Lobbying in Wales

INTRODUCTION

This piece is prompted by the ‘Welsh Government’ suggesting it wants to address the issue of lobbying. As the website puts it: “The Standards of Conduct Committee is undertaking an inquiry into lobbying and is keen to establish whether lobbying is a matter of concern to the people of Wales”.

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A disingenuously worded paragraph because the hope is that few people will even know about the exercise, fewer still will respond, and that will allow the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ to claim that lobbying is not “a matter of concern” and everything can just carry on as before.

The truth is that Wales desperately needs reform in this area, and it needs to go well beyond a simple register of lobbyists. I say this because lobbying takes a different form in Wales to most other Western countries.

What I’m going to try here is to give examples of different lobbying sectors (that would probably not regard themselves as lobbyists), while also looking at more obvious examples of lobbying.

I warn you, this is a ‘biggie’, pushing 4,000 words. But broken up into sections so you don’t have to take in the full horror of the situation all at once.

So go make a cuppa.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL LOBBY

Since before the first elections to the then Assembly for Wales in May 1999, those looking to benefit from devolution were positioning themselves, even relocating.

For example, the RSPB, which had until then been based – very centrally for an essentially rural organisation – in Powys, decided the time had come to move its Wales regional office to Cardiff.

This had nothing to do with bird migrations, or even the rediscovery of the Lesser-spotted Splott Warbler (previously thought extinct).

No, it was all to do with access to the new decision makers.

For the RSPB and the wider environmental lobby, devolution has been like Christmas, with a constant supply of prezzies delivered by yo ho ho-ing politicians.

Just cast your mind back to last week’s post on this blog, ‘Saving Wales From the Welsh’. One of the organisations mentioned was the Wales Environmental Link (WEL). And I reproduced the panel below, from the Charity Commission website.

Focus on the section I’ve highlighted.

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“At the centre of government decision making” can only mean that the WEL lobbies to influence decisions made by the ‘Welsh Government’.

But do you remember voting for the Wales Environmental Link? Do you remember being offered the chance of voting for the Wales Environmental Link? No, nor me.

As I say, the ‘Save the Planet!’ lobby was out of the blocks early on in the devolution era. Helped to a great extent by ‘insiders’. These came in two forms.

First, civil servants, often from England, always answering to London, and working to a vision of a Welsh countryside without farming.

Second, politicians who, despite what they were elected and paid to concentrate on, always prioritised their real interest of ‘reconfiguring’ – even repopulating – rural Wales.

Inevitably, the two elements worked closely together. Never more so than when Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales* Lesley Griffiths shacked up with her civil servant adviser Gary Haggaty.

But the grande dame of the sector is Jane Davidson. “Minister for Environment and Sustainability from 2007 to 2011 where she was responsible for the Welsh Government agreeing to make sustainable development its central organising principle”, as Wikipedia tells us.

Sustainable development became the “central organising principle” of governing Wales. Let that sink in.

After leaving the Assembly in 2011 Davidson took up a post of Director of the Wales Institute for Sustainability at Trinity St David University, Lampeter.

Davidson was, supposedly, Assembly Member for Pontypridd, but she’d already bought a place down west and was more concerned with pushing through the Hippies’ Charter (One Planet legislation) than with anything happening in Ponty.

From ivory tower to organic cabbage patch Jane Davidson and those she can marshal and organise have wielded an unhealthy influence over successive administrations in Corruption Bay.

The environmental lobby is now one of the most powerful in Wales. It’s why farmers have their backs to the wall, it’s why the M4 was not improved, and why smaller projects, such as the Llanbedr by-pass, have been scrapped.

If this lobby could close Port Talbot steelworks, take away our cars, confiscate all farmland, and turn us into vegans, it would. And the ‘Welsh Government’ would pass the necessary legislation without quibbling.

As gesture politics go, few things are more damaging to the Welsh national interest than deluding yourself that you’re saving the planet while damaging Wales.

*A bizarre title that makes ‘North Wales’ sound like an overseas colony of Corruption Bay.

THE RACE LOBBY

At it’s crudest this is little more than, ‘You Welsh are racist – give us funding’. I examined this racket not so long ago, when the so-called Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union successfully blackmailed the Wales Arts Council and the National Museum.

If you have the stomach for this tale of extortion and cowardice, then read, Corruption Bay and a tale of Cymrophobia (23.08.2021), Arts Council of Wales and Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union, an update (31.08.2021), and Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union Unmasked (06.09.2021).

In brief, the Arts Council of Wales was pressured into ‘commissioning’ a report from the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union. An ad hoc group capitalising on the George Floyd killing by using ‘discrimination’ as the key to future funding.

In the race lobby sector we find another grande dame, in the form of Rose Mutale Nyoni Merrill, who you can read about in the first section of this miscellany from May 2018.

Her empire is founded on Bawso, which has accumulated quite a few properties around Wales over the years. And you’ll be glad to hear that Mrs Merrill has not neglected her own property portfolio.

But that’s how it is in the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party. You work for and promote the party, and preferment and funding will be your reward. Even if it’s public money down the drain.

And the showering of goodies can extend to your loved ones, involved in other fields.

As happened with Travers Merrill, Mutale’s hubby; given the cushy number of chief executive at Rhondda Life, a ‘regeneration’ project in the Rhondda Fach. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything, by the look of it.

It 2012 it was announced that the project was in receivership. And having looked through the documents filed with Companies House I get the impression there was something akin to jiggery-pokery going on in Ferndale.

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For example, in the last accounts filed, for y/e July 31, 2012, the company is said to own freehold property valued at £1.5m. This is presumably the building you see in the image above.

The property eventually realised £295,000. Even allowing for the way liquidators dispose of such properties, that is quite a difference. But the bottom line is that the building was never worth £1.5m.

Over-valuing assets is a tactic used by many who’ve appeared on this blog over the years: money launderers, mortgage fraudsters, and other crooks.

(There is an obvious link in terms of directors between Rhondda Life and Blaenllechau Community Regeneration, which went belly-up around the same time.)

But of course, this being Wales, a ‘Welsh Government’ cock-up leads to a cover-up. It was years before the truth started coming out. Due in no small part to the persistence of Leanne Wood, a politician for whom I have the highest regard.

(Keyboard explodes!)

THE HOMELESSNESS LOBBY

A few years back I submitted an FoI request asking about organisations in Wales “combatting homelessness”. Specifically, how many were there?

The response told me there were 48! In a country of just over 3 million people. There are probably more by now. “It’s them wicked Tories, innit”.

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But then, when you think about it, when you remember the kind of country Wales is, and the kind of lobbying I’ve described, 48 shouldn’t surprise anyone. The more the merrier. It’s only public money after all.

As with the other sectors, many of the homelessness racketeers have moved to Wales in the era of devolution. Which is bad enough, but to keep the funding flowing these people – just like their counterparts in other sectors – will import a steady stream of ‘clients’ from over the border.

It’s a form of human trafficking.

We see here the fundamental and uncomfortable truth about third sector lobbyists in Wales.

Identify or invent a ‘problem’ in order to get funding. Then, with the help of an ever-compliant media and understanding politicians, the ‘problem’ must persist – to guarantee continued funding!

Let the good times roll!

Many of those now running the dozens of homelessness organisations have worked for the Labour Party or for Plaid Cymru, others will move on to work for these parties.

Or join some other publicly-funded gravy train.

To get a taste of what I’ve written over the years on this subject try, ‘Another “homelessness” outfit!’ (16.04.2020). Or just put ‘homelessness’ into the search box on top of the sidebar to open up a library.

THE “WOMEN WITH PENISES” LOBBY

A relatively recent arrival on the lobbying scene in Wales is the transsexual lobby. Represented by Stonewall, the former lesbian and gay organisation.

To begin with, and as you’ve probably guessed, Stonewall has its claws into the ‘Welsh Government’ for funding. The panel below shows that in the 18 months up to March 31, 2021, only the UK government gave more money to Stonewall than the boys and girls of Corruption Bay.

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But this being Wales, Stonewall has also been able to influence – if not dictate – legislation. To the extent of the ‘Welsh Government’ agreeing to what  Stonewall would like to see in law rather than what the 2010 Equalities Act actually says.

As Irving Berlin put it: There May Be Trouble Ahead.

Especially after First Minister Drakeford made an ass of himself. You used the term, so tell us, what is a, “transgender woman”?

It appears that the voice of Stonewall in Wales is Lu Thomas. You’ll have noticed her name if you followed the links in the section on the race lobby. She’s a Labour insider with far too much influence in the Bay.

As I suggest, she was deeply involved, with her business partner, Jon Luxton, another Labour insider, in the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union scam.

Her Linkedin profile says she’s managing director of Final Say Wales, which seems to be a rather sad attempt to roll back Brexit. I dug this out, but I couldn’t find much more. My guess would be it’s died a natural death in the face of reality.

The other outfit mentioned on her Linkedin page is Re:cognition. An odd fish, this; not least because there’s a reputable company with a very similar name.

Lu Thomas was previously director of a company known as Cognition Training Ltd, along with Jon Luxton. This went into liquidation in December 2018 owing close on £35,000, most of it to the tax man.

The latest incarnation, Re:cognition Training CIC has only Luxton as a director. So is Lu Thomas an employee?

Whatever the answer, through political connections Re:cognition gets commissions from the ‘Welsh Government’.

For as the latest accounts tell: “We chaired and developed an LGBTQ+ strategy for Welsh Government where we managed the LGBTQ+ stakeholder group, ensuring voices from across wales (sic) was heard.”

But I bet that only certain voices were allowed to be heard.

And you won’t be surprised to learn that Re:cognition has also been given a gig by Labour-controlled Cardiff City council.

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This probably helped inform the ‘Welsh Government’s current – and possibly unlawful – position on “trans rights”. But then, when it comes to surveys, it all depends who you talk to.

What Lu Thomas and others have learned from many years of working with and influencing politicians is that if you put your mind to it you can find racism, environmental damage, transphobia, etc., etc., just about anywhere.

And then you can capitalise on your ‘find’.

