Wednesday, September 29, 2010
THE CASE FOR WELSH SOVEREIGNTY
SIR ROGER DAVID CASEMENT
1 September 1864 – 3 August 1916
‘Self-government is our right, a thing born in us at birth, a thing no more to be doled out to us, or withheld from us, by another people than the right to life itself - than the right to feel the sun, or smell the flowers, or to love our kind.’
Speech from the court dock after being found guilty of high treason, 29 June 1916
‘It is only from the convict these things are withheld, for crime committed and proven and Ireland, that has wronged no man, has injured no land, that has sought no dominion over others - Ireland is being treated today among the nations of the world as if she were a convicted criminal. If it be treason to fight against such an unnatural fate as this, then I am proud to be a rebel, and shall cling to my “rebellion” with the last drop of my blood…. Where all your rights have become only an accumulated wrong, where men must beg with bated breath for leave to subsist in their own land, to think their own thoughts, to sing their own songs, to gather the fruits of their own labours, and, even while they beg, to see things inexorably withdrawn from them-then, surely, it is a braver, a saner and truer thing to be a rebel, in act and in deed, against such circumstances as these, than to tamely accept it, as the natural lot of men…’
Casement, an Irish nationalist, poet and diplomat was stripped of his knighthood when executed at Pentonville Prison. The hangman Albert Ellis recalled: ‘He appeared to me the bravest man it fell to my unhappy lot to execute.’ A former British consul, he had tried to smuggle arms from Germany for an Irish uprising in World War I. The government could find little legal basis upon which to convict him, so the seemingly forged ‘Black Diaries’ were discovered and published, making Casement out to be a homosexual and weakening his support from all strata of society. His body was buried in quicklime, but in 1965 his remains were repatriated to Ireland for a state funeral, when over half a million people filed past the coffin.
The above is from ‘Immortal Last Words’ [Terry Breverton 2010]. Casement’s statement is germane to the case that achieving Welsh sovereignty has to be a long-term goal for every true Cymro.
The reason that the Sinn Fein MPs do not attend Parliament is that, unlike the Plaid Cymru MPs, they will not swear the Oath of Allegiance to the sovereign. In the House of Commons, after election, an MP must swear an Oath of Allegiance before taking his or her seat. Members who object to oath swearing may make a Solemn Affirmation instead. In the House of Lords the Oath of Allegiance must be taken, or Solemn Affirmation made, by every Lord, on introduction and at the beginning of every new Parliament, before he or she can sit and vote in the House of Lords. While holding a copy of the New Testament (or, in the case of a Jew or Muslim, the Old Testament or the Koran) a Member swears: “I¦..swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.” The text of the affirmation is: - “I ¦¦ do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors according to law”.
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a territory. It can be found in the power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided. The current notion of state sovereignty was laid down in the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia which codified the basic principles of statehood to include territorial integrity, border inviolability, and the supremacy of the state (rather than the Church). A government which exercises de facto administrative control over a country, and is not subordinate to any other government in that country, is a ‘sovereign state’ and its government is the supreme lawmaking authority. Membership of the European Union and lack of border controls have severely weakened the ability of the United Kingdom both to have an effective constitution and to call itself a sovereign state. Furthermore, its move towards European integration has severely disenfranchised the democratic rights of its citizens. A legitimate sovereign state will make its own laws and control its own borders, with the democratic agreement of its citizens. To be recognised as a nation-state, Cymru (Wales) would have to be recognised by other nation-states. The major problem will be that other European states have had their sovereignty circumvented by European statutes and powers, and would be unwilling to recognise a nation that wished to regain sovereign powers.
To claim sovereignty, therefore, Cymru (Wales) would have to ally itself with other aspiring nation-states such as Catalonia, and with existing nation-states outside the European realm of dominance. Cymru (Wales) is the main remnant of the Celtic nation of Britain, with its own leaders since before recorded history began. As various invaders – Saxons, Vikings, Irish and the Normans conquered Britain by force, Cymru (Wales) remained independent until 1282, when Prince Llywelyn was murdered by English forces. Throughout the 14th and 15th centuries, Wales was never properly conquered, and for around a decade in the early 15th century Owain Glyndwr was Prince of Wales. With the coming of a Welsh dynasty, the Tudors, supported by a Welsh army, to the English crown in 1485, it was hoped that over 1500 years of independence would be guaranteed. However, Henry VIII destroyed the Welsh legal system in the sixteenth century and power was transferred to London. English sovereignty over Cymru has never been legally established. By itself, that does not help the Welsh case for independence and sovereignty.
