Wales, colonialism and corruption

PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR

I was hoping to take a break from shysters and con men, shell companies and money-laundering, lying politicians and stupid officials because my head is aching from banging it against a brick wall.

But there’s no escape. And those who manage Wales – applying a veneer of native control – are not only too stupid to recognise a crook in plain sight but they give or sell them public assets, or they throw money at them, and this is then dressed up as ‘investment’, which allows them to crow about jobs created . . . and this deception encourages them to anticipate being re-elected as a reward for these ‘successes’.

The disparate components of this post begin with a bit of a rant, an acceptance that corruption in the UK is institutionalised (and therefore unlikely to ever be done away with). Then I move on to consider the curious case of Llangefni’s Shire Hall, before ending with a quick roundup of other items.

SHIP OF KNAVES

After years of studying its underbelly I now believe the United Kingdom is corrupt to the point where no serious effort is made to tackle ‘financial crime’. The unstated view of officialdom is that money is money, and no matter where it comes from it still buys things in the same way as clean money. And once it’s in circulation, boosting the economy, who can tell the difference? Who cares?

Money being created out of nothing ties in with the general contempt at the highest levels of the UK Establishment for making things, and exporting them. Grubby, ‘pleb’ activities. Which in turn accounts for the North-South divide within England. And explains why the UK is one of the most unequal countries in the advanced world.

And yet, while manufacturing in general is held in contempt there’s still a nostalgic fondness for high-end, prestige goods. Defended with ‘Best of British’ jingoism. For example, volume car production can go to the wall but let’s keep making Bentley, Range Rover and Aston Martin.

A mindset mirrored even in the military, where the UK’s armed forces are probably on a par with Spain’s, but what the hell – ‘We’ve got nuclear weapons and the SAS’. Rule Britannia!

The obsession with money and some twisted view of ‘only the best’ is exemplified in the City of London, through which passes most of the world’s dirty money. The City of London with its web of offshore tax havens that begin in the Irish Sea and the Channel.

Or step outside the Square Mile to see where the oligarchs, the kleptocrats, and the mass murderers live . . . or maybe they just buy the big houses as investments. We recently read that Isabel dos Santos, described as ‘Africa’s richest woman’, said to have ‘ripped off’ her native Angola, owns a number of expensive properties in London.

What honest and self-respecting country would welcome and even celebrate kleptocrats like these? Click to enlarge

Under this system, this mindset, everything is monetised, even education. It’s now easier to gain a degree in the UK than perhaps any other western country. This is due the fact that universities are perceived as being businesses. If you can write your name and remember your address then you’re guaranteed a place at ‘uni’, with further money made from foreign students, who can be charged two or three times the rate for domestic students.

The United Kingdom is a ship crewed by knaves floating on a sea of dirty money. No one with an alternative staring them in the face should want to stay on board.

LLANGEFNI SHIRE HALL

Having got that off my chest I’ll turn to a story I first covered back on 6 November. Here it is. In essence, the council on Ynys Môn last year sold the Shire Hall in Llangefni to an English ‘businessman’ named Tristan Scott Haynes.

My piece was prompted by an article I’d seen on NorthWalesLive. I’m returning to it now because the article reappeared in BusinessNewsWales again last Thursday. Repeated word for bloody word.

After reading the BNW article I telephoned Ynys Môn council and spoke with a charming young woman who confirmed that the Shire Hall had indeed been sold 22 August last year. Which made me wonder why there was no media coverage of the sale until November.

Having bought the title document for the Shire Hall when I wrote last November’s piece I was surprised to see that ownership for title CYM716217 was attributed to the council. So I went back to the Land Registry website last week and bought the title document again, assuming that it would now have been updated to show the change of ownership; but as you can see, the council is still listed as owner.

Perplexed by this, I decided to come at the problem from a different angle. You may remember that Tristan Haynes had a couple of companies, one of them was Chief Properties Ltd. There are two charges against Chief Properties and both list title number CYM635210, which is different to the title number I’d bought. (Which I now suspect refers to the new county council offices not far away.)

So it was back to the Land Registry website and the new number I’d unearthed. Here it is, title document and plan. Below you’ll see the Land Registry plan with a capture from Google Maps to give a fuller picture.

Almost a map of Israel (inc West Bank) with Afon Cefni serving as the River Jordan. And the Masonic Lodge on the border. Click to enlarge

The first thing that struck me was the size of this site, sold for £150,000 or less. (You’ll see from the links provided that the indent shaded green is the war memorial.) The title takes in the old town hall, the police station and magistrates court, together with a sizeable car park.

And yet, despite the sale having gone through last August, the title is still in the name of ‘Cyngor Sir Ynys Môn’. So why hasn’t it been transferred to Tristan Scott Haynes or Chief Properties Ltd?

You may have noticed that Haynes borrowed the money to buy the Shire Hall from Together Commercial Finance Ltd of Cheshire. And if that name sounds familiar it’s because our old friends at Plas Glynllifon and Seiont Manor, Paul and Rowena Williams, have outstanding debts with the same company. Together is one of those ‘specialist’ lenders to whom people turn when regular banks respond to loan requests with, ‘You must be joking!’

