I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.
This week’s offering concerns Home Office payments made with a procurement card, which is a government equivalent of a company charge card for smaller payments.
THE UNACCEPTABLE FACE OF TOURISM
I became aware of this mystery when I saw a tweet last week from Nigel Ó Ceallacháin. (Otherwise known as Nigel Callaghan.) Here it is.
So that’s a total of £3,450.00 spent by the Home Office on Ynys Môn in 2020. There may have been further spending in 2021, but I don’t think the figures have been published yet. They’re possibly published quarterly.
You’ll see that the payee is identified as ‘Trearddur Bay Holiday’, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. What I mean is, there’s no such company listed with Companies House. So what does it mean?
The search is complicated by the fact that the information provided by the Home Office shows a number of incomplete names in the payee column. Suggesting a spaces limit (22?), which then suggests that ‘Trearddur Bay Holiday’ is itself incomplete.
With this in mind, there are a number of possibilities for the identity of the payee.
Though when I tried to find Blackthorn Farm on the Land Registry website I was unlucky – because it’s still registered as Y Ddraenen Ddu. And it was bought last October by Marcus Brook Ltd of Warrington for £1,380,000.00.
Sandown Properties has another website called Anglesey Holiday Homes where Tuke has written: “The other factor that has influenced prices here and demand has been the Lake District’s decision to ban high speed craft from Windermere. All the skiers and powerboat racers have been looking for an alternative base and many have ended up in north Wales.”
Yes, folks, this is the ‘Welsh tourism industry’ we are all asked to support – foreign ownership, changing Welsh names to English, and selfish twats on jet skis.
So was Richard Tuke the recipient of the Home Office money? Or was it linked in some way to the purchase of Y Ddraenen Ddu by Marcus Brook Ltd? (Run by William Marcus Brook Spencer.)
Even though there’s no company ‘Trearddur Bay Holiday’, if there’s a bank account in the name of Trearddur Bay Holiday Homes then that might account for the Home Office payments.
Another possibility must be the website Trearddur Bay Holiday Cottages, on which Sykes Holiday Cottages of Chester acts as an agent for those with holiday properties to rent. (It’s how I rent out my portfolio of holiday homes.)
Skimming through the properties on offer at Trearddur Bay Holiday Cottages my attention was drawn to a name that sounded familiar. That property being Cerrig, at Rhoscolyn. So why did it ring a bell?
Jake was big buddies with PM Boris Johnson, though some say they fell out last year. Either way, Jake Berry is still a well-connected Tory MP with a number of properties on the island. He could therefore been the recipient of that Home Office funding.
The problem with the Jake Berry possibility is the same as with Richard Tuke in that there is no company called Trearddur Bay Holiday. This is important because it seems that the payees listed on the Home Office website are company names.
Either well known companies like Amazon, Rentokil, Sports Direct, Milwaukee Power Tools, Argos, or smaller outfits that you’ve never heard of. But they’re all traceable companies or services.
Which only makes the ‘Trearddur Bay Holiday’ payment more of a mystery. Unless it’s possible to pay the Trearddur Bay Holiday Cottages website for the properties it advertises.
The local MP is Virginia Crosbie, elected in the December 2019 general election. Crosbie rushed to Jake Berry’s defence last year when it was suggested he had broken Covid lockdown to stay with his family at Rhyd-y-Bont, another Ynys Môn property he owns.
Berry and his wife bought Rhyd-y-Bont in November 2018 for £780,000. No mortgage was needed. No mortgage was needed either for the London property they bought in February 2017 for £2.15m.
The reason I’m introducing Crosbie is that there was some mystery over where she was living in her constituency, or if she was living there at all. Some locals – and there can’t be many left! – said she was renting a property from Jake Berry. Which would make sense; after all, he’s got a few to spare and we know he rents them out.
This stands out because Crosbie’s other donations, totalling £19,000, have all come from ‘unincorporated members’ associations’ – such as the United and Cecil Club – which have been so generous to Jake Berry over the years.
So, why would a company of property consultants, operating in the most exclusive areas of London, give two grand to the MP for faraway Ynys Môn?
I know what you’re thinking, Charles McDowell expects something in return, but it’s difficult to see what Crosbie could offer because she’s not exactly a high flier. Yes, she’s a Personal Private Secretary (PPS) to the Department of Health and Social Care, but I can’t see that being of any interest to a posh West London estate agents.
The only other post of note is her membership of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee. But would Charles McDowell Properties be interested in this?
Whatever the answer, is this donation to Virginia Crosbie from Charles McDowell Properties linked with the Home Office payments to ‘Trearddur Bay Holiday’?
For example, how do these Home Office payments square with lockdown? The payments for July 2020 would seem to be OK, Wales was open for business. Turning to the November payment, this too would have been OK because it’s dated 24th, and pubs, restaurants and cafes re-opened and travel restrictions were lifted on the 9th.
But would the Home Office really be paying for someone’s holidays? Or could it be someone’s rent?
Another possibility offered in comments to my earlier post on this blog is that these payments represent Home Office involvement with asylum seekers:
“Probably the Alouette (MI5 nickname for a dark horse). This is the posh lady with long face and big teeth who works as a fixer and reporting directly to the Home Secretary. When there’s a cock-up she arrives with credit cards. Previous examples include underpants from Primark in Folkestone for asylum seekers shipped to immigration hearings without underwear and PPE from a cosmetics firm in Oxford when MPs turned up for an AstraZeneca briefing without facemasks. The cost and proximity to Holyhead Port suggest that Alouette flashed her Amex card to fix something.”
The “proximity to Holyhead” must make this a possibility, but asylum seekers are unlikely to be using this route, surely? This was explained in a further comment:
“Feral juveniles of Tunisian nationality, unmasked as not being Syrian, those of illegal immigration status, often play the system. Claiming family in Ireland is common. Those rejected at the border then cease to be the responsibility of Serco, the delivery contractors, who have their own arrangements. These children usually fall under the wing of the social services department of the local authority, who also have their own arrangements.”
One final question: Are these Home Office payments still being made?
I’m sorry to leave you with so many questions, I normally give answers. But in this case I’m sure someone out there, perhaps on Ynys Môn, knows the answers I’m seeking. If so, please get in touch.
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
This week’s piece takes us all over the place to meet interesting characters. Most you’ll be familiar with, but there are some new faces.
JAKE BERRY MP
We start with someone you all know, Ynys Môn landowner and MP for Rossendale and Darwen, Jake Berry.
I’ve written about Berry a number of times. It started when it was reported that, in May, during the first lockdown, he had broken the rules and gone to ground at his holiday home in Rhoscolyn. Yet still travelled regularly to London and his constituency.
This did not go down well in No 10 and he was almost certainly reprimanded. (If not debagged and radished.)
So, on Saturday, he appeared in the Times with a ‘good man hard done by’ piece in the hope of gaining sympathy and detracting attention from his perceived treachery. (Unfortunately, it’s behind a paywall.)
I have little interest in the machinations of the Conservative and Unionist Party, but in his orgy of self-pity he pointed a finger at those who had criticised his earlier behaviour, and in doing so he made some wild accusations.
The issue was not that he was a ‘newcomer’; the issue was breaking lockdown restrictions and lying about it. Or getting local MP, Virginia Crosbie, to lie for him.
As for the alleged threats to “burn the house down”, who made these threats? Or maybe the question should be – Did anybody make such a threat?
I invite North Wales Police to clarify whether or not they warned Jake Berry that he was a target for arsonists.
But even if he believed he was a target, why would Berry take a pickaxe handle to bed? It would be useless in the event of a fire.
The story took life on Twitter. With what seemed to be mainly anti-abortion Anglo-Catholics jumping in to support Berry, slag off the NHS (for the treatment of Berry’s wife), and of course attack would-be arsonists.
Among them was ‘Petra’. The account looks like a bot, but it still pointed me out as one of the “Ultra-nationalists”. Done in two tweets; or rather, the second seems to be the first re-written.
Anyway, on Saturday afternoon Gwlad put out a statement making it clear that neither that party nor I had made any threat against Jake Berry.
If Jake Berry believes his business dealings should remain private, if he thinks Welsh people should be ignorant of his growing property portfolio, if he believes rules are for little people, if he can’t take criticism, then he shouldn’t be an MP.
Saturday afternoon was a bit hectic, what with me trying to take in what Berry was suggesting while also watching the rugby (we lost), keeping up with the Swans score (won 2 – 0), and doing a few other things.
And then, by a strange coincidence, and to complicate matters further, I received unrelated information from a source in Berry’s constituency. To explain . . .
In a previous post I wrote about secret funders to the Conservative Party, The Portcullis Club and The United and Cecil Club. These are unincorporated associations, a legal loophole that allows funding to reach the party without anyone knowing the origin of that money.
The money usually goes to the constituency association, but not always. Sometimes it takes devious routes, such as we read about in this story. (‘Aide to Grant Shapps’! God Almighty! Imagine having to put that on your CV.)
I’ve dealt with similar deceits in my earlier pieces on Berry.
Other underhand donations came from The Portcullis Club that year but without the name of the constituency. Though using the same London address.
But then, in 2017, The Portcullis Club seems to have found a local base at Whins House, near Clitheroe. The first mention I can find of Whins House in that connection is here (click on left hand column again). Though strangely, it’s just The Portcullis Club, with no mention of Rossendale and Darwen.
So, what do we know about Whins House?
Well, it’s not just The Portcullis Club that can be found there, for it was the original address for Palatine Hill Ltd. The officers / directors of which are Maria Bernadette Duckworth, Ford Bridge Farm Ltd, Duckworth Estate Company Ltd, with Paul Worrall Fitton as secretary.
So who are they?
Maria Bernadette Duckworth lives – or formerly lived – at Whins House, along with hubby Andrew John Duckworth. Ford Bridge Farm Ltd – aka Rhyd y Bont – is the company of Mr and Jake Mrs Berry, with their solicitor Fitton again serving as secretary. Duckworth Estate Company Ltd is, predictably, the Duckworths’ company.
The linked companies with stakes in each other make it clear the Duckworths and the Berrys are close. With the Duckworths being quite happy to use their home address for the channelling to Jake Berry of funding from God knows where.
I’m sure their local MP will therefore find some way to return the favour in his friends’ hour of need. Perhaps he’ll add Whins House to his property portfolio.