However, the Welsh people have never agreed to English rule, and even less to undemocratic European central rule. The replica House of Commons in Cardiff Bay is no answer to Welsh desire for sovereignty. Those elected, like all politicians, have no interest in anything but lining their pockets. The whole basis of democracy, accountability, law and responsibility needs to be altered in Cymru. It will be incredibly difficult to achieve sovereignty as a nation-state – well over a third of people living in Wales were not born in Wales, and the sense of nationhood is constantly being diluted. Wales, as a sovereign state, can show the world what democracy means, but there will be incredible obstacles to any progress.
Wales is quite possibly the only nation never to have declared war on another nation. It has fought against invaders, which is the only reason it retains a sense of nationhood. The Isle of Man exists as a sovereign territory outside the European Union. There is a place for Wales as an independent sovereign territory outside Europe also, with control of its own borders, its own economy and more importantly its own future. Wales has no future if it continues to exist in its current form, with the highest unemployment in the British Isles, and heavily dependent upon bureaucratic jobs which create no wealth for the nation. With cuts in civil service and local government employment, the future for Wales is miserable. It is bleak for most of Europe and America, as the power-houses of India and China come to control the world’s economies. To do nothing is to accept sinking into debt and mediocrity, with no hope for future generations.
Monday, May 31, 2010
THE DISGRACE OF WINDFARMS
Can anyone dispute these figures?
At present it is already fairly horrendous that Wales has 528 wind turbines to England’s 676. England has 50,352 square miles, and Wales has 8,018 square miles. Thus the density in little Wales is .065 turbines per square mile and in England .013 turbines.
Wales thus has 5 TIMES THE DENSITY OF ENGLAND.
There are applications outstanding for another 403 wind turbines across Wales, including a huge one on the unspoilt peat boglands of Nant-y-Moch where Glyndwr’s victory secured Welsh nationalism. (The destruction of peat bogs releases more captured carbon than wind turbines can ever save, and kites, buzzards and wildlife will be killed). Another 81 wind turbines have consents.
Wales only has 5% cent of UK POPULATION. England has 83 per cent. So England has almost 17 times the electricity consumption of Wales, and England’s rightful share of wind turbines is being dumped on Wales.
Labour with the disgraceful Forestry Commission/TAN 8 fix wanted to ‘lead’ the way in Wales for clean electricity. They seemed to lose sight of Tories and LibDems claiming to want wind energy, but not in their middle-class homelands of the Cotswolds, Chilterns, Malverns and North and South Downs. There is not one turbine in Shropshire, compared to hundreds in neighbouring Powys. Try finding a wind power station (they are not farms) in our neighbouring counties of Worcester, Gloucester, Hereford, Shropshire and Cheshire!
Do these areas seriously compare with the Cambrian Mountains and Nant-y-Moch in beauty, wildlife, or environmental impact? Wales is already more than self-sufficient in energy, without all this environmental and economic dysfunctionalism to pander to political half-wits with no scientific understanding.
We use 2000MW in Wales; we generate 4000MW without counting wind; we are building a 2000MW gas fired station in Pembroke and an 800 MW one at Uskmouth. There will soon be a new nuclear power station at Wylfa. So we will soon GENERATE 6800MW IN WALES, 4800MW MORE THAN WE NEED.
WALES WILL SOON BE PRODUCING 3.4 TIMES ITS NEEDS, EVEN WITHOUT ANY WIND TURBINE DESPOLIATION.
Yet – we are going ahead pell-mell with new wind-powered intermittent energy plants (they are NOT FARMS). The new turbines are over 400 feet high and can be seen for miles in this small country. They are a noise nuisance. They kill birds and bats. (The RSPB disgracefully accepts money from a foreign windfarm operator to keep quiet (see savetheeagles.com) They destroy archaeological sites. They despoil the environment. They are an ecological disaster. They will kill tourism, Wales’ only industry.