In the NorthWalesLive article in November (and of course the BusinessNewsWales piece last week) we were told that Haynes is the “managing director of Chief Properties” and “also runs a successful haulage firm”. All designed to impress, yet these are are both one-man bands.

Chief Properties was formed in August 2018 and the first director was Nadine Baldwin, who was joined in September by Haynes. Baldwin left the company in December 2018. I’m assuming there was some connection or relationship between Baldwin and Haynes.

The ‘successful haulage firm’ is Falcon Transportation Ltd. Incorporated 3 July 2015 and seems to have bumped along, doing very little since then. Haynes was the original director but stood down 1 February 2018 to be replaced by Julian Mayne. Haynes made a triumphal return in February 2019 the day after Mayne left.

When he wasn’t directing the haulage fleet in the temporary absence of Tristan Haynes Jools was the mastermind behind Low Cost Bills Ltd. Though when you look into the figures for this company you wonder what Mayne’s day job might have been.

Both of the Haynes companies are based at these imposing offices on Tavistock Street in Bedford. The building is owned by husband and wife David and Michelle Munday, whose company, Orchid National Nursing Supplies Ltd, would appear to use the building as a warehouse.

135 – 137 Tavistock Street, Bedford. Click to enlarge

There was another Haynes company I found, Bullet Strategies Ltd, which lasted about 18 months before being struck off in September 2014. The address given for this company was 8 Howbury Street in Bedford. A terraced house that seems to have been divided into two flats.

Since the November article Tristan Haynes has registered two more companies, both on 4 December. These are, Wasp HQ Ltd and Pine Eels Ltd. Strange names.

Although the company correspondence address for both is the Orchid warehouse on Tavistock Street the address given for Haynes himself is 33A St Peter’s Road, which suggests he might now be living above Bedford Dental Surgery.

On the Companies House website the ‘Nature of business’ (SIC) given for Wasp HQ is, ‘47781 – Retail sale in commercial art galleries; 47782 – Retail sale by opticians;
47789 – Other retail sale of new goods in specialised stores (not commercial art galleries and opticians)’.

While for Pine Eels it’s, ‘47789 – Other retail sale of new goods in specialised stores (not commercial art galleries and opticians)’.

Which might suggest that Llangefni Shire Hall will be used for art galleries and opticians . . . except when they’re not art galleries and opticians. (Glad we cleared that up.) And yet the article I’ve referred to mentioned a pod hotel and a conference centre. Are they covered by not being art galleries and opticians?

Come to that, why the hell are we talking about opticians?

To recap. The title was bought last August, Tristan Haynes already had his plans for the site, so presumably planning permission has been granted, or at the very least a  planning application or a request for a change of use has been submitted to the council.

Well, no.

The land was sold last August, there was a bit of publicity in November (regurgitated last week) and then, all of a sudden . . . nothing happened! Not even a change of ownership notified to the Land Registry.

After I wrote the original piece last November I was sent information on Tristan Scott Haynes. It obviously came from someone who knows him well. If only a fraction of that information is correct then Haynes is a dangerous and unprincipled manipulator.

I have chosen to withhold that information, for the time being. But I still have questions for Cyngor Sir Ynys Môn:

  • How was contact first made between the council and Tristan Scott Haynes?
  • Were background checks done by the council; checks that, for example, would have unearthed Haynes’ conviction and imprisonment on Malta?
  • Who recommended selling this land to Haynes?
  • Who authorised selling this land to Haynes?
  • Has the council been paid the agreed sale price?
  • Why hasn’t the Land Registry been informed of the sale and the change of ownership that took place over five months ago?
  • Has the sale definitely gone through?
  • What contact does the council now have with Haynes?
  • In the news articles Haynes talks of a ‘pod hotel‘. Does anyone really think that Llangefni needs such a venture?
  • Or is it to be an art galley – competing with the council’s own Oriel Môn just a short distance away.
  • And could the town sustain a ‘conference centre’? (Though I suppose the delegates could all stay in the pod hotel.)
  • Given his ambitious plans isn’t Cyngor Môn concerned by Tristan Haynes’ complete lack of experience in any of the options mentioned?

I know the county council is desperate to off-load this site but elementary checks on potential buyers are easy, cost next to nothing, and can save the vendor both money and embarrassment.

UPDATE 31.12.2020: I received an e-mail yesterday from the young woman I spoke with at Cyngor Môn. She wrote: “The sale was completed on the 22/8/2019. Registration of the Transfer at the Land Registry is a matter for the buyer following completion. We aren’t aware of any planning applications.”

What is going on?

WEEP FOR WALES 16B

Fans of the Plas Glynllifon/Seiont Manor saga (and I know there are many of you out there) will be wondering what happened when Paul and Rowena Williams took their erstwhile buddy and business partner, Myles Cunliffe, before the beak in Manchester a week last Friday.

Here’s the report that appeared in NorthWalesLive.

When I read the suggestion of illegality and fraud I was so shocked I had to reach for the smelling salts. Click to enlarge

Here’s some supplementary information I’ve been sent.