THE REFRESHINGLY HONEST AND CORRUPT COMMERCIAL LOBBY

Those we’ve looked at so far have been insiders, dealing with civil servants and politicians they know. These activist-lobbyists have, in a number of cases, previously worked for the ‘Welsh Government’, or for individual politicians.

They are invariably associated with not-for-profit organisations. Which means few jobs for anyone not linked to a particular clique of insiders, and little by way of a contribution to the wider economy beyond the increased spending power of clique members.

But we are asked to ignore this and focus instead on the incalculable benefits to society as a whole from ‘doing good’.

Though I fail to understand how a Welsh community is improved by a third sector body or a housing association importing into that community from England ex-cons, petty criminals and drug addicts.

Nor do I pretend to understand the doublespeak that gave us a policy (OPDs) designed, we were told, to reduce Wales’ carbon footprint . . . that invites into Wales people to live on previously unused land; who drive elderly diesel vehicles, keep farting animals, and cannot live without wood-burning stoves.

It’s refreshing then to be able to focus on a lobbying activity motivated by unalloyed greed and promoted through in-yer-face corruption. Though it adheres to the model herein explained in that it is facilitated using Corruption Bay insiders.

I’m referring now to the many, many companies under the Bute Energy umbrella, and their plans for at least 20 new wind farms in Wales. Shown in red print in the map below.

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Here’s a pdf document listing the companies I’m aware of, but new ones are being formed all the time. (The company names are hyperlinks.)

To understand the brazen corruption involved you’ll need a few introductions. Let us look first at Bute Energy’s ‘Welsh Advisory Board’. A totally unnecessary group formed purely to justify paying certain people for their influence with the ‘Welsh Government’.

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On the left, we see Derek Vaughan, former Labour MEP. Not known to have any knowledge of or interest in wind turbines or renewable energy of any kind.

On the right is John Uden, partner of Labour MS, Jenny Rathbone, who sits on the Senedd’s Climate Committee. His knowledge of three-arm bandits is believed to be on a par with Vaughan’s.

The other two may be there to act as a distraction. The jury’s out on them. Though I’m told ‘John Cwmbetws’ already has a bloody big turbine on his land.

UPDATE 17.06.2022: John Davies is of course Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society. Which makes him an ideal influence within the farming community, and he might even be able to find sites for Bute.

Indeed, a beneficiary of the planned Moelfre site is vice-chair of the Board, Harry Fetherstonhaugh.

But of even more interest is David James Taylor, who has served as a spad to former First Ministers Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones, and also former Secretary of State for Wales, Peter Hain. Quite the lad about the corridors of power, our Dai.

Taylor tends to work under the radar and is nowhere mentioned on the Bute website. But he, like Vaughan and Uden, was recruited by Bute Energy for one reason and one reason only – his contacts in the Labour Party.

He holds shares in Bute company, Windward Enterprises Ltd, both in his own name and that of his company Moblake Associates Ltd. Taylor was also – until people noticed – a partner in another Bute company, Grayling Capital LLP.

His lucre from Bute Energy was channelled through Moblake Ltd. This company was wound up in April with sole director Taylor owing the company £605,872 that he’d taken out in interest-free ‘loans’ with no repayment date.

But no mention of where the money came from!

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Taylor has set up a new company, Earthcott Ltd, so maybe Bute’s future payments will be channelled through this new venture. Then again, seeing as we know about it . . .

I won’t go over any more old ground, it’s all covered in previous pieces on this blog such as ‘Corruption Is Such An Ugly Word . . . But I Can’t Think Of Anything Else To Call It!’ (06.12.2021), and ‘Bute Energy Selling Wales For Danegeld‘ (21.02.2022), in which I explain how Scottish company Bute Energy has linked up with Danish investors.

Yes, folks, Scots, Danes, everyone gets a slice of the action, except the native Welsh. Unless of course you’re well connected down Corruption Bay.

That’s how a corrupt, third world country operates.

THE PROFESSIONAL LOBBYISTS

In addition to those already looked at, who might be termed ‘amateur lobbyists’, there are also companies that are quite open about what they do. Which is, helping commercial outfits, often from outside of Wales, get what they want from the ‘Welsh Government’.

But they also dabble in politics. And for unregulated bodies they have far too much influence.

Let’s just look at two of them.

Starting with a company that’s appeared on this blog a number of times, Deryn Consulting. Run by former politicians and spads, but keeping up with the Woke agenda by recruiting enviromarxists and promoters of BLM.

The majority of Deryn’s shares are owned by former Labour spad Cathy Owens, with a minority nestling in the neatly-manicured hands of former Plaid Cymru Welsh Assembly Member Nerys Evans.

Over the years Deryn has been involved in a number of unsavoury incidents, I’ll just mention two.

The first was the Ofcom contract, a gem of its kind. This report from October 2017 will give you the story. And the image below of a WalesOnline headline from August 2017 leads on to another element of the Deryn saga.

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You’ll see that Neil McEvoy, was at that time, still a Plaid Cymru AM, but he’d blotted his copybook big time by challenging third sector shenanigans and exposing Deryn.

For party leader at that time was Leanne Wood, a personal friend of those whose lives were being made difficult by Neil McEvoy. He’s told me more than once that he was ordered to lay off Deryn. He didn’t.

He was too honest to stay silent when surrounded by institutionalised corruption, and so he had to go. First from Plaid Cymru, and then from the Senedd.

Around the time of the Ofcom scandal people at Deryn were briefing against Carl Sargeant, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children in the ‘Welsh Government’.

Those at Deryn employed in this dirty work were colluding with over-wrought but ever-cooperative third sector women. Some of whom had also made unfounded allegations against Neil McEvoy.

What’s worse, there were politicians, supposed allies of Sargeant, also briefing Deryn. The conduit here was Jo Kiernan, former senior spad to First Minister Carwyn Jones.

From Carwyn Jones’ staff Kiernan knew that Carl Sargeant was to be sacked before the poor bugger himself knew, and she was briefing others.

Carl Sargeant was sacked on November 3, 2017 and took his own life four days later.

As I was writing this I got to wondering about the Deryn finances, and so I went to the Companies House website. Where I found the latest accounts. Or rather, the unaudited financial statement up to December 31, 2020.

This skeletal document tells us that Deryn, with 9 employees, has assets of just £63,836.

But where are the real figures? Where’s the rest of the money? Where’s the turnover for the year? Is everything done with brown envelopes?

There’s something squalid and distasteful about Deryn. More worrying is that Owens, Evans and Kiernan seem able to open any door in Corruption Bay.

The bad news is that Deryn isn’t the biggest PR company down the Bay. The big kid on the block now is Camlas, formerly Positif Politics Ltd. The change of name last November is linked to the departure of Positif founder Daran Hill, who ceased to be a director in September. (Though he still seems to hold a majority of the shares.)

I’ve heard rumours, involving the local gendarmerie; but you know me, I try to avoid tittle-tattle in favour of facts and informed speculation.

Back in August 2020, in the early days of investigating Bute Energy and David Taylor, I ran across Hill’s name in connection with a wind farm planning application, so I contacted him. The resultant Twitter exchange can be read below.

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The Bute account at Camlas is currently handled by Matt Hexter.

Did David Taylor direct Bute Energy to his mate Daran Hill, or was it vice versa?

Going through who’s who at Camlas brings up the usual list of former politicians and spads, Mainly Plaid Cymru, but also Labour and now, with the recruitment of former AM, Angela Burns, the Conservative and Unionist Party is also represented.

But with Plaid Cymru firmly in control through Managing Partner and Co-Owner Rhodri ab Owen, brother to Plaid Cymru MS Rhys ab Owen; while the other Managing Director and Co-Owner Naomi Williams was a spad to former Plaid AMs Dafydd Elis Thomas and Dai Lloyd.

Plaid Cymru is of course in an alliance with the Labour Party in the Senedd. And even without an alliance, the two parties are never far apart.

Finally, and turning to Companies House, Camlas is another disappointment. All that’s filed is another bare bones ‘financial statement’.

I’m sure these minimalist filings are perfectly legal, but I believe that with companies such as Deryn and Camlas exercising unaccountable influence in Welsh public life we are entitled to know more about them.

CONCLUSION

In normal countries, with normal economies, lobbying is conducted by business interests and often involves donations to political parties. In other words: lobbying decides which company or corporation gets the contracts.

And while this may be undesirable, it usually delivers jobs and generates wealth. The country benefits, the losers tend to be commercial competitors. Who, had they been successful, would also have created jobs and generated wealth.

The political elite controlling Wales wants a quasi-socialist state in which they exercise power through patronage and hand-outs. The last thing this elite wants is a decent economy and an entrepreneurial class challenging its diktats and exposing its weaknesses.

And this explains why, in Wales, lobbying takes the form of fawning and cajoling by pressure groups that share the political outlook of the elite. These demand legislation beneficial to their cause, also funding and publicly-owned assets.

This must then be disguised with flim-flam like, “public good”, “future generations”, and other specious and unquantifiable ‘benefits’. Which we are told to accept as some kind of substitute for a decent economy and a prosperous country.

RECOMMENDATIONS

To begin with, we obviously need a definition of lobbying.

I would suggest: Anyone seeking to influence politicians, either directly or indirectly, through civil servants, advisers, or by any other means, in the hope of securing personal or corporate financial gain, or in order to influence legislation.

There should be a register of such persons. And a diary kept of all meetings between lobbyists and politicians, civil servants or advisers; both those meetings that have been held, and those planned for the future. The subject matter of these meetings must also be stated clearly and unambiguously.

Both the register and the diary should be updated daily and made available online.

To monitor lobbying will require a new post, and it will need to be filled by someone untainted by Corruption Bay. For once, I would have no objection to filling an important post in Wales with a complete stranger.

But I remain open to suggestion, so let’s have your comments. The ‘Welsh Government’ is also asking for your views, so don’t forget to write.

They’ll be delighted to hear from you! Or maybe not.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


The Great Rip-off: On Land, At Sea, In Space!

On this blog I have consistently argued that I want Wales to operate less like a colonial possession and more like countries run by politicians who prioritise the material well-being of the people in those countries.

The so-called  ‘Welsh Government’ clearly thinks I’m asking for too much. For it continues to encourage and facilitate the exploitation of our homeland by foreign companies and other agencies.

