Bute Energy, Update, 30.06.2023

This piece has been off / on for a while, due to other matters cropping up to grab my attention. But in the end, it worked out, because new information is emerging all the time.

To avoid going over too much old ground I shall devote most of this piece to what’s new. Those wanting more information on what’s gone before can type ‘Bute Energy’ in the search box atop the sidebar.

The whole article, including quoted passages, is roughly 3,000 words, so rather than gulp it down in one you can take it a piece at a time. You know it makes sense!

BUTE ENERGY, A SHORT RÉSUMÉ

In recent years I’ve written a lot about Bute Energy and the various companies under that umbrella. This ever-expanding empire began life in London, at 20 Primrose Street, otherwise known as the Broadgate Tower in the City.

Then it used an address in Edinburgh’s New Town (above Gant), probably because the principals, Oliver James Millican, Stuart Allan George and Lawson Douglas Steele, seem to be Scottish, or resident in Scotland.

But over the past year we’ve seen use made of an address at Hodge House in Cardiff. This being a desperate but unconvincing attempt to suggest that Bute is a Welsh company.

Pass the bara brith, Blodwen, indeed to goodness, look you!”

This change of address simply means that the invitations to meet ‘Russian brides’, the 50p off! at Tesco vouchers, and the Vote for Dai Scroggins election leaflets get delivered to Sir Julian’s old gaff.

And let’s not forget the overseas investment, for Bute is in partnership with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. The name says ‘Copenhagen’, but the money could be coming from anywhere.

Bute Energy, through a host of companies, many carrying the name of a specific project – such as Bryn Glas Energy Park Ltd – wants to build ‘Energy Parks’ the length of Wales; twenty-three at the latest count. These locations may also include solar arrays, and even hydrogen whatsits.

The map below is my best guess of where these wind farms are. I may have mis-located one or two.

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Opposition has been mounting for some time to Bute’s grand designs, but resistance has tended to be localised, confined to areas immediately affected by one of the few projects for which Bute has revealed its plans.

But most of the sites remain little more than Companies House entries offering the bare minimum of information.

Resistance increased a while ago when news broke that Bute wanted to bring power from its ‘Nant Mithil’ (Radnor Forest) site along 60 miles of pylons to link up with the grid running east from Pembroke power station.

If we accept the route map produced by Bute, then the connection with the grid is to be made somewhere south of Carmarthen town.

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Though when asked exactly where the connection is to be made, at a ‘Have Your Say’ meeting in the RWS showground, Llanelwedd, Bute head honcho, Millican, was unable to answer.

So let’s see if I can fill in any gaps.

What follows will be in some kind of chronological order; which means I’ve tried to present the fresh evidence in the order it became known to me.

LAND USE CONSULTANTS AND OTHERS

This first item takes us back a couple of years, but it seems to have been overlooked. It cropped up in this tweet from April 2021. (The link is broken.)

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Land Use Consultants was formed by Edward Max Nicholson in 1966. Five years earlier, with Sir Peter Scott and others, he set up the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). I guess LUC has been recruited in another attempt to burnish Bute’s environmental credentials.

Bute and LUC were together at the ‘inception meeting’ last December with ‘Welsh Government’s Planning & Environmental Decisions outfit to discuss the ‘Nant Mithil Grid Connection Project‘ (page 6).

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Intriguingly, LUC has been involved with the so-called ‘Welsh Government’ since at least 2010. As shown by this report, Research: Planning Implications of Renewable and Low Carbon Energy.

Though for other projects Bute seems to employ different planning consultants. For the Nant Mithil site itself it’s David Bell Planning, of Edinburgh; for Llyn Lort it seems to be Carney Sweeney, of Birmingham; and for Rhiwlas it’s RSK, of Cheshire.

LUC also seems to be picking up other work in Wales. I know it’s working with Natural Resources Wales on the Dark Skies project.

Which makes perfect sense. Because with the Corruption Bay Clown Show determined to switch to Unreliables it won’t be long before we shan’t need to travel to darkest Powys to escape ‘light pollution’.

TWO NEW ‘ENERGY PARKS’

Orddu is one of the new sites. As you can see on the map above, the nearest town is Bala. To be more precise, Orddu is north east of Bala and sits above the smallholding of Cwm-cywen in Cwm Main, where my father-in-law was born and raised.

A company has been formed with the usual three directors. Here’s the Companies House entry.

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The other new energy park, Moel Chwa, is across the A5 and just to the east of another Bute site at Mwdwl-eithin. At the time of writing there is no company bearing the Moel Chwa name, but there is a website mention.

Moel Chwa seems to be very close to an earlier project by Clean Earth Energy Ltd called Nant Bach. Are they related?

The Companies House entry for Nant Bach Turbine Ltd suggests Clean Earth erected just a single turbine. Which the filed accounts value at £2,273,106, giving some idea of the kind of money we’re talking about.

GRIDS & NETWORKS

As I mentioned, opposition to Bute’s ambitions got a boost with news of the plan for 60 miles of pylons from Nant Mithill (Radnor Forest) to the west-east grid connection near Carmarthen.

This has been linked with Bute’s Green Generation Energy Networks Cymru Ltd.

It’s also being suggested that, in a belated attempt to make up for the past two decades in which they encouraged foreign companies – many government owned – to exploit Wales with no local returns, ‘Welsh’ Labour is now pretending it can create something like a Welsh national grid.

The announcement I just linked to came a few days after the Commons’ Welsh Affairs Committee produced ‘Grid capacity in Wales’.

And while neither document mentioned Bute Energy, many observers believe that Bute Energy is heavily involved. Some believe Bute will build Julie James’ ‘Welsh grid’.

For naked corruption would be the only other interpretation for the very close, and financially lucrative, links between Bute and a number of ‘Welsh’ Labour insiders.

From the Green Gen Cymru Network video. “Endless potential” is quite chilling. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

But then, confusion abounds on the subject of networks, with Julie James, Minister for Climate Change, as confused as anyone, according to a knowledgeable contact. For this source suggests she doesn’t understand there are two different types of grid.

My source explains the difference here.

We know that Bute wants new pylons from the Radnor Forest to somewhere in the vicinity of Carmarthen, and to then take that power to Usk and over the border. This it calls “Phase 1“.

It’s suggested Phase 2 (and another line of pylons?) will start somewhere near Eisteddfa Gurig, close to the A44, inland of Aberystwyth, and run to (and here I quote my source) “Chirk Grid Supply Point’ (as yet unbuilt)“.

Although Phase 2 is still a bit hazy, there would appear to be confirmation out there. According to the documents reproduced below, Bute projects in west central and northern Wales will run to the as yet unbuilt Chirk GSP.

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References to ‘Chirk’ obviously cause confusion because Chirk GSP doesn’t exist. But what does exist is not far away at Lower Frankton. The problem here being that Lower Frankton is in Shropshire.