JUST THINK – we place a new wind energy plant in the hills. Everything is imported by sea, and over land, hurting the Balance of Payments in this impoverished country. The effect on the roads, sewers and pavements in villages and towns is incalculable, with these massive loads. Traffic has to be halted, trees cut, and new access roads built. New substations have to be built. Huge concrete plinths have to be inserted into the moors to hold up each turbine (each with an expected life of just 25 years). More sand is taken from off the Welsh coast, and therefore Welsh beaches, which cannot be replaced. There have to be billion pounds of modifications to the National Grid to accept these new wind plants. The alternatives of better insulation on homes, better emission control from energy plants, wave power – all offer far better solutions.
This is not to mention the fact that rainforest destruction, over-farming of the seas and the methane emissions of livestock are of far greater menace to any climate change.
AND THIS IS NOT THE WORST ASPECT!
NOT ONE conventional or nuclear power station will close because of this race to build wind turbines. None have closed in Denmark, the world leader in wind turbine density, and currently the ‘dirtiest’ emitter of gases in Europe. During the cold spell in February 2010, wind turbines were operating at 0.1% capacity because there was no wind. That is – at a thousandth of their efficiency. They are inefficient even when operating, and their use is only made feasible by massive government subsidies, VIA THE TAXPAYER, of course. No-one pays for these inefficient devices except the people. Every person’s electricity bill subsidises these monsters. No-one makes money except businesses, and the politicians who feed off them when they leave Parliament.
Even if Britain had a wind turbine on every house and in every field – for a huge proportion of the year it would need 100% back up conventional power stations because wind energy cannot be stored, and they cannot operate if the wind is too high or too low. And these conventional stations cannot be turned off or on – they have to keep producing, just like a coal fire in your living room to keep you warm. If you rely on windpower, without having 100% available back-up from normal stations, you will not be able to make a cup of tea, read a paper or watch a TV. That is just consumers – what about offices and industries? Their computers would grind to a halt.
You may have noticed that the weasels who call themselves politicians have stopped referring to ‘GLOBAL WARMING’ and replaced it with ‘CLIMATE CHANGE’. Then again - CLIMATE CHANGE HAS ALWAYS HAPPENED! I was just reading a book about Flintshire, where Bishop John Trefor in 1396 was complaining about his revenues because a large part of his coastal lands had been taken over by the sea. The sea has been rising quietly since the last Ice Age. In the 17th century, the Holyhead coach from London crossed the Menai Straits to Anglesey at low tide.
If there seriously is global warming, and I have not yet come across an independent scientist who can affirm this, then the attempts of Britain, with 2% of global emissions, is pointless. (‘Independent’ scientists do not rely upon governments, quangoes or corporations for salaries or funding. Universities are no longer independent. One of the great tragedies of modern times is that scientists have been ‘turned’ into non-rational beings in return for tenure, prestige or cash). China and India are building hundreds of fossil-fuel power stations. Any attempts by Britain to ‘go green’, even with the half-baked inefficient/ineffective scam of wind plants (see/buy The Great Windfarm Scam by Dr John Etherington) – are doomed to failure.
This is all because the multimillionaire public schoolboy who is so scientific that he cannot email, promised the bloated EU that Britain would have 20% green energy by 2010. Hands up Anthony Blair – yet another fine mess left by the greedy lying moron. The following article is from the Evening Standard - YOU COULD NOT MAKE THIS UP!
London Evening Standard 26.05.10
Tony Blair to earn millions as climate change adviser
BY Sri Carmichael, Consumer Affairs Reporter
Tony Blair is set to earn millions of pounds advising an American businessman on how to make money from tackling climate change.
The former prime minister will be paid at least £700,000 a year to act as a “strategic adviser” to Khosla Ventures, a venture capitalist firm founded by Indian billionaire Vinod Khosla.
The Californian company bankrolls businesses hoping to profit from technology that helps reduce global warming and carbon emissions.
Mr Blair secured the job thanks to his “influence” and high level international contacts, whom he will be expected to lean on to open doors.
He has told friends he needs £5 million a year to fund his lifestyle.
Khosla Ventures confirmed it was hiring him, but declined to confirm his salary, which was estimated by industry sources.
Khosla said that “with Tony’s advice and influence we will create opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovators to devise practical solutions that can solve today’s most pressing problems.”
In a statement yesterday, Mr Blair said: “Solving the climate crisis is more than just a political agenda item; it’s an urgent priority that requires innovation, creativity and ambition.”
He has taken up several lucrative posts since leaving office three years ago. He has a £1 million deal to advise the ruling royal family of Kuwait and has been paid a £4.6 million advance for his memoirs.