What wasn’t reported first off Paul Williams was actually wearing a suit! with a very bad floral tie 

Basically it was a total failure of a application on the Williams side and the judge was not impressed at all, it should never have got to court……. 

Because of this Williams had to pay Cunliffe his costs of £6,500 and if it has to go to court again Williams has to pay £10,000 up front to the court because of the cock up

Williams also has racked up a bill of £60,000 with his solicitors which the judge questioned how much and if the figure was even valid! 

The Judge agreed to the Companies House stuff to be submitted via Cunliffe because they have said they would do this all along (My guess is the Williams want the codes to do something dodgy) 

I even heard that Cunliffe’s solicitor give a quote to Owen Hughes and nothing is mentioned in Article (Though the person who was there didn’t hear the actual quote) 

I think Williams still has Owen in his pocket! 

Anyway  hope that helps”. 

It looks as if the Gruesome Twosome miscalculated badly, and so I think we can look forward to many more episodes of Weep for Wales.

THE WOODHOUSE MODEL

Another star who has graced this blog in recent years is Gavin Lee Woodhouse. He built up a portfolio of hotels and then went for glory, accompanied by Bore Grylls, with the highly ambitious Afan Valley Adventure Resort.

The ‘Welsh Government’ obviously thought Woodhouse was a great asset to the Welsh economy. Not only was he gifted hundreds of acres of public land for his Afan Valley fantasy but he was also awarded a £500,000 grant for one of his hotels, the Caer Rhun in the Conwy valley.

Click to enlarge

It all came crashing down last year when ITV News and the Guardian exposed his business methods. It was basically a ponzi scheme selling individual rooms in hotels.

The same business method is now being employed in Cardiff by the owner of the Coal Exchange. For obvious reasons investors are getting edgy, as this report from last November tells us. And concerns persist, as this report from last Friday confirms.

And yet, despite selling rooms individually being a discredited business model favoured by crooks, Cardiff council has agreed to give £2m to the Coal Exchange ‘developer’.

I can understand Cardiff council wanting to safeguard a landmark building, but is this the way to do it? If this goes the same way as Woodhouse’s empire can Cardiff council be sure of getting its £2m back?

VROOM VROOM

I’m not for one minute suggesting that those running Aston Martin and TVR are crooks, I’m simply using these companies as examples of the poor judgement and profligacy of the ‘Welsh Government’.

The Aston Martin car company has been enticed to St Athan near Cardiff with the promise of lots of public funding; while TVR is supposedly coming to Ebbw Vale as a consolation prize for the doomed Circuit of Wales.

I have a regular contact who is something of a petrolhead and he passes on items that he picks up in the specialist press. One recent tit-bit drew my attention to ‘Taffy66’. Checking his ‘garage’ i.e. the cars he owns, we find 4 Porsche and a Ferrari. Suggesting that Taffy66 is doing quite well for himself. (Perhaps he earns even more than a third sector CEO!)

Click to enlarge

You’ll see that he describes himself as “a proud Welshman who due to the nature of my business has no choice but to do regular dealings with the WAG”. So why don’t Drakewell and the gang hire him as an adviser. He must know more about business than them and their civil servants. (But come to that, so does my cat!)

The hard news on both Aston Martin and TVR suggests they are struggling financially and are very unlikely to provide the jobs anticipated.

Salvation for Aston Martin might come in the form of Chinese investment, but whether Geely would still go ahead at St Athan is a moot point. As for TVR, the specialist press is very sceptical about the company’s future, with the latest news being that the roof on the Ebbw Vale factory is leaking!

The ‘Welsh Government’ is spending on infrastructure for these companies, and pumping money into them, when it has no real control. A change of ownership and it could be a case of, ‘Wales! Where’s that?

No healthy economy was ever built by desperately bribing foreign firms to move to a country. This is nothing more than a colony funding colonialism. Which of course is how colonialism operates.

WATER

Water has long been an emotive subject in Wales, Cofiwch Dryweryn! and all that. But too many are lulled into silent acceptance, or even support, when the sirens sing of ‘renewable’ and ‘green energy’, seemingly blind to the fact that exploitation and colonialism come in many forms.

Last October in, Wales, with us but strangers, I wrote about the troubling case of the hydro scheme at Ystradffin, near Rhandirmwyn, below the Llyn Brianne reservoir. It’s a fascinating story, I strongly advise you to read it.

The latest news is that the locals are getting angry. For despite originally promising great financial benefits for the community the developer (whoever that might ultimately be) is now offering just £1,000 a year according to this BBC Wales report.

Though the version in Welsh paints an even darker picture. It talks of environmental damage, no local jobs, and of a BBC film crew being ‘challenged’ and then pursued, even though the crew was on public land!

Ystradffin, Image courtesy of BBC Wales. Click to enlarge

At Ystradffin we have the involvement of a number of English companies, with a Czech company doing the work. Then there is the possibility of Russian funding, and UK government involvement. Quite a story, with the Welsh involvement being limited to the water.