On this OS map the border is in purple, it shows Chirk as just about the nearest point, in Wales, to Lower Frankton. So is Lower Frankton being called Chirk to pretend it’s in Wales, and therefore boost Wales’ Net Zero credentials?

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Further evidence of grid ambitions came a few weeks back with the Infrastructure (Wales) Bill. You’ll see it talks of making it easier for the James Gang to give consent for “overhead electric lines”.

There are also links with Ireland. One comes up near Bodelwyddan, inland of Abergele. Then there’s the Greenlink Interconnector, ensuring that “Excess power can be shared between Ireland and the UK”.

Finally, let’s look at a link from Scotland. Nation.Cymru reported this last November, and parroted the National Grid’s press handout about it being to “upgrade Wales’ electricity network and take advantage of offshore power“.

In fact, and to get technical, I hear work has started on the Bangor (Pentir) to Swansea (North) 400kv double-circuit pylon line.

Let Uncle Jac explain this one . . .

England needs more electricity . . . but not the turbines and the pylons. So the turbines are in Scotland, the cables carrying the electricity run under the Irish Sea, come ashore near Bangor, go overland to Swansea, where they join the west-east line from Pembroke, and then on to England.

As my well-informed source put it, “The two grid connections out of south Wales into England currently have no constraints so it appears as if Wales is being used as a ‘transmission corridor’ from Scotland to England”.

NEWS FROM SCOTLAND

A couple of weeks ago I had an e-mail from Glasgow. As you know, I get lots of e-mails, but this is worth mentioning because it suggests that this source is keeping an eye on Bute’s operations in Scotland.

Before I tell you what it says, I’d better identify some of those mentioned.

Erik Bonino was an oil executive who joined Bute in July 2020 but left early this year due to alleged naughtiness by Bute in Senghenydd. Or that’s how I heard it.

The story made it into Llais y Sais, where Shippo covered it.

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David James Taylor was spad to Rhodri Morgan, Peter Hain and Carwyn Jones. He has profited greatly from being Bute’s entry to ‘Welsh Government’.

You’ll see that the source suggests Taylor has been replaced by the fragrant Sophie Howe, the former Future Generations Commissioner. This would fit well with her new job with Lynn. (Until May last year, ‘Lynn PR Ltd’.)

Sophie Howe has landed on her feet, again, due to her manifest and dazzling talents. Her raking it in, again, is completely unconnected with knowing everybody worth knowing in ‘Welsh Government’, ‘Welsh’ Labour, and civil service.

Happy to clear that up.

By “Reece Emmett” I think my source means Reece Emmitt. (Here in pdf format.) Though I can’t see any obvious connection with the Labour party. But after 5 years in Cardiff University that can be almost guaranteed.

There have been big divisions in Bute management. Chairman Erik Bonino lost a power struggle with Oliver Millican, the majority shareholder, now Bonino and his allies have been cleared out.

Team Millican: Stuart George, Lawson Steele, Gareth Williams.

Team Bonino: Mark Vyvyan Robinson, Gemma Hamilton, David Taylor.

Bonino was known to be nervous and raised concerns about unethical practices regarding securing land and some of the heavy legal agreements and gagging orders Bute were trying to impose on landowners and residents. He was concerned only about his own image and reputation though not about the welfare of the landowners and communities. He was also nervous about all the bad publicity Bute were getting generally and how it was impacting on him.

Bonino recruited Mark Vyvyan Robinson from EDF (where he had been for 20 years) as CEO but he left shortly after a few months. Gemma Hamilton (development director) David Taylor (comms director) were both in same camp and left soon after along with Bonino. and some junior staff.

Millican made himself chairman and installed his sidekick Stuart George as Managing Director. Both are woefully inexperienced and the whole operation is now considered a joke in the industry.

They brought in Derek Hastings from SSE to replace Gemma Hamilton. They basically are paying people 3x what they get elsewhere which is how they recruit people.

They are throwing money around and recently brought in two people to replace DT: Sophie Howe as an “adviser” to help with Welsh govt / Labour link. And Aled Rowlands a former aide to Nick Bourne to try and sort the Tories. Obviously that is failing badly cos the Welsh Tories hate Bourne.

Also Reece Emmett ex Welsh Labour apparatchik is in the comms team.

ANTZ CYMRU

I suppose we’d better start this section with the ANTZ Cymru website’s announcement of the link-up with Bute Energy. Which prompts a few comments.

First, there is no entity called ANTZ Cymru, it’s a flag of convenience for ANTZ UK Ltd of Manchester. Realising there’s money to be made in Wales ANTZ is another company that has adopted a faux Welsh identity.

A good source in Powys, sees parallels between ANTZ and something called the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT). Which says of itself, “We are the original Nudge Unit”. BIT is an international outfit with its UK office in Manchester.

Here’s a BIT website page to which I was directed called ‘How to build a Net Zero society’. I was also nudged (geddit!) in the direction of, ‘A Manifesto for Applying Behavioral (sic) Science’.

And then, from 2010, we have ‘Mindspace‘, focusing on “influencing behaviour“.

This all begins to sound like getting people to think the way you want them to think. To accept that black is white. Dare we say – brainwashing?

Will we see people stumbling out of village halls repeating, “Wind turbines are nice . . . I love pylons . . . Mark Drakeford is the most gifted and accomplished politician of his era”.

An exaggeration, I confess, but we are talking of mind games here. Getting people to think a certain way, and then there’s the careful use of language. Here’s a couple of gems from the page announcing the partnership.

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We read: “ANTZ Cymru is developing a bespoke person-centred, Social Value monitoring system on behalf of Bute Energy that tracks the individual.”

Tracks the individual! What the hell does that mean?

Then there’s this, “The renewable energy team at Bute Energy is planning to deliver a family of wind and solar farms across Wales”. A family!

“Oh look, children – there’s Daddy wind turbine, and there’s Mammy wind turbine, and all the little – 820ft! – baby wind turbines”.

Did you ever read such bollocks?

How much is Bute paying ANTZ? To judge by what my Scottish contact told us, it’s probably well over the odds.

CPRW COMPLAINT

As I’ve explained, Bute goes to great lengths in attempts to prove it’s a Welsh company serving Wales. As I hope I’ve made clear, what Bute and others are actually doing is exploiting the complicity of the Corruption Bay buffoons to turn Wales into a vast open-air power station for England.

If the wind farms planned and mooted ever get built, then Wales, apart from national parks and built-up areas, will be covered in turbines and pylons. All happening in a country that already produces more electricity than she needs!

I was encouraged therefore to read that the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW) has reported Bute to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for making misleading claims.

Point 1 of the complaint (below) sums it up. Electricity produced in Wales goes into the UK national grid and thence to wherever it’s needed. Bute therefore cannot promise to supply Welsh homes with green energy.

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Well done, Ross Evans and CPRW. And the very best of luck.