This section takes us back a bit, to the days before Natural Resources Wales, when our woodlands were the responsibility of Forestry Commission Wales. It also takes us back to the time before OPDs were legalised with TAN 6, published in July 2010.
And it brings Objective One funding into the mix, reminding us how most of that EU funding was squandered.
The website tells us: “Having run an organic fruit vegetable holding at Henparcau for over 15 years, we decided to give the lands and ourselves a rest in 2010 after a frozen winter where we lost our winter crops we refocused towards the woodland work.”
This change of course was possible thanks to the acquisition of Ffynone and Cilgwyn woodland, part of the old Ffynone estate. Over 300 acres then in the stewardship of Forestry Commission Wales, which was distributing some of the Objective One bonanza under a scheme called Cydcoed.
In this report Nick Powell of ITV Wales quotes someone describing Cydcoed as, ‘one of the most successful Objective One programmes that ran in Wales … it used woodlands to provide new jobs and opportunities, promote healthy recreation, education and conservation’. It boasts that ‘more than 160 community groups across some of the poorest areas of Wales benefited’.
The subsequent criticism hinged on that term, ‘community group’. For Calon yn Tyfu may have called itself a workers co-operative but it was in fact a private company run by a husband and wife and a third person.
These being Robert David McDowell – who seems to have signed all the company documents I’ve found – Kate Maria Moore, and Andrew Peter Lowe, ‘Laird of Camster’. (In much the same way as I am Tsar of All the Russias.)
Calon yn Tyfu obtained the woodland in 2007 . . . with an Objective One (Cydcoed) grant of £502,000 from Forestry Commission Wales! Just think about that – FCW gave public money to a gang of good-lifers so they could buy public property.
We know that Objective One funding was wasted in Wales thanks to the Labour Party and Plaid Cymru being ideologically opposed to enterprise and business, but there can be few examples of such blatant and indefensible waste.
In total, £18m was dished out under the FCW Cydcoed scheme. And what do we have to show for it?
Manordeifi community council was so unimpressed by the deal that it petitioned the Welsh Assembly which referred the matter to the Auditor General for Wales.
She concluded that no rules had been broken. Which might suggest it was no surprise that schemes for distributing Objective One cash wasted money.
The Auditor General also noted that, “Calon yn Tyfu have made a commitment to dedicate the site under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, which should allow public access to the woodland in perpetuity.”
I’ve searched the Calon Tyfu website but I can’t find any reference to such a commitment. Has it been made?
If not, then in 2027, the company will be able to sell off at a very handsome price what it was given for nothing. That said, ownership in all but name now seems to be exercised by Dutch bank Triodos N V.
In April 2015 Calon yn Tyfu went back to Triodos. This time taking out a loan against the Ffynone woodland. The title document tells us that in 2007 Calon yn Tyfu paid £460,000 for this forest (out of the £502,000 grant from Forestry Commission Wales).
I believe that the money borrowed from Triodos was used, later that year, to purchase Hen Parcau – where Calon yn Tyfu had always been based – for £225,000. That’s what the title document suggests. And although the loan was taken out in the name of the company the house is registered in the name of Robert David McDowell.
The third engagement with Triodos begins on 21 April, 2015, the same day as the second, but leads to a hearing at the County Court in Swansea in October, and what is described as a ‘Charles Court order’. (No doubt, someone will explain.)
This would appear to give Triodos a claim against the whole Calon yn Tyfu operation.
Now were that to happen, then McDowell would still have enjoyed the income from almost 20 years of forestry operations. And of course he would also have the dwelling, Hen Parcau, and the land around it. And it won’t have cost him a penny!
For their part, Dutch bank Triodos will be happy because they’ll own over 300 acres of Wales.
So, everybody’s a winner! Not quite, because of course we Welsh have lost out again. Not only have we lost a bit more of our homeland, but those useless bastards down in Corruption Bay paid somebody to take it over!
I’ve referred to Calon yn Tyfu as envirobollocks, and so it is. A pretentious precursor to the One Planet nonsense. How else are we to read:
“We are interested in working towards a sustainable future, survival cooperation is the concept of exploring what might be required to survive in a post-industrial world and exploring the process of cooperation that we can start with now that will lead us towards a sustainable path.”
“Post-industrial world”, be buggered! There are hundreds of thousands of Welsh families living in a post-industrial world of managed decline created by the Labour Party and Plaid Cymru, parties that have fallen over themselves to favour shysters like those we see at Calon yn Tyfu.
Having mentioned OPDs I have to introduce ‘Dr’ Jane Davidson. And provide further proof that she is indeed the mother goddess of the OPD firmament, worshipped by those who toil below filling out grant application forms.
A good source tells me, “She (Davidson) does claim that she wrote OPD into TAN 6 expressly to help Lammas rather than interfere in their planning application directly as a then minister”.
What this means is that we suffer OPDs for no better reason than Jane Davidson wanted to help the eco-colonists at Lammas.
When it was suggested that Planning Policy Wales – which TAN 6 supplements – could be used to help farm succession, Davidson is said to have sneered, “I didn’t write that policy for farmers!”. (With the emphasis on farmers.)
‘Dr’ Davidson became an Assembly Member in 1999. It’s reasonable to assume that she was acquainted with the crew at Calon yn Tyfu. Did she have a hand in this incredible waste of money?
Now we head north to Plas Gwynfryn / Gwynfryn Plas, just outside Lloyd George’s village of Llanystumdwy on Llŷn. I’ve written about it a number of times in recent months so you might want to search for what I’ve written and catch up.
The old mansion ended up as a hotel and is now just a ruin following a fire in 1982. Some suggest the fire was arson.
A curious development has been this advert for 17 acres of woodland on the right-hand side of the drive leading up to the Plas. That is, opposite the gate house.
Because if we refer to the Land Registry title document, and scroll down to the plan, we see something odd. The strip in yellow cuts right across the drive, and as A2 in the title document talks of “a good and substantial stockproof fence” it suggests that the drive is effectively blocked! There is certainly no mention of a gate.
Another curious feature is that no one in the area knows the owners of this 17 acres. They bought it less than a year ago and are selling it for less than they paid.
I remember calling one morning, planning to take Barri for a pint, but he was boycotting the local pubs (or possibly he was banned). So we sat there, him unshaven, in his underpants. By midday he was on his third can of Guinness. He looked at me and said, “I don’t understand why I can’t pull the women any more, Jac”.
I was lost for words. I just sat there and nodded. God bless you, Barri.
I have no idea why Varley and his partner bought the woodland in the first place or why they’re selling it. And as for the ‘stockproof’ fence across the driveway . . . your guess is as good as mine. I’m open to suggestions.
But it might have had a knock-on effect. Because reports tell that the owner of the land around the old pile, Philip Andrew Bush, of Kent, has been a busy boy of late. He has been harassing neighbours and threatening to knock down a wall that has been in place since 1948 so that he can open up what he claims is a right of way.
He made no answer when asked why he couldn’t use the driveway.
The truth is of course that even if Bush had access via the driveway it would not be enough for the highways department to agree to the planned 30 residential units in the old Plas. Or perhaps that should read, on the site of the Plas, because it’s in a poor state of repair.
For planning permission to be given for 30 residential units when the only entrance / exit is so close to a junction is not going to happen. (Click here for image.) The council will insist on two entrances, or one entrance and one exit.
Another reason Bush insists on reclaiming his alleged right of way is to gain access to the old laundry, which he says he plans to renovate.
And the best of luck with that. First, because the old laundry has almost collapsed. Second, because it was purpose-built as a laundry, to serve the Plas, and has been used for no other purpose, which means a ‘change of use’ will probably be required.
Regular readers will recall that Bush kept the Gwynfryn land after selling the old pile to his good buddy, Aaron Hill, who we’ve encountered before in connection with the crooks at Bryn Llys – who appear in the next section!
The word is that Hill has sold the chapel he was living in in Bontnewydd and his whereabouts are unknown. Though a dicky bird tells me that Hill and Bush have a project planned in Scotland, and that Hill might have already taken the high road.
I know I have readers in Scotland, so be on your guard for Aaron Hill and Philip Bush, two not-to-be-trusted Sassenachs.
I conclude this section with another curiosity. If you go to the Google map for Llanystumdwy, grab the little yellow man, and try to place him on the road that runs past the woodlands that are now for sale, and you’ll find that the road is somehow closed.
I’m assured by locals that this stretch of road has always been visually ‘accessible’ on Google maps before. How strange!
Never a dull moment with the Bryn Llys gang.
Let’s start with another court appearance, this one by erstwhile rocker Shane Baker, aka ‘ShakingShane’ (or variants thereof) when he wants to comment on newspaper reports.
He was up before the bench in Caernarfon on Monday last week charged with criminal damage caused whilst driving a large excavator from Bryn Llys to the main road where a buyer was collecting it. He might just be a poor driver or, more likely, this was another crude attempt to widen the access to Bryn Llys.
Baker’s fines and costs came to £660.
His boss, professional fraudster Jonathan Duggan, was in attendance. As was a barrister! For people with no money these buggers seem able to afford everything.
Duggan’s attempts to persuade authorities he’s a farmer continue. A source writes:
“Mr. Duggan has brought more animals onto Bryn Llys, cows, pigs and goats – he is probably going to claim that he is a farmer to justify his road. His goats have already broken a fence and escaped onto neighbouring land as there is no grass left at Bryn Llys.
The neighbouring land owner complained to the police that he was intimidated by a group of people from Bryn Llys and its collection of sheds and caravans as he and a helper returned the animals to the Bryn Llys land and repaired the fence.
I understand that a large police officer visited Bryn Llys over the incident and was subjected to a torrent of swearing and abuse by Mr. Duggan who was told that everything was being recorded by the officer’s camera and it would appear on the police log dealing with the Community Protection Notice warning already served on Mr. Duggan.
Bryn Llys has already had a visit from the RSPCA after someone who came to buy a horse was so shocked about conditions that they contacted the RSPCA. The place is overstocked with animals, hardly a blade of grass and the animal sheds are full of human beings.
What looks like a bird hide with windows has been erected by the lake which was recently dug – I expect that Bryn Llys will be claiming to be promoting wildlife after destroying much of the habitat.”
