Updates, etc: Cardigan Castle, Organ Harvesting, Overseas Aid Programme, Housing Associations, Labour Leadership Contest

CARDIGAN CASTLE

I don’t want anyone to think I’m picking on the women running and wrecking the Cardigan Castle project (nor would I want anyone to think I plan on ignoring them!) but I couldn’t write this post without a mention of developments since my previous post. Here’s a selection.

Someone informed me that at one meeting Jonathan ‘Joff’ Timms opined that Rhys ap Gruffydd and his sons were “nothing but savages”. Which again raises the question: Who the hell is Jonathan Timms and who invited a man living in Kent, England, to get involved?

Another informant sent me a copy of a letter sent to the Carmarthen Journal about three or four years ago, which served to revive an earlier suspicion that the Castle project may be disguising an even more self-serving undertaking involving property grabbing, and that this explains the two trusts. (I would appreciate a good photograph of the Green Street properties.) Elin Jones’ remarks are worth noting.

I am indebted to a third informant for this link which suggests that the Facilities Officer vacancy – the post now filled by Sue “ENGLISH” Lewis – was advertised from December 23rd 2014 to midday on January 2nd 2015. In other words, from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day. How the hell were they allowed to get away with this?

Rumours persist that non-Gang of Four trustees are ready to jump ship, leaving mesdames Tucker, Lewis, Davies and Jones even more exposed. Moves are also afoot to call an Emergency General Meeting.

Pembrokeshire Herald
CLICK TO ENLARGE

Equinox, the Cardiff PR firm working for the Gang of Four, has requested an urgent meeting with local critics. This panic move may have been instigated by the project’s funders becoming worried by the amount of shit now hitting the fan.

Gareth Gregory, the Heritage Lottery Fund’s man on the case, is known to be in the pockets of the Gang of Four. Or should that be ‘handbags’? Or would that be sexist? Who cares?

Here’s the ‘Rhys ap Gruffydd’ Proclamation read out at 7pm on Saturday outside the Castle main entrance, which I understand will also be read out at the Meifod Eisteddfod.

Elsewhere, the Pembrokeshire Herald and its Carmarthenshire sister-paper ran full-page pieces using much of the information I’d supplied on my blog. I only have a photo of the article as I couldn’t get a copy of the newspaper to scan for you, but I was sent a transcript, which you can read here.

Saturday night saw the Bellowhead concert at the Castle. To judge by the photograph I was sent the audience was in the age group 55 – telegram from Beti.

However successful the Gang of Four may want us to believe the Bellowhead concert was I can’t help thinking that a performance of Wagner would have been more appropriate given the situation they’re in, for Götterdämmerung is surely approaching. I’d just love to see the lot of them in horned helmets, wielding spears and shrieking, as a local mob storms the castle. Well, laff!

STOP PRESS: I am now told that during the interval, and at her insistence, Vicky Moller, Plaid Cymru list candidate in Mid and West Wales, was led to the mic by compère, Brychan Llyr (Dic Jones’ son, of Jess fame). She gave a rousing speech, saying that without the diligence and hard work of Cris Tomos (now given the elbow) the renovation would not have been possible. Brychan expressed similar sentiments. Then the control freak Gang of Four tried to prevent Brychan from introducing Bellowhead, but after much heated discussion he did, before leaving the castle grounds.

Finally, the Aberporth connection has been strengthened with information about the bizarre, oversized ‘bardic’ chair to be found at the Castle. Here’s a photo I took on my visit a couple of weeks ago of my wife sitting in it. (No, she hasn’t got a round, flat, black head,) This chair is said to have cost £12,000 but no one seems to recall any tendering process. The artist responsible is a Paul Clarke of . . . Aberporth! He has done work in Aberporth, paid for by the community council, on which body we of course find Jann Tucker. I suggest you read the comments by ‘Rhodri’ to my previous post. He also suggests that the escutcheons and armorials employed are not authentic, having little or nothing to do with Rhys ap Gruffydd, The Lord Rhys.

THIS WEEK’S COMPETITION: Find someone living in Aberporth – or just having a holiday home there – who has not gained financially from the largesse of Lady Tucker of Cardigan Castle.

*

ORGAN ‘HARVESTING’

Not a subject I’d normally write about but friends of mine in Llanelli got to thinking about the ‘Welsh’ Government’s proposal to assume that if you don’t expressly say No then you agree to have your organs whipped out and re-used ASAP after your encounter with the Grim Reaper. The leaflet they were reading gave a phone number, and this took them to a call centre in Bristol, and a helpful young Bristolian. This, remember, was for enquiries into a ‘Welsh’ Government initiative.

The big question they asked was, ‘If I agree to donate my organs, or don’t opt out of any new scheme of assumed donation, will my organs stay in Wales (cos they’ll only get homesick otherwise)?’ ‘Er, no, they can end up anywhere in Englandandwales’. ‘Hang on, you’re saying there’ll be an opt-out system in Wales running parallel with an opt-in system in England?’ ‘Um, yes’. ‘Which will mean that the vast majority of the organs taken from Welsh stiffs will end up giving new life to our English neighbours?’ ‘Yup, that’s about the size of it’.

At this point my friends thought they’d be clever and demand the Welsh language service, as the leaflet said they could. ‘I’ll get someone to ring you back’, said the HYB. After half an hour or so the call came, again from Bristol. The Welshman they spoke with said he enjoyed working in Bristol because he and the other Welsh speakers get paid more than their English colleagues because they also answer calls in English. (Which must do wonders for workplace harmony and Welsh-English relationships!)

Welsh Organ

So there you are, if you agree to donate your organs, or don’t opt out of presumed consent, your kidneys could end up keeping alive a frothing-at-the-mouth Kipper, your liver in some Daily Mail journo. This is the kind of insane situation that can only arise when certain powers are devolved within an overarching Englandandwales framework. This is the sham devolution we have in Wales, and in this instance it appears that Wales is being used by England for organ harvesting – with the co-operation of the ‘Welsh’ Government!

*

OVERSEAS AID PROGRAMME

I bet that heading surprised you! It certainly surprised me when I discovered that the poorest part of Europe, a country that has received billions in EU aid, is sending money to Africa. Let me explain.

