Clear Water, Poisoned Debate

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

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

It was the usual nonsense from the usual sources.

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

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

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

BULLSHIT FOR WHICH BULLS ARE BLAMELESS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All will be explained later in this piece.

THE MEMSAHIBS OF KNIGHTON AND CONSIDERATIONS OF CHICKENSHIT

This section is part digression, part lead-in.

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

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

They perform the full far left agenda:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But what are the facts?

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

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

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

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

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

It’s the latter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me explain why I say that:

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

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

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

More on both in a mo.

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

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

TINKLING RILLS AND STREAMS OF POLLUTING CASH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because don’t you find that strange?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to the riverbank . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE FARMERS . . . ‘

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘He who pays the piper calls the tune’.

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

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

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

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

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

♦ end ♦

© Royston Jones 2022


Gilestone: Thinking Outside The Box

In this post I’ll be setting out my thoughts as to what I believe lies behind the purchase of Gilestone farm. To some extent I’ll be launching a kite, but I believe it flies.

If you disagree, then feel free to tell me. Just click on the ‘Comments’ tab.

QUICK RECAP

Earlier this year the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ paid £4.25m to buy Gilestone farm, near Talybont-on-Usk, in south Powys. The reason given was to provide a permanent base in Wales for the Green Man Festival.

This music festival currently holds its events on the Glanusk estate, a few miles down the river near Crickhowell, but is said to want a place of its own, to diversify ‘the brand’.

Lacking the finance to buy a place of their own it is also claimed that GM boss Fiona Stewart demanded that her friends in the ‘Welsh Government’ buy a place for her. And she does have many friends in Corruption Bay.

My first post on the subject was, Green Man, Red Herring?, back in May. And as the title suggests, even then, I was not entirely convinced by the official story about the farm being bought for the music festival. Something didn’t add up.

So I did some digging.

And I shall begin this latest post by taking you back to where my earlier digging took me – the Catskills of New York State. The area from where New York City draws its water. I dealt with this relationship in that first Gilestone piece.

This Catskill-Delaware Watershed is supplemented lower down the Hudson River by the smaller Croton Watershed.

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Following contact by Dŵr Cymru (DC) a visit was made to Wales in March 2018 by representatives of the Watershed Agricultural Council. This visit was reciprocated in October 2019, when a party from the Beacons visited the Catskills.

One result of these trans-Atlantic jollies was the formation in May 2020 of the Beacons Water Group CIC (BWG). That the one was the inspiration for the other is made clear in the company’s Certificate of Incorporation.

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In the panel above you’ll see mention of ‘BBMC’. This is Dŵr Cymru’s Brecon Beacons Mega Catchment. This Dŵr Cymru video tells a little more.

But it makes little sense. OK, so the Beacons supplies southern Wales with water. That is understood. But what was to be learnt from linking up with the New York City Watershed Agricultural Council?

HANDS ACROSS THE SEA

We are expected to believe that the BWG and BBMC, both inspired by the US link-up, exist solely to ensure cleaner water from the Beacons for DC’s existing customers.

The problem I have with this interpretation is – if true, then what has Dŵr Cymru being doing up until now? And did DC need to go to the USA to learn about water quality?

Which is why I suspect these new bodies might serve some purpose other than simply improving water quality, or some purpose additional to that objective.

Let’s look again at the US exemplar.

As the pre-internet flyer below makes clear, the reason for introducing the Watershed scheme was to impose stricter regulations on farmers in the Catskills.

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To some extent, this was understandable, everybody wants clean drinking water. It’s a global human necessity that too many are still going without. Also, irresponsible farmers can be a source of pollution.

That was what lay behind the Watershed Agricultural Council. (Here’s a brief history.) Farmers were cajoled, persuaded, and paid, to keep the water clean. I’ve found nothing to make me suspect there was a hidden agenda.

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But I do believe that on this side of the Atlantic some looked at the Catskills and saw a model to be replicated; with others welcoming a model that could be adapted to enforce local observance of Globalist diktats.

And so, what we see emerging in the Beacons is, up to a point, about water quality; but also about using water quality to make life difficult for farmers, done in order to facilitate the ‘Welsh Government’s implementation of the UN’s Agenda 2030 and The Great Reset of the World Economic Forum.

Which, among other demands, insist on reducing the numbers of livestock farmers.

But what I believe is planned for the Beacons goes beyond the ‘Welsh Government’s war on farming, and owes more to the principal aim of the Catskills model.

QUI BONO?

As we’ve read, one of the most important aspects of the whole Watershed project is the claim that it enjoys the co-operation of farmers.

In the hope of reprising that bucolic camaraderie the Brecon Beacons Mega Catchment will play the role of the Watershed Agricultural Council, with the Beacons Water Group serving to demonstrate farmer involvement.

I’d like to give you more information about the BBMC but it seems to be pretty sparse. There is a Twitter account, that hasn’t posted for months, and the same applies to the Facebook page.

With very little information on the Dŵr Cymru website.

Though I did turn up this picture, from February, of what is said to be the BBMC steering group. The picture comes from the Twitter account of Dave Ashford.

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Ashford works for the ‘Welsh Government’ but was, from May 2020 to April 2022, seconded to Dŵr Cymru as ‘Brecon Beacons Mega-Catchment Programme Manager’.

He is now back with the ‘Welsh Government’, as ‘Stakeholder Engagement Manager to help develop a future Sustainable Farming Scheme for Wales’. Here’s his Linkedin page. (Here in pdf format in case you can’t access it.)

Didn’t Dŵr Cymru itself have anyone who could have done this job, for water is its business after all? Couldn’t Natural Resources Wales have provided someone?

Is secondment like this a common practice? Because if nothing else, it gives the impression that the Catchment project is pushing a political objective rather than promoting an environmental agenda.

In the photo above, Dave is fifth from the left. Third from the right is Richard Roderick, of Newton Farm, next door to Gilestone. Richard is a local National Farmers Union chief, and chairman(?) of the Brecknockshire Agricultural Society.

Now the thing about Richard Roderick is that he is also a director of Beacons Water Group CIC. Another director is Keri Howell Davies, who made the trip to the USA with Roderick in October 2019.

Someone else we find among the BWG directors is Charles Weston, the man who sold Gilestone farm to the ‘Welsh Government’. Fancy that!

Talking of whom, I’m going to push the boat out and suggest that . . .

The purchase of Gilestone for a very generous £4.25m might have been a reward for the seller, Charles Weston, as much as, or rather than, a favour for the Green Man Festival. If that’s right, then what did Weston do to deserve such generosity?

Might it have anything to do with Weston’s principle company, CWW Farming Ltd, being previously known as Sharpness and Severn Transport Ltd, a company having nothing to do with farming?

Sharpness being a small town and port on the Severn in Gloucestershire. From where the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal runs to Gloucester docks. Just before reaching Gloucester this canal links with the Thames & Severn Canal which, as the name suggests, connects the Severn with the Thames just west of Oxford.

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Why am I telling you this? My thinking will be explained in the next section. (If you haven’t already guessed!)

Let’s conclude this section by reiterating that it looks very much to me, and to farmers in contact with me, that the leadership of the NFU, both in Wales and at Englandandwales level, has signed up to Agenda 2030 and The Great Reset.

Here we see Minette Batters, NFU president, proudly wearing her Agenda 2030 badge. And who’s that with her? Why! – it’s the WEF’s new man in No 10!

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The top brass at the NFU have the sense – and the political nous – to realise that livestock farmers, especially in Wales, are to be culled. They, the chiefs, will look after themselves, and then it’s every ‘Indian’ for himself.

In Wales that means complying with, perhaps even pretending to agree with, the ‘Welsh Government’s hysterical responses to an imaginary climate disaster.

Nothing to do with saving the planet, it’s pure self-interest.

THE BIG PICTURE

Let’s accept that the trans-Atlantic trips make no sense whatsoever if Dŵr Cymru is simply going to look after water in the Brecon Beacons for its existing customers. In other words, the ‘day job’.

There has to be more to it than that. (Now we come to the ‘kite’ I mentioned earlier.)

Let’s start with a few established and incontestable facts.

Due to an expanding population, and rising living standards in recent decades, the demand for water has increased dramatically in southern England, resulting in a growing problem of water shortages.

Water will be have to be brought in from somewhere else.

That ‘somewhere’ is usually identified as Wales. The mayor of London in 2011 – a certain Boris Johnson – suggested it. And in August of this year Conservatives were even pushing the idea of a ‘Great Boris Canal’ to ‘transfer water from Wales to the south of England’, according to Nation.Cymru.

In the same month the GMB trade union was arguing for Welsh water to be pumped to England.

The subject of west to east (and north to south) water transfer has been discussed by various bodies, off and on, for decades. The difference now may be that ‘climate change’ can be used to push on with the proposed ‘national’ water grid.

The extract below comes from a debate in the House of Lords in March 2012.

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My reading of the situation is that there is already a plan in place to move water to England from the Brecon Beacons.

Not only is it roughly the same distance from London as the Catskill watershed is from New York City but the infrastructure is largely in place, and what’s needed is either under construction or could be done relatively easily.

Also remember that Fiona Stewart told the BBC that the Gilestone purchase was the ‘Welsh Government’s idea. Claiming ministers “came to me” with the proposal.

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As I suggested earlier, Fiona Stewart may have been pressing her friends in Corruption Bay to help her and the Green Man Festival, maybe even buy her a farm; but I don’t think she was asking for, and she didn’t expect, Gilestone.

Let’s now look at the OS map of Gilestone farm. In particular, look at the course of the river Usk and the Monmouthshire & Brecon canal. Nowhere do they come closer to each other than at Gilestone.

Transferring water from the Usk to the canal, and then on to England, would be fairly easy. Given that the Usk regularly floods Gilestone farm such engineering work could even be dressed up as a flood prevention scheme.

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And the engineering work involved would expose the large and very valuable sand and gravel deposits that lie beneath Gilestone.

Also worth remembering is Gilestone’s proximity to both Llangorse Lake and Talybont reservoir. Shown below in the image from Google Earth.

So many water resources so close to Gilestone: river, canal, lake, reservoir.

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Llangorse is the largest natural lake in central and southern Wales. Talybont reservoir is the largest stillwater lake in the south, and owned by Dŵr Cymru.

And to end this section, let’s remember the skulduggery that preceded Weston’s purchase of Gilestone.

I have spoken with Gilestone’s previous owners, and I am in no doubt that they were forced out. Instrumental in the campaign to get them to sell to Weston was a solicitor named Julie James. She was elected to the Welsh Assembly in 2011 and is now Minister for Climate Change.

She is still deeply involved with Gilestone.

CONCLUSION

The plan to transfer water from the Brecon Beacons to England has been hatching for a considerable time.

In addition to the River Usk and the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal it may also involve the River Wye. Which would explain the hysteria from an ever-growing number of conservation groups on these rivers – always blaming Welsh livestock farmers for anything less than crystal-clear water.

Though the Environment Agency (England’s equivalent of Natural Resources Wales) points the finger at arable farmers, who are almost all on the English side of the border. While poultry units, targeted by colonialist ecowhiners, get an almost clean bill of health.

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Charles Weston may have bought Gilestone of his own volition, but I’m inclined to believe there was some agency involved. If so, which agency might that be?

I concede that my theory hinges on various facts being part of a coherent whole rather than just coincidences. Anyway, here are the facts, interpret them as you will:

  • For many years there have been influential voices calling for water to be transferred from Wales to southern England.
  • Charles Weston, has a background in transport and shipping, and long-established links to Sharpness, from where there is a direct waterway to London.
  • For some reason Weston moved to Wales and started buying land, including Gilestone, the previous owners having been hounded out by a campaign involving a lawyer who is now a ‘Welsh Government’ minister.
  • Gilestone seems ideally placed for any scheme for transferring water from Wales to London.
  • For no obvious reason a link was forged between Dŵr Cymru and the Watershed Agricultural Council in New York State. The WAC exists solely to guarantee a regular supply of clean drinking water to New York City.
  • This US link gave us the Brecon Beacons Mega Catchment and the Beacons Water Group. The justification for these two groups has been ‘explained‘ in terms that are risible and vague to the point of being utterly vacuous.
  • The ‘Welsh Government’ bought Gilestone farm from Charles Weston for an inflated sum. We were told the purchase was made for the Green Man Festival’ – but Fiona Stewart says, “They (WG) came to me”!

I believe this kite flies!

And if I’m right, then Gilestone was ‘secured’ for future use when Weston bought it; and now, the ‘Welsh Government’s purchase could signal that things are moving on to the next stage.

Of course the ‘Welsh Government’ might be ignorant of the bigger picture. This would explain why it cannot give a plausible explanation for buying Gilestone farm.

This ignorance could also be attributed to the Drakeford Gang acting under orders. Perhaps the project is managed by civil servants, working in Wales but answering to their bosses in Whitehall.

Though I find it difficult to believe that Julie James is wholly in the dark.

Supplying water to London would certainly explain the Catskills connection, which otherwise makes no sense at all. For it’s the perfect template if the plan is for a hilly and largely agricultural area to supply a city of 9 million people roughly 100 miles away.

With the ‘Welsh Government’ seizing the opportunity presented by the water transfer project to make life even more difficult for our livestock farmers.

Two birds with one stone. And two blows against the interests of the Welsh people.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Miscellany 28.09.2022

I hadn’t planned on putting out a post this week. But people contact me and say, ‘Have you seen this, Jac?’; and most of the time I can politely respond and let it pass. But now and again I get a clutch of reports or leads that are worth bringing together in a post like this.

It’s big, 4,500+ words, but as I always say, you can take it a section at a time.

And because it’s so big, and it’s taken so much work, don’t expect anything next week.

SYCHARTH UPDATE

The previous post was about my visit to Sycharth on September 16, and my disappointment with state of the site. Which prompted a reader to write to Cadw, the agency responsible for conserving our heritage.

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Here are the points he raised with Cadw:

  • The stile to Sycharth is in a poor condition.
  • Car parking is insufficient.
  • The whole site is in a mess. An hour with a strimmer would do wonders.
  • The information board does not mention much of  Cymru’s history.
  • Its neglect is a travesty and an insult to our past and heritage.
  • Utterly shameful behaviour on your part.

To which Cadw responded with this. Which tells us the site belongs to the Llangedwyn Estate. More particularly, Nicholas Watkin Williams-Wynn.

A couple of phrases from the Cadw response are worth focusing on.

‘Sycharth  . . . forms part of a working tenant farm under the Llangedwyn estate with permissive public access and parking at its discretion’.

‘Cadw installed the car park (four cars max) and access works (stile?) in 2010-2011 but their maintenance is again the responsibility of the owners.’

So it’s up to the Llangedwyn Estate whether people are allowed to visit Sycharth. And could, presumably, block public access. It’s also the Estate’s responsibility to maintain car parking and access. To judge by what I saw there, the Estate is doing its best to discourage visitors.

Is this some old dynastic feud being played out in the 21st century?

So I ask again: If the so-called ‘Welsh Government’ can find £4.25m to buy Gilestone farm for an English music festival, for purposes that are yet to be explained, why can’t it find the money to buy a site of national if not international importance and maintain it adequately and respectfully?

FREELOADERS IN FREEPORTS

Freeports are back in the news. And it seems Wales is getting one. Either in Holyhead or Milford Haven and Port Talbot.

Let’s start in Holyhead.

Now the Conservative MP for Ynys Môn, Virginia Crosbie, is a big supporter of freeports, and has staked her reputation on turning a run-down ferry port into a beacon of global trade that will bring into Caergybi the riches of the Orient, the gold of the Indies, and of course – Guinness from Dublin.

Here she is setting out her ambition in a mercifully short video.

Though in truth, freeports rarely live up to their billing. And often involve very murky dealings. Private Eye has been following the evolution of the Tees Freeport in north east England. And produced the report below in the issue before last. (Available here in pdf format.)

N.B. Political donations are not to be confused with bribes and backhanders; and if friends of London politicians get juicy contracts then it can only be because their firms are best able to deliver.

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Tees-side is a heavily built-up area, with a population pushing 380,000. And after the loss of its heavy industry – particularly steel – there is a widespread perception that the area is ‘owed something’.

Holyhead, by comparison, is a small town, with not much to speak about other than the ferry port to Ireland.

Until it closed in 2009, a major local employer was the Anglesey Aluminium smelter, with its private jetty. The plant received its electricity from Wylfa nuclear power station, some 15 miles away, another major employer that is now gone.

Roughly one thousand jobs paying good wages lost, but never mind, we’ll obey those who know best and stick in a few wind turbines and wave machines – plenty of jobs and unlimited cheap energy. Not.

The vacant site was taken over by Anglesey Aluminium Metal Renewables Ltd which in January 2016 became Orthios Power (Anglesey) Ltd. The site eventually being used for a plastics-to-oil operation.

But this folded earlier this year, with debts estimated at some £200m. And the end came suddenly, certainly for the staff. I’m told there was just a 10-minute warning not to start the next shift!

There are many Orthios companies listed with Companies House, none going back further than 2009 and most formed in the past three years. The ultimate holding company seems to be Orthios Operations Ltd, formerly Orthios Group (Holdings) Ltd.

So what happens now?

Well, the old smelter site has been bought by ferry operator Stena, and this is how a source on the island explains it . . .

‘Now of course they (Stena) can shift the dockside car parks elsewhere leaving nice waterside development plots. Just the sort of place to build a cable plant so they can load directly onto ships. The sort of cable company Virginia Crosbie MP was courting … the one owned by a Tory donor’.

He’s referring to Tratos, another local company hoping to benefit from offshore wind farms. Well, when I say ‘local’, it might be local if you were living in Italy. As the report makes clear.

From North West Wales Conservatives website. Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

This further report will explain a bit more of what’s going. Though you may not need to read beyond the headline: ‘Holyhead could get 300 cable jobs if area gets freeport status – says firm run by Tory party donor’.

Not much more to say really. Stena is leading the Freeport bid, and now Stena is pulling out the stops to get an ‘anchor’ company located in Holyhead. As is the local MP.

To finish this piece on Holyhead I have to mention Jake Berry MP. Now Jake is MP for a constituency in north west England, but he owns a number of properties on Ynys Môn. During the Covid lockdown it was rumoured that Virginia Crosbie was living in a property owned by Berry.

In addition to his post as party chairman, new Prime Minister, Liz Truss (I know you’re all impressed!), has made Berry Minister without Portfolio. Which may not sound much, but it kind of gives him a free hand.

That appointment was announced September 7. The day before the announcement, Berry resigned from the Northern Research Group Ltd (northern English Tory MPs), where he held the controlling interest. Also from Ford Bridge Farm Ltd.

Now why would he do that?