This report reminds us that quite a settlement is developing at Bryn Llys in various sheds and caravans. All crooks from over the border. How long will this be allowed to continue?
Oh, yes . . . the ‘bird hide’ blew down in last weekend’s storm.
But never mind all that, would you like a holiday at Bryn Llys? Or rather, Snowdon Summit View. You – yes, you – can “win a 3 or 4 night stay in our luxury holiday home in North Wales”. Here’s the Facebook page on which you’ll find the details.
So if you want to spend a few days surrounded by criminals, kept awake at night by starving animals, enter the competition.
The blurb says, “set within 30 acres of woodland”. Actually, there is no woodland at all. In fact, there is hardly any grass – that’s why the animals break out onto neighbours’ land looking for something to eat.
Bryn Llys / Snowdon Summit View is a wasteland, a lunar landscape. The nearest trees are in a conifer plantation across the river on someone else’s property. Even the images used on the FB page make it clear there are no trees.
These bastards just can’t stop lying.
Though there is a funny side. Someone set up a phoney competition using the same details. Here’s the link.
I hope GogPlod has its finest detectives working on the case to protect the reputations of Jon Duggan, Shane Baker and the other shy and retiring souls at the Snowdon Summit View Meditation Centre.
A WANDERING SHYSTER I (after Gilbert & Sullivan)
I am indebted to a source in Powys for bringing to my attention a would-be impresario by the name of Darren Knipe. Darren has plans for the old library in Knighton.
For he organises things, events and the like. Every community should have a Darren. In fact, it seems that every community in Wales does have one, and at least one. They appear as if by magic when they sniff funding in the air.
As I say, Darren now has plans for Knighton’s old library. It’s all explained on the Facebook page. So let’s go through what it offers.
Darren plans, “an accredited training centre in Community Event Management”. To be funded by . . . The governments new scheme, kickstart . . . the lost generation of 16-25 yr olds . . . making over £3bn available to pay 6 months salary and training”.
He continues . . . “We will be working with Welsh Council of Voluntary Associations (WCVA) as our gateway partner, and will use a mix of mortgages, loans, and Social Enterprise grants to purchase building and startup costs.”
This is clearly an opportunity that Knighton cannot miss, and Darren warns, “I can run this anywhere, and currently looking at Newtown and Welshpool as options, which will be Knighton’s loss.”
I don’t know how to break this to you, Darren, but I suspect you wouldn’t be missed if you carried out your threat.
Now the thing about Darren is that he has history in these imaginative schemes. Which means that when Darren talks grant-grabbing bollocks he does so with some authority.
Though his business career has not been a cloudless sky.
Last year there was the attempt at crowdfunding, which raised . . . sod all! The money was wanted to teach people how to party. No doubt he does a sideline teaching cats how to catch mice.
In his favour, Darren does get about, though success is never a travelling companion.
A tool I use is 192.com and when I checked for Darren Knipe I came up with 14 results, 8 of which I suspect are him. His stay in Pembrokeshire ended in bankruptcy in 2003 or 2004.
From there he seems to have moved up to Aberystwyth before operating for a while at Llandegla, just west of Wrecsam. I’m told another bankruptcy or insolvency resulted.
In Llandegla we find Datcloud Ltd, where his partner was a Duncan Charles Ion. The company was formed in August 2014, with Knipe making it to the lifeboat in August 2015 before the good ship Datcloud went down.
Another information technology launch that had them quaking in Silicon Valley was Hootso Ltd. It filed as a dormant company and was eventually put down earlier this year.
Then there’s Dark Olive CIC. (The CIC he refers to on Facebook?) Now, chwarae teg, the latest accounts show a gross profit of £33,985.82, but it was almost all swallowed up in salaries, expenses and other running costs.
The website seems a little ‘threadbare’, as if he had one gig in 2018 and that was it.
The latest venture in which he’s involved, set up in March, is Robins Retreat Ltd, which sees our hero team up with the eponymous Robin Wealleans of Llanybydder. They can rest easy in Silicon Valley and Hollywood because this latest venture is in the holiday business.
Though anyone who thinks there are mountains in Carmarthenshire really should stop taking whatever makes him imagine them. It’s as bad as Duggan’s woodland.
In addition to Robins Retreat Ltd there is also Robins Realm Ltd, but Knipe is not involved in this one. Though I would have expected to see him on board another of Wealleans’ new companies as it could be named for him – My Catastrophe Ltd.
Listen to me, Darren . . . stop fantasising about being Knighton’s (publicly-funded) Jean-Michel Jarre and just get a real bloody job.
Was any country that hadn’t been militarily invaded and taken over ever cursed with so many undesirable outsiders?
But they come, and they keep coming, because we have politicians that encourage some of these buggers and do nothing to stop the others. Worse, they even fund them!
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
Envirocolonialism may not be a term you’re familiar with, but I’ve coined it to describe two separate but linked phenomena.
The first of which is companies from outside of Wales building wind farms, wave power installations, and other facilities, that provide few if any jobs for Welsh people and contribute little or nothing to the Welsh economy.
The second is eco-warriors of various hues, including ‘rewilders’, also from outside of Wales, demanding land and funding to put into practice what are often insane schemes working against the interests of Welsh people and their communities. Or simply milking the funding system.
Yet both these forms of envirocolonialism are encouraged by the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’, which dresses up this exploitation as an economic strategy by which Wales will become prosperous while also saving the planet.
This lie, and the ugly colonialism it disguises, must be exposed and rejected.
‘BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND’
Last week the Guardian told us that the Crown Estate had given permission to a subsidiary of the French oil giant Total for floating wind turbines off the north coast. The English Crown giving a French company the go-ahead in Welsh waters.
One of the Irishmen is also found at Simply Blue Energy (Scotland) Ltd, but the other director is Scottish, with an Edinburgh address. The secretary, though, lives in County Louth, some distance from both The Rebel County and Auld Reekie.
This announcement was soon followed by news of what I take to be a separate development of some 100 turbines. The beneficiary here is RWE Renewables, the German conglomerate. With the the usual flotilla of small companies from over the border following in the giant’s wake.
There will soon be wind turbines off the coast from the border to the Menai Strait. And the benefits for Wales will be counted in a few dozen jobs. Though from what I hear, those already doing the jobs seem to have arrived from a few hundred miles east of Mostyn docks.
But never mind! There may be no Welsh companies involved, and no Welsh jobs, but we can still get a warm glow from sitting in our deck chairs, looking out to sea at hundreds of wind turbines making Wales’ contribution to saving the planet.
A contribution so insignificant that it can be wiped out by just one more coal-fired power station in China or a day’s logging in Amazonia.
RIDING THE WAVE . . . BUT NOT IF YOU’RE WELSH
With wind power being unreliable, the short life span of the turbines, the landscape damage, the killing of birds and bats, and now the increased risks of flooding, public opinion is turning against onshore wind power.
This goes some way to explaining the increase in offshore wind power, such as we looked at in the previous section, and also wave-generated energy.
Which is the cue to introduce another company, one that hasn’t gone through the charade of taking out a Pembrokeshire address.
In fact, it would be odd if Wave Hub had moved to Wales . . . seeing as it’s 100% owned by Cornwall County Council. And before the council took control in November 2017 Wave Hub had been owned by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
According to the linked article, the City Deal will provide £28 million with this “expected to help leverage a further £32 million of public and private funding”. No doubt a sizeable chunk of the remaining £32 million will come from the Welsh public purse.
And what will we get in return?
Research and development will almost certainly be conducted outside of Wales, and we can guarantee that Wales will not see the profits. Which leaves jobs. How many will there be and who’ll be monitoring the situation to ensure that locals get them? Answers: very few; nobody.
So let’s stop deluding ourselves and recognise a rip-off when it’s staring us in the face and twisting our gonads.
Here’s my interpretation of Wave Hub’s move to Wales.
Once it became clear there were to be City deals for Swansea and Cardiff clever minds in London sat down and thought, “OK, so we’re giving the Taffs this money . . . now how do we get back as much of it as possible?”
The Swansea Bay City Deal was signed off in March 2017 by Prime Minister Theresa May. The gestation period would have been at least a year. So let’s see how that fits with the Wave Hub timeline.
Despite having been in existence since December 2011 the accounts for y/e 31 March 2016 show net assets of just £3,638. A company just ticking over, maybe waiting for a project.
March 2017, Swansea Bay City Deal signed off.
November 27, 2017, Cornwall County Council takes control of Wave Hub Ltd. Is this to make it more acceptable to the Welsh public?
September 18, 2019, Piers Basil Guy sets up Guy Energy Ltd. Hoping to make a bit for himself on the side?
June 11, 2020, announcement of £60 million funding for Wave Hub at its ‘Welsh’ operations.
June 11, 2020, elsewhere we read, with no mention of Pembrokeshire: “The South West Floating Offshore Wind Accelerator is being led by Wave Hub in collaboration with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), University of Plymouth, University of Exeter, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, A&P Group, Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council.
Why the hell are WE, through the Swansea Bay City Deal and the ‘Welsh Government’, funding a project with no Welsh presence beyond a shed in Pembrokeshire? Where are the benefits for Wales?
All the companies listed for Piers Basil Guy are owned by Vattenfall, the Swedish company that has so much influence with the ‘Welsh Government’. A number of the wind farms listed were built on land managed by Natural Resources Wales, an agency of the ‘Welsh Government’. This includes of course the massive Pen y Cymoedd.
Money is being showered on a company that might, or might not, be owned by Cornwall County Council. Either way, it has but the lightest of footprints in Wales and shouldn’t be given a penny until we are assured of tangible benefits.
Finally, is there a connection between Simply Blue (Wave Hub) Ltd and Wave Hub Ltd?
Up at the other end of the country from Pembrokeshire a genuinely Welsh outfit, Menter Môn, also has plans for wave energy, but it is being thwarted by a cat’s paw acting for Natural Resources Wales and the ‘Welsh Government’.
Perhaps what the RSPB and NRW found offensive was, “Morlais is a Menter Môn project which aims to benefit local communities . . .”. That’s not how envirocolonialism works.
Though there has been opposition from other quarters, mainly the Trearddur Bay Sailing Club and the owners of ‘seasonal properties’ at Rhoscolyn. This explains the intervention of the constituency’s Conservative candidate a few weeks before last December’s general election.
