A Welsh Take On Irish Politics

At the end of January I gave an outsider’s view of the two referendums being held in Ireland in early March on Articles 39 and 40 of the Constitution. (Click and scroll down.)

The Family Amendment‘ was seen as a move away from the heterosexual nuclear family towards the vacuous “durable relationship“, with the added worry that illegal aliens could use the change to bring in just about anybody, claiming there was a relationship.

The vote was 67.7% No.

The ‘The Care Amendment‘ was presented as rejecting the ‘old-fashioned’ thinking of a woman’s place being in the home, but widely seen as rejecting motherhood altogether, and opening the door to other interpretations of ‘woman’.

The vote was 73.9% No.

The highest No vote ever recorded in a referendum. Higher even than that against the suggestion to reduce the age of eligibility for election to the office of President to 21.

RESULTS, LOSERS, WINNERS

You can’t really argue with figures like that, but of course some will try. Predictably, the Irish Times had a stab at it with:

The timing was rushed, the rationale unclear, the propositions confusing and the campaigning lacklustre.

Of course. If only things had been better explained . . .

Whereas the Guardian would have us believe: “Critics said they (the government) ran a lacklustre, confusing campaign that perplexed voters and alienated progressive allies“.

Both use “confusing” and “lacklustre“.

The problem for the Irish Times is that it’s part of the problem, in that it belongs to the metropolitan elite. Which means that to honestly address the problem, and the reasons behind the referendum defeats, would need a degree of self-examination that might be too painful.

For the truth is that, in Ireland, as throughout the Western world, the uniparty Globalist system supported by the Irish Times is cracking, and the disconnect between rulers and ruled has rarely been wider, except in those periods prior to revolutions.

In Ireland, that uniparty is made up of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, Labour, and of course, the Greens.

I’m sure that in Dublin’s better restaurants, this elite looked at returns like those from Donegal and Mayo, and gave each other the kind of knowing looks it was hoped would convey sagacity, but in reality merely confirmed their prejudices.

Because they’re unlikely to learn from these votes. The bubbles in which they live, across the Western world, are linked to each other, support each other, reinforce the Globalist message – and are hermetically sealed against the views of the people.

But their problems were not confined to the rural West, for working class Dublin also said No very forcefully. As did other urban centres like Cork, Galway, Wexford, Limerick, Waterford.

Even the posher parts of the capital went rogue. It was left to the outlying southern suburbs to return the only Yes vote. And that was by a hair’s breadth.

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One explanation I heard – and we’ve all heard this one before – was that unpopular governments shouldn’t give the mob a chance to vent their anger with by-elections and referendums.

But that simply reinforces how out of touch Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s government is. For they didn’t seem to realise that a lot of people out there really hate them.

And let’s remember that the whole uniparty political establishment urged a Yes vote.

And yet, we can see why this disaster happened. For in addition to a political class and its hangers-on talking to no one but themselves, even those they trusted to inform them got it badly wrong.

I’m referring now to the opinion polls. Below you see polls conducted weeks and days before the votes predicting comfortable Yes votes. Who the hell were they asking?

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Are opinion polls also part of the problem? Or are they just a waste of time, completely unreliable?

The unity of the Irish political establishment was in marked contrast to referendums I remember in Wales: joining the EU, Sunday opening of pubs, devolution in ’79, devolution again in ’97, the Brexit vote.

For these, political parties often lined up in opposition to each other, and we even saw divisions within parties.

That’s why these Irish No votes are so significant. A monolithic political establishment, its loyal media, and the serried ranks of its NGO grifters, was told to go away unto a far place, and there do unspeakable things to themselves and to each other. (Shudders!)

The size of the anti-establishment majorities in these referendums could mean that the proposed hate speech legislation is now dead. Because the establishment always knew it was unpopular at home, and drawing critical attention abroad.

So it will perhaps be shelved. I mean, they can’t push it through as if nothing has happened. And they certainly can’t afford another referendum.

Time to go into laager.

IS SINN FĒIN ON THE WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY?

Few things brought home to me the almost surreal nature of unfolding events more than the leader of Sinn Féin, Mary Lou McDonald, being called “a traitor to the Irish people”.

And in Dublin Castle of all places!

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To understand what I’m getting at, you have to remember that for centuries Dublin Castle was the centre of British rule in Ireland. To the point where “The Castle” could even be used as a synonym for British rule.

McDonald’s predecessors would not have seen the inside of Dublin Castle unless they’d been taken in for the kind of ‘questioning’ that sometimes ended with a bullet or a noose. In the Civil War (1922-1923) it was the turn of IRA men to be tortured and killed by Free State forces.

Modern leftists will put a class spin on the Civil War, but those who fought on were holding out for what had always been the objective – a 32 county Republic completely independent of England. They remained true to their ideals.

Whereas those who’d sold out, accepted Partition, Dominion status, and the rest, liked to portray themselves as realists, or pragmatists.

Armed anti-Treaty members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Grafton Street, Dublin during the Irish Civil War. (Photo by Walshe/Getty Images) Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Nothing should show how much things have changed from the days of British rule than a leader of Sinn Féin strolling around Dublin Castle to public acclaim. I stress should – but Mary Lou McDonald was heckled by Irish nationalists!

Another reason for that hostility was the elephant in the room – immigration. Large numbers of undocumented young men being imposed, hundreds at a time, on towns and villages across the land. Sinn Féin supports open borders.

With no pretence any longer that those arriving are refugees.

They now apply for international protection status. You start your trip, then before arriving in Ireland you destroy your documents, when interviewed you claim some nasty men back home want to kill you, and bingo! – you get a house and hundreds of Euros every week to stroll the streets making a nuisance of yourself. Or worse.

Said to be the best deal in Europe.

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The Dublin Castle incident links with immigration to inform us that a new kind of nationalism seems to be emerging, one that’s more focused on Irish identity than the ‘progressive’ mish-mash that’s corrupted Sinn Féin.

Immigration is increasingly described as the new ‘Plantation’, with all that that implies given the history of Ireland.

But then, traditional Irish nationalism, Fenians, Republicans, always spoke primarily for the Gaelic Catholic Irish. Even Connolly, the socialist, talked of “the Irish race“.

Certainly Tone, Emmett, Parnell and others were Protestant, and there was always an open (if unrealistically optimistic) invitation to northern Unionists; but fundamentally, it was Ireland for the indigenous Irish.

We seem to have come full circle. It’s now ‘Ireland for the Irish’ again.

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And why not! How can our leftist brethren (whom I cherish, dearly!) shout that Palestine belongs to the Palestinians yet argue that Ireland belongs to anyone other than the Irish?

But that’s exactly what they do argue. For according to them only the ‘far right’ believes in nations . . . well, European nations, anyway.

And, finally, what’s happening in Ireland now throws up another bizarre twist, in that through its rejection of the Globalist agenda, and its reaffirmation of eternal verities, the new Irish nationalism is finding admirers among Six Counties Loyalists.

As people wake up to the Globalist agenda for the West; with Net Zero, the ‘de-growth’ strategy, the promotion of cultural Marxism, and waves of migrants, we shall see many alliances that would once have been regarded as impossible.

THE YEAR AHEAD; IN IRELAND AND BEYOND

Next for Ireland are the European elections and the local council elections, to be held on the same day in June, but at a date yet to be announced. (Maybe the uniparty will only tell its own supporters the date, to avoid another hiding!)

Here’s the current state of the parties.

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While I’m hoping for the best, I still worry that contesting national elections may be too much, too soon, for the Irish Freedom Party and the Farmers’ Alliance. I hope I’m wrong. I’m certainly more confident after the referendum results.

I know the IFP is standing candidates for the Euro elections, but I’m not sure about the locals. Nor am I sure if the Farmers’ Alliance is standing in any elections.

Of course, the elections across the EU will be fascinating because of the anti-Globalist surge, and the (correct) perception that the EU is part of the problem, facilitating the Globalist agenda through legislation, funding, and other means.

Then there’s the UK general election at some time in 2024. With the WEF’s choice for prime minister, Rishi Sunak, finally facing the electorate. But in Westminster Labour, Lib Dems, SNP, Plaid Cymru and Greens form a uniparty with the Tories, so the only option is to vote for Reform.

Then, as if I needed to remind you, in November it’s the US presidential elections. Donald Trump has seen off all challengers for the Republican nomination, while Joe Biden never really had much opposition. Which would worry me if I was a Democrat.

(But also keep an eye on the Independent candidate, Robert F Kennedy Jr.)

Biden cannot win a fair election against Trump. A Trump victory should mark the beginning of the end for the Globalists’ plans. And this is why I fear that those with most to lose might try something stupid, and sell it to their lapdog media and their cultish supporters as ‘defending democracy’.

For, yesterday, after both men’s nominations were confirmed, someone got Sleepy Joe to say, “the threat Trump poses is greater than ever“. ‘There you go. If Trump is such a ‘threat’, then maybe the rules don’t apply.

Whatever happens, I’m reasonably sure we’re at the high-water mark of Globalism. From now on it must ebb. Too many people have woken up.

The only question is whether Globalism goes out with a bang, or a whimper. And that is a very big question.

♦ end ♦

© Royston Jones 2024

Labour And Plaid Cymru Plot To Destroy Welsh Democracy

In this post we’ll look at the proposed Senedd ‘reforms’, focusing on the closed list system, the method of counting the votes, the design of the ballot paper, and then I’ll try to explain it all.

There have been calls for many years for a bigger Senedd so that it can give better ‘scrutiny’. That may have been the original intention, but I believe other considerations came into play. And these account for the deviations from the original proposals made by the Expert Panel in 2017.

At present, we have 60 Senedd Members. One from each of our 40 Westminster constituencies, elected by first past the post; the other 20 from 5 regions, each returning four Members, these elected by the less than perfect d’Hondt system. Explained here by Labour MS Mike Hedges.

Wales’s representation at Westminster is being reduced to 32 MPs. Those controlling Senedd reform have decided to ‘pair’ these seats to give 16 huge and unwieldy constituencies each of which will elect 6 Members by the d’Hondt method.

1/ THE EXPERT PANEL

The process that brought us to this point seems to have begun with the appointment in February 2017 of an Expert Panel (EP) to look into expanding the (then) Assembly.

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This group reported in November 2017. And among other things, suggested three possible electoral systems (p 129). These were:

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The system favoured by the Panel was the Single Transferable Vote.

You’ll perhaps note, by it’s absence, any mention of the closed list system that has been decided upon, and is now being widely criticised.

Or rather, the closed list was mentioned, and rejected (p 128).

This EP report was studied by our esteemed tribunes, its recommendations initially accepted, before being cast aside. Not because it wasn’t a fine piece of academic work, but because, as time went on, it could not deliver changed priorities.

Making the whole EP exercise a waste of time. Unless the hope was that the public would think what politicians subsequently came up with had the imprimatur of those experts.

2/ COMMITTEE ON SENEDD ELECTORAL REFORM

The next step was the Committee on Senedd Electoral Reform, which first met in January 2020. The Committee was dissolved following a debate on its report on Wednesday 7 October 2020.

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Here’s the Committee’s Report from September 2020, and here’s a summary of its recommendations. Note that it agrees with the Expert Panel in recommending the Single Transferable Vote.

Though it also makes a reference to “diversity quotas for protected characteristics other than gender”. I think we can guess where that’s heading.

3/ SPECIAL PURPOSE COMMITTEE ON SENEDD REFORM

Now we move on to October 2021, when a fresh Committee was established to take things forward, with Huw Irranca-Davies providing continuity.

Here are all the members. From what I can see, the only Conservative, Darren Millar, soon distanced himself. I guess he could see the direction of travel.

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The Special Purpose Committee on Senedd Reform published its report ‘Reforming our Senedd: A stronger voice for the people of Wales’ on 30 May 2022. Here’s a link to that report. Let’s pick out a few choice bits.

In the ‘Recommendation’ (pages 9-12) two that caught my eye were . . .

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In 14 we read that all political parties are to be ‘encouraged’ to publish “a diversity and inclusion strategy”. More ‘diversity’!

I found 17 remarkable in that it says those framing these proposals fear being referred to the Supreme Court. Suggesting that what they’re proposing may be unlawful.

Moving on to ‘Electoral System’, on page 26, where we read, solemnly inscribed: “Electoral systems are one of the fundamental building blocks of democracy”.

Too bloody right, Comrade! Let’s all remember that.

The Expert Panel’s favoured system of the Single Transferable Vote, endorsed by the Committee on Senedd Electoral Reform, was rejected by Huw Irranca-Davies and his new playmates because it, ” . . . was an unfamiliar system in Wales and that the method of translating votes into seats would be seen as complex and difficult to explain”.

In other words, electorates around the world may have got used to STV, but Welsh voters are uniquely stupid.

So why not elect three Members from each of the 32 new constituencies in the same way we elect councillors? It’s a system we twp Taffs are familiar with.

Jane Dodds (Liberal Democrat) favoured STV, so did Siân Gwenllian (Plaid Cymru), but, “in the spirit of achieving the supermajority required to deliver Senedd reform” Siân Gwenllian fell into line.

Not a whimper of dissent was heard from Elin Jones (Plaid Cymru).

So the Committee rejected the Single Transferable Vote, also the other two options  recommended by the Expert Panel. Instead, and for no obvious reason, went for what it calls, “the closed proportional list” system.

Certainly, the current method for electing our regional list MSs is a closed list, but does any country elect all its politicians by the closed list system?

When it comes to working out who gets to go to Corruption Bay the EP looked at two methods. The d’Hondt and Saint-Lagué divisor systems. The latter gives a more proportional outcome, and also gives more of a chance to smaller parties and independents.

Irranca-Davies and his friends of course plumped for the d’Hondt method.

Now we come to the most remarkable and worrying thing I encountered in all 92 pages. Scroll to page 38, and there you’ll see under ‘Ballot Papers’ . . .

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We would anticipate . . . some of the names . . . of candidates will appear . . . “.

ALL candidates’ names on the ballot paper should be a ‘given’. That it’s even being discussed strengthens my suspicions of the true motives behind this exercise.

So, let’s recap . . .

This Committee not only rejected the voting system recommended by the Expert Panel and accepted by the Committee on Senedd Electoral Reform in favour of the closed list, it also opted for the less proportional system for allocating seats, and finally, it even suggested not naming candidates.

How the hell does this improve democracy in Wales?

Moving on . . .

4/ REFORM BILL COMMITTEE

A Reform Bill Committee was established 12 July 2023. In the panel below you can see the Committee’s remit and its members.

The role of this group was to go through the Bill that resulted from the report of The Special Purpose Committee on Electoral Reform. Making Recommendations where it felt the need.

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The Reform Bill Committee’s report was published last month, and debated in the Senedd 30 January (No 8).

The motion: ‘To propose that Senedd Cymru in accordance with Standing Order 26.11: Agrees to the general principles of the Senedd Cymru (Members and Elections) Bill.’ was passed by 39 votes to 14. All Conservatives voted against.

It’s a weighty tome, 224 pages, and you can read it if you’re so minded. But I’ll focus on the issues I’ve already discussed, and see what, if anything, has changed.

In his Introduction, the chair, Labour’s David Rees MS, has this to say:

We have not reached consensus on all matters . . . But, we are unanimous in our concerns about the proposed closed list electoral system . . . We believe the link between voters and the Members who represent them is paramount.

We therefore urge all political parties in the Senedd to work together to ensure the electoral system in the Bill provides greater voter choice and improved accountability for future Members to their electorates.

He’s clearly not happy with the closed list. Neither is former Labour minister Lord David Blunkett. But as things stand, we’re stuck with it.

Next, I went to check on the design of the ballot paper, which Huw Irranca-Davies’s Committee had suggested need not carry the names of the candidates.

On page 105 I found what you see below. The ‘Member in charge’ is Mick Antoniw MS, Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution, who defends the recommendations of Huw Irranca-Davies’s group.

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If the closed list is used in 2026 then it’s unlikely it will ever be changed, because those who’ve benefitted from it, and then control the Senedd, will not vote to change it.

On page 111 Antoniw is pressed as to why the Bill being presented to the Senedd does not state categorically that candidates’ names will appear on the ballot paper. He gives the mealy-mouthed reply that it didn’t need to be set out in the Bill, but the matter will be addressed in “secondary legislation“.

On page 129 David Rees makes it clear that he believes candidates’ names on ballot papers should be stipulated in the Bill itself, not left to secondary legislation . . . which may never happen:

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In fact, a search of the published Bill for ‘ballot paper’ draws a blank.

I cannot believe that we have got this far in the passage of a ‘reform’ Bill that won’t promise candidates’ names on ballot papers.

But then, Antoniw is Zelensky’s man in Corruption Bay. And Zelensky’s not a big fan of democracy; he’s banned opposition parties and closed churches. But we’re still expected to believe that he’s fighting the Ivans in defence of democracy.

MAKING SENSE OF IT

When this process started, back in early 2017, with the appointment of the Expert Panel, there may have been a genuine intention to ‘improve democracy in Wales’.

Somewhere along the way the focus changed, it became more politicised, more partisan, and less democratic. I believe we can pinpoint when this happened. And also explain it.

It happened some time between the Committee on Senedd Electoral Reform reporting in September 2020 and the Special Purpose Committee on Senedd Reform publishing its report 30 May 2022. A year and a half in the time of Covid.

And here’s why it happened . . .

There’s a phenomenon I’ve reported on more than once and why, last June, I published, Wales: Ruled By Pressure Groups.