Ford Bridge Farm is of course an English rendering of his – or his wife’s – Rhyd y Bont farm at Rhoscolyn, on Holy Island. This is the smaller island, off the main island, and where Holyhead is located. Which means that Jake would be very close should the freeport materialise. A neighbour!

Rhyd y Bont circled. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Does Jake Berry anticipate benefitting in some way from a freeport at Holyhead? Or am I being too cynical? Cynical! Moi!

By comparison, the southern rival seems far less well advanced. In fact, we could be forgiven for thinking it’s hardly off the ground. This report would suggest that it was launched as recently as last week.

Though this piece from November 2020 suggests the Port of Milford Haven has been thinking about a freeport for some time.

Milford Waterway. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

The more recent activity may be due to the fact that in May it was announced that the 45km limit (for the extent of freeport status) could be extended in Wales. This could certainly explain the southern bid combining Milford Haven with Port Talbot.

Which are 87km apart, as the fabled crow flies.

This somewhat bizarre combination is presumably justified by links between Milford Haven and Swansea Bay. As show in the image below. Which strikes me as being a wee bit desperate. For example, the Llandarcy refinery closed in 1998.

And would a freeport in Milford make the oil, gas, or electricity flow any faster?

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My insular source believes that for all sorts of reasons the southern bid will win out. I’m not so sure. For with local boy Jake Berry working his magic behind the scenes, and his good friend Virginia Crosbie staking her political reputation on it, I would not be at all surprised to see the £26m freeport pot head up the A5 rather than down the M4.

But whichever direction the loot heads the lucky recipients will need to watch out for sharks circling – but these won’t be in the water. They’ll be arriving in Beemers and hoping to dazzle with PowerPoint presentations and insincere smiles.

And, dare I say it, ‘inducements’. There, I’ve said it.

And I say it because a freeport in either Holyhead or Milford / Port Talbot will attract grifters like the fresh laverbread stall in Swansea market draws discerning gourmets.

NAILING THE VOICES?

This section is decidedly odd, and I wasn’t sure about using it, so please understand if certain details are withheld. (Especially towards the end.) But I do have the information and the relevant documents.

It started when someone got in touch, saying she had information on Gilestone, but what she offered was unconnected incidents jumbled up with snippets from hither and yon.

The long and winding road somehow took us to Ammanford. And Alan Delaney Tait. If the name rings a bell it’s because Tait claims to hear voices of women and children being abused, hurt, even killed. These sounds either come from beneath his property or from tunnels nearby.

Tait has turned his ‘voices’ into a cottage industry. With many videos on YouTube and other platforms. That said, they don’t get many views. This one, with 40k, is probably the most popular.

Most people, including the local police, dismiss Tait as a publicity-seeking crank. No tangible evidence of human trafficking has ever been found. In fact, there is nothing beyond Tait’s recordings; and as has been pointed out, these could have been made anywhere.

Doing a quick check for Tait on the Companies House website turned up some interesting stuff. Now I’m not sure from where Tait originates, but he’s been living in Ammanford in recent years.

And yet Companies House gives out eight companies for ‘Alan Delaney Tait’ with addresses in Ystalyfera, in the Swansea Valley.

With other companies where he drops the ‘Delaney’ and becomes plain ‘Alan Tait’.

Such as Alan Dee UK Ltd. (I love the way some use ‘UK’, hoping their enterprise will be mistaken for the local branch of a global empire.) Then there’s UKWide Contract Services Ltd,  ADT UK Wide Ltd and, finally, Number Plates Online Ltd.

In recent years the focus of operations seems to have switched to Derbyshire, in the East Midlands. With The Three Boars Guesthouse Ltd and Chal Rentals Ltd.

For these Derbyshire-based companies Tait has as co-director the gloriously monikered Carlos von Gallo. Who has his own YouTube channel, where he puts out nothing but Tait’s Ammanford ‘recordings’.

‘Von Gallo’ is listed as the sole shareholder at the two companies’ deaths, but does he really exist?

What the 14 companies I’ve given here have in common is that after a short life – in some cases very short – they all went under. There are no survivors.

Something else I found intriguing was that for almost all Tait’s companies there was an issue of a single £1 share (if it was him alone) or £2 if there was another director (Tait’s wife or ‘von Gallo’). With two notable exceptions.

These were The Old Coal Store, with a share issue of £25,000, and Barlas Eren Sezer Ltd, with a share issue of £125,000.

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I don’t wish to cast aspersions but, if I had money I couldn’t account for, then disguising it as a share capital in a company doomed to fail, might have its attractions.

In his ‘voices’ videos Tait points the finger at the nearby Sophia Nails. He further claims that the leaseholder was a Vietnamese woman named Trang Thanh Tran. She is now said to run T Nail Spa in the centre of Swansea.

There is a company of that name where she is listed as sole director. But the single £15,000 share is held by Thi Hai Nhung Nguyen who gives as his address another nail bar, this one on Chepstow Road in Newport.

Tran’s partner, or husband, Quang Lam, was the leaseholder in Ammanford and also at Heaven Nails in Llanelli. He was sent down for 5 years for belonging to a gang growing and distributing cannabis.

There are a number of ‘Heaven Nail’ companies, all but one run by Vietnamese nationals.

The Vietnamese connection may be significant because some comments to the YouTube videos claim to have heard Vietnamese being spoken by the ‘voices’.

But the problem with Tait is that even if he’s telling the truth about the voices, and the Vietnamese connection, one look at his business record tells us that he is, to put it generously, ‘unlucky’, with so many failed companies to his name. 

Despite Tait being so ‘unlucky’, I was still left wondering . . . and so, motivated by nothing beyond idle curiosity, I Googled ‘Sophia Nails’, the name of the Ammanford salon. What popped up was the Sophia Nail Spa in Porth, in the Rhondda.

At which point things got a bit strange.

For in February this year a company, Sophia Nail Spa Ltd, was launched. The only director is a 23-year-old Vietnamese named Thien Van Hoang.

And although the company uses 22 Hannah Street, Porth, as its correspondence address, the Certificate of Incorporation gives Hoang’s address as 31 Ridley Terrace, Sunderland.

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At this point is might be worth suggesting a few things.

  • First, whoever’s running the Porth nail bar may know nothing about the company that’s using the same name.
  • Next, Thien Van Hoang may not even know he is named as director of Sophia Nail Spa Ltd. I have come across other examples of people being listed as company directors without their knowledge.
  • Finally, Thien Van Hoang may never have visited Sunderland.

But to find another Vietnamese connection is intriguing. Not least because it seems nail bars are used by Vietnamese criminals for exploiting women and girls, also for money laundering. The same gangs that are involved with cannabis. And not just in the UK.

Just type ‘Vietnamese nail bars trafficking’ into your search engine and you’ll bring up countless news reports. It’s big business.

Which may also explain Sophia’s Nail Bar at 9 Oxford Street, Mountain Ash. (Shown in image below.) Which more recently seems to have been known as New Star Nails. Which again is odd, because a company of that name folded in July 2018.

The secretary and the only director are both of Vietnamese extraction.

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Returning to Porth, if we look at the building in which Sophia Nail Spa is located we see a block – 20-25 Hannah Street – with a second floor and, in part, a third floor.

Another company listed at this block was a sporting establishment (darts, snooker, etc), on the first floor, which in July changed its name and apparently became a bar. All the old directors left and a single new director arrived, a 22-year-old woman with an unmistakably Welsh name.

I’m not saying young Welsh women shouldn’t run bars, but . . .

For a start, ingress and egress to a bar on the first floor will only be possible by a flight of stairs from the street. Would a council – even Rhondda Cynon Tâf – grant a drinks licence to a place where people would regularly fall or be pushed down the stairs?

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On a weekend a fleet of ambulances would be needed to carry away the injured. And as we know, Wales doesn’t have a working fleet of ambulances.

Something’s not right. The old Jac nose is all a-quiver.

From countless previous cases in Wales and across Europe, Vietnamese nationals owning or running nail bars should have aroused the suspicions of both local councils and the police. 

Finally, the company that owns that 20-25 block on Hannah Street in Porth is based just a mile and a half, as the crow flies, from Gilestone Farm!

I am not suggesting anything. It’s just a small world and Wales is a small country.

THE OLD FOLKS AT HOME

Someone contacted me suggesting I might be interested in the latest in a series of bad news stories about care homes. And this one really is bad.

Like so many of the care homes in Wales, Pontypridd Nursing Home is run by a company based outside of Wales. In this case, RB Care Homes Ltd, of Chislehurst in Kent. The RB stands, presumably, for director Raqia Bibi.

I can’t find a website but there is a Twitter account with nothing posted for three years. It’s a similar story with the Facebook page.

I suspect this company has gone under. Maybe not officially, but Companies House is still waiting for accounts that should have been submitted by November 30 last year. I don’t think they’re coming.

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Despite the parlous state of RB Care Homes, and other companies of hers we’ll look at in a minute, Raqia Bibi was, as late as June this year, being held up as an exemplar of good practice in the sector!

Truly amazing!

Pontypridd Nursing Home wasn’t Ms Bibi’s first venture into care homes, nor her first foray into Wales. For she has a string of companies behind her, including you’ll notice, Wrexham Care Centre.

Where some three years ago she also made the news for the wrong reasons. You’ll see that her partner in Wrecsam was Mohanananthan Kuhananthan. With whom the story takes a bit of a twist. But be patient.

For a start, Wrexham Care Centre Ltd was always a dormant company, with money going through Nant-y-Gaer Ltd, which is also in administration.

Then, you’ll remember that the news report I linked to at the top of this section said that the Pontypridd Nursing Home is run by RB Care Homes Ltd, which may be true. But that company has also been filing as dormant since it was Incorporated in February 2017.

The report made no mention of Pontypridd Care Home Ltd, owned by Mohanananthan Kuhananthan. With Raqia Bibi as co-director. Which may be explained by the fact that it’s this company that actually owns the property on Maesycoed Road, for which it claims to have paid £1.5m in May 2012.

Which means that while local authorities and others go chasing dormant companies for money those companies don’t have, the assets themselves are owned by companies they may know nothing about. It’s a popular trick.

Maybe Wrecsam and Rhondda Cynon Tâf councils, or anyone else owed money from the collapse of nursing / care homes, should consult their lawyers about refocusing any claims.

Kuhananthan has other companies. Many companies. Four under the Comfort Care Homes brand suggest operations in Wales. With, in some cases, money owed to the Development Bank of Wales. These relate to the Danygraig Nursing Home, in Newport.

What I find extraordinary is that these DBW loans were made in June, when it would have been obvious, after the most cursory of enquiries, that not only are Kuhananthan’s companies in deep trouble, but that the man himself may not be entirely above board.

UPDATE 10.10.2022: It may be worth clarifying that Kuhananthan was no longer a director of Comfort Care Homes (Danygraig) Ltd when the DBW loans were made, and Bibi had never been a director. But this company is owned by Dream Care Homes (RB) Ltd, formed in December 2021. And while they’re not shown as directors of this company either, I suspect the ‘RB’ tells us something.

Kuhananthan’s Welsh involvement doesn’t end with the examples given.

Through the company Mufulira Ltd, which Kuhananthan joined in May 2018, and was followed by Raqia Bibi in July 2021, they own Ridgeway Care Centre in Pembrokeshire, which must be worth a few bob.

The entrance to the Ridgeway Care Centre, Llawhaden, Pembrokeshire. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

In fact, the latest accounts seem to value Ridgeway at just short of two million pounds. That said, while it might be owned by Mufulira – another company in trouble – Mufulira itself is owned by Comfort Care Homes Ltd, which we know is yet another Kuhananthan and Bibi company.

Maybe Pembrokeshire County Council should also be on alert, and realise who owns Ridgeway. But then, Kuhananthan-Bibi companies appear to have no assets beyond the buildings, all of which have loans or mortgages against them.

I didn’t have the time to go any deeper, but I suggest for anyone so inclined, that Kuhananthan and Bibi are worthy of further investigation.

Before finishing this section, here’s another interesting connection.

We earlier encountered Nant-y-Gaer Ltd, which I suggested was the Kuhananthan-Bibi company actually running the home of that name in Wrecsam. (Now ‘Wrexham Care Centre’.) But there’s also a Nant-y-Gaer Hall Ltd.

When going through the details for Nant-y-Gaer Hall Ltd I noticed that Kuhananthan gave as his address 83 Dyserth Road in Rhyl. Where we find Sandy Lodge Hospital, run buy Medirose Healthcare.

A company formed as recently as November 2020 and filing as dormant.

However, 83 Dyserth Road is owned by HuaTong Ltd, a company that somehow manages to make a loss every year. The directors and owners are Chinese citizen, Wang Liu, and Sharvanandan Arnold, who has cropped up before in connection with fellow Sri Lankan Mohanananthan Kuhananthan

I conclude that care for the elderly in Wales is an utter shambles. It’s attracting unscrupulous if not crooked operators. They’re drawn by easy money and the lack of adequate oversight.

As a start, and a show of intent, I would like the ‘Welsh Government’ and Care Inspectorate Wales to announce they will not register or deal with any care home, nursing home, or other facility, where Mohanananthan Kuhananthan and Raqia Bibi are involved.

To lighten the mood a little, though not too much . . .

I genuinely worry about the care of the elderly because I’m not getting any younger myself. Will I be properly taken care of when my kids dump me in the Uncle Joe Sunshine Home for Unrepentant Fascists and Incorrigible Transphobes?

SOURCES

I had planned to have a section dealing with information I’d received from a source somewhere within the ‘Welsh Government’ detailing the nepotism and corruption all around.

And of the power wielded by those connected with housing associations, often in areas that have nothing to do with housing, and how the Wales Council for Voluntary Action is almost an arm of government.

Also some of the names I’m called in Corruption Bay. Some so bad he / she couldn’t even put them into print! Well, I was mortified. Mortified, I was!

But on reflection I feel it could be dangerous for this person if I was to go into details. So I’ll leave it there.

The information I’ve received thus far was posted anonymously to Gwlad and passed on to me. But I do wish to maintain contact.

So we need to think how this might be achieved.

GLOBALISTS

In recent years it has become increasingly clear to me that much of what I report on is simply the ‘Welsh Government’ and various agencies in Wales adopting and promoting agendas dreamt up elsewhere.

‘London’, is only part of the answer. And an increasingly irrelevant part.

A few years ago I wouldn’t have been writing this, but the Covid ‘pandemic’ and the way it was seized upon by politicians and others opened my eyes, and it helped me see the bigger picture.

That bigger picture of unelected, supranational bodies imposing agendas on governments and other institutions that impact on just about everybody on Earth.

In particular, I’m referring to the World Economic Forum. Made up of politicians, bankers, and multi-billionaires like Bill Gates, George Soros and Mark Zuckerberg. This self-electing elite – like almost all previous elites in human history – believes it is made up of essentially decent people, who are obviously smarter than the rest of us, and should therefore run the world.

Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

It reminds me of a couple of lines from Tom Paxton’s 1960s protest song, Daily News.

J. Edgar Hoover is the man of the hourAll that he needs is just a little more power

Just like J Edgar Hoover all the new global elite needs is a little more power. And then a little more. And then . . .

(Never agreed with his politics but I always thought Paxton was the best – certainly the most versatile – of the 60s folk / protest singer-songwriters. Love songs, political songs, humorous songs, kids’ songs, he could do them all.)

The principal tool the new elite uses to exert control and impose its agenda is climate disaster. Just like the Nazis they realise that to impose your will you need to frighten people with an imagined or overblown ‘threat’.

For the Nazis, it was the Jews, the Communists, Versailles; but for Klaus Schwab and his gang it’s global warming – and it’s all our fault. So we must change our behaviour to make up for the damage we cause, in ways that will be decided for us.

And it’s the West that must be targeted. Partly because the West is the richest and most advanced area of the globe, and also because concepts of individual liberty are more highly developed and valued in the West than most other parts of the world.

This explains the many-fronted attack on Western civilisation by the globalists and their foot-soldiers on the Left. With their initiatives denied / defended / promoted / hidden / (depending on requirements) by their allies in Mainstream Media and Big Tech.

It also explains much of what we see in Wales: the war on farmers, the lack of spending on infrastructure, the 20mph speed limit, our hills being ravaged by wind farms.

The crises we see approaching, food shortages due to the war on farmers, power cuts thanks to a campaign against fossil fuels and increased reliance on useless ‘renewables’, no petrol or diesel to run our vehicles, being locked out of your bank account for holding the ‘wrong’ views, political unrest resulting from these problems, unnecessary lockdowns and dangerous vaccinations justified by a virus with increasingly suspect origins, even the war in the Ukraine, have all been engineered, and could all have been avoided.

Because it’s all about control. Over us. By them.

Compared to forced chipping of children, and silencing those who challenge the WEF narrative, Lee Waters stuffing the National Infrastructure Commission with cronies representing housing associations, Sustrans / Deryn (Waters is ex Sustrans himself), and the M4 corridor, is small beer.

And no less than we have come to expect from Welsh politicians.

I’ll end with a little history lesson cum allegory that might explain how I see things.

Carlos Marcello was the Mafia boss of New Orleans for many years, and one of the most powerful gangsters in the USA. Then in 1960 John F Kennedy became President; he appointed his brother Bobby as Attorney-General, and Bobby went after the Mob.

Predictably, many leading figures in organised crime wanted to whack Bobby Kennedy; but Marcello sagely observed that if you cut off a dog’s tail he can still bite you, so it was better to go for the head.

Which helps explain why Marcello is strongly suspected of being implicated in JFK’s assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963. He probably was involved, but this wasn’t a straightforward Mafia hit, and they didn’t act alone.

The point I’m making is that I’m spending too much time on a ‘tail’. And while I shall continue to report idiocy like Gilestone, in future I intend paying more attention to the ‘head’.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Sycharth: A National Treasure Neglected

I hadn’t planned on writing anything for a while, but after visiting Sycharth today, the home of Owain Glyndŵr, I am compelled to put a few thoughts into words.

Fortunately, I took a long way home, stopping here and there; which gave me time to cool down, reflect on what I’d seen, and think about what I was going to write.

First, I’m going to provide a map, for anyone minded to visit. I’m doing this because you’ll see no directional signs of any kind for Sycharth . . . until you’ve found it! I’m not sure if SatNav can cope.

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Sycharth is close to the border, on a narrow road south of the village of Llansilin, and once you’ve found it, you’d better hope you can park your car, for there are just four parking spaces. When I arrived today all four spaces were taken.

(My clutch then took a bit of a hiding as I engaged in some dextrous parking.)

Before heading to Sycharth proper I read the information board put up by Cadw, the ‘Welsh Government’ agency with responsibility for the site.