She gets out of him what he has perhaps been primed to say – the Morlais project could be bad for tourism. Mmm. Is that a negative any more?
Virginia Crosbie, friend, possibly tenant, of Jake Berry, the Tory MP for Rossendale and Darwen in east Lancashire. How many properties does Berry now own on Ynys Môn?
Joking aside, let me spell this out quite clearly, for the avoidance of any doubt.
The RSPB would not have objected to this scheme if it had come from a developer viewed more favourably by Natural Resources Wales and the ‘Welsh Government’, neither of which wants to encourage genuinely Welsh initiatives.
TALES OF THE RIVERBANK
For a couple of years now a few people have been urging me to take a peek at the The Wye and Usk Foundation. At first sight, there seems to be nothing to worry about, the Foundation is a body trying to improve rivers and riparian environments. It of course works closely with Natural Resources Wales.
Admittedly, it’s a cross-border organisation, with most of the territory it covers being in Wales but, as is usually the case, with a majority of its trustees from outside.
But then, the more you look at the Wye and Usk Foundation the more the doubts creep in. It can be a little thing, such as this sentence found under ‘Climate Change’, on page 5 of the latest Trustees’ report.
“The summer drought also led to an increase in fodder crops being grown in the Welsh uplands which pose a serious risk to our rivers this winter.”
This is an organisation based in Wales, so why not just say, “uplands”? Using the term “Welsh uplands” makes it sound like an alien, and hostile, area. Something that could have been written by a 12th century Norman chronicler.
And of course, there’s the inference that Welsh farmers harm rivers. Which could have been written by that scourge of Welsh hill farmers, George Monbiot.
“In the west of Britain, the main issue is livestock farming. As dairy and poultry units have consolidated, the manure they produce is greater than the land’s capacity to absorb it. As an agricultural contractor explained to the Welsh government, some farmers are deliberately spreading muck before high rainfall, so that it washes off their fields and into the rivers. A farm adviser told the same inquiry that only 1% of farm slurry stores in Wales meet the regulations.”
Follow the link and you’ll see that the person who made that allegation about farmers deliberately spreading muck before rain was allowed to remain anonymous. (If he or she ever existed.)
In the same article Monbiot also wrote: “The Wye itself is dying at astonishing, heartbreaking speed.” Yet the The Wye Usk Foundation is far more upbeat. But then, Monbiot is a polemicist and a scaremonger, with a strategy to follow.
Basically, Monbiot’s message is: ‘Welsh farmers are bastards, get them off the land and then turn the land over to people like me’.
So, does George Monbiot have links to The Wye and Usk Foundation?
TALGARTH, SEAT OF LEARNING
The Wye and Usk Foundation is based in Talgarth, and among the trustees we find Elizabeth Passey, formerly of US investment bank Morgan Stanley, and now the Big Lottery Fund. Ms Passey is also a trustee of the Black Mountains College Project in Talgarth. Though for some reason Ms Passey’s role with the Big Lottery is not mentioned in her BMC bio, below.
On the BMC website Passey is said to hail “from a corn merchant family on the Welsh borders.” But from Talgarth it’s the English borders. It’s only the ‘Welsh borders’ for people who see Wales through English eyes, or from an anglocentric perspective . . . such as those involved in the Black Mountains College Project.
We see the £75,000 grant last year from the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority. A fresh grant of £49,036 from Arwain (money taken from farmers in the transfer from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2 made by Alun Davies in 2013). Also, £16,750 from the National Lottery Community Fund. For which BMC can no doubt thank Ms Passey.
There are now three full-time employees; and while no one earns more than £60,000 we can be sure that with staff costs of £105,979 there are three people each earning a good screw.
Though I’d love to know why ‘Legal and professional fees’ jumped from £6,040 in 2019 to £122,415 in 2020.
Now we move south west, to the Rhondda, accompanied by Messrs Blake and Ham.
HONEST RIP-OFF OR PATERNALISM?
As any self-respecting crow will tell you, the distance between the hill station of Talgarth and the native settlement of Treherbert is just over 20 miles. Though they can appear to be much further apart.
“A former mining village has been awarded nearly £250,000 to develop Wales’ first community ownership project.
The Skyline project wants to take charge of about 1.5 sq miles (4 sq km) of forestry around Treherbert, Rhondda Cynon Taff.
It wants to create jobs in forestry and provide timber for affordable homes.
It also hopes to open up space to grow vegetables and encourage use of the woods for education and leisure.
The money will be used to develop the ideas with the hope of getting up to £2.5m from the National Lottery climate action fund to put their plans into action.”
There is clearly local enthusiasm, but who’s running the show, and what are their ultimate intentions?
We see mention of the Skyline project. I visited the Skyline website, where I found this video of an event held in Cardiff on May 1, 2019.
We hear Chris Blake, because Skyline is run by his Green Valleys company from Talgarth.
We also hear from Ian Thomas who, despite the name, does not sound as if he’s from round by ‘ere. He represents the ‘social enterprise’ Welcome to our Woods. In big type the home page of the Welcome to our Woods website tells us: “We are a community partnership in the Upper Rhondda Fawr, South Wales Valleys UK.”
‘South Wales Valleys UK’! Yet again, that ‘outsider’ phrasing.
WTOW Ltd is a company that has been going since 7 November 2014. Ceri Nicholas, a local who features prominently in the video below, was in at the start, but ceased to be a director in March this year. Why leave when things are about to take off?
Apart from Ian Thomas the directors are Simone Jayne Devinett of the Rhondda Housing Association; and Phillip John Vickery, who used to work for Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services and uses a Haverfordwest address.
In the video, locals are given bit parts, but at 2:04 we meet Sonya Bedford, introduced as ‘Head of Energy Stephen Scown Solicitors’. The name is in fact Stephens Scown, and it’s based in Devon. What the hell is she doing there?
The trip to Scotland is revealing, if only for the kind of people they met up there.
All the talk of growing vegetables, and living in cheap, timber housing suggests One Planet Developments. Which only adds to the feeling that this Rhondda project might simply be using locals to further the ends of a select group of outsiders.
People who are largely unemployable in the real world, whose companies are unviable, but who survive through political patronage, public funding, and of course Lottery funding. Which is where Elizabeth Passey of the National Lottery will come in handy.
To complete the picture of a scam being run by outsiders, for outsiders, the BBC was kind enough to tell us that the project manager is Melanie Newton.
If that name rings a bell it’s because Melanie was, until very recently, CEO of Summit to Sea, with which George Monbiot and others were deeply involved. This was an attempt to take over a vast area inland and north of Aberystwyth, evict the farmers, plant millions of trees, and introduce all sorts of exotic animals.
Those involved in this population replacement scheme were encouraged by the ‘Welsh Government’s threat to use Brexit as a weapon against farmers. Explicit in Brexit and our land. In fact, the ‘rewilders’ probably influenced the writing of the document.
One obvious channel of influence would have been ‘Game Show Gary’ Haggaty, advisor to and lover of Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs. Gary hates farmers. So do too many of the civil servants advising that shower in Corruption Bay.
So maybe the people of the Rhondda should worry that the real plan may be to get rid of them, forest the valley floor, and bring in lynx, beaver, and God knows what else. Because Melanie has form, and so do some of the others involved.
The Valleys Regional Park seems to be one of the Labour Party’s periodic attempts to convince Valleys’ voters that they aren’t being taken for granted. The document is page after page of what Monbiot imagined he saw in the Wye, though not without black humour.
Extolling the natural beauty of the Valleys, on page 14 we see:
Fitting, because Davies’ partner is Anna McMorrin. She has been mentioned a few times on this blog, lobbying for London investors wanting to despoil Powys with wind turbines. She’s been the Labour MP for Cardiff North since the June 2017 general election.
And talking of the Labour Party, Melanie Newton is a staunch supporter, if not a card-carrying member.
Connections. Connections. Connections.
TOMORROW BELONGS TO THEM?
What I’ve described here is not sincere people saving the environment of Wales for the Welsh but a network of ruthless grant-grabbers and would-be colonists trying to take it from us. Which means that at every opportunity Welsh people, and especially farmers – because they hold so much land – must be demonised.
This explains the borderline racism about ‘upland Welsh’ from the Wye and Usk Foundation, and the anonymous ‘sources’ quoted by George Monbiot.
The environment of Wales is being saved by and for more enlightened and superior people. Reminiscent of the Nazi’s idea for removing lesser races from conquered territories in the east and reintroducing (even back breeding) lost species such as the Auroch.
“Lutz began calling for the transformation of newly conquered lands in the east in order to recreate the primordial forest described in the epic Germanic poem Nibelungenlied. Lutz and Hermann Goering, founder of the Gestapo and president of the Reichstag, became friends and went hunting in traditional dress and armed with spears to try and recreate the heroism of ancient German mythology.”
I’m not suggesting that the rewilders plan ‘Beowulf weekends’, where blond and hearty computer programmers from Solihull roam newly-forested hills dressed as Anglo-Saxon warriors before retiring to the Hall for a saga, a skinfull of ale, and a bit of wenching.
But who knows?
This colonialist approach to rewilding goes hand in hand with Wales making such a disproportionate contribution to ‘saving the planet’ that Lesley Griffiths adopts the persona of a madam greeting punters: “Ev’nin’, ducky, which bit of Wales would you like to have your way with?”
Of course we must protect the Welsh environment, and sensibly increase the use of renewable and clean energies. But this must be done in the interests of Wales; not by using climate change to cloak exploitation, or to promote a form of conservation that is paternalistic colonialism flirting with ethnic cleansing.
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
Seeing as I spoilt you with two issues last week this week’s post is later than usual. It takes the form of a couple of ‘starters’, a very substantial main course, followed by coffee, and then there’s a liqueur to round things off which some of you may find a little bitter.
But it’s another feast, so take your time!
In the recent series I did on Jake Berry – the Conservative MP for Rossendale and Darwen in east Lancashire, but who owns an ever-increasing number of properties on Ynys Môn – we found an old company of his named Rhoscolyn Ltd. This outfit bit the dust in 2010, but the name has been resurrected.
