ll be gathering in the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, on the 28th of this month.

Ah! the Brangwyn Hall. I remember being slung out of there many years ago. It was a Labour Party do, with that son of Abersychan, Roy Jenkins, topping the bill. (Ere he and others left to form the SDP.)

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Anyway, Woy had got to the bit in his peroration where he proclaimed to the assembly that he too was Welsh . . . at which point a young Jac jumped up and shouted ‘You’re no Welshman!’ (My outburst may have contained an expletive attributive.)

I was immediately attacked by some old crow sitting behind me, who laid into me with her umbrella! A possible headline from the Evening Post flashed through my mind – ‘Nationalist yob beaten to death by umbrella-wielding Labour granny’.

I was saved from this undignified and premature fate by the ‘stewards’ (i.e. Labour heavies) dragging me off towards the huge front doors. With a few reminders along the way that my contribution was not appreciated. (‘Troublemaker, ew are!’)

Happy days!

‘PROGRESSIVE’ MELIN DRAFOD

In this section I shall refer more than once to the briefly successful far Left takeover of YesCymru in 2020 and 2021.

I wrote about this extensively at the time and so, to catch up with what I wrote, type ‘YesCymru’ in the search box atop the sidebar.

The event later this month in the Brangwyn is organised by think tank Melin Drafod. And you don’t need to think too hard to realise what anyone attending is likely to hear.

All the speakers are on the Left. Or the far Left. Or the Woke Left. Call it what you will.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

But ‘progressive’ is the label behind which they all hide nowadays. Such a nice word, harmless and unthreatening. Who among us could object to ‘progress‘?

Me. Because I recognise rebranded Marxism.

Helping me appreciate that the ‘progress’ demanded by those who’ll gather where a young Jac was assaulted by a Bolshie harridan is worrying.

But let Melin Drafod speak for itself:

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

‘Not independence for its own sake’. What is that trying to say – patriotism is not enough? Or is it a veiled threat to scupper any form of independence that doesn’t meet with the approval of the far Left?

There is so much to read into that section.

My views on ‘climate change’ are well known – it’s not happening. The myth is being kept alive by ‘environmentalists’ and others who’ve staked their reputations on it and can’t afford to backtrack, with supranational bodies thinking ‘global warming’ gives them the excuse to control human behaviour worldwide.

And does anyone seriously believe that racism is a ‘scourge’ in modern Wales? Who but the seriously unhinged could insult us by equating Wales in 2023 with Arkansas or the Transvaal a few decades back?

Only perhaps those with a vested interest in using the allegation of ‘racism’ to slander political opponents and to promote their own interests.

The latter might apply to Melin Drafod National Committee member Harriet Protheroe-Soltani, of the Wales Refugee Council. Like all third sector bodies, this one thrives by inventing or exaggerating a problem – and then demanding funding to tackle that problem.

Ms Protheroe-Soltani of Momentum was also employed by YesCymru when it fell briefly under the control of the far Left in 2020 / 2021.

Sam Coates is another member of the National Committee.

His Twitter account tells that he is a socialist first, then a Welshman. Which would appear to bear out that for these ‘progressives’ Wales comes second to their ideological priorities.

Significantly, perhaps, there’s no mention of independence.

Click to enlarge in separate tab

And, again, it’s worth returning to the far Left takeover of YesCymru, for Coates wrote this essay in July 2021, and it’s revealing. (Available here in pdf format.) Not just about Coates but about the others who’ll be at the Brangwyn later this month.

He writes: ‘In 2017, I rocked up to the Hen Coleg yn Aberystwyth on a baking hot day to attend YesCymru’s AGM. It was a friendly room of about 50 people, mostly middle age, and mostly white.’

‘Mostly white’ – in a country that is 95% White! Would Coates and the comrades be happier if YesCymru was a majority non-White organisation, and therefore grotesquely unrepresentative of Wales?

As unrepresentative as those who’ll be at the Brangwyn Hall.

Referring to the rigged YesCymru elections of May 2021 that saw the far Left briefly take control, Coates writes: ‘Hundreds of members attended the online event, and used a voting tool used by many other political organisations to choose members of the new Central Committee’.

It would appear that when he wrote of those ‘hundreds’ voting Coates had forgotten that a few paragraphs earlier he’d talked of YesCymru having 18,000 members. Presenting us with the obvious question: why were just 2-3% of the members able / allowed to vote?

But let’s remember some of the tweets from ‘progressives’ celebrating victory!

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Coates’ whole essay is an apology for an attempted far Left takeover; and it’s riddled with inaccuracies, misrepresentations and outright lies.

The other members of Melin Drafod’s National Committee seem to be Plaid Cymru members, and others who were involved in the near-destruction of YesCymru in 2021. I’m thinking of Llywelyn ap Gwilym, and Siôn Jobbins, Chair of YesCymru who eventually jumped ship.

Then we have Elin Hywel and Colin Nosworthy of Undod, the source of so much of the poison that almost finished off YesCymru.

And of course there are one or two on the National Committee from the Labour Party.

WHO’S COMING TO THE SUMMIT AND WHO’S NOT INVITED?

Let’s start by listing those political parties and organisations that are not invited by Melin Drafod (or whoever) to the portentously dubbed ‘Independence Summit’.

First off, there’s the party to which I belong, Gwlad. Then there’s Propel. There’s also the Sovereign Party / Plaid Sofren. So without going too far, we’ve already found three registered political parties, with councillors, made up of serious and experienced people, with all three parties committed to Welsh independence.

So why didn’t Melin Drafod invite them?

The listed speakers are advertised as follows . . .

‘Anthony Slaughter (Wales Green Party Leader), Adam Price MS (Plaid Cymru Leader), Cllr Rachel Garrick (Welsh Labour for Independence), Sam Coates (Undod), Gwern Evans (YesCymru), Luke Fletcher MS, Mirain Owen (Cymdeithas yr Iaith) and others’.

So let’s begin with Slaughter, and remind everyone that there is no Wales Green Party! There is only the Wales branch of the Green Party of England.

In 2018 Green Party members in Wales had the chance to create a separate Wales Green Party, they voted not to. The main reason for that was that most Green Party members in Wales are English.

Then, last year, the Green Party of England in Wales claimed to be in favour of Welsh independence! Plaid Cymru fell for it and was happy to enter some sort of agreement with them.

No individual, group, or party, sincere about Welsh independence, should even talk to a colonialist outfit that refuses to even recognise the existence of our country.

Plaid Cymru I’ll leave until last.

‘Welsh Labour for Independence’ (WLfI) is another piece of nonsense. Labour is a Unionist party. Any Labour member who wants independence is in the wrong party. Maybe some now realise that.

But is (WLfI) the same as Labour for an Independent Wales (LfIW)? Or, and this is the frightening bit – are there two of them!

During the struggle for YesCymru LfIW was prominent in undermining sensible committee members and replacing them with some real nutters. Working from the shadows was Rob Lloyd of Prestatyn, while out there on the Welshpool barricades was Benji Gwalchmai.

Where are they now? How I miss them!

We already know all we need to know about Sam Coates and Undod.

Luke Fletcher is a Plaid Cymru Senedd Member. With a beard.

YesCymru is represented by Gwern Gwynfil Evans. He was announced as YC’s first-ever full-time CEO in September. The piece I’ve linked to says he has ‘a business background’. Which is true; one of his companies was Dissolved in the very month he was appointed.

Yet he brings another Aberystwyth connection to the party. Which I’ll explore shortly.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith is not worth dwelling on. Hopelessly Woke it overlaps with Undod and other far Left groups like Plaid Cymru’s youth wing, Plaid Ifanc, where pronouns are of paramount importance.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

So, finally, let’s give some thought to Plaid Cymru which, in most people’s eyes, is ‘the nationalist party’, and the leading voice for Welsh independence.