CONCLUSION: THINGS CAN ONLY GET BETTER

What you’ve read might make you despair, but that’s because you’ve been reading about Wales. Elsewhere, things seem to be looking up.

But perhaps not in Germany. Or not yet.

Though Siemens has taken a hit recently due to component problems in Siemens Gamesa wind turbines. But many believe the problems are more widespread. Not least because the components used by Gamesa are used by other manufacturers.

More on Siemens, linking with Bute Energy. And on ‘Creaky Wind Turbines’.

In fact, the German economy is in trouble. Over-reliance on Russian gas – which NATO sabotaged – closing its last three nuclear power plants, and going hell-for-leather on ‘Renewables’ hasn’t helped.

But the Germans aren’t stupid. They’ll soon realise their mistake.

Which is what appears to have happened in Sweden, where the news is much more encouraging. The government there has turned its back on the unattainable goal of 100% renewable energy. What will Greta say!

While next door, in Norway, we read . . .

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The fact is that Western governments, under pressure from the public and the dictates of common sense, are starting to reject the Globalists’ degrowth agenda and their stooges’ insistence on Net Zero.

Yet as some countries wake up to the cost of Net Zero others continue to sleepwalk towards disaster. Unfortunately, we live in one. And it has consequences.

Just before last Christmas Tata put out a press release saying it would ‘pause’ operations at its Port Talbot steel plant, the largest in Europe, and its tinplate operation at Trostre, in Llanelli, “to reduce strain on grid”.

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As we are forced to depend more and more on Unreliables the electricity supply will become more erratic; and that means jobs paying good wages, like the thousands at Margam and Trostre, will be lost.

An absurd price to pay for the unattainable goal of 100% of electricity from ‘renewables’ – in order to fight a ‘climate crisis’ that’s not happening! The only beneficiaries are the governments, corporations, and investors owning the wind turbines on our soil.

And so every wind farm and pylon run should be treated as another Tryweryn. For they mean Cymru being exploited to satisfy the greed of strangers. And to keep the lights on in England.

♦ end ♦

Miscellany 07.07.2022

As the title suggests, this week’s offering is a miscellany, bits and pieces from hither and yon. Covering . . .

  • Wind turbine disposal.
  • Fears for the planning system in the north west.
  • Awkward locals opposing the hundreds of executive homes Aberdyfi so desperately needs.
  • A development in the ongoing saga of the Llanbedr by-pass.
  • A new environmental group (cos we haven’t got enough).
  • More on Gilestone farm. 
  • My unanswered FoI to the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party.
  • ‘Welsh Government’ funds National Trust (cos NT’s a bit short at the moment).
  • Is ‘Welsh Government’ flogging off executive homes in Cardiff?
  • Enviroloonies saving Wales from the curse of employment.
  • Stumping up for the ‘Welsh Government’s favourite farmer.
  • ‘Welsh Government’ wants more trees . . . but fewer farmers.
  • Ukraine.
  • Enlarging the Senedd, or making the pig-sty bigger.

This is a monster issue, over 5,000 words; but you can take it a piece at a time. And because it is such a substantial offering late in the week, don’t expect anything next week.

Capice?

WHERE WILL ALL THE TURBINES GO?

A couple of weeks ago I submitted a Freedom of Information request to the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ asking who was responsible for disposing of wind turbines when they come to the end of their working lives.

Given that the lifespan of a turbine is 15 – 25 years we must have in Wales a few hundred turbines approaching decrepitude. With hundreds more in their ‘middle age’, and plans in the system to erect God knows how many others. (Bute Energy alone wants 20 new wind farms.)

It seems to me to be an important question. Hence the FoI request.

I was also mindful of what happened when certain opencast mining sites came to the end of their working lives . . . and it was found that responsibility for restoring those sites had been transferred to companies located in the British Virgin Islands.

You might also like to read this 2014 report produced for the ‘Welsh Government’ and entitled, ‘Research into the failure to Restore Opencast Coal Sites in South Wales’.

When we add the birds and bats they kill wind turbines’ environmental credentials are on a par with Jack the Ripper’s contribution to the welfare and well-being of streetwalkers. Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

Here’s the response I received to my FoI.

It tells me that, ‘Responsibility for decommissioning wind turbines lies with the developer/operator of the site’.

Richard Spear of the Planning Inspectorate concludes his response with: ‘In addition, developers/operators should ensure that sufficient finance is set aside to enable them to meet restoration obligations. A local planning authority may require financial guarantees by way of a Section 106 planning obligation / agreement, as part of the approval of planning permission to ensure that restoration will be fully achieved.’

It’s worth pointing out that in most cases it was the ‘Welsh Government’ that gave planning permission for wind turbines, often over-riding local authorities. The ‘Welsh Government’ should therefore have seen to it that each developer paid a ‘bond’, up front, to ensure there will be enough money to restore each site.

But those buffoons down Corruption Bay were so concerned with making ‘planet-saving’ gestures that they couldn’t see beyond their own wagging fingers.

I predict with certainty that in the near future, we – by which I mean Wales – will find ourselves lumbered with ‘orphan’ wind turbines that will cost us a hell of a lot of money to demolish. And then more money to restore the sites they’ve come from.

And that’s without deciding what to do with the blades, because they cannot be recycled. Most go into landfill. Just as well we’ve left the European Union, because the EU has banned landfill disposal.

On the plus side, it means that turbine blades from the Continent can come to landfill sites in Wales!

Should this come to pass then it will doubtless be claimed as ‘foreign investment’.

WILD WEST SHOW?

I am indebted to a regular source for news of concerns about the Gwynedd and Môn Joint Planning Policy Committee. To be clear, this is not the planning committee, deciding on planning applications, but the policy committee that determines in more general terms where development will be allowed.

Although Gwynedd is a large council in area, much of the planning responsibility falls to the Snowdonia National Park; which leaves the council to oversee a few ‘islands’ – Tywyn, Barmouth, Blaenau Ffestiniog – then Porthmadog and Llŷn, and finally, the northern coastal strip taking in Caernarfon and Bangor and running to Abergwyngregyn.

Crossing over, readers may remember that for a few years Ynys Môn council was in special measures. This was ostensibly for failings in education delivery, but it went well beyond that.

For like many rural authorities Ynys Môn is prone to being controlled by a few forceful individuals, often holding sway through membership of an organisation claiming to be heirs to the Knights Templar and other exotic fraternities.

Never more true than in keeping to the Templar talent for accruing wealth. Though I’m unsure if the medieval predecessors were as cunning as their heirs in planning matters and the allocation of contracts.

For who could forget Ceredigion when Dai Lloyd Evans and his merry men ruled the roost? Those were the days! The late Paul Flynn, sitting on the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Select Committee, referred to Ceredigion Council as “The Wild West Show”.

But then, as we saw in Carmarthenshire during the halcyon days of Mark James, sometimes, with largely rural authorities, the boss man doesn’t even have to be a councillor.

