My first post on the subject was, Green Man, Red Herring?, back in May. And as the title suggests, even then, I was not entirely convinced by the official story about the farm being bought for the music festival. Something didn’t add up.
So I did some digging.
And I shall begin this latest post by taking you back to where my earlier digging took me – the Catskills of New York State. The area from where New York City draws its water. I dealt with this relationship in that first Gilestone piece.
One result of these trans-Atlantic jollies was the formation in May 2020 of the Beacons Water Group CIC (BWG). That the one was the inspiration for the other is made clear in the company’s Certificate of Incorporation.
But it makes little sense. OK, so the Beacons supplies southern Wales with water. That is understood. But what was to be learnt from linking up with the New York City Watershed Agricultural Council?
HANDS ACROSS THE SEA
We are expected to believe that the BWG and BBMC, both inspired by the US link-up, exist solely to ensure cleaner water from the Beacons for DC’s existing customers.
The problem I have with this interpretation is – if true, then what has Dŵr Cymru being doing up until now? And did DC need to go to the USA to learn about water quality?
Which is why I suspect these new bodies might serve some purpose other than simply improving water quality, or some purpose additional to that objective.
Let’s look again at the US exemplar.
As the pre-internet flyer below makes clear, the reason for introducing the Watershed scheme was to impose stricter regulations on farmers in the Catskills.
To some extent, this was understandable, everybody wants clean drinking water. It’s a global human necessity that too many are still going without. Also, irresponsible farmers can be a source of pollution.
That was what lay behind the Watershed Agricultural Council. (Here’s a brief history.) Farmers were cajoled, persuaded, and paid, to keep the water clean. I’ve found nothing to make me suspect there was a hidden agenda.
But I do believe that on this side of the Atlantic some looked at the Catskills and saw a model to be replicated; with others welcoming a model that could be adapted to enforce local observance of Globalist diktats.
And so, what we see emerging in the Beacons is, up to a point, about water quality; but also about using water quality to make life difficult for farmers, done in order to facilitate the ‘Welsh Government’s implementation of the UN’s Agenda 2030 and The Great Reset of the World Economic Forum.
Which, among other demands, insist on reducing the numbers of livestock farmers.
But what I believe is planned for the Beacons goes beyond the ‘Welsh Government’s war on farming, and owes more to the principal aim of the Catskills model.
As we’ve read, one of the most important aspects of the whole Watershed project is the claim that it enjoys the co-operation of farmers.
In the hope of reprising that bucolic camaraderie the Brecon Beacons Mega Catchment will play the role of the Watershed Agricultural Council, with the Beacons Water Group serving to demonstrate farmer involvement.
I’d like to give you more information about the BBMC but it seems to be pretty sparse. There is a Twitter account, that hasn’t posted for months, and the same applies to the Facebook page.
Though I did turn up this picture, from February, of what is said to be the BBMC steering group. The picture comes from the Twitter account of Dave Ashford.
Ashford works for the ‘Welsh Government’ but was, from May 2020 to April 2022, seconded to Dŵr Cymru as ‘Brecon Beacons Mega-Catchment Programme Manager’.
He is now back with the ‘Welsh Government’, as ‘Stakeholder Engagement Manager to help develop a future Sustainable Farming Scheme for Wales’. Here’s his Linkedin page. (Here in pdf format in case you can’t access it.)
Didn’t Dŵr Cymru itself have anyone who could have done this job, for water is its business after all? Couldn’t Natural Resources Wales have provided someone?
Is secondment like this a common practice? Because if nothing else, it gives the impression that the Catchment project is pushing a political objective rather than promoting an environmental agenda.
In the photo above, Dave is fifth from the left. Third from the right is Richard Roderick, of Newton Farm, next door to Gilestone. Richard is a local National Farmers Union chief, and chairman(?) of the Brecknockshire Agricultural Society.
Now the thing about Richard Roderick is that he is also a director of Beacons Water Group CIC. Another director is Keri Howell Davies, who made the trip to the USA with Roderick in October 2019.
Someone else we find among the BWG directors is Charles Weston, the man who sold Gilestone farm to the ‘Welsh Government’. Fancy that!
Talking of whom, I’m going to push the boat out and suggest that . . .
The purchase of Gilestone for a very generous £4.25m might have been a reward for the seller, Charles Weston, as much as, or rather than, a favour for the Green Man Festival. If that’s right, then what did Weston do to deserve such generosity?
Sharpness being a small town and port on the Severn in Gloucestershire. From where the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal runs to Gloucester docks. Just before reaching Gloucester this canal links with the Thames & Severn Canal which, as the name suggests, connects the Severn with the Thames just west of Oxford.
Why am I telling you this? My thinking will be explained in the next section. (If you haven’t already guessed!)
Let’s conclude this section by reiterating that it looks very much to me, and to farmers in contact with me, that the leadership of the NFU, both in Wales and at Englandandwales level, has signed up to Agenda 2030 and The Great Reset.
The top brass at the NFU have the sense – and the political nous – to realise that livestock farmers, especially in Wales, are to be culled. They, the chiefs, will look after themselves, and then it’s every ‘Indian’ for himself.
In Wales that means complying with, perhaps even pretending to agree with, the ‘Welsh Government’s hysterical responses to an imaginary climate disaster.
Nothing to do with saving the planet, it’s pure self-interest.
THE BIG PICTURE
Let’s accept that the trans-Atlantic trips make no sense whatsoever if Dŵr Cymru is simply going to look after water in the Brecon Beacons for its existing customers. In other words, the ‘day job’.
There has to be more to it than that. (Now we come to the ‘kite’ I mentioned earlier.)
Let’s start with a few established and incontestable facts.
Due to an expanding population, and rising living standards in recent decades, the demand for water has increased dramatically in southern England, resulting in a growing problem of water shortages.
Water will be have to be brought in from somewhere else.
That ‘somewhere’ is usually identified as Wales. The mayor of London in 2011 – a certain Boris Johnson – suggested it. And in August of this year Conservatives were even pushing the idea of a ‘Great Boris Canal’ to ‘transfer water from Wales to the south of England’, according to Nation.Cymru.
The subject of west to east (and north to south) water transfer has been discussed by various bodies, off and on, for decades. The difference now may be that ‘climate change’ can be used to push on with the proposed ‘national’ water grid.
My reading of the situation is that there is already a plan in place to move water to England from the Brecon Beacons.
Not only is it roughly the same distance from London as the Catskill watershed is from New York City but the infrastructure is largely in place, and what’s needed is either under construction or could be done relatively easily.
As I suggested earlier, Fiona Stewart may have been pressing her friends in Corruption Bay to help her and the Green Man Festival, maybe even buy her a farm; but I don’t think she was asking for, and she didn’t expect, Gilestone.
Let’s now look at the OS map of Gilestone farm. In particular, look at the course of the river Usk and the Monmouthshire & Brecon canal. Nowhere do they come closer to each other than at Gilestone.
Transferring water from the Usk to the canal, and then on to England, would be fairly easy. Given that the Usk regularly floods Gilestone farm such engineering work could even be dressed up as a flood prevention scheme.
And the engineering work involved would expose the large and very valuable sand and gravel deposits that lie beneath Gilestone.
Also worth remembering is Gilestone’s proximity to both Llangorse Lake and Talybont reservoir. Shown below in the image from Google Earth.
So many water resources so close to Gilestone: river, canal, lake, reservoir.
Llangorse is the largest natural lake in central and southern Wales. Talybont reservoir is the largest stillwater lake in the south, and owned by Dŵr Cymru.
And to end this section, let’s remember the skulduggery that preceded Weston’s purchase of Gilestone.
I have spoken with Gilestone’s previous owners, and I am in no doubt that they were forced out. Instrumental in the campaign to get them to sell to Weston was a solicitor named Julie James. She was elected to the Welsh Assembly in 2011 and is now Minister for Climate Change.
The plan to transfer water from the Brecon Beacons to England has been hatching for a considerable time.
In addition to the River Usk and the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal it may also involve the River Wye. Which would explain the hysteria from an ever-growing number of conservation groups on these rivers – always blaming Welsh livestock farmers for anything less than crystal-clear water.
Though the Environment Agency (England’s equivalent of Natural Resources Wales) points the finger at arable farmers, who are almost all on the English side of the border. While poultry units, targeted by colonialist ecowhiners, get an almost clean bill of health.
Charles Weston may have bought Gilestone of his own volition, but I’m inclined to believe there was some agency involved. If so, which agency might that be?
I concede that my theory hinges on various facts being part of a coherent whole rather than just coincidences. Anyway, here are the facts, interpret them as you will:
For many years there have been influential voices calling for water to be transferred from Wales to southern England.
Charles Weston, has a background in transport and shipping, and long-established links to Sharpness, from where there is a direct waterway to London.
For some reason Weston moved to Wales and started buying land, including Gilestone, the previous owners having been hounded out by a campaign involving a lawyer who is now a ‘Welsh Government’ minister.
Gilestone seems ideally placed for any scheme for transferring water from Wales to London.
For no obvious reason a link was forged between Dŵr Cymru and the Watershed Agricultural Council in New York State. The WAC exists solely to guarantee a regular supply of clean drinking water to New York City.
This US link gave us the Brecon Beacons Mega Catchment and the Beacons Water Group. The justification for these two groups has been ‘explained‘ in terms that are risible and vague to the point of being utterly vacuous.
The ‘Welsh Government’ bought Gilestone farm from Charles Weston for an inflated sum. We were told the purchase was made for the Green Man Festival’ – but Fiona Stewart says, “They (WG) came to me”!
I believe this kite flies!
And if I’m right, then Gilestone was ‘secured’ for future use when Weston bought it; and now, the ‘Welsh Government’s purchase could signal that things are moving on to the next stage.
Of course the ‘Welsh Government’ might be ignorant of the bigger picture. This would explain why it cannot give a plausible explanation for buying Gilestone farm.
This ignorance could also be attributed to the Drakeford Gang acting under orders. Perhaps the project is managed by civil servants, working in Wales but answering to their bosses in Whitehall.