On the one hand, Plaid activists seem to be more at home at Gay Pride parades than at marches for independence; while the party is being eaten away from the inside by a combination of back-stabbing and sexual misbehaviour.

The party tries to keep things under wraps but news of the obsession with other people’s ‘bits’ inevitably reaches the public domain.

MS Rhys ab Owen was suspended a few months ago for unwanted sexual advances to a female. But he was only suspended after the party had sat on the case for some time in the hope the complainant would go away.

Last month, the party’s chief executive, Carl Harris, finally stepped down after it emerged he had made unwanted sexual advances to a young party worker.

When it’s like this at the top of the party – and I mean, the very top – then no one should be surprised that lower down the pecking order we find bizarre behaviour.

The image below (which I pixelated) is of someone who works for a Plaid Cymru MS showing what he proposes to do when he catches whoever is behind an anonymous ‘I know what you did!’ Twitter account accusing him of . . .

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

And, yes, that is a crowbar.

No wonder a former Plaid Cymru Police and Crime Commissioner recently called on party leader Adam Price to resign.

Plaid Cymru is a mess, however you look at it, and from top to bottom. To say it’s lost its way would be wrong . . . for that would suggest Plaid’s leadership in recent decades ever knew where it was going.

I think Plaid Cymru is now too far gone for the change of leadership Arfon Jones calls for to make any difference. My view is that Plaid should do the honest thing and merge with Labour.

They deserve each other.

RUM, REGGAE, AND ‘AN UNTAINTED, LEFT-WING, WELSH ALTERNATIVE’

I mentioned earlier that Aberystwyth businessman, Gwern Evans, is CEO of YesCymru. And he’s not the only one speaking at the Brangwyn bash from that lovely town where a dashing young blade spent a weekend in the police cells.

Happy days!

For Melin Drafod Chair, Dr Talat Chaudhri is mayor of the town. Also living in Aber’ is secretary Mererid Boswell, and former chair of YesCymru, Siôn Jobbins.

UPDATE: I am indebted to Jon Coles for telling us that Colin Nosworthy is a press officer for Aberystwyth University.

And there may be others with Aberystwyth connections. Not Sam Coates, obviously; not after his chastening experience of stumbling into a gathering of the Llanbadarn chapter of the Afrikaner Broederbond.

However you cut it, Aber’ will be over-represented at this Swansea gig. And then I came across something last week, which is intriguing, but needs an intro.

There is an intermittent column in the Cambrian News by a Gareth James.

This was the piece drawn to my attention, last November. It contained this line: ‘Like it or not, mid Wales is woke, for mid Wales is about sharing mid Wales with everyone’, plus a few passages that the source interpreted as threats against those who refused to accept Wokeness.

Then, a couple of weeks later, came this extraordinary piece calling for Dyfed Powys Police to be more ‘woke’, following what the writer interpreted as racial profiling that targets his sons. (Here in pdf format.)

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

You’ll also see, at the top of the article ‘The View from the Vaults’, these being the Weston Vaults pub in Aberystwyth. Now renamed Irie’s Rum Bar and Reggae Lounge.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Gareth James, the man in the picture, runs the bar. This piece from the Cambrian News last September makes that clear. What you see above is something of a resurrection, for Irie’s closed in March 2016, apparently for good.

The building that houses the Rum Bar is owned by Cyngor Ceredigion. Do councils normally buy pubs? This other Land Registry title document tells us that a lease was taken out (or taken over) in April 2015 by Irie’s (Aberystwyth) Ltd.

Aberystwyth is a fairly small town, so I’d be surprised if the ‘progressives’ of YesCymru, Melin Drafod, etc, don’t frequent a bar run by a man who wants Plod to be more Woke.

A consideration that brings us to the most recent contribution from Gareth James, that appeared in the Cambrian News last week. (Available here in pdf format.) Also available on Irie’s Blog.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Another long, rambling piece, but when I read the final paragraph a light went on in my head – a new political party that is ‘an untainted, left-wing, Welsh alternative’.

Is Gareth James trying to tell us something?

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Is this what Talat Chaudhri, Sam Coates and the rest have in mind? Is this what Melin Drafod is hoping comes out of the Brangwyn Hall meeting?

Whether it’s a new party or simply closer co-operation between existing far Left groups, this Independence Summit looks like another attempt by the far Left to take over the independence movement.

If so, then it becomes the duty of those of us with a broader view of Wales to challenge these people. For if it became accepted among the general public that these fanatics are the only ones wanting independence then Wales is finished.

Independence must promise, and deliver, the inclusivity the far Left always demands of others but never practices itself.

CONCLUSION

I have warned many times before, and I make no apologies for doing so again, that what these Green-Woke-Leftists want is independence for a small country whose politicians can then be bullied and blackmailed into implementing their fantasies.

This capture from the website of Labour for an Independent Wales reminds us that, for them, independence is simply the route to socialism.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

It’ll be something like the Wales we know today: a country falling apart at the seams because weak politicians are dominated by lobbyists, pressure groups and third sector organisations. But it’ll be a hell of a lot worse!

There’ll be nothing in it for you and me, Dai. For our people; or for our Wales.

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2023


Back to the Land!

After taking August off (and enjoying the break) I’m back to report on an event planned for later this month.

In fact, I enjoyed the break so much, and found writing this such hard going, that it might be a while before the next piece appears.

HOW IT BEGAN

A couple of weeks ago someone sent me news of a gathering to be held in the Community Centre, Knighton, on September 17, when many of us will be nursing hangovers from celebrating Glyndŵr’s Day.

Knighton Community Centre has been mentioned on this blog before, after falling into the clutches of white settler Labour activists; who now wage war on local farmers, welcome refugees to an area where they themselves are not universally welcome, and generally play latter-day left liberal colonialists.

For no longer is it Bible and bullets, now it’s saving us through a combination of uplifting sermons from the Rev Monbiot and those organic thingeys they eat at Felicity’s aerobic knife-throwing class.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

But I digress.

To expose the dishonesty behind this event I shall go through those named as being involved before concluding with . . . well, my conclusions. What else?

CAMPAIGN FOR THE PROTECTION OF RURAL WALES (CPRW)

Let’s start with some background. The CPRW has been pootling along for almost a century as a charity, but now things are changing. Most significantly, with the formation of a company in late May this year.

Though I’m assured there’s no significance to this other than the trustees ensuring they are not personally bankrupted by legal action against the CPRW.

Which also means that, at the moment, the CPRW has two charities with the same name registered with the Charity Commission. One will soon be closed.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Previous CPRW presidents have included politician Megan Lloyd George and BBC broadcaster Wynford Vaughan Thomas. Clough Williams Ellis, of Portmeirion fame, was also deeply involved for many years as both chairman and president.

The current president of the CPRW is TV celeb Jules Hudson, who is believed to live in Herefordshire. Possibly Hertfordshire. But definitely not Wales. He’s famous for programmes like Escape to the Country and Countryfile.

In his favour, he has a Labrador called Iolo.

The chair of the Brecon & Radnor branch is Jonathan Halsey Luke Colchester, who has recently moved to Clyro. From where he runs his company, Courtenay Advisers Ltd.

I am informed by a very reliable source that the Brecon & Radnor branch of the CPRW is particularly hostile towards farmers.

That being so, why is the local CPRW branch organising a bash with the title ‘Welsh Food & Farming’? The answer to that question will become clear as you read on.

There are farmers, and there are farmers.

THE FERTILE CRESCENT

One of the CPRW’s recent recruits is associated with another new outfit, Friends of the Upper Wye (FUW), registered with the Charity Commission in March this year. (Though I’m assured she’s an admirable and well-intentioned lady.)