My source’s concern is that the chairman of the joint planning policy committee is a member of this group to which I have alluded. And while I’m sure he’s a splendid fellow, with a good firm handshake, I can understand my source’s misgivings.

Someone else giving my informant food for thought is the young man who’s now Senior Executive Officer at Gwynedd’s Housing and Property Department.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s an educated boy, studied . . . Welsh, and, er . . .  Music.

But then, it is suggested by cynics that the boy’s father’s friendship with Gwynedd’s Head of Finance may have played a role in the appointment.

O tempora! O mores!

ABERDYFI EXECUTIVES MUST BE HOUSED!

When I first saw this news item I thought to myself, ‘Hang on, Jones, isn’t this the development Ann Clwyd was banging on about decades ago?’ And I’m sure it is.

For the woman who went on to become MP for the Cynon Valley has connections to Aberdyfi and the wider Dysynni area. I have a photo of a young Ann Clwyd with my sister-in-law when the latter was the village carnival queen back in the mid-sixties.

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It’s difficult to comprehend how this project has resurfaced, or why it wasn’t killed off decades ago. What does it say about our planning system?

Aberdyfi may be a sizeable village; a few pubs, a few caffs, shops, and an unhealthy number of estate agents. But it backs up to a cliff, with the sea on the other side, and there’s just one road in and out, the A493. A crash or some other hold-up on that road and Aberdyfi is almost inaccessible except by boat or helicopter.

Sticking to housing, Aberdyfi may be the financial, commercial, and industrial hub of the south Meirionnydd coast, but the village needs 401 ‘executive homes’ like our cat needs fleas.

The company behind this zombie scheme is Hillside Parks Ltd, run by Christopher John Madin, who I believe is the son of John Hardcastle Dalton Madin, the architect responsible for much of post-War central Birmingham.

So stick that up your Bullring!

LLANBEDR BY-PASS

One of the more intriguing stories to make the news recently was the report that Gwynedd County Council is to appeal to the UK government for funding to build the Llanbedr by-pass, a project cancelled last year by the ‘Welsh Government’.

The reason this is intriguing is because the council is controlled by Plaid Cymru, and down in Corruption Bay that party is in cahoots with the local branch of the Labour Party, an arrangement generally referred to as an ‘alliance’.

Though the Senedd Member representing Llanbedr seems to be going out of his way to piss off his supposed allies.

Last month he dared ask the ‘Welsh Government’ why it paid £4.25m for Gilestone farm when the asking price appeared to be £3.25m. A good question. We’d all like to hear the answer. (More on Gilestone below.)

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Another explanation might be that despite most Plaid SMs self-flagellating for the heinous sins of the White man and the harm they themselves do the planet by simply existing, many Plaid supporters still associate ‘woke’ with getting up in the morning.

They inhabit the real world where decent infrastructure and communications still matter. That mythic land far, far away, where people have to drive to work. And to the shops. To the doctor, dentist, etc., etc.

You know, the Welsh countryside, of which Labour is so wilfully ignorant.

TIR NATUR

I’ve tweeted a few times about this rather mysterious group, I may even have mentioned it here, on the blog. One reason I call it mysterious is because all I knew about it was gleaned from a GoFundMe page. (You’ll see there’ve been two donations in the past three months.)

Another reason for the ‘mysterious’ tag was that neither the website nor the GoFundMe page gave any names. And I get rather suspicious of organisations that run themselves.

Why ‘Wales-Based’, can’t they bring themselves to say ‘Welsh’? Click to open enlarged in separate tab

As I say, there was a rudimentary website. And a mention a year ago on the Cardiff Greenpeace Facebook page. (But no names there either.)

And when you read the justification for Tir Natur you immediately think, ‘Hang on, I’ve read that before!’ And so you have, many times. It probably comes from an environmental / rewilding template available online.

Now a source informs me that Tir Natur has finally gone legit and registered as a charity. This move is mentioned on the GoFundMe page, though when I checked a few days ago it hadn’t been updated since the application in March to the Charity Commission.

The contact address given on the Charity Commission website is, ‘Y Beudy, Lanlwyd, Pennant, Llanon, Ceredigion SY23 5JH’. This is on the B4577 between Cross Inn and Llanarth.

To confuse the picture, the GoFundMe page says, ‘Newport, Pembrokeshire’. Though my source and I suspect those involved don’t live in either Ceredigion or Pembrokeshire.

But at least the Charity Commission gives us names. So who are these four people named as Tir Natur trustees? Do you know them? What are their plans?

And does Wales really need yet another environmental / rewilding group?

STOP PRESS!

My source has now sent me this from a recent release by Tir Natur. Knowing more of such things than I he tells me that the image shows a European bison and a golden eagle. Neither of which of course is native to Wales.

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Though breeding pairs of European bison can be found at the Wildwood Trust’s Wildlife Discovery Centre in Kent.

They were introduced to the Trust’s other site in Devon, but removed due to fears of bTB. And they had to leave another site in Scotland when the government concluded they were dangerous and non-native.

Are they now destined for Wales?

Incidentally, that place in Kent is where the poor lynx that ended up at Borth ‘Zoo’ came from.

GILESTONE FARM, AGAIN

A number of Freedom of Information requests – in addition to my own – have been submitted regarding the purchase by the ‘Welsh Government’, for £4.25m, of Gilestone Farm at Talybont-on-Usk.

Here’s one. Here’s another.

I was a bit perplexed by the reference in the second FoI to the ‘James Report’. And then it came back to me . . .

Julie James. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Julie James, the current Minister for Climate Change in the ‘Welsh Government’ has been involved with Gilestone for many years, before she was even elected to what was then the Welsh Assembly in 2011.

It’s a strange affair, with some dark corners, some very dark corners indeed. What I’ve been told involves the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, certain environmental busybodies, previous owners of Gilestone and a supporting cast that includes a retired Met cop with an ‘interesting’ record.

And of course, Julie James, then a solicitor in Swansea; whose relationship with some of those involved is worth looking into. No, nothing like that. (Really!)

I may be in a position to say more in the near future.

Also worth mentioning is that a number of people are convinced the money to buy Gilestone came from Julie James’ department’s piggy-bank.

If true, then why did Vaughan Gething, Minister for Economy, take the rap in the Senedd? Maybe his ignorance of the deal explains why he spent so much time extoling the virtues of the Green Man festival rather than answering questions he’d been asked about the purchase of Gilestone.

Finally, might these shenanigans explain why the ‘Welsh Government’ is so far behind with its accounts?

Though another explanation for the delayed accounts might be that the ‘Welsh Government’ is virtually broke. For that’s what another source tells me.

If true, then this might explain the Llanbedr by-pass and other projects being scrapped.

‘O what a tangled web we weave . . . ‘.

LABOUR PARTY FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST

As you know, I’ve written about Bute Energy a number of times. They even got a mention at the end of paragraph 2 in the first section of this post.