This is real colonialism, almost medieval. Strangers march into our country and set up a ‘Taffy-keep-out’ zone. The ‘Welsh Government’ probably wasn’t even consulted. (And knows better than to ask.)

♦ end ♦

 

51 thoughts on “Wales, colonialism and corruption

  1. Vlad the Inhaler

    From my occasional perusal of the motor magazines, mainly while waiting at the dentists, I seem to remember that Land Rover is owned by Tata motors, Bentley is owned by the Volkswagen Group and Aston Martin’s current ownership structure includes a group of Kuwaiti investors and the Italian private equity firm Investindustrial who own more than 90 per cent of the marque combined.

    1. You must have a photographic memory to have gleaned and remembered that info from idly and nervously flicking through motoring magazines in the dentist’s waiting room. Though I suppose one question might be – if you have no interest in cars, why pick up the motoring mags at all?

      Few people know who owns which car firm nowadays. The point I was making – as you well know, you scalawag – is that our masters still like to brag about high-end motors with Union Jacks on them, indicating ‘British workmanship’. (As if they really care.)

      1. David Smith

        Jaguar Land Rover, wholly owned subsidiary of Tata. There’s a delicious irony in a former colony buying out two iconic Great British brands. Maybe one day a Welsh company might do the same. No doubt Disgusted of Tonbridge Wells’ head exploded when that deal was done.

  2. Wynne

    Quotation: “no serious effort is made to tackle financial crime”. I have drawn the same conclusion following my recent two-year correspondence with “Financial Conduct Authority” on what was a relatively simple matter. My concerns could easily have been investigated promptly. It was clear that officials were not prepared to undertake any investigation, choosing instead to engage in protracted correspondence under their complaints process. Their predecessor “Financial Services Authority” was found to be asleep on the job during the previous financial crisis. The new regulator appears to be a change in name only with the same officials employed and the same culture: sweep everything under the carpet and pretend that issues have not been drawn to their attention.

    Interesting updates on your previous posts and all relevant questions by you. As always, no doubt the answers are on their way to you on a post card !

    1. It’s the same with Companies House. I’d be very interested to know how much fraud, money laundering, etc is uncovered by CH. It’s nothing more than a register.

  3. Terry

    Here is a useful official definition of colonialism: The policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers and exploiting it economically.

    Here’s a useful unofficial one: Plundering another land and disrespecting its peoples customs.

    Just saying.

  4. Sibrydionmawr

    It really is pretty scandalous when a ‘foreign’ company can come into a small community and set up an enterprise that generates, (pun intended) over a million pounds a year where very little of that is of any benefit to the local community which should really be the first consideration when these kinds of schemes come up in the first place.

    In any country with a genuinely developed economy this kind of thing would be unlikely to happen as local resources such as water and the potential to generate electricity would belong solely to the community no matter who would be appointed to exploit the resources – on the community’s behalf. This is how it generally works in countries like Switzerland, and it is this kind of thing that has led to poorer areas pulling in badly needed income and jobs being created.

    Yet in Wales we’ve seen, time and time again that resources that rightfully belong to a local community are exploited by outside agencies with the locality not benefitting in any genuine sense. We’ve seen this with the massively disfiguring windfarm schemes in areas that were, the last time I visited them, in possession of beautiful landscapes. If such landscapes have to be despoiled, local people have to eat, and they deserve a decent crack at life, then such enterprise should be invested in local community enterprise companies providing economic benefit solely to that particular community in the first instance. Under such a stipulation the community where the Ystradffin scheme is being built would be the biggest beneficiaries, effectively owning it as a community. So instead of the derisory sum of £1000 per annum allegedly offered to the community, or the almost equally insulting £20,000 p.a. the community would benefit from the whole sum, and a million or so quid would go a long way in that part of the world, and could no doubt be used to stimulate other locally based community enterprises further benefitting the community.

    Why are our communities so ready to accept merely the crumbs when they should be demanding the whole loaf? More pertinently, why isn’t the Welsh government investigating ways of rolling out this model of economic development that seems to be such an efficient way of developing the local economies of our small country? We see these community initiatives spring up all over, a community owned shop here, and a community owned internet provider there and a community owned pub somewhere else. Why can’t this model be scaled up to incorporate power generation, and even, given the vast amounts of water exported, sums paid to the communities reservoirs are located in a capitation fee? .

    Partly of course we don’t have a government with the kind of imagination required to rethink the economy in terms of it truly benefitting ordinary people and one that seems to still be of the old WDA mindset that goes for the relatively easy option of attempting to attract inward investment always in the hope of attracting the big one, a la LG – and look what a fiasco that turned out to be! Personally I’d like to see that all economic development in Wales be subject to strict rules that demand that the direct benefits of any scheme primarily favour the local community and that, preferably they are some variety of community enterprise with the aim of benefitting local people and the local economy over and above a derisory few jobs or percentages of profits. Furthermore, anyone proposing the setting up of a private company who wishes to avail themselves of public money should be subject to a residency qualification, which I would suggest should be at least ten years where money for a private business is concerned – public money needs to be safeguarded. Such a qualification would protect against the vast majority of the kind of economic charlatans that Wales seems to attract.

