Miscellany 03.11.2020

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

This week’s piece takes us all over the place to meet interesting characters. Most you’ll be familiar with, but there are some new faces.

JAKE BERRY MP

We start with someone you all know, Ynys Môn landowner and MP for Rossendale and Darwen, Jake Berry.

I’ve written about Berry a number of times. It started when it was reported that, in May, during the first lockdown, he had broken the rules and gone to ground at his holiday home in Rhoscolyn. Yet still travelled regularly to London and his constituency.

More recently, now mindful of the wind direction, and still bitter at being sacked from the cabinet, Berry led a rebellion of sorts by a group of Tory MPs from northern English constituencies.

This did not go down well in No 10 and he was almost certainly reprimanded. (If not debagged and radished.)

So, on Saturday, he appeared in the Times with a ‘good man hard done by’ piece in the hope of gaining sympathy and detracting attention from his perceived treachery. (Unfortunately, it’s behind a paywall.)

I have little interest in the machinations of the Conservative and Unionist Party, but in his orgy of self-pity he pointed a finger at those who had criticised his earlier behaviour, and in doing so he made some wild accusations.

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The issue was not that he was a ‘newcomer’; the issue was breaking lockdown restrictions and lying about it. Or getting local MP, Virginia Crosbie, to lie for him.

As for the alleged threats to “burn the house down”, who made these threats? Or maybe the question should be – Did anybody make such a threat?

I invite North Wales Police to clarify whether or not they warned Jake Berry that he was a target for arsonists.

But even if he believed he was a target, why would Berry take a pickaxe handle to bed? It would be useless in the event of a fire.

The story took life on Twitter. With what seemed to be mainly anti-abortion Anglo-Catholics jumping in to support Berry, slag off the NHS (for the treatment of Berry’s wife), and of course attack would-be arsonists.

Among them was ‘Petra’. The account looks like a bot, but it still pointed me out as one of the “Ultra-nationalists”. Done in two tweets; or rather, the second seems to be the first re-written.

UPDATE: ‘Petra’ has left the building.

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What is going on?

Anyway, on Saturday afternoon Gwlad put out a statement making it clear that neither that party nor I had made any threat against Jake Berry.

If Jake Berry believes his business dealings should remain private, if he thinks Welsh people should be ignorant of his growing property portfolio, if he believes rules are for little people, if he can’t take criticism, then he shouldn’t be an MP.

Saturday afternoon was a bit hectic, what with me trying to take in what Berry was suggesting while also watching the rugby (we lost), keeping up with the Swans score (won 2 – 0), and doing a few other things.

And then, by a strange coincidence, and to complicate matters further, I received unrelated information from a source in Berry’s constituency. To explain . . .

In a previous post I wrote about secret funders to the Conservative Party, The Portcullis Club and The United and Cecil Club. These are unincorporated associations, a legal loophole that allows funding to reach the party without anyone knowing the origin of that money.

The money usually goes to the constituency association, but not always. Sometimes it takes devious routes, such as we read about in this story. (‘Aide to Grant Shapps’! God Almighty! Imagine having to put that on your CV.)

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I’ve dealt with similar deceits in my earlier pieces on Berry.

The report says that the £12,000 involved came via Rossendale and Darwen Portcullis Club. Yet the address given for this ‘donor’ is 6 Manitoba Court, London SE16 7AY, the address of Berry’s parliamentary researcher. Scroll down and click on the number in the left hand column.

Other underhand donations came from The Portcullis Club that year but without the name of the constituency. Though using the same London address.

But then, in 2017, The Portcullis Club seems to have found a local base at Whins House, near Clitheroe. The first mention I can find of Whins House in that connection is here (click on left hand column again). Though strangely, it’s just The Portcullis Club, with no mention of Rossendale and Darwen.

So, what do we know about Whins House?

Well, it’s not just The Portcullis Club that can be found there, for it was the original address for Palatine Hill Ltd. The officers / directors of which are Maria Bernadette Duckworth, Ford Bridge Farm Ltd, Duckworth Estate Company Ltd, with Paul Worrall Fitton as secretary.

So who are they?

Maria Bernadette Duckworth lives – or formerly lived – at Whins House, along with hubby Andrew John Duckworth. Ford Bridge Farm Ltd – aka Rhyd y Bont – is the company of Mr and Jake Mrs Berry, with their solicitor Fitton again serving as secretary. Duckworth Estate Company Ltd is, predictably, the Duckworths’ company.

I use the caveat in relation to the occupants of Whins House because it was for sale earlier this year. Probably linked with what I interpret to be the bankruptcy of Andrew John Duckworth, as suggested in B4 of the Land Registry title document. My source directed me to this report by way of explanation.

The linked companies with stakes in each other make it clear the Duckworths and the Berrys are close. With the Duckworths being quite happy to use their home address for the channelling to Jake Berry of funding from God knows where.

I’m sure their local MP will therefore find some way to return the favour in his friends’ hour of need. Perhaps he’ll add Whins House to his property portfolio.

FUNDING ENVIROBOLLOCKS

This section takes us back a bit, to the days before Natural Resources Wales, when our woodlands were the responsibility of Forestry Commission Wales. It also takes us back to the time before OPDs were legalised with TAN 6, published in July 2010.

And it brings Objective One funding into the mix, reminding us how most of that EU funding was squandered.

The story seems to start in 1996, when Calon yn Tyfu was formed . . . as a ‘workers co-operative’ at Henparcau farm, near Boncath in north Pembrokeshire. Certainly, the company was Incorporated in March of that year.

The website tells us: “Having run an organic fruit vegetable holding at Henparcau for over 15 years, we decided to give the lands and ourselves a rest in 2010 after a frozen winter where we lost our winter crops we refocused towards the woodland work.”

This change of course was possible thanks to the acquisition of Ffynone and Cilgwyn woodland, part of the old Ffynone estate. Over 300 acres then in the stewardship of Forestry Commission Wales, which was distributing some of the Objective One bonanza under a scheme called Cydcoed.

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In this report Nick Powell of ITV Wales quotes someone describing Cydcoed as, ‘one of the most successful Objective One programmes that ran in Wales … it used woodlands to provide new jobs and opportunities, promote healthy recreation, education and conservation’. It boasts that ‘more than 160 community groups across some of the poorest areas of Wales benefited’.

