Momentum

Feb 282018
 

INTRODUCTION

In the previous post ‘Sister Sledge’ and I tried, in our different ways, to explain the Labour Party’s links with various other bodies, from Spartist rent-a-mob-with-whistles outfits to superficially respectable social housing bodies.

Ultimately, such linkages combine to create a system not unlike those we see in one-party states, where the reach of the ruling party extends into every area of national life. Such contempt for plurality ignores the fact that Labour gets just a third of the votes in Assembly elections and it leads, as in true dictatorships, to over-confidence and even corruption.

Which might explain what I’m now going to tell you. Though if someone can satisfactorily prove to me that it’s nothing more than a genuine mistake then I shall make that clear in a subsequent post.

PLAS MOROLWG

To give you the fullest understanding of the subject I think some background information would be helpful.

Plas Morolwg was a general needs family scheme owned by Bromford Carinthia, an English housing association, and built in the late 1970s. You have to wonder who gave planning permission for an English outfit to ship in dozens of people many of whom would have had special needs, with each one adding to the burden on the local health and other services.

But the importation of England’s problems still goes on, the difference today is that it’s done by ‘Welsh’ organisations using Welsh public money! Yet I have heard of no residential homes or social housing developments in England catering for Welsh people and paid for from English funds. Isn’t that strange?

Tai Cantref, based in Newcastle Emlyn, was pressured into buying Plas Morolwg by Tai Cymru, the former umbrella organisation for registered social landlords, now superseded by Community Housing Cymru. It was not a good buy.

To begin with, Plas Morolwg stood in an exposed location above the harbour/marina in Aberystwyth. It’s a nice spot when the sun’s out but otherwise at the mercy of the weather coming in off Cardigan Bay. Enough of a problem in itself, but Plas Morolwg was not very well built either, and a storm in February 2014 exposed just how bad a job the builders had done.

Almost before the wind had died down Tai Cantref slapped in a planning application on 11 February 2014 to demolish Plas Morolwg and replace it with a “mixed affordable and open market residential re-development”. (Ref No A140117.)

From @alanhalephoto, click to enlarge

As you’ve seen in the link supplied above, Outline Planning Permission was granted 7 October 2014 and Plas Morolwg was demolished in January 2015.

But more storm clouds were gathering. For some bad business decisions by Tai Cantref encouraged Bay Bubble scheming that saw this housing association brought to its knees and handed over to the Labour Party’s favourite RSL, Wales and West Housing.

This arranged marriage was formalised in September 2016. Which meant of course that Wales and West came into full possession of the now-cleared and ready-to-build-on Plas Morolwg site.

In addition to the Tai Cantref planning application to demolish and rebuild Plas Morolwg Wales and West has submitted a further application – Ref No A170922 – for a further eight “residential apartments”. (Are there non-residential apartments?)

This presumably is in addition to the Tai Cantref application of February 2014 for 64 apartments. The original Plas Morolwg complex was just 44 apartments, but the new building is two storeys higher and many believe it’s an even bigger eyesore than the original.

One thing’s for sure, the biddies on the top floor are in for exciting times when 90mph westerlies blow in from Labrador.

The next development in this saga was Ceredigion council announcing that the Bodlondeb extra care facility in Aberystwyth faced closure. This news was exploited by the Labour Party and its formed-for-the-purpose front organisation the Ceredigion People’s Assembly. (Not to be confused with the People’s Assembly of Ceredigion, or the Popular Assembly of Ceredigion.)

In response to the campaign the council entered into talks with Wales and West in the summer of 2017 for an extra care residential facility on the Plas Morolwg site to partly replace Bodlondeb.

So a Labour-led campaign against Ceredigion’s non-Labour council eventually drove the council into the arms of the Labour-run Wales and West Housing, which may now be in a position to demand whatever it wants on the Plas Morolwg site.

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

I have been helped with this section by someone who has signed up to the new party, someone with connections in Ceredigion Council and Cantref, and this individual has some very interesting information about the Council’s final quarter Social Housing Grant programme bid to the ‘Welsh’ Government.