Methods now being employed to disguise the nature of the beast include a veneer of Welsh involvement. And it is no more than a veneer. An expensive veneer, because it’s often paid for from the Welsh public purse.

Another way of thinking about this ‘veneer’ is to view it as the classic variant of colonialism that allows members of a native elite to profit from the plundering of their country and its resources. It both buys their loyalty and disguises the colonialism.

ON LAND

This is what I’ve been reporting with Bute Energy, that multi-headed monster that emerged from nowhere, with no background in renewables, and no Welsh connection, but which is now hoping to erect 20 wind farms in Wales.

Explained here in, ‘Corruption Is Such An Ugly Word . . . But I Can’t Think Of Anything Else To Call It!’

Bute set up a totally superfluous ‘Welsh Advisory Board’ in order to provide sinecures for redundant Labour MEP Derek Vaughan, and John Uden, partner of Labour MS Jenny Rathbone.

I’m uncertain of Dr Williams’ political loyalties while John Davies is a rural ‘Independent’. Perhaps even one of Pembrokeshire’s Independent Independents (I have trouble keeping up). Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

The only ‘advice’ Bute expected from this Board was to be told who they should see to get things done. Better still, to hear, ‘Leave it to me, I’ll have a word with ———-‘.

It stinks. But it didn’t end there.

Winner of the Farley’s Rusks Chubby Cheeks Competition 1986, and later spad to the Labour mighty, David James Taylor, also had his snout firmly in the Bute trough. Though his membership of linked Grayling Capital LLP ended in September, after the spotlight fell on him.

But Taylor still has shares in Windward Enterprises Ltd, the owner of Bute Energy Ltd, which in turn owns the 20 companies, one for each of the proposed wind farms. These shares are held in his own name and that of his company, Moblake Associates Ltd.

The lucre from his association with Bute seems to have been shovelled to his company Moblake Ltd, from which Taylor then paid himself £605,872 in roughly three years. This was done in the form of ‘loans’ that don’t need to be repaid!

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Taylor’s latest venture, also based at 69 Lambeth Walk, is Earthcott Ltd. Set up just before he quit Grayling Capital. Unsurprisingly, this new company is also in the flim-flam and door-opening business.

So we have a company, Bute Energy, and its associated entities, hoping to make a lot of money out of Wales. Perhaps for the minimal outlay of 20 planning applications. Which I’m sure Bute believes will be waived through.

And as I suggested last week with Bute Energy Selling Wales For Danegeld? Bute may already have made a pile from whatever agreement has been reached with Danish investors.

Now it’s time to move offshore, so don your oilskins and adopt a jaunty nautical stance. (But anyone attempting Robert Newton impersonations will be keelhauled!)

ALL AT SEA

It may have escaped your notice, but Wales has vibrant offshore wind and wave industries. Or at least, that’s what we’re being told.

Though the offshore wind turbines seem limited thus far to the north coast. Which presumably means they’re the profitable responsibility of the Crown Estate. (Devolved in Scotland but not in Wales.)

Which is why I was surprised that the Welsh National Marine Plan – produced by the ‘Welsh Government’ late in 2019 – only mentioned the Crown Estate in passing. Almost as if the ‘Welsh Government’ wants us to believe that Gwynt y Môr and the other arrays are all their own work, with the benefits accruing to Wales.

Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

It should go without saying – this being Wales – that these offshore wind farms are all foreign-owned. Keeping to this template, the latest array proposed, Awel y Môr, will be owned by German company RWE.

But it’s not just wind turbines fixed to the sea bed that Corruption Bay encourages. There are also plans for floating turbines, and wave energy.

Which is a cue for us to head down to Pembrokeshire, where we find Mor Glas Wind Farm Ltd (16.08.2021) and Mor Gwyrdd Wind Farm Ltd (ditto) sharing an address in Pembroke Dock.

The directors of both companies are Joseph Geraint Kidd who, to his credit, describes himself as Welsh rather than British on Companies House documents; and Niamh Kenny, who is Irish.

Kidd has had a number of other companies to his name, among them Venn Associates Ltd (13.06.2019). We’ll return in a moment to Venn and Niamh Kenny.

Before that, let’s remind ourselves that Pembrokeshire is quite a hot-spot for marine renewables. As I reported here in August 2020 with Wales and envirocolonialism.

Another company hoping to cash in is Cambrian Offshore South West Ltd (09.01.2019). Companies House tells us that the splendidly monikered Diccon Stideford Rogers of Falmouth is the only director. From the same source we learn that a confirmation statement is overdue.

In fact, I’m wondering if this outfit is still afloat, because there seems to have been no activity on the very basic website for over a year.

It would be a pity if Cambrian Offshore sank without trace, because last August the Development Bank of Wales loaned the company £650,000. DBW tried to cover itself with a charge against the assets; though whether Cambrian Offshore has assets to that value is debatable.

Perhaps Diccon’s other companies will chip in.

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Sue Barr’s Linkedin page makes no mention of Cambrian Offshore, despite her being described as Managing Director. But it does introduce us to other players. Among them Marine Energy Wales, where we find Joseph Geraint Kidd again, on the Advisory Board. Also the Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum.

I wonder how much the locals down there know of these organisations, these wonderful plans? And will they see any benefits?

Let’s return to Joseph Geraint Kidd and Niamh Kenny. As we’ve seen, they are linked through the two companies, Mor Glas Wind Farm Ltd and Mor Gwyrdd Wind Farm Ltd.

But both have fingers in other pies.

Here’s Niamh Kenny’s Linkedin page. The recent appointments listed are:

DP Energy, but we must assume she’s left because she certainly doesn’t figure in the company’s ‘team’.

Also, from January 2021, she’s been a self-employed ‘Renewable Energy Specialist’.

While from May 2021 Niamh Kenny has also been Project Developer at NMK Renewables and SBM Offshore. The first is, presumably, her company, using her initials; while the second is a major Dutch company.

Finally, we see that Niamh Kenny is a partner in Hiraeth Energy. And who could argue with this ‘local benefits’ mission statement:

Fine words. But are they anything more than fine words? Click to open enlarged in separate tab

My initial inquiry established that Hiraeth is a partner in Climate Cymru, a clique of planet savers subsisting on a diet of fully organic public funding. Climate Cymru contains some organisations I regard with suspicion, a few with contempt.

Then I found Hiraeth in glorious isolation as Hiraeth Energy LLP (21.07.2021). That is, Limited Liability Partnership, an opaque arrangement often used to cover up shady dealings. A LLP doesn’t have directors, it has members. Which explains Niamh Kenny’s relationship.

And among the other members of Hiraeth we find the aforementioned Venn of Joseph Geraint Kidd.

There is one Companies House entry for Venn Associates Ltd (13.06.2019) that tells us Kidd is the sole director; but there is another entry that lists, in place of directors, Hiraeth LLP and Afallen LLP.

Hiraeth, we know about, but who or what is Afallen LLP? For Afallen is also listed as a member for Hiraeth LLP. The Afallen website proclaims: “What Wales does today, the world will do tomorrow”.

I hope to God that is just hyperbole, because if it’s a prediction, and anywhere near true, then I’ll seriously consider drinking myself to death.

Can you imagine a world ruled by the kind of duplicitous and incompetent buffoons that inhabit Corruption Bay? No, don’t even think about it!

Companies House tells us that the original partners in Afallen LLP (04.10.2018) were Dr David Owain Clubb, Mari Frances Arthur, and RTRT Consulting Ltd of Penarth. Though Clubb was soon replaced by his company Cymorth Clubb Cyf (05.11.2018). They have of course been recently joined by Kidd’s Venn Associates. It’s all very incestuous.

If the names Clubb and Arthur sound familiar, it’s because . . .

Clubb is the brother of former Plaid Cymru CEO Gareth Clubb. While Arthur caused disruption a few years back when her friends in Plaid HQ imposed her on the winnable Llanelli seat.

This imposition resulted in mass resignations locally and Plaid Cymru handing the seat to Labour. A rum do. Very rum.

So, to sum up: Joseph Geraint Kidd of Pembrokeshire has linked with Niamh Kenny of County Cork who is knowledgeable about offshore renewables. It appears she is also familiar with some big hitters in the business.

Companies that might be interested in Pembrokeshire.

What I presume Ms Kenny does not have is political connections in Wales. Which is where I suggest Afallen comes in.

For Arthur and Clubb are also in the door-opening business. Just like those taken on by Bute Energy. And now, with Labour and Plaid in alliance, well-connected members of both parties can expect to be in demand.

These are the kind of people who flit between politics, third sector, and private companies; providing nothing in the way of public benefit, but always guaranteed publicity from a compliant media and access to their politician friends.

THE FINAL FRONTIER

There was considerable chortling last week at the news Wales has a space programme.

Did you ever read such bollocks! Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Though let me put your mind at rest in case you’re worrying about Welsh public funding being used to land a non-binary and intersectional party of Wokeonauts on a dreary rock, far, far away . . .

(Though the idea is not without its attractions.)

There is no Welsh space programme. It’s just the Corruption Bay gang trying to put a Welsh spin on orders from London. And not for the first time. Or the last.

Though we could still end up financing a scheme from which we’ll see no benefits.

Let’s look at this scam in greater detail. Starting with the front page from last week’s Cambrian News. Having a couple of comedians accompany the headline is very fitting. We’ll soon meet another.

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The CN’s inside pages went for broke. Even giving us a piece by Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for the Economy. (There – what did I promise you!)

Having a Minister for the Economy in Wales is like having a Minister for Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia. Neither’s expected to do much.

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From that inside spread you’ll see Llanbedr and Aberporth mentioned. Which should give you a clue as to what we’re really talking about here. But if you’re still struggling . . . it’s drones and missiles, possibly satellites. But dressed up as a ‘space programme’.

I’ve written about Llanbedr a few times. First, here, in Miscellany 15.01.2020 (scroll down to section ‘Llanbedr Airfield’). A week later with Come Fly With Me. And then, in December 2020, it was Lucky Gwynedd – More ‘Investors’ (‘Fly boys’).