On June 18th I posted ‘Welsh Poverty and “Welsh” Labour’s Third Sector Money Pit‘ and in that post I looked at the careers of husband and wife team Travers Merrill and Rose Mutale Nyoni Merrill. Travers was at the helm when the good ship Rhondda Life hit the rocks, while Rose’s Third Sector racket is BAWSO. Together they also run a private endeavour called ABESU, which, to quote the company’s website, is “a UK charity working in partnership with the ABESU Women’s Housing Co-operative in Zambia to self-build houses and establish sustainable livelihoods”. Nothing surprising there, seeing as Mrs Merrill is from Zambia.

Curiosity drove me to flick through the ABESU accounts, where I found that in the year ended March 31st 2014 ABESU had received £2,000 from the ‘Welsh’ Government. Not a great amount, but why is our puppet regime down Cardiff docks giving anything to an organisation that doesn’t even operate in Wales? As is my wont, I submitted an FoI on June 22nd. On July 1st I received an acknowledgement that promised an answer by July 16th. When that hadn’t arrived by July 23rd I wrote again, and my answer came the following day. You can read that letter by clicking here.

I asked the ‘Welsh’ Government to:

1. Confirm or deny that the Welsh Government gave Abesu £2,000.

2. If confirmed, please explain the reason for the Welsh Government giving £2,000 to Abesu, and from which funding ‘pot’ the money came.

3. Confirm or deny that the Welsh Government gives funding to other organisations that do not operate in Wales.

4. If confirmed, please supply a list of such organisations together with the amounts given, and from which ‘pots’ the funding is secured.

The response I got, from ‘the Office of the First Minister and Cabinet Office’ (‘Cabinet Office’ FFS!) said:

“I can confirm that a grant of £2000 was given to Abesu. This was by way of a grant from the Wales Africa Community Links project which was run by Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) and funded by the Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa programme.

I can confirm the Welsh Government does provide funding to other organisations that do not operate in Wales. However, with regard to the list of organisations and the amounts given, I have estimated that it will cost more than the appropriate limit established in the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 to consider your request and because of this the regulations allow me to refuse to deal with it.”

The letter went on to explain why I would not have a full response, ‘over the £600 limit’, etc. A couple of sentences in this explanation caught my eye, and you may also find them interesting. They said: “The Welsh Government’s finance system contains over 14,500 companies and organisations whose address is outside of Wales. During financial year 2014/15 there was (sic) 2,331 transactions made against these companies”. Suggesting that far too much of the money spent by the ‘Welsh’ Government is leaving Wales.

Wales for Africa

Anyway, returning to the ‘Welsh’ Government’s Wales for Africa programme. With the best will in the world, it’s difficult not to see this as yet another excuse to give money to Labour’s cronies in the Third Sector. This time by sending them on African jollies to “enhance their leadership skills” and have their photographs taken with ever-so-grateful Africans. For more information just follow the link I’ve supplied, and use the drop-down menu on the right-hand side of the page.

This kind of lunacy is almost bound to happen in the system of sham devolution we know in Wales. We have a bunch of pseudo socialists (many just pseuds) behaving as if they’re running a real government. And of course, the civil servants who really run Wales, and their masters in London, are more than happy to let these self-deluding buffoons waste our money.

Message to Carwyn and the gang: Stop playing stupid games; you are not a real government, Wales is poor, so we do not have money to spare for Polly and Dominic to go showboating in Africa.

*

HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS

When it comes to events and functions, weddings and conferences Cardigan Castle may not be seeing many paying customers, but one organisation that has been there a couple of times is Cantref, the housing association and white trash importer. A comment to my post The Colonisation of Wales: Help Needed tells us that things got a bit out of hand at Cantref’s AGM when, for some reason, the tenants were bused in for a hog roast and all the booze they could drink! Read the comment for yourself.

Cantref

This munificence is surprising given that Cantref may be entering Shit Creek. (Regularly laying out a few grand on hog roasts and piss-ups don’t help!) For the comment tells us that some of the commitments Cantref has taken on, such as the student accommodation in Aberystwyth, may not be turning out as planned. Hardly surprising when we see Aberystwyth Uni slipping down the league table faster than Cardiff City. Boom! boom! (Couldn’t resist it!)

‘Insider’ also tells us that, “There is something else going on but the sleepy local rags haven’t got a clue yet . . . more news on that later as it’s too dangerous to mention that yet – no wonder three top directors left all of a sudden before year end accounts, local housing consultant David Hedges of Cyngor Da being one of them”. David Hedges is the son of the former Glamorgan cricketer Bernard Hedges, who died in February 2014. (Many is the time I saw Bernard Hedges play at St. Helen’s.) His website, particularly the bullet point ”Cyngor Da’s approach’ is unmitigated Third Sector bollocks-speak. And although the stars favoured him with a Swansea birth Dai seems to have headed into the sunset and relocated to Cardigan.

David Hedges Cyngor Da

Naturally I tried to make enquiries into Cantref’s financial health, but unless you’re prepared to pay through the nose for them there’s no way of getting the figures. The problem is the status of housing associations. If they were charities then it would be a simple matter to visit the Charity Commission website and get the latest accounts gratis. If they were companies then it would be easy to get a financial picture from any number of sites, and pay for specific documents. These would also be available – and usually cheaper – on the Companies House website.

But because housing associations are Industrial and Provident Societies, registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies and Credit Unions Act 1965 it means they are registered with, but not regulated by, the Financial Services Authority, which then means you have to apply for any document you want and the cost becomes prohibitive.

No doubt defenders of housing associations will tell us that there is usually an annual report available on their websites. Rubbish, just look at the Cantref Annual Report, it’s just flim-flam and photographs, no better than propaganda, and nothing like the audited accounts available for charities and private companies. And if that wasn’t bad enough, housing associations are not covered by the Freedom of Information Act, unlike your local council’s housing department . . . assuming your local council’s housing stock hasn’t been taken over by a secretive and acquisitive housing association.

I don’t believe that housing associations should be regarded as anything other than the private companies they are. Put quite simply, housing associations do not meet the criterion used by the FSA for Industrial & Provident Societies: “An industrial and provident society is an organisation conducting an industry, business or trade, either as a co-operative or for the benefit of the community.