What became clear once I started looking into Bute’s activities in Wales was that this company had very quickly realised that Labour Party support would be a big help in realising its plans for 20+ wind farms.

Which explains why Bute recruited to its Welsh Advisory Board redundant Labour MEP Derek Vaughan, and John Uden, the partner of Labour MS Jenny Rathbone, who sits on the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee.

Bute Energy’s Welsh Advisory Board. Click to open enlarged in open tab

Quite what this Welsh Advisory Board advises on is not stated, but I think we can all guess. And the recruitment didn’t end there.

Also taken aboard the treasure ship Bute was David James Taylor, former spad to Labour stars, from Peter Hain to Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones. Taylor was made a partner in Bute-linked outfit Grayling Capital LLP (though he’s since left), and also given shares in Windward Enterprises Ltd, another Bute company. (Which he still holds.)

It occurred to me that if Bute Energy was so keen to cwtsh up to Labour then political donations should be considered. And so I wrote to the Bruvvers’ HQ in Cardiff.

On June 8 I sent this e-mail:

‘Bute Energy Ltd (Co No: 12474011), in various guises, seeks to build – or at least, obtain planning permission for – some 20 wind farms in Wales. A company has been formed for each wind farm.

Has the Labour Party in Wales / ‘Welsh Labour’ party received a donation or donations from Bute Energy Ltd, or from companies under the Bute Energy umbrella, or from leading director Oliver James Millican, or from other persons, perhaps former employees of Labour politicians?’

But I have received neither acknowledgement nor reply. Can you believe that – the Comrades ignoring me!

‘WELSH GOVERNMENT’ FUNDS NATIONAL TRUST

About a month or so ago we heard that the National Trust was taking over the Hafod Estate in Ceredigion. I covered it here, in the section ‘Bristol fashion’.

The article in the Cambrian News to which I’ve linked suggests there may have been funding involved. To clarify this point I submitted a Freedom of Information request to the ‘Welsh Government’.

Here is the response I received yesterday. With the important bit extracted below.

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The ‘Welsh Government’ has gifted an English organisation worth billions of pounds a Welsh asset and also handed over £700,000 for ‘capital investment’. From which the National Trust will profit, through charging visitors.

Many of whom will be Welsh.

And there will almost certainly be more than £700,000. For a well-informed contact with whom I shared this information in advance reminded me that the National Trust will now be eligible for Glastir woodland grants.

As if that wasn’t enough, my contact also suggests that, because the announcement was made by Dawn Bowden, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, there will probably be Arts grants as well.

Note that this generosity is explained by quoting the “‘Welsh Government’ wellbeing objectives”. This refers to the Well-being of Future Generation (Wales) Act 2015. Airy-fairy nonsense that has since been used to justify every insanity hiding under the ‘environmental’ blanket.

Environmental concerns are used to disguise giving away our homeland piece by piece – ‘Cos we are savin’ the planet, like’.

The truth of course is that this legislation simply rolled out the red carpet for colonialist exploitation.

It even talks of future generations. But those future generations won’t be Welsh.

UPDATE: Well, whaddya know, a couple of hours after putting out this post I got a reply from Natural Resources Wales to my FoI of June 16.

Main points seem to be that negotiations with the National Trust have been going on since June 2019; no one else was invited to express an interest; NRW has no idea why Dawn Bowden was involved; NRW will continue to manage the Hafod Estate forestry operation.

GREEN HOUSING

My attention has been drawn  to this rather curious site which suggests some kind of partnership between the ‘Welsh Government’, the National Eisteddfod, and a company called LivEco, to build “sustainable homes at affordable prices”.

The location of these desirable properties being Great House Farm in Cardiff, between Culverhouse Cross and St Fagan’s National Museum of History.

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So let’s look at this company, LivEco. Companies House tells us LivEco Homes Ltd was formed in September 2018, but it’s dormant. The sole director is a Welshman, Daniel James Ball, who seems to live in West Sussex.

Ball’s active company is Mulcare-Ball Ltd. The other director being a woman I assume to be his wife.

So why are we being asked to believe that a dormant company is building these dwellings at Great House Farm?

Mulcare-Ball has an arrangement (charge) with the Principality Building Society. Though the date given here is February 2, 2013, the document itself takes us back a year and also mentions Hale Construction Ltd.

If it’s this company, then Hale Construction was a one-man band on Merseyside, Incorporated December 2011 and Dissolved August 2015 without, apparently, making a penny.

Another company worth mentioning is Great House Farm Community Ltd, which I assume to be a residents’ association. This was Incorporated in March 2013, which makes sense; though the only director or member was Ball until June 25 last year. When he was replaced by two others using Great House addresses.

Something else that makes me a little wary of this whole project is what I learnt from the Land Registry title register.

First, it tells us that Daniel James Ball and his wife bought this land in July 2009. We also learn that the properties built by Mulcare-Ball Ltd are being leased rather than sold.

The ‘Welsh Government’ has more than once expressed a desire to phase out leasehold in Wales, so why is it in partnership with a company building properties to lease?

Or, to put it another way, why does the ‘Welsh Government’ need to be involved at all? The same question could be asked of the Eisteddfod.

I may return to this subject.

NO COAL

The Aberpergwm mine, near Glyn-Neath, produces highest quality anthracite coal that is used for all manner of purposes, including water filtration. But it will not be chucked on a fire or shovelled into a furnace.

It is rarely if ever burned.

In January, approval was given for mining operations to continue. This prompted the Green Party of Englandandwales to burst into, ‘When will they ever learn’, with Julie James’ deputy Lee Waters joining in the chorus.

(In an eye-watering falsetto because someone had him by the balls!)

The latest news is that a legal challenge is to be mounted by a group called the Coal Action Network (CAN). If you’ve never heard of them, that may be because the company wasn’t formed until February 16.

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And it is a standard, commercial entity. Not a Community Interest Company (CIC), or any form of community benefit framework. I suspect it claims to be an umbrella group for smaller, more local organisations.

Though I’m not aware of any genuinely local opposition at Aberpergwm itself. Certainly not from the 200 or so people who work there. Nor from the businesses benefitting from the money those workers put into the local economy.

The address given for the Coal Action Network is Halton Mill, in Lancaster, north west England, owned by Green property developer Lancaster Cohousing. Which suggests it’s little more than an accommodation address for CAN. They certainly don’t get a mention on the website.

It would be easy to dismiss the Coal Action Network as just another little gang of over-excited eco zealots. But these groups often front for bigger players, or there’s serious money behind them.

So be watchful out there. Protect Welsh jobs and Welsh interests from the misguided attention of the brainwashed foot-soldiers of the World Economic Forum and others with globalist agendas designed to crush the little guy. Agendas enthusiastically endorsed by socialists.

And, finally, look out for these clowns sending letters to local papers, lobbying politicians, and pretending they’re local objectors.

STUMP UP FOR TREES, INTERTWINING

A group getting a lot of publicity, and regular attention from the ‘Welsh Government’, is Stump Up For Trees (SUFT). Predictably, and like so many others of its type, this little enterprise is based in south Powys.