Public speaking engagements, which earn him £100,000 a time, are estimated to have brought in another £9 million.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
It seems absurd that the 2009 discovery of treasure in Staffordshire has been trumpeted by all the archaeologists and newspapers as ‘proof’ that the Anglo-Saxons accepted Christianity far earlier than was thought. A cursory examination of the finds reveals Celtic knotwork designs. The Christian inscription on the buried hoard indicates a ‘Christian Saxon king’. The finds are contemporaneous with the sacking of the court of Cynddylan, King of Powys at Wroxeter, and the taking of the other capital of Powys, Pengwern (Shrewsbury). The gold was taken from the destruction of British (i.e. Welsh) monasteries and churches, and its provenance to Welsh gold mines can probably easily be made. A similar thing happened on a TV documentary analysis of Irish gold - they could not link it to any Irish gold mines because it was stolen from Wales when the Irish were pagan and the Welsh were Christian.
Why does no academic realise that the Romans came to Britain to get at the largest gold and coppermines in Europe, at Dolaucothi and the Great Orme, mines worked by the Celts for centuries? Welsh slate, copper, gold, silver and lead was exported on a huge scale. Why does no English academic understand that there were three Roman legions stationed in Britain, compared to one in each of their other far-flung provinces. Of those, one was in York, safeguarding most of England and Scotland. The other two were stationed on the Welsh borders, at Caerleon and Chester, with the most extensive network of Roman roads in Europe emanating from them to other major forts at Carmarthen and Caernarfon.
There were 1500 artefacts, the greatest find since Sutton Hoo, found near Lichfield, with around 5kg and 2.5kg of gold and silver items. The largest cross was folded, indicating a pagan burial. A gold strip reads, in Latin, ‘Rise Up, Lord - May your enemies be scattered and those who hate You be driven from Your face.’ The objects are dated between 650 and 750 CE, which was around the time that the barbarian Penda and Aethelred of Mercia were invading Christian Wales. Ironically, Lichfield Cathedral houses the so-called Gospel of St Chad, in fact the Book of St Teilo, stolen from Wales and claimed as English - but that is another story.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Plans are going ahead for the desecration of Nant-y-Moch, the wild unswept area of the Battle of Hyddgen, the defining moment which ensured that Glyndwr’s uprising would turn into a War of Independence. In utter despair, I add a few items from the Cambrian Mountains Society. Upon 18-19 June I will be in Machynlleth for the Glyndwr celebrations, making a short speech in honour of Bishop Ieuan Trefof (John Trevor), as plaques to him and Rhys Ddu are unveiled.
In January 2008, the sale of Airtricity was completed to Scottish and Southern Energy Plc
Nant y Moch - national treasure or industrial wind farm?
DAILY POST June 22 By Andrew Forgrave, Rural Affairs Editor
CONSERVATIONISTS are calling for one of Wales’ outstanding natural treasures to be saved from “industrial-scale” wind farming. The Wildland Network (TWN) insist the Nant-y-Moch area near Machynlleth should be left alone as a bulwark against climate change rather than populated with giant turbines.
Nant-y-Moch is earmarked for the next generation of wind projects alongside the likes of the Clocaenog Forest, Denbighshire, and areas around Carno and Newtown. TWN fears wildlife and scenery concerns are being brushed aside in the rush for renewable energy.
“Future generations, as well as people today, will want special wild places as well as clean energy,” said TWN’s Stanley Owen. The Welsh Assembly Government has declared Nant-y-Moch a TAN8 Strategic Search Area favouring major wind energy development. The Forestry Commission, which manages large areas of land within the SSA, has been tendering for power station projects of up to 100MW.
The area includes Nant-y-Moch and Dinas reservoirs, the Nant-y-Moch scenic drive, Artists’ Valley, Glaspwll, and historic Hyddgen - site of Glyndwr’s most famous victory. The Cambrian Mountains Society (CMS) is also critical of the plans, having previously resisted - unsuccessfully - the development of Wales’ largest on-shore wind farm at Cefn Croes.
Conservationists are worried turbine spread will jeopardise several on-going collaborative projects in the region, including proposals for a Cambrian Mountains Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Dyfi Biosphere initiative and the Pumlumon Project, managed by the Welsh Wildlife Trusts. Each claim their projects will build more sustainable economies, based on increased tourism and recreation opportunities, help with flood management, improve wildlife habitats and protect upland peat bogs’ roles as carbon sinks.