The new Rhoscolyn Ltd belongs to Michael William Kenyon, and it’s also in the business of buying, selling and letting Welsh property. Kenyon also comes from over the border, from Cheshire. As I’ve remarked before, the property market in the north seems to be controlled now from Manchester and Cheshire. With the Cheshire Set entrenched from Abba Sock to Ross Niger and Ross Colin.
Kenyon is involved in a number of companies. An interesting one being a Lloyds-linked LLP which was, apparently, started in 2008 by Kenyon’s then 88-year-old father. Or at least, in the old man’s name. Nomina No 457 LLP has no less than 44 outstanding charges, many of which link to the USA, some to a bank in Louisville, Kentucky. And when you click on the ‘People’ tab you bring up other LLPs and more Kenyons.
The world of high finance, eh! What chance do locals on Ynys Môn, or indeed the council, have against people like Jake Berry with his Westminster connections, and Maxwell with his City links?
But the question is, are the two companies named Rhoscolyn Ltd linked? Do Berry and Kenyon know each other?
You will recall that a company being run by crooks I’ve written about many times, started life in January 2019 as Glynllifon Mansion Ltd, then in December became Waterford Interiors Ltd, before undergoing yet another change of name in June when it became Royston Jones LL36 9YF Ltd.
This was reported to North Wales Police on the grounds of a) harassment [as it followed hand-delivered threatening letters] and b) the possibility that this company bearing my name might be used for unlawful purposes.
I also made my feelings known to Companies House, but there was nothing they could do. You can give a company any name you like, it seems. Though I’m sure you wouldn’t be able to register a company using the name of a royal, or a leading politician, or lots of other people.
Anyway, NWP phoned Myles Cunliffe, who had been a director until November, after that he ran the company through his boy Thomas Jacob Hindle. Cunliffe professed his innocence, as did Hindle when the police spoke with him. So it seems the name changed all by itself! Whatever next?
Myles Cunliffe may be back where he started in the shadowy world of unregulated car leasing and credit brokering. Someone sent this link to explain what he’s up to.
AFAN VALLEY ADVENTURE RESORT
TO RECAP . . .
Among the crooks who’ve crossed the border recently we find Gavin Lee Woodhouse, of Northern Powerhouse Developments. Gavin’s business model was to buy a run-down hotel, inflate its value, and then sell off the rooms individually as ‘investments’.
Many of the buyers had overseas addresses. Whether they knew they’d bought a room from Woodhouse is a good question. Whether some of them even existed may be an even better question.
His other line was selling rooms in care homes . . . care homes that never got built.
Gavin Woodhouse owned hotels from Llandudno to Tenby, and then he got really ambitious with his Afan Valley Adventure Resort (AVAR), up behind Port Talbot.
The jackpot for Woodhouse would be selling the 600 lodges for £200,000 or more, plus the 100 hotel rooms. To get punters queuing, and to promote the ‘adventure’ angle, Woodhouse recruited maggot-muncher and self-publicist extraordinaire, Bore Grylls.
And once the storm broke Grylls doused himself with hogwash, put on his camouflage pants – the ones with the Kalashnikov sewn into the hem – and disappeared . . . to emerge a short time later from a rhododendron bush on Llŷn and convince a group of photocopier salesmen from Reading that once they’d got their boots muddy and handed over £2,000 a head they would be official, part-time, honorary members of the SAS. (And for another grand he could get them in the Foreign Legion as well!)
Before long most people realised Woodhouse was a crook . . . except, it seemed, those closest to him. Such as Peter Moore, the CEO and alleged brains of the outfit, who still thought Woodhouse was kosher!
As did the ‘Welsh Government’ whose duty it was – or should have been – to have made enquiries. Young Kenny Skates, famed for his dazzling gnashers and his Flint Ring, rushed to enjoy a photo op with Woodhouse and Moore on a high and windy hill above the Afan Valley. (Councillor Jones looks less impressed.)
One of my favourites, this. It hangs in my hall alongside the photo of great-aunt Fastidia competing at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, shooting something, or somebody. (Did she give a Nazi salute? Of course she did . . . she gave everyone a Nazi salute.)
I started asking questions about Woodhouse in April 2017, and eventually the mainstream media got involved in the middle of 2019. (Though this was almost certainly at the pleading of cheated investors.) This report from ITV of June last year has a video explaining how Woodlouse operates. ITV News co-operated on this inquiry with the Guardian, which provides another account.
Understandably, this house of cards soon collapsed, but I’ve tried to keep up with events. In March I received an e-mail from Companies House telling me a progress report had been received from the administrators, but when I checked, it had been so poorly scanned it was unreadable. After three e-mails asking for a better copy, one finally appeared last week. Here is that report.
Those of you thinking this project is dead should think again. Neath Port Talbot council extended the deadline to establish the project’s credibility until 31 March, (but obviously this was overtaken by the Coronavirus pandemic). So I guess from NPT’s point of view the project is still ‘live’.
You’ll also note that despite Gavin Woodhouse being exposed and his companies in receivership, CEO Peter Moore is still at his desk. Any comparison with a Japanese soldier still fighting on in the jungle in the 196os would be erroneous. Moore knows the score – so who’s he working for?
Scroll down to page 8 and you’ll read what I’ve captured for you in the box below. (Caerau Park Ltd was the name used by Afan Valley Ltd from its Incorporation 14 April 2016 until the name change of 23 February 2017.)
As already stated, this ‘Land at Caerau Park Wood’ was bought in March 2017 for £889,000 by Afan Valley Ltd from Ontaris Resources Inc and Foreman Properties Ltd. The top of page 6 tells us this was done with the loan taken out with Clive Mishon.
Ontaris Resources is registered in the British Virgin Islands, one of many dirty money havens protected by the UK government. In the Offshore Leaks Database you’ll find Ontaris linked with Andrew Patrick Foreman. Click on Foreman’s name and you bring up a registered address of Tickton Hall, Tickton, Beverley, near Hull.
This is where we find Afan Solar Ltd. Mishon and Foreman both served as directors, with Mishon the original majority shareholder. The company was struck off in September 2015 without ever filing accounts.
We now know that Woodhouse bought the land from Mishon and his mates – with money they loaned him!
This is mentioned in 15 of the panel above, where we are told that Mishon’s intervention in July 2019 also covered CYM471819. This title refers to a sliver of land alongside the A4107 (Brytwn Road), heading east out of Cymmer, which has the appearance of a ransom strip. Possibly a future entrance.
More ‘Land at Caerau Park Wood, Caerau, Maesteg’, bought by Clive Mishon in May 2014 for £180,000. The title document tells us of “a contract for sale dated 1 August 2016 made between (1) Clive Mishon and (2) Caerau Parc Limited.”
You’ll notice that the previous title document mentions a lease of ‘Land lying to the west of Pen y Bryn’. This made little sense for a while until I grasped that Pen y Bryn was the name for a stretch of the A4063 in Croeserw.
The land is leased for 20 years from 1 January 2015 by Arqiva Ltd, a company in the business of telephone masts.
Explained in the images I’ve put together below. The one on the left is from the Caves of South Wales site (you must know it!), and the one on the right from the Land Registry. Which is helpful seeing as the LR does not offer maps with CYM60212 or with WA519567.
On page four (3) of this title document you can read “(22.07.2015) Option to purchase in favour of Afan Energy Limited contained in an Option Agreement dated 17 April 2014 made between (1) Clive Mishon and (2) Afan Energy Limited upon the terms therein mentioned.”
Yes, in addition to Afan Solar there is also Afan Energy Ltd, and at the same East Yorkshire address where we also found BVI-registered Ontaris. Or rather, there was an Afan Energy, because it was voluntarily written off in September 2017 with liabilities of £596,391. Mishon was the sole director at the death. Which means that the Agreement of 2014 was between him and his company.
It would appear that the whole area set aside for the Afan Valley Adventure Resort is now owned by Clive Mishon (and perhaps others), who reinforced his claim just days ahead of the administrators.
Obviously Mishon thinks it’s worth proceeding with the Afan Valley Adventure Resort; and why not, there’s a great deal of money to be made if it can be pulled off.
Though a big question for me remains: ‘Seeing as Woodlouse bought the land off people who loaned him the money for the purchase, did he ever really own it?’
Or was he just fronting for Mishon (and his mates) all along? I ask because as I’ve been writing this a picture has been forming in my head.
We’ve met companies called Afan Energy and Afan Solar, which suggest that Mishon and friends originally intended to reap the subsidy bonanza with solar arrays and wind turbines. This fell through, perhaps trumped by the massive Pen y Cymoedd wind farm nearby. So thoughts turned to other uses for the land.
As this was an attractive wooded area, already used by mountain bikers and others, to come up with the idea of an adventure resort didn’t need any great leap of imagination.
For Mishon and his mates the problem might have been the way some of their companies were structured . . . and then there were the offshore links. This might have been off-putting for the ‘Welsh Government’, certainly it could have been used by their opponents. The media (what’s left of it) might also have asked questions.
Gavin Woodhouse, with his hotels scattered about Wales, and being favoured by the ‘Welsh Government’ with a grant of £500,000 for his Caer Rhun hotel in the Conwy valley, might have seemed the perfect front man.
If I’m right, that really is funny.
I could certainly understand both the ‘Welsh Government’ and Neath Port Talbot Borough Council being reluctant to deal with people using Limited Liability Partnerships and other opaque financial vehicles. Then there are the tax haven companies.
Would our tribunes ever know who they were really dealing with, and where the money came from? But then, maybe they now think they’re dealing with Peter Moore.
That said, the Afan Valley, and the Valleys in general, need jobs.
We are faced with this dilemma because leftists, like Labour and Plaid Cymru, have no idea how to build an economy and create jobs; which leaves Wales prey to shysters like Woodlouse and businessmen like Clive Mishon and his associates, with their tax haven companies.
Native socialist incompetence and alien exploitation in the symbiotic relationship that is destroying Wales.
Wales deserves better. But it can only come from those determined to make Wales more prosperous, rather than those who prefer to whine about deprivation, and exploit it for political gain.
The first step out of the mess Wales is in is to support political parties seeking to build a genuinely Welsh economy and serve the Welsh national interest. With the foundation laid we can then push for independence.
ONE PLANET DEVELOPMENTS
For those new to the subject, OPDs were introduced by the Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition management team (2007-2011) as a gesture to show that Wales was playing its part in the fight against global warming.