Remarkably, a week after that final piece appeared, the loans Snowdonia Aerospace LLP had received from the Secretary of State for Defence and the ‘Welsh Ministers’ over 8 years earlier were paid off.

These loans were made so that Snowdonia Aerospace could lease Llanbedr from its nominal owner – ‘The National Assembly for Wales’. Which means that we paid an English company to lease property from us!

That’s how to run a country!

Though whether any money was really paid is another matter. Perhaps to avoid giving ammunition to a nosey blogger someone thought it best to write off those debts.

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Alternatively, it was all a sham, with no money being loaned in the first place, with maybe Llanbedr staying in MoD ownership.

Whatever happened, the key player in this, in the assorted entities involved, the Byzantine dealings, seems to be Lee John Paul. Learn more about him in those earlier posts to which I’ve linked.

It’s reasonable to assume that Paul is well connected with the defence establishment. Otherwise the Ministry of Defence would not have loaned him money or allowed him to use Llanbedr airfield.

For Llanbedr was not Paul’s first venture with former MoD sites in Wales. He was also involved in a company promising to turn RAF Brawdy into a business park.

Brawdy Business Park Ltd gave up the ghost in April 2013 owing a lot of money. Some of it to the Welsh Development Agency.

Llanbedr airfield. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

This whole idea of a ‘spaceport’, and where to locate it, is political. It’s about flying the flag. The Union flag. Which is why a site in SNP-run Scotland beat Llanbedr to the prize.

So what we’re discussing here is at best the consolation prize; and an exercise in turd polishing on the part of the ‘Welsh Government’.

With that in mind, here’s what I think is really happening at Llanbedr . . .

By promising skilled jobs the Ministry of Defence – operating through, or in partnership with, private companies – hopes the ‘Welsh Government’ and Cyngor Gwynedd will cough up funding for a ‘spaceport’.

This, as we highly-trained defence analysts are wont to say, is a load of old bollocks. First, because the reality will just be upgraded drone and missile testing, Second, rural Wales does not have the skills needed, and training is unlikely to be provided.

Then there’d be the security dimension. I remember how RAE Llanbedr operated. All the best jobs went to retired service personal – who’d signed the Official Secrets Act – while cooks and cleaners were recruited locally.

The proof for me that the Llanbedr Spaceport is just a PR exercise lies in other actions by the ‘Welsh Government’. 

Because if Llanbedr was going to be Gwynedd’s Cape Canaveral, with thousands of highly-skilled local employees, then Corruption Bay would not have pulled the plug on the planned by-pass.

Somebody’s lying.

As yet, we don’t know the Welsh beneficiaries of this particular fairy tale, but as with renewables and other scams, they will emerge.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Corruption Is Such An Ugly Word . . . But I Can’t Think Of Anything Else To Call It!

My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.

In recent months I have written about wind farms threatening the Welsh countryside. In particular, the 16 ‘energy parks’ planned by Bute Energy and its subsidiaries. You can get the details from reading the following piece from October, England’s wind turbines – in Wales!

I’m returning to the subject now because the links between Bute Energy and the local branch of the UK Labour Party have become so close as to warrant calls for resignation and investigation.

The general locations of the 20 ‘energy parks’ planned by Bute Energy. Click to open image enlarged in separate tab

We shall look at four individuals. Two of them Labour insiders. One the partner of a Labour MS. The fourth, the MS herself.

UPDATE 07.12.2021: There have been yet more companies formed under the Bute umbrella. (It’s getting difficult to keep up!) They are:

Windward Cambria Ltd. Bryn Glas Energy Park Ltd. Maesnant Energy Park Ltd. Bryngwyn Energy Park Ltd, Blaencothi Energy Park Ltd. Grayling Capital Investments Ltd. Grayling Capital Operations Ltd.

Telling us there are four more wind farms planned. Bryngwyn has yet to be located. Blaencothi is east of Lampeter. Maesnant is close to Nant y Moch reservoir, inland of Aberystwyth. Then there’s Bryn Glas – do these buggers really intend to desecrate the site of Glyndŵr’s victory over Mortimer in 1402?

DAVID JAMES TAYLOR has served as spad to a number of high-profile Welsh Labour politicians. He was also the unsuccessful Labour Police and Crime Commissioner candidate for North Wales in 2016.

Taylor now does the groundwork in Wales for Bute Energy Ltd. For example, getting people who’ll be affected by Bute’s developments to sign agreements to the benefit of Bute Energy.

David Taylor out canvassing in 2016 for his friend Lesley Griffiths, the MS for Wrexham, who has done so much to smooth the path for wind farms. Click to open image enlarged in separate tab

For his efforts he’s been made a Member of Grayling Capital LLP, along with Oliver James Millican, Stuart Allan George, and Lawson Douglas Steele, the troika running Bute Energy.

He has also been given shares in Windward Enterprises Ltd, another Millican, George, Steele production.

And in a further show of gratitude the Bute boys shovel money into David Taylor’s Moblake Ltd; from whence he has ‘loaned’ himself £605,872 over the past three years.

For the accounts tell us this is an ‘interest free loan and does not have a set repayment date’. Well of course not – he’d just be repaying himself!

Click to open image enlarged in separate tab

David James Taylor, with no knowledge of renewables, wind power, or the generation of electricity, has been hired by Bute Energy for his contacts within the so-called ‘Welsh Government’.

DEREK VAUGHAN CBE was a Labour MEP who of course became redundant in 2019 – and available for hire. His encyclopaedic knowledge of the renewables industry has secured for him the post of chairman of Bute Energy’s Welsh Advisory Board.

Click to open image enlarged in separate tab

As with Taylor, there could be some other reason for him being given this sinecure. A reason not unrelated to his familiarity with the levers of power in the Labour Party, and his connections within the ‘Welsh Government’.

But what kind of cynical bastard would entertain such a thought?

Er, me.

JOHN UDEN is the partner of Jenny Rathbone MS.

Let’s start with Nant yr Odyn Ltd, formed in October 2009 and dissolved in May 2011. (The significance of May 2011 will soon become clear.) The company name refers to the stream that meets the Alwen at Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr.

Alongside the stream we find the property known as Maes yr Odyn. Both Rathbone and Uden were on the Electoral Register there in 2002. Which makes sense because that was the year Rathbone lost her seat on Islington council.

The Jenny Rathbone entries on 192.com, suggesting that she and Uden were living at Maes yr Odyn in 2002. (Though why is she later described as a ‘director’?) Click to open image enlarged in separate tab

Though the Senedd website tells us, ‘From 2002 to 2007, Jenny was programme manager of an award-winning Sure Start programme in north London’.

So the property in Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr was presumably being used as a holiday home, or a weekend retreat?

There are two titles at the Land Registry relating to Maes yr Odyn. One for the property itself, where Jenny Rathbone is joint owner with Andrew Lyle Rathbone; the other for ‘land and outbuildings’, where she is the sole owner. The address Rathbone gives on the second of those title documents is ‘Hen Maes yr Odyn’. The house next door.

It looks as if the dwelling Maes yr Odyn has been in the ownership of the Rathbone family for some time. The title document suggests the property was bought in 1962 by Elizabeth Eleanor Rathbone, then gifted to the current owners in 1992.

Then, and perhaps to ‘re-unite’ the property, the outbuildings and land were bought by Jenny Rathbone in July 2008 for £120,000.

Incidentally, Maes yr Odyn seems to be a mile or two from Mwdwl Eithin, one of Bute Energy’s planned wind farms. Here’s the company that’s been set up.

Image: Ordnance Survey. Click to open image enlarged in separate tab

In May, 2011 Rathbone was elected to the National Assembly for Wales as Labour AM for Cardiff Central. A city and a constituency of which she knew nothing.

Her career has not been without its ups and downs. Playing the environmentalist got her sacked from Carwyn Jones’ cabinet over the M4 ‘improvements’. Then, a couple of years back, there were allegations of anti-Semitism. More recently, she urged us to ‘get real’ because poor people don’t go to rugby matches, football matches, or the cinema.

But we’re neglecting her partner!

John Uden got his position on Bute’s Welsh Advisory Board due to Rathbone’s influence. And, possibly, the proximity of Maes yr Odyn to the planned Mwdwl Eithin ‘energy park’.

Bute Energy, John Uden, and Jenny Rathbone’s own shares, could all benefit from decisions taken and recommendations made by the Senedd’s Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee on which she sits.

Jenny Rathbone’s Register of Interests (Category 8, ‘Land and property’) lists ’Barn used as community centre and two acres of land, Llanfihangel GM, Conwy’ . . . but makes no mention of her shared ownership of the house itself, Maes yr Odyn, which must be worth considerably more. (Here in pdf format.)

Maes yr Odyn. Click to open image enlarged in separate tab

As stated, the co-owner of the house is Andrew Lyle Rathbone, who we can assume is related. For both sit as Trustees on the Miss E F Rathbone Charitable Trust. Along with a couple of other Rathbones.

The Rathbones are a very wealthy family. With a number of companies and trusts bearing the name, such as Rathbone Investment Management Ltd (total assets £3.1bn), based at the Port of Liverpool Building. Though that company is in turn owned by Rathbones Group Plc.

I suppose many or most of the shares we see on Jenny Rathbone’s Register of Interests are her allocation of investments made by the various entities handling the Rathbone family fortune.

In which case, is there income / dividends from those shares?

Among the shares held by Jenny Rathbone are those in AstraZeneca Plc, which makes the Covid-19 vaccine – what foresight!

Returning to ‘renewables’, Rathbone Investment Management has gone gung-ho for wind turbines. As we see from the cover of the Summer 2021 issue of Rathbones Review.

I wonder if Rathbones are investing in wind farms in Wales?

CONCLUSION

This squalid relationship between Bute Energy and leading figures within or close to the Labour Party in Wales is corruption.

Businessmen have recruited people to ease their projects through the political system and the planning process. To pretend there’s any other explanation for Bute Energy recruiting Taylor, Vaughan, and Uden, would be to insult our intelligence.

Just ask yourself – Why did Bute Energy feel the need to create a ‘Welsh Advisory Board’? To provide a fig leaf, in the form of ‘jobs’ for Vaughan and Uden.