“All could dissolve into a huge missed opportunity if wind turbine developments are allowed to go ahead,” said Mr Owen. Wind power opponents also point to the carbon emissions associated with large scale projects.
When Cefn Croes was being built, the CMS estimated 30,000 tonnes of concrete was used, emitting 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, and 300 articulated lorry loads arrived on site. The new generation of 140-metre turbines need foundations the size of half a football pitch.
Mr Owen said decision makers, in Cardiff and Westminster, must recognise their responsibility to protect special places like Nant-y-Moch. He accused the Assembly government of “bypassing the democratic process” with its on-shore wind power policies.
“Developing a wildlife haven and awe-inspiring landscape with large-scale wind turbines cannot be the right way to proceed,” he added.
In July 2005 the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) published Technical Advice Note (TAN) 8. This TAN indicates that there are only a few relatively unconstrained areas in Wales that are capable of accommodating large wind power developments. These areas make up the 7 Strategic Search Areas (SSA) capable of accommodating large (>25MW+) wind power developments.
Unfortunately one of these 7 areas is Area D “Nant-y-Moch” which the TAN suggests have an “indicative generating capacity” of 140MW (approximately 50-70 modern wind turbines of 100m in height).. The following letter is indicative of events:
Just a couple of years into our retirement my wife and I were enjoying a quiet and peaceful life in a remote Welsh valley. Then, last September, we had a knock on our door. The question our unexpected caller put to us was: ‘would you object to sound monitoring equipment to be placed in your garden in order to measure the natural sounds of your surroundings, your babbling stream for instance, to offset it… against what might well be the second biggest on-shore wind farm in the U.K.?’
Since that day it has been a quick learning process for us. What has become clear is that there is no doubt whatsoever that turbines at close proximity can cause very serious sleep deprivation and that your house, certainly in such a remote spot as ours, may be virtually unsaleable. But what shocked us most of all was that these clearly indisputable facts are not only ignored by Planning Departments, wind farm developers and their consultants alike, but quite deliberately denied altogether!
Here, for instance, are the last three paragraphs of a letter we received from the Welsh Assembly Government’s Planning Department:
‘On the subject of what you perceive as property blight should the proposed wind farm development gain approval, there is no express statutory power to provide a mandatory compensation scheme in existence at the present time for individuals adversely affected by wind farm development in their locality.
No Government sponsored research has been undertaken into the matter of property blight as a result of wind farm installations, but from the ‘evidence’ available from public sources, such as the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (UK), there appear to be no studies that suggest an effect either way. This pattern has been repeated at various operating wind farms in England, Wales and Scotland, where any evidence available demonstrates that wind farms have no material effect on house prices.
If individuals feel that they have evidence to substantiate a claim of property blight they are of course at liberty to seek legal redress through the courts.’
There is overwhelming evidence, scientific as well as circumstantial, that the above assertions are grossly untrue. So drastic action is urgently needed to demonstrate to the authorities once and for all that ‘property blight’ from wind farms is a real issue, which ought to be recognised and dealt with adequately. There ought to be a proper compensation scheme and we believe that, especially in view of the new generation of giant turbines, there should be a mandatory minimum distance of 5 km at least between wind farm and houses.
So if you have wind turbines nearby and feel you have been unfairly treated, or if you believe you are about to become a wind farm victim, please let us have your story. Send a summary of your case to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can compile a list. We’d like to hear from you whether you live in the U.K. or abroad. By next June we hope to have gathered enough statements to bring them to the attention of the relevant Government Departments and the Media, in the first place, of course, to the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
We promise to keep all addresses and certainly all email addresses strictly confidential. However, when the summaries of your stories are submitted to Governmental Departments it would be useful if we could include your name and address. But please let us know if you wish to remain completely anonymous so we can respect your wishes. We aim to contact you within a few days after receiving your summary and will keep you informed from there on. We are looking forward to hearing from you.
Some myths about Wind Farms
Myth: Wind farms cause no noise problems.
Fact: Recent research carried out by the ‘Noise Association’ was based on far smaller wind farms, with lower turbines, than the ones presently in the planning. It is clear from the report that even the locations of these smaller wind farms have caused and are causing a great deal of suffering and distress. The report’s recommendation of 1 mile minimum distance between dwellings and wind farm clearly applies to these smaller wind farms only. For the installation of the large, modern turbines they recommend a short moratorium ‘until it is established, through trials, the amount of noise they actually emit’.