Though cut through the enviro-bullshit and SUFT seems to be little more than a greenwashing operation for Utility Warehouse.

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Most of those involved with SUFT have either relocated to Wales or don’t even live in Wales. For as with all these ‘conservation’ land grabs, Welsh involvement is minimal.

Though the website informs us, of the man in the photograph, and founder of SUFT, ‘Dr Keith Powell is a seventh-generation Black Mountains farmer and a vet’. Though I don’t think he’s actually done much farming, and came home when he realised there was serious money to be made in trees.

Stump Up For Trees is registered as a charity. Though when I went to the Charity Commission website to check the details I was somewhat surprised not to see Powell listed as a trustee. I assume the desired impression is that of hands-off trustees.

But who do we see there!

Why! it’s Richard James Roderick, who farms across the Usk from Gilestone farm. As I told you in my earlier post ‘Gilestone Revisited’, Roderick was taken to the USA in 2018 by Dŵr Cymru. After which he was debriefed by Natural Resources Wales’ Land Management Forum Agri-Pollution Sub Group.

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Then he and his companion on the US trip (and at the debriefing), Keri Davies, set up the Beacons Water Group. And do you know who joined them at BWG – none other than Charles Weston, the man who sold Gilestone to the ‘Welsh Government’ for the ludicrous sum of £4.25m!

As if that wasn’t enough, another BWG director, Tony Martineau, teaches at Coleg Soros, Talgarth. While George Soros’ favourite educational establishment, Bard College, has links with the Watershed Agricultural Council, the hosts for the 2018 US trip.

Enough! Old Jac can’t take any more connections.

Why should the ‘Welsh Government’s favourite farmer be involved with Stump Up For Trees? Then again, why not, he seems to be involved in everything else?

And even though the Bruvvers in Corruption Bay love Roderick, he’s a ronk Tory.

MORE TREES . . . OR ELSE!

To make sense of the ‘Welsh Government’s latest assault on the farming industry you must understand the Labour Party’s relationship with the Welsh countryside.

Labour has no MPs and no SMs representing rural constituencies. For these seats either vote Conservative, Plaid Cymru or, irregularly, usually in Powys, Liberal Democrat.

It wasn’t always so.

There was a time within living memory when Labour could rely on the votes of farm labourers, and even smaller farmers. Also, other rural, working class people. The Merionethshire seat – now part of Dwyfor Meirionnydd and held by Plaid Cymru for almost 50 years – was a straight fight between Labour, centred on the slate town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, and the Liberals, still relying to a great extent on the chapel vote.

Will Edwards, last Labour MP for Merionethshire, 1966 – 1974. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Then came the 1960s, and the national reawakening. The protests and the bombs. Tryweryn, Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru (MAC), the Free Wales Army (FWA), Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg  CyIG) . . . and the rise of Plaid Cymru.

Labour now saw its hegemony in Wales threatened by a new force that it believed to be essentially rural in character. Certainly rural in origin. And Labour has been wary of the countryside, and its native inhabitants, ever since.

In many Labour politicians this suspicion became outright and undisguised hostility.

The rise of the environmental movement, coupled with the powers given by devolution, have allowed the Labour Party through successive ‘Welsh Governments’ to exert control over rural areas where it has little or no electoral support. While more recently, under the influence of ‘environmentalists’ eyeing Welsh land, exacting what can only be interpreted as revenge.

Which brings us up to date.

Labour’s activists in rural areas tend to be English, middle class, vegetarian (if not vegan, or subsisting entirely on water and good karma), most of them climate / environment ranters who compare hard-working farmers to concentration camp guards.

This is the background for understanding the Welsh Government’s latest attack on farmers encouraged by – possibly written by – the aforementioned environmental groups.

Though this latest pronunciamiento from Corruption Bay also helps us understand the long-term objectives. And makes a few other things clear.

The ‘Welsh Government is attempting a divide and rule strategy with farmers. Certain farmers are being wooed, and so perhaps is the National Farmers Union. And it seems to be working.

It’s no coincidence that these favoured farmers tend to be Tory-voters, on better land, suited to tree planting, and in almost exclusively English-speaking areas.

Which means that the excluded farmers are more likely to be found on marginal land, more difficult for growing trees, possibly tenant farmers, and certainly more likely to be Welsh speaking. (And Farmers Union of Wales members?)

In fact, areas such as the Summit to Sea rewilding project was hoping – with ‘Welsh Government’ support – to take over. The areas from where Labour, in the 1960s, perceived the ‘threat’ to have emerged.

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Which means that this assault on farmers might be interpreted as an attack on the Welsh language, and Welsh rural culture in general. If so, then the politicos in Corruption Bay, and the enviroshyster land-grabbers whispering in their ears, are in for a fight.

Predictably, the announcement was welcomed by Kate Beavan. Who’s she? You haven’t been paying attention, or following the links, have you?

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Kate Beavan, as the Stump Up For Trees website tells us, ‘ . . . joined SUFT at the beginning of 2021. She is actually employed by our partners and friends, Coed Cymru.’

Kate Beavan may have been recruited to Coed Cymru by director Philip David Jayne, who lives in Crughywel.

Yet more bloody connections!

To explain . . .

Coed Cymru is one of the 357 (and rising) ‘woodland’ groups currently operating in Wales. Fighting like ferrets in a sack to take over Welsh land and get their sweaty mitts on Welsh public funding.

When you check out the Companies House entry for Coed Cymru Cyf you realise that, despite the company name, there’s little Welsh involvement.

But plenty of Welsh funding.

‘Plus ça change . . . ‘.

UKRAINE AND THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

It would be inhuman to suggest that anything good is coming from the death and suffering in Ukraine. And I won’t do that, but harsh lessons are being learnt.

Among them, the realisation that to pretend an advanced economy can rely on intermittent renewables to supply its energy needs is madness. As Germany is learning.

The drive for ‘Net Zero’, orchestrated by The United Nations and the World Economic Forum, is taking hits daily as collateral damage from the conflict in Ukraine. With Germany perhaps the biggest loser.

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Another casualty could be the Netherlands, where farmers, fishermen, truckers and others are protesting because the government wants to reduce the number of farms by 30 per cent.

But the mainstream media largely ignores this!

We are in dangerous times. Supranational bodies like those mentioned want to regulate all aspects of human behaviour. They have captured many national governments, media outlets, and social media giants, who are urged to suppress divergent views as ‘disinformation’.

The justification being that the planet is in grave danger, and so we need to be saved from ourselves . . . all for our own good, of course.

With the result that we are sleepwalking into a form of totalitarianism that sits astride the unicorn of environmentalism.

And this is another reason we – through arming and exploiting brave Ukrainians – are waging war on Russia – because Vladimir Putin refused to bow to these supranational tyrants.