Taylor, Vaughan and Uden must sever their connections with Bute Energy Ltd and its associated companies. Failure to do so by any one of them must invalidate any planning application received from Bute Energy or its associated companies.

This may already have gone too far, I would therefore suggest that any planning application received from a Bute company should be reviewed by a body independent of both the ‘Welsh Government’ and its in-house Planning Inspectorate.

Jenny Rathbone MS. Click to open image enlarged in separate tab

In the case of Jennifer Ann Rathbone MS; for failing to register ownership of Maes yr Odyn, for the fear that she might bring political influence to bear on behalf of her partner and a company with many projects planned in Wales, I feel that her fitness to serve as a Senedd Member is severely compromised.

Her position is almost untenable. She should consider resigning.

Finally, I also feel that the Welsh public is entitled to a statement from Y Prif Weinidog. With assurances that the guilty parties will not prosper, and that there will be no repeat of this squalid affair.

A register of lobbyists might help in this respect.

Looking at the bigger picture, I fear we are at a dangerous juncture in Welsh political development. There seems to be a growing belief that it’s acceptable to do the wrong things for the ‘right’ reasons.

This outlook is no longer confined to the far left, it has spread to the mainstream, to the virtuouser-than-thou ‘progressives’. If you persuade yourself that those who oppose you are fascists, or transphobes, or climate deniers – then anything goes!

Perhaps to the point where, ‘Yeah, I may be lining my own pockets, but I’m also saving the planet – so that makes it OK’.

♦ end  ♦

 




England’s wind turbines – in Wales!

My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.

Last week, I introduced you to the Bute empire, based in Edinburgh and London, which, under a variety of company names, is planning many new wind farms in Wales.

This week’s piece is partly a recap, partly putting a new slant on things, and partly some fresh thoughts on the unequal relationship between Wales and England.

MAPPING IT OUT

Here are the location-specific Bute Energy companies, sixteen in all, each with a link to the relevant Companies House entry. Is there a project near you?

Twyn Hywel Energy Park Ltd / Rhiwlas Energy Park Ltd / Banc Du Energy Park Ltd / Aberedw Energy Park Ltd / Moelfre Energy Park Ltd / Mwdwl Eithin Energy Park Ltd / Garreg Fawr Energy Park LtdBryn Gilwern Energy Park Ltd Nant Mithil Energy Park LtdLan Fawr Energy Park LtdWaun Hesgog Energy Park Ltd Esgair Galed Energy Park Ltd Llyn Lort Energy Park LtdNant Ceiment Energy Park LtdNant Aman Energy Park LtdTarenni Energy Park Ltd

The full list of recent company formations, and other background information, can be found here.

I’ve now drawn up a map showing what I hope is the correct location of each of Bute’s planned wind farms. I can’t be absolutely sure because in most cases all we have is a company name, and that name could fit a number of locations.

The names Rhiwlas and Moelfre, for example, can be found in many locations.

But by ruling out urban areas, National Parks, etc., etc . . .

Click to open in separate tab

To help them build these wind farms, Bute’s head honcho, Oliver James Millican, and his constantly growing band expect help from both Labour Party insider David James Taylor and Lesley Griffiths MS, the Minister for Rural Affairs in the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’.

I’m not exactly sure what’s expected from Taylor, but he’s been made a Member of Grayling Capital LLP, and he’s also been given shares in Windward Enterprises Ltd, both in his own name and that of his company Moblake Associates Ltd.

Taylor seems to be paying himself some £200,000 a year from Moblake Ltd but the skeletal accounts give no indication of where the money originates. Though, strictly speaking, and quoting the ‘accounts’, the money is, ‘an interest free loan and does not have a repayment date’.

But seeing as Taylor is the sole Moblake director, and holds the only share, for him to ‘repay’ Moblake would just be transferring money from one pocket to another.

Click to open in separate tab

From Ms Griffiths Millican and whoever he might be working with obviously expect planning permissions. I’m not for one minute suggesting favouritism, let alone inducements. It’s simply that, as we saw when she overruled the Planning Inspector’s decision on Hendy Wind Farm, she has the final say.

Griffiths and Taylor are well known to each other. It would be unusual if they weren’t, seeing as they belong to the same political party and are both from the north east. Here’s Taylor out canvassing for Lesley Griffiths in the 2016 Welsh Assembly elections.

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A WEE DIGRESSION, BUT INTERESTING

Something I didn’t explore in the previous post was the fact that Taylor, Griffiths, Sophie Howe (Commissioner for Greenwash), and others, were on the same side before and after the Carl Sargeant suicide in November 2017.

This picture below, from 2014/15, shows, left to right, Carl Sargeant, Sophie Howe, a former Spad to Sargeant (though when the photo was taken she was deputy to former MP Alun Michael, the South Wales PCC), Lesley Griffiths, and Leighton Andrews AM for Rhondda, who lost his seat in 2016 to Leannein Wood.

David Taylor worked as a Spad or trouser presser for Andrews, and his loyalty to the party was rewarded when, in 2016, he was the Labour candidate for the North Wales PCC post. He lost out to Arfon Jones, the Plaid Cymru candidate.

L to R: Carl Sargeant, Sophie Howe, Lesley Griffiths, Leighton Andrews. Click to open in separate tab

The thing about this picture is, it’s not a ‘work’ photo, they’re out together relaxing. They know each other, they obviously enjoy each other’s company.

After Sargeant’s suicide they all rallied to his defence, or at least, they didn’t do any favours to then First Minister Carwyn Jones, lobbyists Deryn, and others coming under fire. Lesley Griffiths is quoted more than once in this report.

In this piece, we read that Sophie Howe: ‘ . . . told Coroner John Gittins: “I find that incredible that he (Sargeant) can be sacked without being told what the allegations were.”’

While Leighton Andrews has plenty to say on his blog.

In this November 2018 report from the Wrexham Leader we are told that, ‘The inquest also heard a statement from David Taylor, a friend of Mr Sargeant who was previously employed by the Labour Party.’

It’s all coincidence, no doubt, but from this small group around Carl Sargeant we have three – Howe, Griffiths, Taylor – currently contributing to Wales being ripped off by every shyster who can spin a line about saving the planet.

‘JUST A FEW QUESTIONS, SIR’ (Oh, the times I’ve heard that!)

I wrote to Bute Energy last Tuesday morning, ahead of office hours, giving them the chance to clarify a few points for this follow-up.

My questions were:

  1. When and where did you first meet David James Taylor?
  2. Were you introduced to Taylor? If so, by whom?
  3. What is your relationship with Taylor’s Moblake companies?
  4. Why did you make Taylor a Member of Grayling Capital LLP?
  5. Why did you give Taylor (and Moblake) shares in Windward Enterprises
  6. Have you met Lesley Griffiths, Welsh Government Minister for Rural Affairs? If so, where and when?
  7. Did you have advance warning of Ms Griffiths’ overturning a Planning Inspector’s decision on Hendy Wind Farm in October 2018?
  8. Why did you recruit former Labour MEP Derek Vaughan to chair your Welsh Advisory Board?
  9. Why does your Welsh Advisory also have as a member John Uden, a former London police officer now specialising in property security, who, apparently, has no Welsh connections?
  10. Why do you have so many wind farms planned for Wales?
  11. You don’t know Wales, so how did you find these sites? Did someone recommend them?
  12. Do the principals in Bute and the other companies have any experience in engineering, construction, renewables, or related fields?
  13. Do you really intend building wind farms or will you simply obtain planning permission and then sell the sites?
  14. Talking of the sites, have you been promised that, if necessary, powers of compulsory purchase will be exercised on your behalf?
  15. Do you have contact details for David James Taylor?
  16. Do you have anything you’d like to say?

I’m still waiting for answers.

Having mentioned the ‘skeletal accounts’ of David Taylor’s Moblake Ltd I naturally got to wondering about the accountant.

At the start, Moblake’s registered address was in the West End of London, at 109 Gloucester Place. It’s the tidy-looking gaff with the blue door. Though the company registered at that address, Adams Mitchell Ltd, was only formed in August 2019.

In fairness, it looks as though David Taylor was simply using Gloucester Place as an accommodation address. The ‘accounts’ submitted were all his own work.

Though the most recent accounts are a tale of West End to East End. For Moblake’s latest accounts were signed off by Naail & Co Ltd, a husband and wife outfit on Lambeth Walk in property leased with money borrowed from banks.

But the accounts remain unaudited. The accountant just signed off what Taylor put in front of him.

Accountant’s contribution to the latest Moblake Ltd accounts (y/e 30.04.2021). Click to open in separate tab.

Couldn’t David Taylor have found a nice, respectable accountant in Wales who would have presented fully audited and verified accounts?

Makes you wonder.

‘HERE YOU ARE, TAFF – DON’T SAY WE DON’T GIVE YOU NOTHING’

Maybe I’d better explain what I mean by the heading to this article about England’s wind turbines in Wales. Now pay attention, because this is a bit complicated, and prefaced with, ‘As I understand it . . . ‘.

In 2015 legislation was passed, covering England and Wales, that gave local planning authorities – i.e. councils – powers to decide on wind farms of 10MW and above. (They already had the power over smaller installations.)

This had been mooted for some years and finally came into effect, on June 18, 2015. With political spin about upholding election promises by letting ‘local people have the final say on wind farm applications’.

Hinting that this was a decision dictated by electoral considerations. For wind farms are erected in rural areas, and the rural areas of England are overwhelmingly Conservative in their political sentiments.

The Conservative and Unionist Party would lose MPs and councils if a Tory government in London over-ruled local councils to impose wind farms on areas where locals didn’t want them.

The map below might help illustrate my point.

You can do your own by going to this site, and by playing with the various layers on the interactive map you can end up with whatever your heart desires.

Image: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy / Barbour ABI. Click to open in separate tab

To reproduce my map, from the menu on the left: In ‘Energy Type’, keep Wind Onshore. In ‘Energy Capacity’, 10MW and Above. In ‘Status’, Application Submitted, Awaiting Construction, Operational, and Under Construction.

If we could add a layer giving political features it would show that Tory-voting England is almost entirely free of wind farms.