Talking of sites, and Cadw, I’m writing this on September 16, the day we celebrate the life and heroic deeds of Owain Glyndŵr; and yet the homepage of the Cadw website has not a single mention of him – it’s all Anglo-Norman castles.

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The information board is very light on, well, information. Which results in this rather curious phrase: ‘ . . . yet by 1405 it (Sycharth) had become a burnt-out shell at the hands of Prince Harry (the future Henry V).’

Without the context of a brutal and bloody war of national liberation that reads as if this Harry bloke should have been banged up for being a pyromaniac.

The cars already parked in Sycharth’s miniscule car park seemed to belong to school teachers, up on the mound with a bunch of kids. Once I’d frightened them off I had the place to myself.

But before even getting to the hallowed ground I had to negotiate the stile. Now I’m six foot tall and reasonably fit, but many others would have struggled. One step was missing and the whole bloody thing looked as if it was about to collapse into firewood.

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After negotiating the stile I had to traverse the ground to the remains of the motte and bailey, and that meant dodging cowpats. Yes, I appreciate that Sycharth is on the land of a working farm. But even so . . .

If the so-called ‘Welsh Government’ can find £4.25m to buy flood-prone Gilestone farm – ostensibly for the Green Man Festival – then I’m sure to God it can find a few thousand to buy the field containing the home of Owain Glyndŵr.

It certainly could if it wanted to.

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I’m not suggesting that Sycharth be rebuilt, or that it needs a 500-space car park. (The local roads couldn’t cope.) But the site could be bought, and tidied up. With room for 15 – 20 cars. And it could definitely be better signposted.

The bottom line is that I believe we should show more respect for, and gratitude towards, Owain Glyndŵr. Because if it had all ended in 1283, then there might have been no Wales today.

One job that could be done immediately is to replace that completely uninformative information board! And put up a few bloody signposts.

Because at present the whole site carries an air of neglect, as if certain people wished they didn’t have to bother. As if they don’t really want anyone going to Sycharth.

Another example of this neglect would be the weeds crowning the mound.

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I know Cadw is little more than English Heritage (West) and interested only in Anglo-Norman castles and the income they generate, but things need to change.

Cadw needs to be reminded that it is first and foremost a body celebrating and conserving Welsh history. And to us, as a nation, Sycharth is more important than Caernarfon castle.

It may be humble by comparison, but the princes that lived at Sycharth were our princes.

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As I got back to my car a few other people were arriving. Pilgrims, by the look and sound of them. I hope their faith helped them overcome the disappointment I’m sure they felt at what they found.

Maybe I should have warned them about the stile, and the cowpats, but I was too busy thinking about those anglocentric crawlers at Cadw.

And also thinking about us as a nation, for tolerating what I’d just seen.

UPDATE 28.09.2022: By an amazing coincidence someone else visited Sycharth around the same time I did, drew attention to exactly the same issues I commented upon (even down to the broken stile), and also called for the site to be taken into public ownership. Amazing!

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Miscellany 07.07.2022

As the title suggests, this week’s offering is a miscellany, bits and pieces from hither and yon. Covering . . .

  • Wind turbine disposal.
  • Fears for the planning system in the north west.
  • Awkward locals opposing the hundreds of executive homes Aberdyfi so desperately needs.
  • A development in the ongoing saga of the Llanbedr by-pass.
  • A new environmental group (cos we haven’t got enough).
  • More on Gilestone farm. 
  • My unanswered FoI to the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party.
  • ‘Welsh Government’ funds National Trust (cos NT’s a bit short at the moment).
  • Is ‘Welsh Government’ flogging off executive homes in Cardiff?
  • Enviroloonies saving Wales from the curse of employment.
  • Stumping up for the ‘Welsh Government’s favourite farmer.
  • ‘Welsh Government’ wants more trees . . . but fewer farmers.
  • Ukraine.
  • Enlarging the Senedd, or making the pig-sty bigger.

This is a monster issue, over 5,000 words; but you can take it a piece at a time. And because it is such a substantial offering late in the week, don’t expect anything next week.

Capice?

WHERE WILL ALL THE TURBINES GO?

A couple of weeks ago I submitted a Freedom of Information request to the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ asking who was responsible for disposing of wind turbines when they come to the end of their working lives.

Given that the lifespan of a turbine is 15 – 25 years we must have in Wales a few hundred turbines approaching decrepitude. With hundreds more in their ‘middle age’, and plans in the system to erect God knows how many others. (Bute Energy alone wants 20 new wind farms.)

It seems to me to be an important question. Hence the FoI request.

I was also mindful of what happened when certain opencast mining sites came to the end of their working lives . . . and it was found that responsibility for restoring those sites had been transferred to companies located in the British Virgin Islands.

You might also like to read this 2014 report produced for the ‘Welsh Government’ and entitled, ‘Research into the failure to Restore Opencast Coal Sites in South Wales’.

When we add the birds and bats they kill wind turbines’ environmental credentials are on a par with Jack the Ripper’s contribution to the welfare and well-being of streetwalkers. Click to open enlarged in separate tab.

Here’s the response I received to my FoI.

It tells me that, ‘Responsibility for decommissioning wind turbines lies with the developer/operator of the site’.

Richard Spear of the Planning Inspectorate concludes his response with: ‘In addition, developers/operators should ensure that sufficient finance is set aside to enable them to meet restoration obligations. A local planning authority may require financial guarantees by way of a Section 106 planning obligation / agreement, as part of the approval of planning permission to ensure that restoration will be fully achieved.’

It’s worth pointing out that in most cases it was the ‘Welsh Government’ that gave planning permission for wind turbines, often over-riding local authorities. The ‘Welsh Government’ should therefore have seen to it that each developer paid a ‘bond’, up front, to ensure there will be enough money to restore each site.

But those buffoons down Corruption Bay were so concerned with making ‘planet-saving’ gestures that they couldn’t see beyond their own wagging fingers.

I predict with certainty that in the near future, we – by which I mean Wales – will find ourselves lumbered with ‘orphan’ wind turbines that will cost us a hell of a lot of money to demolish. And then more money to restore the sites they’ve come from.

And that’s without deciding what to do with the blades, because they cannot be recycled. Most go into landfill. Just as well we’ve left the European Union, because the EU has banned landfill disposal.

On the plus side, it means that turbine blades from the Continent can come to landfill sites in Wales!

Should this come to pass then it will doubtless be claimed as ‘foreign investment’.

WILD WEST SHOW?

I am indebted to a regular source for news of concerns about the Gwynedd and Môn Joint Planning Policy Committee. To be clear, this is not the planning committee, deciding on planning applications, but the policy committee that determines in more general terms where development will be allowed.

Although Gwynedd is a large council in area, much of the planning responsibility falls to the Snowdonia National Park; which leaves the council to oversee a few ‘islands’ – Tywyn, Barmouth, Blaenau Ffestiniog – then Porthmadog and Llŷn, and finally, the northern coastal strip taking in Caernarfon and Bangor and running to Abergwyngregyn.

Crossing over, readers may remember that for a few years Ynys Môn council was in special measures. This was ostensibly for failings in education delivery, but it went well beyond that.

For like many rural authorities Ynys Môn is prone to being controlled by a few forceful individuals, often holding sway through membership of an organisation claiming to be heirs to the Knights Templar and other exotic fraternities.

Never more true than in keeping to the Templar talent for accruing wealth. Though I’m unsure if the medieval predecessors were as cunning as their heirs in planning matters and the allocation of contracts.

For who could forget Ceredigion when Dai Lloyd Evans and his merry men ruled the roost? Those were the days! The late Paul Flynn, sitting on the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Select Committee, referred to Ceredigion Council as “The Wild West Show”.

But then, as we saw in Carmarthenshire during the halcyon days of Mark James, sometimes, with largely rural authorities, the boss man doesn’t even have to be a councillor.

My source’s concern is that the chairman of the joint planning policy committee is a member of this group to which I have alluded. And while I’m sure he’s a splendid fellow, with a good firm handshake, I can understand my source’s misgivings.

Someone else giving my informant food for thought is the young man who’s now Senior Executive Officer at Gwynedd’s Housing and Property Department.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s an educated boy, studied . . . Welsh, and, er . . .  Music.

But then, it is suggested by cynics that the boy’s father’s friendship with Gwynedd’s Head of Finance may have played a role in the appointment.

O tempora! O mores!

ABERDYFI EXECUTIVES MUST BE HOUSED!

When I first saw this news item I thought to myself, ‘Hang on, Jones, isn’t this the development Ann Clwyd was banging on about decades ago?’ And I’m sure it is.

For the woman who went on to become MP for the Cynon Valley has connections to Aberdyfi and the wider Dysynni area. I have a photo of a young Ann Clwyd with my sister-in-law when the latter was the village carnival queen back in the mid-sixties.

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It’s difficult to comprehend how this project has resurfaced, or why it wasn’t killed off decades ago. What does it say about our planning system?

Aberdyfi may be a sizeable village; a few pubs, a few caffs, shops, and an unhealthy number of estate agents. But it backs up to a cliff, with the sea on the other side, and there’s just one road in and out, the A493. A crash or some other hold-up on that road and Aberdyfi is almost inaccessible except by boat or helicopter.

Sticking to housing, Aberdyfi may be the financial, commercial, and industrial hub of the south Meirionnydd coast, but the village needs 401 ‘executive homes’ like our cat needs fleas.

The company behind this zombie scheme is Hillside Parks Ltd, run by Christopher John Madin, who I believe is the son of John Hardcastle Dalton Madin, the architect responsible for much of post-War central Birmingham.

So stick that up your Bullring!

LLANBEDR BY-PASS

One of the more intriguing stories to make the news recently was the report that Gwynedd County Council is to appeal to the UK government for funding to build the Llanbedr by-pass, a project cancelled last year by the ‘Welsh Government’.

The reason this is intriguing is because the council is controlled by Plaid Cymru, and down in Corruption Bay that party is in cahoots with the local branch of the Labour Party, an arrangement generally referred to as an ‘alliance’.

Though the Senedd Member representing Llanbedr seems to be going out of his way to piss off his supposed allies.

Last month he dared ask the ‘Welsh Government’ why it paid £4.25m for Gilestone farm when the asking price appeared to be £3.25m. A good question. We’d all like to hear the answer. (More on Gilestone below.)

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Another explanation might be that despite most Plaid SMs self-flagellating for the heinous sins of the White man and the harm they themselves do the planet by simply existing, many Plaid supporters still associate ‘woke’ with getting up in the morning.

They inhabit the real world where decent infrastructure and communications still matter. That mythic land far, far away, where people have to drive to work. And to the shops. To the doctor, dentist, etc., etc.

You know, the Welsh countryside, of which Labour is so wilfully ignorant.

TIR NATUR

I’ve tweeted a few times about this rather mysterious group, I may even have mentioned it here, on the blog. One reason I call it mysterious is because all I knew about it was gleaned from a GoFundMe page. (You’ll see there’ve been two donations in the past three months.)

Another reason for the ‘mysterious’ tag was that neither the website nor the GoFundMe page gave any names. And I get rather suspicious of organisations that run themselves.

Why ‘Wales-Based’, can’t they bring themselves to say ‘Welsh’? Click to open enlarged in separate tab

As I say, there was a rudimentary website. And a mention a year ago on the Cardiff Greenpeace Facebook page. (But no names there either.)

And when you read the justification for Tir Natur you immediately think, ‘Hang on, I’ve read that before!’ And so you have, many times. It probably comes from an environmental / rewilding template available online.

Now a source informs me that Tir Natur has finally gone legit and registered as a charity. This move is mentioned on the GoFundMe page, though when I checked a few days ago it hadn’t been updated since the application in March to the Charity Commission.

The contact address given on the Charity Commission website is, ‘Y Beudy, Lanlwyd, Pennant, Llanon, Ceredigion SY23 5JH’. This is on the B4577 between Cross Inn and Llanarth.

To confuse the picture, the GoFundMe page says, ‘Newport, Pembrokeshire’. Though my source and I suspect those involved don’t live in either Ceredigion or Pembrokeshire.

But at least the Charity Commission gives us names. So who are these four people named as Tir Natur trustees? Do you know them? What are their plans?

And does Wales really need yet another environmental / rewilding group?

STOP PRESS!

My source has now sent me this from a recent release by Tir Natur. Knowing more of such things than I he tells me that the image shows a European bison and a golden eagle. Neither of which of course is native to Wales.

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Though breeding pairs of European bison can be found at the Wildwood Trust’s Wildlife Discovery Centre in Kent.

They were introduced to the Trust’s other site in Devon, but removed due to fears of bTB. And they had to leave another site in Scotland when the government concluded they were dangerous and non-native.

Are they now destined for Wales?

Incidentally, that place in Kent is where the poor lynx that ended up at Borth ‘Zoo’ came from.

GILESTONE FARM, AGAIN

A number of Freedom of Information requests – in addition to my own – have been submitted regarding the purchase by the ‘Welsh Government’, for £4.25m, of Gilestone Farm at Talybont-on-Usk.

Here’s one. Here’s another.

I was a bit perplexed by the reference in the second FoI to the ‘James Report’. And then it came back to me . . .

Julie James. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Julie James, the current Minister for Climate Change in the ‘Welsh Government’ has been involved with Gilestone for many years, before she was even elected to what was then the Welsh Assembly in 2011.

It’s a strange affair, with some dark corners, some very dark corners indeed. What I’ve been told involves the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, certain environmental busybodies, previous owners of Gilestone and a supporting cast that includes a retired Met cop with an ‘interesting’ record.

And of course, Julie James, then a solicitor in Swansea; whose relationship with some of those involved is worth looking into. No, nothing like that. (Really!)

I may be in a position to say more in the near future.

Also worth mentioning is that a number of people are convinced the money to buy Gilestone came from Julie James’ department’s piggy-bank.

If true, then why did Vaughan Gething, Minister for Economy, take the rap in the Senedd? Maybe his ignorance of the deal explains why he spent so much time extoling the virtues of the Green Man festival rather than answering questions he’d been asked about the purchase of Gilestone.

Finally, might these shenanigans explain why the ‘Welsh Government’ is so far behind with its accounts?

Though another explanation for the delayed accounts might be that the ‘Welsh Government’ is virtually broke. For that’s what another source tells me.

If true, then this might explain the Llanbedr by-pass and other projects being scrapped.

‘O what a tangled web we weave . . . ‘.

LABOUR PARTY FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST

As you know, I’ve written about Bute Energy a number of times. They even got a mention at the end of paragraph 2 in the first section of this post.

What became clear once I started looking into Bute’s activities in Wales was that this company had very quickly realised that Labour Party support would be a big help in realising its plans for 20+ wind farms.

Which explains why Bute recruited to its Welsh Advisory Board redundant Labour MEP Derek Vaughan, and John Uden, the partner of Labour MS Jenny Rathbone, who sits on the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee.

Bute Energy’s Welsh Advisory Board. Click to open enlarged in open tab

Quite what this Welsh Advisory Board advises on is not stated, but I think we can all guess. And the recruitment didn’t end there.

Also taken aboard the treasure ship Bute was David James Taylor, former spad to Labour stars, from Peter Hain to Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones. Taylor was made a partner in Bute-linked outfit Grayling Capital LLP (though he’s since left), and also given shares in Windward Enterprises Ltd, another Bute company. (Which he still holds.)

It occurred to me that if Bute Energy was so keen to cwtsh up to Labour then political donations should be considered. And so I wrote to the Bruvvers’ HQ in Cardiff.

On June 8 I sent this e-mail:

‘Bute Energy Ltd (Co No: 12474011), in various guises, seeks to build – or at least, obtain planning permission for – some 20 wind farms in Wales. A company has been formed for each wind farm.

Has the Labour Party in Wales / ‘Welsh Labour’ party received a donation or donations from Bute Energy Ltd, or from companies under the Bute Energy umbrella, or from leading director Oliver James Millican, or from other persons, perhaps former employees of Labour politicians?’

But I have received neither acknowledgement nor reply. Can you believe that – the Comrades ignoring me!

‘WELSH GOVERNMENT’ FUNDS NATIONAL TRUST

About a month or so ago we heard that the National Trust was taking over the Hafod Estate in Ceredigion. I covered it here, in the section ‘Bristol fashion’.

The article in the Cambrian News to which I’ve linked suggests there may have been funding involved. To clarify this point I submitted a Freedom of Information request to the ‘Welsh Government’.

Here is the response I received yesterday. With the important bit extracted below.

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The ‘Welsh Government’ has gifted an English organisation worth billions of pounds a Welsh asset and also handed over £700,000 for ‘capital investment’. From which the National Trust will profit, through charging visitors.

Many of whom will be Welsh.

And there will almost certainly be more than £700,000. For a well-informed contact with whom I shared this information in advance reminded me that the National Trust will now be eligible for Glastir woodland grants.

As if that wasn’t enough, my contact also suggests that, because the announcement was made by Dawn Bowden, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, there will probably be Arts grants as well.

Note that this generosity is explained by quoting the “‘Welsh Government’ wellbeing objectives”. This refers to the Well-being of Future Generation (Wales) Act 2015. Airy-fairy nonsense that has since been used to justify every insanity hiding under the ‘environmental’ blanket.

Environmental concerns are used to disguise giving away our homeland piece by piece – ‘Cos we are savin’ the planet, like’.

The truth of course is that this legislation simply rolled out the red carpet for colonialist exploitation.

It even talks of future generations. But those future generations won’t be Welsh.

UPDATE: Well, whaddya know, a couple of hours after putting out this post I got a reply from Natural Resources Wales to my FoI of June 16.

Main points seem to be that negotiations with the National Trust have been going on since June 2019; no one else was invited to express an interest; NRW has no idea why Dawn Bowden was involved; NRW will continue to manage the Hafod Estate forestry operation.

GREEN HOUSING

My attention has been drawn  to this rather curious site which suggests some kind of partnership between the ‘Welsh Government’, the National Eisteddfod, and a company called LivEco, to build “sustainable homes at affordable prices”.

The location of these desirable properties being Great House Farm in Cardiff, between Culverhouse Cross and St Fagan’s National Museum of History.

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So let’s look at this company, LivEco. Companies House tells us LivEco Homes Ltd was formed in September 2018, but it’s dormant. The sole director is a Welshman, Daniel James Ball, who seems to live in West Sussex.

Ball’s active company is Mulcare-Ball Ltd. The other director being a woman I assume to be his wife.

So why are we being asked to believe that a dormant company is building these dwellings at Great House Farm?

Mulcare-Ball has an arrangement (charge) with the Principality Building Society. Though the date given here is February 2, 2013, the document itself takes us back a year and also mentions Hale Construction Ltd.

