Friday 28 October 2016

The Welsh Water Question by David Shinn

Dŵr. Water.

Water has long been an emotional and contentious issue here in Cymru.

As with all of our natural resources, it is not in our control, nor is it used to the benefit of the Welsh people, or our economy.

With companies like Severn Trent owning large amounts of land and water here, and Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water) agreeing on 999 year deals with them for mere pennies, we really are getting a raw deal. For such an important and vital resource, not a lot of noise is made about it.

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr wants to change that, and demands a Welsh Water Act - an Act that would end these shady, unjust 999 year deals and see Welsh Water brought back in to public ownership, by the people of Wales, for the people of Wales.

There are many naysayers in the anti-independence camp who believe that we can’t survive without England, and that we put too much value on our water.

This is far from the truth – without Welsh Water, and these exploitative 999 year deals, England would not be able to supply water to many millions of homes.

So desperate is England’s need for water, that they have even forcibly evicted whole communities and flooded villages, like in Capel Celyn (Tryweryn) and Llanwddyn (Lake Vyrnwy), just to increase the supply of water from Wales to England.

We believe it is about time England paid a fair price for what they take from us, which would equate to a massive boost for the Welsh economy.

So, who owns “Welsh Water”?

The answer to this question is not very straight forward.

The Water Act 1973 amalgamated the water and sewerage companies in England and Wales, restructuring them in to ten regional water authorities in preparation for privatisation. In 1989, these regional authorities then passed in to private ownership. There are two main water suppliers in Wales: Dŵr Cymru and Severn Trent Water.

Between them they own over 90 reservoirs in Wales.

Severn Trent, based in Birmingham, own Clywedog reservoir and Lake Vyrnwy - Clywedog having been built to supply Birmingham and the Midlands, Vyrnwy to supply Liverpool and Merseyside. Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr has previously conducted investigations in to Lake Vyrnwy, and last November published an article on the blog detailing its findings.

These two dams alone hold 110 billion litres of water. That is 110 billion litres, in just two dams. 
Dŵr Cymru, who own a staggering 91 reservoirs in Wales, varying in size from 2 acres to 1,026 acres, are based in Mid Glamorgan and owned by Glas Cymru (Blue Wales), who bought the company for £1 in 2001, after the previous owners, Hyder, fell in to bankruptcy with a massive £1.85 billion in debts.

Glas Cymru was designed to be a not-for-profit organisation, and to exist solely for the benefit of their customers, but the figures tell us a very different story – there are a handful of people making a very large profit from Welsh Water, namely members of the board, who have taken millions of pounds from the business, whilst their counterparts in Scotland and the Occupied Six Counties of Ireland have received very modest payments.

An investigation by Rebecca Television in 2014 found that, in 2003, the executive, chairman and non-executives of Glas Cymru were being paid, on average, twice what their counterparts at the much larger Scottish Water (whose annual turnover is nearly twice that of Glas Cymru) were being paid. For example, the chairman of Scottish Water was paid £70,000 compared with the £140,000 taken by Lord Burns, former Treasury Permanent Secretary, who was then Glas Cymru’s non-executive chairman (meaning he had no responsibilities).

An article published by Glasiad ap Gruffydd on in February 2012, noted that there are 9 other “non-executive directors” (NEDs), most of whom are “patronage appointments with no responsibility”. Although accurate figures on how much these NEDs are paid are difficult to obtain, Glasiad notes that “Directors’ emoluments” (their salaries or fees) in 2011 were listed at a cost of £1.2 million to the consumer. That is an average of £120,000 per NED, who has no responsibility whatsoever, other than to sit on a board and take our hard-earned money.

Further to this, the Rebecca Television investigation also found that, between 2001 and 2014, Glas Cymru customers had paid almost £8,500 million in bills, yet Glas Cymru had only paid £150 million in cash “dividends” to their customers in that period - less than 2 percent of the total monies made.
In fact, Glas Cymru, other than a few token Welsh members, aren’t really a Welsh company. And those members that are Welsh are from the crachach and include company directors, professors, solicitors and civil servants.