The truth was that the scam was engineered by Minister for Hippies, Jane Davidson, whose friends didn’t want to pay market prices for smallholdings. So, the ‘Welsh Government’ brought out Technical Advice Note 6, which made it clear to planners that any dreadlocked planet-saver who showed up on their patch should be allowed to build whatever he wanted, wherever he wanted.
That was because this person, his ‘lady’, their offspring, their dogs, cats, goats, chickens, sheep, and other livestock, their candles and incense burners, their wood-burning stove, plus their diesel-powered 4 x 4 and generator, were reducing Wales’ carbon footprint.
Anyone who couldn’t see that had to be a climate change denier.
News reaches me from Gower suggesting that whatever is planned for the Parkmill woodland may not be a OPD commune. I’m glad to hear that, and I hope it’s true, but I shall keep my powder dry.
Staying on Gower, I also reported that the Ecological Land Co-operative (ELC) of Brighton had applied for a two-dwelling OPD at Furzehill, Ilston – that it planned to rent or sub-let! Letters of support have come in . . . from all over England. But a recent letter from Reading might put the absurd project in jeopardy.
It comes from Ieuan Williams BSc., MA., FBIAC, PIEMA of Reading Agricultural Consultants. What gives the letter its weight is that Williams was ” . . . a member of the team that wrote the Welsh Government’s TAN 6 Practice Guidance, relating to rural enterprise dwellings.”
Here are a few extracts: “ELC appears not to understand OPD policy and its requirements . . . It may even be that the tenants have not read and understood the OPD Guidance . . . The tenants’ approach to the development appears to be as a rural enterprise rather than an OPD . . . It is of considerable concern that the prospective tenants seem to think that travel around the country, throughout the UK and abroad on holidays would be acceptable for residents of an OPD . . . With regards to water use on the site, contrary to the ELC assertion in its Planning Statement, use of a mains water supply is not acceptable for the site occupants.”
Another very good objection came from Christine Lloyd of Parkmill who made a very interesting, but rather worrying, point, when she writes: “Most of the letters of support are from outside the area but they seem to be given additional status by being added to the Document page on the planning portal. Most of the objections are from locals and are on the Comments tab.”
Why would that be? Are certain employees of Swansea council exhibiting bias in favour of these schemes?
What the Ecological Land Co-operative of Brighton wants is to throw up cheap dwellings on the edge of town, pretend they’re OPDs, charge rent, and then swan about the world to attend self-congratulatory bun fights.
To get the bigger picture I’m told we need to introduce Gwilym Griffith Morris, originally from the upper reaches of Cwmtawe or even the Brecon area. Morris is something of a wheeler-dealer in the world of agricultural land and buildings.
Around 30 years ago, he bought Mwche farm, adjoining Pentowyn. Then Pentowyn itself. He sold off the farm buildings to a woman in Swansea, and the land to other buyers. The marshes he sold to the National Trust and is believed to rent them back.
A recent claim to fame was his planning application for a wind turbine at Mwche, which lies across the Tâf estuary from Dylan Thomas’s boathouse. As is the way with things in Carmarthenshire, local councillors nodded it though without even a site visit.
Here’s the planning application. There was of course a firm from England behind the wind turbine. It would appear that the ‘local benefits’ of renewable energy – rather like caravan sites – are restricted to landowners.
A source has pointed me towards an interesting planning application that might explain the application for an OPD. A few years ago, Griff or Gruff Morris applied for a ‘farm dwelling’ at Pentowyn . . . having sold off the farmhouse soon after buying the farm.
He had been successful with a similar application at Mwche farm. But the Pentowyn application was rejected in May 2018. Check it out here.
As I say, Griff/Gruff Morris is a wheeler-dealer always looking to turn a penny. It is suspected locally that this OPD application is simply the ‘farm dwelling’ in different wellies.
Mwche farm, or parts of it, were sold a few years back, to this man.
Griff or Gruff Morris is now rumoured to be back in the Brecon area.
For those who don’t know the area, Llandegla-yn-Iâl is a village in Denbighshire on the moors to which it gives its name. I often take that route to Wrecsam.
Pursuing a certain line of inquiry recently I came across a business named Fauxdegla Shooting Ground. The name is contrived out of, obviously, Llandegla, and the name of the couple that runs this business, Michael and Deborah Faux.
Michael Ronald Faux of Warrington has a glittering business career, with five other companies listed by Companies House – all of them dissolved. Some without ever filing accounts, and mucho dinero owed to creditors by at least one of them.
Fauxdegla Shooting Ground Limited isn’t in the best of financial health itself either. The most recent accounts show tangible assets of just £60,954, and net assets of £1,099. With Barclays Bank holding a charge over everything.
This lack of (obvious) liquidity might explain the appearance of the caravans a few weeks ago. The word on the street is that they’re connected with the Fauxs. Before writing this I sent Fauxdegla an e-mail asking if the caravans were theirs, but I’ve had no reply.
Irrespective of the caravans, what right does anyone have to come into our country and change an ancient name inspired by a saint? What sort of people are we to put up with this colonialist arrogance?
Though due to pressure being applied from somewhere these posts are no longer accessible via Facebook, which has removed the links on grounds of ‘Privacy’. This could perhaps have been anticipated, for Facebook is a stickler for privacy.
And while the current pandemic makes it impossible for me to appeal it was no obstacle to dealing with Berry’s complaint. Though I console myself with the knowledge that my ‘feedback’ will be appreciated.
So that’s alright then.
VIRGINIA GETS CONFUSED
This saga kicked off with allegations that Jake Berry, the MP for Rossendale and Darwen in east Lancashire, had sneaked himself and his family onto Ynys Môn and their holiday home Rhyd-y-Bont at Rhoscolyn. This farm had been bought towards the end of last year for £780,000, cash up front.
The story might have just died had it not been for the intervention of the island’s Tory MP Virginia Crosbie, a surprise victor in last December’s election. She defended Jake Berry with, “Mr and Mrs Berry have been living here in the island since February – it is their home.”
Virginia Crosbie is a none-too-bright beneficiary of the ‘Boris Bounce’ that was so influential in last December’s election. This enabled her to romp home . . . with just over a third of the vote. Much of that support would have come from people like Jake Berry who are taking over the island.
One local contact suggests: “It will probably result in small, family livestock farms becoming far less competitive against US imports resulting in farmhouses in isolated, idyllic locations coming onto the market to become second homes and holiday businesses. The land will still be farmed, except for say 5 acres around the house to ensure privacy. What the agriculture bill will give is subsidies tied to environmental benefits, like the 5 acre wildflower meadow around the house
If you were an unscrupulous MP with aspirations for a property empire, how would you vote?”
“Unscrupulous MP”. Perish the thought!
Crosbie only just made it to that election, for I’m told that her nomination papers were delivered at the very last minute. And when you realise why, then you’ll understand that Crosbie’s insistence that Jake Berry and his family have been living at Rhoscolyn since February should be accompanied by pinch of Halen Môn. A big bloody pinch!
For as late as November 2019 Virginia Crosbie was still hoping to stand in the safe Tory seat of Mid Sussex, where Winston Churchill’s grandson Nicholas Soames was standing down. Though as Guido Fawkes told us, she was dishonestly claiming to ” . . . . have lived in West Sussex with my husband, our three children and our cocker spaniel Violet for over 10 years.”
It was dishonest because elsewhere she was claiming to have lived in Kensington for 20 years. She was certainly deputy chair of the local Tories. While hubby Ian works for big pharma in Belgium.
What she might have meant was that her family had a holiday home in Sussex, much like Jake Berry and his family have a holiday home on Ynys Môn.
One senior Welsh Tory quoted by the BBC on the way things had been handled on Ynys Môn said, “The candidate selection has been seriously flawed and chaotic”.
Once ensconced Crosbie began to claim Welsh antecedents and connections. First, with a grandfather who been a coal miner in Merthyr. But more importantly for Ynys Môn, her father had worked at Wylfa nuclear power station.
She was hame amang her ain folk! (No, hang on, that’s Scotland. Cancel the pipe band and book a male voice choir.)
The local party can probably be excused for verisimillitudophobe Virginia Crosbie because she almost certainly floated down out of a clear blue sky from a plane with the markings ‘Conservative Central Office’.
What a party!
SERVING THE CONSTITUENCY
Crosbie’s intervention served only to confirm that Berry and his family share their time between London and Rhoscolyn with rare – well publicised – visits to his constituency where he claims to stay at Clough Cottage. This is a small property conveniently owned by local Tory big-wig Tony Cope.
It seems that for 2018-2019, Berry claimed £16,618.31 for using Clough Cottage as his constituency base. Though how often he actually stays there is another matter. Because there’s certainly not enough room for him, his wife, their children and the nanny.
A constituent of Berry’s sent me this photograph she’d taken of Clough Cottage. My source was keen to point out that Clough Cottage is ‘the bit at the end’, the rest is Clough House. (I like the dappled sunlight effect.)
Though you have to wonder why Jake Berry needed to enter this arrangement with Tony Cope, for until very recently he owned a property (with tŷ bach and cwtch glô) on Helmshore Road in Rossendale. A property he sold early last year.
Which means that he sold a property he owned – but for which he could only claim council tax and utilities (totalling £1,373.40 in 2016/17) – in order to pocket £150,000 and go into an expensive arrangement with Tony Cope.
BROWN ENVELOPES ARE SO PASSÉ
In the previous post I mentioned the companies linked to Jake Berry. I wrote, “Setting up companies to provide a cover for nefarious activities is something I report on regularly on this blog, but that can’t be the case here, surely? So why set up companies and just let them fold?”
I think I now understand what it’s about. I was initially directed – with a nod, a wink, and a tap of the nose – to PEPC Ltd, a company set up by Berry’s closest aides, Paul Lambert Fairhurst and Louise Emma Inglis. This was followed by a source in the constituency suggesting there was a similar reason for Ford Bridge Farm Ltd.
Ford Bridge is of course an anglicisation of Rhyd-y-Bont.
Let’s go back to the mysterious Rhoscolyn Ltd, founded 27 March 2008, when Jake Berry was just a likely lad who had probably been promised a constituency by the Conservative Party. There was a general election on 6 May 2010, and our boy was elected MP for Rossendale and Darwen. Then Rhoscolyn Ltd was allowed to die.