The subsequent criticism hinged on that term, ‘community group’. For Calon yn Tyfu may have called itself a workers co-operative but it was in fact a private company run by a husband and wife and a third person.

These being Robert David McDowell – who seems to have signed all the company documents I’ve found – Kate Maria Moore, and Andrew Peter Lowe, ‘Laird of Camster’. (In much the same way as I am Tsar of All the Russias.)

Calon yn Tyfu obtained the woodland in 2007 . . . with an Objective One (Cydcoed) grant of £502,000 from Forestry Commission Wales! Just think about that – FCW gave public money to a gang of good-lifers so they could buy public property.

We know that Objective One funding was wasted in Wales thanks to the Labour Party and Plaid Cymru being ideologically opposed to enterprise and business, but there can be few examples of such blatant and indefensible waste.

In total, £18m was dished out under the FCW Cydcoed scheme. And what do we have to show for it?

Manordeifi community council was so unimpressed by the deal that it petitioned the Welsh Assembly which referred the matter to the Auditor General for Wales.

She concluded that no rules had been broken. Which might suggest it was no surprise that schemes for distributing Objective One cash wasted money.

The Auditor General also noted that, “Calon yn Tyfu have made a commitment to dedicate the site under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, which should allow public access to the woodland in perpetuity.”

I’ve searched the Calon Tyfu website but I can’t find any reference to such a commitment. Has it been made?

If not, then in 2027, the company will be able to sell off at a very handsome price what it was given for nothing. That said, ownership in all but name now seems to be exercised by Dutch bank Triodos N V.

Triodos first appeared on the scene in May 2013 with a loan enabling Calon yn Tyfu Cyf to buy Pontnewydd cottage and land nearby for £150,000. Here’s the title document.

In April 2015 Calon yn Tyfu went back to Triodos. This time taking out a loan against the Ffynone woodland. The title document tells us that in 2007 Calon yn Tyfu paid £460,000 for this forest (out of the £502,000 grant from Forestry Commission Wales).

I believe that the money borrowed from Triodos was used, later that year, to purchase Hen Parcau – where Calon yn Tyfu had always been based – for £225,000. That’s what the title document suggests. And although the loan was taken out in the name of the company the house is registered in the name of Robert David McDowell.

The third engagement with Triodos begins on 21 April, 2015, the same day as the second, but leads to a hearing at the County Court in Swansea in October, and what is described as a ‘Charles Court order’. (No doubt, someone will explain.)

This would appear to give Triodos a claim against the whole Calon yn Tyfu operation.

Now were that to happen, then McDowell would still have enjoyed the income from almost 20 years of forestry operations. And of course he would also have the dwelling, Hen Parcau, and the land around it. And it won’t have cost him a penny!

For their part, Dutch bank Triodos will be happy because they’ll own over 300 acres of Wales.

So, everybody’s a winner! Not quite, because of course we Welsh have lost out again. Not only have we lost a bit more of our homeland, but those useless bastards down in Corruption Bay paid somebody to take it over!

I’ve referred to Calon yn Tyfu as envirobollocks, and so it is. A pretentious precursor to the One Planet nonsense. How else are we to read:

“We are interested in working towards a sustainable future, survival cooperation is the concept of exploring what might be required to survive in a post-industrial world and exploring the process of cooperation that we  can start with now that will lead us towards a  sustainable path.”

“Post-industrial world”, be buggered! There are hundreds of thousands of Welsh families living in a post-industrial world of managed decline created by the Labour Party and Plaid Cymru, parties that have fallen over themselves to favour shysters like those we see at Calon yn Tyfu.

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Having mentioned OPDs I have to introduce ‘Dr’ Jane Davidson. And provide further proof that she is indeed the mother goddess of the OPD firmament, worshipped by those who toil below filling out grant application forms.

A good source tells me, “She (Davidson) does claim that she wrote OPD into TAN 6 expressly to help Lammas rather than interfere in their planning application directly as a then minister”.

What this means is that we suffer OPDs for no better reason than Jane Davidson wanted to help the eco-colonists at Lammas.

When it was suggested that Planning Policy Wales – which TAN 6 supplements –  could be used to help farm succession, Davidson is said to have sneered, “I didn’t write that policy for farmers!”. (With the emphasis on farmers.)

‘Dr’ Davidson became an Assembly Member in 1999. It’s reasonable to assume that she was acquainted with the crew at Calon yn Tyfu. Did she have a hand in this incredible waste of money?

GWYNFRYN

Now we head north to Plas Gwynfryn / Gwynfryn Plas, just outside Lloyd George’s village of Llanystumdwy on Llŷn. I’ve written about it a number of times in recent months so you might want to search for what I’ve written and catch up.

The old mansion ended up as a hotel and is now just a ruin following a fire in 1982. Some suggest the fire was arson.

Y Plas. Click to enlarge

A curious development has been this advert for 17 acres of woodland on the right-hand side of the drive leading up to the Plas. That is, opposite the gate house.

Because if we refer to the Land Registry title document, and scroll down to the plan, we see something odd. The strip in yellow cuts right across the drive, and as A2 in the title document talks of “a good and substantial stockproof fence” it suggests that the drive is effectively blocked! There is certainly no mention of a gate.

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Another curious feature is that no one in the area knows the owners of this 17 acres. They bought it less than a year ago and are selling it for less than they paid.

Though owner Keith Varley seems to be a genuine businessman with a number of companies to his name. Among them Glan Gors Training Ltd and Glan Gors Management Ltd. Digression alert!

Glan Gors rang a bell and so I checked, and yes, it is Glan Gors in Harlech; where my old mate, the late Barri Edwards, the busking harpist, used to live. Spent some time there. Got some good memories.

I remember calling one morning, planning to take Barri for a pint, but he was boycotting the local pubs (or possibly he was banned). So we sat there, him unshaven, in his underpants. By midday he was on his third can of Guinness. He looked at me and said, “I don’t understand why I can’t pull the women any more, Jac”.

I was lost for words. I just sat there and nodded. God bless you, Barri.

I have no idea why Varley and his partner bought the woodland in the first place or why they’re selling it. And as for the ‘stockproof’ fence across the driveway . . . your guess is as good as mine. I’m open to suggestions.

But it might have had a knock-on effect. Because reports tell that the owner of the land around the old pile, Philip Andrew Bush, of Kent, has been a busy boy of late. He has been harassing neighbours and threatening to knock down a wall that has been in place since 1948 so that he can open up what he claims is a right of way.