Despite their names Dŵr Cymru/Welsh Water, and Glas Cymru (Blue Wales), our water is not actually being supplied to us by Welsh companies at all, and it is certainly not by “not-for-profit” companies.

Maintenance contracts for the Welsh water supply are owned by United Utilities, a for-profit English company.

Customer service is contracted out to profit-making Thames Water, an English subsidiary of a German-owned conglomerate RWE.

Other English companies, such as Wessex Water, also get a slice of the Welsh water pie.

When all this is considered it’s very clear that, other than a select few, the people of Wales make no profit from what is arguably our most precious natural resource, nor do we have any control over it.

So, why don’t the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) do something to change the situation?

The simple answer to this question is, they can’t.

As we well know, the “assembly” is nothing more than an extension of Westminster’s rule in Wales, with very little devolved power at all. It is, for all intents and purposes, a puppet parliament, with their strings being pulled by the ruling elite in London.

As it stands, issues relating to water are already devolved to the WAG. However, because the assembly has no tax-raising powers we cannot benefit from sales of water here in Wales, or from the water supplied to England either.

Even if the WAG were to take a stand and demand a fair price for our water, it would be overruled by the Secretary of State for Wales, due to a clause in The Government for Wales Act 2006.

Tucked away in Part 6 (Miscellaneous and Supplementary), is Section 152 “Intervention in case of functions relating to water etc.” It reads as follows:

152 Intervention in case of functions relating to water etc.

(1)This section applies where it appears to the Secretary of State that the exercise of a relevant function (or the failure to exercise a relevant function) in any particular case might have a serious adverse impact on:

(a) water resources in England,
(b) water supply in England, or
(c) the quality of water in England.

So, we have “control” of our water, as long as we let England take as much of it as it deems fit, now and for the foreseeable future. If we were to do anything to affect this supply, England, via the Secretary of State for Wales, will retake full control over this resource.

It was, of course, the treacherous “Welsh” Labour who blocked the full devolution of water policy to the Welsh Government in The Welsh Government Act of 2006, once again demonstrating exactly where their loyalties lie and who they really serve, and it is certainly not the people of Wales.

As previously stated, England cannot survive without the millions of litres of water they take from Wales on a daily basis, especially those areas of South West England that have very large populations and very little rainfall. Yet, in 2012, when it was suggested by Plaid Cymru’s Elfyn Llwyd that it was time to have a “mature debate” to ensure that Wales was properly paid for the water it supplies to England, the British (read “English”) media was in uproar.

God forbid us stupid Taffies across the border want fair remuneration for such a vital and precious commodity! Imagine how outraged they would be, if by some reversal of fate, England were to supply Wales with water at a rate of 5 pence per year for the next 999 years. It doesn’t even bear thinking about.

To add further insult, English consumers pay considerably less for their water than we do in Wales, despite their water coming from Wales.

So, just how much is our water worth?

This, again, is not an easy question to answer. Trying to find exact figures on how much Welsh water is supplied to England is rather difficult. It seems that perhaps, they do not want us to know.
In 2015, John Elfed Jones, the former chairman of Dŵr Cymru said that selling Wales’ water could be worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

In an article by John Osmond for the Institute of Welsh Affairs (IWA), published on their website in April 2012, entitled “When white water becomes white gold”, he states that “By one calculation Wales’ present export of water to England, from the Elan Valley to Birmingham and from Lake Vyrnwy and Tryweryn to Liverpool, could be worth as much as £4.5 billion a year.

This is the net transfer of social security payments coming into Wales after our National Insurance contributions are taken into account.”

Taking in to consideration that water could become even more valuable in the future due to climate change, these figures are conservative at best. Without knowing how the figures were calculated it is impossible to comment on their accuracy or validity, but one thing is certain – our water is worth a lot more than the 5 pence per year that Severn Trent are currently paying for it.