If it’s this company, then Hale Construction was a one-man band on Merseyside, Incorporated December 2011 and Dissolved August 2015 without, apparently, making a penny.

Another company worth mentioning is Great House Farm Community Ltd, which I assume to be a residents’ association. This was Incorporated in March 2013, which makes sense; though the only director or member was Ball until June 25 last year. When he was replaced by two others using Great House addresses.

Something else that makes me a little wary of this whole project is what I learnt from the Land Registry title register.

First, it tells us that Daniel James Ball and his wife bought this land in July 2009. We also learn that the properties built by Mulcare-Ball Ltd are being leased rather than sold.

The ‘Welsh Government’ has more than once expressed a desire to phase out leasehold in Wales, so why is it in partnership with a company building properties to lease?

Or, to put it another way, why does the ‘Welsh Government’ need to be involved at all? The same question could be asked of the Eisteddfod.

I may return to this subject.

NO COAL

The Aberpergwm mine, near Glyn-Neath, produces highest quality anthracite coal that is used for all manner of purposes, including water filtration. But it will not be chucked on a fire or shovelled into a furnace.

It is rarely if ever burned.

In January, approval was given for mining operations to continue. This prompted the Green Party of Englandandwales to burst into, ‘When will they ever learn’, with Julie James’ deputy Lee Waters joining in the chorus.

(In an eye-watering falsetto because someone had him by the balls!)

The latest news is that a legal challenge is to be mounted by a group called the Coal Action Network (CAN). If you’ve never heard of them, that may be because the company wasn’t formed until February 16.

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And it is a standard, commercial entity. Not a Community Interest Company (CIC), or any form of community benefit framework. I suspect it claims to be an umbrella group for smaller, more local organisations.

Though I’m not aware of any genuinely local opposition at Aberpergwm itself. Certainly not from the 200 or so people who work there. Nor from the businesses benefitting from the money those workers put into the local economy.

The address given for the Coal Action Network is Halton Mill, in Lancaster, north west England, owned by Green property developer Lancaster Cohousing. Which suggests it’s little more than an accommodation address for CAN. They certainly don’t get a mention on the website.

It would be easy to dismiss the Coal Action Network as just another little gang of over-excited eco zealots. But these groups often front for bigger players, or there’s serious money behind them.

So be watchful out there. Protect Welsh jobs and Welsh interests from the misguided attention of the brainwashed foot-soldiers of the World Economic Forum and others with globalist agendas designed to crush the little guy. Agendas enthusiastically endorsed by socialists.

And, finally, look out for these clowns sending letters to local papers, lobbying politicians, and pretending they’re local objectors.

STUMP UP FOR TREES, INTERTWINING

A group getting a lot of publicity, and regular attention from the ‘Welsh Government’, is Stump Up For Trees (SUFT). Predictably, and like so many others of its type, this little enterprise is based in south Powys.

Though cut through the enviro-bullshit and SUFT seems to be little more than a greenwashing operation for Utility Warehouse.

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Most of those involved with SUFT have either relocated to Wales or don’t even live in Wales. For as with all these ‘conservation’ land grabs, Welsh involvement is minimal.

Though the website informs us, of the man in the photograph, and founder of SUFT, ‘Dr Keith Powell is a seventh-generation Black Mountains farmer and a vet’. Though I don’t think he’s actually done much farming, and came home when he realised there was serious money to be made in trees.

Stump Up For Trees is registered as a charity. Though when I went to the Charity Commission website to check the details I was somewhat surprised not to see Powell listed as a trustee. I assume the desired impression is that of hands-off trustees.

But who do we see there!

Why! it’s Richard James Roderick, who farms across the Usk from Gilestone farm. As I told you in my earlier post ‘Gilestone Revisited’, Roderick was taken to the USA in 2018 by Dŵr Cymru. After which he was debriefed by Natural Resources Wales’ Land Management Forum Agri-Pollution Sub Group.

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Then he and his companion on the US trip (and at the debriefing), Keri Davies, set up the Beacons Water Group. And do you know who joined them at BWG – none other than Charles Weston, the man who sold Gilestone to the ‘Welsh Government’ for the ludicrous sum of £4.25m!

As if that wasn’t enough, another BWG director, Tony Martineau, teaches at Coleg Soros, Talgarth. While George Soros’ favourite educational establishment, Bard College, has links with the Watershed Agricultural Council, the hosts for the 2018 US trip.

Enough! Old Jac can’t take any more connections.

Why should the ‘Welsh Government’s favourite farmer be involved with Stump Up For Trees? Then again, why not, he seems to be involved in everything else?

And even though the Bruvvers in Corruption Bay love Roderick, he’s a ronk Tory.

MORE TREES . . . OR ELSE!

To make sense of the ‘Welsh Government’s latest assault on the farming industry you must understand the Labour Party’s relationship with the Welsh countryside.

Labour has no MPs and no SMs representing rural constituencies. For these seats either vote Conservative, Plaid Cymru or, irregularly, usually in Powys, Liberal Democrat.

It wasn’t always so.

There was a time within living memory when Labour could rely on the votes of farm labourers, and even smaller farmers. Also, other rural, working class people. The Merionethshire seat – now part of Dwyfor Meirionnydd and held by Plaid Cymru for almost 50 years – was a straight fight between Labour, centred on the slate town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, and the Liberals, still relying to a great extent on the chapel vote.

Will Edwards, last Labour MP for Merionethshire, 1966 – 1974. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Then came the 1960s, and the national reawakening. The protests and the bombs. Tryweryn, Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru (MAC), the Free Wales Army (FWA), Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg  CyIG) . . . and the rise of Plaid Cymru.

Labour now saw its hegemony in Wales threatened by a new force that it believed to be essentially rural in character. Certainly rural in origin. And Labour has been wary of the countryside, and its native inhabitants, ever since.

In many Labour politicians this suspicion became outright and undisguised hostility.

The rise of the environmental movement, coupled with the powers given by devolution, have allowed the Labour Party through successive ‘Welsh Governments’ to exert control over rural areas where it has little or no electoral support. While more recently, under the influence of ‘environmentalists’ eyeing Welsh land, exacting what can only be interpreted as revenge.

Which brings us up to date.

Labour’s activists in rural areas tend to be English, middle class, vegetarian (if not vegan, or subsisting entirely on water and good karma), most of them climate / environment ranters who compare hard-working farmers to concentration camp guards.

This is the background for understanding the Welsh Government’s latest attack on farmers encouraged by – possibly written by – the aforementioned environmental groups.

Though this latest pronunciamiento from Corruption Bay also helps us understand the long-term objectives. And makes a few other things clear.

The ‘Welsh Government is attempting a divide and rule strategy with farmers. Certain farmers are being wooed, and so perhaps is the National Farmers Union. And it seems to be working.

It’s no coincidence that these favoured farmers tend to be Tory-voters, on better land, suited to tree planting, and in almost exclusively English-speaking areas.

Which means that the excluded farmers are more likely to be found on marginal land, more difficult for growing trees, possibly tenant farmers, and certainly more likely to be Welsh speaking. (And Farmers Union of Wales members?)

In fact, areas such as the Summit to Sea rewilding project was hoping – with ‘Welsh Government’ support – to take over. The areas from where Labour, in the 1960s, perceived the ‘threat’ to have emerged.

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Which means that this assault on farmers might be interpreted as an attack on the Welsh language, and Welsh rural culture in general. If so, then the politicos in Corruption Bay, and the enviroshyster land-grabbers whispering in their ears, are in for a fight.

Predictably, the announcement was welcomed by Kate Beavan. Who’s she? You haven’t been paying attention, or following the links, have you?

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Kate Beavan, as the Stump Up For Trees website tells us, ‘ . . . joined SUFT at the beginning of 2021. She is actually employed by our partners and friends, Coed Cymru.’

Kate Beavan may have been recruited to Coed Cymru by director Philip David Jayne, who lives in Crughywel.

Yet more bloody connections!

To explain . . .

Coed Cymru is one of the 357 (and rising) ‘woodland’ groups currently operating in Wales. Fighting like ferrets in a sack to take over Welsh land and get their sweaty mitts on Welsh public funding.

When you check out the Companies House entry for Coed Cymru Cyf you realise that, despite the company name, there’s little Welsh involvement.

But plenty of Welsh funding.

‘Plus ça change . . . ‘.

UKRAINE AND THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

It would be inhuman to suggest that anything good is coming from the death and suffering in Ukraine. And I won’t do that, but harsh lessons are being learnt.

Among them, the realisation that to pretend an advanced economy can rely on intermittent renewables to supply its energy needs is madness. As Germany is learning.

The drive for ‘Net Zero’, orchestrated by The United Nations and the World Economic Forum, is taking hits daily as collateral damage from the conflict in Ukraine. With Germany perhaps the biggest loser.

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Another casualty could be the Netherlands, where farmers, fishermen, truckers and others are protesting because the government wants to reduce the number of farms by 30 per cent.

But the mainstream media largely ignores this!

We are in dangerous times. Supranational bodies like those mentioned want to regulate all aspects of human behaviour. They have captured many national governments, media outlets, and social media giants, who are urged to suppress divergent views as ‘disinformation’.

The justification being that the planet is in grave danger, and so we need to be saved from ourselves . . . all for our own good, of course.

With the result that we are sleepwalking into a form of totalitarianism that sits astride the unicorn of environmentalism.

And this is another reason we – through arming and exploiting brave Ukrainians – are waging war on Russia – because Vladimir Putin refused to bow to these supranational tyrants.

But the ‘Welsh Government’ surrendered long ago. And gave up Wales for sacrifice.

ENLARGED SENEDD

Last weekend in a smoke-free conference room ‘Welsh’ Labour decided to back the plan for increasing Senedd numbers from the current 60 to 96. Which was widely supported, I believe only the Conservative and Unionist Party was opposed.

But part of the bigger package was a change in how Senedd members will be elected in future. And this proved much more contentious. With four constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) – Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda, Swansea East, Llanelli – voting against.

To explain . . .

Under revised parliamentary boundaries Wales will have 32 Westminster seats. (Down from the current 40.) What Labour proposes (and Plaid Cymru presumably agrees with) is that these new constituencies should be paired, giving us 16, and that each of them should elect six Senedd Members, thus making up the 96 total.

This is to be done using the ‘closed list’ system. Voters choose a party and have to then accept the party’s choice of candidates.

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This is a system designed to favour larger parties and to inhibit the emergence of new parties. Which is no more than we should expect from Labour. For like so many political parties with a socialist heritage Labour is fundamentally undemocratic.

I’m still waiting for Labour’s partner in the current alliance down Corruption Bay to explain why it’s gone along with this system. Though I get the impression Plaid would rather not discuss it.

Labour has tried desperately to polish this turd by promising gender equality. But as Labour has signed up to self-identification, and is a major financial backer of Stonewall, it will obviously accept as ‘women’ men who identify as women.

Which could mean that the new system, designed to achieve gender balance, actually gives us a lower percentage of biological females than we see in the Senedd today!

And then there are other minorities, those so vocal in “breaking down barriers” . . . most of which they themselves have erected. (Or simply imagined.) They’ll demand to be ‘excluded’ no longer. And because they support the Labour Party because the Labour Party funds them their wishes will be granted.

That could give us a Senedd in which the majority is grossly underrepresented.

But who cares – ‘Cos it’s progressive, innit!’

My position is that I do not accept this anti-democratic nonsense. And I would support the UK government stepping in to block it. In fact, I would support the UK government putting an end to devolution itself.

For devolution has delivered nothing to those with whom I identify.

Whereas the SNP in Scotland, returned time after time, has made many Scots believe their country could be even better with independence, here in Wales, the incompetence and waste our people have experienced from malleable mediocrities in Corruption Bay for 23 years makes too many Welsh believe that independence would be even worse.

I remain a nationalist who wants independence, but I see devolution not as a stepping-stone but an obstacle. Maybe that was the intention all along.

And when you think back to what you’ve read here, can you disagree?

♦ end ♦

© Royston Jones 2022


Lobbying in Wales

INTRODUCTION

This piece is prompted by the ‘Welsh Government’ suggesting it wants to address the issue of lobbying. As the website puts it: “The Standards of Conduct Committee is undertaking an inquiry into lobbying and is keen to establish whether lobbying is a matter of concern to the people of Wales”.

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A disingenuously worded paragraph because the hope is that few people will even know about the exercise, fewer still will respond, and that will allow the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ to claim that lobbying is not “a matter of concern” and everything can just carry on as before.

The truth is that Wales desperately needs reform in this area, and it needs to go well beyond a simple register of lobbyists. I say this because lobbying takes a different form in Wales to most other Western countries.

What I’m going to try here is to give examples of different lobbying sectors (that would probably not regard themselves as lobbyists), while also looking at more obvious examples of lobbying.

I warn you, this is a ‘biggie’, pushing 4,000 words. But broken up into sections so you don’t have to take in the full horror of the situation all at once.

So go make a cuppa.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL LOBBY

Since before the first elections to the then Assembly for Wales in May 1999, those looking to benefit from devolution were positioning themselves, even relocating.

For example, the RSPB, which had until then been based – very centrally for an essentially rural organisation – in Powys, decided the time had come to move its Wales regional office to Cardiff.

This had nothing to do with bird migrations, or even the rediscovery of the Lesser-spotted Splott Warbler (previously thought extinct).

No, it was all to do with access to the new decision makers.

For the RSPB and the wider environmental lobby, devolution has been like Christmas, with a constant supply of prezzies delivered by yo ho ho-ing politicians.

Just cast your mind back to last week’s post on this blog, ‘Saving Wales From the Welsh’. One of the organisations mentioned was the Wales Environmental Link (WEL). And I reproduced the panel below, from the Charity Commission website.

Focus on the section I’ve highlighted.

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“At the centre of government decision making” can only mean that the WEL lobbies to influence decisions made by the ‘Welsh Government’.

But do you remember voting for the Wales Environmental Link? Do you remember being offered the chance of voting for the Wales Environmental Link? No, nor me.

As I say, the ‘Save the Planet!’ lobby was out of the blocks early on in the devolution era. Helped to a great extent by ‘insiders’. These came in two forms.

First, civil servants, often from England, always answering to London, and working to a vision of a Welsh countryside without farming.

Second, politicians who, despite what they were elected and paid to concentrate on, always prioritised their real interest of ‘reconfiguring’ – even repopulating – rural Wales.

Inevitably, the two elements worked closely together. Never more so than when Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales* Lesley Griffiths shacked up with her civil servant adviser Gary Haggaty.

But the grande dame of the sector is Jane Davidson. “Minister for Environment and Sustainability from 2007 to 2011 where she was responsible for the Welsh Government agreeing to make sustainable development its central organising principle”, as Wikipedia tells us.

Sustainable development became the “central organising principle” of governing Wales. Let that sink in.

After leaving the Assembly in 2011 Davidson took up a post of Director of the Wales Institute for Sustainability at Trinity St David University, Lampeter.

Davidson was, supposedly, Assembly Member for Pontypridd, but she’d already bought a place down west and was more concerned with pushing through the Hippies’ Charter (One Planet legislation) than with anything happening in Ponty.

From ivory tower to organic cabbage patch Jane Davidson and those she can marshal and organise have wielded an unhealthy influence over successive administrations in Corruption Bay.

The environmental lobby is now one of the most powerful in Wales. It’s why farmers have their backs to the wall, it’s why the M4 was not improved, and why smaller projects, such as the Llanbedr by-pass, have been scrapped.

If this lobby could close Port Talbot steelworks, take away our cars, confiscate all farmland, and turn us into vegans, it would. And the ‘Welsh Government’ would pass the necessary legislation without quibbling.

As gesture politics go, few things are more damaging to the Welsh national interest than deluding yourself that you’re saving the planet while damaging Wales.

*A bizarre title that makes ‘North Wales’ sound like an overseas colony of Corruption Bay.

THE RACE LOBBY

At it’s crudest this is little more than, ‘You Welsh are racist – give us funding’. I examined this racket not so long ago, when the so-called Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union successfully blackmailed the Wales Arts Council and the National Museum.

If you have the stomach for this tale of extortion and cowardice, then read, Corruption Bay and a tale of Cymrophobia (23.08.2021), Arts Council of Wales and Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union, an update (31.08.2021), and Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union Unmasked (06.09.2021).

In brief, the Arts Council of Wales was pressured into ‘commissioning’ a report from the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union. An ad hoc group capitalising on the George Floyd killing by using ‘discrimination’ as the key to future funding.

In the race lobby sector we find another grande dame, in the form of Rose Mutale Nyoni Merrill, who you can read about in the first section of this miscellany from May 2018.

Her empire is founded on Bawso, which has accumulated quite a few properties around Wales over the years. And you’ll be glad to hear that Mrs Merrill has not neglected her own property portfolio.

But that’s how it is in the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party. You work for and promote the party, and preferment and funding will be your reward. Even if it’s public money down the drain.

And the showering of goodies can extend to your loved ones, involved in other fields.

As happened with Travers Merrill, Mutale’s hubby; given the cushy number of chief executive at Rhondda Life, a ‘regeneration’ project in the Rhondda Fach. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything, by the look of it.

It 2012 it was announced that the project was in receivership. And having looked through the documents filed with Companies House I get the impression there was something akin to jiggery-pokery going on in Ferndale.

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For example, in the last accounts filed, for y/e July 31, 2012, the company is said to own freehold property valued at £1.5m. This is presumably the building you see in the image above.

The property eventually realised £295,000. Even allowing for the way liquidators dispose of such properties, that is quite a difference. But the bottom line is that the building was never worth £1.5m.

Over-valuing assets is a tactic used by many who’ve appeared on this blog over the years: money launderers, mortgage fraudsters, and other crooks.

(There is an obvious link in terms of directors between Rhondda Life and Blaenllechau Community Regeneration, which went belly-up around the same time.)

But of course, this being Wales, a ‘Welsh Government’ cock-up leads to a cover-up. It was years before the truth started coming out. Due in no small part to the persistence of Leanne Wood, a politician for whom I have the highest regard.

(Keyboard explodes!)

THE HOMELESSNESS LOBBY

A few years back I submitted an FoI request asking about organisations in Wales “combatting homelessness”. Specifically, how many were there?

The response told me there were 48! In a country of just over 3 million people. There are probably more by now. “It’s them wicked Tories, innit”.

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But then, when you think about it, when you remember the kind of country Wales is, and the kind of lobbying I’ve described, 48 shouldn’t surprise anyone. The more the merrier. It’s only public money after all.

As with the other sectors, many of the homelessness racketeers have moved to Wales in the era of devolution. Which is bad enough, but to keep the funding flowing these people – just like their counterparts in other sectors – will import a steady stream of ‘clients’ from over the border.

