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Badger and the big lie

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brynman and jaminHALLO readers. My word, UKIP supporters are a sensitive souls! Who would have thought a few inconvenient truths would have raised so many hackles. Badger particularly liked the correspondent who told me it was wrong to criticise UK IP’s policies because they had not yet produced their manifesto. How proud he must be to follow a party with no policies (apart from the obvious one). Badger is certain we can all rest assured that as soon as Brother Farage is able to type with more than one finger and work out how to stop spelling ‘banana’ w c will be faced with a literary tour-de-force to rival “Hurrah for Little Noddy”.

Back to matters Pembrokeshire, however, readers. Let’s put the Euro elections back in their empty ballot box. Over the last couple of weeks, while he has been slaving away over Latin epigrams, Badger has read the story of Beloved Bryn’s brush with luxury motoring with considerable bemusement. Not, however, amusement. He’s not even driving the Brynmobile. No readers: we are paying the lease and insurance on Beloved Bryn’s Porsche so Parry Jones junior can tootle to Valero every morning! That, readers that takes the biscuit! Badger has a question for you readers. One he has used before. One that he has been ticked off by his editor for using before. It is a short question. Badger is prepared to take the risk of having to stand in the naughty corner for a while to ask it. WTF?
Readers, even IPPG leader Jamie Adams must be aghast at the CEO’s complete lack of political nous. It appears as though, at least when it comes to insensitivity and arrogance, Jamie takes a distant second place to Bryn. When Jamie told the Full Council that he often popped along to the CEO’s office to engage in “challenging” discussions, when Jamie told the Full Council that he and Beloved Bryn didn’t always see eye-to-eye. did Jamie have in mind how the news that Bryn had availed himself of a Porsche Panamera Hybrid S with a list price of C85.000 would look and sound to a Pembrokeshire public told relentlessly that the Council can’t afford to maintain essential services?

Or was Jamie appeased by a trip around the car park in the Brynmobilc and playing Robin to the CEO’s Batman? Jamie is fond of harping on – like the good Toytown Tory Boy that he is – that all these spending cuts people complain about are the fault of the “Welsh Labour Government in Cardiff Bay”. Well, readers, there are two problems with Jamie saying that: Firstly: you can usually tell when Jamie is spouting (expletive deleted) codswallop. It happens when his lips move. Secondly: Cardiff Bay dots not raise its own taxes. it receives a block grant from the Coalition government in Westminster. With that block grant it has to allocate funding for services across Wales. The Welsh Government is funded nearly entirely by a block grant  The Dynamic Duo: Bryn and Jamie are “on a budget” provided by the UK Treasury.

The change in this block grant is calculated using the Barnett formula, based upon changes in the budgets of Whitehall departments that deliver services for which the Welsh Government are deemed to have responsibility in Wales. Large increases in spending on the NHS and education in England therefore fed through to substantial increases in the amount of grant paid to the Welsh Government in the first decade following devolution. But cuts to government spending as pan of the fiscal consolidation mean that the Welsh block grant has been cut substantially since 2010-11.

The total block grant allocated by the UK government to Wales in 2013-14 is set to be 9.4% lower in real terms than that in 2010-11 (after adjusting for the transfer of funding for council tax benefit to the Welsh Government). Further cuts have been announced for 2014-15 and 2015-16, which, if implemented, would take the cut to 12.2%. So, when Jamie says it is all Welsh Labour’s fault, he really is ejecting a particularly large quantity of a substance with which, as a farmer, he would be intimately familiar. Readers, if Jamie’s was the only whopping porker we had to contend with that would be enough.

But it isn’t. Badger is not talking about the way the Council claims to overpay its officers because to get the best it has to pay the best. Badger isn’t even talking about the nonsense Jamie told Tenby Town Council about the rationale underpinning his decision (made with others) to give Beloved Bryn a whacking big tax break on his pension and to make unlawful payments to the CEO, to boot. Badger wants you to consider the following: Beloved Bryn became CEO of Pembrokeshire County Council in 1996. He was appointed at the top of his then pay grade and received a salary of around f60,000 a year.