He made no answer when asked why he couldn’t use the driveway.

Philip Bush taking a photo of someone taking a photo of Philip Bush taking a photo of . . . Click to enlarge

The truth is of course that even if Bush had access via the driveway it would not be enough for the highways department to agree to the planned 30 residential units in the old Plas. Or perhaps that should read, on the site of the Plas, because it’s in a poor state of repair.

For planning permission to be given for 30 residential units when the only entrance / exit is so close to a junction is not going to happen. (Click here for image.) The council will insist on two entrances, or one entrance and one exit.

Another reason Bush insists on reclaiming his alleged right of way is to gain access to the old laundry, which he says he plans to renovate.

And the best of luck with that. First, because the old laundry has almost collapsed. Second, because it was purpose-built as a laundry, to serve the Plas, and has been used for no other purpose, which means a ‘change of use’ will probably be required.

Gwynfryn laundry. In estate agent jargon, ‘Ripe for renovation’. Click to enlarge

Regular readers will recall that Bush kept the Gwynfryn land after selling the old pile to his good buddy, Aaron Hill, who we’ve encountered before in connection with the crooks at Bryn Llys – who appear in the next section!

The word is that Hill has sold the chapel he was living in in Bontnewydd and his whereabouts are unknown. Though a dicky bird tells me that Hill and Bush have a project planned in Scotland, and that Hill might have already taken the high road.

I know I have readers in Scotland, so be on your guard for Aaron Hill and Philip Bush, two not-to-be-trusted Sassenachs.

I conclude this section with another curiosity. If you go to the Google map for Llanystumdwy, grab the little yellow man, and try to place him on the road that runs past the woodlands that are now for sale, and you’ll find that the road is somehow closed.

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I’m assured by locals that this stretch of road has always been visually ‘accessible’ on Google maps before. How strange!

BRYN LLYS

Never a dull moment with the Bryn Llys gang.

Let’s start with another court appearance, this one by erstwhile rocker Shane Baker, aka ‘ShakingShane’ (or variants thereof) when he wants to comment on newspaper reports.

He was up before the bench in Caernarfon on Monday last week charged with criminal damage caused whilst driving a large excavator from Bryn Llys to the main road where a buyer was collecting it. He might just be a poor driver or, more likely, this was another crude attempt to widen the access to Bryn Llys.

Baker’s fines and costs came to £660.

His boss, professional fraudster Jonathan Duggan, was in attendance. As was a barrister! For people with no money these buggers seem able to afford everything.

Duggan’s attempts to persuade authorities he’s a farmer continue. A source writes:

“Mr. Duggan has brought more animals onto Bryn Llys, cows, pigs and goats – he is probably going to claim that he is a farmer to justify his road. His goats have already broken a fence and escaped onto neighbouring land as there is no grass left at Bryn Llys.

The neighbouring land owner complained to the police that he was intimidated by a group of people from Bryn Llys and its collection of sheds and caravans as he and a helper returned the animals to the Bryn Llys land and repaired the fence.

I understand that a large police officer visited Bryn Llys over the incident and was subjected to a torrent of swearing and abuse by Mr. Duggan who was told that everything was being recorded by the officer’s camera and it would appear on the police log dealing with the Community Protection Notice warning already served on Mr. Duggan.

Bryn Llys has already had a visit from the RSPCA after someone who came to buy a horse was so shocked about conditions that they contacted the RSPCA. The place is overstocked with animals, hardly a blade of grass and the animal sheds are full of human beings.

What looks like a bird hide with windows has been erected by the lake which was recently dug – I expect that Bryn Llys will be claiming to be promoting wildlife after destroying much of the habitat.”

This report reminds us that quite a settlement is developing at Bryn Llys in various sheds and caravans. All crooks from over the border. How long will this be allowed to continue?

Oh, yes . . . the ‘bird hide’ blew down in last weekend’s storm.

But never mind all that, would you like a holiday at Bryn Llys? Or rather, Snowdon Summit View. You – yes, you – can “win a 3 or 4 night stay in our luxury holiday home in North Wales”. Here’s the Facebook page on which you’ll find the details.

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So if you want to spend a few days surrounded by criminals, kept awake at night by starving animals, enter the competition.

The blurb says, “set within 30 acres of woodland”. Actually, there is no woodland at all. In fact, there is hardly any grass – that’s why the animals break out onto neighbours’ land looking for something to eat.

Bryn Llys / Snowdon Summit View is a wasteland, a lunar landscape. The nearest trees are in a conifer plantation across the river on someone else’s property. Even the images used on the FB page make it clear there are no trees.

These bastards just can’t stop lying.

Though there is a funny side. Someone set up a phoney competition using the same details. Here’s the link.

This is appalling! Click to enlarge

I hope GogPlod has its finest detectives working on the case to protect the reputations of Jon Duggan, Shane Baker and the other shy and retiring souls at the Snowdon Summit View Meditation Centre.

A WANDERING SHYSTER I (after Gilbert & Sullivan)

I am indebted to a source in Powys for bringing to my attention a would-be impresario by the name of Darren Knipe. Darren has plans for the old library in Knighton.

For he organises things, events and the like. Every community should have a Darren. In fact, it seems that every community in Wales does have one, and at least one. They appear as if by magic when they sniff funding in the air.

As I say, Darren now has plans for Knighton’s old library. It’s all explained on the Facebook page. So let’s go through what it offers.

Darren plans, “an accredited training centre in Community Event Management”. To be funded by . . . The governments new scheme, kickstart . . . the lost generation of 16-25 yr olds . . . making over £3bn available to pay 6 months salary and training”.

Actually it’s £2bn across the UK, though the ‘Welsh Government’ is participating.

He continues . . . “We will be working with Welsh Council of Voluntary Associations (WCVA) as our gateway partner, and will use a mix of mortgages, loans, and Social Enterprise grants to purchase building and startup costs.”

No, Darren, it’s the Wales Council for Voluntary Action. Though this section does take us to the meat – loans, grants, etc.

This is clearly an opportunity that Knighton cannot miss, and Darren warns, “I can run this anywhere, and currently looking at Newtown and Welshpool as options, which will be Knighton’s loss.”

I don’t know how to break this to you, Darren, but I suspect you wouldn’t be missed if you carried out your threat.