Pressure groups and organisations, some global, others organised on a UK-wide basis with a Welsh branch, but all pushing the Globalist holy trinity designed to destabilise and weaken the West:

  1. A climate-nature ‘crisis’ that demands a ruinous drive to net zero
  2. Constantly reminding White people how evil and privileged we are
  3. 101 genders that means men can have babies by ‘chicks with dicks’

This also explains calls to constantly lower the voting age. For children who’ve come through a school system influenced by Stonewall and other groups may be unable to read and write but they’re more likely to be suckered by a charlatan pushing the Globalist agenda.

The so-called ‘Welsh Government’ is now controlled by Agenda-loyal pressure groups. Having just mentioned Stonewall, you can see from this table that the ‘Welsh Government’, whether directly or through bodies it controls, is now that group’s largest single UK funder.

Another worrying feature that I’ve observed recently is the ‘Welsh Government’ taking over various organisations that should be independent. This is invariably achieved through funding, in the form of loans or grants, which is then used to justify ‘appointees’.

We’ve seen it across the board, from the Welsh Rugby Union and the Football Association of Wales to Bannau Brycheiniog National Park. I wrote about this dangerous trend, also last June, in ‘Taking Control, Of Everything‘.

What we see happening with the subverting of the Senedd reform process is a synthesis between the growing power of pressure groups and the increasing control freakery of a Labour party wholly committed to the Globalist agenda.

It will give Labour bosses control over the electoral system, and Senedd seats for pressure group parasitoids. Making the Senedd less representative because it will have more Members for whom the interests of Wales will be largely irrelevant.

It will also give the Senedd a near-permanent left / far left majority.

The only way to achieve a Senedd that works solely in the the interests of Labour and its rural variant (Plaid Cymru) is through a closed and anonymised list system.

Such a system also makes Plaid Cymru more of a hostage than a partner.

CONCLUSION & RECOMMENDATION

Until I started flicking through the various reports and other documentation I hadn’t fully appreciated how corrupted and dangerous the ‘reform’ plan had become.

Ask yourself – would anyone believe that in a European democracy in 2024 politicians could seriously propose closed list elections that are also anonymised?

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Why recruit an Expert Panel and then reject all three of its proposals for organising elections? And then, after comparing the d’Hondt and Saint-Lagué divisor systems, why choose the one that’s less proportional?

The answer is obvious, and so I repeat – these ‘reforms’ are not to make Wales more democratic, or provide ‘greater scrutiny’. They’re intended to give the leftist political class total control through an electoral system that can almost ignore the wishes of the people.

It’s a very obvious power grab. 

Power to serve The Agenda, that will demand the end of farming; 10mph (or no traffic at all to allow for daily Pride parades); 15-minute ghettoes; butchering confused 12-year-olds on the NHS; re-writing history; more foreign-owned wind farms; ‘inclusivity’ that will exclude most Welsh people, etc., etc.

While away from the noise of articulated idiocies and the din of clashing egos, out ‘there’, in the real Wales, people die in ambulances outside hospitals, and kids go hungry.

What has been stitched up by Labour and Plaid Cymru is so obviously anti-democratic, bordering on the dangerous, that it must be fought all the way.

To the Supreme Court, if necessary.

♦ end ♦

© Royston Jones 2024

‘Welsh Government’ Declares War On Freedoms, Motorists, Farmers

Now that we’ve had three weeks of living with the 20mph speed restrictions I think it’s time to put this measure into its wider context, make a few connections, and introduce some new faces.

I apologise for this piece being a bit long, but it’s still less than 2,800 words. And worth sticking with.

THE BIGGER PICTURE

Much of the background to this new legislation was covered a few weeks back in ‘20mph, A Disaster Unfolds’.

What’s absolutely clear now is that 20mph did not suddenly appear, it’s been hatching for a while. To explain what I mean, here’s a table I’ve drawn up, though I’m sure it’s incomplete, so if you can add to it . . . .

And here it is in pdf format with working links.

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I believe it starts with the Well-being of Future Generation Act 2015. This cartoon video imagines ‘Megan’, growing up under the umbrella of the Act’s protective legislation. Which promises:

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And it’s failed her on almost every count. But then, grand gestures done for dramatic effect rather than to deliver lasting benefits will invariably fail.

Next, we look at the Wales Act 2017. There, in Section 26, we see that power to vary or regulate speed limits is now conferred on the ‘Welsh Ministers’.

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Which makes sense if, as some suggest, Wales is being used as a testing ground for the wackier planet-saving ideas.

Now we move on to an undated publication by Public Health Wales recommending 20mph on our roads. I assume this is by Huw Brunt and Sarah Jones of Public Health Wales. It mentions the new powers to lower speed limits.

Then there’s the Clean Air Zone Framework for Wales (April 2018) where, on page 20, we read:

Consideration should be given to lowering speed limits in a CAZ from 30mph to 20mph, which some research suggests would deliver overall benefits27. Safety benefits from reduced road speed can also encourage modal shift from private cars.

Perhaps, state-owned, chauffeur-driven cars are OK?

The call was taken up by Sustrans who, in a publication dated 1 January 2019, called for 20mph speed limits across the UK, quoting Public Health Wales. Does this also show Wales being used as a testing ground?

Another example of pearl-clutching theatricality was Wales declaring a climate emergency. This happened in April 2019, just before Environment Minister Lesley Griffiths (and Gary) met with Scottish and UK counterparts.

Here’s the plan for funding the responses deemed necessary to combat this ’emergency’, produced by Future Generations Commissioner and Labour party insider, Sophie Howe. From which I’ve extracted the graphic for ‘Transport’ below.

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Those who compiled that table obviously view increased car ownership as something deplorable, which must be reversed. Yet for me, and I suspect for most people, those figures represent progress and increased prosperity.

Finally, we see 20mph again in Labour’s 2021 manifesto ahead of the Senedd elections. The original manifesto seems to have disappeared, so I can only link to the update put out following the agreement with Plaid Cymru.

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It’s a pity the original’s disappeared because I’m told it proposed risk-based approaches to assessing trunk road speeds. Basically, ‘Welsh Government’, or an individual minister, wanted lower speed limits on A and B roads.

Perhaps Plaid Cymru, a party of rural areas with sparse traffic on open roads, realised this would not go down well in Trawsfynydd or Nant y Caws.

So we see that the call for 20mph, and associated demands, goes back at least 5 years, and probably further. We’ll briefly consider associated issues before turning to an unattainable fantasy.

One of the associated matters is 15- 0r 20-minute cities / neighbourhoods. Which can be viewed in two ways.

The optimist might say: ‘Wow! everything I need will be within easy travelling distance; Waitrose, Pilates, accountant, Skivvyhire, Green Party constituency office, ballet class, tattooist, florist, saddler, doctor, dentist, plastic surgeon . . . .’

(Dentist? In Wales!)

The cynic might ask: ‘Yes, but is that 20 minutes there, or 20 minutes there and back? And what if I want to travel for longer than 20 minutes . . . and just keep going, into the wide blue yonder?’

Sustrans was promoting the idea in November 2019, just ahead of December’s UK general election. The local chief of Sustrans for over six years (2007 – 2013) was Lee Waters, now Deputy Minister for Climate Change.

Make no mistake, Sustrans is an anti-car organisation. And Waters himself is said to be a cycling and walking “fanatic“. Which is fine with me. Veganism is fine with me. It’s when zealots and fringe outfits are allowed or encouraged to push their beliefs onto the rest of us that I object.

The Future Generations Commissioner was backing 20-minute neighbourhoods by September 2020. To show loyal, Plaid Cymru chimed in in April 2021.

Labour-controlled Cardiff council was also on board with the “20-minute neighbourhood or 15-minute city“, as this motion from March 2021 puts it. Even crediting Sustrans.

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Erm, let’s think about that for a minute. A city is made up of neighbourhoods. So obviously a city is bigger than a neighbourhood. That being so, how can a city be traversed, and its services accessed, quicker than those of a neighbourhood?

I’ll touch briefly on three more elements of the grand design.

First Minister Drakeford has described ULEZ charges as the “last resort. But he hasn’t ruled them out. Labour’s experience in London, with people fighting back, might explain his hesitancy.

Then there’s road charging, mentioned on page 21 of Llwybr Newydd The Wales Transport Strategy 2021. Where it’s spelled out quite unambiguously:

We will develop a framework for fair and equitable road-user charging in Wales and explore other disincentives to car use, taking into account equality issues including the needs of people in rural areas, people who share protected characteristics and people on low incomes

 . . . and explore other disincentives to car use“.

Something I found odd about this was that it said, “in Wales“. But this was produced by the ‘Welsh Government’, so which other country would it refer to? Or was it written by someone else, perhaps not based in Wales?

The reference to “protected characteristics” I assume means that women with penises won’t have to pay. (Where’s my wig?)

Finally, let us never forget that it was Lee Waters who announced earlier this year that all new road-building projects were cancelled.

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To achieve this result the Welsh Roads Review Panel was created with orders to deliver the desired ‘findings’. And to guarantee that outcome the group was chaired by Dr Lynn Sloman. Who wrote ‘Car Sick‘, which rather gives away her position.

I wrote about this episode in March, scroll down to the relevant section.

THE WORLD OF MAKE-BELIEVE

‘Vision Zero’ seems to have appeared in September 2012. In the ‘Welsh Government’s Road Safety Delivery Plan. Explained here in a written statement from the late Carl Sargeant, then Minister for Local Government and Communities.

Here’s how Road Safety GB reported it.

Vision Zero was a vague promise to reduce road accidents. It was re-affirmed in this ‘Welsh Government’ publication from May 2018 (pp 6, 13).

But then, just a year or so later, on page 24 of the Manifesto for the 2019 UK general election, we read that Vision Zero has become a plan to eliminate road deaths and injuries entirely!

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Let’s give a little more thought to this idea of  Vision Zero.

It should be obvious that Vision Zero can only be achieved by banning all vehicles, whether powered by the internal combustion engine, battery, or hydrogen.

But with more bicycles and pedestrians on the roads – as is hoped – there will still be fatalities and injuries. Either cyclists crashing or cyclists colliding with pedestrians. It happens now. With more cyclists, and with cyclists having freedom of the highways, some will be even more reckless and inconsiderate than they are now.

With vehicular transport banned – and that must also mean public transport – then people will spend far more time at home.

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But most accidents happen in the home, so spending more time at home will result in more accidents. Don’t take my word for it, read what RoSPA says on the subject. So how is transferring death and injury from the highway to the home an improvement?

It’s not an improvement at all. It only makes sense if the real goal is to ban cars.

More people spending more time at home will create other problems. I can predict with certainty there’ll be more cases of domestic violence, and murder. There will be more children physically and sexually abused. Even more cruelty towards domestic pets.

Also, more suicides, due to the stress of being cooped up at home. It will be a kind of lockdown. And it will be done despite us knowing the social and psychological damage inflicted by Covid lockdown.

But then, it may be dressed up as climate lockdown. And if so, then we must accept that chasing each other round the house with meat cleavers is an acceptable price to pay for saving the planet.

Think about what you’ve just read. Put it all together and tell me it’s not a war on cars, on private transport, and the freedom the car gives us.

RULE FROM THE SHADOWS

I’m returning to the idea of Wales being used as a testing ground. With most people unaware of it, and the lack of awareness even extending to the ‘Welsh Government’.

But testing ground status is easy to achieve when our politicians are controlled by pressure groups. These often directed and / or funded by individuals and organisations making up the Globalist network.

I’ve written about this phenomenon a number of times recently. In Wales: Ruled By Pressure Groups. And Who The Hell Are These People!. The ‘Welsh Government’ even pays through the nose for this Globalist influence, as I explained in Lynn Global Pushes Globalist Agenda.

The bigger picture only makes sense when you remember how it started.

With the end of Communism a new threat was needed. And so in 1991 the Club of Rome adopted ‘global warming’. Explained in this video (less than 5 minutes long).

Klaus Schwab, founder and chairperson of the World Economic Forum (WEF), makes an appearance. Schwab is also a member of the Club of Rome.

This programme of control was easy to sell to third-rate leftist politicians in Wales because socialism is fundamentally anti-human; viewing us as classes or identities, even “protected characteristics“, rather than gloriously varied individuals.

And of course, socialists love imposing “Can’t do that!” restrictions.

Now for the new faces I promised.

NORTH STAR TRANSITION

This company was formed just over three years ago by Jyotir Banerjee. The website is full of silly phrases interspersed with impenetrable jargon: “multi-capital metrics” . . . “radical reframing and holistic transformation” . . .

It’s not often one encounters so much bullshit on a single website. Thankfully.

The clue to North Star’s real purpose comes in a piece written a few weeks ago by Banerjee himself. We are told that “biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change” can all be remedied – by “large-scale investment funding“.

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Now you know me, when a chancer crosses my path I like to know more about him or her. Did I really say, “chancer“? (Inner voice: “Yes you did, Jac.”)

First stop was Companies House, to see what our boy has been up to over the years. There are a number of companies to his name, which are either dissolved, dormant or, if still trading, then none too buoyant, to judge by the accounts submitted.

The address currently used for Banerjee’s empire is 1 Pembroke Villas, The Green, Richmond. And a very nice gaff it looks too. But according to the Land Registry this property is leased to a firm of accountants.

The reason I’m writing about Banerjee is his Wales Transition Lab.

But what is Wales to be ‘transitioned’ into? And by whom? And for whose benefit?

This piece from the North Star website by Victoria Topham of Buckinghamshire informs us that:

Since October 2020, a group of 35 thought leaders across Wales have listened to each other and imagined a country that future generations could thrive in.

Listened to each other“! I see a gang of interlopers discussing the future of our homeland without consulting us. This is often called colonialism.

Topham continues . . .

Why Wales? With a population of 3m people, Wales is the right size for such a living laboratory.

Now she’s gone full-on memsahib. For her and her ‘thought leaders’ our Wales is just a testing ground. With us indigenes as guinea-pigs? Or are we to be removed?

Despite this clique being anonymous one name found on the North Star website is, inevitably, Jane Davidson, who seems to serve as a kind of chatelaine to that demi-monde where enviroshysters have the ear of politicians and civil servants.

After claiming to have initially been reluctant to get involved Banerjee eventually joined Davidson’s Wales Net Zero 2035 Challenge Group. (How many different target years do these people use?)

In his homage to La Davidson Banerjee writes: “Olivier Boutellis and I set up North Star Transition to tackle the climate emergency . . . “.

My cue to introduce Olivier Boutellis and explain what I think is really happening.

Despite what Banerjee says, Boutellis was not there at the start (unless he was keeping his head down). For North Star Transition was launched 10 June 2020 and the company Olivier Boutellis-Taft SPRL climbed aboard 3 February 2021.

This company was registered in Belgium 04 October 2011.

So who is Olivier Boutellis, or Boutellis-Taft?

The capture below from the European Parliament tells us he’s a lawyer and an economist. And this tells us he’s been a magistrate and a lecturer. Also, CEO of Accountancy Europe.

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But it’s his Linkedin profile that I found fascinating. The screen capture below will explain why.

It tells us Olivier Boutellis-Taft joined the Club of Rome EU Chapter at exactly the same time he got involved with Jyotir Banerjee and North Star Transition.

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But there’s something not right. The website looks abandoned, and the Twitter account hasn’t been used since September 2020.

There is also a Linkedin page of the most elementary kind. But it claims the Club of Rome EU Chapter has 11 employees and that its focus is on “sustainability” and “environmental services“.

But understandable doubts to one side, let’s accept Banerjee and Boutellis-Taft at face value. I believe they’re promising to find ‘investors’ looking to buy Welsh farmland for carbon offsetting, or in other ways take land out of agricultural production.

Which fits perfectly with the Globalist agenda to destroy small- to medium-sized farms so that corporations can take control of the food supply. Because if you control the food supply then you control the people.

The opening part of this 2-minute video explains it succinctly.

This Globalist agenda is welcomed by the environmental pressure groups because it destroys farming, especially livestock farming, and most of these activists seem to be vegans.

They also anticipate getting some of the grabbed land for their rewilding fantasies.

Because of course there’ll be fewer people living in the countryside. Take out the main industry and the decline begins. Impose travel restrictions, run down public transport and impose other obstacles and rural living becomes even less attractive.

At the top and the bottom both Globalists and environmental activists know what they want, and are guaranteed to benefit. It’s those in the middle of the scam who, along with the people, will lose out.

Because politicians don’t seem to realise that in the New World Order they are surplus to requirements. As Klaus Schwab explains in this very short video – in the future we won’t need elections.

Can you imagine such a world?“, he asks. Yes, I can; and while losing politicians has its attractions . . .

Without elections we won’t need politicians, except to serve as ‘managers’ for their Globalist masters. Which is not a lot different to what they’re doing now.

Our politicians have been fooled into thinking they’re saving the planet when what they’re really doing is sacrificing Wales and other countries to the psychotic ambitions of the Globalists.

And this explains dreamers, chancers, shysters and con men flocking to Wales.

CONCLUSION

As I hope I’ve explained, 20mph speed restrictions should not be viewed in isolation. They are part of something much, much bigger.

You’re free to dismiss me as a conspiracy theorist. It’s a free world. For now. But before you go . . .

Justify Vision Zero transferring deaths and injuries from highway to home without admitting it’s a plan to do away with cars. Do you think Jyotir Banerjee’s “large-scale investment funding” is designed to save the Welsh family farm? And why does Klaus Schwab talk about abolishing elections?