But the ‘Welsh Government’ surrendered long ago. And gave up Wales for sacrifice.

ENLARGED SENEDD

Last weekend in a smoke-free conference room ‘Welsh’ Labour decided to back the plan for increasing Senedd numbers from the current 60 to 96. Which was widely supported, I believe only the Conservative and Unionist Party was opposed.

But part of the bigger package was a change in how Senedd members will be elected in future. And this proved much more contentious. With four constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) – Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda, Swansea East, Llanelli – voting against.

To explain . . .

Under revised parliamentary boundaries Wales will have 32 Westminster seats. (Down from the current 40.) What Labour proposes (and Plaid Cymru presumably agrees with) is that these new constituencies should be paired, giving us 16, and that each of them should elect six Senedd Members, thus making up the 96 total.

This is to be done using the ‘closed list’ system. Voters choose a party and have to then accept the party’s choice of candidates.

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This is a system designed to favour larger parties and to inhibit the emergence of new parties. Which is no more than we should expect from Labour. For like so many political parties with a socialist heritage Labour is fundamentally undemocratic.

I’m still waiting for Labour’s partner in the current alliance down Corruption Bay to explain why it’s gone along with this system. Though I get the impression Plaid would rather not discuss it.

Labour has tried desperately to polish this turd by promising gender equality. But as Labour has signed up to self-identification, and is a major financial backer of Stonewall, it will obviously accept as ‘women’ men who identify as women.

Which could mean that the new system, designed to achieve gender balance, actually gives us a lower percentage of biological females than we see in the Senedd today!

And then there are other minorities, those so vocal in “breaking down barriers” . . . most of which they themselves have erected. (Or simply imagined.) They’ll demand to be ‘excluded’ no longer. And because they support the Labour Party because the Labour Party funds them their wishes will be granted.

That could give us a Senedd in which the majority is grossly underrepresented.

But who cares – ‘Cos it’s progressive, innit!’

My position is that I do not accept this anti-democratic nonsense. And I would support the UK government stepping in to block it. In fact, I would support the UK government putting an end to devolution itself.

For devolution has delivered nothing to those with whom I identify.

Whereas the SNP in Scotland, returned time after time, has made many Scots believe their country could be even better with independence, here in Wales, the incompetence and waste our people have experienced from malleable mediocrities in Corruption Bay for 23 years makes too many Welsh believe that independence would be even worse.

I remain a nationalist who wants independence, but I see devolution not as a stepping-stone but an obstacle. Maybe that was the intention all along.

And when you think back to what you’ve read here, can you disagree?

♦ end ♦

© Royston Jones 2022


Weapons of Mass Deception

Well, boys and girls, it’s that time of year. Those of you who haven’t done a runner with the Christmas Club money will be relaxing at home wrapping your bottles of Old Sheepshagger with festive ribbons before immediately opening them, feigning joy and surprise, then getting quietly pissed. For now, as Christmas approaches, we tend to look back and contemplate the year past, before looking forward to 2017. Why should I break with tradition?

This year saw the revolt of the Hitherto Ignored, and 2017 will see those who’ve done the ignoring swear to change their ways. This is explained by the angst and confusion now being experienced by ‘progressives’. (I laugh every time I type that word!) For these exalted and superior beings always justified their vacuous spoutings and their laughable posturing on the grounds that they were the voice of the inarticulate Mob.

This year the Mob has found its own voices and, surprise, surprise, its spokesmen are not Leftists and liberals. Which means that those self-appointed spokespersons are now left high and dry, exposed as speaking for none but themselves. This has made them angry and bitter, to the extent that some of them now slag off as ‘fascists’ those they so very recently eulogised and patronised!

Truly is it written, ‘Hell hath no fury like a ‘progressive’ made to look an utter twat!’

Let us start this review with May’s Welsh Assembly elections. (Check the results here.) Labour’s share of the vote continued to decline, down 7.6% in the constituencies and 5.4% in the regions). The Tories did marginally better with figures of -3.9% and -3.7%. For the Lib Dems the figures were -2.9% and -1.6%. The parties to increase their share of the vote were Plaid Cymru +1.3% and +3.0% and, most spectacularly, Ukip, +12.5% and +8.5%.

Despite all the noise they make, and all the publicity they’ve had (including some from me), the Green Party of Englandandwales achieved the mighty totals of 2.5% of the constituency vote and 3.0% of the regional vote. The latter figure being less than the 4.4% won by the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party on its first outing.

The single most noteworthy result was of course Plaid Cymru’s leader Leanne Wood taking Rhondda from Labour heavyweight Leighton Andrews. Though given the imperfect electoral system Labour today is still in control of the Assembly after getting a third of the votes cast.

For anyone interested, I told you my voting intentions in Assembly Elections 2016 and picked through the bones in Assembly Elections 2016: Hopes and Ashes.

Next came the EU referendum in June. Again, I made my position clear before the event with EU Referendum: Why I Want OUT! Even so, I was rather surprised to be on the winning side.

Then, in November, our cousins across the Pond elected Donald Trump to be their next president. I can safely say ‘our cousins’ because, as Welsh people, there is a greater likelihood of us being related to those who voted for Trump than to those who voted for Clinton. Unpalatable though that may be to many Leftists among us.

Meanwhile, our continental cousins almost elected a nationalist president in Austria, and followed that up by giving the Italian establishment a kicking in voting out Signor Renzi via a referendum.

Liberals and socialists interpreted these results as disasters, some of the more overwrought viewed them as the first steps on the road to the Fourth Reich. In truth, the Leftists should have asked themselves why so many millions of ordinary, decent people detest them, their politics, their media and their distant, out-of-touch systems so much that they were prepared to vote for a self-obsessed buffoon, a gang of saloon bar hearties, and a clown.

Next year sees elections in France, Germany, Netherlands and other countries. In France, the Left is hoping that the victor will be François Fillon, the presidential candidate who takes a hard line on Islam, hopes to do away with the 35-hour working week, wants to abolish wealth tax, is opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage, and is a great admirer of both Margaret Thatcher and Vladimir Putin. Because it’s a straight fight between him and Marine le Pen of the Front National.

This gives you some idea of how far the political pendulum has swung in the Western world, because socialists in France wrote off the chances of their candidate – whoever it might be – a long time ago.

In Germany Dr Merkel (or Frau Sauer) is under pressure for a number of reasons, not least her decision to open Germany’s borders to refugees. It went well for a while, German guilt for WWII overcoming reasonable apprehensions that most of those arriving seemed to be able-bodied young men and were not coming from Iraq and Syria, but from North Africa, the Sahel, Pakistan, the Balkans . . . mmm, were these really refugees?

The ‘Willkommenskultur’ soon began to dissipate, and disappeared almost entirely after the truth eventually leaked – despite the best efforts of politicians, police and media – about the rapes and other sexual assaults that took place on New Year’s Eve in Köln, Hamburg and other cities. The recent attack on a Christmas market in Berlin dealt it another blow.