Now the thing about Darren is that he has history in these imaginative schemes. Which means that when Darren talks grant-grabbing bollocks he does so with some authority.

Though his business career has not been a cloudless sky.

Last year there was the attempt at crowdfunding, which raised . . . sod all! The money was wanted to teach people how to party. No doubt he does a sideline teaching cats how to catch mice.

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In his favour, Darren does get about, though success is never a travelling companion.

A tool I use is 192.com and when I checked for Darren Knipe I came up with 14 results, 8 of which I suspect are him. His stay in Pembrokeshire ended in bankruptcy in 2003 or 2004.

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From there he seems to have moved up to Aberystwyth before operating for a while at Llandegla, just west of Wrecsam. I’m told another bankruptcy or insolvency resulted.

In Llandegla we find Datcloud Ltd, where his partner was a Duncan Charles Ion. The company was formed in August 2014, with Knipe making it to the lifeboat in August 2015 before the good ship Datcloud went down.

Another information technology launch that had them quaking in Silicon Valley was Hootso Ltd. It filed as a dormant company and was eventually put down earlier this year.

Then there’s Dark Olive CIC. (The CIC he refers to on Facebook?) Now, chwarae teg, the latest accounts show a gross profit of £33,985.82, but it was almost all swallowed up in salaries, expenses and other running costs.

The website seems a little ‘threadbare’, as if he had one gig in 2018 and that was it.

The latest venture in which he’s involved, set up in March, is Robins Retreat Ltd, which sees our hero team up with the eponymous Robin Wealleans of Llanybydder. They can rest easy in Silicon Valley and Hollywood because this latest venture is in the holiday business.

Though anyone who thinks there are mountains in Carmarthenshire really should stop taking whatever makes him imagine them. It’s as bad as Duggan’s woodland.

“Mountains of West Wales”! Click to enlarge

In addition to Robins Retreat Ltd there is also Robins Realm Ltd, but Knipe is not involved in this one. Though I would have expected to see him on board another of Wealleans’ new companies as it could be named for him – My Catastrophe Ltd.

Listen to me, Darren . . . stop fantasising about being Knighton’s (publicly-funded) Jean-Michel Jarre and just get a real bloody job.

CONCLUSION

Was any country that hadn’t been militarily invaded and taken over ever cursed with so many undesirable outsiders?

But they come, and they keep coming, because we have politicians that encourage some of these buggers and do nothing to stop the others. Worse, they even fund them!

♦ end ♦

 




Miscellany 21.09.2020

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

Here’s the round-up that’s been postponed for the past few weeks. It covers quite a bit of ground and a variety of subjects.

CHOO-CHOO TRAINS

SNOWDON MOUNTAIN RAILWAY

I wrote about the Snowdon Mountain Railway (SMR) a while back. Over three years ago, in fact, with ‘Respecting Snowdon’. Even though I say so myself, it’s a good read.

(And by the way, did you know that Snowdon is the highest mountain in Belgium and Wales?)

Tourists swarming over a national icon having been brought up by the Snowdon Mountain Railway. Click to enlarge

Among the many interesting facts I unearthed was that the company, Snowdon Mountain Railway Ltd (formed 1894), files accounts for a dormant company.

At the very end of the latest Report & Accounts we read that “The company (Snowdon Mountain Railway Ltd) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Heritage Great Britain PLC.”

Heritage Great Britain PLC we are told, in its latest Annual Report, “is the holding company for Heritage Attractions Ltd and Heritage Brand Ventures Ltd”.

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Here’s the Companies House link to Heritage Attractions Ltd, and here’s the link to Heritage Brand Ventures Ltd.

At the very end of the latest Heritage Great Britain Annual Report & Accounts we read that everything is owned by a Jersey company:

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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?

It might have something to do with the Jersey connection, and former undertaker Kevin Leech, and perhaps his links to North Korea. For it’s generally believed that the ‘colourful’ Leech owns the companies we’ve read about here.

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.

Image: Clayton Equipment. Click to enlarge

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.

Google entry. “Alice the little Welsh engine”! How patronisingly twee. Click to enlarge

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.

Though there’s nothing really new about this plan, it goes back to the 1980s. Here’s a report from 2014.

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.)

One of the things that struck me on the Charity Commission website entry was that the contact address for the Bala Lake Railway Trust is in Shepton Mallet, Somerset.

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!)

Click to enlarge

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.

Toby Watkins and Julian Birley B.E.M. are also with The Locomotive Conservation and Learning Trust. And while Watkins is obviously a retired RAF officer, Birley is a property investor and buy-to-rent landlord, who has recently moved to Llanuwchllyn. His only current company seems to be Property Land Ltd.

Christina Lillian Kennedy accounts for the Shepton Mallet address. She has been involved in countless trusts and the like. While also running a few consultancies.

Roger Hine is another who has graciously come to live among us. Though back in July 2011 he threw a strop when Dŵr Cymru fixed the local water system during school holidays, which meant his toy trains needed to run on diesel for a couple of hours.

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.

Which leaves only ‘Steve’ Davies. When he’s not chuff-chuffing on the banks of Llyn Tegid Davies busies himself with The Friends of Sierra Leone National Railway Museum, The Duke of Lancaster’s Lancashire Regiment Museum, and chairing The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust.

Stephen Davies is from Lancashire, lives in North Yorkshire, and is another ex-military man. Here’s a bit of a bio. And wouldn’t ya know – he too has a consultancy.

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.)

BEDDGELERT

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.

Click to enlarge

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.

Image: Google. Coed Gelert, Beddgelert. Click to enlarge

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.

Click to enlarge

The big drop in 2018 is accounted for by the sale to David Firth and his wife of Plas Tegfryn. Which means that, as individuals, they bought the house off the company of which they were directors.

How was that calculated?

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.)

Or, rather, on the Companies House website I was able to bring up an individual property, but what’s available for download is the title document for the land on which Coed Gelert was built. You’ll note that when the land was bought David Firth was living on an estate called Oberon Wood. I kid you not – Oberon Wood!

Click to enlarge

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.

JAKE BERRY

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.

He’s been honoured with coverage on this blog in Jake Berry MP: ‘They seek him here, they seek him there . . . ‘. Jake Berry MP, part 2, Jake Berry MP, part 3, and Jake Berry MP, part 4. As if that wasn’t enough, there were subsequent mentions in Miscellany 06.06.2020, Miscellany 15.07.2020, and Wales and envirocolonialism.