    Of course, it would be imperative that the Welsh government rethink entirely it’s economic strategy (such as it is) and prioritise the kind of schemes that can directly be of most benefit to the local economies of Wales, not in the short term, but more in the medium and long term, which would favour locally based companies over those attracted by inward investment bribes. It would also require a lot of joined up thinking, linking up university research departments with indigenous companies exploiting the fruits of that research. …..

    But we have a government made up of a political party that seems petrified of losing control so that it would far rather support the inward investment of foreign companies that siphon out the economic benefits rather than support indigenous enterprise that would directly benefit the locality and lead perhaps to the wider development of local economies simply by dint of the fact that the economic benefits derived remain local rather than being repatriated to wherever the parent company’s headquarters may be located..

    I, like most people here I’ll warrant, don’t expect any change soon, but unless we start to challenge and demand better, no change will happen. It would be interesting to hear what Plaid Cymru’s views are on the Ystradffin scheme, if indeed they have any. It’s my guess they are again in ‘Look, Duck and Vanish’ mode fearful of being called nasty nashies if they dare to question who and how this Welsh resource is being exploited to no benefit to either Wales or the local community. In reality they should be all over this, and even their socialist credentials should remain unruffled as if they put their weight behind a community enterprise model for such schemes they’d be very much in accord with one of their early economic thinkers, Dr D. J. Davies, who knew a thing or two about such things.

    1. The Labour Party in Wales is reluctant to encourage local initiative and community ownership for two main reasons. First, it would upset their masters in London and the financial interests who have their masters’ ear. Second, empowering communities might give people ideas about doing things for themselves, and this carries real problems for a statist party that wants to maintain a level of deprivation that can be blamed on others in order to keep people voting Labour.

      Today the ‘Welsh Government’ brought out a report that concluded Welsh farmers are reluctant to diversify. But what help or encouragement do farmers get from the ‘Welsh Government’? Yes, they’re encouraged to have wind turbines on their land – owned by others – for which they are paid rent. They’re allowed to have vast, ugly caravan parks, the bottom end of tourism, when we should be moving up-market, with serviced accommodation providing both business opportunities and jobs. Or – and this might be the future – they’re encouraged to sell up and leave the land.

      1. Red Flag

        Labours reason for existing should be the ‘left behind’ – but it’s more interested in urban Middle-Class issues. Their only success over the last decade has been to make the public perception of the Labour Party one of an unpatriotic shower of Jew-hating urban middle-class Marxists which despises working-class people and the suburbian/rural peasants. Labours obsession with middle class votes is why it lost – it become totally detached from the reality and day-to-day life of what should be it’s core vote. Starmer for example, is listening so hard he has appointed Thangham Debonaire – a revoke supporting MP, as Shadow Brexit Secretary. The Tories must have been immensely relieved when Labour overlooked the common sense choice of candidate Dan Jarvis. The values of the average working class voter are entirely different to the ‘right-on’ progressives in the Labour hierarchy. Jarvis (and Nandy) would have been a massive leap towards that traditional working class.

        Their four remaining leadership hopefuls are going to take them nowhere except to certain defeat in 2024 and by early 2025 they’ll be selecting yet another loser to be leader. Think of them in football terms and Liverpool FC.

        Starmer – neat, tidy central defender, rarely wrong-footed, safety first, few errors but neither a game winner nor a game loser. Djimi Traore as opposed to Alan Hansen.

        Thornberry. A past her peak midfielder, playing from the bench. Reliable, can read the game brilliantly, hardened battler but no longer a 90 minute player. Charlie Adams as opposed to Jordan Henderson.

        Long-Bailey – Would struggle at top level. Can’t ride tackles, wilts under the physicality of the game at top level without a heavyweight midfield shielding her. Harry Kewell as opposed to Kenny Dalglish

        Nandy – Erratic continental-style support striker. Capable of dazzling displays but prone to going missing for long periods. Fabio Borini as opposed to Kevin Keegan.

        1. There’s no question that Labour has followed the US Democrats in losing the white working class and the left behind areas in order to capture the votes that will never be enough to put them in power.

          Though the comparison with LFC is interesting. Who would you suggest Labour need – Tommy Smith?

          1. Red Flag

            Gnasher Suarez – a player who can destroy opponents on his own and the greatest player we have had in my lifetime – even better than Dalglish. Inspires players around him, terrifies opponents and lifts the crowd. Bit of a dark side, but that’s par.

  5. Patience

    I have a connection with the Aston Martin Lagonda car plant. It relocated from Newport Pagnell a number of years ago and took over some free land next to Jaguar Land Rover in rural south Warwickshire. The whole JLR/AML site was an RAF base until 1962. British Leyland were there for a number of years! Obviously the site (and the RAF St Athan site) are suitable because the former runways can be used as test tracks. About five years ago AML wanted some extra land but were hemmed in by JLR and also the local council’s mad scheme to allow a group of local famers to sell off their nearby land to a consortium who have just begun building the first 140 houses of 3,500. The nearest town is about nine miles away so the houses will in effect be dormitories. I digress! So AML cast about for another location and that is how they have ended up at St Athan. HOWEVER nobody disputes that AML’s future survival depends on the success of the electric vehicle that will be produced there. Orders have not been flooding in. Local people queued around the block to get work there so I hope it was not in vain. The next financial results for AML are due in late February and it is not looking good following the disastrous stock exchange floatation last year – share price bombed from day one.