Below you’ll see an extract from a relevant UK government publication. This makes it clear that the 2015 legislation covered England and Wales.

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Obviously, this legislation means there will be hardly any wind farms in England. And that will result in the UK struggling to meet its climate change obligations. It will also be bad news for the Tories’ business friends who milk the subsidies paid for renewable energy.

Which is why I am convinced pressure was applied from London on the ‘Welsh Government’ for Wales to accept more and more wind farms.

This explains why the legislation was reversed in Wales to make wind farms of 10MW Developments of National Significance, meaning local authorities must either grant planning permission or expect to be over-ruled if they refuse planning permission. For the ultimate power rests with Welsh ministers. (Here’s the link.)

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This explains how, in 2018, Lesley Griffiths was able to over-rule both Powys County Council and the Planning Inspector on Hendy wind farm.

Ordinarily, Wales and England moving in separate directions would be something I’d applaud, but not this time.

Perhaps someone in the ‘Welsh Government’ can explain why 10MW wind farms are Developments of National Significance in Wales, but not in England. 

Especially as we share the same National Grid and the electricity generated by ‘Welsh’ wind farms will most likely go to England.

As I’ve said, I’m convinced pressure was applied from London, perhaps via the civil servants operating in Wales who answer to London. The ‘Welsh Government’ couldn’t admit that, so it was glossed over with the Well-being of Future Generations Act, which came into force in April 2016.

Followed by pious declarations to make Wales ‘carbon neutral’ and then, like a maiden aunt having an attack of the vapours, declaring a ‘Climate Emergency‘.

As if anybody outside of Corruption Bay gives a toss!

These bouts of orchestrated hysteria turned planting wind farms all over Wales into an environmental crusade. The panel below, from this ‘Welsh Government’ site, explains why someone thinks we needed this legislation.

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Note that climate change, over which Wales can have no effect, is more important for the ‘Welsh Government’ than spheres where it could make a difference.

Priorities, eh!

CONCLUSION

Despite the apparent divergence of approach over Developments of National Significance in 2015/16 we are, effectively, still in the Englandandwales model.

Making wind farms another example of devolution being used to serve England’s interests rather than ours. Consider this . . .

Just imagine if a Tory government in Westminster had said, ‘We don’t want wind farms in England – so we’re going to dump them all in Wales’. There would have been a national outcry.

Yet that is what has happened!

It’s the old story of Wales being exploited for the benefit of England. And just as with our water, we are not compensated for what we export.

Wanting Wales to be ‘carbon neutral’ and declaring a ‘Climate Emergency!’ is just vain posturing to disguise Wales’ subordinate status. Play-acting that won’t improve the lives of Welsh people, or make any difference to climate change.

And things might be about to get a whole lot worse.

For the number of wind farm applications is accelerating. Not only do we have Bute Energy’s 16 projects, there’s also the monster turbines planned for Y Bryn, between Port Talbot and Maesteg; while more recently I’ve learnt of a plan for turbines above coal tips at Ynyshir in the Rhondda Fach.

Yes, honestly, above coal tips.

How many more are planned that we haven’t yet heard about?

There is nothing to be said in favour of wind turbines. In their brief and intermittent lives they do not repay the environment for the damage caused in making, transporting, and erecting them. They are all built and owned by foreign companies. They provide no jobs. They despoil our landscapes. They kill birds. They cause flooding.

But never mind, we’re serving England’s interests. Again.

♦ end ♦

 




‘Energy Parks’ – new name, but same old corruption, same old exploitation

My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.

The previous post was a cri de coeur from someone who by chance had learnt that she is to have a wind farm plonked on her doorstep. Which is often how people find out.

Because in the early stages of wind farm projects those pushing them like to tread carefully, and operate in the shadows. Which encourages skulduggery and often results in what can only be described as corruption.

Yes, I know, that will shock and surprise many of you. But it happens, even here, in planet-saving, refugee-welcoming, men-with-cervixes accepting Wales; where self-absorbed nobodies flit about the Bay out-mwahing each other as they await the next ishoo over which to drool and became instantly knowledgeable.

BACKGROUND

I must begin with a sizeable recap, because if you don’t understand what has gone before then you’ll have difficulty making sense of what’s happening now. And what is likely to happen in the future.

About three years ago I was contacted by people in central Powys who were fighting against the imposition of a wind farm. What resulted from that approach was Corruption in the wind? in November 2018.

This was followed up in August 2020 with, Corruption in the wind 2, Labour snouts in the trough.

The story began with the strange case of Hendy Wind Farm, not far from Llandrindod. To cut a long story short . . .

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Planning permission was refused by Powys County Council in April 2017, at a meeting where there occurred an episode worth recounting. (And here I lift a section from my November 2018 offering.)

‘Back in 2017, on April 27 to be exact, there was a curious scene played out at a meeting of Powys County Council’s planning committee. At a point in the meeting after the committee had refused planning permission for Hendy and was about to discuss further conditions for Bryn Blaen, a woman who had been sitting with the developers tried to hand a note to one of the committee members.

The woman had to be forcefully ushered away. She was recognised as a lobbyist, working for Invicta Public Affairs, a company based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne . . . 

It was Anna McMorrin, who had been recruited by Invicta in October 2016 for no reason other than she was a Labour Party insider, having joined the party when she was a student, and as a result of her subsequent career she knew exactly who to approach to get things done.

While she was working for Alun Davies they began an affair which resulted in both leaving their long-term partners. They now live together.

In the general election of June 2017 Anna McMorrin was elected Labour MP for Cardiff North.’

When McMorrin became an MP her profile obviously increased, and she could hardly be expected to raise the hopes of elderly councillors by slipping them billets-doux during planning committee meetings.

A replacement would have to be found.

Inevitably, the Hendy developers appealed against the council’s decision but the appeal was dismissed by a planning inspector in May, 2018. Then, just five months later, Lesley Griffiths, Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Secretary for the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ over-ruled the planning inspector.

Here’s the letter Lesley Griffiths sent to Keith McKinney of Aaron and Partners LLP, a firm of Chester solicitors acting for the developers Hendy Wind Farm Ltd. Which is directly owned by DS Renewables LLP and ultimately owned by U + I Group Plc.

You’ll note that Griffiths says the justification for her overruling the planning inspector is that Hendy Wind Farm is a Development of National Significance (DNS).

Yet Wales already produces roughly twice as much electricity as we consume, with the extra going to England for no remuneration. So Hendy and all the other developments planned cannot be in the Welsh national interest. Which means they must be in the national interest of England or the UK.

Suggesting that Wales is being lumbered with an unfair and disproportionate number of the UK’s wind farms. Take Scotland out of the calculation and it becomes even more obvious that Wales is suffering an excessive number of wind turbines in order to protect English landscapes.

But it’s OK, because this exploitation is presented as little old Wales saving the planet.

It’s unusual for a minister to overrule the Planning Inspectorate. And because the Planning Inspectorate plays by the same DNS rule-book Griffiths’ decision made a number of people suspect that other factors or influences might have been at play.

From the ‘Welsh Government’ website. Click to open in separate tab

And then . . . it was noticed that Labour insider David James Taylor had slipped on to the stage. Was he the replacement for Anna McMorrin?

In this website – put up I assume by objectors – Taylor’s company Moblake is named as working for the developers. Though as I’ll explain in a minute, there are two Moblake companies. And Taylor’s connection to those developers goes beyond Moblake.

Taylor is described in this piece as a ‘Former Labour spin doctor’. To give you some more information I shall shamelessly lift a section from last year’s piece:

‘Back in the early part of 2009 a bright lad in the Labour Party launched a website attacking his party’s political opponents. The site’s name cleverly linking the names of Labour icon Aneurin Bevan and national hero Owain Glyndŵr. As background music it even employed Tom Jones’s Delilah.

How we laughed!

But it all came unstuck and caused the bruvvers considerable embarrassment. First Minister Rhodri Morgan was particularly irked because Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones had been portrayed as a clown. In normal circumstances this wouldn’t have mattered, but Labour was in coalition with Plaid Cymru at the time.

The website itself has long disappeared into the ether, but this old blog will give you a flavour. Though the Aneurin Glyndŵr Twitter account lives on.

The photo below shows Taylor canvassing for Lesley Griffiths in the 2016 Assembly elections along with some kids shipped in from England.

Around the same time he stood as the Labour candidate for the North Wales PCC post, but lost. Which would have left him looking for a suitably remunerative position.

Click to open in separate tab

Taylor had worked as a spad for Peter Hain when the Sage of the Serengeti was Secretary of State for Wales, and has also served as head cook and bottlewasher to former Labour Assembly Member Leighton Andrews.

Taylor joined the party while still in nappies and chaired his local constituency association before leaving kindergarten. In short, he is Labour through and through, and is very well connected in the Welsh branch of the UK Labour Party.

Additionally, he’s from the north east, and knows Lesley Griffiths personally.

WHAT A BUTE!

There is something of a changing of the guard in 2017/18. Not only do we see Taylor taking over from McMorrin as the Labour Party / lobbyist presence but those originally behind Hendy wind farm are overshadowed by new players.

The linkage between the new and the old can be found in the company originally named Windward Generation Ltd, then Bute Energy Ltd, and finally, RSCO 3750 Ltd.

The first two directors were Oliver James Millican and Lawson Douglas Steele, both using the address of the Edinburgh Solicitors’ Property Centre at 90a George Street. They were joined 6 days later by Steven John Radford of Hendy Wind Farm Ltd.

Radford left in December 2019 and in the same month Stuart Allan George joined. Millican, Steele, and George will dominate this narrative from now on through a galaxy of companies under the Bute Energy umbrella.

Click to open in separate tab

To help you make sense of it I offer this table, with working links, that shows the various companies involved at the outset of the Hendy scenario and how, since they appeared on the scene, Millican, Steele, and George seem to be planning wind farms – now renamed ‘energy parks’ – all over Wales.

Since April 2020 there have been 20 new companies. Most of them location specific. See how many you can identify.

Earlier I mentioned David Taylor’s two companies called Moblake. These are Moblake Ltd (formerly Moblake Wind Ventures Ltd), and Moblake Associates Ltd. Despite the suggestion in the name of the second, Taylor is the sole director of both.