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.

Jake Berry MP. Click to enlarge

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.

Clicking on Palatine Hill tells us that the listed officers are Duckworth Estate Company Limited and Ford Bridge Farm Limited. With Duckworth Estate owned, it would appear, by Palatine Hill Ltd.

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.

Tidy, mun!

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.

Colonialist charlatans with young. Click to enlarge

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.

Click to enlarge

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.

Note that Wales is “over here”. Click to enlarge

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.

Click to enlarge

Though I’d love to know how the dissembling incompetents in Corruption Bay think inviting into Wales small groups of arrogant colonialist fuckers© standing aloof from the indigenous population strengthens local rural economies. I really would like that to be explained.

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.

It so happens – Cassandra Lishman is selling her place!

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.

Paul/Tao Wimbush’ vision for Wales. Click to enlarge

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 LTD

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?

Glynllifon Ltd uses an accommodation address in London, 160 City Road EC1V 2NX.

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.

Glynllifon Hotel, Marianglas. Click to enlarge

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.

Click to enlarge

In that report from the Daily Post you will have seen the name of local ‘spokesman’ Barrie Durkin. He became a councillor and in 2013 he was complaining about the derelict buildings in Benllech:

“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.

Click to enlarge

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?

In a word, another crook.

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.

He seems to have a number of companies registered at his home address. It’s worth flicking through them. One of the companies – the Anglo Chinese Property Corporation Ltd – also has loans with Goldcrest and owns property in Wrecsam.

In August 2015 the Financial Conduct Authority refused Moir permission to engage in credit broking. (Though you have to admire his chutzpah!)

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.

Though when the story was reported by the Daily Post someone supported the change. “Can’t live in the past”, the comment said. It came from ‘Shakinshane’ . . . otherwise known as Shane Baker, of the Duggan family Bryn Llys gang.

(Bryn Llys has been renamed ‘Snowdon Summit View’.)

Click to enlarge

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.

Somebody must know.

To complete the picture my source tells me that Neil Moir has a partner. And that partner is Rhys Williams.

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.

♦ end ♦




Jake Berry MP, Part 3

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

I thought the previous post would be the end of the matter but more information keeps accumulating. If you’re new to it all then maybe you should start by catching up with Jake Berry MP; ‘They seek him here, they seek him there’ and Jake Berry MP, Part 2.

Though due to pressure being applied from somewhere these posts are no longer accessible via Facebook, which has removed the links on grounds of ‘Privacy’. This could perhaps have been anticipated, for Facebook is a stickler for privacy.

Click to enlarge

And while the current pandemic makes it impossible for me to appeal it was no obstacle to dealing with Berry’s complaint. Though I console myself with the knowledge that my ‘feedback’ will be appreciated.

So that’s alright then.

VIRGINIA GETS CONFUSED

This saga kicked off with allegations that Jake Berry, the MP for Rossendale and Darwen in east Lancashire, had sneaked himself and his family onto Ynys Môn and their holiday home Rhyd-y-Bont at Rhoscolyn. This farm had been bought towards the end of last year for £780,000, cash up front.

The Berry family had probably travelled from their London SW1 home, bought in 2017 for £2,150,000. Also paid with cash up front.

The story might have just died had it not been for the intervention of the island’s Tory MP Virginia Crosbie, a surprise victor in last December’s election. She defended Jake Berry with, “Mr and Mrs Berry have been living here in the island since February – it is their home.”

Virginia Crosbie is a none-too-bright beneficiary of the ‘Boris Bounce’ that was so influential in last December’s election. This enabled her to romp home . . . with just over a third of the vote. Much of that support would have come from people like Jake Berry who are taking over the island.

Click to enlarge

Plus some local farmers that she has now shafted by voting for the deal that will flood the UK with chlorinated chicken and other products. But maybe it won’t be so bad, perhaps Trump will have the meat injected with Dettol™. Yum, yum!

Jake Berry voted the same way.

One local contact suggests: “It will probably result in small, family livestock farms becoming far less competitive against US imports resulting in farmhouses in isolated, idyllic locations coming onto the market to become second homes and holiday businesses.  The land will still be farmed, except for say 5 acres around the house to ensure privacy.  What the agriculture bill will give is subsidies tied to environmental benefits, like the 5 acre wildflower meadow around the house

If you were an unscrupulous MP with aspirations for a property empire, how would you vote?”

“Unscrupulous MP”. Perish the thought!

Crosbie only just made it to that election, for I’m told that her nomination papers were delivered at the very last minute. And when you realise why, then you’ll understand that Crosbie’s insistence that Jake Berry and his family have been living at Rhoscolyn since February should be accompanied by pinch of Halen Môn. A big bloody pinch!

For as late as November 2019 Virginia Crosbie was still hoping to stand in the safe Tory seat of Mid Sussex, where Winston Churchill’s grandson Nicholas Soames was standing down. Though as Guido Fawkes told us, she was dishonestly claiming to ” . . . . have lived in West Sussex with my husband, our three children and our cocker spaniel Violet for over 10 years.”

It was dishonest because elsewhere she was claiming to have lived in Kensington for 20 years. She was certainly deputy chair of the local Tories. While hubby Ian works for big pharma in Belgium.

What she might have meant was that her family had a holiday home in Sussex, much like Jake Berry and his family have a holiday home on Ynys Môn.

And Crosbie only got the Ynys Môn booking because local Tories very late in the day grasped that Chris Davies, the Brecon and Radnor expenses fiddler, was a liability. So he was persuaded that his family needed to see more of him.

One senior Welsh Tory quoted by the BBC on the way things had been handled on Ynys Môn said, “The candidate selection has been seriously flawed and chaotic”.

Once ensconced Crosbie began to claim Welsh antecedents and connections. First, with a grandfather who been a coal miner in Merthyr. But more importantly for Ynys Môn, her father had worked at Wylfa nuclear power station.

She was hame amang her ain folk! (No, hang on, that’s Scotland. Cancel the pipe band and book a male voice choir.)

The local party can probably be excused for verisimillitudophobe Virginia Crosbie because she almost certainly floated down out of a clear blue sky from a plane with the markings ‘Conservative Central Office’.

What a party!