This will no doubt complement the Wye & Usk Foundation (WUF) which is about a lot more than just angling. The WUF is based in Talgarth, close to Coleg Soros.

Over the years the WUF has received millions in funding from or via the ‘Welsh Government’, much of it handed over by an official whose attitude to money might have been compared by my dear mamgu to that of an inebriated seafarer.

An amazing episode, with apparently no oversight whatsoever. It is even suggested that some favoured bodies didn’t even need to make an application – it was a case of, “Would you like some more money?”

OK, so it’s not exactly a crescent, but did I ever claim to be an artist? Click to open enlarged in separate tab

For the Fertile Crescent formed by the Usk and the Wye is something of a magnet for those seeking to save us benighted natives from ourselves. And for others with even less noble intent.

There’s yet another organisation, formed last year, in the Welsh Rivers Union (WRU), based on the Usk at Llanvihangel Gobion. This claims to be a collective of ‘citizen-funded’ community groups defending our rivers.

If it gets airborne it will be made up of the usual ‘community groups’ composed of people who were living somewhere else not so long ago.

Though as yet, it’s not registered as either a company or a charity. It may be just a website, and a Twitter account.

Oh, I almost forgot Afonydd Cymru Cyf, also based in Talgarth. Where income from government grants leapt like a returning salmon from £10,000 in 2018 to £894,704 in 2020.

Afonydd Cymru’s chair is Viscount Christopher Mills, of Kensington, who served as regional director of the Environment Agency in Wales (before the creation of Natural Resources Wales). Among the trustees is Joe Pimblett, CEO of the Severn Rivers Trust, based in Worcestershire.

When it comes to the Fertile Crescent even the Blesséd Monbiot has made a film, Rivercide (what a wit!), in which one of the supporting cast was Lesley Griffiths (sans Gary), and she reminded us that no matter what the facts may say, it’s always farmers wot we must blame.

St George thought the culprits were chickens, which appear at number 2, after humans, in his forthcoming opus, ‘Species To Be Exterminated If We Are To Save The Planet’. (Chickens have apparently deposed sheep in Monbiot’s demonography.)

Why this obsession with the Usk and the Wye? Is it because they’re close to Bristol? Or is their cross-border nature, demanding ‘co-operation’, the attraction?

Of course, there are rivers within Wales in far worse condition than the Wye and the Usk, so why are these ignored? Three reasons, perhaps.

First, these other rivers run through more populated areas with few stretches of open country attractive to those in search of a rural idyll, or intent on ‘habitat restoration’ (aka ‘rewilding’).

Second, while there may be areas meeting the criteria further west, there the Welsh language would be a consideration. And after the resistance to Summit to Sea the land-grabbers are wary of getting another bloody nose.

Third, they are entirely within Wales.

Never lose sight of the fact that for many, water quality is a stalking-horse, used against farmers so as to free up their land for other purposes. And the ‘Welsh Government’ wholeheartedly supports this agenda.

UPDATE: Here’s a recent example of pollution on the Wye that clearly has nothing to do with farmers.

LOCAL GROWERS AND FARMERS

A source informs me that the ‘local grower’ is the bloke from the organic food shop in Knighton, where you buy the knobbly carrots and the misshapen parsnips. Ach y fi!

(Though there may be others attending, more deserving of the billing.)

As for the ‘local farmers’, it seems these will both come from Herefordshire, which may be fairly local to Knighton (/Tref y Clawdd) but are not, unless we want to be irredentist about this, Welsh.

More pragmatically, whether we view Herefordshire as the ‘lost lands’ or not, the area will not be affected by any legislation or initiatives emanating from Corruption Bay.

Even so, to help give a fuller flavour of the event, I’ll tell you who they are.

One is ‘RegenBen’, of Townsend Farm, near Ross-on-Wye. Which, as the name suggests, is on the River Wye. Ben is a director of the Oxford Farming Conference, an organisation I’m told represents big landowners, yeoman farmers and the like.

(I was also told that a famous Welsh farmer went there to speak a few years ago, and has never felt more out of place.)

The makeup of the Oxford Farming Conference probably explains why a rival was set up in 2010 called the Oxford Real Farming Conference.

From what I can see the older body caters for those with inherited land while the upstart is more attractive for Greens looking to get their hands on someone else’s land. I wouldn’t be comfortable with either.

The other ‘local farmer’ is from ‘Wild by Nature’, of Lower House farm, just over the border from Llanthoney, close to Llanveynoe. (These corrupted spellings!)

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Looking at a map I see that both of them are close to the border, but neither is particularly ‘local’ to Knighton. The first is roughly 45 miles away, the second almost 50.

I suspect that both have been invited because they are well-connected, and have diversified into ‘artisanal’ food produce and other activities.

The Rhug Estate model, if you like.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve stopped many times at the Rhug restaurant and shop, and like some urchin from a Dickens novel gazed at goodies I can’t afford.

Rhug Estate shop. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Though ‘farm shop’ really is a misnomer. It suggests Mrs Evans in a shed at the bottom of the farm drive selling goods cheaper by cutting out the middle man. In reality it’s a place where the price of everything is marked up.

Few locals can afford to shop there. That’s why the Rhug ‘farm shop’ is on the A5.

Even so, I’m sure a farm shop can be a nice little earner, and so I wasn’t surprised to learn that ‘Wild by Nature’ already has one. While RegenBen’s website tells us: ‘Our plans are to share the fruits of our labour by opening a farm shop’.

There are of course some excellent farm shops in Wales. One is Bargoed Farm / The Moody Cow, near Aberaeron, run by the former owners of Gilestone Farm, and visited very recently by Conservative Senedd leader Andrew R T Davies MS.

But how many farm shops can Wales support?

SOIL ASSOCIATION

The Soil Association, headquartered in Bristol, is another of those English organisations that recognises the existence of Scotland, but not Wales. We, presumably, are part of England.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

The Soil Association is registered as both a company and a charity. And with an annual income of over £23m it is no shoestring outfit. Of course the Scottish Soil Association is registered separately in Scotland.

In addition, there is The Soil Association Land Trust ‘established to acquire and maintain farmland sustainably’. Which might be worth bearing in mind, and could explain The Soil Association’s interest in Wales, a country I’m sure it will quickly recognise if the ‘Welsh Government’ offers to buy it a farm.

NATURE FRIENDLY FARMING NETWORK

The company of that name was launched in July 2018. Though there has been quite a turnover of directors in the four years since then. Of the eight original directors, five have left, including two who were obviously Welsh.

NFFN has an impressive website, telling us of a Welsh Steering Group, with two group members serving as directors.

Here’s a page giving some responses from the Welsh Steering Group to the ‘Welsh Government’s Sustainable Farming Scheme that emerged in July.

Hilary Kehoe, the Chair, mentions the ‘changing climate’. Rhys Evans thinks the ‘devil will be in the detail’. But Hywel Morgan was ecstatic. I was not surprised to learn that Hywel is involved with the ‘Welsh Government’s Farming Connect scheme.

The Nature Friendly Farming Network is looking to hire a £29,000 a year Communications Officer. Having recently recruited a Farmer Engagement Officer on the same salary. But who’s funding these posts?

For the financial situation is not impressive. I appreciate that it’s a company limited by guarantee, but even so, I would have expected to see more than £69 in the kitty. Which is what the latest accounts (to y/e 30.06.2021) show.

Yes, NFFN has assets of £199,317, but this sum is exceeded by money owed to creditors.

On the ‘Nature Means Business‘ page we read: ‘Right now, farm businesses are facing a multitude of challenges: climate change, unpredictable weather patterns, changes to future farm payment schemes and adjusting to new consumer demands’.

To prioritise ‘climate change’ (when it’s becoming clear that climate change has been – at the very least – exaggerated), and then virtually repeat it with ‘unpredictable weather patterns’, before mentioning farm payments, is revealing.