The latest unaudited financial statement for Moblake Ltd (not to be confused with audited accounts) show a healthy balance of £765,000. The ‘Nature of business (SIC)’ says that this company deals in ‘specialised construction activities’.

From the latest accounts, y/e 30.04.2021. We can guess where the money came from. Moblake is just a conduit. Money goes in one end and Taylor takes it out at the other end. Click to open in separate tab.

The Moblake companies were formed a week before Lesley Griffiths wrote to the developers’ solicitor advising that the Hendy Wind Farm was going ahead. What a coincidence!

Which I find curious. For Taylor has neither qualifications nor experience in the field of construction. I’ve read somewhere that he took time out from being a political fixer to study cyber security in the USA.

To further the pretence of Welsh involvement in or benefit from these projects Bute has recruited or appointed a Welsh Advisory Board headed by former Labour MEP Derek Vaughan.

UPDATE 15.10.2021: We now learn from her entry on the Register of Interests that senior Labour MS Jenny Rathbone‘s partner is a member of the Advisory Board.

Click to open in separate tab

This is John Uden.

What expertise does he bring? Or is his real benefit that he’s the partner of a Senedd Member who sits on the Climate Change, Environment, and Infrastructure Committee?

Click to open in separate tab

Having touched on Taylor’s background, it’s worth adding that Millican, Steele, and George have never driven a digger for Wimpey either. Their expertise is in real estate and equities.

Which raises a number of possibilities.

Until he discovered an interest in wind turbines Millican was a director of companies under the Parabola label. Companies such as Parabola Estate Holdings Ltd, operating out of the same London address as his more recent wind farm ventures.

A director of this and many other companies is 72-year-old Peter John Millican, who I assume to be the father of 40-year-old Oliver Millican.

Given that Millican junior is in ultimate control of all the wind farm companies I can’t help wondering whether he has really branched out on his own or whether he’s still working for daddy. Or perhaps fronting for someone else.

To summarise, we have the three musketeers from Caeredin, and their man on the ground in Wales, David Taylor, none of whom has any obvious background in engineering or renewables. Nor are they believed to be card-carrying members of the Greta Thunberg Fan Club.

Which suggests to me that they’re just in it for the money. With that money assured through being able to influence the ‘Welsh Government’.

For it wasn’t Taylor’s sparkling repartee that persuaded the Bute gang to make him a member of Grayling Capital LLP, and a shareholder in Windward Enterprises.

All of which leads me to wonder if this lot will erect a single wind turbine.

Because having apparently secured the rights to so many sites all they need do on each is spend a few thousand for a planning application and, once that’s secured, each site becomes worth millions.

And we are talking tens of millions of pounds, possibly nine figures, for a total outlay of less than a million pounds, and without having to do any real work.

Not far from Hendy Wind Farm, nearer to Llangurig, we find Bryn Blaen. A modest affair of 6 turbines with a tip height of 100m and a potential output of just 14.1MW. This too was launched by Steven John Radford, the man behind the Hendy project.

The latest accounts (to 30 September, 2020) show ‘Tangible assets’ of £35,567,344. And this figure has been reduced by the estimated cost of removing the turbines when their days are done, and restoring the site.

Click to open in separate tab

Though I predict it will be a hard job getting those responsible to restore wind farm sites. We might see companies locating offshore, as we saw with those seeking to avoid cleaning up opencast coal sites. A famous example being Celtic Energy.

Incidentally, Celtic Energy was advised by M & A Solicitors, which changed its name to Acuity Law and then advised Stan ‘The Pies’ Thomas on his notorious acquisition of public land.

I wrote about it back in the early part of 2016, with Pies, Planes & Property Development, soon followed by Pies, Planes & Property Development 2. ‘Planes’ refers to Stan and his brother Peter selling Cardiff airport to the ‘Welsh Government’ for a ludicrously high price.

When dealing with the ‘Welsh Government’ the Thomas brothers adhere to the old maxim, ‘Sell high, buy low’. With which the ‘Welsh Government, apparently, agrees.

Acuity Law still does a lot of work for Whatshisname and his gang. God help us!

Let’s conclude this section with a bit more information on Bryn Blaen. Radford and other directors left the company in February 2020. They were replaced by Stephen Richard Daniels, Edward William Mole, Benjamin Alexander Phillips, and Roger Skeldon.

Together, the three for whom I’ve provided links, hold 1,647 directorships, and a hell of a lot of the companies are dissolved.

It might be worth keeping an eye on Bryn Blaen.

IT COULD HAVE BEEN SO DIFFERENT

Consider this: We have a ‘Welsh Government’, and it wants to fight climate change by covering Wales in wind turbines.

The obvious course to have taken would have been to build up a Welsh renewables industry. Welsh companies could have been formed, could have grown and prospered; created jobs, built up local skills, and put wealth into local economies.

Had this been done we could today have Welsh companies erecting wind turbines around the world. Using highly-skilled Welsh technicians and engineers. Bringing money back to Wales.

But no.

Instead, our colonial elite behaved like procurers, offering Wales up to foreign investors and companies for them to do with as they wished. The former sometimes based in tax havens, the latter often state owned, such as Sweden’s Vattenfall, which owns our largest wind farm, Pen-y-Cymoedd.

But it will get worse before it gets better. Because in some ways Bute Energy’s plans may represent the last hurrah for increasingly discredited onshore wind.

The next scam is tree planting. Which is why . . .

When independence is seen to approach the first priority must be to seal off Corruption Bay and block all escape routes. Then flood the place. Have gangs of likely lads at each exit to mercilessly deal with anyone trying to get out.

Because . . . can you imagine giving more power, and more money, to those we find in that nest of vermin? The jumped-up councillor politicians, their spads, and other hangers-on; the third sector parasites dreaming up new ‘problems’ they can use to bleed us dry; the (unregistered) lobbyists; the civil servants taking orders from London; the enviroshysters and other ‘influencers’ directing ‘Welsh Government’ policy.

They must all be swept away.

If independence offers nothing but devolution on steroids, then here’s one lifelong nationalist who will reject it. My independence, whilst being free of ideological pre-conditions, demands a fresh start, with a different model, and in a new place.

A new system that works for the Welsh people, not against us.

♦ end ♦

 




Corruption in the wind 2, Labour snouts in the trough

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

In November 2018 I published Corruption in the Wind? I suggest you read it to get the background to what’s written here. You might notice that for this report I’ve dropped the question mark used in the original piece.

BRIEF BACKGROUND

That earlier piece (plus updates) was about Hendy wind farm south of the hamlet of Llandegley, which is a few miles east of Llandrindod, and just off the A44.

The planning application was rejected by the council in May 2017. There was an appeal by the developers, and the council’s decision was upheld by a Planning Inspector in May 2018.

That seemed to be the end of the matter.

But, then, in October 2018, Lesley Griffiths, the ‘Welsh Government’s Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, suddenly and unexpectedly overturned that decision.

This led to developers cutting all sorts of corners in their rush to get one turbine erected before the end of January 2019, in order to beat OFGEM’s accreditation deadline for onshore wind subsidy hand-outs.

THE STORY SO FAR . . .

As Julie Andrews trilled in The Sound of Music – a movie I manage to avoid every Christmas! – “Let’s start at the very beginning”.

The planning application for Hendy wind farm was received by Powys County Council in July 2014. From Hendy Wind Farm Ltd through agent Cunnane Town Planning of Manchester. Among the directors of Hendy Wind Farm we find Steven John Radford.

To guarantee himself another slice of the Hendy pie Radford had set up two weeks earlier Njord Energy Ltd, with his wife as the other director. They describe themselves as ‘environmental consultants’.

Here’s the plan that accompanied the planning application. The A44, heading roughly north west to Crossgates, forms the eastern boundary.

Click to enlarge

In the early days of this project we were also looking at the involvement of U + I Group PLC, which seemed to be the controlling force behind everything.

As I wrote in ‘Corruption in the wind?’ “A curious beast, U and I. It was known as Development Securities plc until 5 November 2015. And on the very same day a previous incarnation of the U + I Group Ltd changed its name to Development Securities Ltd.”

Development Securities (No 71) Ltd was the original name of Hendy Wind Farm Ltd until April 2012; so you have to wonder what it had been doing in the 27 months between the name change and submitting the planning application.

In fact, companies changing or exchanging names is quite common among those we’re dealing with. Why do they do it? Well, your guess is as good as mine. Though confusing the curious must be one possibility.

Here’s a table I’ve put together in which I try to show, in chronological order, when various individuals and companies became involved. You will probably find it easier to use the pdf version with the company names serving as hyperlinks.

My attempt to set out the companies and the individuals involved with the Hendy wind farm. Click to enlarge

In addition to the web of interlinked companies I mention here, also involved are companies under the Parabola banner, also based at 20 Primrose Street, London. But there are so many others . . . It really is a maze.

Those I mentioned in the original piece seem to have been joined recently by a new set of players. As if one team has been responsible for getting planning permission and now, that achieved, another team will take over.

That is certainly what is suggested on page 6 of the Annual Report for the U + I Group. Where we see that Hendy Wind Farm is lined up for sale. You’ll also see Rhoscrowther wind farm mentioned. Which is strange.

Originally there were three wind farms planned by U + I, each with its own company. (All covered in ‘Corruption in the wind?’) Bryn Blaen, near Llangurig, went ahead relatively straightforwardly, and has now been sold. Hendy you’re reading about here, and then there was Rhoscrowther.

Rhoscrowther wind farm was planned for the Milford Haven Waterway. The county council vetoed it, a planning inspector agreed, ‘Welsh Government’ accepted that decision, and it even went as far as a High Court hearing when the investors wouldn’t accept those decisions.

My understanding is that the Rhoscrowther project is dead. So why does it appear as an ongoing project in U + I’s annual report? Which appears to suggest that the application will be submitted again. But why expect a different outcome? Do those involved know something we don’t?

Image: U + I Group PLC. Click to enlarge

Quite obviously, U + I cannot maximise its profit from Hendy until the sale is completed, and for that to happen there are still a couple of hurdles to overcome. With niceties to be observed.