      1. Red Flag

        Electric cars are starting to be viewed as ‘not the way ahead’ already, with hydrogen fuel cells now starting to become more prominent hence the reluctance of major car fleets to upgrade on any meaningful scale. Everybody is waiting to see which way the wind is going to blow.

  6. David Smith

    Believe it or not, Bullingdon Boy scumbag Darius Guppy wrote a very interesting article in that toffee nosed twat rag the Telegraph, on how the UK is afloat on a sea of hock to the big banks who pull money out of their arse to loan to the government. Worth a Google.

  7. Tom Smith

    The Knighton Hotel is back on the market on fleurets website for £350,000 with some recent pictures, I can only assume they have left a 0 off the price tag?

  8. Roger Jones

    Socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor

    Businesses have a vast array of subsidies / allowances / grants / claw backs / exemptions etc. etc. where money is thrown at them
    The bigger businesses have the added advantage of tax heavens / political lobbying / bailouts etc. etc.
    The vast majority of working people are taxed on their income at source and deducted before any payment is made (paye) and every penny spend is taxed – no chance to offset a car / clothes / food against the tax bill for us unlike businesses
    Tories favour the enterprising spirit as they are risk takers and generate the money that supposedly fund the public sector – but there are too many stories of businesses taking the profit and shifting any loss to the public sector and avoiding any risk at all and getting us the mugs to pay out
    There are even bigger stories on a Country basis as you point out above – so many individual with vast amounts of money siphoned from dubious sources but all end up living in London
    Yet we have just suffered 10 years of austerity – the problem is that there is plenty of money but much of it in the wrong hands squirreled away in accounts and held by a small corrupt group of people

    But then we have now a 5 year period when nothing will change

    1. David Smith

      One day one of these “Free Market” cunts will live by the sword and die by it. I live in hope.

    2. David Smith

      On this note I’m reminded of a genius bit in Fawlty Towers. ‘Waldorf Salad’ the episode is. Terry the chef is basically price gouging Basil to stay on and cook the Yank’s supper. Basil hands the cash over, bemoaning “Socialism” as the culprit. Terry replies “No, it’s the free market”. A brilliant, momentary exchange in the show that didn’t register in all my years of watching it repeatedly.

  9. Red Flag

    Ynys Mon (Anglesey) council is living proof that Plaid Cymru should never ever be allowed to be in charge of anything without a responsible adult being present to supervise at all times.

    1. Wrexhamian

      Plaid AMs should be tearing the Welsh Government to pieces over Llangefni. Jac has shown how this kind of Westminster-backed exploitation and conmanship is being repeated all over Wales, with little or nothing in the way of a challenge from The Party of Wales. Llangefni, Ystradffin and Llanbedr are potentially golden opportunties for Gwlad, Gwlad. How sad that a faux-nationalist party may one day have to be challenged by the genuine article in a Senedd election. 2021, maybe?

  10. Red Flag

    The UKs armed forces shouldn’t just be judged on quantity. Quality plays a very very bug part.

    Having worked alongside the armed forces of most of western Europe (and some eastern countries), the Danes are good, the Norwegians are good, the French Foreign Legion are good (because the soldiers aren’t french), the Germans are good (aren’t they always). The rest range from passable (Poland, Portugal) to f***ing mediocre at best (standard French, Italians, Spanish) with the rest lying in between those two points.

    Some of europes armies – particularly Italy’s, Romania’s and Spains, are an insult to the phrase Armed Forces.

  11. Kristine Moore

    What can you say – it leaves me speechless – the new normal! Oh and maybe Aston Martin won’t get to make the fantastic electric car they promised.

    1. Brychan

      There is already a top of the range quality electric car made by Tesla in the United States. The technology cost billions of dollars to develop, and Tesla is yet to make a profit. The idea that Aston Martin can build a car and enter this market on the basis of a few million grant from the Welsh Government and build it is Wales is pure fantasy. It’s just a bunch of Welsh Labour politicians fawning over the Union Jack and a few Aston Martin executives laughing prepared to bank it. It’s just a sound-bite photo-op of no substance.

      1. The planet-saving ‘Welsh Government’ is now left in the position of funding a car manufacturer making cars few people can afford with huge petrol engines polluting the atmosphere. Another success for socialist Labour.

      2. Brychan

        31/01/2020 – Aston Martin has agreed a £500m equity rescue deal led by the billionaire Lawrence Stroll under which the British car brand will enter Formula One racing from 2021.

        https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jan/31/aston-martin-to-enter-f1-from-2021-under-500m-rescue-deal

        Stroll’s consortium includes business partners from many of the fashion investments in which he made his fortune, together with Anthony Bamford, the chairman of the digger maker JCB, who is also known for his political donations to Boris Johnson and the leave campaigns.