It’s a form of human trafficking.

We see here the fundamental and uncomfortable truth about third sector lobbyists in Wales.

Identify or invent a ‘problem’ in order to get funding. Then, with the help of an ever-compliant media and understanding politicians, the ‘problem’ must persist – to guarantee continued funding!

Let the good times roll!

Many of those now running the dozens of homelessness organisations have worked for the Labour Party or for Plaid Cymru, others will move on to work for these parties.

Or join some other publicly-funded gravy train.

To get a taste of what I’ve written over the years on this subject try, ‘Another “homelessness” outfit!’ (16.04.2020). Or just put ‘homelessness’ into the search box on top of the sidebar to open up a library.

THE “WOMEN WITH PENISES” LOBBY

A relatively recent arrival on the lobbying scene in Wales is the transsexual lobby. Represented by Stonewall, the former lesbian and gay organisation.

To begin with, and as you’ve probably guessed, Stonewall has its claws into the ‘Welsh Government’ for funding. The panel below shows that in the 18 months up to March 31, 2021, only the UK government gave more money to Stonewall than the boys and girls of Corruption Bay.

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But this being Wales, Stonewall has also been able to influence – if not dictate – legislation. To the extent of the ‘Welsh Government’ agreeing to what  Stonewall would like to see in law rather than what the 2010 Equalities Act actually says.

As Irving Berlin put it: There May Be Trouble Ahead.

Especially after First Minister Drakeford made an ass of himself. You used the term, so tell us, what is a, “transgender woman”?

It appears that the voice of Stonewall in Wales is Lu Thomas. You’ll have noticed her name if you followed the links in the section on the race lobby. She’s a Labour insider with far too much influence in the Bay.

As I suggest, she was deeply involved, with her business partner, Jon Luxton, another Labour insider, in the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union scam.

Her Linkedin profile says she’s managing director of Final Say Wales, which seems to be a rather sad attempt to roll back Brexit. I dug this out, but I couldn’t find much more. My guess would be it’s died a natural death in the face of reality.

The other outfit mentioned on her Linkedin page is Re:cognition. An odd fish, this; not least because there’s a reputable company with a very similar name.

Lu Thomas was previously director of a company known as Cognition Training Ltd, along with Jon Luxton. This went into liquidation in December 2018 owing close on £35,000, most of it to the tax man.

The latest incarnation, Re:cognition Training CIC has only Luxton as a director. So is Lu Thomas an employee?

Whatever the answer, through political connections Re:cognition gets commissions from the ‘Welsh Government’.

For as the latest accounts tell: “We chaired and developed an LGBTQ+ strategy for Welsh Government where we managed the LGBTQ+ stakeholder group, ensuring voices from across wales (sic) was heard.”

But I bet that only certain voices were allowed to be heard.

And you won’t be surprised to learn that Re:cognition has also been given a gig by Labour-controlled Cardiff City council.

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This probably helped inform the ‘Welsh Government’s current – and possibly unlawful – position on “trans rights”. But then, when it comes to surveys, it all depends who you talk to.

What Lu Thomas and others have learned from many years of working with and influencing politicians is that if you put your mind to it you can find racism, environmental damage, transphobia, etc., etc., just about anywhere.

And then you can capitalise on your ‘find’.

THE REFRESHINGLY HONEST AND CORRUPT COMMERCIAL LOBBY

Those we’ve looked at so far have been insiders, dealing with civil servants and politicians they know. These activist-lobbyists have, in a number of cases, previously worked for the ‘Welsh Government’, or for individual politicians.

They are invariably associated with not-for-profit organisations. Which means few jobs for anyone not linked to a particular clique of insiders, and little by way of a contribution to the wider economy beyond the increased spending power of clique members.

But we are asked to ignore this and focus instead on the incalculable benefits to society as a whole from ‘doing good’.

Though I fail to understand how a Welsh community is improved by a third sector body or a housing association importing into that community from England ex-cons, petty criminals and drug addicts.

Nor do I pretend to understand the doublespeak that gave us a policy (OPDs) designed, we were told, to reduce Wales’ carbon footprint . . . that invites into Wales people to live on previously unused land; who drive elderly diesel vehicles, keep farting animals, and cannot live without wood-burning stoves.

It’s refreshing then to be able to focus on a lobbying activity motivated by unalloyed greed and promoted through in-yer-face corruption. Though it adheres to the model herein explained in that it is facilitated using Corruption Bay insiders.

I’m referring now to the many, many companies under the Bute Energy umbrella, and their plans for at least 20 new wind farms in Wales. Shown in red print in the map below.

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Here’s a pdf document listing the companies I’m aware of, but new ones are being formed all the time. (The company names are hyperlinks.)

To understand the brazen corruption involved you’ll need a few introductions. Let us look first at Bute Energy’s ‘Welsh Advisory Board’. A totally unnecessary group formed purely to justify paying certain people for their influence with the ‘Welsh Government’.

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On the left, we see Derek Vaughan, former Labour MEP. Not known to have any knowledge of or interest in wind turbines or renewable energy of any kind.

On the right is John Uden, partner of Labour MS, Jenny Rathbone, who sits on the Senedd’s Climate Committee. His knowledge of three-arm bandits is believed to be on a par with Vaughan’s.

The other two may be there to act as a distraction. The jury’s out on them. Though I’m told ‘John Cwmbetws’ already has a bloody big turbine on his land.

UPDATE 17.06.2022: John Davies is of course Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society. Which makes him an ideal influence within the farming community, and he might even be able to find sites for Bute.

Indeed, a beneficiary of the planned Moelfre site is vice-chair of the Board, Harry Fetherstonhaugh.

But of even more interest is David James Taylor, who has served as a spad to former First Ministers Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones, and also former Secretary of State for Wales, Peter Hain. Quite the lad about the corridors of power, our Dai.

Taylor tends to work under the radar and is nowhere mentioned on the Bute website. But he, like Vaughan and Uden, was recruited by Bute Energy for one reason and one reason only – his contacts in the Labour Party.

He holds shares in Bute company, Windward Enterprises Ltd, both in his own name and that of his company Moblake Associates Ltd. Taylor was also – until people noticed – a partner in another Bute company, Grayling Capital LLP.

His lucre from Bute Energy was channelled through Moblake Ltd. This company was wound up in April with sole director Taylor owing the company £605,872 that he’d taken out in interest-free ‘loans’ with no repayment date.

But no mention of where the money came from!

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Taylor has set up a new company, Earthcott Ltd, so maybe Bute’s future payments will be channelled through this new venture. Then again, seeing as we know about it . . .

I won’t go over any more old ground, it’s all covered in previous pieces on this blog such as ‘Corruption Is Such An Ugly Word . . . But I Can’t Think Of Anything Else To Call It!’ (06.12.2021), and ‘Bute Energy Selling Wales For Danegeld‘ (21.02.2022), in which I explain how Scottish company Bute Energy has linked up with Danish investors.

Yes, folks, Scots, Danes, everyone gets a slice of the action, except the native Welsh. Unless of course you’re well connected down Corruption Bay.

That’s how a corrupt, third world country operates.

THE PROFESSIONAL LOBBYISTS

In addition to those already looked at, who might be termed ‘amateur lobbyists’, there are also companies that are quite open about what they do. Which is, helping commercial outfits, often from outside of Wales, get what they want from the ‘Welsh Government’.

But they also dabble in politics. And for unregulated bodies they have far too much influence.

Let’s just look at two of them.

Starting with a company that’s appeared on this blog a number of times, Deryn Consulting. Run by former politicians and spads, but keeping up with the Woke agenda by recruiting enviromarxists and promoters of BLM.

The majority of Deryn’s shares are owned by former Labour spad Cathy Owens, with a minority nestling in the neatly-manicured hands of former Plaid Cymru Welsh Assembly Member Nerys Evans.

Over the years Deryn has been involved in a number of unsavoury incidents, I’ll just mention two.

The first was the Ofcom contract, a gem of its kind. This report from October 2017 will give you the story. And the image below of a WalesOnline headline from August 2017 leads on to another element of the Deryn saga.

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You’ll see that Neil McEvoy, was at that time, still a Plaid Cymru AM, but he’d blotted his copybook big time by challenging third sector shenanigans and exposing Deryn.

For party leader at that time was Leanne Wood, a personal friend of those whose lives were being made difficult by Neil McEvoy. He’s told me more than once that he was ordered to lay off Deryn. He didn’t.

He was too honest to stay silent when surrounded by institutionalised corruption, and so he had to go. First from Plaid Cymru, and then from the Senedd.

Around the time of the Ofcom scandal people at Deryn were briefing against Carl Sargeant, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children in the ‘Welsh Government’.

Those at Deryn employed in this dirty work were colluding with over-wrought but ever-cooperative third sector women. Some of whom had also made unfounded allegations against Neil McEvoy.

What’s worse, there were politicians, supposed allies of Sargeant, also briefing Deryn. The conduit here was Jo Kiernan, former senior spad to First Minister Carwyn Jones.

From Carwyn Jones’ staff Kiernan knew that Carl Sargeant was to be sacked before the poor bugger himself knew, and she was briefing others.

Carl Sargeant was sacked on November 3, 2017 and took his own life four days later.

As I was writing this I got to wondering about the Deryn finances, and so I went to the Companies House website. Where I found the latest accounts. Or rather, the unaudited financial statement up to December 31, 2020.

This skeletal document tells us that Deryn, with 9 employees, has assets of just £63,836.

But where are the real figures? Where’s the rest of the money? Where’s the turnover for the year? Is everything done with brown envelopes?

There’s something squalid and distasteful about Deryn. More worrying is that Owens, Evans and Kiernan seem able to open any door in Corruption Bay.

The bad news is that Deryn isn’t the biggest PR company down the Bay. The big kid on the block now is Camlas, formerly Positif Politics Ltd. The change of name last November is linked to the departure of Positif founder Daran Hill, who ceased to be a director in September. (Though he still seems to hold a majority of the shares.)

I’ve heard rumours, involving the local gendarmerie; but you know me, I try to avoid tittle-tattle in favour of facts and informed speculation.

Back in August 2020, in the early days of investigating Bute Energy and David Taylor, I ran across Hill’s name in connection with a wind farm planning application, so I contacted him. The resultant Twitter exchange can be read below.

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The Bute account at Camlas is currently handled by Matt Hexter.

Did David Taylor direct Bute Energy to his mate Daran Hill, or was it vice versa?

Going through who’s who at Camlas brings up the usual list of former politicians and spads, Mainly Plaid Cymru, but also Labour and now, with the recruitment of former AM, Angela Burns, the Conservative and Unionist Party is also represented.

But with Plaid Cymru firmly in control through Managing Partner and Co-Owner Rhodri ab Owen, brother to Plaid Cymru MS Rhys ab Owen; while the other Managing Director and Co-Owner Naomi Williams was a spad to former Plaid AMs Dafydd Elis Thomas and Dai Lloyd.

Plaid Cymru is of course in an alliance with the Labour Party in the Senedd. And even without an alliance, the two parties are never far apart.

Finally, and turning to Companies House, Camlas is another disappointment. All that’s filed is another bare bones ‘financial statement’.

I’m sure these minimalist filings are perfectly legal, but I believe that with companies such as Deryn and Camlas exercising unaccountable influence in Welsh public life we are entitled to know more about them.

CONCLUSION

In normal countries, with normal economies, lobbying is conducted by business interests and often involves donations to political parties. In other words: lobbying decides which company or corporation gets the contracts.

And while this may be undesirable, it usually delivers jobs and generates wealth. The country benefits, the losers tend to be commercial competitors. Who, had they been successful, would also have created jobs and generated wealth.

The political elite controlling Wales wants a quasi-socialist state in which they exercise power through patronage and hand-outs. The last thing this elite wants is a decent economy and an entrepreneurial class challenging its diktats and exposing its weaknesses.

And this explains why, in Wales, lobbying takes the form of fawning and cajoling by pressure groups that share the political outlook of the elite. These demand legislation beneficial to their cause, also funding and publicly-owned assets.

This must then be disguised with flim-flam like, “public good”, “future generations”, and other specious and unquantifiable ‘benefits’. Which we are told to accept as some kind of substitute for a decent economy and a prosperous country.

RECOMMENDATIONS

To begin with, we obviously need a definition of lobbying.

I would suggest: Anyone seeking to influence politicians, either directly or indirectly, through civil servants, advisers, or by any other means, in the hope of securing personal or corporate financial gain, or in order to influence legislation.

There should be a register of such persons. And a diary kept of all meetings between lobbyists and politicians, civil servants or advisers; both those meetings that have been held, and those planned for the future. The subject matter of these meetings must also be stated clearly and unambiguously.

Both the register and the diary should be updated daily and made available online.

To monitor lobbying will require a new post, and it will need to be filled by someone untainted by Corruption Bay. For once, I would have no objection to filling an important post in Wales with a complete stranger.

But I remain open to suggestion, so let’s have your comments. The ‘Welsh Government’ is also asking for your views, so don’t forget to write.

They’ll be delighted to hear from you! Or maybe not.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


‘Saving Wales From The Welsh’

“LISTEN TO US”

Lurking behind the barns in the Gilestone saga I published last week were environmental / wildlife groups. Now I think they need some sunlight.

What prompted my decision was a tweet I saw just over a week ago. The idea that a wildlife trust should be directing the ‘Welsh Government’s farm funding is bizarre.

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As I asked in a tweet of my own: “Is the ‘Welsh Government now consulting foxes on chicken coop security?”

The wildlife trusts and environmental groups I’ve encountered in Wales tend to be run by zealots believing the Welsh countryside faces few problems that couldn’t be solved by getting rid of livestock farmers.

Predictable when we remember that these groups contain a worryingly high percentage of vegetarians and vegans. And others of a dictatorial bent.

The man who put out the tweet is CEO of the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust. Registered as both a company and a charity.

The Trust is doing very well for itself. With net assets of £2,196,206 in 2021, against £1,899,611 the year before. And £288,436 in the bank (£147,097 in 2020).

That was despite writing off a debt of £10,296 owed by Radnorshire Wildlife Services Ltd. (In all my years of blogging I have encountered few successful ‘trading arms’. They must serve some other purpose.)

On page 6 of the 2021 accounts and annual report we see this ambition set out.

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“What do we want?”

“Thirty per cent!”

“When do we want it?”

“No later than 2030!”

It’s worth using the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust as an intro to the bigger picture.

ENGLANDANDWALES

The Radnorshire Wildlife Trust is, as the annual report and accounts tells us, a member of The Wildlife Trusts (TWT). The result of a re-organisation you can read about circled in the panel below.

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Is that progress? Strikes me as a step backwards.

Wildlife Trusts Wales maintains the pretence of independence with a website of its own. (Look top left.) Though the contact address is now in Nottinghamshire.

Then, perhaps to confuse things further, the charity, Wildlife Trusts Wales Ltd, seems to be ploughing on, yet the company dissolved itself in March.

In its latest report and accounts (at the foot of page 1) Wildlife Trusts Wales says, “WTW Council unanimously agreed that Wildlife Trust Wales should dissolve as a separate charity”, so why hasn’t it happened?

Wildlife Trusts Wales has chosen to be the local branch of an English body and hopes we’ll generously view it as having a separate existence. A bit like the Green Party.

OUT OF THE WOODWORK

After casting in the direction of James Hitchcock I hooked a few fish.

One specimen I dragged up from the murky depths was a Dr Paul Tubb. (I was tempted to take it easy on him because he might be related to Ernest of that ilk, who gave Hank Williams one of his best songs.)

It wasn’t long into our exchange, with me being the restrained and muted presence I always am, before Tubb came out with this!

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As I was quick to clarify – ain’t nothing “so-called” about my nationalism.

Another attempt to silence us by playing the ‘ugly nationalism’ card. Opposing the takeover of our country regularly draws this response, but the takeover itself is just fine. Perhaps even a moral crusade.

I introduce that elevating consideration after being confronted by it in a document produced by Woodknowledge Wales. Which is about as Welsh as the East India Company was Indian.

Here’s the document I’m talking about.

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On page 17 you’ll find the section above. Here’s my interpretation of what it says.

  • In addition to taking England’s wind turbines, and providing England’s water, Wales should also become England’s forest.
  • Farming is in the way of “re-forestation”.
  • “Natural colonisation of land” (by flora and fauna) is not a “morally justifiable . . . option for Wales”.  

The claim that there is a moral dimension to this scam is self-deluding bullshit. These are grant-grabbing tree-planters, not theologians or moral philosophers.

But enough of that, for I’ve been neglecting Tubby. He and I exchanged a bit more banter before it died a death.

Then, on the Monday, I received an e-mail from a complete stranger. It contained a link to the tweet you see below.

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The glasnost reference is to a blog produced by the late Dušan ‘Jacques’ Protić, who believed that both Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones were dangerous nationalists . . . because they spoke Welsh! To Protic the Welsh language was the root cause of all Wales’ problems.

Protic was a ranter, and always good for a laugh. I often pictured him, crowned with a battered šajkača, pounding furiously away on his laptop . . . never dreaming he had a fan in Dr Paul Tubb.

Another irritating little git who popped up was a certain Rob Thomas. A twitcher from Cardiff Met. His party piece was referring to me as “anonymous tweeter and conspiracy theorist ‘Jac'”.

It got a bit boring after a while. So did he.

Someone else who joined in was a man with a beard, but no name; he was simply the “Welsh manager” for the Confederation of Forest Industries (UK) Ltd, headquartered in Edinburgh.

And there were others.

In fact, it’s quite amazing – and worrying – how many ‘afforestation’ groups there are out there. And how few of them, if any, are genuinely Welsh.

HOW MANY GROUPS DOES IT TAKE TO PLANT A TREE?

One, very influential outfit, is the Woodland Trust, which seems to be involved in most wood-related scams. An English organisation that followed the time-honoured route of opening a branch within whispering distance of Corruption Bay and giving itself a Welsh name, Coed Cadw.

But it’s simply a flag of convenience, for ‘Coed Cadw’ doesn’t exist for Companies House, or the Charity Commission, or the Financial Conduct Authority.

Another organisation I haven’t yet mentioned, but which has increasing influence over the ‘Welsh Government’, is the World Wildlife Fund. Which has an office and a website but, again, no existence independent of its UK / England HQ.

Then there’s a crew I may have neglected until now, Wales Environment Link (WEL), which sees itself as an umbrella organisation for environmental groups.

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When we look at the trustees we find at the top of the list, Roger Thomas, who is also a trustee at Tir Coed and Coed Cymru Cyf. (Not to be confused with Coed Cadw, the Woodland Trust’s Welsh disguise.)