SERVING THE CONSTITUENCY

Crosbie’s intervention served only to confirm that Berry and his family share their time between London and Rhoscolyn with rare – well publicised – visits to his constituency where he claims to stay at Clough Cottage. This is a small property conveniently owned by local Tory big-wig Tony Cope.

It seems that for 2018-2019, Berry claimed £16,618.31 for using Clough Cottage as his constituency base. Though how often he actually stays there is another matter. Because there’s certainly not enough room for him, his wife, their children and the nanny.

Clough Cottage

A constituent of Berry’s sent me this photograph she’d taken of Clough Cottage. My source was keen to point out that Clough Cottage is ‘the bit at the end’, the rest is Clough House. (I like the dappled sunlight effect.)

Though you have to wonder why Jake Berry needed to enter this arrangement with Tony Cope, for until very recently he owned a property (with tŷ bach and cwtch glô) on Helmshore Road in Rossendale. A property he sold early last year.

Which means that he sold a property he owned – but for which he could only claim council tax and utilities (totalling £1,373.40 in 2016/17) – in order to pocket £150,000 and go into an expensive arrangement with Tony Cope.

BROWN ENVELOPES ARE SO PASSÉ

In the previous post I mentioned the companies linked to Jake Berry. I wrote, “Setting up companies to provide a cover for nefarious activities is something I report on regularly on this blog, but that can’t be the case here, surely? So why set up companies and just let them fold?”

I think I now understand what it’s about. I was initially directed – with a nod, a wink, and a tap of the nose – to PEPC Ltd, a company set up by Berry’s closest aides, Paul Lambert Fairhurst and Louise Emma Inglis. This was followed by a source in the constituency suggesting there was a similar reason for Ford Bridge Farm Ltd.

Ford Bridge is of course an anglicisation of Rhyd-y-Bont.

Let’s go back to the mysterious Rhoscolyn Ltd, founded 27 March 2008, when Jake Berry was just a likely lad who had probably been promised a constituency by the Conservative Party. There was a general election on 6 May 2010, and our boy was elected MP for Rossendale and Darwen. Then Rhoscolyn Ltd was allowed to die.

Licensing Objective Ltd was formed 28.08.2014, probably in anticipation of the May 2015 general election. PEPC Ltd was set up 27.08.2016 in preparation for the June 8, 2017 general election.

Click to enlarge

No such company was needed for last December’s election because with Corbyn ‘leading’ the Labour Party, and a Brexit-Boris surge anticipated in northern England, Jake Berry was confident of increasing his majority. Which he did.

Thinking ahead to the next general election perhaps accounts for Ford Bridge Farm Ltd.

Not only that, but two sources of funding were identified: “The notorious United and Cecil donated to Jake in 2019, before that he got it from an unincorporated members association called The Portcullis Club, based in a very leafy part of the Ribble Valley.”

I suppose you’re wondering who or what these groups are. Well you can find some references online but it’s obvious those involved don’t like publicity, nor is The Portcullis Club confined to Mayhill boy Nigel Evans’ Ribble Valley constituency.

I ran across one mention of Portcullis on the website of Pimlico Plumbers.

Click to funders

So a host of wealthy Tory backers from north west England descended on London for a bun fight. And I’m not talking local shopkeepers from Happy Families here; this is not Mr Bung the Brewer, more like, well . . . Mr Bung.

Though in fairness to Jake Berry, and I always strive to be fair – even to colonialist bastards who think my homeland is some nineteenth century ‘possession’ to be exploited – some of this funding is declared . . . but only some of it.

Most of it goes through the kind of channels I listed earlier. Though this example might suggest yet another model.

And who knows, perhaps United and Cecil and The Portcullis Club are not the only publicity-shy Tory funding groups that have slipped Jake Berry thousands of pounds over the past decade.

But what might these benefactors expect in return?

Of course I could be on the wrong track entirely; there might be perfectly innocent explanations for setting up companies ahead of a general election. Companies that apparently do nothing and are then written off when the election is over.

If so, then I look forward to reading these explanations.

FOLLOW THE MONEY

I made the point in the earlier posts that Jake Berry’s salary would appear to go a long, long way. But of course, the boy does seem to have other forms of income.

As this piece from Landlord Today of August 2019, reminded us in relaying a Daily Mirror report that cabinet ministers were claiming for accommodation in London while renting our property they owned elsewhere. Jake Berry among them.

Click to enlarge

Berry’s property assets explain why, in January 2016, he was one of 72 Tory MPs who voted against making private rented accommodation ‘fit for human habitation’.

But even so, a few ropey rents don’t supply the readies for a £2,15m house in London and a £780,000 farm on Ynys Môn. Though the house is in Berry’s wife’s name, and the Rhoscolyn property in both their names.

So does Alice Molly Radclyffe Berry have money? The answer seems to be, yes.

That’s because, I’m told, her father is Mark Noel Foster Robinson who, some of you may remember, was from 1983 to 1987 the MP for Newport West. And later, MP for Somerton and Frome between 1992 and 1997.

Mark Robinson. Click to enlarge

Somerton Park to Somerton? (Geddit?)

But more importantly for considerations of material wealth, Mark Robinson was “Born in Bristol to John Foster Robinson, CBE, TD, and Margaret, née Paterson, Robinson’s father was High Sheriff of Avon in 1975. John Robinson’s family ran ES&A Robinson, the paper and packaging conglomerate that later became Dickinson Robinson Group.”

The Dickinson Robinson Group made Sellotape and Basildon Bond among other well-known products. So if Mark Robinson is Mrs Berry’s father then there is almost certainly money from her father’s side of the family.

What I find strange is that Alice Berry has dropped the Robinson name, but instead of using her mother’s maiden name of Pilkington, she’s gone back a generation to take her maternal grandmother’s maiden name of Radclyffe.

Whatever the explanation for this, we can be sure that Alice Berry has money. (And that’s without making any assumptions regarding the Pilkington side of her family.) Enough money to enable an arriviste like Jake Berry to play the squire and build up a property portfolio.

It’s surely only a matter of time before he’s Master of the Holyhead Hunt. (Who meet regularly to set the dogs on Shinners getting off the ferry.)

OVER HERE

To kick-start his political career Jake Berry perhaps relied on the Bank of Mum and Dad. Then it was his MP’s salary (and expenses) – with his re-election helped by wealthy donors operating in the shadows – which allowed him to build a modest property portfolio. More recently, the boy appears to have struck gold with the second Mrs Berry.