The Council’s 2012/13 Accounts show that the Chief Executive received £194.661 in respect of gross salary, fees and other emoluments plus benefits in kind of £11,665. Corresponding figures for 2011/12 were £208,170 and £10,017, plus in that year, employer’s pension contribution to the local government pension scheme of £30,000. Had the lowest paid worker’s wage risen at the same rate as Beloved Bryn’s over the same period, a manual working for the local authority would be on somewhere near £25,000 per year. Care workers would be on around £27,000 per year.

Badger can bet his boots that there are no lowest pay grade workers on that sort of screw. The big lie, readers, is that senior officers have to be paid the same sort of wage as notional equivalents in private industry. However, senior officers in local government have blue-chip, gold-plated pensions funded by tax payers. Senior officers in local government have the type of job security a manager in the private sector can only look at and envy.

The idea that there are companies battering down the council office doors to get at the senior staff and spirit them away to the private sector is a lie of such size and magnitude that it even dwarfs the lie by implication that Bryn would have run away from Pembrokeshire if he hadn’t been given unlawful payments by his employers. Readers, if a senior manager in the private sector had presided over the number of crises and cock-ups that Bryn Parry Jones has, do you think he would still be in a job? If your name is Jamie Adams or Suc Perkins and you answered “yes”. please lie down. The nurse will be with you shortly to show you to your room.

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Lifeboat rescues yacht stranded on rocks off Pembrokeshire coast

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A LOCAL lifeboat was called into action yesterday afternoon, May 26, after a 40-foot yacht became stranded on rocks off the Pembrokeshire coast. The incident occurred at Horse Rock, Ramsey Sound, at low tide.

At 2.38pm, the St Davids all-weather lifeboat was dispatched following a request for assistance. The French vessel, which had three people on board, had struck Horse Rock. Fortunately, the yacht was freed without sustaining any damage by the time the volunteer crew arrived.

In a statement posted on their Facebook page, RNLI St Davids Lifeboat reported: “St Davids all-weather lifeboat was requested to launch at 2:38pm on Sunday 26th May to aid a 40-foot yacht stuck on rocks in Ramsey Sound. The French vessel, with three people onboard, had hit Horse Rock at half tide. The volunteer crew were soon on scene and found the yacht had managed to free itself without damage.”

The lifeboat crew conducted a thorough assessment to ensure the safety of both the crew and the vessel. Once it was confirmed that everything was in order, the yacht was able to continue its journey to Fishguard Harbour. The lifeboat then returned to its station.

This successful rescue highlights the vital role of the RNLI and its dedicated volunteers in ensuring the safety of those navigating the challenging waters around the Pembrokeshire coast. The quick response and professional handling of the situation by the St Davids lifeboat crew ensured a positive outcome for all involved.

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Second row Max Douglas becomes latest Scarlets signing

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THE SCARLETS say they are delighted to secure the signature of highly-rated Australian forward Max Douglas.

The 24-year-old has just completed his second season with the Yokohama Canon Eagles in Japan.

Before his move to the Japanese top division, the 6ft 7in Douglas, who has played in the second row and back row, featured for the Waratahs in Super Rugby and the Manly club in Sydney.

He will link up with the Scarlets in the summer.

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “Max is a young, athletic second row who has experience in Super Rugby and more recently in Japan’s top division.

“He is comfortable with the ball hand, which suits how we are looking to play and is excited about coming on board and being part of the Scarlets journey over the coming years.

“Max is another strong addition to our forward pack following the signings of Marnus van der Merwe and Alec Hepburn and we are looking forward to welcoming him here to Parc y Scarlets this summer.”

Max Douglas said: “I’m really excited to be joining the Scarlets. This is a club with a strong history and I’m excited at the challenge of trying to contribute to that.

“I’m looking to bring over some of the experiences and learnings I’ve gained from my time in Australia and Japan to hopefully add to what is a really strong playing group.

“I can’t wait to meet all the players and staff and get into our work.”

Douglas is the Scarlets’ fourth signing to be announced ahead of the 2024-25 campaign with Exeter Chiefs prop Alec Hepburn, Toyota Cheetahs hooker Marnus van der Merwe and Nottingham full-back Ellis Mee on their way to West Wales.

Tongan second row Sam Lousi, Wales internationals Tom Rogers and Harri O’Connor and back-rowers Dan Davis and Ben Williams have also signed new contracts with the club.