Submitted by Keith Davies, on 16th February 2018, I am informed that the bid spreadsheet includes the following statement: “We have included a drawdown request for the Plas Morolwg extra care scheme acquisition stage totalling £1,690,000 . . . ”

The spreadsheet shows £1,051,000 being claimed for site acquisition of Plas Morolwg in the 2017/18 Social Housing Grant development programme; with an extra £188,500 claimed from any spare moolah available in 2017/18 surplus grant round to top up the “remaining acquisition grant only”.

This seems to suggest that Wales and West is to be paid Social Housing Grant to buy a development site that they acquired when the ‘Welsh’ Government encouraged them to take over Tai Cantref. In other words, a site they already own!

But just to be sure, I went to the Land Registry website. From there I downloaded both the title and the map of the site. There seems to be little question that Wales and West owns the Plas Morolwg site and with no money owing to banks or other lenders.

But then I got to thinking, ‘Well, hang on, maybe Wales and West is buying some extra land, and that explains this “acquisition stage” payment?’ So I went to the plan on the Ceredigion Council website, the plan relating to the proposed redevelopment of the site, and compared it with the Land Registry map.

click to enlarge

They’re identical. As you can see for yourself.

The proposed development moves down the hill to minimise the impact of the two extra storeys and this will almost certainly mean that access, parking and just about everything else will be located at the rear of the building.

‘THE WILD WEST SHOW’

In the days when Ceredigion council was run by men of property, planning permission was so easy to come by, and planning rules treated with such contempt, that Paul Flynn, the veteran Newport West MP, described Ceredigion council as “the Wild West Show”.

Those days of greedy landowners enriching themselves may be gone, but a new menace to open and honest local government in Ceredigion has emerged in the form of Momentum, whose followers act as foot-soldiers for a locally unelectable Labour Party and its linked organisations.

This was all explained in my previous post.

Juvenile leftists with nothing better to do are one thing, but with Wales and West Housing we are dealing with a ruthless – possibly corrupt – organisation bent on hoovering up rivals thanks to funding and political support provided by its parent body, ‘Welsh’ Labour.

So we need answers to the following questions, and these answers must come from Wales and West itself, Cyngor Ceredigion, and the ‘Welsh’ Labour Government.

First, has the Plas Morolwg development received full planning approval? Then, given the history of the site, where will the residents come from?

But perhaps most important of all – is Wales and West Housing receiving £1.69m to buy a site it already owns? If so, why? And who authorised this funding?

The time has come for opposition politicians in the Assembly to demand an investigation into social housing in Wales; we must know exactly how it’s funded, whether it meets – even exceeds – the needs of Wales, and the relationship between some housing associations – particularly Wales and West Housing – and ‘Welsh’ Labour.

♦ end ♦

UPDATE 01.03.2018: Someone sent me a ‘Welsh’ Government document called a (social housing) Programme Delivery Plan for Ceredigion. I’m not sure how readable it is, but anyway, here’s the link.

The first page lists a number of projects in the pipeline, including Plas Morolwg, but with some information redacted. The other project with information redacted is Mid Wales Housing’s Cylch Caron in Tregaron, which I understand has been scuppered by Cyngor Ceredigion getting into bed with Wales and West up on the windy heights of Plas Morolwg.

Note also on this first page that under the ‘Tenure’ heading all the other projects are listed as ‘Social’, but not Plas Morolwg, which is ‘Neutral’. This I’m told means that it will either be private housing or mixed.

And yet, as I’ve explained in the main post, Wales and West is asking for Social Housing Grant to acquire the Plas Morolwg site. Yet we know a) Wales and West already owns the site and b) the Programme Delivery Plan now tells us W&W will not be building social housing.

So what the hell is going on here?

Scroll down to the third sheet (which I suspect is a continuation of the first) and you’ll find other Wales and West projects with information redacted. In fact, there are five redactions for Wales and West, the two for Mid Wales Housing, but none for Tai Ceredigion which has the most entries on these sheets.

So why does Wales and West Housing get such preferential treatment from the ‘Welsh’ Government? I can understand the reasoning behind commercial confidentially, but when it’s only applied to Wales and West it looks very much like favouritism. Or maybe hiding something?