Myth: Wind farms do not harm property prices.
Fact: Despite claims from the industry that research from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors shows that wind farm have no negative effect on house prices, the latest RICS report clearly states that ‘60% of the sample suggested that wind farms decrease the value of residential properties where the development is within view and 67% indicated that the negative impact on property prices starts when a planning application to erect a wind farm is made’.
In the survey no distinction is made between ‘development within view’ or ‘in close proximity’ so it is not hard to imagine the impact on the latter category!
Myth: wind farms pose no health risks.
Fact: Many (though not all) people who find themselves living near industrial wind turbines suffer sleep problems (insomnia), headaches, dizziness, unsteadiness, nausea, exhaustion, anxiety, anger, irritability, depression, memory loss, eye problems, problems with concentration and learning, tinnitus (ringing in the ears). According to a report by Dr Geoff Leventhall, a fellow of the Institute of Physics and Institute of Acoustics, ‘Low-frequency noise causes extreme distress to a number of people who are sensitive to its effects.’
Research in Portugal published in May 2007 also demonstrates that wind turbines in the proximity of residential areas produce acoustical environments that can lead to the development of “Vibro-Acoustic Disease” in nearby home-dwellers.
The Danish government has now stopped erecting onshore turbines because of the health problems associated with noise.
What is quite clear from talking to people living near wind farms is that acoustic tests often fail to predict nuisance. It is not until the turbines are is up and running that the problems are revealed. The one and only solution is far greater distances between residential homes and turbines.
A major current concern of the CAMBRIAN MOUNTAIN Society is the threat posed by major wind energy developments to the landscape, natural beauty, biodiversity, and scientific interest of the Cambrian Mountains. We also believe such developments to be damaging to the interests of the communities of the Cambrian Mountains, whose future viability will be increasingly dependent on those qualities of their environment which we seek to sustain and enhance.
We deplore the designation by the Welsh Assembly Government in its Technical Advice Note 8 (TAN8) of the Nant-y-moch Strategic Search Area (SSA) and the society is committed to opposing any major wind energy development arising from the Nant-y-moch SSA designation. In line with the recommendations of TAN 8, Ceredigion Council commissioned a report during 2007 from Arup Consultants with a view to providing an evidence base for subsequent planning policy formation and decision-making. The report concluded:
“It is recommended in accordance with the study brief that the TAN 8 SSA boundary is therefore refined to remove the environmentally worst performing areas and any additional land not needed to deliver the TAN 8 indicative capacities”.
In line with this recommendation, the map provided in the Arup Report showed a very significant reduction in the original Nant-y-moch TAN 8 area. Since then, Dulas Ltd (acting for Airtricity, the developers) have produced a map showing the preliminary site layout plan for the proposed Nant-y-moch windfarm. The developers have not only ignored the recommendations of the Arup report but have gone beyond the area contained in the original TAN 8 document. It shows about (there are so many it’s hard to count!) 105 wind turbines. This would make it the biggest so far in Wales.
The site boundary goes from just outside Talybont in the west and well into Powys in the east, and from Cwm Einion (ironically known to many as Artists’ Valley!) in the north to Llyn Craigypistyll (the source of Aberystwyth’s water) in the south. It includes the site of Cerrig Cyfamod Glyndŵr which the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales suggests is where Owain Glyndŵr “held parley, and made his covenant” and is close to the probable site of Glyndŵr’s famous victory in the Battle of Hyddgen. Nearby are numerous Cairns and graves relating to other Welsh heroes, including Carn Gwilym on Banc Llechwedd Mawr.
Cefn Croes power station, opened in 2005, was built on a high plateau in the heart of the Cambrian Mountains, despite huge opposition, and despite the advice of the officers of the local planning authority that it should not be permitted because of its impact on the environment and landscape.
There is also an ill-defined proposal for an enormous power station of around 165 x 2MW turbines in the southern part of the Cambrian Mountains. This area was thankfully excluded from the Strategic Search Areas, apparently because of objections from the Ministry of Defence, which uses it for very low altitude flight training - one of only two such Tactical Training Areas in the UK. This scheme is the brainchild of one Dafydd Huws of Caerffili, who has set up a body called the Camddwr Trust, and hopes to gain approval for his plans by promising to distribute a portion of the revenue from the windfarm to local communities. Camddwr may yet re-emerge as a threat to the Cambrian Mountains, when the windpower possibilities of existing TAN8 areas have been exhausted, and if experimental work succeeds in perfecting a system which would obviate the threat posed by turbines to the RAF’s tactical training requirements.