Even at the most conservative estimates of £100 million a year, this would provide a boost to the Welsh economy.

More research is needed in to just how much water is taken by England and its monetary value, however, Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr will continue to search for the facts and figures. We already know that we are being ripped off. We just don’t yet know the full extent of this robbery.

But, the exploitation doesn’t stop there!

Not only is our water pillaged by England for them to drink, they also use our water to generate electricity, in the form of hydro-electric power stations. Just last month, an application to build another hydro-electric power plant on the Afon Conwy by RWE was defeated.

There are some 20 hydro-electric plants in and around Snowdonia alone, which generate more than enough electricity for local need. Again, the English state, aided by foreign investors, seek to use our natural resources for their own gain.

However, it is not just our inland water that is exploited. Our coastal waters are too.

The Crown Estate “looks after” (owns) 1,287 miles, or 65%, of the Welsh coastline, and is also responsible for the seabed, up to 12 nautical miles. There are 10 coastal estates, located around Monmouth, Glamorgan, Carmarthen, Pembroke, Ceredigion, Meirionnydd, Caernarfon, Ynys Môn, Flint and Denbigh.

The Crown Estate also owns the sites of many offshore wind farms and marine renewable energy production sites, including North Hoyle, Rhyl Flats, Scarweather Sands and Gwynt y Môr.

In practical terms, this means that any revenue generated by the lease of these estates, or from the licencing associated with harvesting from these sites, trickles back to HM Treasury.

In the case of Halen Môn, the Anglesey based sea salt makers, they have to pay the Crown Estate a licence fee for using the water they harvest the salt from. Prior to starting Halen Môn, the owners ran Anglesey Sea Zoo and even had to pay a licence fee then for using the sea waters in their aquariums!

Just how much income is generated from our coastal waters we don’t know, but what we do know is that it is, in principle, our money.

It is blindingly obvious that there is a great injustice in all this.

Our water, like all of our natural resources, is effectively being stolen by the English state for the benefit of the English population, while the people of Wales struggle in poverty. For too long, the people of Wales have sat idly by, allowing the rape and pillage of our precious resources, while the ruling elite in England have grown rich off what is rightfully ours.

We will no longer allow this to happen. It is time to end this injustice. It is time to put an end to exploitative deals that see us robbed of our precious resources. It is time the Werin rose up and demanded a Welsh Water Act that puts ownership of all Welsh Water into the hands of the people of Wales.

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr says “DYNA DDIGON!” – “THAT’S ENOUGH!”

Join the fight for a free and just Wales in the 21st Century – join the Great Unrest and support the Welsh Socialist Republican Movement!

Thursday 27 October 2016

The Welsh Land Question by Nickglais

The Welsh Land Question is one of the taboo's of British Society  as it goes straight to the heart of power in Britain in the 21st Century.

It has been over a hundred years since there was a systematic investigation of Land ownership in Wales - why ?

We at the Welsh Socialist Republican Congress have been inspired by the researches of Andy Wightman in Scotland who has painstakingly researched Scottish Land Ownership to further investigations  of Land ownership in  Wales.

One of the tasks of the Welsh Socialist Republican Congress is not to wait another hundred years for a Welsh Land Commission to investigate Welsh Land Ownership but to begin the process ourselves - if necessary alone.

Whether it is Wind Farms or Fracking or Welsh Language the Welsh Land Question underlies all these issues and we have to ask why so called nationalists like Plaid Cymru and "socialists" like the Welsh Labour Party have deliberately ignored this issue

We think Voltaire provides the answer

"To learn who rules over you simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise"

Between  1893 and 1894 Post Offices throughout Wales carried notices of a Royal Commission on Land in Wales and Monmouthshire, inviting people to attend public meetings with the purpose of taking evidence about the problems of Land tenure in Wales.