With no mention at all of the threat from mandatory afforestation, farms being bought for greenwashing, and restrictions applied by politicians and administrations that are blatantly anti-farming.

These priorities are evident throughout the website. The image below is from the Fund Us page. And again it’s ‘climate in crisis’, ‘wildlife declining’, ‘habitats being lost’.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

The Nature Friendly Farming Network seems to be an environmental organisation that recruits farmers. There’s nothing wrong with that, farmers care deeply about the environment that provides livelihoods for them and their families.

But it’s a question of priorities. The first of which has to be supporting farmers – who will then look after the environment

STUMP UP FOR TREES

This organisation has appeared on this blog a number of times, so I won’t dwell on it again.

Based in Abergavenny Stump up for Trees is a greenwash outfit. It’s registered as a charity, and one of the three trustees is Richard James Roderick, who farms next to Gilestone.

By ‘greenwashing’ I mean that SUFT ‘saves the planet’ by planting trees in order for companies to offset their perceived ‘carbon footprint’, which allows them to go on putting out carbon. Its major partner seems to be Utility Warehouse.

Nonsense predicated on there being a ‘climate emergency’ (there isn’t); carbon being damaging to the environment (it’s not); and replacing agricultural land with sterile, monoculture pine forests making sense (it doesn’t).

Even so, Stump up for Trees seems to be well-regarded in Corruption Bay among the connoisseurs, practitioners and dispensers of flim-flam, bullshit, propaganda and other means of deceiving poor old Dai Public.

ABATTOIR SECTOR GROUP

This is yet another organisation based in Bristol and set up as recently as 2020. Though it’s not registered as either a company or a charity because it’s an offshoot of the Sustainable Food Trust.

The ABS is dedicated to keeping smaller, rural abattoirs open, and what carnivore (bares fangs!) could argue with that?

Parent body, the Sustainable Food Trust, is an international organisation with a wider remit to support ‘sustainable farming’. By which I assume that it seeks to avoid the wrath of the swivel-eyed with a modified kind of farming that’s less damaging to Mother Earth.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

It is, as I say, based in Bristol, and I see no mention of Wales on the website. The only Welsh connection I can find is founder Patrick Holden, an organic dairy farmer from the Lampeter area.

Holder is a founder of Sustainable Food Trust and current CEO. He was a former director of the Soil Association.

OUR FOOD

You may need to pay attention with this one. For just as with the previous section we have an organisation operating under a different label. There’s even a third label.

Let’s start with the Our Food website. Scroll down and you’ll read: A project of the Conservation Farming Trust Company Number 10823532′. Which the Companies House website confirms as the number for Conservation Farming Trust.

On the Our Food website we also read: ‘This website was built with support from Monmouthshire County Council, the Brecon Beacons National Park, and the Welsh Government. It is part of a process to build a new campaign in the region to secure 1200 acres for regenerative horticulture for local markets.’

The Our Food 1200 website confirms that the figure refers to the acreage the new organisation hopes to be given. At the time of writing 24 acres had been donated. Though, in fairness, Our Food 1200 was only launched in January. It’s registered as a Community Benefit Company.

Let’s go back to the parent organisation, Conservation Farming Trust. The registered office address is in London, and the three directors live in Ireland (1) and England (2). So no Welsh connections there.

And yet, it seems the only funding Our Food gets is from Welsh sources.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

This funding is presumably justified because Our Food 1200 is looking for Welsh land to be donated. This looks very much like One Planet Developments rebranded. (I’m sure I read a reference to ‘OPD’ on the website.)

As with OPDs, those we’ll find on these over-sized allotments are unlikely to be local. So why are we funding it?

And is it a safe bet? I ask because a driving force behind it all seems to be Duncan Mark Fisher, who serves as both secretary and a member of Our Food 1200. Companies House suggests Fisher’s business record is ‘patchy’, to say the least.

The Conservation Farming Trust may have no connection with Wales, but Our Land, and certainly Our Land 1200, are trying to put down roots. Maybe they’re hoping someone will buy them a farm!

More planet-savers promoting climate hysteria, with the ‘Welsh Government’ and others happy to go along with this exploitative, colonialist nonsense.

LANDWORKERS’ ALLIANCE

What you’ve read thus far has been unadulterated, unsubstantiated and unconvincing bullshit (however sincere some of those promoting it), but this final section outdoes it all. For we are now with the horny-handed sons of toil, straight out of The Grapes of Wrath.

Or those who would imagine themselves so to be.

For I now direct your attention to the Landworkers’ Alliance. Scroll down and you’ll see that this crew aligns itself with the International Peasants Movement. (I’m afraid I let my membership lapse.)

When you join you get given a pitchfork and the addresses of local landlords. (Bastards!)

When Dominic and Eugenie re-imagine themselves as peasants you know you’ve gone so far down the rabbit-hole that you run the risk of being shot by an Australian farmer.

And doesn’t it count as cultural appropriation?

The Landworkers’ Alliance was formed in 2015, and has its registered address in Dorset. Here’s the Companies House entry.

The ‘accounts’ – as with all the outfits I’ve dealt with here – are vague, being little more than unaudited statements. Though I can tell you that the latest such statement (y/e 30.09.2020) gives assets at £151,507 (previous year £66,523). But with no indication of where the money came from.

It would also appear to be a Woke organisation. For which we should be thankful, because trans peasants are never far from my thoughts. (I hope it’s the same for you!)

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

The directors are resident in England and Scotland with the exceptions of Katharine Anne McEvoy and Gerald Davies Miles, both residents of Pembrokeshire. The former seems to live in Newport, with the latter to be found at Caerhys Organic Community Agriculture (COCA), near St David’s.

I feel a tear well in old Jac’s eye, for we may finally have found a genuine Welsh farmer! Though whether he’ll be in Knighton is another matter.

Looking briefly at the ‘accounts’ for COCA, or rather, the ‘statement of financial position’, we see a paltry £3,154 for y/e 31.03.2022.

I suspect that COCA is a virtue-signalling side-line, with Caerhys farm itself run as a commercial – if organic – agricultural business, including bed & breakfast.

But the irony.

We have sought for centuries to escape being peasants, in our own country; now we face an invasion of land-hungry Green-Left-Woke carrot-growing poseurs wanting to play at being peasants . . . in our country.

CONCLUSION

The sad truth is that farmers have been badly treated under devolution. And it’s happened in identifiable stages.

It began in 1999 with Labour taking control of the new Assembly. A Labour Party in which too many saw farmers as landowners, and therefore capitalists. Though anyone who can lump together a struggling Welsh hill farmer and the Duke of Westminster really does have a problem.

This encouraged others to join in. I’m thinking now of the environmentalists, the planet savers. Though all too often it was their own interests, and the interests of their cronies, that were being served, not those of the planet.

Chief among them was Jane Davidson, Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing from 2007 to 2011. When her Labour Party was in coalition with Plaid Cymru.

Davidson, a wealthy and privately-educated Englishwoman, was determined to impose her will on us, for the benefit of others like her, no matter what the cost. To us.

Thanks to Davidson we saw TAN 6 in July 2010, the ‘Hippies’ Charter’, which allows English drop-outs to build what they like, where they like.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

In January 2014, Alun Davies, the Minister for Natural Resources and Food, announced that 15% of CAP funding would in future be transferred from Pillar One (i.e. farmers) to Pillar 2 (rural development projects).

‘Rural Development Projects’ means those self-serving ‘community’ schemes dreamed up by Jane Davidson’s friends that benefit no one else.

Wales was further blessed, just a year later, with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. Here you see the Act’s objectives, with my comments.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

This legislation is another example of the Left window dressing a looted store (after inciting the looters with talk of ‘victimhood’ and ensuring the police didn’t get involved.)