Thomas is also a director at the Centre for Alternative Technology.

Another trustee is Natalie Roxanne Buttriss. Who deserves special mention.

Back in October 2018 she appeared in The Welsh Clearances. She was then Wales Director of the Woodland Trust, which was a partner with Rewilding Britain in the Summit to Sea project, a very ambitious land grab that was derailed by colonialist arrogance rousing local resistance.

I reproduce a photo from that post. It says so much. It shows Buttriss presenting a petition to Mike Hedges, Labour AM for Swansea East, I don’t know what post he held then. (Don’t care.)

A petition demanding – what else? – more trees! But it only managed to get a miserable 2,385 signatures. Yet it was still accorded an official presentation and media coverage . . . while petitions with many more signatures are effectively binned.

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When the memsahibs shout, the native politics-wallahs come running.

Among the full-time staff at WEN we find Llinos Price, of whom the less said the better. (Put her name into the search box atop the sidebar.) Also, former Labour spad, Liz Smith. Then there’s Rory Francis, who too has worked as a spad, and more recently for Friends of the Earth and Coed Cadw / Woodland Trust.

It really is revolving doors between ‘charities’ and politics, with none of those involved having any experience of business, and a lifetime spent wholly reliant on public funds.

But it’s not just identifiable organisations we should worry about; there are also loners, operating below the radar, who surface for other reasons.

This was the case with Sharon Girardi and her beavers at Blaeneinion. She came to my attention only because her response to Covid made the news. I started digging and then published ‘Enviroshysters flock to Wales for easy money‘.

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Blaeneinion has been owned since 2009 by a company registered in Gibraltar.

How many more Blaeneinions are there?

Let me end this section by reminding you that we are not just talking about land, and trees, for the enviroshysters also want our coastal waters.

According to the Rewilding Britain website back then the Summit to Sea project wanted 10,000 hectares of land and 28,400 hectares of sea.

And as we saw earlier, the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust has a core objective to, “Ensure 30% of the land and 30% of the sea is actively managed for wildlife by 2030”.

Not only are these vegan environmentalists determined to end livestock farming in Wales, they also wish to abolish commercial fishing.

POWYS, THE EPICENTRE

There were until recently 5 wildlife trusts in Wales. The North Wales Wildlife Trust, the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW), and then three in Powys.

We’ve looked at the one for Radnorshire, but there is also the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, and there was a Brecknock Wildlife Trust until it merged with WTSWW.

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Quite remarkable when you think about it. Powys, with less than 5% of Wales’ population, had 60% of the country’s wildlife trusts. And post merger, still has 50%.

How do we explain this? Being so large, and sparsely-populated, Powys obviously attracts the kind of people we’ve encountered in this article. But there may be other factors at work.

A number of those I encountered in my research still live over the border, often just over the border. Wales obviously attracts them because funding is more readily available here.

James Hitchcock, the CEO of Radnorshire Wildlife Trust, with whose tweet this piece began, was formerly Estates Senior Manager at Herefordshire Wildlife Trusts.

Powys is also within reasonable travelling distance of almost any part of England, which makes it convenient for greenwash ‘investors’.

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There are other organisations helping to turn Harri Webb’s ‘Green Desert’ into a wooded wildlife paradise; among them, Soros College, Talgarth.

I know the boys and girls at Black Mountains College don’t like me harping on about their George Soros connection . . . so I shall keep doing it!

FINAL THOUGHTS

By accepted yardsticks such as health service delivery, education, infrastructure, standard of living, etc., we Welsh are worse off today than we were in 1999.

Unless they can serve as commuter communities for Cardiff and Newport the towns and villages of the Valleys undergo managed decline; Swansea is fed crumbs; the north east is being merged with north west England; the north coast is becoming the A55 commuter belt for Merseyside, Manchester, and Cheshire; our western coastal areas are no-go areas for our people due to property prices; while the rural heartland is bought up by carbon capture scammers and enviroshysters – with the support of the ‘Welsh Government’.

If it’s not the ‘Welsh Government’ buying up land for the claimed climate emergency then it’s Natural Resources Wales (NRW). Among their recent acquisitions is Ty’n y Mynydd on Ynys Môn.

But what can we expect from an organisation that puts out 1960s peace and love bollocks like: ” . . . reflective walk . . . ‘Children of the Revolution’ . . . thanks and love . . . for what we’d done for Wales”.

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What they’d done for Wales!!! They are buying up our country with our money and handing it over to strangers. (And look at the goody bags! We also paid for them.)

Every last one of them should be deported. Along with the others mentioned here. Plus the politicians, the civil servants, the lobbyists, and anyone else linked to the cess-pit that is Corruption Bay.

Let’s have a clean sweep so we can all breathe purer air.

Dominic Driver, who was responsible for that toe-curling tweet, is Head of Land Stewardship at NRW, so he presumably had a hand in the purchase at Ty’n y Mynydd. He taught at Harrow School and lives in the Cotswolds. Neis.

But that’s Wales for you. Or rather, for them.

The writing is on the wall. And the message reads: “R.I.P. Wales, the country that sacrificed itself pandering to strangers ‘saving’ a planet that was never in danger”.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Diversity and Inclusivity in the Socialist Nirvana of Wales

INTRODUCTION

The Merriam-Webster definition of Nirvana is, “a place or state of oblivion to care, pain, or external reality”. Oblivion to reality certainly applies to the socialist lunacies besetting Wales.

Who but those oblivious to truth could believe that Wales can save the planet, that decent jobs, infrastructure, education and heath care are for sissies, and that women have penises?

Merriam-Webster also mentions, “alcohol-induced nirvana”. Bloody hell! I’ve been there a few times. Does that make me a Buddhist? 

IT ALL BEGAN . . .

. . . with a couple of tweets on Sunday from the BBC. Both linked to this article.

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The Women’s Equality Network (WEN) Wales is worried that not enough candidates from ethnic minorities are standing in next month’s council elections. But WEN is not an organisation dealing with ethnic minorities, so why raise the issue?

Before answering that, let’s take a look at WEN.

WEN is registered as a company limited by guarantee (‘Ltd’ exempt), and a charity. It depends mainly on funding from the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ in the form of an Equality and Inclusion Grant. In 2021 this amounted to £145,000, up from £119,904 in 2020.

There are five employees in 2022 (in addition to the Director), up from four last year. The panel below shows the staff members towards the end of last year (left) compared to the staff members now as shown on the WEN website.

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With the Director pulling down £47,677 we can be fairly certain that most of the remaining £109,375 (from a total 2021 income of £157,052) went on the other four salaries. We can also assume that the grant will be increased in 2022 because there’s now another staff member.

And it seems growth doesn’t end there. This advertisement is for a ‘Senior Partnerships Fundraiser’ on a one-year contract at £31,365.

I quote from the advertisement:

“Funded by the Third Sector Resilience Fund“. This is administered by the WCVA, a front for the ‘Welsh Government’, used to disguise funding from that source.

“We particularly welcome Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), disabled and LGBTQ+ candidates”. Mmm, does that mean straight, White, able-bodied Welsh need not apply?

“Homebased anywhere in the UK”. Does that mean that knowledge of Wales is not required?

“Lived experience of . . . a protected characteristic”. ‘Lived experience’, that phrase so beloved of the Woke. Does WEN – like the ‘Welsh Government’ – accept Stonewall’s interpretation of ‘protected characteristics’, or does it stick to the law?

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Applicants for the job are invited to reply to the Polly Symondson Recruitment Agency . . . in Cheltenham, England.

WEN may also have been looking earlier this year for a Freelance Policy Researcher, at £250 to £300 a day.

Who says Wales is a poor country!

So, WEN is complaining there aren’t enough ethnic minority council candidates. Horrified that just 1.8% of candidates in 2017 came from ethnic minorities, while the figure quoted for the “ethnically diverse population” of Wales (2021) is 5.2%.

Thankfully this is not a problem at WEN. From a total complement of six, at least three of the staff belong to ethnic minorities. Two seem to be White English. While the sixth is the obligatory token Welsh person.

UPDATE 29.04.2022: I’ve found a petition for: “more Black, Asian, and ethnic minority women, LGBTQ+ women, disabled women, and women with other protected characteristics in . . . a Senedd that is gender balanced and reflective of the whole Welsh population.”

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It gained just 199 signatures. Take out WEN staff, their friends, family, and the members of the Splott Intersectional Mud Wrestling Club and this petition does not suggest massive support from the real world.

(Of the 199 votes only 148 came from Wales (74%). The others came from: Nigeria 32, England 10, Netherlands 6, and one each from Scotland, Germany, China. So which WEN staff member has contacts in Nigeria?)

DIVERSITY! WHAT BOLLOCKS IS SPOUTED IN THY NAME!

So who are the six women running Women’s Equality Network (WEN) Wales? Let’s start at the top, with the director, Catherine Fookes.

Her Linkedin page tells us that she was privately educated in England (Godolphin) before attending Middlesex University where she studied Business (with two years in France). Her Masters in Development Studies was done at Bath, her thesis on Plan International.

Catherine Fookes is the longest serving staff member at WEN, having joined in September 2017. Perhaps her appointment was reward for her valiant efforts to become Labour’s Welsh Assembly Member for Monmouthshire in 2016. Here’s her election leaflet.

Her Twitter account tells she’s standing again for Labour in next month’s council elections. (And she was elected.)

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The only other survivor from those named as WEN staff in the accounts signed off in November last year is Megan Evans, the token Welsh presence.

I can’t find much information on Megan Evans, but her profile on the WEN website tells us: “She is passionate about gender equality, intersectional feminism, LGBT rights, and racial justice”. We only need climate hysteria for a Woke nap hand.

“Intersectional” is of course another Woke mantra.

Moving on to the newcomers . . .

Evelyn James, the Diverse5050 Campaign Manager was recruited, presumably, as result of this advertisement:

The Diverse5050 Campaign is an agreement between Labour and Plaid Cymru that certain groups – primarily ethnic and (self-ID) gender – should be over-represented in politics.

The campaign is “run in partnership with our steering group ERS Cymru, Race Council Cymru, and EYST Wales”. These are bodies run by Labour Party cronies, are funded by the ‘Welsh Government’ (though it should be the Labour Party), and have appeared on this blog.

For example, Ethnic Youth Support Team is where we would have found Rocio Cifuentes as Chair before she was elevated to the £95,000 a year post of Children’s Commissioner for Wales. A post for which Labour Party membership was her best – perhaps only – qualification.

I wrote about this in January, in ”Welsh’ Labour – Corrupt To The Core’.

Turning now to Joys Njinji, Mentoring Project Manager and Annmarie Brown, Mentoring Project Officer, almost certainly recruited through the advertisements to which I’ve linked their job titles.

Which leaves Jessica Laimann, Policy and Public Affairs Officer.

She was recruited by WEN last year, and before taking up the post she was “Assistant Democratic Services Officer at Carmarthenshire County Council”.

I almost choked on my laverbread sandwich when my rheumy old eyes alighted upon “Democratic” and “Carmarthenshire County Council” in the same sentence. Somebody must have a sense of humour!

Or else things have really gone to the dogs since Mark James ceased being CEO and de facto council leader.

SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW, SAME INTENTION

To understand Diversity Quotas it may be worth considering a couple of references: one from the past; the other bang up to date. And then try to synthesise them.

Writing this I was immediately struck by a parallel from the recent past and across the water. Unlikely as it might at first sound, that example is political gerrymandering in the Six Counties.

Derry. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

In Derry, for example, gerrymandering guaranteed the Protestant-Unionist minority control of the Corporation in a city with a Catholic and Nationalist / Republican majority. (Explained here in a one-minute video.)

Classic gerrymandering along those lines can’t work in Wales because we do not have segregation. Which leaves the Left seeking to limit the number of representatives from the majority population in other ways.

Of course they will deny this. Whining that they simply want “fair representation” for “under-represented” groups, and only “racists” would oppose this innovation.

But it don’t matter how you cut it, the end result will be the same – minorities enjoying representation disproportionate to their numbers in a given council area, or in Wales as a whole.

Coming up to date, and back to the poisoned well of Wokeism from which WEN has clearly drawn too many buckets . . . the demand for quotas also smacks of Critical Race Theory ‘equity’ (not to be confused with equality).

CRT’s ‘equity’ is race-obsessed discrimination that guarantees everybody loses out.

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But it still gives the Left power and influence out of all proportion to the support it enjoys among the population at large. Worse, it’s the tail of the extreme Left wagging dogs like Labour, Plaid Cymru, Greens.

But this should not surprise anyone familiar with Welsh politics; for too many of those now involved in politics and public life in Wales have previously worked for ‘charities’ and pressure groups. These outfits get their agenda implemented through influencing politicians – not from selling their programme to the public.

This is one reason Corruption Bay has no register of lobbyists.

CONCLUSION

Additionally, there are two fundamental flaws in what passes for the reasoning underpinning minority candidate quotas. These fallacies are:

  1. That only a member of an identified minority can represent other members of that minority.
  2. That members of a minority will only accept being represented by someone from their minority.

It is a cause for concern that the ‘Welsh Government’ – and its little helper – agree that favoured minorities should be assured preferential treatment – at the insistence of third sector operatives, many of whom hope to benefit personally from the agreement.

And if the candidate quotas WEN is calling for are introduced, then how long until the Left demands we introduce a new method for counting the votes? Surely, it will be argued, votes from members of the majority community should count for less than votes from members of “disadvantaged” or “traditionally oppressed” minorities?

That question is not entirely rhetorical. Because that is the direction many on the Left want to take us.

At present, anyone can apply to join a political party and then seek to become a candidate. Political parties are then free to choose their candidates without any outside interference.

This is how it should remain. To deviate from a system that treats all as equal could be the first step on a very slippery slope.

end

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Guest Post by Neil McEvoy: The Rotten Heart of Welsh Politics

As the title tells you, this is a guest post by former Plaid Cymru MS Neil McEvoy. 

Neil has made enemies. When you know who those enemies are then, just like I did, you’ll warm to him. A man I’ve always found to be straight, honest, and approachable.

Neil’s enemies tend to have certain things in common. Almost without exception they belong to the ‘progressive’ – if not Woke – consensus that dominates the cess-pit I always refer to on this blog as ‘Corruption Bay’.

These are politicians, third sector / pressure groups (who have more influence over ‘our’ politicians than we do), unregulated lobbyists (ditto), and ‘journalists’ so supine they might as well be on the Labour-Plaid-Green payroll. Perhaps they are.

This is the new colonial elite. The creation of devolution. They will fight to keep devolution, they will demand more power (and money) from London for their gravy train, but the thought of independence terrifies them.

Now read on.

In May 2016, I made the mistake of thinking that as a Plaid Cymru politician, I had been elected to hold the Government to account and to be an opposition politician.

I quickly found out that my job was to not rock the boat, not to expose scandals, but to toe the line. Plaid Cymru was furious when I asked questions about Deryn’s client ACT obtaining £113 million from the Welsh Government.

They were furious when I asked questions about Deryn’s dodgy contract with OFCOM. I was told many times to leave it well alone. I later discovered that Deryn itself had asked Plaid Cymru to rein me in. My senior advisor was told to tell me to stop asking questions about Plaid Cymru’s lobbying firm, or “face the consequences.”

I had to go home to my wife to tell her that my ability to pay our mortgage would be gone, if I continued to ask questions which powerful people did not want put. My wife was rock solid and said that if we had a choice between earning a good living, or sticking to our principles, then we would stick to our principles. Very soon after getting married, my wife realised why I told her to not take my surname. Let’s just say life is never dull.

Eleven days after the story about Deryn which I was supposed to ignore became public, I was suspended from the Plaid Cymru Senedd Group, supposedly for being found guilty of bullying by the Ombudsman for saying that I wanted to restructure Cardiff Council to change eviction processes and stop people being evicted.

Plaid just did not care about us winning seats in the Council Elections in 2017. It was clear that senior people wanted us to lose. I was reminded at the time that they did not want me elected in the first place.  In 2016, we were the busiest Plaid team in Wales, but I was the only candidate in a target seat to lose party funding. They also took Senedd staff off me at a crucial point and gave them to Simon Thomas; more about him later. Anyway, as you can gather Plaid Cymru used Senedd staff to campaign politically in Senedd time. Every party does this. It would be odd if they didn’t.

Moving on, I was the first politician in 17 years to ask to see Government Ministers’ diaries. I had a whistle blower about a matter and I needed to prove certain meetings had taken place. The Government refused to publish the diaries retrospectively, but after a fuss agreed in early 2017 to publish them going forward. I was still able to prove that lobbyists had access to ministers by simply flashing around a photograph of lobbyists with ministers in the Senedd.

Both Labour and Plaid Cymru voted against my proposal to bring in rules for lobbyists in Wales. This keeps covered the awkward fact that Welsh politics is run by a small group of people, who do not want scrutiny.

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In March 2017, complaints were made about me, almost all connected to Deryn. It was pay back time.

After the 2017 election in June, I suspended my office manager. There were complaints he had harassed a young female and I had witnessed one incident myself. Members of the public had also complained about him for not doing his job; one person also witnessed the harassment. Michael Deem had also misused my office budget, causing me to have to pay for an expensive unwanted item myself. Shockingly, I later discovered that Deem had taken photographs of a child protection file and kept the details of the children on his phone. I was sickened and staggered. I sacked him.

The man who had harassed a young woman and had stored details of children on his phone was supported by Plaid Cymru and he made further complaints about me. He was later employed by the Plaid Cymru Senedd member who replaced me, Rhys ab Owen, whose brother Rhodri is a lobbyist, who worked with Daran Hill at Positif Politics. Rhodri Ab Owen is now managing partner and co-owner of a re-branded Camlas Public Affairs, listing big pharmaceuticals as clients.

The complaints process took on a life of its own. The BBC’s Aled ap Dafydd always knew more than me about what was going on. He became the first journalist who I refused to deal with. I later discovered he was in a relationship with Plaid Cymru’s Head of Communications, who was later given a top job by Plaid Cymru’s Presiding Officer at the Senedd.

Plaid Cymru denied on behalf of Deryn that the complaints about me were coordinated. Please note that a political party was answering for a lobbying firm.

The Deryn issue rumbled on. I understand they monitored me closely. My complaint had merit and they lost the disputed contract.

OFCOM admitted fault.

Rhodri Williams who oversaw the contract process left OFCOM and re-appeared as the Chair of S4C.

I was really unhappy with the Standards Complaints process. Before it began, a key organiser of the complaints, who had known the former Standards Commissioner for decades had a meeting about me. I was not allowed to attend and there were no notes of the meeting. I stated that the former Standards Commissioner had allowed himself to be lobbied.