♦ end ♦

© Royston Jones 2023

Wales, Idiots And Envirogrifters

Yes, I’ve postponed the piece on the Globalists, again, but it’s a story with no real deadline. Whereas what I’m offering below is a kind of follow-up to a piece I put out in June: Wales: Ruled By Pressure Groups. And I want to get it out before this year’s Show in Llanelwedd becomes a distant memory.

This is another biggie, but it’s segmented. So, as Buddy Holly sang, Take Your Time.

EXTINCTION REBELLION, AN UPDATE

In the piece I just linked to I established that the so-called ‘Welsh Government’ (‘WG’) has been meeting with the extremists of Extinction Rebellion since at least May 2019.

I can now confirm that first minister Drakeford himself met with Extinction Rebellion in July 2019. Did he meet them even earlier, because the letter below doesn’t say it was their first meeting?

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I can’t take it back further (unsurprising seeing as XR didn’t launch until October 31, 2018), but I can reinforce the point that XR and WG are close, and establish beyond any doubt that the pressure group is giving orders to our elected representatives.

Exhibit A, M’lud: An e-mail from XR Cymru to Julie James, who’d been re-elected in the May 6 Senedd elections and made Minister for Climate Change. Basically, the message says, ‘You’re not going far enough or fast enough’.

The message ends with a reference to, ” . . . the good relationship with Welsh Government developed in the last few years”. On the right you’ll see Julie James’ response.

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The next communication I have is from XR Cymru Political Circle and it’s to Julie James and Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru chair of the Senedd’s Climate Change, Environment, and Infrastructure Committee, and it’s dated December 7, 2021.

I should add that the highlighting is not mine. And I was unable to locate the attachment referred to. (Yes, you’re welcome to try.)

Extinction Rebellion, with nary a vote to their name, tell the ‘Welsh Government’: “Of course there are areas where we want to see more action and faster responses“.

I’d tell them to fuck right off . . . but then, that’s me.

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The next billet-doux was sent on July 13, 2022, at 7:26 in the morning! From XR Cymru Political Circle to Julie James, and the subject matter, in upper case, read: “URGENT REQUEST FOR A MEETING”.

This is an interesting (and amusing) communication. For it might suggest that Julie James was not giving XR the personal attention they thought they deserved. In fact, it reads as if she fobbed them off with her deputy Lee Waters, and they weren’t impressed.

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There is the usual ‘Must do better! reprimand, but what I really want to focus on is the reference, in bold type, to “Behaviour Change Strategy“. Also, the introduction of Claire Chappell, who is said to be ” . . . working as quickly as possible with substantial resources . . . “.

So who is Claire Chappell?

Her Linkedin page (here in pdf) describes her as, ‘Head of Brand Performance’ at the ‘Welsh Government’, and she’s been in the job for more than 8 years. But what is the job? And what is ‘brand performance’?

Well, I found this explanation, and if the definition below is to be believed, then Clair Chappell and her employer are dismal failures.

Brand performance marketing, also known as brand purpose marketing, focuses on improving your brand’s reputation and of course, its performance.

Finally, we’ll read this e-mail from December 13, 2022. From XR Cymru Political Circle to Julie James and Lee Waters, cc Mark Drakeford and Llyr Gruffydd.

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Again, that reference to “behaviour change“. How exactly are we supposed to change? And change into what – mugs taking orders from Extinction Rebellion channelled through the ‘Welsh Government’?

Here endeth the chapter on Extinction Rebellion. I’m hoping the ‘Welsh Government’ and Plaid Cymru now remember that we are judged by the company we keep.

Though I suppose that advice could also be given to Extinction Rebellion.

MISCELLANEA

In this chunk of the opus I want to deal with stories that either made it into the news recently, or else came to my attention by some other route. Some of these broke at the Show, others lead on from things that broke at the Show.

That make sense?

RULE OF SIX

I’m referring to the Six Principles, and Extinction Rebellion was also involved in this nonsense from before the May 2021 Senedd elections. It’s in the form of an appeal to politicos to sign up to six principles somebody’s dreamed up at their Pilates class.

Here’s a composite of the appeal, the six principles set out, and a list of the signatories.

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One of the six organisations involved is Whale and Dolphin Conservation. Which I was delighted to see, for we really must stop the annual slaughter of dolphins at Abergele, and scupper the Aberaeron whaling fleet.

Also among the signatory bodies is CAFOD, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development. When did Wales become ‘overseas’? Or why does CAFOD keep cropping up in these envirogrifter pronunciamentos?

THE ENVIROGRIFTERS’ MILITIA

Now we’re expected to fall into line with the National Nature Service, and I bet you didn’t even know we had one. Neither did I.

I just can’t keep up with all these new bodies, overlapping, duplicating each other’s work, the same people popping up wearing different hats, and all in receipt of public funding and / or time that politicians and civil servants should be spending on real problems.

Clearly following the third sector model.

And just like the third sector envirogrifters will identify a ‘problem’, and demand funding to solve said problem; but never actually solve the problem because that would mean the end of the funding. That’s how this scam works.

I described this plan on Twitter as a militia for hobby farmers and hippies, and I see no reason to change that view. With perhaps XR providing the commissars. Just scroll down here and see who’s involved in this latest scam.

Now think about it, here we have an organisation promising to revitalise rural Wales, and yet the two farming unions are not involved, and neither is the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales.

What we see instead, are the usual suspects. Envirogrifters, Swamp dwellers, and ‘Welsh Government’ departments.

Which makes this capture from the militia website dishonest. Unless of course it refers to hippies and hobby farmers. Which I suppose makes a certain sense, given that the ‘Welsh Government wants these to replace traditional Welsh farming.

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The website is very basic and uninformative, giving it a work in progress feel but, unsurprisingly, we read that the previous Future Generations Commissioner had a big hand in its production.

Though the Commissioner is only the Welsh agent for a bit of UK-wide silliness, as we read below. The links will tell you more.

The process is being organised by the Wales Inquiry of the Food, Farming & Countryside Commission, with support from the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner, under the auspices of the Green Recovery Task Group – a cross sector group convened to act quickly and creatively in response to the impacts of the pandemic.

The Future Generations Commissioner for Wales included the proposal to create a national nature service in her Fit for the Future Programme for Government

Envirobollocks piled so high it’s in danger of blocking out the sun . . . Hang on! – is that the cunning plan?

NFU REJECTS ‘WELSH GOVERNMENT’ TREES PLAN

One of the big stories of the Show was NFU Cymru rejecting ‘Welsh Government’s demand that farmers set aside 10% of their land for tree planting. Hedgerows do not count, but possibly trees in hedgerows do count!

The proposal might work on some farms, but not others. Which is why the ‘Welsh Government’s blanket approach reveals the failing of inflexibility that we see time and time again.

We saw it with the NVZ legislation, brought in to tackle a very localised problem, yet the politicians adopted a sledgehammer and nut approach and made the legislation both national and unreasonably strict. Though the ‘Welsh Government’ has subsequently backed down a couple of times.

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But then, Labour politicians in Wales know little about farming or the countryside. Theirs is a party of cities, post-industrial areas, chip-on-shoulder minorities, and agitators with useless degrees and colourful hair.

To compound the problem Labour politicians are advised by civil servants – like Lesley Griffiths’ former paramour Gary – who’ve been shipped in from England to run down Welsh agriculture.

Further, the draconian NVZ rules were based on the false premise that farmers are solely responsible for poor water quality. Because, for reasons given elsewhere, it suited a number of agendas to give Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water a free ride.

Among the agendas served was that of environmental / river groups, in receipt of public funds and, in many cases, seeking to appropriate farmland.

FUTURE GENERATIONS COMMISSIONER LOOKS INTO THE, ER, FUTURE

Now we turn to one of my favourite sites, Nation.Cymru. Though the unkind among you dismiss it as just another ‘Welsh Government’ propaganda outlet.

And after reading ‘We need a new long-term vision for food in Wales‘ I can see why.

This little gem was penned by Derek Walker, the new £95,000 a year Future Generations Commissioner; and just like his predecessor, Sophie Howe, he got the gig not because of any particular talent, but because he’s a trusted Labour insider.

Not only that, but Derek worked for Stonewall. In fact, he helped Stonewall set up in Wales. How much more of an insider can you be?

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So what did Derek have to say?

High food prices mean one in five people in Wales are hungry, disproportionally affecting more disabled people, Black, Asian and minority ethnic people.”

Mmm. Does that mean Derek thinks it’s OK for able-bodied White people to starve? Is this another example of ‘inclusivity’ that discriminates against the majority?

But let’s give the boy another chance. Carry on, Derek . . .

Agricultural waste pollutes our rivers” Oh dear, that may be the party line, but I was expecting better. But alright, one more chance.

And the boy comes good with: “Farmers are critical to our nation’s health, rural communities and a thriving Welsh language – they helped maintain the food chain through the pandemic, play a leading role in restoring nature and reducing emissions, and should be a vital part of this long-term food plan.”

But it raises the obvious question – if you think our farmers are so important, Derek, why is your government making life so difficult for them?

Finally, we read:

This autumn, I will publish my priorities for my role for the next seven years, and the long-term questions I’m exploring include – how can we involve communities to shift diets to meet the nature and climate emergencies and create green jobs?

What does “shift diets” mean, Derek? Because I suspect it means away from meat. I suspect that because you link it with “the nature and climate emergencies”, which I further suspect alludes to farting cows.

In a country of livestock farming you want people to stop eating meat?

And as for “green jobs” this often means hobby farmers, OPDs, etc., which don’t create many jobs. Or cheap food. It’s also used to describe greenwashing . . . often on land that was previously productive farmland.

All in all, Derek, your piece shows the confused if not contradictory thinking we’ve come to expect from Corruption Bay. Which resulted in it being cliched and vacuous.

DEVELOPMENTS OF NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE

I’ve had occasion to commend the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW) recently and I am delighted to do so again. On Monday we saw the release of a map compiled by the CPRW showing Developments of National Significance.

Here’s a link to the press release, and here’s a link to the map. Understandably, the map is big, and detailed; so set aside some time to make sense of it. And remember, these are just the projects where planning applications have been submitted.

There are many more in the pipeline, including quite a few of Bute Energy’s 23 known projects.

This was a useful exercise by the CPRW because the ‘Welsh Government’ seems unable or unwilling to produce such a map. But also because it exposes the hypocrisy of those we are dealing with.

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It’s become obvious in recent years, and perhaps especially in Wales, that as the threat of ‘climate crisis’ loses its power to frighten people the message has linked with ‘biodiversity loss’ or ‘habitat loss’. This coupling is clear in all the documents I’ve linked with and organisations I’ve mentioned.

Taken at face value it says there has been a depletion or degradation of the natural habitat, with a resultant loss of species or of numbers within a species. And yet . . .

Those who now trumpet climate crisis and biodiversity / habitat loss refuse to criticise tens of thousands of acres of pristine upland being ruined by wind farms, or fertile lowland by solar arrays. 

For example, the RSPB refuses to acknowledge the problem despite birds being killed by turbines, especially larger birds, often belonging to rare or endangered species.

And there are wider issues. Such as China’s near-monopoly of the rare earth metals needed to produce turbines and solar panels. Transporting materials and finished products vast distances by ship. Finally, the fact that neither wind turbine blades nor solar panels can be recycled.

How environmentally friendly is all that for intermittent and very expensive power!

It’s clear that for environmentalists biodiversity loss is restricted to farmland. Explained, again, by support and funding they receive in order to follow Labour’s anti-farming agenda and thereby grab farmland for themselves.

An agenda the envirogrifters are increasingly dictating!

CONCLUSION

We are lumbered with a bunch of third-rate politicians elected in the main for no better reason than, “My nanna would turn in her grave if I didn’t vote Labour”. Blind loyalty allowing Labour to win with the support of just 20% of the electorate.

Being third-rate they tend to be impressionable. Not only did they buy in early to the Globalists’ Fear = Control agenda but went for broke by implementing legislation to prove that, “Wales can show the world . . . ” . . . how a country can impoverish itself by adopting a Green policy of degrowth.

In the early days, this idiocy came from within the administration, from people like Jane Davidson, Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing from 2007 – 2011, and now chair of Wales Net Zero 2035.

But as word spread others took notice. By 2018 the principal Globalist organisation, the World Economic Forum, was advising envirogrifters to move to Wales!

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But let’s go back to the trees for a minute. The 10% of farmland for trees demand is a condition of ‘Welsh Government’s Sustainable Farming Scheme, a replacement for EU funding.

Speaking last year, just ahead of the Llanelwedd Show, Mark Drakeford said that subsidies to Welsh farmers must be justified to Bangladeshi taxi drivers in Cardiff.

To suggest that the views of a small immigrant community are more important than the views of thousands of Welsh farmers looks like another example of ‘inclusivity’ at the expense of the indigenous majority.

Ask yourself – would Drakeford suggest consulting Ceredigion farmers if taxi drivers in Cardiff wanted to increase their charges?

Wales, a country being run into the ground by clowns who prioritise feelings above biological reality, preach economic gibberish, practice discriminatory ‘inclusivity’, and have been suckered by a global power grab calling itself “the climate crisis”.

How much more of this are you going to take? How much more can Wales afford?

♦ end ♦

© Royston Jones 2023

Wales, Where Democracy Came To Die

If the title strikes you as over-stated, just hold your judgement until you’ve read what I have to say. And if you still disagree with me, then you can claim your refund from the Reimbursements Unit of the Finance Department at Jac Towers.

Seeing as last week’s offering was a little long, at over 3,000 words (and there were complaints!), I’ll try to make up for my previous verbosity with this shorter piece.

TON UP LABOUR

Last year Labour celebrated a century of being the political party sending the most MPs from Wales to Westminster.

Since the advent of devolved government in 1999 it’s been a similar picture in the Senedd (formerly Assembly), with Labour always the largest party.

According to Professor Richard Wyn Jones of Cardiff University this makes Labour in Wales “the most successful party in the democratic world”. But he can only be right if ‘success’ is judged solely on electoral victories.

Because if we gauge success by making life better for people, or by improving a country, then it’s a different story.

Because since we’ve had devolution Wales has fallen behind the other countries of the UK in economic performance and in education; our health service is falling apart, and our standing-room-only, no refreshments, blocked toilets trains would shame a third world country.

On top of which, money is diverted to lunatic schemes while essential services suffer.

At the most recent elections, in May 2021, Labour won 30 of the 60 Senedd seats, all of them in the south and the north east, with 39.9% of the vote, an increase of 5.2% points on 2016.

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But that was from a turnout of just 46.6% (which was still an increase of 1.2% on 2021.) In 2003 the turnout went as low as 38.2%, and in 2011 it was just 42.2%

Which means that in the 2021 Senedd elections Labour gained the support 18.6% of those eligible to vote. But thanks to an electoral system favouring the largest party Labour took half the seats, and further strengthened its grip through an alliance with Plaid Cymru, a party that has become almost a Labour subsidiary.

A control that Labour now intends to make permanent. Partly through taking over national institutions and other bodies, partly through introducing a new electoral system that will favour Labour even more.

More on the first tactic in the next section, more on the vote rigging later.

TENTACLES

Over the years I’ve explained how Labour holds onto power through the use of lobbyists, a tame media, opposition parties incapable of mounting effective opposition, crony-run third sector organisations and other bodies the ‘Welsh Government’ funds to tell it what it wants to hear.

Recently, I published ‘Wales: Ruled By Pressure Groups‘ (12.06.2023) in which I gave examples of the influence exerted over our tribunes by outfits like Extinction Rebellion, 20’s Plenty for Us, WWF, Friends of the Earth and Sustrans.

The advantage of this relationship for the ‘Welsh Government’ is that it can quote these organisations as “experts“, in order to push on with plans and projects that had already been mutually agreed.

These groups are international in nature, or just English. But they send somebody down to Cardiff, rent a cupboard, stick ‘Cymru’ in the name, and pretend to be Welsh – with our best interests at heart!

I followed up that piece on pressure groups with ‘Taking Control, Of Everything‘ (19.06.2023) where I outlined my observations that the ‘Welsh Government’ also seems to be taking over a number of national institutions and other bodies.

Referring to recent events at the Welsh Rugby Union I wrote:

After creating what was reported by a loyal media as “turmoil” in our sporting bodies the ‘Welsh Government’, with the help of certain individuals ‘on the inside’, was able to engineer a situation that saw people parachuted in who are dependent on ‘Welsh Government’ patronage.

If I had to link the two pieces I would say that this is straight out of the World Economic Forum playbook. The WEF invents or exacerbates problems in order to capitalise on them and offer solutions; then, through this deception, exercise control.

The big WEF threat of recent decades has of course been climate hysteria which, because it’s global, can be used in attempts to control human behaviour around the world. Of course, there is no climate crisis. But it serves its purpose.

When you realise that the WEF grew out of the Club of Rome then this section from a 1991 CoR publication, ‘The First Global Revolution‘, makes perfect sense.

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Other than partnerships with pressure groups and taking over national bodies the ‘Welsh Government’ tries to extend its reach and enhance its credibility in other ways, too many to list here.

We’ve seen how the ‘Welsh Government’ pretends it’s been ‘advised by pressure groups and other bodies it’s in cahoots with, but this deception extends to bodies it has itself created, such as the Welsh Youth Parliament.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against listening to kids, I’ve got teenage grandchildren. But how much weight are we supposed to give to the views of children with no experience of life, who’ve been brainwashed by an education system influenced nowadays by people some of whom are unsavoury and some of whom are positively dangerous?

Again, it’s a case of, “I’m listening . . . but only if you tell me what I want to hear”.