A recent letter from Steven Radford to the County Council asks for some irksome conditions to be lifted. Specifically, Condition 38 of the planning permission, which relates to bats and birds. The council of course agreed, with worrying alacrity.

A remarkable document this. Tantamount to a wind farm developer admitting that wind turbines kill birds and bats, something that’s usually denied.

ENTER ANEURIN GLYNDŴR, IN MOOD POSITIF

For those of you for whom Aneurin Glyndŵr means nothing, let me explain . . .

Back in the early part of 2009 a bright lad in the Labour Party launched a website attacking his party’s political opponents. The site’s name cleverly linking the names of Labour icon Aneurin Bevan and national hero Owain Glyndŵr. As background music it even employed Tom Jones’s Delilah.

How we laughed!

But it all came unstuck and caused the bruvvers considerable embarrassment. First Minister Rhodri Morgan was particularly irked because Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones had been portrayed as a clown. In normal circumstances this wouldn’t have mattered, but Labour was in coalition with Plaid Cymru at the time.

The website itself has long disappeared into the ether, but this old blog will give you a flavour. Though the Aneurin Glyndŵr Twitter account lives on. As does another account using the name that seems to have no connection with Wales.

Now the bright young thing behind Aneurin Glyndŵr was David James Taylor. He’d first came to public attention in 2004 with another website, this one attacking Labour rebel Clare Short. Remember her?

In the first article I linked to you’ll see mention of Peter Hain and Alun Davies. Taylor had worked as an advisor to Hain when that Son of Africa was Secretary of State for Wales. While I’m not aware of any connection between Davies and Taylor, Anna McMorrin, Davies’s partner, had been a lobbyist working for those behind Hendy and other wind farms.

She’s mentioned in my spreadsheet thingy in April 2017.

In 2016 Taylor stood for the post of North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, losing out in the second round to the Plaid Cymru candidate Arfon Jones. These PCC elections were held at the same time as the elections for the Welsh Assembly and here’s a picture of Taylor out canvassing for . . . well, bless me! – he’s canvassing for Lesley Griffiths, who shocked us all by giving Hendy Wind Farm Ltd planning permission in October 2018.

From the 2016 Assembly election campaign. Click to enlarge

So maybe it’s no surprise to learn that Taylor now has his snout in the wind farm trough. Where he acts as path-smoother for developers.

Those involved in the campaign to protect this beautiful area tell me that Taylor is now handling ‘community liaison’ for the developers . . . but there’s little or no liaising. Yet somehow reports are still submitted!

Taylor is also said to be busy trying to revive the Rhoscrowther project. Who would he need to influence to achieve that?

Whatever he’s doing, the network of interlinked and shape-shifting companies he’s involved with seem to value his contribution enough to have let him join the gang at Grayling Capital LLP.

Taylor has also been slipped a few shares at Windward Enterprises Ltd, some in his own name and some in the name of his company, Moblake Associates Ltd.

I’m sure his new friends have high hopes for David James Taylor, because they plan more wind farms and other developments in Wales.

Another Labour insider now involved is Daran Hill of lobbyists Positif.

This company is acting on behalf of Grayling Capital – where David Taylor is a (non-designated) member – and Bute Energy Ltd, a company set up earlier this year and owned by Windward Enterprises Ltd, the company in which Taylor has shares.

To give you a flavour of the interconnectedness I’ve referred to, Windward Enterprises is owned by Windward Global Ltd, and all shares in Windward Global are held – at the time of writing! – by Oliver James Millican.

Millican is one of the new boys on the block. He is invariably accompanied by Lawson Douglas Steele and Stuart Allan George. They either use the Primrose Street address in London, or the New Town address of the Edinburgh Solicitors’ Property Centre Ltd.

Office of ESPC, 90A George Street, Edinburgh. Click to enlarge

I suggest that this Scottish involvement may have brought with it a better understanding of devolution, and an appreciation of the need for contacts with influence at the highest local level.

Which would of course explain the involvement of McMorrin, Taylor and Hill.

I contacted Daran Hill by Twitter DM yesterday, hoping he’d contribute, but he seemed a bit, well, guarded. And when I asked if he had contact details for David Taylor, his reply surprised me.

Click to enlarge

Why would Taylor need a lobbying firm?

Though Taylor and Hill have known each other for a while. Taylor had a company called Leckwith Ltd, which he’d formed in November 2011. On 1 January 2018 Taylor left and Hill arrived. The company was dissolved 5 February 2019.

A company not much more than a shell, so I can’t understand why Taylor didn’t just go for voluntary liquidation. Does it look better on his record that somebody took it over?

Another, rather bizarre connection, between Taylor, Hill and Lesley Griffiths is the late Carl Sargeant, who committed suicide in November 2017, shortly after being sacked as Secretary for Communities and Children.

Hill claimed to have been Sargeant’s best friend at the time of his death. Taylor was also a close friend. Both are mentioned in this report from the inquest. Lesley Griffiths was on the train to Cardiff with Sargeant to attend the meeting with First Minister Carwyn Jones at which he was sacked.

All seemed to take the anti-Carwyn Jones line following Sargeant’s death. Though Griffiths was kept on, and even took over Sargeant’s post, which might be interpreted as accepting a proffered olive branch.

Then, as we saw in a picture above, Taylor was canvassing for Griffiths in 2016. And as far back as 2012 Hill was sticking up for a beleaguered Lesley Griffiths.

They do seem to help each other out.

PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER

Lesley Griffiths over-ruled the planning inspector in October 2018 even though nothing had changed in the five months since the planning inspector delivered his judgement – which Griffiths had accepted.

So why did Lesley Griffiths do it?

Maybe the investors hoping to make millions from Hendy wind farm lobbied friends in London. This resulted in Griffiths being ‘leaned on’.

Then again, maybe the lobbying, and the ‘leaning’, was done in Wales.

Wherever it was done, the developers knew what was going to happen, and this explains why they were on site three days before Lesley Griffiths wrote to the developers’ solicitor to tell him she’d decided to over-rule the planning inspector.

Anyone arguing that I’m wrong about the lobbying should come up with a plausible explanation for Lesley Griffiths’ intervention, and for the prescient surveyors.

She certainly didn’t wake suddenly one night and shout, “Gary, love, I’ve had a vision, and a voice said to me . . . “.

No, she was wide awake, and the voices she heard were more familiar to her.

Surveyors on site at Hendy wind farm 3 days before Lesley Griffiths wrote to developers’ solicitor telling him that she was overturning the planning inspector’s decision. Click to enlarge

Hendy wind farm isn’t the end of the story. It’s not the end of anything. It could even mark the start of Wales sinking to new lows of corruption, that will see companies from outside the country use local influencers to get their way and screw the rest of us.

Through lobbyists and others that are unregulated and unregistered. The fault of a cronyist Labour Party; as this brilliant essay by Matt Smith puts it:

“The Welsh Labour establishment recruits networked left-wing careerists. Of their 29 AMs, 24% worked on the party payroll (as Labour advisers or staffers), 21% worked for third sector organisations, 21% worked in the media and 14% worked for trade unions or a union-affiliated law firm before being selected. Only two fifths of Welsh Labour AMs did not work in professional politics or associated sectors.”

Which is music to the ears of those Taylor and Hill now work for, because the new boys from Yr Hen Ogledd, have further plans for Wales. They formed three new companies as recently as 29/30 April.

In addition, talks are underway with landowners across the A44 from the Hendy site. Which means that the Three Amigos and their Welsh recruits could do very well for themselves in the years ahead.

But what about the rest of us?

In ‘Energy Wales: A Low Carbon Transition‘ we are told about the ‘community benefits’ of renewable energy, and the ‘community-owned’ projects – but where are they?

Take a look at the companies and individuals involved at Hendy, Pen y Cymoedd and other wind farms. The only Welsh beneficiaries seem to be Labour Party insiders like Anna McMorrin, David Taylor, and Daran Hill. Possibly Lesley Griffiths.

And of course, the landowners. For wind turbines are to energy generation what caravan parks are to tourism – they provide no jobs, they put little money into the local economy, and the only real beneficiaries are the landowners who have the turbines or caravans on their land.

Which exposes Labour’s position, yet again, as vacuous, virtue-signalling bollocks.

THE BIT AT THE END WHERE JAC GOES OFF ON ONE

Certain persons in London long ago decided that Wales would take an unfair and disproportionate number of wind turbines in order to protect the vistas of the New Jerusalem.

Taffy doffed his cap, shuffled his feet, and mumbled, “Oh! tidy, mun.” For this diktat could be repackaged as saving the planet. With more sugar added to the pill by promising jobs and community benefits, with free rides for children and pensioners – as outlined in ‘Energy Wales: A Low Carbon Transition’.

I suggest that because covering Wales with wind turbines was a gift for a party with no economic strategy beyond throwing money at shysters while integrating eastern parts of the country with adjoining areas of England and encouraging tourism to ethnically cleanse areas further west.

All that was needed then to implement the cunning plan was persuadable landowners and complaisant councillors. Wales has never lacked for either.

The first turbine at Hendy wind farm, with Llandegley Rocks forming the horizon. Click to enlarge

The hypocrisy and deceit is further exposed by wind turbines creating no jobs beyond the construction stage, and the ‘community benefits’ being restricted to hand-outs from the foreign companies making the profits. (With Labour Party loyalists often deciding who gets these crumbs.)

Which leads me to conclude that the ‘progressive’ consensus in Corruption Bay has done more for the City of London than for the city of Swansea . . . and most other parts of Wales. It takes the likes of Johnson, Cummings and Hancock to make them look remotely competent.

Time is up for the Labour Party and its little helpers. Make sure you give them the message in next year’s election. Wales deserves better.

But even before then, Lesley Griffiths’ position is now untenable.

♦ end ♦

Finally, thanks to the wonderful people in Powys who are fighting these bird slicing, bat dicing, flood causing monsters that despoil our environment so as to protect someone else’s and allow charlatan politicos and their cronies to enjoy their parasitic existence.

I’m sorry I wasn’t able to use everything you sent me. Special thanks, and apologies, to ‘A’ for the photos sent late last night. I’m afraid I’d already finished the article.