It is now anomalous that they are treated the same as community organisations and private members clubs. They are – in all but name – private companies, consequently there should be no more funding from the public purse.

 *

LABOUR LEADERSHIP CONTEST

Another subject you may be surprised to find me writing about. And while I can’t deny deriving a great deal of pleasure from seeing the bruvvers and sissters poking each other in the eyes this is, I assure you, an attempt to make a more profound observation.

Last Wednesday I watched a debate on Newsnight between three Labour MPs, Mary Creagh, Emily Thornberry and Diane Abbott. It seems that Creagh and Thornberry nominated Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership, but had no intention of voting for him, and were now worried that this ‘oppositional’ candidate might win! Abbott was there, presumably, to speak up for Corbyn.

We were also treated to a film of an increasingly wild-eyed and delusional Tony Blair telling his party’s members that if their heart said Corbyn then they should get a transplant! His former ‘advisor’, John McTernan, called those MPs who nominated Corbyn “morons”. It’s worth reminding ourselves that the most recent entry on McTernan’s CV is Chief of Staff to Jim Murphy, leader of ‘Scottish’ Labour in May. The political equivalent of being Custer’s chief scout at the Little Big Horn.

Anyway, the issue seems to be that the great majority of Labour MPs think Corbyn is too Left wing, but at the time of the Newsnight broadcast polls had him as the most popular choice, certainly with trade unionists and ordinary branch members. Which has left Creagh, Thornberry, Margaret Beckett (who’s admitted to being a ‘moron’!) and others suffering from Dr Frankenstein syndrome. It was one of the most enjoyable Newsnights I’ve seen for some time.

To justify rejecting Corbyn Creagh and Thornberry used the argument that Labour would be unelectable with Corbyn in charge, and unless the party wins the next election then Labour will be unable to help the people. Persuasive . . . until they expanded on that and you realised that for them winning elections is an end in itself, and this, they believe, can only be achieved through Labour being indistinguishable from the Conservatives.

The name Emily Thornberry rang a bell with me, but I had to check before I realised that she it was who had insulted the flag of England and those who proudly wave it. She was condemned as a snob for that episode, and watching her on Newsnight I could see why. It was an almost unique experience: she spoke well, her arguments were well marshalled, and yet . . . rarely have I heard anyone be simultaneously eloquent and repulsive.

She is clearly arrogant, to the extent that she kept cutting across Kirsty Wark! (Isn’t that a hanging offence?) But it was her patronising and condescending attitude towards Diane Abbott that really clinched it. She was, and in a way one rarely sees outside of the theatre or television, looking down her nose at the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

Thornberry Abbott

The Labour Party has a massive problem on its hands with this election, for it has exposed the chasm between the unworldly professional politicians in the Westminster bubble and those ordinary party members who oppose starving the poor, who believe in pursuing tax dodgers, and who are clearly unhappy with a Labour Party that is little more than the Conservative Party by another name.

Lubbly jubbly! Vote Corbyn! A las barricadas!

49 thoughts on “Updates, etc: Cardigan Castle, Organ Harvesting, Overseas Aid Programme, Housing Associations, Labour Leadership Contest

    1. Which it is. But I suspect that it’s in the interests of someone other than the associations themselves to maintain the pretence. But it can’t last for much longer.

  1. Ian Perryman

    Regarding the post of Sue Lewis:
    Do we know how many people applied for the job and was there an appropriate interview of potential candidates?
    If there was only one candidate then surely the job should have been re-advertised.
    The job description says -You will have previous relevant experience. What relevant experience does she have?

    Regarding your reply from the government:
    i.e. “To locate, retrieve and extract the information you requested would require a manual exercise to be undertaken to review each transactions supporting documentation.”
    Why can’t they do a computerised postcode search of their invoice database?

    1. I’m told that a couple of others did apply, and that the best qualified candidate was offered some other job. (I’m waiting for clarification on this.) As for Sue Lewis, her only experience as far as I can see is in journalism. But however many applied, advertising a job over the Christmas and New Year period is dishonest, and the funders should not have allowed them to get away with it.

      As for my FoI response, I think the truth is that the truth would be embarrassing.

      1. Persius

        Having read the detailed job description, what part of Sue Lewis’ previous job as editor of The Tivyside qualified her to fulfil any of the duties of the role?
        For example: “To oversee the recruitment, training and deployment of operational staff, including reception, catering, security, interpreting, cleaning and maintenance personnel, both paid and voluntary. To plan for the reception of staying visitors, conferences, function and wedding clients and ensuring that the Castle earns and maintains a reputation for high quality accommodation and service.”
        Was Sue doubling up as cleaner at the Tivyside?
        As the ability to communicate in Welsh was ‘an advantage’ for applicants, quite how did she get past the first screening out process?
        Makes you wonder, eh?

        1. Not only was she given a job for which she was unsuited, this job was created specifically for her. The fact that the post of Education Officer was dropped in favour of creating the new post of Facilities Officer also tells us which way the project is going, and how it has been subverted from its original purpose. Which then raises the question, why is the Heritage Lottery Fund backing a wedding venue and conference centre, where’s the ‘heritage’ in that?

  2. Are you quite sure about the difficulty of getting info re co-ops? It’s a few years since I needed to do this, but I don’t recall it being any more difficult or expensive than dealing with Co.s House or the Charities Commission. Co-ops used to be dealt with by the Registry of Friendly Societies (along with an odd assortment of other organisations which didn’t seem to fit anywhere else) which was embedded as a department of the FSA a few years back, even though most of the bodies they dealt with were unregulated. And the FSA now has a new name … but afaik internally everything has just carried on as normal. The annual returns I send in as secretary of a small housing co-op may be on a slightly different form, but the questions they ask and the figures they require haven’t changed over many years. You should be able to obtain a copy of an organisation’s latest annual return and accounts. That will include the names and addresses of the committee members. However these don’t need to be kept bang up to date like at Co.s House. All you get is the position at the time the last return was submitted, which might be up to 18 months old.

    1. That’s what I mean. If they were charities I wouldn’t have to pay anything, and if they were registered companies I’d pay Companies House or some private outfit a couple of quid. With CH a Current Appointments Report is free. Everything about housing associations seems done to make it difficult to get information, which should not be the case seeing as they get so much public funding.