Though I find it difficult to believe that Julie James is wholly in the dark.
Supplying water to London would certainly explain the Catskills connection, which otherwise makes no sense at all. For it’s the perfect template if the plan is for a hilly and largely agricultural area to supply a city of 9 million people roughly 100 miles away.
With the ‘Welsh Government’ seizing the opportunity presented by the water transfer project to make life even more difficult for our livestock farmers.
Two birds with one stone. And two blows against the interests of the Welsh people.
As evidence trickles out about the purchase – by the so-called ‘Welsh Government’, for £4.25m – of Gilestone farm, the picture just seems to get murkier.
That’s because every new revelation, or attempted explanation, raises more questions. Though one thing becoming clear is that in this area of southern Powys and rural Gwent, there is a network of well-connected individuals profiting from political patronage, and the public purse.
It was difficult deciding which thread to start with. The one I’ve chosen may seem innocuous enough, but stick with it because it does lead somewhere, and connections will reveal themselves.
To explain. The World Economic Forum, using the pretext of a ‘climate catastrophe’ that isn’t happening, seeks to impose an unelected global government made up of political leaders, major corporations like Vanguard and Blackrock, and multi-billionaires such as Gates, Soros, Zuckerberg and others.
One of the ploys being used to exert control over us is the claim that there is too much carbon about. We are expected to believe that an element essential to life on this planet is in fact killing us! So the world needs to ‘decarbonise’.
Being badly advertised outside of environmental circles the responses predictably suggested fewer cars, more wind turbines, and increased brainwashing of children. (Scroll down to page 84 for the organisations that responded.)
You’ll see that the report on the responses was compiled by Miller Research (UK) Ltd. Here’s the company website, and if you scroll down you’ll see that the main office is in Abergavenny, fast becoming the enviroshyster epicentre of our Wye-Usk Fertile Crescent.
On the Companies House entry for Miller we see that the sole director of the company is the eponymous Nicholas FitzHardinge Miller. The unaudited financial statement (y/e 31.07.2021) would suggest that the company is doing fairly well, with 12 employees and retained earnings of £473,108.
While the website makes it obvious where the money comes from. For in addition to the ‘Welsh Government’ Miller does work for other bodies I guarantee you’re familiar with.
There are no entities there that I’d regard as genuine commercial clients. They seem to be the kind of lucrative gigs you’d get if you were well-connected down in Corruption Bay. Or to the Labour Party.
‘Degrowth’ is code for turning the clock back on human progress. Especially in the West, or perhaps only in the West. And not for everybody.
An administration in thrall to the World Economic Forum employed a company owned by an individual who supports Extinction Rebellion. The outcome of the ‘consultation’ on decarbonisation was beyond predictable. It was pre-determined.
GOOD MONEY AFTER BAD
Another company Miller has been associated with is Blurrt Ltd. Which is, alas, no longer with us, having gone the way of so many of the companies that appear on this blog.
As a Victorian headstone might have put it, ‘Received into the bosom of the Great . . . ‘ er, well, Receiver.
Formed in June 2012, by Jason Robert Smith, Blurrt’s product, ‘allows users to listen, analyse, showcase and engage with social audiences in real time’, which television companies thought might be useful.
And yet, confusingly, in his Twitter bio, Nick Miller, of ‘Monmouthshire, UK’, describes himself as, ‘Founder at Blurrt’.
It’s confusing because according to the documents filed with Companies House Smith alone formed the company and wasn’t joined by Miller and Andrew Paul Cargill until October of 2012. (Cargill left on February 12, 2014.)
Is Miller saying he was involved before becoming a director and a shareholder? But if so, then what form might that involvement have taken? And would it allow him to claim that he was the ‘founder’?
The day Cargill left, two new directors joined. These were Lloyd Gooding (son of Alf Gooding), and would-be media tycoon Huw Marshall. Marshall was representing S4C, for the following month we read, S4C takes stake in Blurrt.
By an amazing coincidence, Marshall gets a mention in the latest issue of Private Eye.
The involvement of S4C links with investment made in Blurrt Ltd. Though around the same time the company was also seeking other funding and seems to have raised £504,135 from 182 investors.
In a return made to Companies House June 26, 2014 we see that the largest shareholder was Nicholas FitzHardinge Miller, with 360 in his own name and a further 240 in the name of Miller Research.
Marshall was replaced as S4C’s representative on July 6, 2015 by Phillip Gwynne Evans, who lasted until December 21, 2018.
Founder Jason Robert Smith ceased being a director in October 2017. Which left Lloyd Gooding and Nicholas FitzHardinge Miller minding the shop.
I have difficulty understanding these further loans. Partly because S4C may have had to write off the 2014 loan, and partly because by 2017, when the two loans were made, the good ship Blurrt was securely moored up Shit Creek.
The accounts for year ending December 31, 2017 show debts of £467,329. While some of this may be attributed to the two loans, the debt for the previous year was a worrying £118,085.
This looks like a gambler on a losing streak throwing good money after bad. But let’s remember who the ‘gamblers’ were, and whose money they were squandering!
The last Blurrt accounts filed were for year ending December 31, 2018. And they are not a pretty sight. It might help if you visualise the bracketed figures in red.
It’s difficult to comprehend why so much money was pumped into a lost cause. Was it to help out certain well-connected persons?
There are a couple of other companies with which Nick Miller is associated that are worthy of mention as they help fill out the picture.
The piece told us that the new venture at Gilestone – whatever it is – will support farmers and young people. Did we ever doubt it! But will it be intersectional and carbon-neutral, that’s what we all want to know.
In all seriousness, I get the impression that the Gilestone / Green Man story is changing from week to week. And not one version I’ve heard is plausible. Perhaps the truth can’t be told because it’s too embarrassing for certain politicians.
No wonder the ‘Welsh Government’ is now refusing to answer Freedom of Information requests about this shambles.
Nicholas FitzHardinge Miller and Sarah Dickins are of course denizens of the Fertile Crescent, where a certain milieu is especially favoured by Corruption Bay.
In addition, I bet Sarah Dickins has connections all over the place that could be of use to a company ready to . . . oh, I don’t know, maybe help various bodies go through sham consultations in order to arrive at pre-determined conclusions.
Another company registered at Pen-y-Wyrlod is Blue Egg Productions Ltd. As Sarah Dickins holds the shares this may be the vehicle through which her BBC salary is paid.
An outfit looked on with great favour down the Bay.
I can’t help wondering if telling us trees are edible might be advice, preparing us for the dark times after the WEF has put farmers out of business and we are being forced to eat insects and ‘meat’ produced by Bill Gates.
Earlier we saw Sarah Dickins’ partner Nick Miller recommend Jason Hickel’s book Less is More. Sarah is also a Hickel fan. Here she is retweeting him misrepresenting this year’s monsoon in Pakistan as evidence of global climate catastrophe.
Note the political bias and dishonesty that underpins the Green movement. To believe those carefully selected maps China, which opens a new coal-fired power station almost every day, is one of the good guys, a victim of the evil White man.
PULLING SOME THREADS TOGETHER
I’ve elsewhere referred to southern Powys and rural Gwent as ‘Cotswolds-on-the-cheap’, which on reflection is unfair, because it’s scenically and in other ways more attractive than the Cotswolds.
But property is certainly cheaper, and this draws people to the area. Which helps expand the network, that will in turn support the UN’s Agenda 2030 and the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset.
Which leads to the belief – shared by the ‘Welsh Government’ – that these objectives are so existentially important they must be achieved at any cost. Which in turn explains the war on traditional Welsh farming; covering our hills with unreliable, bird-slicing wind turbines; and making the rest of us poorer, colder, and hungrier.
For of course it’s we who will sacrifice for these agendas, not those who promote them.
Being fundamentally Green Left the network is obviously short on political allies in a region which, at Westminster and Senedd levels, votes Conservative.
At Powys County Council level there are 9 Labour members, all from Brecon town and the top end of the Swansea Valley, otherwise it’s mainly Lib Dem and Tory, with what appear to be three unaligned groups, and three Plaid Cymru members.
Which is why, when viewed from a Labour Party perspective, funding and generally supporting its few but high-profile supporters is seen as a good investment – it gives Labour influence in an area where it has very little electoral support.
The purchase of Gilestone farm is part and parcel of the culture of cronyism and corruption that has developed under devolution, that sees the ‘Welsh Government’ and its agencies favouring organisations and individuals with a preferred ‘outlook’.
But this funding and favouritism is not like me slipping my grandson a tenner; for what Labour is doing impacts adversely on others. It involves public money. In some cases it will have national implications.
That’s because Labour’s system of cronyism and patronage works both ways. For example a few zealots in the system explains the ‘Welsh Government’ becoming a major funder for trans extremist group Stonewall, and how that group was able to influence policy decisions in Corruption Bay.
I’m going to finish with a few questions addressed to no one in particular down in Corruption Bay. Cynics might suggest I’m simply howling into the void. Again.
That void where there should be a system of accountability.
Was the contract to produce findings of the consultation exercise on ‘Achieving our low carbon pathway to 2030’ put out to tender?
If so, how was this done?
How many responses were there?
If there was no tendering process, why not?
Given Nicholas FitzHardinge Miller’s clear and zealous belief in anthropogenic climate change, was Miller Research Ltd the right choice for this work?
Or does that bias explain why Miller Research Ltd was chosen?
The same questions on tendering and bias attach to the other contracts this company has secured with the ‘Welsh Government’ and other Welsh public bodies and institutions.
Why did S4C and Finance Wales Investments make further loans to Blurrt Ltd in 2017 when that company was clearly in financial difficulties and after S4C had seemingly written off a previous loan made in 2014?
Seeing as Blurrt Ltd was Dissolved in July 2021 are we to assume that these two loans from 2017 have also been written off?
Whether they’ve been written off or not, what amounts are involved?
If they have not been written off, then what steps are being taken to secure their repayment?
Will Miller Research Ltd be tasked with evaluating whether the purchase of Gilestone farm was public money well spent . . . and recommend that more farms be bought?