I was so concerned at what was happening that I requested the audio recordings of my hearings. It took some time to get them, but it was worth the wait. I heard the former Standards Commissioner making a derogatory remark about me when I was out of the room. The complainant and Standards staff were present when it was said.

In the public interest and for self-defence, I then decided to secretly record everything when I was out of the room.  If the hearing was at 9am, I would place my phone under the table on record at 8.15am. I would usually irritate the Standards staff by then turning up late for the hearing, which gave them plenty of time to voice their true feelings about me. This went on for months, with hours of audio footage. I heard the investigators discussing the case with the complainant, who was offered advice and help in his career. I heard about a lack of evidence against me. I also listened to the same complaints made about another MS not taken forward. I also heard about a really serious matter just brushed under the carpet.

It was also shocking to hear about staff saying they had consulted with a senior member of the Senedd staff who was open to just seeing my appeal against guilt, “just thrown out,” before I had even made the appeal. This was the basis for the police investigation into Standards staff, which did not result in charges being laid by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Knowing what I knew, I pulled out of the farce and refused to play any further part on legal advice.

Months later, my staff member was threatened with imprisonment; I felt that things had gone too far and I pulled the trigger on the recordings. The Standards Commissioner resigned. At that point, the so called investigation should have been dismissed.

My press conference can be viewed here:

The complaints process was delayed, which provoked what I can only describe as “fury”.

A new commissioner came in and continued a very unjust process as I see it.

I continued my work exposing what I could:

Two Welsh Government properties being sold at almost a £1 million loss.

Light bulbs costing £245 and being fitted in just a few minutes.

Our office brought the plutonium laced nuclear mud scandal to public attention.

I blew the whistle of the fake fire safety certificates in the cladding scandal.

I was vilified in writing by Plaid Cymru Members of the Senedd for attacking the early retirement of Natural Resources Wales’ Chief Executive, after the £39 million wood contract being found to be unlawful by the Auditor General.

I pursued many family cases and employed a social worker to do so. Supporting a child alleging abuse in care got me called a bully again and banned from the Council for 4 months. The alleged abuser started the complaint. An issue conveniently ignored by ‘journalists’, politicians and useful idiots on new media, all eager to stick the boot in, whilst ignoring the poor child’s allegations.

I pleaded with journalists to give the child a voice, but the author of the WalesOnline article today, Ruth Mosalski and her husband Cemlyn Davies of the BBC had no appetite to find out what had happened to the child. I am still as disgusted now as I was then at how those people had such little care for what a child said happened to it. Shame on them. I can look in the mirror in the morning without guilt. I cannot see how they can do the same thing.

Shamefully, when I said that the paedophile Plaid MS Simon Thomas should have gone to jail, disciplinary action was taken against me for bringing Plaid Cymru “into disrepute”.

This made me feel sick and I ultimately withdrew my application to get back into Plaid Cymru. We backed Dewi Evans in his bid to clean up Plaid, but he was prevented from campaigning and bureaucratic means were used to stop members voting. My time with Plaid, such a disorganised hypocrisy was over in the Autumn of 2019. A once proud Plaid Cymru has been reduced to being a poodle for the corrupt Labour Party, cheaply bought off with press opportunities, appointments on public bodies and jobs.

Fast forward to September 2021 and the complaints process was complete and written up. The reports were held back until now, just as the Council election campaign is starting.

I deny doing anything other than being a politician. I did my job. My staff printed and folded material for example opposing Cardiff’s Local Development plan and I did so unashamedly. I paid for the folding machine.

I am supposedly guilty of using electricity for political purposes. Are they serious?

Who does not do that? Both Labour and Plaid Cymru Senedd Groups were also found guilty of misusing public resource for political purposes, but those details were not covered by the Welsh media. Plaid Cymru used the Senedd restricted areas for party political filming, but nothing was done.

I did interview someone on the Senedd estate about a political job; which party political group has not done that? I did attend a party political meeting on the Senedd estate for which Plaid Cymru kindly provided the invite and minutes to the Standards Commissioner. The irony is that Leanne Wood’s staff booked the room, yet it was me who carried the can. I did organise a few political meetings in my office. Which MS has not done that?

The Standards Commissioner got the most basic details wrong. I did correct him on the Committee, but that did not make the report. For example, he accused me of employing a family member who is no relation to me at all!

One staff member did have an exchange of messages with a complainant. It was not a wise move, but after being harangued in public by the same person who was worse the wear for alcohol, it was difficult to look too unkindly on the exchange.

If anyone ever has the chance to look at all the documentation regarding the complaints, they will see that the complaints changed as the process went on. I was first accused on producing 250,000 leaflets on the Assembly printer. A simple look at the manufacturing specification showed that this was impossible. Eventually, the total was boiled down to a few thousand.

When I was in the Senedd, I donated my councillor allowance to various causes. I am not motivated by money. On the grounds of natural justice, I will not pay the sum of money plucked out of thin air, because I do not owe anybody anything. I pay my way and I will not credit such a shocking stitch up with any financial contribution.

The good in all this is that Propel was born. We are still not even one year old, but have so much going for us and a collective of people in every Welsh constituency who support freedom and social equality. We have had a belly full of the rotten core at the heart of Welsh politics. A democratic Welsh revolution, underpinned by a Welsh constitution is our aim.

Propel is uncomplicated, principled, and intent of giving Wales a much better option for all our futures. I’r gad and watch this space.

♦ end

 

Tourism or Survival; Wales Must Choose

My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.

I had planned a Miscellany this week, but then realised that all but one of the items was on tourism. So I dropped that one item – about a bunch of good-lifers pretending to be local and demanding funding so they can live on Gower – and I’ve gone for a selection of pieces on tourism.

FERODO / ‘AWEL Y FENAI’

It seems like a different world when a small town like Caernarfon could have a factory employing over 1,000 people, but it wasn’t so long ago. And there were other employers in our smaller towns.

In the south west there were big creameries making use of the locally-produced milk. These creameries closed and nowadays that milk is shipped over the border, providing thousands of jobs in England.

As an example of colonialist exploitation it’s on a par with Cuban tobacco leaf being shipped ‘home’ to Spain to be made into ‘Cuban’ cigars.

But I digress.

After a change of ownership and name, labour disputes, and other problems, the old Ferodo factory eventually closed for good some twenty years ago.

The Ferodo plant in its hey-day. Click to open in separate tab.

New plans for the site were announced just over 2 years ago, and you can catch up with my article here (scroll down) before pushing on to get up to speed with the latest news.

A number of sources have kept me updated, so let’s see what they have to report.

And where better to begin than by looking at the planning application, which is for:

 'Development of a holiday and leisure park to include 173 holiday lodges; 51 new-build holiday apartments; change of use of building to 4 holiday apartments; a leisure hub building; re-configuration and renovation of industrial units; provision of a private water treatment plant; and, associated car parking, landscaping, access and internal access roads.'

We can also see that the plan covers not only the old Ferodo site but also Plas Brereton. And if that sounds familiar, then it’s probably because Paul and Rowena Williams of Plas Glynllifon fame were talking of buying the place.

Go on, you know you want to – take a trip down Memory Lane.

Just over a week ago the developer, Mr Peter Brendan Gerrard O’Dowd, was promising untold benefits to the area from his Gwel y Fenai project. But planners seemed unconvinced, on a number of issues, including the impact on the Welsh language.

Speaking for Mr O’Dowd, agent Rhys Davies, of Cadnant Planning, promised the site would have bilingual signage. Wow!

Though, in fairness, planners had many more reservations about this project than just language impact. Which explains why it was rejected by councillors on Monday.

Though you’ll see from the report that a number of councillors spoke up in support of the project, or else urged planners to continue discussions with Mr O’Dowd. I fear that some councillors in Gwynedd have reached a point where they genuinely believe that low pay, low skill, tourism jobs are the best our people can – or should – aspire to.

I hope I’m wrong.

Another source, who worked at Ferodo, reminds me that one reason the site has lain empty for so long is the asbestos. Either still in situ, or else in the sealed tip on site. Though this source sees no real problem with building on adequately sealed asbestos tips:

'With a cover of several feet depth of inert material and soil, mobile homes or lodges could safely stand on top of the tip as no noxious gases would be generated by the buried material.'

This source’s concerns focus on where the money for the investment is coming from. So let’s give this some thought.

O’Dowd is a property speculator. If we look at his Maybrook company we see assets of over £11m pounds. Which looks fine. But most of the £11m is accounted for by property he’s bought with loans. The rest could be explained by overvaluing that property.

The 11 loans taken out before December 2017 have all been repaid. Most of these loans were with banks you and I would recognise. Since then, there have been 7 further loans, but none after October 2018. And these loans are with less recognisable institutions.

The two most recent loans were taken out with Together Commercial Finance of Manchester, who got in so deep and lost so much with Paul and Rowena Williams. You may remember that Together also funded the purchase of Llangefni Shire Hall.

In fact, Together has appeared on this blog a number of times, invariably associated with rather iffy companies and individuals. It’s a lender of last resort, where you go when banks turn you down.

In fact, Together may be worthy of investigation itself.

The suggestion is that Mr O’Dowd is over-reaching himself with this £70m+ project, because it’s impossible to see where the money will come from.

To progress this project, Bryn Coch Ltd was formed. As far as I can see, all the shares are owned by O’Dowd’s other company, Maybrook Investments Ltd. Bryn Coch’s only asset appears to be the Ferodo site, for which it paid 195,000 + VAT.

(But not all the site is owned by Bryn Coch Ltd. Go to the plan on the title document I’ve just linked to and you’ll see that part of the site is covered by title number WA965076. Here is the relevant title document.)

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Yet in the latest accounts, Mr O’Dowd values that land at £5.4m. And it might be worth that, with planning permission. But it doesn’t have planning permission, and without it that land is worth no more than the £195,000 + VAT that was paid for it.

Maybe less.

I suspect Mr O’Dowd may not be alone in this venture. There may be associates yet to be identified. Until we know the full story, planning permission should be rejected. And even if the project does become more transparent, the planners’ objections remain valid.

And those objections will not be overcome by the magnanimous gesture of bilingual signs in a town where 85% of the population speaks Welsh.

Before moving on, I just want to touch on Mr O’Dowd’s new companies, and his other holdings in Gwynedd.

Maybrook Investments Ltd has two holdings on Penamser Road in Porthmadog. (The Pwllheli road.) Title numbers CYM135945, CYM255694. One is the old Gelert outdoor clothing unit, the other, nearby land.

Then, through new company, Lendline (NW) Ltd, Peter O’Dowd owns Parciau Farm – or part of it – which lies just across the A487 from the old Ferodo site. Lendline is owned by Maybrook Investments.

Finally, moving to Bangor, we find that another new company, Maybrook Investments (Parc Menai) Ltd, owns land either side of Penrhos Road, close by the A487, and not far from the A55 Expressway.

Land in two parcels: one to the south west of Graig House, Capel y Graig, title number WA533768; and the other to the west of Nant y Mount, Vaynol Park, title number CYM71442.

I can’t help wondering what has attracted Peter O’Dowd to Gwynedd. And why he’s bought the land he’s bought. Does he know something we don’t?

Or someone?

CARRY ON GLAMPING

There was a Twitter dispute last week with the owners of a new glamping venture near Pwllheli. I got roped in and found myself blocked by the proprietors of Brook Cottage Shepherd Huts.

As you might have guessed, the spat was over that toe-curlingly twee English name.

Also, that the venture got a £50,000 loan from the Development Bank of Wales. I mean, Wales doesn’t already have enough glamping sites? Those involved couldn’t have raised the money they needed from Barclays or some other bank?

The two behind this exciting venture are Jonathan Gooders and Mark Barrow, who were previously in the fine arts business according to this piece from NorthWalesLive. Their ignorance of Wales would seem to be exposed by their belief that Welsh shepherds lived in glamping sheds.

Click to open in separate tab

The company involved in this exciting venture at Y Ffor is Brook Cottage Holidays Ltd, formed just over a year ago. The two directors and shareholders are, as we would expect, Gooders and Barrow. On the Certificate of Incorporation both describe themselves defiantly as ‘English’.

I mention this because most people use ‘British’. I would obviously describe myself as ‘Welsh’, but it’s often the Ukip types who go with ‘English’.

But this is not their first company.

Let’s go back to what I wrote earlier, and the quote in NorthWalesLive, that said:

'Jonathan Gooders and Mark Barrow both have a background in fine art and wanted to put this and a passion for nature into redeveloping land near their new home at Y Ffor, near Pwllheli.'

But that’s not the full story. There are other recent companies that have nothing to do with ‘fine art’.

Certainly, Gooders and Barrow ran a company called Framers (London) Ltd, and Barrow may even have had a small gallery. Though Mark Barrow Fine Art (formerly Modern British Artists) seems to have folded. Certainly, the Twitter account hasn’t been used for a few years.

What really interests me is that Jonathan Gooders has been involved in a number of companies that have nothing to do with fine art, and all of which were dissolved around the time they moved to Wales. Three on the same day!

Barrow was also involved in at least one. Here they are:

Doesn’t inspire confidence does it?

This glittering business record might explain why Jonathan Gooders and Mark Barrow couldn’t get a loan from a ‘High Street’ bank. (Remember them?) It should also have been the reason why the Development Bank of Wales turned them down.

So I just hope that the £50,000 of our money is safe. But even if it is, don’t expect it to create any jobs.

But rest easy – for they have a wealth of experience in tourism and glamping.

TOURISM MAKING LIFE DIFFICULT FOR LOCALS

Now it’s time to move south, to Carmarthenshire, land of my great-grandfathers. And to be precise, to Cydweli (Kidwelly), which lies between the county’s two metropolises of Carmarthen and Llanelli.

An interesting town in many ways. Let me explain.

Something I’ve noticed over the past 50 years or so is that in rural areas the Labour Party is now almost entirely dependent for members and active supporters on people who’ve moved in. Invariably from England.

An example would be the we-know-best harridans trying to take over Knighton in Powys and dictate to everyone else.

Which might make Cydweli the most westerly community in Wales where the Labour Party is still native-run, just. But even here, in recent years the thinning ranks have been swelled by an influx of Guardian-reading know-alls who feel Cydweli can’t manage without their input.

Back to the narrative.

Earlier, when discussing plans for the old Ferodo site in Caernarfon, I suggested that some councillors may have given up on their communities seeing any jobs better than those provided by tourism. And that’s what might have happened in Cydweli.

For the Labour gang controlling Kidwelly Community Hub CIC has been handed £270,000 by the ‘Welsh Government’ for the ‘Black Cat Tourism Strategy’.

This seeks to ‘grow the visitor economy’ – at any price.

The no-expense-spared launch of Kidwelly’s Black Cat tourism strategy. Click to open in separate tab

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

We see Suki in the above picture, on the right, in the red coat.

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

Back to Cydweli, and the growing problems being experienced by locals as the county council and others seek to ‘grow the visitor economy’. (Why not just be honest and say, ‘We want lots more tourists’?)

For, clearly, tourists visiting the holiday homes and the Airbnb rents in this rather cramped old town are going to cause parking and other problems. Sure enough, this is what’s happening, and it’s pissing off the locals.

As my source puts it – ‘This is what happens when a Plaid Cymru council (Carmarthenshire) prioritises tourism and starts closing Welsh medium schools in surrounding villages.’

To help you make sense of what else he has to say I suggest you open this Google map of the town. Now read on . . .

'THE CASTLE AREA

There’s a cluster of holiday rentals inside the town walls of Bailey Street and Castle Street and Cadw have installed a barrier stopping parking to the little car park next to the castle. 
This has resulted in lots of tourist parking on New Street, the main through road. Residents, when they arrive home from work, are finding the free parking outside their homes occupied by visitors (sometimes with trailers of kayaks and jet-skis). So residents have been parking of the pavements and double yellows causing obstruction or getting parking tickets.

GLANYRAFON

There is a free car park at Glanyrafon (the overflow) which has been used by residents for many years. Now there is a plan to build a new grant funded museum next to it, on the nature reserve. This is the ‘History Shed’ relocated from Laugharne, a kind of WW2 Spitfires and gas masks hobby attraction. 
The adjacent car park, which has been free to residents, will now be paid parking, reserved for visitors. Residents of Bridge Street and New Street will lose their free parking.

PARC PENDRE

Carmarthenshire Country Council intends to close two schools. Ysgol Gymraeg Gwenllian in Station Road within the town and also Ysgol Gymraeg Mynyddygarreg in the nearby village (where children from Trimsaran also attend). It is to be replaced by a new consolidated school at Parc Pendre within the town behind the Coop. 
It’s anticipated there will be parking chaos due to the school run. Parents dropping off the kids to attend school arriving by car from further up the Gwendraeth valleys. This was anticipated in the plans and is to be mitigated with ‘enhanced parking controls.’ 
This involves new double yellows in Parc Pendre and a residential parking scheme in surrounding streets. Residents will be charged £30pa for a permit.'

Without recourse to a crystal ball, tea leaves, or seaweed (great-aunt Fastidia’s favourite), I can confidently predict Cydweli’s future . . . properties will be bought up by ‘investors’, coming from that enchanted land, ‘Away’, at prices few locals can afford.

This will result in the town losing its Welsh identity, the age profile will change for the worse, the rugby club will close, one or two pubs, and, as I can testify from my area, there’ll be no need for the new school – because there’ll be so few kids living locally.

And all this will have been achieved by ‘growing the visitor economy’!

Jobs! Did I mention jobs? No, because there won’t be any, this is ‘Welsh’ tourism.

UPDATE 26.11.2021: My source has now heard from Carmarthenshire County Council Highways Officer that –

All permanent residents in Cydweli will be charged £30 per household for a parking permit. All properties will be eligible to apply for a permit to park, even those with existing off-street parking and all properties run as holiday homes, self-catering lets, AirB&B will all be able to apply for a business permit for their guests. HMRC documents such as a tax code in England will be acceptable documentation for a permit.

BEWARE OF SMOKESCREENS AND VIRTUE SIGNALLING

Not long ago, in a wonderful example of those who are unaffected by the decisions they take affecting the lives of Welsh people, the ‘progressive’ consensus in Corruption Bay – i.e. Labour and Plaid Cymru – abolished Right to Buy.

In the village where I live most of the council houses had been bought by their Welsh tenants. Without the option of RtB most of them had little hope of buying a property in their own community. And it’s the same in other villages in the area. With Aberdyfi being the stand-out example.

The reason for that is outsiders snapping up properties; some for holiday homes, others because people want to move here permanently. With many more of the latter than the former.

Yet a bunch of virtue signallers see nothing wrong in depriving Welsh working class people of their only hope of owning a property in their home community. Perhaps they believe the lower orders must be cared for, and dictated to, as if they were children, by those who have sipped at the fount of socialist knowledge.