      1. Dynno. A few years back I used to do Land Registry searches through the post for £4-£6 a throw. Now you can do them online and I discovered yesterday that they’ve upped their fees tenfold! I suspect it’s just a sly form of taxation. After all these are all supposed to be public registers. I can understand the old fees, people had to run around and dig out pieces of paper, copy and post them off. Now it should be no different from using any website, hardly worth charging a fee at all for searches.

        So I don’t think this is anything special about Housing Assocs. The Reg. of Friendlies covers all sorts of organisations, it’s the odds-n-sods dept. as far as registered thingies go. I suspect they just feel they can get away with it as the general public won’t be going there as often as Co.s House, Charities Commission etc.

        Another angle would be to find a member of the HC in question, i.e. any tenant, as they all have a right to demand a copy of the accounts, annual report etc. HC’s are nominally democratic tenant-owned organisations.

        1. I don’t know where these figures are coming from. I use the Land Registry website and it’s a couple of quid for the title document and another couple of quid for the boundary plan for the property. But there are other sites that sell the same documents for the kind of inflated fees you quote. If Googling, make sure you go to the LR site, not one of these private outfits which pretend to be the Land Registry. Google ‘Land Registry’ and you’ll see what I mean.

  3. Rhodri

    I don’t know who Mr Timms is, but his returns to the Charity Commission are incomplete, which me wonder about his competence.

    The requirements are amongst others to quote an E-mail address and Website address. It is also common practice to quote the Charity No., and Limited Co. No. on the Website.

    The return submitted in January 2014 makes interesting reading.

    Summary Information Return 2013
    This return is intended to comprise a summary of key information contained in the Trustees’
    Annual Report and accounts and in other documents.

    All this information will be made public – P
    YMDDIRIEDOLAETH CADWRAETH ADEILADAU
    CADWGAN BUILDING PRESERVATION TRUST
    Charity number: 1080667
    Financial period end: 31 March 2013
    Submitted on 26 January 2014

    This online version of the form shows the information you have entered through Annual Return
    2011 Online and has been designed to make it easier for charities to print.
    This Summary Information Return was submitted online by MR Jonathan
    Richard Timms on 26 January 2014. You do not need to send us a
    signed copy.

    Question 1 – The charity’s aims
    What are your charity’s aims?
    To preserve for the benefit of Cardigan Town and of the Nation, the historical, architectural and constructional heritage that may exist in and around Cardigan Town in buildings (including any buildings as defined in
    section 336 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) of particular beauty, historical of constructional interest.

    Question 2 – Who benefits?
    Who benefits from your charity’s work?
    The residents of Wales and visitors to the area from further afield.
    How do you respond to their needs and how do they influence the charity’s development?
    The charity has over 250 members, many from outside the Cardigan area, who appoint the 9 elected Trustees. There are also a large number of Cardigan Castle volunteers who appoint a Trustee to represent their
    interests and relay information. There are additional Trustees representing Cardigan Town Council and Ceredigion County Council, so the whole local community is able to influence the charity’s development. A full time member of staff is employed to co-ordinate and encourage the members and the volunteers and reach out to local organisations.

    Question 3 – The charity’s strategy
    What are the key elements of your charity’s medium to long term strategy?
    To complete the restoration of Cardigan Castle and to open it to the local community, the Welsh Nation and a large number of visitors from further afield;

    and to expand knowledge, appreciation and enjoyment of Welsh culture, heritage and language.

    The charity is working to establish a sustainable operating model to ensure the long term future of the Castle.
    How does your charity measure the success of the strategy?
    The charity has targets for the number of local users of the Castle facilities, the number of visitors from further afield and for the number of local jobs created. Success will be measured against these targets. The charity has developed a business plan to generate annual surpluses that will sustain the Castle in the longer term.

    Question 4 – The charity’s objectives and achievements
    What were your charity’s main annual objectives and were they achieved?
    Objective Achievement
    To preserve the historical, architectural and constructional heritage that may exist in and around Cardigan.
    Cardigan Castle walls have been restored and the stanchions that have supported them for many years have
    been removed. The main restoration contract is well under way.
    To create local employment and to provide training for young people.
    The charity has created a number of employment posts and opportunities for work experience. The construction
    contracts have ensured training for young workers in new skills.

    To involve the community in the success of the project.

    The number of charity members has grown from under 20 to over 250 in the last 15 months.

    Question 5 – The charity’s income and spending
    What were your charity’s most significant activities during the year and how much did it spend
    on them?
    Charitable activities £ 000s
    Castle Restoration work. 1,509
    Support costs for Castle Restoration 180
    What were your charity’s three main fundraising activities in the year and how much did each
    generate and cost?
    Fundraising activity Income generated £ 000s
    Cost of activity £ 000s
    Grants from funding sources 1,736 0
    Room Hire 22 0
    Fundraising 27 4

    Question 6 – The charity’s financial health
    How would you describe your charity’s financial health at the end of the period?
    The charity’s balance sheet shows Net Funds of £1,722,610, but this includes Heritage Fixed Assets of £1,656,171 held for the public. The charity depends on support from funders to complete restoration and open the castle to the public. Charity fundraising targets have been met.
    Question 7 – The next year
    How will the overall performance last year affect your charity’s medium to long term strategy?
    Staff and funding targets have been achieved. There has been some slippage in contractor performance on site which could impact on the Castle opening date
    What are your charity’s main objectives for next year?
    To ensure that revised construction deadlines are met. To complete planning for the visitor experience and to recruit the high quality staff needed to operate the Castle successfully.

    Question 8 – The charity’s governance
    How does your charity ensure that its governance arrangements are appropriate and effective?
    There is a governance sub-committee, members of which have been on appropriate training courses. Governance sessions have been introduced ahead of monthly Trustees’ Meetings.

    Question 9 – Further details
    Further details on all the answers given in this Summary Information Return can be obtained
    from:
    The Secretary, YCA Cadwgan BPT, Cardigan Castle, Cardigan, SA43 1JA

    Declaration
    This Summary Information Return was submitted online by MR Jonathan Richard Timms on 26 January 2014, telephone number 07986603129.
    MR Jonathan Richard Timms certified online that:
    a the information provided was correct
    b it had been or would be brought to the attention of all the trustees

    Those who give answers that they know are untrue or misleading may be committing an
    offence.