The most recent example of controlling the narrative was the announcement that the ‘Welsh Government’ will fund a journalist to cover proceedings in the Senedd. This reporter will of course be totally independent.

Are we really expected to believe that?

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It’s as if those who inhabit the Bay bubble have become so self-engrossed, and so dismissive of opinions outside their little world, that they’ve lost all sense of reality.

FIXING THE ODDS

Since the inception of devolution in 1999 we’ve heard politicians say that with just 60 members the Assembly / Senedd is too small to do its job properly. An argument not without merit.

These voices have got louder as Corruption Bay gained more powers, which admittedly makes the case stronger for having more members.

Things are now coming to a head.

Before I start explaining this, let me say that I can only hope I’ve got all the details right, because the subject is not easy to follow on the ‘Welsh Government’ website, and I don’t think the media has given it the attention it deserves.

I’m referring to the plan to increase the number of Senedd Members, but more importantly, the way it’s proposed this should be done.

Let’s start May 10 last year, with the announcement that first minister Mark Drakeford and Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price had agreed on major changes. These were . . .

The Senedd should have 96 members. Elected from 16 constituencies, these achieved by ‘pairing’ the 32 new Westminster seats; with each one electing 6 MSs by the “closed proportional lists” system. These changes should in place for the 2026 Senedd elections.

The 32 new Westminster constituencies that it’s proposed to ‘pair’ for the 2026 Senedd elections. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

This may have been agreed by Drakeford and Price, but few others were in favour.

For example, even before publication of the report by the Special Purpose Committee on Senedd Reform the body had lost one member in Tory Robin Millar, who’d resigned. As you’ll read, he wasn’t the only one unhappy with what Labour and Plaid had come up with.

The report itself concedes (page 37 [86]) . . .

The Expert Panel previously noted that higher district magnitudes create greater potential for proportionality, and that if constituencies become too big, it can result in ‘hyperproportionality.’35 Hyperproportionality describes the circumstance whereby a party that gained a very low level of public support nevertheless secures seats in the legislature- and thereby the legitimacy of elected platform

But these misgivings were dismissed. Of course they were!

The Electoral Reform Society commented:

While there are positive elements of this deal, there are also those that require further thought . . . concerns remain about the use of closed lists due to the lack of choice voters will have. This system was rejected by the Expert Panel on Assembly Electoral Reform who said it left “No choice for voters between individual candidates” and “No accountability for individual Members directly to voters”.

The decision to use the D’Hondt method of allocating votes also threatens the proportionality of this new system, by creating a high bar for smaller parties to reach to ensure representation and see members elected. The use of D’Hondt is likely to make the end result only as proportional or even slightly less than the current system.

And, finally, Professor Laura McAllister, who is co-chair of the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales, and previously chaired the Assembly Expert Panel on Electoral Reform, referred to above.

Her piece on The Constitution Unit Blog was headlined: ‘Wales needs a larger Senedd, but a closed list system is not the best way to achieve it‘.

The concerns are over the “closed proportional lists“, which are not proportional. In each of the 16 mega-constituencies voters will be offered a list of six candidates for each party. You will vote for the party, and get all six candidates.

The Electoral Reform Society warned that the proposed system is, “likely to make the end result only as proportional or even slightly less than the current system”. What this means in practice is that Labour could win a majority of the seats with an even smaller percentage of the vote than it achieved in the 2021 Senedd elections.

A combination of clever pairing coupled with the loss of regional seats could see the Conservatives almost wiped out.

Let’s call it what it is – it’s a stitch-up. I can understand Labour doing it, because this is how Labour has always operated; but Plaid Cymru have done themselves serious damage by going along with this corruption.

I’m dealing with it now because the Senedd is scheduled to vote on the proposals some time between now and September.

UPDATE 08.07.2023: This may be more complicated than I thought. But still designed to benefit Labour. A comment suggests that the six seats can be divided between different parties. Which means that a party winning 50% of the vote would get 3 seats. But what it also means is that there is a 16.6% threshold before a party can win a single seat. Which will of course rule out smaller parties.

UPDATE 09.07.2023: A further comment tells us there is to be an element of proportionality in the proposed system, “Within the super constituency, whichever party tops the poll gets the first seat, their vote then halved and whichever party is then top gets the second etc etc until all six are allocated”.

I begin to understand why we’ve had so little discussion – there may be few people who understand what’s being proposed. (I’m certainly sorry I started down this road.)

CONCLUSION

Devolution was sold to us as “bringing democracy closer to the people of Wales“. And indeed it could have done exactly that. But the Labour party in Wales is not very good at democracy; it never has been.

Labour in Wales has always been about power, patronage, and corruption. And because Labour has controlled devolved politics since 1999 not only have we seen our economy decline, our educational standards drop, and our NHS collapse, we’ve also seen a gradual erosion of democracy and accountability.

Despite what you’ve read some might still think I’m over-egging it by linking the World Economic Form with the Labour party, Extinction Rebellion and the rest, but hear me out.

What we see increasingly in Wales, at every level, and also across the globe, is the implementation of agendas without a democratic mandate or, in most cases, even public consultation.

After decades of grooming and influencing political leaders from across the Western world the WEF may be the most influential body on Earth. But do you remember ever voting for Klaus Schwab and the rest?

Similarly with the World Heath Organisation, an unelected body that has taken on itself the power to impose lock-downs and travel restrictions on individual countries, or the entire world. And this can be done for political as much as health reasons.

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The ‘Welsh Government’ has an unconvincing mandate at the moment, but it wants to introduce an electoral system that is clearly intended to give the Labour party more power with even less support.

And then we complete the circle with the Green-Woke-Left pressure groups, most of them now funded by leading players at the WEF to ensure administrations follow the WEF agenda.

Where do you figure in all this? Where and when are your views asked for?

For Wales to be a prosperous, healthy country, and progressive in the true sense of the word, the people must have faith in those running the country, and the processes that put them in power, while also believing that the interests of Wales are being served, not those of swivel-eyed strangers imposing their damaging agendas.

That dream can never be realised as long as Labour uses a corrupt electoral system and other tactics to pursue what begins to look like a form of totalitarian control.

♦ end ♦

Cydweli: Where’s The Money Gone?

The so-called ‘Welsh Government’s irresponsibility with money is legendary. They speak of  little else in the bazaars of Samarkand, while the elders of Amazonian villages tut tut at the very mention.

In addition, hundreds of millions of pounds are showered every year on magic bean salesmen (and saleswomen), many of whom are from outside of Wales but can sniff easy money.

BLACK CAT COUNTRY

That heading’s a reference to Cydweli (Kidwelly). It’s explained here . . . sort of. Though I loved the reference to the “zealous Welsh” attacking the Norman castle and the town full of alien settlers.

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If the town was destroyed and the inhabitants killed then describing our ancestors as ‘zealous’ seems a little inadequate. Even trivialising. Though I’m not criticising our forbears, for all nations have the right to respond to invasion and the threat of becoming strangers in their own country.

Some of you will remember that I’ve written about Cydweli before, a little town west of Llanelli, just up the road from Porth Tywyn, where I’ve often sojourned.

In fact, this piece is a follow-up to something I wrote back in January last year. Here’s a link to that earlier post, ‘Tourism or Survival: Wales Must Choose‘, scroll down to the section, ‘Tourism Making Life Difficult for Locals’.

Last year I looked at attempts to re-vitalise the local economy through tourism, which of course brought the threat of the usual problems – holiday homes, few worthwhile jobs, the area attracting retirees and good-lifers, etc.

That attempt was called the Black Cat Tourism Strategy, and in the summer of 2021 we learnt that it had secured £270,000, “to implement a two-year strategy aimed at growing the visitor economy in Kidwelly and Mynydd-y-garreg” (a village to the north east of the town).

The money came from the Coastal Communities Fund, a UK project linked to the Crown Estate; administered in Wales by the ‘Welsh Government’ through the Big Lottery Fund.

And things seemed to begin quite promisingly.

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The grant was awarded to a partnership of the town council and the ‘Hub’, run by Kidwelly Community Hub CIC. (A Community Interest Company.)

To judge by its Facebook page, the Hub has come to the end of the line. Confirmed, it would seem, by this notice from the town council.

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Though I was amused by the fact that most of the comments to the Hub’s valedictory FB post last October were of the, “When can I have my – – – – back?” type, rather than, “We’ll miss you”.

If you scroll down a wee bit further, you’ll come to the FB post you see below. And this is our destination – The Gwên Gwen Festival 2022. (‘Gwen’s smile’?)

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My information is that the bulk of the grant money spend in 2022 went on the Gwên Gwen festival, and it’ll be the same again this year. Most locals believe this is not money well spent. Few turned up last year, and this year’s event doesn’t promise to pull in the punters either.

The Black Cat Tourism Strategy has its own Facebook page, but this seems to offer little beyond Gwên Gwen.

WHERE’S THE MONEY GONE?

One person who recently contacted me was relaying the concerns of others about what the £270,000 allocated to The Black Cat Tourism Strategy had actually been spent on.

My source wrote, referring to last year’s Gwên Gwen bash:

“Tried getting answers as to where the cash has gone. A massive spend of funds where no one turned up apart from organisers families and a bunch of local hippies. Labour councillor involved and now director of CIC company for same festival this year. Council would not give me figures for cash lost.”

I tried to dig the figures out for myself. There seemed to be three obvious places to look: the town council records, the Hub accounts, and the company I assumed would have been set up to manage the Black Cat Tourism initiative.

Working backwards, the Gwên Community and Regeneration CIC wasn’t set up until February this year. (The grant, remember, was allocated in June 2021.) Thus far, the only document filed with Companies House is the Certificate of Incorporation.

Towards the end of that document we read this minor masterpiece in grant-grab waffle. It really is a gem. I speak as someone who’s read many over the years, and penned a few myself.

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Moving on, what can we learn from the Hub accounts? Well, to begin with, the ‘front page’ on the Companies House entry for the Hub tells us that the last accounts filed were for year ending 31 March 2021. That is, before the grant was awarded.

Which left the town council as the last hope. The minutes tell us little, and the archived accounts seem to be intermittent, with no audited accounts after 2017.

So where is the £270,ooo accounted for? It seems unlikely the Hub will produce any further accounts, and the new company will not be required to produce accounts for the period before it was set up.

Which leads me to suggest that the onus for accounting for the £270,000, in full, must now lie firmly with Kidwelly Town Council, the surviving partner.

Another reason for me saying that is because the council has been paying Gwên Gwen invoices. That’s certainly what the Finance Committee minutes for January tell us.

WHO WAS WHO?

If we go back to the clip above from the town council minutes of October 2021, we see four names listed in connection with the Black Cat Tourism Strategy. These are: Christine Lamble-Davies, Michelle Collins, Suki Baynton, Aled Westlake.

I believe they’re in this video from March 2022, asking for suggestions. Which could be seen as being open to ideas . . . or possibly not having a clue themselves what to do.

So, in no particular order, here are brief bios . . .

Michelle Collins’ Linkedin profile (here in pdf format) suggests an aspiring artist forced to work for Caws Teifi. When she’s not studying!

But apart from that early mention, I’m not sure what role, if any, Collins played thereafter. There’s certainly no mention of Black Cat on her Linkedin. But she does get a mention here, on the Saatchi Art website.

Aled Guto Westlake, is another artistic type, who lived in Llansamlet, on the east side of Swansea, but seems to have moved to Mynyddygarreg.

His Linkedin profile suggests that he still sees himself as being part of the Black Cat set-up. This, plus his side-line in photography, would appear to be his employment.

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Incidentally, there’s a Councillor Jonathan Westlake representing Mynyddygarreg ward on the town council. I’m told he’s Aled’s dad.

From the same ward we have the mayor, Councillor Carl Peters-Bond; and another Mynyddygarreg councillor in Christopher Peters-Bond.

What a cosy place Mynyddygarreg must be! Dare I suggest, incestuous?

Suki Baynton I mentioned in the earlier piece, so I might as well lift something from that to give her bio.

The Black Cat project lead is Suki Baynton, who recently arrived from the Cynon Valley, where I’m told she was Contaminated Land Officer for Rhondda Cynon Taf council. She was certainly Property Manager for Ashfield Solutions for a while.

We see Suki in the above picture, on the right, in the red coat. (See image below.)

Suki has also launched her own company, Room Publishing LtdThe website tells me it’s a load of New Age bollocks; but then, I’m a cynical old bastard who grew up in the real world.

The company, Room Publishing Ltd, was Dissolved about a year after I wrote that earlier piece, without filing anything.

Suki Baynton is on the right, in the red coat. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Which leaves Christine Lamble-Davies, the former Mz Christine Bethan Davies. Who is quite a busy girl. I’ve found a number of companies with which she’s been associated.

Though the only one where she’s still a director appears to be Malihera Ltd. But this ship has obviously been abandoned, with filings for Companies House overdue.

WHO’S WHO NOW?

The directors of the new company, Gwên Community and Regeneration CIC, are: Carmarthenshire Labour councillor Crisial ‘Crish’ Davies, Plaid Cymru’s June James, and June James’ husband, Richard.

These three are also the only remaining directors of the Hub. Davies has been a director since June 2016, Richard James since September 2022, and his wife June became a director in January this year.

From January 11 these three exercise control over whatever remains of the Hub.

Clearly, Labour councillor ‘Crish’ Davies is the continuity factor. The one who’s been there throughout.

This new company could be seen as the Hub reborn. Though why did it take so long, because the Hub didn’t expire unexpectedly?

While these three directors are presumably entrusted with salvaging something from the disaster, and seeing out Gwên Gwen 2, are any of the four we read about earlier, and saw in the video, still involved?

If not, why?

I don’t like banging on about money, but seeing it wasted annoys me. Especially when Cydweli needs money spent on infrastructure repairs and other things.

But certainly not a hippy gathering that was a disaster last year, and with not a hope in hell that this year’s Gwên Gwen will be any more successful.

Here are some photos I was sent of the town. They show, clockwise: the old town hall, falling down and resulting in detours; the town square; the field opposite the Co-op, home to the Gwên Gwen festival; and the building that was used by the Hub.

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But back to this year’s Gwên Gwen festival.

Topping the bill is the Gentleman’s Dub Club, of Bristol. (I’ve got all their 78s!) Though I doubt there’s a big audience for Dub music in east Carmarthenshire. There certainly wasn’t last year when the same band played.

A few pints of Felinfoel might help. Perhaps many pints of Felinfoel.

P.S. Last year’s headline act, Kosheen, also come from Bristol.

ENOUGH ALREADY!

I don’t want anyone to think I’m picking on Cydweli. I’m just using it as an example for something that’s happening all over Wales.

My introduction gave a litany of some big scandals that got reported, but it’s also the few hundred grand here, a million or so there, that escape wider attention. Call it political patronage, call it rewarding grass-roots activism, call it anything you damn well like, but by and large it achieves next to nothing.

This system of dishing out grants to anyone with connections, or who can put together the kind of tosh we read earlier, is damaging Wales. It’s a major reason three dollops of European structural funding achieved nothing.

This was unique. All other countries and regions of Europe that received this funding used it wisely. None remained poor enough to qualify for a third hand-out.

But Labour Party stooges like the WCVA will pretend this wasted money achieved something. That’s how the system works: Labour gives money to its cronies who then produce reports telling us what good use was made of the funding.

But then, if I give my grandchildren money will they admit they wasted it?

The biggest beneficiary of EU funding was the third sector. Now that EU funding has ended – but to ensure these shysters continue living high on the hog – other budgets must be raided. (“Your promised by-pass! What by-pass?”)

Unfortunately, it’s no longer just local groups; for under devolution Wales has seen a tidal wave of gobshites preaching climate disaster, poisoned rivers and habitat loss; berating us for our racism and our transphobia – and demanding that we pay them well for their insulting rants.

But enough of those colonialist parasites, let’s finish in that nice little town where an underage Jac used to drink when him and his mates would get the train down from Swansea to go camping. Happy days!

For even if there was incompetence or worse involved, the Black Cat was probably doomed the minute the local MS, Lee Waters, stroked the poor moggie. For this is the politician who famously said of his own administration, “We don’t know what we’re doing on the economy“.

We believe you, Lee. In fact, that may be the only thing you’ve ever said that we do believe.

♦ end ♦

 

Antifa Unmasked

This piece wasn’t planned until I saw reports of the ugly scenes in Llanilltud Fawr (Llantwit Major) last Saturday. But most of these reports were misleading, especially the report from BBC Wales and, to some extent, the one from S4C.

The ITV Wales report was completely misleading. But I would expect no less from a channel with a pathological aversion to employing people with Welsh accents.

The report that came closest to giving the true picture may have been from WalesOnline, where we also got a picture of those responsible for the violence.

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And it obviously wasn’t the ‘Far Right’, or locals.

Putting it all together with statements put out on social media it soon became clear who had been responsible for the violence, and who had been arrested. But Antifa is a flag of convenience, a loose association of Far Left extremists.

So who was really behind it? Well, WalesOnline was kind enough to tell us: “Video footage shows officers clashing with hooded and masked Welsh Underground Network members”.

So who or what is the Welsh Underground Network? And no, I can tell you now, it’s not an association of former coal miners.

WELSH UNDERGROUND NETWORK

Like so many fringe groups the Welsh Underground Network (WUN) seems made up of disgruntled youngsters. I hesitate to use the word ‘losers’, but I doubt if their ranks contain many well-balanced individuals with a decent job and a settled family life.

All of which makes them resentful and, it has been suggested, malleable.