There were so many other options the leftists could have adopted that would not have disadvantaged our people, but they weren’t prepared to consider them.

And now those ‘progressives’ are in some kind of informal coalition down in the swamp. Which is more nonsense; for despite periodic bouts of foot-stamping from Plaid Cymru they’ve always been in alliance. Nobody was ever fooled.

One of the problems this repulsive mob of mediocrities pledges to confront is that of Welsh people being forced out of their communities by rising house prices. Now I’m a firm believer that to confront and deal with any issue one must first understand it.

Unfortunately, there are those among us, supported by influences external to Wales, who wish to misinterpret the crisis in our rural and coastal areas.

Click to open in separate tab

Canary is a left wing English publication, fighting what can no longer be called class war because the working class has been alienated by the modern left’s obsessions with gender, race and climate.

It’s no longer even ideological. It’s a kind of cult-like belief in certain absurdities, as we saw when Undod (mentioned in the panel above) and its allies sought to take over Yes Cymru earlier this year.

The left wants to view the crisis in rural and coastal Wales as some fault of the capitalist system; as part of a bigger, UK-wide, ‘housing crisis’. Without ever addressing the influx of good-lifers, retirees and the rest.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Jennie Bibbings works for Shelter Cymru. This is one of the forty-odd ‘homelessness’ outfits funded with our money by the so-called ‘Welsh Government’. Done for no better reason than to employ otherwise unemployable Labour-supporting graduates and drop-outs from our oversized universities.

Click to open in separate tab.

If Jennie Bibbings genuinely believes that our rural and coastal areas would still have a housing problem without ‘2nd homers/saes’, then she’s a fool. But she doesn’t believe that. She’s merely spouting the leftist line.

Which believes that only nationalists care about the destruction of Welsh communities. And because ‘All nationalism is evil’ the only acceptable response is to either ignore such concerns entirely or else subsume them into something bigger that can more comfortably be supported.

So I urge you to be on your guard for attempts to cloud the issue and misrepresent the crisis facing us. These attempts will come from the socialist consensus in Corruption Bay and its ideological soul-mates elsewhere in Wales, and outside of Wales.

‘TOURISM, TOURISM, WHAT BULLSHIT IS SPOUTED IN THY NAME’

Some forty years ago, not long after the start of the Meibion Glyndŵr campaign, I was watching a television programme in which the late Prys Edwards, then head of the Wales Tourist Board, was being interviewed and the subject of holiday homes came up.

Edwards seemed almost offended and asked, ‘You surely aren’t suggesting that holiday homes have anything to do with tourism?’ The interviewer let him get away with it and the discussion moved on.

Prys Edwards. Click to open in separate tab

I use that example because it’s symptomatic of attitudes in Wales, the dissociative thinking that results in us being unable to honestly identify the problems facing us, and, as a result, solving them.

Despite what Prys Edwards wanted us to believe, holiday homes are an inevitable consequence of tourism. The clue is in the name.

I have yet to meet anyone who has bought a holiday home in an area with which they did not already have some familiarity from having taken holidays there. Have you?

And yet, as I’ve already said, I suspect that holiday homes will be used as a distraction from the bigger problem to which I have alluded. Which would be a terrible mistake, and a betrayal of our people.

For the problem of locals being priced out of the communities in which they were born and raised, and the anglicising of those communities, can not be resolved until we accept that permanent in-migration is a bigger factor than holiday homes.

This article in the Guardian last week, focusing on Llandudoch, was headlined, ‘Cultural genocide by bank transfer’. The words were those of veteran language campaigner Ffred Ffrancis.

Who also said, ‘ . . . the problem was being turbo-charged by the “flight” from cities caused by Covid’. A reference to people buying properties in Wales in order to work from ‘home’.

And he’s right. But the problem won’t go away with Covid-19.

We, as a nation, and more especially, Welsh speaking communities, are facing an existential threat to our existence. And it all stems from tourism.

Whether it’s the mass tourism that destroyed the Welshness of Abergele and Borth, or the more up-market tourism that is making us strangers from Rhossilli to Rhosneigr.

We are past the stage where consultations and working groups serve any useful purpose – these are just delaying tactics employed by a Vichy administration under orders from its masters in London. We need action. And we know what that action must be.

The ‘Welsh Government’ must introduce legislation that limits who can buy domestic property in Wales.

There can be no more words. No more dithering. No more obfuscation. No more passing the buck. Either the ‘Welsh Government’ acts, and acts quickly, or there’s a growing risk that others will.

Faced with cultural genocide, many will argue that any action will be justified.

♦ END ♦

 




Another betrayal of our dead children

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 is a guest post by Brychan Davies, who regularly comments on this blog with commendable erudition. 

It appears the UK government wishes to divest itself of certain responsibilities for the residue of old coal workings. In other words, tips, slag heaps. This responsibility is to be passed to the ‘Welsh Government’, with the carrot being the power to take over land under the guise of ‘environmentalism’ while putting financial burdens on already poor communities.

The only beneficiaries of this transfer of responsibility would seem to be the third sector parasites and the enviroshysters who already plague our benighted land.

Now read what Brychan has to say . . . 

In a crass act of betrayal the BBC are now telling us that the government in Westminster is seeking to replace the Mine and Quarries Act 1969 by dumping those responsibilities on Ministers of the Welsh Government, along with the financial burden onto the shoulders of the Welsh budget.

The Mines and Quarries Act arose from the Aberfan disaster, where as a result of incorrect monitoring and management of a coal tip of Merthyr Vale colliery above the village of Aberfan, most specifically the previously known underground springs and fluidisation of slurry resulted in a tip slide onto the village and Pantglas primary school on 21st October 1966.

The slide resulted in the deaths of 116 children and 28 adults.

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, the chairman of the National Coal Board, the Baron of Woldingham and former Labour MP, Alfred Robens, stated.

“I wouldn’t have thought myself that anybody would know that there was a spring deep in the heart of a mountain, any more than I can tell you there is one under our feet where we are now. If you are asking me did any of my people on the spot know that there was this spring water, then the answer is, No – they couldn’t possibly . . . It was impossible to know that there was a spring in the heart of this tip which was turning the centre of the mountain into sludge”.

This was despite engineers within the NCB raising the issue, and community groups raising their concerns with Merthyr Council. The result of an enquiry of the disaster was the passing of the Mines and Quarries (Tips) Act 1969. This placed a statutory responsibility for monitoring and remedial action on an “appropriate government minister” to ensure the safety of any remaining tips.

This role was to be carried out by the NCB and then its legacy body the Coal Authority, a public body of the Westminster House currently sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, in London. Most importantly this has responsibility for monitoring and remedial action on water discharges and stability of former coalmines and tips. It is headquartered in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.

The Westminster Government has now instructed the Law Commission of England and Wales to open a consultation on a proposal to devolve this responsibility, which has the full backing of the Welsh Government. The consultation can be seen here.

Ownership of actual coal reserves, legacy land assets and licensing is to remain at UK government level. Only the statutory responsibility for safety and the cost of maintaining legacy tips and watercourses is to be devolved.

The consultations asks the following questions.

1. We provisionally propose that the existing regulatory regime for tips associated with operational mines should not be altered. Do you agree?

This would just make Wales responsible for the legacy costs and no control of any future mineral ownership or exploitation.

2. We seek views on whether a satisfactory definition of a disused coal tip could refer to waste from coal mining and whether it should include express reference to overburden dumps, backfill, spoil heaps, stock piles and lagoons.

There are many valuable assets such as ponds (see Glyncorrwg) and land regenerated as nature reserves which are backfill, spoil heaps, stock piles and lagoons. The consultation asks us whether these should be allowed to be under Welsh control.

4: To the extent that liability under the new regulatory framework rests with the owner of land containing a tip, we provisionally propose that the owner should be defined as the freeholder or a leaseholder under a lease of 21 or more years, except where their interest is in reversion upon a term of 21 or more years. Do you agree?

There is an attempt to make any new landowner or leaseholder, grazing rights, farmers, community groups or councils now responsible for the tip underneath.

5: We provisionally propose that a supervisory authority with responsibility for the safety of all disused coal tips should be established. Do you agree? If not, please set out the alternative that you would favour.

Currently, the Coal Authority carries out that role. Monitoring and sampling. There is a proposal of a new ‘supervisory authority’, this may move such responsibilities either to a new Welsh quango, or hand responsibility to local authorities.

9: We provisionally propose that a central tip register should be compiled and maintained. Do you agree?

A tip register doesn’t currently exist, as there are many very old ad-hoc legacy mines of antiquity that only become known when problems become evident. This was recently seen at Skewen. Currently the Coal Authority inherits responsibility. The new legislation seeks to end this, by ‘it’s not on the register so it’s not our problem, butt’.

31: Do you think that the Welsh Ministers should be able to give directions to the supervisory authority and other relevant parties regarding actions to be taken in response to a coal tip emergency?

This relates to ‘upstreaming’ and ‘downstreaming’ of pollution from mines and tips. It seeks to give authority of the Welsh Minister for the Environment to force surrounding landowners to take their own remedial action when a problem becomes evident, such as covering the cost of extra or replacement or augmentation of drainage. This would most likely involve extra liability insurance of households and businesses in the coalfield.

34: Do you consider that new tip safety legislation should be combined with provision for the consideration of tip reclamation? If so, do you favour any particular model?

This would give the power to Welsh Ministers to ‘nationalise’ land holdings that include legacy mine workings in the name of reclamation. Many former, now landscaped, landholdings are used for low-grade agriculture and forestry. It will give statutory powers to Welsh Ministers to ‘grab’ these assets in the name of reclamation, as there is no definition of that constitutes an already reclaimed site.

On the left Gary Haggaty, civil servant, paramour of and adviser to Lesley Griffiths, the ‘Welsh Government’ Minister for the Environment. (Sitting alongside him.) Both believe that Welsh people own far too much Welsh land, and are determined to remedy this unacceptable situation.

The reality is that the Westminster Government wants to wash their hands of the responsibility for historical expropriation of the Welsh coalfields, and are seeking to hand over these responsibilities to the Welsh Government. They have wrapped the proposal in a sugar coating of ‘environmental opportunities’.  It is designed so Welsh Ministers, can pass the costs to the citizens of former mining communities and carry the cost.

A kind of repeat Aberfan Disaster Fund, the original being used to pay the NCB to remove other coal tips, this 21st century equivalent making Welsh communities pay the ongoing costs and it being given a light coloured greenwash.

♦ end ♦

 




Guest post: ‘A sustainable Wales . . . or not’

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.

As it says in the title, this a guest post, and from someone who knows of what they speak. Read it carefully, for it contains valuable insights that you’re unlikely to get elsewhere.

Specifically, this post is about Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ) legislation and the vote on March 3 that saw the ‘Welsh Government’ push through its draconian measures which are simply another attack on our farmers.

The fact that most of the pollution doesn’t even come from farms is not simply irrelevant to Labour politicians, it’s ignored completely.

To understand the bigger picture you must realise that the local branch of the British Labour Party is a statist outfit that wants to control everything and everybody, either directly, or else through its agencies in the third sector and elsewhere.

As the writer explains, Labour politicians don’t like farmers because farmers own land (kulaks, see), and they tend to be independently-minded, with a habit of standing up for themselves. What’s more, they’re adept at recognising bullshit.

So farmers have to go. This will be justified on environmental grounds. Freeing land for hippies, rewilders and foreign investors.

This control-freakery also explains why Wales is a basket-case economy. Labour does not want free-thinking indigenous entrepreneurs, even if they provide jobs and make Wales prosperous. Far better to keep Wales poor, blame somebody else, and keep getting elected.

The resultant poverty can also be justified with envirobollocks – ‘What ew mean ew got no job – look at all them wind turbines saving the planet. You selfish bugger!’

Well, of course, that’s not strictly true. Labour politicians and their third sector cronies will always have jobs. Enviroshysters – almost all of them from outside of Wales – will also have jobs. It’s ordinary Welsh people who lose out.

The message is simple. Don’t vote Labour in May’s Senedd elections. Don’t vote for Plaid Cymru either, because Labour will need a coalition with Plaid to stay in power.

Now read what our guest writer has to say . . .

So, in the last month or so, Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment has pushed on with legislation she said she would not push on with 11 times. This was on the basis that agricultural incidents had not decreased from the 3 a week figure that is regularly quoted. As of 3rd March, the regulations will now progress following the Senedd vote.

There are various figures banded around as to why this has been a trigger point and why such an aggressive move has been taken, in the middle (and it is the middle) of the COVID crisis and indeed the aftermath of the Brexit deal.

This is really a statement piece by the Minister to appeal to the environment lobby and her back benchers in the run up to an election. Facts, figures and advice on the regulation from her own regulator, NRW, have been ignored and politics has been front and centre of the decision. Where to go from here? We’ll come back to that a little later.

Jac adds: Not only has Lesley Griffiths been saying it, but her civil servants have also been saying it in responses to members of the public. Click to enlarge

When it comes to Welsh Government, it’s worth taking a look back to see how things have developed.

Firstly, getting rid of scrutiny and the various committees that have provided review and direction has been a key strategy. The Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs (CCERA) Committee has to cover such a broad portfolio that it cannot possibly scrutinise in depth. The simple fact is that scrutiny is now a manufactured process, by invitation if you like, with the environment lobby in the pocket of the Minister, who are anti-agri, anti-fisheries and any other private use of natural resources for economic gain, unless you’re a global investor making a land grab under the guise of rewilding, but we won’t mention that.

Secondly, Welsh Government has struggled for years to work out how they could get their policy objectives imprinted on rural Wales. We’re now in the drive to reverse climate change, de-carbonise and promote Wales to the world as a sustainable nation. Farmers own 70% of our private land. The difficulty with trying to get farmers to comply with change is that they own their land and are a broadly militant and belligerent old bunch who would rather sell a kidney than be told what to do. So, in combination with the agriculture white paper out at the moment consulting on the future farm payments system, Minister Griffiths has slapped an NVZ on the whole of Wales to boot.

When you look at some of the drivers of food industry growth, Minister Griffiths own Food and Drink Strategy 2014 – 2020 has targeted increasing sales by 30% to £7bn turnover. Much rejoicing took place last year when it was proclaimed that Welsh Government had ‘smashed its target’. Now a new strategy needs to be developed and it will be based on ‘sustainability’. It should be remembered that Welsh Government has encouraged and invested in the agri-food sectors rapid growth and the question must be asked as to whether it is now a victim of its own success?

I digress.

You see, if you want a snapshot example of what is in store for agriculture, you only need to look at what Welsh Government has done with another comparator sector over which they have devolved responsibility – fisheries.

A small sector in Wales, but nonetheless regularly rolled out by the Minister with unsubstantiated claims of sustainability for which she now strives. The vast majority of engagement mechanisms with the sector have been withdrawn, because, like farmers, fishermen are too difficult for Welsh Government to deal with.

Unlike agriculture, with land ownership in the hands of farmers, Welsh Government actually does have devolved responsibility for marine and fisheries and in layman’s terms, it owns the sea out to the median line. If there is an example of how not to sustainability management resources, this is it. Regulation, not management, is king, delivering boom and bust fisheries such as our main shellfish species by volume, Whelk, that is exploited largely by businesses outside of Wales. Now where have we heard this before…………oh yes, renewables.

Marine renewables is the Minister’s golden ticket to meeting green energy targets and no one will get in the way. While our many centuries old fishing industry and heritage fisheries such as Teifi Seine nets, coracles and the lave net fisheries on the Severn are regulated (for regulated read bullied) out, the push for action in the climate emergency continues. Fisheries is a shining example of how Welsh Government ‘manages’ its resources and should serve as a warning to what is to come for terrestrial Wales.

So the stage is set for the roll out of the NVZ agricultural pollution regulations that will sit alongside the consultation on the agriculture white paper and an announcement made with regard to the future strategy for the food and drink sector where sustainable food production will be at the core. All very nicely choreographed.

What is amazing in all of this is the almost pathological inability of the Minister to acknowledge the issues caused by sewage outfall and releases by water authorities. This has been documented by the BBC and most recent data provided by the Rivers Trust makes for dire reading. Her responses when questioned on this in Plenary have been evasive to say the least. She doesn’t want to talk about it. She has to get her way with the agri sector to line up the other policy objectives. A savage attack on the proposed regulations took place in the Senedd via a recent Conservative debate and again, while referring to a very recent incident and the ‘one too many’ quote, the reality is that statistically there could have well been another 82 sewage incidents going on the very same day!

I have no doubt that a number of MS’s who have voted on this will not have the foggiest what they are voting for, but will have been lobbied by the ‘bastard farmers’ environment crowd from their Cardiff and London bases. The perverse part of this is that in a drive for Wales to be perceived as one of the world’s most sustainable food producers, Minister Griffiths will designate the whole of the country an NVZ against the advice of her regulator and ignoring the main contributor to water quality issues. How does she think this looks from the outside looking in? We’re a laughing stock.

In sectors that have been under devolved regulation for many years such as fisheries, the Minister now talks about co-management out of regulation with a group they can’t engage with and then at the same time has rejected any suggestion of voluntary co-managed farmer-led approaches to agri pollution that were on the table to move to, yep, you’ve guessed it……..regulation. I would suggest her officials need a Zoom meeting to square the circle here.

L to R: Gary Haggaty, civil servant; Lesley Griffiths MS, Labour, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs; Caroline Hitt, writer for the ‘Western Mail’; Elin Jones MS, Plaid Cymru, Senedd Llywydd (Speaker). The cosiness of Corruption Bay made corporeal in a Dublin bar. Click to enlarge

This will be her modulation moment, akin to the decision made by Alun Davies to move 15% of the budget away from direct payments to Pillar 2 and just look at the success that has been, as highlighted by Wales Audit Office last year and further exposed by Craig Williams MP recently. I could also go into the uplands payments debacle but I won’t.

How the farming unions react to this will be key and a judicial review can be expected. However, there is a wider assault in the offing for rural Wales in the hot off the press Future Wales 2040 in the name of sustainability and climate change. It is a large document, but I would urge anyone who has an interest in the future of this country to read it and then decide how you will vote in May. Future Wales 2040 is the planning template for this country and where this blog has pointed out the follies of various ‘developers’ and ‘investors’, I’m certain we will see more of this to come, at scale.

Without wanting to overstate the position, we may be seeing the managed decline of industries in the same way the coal industry was portrayed – inefficient, dirty and unwanted by those who have never done a hard day’s work in their life. The Valleys have never recovered and now having failed to deliver on economic development, Welsh Government MUST deal with climate change, even if it means forcing through bad regulation to achieve it.

♦ end ♦