  4. Elwyn

    A conversation overheard between an elderly gentleman and a proclamation distributor outside Castell Aberteifi. The elderly gentleman had studied the proclamation long and hard before approaching the distributor:
    “It’s a pity there is such gross negativity in the proclamation . . .
    “I beg to disagree, much praise is given to the Noson Beirdd a Chantorion and Talwrn of which more similar events should be organised surely.
    “No, no, everything written here seems to be negative. No mention of all the hard work that has gone on here . . .
    “Well, many people are disappointed the Gorsedd were not brought along for the opening ceremony.
    “The Gorsedd,” said with a derisory laugh, “ and do you know how much they charged?
    “Yes, £10,000. Cheap at the price on considering the world wide publicity to draw in tourists if handled properly.
    “And where would we get that money from?”, with a further derisory laugh.
    “Obviously, the £12m received in Heritage Lottery Funds etc.
    “No, no, all that money was for the building project. The Gorsedd really”, he guffaws. “Why didn’t you raise the money yourself?
    “But the site is important as the home of the Eisteddfod. It is part of our heritage. It is the unique selling point.
    “Some people say so. It appears to be only hearsay. No clear evidence. Anyway you can’t make money out of heritage. Do you know what was the initial intention of this project? To develop a pile of rubble into an economic success”.
    The proclamation distributor moves aside thinking it is best to leave such a colonial attitude alone. He is later told the elderly gentleman he actually talked to was Tony Tucker, husband of Jann, chair of Cadwgan Trustees.

    1. Tony Tucker was talking the kind of self-serving bollocks many English like to serve up in the hope of silencing us. Let me focus on his statement, “Anyway you can’t make money out of heritage”. In which case, what the hell is London all about? Isn’t Buck House heritage? And the Tower of London? Westminster Abbey? The Globe Theatre? St Paul’s Cathedral? All the museums, etc., etc.

      And it’s the same all over England, from Plymouth Hoe to Stonehenge to Stratford-upon-Avon to Viking York to Hadrian’s Wall. Heritage is what attracts millions and millions of tourists to England every year, cos they sure as hell don’t go there for the weather, or the cuisine, or the friendly, polyglot natives.

  5. Rhodri

    Jump Ship.

    Gareth Lloyd has been nominated by Ceredigion County Council. There is only Glen Johnson who was elected in November they can push out.

    Everyone else with a conscience has already resigned.

    Directors and Company Secretaries.

    7 including Sue Lewis have resigned since November 2014, with only replacement appointed – Glen Johnson.

    Current Directors

    Sandra Davies

    6 Dec 2011 ⇒ Present day (3 Years )

    Director

    Glen Johnson

    26 Nov 2014 ⇒ Present day (7 Months )

    Director

    Hedydd Jones

    18 Nov 2009 ⇒ Present day (5 Years )

    Director

    Gareth Lloyd

    27 Jun 2012 ⇒ Present day (3 Years )

    Director

    Walter Thomas

    21 Mar 2000 ⇒ Present day (15 Years )

    Director

    Jonathan Timms

    15 Nov 2006 ⇒ Present day (8 Years )

    Company Secretary

    Elizabeth Tucker

    21 Mar 2000 ⇒ Present day (15 Years )

    Director

    Past Directors

    John Cole

    27 Jun 2012 ⇒ 18 Mar 2015 (2 Years )

    Director

    Gary Cooper

    1 Jan 2005 ⇒ 7 Feb 2011 (6 Years )

    Director

    Richard Crawford

    10 Dec 2012 ⇒ 21 Nov 2013 (11 Months )

    Director

    Gareth Davies

    21 Mar 2000 ⇒ 18 Mar 2012 (11 Years )

    Director

    Martin Davies

    10 Mar 2002 ⇒ 19 Dec 2007 (5 Years )

    Director

    Evan Evans

    20 Jan 2009 ⇒ 23 May 2012 (3 Years )

    Director

    Michael Freeman

    10 Dec 2012 ⇒ 26 Nov 2014 (1 Year )

    Director

    David Grace

    16 Dec 2010 ⇒ 23 May 2012 (1 Year )

    Director

    26 Aug 2012 ⇒ 26 Nov 2014 (2 Years )

    Director

    Trevor Griffiths

    21 Mar 2000 ⇒ 15 Sep 2004 (4 Years )

    Company Secretary

    21 Mar 2000 ⇒ 1 Mar 2006 (5 Years )

    Director

    John Jenkins

    13 Mar 2002 ⇒ 15 Aug 2009 (7 Years )

    Director

    Glen Johnson

    18 Mar 2002 ⇒ 15 Sep 2004 (2 Years )

    Director

    Sylvia Jones

    21 Nov 2013 ⇒ 24 Feb 2015 (1 Year )

    Director

    Dayfdd Ladd

    18 Mar 2002 ⇒ 30 Nov 2007 (5 Years )

    Director

    Dafydd Ladd

    15 Sep 2004 ⇒ 15 Nov 2006 (2 Years )

    Company Secretary

    Sue Lewis

    18 Mar 2002 ⇒ 12 Jan 2015 (12 Years )

    Director

    Gerwyn Morgan

    16 Dec 2010 ⇒ 11 Aug 2011 (7 Months )

    Director

    Rowan O’neill

    21 Nov 2013 ⇒ 2 Mar 2015 (1 Year )

    Director

    Mary Poulton

    18 Nov 2009 ⇒ 30 Nov 2014 (5 Years )

    Director

      1. Preseli Kid

        That actually made me chuckle…..to be fair both Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire are run by criminals anyway….Welsh ones….I’d say get your own house in order first….