As I say, these questions are rhetorical. For the ‘Welsh Government’ is now refusing to answer FoI requests on a range of embarrassing issues, using all sorts of unconvincing reasons.
As the title suggests, this week’s offering is a miscellany, bits and pieces from hither and yon. Covering . . .
Wind turbine disposal.
Fears for the planning system in the north west.
Awkward locals opposing the hundreds of executive homes Aberdyfi so desperately needs.
A development in the ongoing saga of the Llanbedr by-pass.
A new environmental group (cos we haven’t got enough).
More on Gilestone farm.
My unanswered FoI to the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party.
‘Welsh Government’ funds National Trust (cos NT’s a bit short at the moment).
Is ‘Welsh Government’ flogging off executive homes in Cardiff?
Enviroloonies saving Wales from the curse of employment.
Stumping up for the ‘Welsh Government’s favourite farmer.
‘Welsh Government’ wants more trees . . . but fewer farmers.
Enlarging the Senedd, or making the pig-sty bigger.
This is a monster issue, over 5,000 words; but you can take it a piece at a time. And because it is such a substantial offering late in the week, don’t expect anything next week.
WHERE WILL ALL THE TURBINES GO?
A couple of weeks ago I submitted a Freedom of Information request to the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ asking who was responsible for disposing of wind turbines when they come to the end of their working lives.
Given that the lifespan of a turbine is 15 – 25 years we must have in Wales a few hundred turbines approaching decrepitude. With hundreds more in their ‘middle age’, and plans in the system to erect God knows how many others. (Bute Energy alone wants 20 new wind farms.)
It seems to me to be an important question. Hence the FoI request.
It tells me that, ‘Responsibility for decommissioning wind turbines lies with the developer/operator of the site’.
Richard Spear of the Planning Inspectorate concludes his response with: ‘In addition, developers/operators should ensure that sufficient finance is set aside to enable them to meet restoration obligations. A local planning authority may require financial guarantees by way of a Section 106 planning obligation / agreement, as part of the approval of planning permission to ensure that restoration will be fully achieved.’
It’s worth pointing out that in most cases it was the ‘Welsh Government’ that gave planning permission for wind turbines, often over-riding local authorities. The ‘Welsh Government’ should therefore have seen to it that each developer paid a ‘bond’, up front, to ensure there will be enough money to restore each site.
But those buffoons down Corruption Bay were so concerned with making ‘planet-saving’ gestures that they couldn’t see beyond their own wagging fingers.
I predict with certainty that in the near future, we – by which I mean Wales – will find ourselves lumbered with ‘orphan’ wind turbines that will cost us a hell of a lot of money to demolish. And then more money to restore the sites they’ve come from.
On the plus side, it means that turbine blades from the Continent can come to landfill sites in Wales!
Should this come to pass then it will doubtless be claimed as ‘foreign investment’.
WILD WEST SHOW?
I am indebted to a regular source for news of concerns about the Gwynedd and Môn Joint Planning Policy Committee. To be clear, this is not the planning committee, deciding on planning applications, but the policy committee that determines in more general terms where development will be allowed.
Although Gwynedd is a large council in area, much of the planning responsibility falls to the Snowdonia National Park; which leaves the council to oversee a few ‘islands’ – Tywyn, Barmouth, Blaenau Ffestiniog – then Porthmadog and Llŷn, and finally, the northern coastal strip taking in Caernarfon and Bangor and running to Abergwyngregyn.
For like many rural authorities Ynys Môn is prone to being controlled by a few forceful individuals, often holding sway through membership of an organisation claiming to be heirs to the Knights Templar and other exotic fraternities.
Never more true than in keeping to the Templar talent for accruing wealth. Though I’m unsure if the medieval predecessors were as cunning as their heirs in planning matters and the allocation of contracts.
For who could forget Ceredigion when Dai Lloyd Evans and his merry men ruled the roost? Those were the days! The late Paul Flynn, sitting on the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Select Committee, referred to Ceredigion Council as “The Wild West Show”.
But then, as we saw in Carmarthenshire during the halcyon days of Mark James, sometimes, with largely rural authorities, the boss man doesn’t even have to be a councillor.
My source’s concern is that the chairman of the joint planning policy committee is a member of this group to which I have alluded. And while I’m sure he’s a splendid fellow, with a good firm handshake, I can understand my source’s misgivings.
Someone else giving my informant food for thought is the young man who’s now Senior Executive Officer at Gwynedd’s Housing and Property Department.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s an educated boy, studied . . . Welsh, and, er . . . Music.
But then, it is suggested by cynics that the boy’s father’s friendship with Gwynedd’s Head of Finance may have played a role in the appointment.
O tempora! O mores!
ABERDYFI EXECUTIVES MUST BE HOUSED!
When I first saw this news item I thought to myself, ‘Hang on, Jones, isn’t this the development Ann Clwyd was banging on about decades ago?’ And I’m sure it is.
For the woman who went on to become MP for the Cynon Valley has connections to Aberdyfi and the wider Dysynni area. I have a photo of a young Ann Clwyd with my sister-in-law when the latter was the village carnival queen back in the mid-sixties.
It’s difficult to comprehend how this project has resurfaced, or why it wasn’t killed off decades ago. What does it say about our planning system?
Aberdyfi may be a sizeable village; a few pubs, a few caffs, shops, and an unhealthy number of estate agents. But it backs up to a cliff, with the sea on the other side, and there’s just one road in and out, the A493. A crash or some other hold-up on that road and Aberdyfi is almost inaccessible except by boat or helicopter.
Sticking to housing, Aberdyfi may be the financial, commercial, and industrial hub of the south Meirionnydd coast, but the village needs 401 ‘executive homes’ like our cat needs fleas.
One of the more intriguing stories to make the news recently was the report that Gwynedd County Council is to appeal to the UK government for funding to build the Llanbedr by-pass, a project cancelled last year by the ‘Welsh Government’.
The reason this is intriguing is because the council is controlled by Plaid Cymru, and down in Corruption Bay that party is in cahoots with the local branch of the Labour Party, an arrangement generally referred to as an ‘alliance’.
Though the Senedd Member representing Llanbedr seems to be going out of his way to piss off his supposed allies.
Last month he dared ask the ‘Welsh Government’ why it paid £4.25m for Gilestone farm when the asking price appeared to be £3.25m. A good question. We’d all like to hear the answer. (More on Gilestone below.)
Another explanation might be that despite most Plaid SMs self-flagellating for the heinous sins of the White man and the harm they themselves do the planet by simply existing, many Plaid supporters still associate ‘woke’ with getting up in the morning.
They inhabit the real world where decent infrastructure and communications still matter. That mythic land far, far away, where people have to drive to work. And to the shops. To the doctor, dentist, etc., etc.
You know, the Welsh countryside, of which Labour is so wilfully ignorant.
I’ve tweeted a few times about this rather mysterious group, I may even have mentioned it here, on the blog. One reason I call it mysterious is because all I knew about it was gleaned from a GoFundMe page. (You’ll see there’ve been two donations in the past three months.)
Another reason for the ‘mysterious’ tag was that neither the website nor the GoFundMe page gave any names. And I get rather suspicious of organisations that run themselves.
And when you read the justification for Tir Natur you immediately think, ‘Hang on, I’ve read that before!’ And so you have, many times. It probably comes from an environmental / rewilding template available online.
Now a source informs me that Tir Natur has finally gone legit and registered as a charity. This move is mentioned on the GoFundMe page, though when I checked a few days ago it hadn’t been updated since the application in March to the Charity Commission.
The contact address given on the Charity Commission website is, ‘Y Beudy, Lanlwyd, Pennant, Llanon, Ceredigion SY23 5JH’. This is on the B4577 between Cross Inn and Llanarth.
To confuse the picture, the GoFundMe page says, ‘Newport, Pembrokeshire’. Though my source and I suspect those involved don’t live in either Ceredigion or Pembrokeshire.
And does Wales really need yet another environmental / rewilding group?
My source has now sent me this from a recent release by Tir Natur. Knowing more of such things than I he tells me that the image shows a European bison and a golden eagle. Neither of which of course is native to Wales.
They were introduced to the Trust’s other site in Devon, but removed due to fears of bTB. And they had to leave another site in Scotland when the government concluded they were dangerous and non-native.
I was a bit perplexed by the reference in the second FoI to the ‘James Report’. And then it came back to me . . .
Julie James, the current Minister for Climate Change in the ‘Welsh Government’ has been involved with Gilestone for many years, before she was even elected to what was then the Welsh Assembly in 2011.
It’s a strange affair, with some dark corners, some very dark corners indeed. What I’ve been told involves the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, certain environmental busybodies, previous owners of Gilestone and a supporting cast that includes a retired Met cop with an ‘interesting’ record.
And of course, Julie James, then a solicitor in Swansea; whose relationship with some of those involved is worth looking into. No, nothing like that. (Really!)
I may be in a position to say more in the near future.
Also worth mentioning is that a number of people are convinced the money to buy Gilestone came from Julie James’ department’s piggy-bank.
If true, then why did Vaughan Gething, Minister for Economy, take the rap in the Senedd? Maybe his ignorance of the deal explains why he spent so much time extoling the virtues of the Green Man festival rather than answering questions he’d been asked about the purchase of Gilestone.
Though another explanation for the delayed accounts might be that the ‘Welsh Government’ is virtually broke. For that’s what another source tells me.
If true, then this might explain the Llanbedr by-pass and other projects being scrapped.
‘O what a tangled web we weave . . . ‘.
LABOUR PARTY FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST
As you know, I’ve written about Bute Energy a number of times. They even got a mention at the end of paragraph 2 in the first section of this post.
What became clear once I started looking into Bute’s activities in Wales was that this company had very quickly realised that Labour Party support would be a big help in realising its plans for 20+ wind farms.
Which explains why Bute recruited to its Welsh Advisory Board redundant Labour MEP Derek Vaughan, and John Uden, the partner of Labour MS Jenny Rathbone, who sits on the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee.
Quite what this Welsh Advisory Board advises on is not stated, but I think we can all guess. And the recruitment didn’t end there.
Also taken aboard the treasure ship Bute was David James Taylor, former spad to Labour stars, from Peter Hain to Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones. Taylor was made a partner in Bute-linked outfit Grayling Capital LLP (though he’s since left), and also given shares in Windward Enterprises Ltd, another Bute company. (Which he still holds.)
It occurred to me that if Bute Energy was so keen to cwtsh up to Labour then political donations should be considered. And so I wrote to the Bruvvers’ HQ in Cardiff.
On June 8 I sent this e-mail:
‘Bute Energy Ltd (Co No: 12474011), in various guises, seeks to build – or at least, obtain planning permission for – some 20 wind farms in Wales. A company has been formed for each wind farm.
Has the Labour Party in Wales / ‘Welsh Labour’ party received a donation or donations from Bute Energy Ltd, or from companies under the Bute Energy umbrella, or from leading director Oliver James Millican, or from other persons, perhaps former employees of Labour politicians?’
But I have received neither acknowledgement nor reply. Can you believe that – the Comrades ignoring me!
The ‘Welsh Government’ has gifted an English organisation worth billions of pounds a Welsh asset and also handed over £700,000 for ‘capital investment’. From which the National Trust will profit, through charging visitors.
Many of whom will be Welsh.
And there will almost certainly be more than £700,000. For a well-informed contact with whom I shared this information in advance reminded me that the National Trust will now be eligible for Glastir woodland grants.
Note that this generosity is explained by quoting the “‘Welsh Government’ wellbeing objectives”. This refers to the Well-being of Future Generation (Wales) Act 2015. Airy-fairy nonsense that has since been used to justify every insanity hiding under the ‘environmental’ blanket.
Environmental concerns are used to disguise giving away our homeland piece by piece – ‘Cos we are savin’ the planet, like’.
The truth of course is that this legislation simply rolled out the red carpet for colonialist exploitation.
It even talks of future generations. But those future generations won’t be Welsh.
Main points seem to be that negotiations with the National Trust have been going on since June 2019; no one else was invited to express an interest; NRW has no idea why Dawn Bowden was involved; NRW will continue to manage the Hafod Estate forestry operation.
My attention has been drawn to this rather curious site which suggests some kind of partnership between the ‘Welsh Government’, the National Eisteddfod, and a company called LivEco, to build “sustainable homes at affordable prices”.
The location of these desirable properties being Great House Farm in Cardiff, between Culverhouse Cross and St Fagan’s National Museum of History.
So let’s look at this company, LivEco. Companies House tells us LivEco Homes Ltd was formed in September 2018, but it’s dormant. The sole director is a Welshman, Daniel James Ball, who seems to live in West Sussex.
Ball’s active company is Mulcare-Ball Ltd. The other director being a woman I assume to be his wife.
So why are we being asked to believe that a dormant company is building these dwellings at Great House Farm?
Mulcare-Ball has an arrangement (charge) with the Principality Building Society. Though the date given here is February 2, 2013, the document itself takes us back a year and also mentions Hale Construction Ltd.
If it’s this company, then Hale Construction was a one-man band on Merseyside, Incorporated December 2011 and Dissolved August 2015 without, apparently, making a penny.
Another company worth mentioning is Great House Farm Community Ltd, which I assume to be a residents’ association. This was Incorporated in March 2013, which makes sense; though the only director or member was Ball until June 25 last year. When he was replaced by two others using Great House addresses.
First, it tells us that Daniel James Ball and his wife bought this land in July 2009. We also learn that the properties built by Mulcare-Ball Ltd are being leased rather than sold.
The ‘Welsh Government’ has more than once expressed a desire to phase out leasehold in Wales, so why is it in partnership with a company building properties to lease?
Or, to put it another way, why does the ‘Welsh Government’ need to be involved at all? The same question could be asked of the Eisteddfod.
I may return to this subject.
The Aberpergwm mine, near Glyn-Neath, produces highest quality anthracite coal that is used for all manner of purposes, including water filtration. But it will not be chucked on a fire or shovelled into a furnace.
And it is a standard, commercial entity. Not a Community Interest Company (CIC), or any form of community benefit framework. I suspect it claims to be an umbrella group for smaller, more local organisations.
Though I’m not aware of any genuinely local opposition at Aberpergwm itself. Certainly not from the 200 or so people who work there. Nor from the businesses benefitting from the money those workers put into the local economy.
The address given for the Coal Action Network is Halton Mill, in Lancaster, north west England, owned by Green property developer Lancaster Cohousing. Which suggests it’s little more than an accommodation address for CAN. They certainly don’t get a mention on the website.
It would be easy to dismiss the Coal Action Network as just another little gang of over-excited eco zealots. But these groups often front for bigger players, or there’s serious money behind them.
So be watchful out there. Protect Welsh jobs and Welsh interests from the misguided attention of the brainwashed foot-soldiers of the World Economic Forum and others with globalist agendas designed to crush the little guy. Agendas enthusiastically endorsed by socialists.
And, finally, look out for these clowns sending letters to local papers, lobbying politicians, and pretending they’re local objectors.
Though cut through the enviro-bullshit and SUFT seems to be little more than a greenwashing operation for Utility Warehouse.
Most of those involved with SUFT have either relocated to Wales or don’t even live in Wales. For as with all these ‘conservation’ land grabs, Welsh involvement is minimal.
Though the website informs us, of the man in the photograph, and founder of SUFT, ‘Dr Keith Powell is a seventh-generation Black Mountains farmer and a vet’. Though I don’t think he’s actually done much farming, and came home when he realised there was serious money to be made in trees.
Stump Up For Trees is registered as a charity. Though when I went to the Charity Commission website to check the details I was somewhat surprised not to see Powell listed as a trustee. I assume the desired impression is that of hands-off trustees.
Then he and his companion on the US trip (and at the debriefing), Keri Davies, set up the Beacons Water Group. And do you know who joined them at BWG – none other than Charles Weston, the man who sold Gilestone to the ‘Welsh Government’ for the ludicrous sum of £4.25m!
As if that wasn’t enough, another BWG director, Tony Martineau, teaches at Coleg Soros, Talgarth. While George Soros’ favourite educational establishment, Bard College, has links with the Watershed Agricultural Council, the hosts for the 2018 US trip.
Enough! Old Jac can’t take any more connections.
Why should the ‘Welsh Government’s favourite farmer be involved with Stump Up For Trees? Then again, why not, he seems to be involved in everything else?
To make sense of the ‘Welsh Government’s latest assault on the farming industry you must understand the Labour Party’s relationship with the Welsh countryside.
Labour has no MPs and no SMs representing rural constituencies. For these seats either vote Conservative, Plaid Cymru or, irregularly, usually in Powys, Liberal Democrat.
It wasn’t always so.
There was a time within living memory when Labour could rely on the votes of farm labourers, and even smaller farmers. Also, other rural, working class people. The Merionethshire seat – now part of Dwyfor Meirionnydd and held by Plaid Cymru for almost 50 years – was a straight fight between Labour, centred on the slate town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, and the Liberals, still relying to a great extent on the chapel vote.
Then came the 1960s, and the national reawakening. The protests and the bombs. Tryweryn, Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru (MAC), the Free Wales Army (FWA), Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg CyIG) . . . and the rise of Plaid Cymru.
Labour now saw its hegemony in Wales threatened by a new force that it believed to be essentially rural in character. Certainly rural in origin. And Labour has been wary of the countryside, and its native inhabitants, ever since.
In many Labour politicians this suspicion became outright and undisguised hostility.
The rise of the environmental movement, coupled with the powers given by devolution, have allowed the Labour Party through successive ‘Welsh Governments’ to exert control over rural areas where it has little or no electoral support. While more recently, under the influence of ‘environmentalists’ eyeing Welsh land, exacting what can only be interpreted as revenge.
Which brings us up to date.
Labour’s activists in rural areas tend to be English, middle class, vegetarian (if not vegan, or subsisting entirely on water and good karma), most of them climate / environment ranters who compare hard-working farmers to concentration camp guards.
Though this latest pronunciamiento from Corruption Bay also helps us understand the long-term objectives. And makes a few other things clear.
The ‘Welsh Government is attempting a divide and rule strategy with farmers. Certain farmers are being wooed, and so perhaps is the National Farmers Union. And it seems to be working.
It’s no coincidence that these favoured farmers tend to be Tory-voters, on better land, suited to tree planting, and in almost exclusively English-speaking areas.
Which means that the excluded farmers are more likely to be found on marginal land, more difficult for growing trees, possibly tenant farmers, and certainly more likely to be Welsh speaking. (And Farmers Union of Wales members?)
In fact, areas such as the Summit to Sea rewilding project was hoping – with ‘Welsh Government’ support – to take over. The areas from where Labour, in the 1960s, perceived the ‘threat’ to have emerged.
Which means that this assault on farmers might be interpreted as an attack on the Welsh language, and Welsh rural culture in general. If so, then the politicos in Corruption Bay, and the enviroshyster land-grabbers whispering in their ears, are in for a fight.
Predictably, the announcement was welcomed by Kate Beavan. Who’s she? You haven’t been paying attention, or following the links, have you?
Kate Beavan may have been recruited to Coed Cymru by director Philip David Jayne, who lives in Crughywel.
Yet more bloody connections!
To explain . . .
Coed Cymru is one of the 357 (and rising) ‘woodland’ groups currently operating in Wales. Fighting like ferrets in a sack to take over Welsh land and get their sweaty mitts on Welsh public funding.
When you check out the Companies House entry for Coed Cymru Cyf you realise that, despite the company name, there’s little Welsh involvement.
But plenty of Welsh funding.
‘Plus ça change . . . ‘.
UKRAINE AND THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM
It would be inhuman to suggest that anything good is coming from the death and suffering in Ukraine. And I won’t do that, but harsh lessons are being learnt.
Among them, the realisation that to pretend an advanced economy can rely on intermittent renewables to supply its energy needs is madness. As Germany is learning.
The drive for ‘Net Zero’, orchestrated by The United Nations and the World Economic Forum, is taking hits daily as collateral damage from the conflict in Ukraine. With Germany perhaps the biggest loser.
We are in dangerous times. Supranational bodies like those mentioned want to regulate all aspects of human behaviour. They have captured many national governments, media outlets, and social media giants, who are urged to suppress divergent views as ‘disinformation’.
The justification being that the planet is in grave danger, and so we need to be saved from ourselves . . . all for our own good, of course.
With the result that we are sleepwalking into a form of totalitarianism that sits astride the unicorn of environmentalism.
And this is another reason we – through arming and exploiting brave Ukrainians – are waging war on Russia – because Vladimir Putin refused to bow to these supranational tyrants.
But the ‘Welsh Government’ surrendered long ago. And gave up Wales for sacrifice.
But part of the bigger package was a change in how Senedd members will be elected in future. And this proved much more contentious. With four constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) – Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda, Swansea East, Llanelli – voting against.
To explain . . .
Under revised parliamentary boundaries Wales will have 32 Westminster seats. (Down from the current 40.) What Labour proposes (and Plaid Cymru presumably agrees with) is that these new constituencies should be paired, giving us 16, and that each of them should elect six Senedd Members, thus making up the 96 total.
This is to be done using the ‘closed list’ system. Voters choose a party and have to then accept the party’s choice of candidates.
This is a system designed to favour larger parties and to inhibit the emergence of new parties. Which is no more than we should expect from Labour. For like so many political parties with a socialist heritage Labour is fundamentally undemocratic.
I’m still waiting for Labour’s partner in the current alliance down Corruption Bay to explain why it’s gone along with this system. Though I get the impression Plaid would rather not discuss it.
Labour has tried desperately to polish this turd by promising gender equality. But as Labour has signed up to self-identification, and is a major financial backer of Stonewall, it will obviously accept as ‘women’ men who identify as women.
Which could mean that the new system, designed to achieve gender balance, actually gives us a lower percentage of biological females than we see in the Senedd today!
And then there are other minorities, those so vocal in “breaking down barriers” . . . most of which they themselves have erected. (Or simply imagined.) They’ll demand to be ‘excluded’ no longer. And because they support the Labour Party because the Labour Party funds them their wishes will be granted.
That could give us a Senedd in which the majority is grossly underrepresented.
But who cares – ‘Cos it’s progressive, innit!’
My position is that I do not accept this anti-democratic nonsense. And I would support the UK government stepping in to block it. In fact, I would support the UK government putting an end to devolution itself.
For devolution has delivered nothing to those with whom I identify.
Whereas the SNP in Scotland, returned time after time, has made many Scots believe their country could be even better with independence, here in Wales, the incompetence and waste our people have experienced from malleable mediocrities in Corruption Bay for 23 years makes too many Welsh believe that independence would be even worse.
I remain a nationalist who wants independence, but I see devolution not as a stepping-stone but an obstacle. Maybe that was the intention all along.
And when you think back to what you’ve read here, can you disagree?
I took a week off last week. It was too hot for blogging. For which we must all blame anthropogenic global warming. Then again, it might just have been normal summer weather.
It certainly was when the rain arrived. So different to when I was a boy . . .
Back then, summer started in mid-March, many over the age of 50 were dead from heatstroke and malaria by the time we celebrated the Feast of Saint Blodwen of Cwmrhydyceirw. And we played cricket ‘frae morning sun till dine’.
For these and other reasons I suggested the Green Man angle was perhaps a distraction. I’ll go further now and suggest that Gilestone itself might not be the thread to follow if we want to know what’s really going on.
There seem to be two possible ways of explaining it. Both start from the same point.
WATERSHED AGRICULTURAL COUNCIL
And that point is the visit to Wales in March 2018 by a delegation from the Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC), based in the Catskill Mountains of New York State. This trip was organised and hosted by Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water.
This northern reach of the Appalachian mountain chain supplies New York City with its drinking water, and of course NYC wishes to ensure a supply of good drinking water.
As the video below explains, legislation introduced in 1990 meant that water for NYC would need to be more rigorously treated, but one option was prohibitively expensive, even for the Big Apple.
The need to find a cheaper alternative to the $5 – 7bn outlay on a new filtration plant led to the link-up between NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Catskill farmers, foresters and others.
Following that visit to Wales in March 2018 for the Watersource conference the next contact was in June 2019, when a party representing Dŵr Cymru visited the Catskills.
The next step was the formation, in May 2020, of the Beacons Water Group CIC (BWG). Roderick and Davies were among the six directors, as was Charles Weston, who owned Gilestone. But at the formation of BWG – some two years before Gilestone was sold to the ‘Welsh Government’ – Weston gave a Crai address.
Had he already vacated Gilestone? Had it already been bought?
A fourth Founding Father was Anthony Hugh Martineau. He farms land at Llangorse lake owned by the Raikes family of Treberfydd House.
Martineau is also an ‘advisor’ in sustainable agriculture at Black Mountains College in Talgarth. Which is interesting because back in New York State there’s Bard College, another George Soros-backed institution.
And Bard College seems to work with the Watershed Agricultural Council.
Perhaps to complete the circle, Dŵr Cymru is chummy with Soros College, Talgarth. Our water supplier is sponsoring an Ecological Futures Camp in August.
So if you want to learn how to catch and skin an illegally released beaver, and then turn the pelt into a nice pair of slippers for Auntie Ceinwen, get your name down now!
Oh, I can’t wait!
‘WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE . . . ‘
So, as I suggested in a tweet last week, the events around the Gilestone purchase could be all about Dŵr Cymru getting together with farmers to ensure a constant supply of good drinking water.
But if we were simply talking about clean drinking water, then I might not be writing this. For who could argue against?
There has to be more to it.
Let’s think back to the video we looked at earlier. The one in which we were told that the Watershed Agricultural Council came into being as a result of new and more stringent regulations regarding water quality.
That’s true, though things got off to a rocky start. There was clearly local opposition to what them folks from the big city wanted to do.
Though relations between NYC authorities and Catskill farmers seem to have improved, perhaps because (penultimate paragraph): “Farmers have been given 100% funding from WAC for infrastructure to improve water quality. WAC is trusted intermediary and all work is locally led, science based and voluntary with no regulations.”
By comparison, I get the impression that the ‘Welsh Government’ and Natural Resources Wales hope to use new regulations to bankrupt farmers and free up land.
Though I’m writing about the USA I still don’t understand why Dŵr Cymru needed to go there to learn about clean drinking water. They could have gone anywhere in Europe without the cost and environmental damage of transatlantic flights.
Some might conclude – as I have done – that certain agencies in Wales were attracted to New York City’s watershed model for reasons other than just clean water.
Either way, I’d like to know how or through whom Dŵr Cymru first made contact with those US organisations.
Whatever the answer, it would not justify spaffing £4.25m of public money.
SO WHAT ELSE COULD IT BE?
The Watershed Agricultural Council website has a page on Conservation Easements. A term and a concept with which I was unfamiliar. I found it fascinating.
‘In the United States, a conservation easement (also called conservation covenant, conservation restriction or conservation servitude) is a power invested in a qualified private land conservation organization (often called a “land trust“) or government (municipal, county, state or federal) to constrain, as to a specified land area, the exercise of rights otherwise held by a landowner so as to achieve certain conservation purposes.’
The Environment Act 2021 that comes into effect in England on September 30 allows for Conservation Covenants. Read about it here. Note the references to “carbon offsetting” and “carbon insetting”.
I’m not aware of similar Welsh legislation, but the ‘Welsh Government’ usually follows London’s lead. Often with ‘variations to accommodate local circumstances’.
‘The CWC was officially born January 17, 1997 with the signing of the landmark New York City Watershed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between City, State, Federal and environmental entities and Watershed municipalities. The MOA and associated Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD), allowed the City to avoid building an expensive facility to filter its Catskill-Delaware Water Supply as long as it proved it could keep this surface supply clean through land acquisition, regulations and city-funded, locally-administered environmental protection programs.’
‘In the late 1990s, DEP began a Land Acquisition Program to protect water quality in its reservoirs by preserving key parcels of land in the watershed. Since then, DEP has acquired more than 100,000 acres of land in the Catskills, including many tracts that were historically used for agriculture or rented by neighboring farmers.’
“Land Acquisition Program . . . tracts that were historically used for agriculture”.
I guess whether Conservation Easements / Covenants benefit farmers depends on who’s wielding the power.
Statements made and attitudes displayed in recent years by representatives of the ‘Welsh Government’ towards the farming community and the countryside in general make me pessimistic.
BEACONS WATER GROUP
I’m intrigued by the rather mysterious Beacons Water Group CIC. One thing I find odd is that – even allowing for Covid – a Community Interest Company has gained no new members in over two years of its existence.
Is it a closed shop?
Come to that, which ‘community’ does it represent? And in which way? When I checked the BWG entry on the Companies House website, and in particular the Certificate of Incorporation, there, under ‘Objects’, I found what you see below.
It struck me as being rather vague. With no mention of water despite ‘Water’ appearing in the company name. And why ‘visitors’ (before ‘residents’) – is it a tourism group?
Two were taken on a trip to the USA by Dŵr Cymru, and ‘debriefed’ on their return by Natural Resources Wales. A third had his farm bought by the ‘Welsh Government’ for a grossly inflated price. A fourth farms land owned by a local squire and is connected to a Soros-backed institution.
The other two directors I haven’t really checked on yet.
It stinks! (And I’m not talking agricultural pollution of watercourses!)
We have been lied to about the purchase of Gilestone farm. Especially the reason given for buying it. The Green Man festival is peripheral to these machinations, if it’s involved at all.
Gilestone being bought for an insane amount of money cannot be divorced from the owner, Charles Weston, belonging to the in-crowd Beacons Water Group.
Is Gilestone the first of many purchases of farms close to a watercourse? Though how many farms in Wales are not close to a watercourse!
There may be partnership in the USA between farmers and officialdom but that won’t happen in Wales, where too many civil servants and politicians regard George Monbiot as the ultimate authority on Welsh farming.
What you’ve read here is about water only in so far as water quality might in future be used to appropriate farmland. This explains the attraction of the Catskills model to certain agencies in Wales.
As I’ve suggested, it was no coincidence that the absurd ‘NVZ’ legislation, pretending a highly localised issue is a nationwide crisis, was dreamed up at the very time others were to-ing and fro-ing across the Atlantic.
Because the NVZ regulations are also about land, rather than water.
This week I bring yet more tales of colonialism dressed up as ‘saving the planet’; involving assorted enviroshysters, multifarious con men; all aided, abetted, and funded, by those collaborating buffoons down Corruption Bay.
This is another biggie, but broken down into easily-digestible chunks. (Add condiments and flavourings to taste.)
Let’s begin with a piece from the Cambrian News, a ‘paper that circulates along Cardigan Bay, with its main office in Aberystwyth.
For reasons I’ve never been able to fathom, I’m blocked from the CN Twitter account. Me! I can only assume it’s a case of mistaken identity.
Though when I tried to find out from the Land Registry website who owns what I drew a blank. Using the LR map search brought up what you see below. Yet this area must be part of the estate, with Hafod church, the public park, even a car park.
It was the same across the whole site, apart from the individual dwellings. Nor could I find a definitive map of the estate.
It could be the same lease arrangement for the whole estate. So, with the lease coming to an end in just over three years, NRW and / or the ‘Welsh Government’ decided that instead of renewing the lease with the Hafod Trust they’d turn to the National Trust.
I suspect the Hafod Trust has been largely left to its own devices at the estate, but now it looks as if it’s either relinquishing control over Hafod, or else it’s being elbowed out.
What we see happening at Hafod is in keeping with NRW’s activities. Which include undermining Welsh agriculture, encouraging corporate greenwash, and giving away bits of Wales to enviroshysters and assorted bodies from over the Dyke.
At Hafod the beneficiary is a quintessentially English organisation, the National Trust. Yes, it adds ‘Cymru’ to fool gullible natives, but fundamentally it remains manicured lawns, print frocks, and, “More tea, vicar?”
Though there was attempted infiltration by Wokies. So maybe now it’s, “Pour your own tea, you myth-peddling, white supremacist running-dog of imperialism”.
Note, “National Trust Cymru and Natural Resources Wales have come together with support from Welsh Government to secure the estate’s future.” This, I assume, means financial support.
But why should the ‘Welsh Government’ pay a wealthy organisation like the National Trust anything to take over an asset from which the NT is guaranteed to make money?
Any payment should have been by the National Trust to the ‘Welsh Government’, which is entrusted with getting the best possible value from the disposal of publicly-owned assets.
And there was no mention of the HT trustees. Though a few other people are mentioned.
First, there’s Lhosa Daly, the “Interim Director of National Trust Cymru”.
Then there’s Clare Pillman, chief executive of Natural Resources Wales. She has a fascinating background, and has been involved in numerous extravaganzas of the ‘Rule Britannia’ variety.
Finally, speaking for the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ we have, “Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden“. Which a correspondent thought was odd, wondering why it wasn’t someone with an environmental or conservation portfolio.
He has a point. But after a bit of digging, it all became clear. Certainly after seeing Daly’s Twitter account.
Daly was appointed to the Western Gateway board just over a year ago. Which I find interesting. For she joins the Greater Bristol gang and then she’s made head of the National Trust in Wales. Are these appointments connected?
I ask because I’m sure the National Trust in Wales will be one of the bodies contributing to the development of the ‘Western Gateway’, ostensibly speaking for Wales.
Which hat will Lhosa Daly be wearing?
Oh, I almost forgot, she would also have the option of wearing her Wales Arts Council hat.
I’m certain Ms Daly lives in Bristol. Which is fitting, because Dawn Bowden, the Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, who has been instrumental in the deal for the NT to take over Hafod, is also from Bristol.
Did Bowden and Lhosa Daly know each other before the discussions over the Hafod Estate? And if it wasn’t due to the Bristol connection, why was Bowden involved at all? It’s outside her remit.
The map below shows Hafod Estate contains a lot of trees, part of which is said to be a “working forest”. But if Hafod is to be devoted to tourism (which is what the National Trust is all about) will there be a place for a commercial timber operation?
Perhaps not. But as we know, nowadays there are other ways of making money from trees – without touching them! And so I predict that Hafod will prove a nice little earner for the National Trust.
One of the first acts of a devolved government should have been setting up a Welsh organisation to do the work of the National Trust. A body looking after our heritage, on our behalf, and answering to us, the Welsh people. But the opportunity was spurned.
Which is why, after 23 years of devolution, we are discussing an Englishwoman representing our ‘Welsh Government’; another, Natural Resources Wales; with the two handing over another Welsh treasure to an English organisation run locally by a third Englishwoman.
This is colonialism. And even without the Bristol connection, this reeks of yet another ‘Welsh Government’ gift to a favoured body in a deal done behind closed doors with no pretence of a tendering process.
LOCAL BENEFITS (WELL, LOCAL TO SOMEWHERE)
The next report also comes from the Cambrian News, and concerns that other enviroshyster money-spinner – wind turbines.
Specifically, a test mast to be erected at Bryn Brawd, the highest point in an area described in the caption accompanying the image used by the CN as being, “on the outskirts of Llanddewi Brefi”.
In fact, it’s quite some distance from the south-eastern suburbs of that metropolis lying between Cwmann and Tregaron.
On the plus side, the company involved is Waun Maenllwyd Wind Energy Hub Ltd. Probably a Welsh company. Phew!
But of course Foresight only manage other people’s money. In the case of the two windfarms we’ve looked at, the clue as to whose money it could be might be found in the ‘Belltown’ element of the names.
Because I suspect that Foresight has linked up with Belltown Power, a company now based in London but founded by US citizen Michael Joshua Kaplan.
I can’t tell you much more about this company, I certainly couldn’t find a website, only various company profiles. What I do know is that it’s linked to Foresight, it was based in Bristol, though one entry gives an address in Mold.
Now who do we know in Mold? Thinks . . .
The accounts for y/e April 1, 2021 show ‘Plant and Machinery’ valued at £53,672,808 (before depreciation). That kind of money is not to be sniffed at.
How come we haven’t heard of this great Welsh success story?
I’ll spare you another twisty-turny route, but ultimate ownership of Awel Newydd Cyf rests with Stephen George Geddes, who’s married to Clarissa vom Hagen-Plettenberg, is the grandson of the 1st Baron Geddes, and great-grandson of Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria.
Takes me back to fin de siècle Vienna! You should have seen me in my hussars uniform! Waltzing the night away.
That may all have come crashing down in 1918, but over a hundred years later we find Hapsburg descendants exploiting us!
Staying with Foresight, it seems they’re busy across Wales.
These links tell they’re in league with Tilhill Forestry and Coleg Cambria Llysfai in the north east. But Foresight is based in the Shard! Those working for Foresight don’t know one bloody tree from another. But here they are burnishing their environmental credentials by paying Tilhill to give courses.
There’s even a video!
And Foresight seems to be embedded in the ‘Welsh Government’, for the name crops up everywhere in WG publications. Such as here (page 22).
The sole director is Clive David Osborne. Yet in all the reports on the ‘magic wallpaper’ his name was never mentioned, just the incomplete and misleading name of his company. So what’s his record?
I’ve drawn up a list of companies he’s been involved with in recent years. There have been others, but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt that he played a minor role in their demise.
I’ve included Crush Holdings because it may link with something else I’ll be telling you.
With so many failures I began to wonder how he kept the wolf (re-introduced to Berkshire in a rewilding project) from his door. The answer may be provided by the Paradise Papers.
For Clive David Osborne is linked to an enterprise in Malta. An island where just about anything goes. “You want an EU passport, Mr Putin? No problemo”. “You want an annoying blogger whacked? Leave it to us”.
So what is the connection between Clive David Osborne and the Mosta Electronics Centre? I can’t know for sure, but one possibility might take us back to his flirtation with those Sons of Nippon.
For a bloke in the pub told me it’s possible to buy equipment online that can access satellite TV, for free, and that this equipment can be had from certain Mediterranean islands where rules about such things are somewhat lax.
Alternatively, and seeing as Mosta Electronics sells Chinese brands such as (the German-sounding) Haier, maybe this ‘magic wallpaper’ technology comes from the land of the Uyghur concentration camps. A country whose most noteworthy contribution to humanity in recent years has been Covid.
Whatever the answer, we know enough about Clive David Osborne to ask why the hell Melin Homes let him in the door, and why the ‘Welsh Government’ is funding his ‘magic wallpaper’.
I look forward to hearing the answers.
ISLAND IN THE SUN
The Conservative and Unionist Party MP for Ynys Môn is Virginia Crosbie, and she’s appeared on this blog in the recent past. This was when Covid first hit and questions were being asked about where she was living, and whether she was breaking lockdown.
Similar questions were asked of her friend and parliamentary colleague, Jake Berry, who owns a number of properties in the constituency she represents. Questions were also being asked about his movements during the pandemic.
Just type their names into the search box to get more information.
Let me make clear that I was against the proposed Wylfa B because the construction phase would have damaged a fragile cultural identity, and that’s without considering the strain that would be put on local infrastructure and housing by thousands of workers, almost all of whom would come from outside of Wales.
But I am not opposed to nuclear in principle, and there are smaller options to Wylfa B.
Previously known as Lightsource Renewable Investments Ltd, and then Lightsource Renewable Energy Investments Ltd, the ‘BP’ was added in February 2018 when BP Alternative Energy Investments Ltd (formerly BP Biofuels UK Ltd) took over.
Fossil fuel giant BP getting into renewables is the most obvious kind of greenwash.
But don’t get me wrong, old Jac’s got nothing against oil and gas, because I’ve still got enough operational grey matter to know that we can’t live well without them, whether there’s a war in eastern Europe or not.
What’s more, I know who’s pushing us towards expensive and unreliable alternatives to oil, gas, coal, and nuclear. And I know why they’re doing it. They are not friends of Western society.
If the ‘Welsh Government’, and our local authorities, were sincere in their commitment to the environment, they’d tell BP and all the other enviroshysters to reduce their carbon footprint rather than cover good land with wind turbines, solar farms, and sterile, monoculture forests.
But that would deny our politicians the opportunities they crave to ponce around and posture, claiming to be saving the planet.
Because that’s what it’s all about – political posturing.
Let me draw your attention to something happening in east Africa. As I understand it, the Tanzanian government has agreed to enclose land for ‘reserves’ on which Gulf royals can go trophy shooting.
There are so many wrong things bundled up in what I’ve just written. But no doubt a great deal of money changed hands.
Wouldn’t it be great if shyster greenwashers and land-grabbing ‘environmentalists’ got that kind of reception in Wales!
The international message: This land is our land!
Finally, a few weeks ago, in Green Man, Red Herring?, I reported on the curious business of the ‘Welsh Government’ paying £4.25m for Gilestone Farm, at Talybont-on-Usk.
The purchase was allegedly made for the Green Man festival . . . which said it had no intention of relocating from the Glanusk Estate, had not submitted a business plan, and seemed almost as surprised as the rest of us by the news of its good fortune.
It confirms there was no tendering process to invite bids from others who might have been interested, no business plan has been received from Green Man, but the purchase was still made on solid economic grounds. Absolutely absurd!
Previous owners of the land had stressed to me that while the farm was indeed valuable, the real value lies in the substantial deposits of sand and gravel on which the farm sits.
So in my FoI I asked who now holds the mineral rights to the land.
The question was not answered, on the grounds that the information is available elsewhere. Which would be true if the details of the recent purchase were available on the Land Registry website. But for whatever reason, the most recent title register available lists the sale in 2010.
So, really, I know little more than I’d already learnt from my own enquiries.
The purchase of Gilestone Farm is yet another deal done with public money, in secret, by an administration that is out of control, out of its depth, and no longer cares what people think.
When someone drew my attention to the Green Man festival being gifted a farm by the so-called ‘Welsh Government’ I thought to myself, “I’m sure I’ve written about those buggers recently”; but no, I was thinking of the Green Gathering.
There are just so many using the ‘Green’ label, desperately trying to look enviro-virtuous! Bullshit, most of the time.
The more recent story I’m referring to appeared last Friday on the BBC Wales website. A strange piece in many ways. For a start, why would the ‘Welsh Government’ buy a farm and then hand it over to people running a music event?
As is so often the case in these investigations, one thing leads to another. And that’s what happened here.
As you’ve seen from the link above, the story begins with, Gilestone farm, near Talybont-on-Usk. The property can be found on the map below, with the farm name highlighted in the centre.
To understand what’s happening now, and the anger it’s causing, we need to step back a bit, some 17 years.
And let’s introduce Geraint John Thomas, whose family has farmed in the Talybont area for centuries, maybe a millennium. He owned Gilestone Farm.
I won’t go into too much detail, partly because I may be meeting up with Geraint and his wife Chris early next week. But enough has already emerged to put out what you’re about to read.
Which will make any Part 2 I produce a kind of prequel. (Just think Godfather.)
Another reason for doing it this way is that my digging has unearthed intriguing links that may help us understand what’s happened at Gilestone.
Anyway, let’s sketch in the background. The problems began with planning permission granted by the Brecon Beacons National Park planning department in 2005 for caravans and camping at Gilestone farm.
By 2007 it had become clear that the BBNP, or certain individuals, had screwed up rather badly. (Which might explain the record being scrubbed, for I could find nothing on the BBNP website relating to that planning case.)
Then, just a year ago, their story was updated by WalesOnline. They’re obviously prospering . . . which is not always popular in socialist Wales.
But then, last Friday, all the bad memories were brought back with the report I linked to earlier. Though what I found odd was that neither the ‘Welsh Government’ nor the Green Man was prepared to talk to the media, so who leaked the story?
“We had sheds burnt down, we were banned from local shops and pubs, the children were bullied every day in school- it was horrific All because we had planning for a caravan park, and the locals did not want valleys people there The welsh government were instrumental in what happened to us-
HANDS ACROSS THE POND
The man who bought Gilestone Farm from Geraint and Chris Thomas was Charles William Weston, who made the purchase in the name of Sharpness and Severn Transport Ltd, which has been renamed – rather modestly – CWW Farming Ltd.
I had trouble figuring out exactly what Weston owned at Gilestone because the property seems to have been broken up into a number of different titles. There is even an instance of the same title number relating to different sections of the overall holding.
To keep himself busy, Weston has also joined the recently-formed Beacons Water Group CIC (BWG). An interesting outfit this, which you’ll be reading more about.
There are six directors. Four have surnames we’d expect to find in a Welsh farmers’ organisation, the other two are Weston, and Anthony Hugh Martineau. The latter lives on a farm and is also Head of Sustainability at Map of Ag.
Another member is Richard James Roderick, chairman of the Brecon and Radnor branch of the National Farmers Union (NFU).
The BWG is generally described as a “farmer-led” group set up to guarantee water quality in the area. And who could argue with that? As ever, the truth is rather more complex. Let’s start with this extract from the BWG 2021 accounts.
We learn the inspiration for the Beacons Water Group came from Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water, following a visit made to the Catskills region of New York state. The Catskills form the northern end of the Appalachian mountain chain.
The Catskills initiative is called the Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC) and is controlled to some extent, and funded, by New York City – to which the area supplies water – and the US federal government.
Though on reading about the WAC, the question that formed in the old Jac noggin was, “How did Dŵr Cymru even learn about this initiative so far away?”
The panel above goes some way towards answering that question by mentioning two trans-Atlantic visits. The first was in March 2018, when a group from the WAC visited Wales. As we see from the Dŵr Cymru tweet below, retweeted by the WAC.
Then, in October 2019, a contingent from Dŵr Cymru reciprocated with a visit to the Catskills. But I could find no mention of this on the WAC Twitter account.
Though what you see below from around the time of the Dŵr Cymru visit may put us on the path to enlightenment.
The Bard College mentioned in the tweet is a Woke-Left institution in New York State favoured and funded by George Soros. The Manipulative Magyar’s influence in Wales is often channelled through Black Mountains College in Talgarth.
That’s right! – just a few miles from Gilestone Farm.
BMC Trustee Dr William Herbert Newton Smith was, as the BMC website tells us: ” . . . for 20 years head of George Soros’s higher education programme, establishing over 20 universities around the world.”
If we were talking about young Welsh people from farming backgrounds they’d already know more than Martineau. Which means that the headline can only refer to those, almost certainly from outside of Wales, buying Welsh farms.
Or taking on Welsh farms someone else has bought for them?
The link between Black Mountains College, Bard College, and George Soros, was recently strengthened through the Open Society University Network (OSUN).
Soros unveiled OSUN at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2020. Read this article. This really is Orwell’s Ministry of Truth. We have arrived in 1984.
If we turn to Black Mountains College most recent accounts (page 4, under ‘Operations’) we read: “BMC was inducted into the global Open Society University Network (OSUN), allowing us to offer our programmes to students from 50 institutions around the world”.
But no mention of Uncle George!
I suggest you read the latest accounts to help you grasp the links between BMC and other institutions, such as the Centre for Alternative Technology. And the funding from the ‘Welsh Government’, through the Arwain programme and other sources.
One organisation linked to BMC – and don’t fall off your chair in surprise! – is Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water, which is sponsoring the Ecological Futures Camp in late August – early September. (Take a look at the other sponsors!)
The accounts also mention (page 4) an anonymous gift of £50,000. Bloody hell! Should a small educational establishment in receipt of public funding be allowed to receive large, anonymous donations?
But this generosity is dwarfed by the gift from Jenny Mathilde Daneels Watt of Switzerland. Jenny splashed out £960,000 last year to buy Troed-yr-Harn, a 120-acre grassland farm and then, so we are told, she lets Black Mountains College have use of it for a peppercorn rent.
The question you’re all asking is, “Who the hell is Jenny Mathilde Daneels Watt of Switzerland and why would she be so generous to Black Mountains College?”
I’m asking the same question. Answers on a postcard, please!
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
Why would the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ pay £4.25m for a farm it seems unsure what to do with, and then say it will be rented or leased to an organisation that has yet to make a comment, and has presented no business plan?
Part of the answer is, in a word, control.
Understand that we are dealing here with the socialist mindset that wants to control Wales and almost every aspect of Welsh life. If this can’t be done openly and directly, then it will be done surreptitiously, through proxies.
This is how the Labour Party has operated in Wales for a century. It explains the corruption, the cronyism and, regrettably, Wales’ poverty relative to other countries.
Why should farming, or the land, be treated any differently?
But before explaining what I think is behind the purchase of Gilestone Farm take a few minutes to enjoy Vaughan Gething, Minister for Economy (‘economy’!), flim-flam his way through questions in the Senedd on Wednesday.
Also understand that the Labour Party is ideologically and emotionally hostile to farmers and landowners. I could bore you with an explanation that takes us from the Inclosure Act (1773) via the Tolpuddle Martyrs (1834) to Kinder Scout (1932), but I’ll spare you.
Let’s now focus on the sale of Gilestone Farm.
I can’t be sure how and by whom the trans-Atlantic link was established, but at some point the idea that the mayor of New York City can influence farmers many miles away in the Catskills became seen as a good idea, to be replicated in Wales.
Which explains why the Beacons Water Group CIC was set up soon after the link was established between our own water supplier and the area supplying NYC.
Among the directors of BWG we found Richard Roderick, the local NFU branch chairman. Interestingly, Roderick farms directly across the Usk from Gilestone Farm.
Another BMC director is Alun Thomas, who farms within waving distance over Llangorse lake of Hugh Martineau.
Making the Beacons Water Group a cosy little gang. What’s more, there are plans to extend the idea, thanks to Cardiff University, which often seems to be joined at the hip with the ‘Welsh Government’.
The link in the previous paragraph takes you to a page headed: “Environmental resilience for water in rural Wales”. We read of, “Creative partner collaboration with Mrs Penelope Turnbull”.
Penelope Turnbull designs the interiors of cruise ships! She’s also been a window-dresser for Harrods!
How the fuck did she get this gig!
What does she know about farming? Or water quality? Come to that, why does a group set up to improve water quality on Welsh farms need a “Creative partner”?
Has the world gone mad, or is it just Wales? This could drive me to drink!
End of digression-rant.
Those belonging to the BWG are viewed as ‘good’ farmers, environmentally responsible and therefore to be favoured by politicians and their minions.
‘Good farmers’ will promote the globalist agenda that seeks to destroy livestock farming and have us eat gunge made in a factory owned by the increasingly weird, if not sinister, Bill Gates.
This couples with a change of tack from the ‘Welsh Government’.
For it has become clear, even to the blinkered and insensitive denizens of Corruption Bay, that hedge funds and City investors buying up Welsh farmland for various forms of greenwash does not go down well with the Welsh public.
Far better for the ‘Welsh Government’ to buy farmland and hand it over to favoured individuals and groups. Or it may be Dŵr Cymru doing the buying, or Natural Resources Wales.
Without the trans-Atlantic link facilitated by Soros-backed institutions, we would not have seen the creation of the Beacons Water Group, and without the BWG the ‘Welsh Government’ would not have bought Gilestone Farm from Charles Weston.
The real story here may be the adoption and adaptation of a US arrangement that will be used by the ‘Welsh Government’ to reward those farmers who follow the globalist agenda while isolating those with principles.
Pour encourager les autres.
The Green Man? Even if this outfit is taking over Gilestone, it’s just a distraction.
I don’t think I’ve ever done this before (as the actress said to the bishop), but this post is all about another post, on a faraway blog I was unaware of until a couple of days ago. To explain.
I received an e-mail from an anonymous source providing a link to a blog post said source thought might interest me. It certainly did, though I have to admit that the subject matter was beyond my normal interests.
Essentially, the story is about the deliberate poisoning of hawks and ravens on the Glanusk Estate using Bendiocarb, all done to protect the ‘game birds’ reared there. These have been ‘protected’ from their natural predators in order that they might be killed by Hoorays paying handsomely for the privilege.
Apart from the obvious wildlife crimes there are also safety concerns for those visiting the estate and, perhaps especially, those attending the Green Man Festival held there in August.
The facts, certainly those that jumped out at me, are as follows:
1/ The poisonings took place in 2012/13 and the birds killed were ravens, buzzards and red kites, the latter having become almost the national bird of Wales since its recovery from near extinction was engineered in central Wales.
2/ As stated, the killings were committed on the Glanusk Estate of the Legge-Bourke family near Crughywel. I quote from the Raptor Persecution Scotland website:
“Shan Legge-Bourke was appointed lady-in-waiting to Princess Anne in 1987, was High Sheriff of Powys in 1991, has been the Lord Lieutenant of Powys (the Queen’s personal representative) since 1998 and became Dame Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in the 2015 New Year Honours.
Shan Legge-Bourke’s daughter, Tiggy Legge-Bourke, was nanny to Princes William & Harry and worked as a personal assistant to Prince Charles between 1993-1999.
Shan Legge-Bourke’s son, Harry Legge-Bourke, is a partner in the management of Glanusk Estate and served on the Board of Natural Resources Wales (the Welsh statutory conservation agency) between 2012-2015 (the same time the mass poisoning of raptors was taking place on Glanusk Estate).”
Though it’s not clear exactly what the arrangement is between Coleman and the owners of either estate. Is he employed directly? Does he lease land at Glanusk? While his relationship with the estate may be opaque the article I’m using as my source says that the gamekeepers are employed by Mark Coleman. Again, I quote from the original piece:
“Stoke Edith is a close neighbour of the Sufton Estate. Some of you may recognise that name. In 2010, an under-gamekeeper from the Sufton Estate was convicted of 17 wildlife crime offences, including the use of Bendiocarb to poison raptors (see here, page 25). In the same year, the Sufton Estate Head gamekeeper was convicted of running a cannabis factory on the estate and was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment (see here).
Amazingly, according to this article published in Fieldsports magazine: glanusk fieldsport article-1, the Head gamekeeper now at Glanusk Estate, employed by Mark Coleman, is someone with the same name as that convicted Head gamekeeper from Sufton Estate. Imagine that! It surely can’t be the same person, because, as we’re so often told, criminal gamekeepers are not tolerated by the shooting industry, right?
But Mark Coleman employs another gamekeeper who also has a familiar name. According to this Fieldsports magazine article: stoke edith fieldsport article-1, a gamekeeper employed by Mark Coleman on the Stoke Edith Estate shares the same name as a gamekeeper convicted of killing raptors and badgers on a shooting estate in Herefordshire in 2008. Imagine that! It surely can’t be the same person, because, as we’re so often told, criminal gamekeepers are not tolerated by the shooting industry, right?”
I think it’s important to know the relationships between the Glanusk Estate and Mark Coleman if we are to establish the chain of responsibility and culpability. According to the panel above, taken from the Glanusk website, the shoot has been “passed” to Mark Coleman, but what the hell does that mean? I guarantee he doesn’t own the land.
UPDATE 04.07.2016: I am indebted to ‘STaN’ at the Neath Ferret for drawing my attention to the fact that Mark Coleman’s company is not in the best of financial health. The company’s net worth is over three hundred thousand pounds the wrong side of zero. Read the latest accounts for yourself.
4/ There was a statement put out by Dyfed Powys Police in March which read:
“Dyfed Powys Police take allegations of wildlife crime very seriously and investigates all incidents reported to us. Following information received in 2012 and 2013, relating to the deaths of raptors in Powys, a full investigation was carried out in partnership with the RSPB, the National Wildlife Crime Unit and the Wildlife Management Team in the Welsh Government. During the investigation a number of search warrants under the Wildlife and Countryside Act were executed and two people were arrested in connection with the incidents. A file of evidence was subsequently submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service who advised that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution.”
This statement claims that arrests were made but the Crown Prosecution Service decided against proceeding with a prosecution. We can only speculate as to why there was no prosecution.
5/ Irrespective of whether there were prosecutions there can be no doubt that crimes were committed, so why has the ‘Welsh’ media remained silent over “the most significant wildlife poisoning incident in Wales”, according to the RSPB? Would our hawk-eyed and diligent journos ignore a murder because there had not yet been a prosecution?
Otherwise, Harry seems to be involved in the world of intelligence and security, with the Chelsea Group, Box-It and something given on his LinkedIn profile as Seven Partners, a name under which I can find nothing other than this company in Lyon. He seems to be cashing in on the rise in global terrorism and concerns for security . . . for which shooting some of the stupidest creatures known to Nature may be ideal preparation. (Myself, I prefer fish in barrels.)
Soon after the original post was published the Glanusk Estate made a statement that you can find here, accompanied by a pretty comprehensive demolition by Raptor Persecution UK.
The Estate obviously felt they hadn’t said enough because a further statement was issued on July 3rd. Here it is, again with a robust response from RPUK. In this statement blame for the poisonings is attributed to “a third party” and assures us that there was never any risk to public health.
To sum up . . .
First off, you mustn’t think there’s anything unusual – other than the scale – about the poisonings at Glanusk, they happen all the time. That’s because there’s serious money in shooting game birds, and wherever we find an area of human activity where there’s big money to be made we’ll find persons ready to cut corners and break the law.
The reason for my interest in this case is due to the status and connections of those involved and the responses, or rather, the total disinterest, of officialdom and others.
Now I am not for one minute suggesting that any member of the Legge-Bourke family laid poison to kill hawks and ravens. And I believe it’s perfectly possible for these crimes to have taken place on their land without their knowing. I suggest we need to start our search for the guilty parties lower down the food chain, with those who had both the motive and the opportunity.
But I am not suggesting that Mark Coleman himself laid poison to kill raptors or carrion feeders. I use the term ‘carrion feeders’ because a poisoned pheasant or raven could become food for badgers, foxes and smaller animals, perhaps even a domestic cat. Poisoning is indiscriminate.
But what of those gamekeepers we are told already had police records over the border and, according to Raptor Persecution UK, were brought to Glanusk by Mark Coleman? Would it be reasonable to assume that these were the two arrested by Dyfed Powys Police? Though it may be significant that the police statement makes no mention of them actually being charged.
Do these gamekeepers still work on the Glanusk Estate?
Even though the Legge-Bourkes didn’t lay any poison they are the indirect beneficiaries of that act because whoever did it acted to protect the shooting run by Mark Coleman who, we can be sure, pays the family a tidy sum to arrange his £11,000+ a day shooting parties.
The poisonings being first noticed in 2012 suggests they may have been done to ensure the successful launch of the venture after shooting re-started at Glanusk in 2010. Also significant may be that Glanusk offers mainly driven pheasant shooting, with limited ‘walk up’ grouse on offer; yet it is suggested that the hope is to expand the enterprise to a driven grouse venture (the only one in Wales). This would allow Mark Coleman to charge his punters even more. And as I said earlier, we are talking big bucks here.
So even though I am not for one minute suggesting that Mark Coleman laid down poison, he too would have benefited indirectly from greater numbers of birds surviving natural predators for him to offer to high-paying shooters.
Then there are other considerations, such as visitors who come and stay but not for the shooting. And how can we ignore the Green Man Festival, which must be another nice little earner for the Legge-Bourkes, and great publicity for Glanusk. Yet this is the kind of event attended by hippies and Greens. (My kind of people!) I can imagine some malodorous and dreadlocked shit-stirrer starting an online petition to move the Festival somewhere else if these killings of buzzards, ravens and red kites had received the publicity they deserved.
The simple and inescapable fact is that a prosecution, and the resultant publicity, could have cost the Glanusk Estate, and the well-connected Legge-Bourke family, a great deal of money. This is why there was no prosecution.
This case is a damning indictment of Wales in 2016. We have a Labour government down Cardiff docks telling us it’s fighting for ‘equality’ and practicing ‘openness’ and yet here we have an example of privilege, deference and feudalism straight out of the medieval period.
If a story about the killing of birds can be kept out of the public domain to protect persons with connections to the English royals what else is being kept from us?