Just think, this man was in the UK cabinet until very recently, and he still has considerable influence with his mate BoJo, who was his wife’s employer, and is godfather to their elder son.

You know me, I’m not a socialist; I want to see enterprise succeed and initiative rewarded. But that’s not what we’ve been looking at here.

For we’re discussing the modern Conservative Party. A party made up of chancers, each one looking out for number one. A party devoid of a coherent political ideology, let alone an underpinning philosophy. A party that is in no way Tory.

Your next Conservative and Unionist Party candidate? (Or am I being unkind to spivs?)

This is bad enough when it happens over there. But when these people are here, buying up property like Wales is one big fire sale, then something needs to be done.

But what can we expect from those buffoons down Corruption Bay. Those house Taffs, who refuse to even close the loophole that allows holiday homes to be registered as businesses.

Has Berry registered his properties as businesses, I wonder, and is he now claiming his coronovirus compensation?

Perhaps what really pisses me off is that in the Punch and Judy show of UK politics the ineptitude of the Conservatives up in London will help keep the even more useless Labour Party in power at next year’s Welsh Parliament elections.

The two-party system is like a see-saw with an arsehole at each end. When one’s up the other is down.

But all the old parties have failed Wales. Which is why we need radical change, and why we must support Gwlad and the Welsh National Party.

♦ end ♦

P.S. While idly Googling ‘Rhoscolyn’ up popped the grandly named Rhoscolyn Estate Enterprises Ltd. The ‘estate’ consists of a rather run-down, but still quite impressive property by the name of Bryn Goleu.

I’m telling you this because of course Rhoscolyn is the area where the Berry family is building its property empire, and Bryn Goleu was on the market recently. But no longer, which means it’s either been withdrawn or it’s been sold.

The Land Registry website suggests that documentation is being processed. I wonder . . .

 




Jake Berry MP, Part 2

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

The original ‘Jake Berry MP’ was such a hit with the popcorn-munching public that Jac Universal Studios is unashamedly rushing out a sequel featuring our lantern-jawed hero.

In this offering you will meet a number of new faces including another Jake, the police get involved, and there’s a cameo appearance by Boris Johnson.

So dim the house lights, sit back, and prepare to be entertained. (But don’t make too much noise with the popcorn!)

LAST TIME . . .

We left our hero clinging to a ledge above a 1,000 foot drop with the villain about to stamp on his aching fingers . . . oh, sorry, wrong screenplay.

Though it would have been a good place to start because at least we’d know where he was. For Jake Berry is a difficult man to pin down; he ducks and weaves, always on the move, like the Muhammad Ali of the government benches.

Jake Berry on his way to a (pre-lockdown) board meeting of Trotters Independent Traders. Click to enlarge

This tale began last week, you’ll remember, with reports that Berry and his family had turned up at one of their Rhoscolyn properties on Ynys Môn in defiance of lockdown instructions. They had probably come from their London SW1 home.

But Virginia Crosbie the local MP, unexpected victor in last December’s election, insisted that the family had been at Rhyd-y-Bont since February, long before lockdown. It was just that no one had noticed them . . . for three months.

Her exact words, quoted by NorthWalesLive, were: “Mr and Mrs Berry have been living here in the island since February – it is their home.” Though whether telling us that the MP for an east Lancashire constituency lived on Ynys Môn really helped Berry is a moot point.

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Then evidence started dribbling out making it clear that if the Berry family had been at Rhyd-y-Bont since February then Jake Berry had been regularly breaking lockdown. And if they’d arrived on Ynys Môn the week before last, then that too was breaking lockdown. It was no longer a question of whether Jake Berry was guilty, but of which offence.

The unravelling of the alibi also tells us that the local Conservative MP has been telling porkies.

YOU WERE LEFT WONDERING . . .

Now then, let’s clear up a few loose ends from the previous blockbuster. We identified three properties at Rhoscolyn owned or part-owned by James Jacob Gilchrist Berry.

There was Cerrig, part-owned with his parents. Plas Coch, part-owned with his mother and another family member. Then there’s Rhyd-y-Bont, the farm for which he paid £780,000 up front in November.

Correction 19.05.2020: I am now informed that Max Jonathan Berry and Ruth Elizabeth Berry, co-owners of Cerrig, are Jake Berry’s siblings. Lucy Charlotte Berry, co-owner of Plas Coch, is either another sibling or the wife of Max.

I mentioned that there was a fourth property at Rhoscolyn waiting to be identified. Well now I have it. It’s Mountain View which, I’m informed, is next to Silver Bay Caravan Park. Lovely, traditional Welsh names. Names like these being the benefits of tourism and social engineering.

According to the Land Registry title document Mountain View was bought some time ago for £92,000. It’s now for sale with Dafydd Hardy at an asking price of £485,000. (I’ll explain how I came by this information in a minute.)

So that’s four properties, but I’m told there might be more properties in the area owned by Jake Berry. Specifically, the property where his defender, local MP Virginia Crosbie lives when she visits the island. I await information from my man in the shrubbery.

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There was also some uncertainty as to where the Berry family actually lives. Do they have a fixed abode, or do they move with the seasons, like members of some pastoral society, driving their flocks before them?

As I’ve hinted, the permanent abode is in London SW1, a property bought for £2,150,000 in February 2017, with money up front, just like Rhyd-y-Bont. So the Berry clan will in future be moving between London and Ynys Môn with the pater familias making the occasional foray into his constituency.

You’ll see that I have redacted the identifying details from the London property. This seems the right option following a telephone conversation with North Wales Police on Saturday, a convivial chat with a chief inspector who agreed that what Jake Berry had complained about – me putting out his personal details – was already in the public domain via the Land Registry.

What I can tell you is that the London property is in the name of Berry’s wife.

The difference is that the Rhoscolyn properties were known locally and being identified on social media before I got involved. The London address is not publicly known.

THE MAGIC MONEY TREE

Something else I wondered about in the first part was where the lucre is coming from to make these expensive purchases. For Berry is a non-practising solicitor and seems to have no directorships. I remarked that his MP’s salary seems to go a long, long way.

Though I suppose with the London property being in his wife’s name she might be worth a few bob herself. Alternatively, the SW1 house could have been bought with Berry’s money and registered in her name to throw people of the scent.