  6. dafis

    Ref your Twitter column we see that far away from all those twats in Aberteifi a brave nation, without a state, is once again subjected to serious agression by its neighbour – Turkey, who just can’t come to terms with the aspirations of the Kurds, themselves about the only entity that have had the “balls” to stand up to IS with token support from the West, who seemed to be hedging their bets ( against God knows what ? ).
    Now that the Turks have let their mask slip the West will no doubt find ways to call into question the heroic interventions of the Kurds, as they did many years ago when that pervert Saddam was in his prime. The Western powers, both US and EU , seem to have some kind of fixation about Turkey and the desirability of keeping her “on side “. This could very well give the Turks, Assad’s mob, and even IS room to initiate a new carve up of territory which will do the Kurds no good and won’t even contribute to longer term stability in the Middle East. Clear signs that Cameron, Obama, and all those other great global statesmen can’t tell their arse from a hole in the ground plodding one step at a time from one sound bite to the next. Bunch of bloody tossers ! and that’s being polite about it.

    1. Turkey’s proximity to Russia makes the West think she’s indispensable. A country with the Armenian genocide in its past, the killing or enslaving of millions of Europeans over the centuries, and one of the Central Powers in WWI. Today it’s an intolerant authoritarian, Islamist State. Yet the bulwark against a slide into theocracy, the guardian of Ataturk’s vision, is the army . . . so there could be a military coup to defend secular democracy!

      If I was a cynical Western planner or strategist I would be saying to myself, ‘Right, with Israel fast becoming a pariah state (roughly where South Africa was in the mid-80s), and dictatorships like Saudi unable to last forever, we need a new ally in the region. Thinks! . . . the Kurds are the obvious choice. A Kurdish state carved out of Iraqi Kurdistan, Syrian Kurdistan and part of Turkey not only gives the West a secular ally in the region, it also provides a real threat to Iran, which has its own Kurdish minority.

      From a Kurdish perspective, if the West betrays them yet again, I would say to myself: ‘Fuck this, we can’t rely on anyone but ourselves. So let’s arm, train, and fight the kind of dirty wars that Turks, Arabs and Persians have always fought against us. No more Mr Nice Guys’.

      1. Rhodri

        Obama is a wanker. Only a wanker would say “I have no interest in conflicts, that started before I was born” or something to that effect. The Kurds number 50 Million, and are the largest Ethnic Group without a State. Erdogan seems himself as the reincarnation of Ataturk.

        Obama’s lack of vision and balls is reflected in his refusal to give meaningful assistance to Ukraine against Putin, and Cameron is his poodle.

        Leaders always believe they now best, and do not learn the lessons of history.

        Appeasement does not work.

        The whole current situation in the Middle East is due to the carve up of the area, without any consideration for ethnic or religious differences by drawing straight on a map, by the Victors of WWII.

        A carve of areas of influence, they have lost control over, and could never in the long term work.

        They should have listened to “Lawrence of Arabia”!

        Arm the Kurds and arm Ukraine and the World would be a much safer place.

  7. Anonymous

    Pwy wyt ti? Dere lawr i Aberteifi i gwrdd a’r trigolion sydd am dy Sbaddu y Cachgi Uffarn!!!!

    1. Big Gee

      A phwy yn union yw’r ” Cachgi Uffarn” yr hoffech ei sbaddu yn Aberteifi ‘Anonymous’? Mae yna gymaint o unigolion sydd yn ymhel a’r achos fe hoffem wybod yn gywir at bwy yr ydych yn cyfeirio eich bygythiad!

      1. dafis

        Ti mewn jest o’n flaen i – gweler isod fy syniad i o sut mae delio gyda’r cachwr bach hwn. Pur debyg fod cyfeiriad e-bost ar gael felly dim yn ormod o her i ryw swyddog i fynd ynghyd a’r di-enw hwn. Dyle pobol fod bach mwy gofalus beth ma nhw yn sgrifenu gan bod rhai daliadau yn gallu bod yn anghyfreithiol mewn cyswllt.

    2. dafis

      Jac, this looks like an offensive creep. Perhaps he should be redirected to 01267 222020, or he can write his charming little notes to ContactCentre@Dyfed-Powys.pnn.police.uk, as he is minded to commit an act which will require the possession of an offensive weapon. There again, with intelligence led policing they may well be aware of his existence in the parish ! Either way he’s invited a “Protic” event !

      1. No, he’s not suggesting doing anything him/herself, he/she’s inviting the ‘excrement-seeking hellhound’ to visit the local residents, who will he believes do the rest. As for offensive weapons, none are mentioned and I once knew a lady who threatened to bite someone’s attachments off, although she was rather enraged at the time …

        1. dafis

          You keep interesting company evidently. The only time I heard of anyone biting off a sac of balls was an old farmer who having mislaid his knife bit off the sac of a young lamb ! But normally one associates a sharp instrument with such activities.

          In this case there is evident intention to do harm if given the opportunity …………………………………….

    3. Summary : Anonymous has invited someone to come to town so that he (or she?) may relieve them of certain parts of their anatomy. BG has further enquired who exactly needs cutting down to size, there being so many fingers in this particular pie. Croeso i Gymru!

    4. My name is Royston Jones, I’m originally from Swansea but I now live in the Tywyn area. I tell you this because most people who come to this blog know who I am, and my identity is no secret. My name has been mentioned many times in the press in connection with the blog, from the Western Mail to, most recently, last week’s Pembrokeshire Herald. So for you to come here demanding “Pwy wyt ti?” means you are not a regular visitor to my blog, or perhaps you don’t read newspapers. And that’s being generous.

      But that’s irrelevant. What matters is that you’ve gone too far with your threat of violence. That it was made at 23:48 suggests that alcohol may have emboldened you. You who call me a “Caghgi Uffarn” but post your threat anonymously! I have reported your threat to Dyfed Police Police. I have sent a screen capture of your comment and your IP Address, 217.43.12.82. Let us both await developments.

      UPDATE: Dyfed Powys Police have referred me to North Wales Police.

      UPDATE 2: Have now received acknowledgement from NWP. NWP acknowledgement

      UPDATE 3: I had a surreal conversation yesterday with someone from GogPlod. They phoned to tell me that they’d received my complaint, which was a good start, but it was downhill from there on.

      First he asked if I’d prefer to do the conversation in Welsh or English. I said my Welsh is imperfect so I’d prefer to have the conversation in English. ‘Fair enough’ says yer man.