Here’s a WUN group photo taken on the beach in Aberystwyth a year or two back. (That’s me behind them, disguised as a seagull.)

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It seems reasonable to assume that those arrested last Saturday – a man from Swansea and a woman from Gwynedd – belong to the WUN.

They may even be in the seaside snap above.

The WUN justified its behaviour at Llanilltud Fawr by arguing that it was opposing ‘fascism’. Because Antifa means ‘Anti-fascist’, and only attacks fascists.

But that’s a self-justifying claim; in practice, anyone Antifa attacks, for whatever reason, becomes a ‘fascist’ by virtue of being attacked by Antifa.

If not a fascist, then a transphobe, or a white supremacist, or a climate denier. For Antifa reveres the triptych of woke cults, and attacks those who dare question. For there must be no dissent.

Despite their violent, anti-democratic behaviour, and their opposition to freedom of expression, a former leader of Plaid Cymru has long been a supporter of Antifa.

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I don’t want to spend too much time on a bunch of unhappy kids, who’ve been led astray, and might get into serious trouble if they carry on being silly, for I want to move on and explore the bigger picture.

But before moving on from the Welsh Underground Network aka Antifa I’d like to make an oblique observation. I’ve twice been involved with groups whose members have been arrested for the criminal offence of wearing uniforms. (I believe the Public Order Act applies, or used to.)

I would suggest that those attending gatherings in ‘Black Bloc’, acknowledged to be the uniform of a violent organisation, are guilty of the same offence.

If nothing else, just a simple question – why do they hide their faces?

Below you see Antifa in Newquay, Cornwall on Wednesday, reviling locals for having the temerity to wonder who is being moved into their town. The top image shows them facing off against locals waving Cornish flags, and the bottom one is self-explanatory.

But always with the masks!

Yet the police do have the power to unmask them. They must now use that power.

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People as convinced as Antifa that they’re on the side of the angels (not that they believe in angels!) should be proud to show the world who they are, bravely standing up to the jackbooted hordes.

Or attacking emergency workers, as happened last Saturday.

The truth is that they mask up to avoid being recognised when they commit criminal acts. Which is why wearing masks should be reason enough to arrest these clowns.

Now let’s consider the bigger picture, and then the role of the media.

THAT BIGGER PICTURE

The events last Saturday were much more complex than the media would have us believe. It was not all the locals welcoming the ‘refugees’, with fascists from elsewhere causing the trouble.

To begin with, the local community is split, and as this WUN tweet tells us, the opposition came from, ‘a coalition of anti racists from across Wales’.

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So who else might be in this ‘coalition’?

One who was there battling the fascists was Hellana Hatfield. WalesOnline told us:

‘Hellana Hatfield, a human rights activist who runs an NGO for asylum seekers, has travelled from Pembrokeshire today.

“We are here to deliver the message that refugees are welcome here in Wales and that fascists are not welcome. They have caused trouble elsewhere. Wherever they go, we will go”‘.

“They have caused trouble elsewhere”, she says. But who’s she talking about – Antifa, ‘refugees’?

And who is Hellana Hatfield, for she seems to have no online presence? Unless this is her. The hair’s certainly the same colour.

But nothing about an NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) in Pembrokeshire. Does it really exist? And if so – are we funding it!

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And it should go without saying that the Green Party of Englandandwales was in attendance. We can be sure of that because Rob Curtis of the Green, etc., etc spoke with WalesOnline. There’s even a photo of him.

But that photo pales when compared with an image of Rob and some other guy holding a banner that I’ve tried for days to make sense of. What the hell is it trying to say?

And why is the other guy holding that stripey flag? What’s that got to do with ‘refugees’.

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I thought it was global warming that was going to make us extinct. Is the banner saying that the human race is also doomed if we refuse to accept ‘internationalism’ (whatever the hell that might mean)?

Another Green speaking there was Sam Coates. Sam comes on stage at about 2:40 in the video below. I’m not sure why he’s wearing a mask. Does he still believe in Covid? Or have all Leftists taken to covering their faces in public?

It’s bloody odd.

It reminds me of an old sign behind the bar in the subterranean snooker hall I used to frequent as a teenager. It read something like, ‘Men wearing mufflers will not be served’. For younger readers maybe I should explain that a ‘muffler’ was a kind of scarf worn around the neck by working class men.

Though I could never figure out why men wearing mufflers would not be allowed to play snooker. Or billiards.

As a further aside. It was in this hallowed cellar, to a background of clinking balls and cursed miscues, that my mates and I heard JFK had been shot. (Everybody remembers where they were.)

I mention this now because the Merriam-Webster definition of muffler is: a scarf worn around the neck, b something that hides or disguises. How apt!

To get back to Sam. In addition to being a Green Sam puts himself about with Undod and Melin Drafod. The latter called the Comrades together in January for a session of foot-stompin’ and hollering in Swansea. I wrote about it.

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Ah! But I wish I’d been invited.

I’m mentioning the Greens because in recent years they seem to have almost abandoned environmental concerns to focus on matters sexual, and gender related. And they’ve really gone overboard.

If you want to know where the pressure came from for Nicola Sturgeon to take the SNP and Scottish independence over the cliff, then look no further than the Scottish Greens. As this report from The Herald (Nov 2022) makes clear.

The female penis cult has the potential to wreak similar damage in Wales. For the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ is one of Stonewall’s biggest funders, and El Drako himself one of its most loyal disciples.

Plaid Cymru is similarly hooked on this nonsense.

Which broadens out into considerations of the wider impact of the Woke agenda.

Who can forget how YesCymru was almost captured by fanatics wanting to turn that organisation into TransCymru? If they’d been successful it would have severely  discredited the independence cause.

Was that the objective?

Small wonder that I had a DM yesterday suggesting that the Welsh Underground Network are controlled by agencies seeking to discredit Welsh nationalism.

I’m not sure about that. But when we consider the disruptive and divisive effects Wokeism is having on devolution and the independence movements in both Scotland and Wales it’s worth wondering if the impressionable and the excitable are being manipulated.

For I predict with certainty that if WUN members go around masked up, insulting decent people, attacking emergency workers, whilst claiming to be advocates of independence, it will severely damage the cause in which I and others believe.

Not least because we can guarantee the media will lap it up.

THE BOUGHT AND PAID FOR MEDIA

I’ve mentioned the media responses earlier, and some were either uninformed, or deliberately misleading. Take this headline from BBC Wales. There’s only one way to interpret that.

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As we know, those arrested did not belong to the ‘far-right’.

But then, what can you expect from the state media in a state where the political leadership is owned by the World Economic Forum, a body wanting open borders in order to undermine the West? And if that wasn’t enough, Bill ‘Vaccines’ Gates also chips in with funding for Auntie.

But this is also happening in other countries.

As you may be aware from recent tweets and posts, I’m following what’s happening in Ireland with considerable interest, and the WEF playbook being used there could be written in fifty-foot high neon letters. It is so crudely obvious.

The latest resident rebellion has been in Mullingar, a town of some 21,000 people in Westmeath. This came about when ‘refugees’ were brought to the disused Columb Barracks in the centre of the town last week.

Here’s one of the recent arrivals, an Iranian named Ikramullah Khanza, who’s been to Ireland before, then left, but now he’s back, threatening locals with throat-slitting gestures. Mr Nice Guy!

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It’s being reported that the Mullingar protests have resulted in the unvetted males being moved on. But if so, then to where?

Here’s how the scam operates in Ireland.

Politicians and media say: “Ireland will provide a home for women and children fleeing war-torn Ukraine”. Irish people respond, “That’s fine with us”.

But then buses appear in Dublin and provincial cities and towns carrying lots of young men of fighting age and Middle Eastern appearance. Locals say, “Hang on, you said women and children”.

People then object to having been lied to, and protest at having unvetted young men imposed on their community.

Politicians, their NGO shills, and media, respond in chorus, “Horrible racists object to taking in refugees”.

Which everyone involved knows is a lie.

But when the official narrative is questioned critics are dismissed as ‘Far Right’, or ‘fascist’, or ‘racist’; and therefore people with whom there can be no debate.

In exactly the same way as Antifa operates: Lie about your true intentions and then vilify critics to silence them and achieve your objective.

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This is what’s happening in Llanilltud Fawr. Locals are told those arriving will be Ukrainian women and children, and to begin with they might be. But a local source tells me that, “military houses at St Athan East camp are being cleared for Afghans”.

But as I’ve written elsewhere recently, I’m more optimistic now than I’ve been for some time. For as the lies pile up the heap becomes unstable, and eventually it topples.

With Covid (and the vaccines), global warming, female penises, and the ‘refugee’ crisis all being revealed we are approaching the point of collapse. It won’t be pretty, and might even get nasty for a while.

But those of us who know the truth only need to stay firm to enjoy the victory. A victory not for us, but for humanity.

♦ end ♦

 

Welsh Independence And The Left

I’m kicking off 2023 with thoughts on independence; more exactly, the kind of independence being offered by those who’ll be gathering in the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, on the 28th of this month.

Ah! the Brangwyn Hall. I remember being slung out of there many years ago. It was a Labour Party do, with that son of Abersychan, Roy Jenkins, topping the bill. (Ere he and others left to form the SDP.)

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Anyway, Woy had got to the bit in his peroration where he proclaimed to the assembly that he too was Welsh . . . at which point a young Jac jumped up and shouted ‘You’re no Welshman!’ (My outburst may have contained an expletive attributive.)

I was immediately attacked by some old crow sitting behind me, who laid into me with her umbrella! A possible headline from the Evening Post flashed through my mind – ‘Nationalist yob beaten to death by umbrella-wielding Labour granny’.

I was saved from this undignified and premature fate by the ‘stewards’ (i.e. Labour heavies) dragging me off towards the huge front doors. With a few reminders along the way that my contribution was not appreciated. (‘Troublemaker, ew are!’)

Happy days!

‘PROGRESSIVE’ MELIN DRAFOD

In this section I shall refer more than once to the briefly successful far Left takeover of YesCymru in 2020 and 2021.

I wrote about this extensively at the time and so, to catch up with what I wrote, type ‘YesCymru’ in the search box atop the sidebar.

The event later this month in the Brangwyn is organised by think tank Melin Drafod. And you don’t need to think too hard to realise what anyone attending is likely to hear.

All the speakers are on the Left. Or the far Left. Or the Woke Left. Call it what you will.

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But ‘progressive’ is the label behind which they all hide nowadays. Such a nice word, harmless and unthreatening. Who among us could object to ‘progress‘?

Me. Because I recognise rebranded Marxism.

Helping me appreciate that the ‘progress’ demanded by those who’ll gather where a young Jac was assaulted by a Bolshie harridan is worrying.

But let Melin Drafod speak for itself:

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‘Not independence for its own sake’. What is that trying to say – patriotism is not enough? Or is it a veiled threat to scupper any form of independence that doesn’t meet with the approval of the far Left?

There is so much to read into that section.

My views on ‘climate change’ are well known – it’s not happening. The myth is being kept alive by ‘environmentalists’ and others who’ve staked their reputations on it and can’t afford to backtrack, with supranational bodies thinking ‘global warming’ gives them the excuse to control human behaviour worldwide.

And does anyone seriously believe that racism is a ‘scourge’ in modern Wales? Who but the seriously unhinged could insult us by equating Wales in 2023 with Arkansas or the Transvaal a few decades back?

Only perhaps those with a vested interest in using the allegation of ‘racism’ to slander political opponents and to promote their own interests.

The latter might apply to Melin Drafod National Committee member Harriet Protheroe-Soltani, of the Wales Refugee Council. Like all third sector bodies, this one thrives by inventing or exaggerating a problem – and then demanding funding to tackle that problem.

Ms Protheroe-Soltani of Momentum was also employed by YesCymru when it fell briefly under the control of the far Left in 2020 / 2021.

Sam Coates is another member of the National Committee.

His Twitter account tells that he is a socialist first, then a Welshman. Which would appear to bear out that for these ‘progressives’ Wales comes second to their ideological priorities.

Significantly, perhaps, there’s no mention of independence.

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And, again, it’s worth returning to the far Left takeover of YesCymru, for Coates wrote this essay in July 2021, and it’s revealing. (Available here in pdf format.) Not just about Coates but about the others who’ll be at the Brangwyn later this month.

He writes: ‘In 2017, I rocked up to the Hen Coleg yn Aberystwyth on a baking hot day to attend YesCymru’s AGM. It was a friendly room of about 50 people, mostly middle age, and mostly white.’

‘Mostly white’ – in a country that is 95% White! Would Coates and the comrades be happier if YesCymru was a majority non-White organisation, and therefore grotesquely unrepresentative of Wales?

As unrepresentative as those who’ll be at the Brangwyn Hall.

Referring to the rigged YesCymru elections of May 2021 that saw the far Left briefly take control, Coates writes: ‘Hundreds of members attended the online event, and used a voting tool used by many other political organisations to choose members of the new Central Committee’.

It would appear that when he wrote of those ‘hundreds’ voting Coates had forgotten that a few paragraphs earlier he’d talked of YesCymru having 18,000 members. Presenting us with the obvious question: why were just 2-3% of the members able / allowed to vote?

But let’s remember some of the tweets from ‘progressives’ celebrating victory!

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Coates’ whole essay is an apology for an attempted far Left takeover; and it’s riddled with inaccuracies, misrepresentations and outright lies.

The other members of Melin Drafod’s National Committee seem to be Plaid Cymru members, and others who were involved in the near-destruction of YesCymru in 2021. I’m thinking of Llywelyn ap Gwilym, and Siôn Jobbins, Chair of YesCymru who eventually jumped ship.

Then we have Elin Hywel and Colin Nosworthy of Undod, the source of so much of the poison that almost finished off YesCymru.

And of course there are one or two on the National Committee from the Labour Party.

WHO’S COMING TO THE SUMMIT AND WHO’S NOT INVITED?

Let’s start by listing those political parties and organisations that are not invited by Melin Drafod (or whoever) to the portentously dubbed ‘Independence Summit’.

First off, there’s the party to which I belong, Gwlad. Then there’s Propel. There’s also the Sovereign Party / Plaid Sofren. So without going too far, we’ve already found three registered political parties, with councillors, made up of serious and experienced people, with all three parties committed to Welsh independence.

So why didn’t Melin Drafod invite them?

The listed speakers are advertised as follows . . .

‘Anthony Slaughter (Wales Green Party Leader), Adam Price MS (Plaid Cymru Leader), Cllr Rachel Garrick (Welsh Labour for Independence), Sam Coates (Undod), Gwern Evans (YesCymru), Luke Fletcher MS, Mirain Owen (Cymdeithas yr Iaith) and others’.

So let’s begin with Slaughter, and remind everyone that there is no Wales Green Party! There is only the Wales branch of the Green Party of England.

In 2018 Green Party members in Wales had the chance to create a separate Wales Green Party, they voted not to. The main reason for that was that most Green Party members in Wales are English.

Then, last year, the Green Party of England in Wales claimed to be in favour of Welsh independence! Plaid Cymru fell for it and was happy to enter some sort of agreement with them.

No individual, group, or party, sincere about Welsh independence, should even talk to a colonialist outfit that refuses to even recognise the existence of our country.

Plaid Cymru I’ll leave until last.

‘Welsh Labour for Independence’ (WLfI) is another piece of nonsense. Labour is a Unionist party. Any Labour member who wants independence is in the wrong party. Maybe some now realise that.

But is (WLfI) the same as Labour for an Independent Wales (LfIW)? Or, and this is the frightening bit – are there two of them!

During the struggle for YesCymru LfIW was prominent in undermining sensible committee members and replacing them with some real nutters. Working from the shadows was Rob Lloyd of Prestatyn, while out there on the Welshpool barricades was Benji Gwalchmai.

Where are they now? How I miss them!

We already know all we need to know about Sam Coates and Undod.

Luke Fletcher is a Plaid Cymru Senedd Member. With a beard.

YesCymru is represented by Gwern Gwynfil Evans. He was announced as YC’s first-ever full-time CEO in September. The piece I’ve linked to says he has ‘a business background’. Which is true; one of his companies was Dissolved in the very month he was appointed.

Yet he brings another Aberystwyth connection to the party. Which I’ll explore shortly.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith is not worth dwelling on. Hopelessly Woke it overlaps with Undod and other far Left groups like Plaid Cymru’s youth wing, Plaid Ifanc, where pronouns are of paramount importance.

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So, finally, let’s give some thought to Plaid Cymru which, in most people’s eyes, is ‘the nationalist party’, and the leading voice for Welsh independence.

On the one hand, Plaid activists seem to be more at home at Gay Pride parades than at marches for independence; while the party is being eaten away from the inside by a combination of back-stabbing and sexual misbehaviour.

The party tries to keep things under wraps but news of the obsession with other people’s ‘bits’ inevitably reaches the public domain.

MS Rhys ab Owen was suspended a few months ago for unwanted sexual advances to a female. But he was only suspended after the party had sat on the case for some time in the hope the complainant would go away.

Last month, the party’s chief executive, Carl Harris, finally stepped down after it emerged he had made unwanted sexual advances to a young party worker.

When it’s like this at the top of the party – and I mean, the very top – then no one should be surprised that lower down the pecking order we find bizarre behaviour.

The image below (which I pixelated) is of someone who works for a Plaid Cymru MS showing what he proposes to do when he catches whoever is behind an anonymous ‘I know what you did!’ Twitter account accusing him of . . .

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And, yes, that is a crowbar.

No wonder a former Plaid Cymru Police and Crime Commissioner recently called on party leader Adam Price to resign.