Bullshit dreamed up to please enviroshysters and pressure groups. Which has achieved nothing for us Welsh. But it allows the ‘Welsh Government’ to say: ‘We were the first government in the world . . . ‘.

And that, for our politicians, is all that really matters.

More recently, we saw Lesley Griffiths (and Gary), introduce legislation to curb pollution of Welsh waterways. This problem is localised, and there are many culprits, including water companies.

But Lesley (and Gary) pretended to believe that the problem is national, and that farmers are solely to blame.

If you believe that traditional farming methods contribute to anthropogenic global warming, then the sensible approach would have been to sit down with farmers and work out a better way forward.

Instead, and from the outset, Labour politicians chose vilification, lies, confrontation, punishment.

An approach that becomes inconsistent, even sinister, when we think again about Knighton on the 17th. Where ‘Welsh Government’ representatives will be rubbing shoulders with lots of . . . well, farmers.

Clearly, the ‘Welsh Government’ has no problem with farmers as such, so perhaps the problem is only with Welsh farmers.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Climate Change – That Old Time Religion!

As you may have guessed, I am somewhat sceptical of the claims made by those who insist we’re heading for a climate catastrophe . . . unless of course we do as they tell us.

THE ADVANTAGE OF HINDSIGHT

I’m an old bugger and I’ve been hearing horror stories about climate change all my life. The narratives have varied but the intention was always the same.

For example, back in the 1970s, following a dip in the temperature, there was a fear that aerosols were blocking out sunlight and this was pushing us towards a new Ice Age.

Ain’t seen no polar bears yet in Aberdyfi.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

But the 1970s also gave us our last genuine heatwave; for in 1976 we saw 15 consecutive days when the temperature was 32°C or higher.

Attention then seemed to switch to global warming, but with this prospect still bringing colder weather for north west Europe. For it was believed that global warming would detach huge sheets of ice from the Greenland shelf; these would float southwards and redirect the Gulf Stream.

Even today, some are still prophesying disaster from that direction.

Next, it was the huge and growing hole in the ozone layer that spelt death for us all. I suppose it fixed itself. Here’s what the BBC, a leading purveyor of climate hysteria, has to say.

And who remembers acid rain, that would strip trees of their leaves and their bark, and reduce humans to skeletons if we stepped outside? Nobody mentions it any more, so I guess it went away.

‘Give us your serious face, Sue, there’s a love’. From the BBC Wales website, Saturday afternoon. The only thing missing is the body count. This is play-acting. Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

To give some perspective, here’s a link to some of the ludicrous predictions of climate catastrophe we’ve been served up over the past 50 years or so. Some you’ll remember, some you won’t. Anyone under the age of 40 should read it and then they might understand why older people are rather more sceptical.

THE NEW RELIGION

As a student of history brought up in a moderately religious family it’s fascinating to see a combination of a (would-be) global elite, scientists, politicians and political activists, set up what is in effect their own ‘church’.

Those listed could be compared to a College of Cardinals, bishops, priests, and lay brethren. So it’s worth remembering that . . .

The medieval Church frightened our forefathers with the prospect of eternal damnation, while the new orthodoxy offers lurid prophesies of global disaster; the striking similarity due to the same desired outcome – to exert control over people by frightening them with the prospect of a terrible but unverifiable fate if they don’t obey.

If we accept that analogy, then we are in some kind of time-warp where blind obedience is demanded, and no questions are tolerated. Rejecting the prevailing orthodoxy makes one a heretic.

An old one from ‘Viz’. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

I say that because anyone questioning the ‘science’ today is treated as a heretic would have been in the time of the Inquisition. With today’s heretics, like their predecessors, usually knowing more about the ‘science’ than their persecutors and the whipped-up mob demanding its entertainment.

Thankfully, there’s a ‘Reformation’ in the offing. It will inevitably lead to a ‘Counter-Reformation’; which will – through an excess of zealotry coupled with a paucity of supporting evidence – succeed only in further discrediting what had previously been so widely accepted.

CONTROL THE MESSAGE

The current spell of warm weather being exaggerated by the Met Office and the media into a threat to the human race will be of short duration compared to 1976.

Even so, with an agenda to serve, a few days of warmer than average weather must be pumped up into a life-threatening event. Though, as I read in a tweet a few days ago . . .

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Makes you think, doesn’t it!

People having to choose between heating their homes and eating this coming winter will be due to environmental zealots forcing on us measures to combat a non-existent climate emergency. As a result, winter deaths will be ignored; or if they are noted they will be attributed to ‘extreme weather’, which will of course be linked to the climate emergency.

Another parallel we can draw between today’s environmental establishment and earlier belief systems is their need to control what people see, read, and hear.

In the twenty-first century that means the media. And there is no doubt that the new religion has control over the greater part of what is referred to as the ‘mainstream’ or ‘legacy’ media.

That means radio, television, newspapers and magazines.

Which is why, in spite of censorship, and algorithms, ‘fact-checking’ and Big Tech rooting out ‘disinformation’ (i.e. ‘heretical’ thoughts), we should still be grateful for the internet. Fulfilling as it does the role of a latter-day printing press.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

This control over the established media is both global – though especially pernicious in the Anglophone world – and local.

Wales is not immune to attempts to promote the globalists’ Word at all costs. Even when it means misrepresentation and outright lies.

SOMEONE’S TELLING PORKIES

Monday last week saw the ‘Welsh media’ mount what was clearly a concerted effort to frighten us with images of a dried-up river in Pembrokeshire. All due, it was inferred, to global warming.

But things were not as they seemed. Here are the images.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Now, at first sight, and to those who might not know the area, those images of dried and cracked mud would suggest a river drying up. But as I say, things are not as they seem.

For the Carew River – that’s Carew Castle in the images – is nothing more than a tidal creek. It flows into the Cleddau and on past Milford Haven to the sea.

Not only that, but there’s a dam, which holds back water to create a mill pond. Although no longer operational, the mill has been restored. And it’s the only tidal mill in Wales.

Which means that the expanse of mud shown in the images is indicative of nothing more than the extent of the mill pond when the tide is in, or when the dam is operating.

This clip from an Ordnance Survey map might explain it better.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

And if you click here you’ll go to a site that tells you more about the mill. Scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see a nice picture of all that ugly mud covered over. In fact, I’m told the mill pond is normally full.

People, myself included, pointed out on Twitter and elsewhere that the images used by the BBC and WalesOnline were misleading. And so, by Wednesday, the caption had changed to say that the image showed the Carew River at ‘low tide’.

Fair enough. But if that’s the Carew at low tide, what’s the message?

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

The photographer, Matthew Horwood, had clearly gone up in his balloon for the image used by the Telegraph on Wednesday. But at least, in this image the dam is clearly visible.

Yet the caption still claims that the image shows ‘low water levels’. Which is wrong. The level of water in the Carew is quite normal – just look beyond the dam.

(The misleading picture of Afon Caeriw was still being used yesterday afternoon. Though, perhaps significantly, Horwood’s name does not appear, just Getty Images.)

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Matthew Horwood was a busy boy last week.

For he was at it again on Saturday. This time, with photographs of Llwyn-on reservoir, near Merthyr Tudful. Though the person who sent me the link remarked that the grass we see might suggest the ground has been exposed for some time.

Someone else noticed that the photographs used on Saturday seemed very similar to photographs used in this report from 2020.

What’s more, photographs of Llwyn-on showing other droughts that were not claimed to be heralding Doomsday can be found on the Coflein site.

The truth is that it’s an old reservoir, with outdated infrastructure; and I suspect it now operates at well below its original capacity. Hence the ‘droughts’.