      He then told me that GogPlod would not be proceeding with the complaint because it was not really a threat. If the anonymous writer had said, ‘I’m coming to get you’ that would be a threat, but what he’d actually said was that something would / might happen to me if I went to Cardigan. Me: ‘So you’re saying that I must avoid Cardigan?’ Then it got confused, but the representative of North Wales’ finest seemed to be saying that if I went to Cardigan, and if something did happen to me, then the police would be interested. (but of course, not GogPlod because it would be outside their area).

      In hope of clarifying things I said words to the effect of, ‘So someone threatening to castrate me, a procedure that would probably involve a sharp instrument, is not a crime?’ Him, ‘Oh that’s what it (‘spaddu’) means’. Which told me that this guy who had offered to conduct the conversation in Welsh didn’t fully understand the nature of the threat!

      At some point he also asked by what route I had received the threat / message. I told him it was in a comment to my blog, and it was at this point that I began to suspect he hadn’t actually read the blog. Which he confirmed, saying something to the effect of, ‘We’re limited in the amount of time we can spend online’!

      Definitely one of the more bizarre, and pointless, conversations I have had. So remember, if someone threatens you with, ‘I’m going to kill you next time I see you in Cwmscwt, it only becomes a crime if you go to Cwmscwt and the threat is carried out. And in which case, it’ll probably be your own fault.

      Evenin’ all.

      1. dafis

        Nice one Jac. Whether drunk or not this type of jerk needs straightening out. The content of his/her post was exceedingly unambiguous and should not/could not be interpreted in any alternative way that is admissible. Wonder what the long arm of the law will do when given a straight open & shut case. We shall await an outcome with interest. Might even get to feature in Parry’s columns !!!!

        1. I might even bring it to Parry’s attention. Seeing as he has slandered me when I have made no threat against anyone he surely can’t ignore a clear and direct threat against me. Unless, of course, an agenda is being served.

          You know the sort of thing. ‘Innocent Englishman killed by racist Welsh driver’ against ‘Welshman throws himself under Englishman’s car’.

          1. dafis

            quite an underwhelming response that from your local Plod – he’s obviously cut out for a quiet life somewhere in darkest Gwynedd or in a discreet suburb of West Cheshire tucked round the back of Wrecsam, certainly not interested in having blood or bollocks spilt on his turf, and as you imply having your nuts removed in Aberteifi would conveniently take the offence outside his patch.

            I used to think that this type of jobsworth only existed in County councils, water authority, health boards, welsh assembly, and sundry other bodies providing cushy numbers for as long as you manage to keep your head down. It is now evident that Plod also harbours a high percentage of such inerts, and will only get their arses into gear if the tasty case conforms to certain norms on being reported. So much for the concept of preemptive, preventive actions.

            Parry will probably write you up as wasting police time !!!

  8. The Earthshaker

    More fascinating insight into the highly dysfunctional world of welsh politics and im glad to see local papers following up the Cardigan Castle horror show even if big welsh media wont touch it, keep up the good work.

    Quick thoughts about the Labour leadership, a Corbyn win is good news all round for welsh nationalists not only will it split the Labour Party between it’s ‘right’ and ‘left’ wings but it’ll also expose the disconnect between grasping, unprincipled, careerist Welsh Labour MP’s and their socialist grassroots they’re supposed to represent showing Labour for what they really are while people are watching at long last

    And if that wasn’t enough a Jeremy Corbyn win would also neutralise Leanne ‘anti austerity’ Wood’s entire Assembly campaign strategy of being more socialist and anti austerity than Labour that failed so miserably in the General Election and it’ll certainly squeeze Plaid Cymru’s vote further next year and could see them come fourth in votes hare again behind UKIP .

    For those thinking Jeremy hasn’t a chance read what the Editor of Labour’s in house journal the New Statesman said yestrday http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/07/im-more-convinced-ever-jeremy-corbyn-going-win

    Is it churlish to want to send Jeremy a bottle of champagne and thank you note yet?

    PS sorry to hear about your stalker, I hope the police catch them

  9. Hefin Wyn

    A sizeable audience at Neuadd Trewyddel last night witnessed a superb illustrated lecture on ‘The History of Cardigan Castle’ by Glen Johnson. Apart from his sympathetic portrayal of Barbara Wood, the last inhabitant of the castle in the Georgian House, what struck me was his portrayal of Lord Rhys as a man of much merit. When he captured Castell Aberteifi he gave the besieged Normans the choice of either staying put and accept the laws of Hywel Dda or be escorted back safely to Pembroke. Hardly the act of a ‘savage’ as Rhys has reputedly been described by Jonathan Timms, one of the Cadwgan Trustees, who are currently responsible for the current day castle. Furthermore, the 1176 gathering now referred to as an ‘eisteddfod’ was a well planned gig designed to show that Welsh culture was as relevant and as rich as that of any other nation. Thus he invited other nations to send their best poets and musicians to join him in celebrating the opening of his stone castle. The invitations were sent a year before hand. Therefore it was not an ad hoc occasion. Much preparation had been made as expected of such a statesman. Not much of a ‘savage’ Mr Timms. Glen Johnson by proclaiming the merits of Arglwydd Rhys proclaimed his own merits as well. Mr Johnson dealt well with a question regarding the brouhaha surrounding the Bellowhead gig. Basically he seemed to suggest that the whole matter had been a public relations disaster of Theatr Mwldan’s doing and when it was realised it had touched some serious sensitivities it was too late to make any amends. Mwldan insisted on marketing the occasion as the ‘official opening concert’ whilst Cadwgan Trustees were not keen on the label. Should we therefore accept Theatr Mwldan and Dilwyn Davies, it’s chief executive, as a bastion of colonialism, especially on considering all the other events they have organised at the castle over the summer? O why, o why did they not organise a concert on the theme of ‘Yma o Hyd’ with other Welsh artists in tandem with 9Bach? The Bellowhead gig was nothing but a gig by the excellent Bellowhead. They did not dare sing ‘Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’ at the end because the vast majority of the audience would not know the words. It’s surprising they did not sing the other anthem in order to seal the shame and humiliation brought on the memory of Lord Rhys. The ruler of the Deheubarth in his recent proclamation makes it plain in his statesman-like manner that a change of vision is required. This will not come about without a change in membership of the Cadwgan Trustees. Obviously, Rhys ap Gruffudd, will escort those who are now beyond their sell by date to a safe heaven and invite others to stay if they are prepared to implement his vision. With a relaunch we might again see the presence of the Gorsedd in all its glory and a plethora of all the leading Welsh bands in a series of celebratory concerts. . . Calan, Manic Street Preachers, Bryn Fôn, Super Furry Animals, Geraint Jarman, Mabon, Candellas, Only Men Aloud, Cerys Mathews . . . The sound of ‘Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’ would even be heard as far away as the source of Afon Teifi, gwlei. Glen Johnson knows his stuff. Rhys ap Gruffudd is no ‘savage’ in his view