Plaid Cymru is a mess, however you look at it, and from top to bottom. To say it’s lost its way would be wrong . . . for that would suggest Plaid’s leadership in recent decades ever knew where it was going.

I think Plaid Cymru is now too far gone for the change of leadership Arfon Jones calls for to make any difference. My view is that Plaid should do the honest thing and merge with Labour.

They deserve each other.

RUM, REGGAE, AND ‘AN UNTAINTED, LEFT-WING, WELSH ALTERNATIVE’

I mentioned earlier that Aberystwyth businessman, Gwern Evans, is CEO of YesCymru. And he’s not the only one speaking at the Brangwyn bash from that lovely town where a dashing young blade spent a weekend in the police cells.

Happy days!

For Melin Drafod Chair, Dr Talat Chaudhri is mayor of the town. Also living in Aber’ is secretary Mererid Boswell, and former chair of YesCymru, Siôn Jobbins.

UPDATE: I am indebted to Jon Coles for telling us that Colin Nosworthy is a press officer for Aberystwyth University.

And there may be others with Aberystwyth connections. Not Sam Coates, obviously; not after his chastening experience of stumbling into a gathering of the Llanbadarn chapter of the Afrikaner Broederbond.

However you cut it, Aber’ will be over-represented at this Swansea gig. And then I came across something last week, which is intriguing, but needs an intro.

There is an intermittent column in the Cambrian News by a Gareth James.

This was the piece drawn to my attention, last November. It contained this line: ‘Like it or not, mid Wales is woke, for mid Wales is about sharing mid Wales with everyone’, plus a few passages that the source interpreted as threats against those who refused to accept Wokeness.

Then, a couple of weeks later, came this extraordinary piece calling for Dyfed Powys Police to be more ‘woke’, following what the writer interpreted as racial profiling that targets his sons. (Here in pdf format.)

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You’ll also see, at the top of the article ‘The View from the Vaults’, these being the Weston Vaults pub in Aberystwyth. Now renamed Irie’s Rum Bar and Reggae Lounge.

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Gareth James, the man in the picture, runs the bar. This piece from the Cambrian News last September makes that clear. What you see above is something of a resurrection, for Irie’s closed in March 2016, apparently for good.

The building that houses the Rum Bar is owned by Cyngor Ceredigion. Do councils normally buy pubs? This other Land Registry title document tells us that a lease was taken out (or taken over) in April 2015 by Irie’s (Aberystwyth) Ltd.

Aberystwyth is a fairly small town, so I’d be surprised if the ‘progressives’ of YesCymru, Melin Drafod, etc, don’t frequent a bar run by a man who wants Plod to be more Woke.

A consideration that brings us to the most recent contribution from Gareth James, that appeared in the Cambrian News last week. (Available here in pdf format.) Also available on Irie’s Blog.

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Another long, rambling piece, but when I read the final paragraph a light went on in my head – a new political party that is ‘an untainted, left-wing, Welsh alternative’.

Is Gareth James trying to tell us something?

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Is this what Talat Chaudhri, Sam Coates and the rest have in mind? Is this what Melin Drafod is hoping comes out of the Brangwyn Hall meeting?

Whether it’s a new party or simply closer co-operation between existing far Left groups, this Independence Summit looks like another attempt by the far Left to take over the independence movement.

If so, then it becomes the duty of those of us with a broader view of Wales to challenge these people. For if it became accepted among the general public that these fanatics are the only ones wanting independence then Wales is finished.

Independence must promise, and deliver, the inclusivity the far Left always demands of others but never practices itself.

CONCLUSION

I have warned many times before, and I make no apologies for doing so again, that what these Green-Woke-Leftists want is independence for a small country whose politicians can then be bullied and blackmailed into implementing their fantasies.

This capture from the website of Labour for an Independent Wales reminds us that, for them, independence is simply the route to socialism.

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It’ll be something like the Wales we know today: a country falling apart at the seams because weak politicians are dominated by lobbyists, pressure groups and third sector organisations. But it’ll be a hell of a lot worse!

There’ll be nothing in it for you and me, Dai. For our people; or for our Wales.

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2023


The Alliance Against Livestock Farming

This week’s piece about wildlife trusts and environmental groups complements what I put out last week about the assorted river charities.

For both seem to be funded to shield Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water) and others from criticism by blaming livestock farmers for all river pollution. Also, to pursue the so-called ‘Welsh Government’s Net Zero lunacy and, in so doing, serve the globalist agenda.

With a few twists.

Wildlife and environmental groups tend to contain more ‘zealots’, which results in hysteria, and a readiness to tell lies. Which in this context is often accompanied by a thinly-disguised contempt for Wales and Welsh identity.

One example might be the charity Wildlife Trusts Wales (WTW) choosing to dissolve itself, while the local trusts for which it served as the umbrella organisation joined England’s Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts. You’ll learn more about this as you read on.

As I say, there will be similarities with last week’s piece, but also differences. And I promise a bit more in the way of polemic. Ol’ Jac gonna let rip!

It’s fairly big, so go make a mug of something before settling down to enjoy it.

WHO’S WHO IN THE FLEECE JACKETS

Let’s start by looking at the organisational setup.

As I said in the intro, Wildlife Trusts Wales recently put itself out of business so that the five regional trusts – North, Montgomeryshire, Radnorshire, South and West, Gwent – could become full members of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT).

Explained at the foot of page 1 in the 2021 WTW accounts.

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The clip below from the Charity Commission entry tells us that the RSWT now views Wales and England as a single unit, whereas Scotland and Northern Ireland are treated separately. Even the Isle of Man gets more respect than us.

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But then, when you surrender your separate identity this is what you can expect.

And yet, the pretence of an independent existence is maintained by a Wildlife Trusts Wales website. Where WTW describes itself as: ‘one of five Wildlife Trusts in Wales’ which, again, makes no sense. Yes, there are five, I just listed them, and they’re all area specific, so where and how does WTW fit in?

It’s all very confusing. Perhaps deliberately so.

At the foot of the WTW website home page we are given Companies House and Charity Commission numbers. The latter draws a blank because the charity was closed March 31, 2021. While the Companies House entry tells us that the company voluntarily dissolved earlier this year.

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So why hasn’t the information on the website been updated? If it’s claimed WTW still exists, then what form does that existence take?

And what happened to the money?

Well, the final accounts for the WTW (y/e 31.03.2021) seem to show, at the foot of page 19, that the cash left when the company folded was divvied up among four of the five trusts I mentioned earlier.

Brecknock received nowt because it had not long before merged with the South and West Wales Wildlife Trust, which for some reason was itself left out. (Why didn’t ‘Brecknock’ make the obvious merger, with Radnorshire? Or why not a Powys trust?)

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You’ll see that £234,320 went to the ‘All Wales Conservation Strategy’. Does anyone know what that is? I’ve tried Googling but nothing comes up. Do the funders know where their money’s going?

The more I thought about this wildlife trusts reconfiguration the stranger it appeared. I mean, just think about it.

Before devolution we had local wildlife trusts with Wildlife Trusts Wales serving as the umbrella body. Yet now, when wildlife trusts deal with Y Senedd, when there’s separate Welsh funding, different legislation, they do away with their national body in order to, effectively, become English wildlife trusts.

This move makes no sense on any rational or practical level. How then can it be explained? I really would like to know.

Whatever ethereal form Wildlife Trusts Wales now takes the wraith clearly retains the strength to use a Twitter account. Here’s a gem put out on Monday.

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To describe Wales as ‘one of the most nature depleted countries in the world’ is hysterical nonsense and an insult to us as a nation.

While suggesting that farming is to blame rather gives the game away.

The image used in the tweet comes from this source, linked with Denmark farm, near Lampeter, where we find another gang of alien envirogrifters. A farming source tells me the allegation made in the image may be libellous.

The Denmark Farm Conservation Centre has gone the way of so many outfits that appear on this blog – it was Dissolved earlier this year. With two outstanding charges.

FILTHY LUCRE

We saw in last week’s piece that river charities saw a remarkable increase in official funding at the very time Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths (and Gary) was formulating her draconian and ‘unworkable’ NVZ legislation.

Such propinquity!

Well, no. It’s explained by the fact that Lesley (and Gary) wanted a stream of pollution stories in order to justify that NVZ legislation.

Stories that were also music to the ears of Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water) bosses, because it deflected attention from the water company’s pollution.

We see something very similar in wildlife trusts.

Let’s start with the North Wales Wildlife Trust. Where total income more than doubled between 2017 and 2021. The largest element of that increase is (in various forms) government funding, up from £180,440 in 2017 to £1,970,000 in 2021.

Plus assets of around £3m.

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A ten-fold increase in government funding will support a few beavers.

The picture at the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust shows a more modest but still healthy increase in funding. To which we must also add assets pushing £3m.

Moving south we come to the intriguing anomaly of the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust. Intriguing for in the old 13-county arrangement you will recall that Radnorshire was quite small in size and had the lowest population of all our counties.

But the local wildlife trust paints a different picture. Total income doubled between 2017 and 2021 and there are assets of over £2m. There were no assets in 2019.

The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales has seen income increase by 50% in the period we’re looking at, but government grants increased from £21,300 in 2017 to £748,050 in 2021. Then throw in assets of some £5m.

Finally, to Gwent. Where income has increased at a more modest rate apart from a huge blip in 2018 accounted for by Heritage Lottery funding for a project on the Gwent Levels. But with assets around the three million pound mark.

So everything looks just tickety-boo on the financial front for our English-registered wildlife trusts.

BARE-FACED LIES

I am indebted to one of the few honest journalists left in Wales for drawing my attention to a disgraceful incident last November, at a hearing of the Senedd’s Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee.

Rachel Sharp of the zombie-like Wildlife Trusts Wales and Wales Environmental Link (WEL) alleged that along with all the other evils livestock farmers are responsible for they also use growth hormones, which eventually end up in our streams and rivers.

The transcript is here (123) and the video here.

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The truth is that growth hormones have been banned in the UK since 1981. Welsh livestock farmers do not use growth hormones.

After protests from farming unions and Tory MS Sam Kurtz apologies were issued. But as we’ve come to expect from these envirofanatics it’s never an honest ‘I was wrong’. It’s always qualified, position shifting, hoping the original lie lingers.

But this time they’d gone too far, and it wasn’t just Rachel Sharp telling porkies. Also there representing Wales Environmental Link was Creighton Harvey, also a trustee of Afonydd Cymru Cyf.

Here’s how the Pembrokeshire Herald reported it.

‘The evidence of Ms Sharp’s fellow representative from Wales Environment Link was also riddled with errors.

Creighton Harvey told the Committee that agriculture was the largest polluter of Wales’s watercourses.

The largest polluters are water companies, industrial users, and domestic users’.

So who is Rachel Sharp?

Well, as we know, she’s a trustee of Wales Environmental Link. But this profile from the ‘Welsh Government’ website tells us a bit more. And it’s fascinating.

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To begin with, it keeps up the pretence of the defunct Wildlife Trusts of Wales. But concludes by informing us that Rachel Sharp is also ‘a group member of the Welsh Water Independent Environment Advisory Panel’.

So what’s that? Here’s a clue from the Dŵr Cymru website.

We’re told, ‘The Chair is Mari Arthur, Director of Cynal (sic) Cymru’. But Mari Arthur left Cynnal Cymru in July 2018, after just 4 months. Is this another site in need of updating?

Mari Arthur now runs Mari Arthur Marketing, but hasn’t yet registered it as a company. Among her clients we find Cynnal Cymru. Also, joined-at-the-hip ‘Welsh Government’ and Cardiff University.

Her other companies include Afallen LLP and Tetrimteas Cyf.

If the name Mari Arthur rings a bell it’s because she so badly damaged Plaid Cymru in Llanelli, a seat the party had been nurturing since the days of the great Carwyn James.

She was forced on the constituency party by her friends in both Plaid Cymru and Labour. For in the Corruption Bay circles in which Mari Arthur moves party labels mean little as long as you’re ‘on the right side of history’.

The Independent Environmental Advisory Panel is clearly a group that allows Dŵr Cymru and envirozealots to agree their narratives in the war on livestock farmers and draw attention away from Dŵr Cymru itself, the biggest culprit.

There should be no place in Welsh public life for Rachel Sharp of the mythical Wales Wildlife Trusts, the all too corporeal Wales Environmental Link, and the Dŵr Cymru claque in the laughably named Independent Environmental Advisory Panel.

I suspect Rachel Sharp’s mask slipped last November when she forgot where she was; because when she and others of her ilk usually talk with politicians and civil servants – and of course, Dŵr Cymru – they tend to reinforce each other’s self-serving prejudices about livestock farmers.

But she’ll survive. For she has powerful friends, among those who’ve been elected, and those we’ve never heard of.

Another name that caught my eye among the Wales Environmental Link luminaries was Natalie Buttriss, whose Linkedin profile (here in pdf) tells us she’s ‘Director of Wales The Woodland Trust’. This outfit previously used the name Coed Cadw for its Welsh operations, but this pandering to the indigenes seems to have been dropped.

Native of Bristol Buttriss was in at the start of the Summit to Sea land grab. For which she appeared on this blog four years ago in The Welsh Clearances. Her contempt for farmers was made obvious in this radio interview with the BBC’s Farming Today.

I have always believed that Buttriss was so arrogant, so dismissive of the interests of livestock farmers, because she believed she had the full support of the ‘Welsh Government’.

For in that interview she suggests that subsidies would be withheld or cut to make farmers fall into line. She wouldn’t have said that unless certain Bay politicians had promised to play the heavies.

The ‘Welsh Government’s hand was not revealed because the opposition to Summit to Sea made backers like Rewilding Britain pull out and the whole thing seemed to fall apart.

Or maybe it’s still out there, lurking in the undergrowth, waiting to re-emerge.

As we know, climate alarmists have too much influence with the media, partly through having brainwashed two generations of schoolchildren and college students, and partly through funding – ever wondered why Bill Gates gives money to the BBC?

Or perhaps, more pertinently, why the BBC is allowed to accept his funding?

But the propagandising is not confined to the BBC.

Last Friday ITV’s Wales at Six ran a piece about cooperation between the Rhug Estate and the Welsh Dee Trust. A relatively harmless little filler.

But the newsreader, Andrea Byrne, dropped into the report: “Rivers like the Wye and the Usk are virtually dead and no longer able to support an abundance of fish like trout and salmon and other wildlife“.

Bizarre, and completely untrue. But from where did ITV Wales get that lie?

 

Because if it’s true then somebody should tell Harry Legge-Bourke of the Glanusk estate; for he advertises, ‘fantastic fishing on 5 miles of double bank fishing on the River Usk offering day tickets for Trout and Salmon rods’.

No one disputes that these rivers could be healthier, but they’re far from ‘virtually dead’, as ITV Wales would have us believe.

And if these rivers are in decline, then whose fault is that? Because if the finger of guilt is being pointed in the wrong direction to protect the guilty party then things are unlikely to improve.

There is constant financial backing and other support for those who tell lies about livestock farmers from those who benefit from and capitalise on those lies.

I’m often inclined to believe in coincidences. But not this time. What I’m describing is too widespread, across too many sectors.

If it quacks like a duck, and it waddles like a duck . . . 

CONCLUSION

The environmental / wildlife / Nature bodies in Wales are like exotic organisms in a Petri dish. Forever growing, dividing, re-forming, changing appearance and colour, and multiplying through the introduction of fresh viruses.

There are many reasons why there should be no further public funding for these groups. You’ve read some of those reasons here. But Sebastian and Claudia needn’t go without because there are plenty of funding streams they could tap into.

For example, and seeing as they’re promoting the agendas of the UN and WEF, one possibility must be the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Another option would be George Soros. Contact details can be had from Coleg Soros in Talgarth, where environmental and wildlife groups already have many contacts.

Bottom line, and last word . . .

It’s obscene that a country – especially our country – gives tens of millions of pounds every year for truth-averse zealots to enjoy sinecures fretting over toads and butterflies while our people die because ambulances don’t turn up.

♦ end ♦

© Royston Jones 2022


Clear Water, Poisoned Debate

For decades we’ve been hearing that water is a diminishing commodity, and with an ever-expanding global population we’ll soon be fighting over water resources.

Though these predictions often came from the same people who at different times – or even simultaneously – could predict icebergs in Swansea Bay and no snow on Yr Wyddfa.

It was the usual nonsense from the usual sources.

And yet, in Wales now, water is being used as a weapon. Not by us against our village-drowning neighbours but by politicians and others, supposedly serving Wales and Welsh interests, against a section of the Welsh population.

If that necessitates twisting the facts, and taking control of certain bodies, either through funding or placement of personnel, then so be it.

This is another big one, so I’ll say what I always say: Don’t rush it, take your time, savour it, and you’ll enjoy it far more.

BULLSHIT FOR WHICH BULLS ARE BLAMELESS

It’s been accepted for many years that there might be a problem with nitrate discharges, from some dairy farms, mostly in the south west. This highly localised problem explained why Natural Resources Wales classified just 2.4% of Welsh farmland as ‘vulnerable’.

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When asked to revisit the issue NRW produced a report in September 2016 that (on page 13) suggested, ‘Adoption of the targeted approach would mean an increase in the total area designated from 2.4% to approximately 8% which includes those areas newly identified by NRW’.

A targeted approach was obviously the sensible and fair way to go, but then the politicians got involved. One politician in particular.

The elections of May 2016 saw Lesley Griffiths re-elected for Labour in Wrecsam. Her Senedd bio then tracks her meteoric rise to voodoo doll status in farmhouses across the land. (Soon to be accompanied by Gary.)