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Brawdy space radars campaign launched over safety fears

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A CAMPAIGN group, fighting against proposals to for a deep space radar dish array in north Pembrokeshire has been launched, saying it would be one “of the most health-hazardous military installations ever proposed anywhere in the UK”.

The UK/US military plans for a 27-dish Deep Space Advanced Radar Concept (DARC) at Cawdor Barracks, Brawdy is part of AUKUS, a three-way security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to build three DARC radar installations around the world, one in each of the three countries.

The radars would track foreign countries’ communications and military satellites in space, so that British, US and Australian aircraft could then destroy them with anti-satellite missiles at will.

Pembrokeshire Herald report from December 2023

A scoping report was submitted to Pembrokeshire County Council early last year, as reported by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, which said DARC would track active satellites some 22,000 miles above the Earth.

That application stated: “The Ministry of Defence has a duty to protect the UK national interest around the world. This includes the Space Domain, which offers both the UK and its Allies an important strategic advantage, but also emerging threats and vulnerabilities that need to be monitored.”

It added: “As part of the ongoing investment into this domain, the UK is working with its allies to identify a location for a new deep space monitoring facility to protect and defend its interests.
“An area of brownfield land at Cawdor Barracks has been identified as one of the potential locations for the delivery of the installation.”

It added: “The Deep-space Advanced Radar Capability (DARC) is a United States Space Force (USSF) led programme that aims to set up three geographically dispersed radar sites to increase global Space Domain Awareness with the UK and Australia being offered to host one of the three sites.”

Cawdor Barracks is currently the headquarters of the 14th Signals Regiment, which is due to relocate from 2028. Late last year, Cawdor was identified as the preferred UK site, with the-then UK Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps.

It was said that retention of the base for DARC would create up to 100 jobs.

The DARC scheme would be subject to an as-yet unsubmitted planning application.

A new campaign group, PARC Against DARC has been officially launched today, May 29, hoping to stop the scheme, describing the proposals as the proposals are “one of the most health-hazardous, tourism-ruining, skyline blighting military installations ever proposed anywhere in the UK”.

PARC Against DARC, which is to is to host a public launch meeting at Solva Memorial Hall at 7pm on June 27, has asked: “When did Dewisland, Pembrokeshire or humankind ever vote for the US military to control all of space?”

PARC (Pembrokeshire Against Radar Campaign) was originally set up back in 1990 when the US Military unsuccessfully attempted to build a similar radar installation on the Dewisland peninsula, north Pembrokeshire.

The revamped 2024 operation already has support from groups including Welsh and UK organisations such as CND and Stop the War Coalition, as well as individual supporters.

One of them is Keith Griffiths, architect and owner of Roch Castle, Twr y Felin and Pen Rhiw Priory known collectively as the Retreats Group, who said the scheme “will be a huge eyesore to the National Park and of no economic benefit locally”.

“Any new use should benefit the local economy and respect the beauty of the surrounding Pembrokeshire Coast National Park,” he added.

More detail in this informative Youtube video

A spokesperson for PARC Against DARC said: “The fight is on. We fully intend to win the battle to stop the radar as they did in the 90s. The MOD are making out as if it’s just a formality to gain planning permission for this huge project, even insinuating in their press that they just need to ‘run it past the local parish council’ or such like.

“This is simply not the case; we know that major infrastructure projects like these require specialist planning permission which can only be granted by Pembrokeshire County Council, and that there will be several environmental impact assessment stages they’d have to clear long before they could ever begin building.”

“Our plan is to fight them at every level and on every front to make absolutely sure that these proposals are never passed by our elected representatives in County Hall.

“We will build on the strong history of the previously victorious campaign and echo all of its strengths & successes. Last time there were huge rallies, marches and demonstrations and ultimately the entire county stood strong together to fight off the proposals.

“We are absolutely confident that we will create this avalanche of opposition once again so that these plans will never see the light of day.”

The campaign group has also launched a change.org petition webpage and an online crowdfunder page, along with social media pages.

Identifying Cawdor as the preferred site last year, Grant Shapps said: “As the world becomes more contested and the danger of space warfare increases, the UK and our allies must ensure we have the advanced capabilities we need to keep our nations’ safe.”

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