In all, Wales was to witness eighty such meetings with an additional nineteen meetings in London making for a total of ninety nine meetings to take evidence of tenants, landlords, the churches and other interested organisations.

The background to the Royal Commission was the activity of the Welsh Land League and Cymru Fydd and Gladstone's discussion of Home Rule all Around for Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

New disturbances erupted in the 1880s in Wales caused by tenant farmers and labourers being charged high rents by the landowners. The Welsh Land League that resulted in 1886 from this crisis approached the Welsh Land problem in a throughly constitutional way.

Whilst the problem of Land Tenure was central to the Royal Commission, there was also a tithe question in Wales where tenants were forced to pay tithes to the Anglican Church of Wales even if they were Non Conformists. The Welsh Land League was also active concerning the tithe problem and the issue was not finally resolved by legislation until the 1920's.

Whereas Ireland was to see a series of Land Acts effectively turning 10,000 large estates into 400,000 Irish owned farms overturning the Landlord tenant relationship.

The Royal Commission on Land for Wales and Monmouthshire concluded that the landord tenant relationship was the most "appropriate" for the Welsh.

The Royal Commission Report was a victory for the Landlords who were seen a "benevolent", despite mountains of evidence to the contrary.

There was to be no buying out of the Landlords like in Ireland, but the Commission concluded that if some Welsh tenants were already  buying their land then maybe assistance should be provided, however it was only retrospective and was not a future policy to be endorsed by the Commission.

Historians have interpreted the differences in the final Royal Commission Report between a majority report and a minority report has being the reason for the abandonment of a Welsh Land Act.

While the minority report was full blown Landlordism the majority report while acknowledging problems with Land Agents, compensation for improvements etc was only a more watered down version of Landlordism that we would expect from Liberals rather than Tories.

The fact that nothing happened and the Welsh Land Act was dead by 1900 shows that the constitutional approach to these matters did not work.

Lloyd George was consciously or unconsciously being absorbed by the interests of the British State, despite his flirtation with the Boers and despite his rhetoric against landords he was well on his way to becoming a servant of the British State.

Irish Land was going to be returned to the Irish people but Welsh Land was not going to be returned to the Welsh people.

One of the most deeply hidden secrets of the Victorian period was the massive expansion of Royal ownership of Land including Welsh Land enabled by an Act of 1862 which lifted restrictions on the Monarch's ownership of Land.

Since the Glorious Revolution and the placing of William of Orange on the throne through to the reign of William IV the monarchy was restricted by the rising bourgeoisie and landlords from owning more land has this was seen has a source of Royal social power and the bourgeoisie and the landlords wanted a tame symbolic monarchy.

Queen Victoria changed that, when she came to the throne, there were forty Lords owning more Land than her and she set about acquiring Land by any means necessary to restore the social power and prestige of the monarchy.

The Act of 1862 was a enabling mechanism for the monarchy to re- achieve real social power. 

A wide variety of ownership vehicles were set in motion in the years to follow to achieve an  increase in Royal power, the Crown Estate, The Duchy of Cornwall and The Duchy of Lancaster  and many offshore ownership vehicles.

I have estimated that Royal Lands from approximately 316,000 acres in Victorian Times approach 677,000 acres today.

 I would stress this is an underestimate has the Monarchy goes to great lengths to hide it's extensive Land ownership including land in Wales.

Needless to say the Monarchy has increased its Land ownership in Wales in the 20th Century.

Leaving aside the English Conquest of Wales in 1282 and The Tudor robbery of Welsh Lands one of the most invidious acts of expropriation of Welsh Land occurred between 1795 and 1874 aided and abetted by Welsh Landlords and Gentry collaborators in the Tudor Taff tradition, the real English lickspitals in Wales.

This was accumulation by dispossession of the Welsh people.