P.S. I’ve also seen the Pembrokeshire Programme Delivery Plan, and there Wales and West has even more redactions. They may be connected with a development called Parrog Yard in Newport. Any information will be gratefully received and treated confidentially.

Aug 262016
 

It is with heavy heart, and a tear-streaked visage, that I recount further news of our beloved ‘Welsh’ Labour Party bravely defending its Blairite integrity against socialists interlopers, while a much-loved tribune, hewn from the rock upon which Dowlais stands, struggles with Italian menus worried – nay, anguished! – by the situation back home. Oh, yes.

           ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

You may recall that I referred a while back to the curious situation of people coming together in Swansea, enthused by Jeremy Corbyn, to form an unofficial Momentum group, then trying to link up with the official Momentum, and to individually join the Labour Party, but being told to piss off. To explain.

Most of you probably think of Momentum as the outfit that provides foot-soldiers for Jeremy Corbyn in his leadership contest. For, to use its own description, “Momentum (Est. 2015) is a Labour Party focused organization”. Focused on, but not part of, the Labour Party. It’s possible in England to belong to Momentum without being a Labour Party member.

Here in Wales the situation is different due to Welsh Labour Grassroots being ‘The Home for Momentum in Wales’, and WLG (Est. 2003) being much closer to the ‘official’ Labour Party than Corbyn’s ‘provisionals’ are in England. Here it appears that only Labour Party members are allowed into Momentum / Labour Grassroots.

Welsh Labour Grassroots

In this Labour leadership contest, most MPs, AMs, and councillors support Owen Smith, but the rank and file backs Corbyn. Which explains why the hoi polloi are often denied meetings at which they might express their preference, or else meetings are allowed, but controlled by those who succumb to temporary blindness when confronted with a sea of hands for Corbyn. (I’m told a favoured way of dealing with this is, ‘Too close to call, so in the interests of party unity . .  .’.)

(If things get really bad perhaps we can expect decisions to be taken at invitation-only meetings. Though it’s rather confusing to see ‘Welsh’ Labour revert to the tactics of its socialist past in order to silence people who are, in the main, er . . . socialists! But then, I can remember when Plaid Cymru was expelling nationalists. Since when it’s simply made itself unattractive.)

Despite it being closer to the Labour Party in Wales than in England Welsh Labour Grassroots / Momentum still supports Corbyn for leader. But when we look at where the support for Corbyn comes from, it tells an interesting story.

WLG Nominations

From the Welsh Labour Grassroots website

Of the nine CLPs that have declared for Corbyn, only two are in the southern urban belt. The single nomination for Owen Smith is in the south, as is the single constituency that decided “not to make a nomination”, while of the seven constituencies where meetings have been cancelled, five are in the south. Clearly, the farther a constituency party is from the grip of the regional HQ in Cardiff, then the more likely it is to go over to the ‘provos’.

Anyway, as I say, many of those in Swansea enthused by Corbyn had not previously been active in politics, and were not Labour Party members so, if WLG / Momentum was reluctant to engage with them, then surely, joining the Labour Party was the answer? Well, no.

Here’s a letter received in response to an application to join the Labour Party made by one of those political virgins. It talks of “inappropriate comments on Facebook” and having “behaved unacceptably at branch meetings”. (I received a very similar response to my application.)

Now clearly, Labour HQ in London does not check on the social media output of every applicant. It must consult the local hierarchy, along the lines of, ‘We’ve had a membership application from a Rhydderch Prydderch of Morriston, should we let him join?’

And the word comes back, ‘Nah, he’s gonna vote for Corbyn’. Now this may be a losing battle, but the Labour establishment in Wales has a clear advantage over the party in England in that Momentum is not entirely independent, and with enough ‘officials’ involved with WLG potential ‘provos’ can be identified and dealt with.

But by over-riding the wishes of most of its members it cannot escape the consequences, whoever is leader.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dawn Bowden, the Assembly Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney has been in the news again, this time pissing off her constituents by telling them what a wonderful time she was having in Italy. I was able to salvage the following snaps from her Twitter account – though for some reason she’s blocked me! (@carrageryr is her partner, Martin Eaglestone, another freeloader on the Labour / trade union / Third Sector gravy train.)