  10. I fail to see how the death of the Labour Party will benefit us in Wales. As a loyal member, I have little interest in any of these candidates, but the thought of another n years of this dreadful UK government fills me with dread. Like you, the ineffectiveness and nepotism of Labour depresses me and the record of Labour 97-2010 but it is still better for most people than what we have now. Ask any genuinely disabled person (like my husband), DLA under threat, ILF gone, cuts left right and centre in services, spat at in the street. Look at the Health Service before 97. The Tories must be laughing at the fracture of the progressive left.

  11. dafis

    The contribution above from Hefin Wyn suggests that he is a man with strong local community links well placed to understand the various factors impinging upon the Castell Aberteifi project. I am thus even more surprised that no one of his ilk has been retained for any length of time. Indeed it should have been crowded with a team of people like him thus eliminating the carpetbagging element that seem to have infested the project for most of its duration.

    1. Hefin Wyn is precisely the kind of local the Gang of Four do not want involving themselves in the running of the Castle. Welsh people! locals! running things in Wales – whatever next!

  12. dafis

    Note in your right hand column you inform us of the passing of Neil. Never was too keen on him personally, but there was no doubting the depth and sincerity of his commitment to his country. Had 1 or 2 useful exchanges of “information” and views with him and would readily acknowledge that he had perspectives that were both challenging and generally well constructed. I guess I did not always concur with his underlying assumptions in some areas, but what the hell, he was a sight better to talk to than most of the wankers who stroll into a pub these days whether they come from PC, C.y.I, or any of those other transient Nat groups.

    He can stand proudly with the others already departed and maybe transmit some bright ideas back to the dull buggers now trying to lead us into some sort of self destructive blind alley.

    1. I’m sure Neil could be ‘difficult’ after a shandy or two, but he and I went back 50 years.

      In the 60s a crowd of us would stay at his place in Merthyr (up at ‘Pontstic’, if I recall) after nights spent in the Lamb. He was teaching in Merthyr at the time. Then he’d come down to Swansea, where the place to meet was the Legion club in Morriston, where the steward was Ogwen Williams from Dowlais, who’d come down to Swansea to work in the Ford plant. This establishment came to be known locally as ‘the Bomb and Dagger’ due to its clientèle.

      I remember nearly putting my foot in it one Saturday morning up in the Bomb and Dagger. I walked in early for a ‘livener’, and Gwenda, Ogwen’s wife, said ‘You’ll never guess what’s happened!’ So I said ‘A bomb went off last night’. She looked at me a bit strangely and said, ‘No, Neil’s been arrested’. Thing was, I’d been tipped off to get an alibi for the Friday night, but Gwenda hadn’t heard about the bomb, only about Neil being arrested for – I believe – not having a tax disc on his car, as part the CyIG campaign at the time.

      Neil didn’t last long in Plaid Cymru. I can’t recall the exact reason they used to sling him out but it was almost certainly because he’d pointed out what a bunch of wishy-washy wankers they were. Neil was big mates with Cayo and all the boys, but one of his great drinking partners was Eirwyn ‘Pontsian’ Jones, the incomparable raconteur.

      Later, Neil was one of our stalwarts in Y Cyfamodwyr. In his final years he was in a home in Llandysul. I visited a couple of times, taking him a supply of Guinness. But the old Neil was gone. The fire was out. So sad.

      I’ll miss him. At the service on Friday I’ll remember the old Neil and all the good times. Such as the time we lurched from the Lamb to Harri Webb’s place hoping to have a party. Harri called the cops! Police arrived and said, ‘Come on, Mr Webb wants you to leave his house’. Neil’s reply, ‘But it’s not his fucking house – he’s squatting here’ (which was true).

      He was a man with a first-rate intellect, who never wavered from his total commitment to the Welsh language and his unshakeable belief in Welsh independence. No compromises, no half measures.

      1. Big Gee

        Sad news indeed. I wonder if we’ll ever see another generation like the ones from Neil’s era again. I knew him in his latter years. A real one off character – they broke the mold after he was made! An unique individual with a brain and a huge patriotic heart. He was too down to earth & pithy – someone who told it as it was with simplistic accuracy – for the middle class crachach from amongst the sons of the manse in PC to stomach.

    1. dafis

      nothing in there that gives the green light to carpetbaggers and opportunistic “venturers”. Indeed the whole project was based on historic and cultural drivers. Outcomes are deviating from this vision dramatically – so who gets to define “remedial measures ” ?

      1. Having given the matter some thought, I believe that the best way forward – apart from blogging about what’s going on – is to pressure the funders. So with that in mind I propose to sit down and write a letter to the Heritage Lottery Fund setting out all that’s gone wrong, not least the total deviation from the original objective, the exclusion of locals, and the suspicious way in which jobs and contracts have been allocated. (A new example of the latter was been brought to my attention yesterday.) Then circulate that letter widely among the local media and the local politicians. Seeing as the local Lib Dem MP has nothing else to do he might take an interest.

  13. Rhodri

    It appears that no one is aware of a short piece in this weeks Tivy-side that says that Chris Thomas has left my mutual consent.

    1. I believe it is mentioned in the guest post by ‘Dyn Deche Rhys’ I put up this morning. Part of the arrangement was a gagging clause. From what understand of such things, gagging clauses are usually paid for with an enhanced redundancy package. If that is what happened in this case is the Heritage Lottery Fund happy to see its funding used in this way?

      1. dafis

        Also, this type of exit deal normally involves the “input” of 1 or more firms of solicitors, who just love dipping into any kind of public funds.

  14. Anon

    Interesting article by Edward Holland from 2012, how much of what wa described there has actually come to pass?

    Dyn Deche Rhys mentions three directors, who was the third?

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