Between 1795 and 1874 some 1,696,827 acres of Welsh Land belonging to the common people out of a total Welsh acreage of 5,121,013 was enclosed, deprived of community land for survival people many were driven into the industrial valleys for work, survival for ordinary folk in the nineteenth century Wales on the land was extremely hard and it looked to some with the Royal Commssion on Land in Wales and Monmouthshire in 1893 and 1894 that  help was at hand.

However hopes were dashed and the Welsh were betrayed by their erstwhile petty bourgeois leaders who were  more interested in the British State than the state of Wales.

Of course Lloyd George never failed to employ anti Landlord rhetoric when it suited him, but Wales was not going to be like Ireland or France with a large independent farming class owning its own land, the British State had decided that.

Kevin Cahill has pointed out in  "Who Owns Britain"  Wales remains a country with a small percentage of its people owning land. This of course also has implications for affordable housing has land is a key element in building new homes.

In 2012 the fallen banner of 1896 was picked up by Cymrwch Y Tir Yn Ol  and the struggle for a new Welsh Land Act is underway  and a campaign has been launched for the return of our stolen land and an electronic petition is circulating calling for the return of Royal and Aristocratic Lands in Wales to the people. Sign Here :

We are not calling for the redistribution of Welsh Land to Welsh tenant farmers like in Ireland but for the redistribution of Welsh Land to the people, the re-creation of Welsh common land that our fathers lost, like the one million acres lost between 1795 - 1874.

We support  new land vehicles like community Land Trusts, priority right to buy Land by Welsh communities similar to the Scottish Land Reform Act of 2003. Although the Scottish Land Reform Act is far to limited and a Second Scottish Land Act is already underway.

We should set ourselves the task of recovering one million acres of Welsh Land for the community land trusts and other community land owning vehicles over the coming  years.


The Royal Commission on Land in Wales and Monmouthshire 1896.

Who Owns Britain by Kevin Cahill

Ken Morgan - Modern Wales

Monday 24 October 2016

Marsa Rojava by Kendal Manis : Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr Solidarity with Kurdish Struggle - The Welsh Socialist Republican Congress sends solidarity to Kurdish Comrades

Keç û xortên şoreşvan
Diparêzin Nîştiman
Natirsin ji kûçikên hovan
Em derxînin ji axa bavan/kalan

Bijî bijî Rojava!
Ji boyî te canên me feda!
Erişên dijmin bûn vala!
Kurdno mala we ava!

Keç û xortên qehreman
Şer dikin bo Kurdistan
Ji bo ku zarok bikin jiyan
Hazirin bibin pakrewan!

Qamişlo Afrîn Kobanê!
Amûde Dêrik Hesekê!
Tirbespî Serê Kaniyê!
Bijî Rojavayê Kurdistanê!

Devrimci kiz ve erkekler
Vatani savunuyorlar
Barbar itlerden korkmuyorlar
Onlari çikartacagiz atalarin topraklarindan
Yaşasin, yaşasin Rojava!
Senin için canimiz feda!
Düşmanin saldirilari boşa çikti
Kürtler, evleriniz şen olsun !
Kahraman kiz ve erkekler
Kürdistan için savaşiyorlar
Cocuklarin ölmemesi için
Sehid olmaya hazirlar
Qamişlo Afrîn Kobanê!
Amûde Dêrik Hesekê!
Tirbespî Serê Kaniyê!
Yaşasin Rojava Kurdistani !

Saturday 22 October 2016

Citizen Leanne and the Plaid Cymru Conference : The October Emergent Welsh Socialist Republican Movement needed more than ever.

Leanne and Adam

Countdown to the Welsh Socialist Republican Congress on 29th 30th October 2016 the first small step in changing the nature of the Welsh Political Scene.

Watching Plaid Cymru today at its conference still rejecting the EU referendum results.

Its like groundhog day politics which Wales can no longer afford.

Adam Price waffling his way through a TV interview - if this is what an Harvard education brings we can do without it in Wales.