Another factor contributing to the evaporating sympathy for the ‘refugees’ was that Angela Merkel had hoped to take them in, garner the kudos, and then, with rather less publicity, offload as many as she could onto neighbouring countries. These countries, quite rightly said, ‘You invited them, you look after them’.

Immigration is clearly a major issue in the Western world; it has influenced the votes of 2016 and it will do the same in 2017. So let us be thankful that calling someone a ‘racist’ can no longer close down debate. Equally, that wanting an honest discussion on how to deal with Islamic terrorism can no longer be dismissed as ‘Islamophobia’.

I suspect that the rise of Islamic extremism over the past couple of decades has played a big part in undermining the Left in western countries, and this of course contributed to Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. For two main reasons.

First, the Left – certainly its more extreme and vocal elements – has a default position dictating that it must always support the West’s enemies, on the grounds that these are bound to be victims of Western colonialism or ‘oppression’. Pure evil, intolerance, racism, etc., are crimes of the white man, and the white man alone.

Those promoting this nonsense tend to be celebrities, students (and others equally gullible or brainwashed), plus of course members of ethnic and other minorities. This has inevitably alienated many white people, to the point where they now view socialism and liberalism as ‘luxuries’ they cannot afford, or else as viewpoints hostile to them, attacking who and what they are.

Second, in the recent US presidential election liberals and Leftists around the world rallied to Hillary Clinton, yet her financial links with the Gulf states – countries where stoning is practised, where women aren’t allowed to drive, where immigrant labour equals slave labour – undermined her liberal credentials while exposing the gullibility of the ‘progressives’ who supported her.

Slowly but surely, more and more people are waking up to the hypocrisies of the liberal elite, and the lies of its manipulative media. You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

‘But what has this to do with Wales?’, you mumble through a mouthful of mulled wine whilst absent-mindedly stroking the maid’s derrière. Well, it’s quite simple – do you really think that politicians and their mainstream media only tell porkies about faraway lands and our more distant cousins? Of course not.

First of all, let’s consider this island known as Britain or, when six counties of Ulster are added, the United Kingdom. Now the big political debate at the moment is what kind of Brexit we should have. Should it be hard or soft? Should it be red, white and blue? (Don’t ask me what these mean, I haven’t got a clue.) Should there be a West End musical version?

The truth is that the type and the timing of the EU exit is irrelevant, a distraction. I say that because the United Kingdom is going down the tubes no matter what. And if things are bad in the UK then they’re even worse in Wales. Let’s look at a couple of recent news items to explain what I mean.

First, education. The Pisa rankings (for 2015) released earlier this month tell us that the UK came 27th in maths, 22nd in reading, and 15th in science. Within the UK, Wales came bottom across the board.

Then last week, we learnt that our GVA figure for 2015 again confirms our position at the bottom of the UK heap. Gross value added figures measures money generated per job within an area, which explains why Cardiff has the best figure for Wales (£22,783), though much of it will have been generated by commuters living outside the city. Overall, Wales accounts for 5% of the UK population but is responsible for only 3.4% of the UK economy.

As the report I linked to (by BBC Wales’ Sarah Dickens) also tells us, “It would be wrong to say Wales has a strong economy purely because unemployment is relatively low. Only 72.9% are employed – lower than the UK figure of 74.4%”. Which tells us that Welsh politicians crowing over Wales having a lower unemployment rate than the UK as a whole are talking their usual bollocks. The truth is that more of us are economically inactive and too many of us are doing shitty, low paid jobs.

These dire figures don’t say a lot for devolution, nor for ‘Welsh’ Labour, which has run the show since 1999. Things are bad, and getting worse. There is no other interpretation unless you’re a politician or some other kind of professional liar. These figures also tell us that the EU funding given to the poorest parts of Wales since 2000 has been wasted by ‘Welsh’ Labour. So it won’t be missed.

(22.12.2016: I didn’t expect support from this quarter, or so quickly, but Victoria Winckler of the Bevan Foundation says – among other things – that too much EU money was used to replace UK government, ‘Welsh’ government and local authority funding, with the result that, because it wasn’t spent on new projects, people saw little improvement.)

But then, I’ve always argued that devolution is a chimera. Now I have been vindicated by no less than the Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns. When he announced that Air Passenger Duty would not be devolved to Wales (i.e. Cardiff airport) he was quite open about the decision having been taken to protect the interests of Bristol and other English airports. This, remember, is the Secretary of State for Wales and the MP in whose constituency we find Cardiff airport!

More recently, more honesty; when his department underwent something of a face-lift and dropped the dragon which had suggested the Welsh Office exists to serve Wales. Why anyone should get worked up about this is beyond me. Would you rather be lied to? Is that more comforting?

Face it – Wales is screwed, good and proper. All that matters is that enough money comes in to keep the politicians and their cronies in jobs that no one would miss, and the rest of us in a state of resigned acceptance. A basket case country with a begging bowl ‘economy’. Nothing will improve because there is no force for real change. Plaid Cymru gave up decades ago and threw in its lot with the English Left and the colonialist system.

The party’s position was summed up recently by leader Leanne Wood, when she stated, without any hint of irony or sarcasm, that “We’ve got no problem in attracting people here to retire” (0:31) before going on to express concern about the high levels of elderly people in Wales!

Which means that Plaid Cymru has “no problem” with the inevitable burden placed on our NHS and other services. Or that Plaid Cymru has “no problem” with locals being outbid for homes in rural and coastal areas. I suppose it also means that Plaid Cymru has “no problem” with the anglicisation of Wales. But what it really means is that Plaid Cymru, more than at any time in its history, is a party that has completely lost its way. It is now an irrelevance.

For a start, Plaid Cymru has lost touch with the Welsh people. We voted to leave the EU, yet Plaid Cymru carries on as if we voted the same way as Scotland. We didn’t. And the reason we didn’t is that Plaid Cymru isn’t even a pale shadow of the SNP.

The voters that Plaid has been trying to detach from Labour for decades – in the Valleys, on Swansea Bay, the north east – voted for Brexit and they are also turning to Ukip, yet Plaid is in denial. Plaid Cymru the socialist, environmentalist, statist, EU friendly party has lost the plot. Big time.

And because Plaid Cymru has lost the plot due to its socialism and its inflexibility on certain issues, and because some within the party now regard as crypto-fascists many of those who were once viewed as potential converts, they risk driving many of our people towards Ukip and, worse, alienating them to the extent that they begin to think there is no alternative to Englandandwales.

In many respects, Plaid Cymru is now viewed as part of the out-of-touch, liberal elite that drove so many people into the arms of Farage, Trump, and others yet to arise. That is some achievement.

Which is why Wales needs a new voice that speaks for the nation and the national interest. A voice that is ideologically flexible but immovable in its defence of the Welsh people. A voice that will never say, ‘We have no objection to being colonised’.

This is the task for 2017.

Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda