On this blog I have consistently argued that I want Wales to operate less like a colonial possession and more like countries run by politicians who prioritise the material well-being of the people in those countries.
The so-called ‘Welsh Government’ clearly thinks I’m asking for too much. For it continues to encourage and facilitate the exploitation of our homeland by foreign companies and other agencies.
Methods now being employed to disguise the nature of the beast include a veneer of Welsh involvement. And it is no more than a veneer. An expensive veneer, because it’s often paid for from the Welsh public purse.
Another way of thinking about this ‘veneer’ is to view it as the classic variant of colonialism that allows members of a native elite to profit from the plundering of their country and its resources. It both buys their loyalty and disguises the colonialism.
This is what I’ve been reporting with Bute Energy, that multi-headed monster that emerged from nowhere, with no background in renewables, and no Welsh connection, but which is now hoping to erect 20 wind farms in Wales.
Bute set up a totally superfluous ‘Welsh Advisory Board’ in order to provide sinecures for redundant Labour MEP Derek Vaughan, and John Uden, partner of Labour MS Jenny Rathbone.
The only ‘advice’ Bute expected from this Board was to be told who they should see to get things done. Better still, to hear, ‘Leave it to me, I’ll have a word with ———-‘.
It stinks. But it didn’t end there.
Winner of the Farley’s Rusks Chubby Cheeks Competition 1986, and later spad to the Labour mighty, David James Taylor, also had his snout firmly in the Bute trough. Though his membership of linked Grayling Capital LLP ended in September, after the spotlight fell on him.
But Taylor still has shares in Windward Enterprises Ltd, the owner of Bute Energy Ltd, which in turn owns the 20 companies, one for each of the proposed wind farms. These shares are held in his own name and that of his company, Moblake Associates Ltd.
The lucre from his association with Bute seems to have been shovelled to his company Moblake Ltd, from which Taylor then paid himself £605,872 in roughly three years. This was done in the form of ‘loans’ that don’t need to be repaid!
Taylor’s latest venture, also based at 69 Lambeth Walk, is Earthcott Ltd. Set up just before he quit Grayling Capital. Unsurprisingly, this new company is also in the flim-flam and door-opening business.
So we have a company, Bute Energy, and its associated entities, hoping to make a lot of money out of Wales. Perhaps for the minimal outlay of 20 planning applications. Which I’m sure Bute believes will be waived through.
And as I suggested last week with Bute Energy Selling Wales For Danegeld? Bute may already have made a pile from whatever agreement has been reached with Danish investors.
Now it’s time to move offshore, so don your oilskins and adopt a jaunty nautical stance. (But anyone attempting Robert Newton impersonations will be keelhauled!)
ALL AT SEA
It may have escaped your notice, but Wales has vibrant offshore wind and wave industries. Or at least, that’s what we’re being told.
Though the offshore wind turbines seem limited thus far to the north coast. Which presumably means they’re the profitable responsibility of the Crown Estate. (Devolved in Scotland but not in Wales.)
Which is why I was surprised that the Welsh National Marine Plan – produced by the ‘Welsh Government’ late in 2019 – only mentioned the Crown Estate in passing. Almost as if the ‘Welsh Government’ wants us to believe that Gwynt y Môr and the other arrays are all their own work, with the benefits accruing to Wales.
It should go without saying – this being Wales – that these offshore wind farms are all foreign-owned. Keeping to this template, the latest array proposed, Awel y Môr, will be owned by German company RWE.
But it’s not just wind turbines fixed to the sea bed that Corruption Bay encourages. There are also plans for floating turbines, and wave energy.
The directors of both companies are Joseph Geraint Kidd who, to his credit, describes himself as Welsh rather than British on Companies House documents; and Niamh Kenny, who is Irish.
Kidd has had a number of other companies to his name, among them Venn Associates Ltd (13.06.2019). We’ll return in a moment to Venn and Niamh Kenny.
Before that, let’s remind ourselves that Pembrokeshire is quite a hot-spot for marine renewables. As I reported here in August 2020 with Wales and envirocolonialism.
Another company hoping to cash in is Cambrian Offshore South West Ltd (09.01.2019). Companies House tells us that the splendidly monikered Diccon Stideford Rogers of Falmouth is the only director. From the same source we learn that a confirmation statement is overdue.
In fact, I’m wondering if this outfit is still afloat, because there seems to have been no activity on the very basic website for over a year.
It would be a pity if Cambrian Offshore sank without trace, because last August the Development Bank of Wales loaned the company £650,000. DBW tried to cover itself with a charge against the assets; though whether Cambrian Offshore has assets to that value is debatable.
Perhaps Diccon’s other companies will chip in.
Sue Barr’s Linkedin page makes no mention of Cambrian Offshore, despite her being described as Managing Director. But it does introduce us to other players. Among them Marine Energy Wales, where we find Joseph Geraint Kidd again, on the Advisory Board. Also the Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum.
I wonder how much the locals down there know of these organisations, these wonderful plans? And will they see any benefits?
Let’s return to Joseph Geraint Kidd and Niamh Kenny. As we’ve seen, they are linked through the two companies, Mor Glas Wind Farm Ltd and Mor Gwyrdd Wind Farm Ltd.
But both have fingers in other pies.
Here’s Niamh Kenny’s Linkedin page. The recent appointments listed are:
Also, from January 2021, she’s been a self-employed ‘Renewable Energy Specialist’.
While from May 2021 Niamh Kenny has also been Project Developer at NMK Renewables and SBM Offshore. The first is, presumably, her company, using her initials; while the second is a major Dutch company.
Finally, we see that Niamh Kenny is a partner in Hiraeth Energy. And who could argue with this ‘local benefits’ mission statement:
My initial inquiry established that Hiraeth is a partner in Climate Cymru, a clique of planet savers subsisting on a diet of fully organic public funding. Climate Cymru contains some organisations I regard with suspicion, a few with contempt.
Then I found Hiraeth in glorious isolation as Hiraeth Energy LLP (21.07.2021). That is, Limited Liability Partnership, an opaque arrangement often used to cover up shady dealings. A LLP doesn’t have directors, it has members. Which explains Niamh Kenny’s relationship.
And among the other members of Hiraeth we find the aforementioned Venn of Joseph Geraint Kidd.
There is one Companies House entry for Venn Associates Ltd (13.06.2019) that tells us Kidd is the sole director; but there is another entry that lists, in place of directors, Hiraeth LLP and Afallen LLP.
Hiraeth, we know about, but who or what is Afallen LLP? For Afallen is also listed as a member for Hiraeth LLP. The Afallen website proclaims: “What Wales does today, the world will do tomorrow”.
I hope to God that is just hyperbole, because if it’s a prediction, and anywhere near true, then I’ll seriously consider drinking myself to death.
Can you imagine a world ruled by the kind of duplicitous and incompetent buffoons that inhabit Corruption Bay? No, don’t even think about it!
Companies House tells us that the original partners in Afallen LLP (04.10.2018) were Dr David Owain Clubb, Mari Frances Arthur, and RTRT Consulting Ltd of Penarth. Though Clubb was soon replaced by his company Cymorth Clubb Cyf (05.11.2018). They have of course been recently joined by Kidd’s Venn Associates. It’s all very incestuous.
If the names Clubb and Arthur sound familiar, it’s because . . .
Clubb is the brother of former Plaid Cymru CEO Gareth Clubb. While Arthur caused disruption a few years back when her friends in Plaid HQ imposed her on the winnable Llanelli seat.
This imposition resulted in mass resignations locally and Plaid Cymru handing the seat to Labour. A rum do. Very rum.
So, to sum up: Joseph Geraint Kidd of Pembrokeshire has linked with Niamh Kenny of County Cork who is knowledgeable about offshore renewables. It appears she is also familiar with some big hitters in the business.
Companies that might be interested in Pembrokeshire.
What I presume Ms Kenny does not have is political connections in Wales. Which is where I suggest Afallen comes in.
For Arthur and Clubb are also in the door-opening business. Just like those taken on by Bute Energy. And now, with Labour and Plaid in alliance, well-connected members of both parties can expect to be in demand.
These are the kind of people who flit between politics, third sector, and private companies; providing nothing in the way of public benefit, but always guaranteed publicity from a compliant media and access to their politician friends.
THE FINAL FRONTIER
There was considerable chortling last week at the news Wales has a space programme.
Though let me put your mind at rest in case you’re worrying about Welsh public funding being used to land a non-binary and intersectional party of Wokeonauts on a dreary rock, far, far away . . .
(Though the idea is not without its attractions.)
There is no Welsh space programme. It’s just the Corruption Bay gang trying to put a Welsh spin on orders from London. And not for the first time. Or the last.
Though we could still end up financing a scheme from which we’ll see no benefits.
Let’s look at this scam in greater detail. Starting with the front page from last week’s Cambrian News. Having a couple of comedians accompany the headline is very fitting. We’ll soon meet another.
The CN’s inside pages went for broke. Even giving us a piece by Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for the Economy. (There – what did I promise you!)
Having a Minister for the Economy in Wales is like having a Minister for Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia. Neither’s expected to do much.
From that inside spread you’ll see Llanbedr and Aberporth mentioned. Which should give you a clue as to what we’re really talking about here. But if you’re still struggling . . . it’s drones and missiles, possibly satellites. But dressed up as a ‘space programme’.
I’ve written about Llanbedr a few times. First, here, in Miscellany 15.01.2020 (scroll down to section ‘Llanbedr Airfield’). A week later with Come Fly With Me. And then, in December 2020, it was Lucky Gwynedd – More ‘Investors’ (‘Fly boys’).
Remarkably, a week after that final piece appeared, the loans Snowdonia Aerospace LLP had received from the Secretary of State for Defence and the ‘Welsh Ministers’ over 8 years earlier were paid off.
These loans were made so that Snowdonia Aerospace could lease Llanbedr from its nominal owner – ‘The National Assembly for Wales’. Which means that we paid an English company to lease property from us!
That’s how to run a country!
Though whether any money was really paid is another matter. Perhaps to avoid giving ammunition to a nosey blogger someone thought it best to write off those debts.
Alternatively, it was all a sham, with no money being loaned in the first place, with maybe Llanbedr staying in MoD ownership.
Whatever happened, the key player in this, in the assorted entities involved, the Byzantine dealings, seems to be Lee John Paul. Learn more about him in those earlier posts to which I’ve linked.
It’s reasonable to assume that Paul is well connected with the defence establishment. Otherwise the Ministry of Defence would not have loaned him money or allowed him to use Llanbedr airfield.
For Llanbedr was not Paul’s first venture with former MoD sites in Wales. He was also involved in a company promising to turn RAF Brawdy into a business park.
Brawdy Business Park Ltd gave up the ghost in April 2013 owing a lot of money. Some of it to the Welsh Development Agency.
This whole idea of a ‘spaceport’, and where to locate it, is political. It’s about flying the flag. The Union flag. Which is why a site in SNP-run Scotland beat Llanbedr to the prize.
So what we’re discussing here is at best the consolation prize; and an exercise in turd polishing on the part of the ‘Welsh Government’.
With that in mind, here’s what I think is really happening at Llanbedr . . .
By promising skilled jobs the Ministry of Defence – operating through, or in partnership with, private companies – hopes the ‘Welsh Government’ and Cyngor Gwynedd will cough up funding for a ‘spaceport’.
This, as we highly-trained defence analysts are wont to say, is a load of old bollocks. First, because the reality will just be upgraded drone and missile testing, Second, rural Wales does not have the skills needed, and training is unlikely to be provided.
Then there’d be the security dimension. I remember how RAE Llanbedr operated. All the best jobs went to retired service personal – who’d signed the Official Secrets Act – while cooks and cleaners were recruited locally.
The proof for me that the Llanbedr Spaceport is just a PR exercise lies in other actions by the ‘Welsh Government’.
Because if Llanbedr was going to be Gwynedd’s Cape Canaveral, with thousands of highly-skilled local employees, then Corruption Bay would not have pulled the plug on the planned by-pass.
As yet, we don’t know the Welsh beneficiaries of this particular fairy tale, but as with renewables and other scams, they will emerge.
♦ end ♦