UPDATE 20.07.2022: Someone sent me this photograph of the Carew mill pond taken today. All I can say is, they must have had a hell of downpour in Pembrokeshire last night!

Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

CALLING MATTHEW HORWOOD

As for the photographer, Matthew Horwood, I reached out to him on Twitter last week, but there was no response. I’ll try again.

Matthew Horwood, your photographs, used by various media outlets last week, were misleading. So here are my questions:

  • Did you submit those photographs yourself as evidence of ‘global warming’? 
  • Were they requested from you by the media outlets that used them?
  • Were you unaware that the River Carew is tidal and that Llwyn-on reservoir is regularly at that level?
  • Do you now intend asking the media outlets involved to clarify what the images actually show?
  • How close are you to the so-called ‘Welsh Government’?

The final question is due to Horwood’s Linkedin profile. To see Drakeford and his favourite university ‘liked’ suggests Horwood may be a member of the Bay in-crowd.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

What’s abundantly clear is that certain interests saw in the recent spell of pleasantly warm and dry weather the opportunity to ratchet up the climate hysteria.

Matthew Horwood and his photographs are an element of that offensive, as is Sue Charles, the weathergirl, looking as if she’s about to burst into tears.

THE BIGGER PICTURE

Not only are we being lied to, but the media is now increasingly self-censoring, which means that the general public is uninformed on world events.

Take Sri Lanka. The violent overthrow of the government was almost impossible to ignore, but it was certainly misreported.

Yes, the economy tanked; yes, the people were hungry. But it came about because the political elite in Sri Lanka followed the dictates of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and made its farmers go organic.

Nearer to home, the government of the Netherlands also wants farmers to use less fertiliser, which the government knows will put many farmers out of business, and so the government has offered to buy their farms.

Dutch farmers have refused to accept these directives and have been protesting for weeks. They have been joined by farmers in Germany, Poland, Italy, Spain.

The latest news is that Dutch farmers are refusing to sell their produce to supermarkets.

Even the Irish Greens are pushing the same ‘Let’s get the farmers!’ line.

But nothing is being reported by the BBC or the rest of the mainstream media. Because the WEF doesn’t want it reported.

About the only mainstream TV coverage I see is from Sky News in Australia!

The agenda of the globalists, and by that term I mean, the United Nations (IPCC), the World Health Organisation (which wants to override national governments in order to impose lockdowns and other measures), and of course, the World Economic Forum, can be summed up as follows.

  • A global government. (For which of course there will be no elections.)
  • In the meantime, national governments should be in the hands of oleaginous creatures who’ve been groomed by the globalists. (Trudeau in Canada and Rutte in the Netherlands are two examples.)
  • Eventually, there will be an end to the nation state. (And, by extension, nations. Especially majority white nations.)
  • An end to farming. (To be justified by claiming that farming causes great environmental damage.)
  • To speed up the end of farming governments, corporations, and individuals, will be encouraged to buy farmland. (Already happening in Wales, elsewhere, and of course, Bill Gates is now the largest private owner of farmland in the USA.)
  • The land released by the end of farming will in many cases be used for ‘habitat restoration’. (That is, rewilding, done by organisations and individuals that are close to the globalist cabal.)
  • Without farming we shall eat insects, and food produced in laboratories. (By happy coincidence Bill Gates, Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and others have been pushing this for a few years.)
  • There will be a cashless society. Everyone will use online banking and every transaction will be recorded. (After all, only criminals use cash!)
  • To increase personal security and reduce crime and terrorism everyone will have a biometric passport or ID. (Maybe a chip implanted, like your dog! Does he complain?)
  • We shall be regularly injected with whatever our globalist masters say is good for us. (Especially those who reject the yummy artificial food.)
  • We must all drive electric vehicles. (Can’t afford one? Don’t worry, walking is good exercise.) 
  • There really are too many of us in the world, so we must reduce numbers. (This is where the game is often given away, with the focus on countries where the birth-rate is below replacement level.)

I could go on, but I’m sure you get the picture. Thankfully, the agenda is coming off the rails because it’s been pushed a little too crudely, and events beyond the globalists’ control could now deal it a death-blow.

Even before the unrest across Europe Justin Trudeau in Canada made a revealing move when he froze the bank accounts of the truckers protesting against the Canadian government’s over-reaction to Covid.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

But fundamental to the agenda is the myth of a planet in danger, for this is the justification for everything else. The planet must be saved by giving up fossil fuels, fertilisers, private transport, real meat, and a host of other things that underpin an advanced society.

Those over-arching priorities coupled with individual mistakes and events beyond our control explain why we are where we are.

Remember . . .

We’re up Shit Creek now partly because we believed Angela Merkel when she downplayed how much the world relies on Russia for gas and raw materials. Partly because ‘renewables’ are expensive and unreliable nonsense. And partly because the globalists will now make us pay for them engineering a war with Russia.

MEANWHILE, IN WALES . . .

The ‘Welsh Government’ surrendered to the globalists without firing a shot in defence of Wales.

Worse, the collaborationist clowns in Corruption Bay see themselves as trailblazers in implementing the globalists’ agenda. Forever claiming to be the ‘first government in the world’ to introduce this, or that.

‘This’ and ‘that’ invariably translate into expensive gestures, and pandering to alien lobbies, neither of which deliver anything tangible or of material benefit for the Welsh people.

And of course, destroying the agricultural sector. For as a regular contributor to the Welsh debate, an academic from Bristol, put it recently . . .

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

But now this enthusiasm is taking a more sinister and authoritarian turn.

Last Wednesday, from this tweet, I learned that a motion had been tabled in the Senedd by Jane Dodds, the Liberal Democrat MS for Brecon & Radnor. It was supported by the ‘Welsh Government’ and its little helpers in Plaid Cymru.

Here’s a contribution to the debate from Carolyn Thomas, the Labour Regional MS for North Wales. (Look at those eyes!)

I’ve highlighted a few sections and I’ll explain why.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

This woman has obviously bought into laboratory ‘food’. Then, high priest of the planet savers, and regular Guardian columnist, George Monbiot, gets a mention or two.

Handing back “vast swathes of our land to nature” means nothing of the sort. To begin with, Carolyn Thomas is talking about the Welsh family farm. And the land will be handed over to people like George Monbiot and his cronies, who thankfully failed in one colonialist land grab with Summit to Sea.

“Harnessed by the state” and “kept out of private hands” means nothing more or less than the ‘Welsh Government’ taking over Welsh family farms. Collectivisation that we’ve seen in Communist states.

“A basic income and state-owned green jobs to today’s farmers” means that having bought their farms, perhaps compulsorily, the ‘Welsh Government’ will now employ former farmers on the land they once owned.

If the jobs are state-owned, then those doing the jobs will also be state-owned. We could be going beyond nationalisation here to a form of serfdom.

Ukrainian peasants search for food in the famine that followed Stalin’s collectivisation. Communist politicians taking control of agriculture always results in famine. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

I’d like to dismiss Carolyn Thomas as just another unbalanced Green activist. Or someone who’s been overdoing it on the ganja.

But she’s a politician, a Member of ‘our’ Senedd, belonging to the ruling party. And because no one felt the need to apologise for her attack on the ‘kulaks’ I conclude that her contribution is ‘Welsh Government’ policy.

So let’s remind ourselves that under Labour . . .

Child poverty has increased in all 22 local authority areas; hospital waiting lists lengthen year on year; people are eyeing up which furniture they can sacrifice to keep warm this coming winter; but a bunch of deluded fanatics in Corruption Bay wants to turn Wales into a Communist hell-hole using as their justification a climate catastrophe that’s not going to happen.

This is the kind of moral corruption and intellectual vacuity that led to the medieval Church losing its authority. It grew distanced and divorced from the concerns of the people it claimed to serve.

We are at that point now. We may even have passed it.