On the question of companies and directorships, while there seem to be no current directorships for Jake Berry there have certainly been directorships in the past.

One snippet I was sent mentions a company called Rhoscolyn Limited. I’m afraid I don’t have the context. (Though maybe it’s from the site Company Director Check?) And of course this is how I learnt about Mountain View.

I drew a blank on the Companies House website and other sites, so if anyone out there has information on Rhoscolyn Limited, then it’s the usual routine, either leave it in the old hollow tree or send it to editor@jacothenorth.net.

Click to enlarge

Digressing slightly, but staying with the subject of money – always a Conservative MP’s prime consideration – MPs get well paid with expenses. With this in mind I went to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) site to check on Jake the Lad’s expenses.

Which was quite interesting.

For the last full year available, 2018-2019, he claimed £16,618.31 for accommodation in his constituency. That accommodation I understand is Clough Cottage in Rossendale, which is owned by Tony Cope, a bigwig among Rossendale & Darwen Conservatives.

A nice little earner for Tony.

Let’s return to companies and directorships, for while Jake Berry himself seems to be ‘clean’, others close to him do dabble.

There’s PEPC Ltd which was run by Berry’s Parliamentary PA Paul Lambert Fairhurst and his Personal PA Louise Inglis, using a Liverpool address. This company was dissolved in December 2018 without apparently troubling HMRC or anyone else. It just did nothing in its brief existence.

Fairhurst was also involved with a company called PND Group Ltd, with a Manchester address, which went under in March 2020, also after a short period of apparent inactivity.

Inglis was further involved with a company giving a Nottingham address, called Licensing Objective Ltd. It was dissolved in February 2019 after less than five years of shuffling around a bit of small change.

Setting up companies to provide a cover for nefarious activities is something I report on regularly on this blog, but that can’t be the case here, surely? So why set up companies and just let them fold?

Let’s conclude this little excursion into the corporate world by turning our attention to Ford Bridge Farm Ltd. And if that sounds weirdly familiar then it’s because it is of course Rhyd-y-Bont, one of Berry’s Rhoscolyn properties, rendered into English. The sole director is Mrs Berry.

The company gives a correspondence address in the town of Bacup, in Berry’s Rossendale and Darwen constituency. Though why a company that uses a corrupted version of the Ynys Môn property’s name needs to be based in Lancashire is a mystery.

Can anyone offer a suggestion?

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To be exact, Ford Bridge Farm Ltd is headquartered in this splendid old building in downtown Bacup that was available for rent or lease when this Google Earth image was captured in September 2018.

UPDATE: I am indebted to @JanZamosky for suggesting that Mountain View Ltd might have been formed to avoid paying council tax. Would this also explain the more recent Ford Bridge Farm Ltd?

GODFATHERS AND A ROAD TRIP

When Jake Berry’s first child was born in 2017 one godfather was Harry Cole, former co-editor of the Guido Fawkes website and now deputy political editor for the Mail on Sunday. He had rented a flat from Mrs Berry and was the long-time partner of Carrie Symonds. The other godfather was Boris Johnson.

Jake Berry obviously had important and influential friends.

Then on 24 May last year Theresa May surprised no one by announcing that she was jacking in it and told the Tories to look for a new leader. Jake Berry threw himself into Boris Johnson’s campaign.

And it was godfather Harry Cole who reported rather sniffily that Berry was to do a tour of north west England in a “yellow truck like the ones used in the cheesy 1990s American TV series Baywatch”. And for company Berry would have Jacob Rees-Mogg.

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Yes, I know what you’re thinking – what a pleasure it must have been to travel 170 miles in the company of Jacob Rees-Mogg! Though I’m sure there are some who’d feel sorry for Rees-Mogg having to spend that much time with Jake Berry.

Maybe they deserve each other.

One source – who seems to know his stuff – suggests the £4,000 quoted as the purchase price for the Ford Ranger was on the cheap side. While another source might have provided the answer by telling me that Berry sends his PA Fairhurst to auctions on his behalf! Is this covered under MPs’ expenses?

As history now records, it all paid off. Boris Johnson won the leadership vote and the general election in December. Jake Berry was made Minister of State for the Northern Powerhouse. Though Rees-Mogg seems to have fallen from favour since his hommage to a fin de siècle slapper reclining on a chaise longue.

Though it turned sour for Berry as well because earlier this year he was sacked. Yes, he was allowed to make the ‘spend more time with the family’ excuse and resign. But this was a ‘Make him an offer he can’t accept’ kind of ‘resignation’.

I have no idea what became of the yellow Ford Ranger that must carry so many happy memories. Indeed, it might have been an attempt to recapture those memories that prompted Jake Berry to buy another. There’s certainly one parked now at Rhyd-y-Bont. (Or are we expected to call it ‘Ford Bridge Farm’?)

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What’s odd is that the registration for the truck used in last year’s Boris Johnson Productions re-make of Thelma and Louise was CV60 ZJE, while the one parked up now is CV11 JYA.

CV is the registration for Swansea.

Harry Cole told us the road trip vehicle was “formerly used by council street cleaners”. If so, then does Jake Berry have a direct line to Swansea Guildhall that enables him to pick up old council vehicles on the cheap?

Or is there some other explanation? Does anyone recognise those registration numbers?

CONCLUSION

It’s all very well having a laugh at Jake Berry and the rest of them, but turning us into strangers in our own land is no joke.

Yet we are expected to welcome being priced out of our communities because a lying politician or a trainee hack on a provincial rag tells us that rising property prices is a sure-fire indicator of prosperity.

That may be the case in a normal society, but not in a colony!

Wales may lack the monuments to a great past, and the institutions of a mighty state. But we have something far more important – a sense of nationhood that has survived without these trappings, and in defiance of them.

Today this nation nation is growing restless because the ‘progressive’ parties have failed us.

They’ve failed us because they refuse to accept that there’s a real country beyond Corruption Bay; a country with broken communities and angry people who are sick of funding middle class lesbian co-operatives and other forms of gesture politics.

While we who are trying to combat colonialism are traduced by wassisname, who leads the ‘progressives’, as inherently right wing.

If so, then I’m proud to be a right wing nationalist standing up for my people. It’s more honourable by far than being a smug, two-faced ‘progressive’ collaborating with the colonialist system.

♦ end ♦