          1. Dafis

            They’ll come if they can fleece Drakeford, Skates and Co for some more loot . Trot out that billionaire for a day down the Bay and our Minsters will be unable to restrain themselves. Some of them haven’t had a hard-on in years but this will lead to large puddles in the Ministerial offices. Don’t really know how the female Ministers might react !

          2. Brychan

            The Aston Martin deal is as follows :

            The MoD put an aircraft hanger at St Athan up for sale.
            It was purchased by pension fund managers Legal and General.
            The Welsh Government agreed to rent it from L&G for 30 years.
            Inward investment announcement by Skates and Drakeford.
            Aston Martin get some free publicity and a grant.
            They do not occupy the hanger. No cars produced.
            Welsh Government pay rent on empty shed for 30years.

            There is no jobs. There is no car factory. It’s just a rental deal where Welsh taxpayers pay an annual sum to a city institution in London for 30years or suffer exit penaties.

            1. But the justification for renting or leasing the hangar was the jobs that Aston Martin would bring. And these would be high-pay, skilled jobs making a planet-saving electric car. The reality is that AM has ditched the electric car, and even if they do come they’ll be bringing their staff with them to build expensive cars with massive petrol engines.

              We really should get one of the many successful film studios the ‘Welsh Government’ has funded to make an epic screen drama directed by multi-talented Ken Skates. It would pack out cinemas everywhere.

  12. Roger Jones

    Perhaps Aston Martin send along a James Bond to negotiate with the Welsh Government – starry eyed they fawned over him and gave millions in grants
    In the real world in the financial press the IPO of Aston Martin was a utter disaster and financially inept
    This goes for other “great” projects coming to Wales – you read the financial press and the company is a basket case – Tata Steel / Russian owned TVR – watch Top Gear and they will tell you its un drive able

  13. Dafis

    Picking up on some of the stuff in your tweets column :

    Nation.Cymru is sliding off into a dark soggy place. Commenters are now saner than authors of articles – always a bad sign !!

    BBC Paris correspondent – Lucy Williamson, lady most commonly of an unhappy appearance, probably disapproves of common French people kicking up any kind of stink about their own country especially one at the core of BBC’s beloved EU.

    Yes Cymru ? – probably going down the same drain as nation.cymru. Why do all these promising entities become so self destructive ? Are they afraid of success ?

    Perhaps Gwlad Gwlad or McEvoy’s Propel can buck this sad trend. With a name like Propel it should offer some get up and go, which of course will be immediately off putting to some of our more “orthodox” compatriots who will worry that “get up and go” may mean some people advancing further than others.

    As for plastics like so many other materials it’s overuse and over reliance that causes problems. You just wait till all these green cars have to undergo battery renewals. Who gets the lithium waste to sort out, and that’s not the only shit produced by these over-idealised green solutions.

    1. Dafis

      As a postscript to my comments above about stuff in your tweets column, I am staggered by Elin Jones’ unwillingness to open the floor to a discussion about child abuse in Wales.

      Is she covering for someone ? Has she been up to some no good herself ? Has she engaged in some other dubious or deviant activity which has rendered her vulnerable to blackmail, hence her posture on this matter ?. The more the silly old bird adopts this kind of stance the more likely she will be investigated by an interested party.

      1. Neil McEvoy is now so far out in the cold that anything he says will be rejected by Labour and Plaid Cymru. It’s sad, but that’s where we are, and it’s a foretaste of the situation after next year’s election, when we could well have a Labour-Plaid coalition.

      2. Big Gee

        Given the track record of Neil Mac vs. PC, then add the crusade that NM is currently on when it comes to child abuse, add the stink from the Simon Thomas affair, then where do you think she would position herself?

        We’re not talking about a sophisticated individual here, it’s simply a case of low level pettiness and bitterness from a man hater who is basically trying to display a bit of peasant cunning – nothing as exciting as hiding skeletons in cupboards.

        We’re not talking about a Christine Keeler – former model and topless showgirl type (who got inadvertently dragged into high society affairs causing the press to investigate her, revealing that her affairs could be a threat to ‘national’ security) personality when it comes to ‘Y Llywydd’ – far from it in my experience. I can’t imagine her doing anything more guilt ridden, or that triggers serious blackmail other than historically stealing a ball of wool from someone’s bag at a knitting club. 😉

        1. Dafis

          So she doesn’t have a secret appetite for sheep, just the wool off their backs. Maybe she did have prior knowledge of Thomas’ proclivities but chose to provide cover ( if not comfort ) which might be leverage to a sensitive simple soul like her.

    2. Brychan

      Here is a photo of the world’s largest lithium mine. The essential metal for electric car batteries, which have a limited lifespan.

      https://static.seekingalpha.com/uploads/2018/12/13/saupload_tianqi-injects-382-million-greenbushes-lithium-mine-expand.jpg

      The stock of Tianqi Lithium is traded on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. Here is an article regarding the rocketing global demand for this metal and price stability.

      https://seekingalpha.com/article/4241060-top-5-lithium-producers-and-growing-producers-to-consider

      I suggest Greta Thunberg can do another trip in her daddies yacht. Best not go to China given the current pandemic, but she can visit the open cast site for another grumpy tantrum. Nearest port is Fremantle.