First, she was made Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs. In November 2017 the job title changed to Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs. Then, 0n 13 December 2018, she was handed her baton as Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs.

Despite the facts of the matter, and the sensible proposal from NRW, just before Christmas 2017 Lesley Griffiths declared that the whole of Wales was at risk of NVZ pollution. Using this to announce an all-Wales regime.

After a year of being fed a diet of undiluted pollution La Griffiths announced in November 2018 that her mind was made up and she would introduce what she considered to be the necessary legislation.

After a slight delay due to Covid the implementation date was set for April 1, 2021.

But then things started to go awry for the so-called ‘Welsh Government’.

Despite an (unsuccessful) appeal by NFU Cymru the debate was noticeably widening as others took an interest, and could see how disproportionate to the scale of the problem Cruella de Griff’s proposals were.

For in addition to the all-Wales approach the acceptable nitrogen level in Wales was to be 170kg/ha, compared to 250kg/ha in England and Scotland. This was so obviously unfair, in a country where farmers are, on average, less affluent than their English and Scottish counterparts, that it tended to give the game away.

Because there would of course be a financial burden for farmers. Though I’m sure that those trying to put livestock farmers out of business knew exactly what they were doing

The backtracking had begun. With Plaid Cymru taking the credit. For despite being Labour’s partner in a coalition that dare not speak its name, the reaction from Plaid’s large rural vote was giving the party’s leaders serious concerns.

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A Plaid Cymru source said their party had pushed Labour ministers to act‘.

Some cynics – not me! – might wonder what Plaid has offered in return.

The NVZ proposals couldn’t withstand scrutiny from any fair-minded observer because they had little to do with pollution. NVZ was a stick with which to beat livestock farmers, hopefully putting many out of business to release land for other purposes. Land coveted by many in the offstage chorus influencing our Lesley.

To support and legitimise this attack on livestock farming we were expected to believe that only farmers are responsible for polluting our waterways and seas.

Which meant that Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water), the worst culprit, got a free pass. How did that come about?

All will be explained later in this piece.

THE MEMSAHIBS OF KNIGHTON AND CONSIDERATIONS OF CHICKENSHIT

This section is part digression, part lead-in.

A group that has figured on this blog a few times is a coven of Green-Left-Woke crones who’ve imposed themselves on the border town of Knighton. There are a few men associated with them, perhaps even more unhinged than their female comrades.

Catch up with them in Colonialism in microcosm, or Knighton.

They perform the full far left agenda:

Rather than doing the honest thing and just staying away altogether on Remembrance Sunday they insist on making a nuisance of themselves by placing wreaths of white poppies on the war memorial. (Dressed à la mode Michael Foot.)

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You will not be surprised to learn that these biddies have formed a Knighton and District Refugee Support Group. Reluctance to welcome with open arms complete strangers from far-off lands will see you labelled a ‘racist’.

An epithet also hurled at those not condemning the fascists of the Israeli state.

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The gang’s environmental credentials are on extravagant display with Sustainable Food Knighton. Which, in practice, is little more than a vendetta against a local chicken farm.

The attack is mounted on two fronts. One, it’s cruel to the chickens. Two, intensive chicken farms are a big, big source of river pollution.

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Without being able to consult the chickens it may be impossible to address the first point. The second is more relevant to this article because it’s used over and over again by environmental Non-Governmental Organisations (eNGOs).

Especially those that allege chicken farms in Powys are severely damaging the rivers Usk and Wye.

But what are the facts?

Well, for a start, there are more, and bigger, chicken farms in Shropshire and Herefordshire, as the map below shows. So if chicken shit is a problem in Wales then it could well be coming from over the border.

Then again, it might not be a problem at all. Or, it’s a problem that’s being exaggerated.

Knighton is circled in green. Note on which side of the border the chicken farms south of the town are to found. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

For anecdotal evidence suggests there are even more chicken farms in the Severn catchment area, the Trent catchment area, etc. But there are far fewer complaints from these areas.

Which could mean that either shit from Welsh chickens is particularly toxic – in which case every one of the little buggers should be killed immediately! – or there’s a purpose behind the lying.

It’s the latter.

A suspicion reinforced by the Environment Agency recently concluding that the bigger culprit in the Wye catchment is arable farmers, who are mainly found on the England side of the border.

Confirmed by this graphic released by the Environment Agency relating to the Wye in England. Note the section I’ve highlighted in the second level. The tributaries mentioned are also in England.

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Something also worth contributing here is that arable farmers use chicken manure as a fertiliser.

So even if chicken shit is the problem, it’s more likely to come from over the border; either directly from chicken farms or indirectly from arable farms.

And there’s yet another consideration to take into account. Certain interests are pushing us towards a meat-free diet, and in this scenario many view arable farmers as part of the solution. Which might explain them also getting a free pass.

The suspicion of an anti-livestock farming agenda being served was strengthened last month by a ‘report’ on BBC Wales about pollution on the Wye. One of the most biased pieces of television journalism I have ever seen.

Let me explain why I say that:

  • Passing references were made to sewage, but we were left in no doubt that the real culprits are farmers.
  • But only livestock farmers, with the programme focusing on one particular chicken farm.
  • There was no reference to the fact that the Wye is a cross-border river.
  • Despite being fronted by Wyre Davies the star of the show was Gail Davies-Walsh, who became CEO of Afonydd Cymru Cyf on February 22 2021, and secretary on March 11.
  • Afonydd Cymru (Rivers of Wales) serves as the umbrella body for the more local river groups.
  • Her Linkedin profile (here in pdf) tells us that until September she was Head of Natural Capital for the Wye and Usk Foundation‘. ‘Natural Capital’ seems to be code for, among other things, greenwashing. Certainly tree planting.
  •  Revealingly, Linkedin also tells us that Gail Davies-Walsh worked for Dŵr Cymru for almost 14 years, up until January 2020.
Gail Davies-Walsh. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Gail Davies-Walsh took the idea for the programme to the BBC. Which would raise more concerns about linkages, and influence.

Another who joined Afonydd Cymru recently is Harriet Alvis, (Linkedin in pdf) CEO at West Wales Rivers Trust, and co-editor of FISH, the magazine of the Institute of Fisheries Management.

More on both in a mo.

And the situation herein described is very much the same with more terrestrial eNGOs. ‘Environmentalists’ opposed to livestock farming take control of existing groups or set up new ones – and never go unfunded again!

A phenomenon reported on this blog many times. Try Enviroshysters flock to Wales for easy money, Invasion of the Enviroshysters (PG), or Back to the Land!.

TINKLING RILLS AND STREAMS OF POLLUTING CASH

Time now to turn our attention to the increasingly well-funded bodies looking after our various rivers, and we find new ones forming all the time. With the money available perhaps explaining the proliferation?

Here’s a table I’ve draw up, in pdf format (with working links) that I hope lists all the various river outfits operating in Wales. If you know one I’ve left out, then please let me know.

You’ll see that some are specific to one river while others are more general, some even claiming to be national in their scope.

Let me say at the outset, there are many genuine people involved in river trusts, boards, etc; not least, anglers, whose only concerns are for the health of our rivers, fish stocks, and other environmental matters.

But unfortunately, there are others, either looking out for themselves, or involved for a different purpose.

Go through the table I’ve linked to, particularly the ‘Comments’ section, and you’ll see substantial inputs of official funding in recent years.

Take the North Wales Rivers Trust for example. Total income in the year ending 31.03.2022 was £241,790. Of which £241,690 came in ‘Welsh Government’ grants.

From the Charity Commission entry under ‘Financial history. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

And it’s a similar story with other river bodies. Though much of the increase, instead of being shown as coming from ‘government grants’ or ‘government contracts’, is disguised as, ‘Income – charitable activities’ on the Charity Commission entry.

Such as here with the West Wales Rivers Trust. The Charity Commission graph shows income soaring from just £3,750 in y/e 31.03.2017 to £541,140 for y/e 31.03.2021.

That is one hell of a jump in just four years! One way of interpreting the big increase is the ‘Welsh Government’ – or Dŵr Cymru? – paying CEO Harriet Alvis’s salary.

Because don’t you find that strange?

A river group that has meandered happily along for 15 years suddenly needs a CEO.

Equally thought-provoking is Gail Davies-Walsh becoming CEO of Afonydd Cymru.

Making me wonder if Gail Davies-Walsh and Harriet Alvis were ‘placed’ in the West Wales Rivers Trust and Afonydd Cymru to push the ‘Welsh Government’s anti-farming campaign, and also to protect Dŵr Cymru.

For there is a certain ‘circularity’ to it all. ‘Welsh Government’ and Dŵr Cymru would no doubt explain the increase in funding by the ‘state of the rivers’, which then justifies the attack on livestock farming.

A ‘circularity’ made even more suspicious by the fact that these vast increases in funding occur at exactly the same time Lesley Griffiths was hatching the absurd and punitive NVZ legislation.

If I’m wrong then maybe someone can give another reason for our river bodies being showered with cash from 2016.

Back to the riverbank . . .

On the other side of the country the wealthy Wye and Usk Foundation’s income from government grants and contracts jumped from £404,950 in 2018 to £934,670 in 2020.

Not far away is the South East Wales Rivers Trust, which also saw its income more than double between 2017 and 2021. Explained as funding from, ‘Natural Resources Wales, Welsh Water, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, Welsh Government with European Funds’.

The ‘disguised grants’ I referred to earlier was money paid to Afonydd Cymru Cyf and then distributed to the individual water groups. Afonydd Cymru’s own accounts tell us ‘Income from government grants’ jumped from zero in 2019 to £894,700 in 2020.

Afonydd Cymru may operate like the Wales Council for Voluntary Action does in relation to the third sector. That is, acting as a conduit for ‘Welsh Government’ funding in the hope of disguising the source of the funding.

But the money filtered through Afonydd Cymru is small beer compared to the £13.8m up for grabs in the Four Rivers For Life project, administered by Natural Resources Wales. (Though £4.5m actually goes towards ‘quaking bogs’.) The four rivers being the Tywi, Teifi, Cleddau and – it should go without saying – the Usk.

This might explain the recent formation of the Save the Teifi campaign. Though information is difficult to find. For example, the social media links at the foot of the website home page don’t work.

This report in the Tivy-side Advertiser in August links the group with Ffynnone-Community Resilience and mentions ‘spokespersons’, but gives no names. Is it a secret society?

The only name mentioned in the Tivy-side article is ‘Councillor John Davies’. This must be ‘John Cwmbetws’, of Bute Energy’s Welsh Advisory Board. Bute being a Scottish company that wants to build twenty or more wind farms in Wales, some with the tallest towers yet seen on land.

Well connected, is John. In Llanelwedd, Corruption Bay, and other places.

The Ffynnone group might be trying to stay anonymous, but one name has been given to me. It’s Jessica McQuade who, I’m told, not long ago moved to Llandudoch, across the Teifi estuary from Aberteifi.

Her Twitter account confirms the link with the Save the Teifi campaign.

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What struck me was that McQuade and Harriet Alvis, the CEO at the West Wales Rivers Trust and, since last month, a director at Afonydd Cymru, are both followed by the Brecon Beacons Mega Catchment.

This is the group created by Dŵr Cymru following its link-up with the Watershed Agricultural Council in New York State, in the area that supplies New York City with water. I wrote about this group in my previous post. It’s another outfit with very little information publicly available.

But what is McQuade’s and Alvis’s connection with this Dŵr Cymru outfit? And with Dŵr Cymru itself?

Jessica McQuade’s Save the Teifi / Ffynnone group has already received ‘Welsh Government’ funding. She could be another one ‘placed’ to push the ‘Welsh Government’s anti-farming campaign / WEF’s Agenda 2030 and, of course, to shield Dŵr Cymru.

As I suggested earlier, all the money recently being splashing around, with a veritable tsunami of new funding approaching, may also explain the new groups springing up. Here are some more.

There’s the Cardiff Rivers Group, containing a few Sherman luvvies, set up in October 2020. Bay-watchers may recognise one or two of the trustees.

Then there’s the Welsh Rivers Union, which has a website, and a Twitter account from February last year, but seems to be unregistered as either a company or a charity.

Next, there’s the Wye Salmon Association, whose Twitter account started in September last year. This too seems unregistered.

Finally, and most recently, there’s Friends of the Upper Wye. Which registered as a charity in March this year.

Let me conclude this section with a tweet from Jessica McQuade who, you’ll remember, is busy with the Save the Teifi campaign since moving to north Pembrokeshire, but whose day job is with the World Wildlife Fund.

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Now why would the WWF be interested in food? And trust me – that is human food she’s referring to.

Because, gentle reader, the WWF is no longer about saving pandas; it is a full-on, far left organisation totally committed to the anti-farming and the anti-human – ‘reduce the population’ – agenda.

And also believe me when I tell you that the WWF wields great influence with the ‘Welsh Government’, and in the Bay more generally.

‘FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE FARMERS . . . ‘

The ‘Welsh Government’ – and, indeed, the Bay establishment – has bought into the UN’s Agenda 2030 and the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset.

Both posit that burping, farting farm animals are destroying the environment; so we should switch to eating plant-based foods, insects, and gunge marketed as ‘artificial meat’.

Obviously, this will mean many fewer livestock farmers in Wales. Perhaps none. But that’s no problem, because the land vacated is already earmarked for tree planting, rewilding, conservation projects and other activities from which Welsh people will be largely excluded unless needed for window-dressing.

To facilitate this clearance programme livestock farmers must be blamed for things that are not their fault. This frees Dŵr Cymru from criticism. An objective easy to achieve given the influence the water company wields within ‘Welsh Government’.

To ensure that everyone sings from the same hymn sheet the ‘Welsh Government’, Dŵr Cymru and other official bodies are more than willing to fund assorted eNGOs which, in return, may accept ‘appointees’.

What I’m alluding to is little different to Bill Gates funding the BBC, the Guardian, New York Times, CNN and countless other media outlets around the world. He doesn’t do it in defence of the truth, he does it to ensure the media he funds will promote his and the World Economic Forum’s agenda.

‘He who pays the piper calls the tune’.

Headlines like this, frightening people into obeying the WEF agenda, don’t come cheap. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Wales, being a poor country, and a corrupt, one-party state, with no effective political opposition, and no functioning media, is especially vulnerable to powerful forces seeking to impose an agenda.

If farmers can be defeated, and the food supply controlled by forces you will have difficulty identifying, let alone challenging, then we will have already lost. Because who controls the food supply controls the world.

It’ll be too late to complain when your car is confiscated, or when your access to your bank account is blocked because you said something on social media that somebody, somewhere, didn’t like.

So stand with the farmers, and stand up to those who threaten them. Because those who threaten the farmers also threaten you.

♦ end ♦

© Royston Jones 2022


Back to the Land!

After taking August off (and enjoying the break) I’m back to report on an event planned for later this month.

In fact, I enjoyed the break so much, and found writing this such hard going, that it might be a while before the next piece appears.

HOW IT BEGAN

A couple of weeks ago someone sent me news of a gathering to be held in the Community Centre, Knighton, on September 17, when many of us will be nursing hangovers from celebrating Glyndŵr’s Day.

Knighton Community Centre has been mentioned on this blog before, after falling into the clutches of white settler Labour activists; who now wage war on local farmers, welcome refugees to an area where they themselves are not universally welcome, and generally play latter-day left liberal colonialists.

For no longer is it Bible and bullets, now it’s saving us through a combination of uplifting sermons from the Rev Monbiot and those organic thingeys they eat at Felicity’s aerobic knife-throwing class.

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But I digress.

To expose the dishonesty behind this event I shall go through those named as being involved before concluding with . . . well, my conclusions. What else?

CAMPAIGN FOR THE PROTECTION OF RURAL WALES (CPRW)

Let’s start with some background. The CPRW has been pootling along for almost a century as a charity, but now things are changing. Most significantly, with the formation of a company in late May this year.

Though I’m assured there’s no significance to this other than the trustees ensuring they are not personally bankrupted by legal action against the CPRW.

Which also means that, at the moment, the CPRW has two charities with the same name registered with the Charity Commission. One will soon be closed.

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Previous CPRW presidents have included politician Megan Lloyd George and BBC broadcaster Wynford Vaughan Thomas. Clough Williams Ellis, of Portmeirion fame, was also deeply involved for many years as both chairman and president.

The current president of the CPRW is TV celeb Jules Hudson, who is believed to live in Herefordshire. Possibly Hertfordshire. But definitely not Wales. He’s famous for programmes like Escape to the Country and Countryfile.

In his favour, he has a Labrador called Iolo.

The chair of the Brecon & Radnor branch is Jonathan Halsey Luke Colchester, who has recently moved to Clyro. From where he runs his company, Courtenay Advisers Ltd.

I am informed by a very reliable source that the Brecon & Radnor branch of the CPRW is particularly hostile towards farmers.

That being so, why is the local CPRW branch organising a bash with the title ‘Welsh Food & Farming’? The answer to that question will become clear as you read on.

There are farmers, and there are farmers.

THE FERTILE CRESCENT

One of the CPRW’s recent recruits is associated with another new outfit, Friends of the Upper Wye (FUW), registered with the Charity Commission in March this year. (Though I’m assured she’s an admirable and well-intentioned lady.)

This will no doubt complement the Wye & Usk Foundation (WUF) which is about a lot more than just angling. The WUF is based in Talgarth, close to Coleg Soros.