Licensing Objective Ltd was formed 28.08.2014, probably in anticipation of the May 2015 general election. PEPC Ltd was set up 27.08.2016 in preparation for the June 8, 2017 general election.
No such company was needed for last December’s election because with Corbyn ‘leading’ the Labour Party, and a Brexit-Boris surge anticipated in northern England, Jake Berry was confident of increasing his majority. Which he did.
Thinking ahead to the next general election perhaps accounts for Ford Bridge Farm Ltd.
Not only that, but two sources of funding were identified: “The notorious United and Cecil donated to Jake in 2019, before that he got it from an unincorporated members association called The Portcullis Club, based in a very leafy part of the Ribble Valley.”
I suppose you’re wondering who or what these groups are. Well you can find some references online but it’s obvious those involved don’t like publicity, nor is The Portcullis Club confined to Mayhill boy Nigel Evans’ Ribble Valley constituency.
So a host of wealthy Tory backers from north west England descended on London for a bun fight. And I’m not talking local shopkeepers from Happy Families here; this is not Mr Bung the Brewer, more like, well . . . Mr Bung.
Though in fairness to Jake Berry, and I always strive to be fair – even to colonialist bastards who think my homeland is some nineteenth century ‘possession’ to be exploited – some of this funding is declared . . . but only some of it.
And who knows, perhaps United and Cecil and The Portcullis Club are not the only publicity-shy Tory funding groups that have slipped Jake Berry thousands of pounds over the past decade.
But what might these benefactors expect in return?
Of course I could be on the wrong track entirely; there might be perfectly innocent explanations for setting up companies ahead of a general election. Companies that apparently do nothing and are then written off when the election is over.
If so, then I look forward to reading these explanations.
FOLLOW THE MONEY
I made the point in the earlier posts that Jake Berry’s salary would appear to go a long, long way. But of course, the boy does seem to have other forms of income.
As this piece from Landlord Today of August 2019, reminded us in relaying a Daily Mirror report that cabinet ministers were claiming for accommodation in London while renting our property they owned elsewhere. Jake Berry among them.
So does Alice Molly Radclyffe Berry have money? The answer seems to be, yes.
That’s because, I’m told, her father is Mark Noel Foster Robinson who, some of you may remember, was from 1983 to 1987 the MP for Newport West. And later, MP for Somerton and Frome between 1992 and 1997.
Somerton Park to Somerton? (Geddit?)
But more importantly for considerations of material wealth, Mark Robinson was “Born in Bristol to John Foster Robinson, CBE, TD, and Margaret, née Paterson, Robinson’s father was High Sheriff of Avon in 1975. John Robinson’s family ran ES&A Robinson, the paper and packaging conglomerate that later became Dickinson Robinson Group.”
The Dickinson Robinson Group made Sellotape and Basildon Bond among other well-known products. So if Mark Robinson is Mrs Berry’s father then there is almost certainly money from her father’s side of the family.
What I find strange is that Alice Berry has dropped the Robinson name, but instead of using her mother’s maiden name of Pilkington, she’s gone back a generation to take her maternal grandmother’s maiden name of Radclyffe.
Whatever the explanation for this, we can be sure that Alice Berry has money. (And that’s without making any assumptions regarding the Pilkington side of her family.) Enough money to enable an arriviste like Jake Berry to play the squire and build up a property portfolio.
It’s surely only a matter of time before he’s Master of the Holyhead Hunt. (Who meet regularly to set the dogs on Shinners getting off the ferry.)
To kick-start his political career Jake Berry perhaps relied on the Bank of Mum and Dad. Then it was his MP’s salary (and expenses) – with his re-election helped by wealthy donors operating in the shadows – which allowed him to build a modest property portfolio. More recently, the boy appears to have struck gold with the second Mrs Berry.
Just think, this man was in the UK cabinet until very recently, and he still has considerable influence with his mate BoJo, who was his wife’s employer, and is godfather to their elder son.
You know me, I’m not a socialist; I want to see enterprise succeed and initiative rewarded. But that’s not what we’ve been looking at here.
For we’re discussing the modern Conservative Party. A party made up of chancers, each one looking out for number one. A party devoid of a coherent political ideology, let alone an underpinning philosophy. A party that is in no way Tory.
This is bad enough when it happens over there. But when these people are here, buying up property like Wales is one big fire sale, then something needs to be done.
But what can we expect from those buffoons down Corruption Bay. Those house Taffs, who refuse to even close the loophole that allows holiday homes to be registered as businesses.
Has Berry registered his properties as businesses, I wonder, and is he now claiming his coronovirus compensation?
Perhaps what really pisses me off is that in the Punch and Judy show of UK politics the ineptitude of the Conservatives up in London will help keep the even more useless Labour Party in power at next year’s Welsh Parliament elections.
The two-party system is like a see-saw with an arsehole at each end. When one’s up the other is down.
But all the old parties have failed Wales. Which is why we need radical change, and why we must support Gwlad and the Welsh National Party.
♦ end ♦
P.S. While idly Googling ‘Rhoscolyn’ up popped the grandly named Rhoscolyn Estate Enterprises Ltd. The ‘estate’ consists of a rather run-down, but still quite impressive property by the name of Bryn Goleu.
I’m telling you this because of course Rhoscolyn is the area where the Berry family is building its property empire, and Bryn Goleu was on the market recently. But no longer, which means it’s either been withdrawn or it’s been sold.
The Land Registry website suggests that documentation is being processed. I wonder . . .
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
The original ‘Jake Berry MP’ was such a hit with the popcorn-munching public that Jac Universal Studios is unashamedly rushing out a sequel featuring our lantern-jawed hero.
In this offering you will meet a number of new faces including another Jake, the police get involved, and there’s a cameo appearance by Boris Johnson.
So dim the house lights, sit back, and prepare to be entertained. (But don’t make too much noise with the popcorn!)
LAST TIME . . .
We left our hero clinging to a ledge above a 1,000 foot drop with the villain about to stamp on his aching fingers . . . oh, sorry, wrong screenplay.
Though it would have been a good place to start because at least we’d know where he was. For Jake Berry is a difficult man to pin down; he ducks and weaves, always on the move, like the Muhammad Ali of the government benches.
This tale began last week, you’ll remember, with reports that Berry and his family had turned up at one of their Rhoscolyn properties on Ynys Môn in defiance of lockdown instructions. They had probably come from their London SW1 home.
But Virginia Crosbie the local MP, unexpected victor in last December’s election, insisted that the family had been at Rhyd-y-Bont since February, long before lockdown. It was just that no one had noticed them . . . for three months.
Her exact words, quoted by NorthWalesLive, were: “Mr and Mrs Berry have been living here in the island since February – it is their home.” Though whether telling us that the MP for an east Lancashire constituency lived on Ynys Môn really helped Berry is a moot point.
Then evidence started dribbling out making it clear that if the Berry family had been at Rhyd-y-Bont since February then Jake Berry had been regularly breaking lockdown. And if they’d arrived on Ynys Môn the week before last, then that too was breaking lockdown. It was no longer a question of whether Jake Berry was guilty, but of which offence.
The unravelling of the alibi also tells us that the local Conservative MP has been telling porkies.
YOU WERE LEFT WONDERING . . .
Now then, let’s clear up a few loose ends from the previous blockbuster. We identified three properties at Rhoscolyn owned or part-owned by James Jacob Gilchrist Berry.
There was Cerrig, part-owned with his parents. Plas Coch, part-owned with his mother and another family member. Then there’s Rhyd-y-Bont, the farm for which he paid £780,000 up front in November.
Correction 19.05.2020: I am now informed that Max Jonathan Berry and Ruth Elizabeth Berry, co-owners of Cerrig, are Jake Berry’s siblings. Lucy Charlotte Berry, co-owner of Plas Coch, is either another sibling or the wife of Max.
I mentioned that there was a fourth property at Rhoscolyn waiting to be identified. Well now I have it. It’s Mountain View which, I’m informed, is next to Silver Bay Caravan Park. Lovely, traditional Welsh names. Names like these being the benefits of tourism and social engineering.
So that’s four properties, but I’m told there might be more properties in the area owned by Jake Berry. Specifically, the property where his defender, local MP Virginia Crosbie lives when she visits the island. I await information from my man in the shrubbery.
There was also some uncertainty as to where the Berry family actually lives. Do they have a fixed abode, or do they move with the seasons, like members of some pastoral society, driving their flocks before them?
As I’ve hinted, the permanent abode is in London SW1, a property bought for £2,150,000 in February 2017, with money up front, just like Rhyd-y-Bont. So the Berry clan will in future be moving between London and Ynys Môn with the pater familias making the occasional foray into his constituency.
You’ll see that I have redacted the identifying details from the London property. This seems the right option following a telephone conversation with North Wales Police on Saturday, a convivial chat with a chief inspector who agreed that what Jake Berry had complained about – me putting out his personal details – was already in the public domain via the Land Registry.
What I can tell you is that the London property is in the name of Berry’s wife.
The difference is that the Rhoscolyn properties were known locally and being identified on social media before I got involved. The London address is not publicly known.
THE MAGIC MONEY TREE
Something else I wondered about in the first part was where the lucre is coming from to make these expensive purchases. For Berry is a non-practising solicitor and seems to have no directorships. I remarked that his MP’s salary seems to go a long, long way.
Though I suppose with the London property being in his wife’s name she might be worth a few bob herself. Alternatively, the SW1 house could have been bought with Berry’s money and registered in her name to throw people of the scent.
On the question of companies and directorships, while there seem to be no current directorships for Jake Berry there have certainly been directorships in the past.
One snippet I was sent mentions a company called Rhoscolyn Limited. I’m afraid I don’t have the context. (Though maybe it’s from the site Company Director Check?) And of course this is how I learnt about Mountain View.
I drew a blank on the Companies House website and other sites, so if anyone out there has information on Rhoscolyn Limited, then it’s the usual routine, either leave it in the old hollow tree or send it to email@example.com.
Let’s return to companies and directorships, for while Jake Berry himself seems to be ‘clean’, others close to him do dabble.