It is nothing but the deception and self deception of bourgeois politics

PS: groundhog day - a situation in which a series of unwelcome or tedious events appear to be recurring in exactly the same way:

Count down to Welsh Socialist Republican Congress : Listening to Leanne Wood at Plaid Cymru Conference - she says she wants a bottom up approach but lines up for the Grants - British or EU - top down hand outs.

Wales needs to create its own Public Banking System and stop the flow of Welsh money every day into big five British Banks - we do not need hand outs.

We need to husband our Welsh resources stop the flow of our resources to the London Government and its banks - it is within our bottom up power to do so - now we have left the EU.

Wales needs to take control of its Land and Water Resources with a Welsh Land Act and a Welsh Water Act to act as a Nation - rather selling our land and water to the highest foreign bidder.

Why does Plaid Cymru ignore the Welsh Land Question in 2016 which is also key to protecting the Welsh Language ?

Leanne Wood says she is a citizen of the world (not a proletarian inter - nationalist) - we agree she is petty bourgeois of the self deceptive kind rather than the deceptive kind.

Time to end self deception in Wales

A Welsh Banking Act
A Welsh Land Act
A Welsh Water Act

Toward an Independent Wales

Forward to Socialism

Long live the emergent Welsh Socialist Republican Congress in 2016


This citizen of the world bourgeois cosmopolitanism has nothing in common with socialism and internationalism if you study Marxism.

Already in the 19th century Marx poured scorn on this supra national outlook of certain would be very revolutionary representatives, French Proudonists and some socialists like Paul Lafargue who had sought to dismiss nationality as an antiquated prejudice and to concentrate on the social question to the exclusion of national issues.

Cosmopolitan Left and National Question by Nickglais

Friday 21 October 2016

Aberfan - Least we Should ever Forget - 50th Anniversary

At 9.15am on Friday October 21st 1966, after several days of heavy rain, a huge slag tip above the town of Aberfan in South Wales suddenly liquified and poured down the mountain. The black tidal wave demolished properties in its path and engulfed the Pantglas Junior School in seconds.

Of the 144 people who lost their lives that day, 116 were children. The tragedy was totally preventable.

The National Coal Board had been warned time and time again of the dangers of dumping slag in such a geologically unstable area above towns.

They chose to ignore the warnings claiming it wan't profitable for them to move the slag tips to safer locations.

After the disaster, donations from all over the world poured in for the shattered community. However, most of the money never reached Aberfan. Instead the Government gave it to the National Coal Boad so that they could move other slag tips overlooking other towns in South Wales.

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr says Aberfan impacted the political and social landscape of Wales and reminded many of us who had forgotten we were Welsh - to be reminded of the consequences of British Coalboard Rule in the Mining Valleys, just has Tryweryn some years earlier had shown who ruled Wales and it wasn't the Welsh.

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Pre Congress Documents - Welsh Socialist Republican Congress 29/30th October 2016

Scroll sidebar to read - you can also expand PDF by pressing box in right hand corner

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr says with Regional meetings completed in Carmarthen and Merthyr and Wrexham which discussed the Pre Congress Documents  and the strategic orientation of Welsh Socialist Republicanism - we are now moving to stage two our actual Welsh Socialist Republican Congress on 29th/30th October 2016.

Forward to our October Congress 

Long Live Welsh Socialist Republicanism


Sunday 2 October 2016

The Symbolic Hanging of Duke of Somerset by Partisan Cymru - Re- ignite a Welsh Land Campaign say Welsh Socialist Republicans

Film of Partisan Cymru in action against the planting of a Wind Farm on Mynydd y Gwair, north of Abertawe, Cymru.

This is part of a national land and liberty campaign against the continuing theft and exploitation of our land by RWE and robber baron landlords such as the Duke of Somerset.

The Welsh Socialist Republican Congress will be discussing how to re-ignite a new Welsh Land and Liberty Campaign in Wales on the 29th/30th October.

Let the burning flame of Welsh People's Struggle light the road to Land and Liberty for our Nation