The globalists’ dream of being leaders in a new world order, with them knowing where each and every one of us is at all times, what we’ve eaten that day, and what we’ve recently bought, is dead.

Killed by a combination of arrogance, economic realities, and Vladimir Putin.

There’ll be very few politicians pushing Net Zero in January, and I guarantee that for future WEF knees-ups the message for Klaus Schwab will be (adapting Bismarck’s Canossa allusion), “Nach Davos gehen wir nicht, Klaus”.

It would therefore be tragic if those assholes down Corruption Bay ignored the changing realities and tried to implement Carolyn Thomas’s nightmare.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Guest post: ‘A sustainable Wales . . . or not’

I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.

As it says in the title, this a guest post, and from someone who knows of what they speak. Read it carefully, for it contains valuable insights that you’re unlikely to get elsewhere.

Specifically, this post is about Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ) legislation and the vote on March 3 that saw the ‘Welsh Government’ push through its draconian measures which are simply another attack on our farmers.

The fact that most of the pollution doesn’t even come from farms is not simply irrelevant to Labour politicians, it’s ignored completely.

To understand the bigger picture you must realise that the local branch of the British Labour Party is a statist outfit that wants to control everything and everybody, either directly, or else through its agencies in the third sector and elsewhere.

As the writer explains, Labour politicians don’t like farmers because farmers own land (kulaks, see), and they tend to be independently-minded, with a habit of standing up for themselves. What’s more, they’re adept at recognising bullshit.

So farmers have to go. This will be justified on environmental grounds. Freeing land for hippies, rewilders and foreign investors.

This control-freakery also explains why Wales is a basket-case economy. Labour does not want free-thinking indigenous entrepreneurs, even if they provide jobs and make Wales prosperous. Far better to keep Wales poor, blame somebody else, and keep getting elected.

The resultant poverty can also be justified with envirobollocks – ‘What ew mean ew got no job – look at all them wind turbines saving the planet. You selfish bugger!’

Well, of course, that’s not strictly true. Labour politicians and their third sector cronies will always have jobs. Enviroshysters – almost all of them from outside of Wales – will also have jobs. It’s ordinary Welsh people who lose out.

The message is simple. Don’t vote Labour in May’s Senedd elections. Don’t vote for Plaid Cymru either, because Labour will need a coalition with Plaid to stay in power.

Now read what our guest writer has to say . . .

So, in the last month or so, Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment has pushed on with legislation she said she would not push on with 11 times. This was on the basis that agricultural incidents had not decreased from the 3 a week figure that is regularly quoted. As of 3rd March, the regulations will now progress following the Senedd vote.

There are various figures banded around as to why this has been a trigger point and why such an aggressive move has been taken, in the middle (and it is the middle) of the COVID crisis and indeed the aftermath of the Brexit deal.

This is really a statement piece by the Minister to appeal to the environment lobby and her back benchers in the run up to an election. Facts, figures and advice on the regulation from her own regulator, NRW, have been ignored and politics has been front and centre of the decision. Where to go from here? We’ll come back to that a little later.

Jac adds: Not only has Lesley Griffiths been saying it, but her civil servants have also been saying it in responses to members of the public. Click to enlarge

When it comes to Welsh Government, it’s worth taking a look back to see how things have developed.

Firstly, getting rid of scrutiny and the various committees that have provided review and direction has been a key strategy. The Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs (CCERA) Committee has to cover such a broad portfolio that it cannot possibly scrutinise in depth. The simple fact is that scrutiny is now a manufactured process, by invitation if you like, with the environment lobby in the pocket of the Minister, who are anti-agri, anti-fisheries and any other private use of natural resources for economic gain, unless you’re a global investor making a land grab under the guise of rewilding, but we won’t mention that.

Secondly, Welsh Government has struggled for years to work out how they could get their policy objectives imprinted on rural Wales. We’re now in the drive to reverse climate change, de-carbonise and promote Wales to the world as a sustainable nation. Farmers own 70% of our private land. The difficulty with trying to get farmers to comply with change is that they own their land and are a broadly militant and belligerent old bunch who would rather sell a kidney than be told what to do. So, in combination with the agriculture white paper out at the moment consulting on the future farm payments system, Minister Griffiths has slapped an NVZ on the whole of Wales to boot.

When you look at some of the drivers of food industry growth, Minister Griffiths own Food and Drink Strategy 2014 – 2020 has targeted increasing sales by 30% to £7bn turnover. Much rejoicing took place last year when it was proclaimed that Welsh Government had ‘smashed its target’. Now a new strategy needs to be developed and it will be based on ‘sustainability’. It should be remembered that Welsh Government has encouraged and invested in the agri-food sectors rapid growth and the question must be asked as to whether it is now a victim of its own success?

I digress.

You see, if you want a snapshot example of what is in store for agriculture, you only need to look at what Welsh Government has done with another comparator sector over which they have devolved responsibility – fisheries.

A small sector in Wales, but nonetheless regularly rolled out by the Minister with unsubstantiated claims of sustainability for which she now strives. The vast majority of engagement mechanisms with the sector have been withdrawn, because, like farmers, fishermen are too difficult for Welsh Government to deal with.

Unlike agriculture, with land ownership in the hands of farmers, Welsh Government actually does have devolved responsibility for marine and fisheries and in layman’s terms, it owns the sea out to the median line. If there is an example of how not to sustainability management resources, this is it. Regulation, not management, is king, delivering boom and bust fisheries such as our main shellfish species by volume, Whelk, that is exploited largely by businesses outside of Wales. Now where have we heard this before…………oh yes, renewables.

Marine renewables is the Minister’s golden ticket to meeting green energy targets and no one will get in the way. While our many centuries old fishing industry and heritage fisheries such as Teifi Seine nets, coracles and the lave net fisheries on the Severn are regulated (for regulated read bullied) out, the push for action in the climate emergency continues. Fisheries is a shining example of how Welsh Government ‘manages’ its resources and should serve as a warning to what is to come for terrestrial Wales.

So the stage is set for the roll out of the NVZ agricultural pollution regulations that will sit alongside the consultation on the agriculture white paper and an announcement made with regard to the future strategy for the food and drink sector where sustainable food production will be at the core. All very nicely choreographed.

What is amazing in all of this is the almost pathological inability of the Minister to acknowledge the issues caused by sewage outfall and releases by water authorities. This has been documented by the BBC and most recent data provided by the Rivers Trust makes for dire reading. Her responses when questioned on this in Plenary have been evasive to say the least. She doesn’t want to talk about it. She has to get her way with the agri sector to line up the other policy objectives. A savage attack on the proposed regulations took place in the Senedd via a recent Conservative debate and again, while referring to a very recent incident and the ‘one too many’ quote, the reality is that statistically there could have well been another 82 sewage incidents going on the very same day!

I have no doubt that a number of MS’s who have voted on this will not have the foggiest what they are voting for, but will have been lobbied by the ‘bastard farmers’ environment crowd from their Cardiff and London bases. The perverse part of this is that in a drive for Wales to be perceived as one of the world’s most sustainable food producers, Minister Griffiths will designate the whole of the country an NVZ against the advice of her regulator and ignoring the main contributor to water quality issues. How does she think this looks from the outside looking in? We’re a laughing stock.

In sectors that have been under devolved regulation for many years such as fisheries, the Minister now talks about co-management out of regulation with a group they can’t engage with and then at the same time has rejected any suggestion of voluntary co-managed farmer-led approaches to agri pollution that were on the table to move to, yep, you’ve guessed it……..regulation. I would suggest her officials need a Zoom meeting to square the circle here.