      She needs to be quick as she’s been recalled to catch up on her studies by the municipal education authority for private tuition in summer school. Not reported on the BBC.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s03hxjgZEDA{removertoplay}
      What the other children will be doing.

      Wales has already played a role, as Mari Arthur of Trimsaran was on a trade mission to China for our masters in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office before the arrangement to become the Plaid Cymru candidate kicked in.

      http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/network/network-news/guest-blog-wales-china-exchange-on-low-carbon-architecture.html

      “The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute but the man who asks no question at all is a fool for life” – Confucius of Trimsaran.

      1. A tea house! Which never materialised. That’s the outcome of Mari Arthur’s bullshitting. Does anyone really think that China will compromise economic growth for environmental considerations? Or that China gives a toss about Mari Arthur, or Wales?
        This is the kind of delusional crap that a certain section of Welsh society excels at. The only thing they excel at.

  14. Dafis

    Noted Jac’s earlier tweet regarding Yes Cymru’s relentless charge towards fringe political ideals. Not utterly unexpected given that some of the high profile participants have that sort of form. Somewhat concerned however by Ms Caiach’s splitting of hairs about Anglo Brit Nationalism in a comment posted on IMJ’s nation.cymru. Reaching out to English nationalists for any reason is almost as daft as Adam’s cwtch with the LibDems, and that didn’t end well, did it ?

  15. Brychan

    Off topic, FLAGS. I notice that the BBC in covering ‘Brexit Day’ has started to refer to Scotland in the third person, as if they are a ‘foreign’ country. They refer to Britain as “we” but refer to Scotland as “them”. BBC refers to opinion polls on Scots independence as an average of 2019.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-50813510

    Perhaps the BBC has not noticed that it is now 2020, and the latest opinion poll published on 31/01/2020 shows a majority of Scots would vote for independence, 51% to 49%, YouGov. Who in the BBC was ordered to do an average calculation for last year when the latest polls of 2020 were not palatable?

    Meanwhile, the BBC take on Brexit Day in Wales is cover the removal of the EU flag from the flagpoles outside the Senedd in Cardiff, and this being a significant ‘flag removal event’ of recent times. I beg to differ.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BvbZEcVIUAATXeo.jpg

    Above is a photo of another flag being removed in Cardiff, from the roof of City Hall. It was 1938. This was the last time the BBC reported a significant change in our (British) relationship with Europe and resultant removal of flags. Perhaps the BBC lost the Cardiff footage?

  16. Dafis

    Completely off topic but it has started my day with a laff ! Prince William son of our beloved Big Ears prince, dresses up and goes to BAFTA to lecture on diversity, equality ( well, what else ?). Yet his own family has its first (known) bit of ethnic diversity and they didn’t take long to isolate and exclude her. Nothing like taking lessons from experts.

    1. I saw it on the News and wondered what he was waffling about. Was he suggesting there is discrimination? If so, then the guilty should be named. Was he arguing for ‘positive discrimination’? It came across as yet more, vacuous virtue signalling.

      1. Dafis

        vacuous virtue signalling is the one thing that most politicians and public figures excel at. Try doing some real good once in a while and maybe there would be a bit of respect for them, although virtue signalling is probably less harmful than bonking 17 year old girls and later claiming to have nipped down the road for a pizza !.

  17. Dafis

    I appreciate that some of the focus has moved on to the devious activities of various people and companies around our west facing ports.

    However your tweet column today refers to a most interesting Written Statement – The Annual Rough Sleeper Report. It is quite disgraceful that a modern progressive country has to produce such a document especially as we have a multitude of organisations engaged in the “War on Homelessness”, was it 48 at the last count, but no doubt rising to keep pace with the number of homeless/rough sleepers. On another level this report constitutes a note of reassurance to all those well paid executives and “stakeholders” ( such a nice word conveying all sorts of meanings depending on where you happen to be standing at any point in time!) that the raison d’etre for their business will not be washed away pronto by any unwarranted success in tackling the problem.

    Again our Opposition parties all appear to behave or fail to act as though they too are complicit in this scam. McEvoy the lone voice in a desert full of fat cats, spongers and idlers. What a horrifying image.

  18. Dafis

    And on yet another big social issue that continues to grow without much effort at addressing it …

    Interesting to hear that the FM thinks government will have to raise tax to enable a better quality of care provision for elderly and others needing a level of specialist provision. Has he yet broached the subject with the Bunterite regime in London who are quite happy for a proportion of their ageing population to relocate away from English “hotspots” into peripheral regions like Wales as this serves to relocate the demand for services ?. To date there is no mention of relocating an appropriate budgetary provision so that care for this additional element can be deployed without diluting the service further. Taxing a population that is already relatively under-remunerated is to shy away from a core issue in this rapidly growing problem.

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