There’s PEPC Ltd which was run by Berry’s Parliamentary PA Paul Lambert Fairhurst and his Personal PA Louise Inglis, using a Liverpool address. This company was dissolved in December 2018 without apparently troubling HMRC or anyone else. It just did nothing in its brief existence.
Fairhurst was also involved with a company called PND Group Ltd, with a Manchester address, which went under in March 2020, also after a short period of apparent inactivity.
Inglis was further involved with a company giving a Nottingham address, called Licensing Objective Ltd. It was dissolved in February 2019 after less than five years of shuffling around a bit of small change.
Setting up companies to provide a cover for nefarious activities is something I report on regularly on this blog, but that can’t be the case here, surely? So why set up companies and just let them fold?
Let’s conclude this little excursion into the corporate world by turning our attention to Ford Bridge Farm Ltd. And if that sounds weirdly familiar then it’s because it is of course Rhyd-y-Bont, one of Berry’s Rhoscolyn properties, rendered into English. The sole director is Mrs Berry.
The company gives a correspondence address in the town of Bacup, in Berry’s Rossendale and Darwen constituency. Though why a company that uses a corrupted version of the Ynys Môn property’s name needs to be based in Lancashire is a mystery.
Can anyone offer a suggestion?
To be exact, Ford Bridge Farm Ltd is headquartered in this splendid old building in downtown Bacup that was available for rent or lease when this Google Earth image was captured in September 2018.
UPDATE: I am indebted to @JanZamosky for suggesting that Mountain View Ltd might have been formed to avoid paying council tax. Would this also explain the more recent Ford Bridge Farm Ltd?
GODFATHERS AND A ROAD TRIP
When Jake Berry’s first child was born in 2017 one godfather was Harry Cole, former co-editor of the Guido Fawkes website and now deputy political editor for the Mail on Sunday. He had rented a flat from Mrs Berry and was the long-time partner of Carrie Symonds. The other godfather was Boris Johnson.
Jake Berry obviously had important and influential friends.
Then on 24 May last year Theresa May surprised no one by announcing that she was jacking in it and told the Tories to look for a new leader. Jake Berry threw himself into Boris Johnson’s campaign.
And it was godfather Harry Cole who reported rather sniffily that Berry was to do a tour of north west England in a “yellow truck like the ones used in the cheesy 1990s American TV series Baywatch”. And for company Berry would have Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking – what a pleasure it must have been to travel 170 miles in the company of Jacob Rees-Mogg! Though I’m sure there are some who’d feel sorry for Rees-Mogg having to spend that much time with Jake Berry.
Maybe they deserve each other.
One source – who seems to know his stuff – suggests the £4,000 quoted as the purchase price for the Ford Ranger was on the cheap side. While another source might have provided the answer by telling me that Berry sends his PA Fairhurst to auctions on his behalf! Is this covered under MPs’ expenses?
As history now records, it all paid off. Boris Johnson won the leadership vote and the general election in December. Jake Berry was made Minister of State for the Northern Powerhouse. Though Rees-Mogg seems to have fallen from favour since his hommage to a fin de siècle slapper reclining on a chaise longue.
Though it turned sour for Berry as well because earlier this year he was sacked. Yes, he was allowed to make the ‘spend more time with the family’ excuse and resign. But this was a ‘Make him an offer he can’t accept’ kind of ‘resignation’.
I have no idea what became of the yellow Ford Ranger that must carry so many happy memories. Indeed, it might have been an attempt to recapture those memories that prompted Jake Berry to buy another. There’s certainly one parked now at Rhyd-y-Bont. (Or are we expected to call it ‘Ford Bridge Farm’?)
What’s odd is that the registration for the truck used in last year’s Boris Johnson Productions re-make of Thelma and Louise was CV60 ZJE, while the one parked up now is CV11 JYA.
CV is the registration for Swansea.
Harry Cole told us the road trip vehicle was “formerly used by council street cleaners”. If so, then does Jake Berry have a direct line to Swansea Guildhall that enables him to pick up old council vehicles on the cheap?
Or is there some other explanation? Does anyone recognise those registration numbers?
It’s all very well having a laugh at Jake Berry and the rest of them, but turning us into strangers in our own land is no joke.
Yet we are expected to welcome being priced out of our communities because a lying politician or a trainee hack on a provincial rag tells us that rising property prices is a sure-fire indicator of prosperity.
That may be the case in a normal society, but not in a colony!
Wales may lack the monuments to a great past, and the institutions of a mighty state. But we have something far more important – a sense of nationhood that has survived without these trappings, and in defiance of them.
Today this nation nation is growing restless because the ‘progressive’ parties have failed us.
They’ve failed us because they refuse to accept that there’s a real country beyond Corruption Bay; a country with broken communities and angry people who are sick of funding middle class lesbian co-operatives and other forms of gesture politics.
While we who are trying to combat colonialism are traduced by wassisname, who leads the ‘progressives’, as inherently right wing.
If so, then I’m proud to be a right wing nationalist standing up for my people. It’s more honourable by far than being a smug, two-faced ‘progressive’ collaborating with the colonialist system.
There was nothing to see here, she insisted, because Jake Berry lived in Rhoscolyn. “A few people have been in touch with me regarding the MP Jake Berry living here in the island. Mr and Mrs Berry have been living here in the island since February – it is their home”.
So that’s OK then.
It means that the MP for a Lancashire constituency lives 130 miles away near Holyhead. I wonder how the electors of Rossendale and Darwen would have voted if they’d known that fact before they re-elected him last December.
Perhaps what Ms Crosbie meant to say was explained when a spokesperson on behalf of Mr Berry said: “During a visit to Wales, a family member of Mr Berry started showing signs of Coronavirus. This visit was prior to the Government decision to lockdown.”
So putting together the contributions from Ms Crosbie and the spokesperson, perhaps we should conclude that the Berry family was on Ynys Môn in February when Mrs Berry was taken ill, perhaps one of the children was also unwell, so they all stayed put.
So why did no one notice them until a couple of days ago?
Two points are worth making. First, we are expected to believe that the Lancashire Telegraph sat on this story for two weeks and then published it as ‘News’. Second, Berry is reported to have had his dog with him. So if Virginia Crosbie is correct, and Berry was living at Rhoscolyn, he took the poor mutt on a 260 mile round trip.
But a few days later, on 3 April, Berry himself put out what you see below. So either he was in his constituency, as the message ‘Lovely to see this up in #Darwen’ suggests, or else it was posted from Rhoscolyn, making it a deliberate attempt to deceive his constituents into believing that he was there among them.
But if, as his defenders insist, he has been living at Rhoscolyn since February, then he could only have reached Darwen by breaking the lockdown rules.
The consistent line in all the reports I’ve read says that he was visiting relatives when a member of his family fell ill. This makes a certain sense because Berry’s wife gave birth on or just before 11 February. It would have been natural to have taken the new arrival to be seen by Berry’s parents, who do live at Rhoscolyn.
And then they went home.
In fact, Jake himself is quite the property tycoon; for he either owns outright or has a share in four properties around Rhoscolyn. As his Declaration of Interests makes clear.
One of the shared properties is the one his parents live in.
Another property he owns is Plas Coch. If I’m reading the title document and the women in his life correctly, then he owns this property jointly with his mother and his ex-wife. Which must be a bundle of laughs. But again, this property was also paid for in readies, £249,000 in May 2017.
As I’ve said, Jake Berry is a non-practising solicitor, and as far as I can see there are no directorships or other sources of income. So either there’s family money or else he makes his MP’s salary go a long, long way.
Having mentioned Plas Coch, my man in the bushes tells me that no lights have been seen there in the evening. Though there is a car parked, a silver Volvo XC70. Funny thing is that the MOT on this vehicle expired in January 2019. And the tax ran out in March last year.
Though Jake’s brother is reported to have lived at Plas Coch for a while. Is the car his?
And can anyone identify the fourth property Jake Berry owns on Ynys Môn?
The evidence suggests that the Berry family visited in February with the baby, went back to Lancashire, and turned up again a few days ago after Boris Johnson’s garbled message about staying alert.
I cannot believe that the Berry family is living permanently at Rhyd-y-Bont. It would be too risky. Some local shit-stirrer back in Lancashire would almost certainly find out and our boy would be in trouble.
Though if they are living at Rhyd-y-Bont then, when things get back to normal Jake Berry will be catching the Holyhead to London train on a Monday and making the return trip on Thursday evening or Friday. So when will he find time for his constituency? Or if he spends weekends in his constituency, when will he see his missus and the sprogs?
Alternatively, if it is a holiday home, £780,000 is a hell of a lot to pay. Insulting to the local Welsh people being priced out of the market by people like the Berry clan.
Finally. I’ve just remembered that there is no London property shown in his Declaration of Interests, so where does he live when Parliament is sitting?
The bigger issue here of course is holiday homes. Holiday homes in Wales owned by people who have no connection with our country other than the exploitative and parasitic relationship provided by the property they own.
In this pandemic, the issue has come to the fore in ways I would not have believed possible. There is palpable anger directed at holiday homes and those who own them.
Only yesterday we read that police had to ask a Liverpool family to leave their holiday home in Llandegfan, on the other side of Ynys Môn, for their own safety. This report in NorthWalesLive gives the impression of a crowd of yokels brandishing pitchforks.
Feelings are running high everywhere. But what else can be expected?
Nothing really, because tourism encourages contempt for us and our identity. Wales doesn’t really belong to us, it’s theirs to take and do with as they wish. So come to Wales . . . swamp our communities, ridicule our language, change our ancient place names, and pay £780,000 for a holiday home.
Tourism and the colonisation that always follows has given us areas of our country where we Welsh are in a minority. A constantly diminishing minority. Every year more and more communities cease to be Welsh because of tourism.
There has never been a better time for politicians to get to grips with the problem of holiday homes, but they are too cowardly to grasp the opportunity. Those weaklings in Corruption Bay refuse to give police the authority to make people leave holiday homes and won’t even increase the fine for disobeying lockdown.
In Wales it stays at £60 but in England – where restrictions have been eased! – fines start at £100.
Holiday homes are inseparable from tourism. A tourism industry that is overwhelmingly foreign owned and of little or no benefit to us Welsh. The few benefits more than outweighed by the damage caused.
We have learnt a great lesson during this pandemic – the power of community resistance. When it’s over we must continue refusing to accept holiday homes and saturation tourism.