L to R: Gary Haggaty, civil servant; Lesley Griffiths MS, Labour, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs; Caroline Hitt, writer for the ‘Western Mail’; Elin Jones MS, Plaid Cymru, Senedd Llywydd (Speaker). The cosiness of Corruption Bay made corporeal in a Dublin bar. Click to enlarge

This will be her modulation moment, akin to the decision made by Alun Davies to move 15% of the budget away from direct payments to Pillar 2 and just look at the success that has been, as highlighted by Wales Audit Office last year and further exposed by Craig Williams MP recently. I could also go into the uplands payments debacle but I won’t.

How the farming unions react to this will be key and a judicial review can be expected. However, there is a wider assault in the offing for rural Wales in the hot off the press Future Wales 2040 in the name of sustainability and climate change. It is a large document, but I would urge anyone who has an interest in the future of this country to read it and then decide how you will vote in May. Future Wales 2040 is the planning template for this country and where this blog has pointed out the follies of various ‘developers’ and ‘investors’, I’m certain we will see more of this to come, at scale.

Without wanting to overstate the position, we may be seeing the managed decline of industries in the same way the coal industry was portrayed – inefficient, dirty and unwanted by those who have never done a hard day’s work in their life. The Valleys have never recovered and now having failed to deliver on economic development, Welsh Government MUST deal with climate change, even if it means forcing through bad regulation to achieve it.

♦ end ♦

 




The myth of temperate forestation as viable sequestrate of carbon dioxide

This is a guest post by Brychan Davies

 

Global warming is a reality, as is global cooling. Throughout geological time, and throughout the history of mankind there is a natural variance in global temperatures. Geological variance is caused by variations in the tilt of the earth, the polarity switching, and continental drift. The variation on the historical timescale is caused by natural variance in oceanic currents, volcanic activity, and natural oscillations and cyclic proliferation of flora and fauna. Global warning, global cooling is not new. It is part of the natural condition of planet Earth.

Greenhouse Effect

The best example of ‘the greenhouse effect’ is on the planet Venus. A thick soup of acidic water vapour and carbon dioxide ‘traps’ the suns energy and global temperatures are scorching, with an average surface temperature of 300c. The opposite effect can be found on Mars, where the atmosphere which is 95% carbon dioxide but so sparse there is little effect on the atmosphere where global temperatures of –60c. Earth is in the ‘Goldilocks zone’, and naturally oscillates about halfway between these extremes. The mix of naturally fluctuating atmospheric carbon dioxide, and water vapour plays a role in the global temperature.

Fossil Fuels

All coal, oil and fossil fuels on earth was once atmospheric carbon dioxide. In fact the main coal deposits on earth are as a result of carbon dioxide sequestration, 300 million years ago, during the ‘carboniferous’ era. This is the carbon dioxide released back into the atmosphere during the current industrial period, and it is claimed to have a dangerous effect on global warming.

Forestation

It is also claimed that if we now plant trees on land currently used for grazing animals we can mitigate this effect. Is it true?

Well, no. The issue of global warming, and the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide was first identified in the early 1990s and proposals to try to manage this on a global scale was in Japan, in 1992, and it became known as the Kyoto Protocol. Coincidentally, Japan is an ideal comparison with the British Islands, both being of a temperate seasonal climate, with a modern industrial heritage, similar moderation of seasons by oceanic currents, and similar natural forests, a mixture of native coniferous forest at elevation and to the north, with a natural forest of deciduous woodland on the main landmass, with natural shrub and grassland at elevation.

Saikai Forest near Nagasaki. Click to enlarge

Japan, both fortunately and unfortunately, has the advantage of having 75 years worth of continuous scientific study of re-forestation. It arose after a nuclear bomb was dropped on Nagasaki towards the end of WWII. It’s a port city very similar in size to Swansea, surrounded by an area of agricultural land on a peninsular, and a backdrop of moderate uplands, and a self-contained river system.

The bomb resulted in all this being taken out of productive use and a programme of forestation initiated, whose purpose at the time was to soak up nuclear contamination. It is the most intensively studied area of temperate reforestation in the world and has been studied for over 75 years. One particular measure being the sequestration of atmospheric carbon to measure ‘dilution’ of nuclear isotopes, but also provides empirical data on the seasonal sequestration of carbon dioxide as well as a net figure by different tree species over the 75 year period.

The key graph is shown below.

Click to enlarge

CO2 sequestration

Tonnes per hectare per year.

Nineteen-sixty-eight was an important year. It was when the forest changed from being a carbon sink to a net carbon emitter. It related to the age of the trees and the natural eco-system. Mature trees decay, this is when the action of fungi, and other parasitic flora and fauna which consumes the wood, leaf litter, and soils, emitting carbon dioxide in quantities greater than that being absorbed by the tree through photosynthesis.

Tadaki, Y.; Hachiya, K. Forest Ecosystems and Their Productivity; Ringyo Kagakugijutsu Shinkosho: Tokyo, Japan, 1968. (In Japanese)

Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol committed participants to financing measures to tackle carbon dioxide emissions. The United States blamed the rest of the world, suggesting the issue is in the Amazon, the European Union spent cash on changing agriculture with set-aside schemes, and this has now morphed in the United Kingdom to ‘blame the farmers’. Japan, however, took a more scientific approach and launched satellites to measures their forestation, launched a programme of study to measure carbon sequestration of a forestation programme, and was able to use data previously obtained (1968 tipping point) to give real numbers to the subject.

Estimation of CO2 Sequestration by the Forests in Japan by Discriminating Precise Tree Age Category using Remote Sensing Techniques” – 2015.

The reality is that a newly planted forest does act as an initial carbon sink, but only until the forest reaches maturity. Both show that net gains are negligible after 75 years, although there’s an earlier peak with coniferous forest in comparison to deciduous forest. Gains then become losses. The report is here.

The study concludes with: “The CO2 amount and other important information revealed in this study has provided important data. Do old mature trees sequestrate as much as younger trees? The answer is no when we see the trend of the sequestration as a function of tree age.” Kotaro Iizuka, Ryutaro Tateishi et al.

Wales

So what lessons can we draw on forestation as a method of sequestrating carbon dioxide in Wales? Mass forestation is not the answer. There is flora that does the job – peat bogs. This is where the acidity of the soil does not allow decomposition of vegetation and the result in layer upon layer of peat deposits. To maintain this ground cover, the light grazing of animals is needed, like sheep, to prevent the ingress of trees.

Questions

Why plant forests and remove farmers from the land when doing so has an adverse effect on carbon dioxide sequestration? Why is there an obsession with projects like the ‘Tetrapak Financed Summit to Sea’ project when there is clear scientific evidence that its objective cannot be met by its proposals? If there are short term gains prior to clear felling at sequestration tipping point, why isn’t this a purely commercial proposal? Why use upland grazing land that is already a net carbon sink for projects that scientifically are known to be inferior?

Additional abstract

There is a myth that the large areas of treeless uplands that exist in Wales and the rest of Britain is a ‘man made landscape’ and planting trees in these areas is a form of ‘rewilding’. This is utter nonsense. There is clear scientific evidence that much of upland Britain has been treeless for the last 4000 years, and this is proved by pollen analysis of peat cores. After the last ice age, there were significant natural cyclic oscillations climatic change – dry Boreal, wet Atlantic, dry Sub-boreal, wet Sub-Atlantic. This eradicated almost all upland forestation long before any impact of human activity.

Nant-y-moch from Pumlumon. Click to enlarge

In fact there is ample evidence that forestation in in the 1970s of these areas has caused significant degradation of the diversity of wildlife, the erosion of upland peat deposits, and the net release of sequestrated CO2. There are is currently 589 gigatonnes of carbon in the atmosphere. The current store of carbon in peat deposits is over 600 gigatonnes. Large scale forestation of upland Wales will result in a significant net release of carbon into the atmosphere, and significantly add to global warming.

♦ end ♦