Dawn Bowden Holiday tweets

Now I know some of you are thinking, ‘Come on, Jac, she’s entitled to a holiday, after working a three-day week every week since . . . well, since she was elected on May 5 . . . or at least, for the few weeks the Assembly sat before breaking up again on July 18 for its two-month summer holiday’. But, alas, it’s not just the holidays that are pissing people off.

To point you in the right direction, here’s something I recently put out on Facebook and Twitter. (Click to enlarge.)

Dawn Bowden Owen Smith

In addition there is much disgruntlement locally over other issues.

First, it is said, that she was forced on the local Labour Party by the manipulations of fellow trade unionist and Labour Party big-wig, Andy Richards.

Second, despite being elected almost four months ago, there have been no advertisements for staff to run Bowden’s offices in the constituency and the Assembly. This being Merthyr, where the Labour Party elevates nepotism to heights that would make the denizens of Tammany Hall giddy, there are strong suspicions that these posts are already allocated – so why waste time and money advertising them? For those who might harbour suspicions that I’m being unfair to Labour in Merthyr, maybe this post from last July might help convince you, Merthyr: All Aboard the ‘Welsh’ Labour Gravy Train.

Third, it is being said, already, that Dawn Bowden is so bloody useless she makes Gerald Jones MP look competent!

But perhaps, and certainly for me, the true awfulness of this woman, her obvious unsuitability for a seat like Merthyr and Rhymney, is exposed in the letter she wrote to party members explaining why – unlike most of them – she is supporting Owen Smith for leader of the Labour Party. (Click to enlarge.)

Dawn Bowden letter

To begin with, nobody – not even Smith himself – believes that bollocks about a £200 billion investment fund, Wages Councils, Clause 4 and a 50p tax rate. Smith has to say those things because he’s competing against a socialist. So either Bowden is too stupid to realise Smith is simply electioneering, in which case she is unintentionally misleading party members; or else she knows he’s lying, in which case, she’s also lying.

But worst of all is the final paragraph ” . . . which I know is the way we do things in Merthyr and Rhymney”. And how, exactly, would you know that, Bowden?

You are an Englishwoman. You were only elected to represent the constituency in May (after a rigged selection process). You have never lived in the constituency. You know nothing about the area, its history, or its people and their strong sense of local identity and pride in their area’s radical past. You ‘fit’ in Merthyr about as well as I’d fit in Henley-on-Thames.

You are just another shameless Labour interloper, benefiting from the most corrupt political system in western and northern Europe. Realise that and resign.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The title of this post is in the form of a question, so what is the answer? Well, taken in isolation, and if there were no ill effects on others, then the Labour Party, especially now as it tears itself apart, could be seen as a farce, and we could all have a good laugh.

But, regrettably, Labour remains the largest party in Wales, ‘Welsh’ Labour runs the Assembly, and that is most definitely a tragedy.

Perhaps the saddest thing I heard from my Merthyr source was that Plaid Cymru seems reluctant to exploit Labour’s obvious vulnerability in the constituency. Even saying, ” . . . if you’re not in the bloody Rhondda or her (Leanne Woods’) inner circle you don’t count for anything”. This strikes me as a cri de coeur rather than a burst of old-fashioned Valleys’ tribalism.

But I can’t leave you all depressed and miserable, so let me cheer you up with the third option, in the salutary and thought-provoking Parable of Jac’s Tooth. (Not for the squeamish.)

While indulging myself last weekend, sinking my gnashers into a chunk of Bourneville, I lost a tooth, or most of it. (Of course my dentist is on holiday, and then there’s bloody Bank Holiday on Monday . . . )

Tooth

Click to enlarge – if you dare!

When I cleaned it, and examined it, I realised that the tooth would have fallen out soon without the intervention of Messrs Cadbury. As I ruefully rolled it about my hand I said to myself, ‘Jac, this tooth, rotten to the core, its days of usefulness so clearly numbered, could serve as the perfect metaphor for . . .

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ END ~ ~ ~ ~ ~