Over the years the WUF has received millions in funding from or via the ‘Welsh Government’, much of it handed over by an official whose attitude to money might have been compared by my dear mamgu to that of an inebriated seafarer.

An amazing episode, with apparently no oversight whatsoever. It is even suggested that some favoured bodies didn’t even need to make an application – it was a case of, “Would you like some more money?”

OK, so it’s not exactly a crescent, but did I ever claim to be an artist? Click to open enlarged in separate tab

For the Fertile Crescent formed by the Usk and the Wye is something of a magnet for those seeking to save us benighted natives from ourselves. And for others with even less noble intent.

There’s yet another organisation, formed last year, in the Welsh Rivers Union (WRU), based on the Usk at Llanvihangel Gobion. This claims to be a collective of ‘citizen-funded’ community groups defending our rivers.

If it gets airborne it will be made up of the usual ‘community groups’ composed of people who were living somewhere else not so long ago.

Though as yet, it’s not registered as either a company or a charity. It may be just a website, and a Twitter account.

Oh, I almost forgot Afonydd Cymru Cyf, also based in Talgarth. Where income from government grants leapt like a returning salmon from £10,000 in 2018 to £894,704 in 2020.

Afonydd Cymru’s chair is Viscount Christopher Mills, of Kensington, who served as regional director of the Environment Agency in Wales (before the creation of Natural Resources Wales). Among the trustees is Joe Pimblett, CEO of the Severn Rivers Trust, based in Worcestershire.

When it comes to the Fertile Crescent even the Blesséd Monbiot has made a film, Rivercide (what a wit!), in which one of the supporting cast was Lesley Griffiths (sans Gary), and she reminded us that no matter what the facts may say, it’s always farmers wot we must blame.

St George thought the culprits were chickens, which appear at number 2, after humans, in his forthcoming opus, ‘Species To Be Exterminated If We Are To Save The Planet’. (Chickens have apparently deposed sheep in Monbiot’s demonography.)

Why this obsession with the Usk and the Wye? Is it because they’re close to Bristol? Or is their cross-border nature, demanding ‘co-operation’, the attraction?

Of course, there are rivers within Wales in far worse condition than the Wye and the Usk, so why are these ignored? Three reasons, perhaps.

First, these other rivers run through more populated areas with few stretches of open country attractive to those in search of a rural idyll, or intent on ‘habitat restoration’ (aka ‘rewilding’).

Second, while there may be areas meeting the criteria further west, there the Welsh language would be a consideration. And after the resistance to Summit to Sea the land-grabbers are wary of getting another bloody nose.

Third, they are entirely within Wales.

Never lose sight of the fact that for many, water quality is a stalking-horse, used against farmers so as to free up their land for other purposes. And the ‘Welsh Government’ wholeheartedly supports this agenda.

UPDATE: Here’s a recent example of pollution on the Wye that clearly has nothing to do with farmers.

LOCAL GROWERS AND FARMERS

A source informs me that the ‘local grower’ is the bloke from the organic food shop in Knighton, where you buy the knobbly carrots and the misshapen parsnips. Ach y fi!

(Though there may be others attending, more deserving of the billing.)

As for the ‘local farmers’, it seems these will both come from Herefordshire, which may be fairly local to Knighton (/Tref y Clawdd) but are not, unless we want to be irredentist about this, Welsh.

More pragmatically, whether we view Herefordshire as the ‘lost lands’ or not, the area will not be affected by any legislation or initiatives emanating from Corruption Bay.

Even so, to help give a fuller flavour of the event, I’ll tell you who they are.

One is ‘RegenBen’, of Townsend Farm, near Ross-on-Wye. Which, as the name suggests, is on the River Wye. Ben is a director of the Oxford Farming Conference, an organisation I’m told represents big landowners, yeoman farmers and the like.

(I was also told that a famous Welsh farmer went there to speak a few years ago, and has never felt more out of place.)

The makeup of the Oxford Farming Conference probably explains why a rival was set up in 2010 called the Oxford Real Farming Conference.

From what I can see the older body caters for those with inherited land while the upstart is more attractive for Greens looking to get their hands on someone else’s land. I wouldn’t be comfortable with either.

The other ‘local farmer’ is from ‘Wild by Nature’, of Lower House farm, just over the border from Llanthoney, close to Llanveynoe. (These corrupted spellings!)

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Looking at a map I see that both of them are close to the border, but neither is particularly ‘local’ to Knighton. The first is roughly 45 miles away, the second almost 50.

I suspect that both have been invited because they are well-connected, and have diversified into ‘artisanal’ food produce and other activities.

The Rhug Estate model, if you like.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve stopped many times at the Rhug restaurant and shop, and like some urchin from a Dickens novel gazed at goodies I can’t afford.

Rhug Estate shop. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Though ‘farm shop’ really is a misnomer. It suggests Mrs Evans in a shed at the bottom of the farm drive selling goods cheaper by cutting out the middle man. In reality it’s a place where the price of everything is marked up.

Few locals can afford to shop there. That’s why the Rhug ‘farm shop’ is on the A5.

Even so, I’m sure a farm shop can be a nice little earner, and so I wasn’t surprised to learn that ‘Wild by Nature’ already has one. While RegenBen’s website tells us: ‘Our plans are to share the fruits of our labour by opening a farm shop’.

There are of course some excellent farm shops in Wales. One is Bargoed Farm / The Moody Cow, near Aberaeron, run by the former owners of Gilestone Farm, and visited very recently by Conservative Senedd leader Andrew R T Davies MS.

But how many farm shops can Wales support?

SOIL ASSOCIATION

The Soil Association, headquartered in Bristol, is another of those English organisations that recognises the existence of Scotland, but not Wales. We, presumably, are part of England.

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The Soil Association is registered as both a company and a charity. And with an annual income of over £23m it is no shoestring outfit. Of course the Scottish Soil Association is registered separately in Scotland.

In addition, there is The Soil Association Land Trust ‘established to acquire and maintain farmland sustainably’. Which might be worth bearing in mind, and could explain The Soil Association’s interest in Wales, a country I’m sure it will quickly recognise if the ‘Welsh Government’ offers to buy it a farm.

NATURE FRIENDLY FARMING NETWORK

The company of that name was launched in July 2018. Though there has been quite a turnover of directors in the four years since then. Of the eight original directors, five have left, including two who were obviously Welsh.

NFFN has an impressive website, telling us of a Welsh Steering Group, with two group members serving as directors.

Here’s a page giving some responses from the Welsh Steering Group to the ‘Welsh Government’s Sustainable Farming Scheme that emerged in July.

Hilary Kehoe, the Chair, mentions the ‘changing climate’. Rhys Evans thinks the ‘devil will be in the detail’. But Hywel Morgan was ecstatic. I was not surprised to learn that Hywel is involved with the ‘Welsh Government’s Farming Connect scheme.

The Nature Friendly Farming Network is looking to hire a £29,000 a year Communications Officer. Having recently recruited a Farmer Engagement Officer on the same salary. But who’s funding these posts?

For the financial situation is not impressive. I appreciate that it’s a company limited by guarantee, but even so, I would have expected to see more than £69 in the kitty. Which is what the latest accounts (to y/e 30.06.2021) show.

Yes, NFFN has assets of £199,317, but this sum is exceeded by money owed to creditors.

On the ‘Nature Means Business‘ page we read: ‘Right now, farm businesses are facing a multitude of challenges: climate change, unpredictable weather patterns, changes to future farm payment schemes and adjusting to new consumer demands’.

To prioritise ‘climate change’ (when it’s becoming clear that climate change has been – at the very least – exaggerated), and then virtually repeat it with ‘unpredictable weather patterns’, before mentioning farm payments, is revealing.

With no mention at all of the threat from mandatory afforestation, farms being bought for greenwashing, and restrictions applied by politicians and administrations that are blatantly anti-farming.

These priorities are evident throughout the website. The image below is from the Fund Us page. And again it’s ‘climate in crisis’, ‘wildlife declining’, ‘habitats being lost’.

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The Nature Friendly Farming Network seems to be an environmental organisation that recruits farmers. There’s nothing wrong with that, farmers care deeply about the environment that provides livelihoods for them and their families.

But it’s a question of priorities. The first of which has to be supporting farmers – who will then look after the environment

STUMP UP FOR TREES

This organisation has appeared on this blog a number of times, so I won’t dwell on it again.

Based in Abergavenny Stump up for Trees is a greenwash outfit. It’s registered as a charity, and one of the three trustees is Richard James Roderick, who farms next to Gilestone.

By ‘greenwashing’ I mean that SUFT ‘saves the planet’ by planting trees in order for companies to offset their perceived ‘carbon footprint’, which allows them to go on putting out carbon. Its major partner seems to be Utility Warehouse.

Nonsense predicated on there being a ‘climate emergency’ (there isn’t); carbon being damaging to the environment (it’s not); and replacing agricultural land with sterile, monoculture pine forests making sense (it doesn’t).

Even so, Stump up for Trees seems to be well-regarded in Corruption Bay among the connoisseurs, practitioners and dispensers of flim-flam, bullshit, propaganda and other means of deceiving poor old Dai Public.

ABATTOIR SECTOR GROUP

This is yet another organisation based in Bristol and set up as recently as 2020. Though it’s not registered as either a company or a charity because it’s an offshoot of the Sustainable Food Trust.

The ABS is dedicated to keeping smaller, rural abattoirs open, and what carnivore (bares fangs!) could argue with that?

Parent body, the Sustainable Food Trust, is an international organisation with a wider remit to support ‘sustainable farming’. By which I assume that it seeks to avoid the wrath of the swivel-eyed with a modified kind of farming that’s less damaging to Mother Earth.

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It is, as I say, based in Bristol, and I see no mention of Wales on the website. The only Welsh connection I can find is founder Patrick Holden, an organic dairy farmer from the Lampeter area.

Holder is a founder of Sustainable Food Trust and current CEO. He was a former director of the Soil Association.

OUR FOOD

You may need to pay attention with this one. For just as with the previous section we have an organisation operating under a different label. There’s even a third label.

Let’s start with the Our Food website. Scroll down and you’ll read: A project of the Conservation Farming Trust Company Number 10823532′. Which the Companies House website confirms as the number for Conservation Farming Trust.

On the Our Food website we also read: ‘This website was built with support from Monmouthshire County Council, the Brecon Beacons National Park, and the Welsh Government. It is part of a process to build a new campaign in the region to secure 1200 acres for regenerative horticulture for local markets.’

The Our Food 1200 website confirms that the figure refers to the acreage the new organisation hopes to be given. At the time of writing 24 acres had been donated. Though, in fairness, Our Food 1200 was only launched in January. It’s registered as a Community Benefit Company.

Let’s go back to the parent organisation, Conservation Farming Trust. The registered office address is in London, and the three directors live in Ireland (1) and England (2). So no Welsh connections there.

And yet, it seems the only funding Our Food gets is from Welsh sources.

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This funding is presumably justified because Our Food 1200 is looking for Welsh land to be donated. This looks very much like One Planet Developments rebranded. (I’m sure I read a reference to ‘OPD’ on the website.)

As with OPDs, those we’ll find on these over-sized allotments are unlikely to be local. So why are we funding it?

And is it a safe bet? I ask because a driving force behind it all seems to be Duncan Mark Fisher, who serves as both secretary and a member of Our Food 1200. Companies House suggests Fisher’s business record is ‘patchy’, to say the least.

The Conservation Farming Trust may have no connection with Wales, but Our Land, and certainly Our Land 1200, are trying to put down roots. Maybe they’re hoping someone will buy them a farm!

More planet-savers promoting climate hysteria, with the ‘Welsh Government’ and others happy to go along with this exploitative, colonialist nonsense.

LANDWORKERS’ ALLIANCE

What you’ve read thus far has been unadulterated, unsubstantiated and unconvincing bullshit (however sincere some of those promoting it), but this final section outdoes it all. For we are now with the horny-handed sons of toil, straight out of The Grapes of Wrath.

Or those who would imagine themselves so to be.

For I now direct your attention to the Landworkers’ Alliance. Scroll down and you’ll see that this crew aligns itself with the International Peasants Movement. (I’m afraid I let my membership lapse.)

When you join you get given a pitchfork and the addresses of local landlords. (Bastards!)

When Dominic and Eugenie re-imagine themselves as peasants you know you’ve gone so far down the rabbit-hole that you run the risk of being shot by an Australian farmer.

And doesn’t it count as cultural appropriation?

The Landworkers’ Alliance was formed in 2015, and has its registered address in Dorset. Here’s the Companies House entry.

The ‘accounts’ – as with all the outfits I’ve dealt with here – are vague, being little more than unaudited statements. Though I can tell you that the latest such statement (y/e 30.09.2020) gives assets at £151,507 (previous year £66,523). But with no indication of where the money came from.

It would also appear to be a Woke organisation. For which we should be thankful, because trans peasants are never far from my thoughts. (I hope it’s the same for you!)

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The directors are resident in England and Scotland with the exceptions of Katharine Anne McEvoy and Gerald Davies Miles, both residents of Pembrokeshire. The former seems to live in Newport, with the latter to be found at Caerhys Organic Community Agriculture (COCA), near St David’s.

I feel a tear well in old Jac’s eye, for we may finally have found a genuine Welsh farmer! Though whether he’ll be in Knighton is another matter.

Looking briefly at the ‘accounts’ for COCA, or rather, the ‘statement of financial position’, we see a paltry £3,154 for y/e 31.03.2022.

I suspect that COCA is a virtue-signalling side-line, with Caerhys farm itself run as a commercial – if organic – agricultural business, including bed & breakfast.

But the irony.

We have sought for centuries to escape being peasants, in our own country; now we face an invasion of land-hungry Green-Left-Woke carrot-growing poseurs wanting to play at being peasants . . . in our country.

CONCLUSION

The sad truth is that farmers have been badly treated under devolution. And it’s happened in identifiable stages.

It began in 1999 with Labour taking control of the new Assembly. A Labour Party in which too many saw farmers as landowners, and therefore capitalists. Though anyone who can lump together a struggling Welsh hill farmer and the Duke of Westminster really does have a problem.

This encouraged others to join in. I’m thinking now of the environmentalists, the planet savers. Though all too often it was their own interests, and the interests of their cronies, that were being served, not those of the planet.

Chief among them was Jane Davidson, Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing from 2007 to 2011. When her Labour Party was in coalition with Plaid Cymru.

Davidson, a wealthy and privately-educated Englishwoman, was determined to impose her will on us, for the benefit of others like her, no matter what the cost. To us.

Thanks to Davidson we saw TAN 6 in July 2010, the ‘Hippies’ Charter’, which allows English drop-outs to build what they like, where they like.

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In January 2014, Alun Davies, the Minister for Natural Resources and Food, announced that 15% of CAP funding would in future be transferred from Pillar One (i.e. farmers) to Pillar 2 (rural development projects).

‘Rural Development Projects’ means those self-serving ‘community’ schemes dreamed up by Jane Davidson’s friends that benefit no one else.

Wales was further blessed, just a year later, with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. Here you see the Act’s objectives, with my comments.

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This legislation is another example of the Left window dressing a looted store (after inciting the looters with talk of ‘victimhood’ and ensuring the police didn’t get involved.)

Bullshit dreamed up to please enviroshysters and pressure groups. Which has achieved nothing for us Welsh. But it allows the ‘Welsh Government’ to say: ‘We were the first government in the world . . . ‘.

And that, for our politicians, is all that really matters.

More recently, we saw Lesley Griffiths (and Gary), introduce legislation to curb pollution of Welsh waterways. This problem is localised, and there are many culprits, including water companies.

But Lesley (and Gary) pretended to believe that the problem is national, and that farmers are solely to blame.

If you believe that traditional farming methods contribute to anthropogenic global warming, then the sensible approach would have been to sit down with farmers and work out a better way forward.

Instead, and from the outset, Labour politicians chose vilification, lies, confrontation, punishment.

An approach that becomes inconsistent, even sinister, when we think again about Knighton on the 17th. Where ‘Welsh Government’ representatives will be rubbing shoulders with lots of . . . well, farmers.

Clearly, the ‘Welsh Government’ has no problem with farmers as such, so perhaps the problem is only with Welsh farmers.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Miscellany 07.07.2022

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

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

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

Capice?

WHERE WILL ALL THE TURBINES GO?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the response I received to my FoI.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WILD WEST SHOW?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

O tempora! O mores!

ABERDYFI EXECUTIVES MUST BE HOUSED!

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

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

Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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

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

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

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

So stick that up your Bullring!

LLANBEDR BY-PASS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TIR NATUR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STOP PRESS!

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

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

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

Are they now destined for Wales?

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

GILESTONE FARM, AGAIN

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

Here’s one. Here’s another.

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

Julie James. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LABOUR PARTY FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On June 8 I sent this e-mail:

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

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

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

‘WELSH GOVERNMENT’ FUNDS NATIONAL TRUST

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

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

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

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

Many of whom will be Welsh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GREEN HOUSING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I may return to this subject.

NO COAL

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

It is rarely if ever burned.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STUMP UP FOR TREES, INTERTWINING

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

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

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

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

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

But who do we see there!

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

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

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

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

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

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

MORE TREES . . . OR ELSE!

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

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

It wasn’t always so.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which brings us up to date.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet more bloody connections!

To explain . . .

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

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

But plenty of Welsh funding.

‘Plus ça change . . . ‘.

UKRAINE AND THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

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

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

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

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

But the mainstream media largely ignores this!

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

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

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

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

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

ENLARGED SENEDD

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

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

To explain . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

♦ end ♦

© Royston Jones 2022