Are National Parks safe from wind farm development?
Not really. National Parks are not considered appropriate sites for wind power installations and so far there are no wind turbines in the National Parks of Wales. However, the Welsh Assembly has stated that it would allow development of wind farms producing less than 25 megawatts of power in the National Parks. A large modern turbine produces between 1.5 and 2 megawatts. So in theory we could see wind farms made up of at least 12 turbines, producing 24 megawatts, in our National Parks.
Are Forestry Commission woodlands safe from wind farm developments?
Definitelynot. Forestry Commission land is actually being targeted for wind farm development by the Welsh Assembly.
Will wind farms be visible from National Parks?
Yes. Even if wind turbines are not built in National Parks, some of the proposed wind farms will be visible from these areas. For example, the developers for the Blaengwen wind farm in Carmarthenshire showed in their Environmental Statement that the ten 363-foot (110.5-metre) turbines, to be built at an altitude of approximately 1,000 feet above sea level, would be visible from parts of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and the Brecon Beacons National Park.
The Welsh Assembly has also identified an area referred to as Coed Morgannwg, just south of the Brecon Beacons National Park, as suitable for the installation of 290 megawatts of wind power (about 145 turbines).
Snowdonia National Park
To the west of the park, in the Clocaenog Forest area, the Welsh Assembly has identified a potential of 140 megawatts, or about 70 wind turbines.
To the south of the Park, there are two areas identified for development: Carno North, 290 megawatts (about 180 turbines); and Nant-y-Moch, 140 megawatts (about 70 turbines).
If these developments go ahead, they will most likely have a visual impact on Snowdonia National Park - see below for the names of the preferred developers.
The total area of Clocaenog Forest is approximately 14,000 acres, of which about 3,500 acres would be clear-felled for turbines. So wind ‘farming’ will destroy and industrialise one quarter of the forest.
What happens when wind farms are built on woodland?
Wind turbines and trees are not compatible. Trees are cut down to make way for access roads into the site and for the pylons carrying electricity from the site. Trees are also cleared from a large area around each turbine in order to reduce wind interference.
The ancient Brechfa Forest, a popular tourist destination in Carmarthenshire, has been earmarked by the Welsh Assembly for about 90 megawatts of wind-generated electricity. This equates to around 45 to 50 turbines, about 300 to 400 feet high - see below.
In November 2008, the Forestry Commission announced their preferred developer in each Strategic Search Area (SSA) in Wales, as defined in TAN8*:
TAN 8 SSA Area MW planned Preferred developer
A Clocaenog Forest 140 Npower
B Carno North 290 Scottish Power
C Newtown South 70 No bids, no plans
D Nant-y-Moch 140 Airtricity
E Pontardawe 100 Nuon
F Coed Morgannwg 290 Nuon
G Brechfa Forest 90 Npower
* TAN8 = Technical Advice Note 8: Planning for Renewable Energy, published by the Welsh Assembly, July 2005.
Of these five poems, Rebirth is the key. All Welsh symbols, such as the crown of Arthur and the crowns of the Welsh princes have been deliberately destroyed. The symbol of Wales, is that we have the greatest density of castles in the world, mainly built by our neighbour. A nation needs more symbols that a language still fighting for its existence and hundreds of crumbling castles. Embassy Glyndwr commissioned a superb sword to commemorate the last Prince of Wales, Owain Glyndwr, and I was asked to write a poem for the ceremonies surrounding it – ‘On the Dedication of the Sword of State for Cymru’. This was read at the unveiling at Cardiff Castle, and the presentation in Machynlleth, the site of Glyndwr’s Parliament House or Senedd. ‘The Dagger into Cymru’ followed, inscribed on a shield presented to Corwen Council in 2004. ‘The Shield of State for Cymru’ naturally represents another lost symbol, and Coron Glyndwr was written for the presentation of the Crown at Cefn Caer, Pennal in 2007.
It is strange reading poetry, because writing it is intensely personal. You feel that you are giving away your secrets, as many of us find it far easier to express our feelings in poetry than prose. Writing distances one from revelation, in many ways – it masks feelings but still expresses them. I began rewriting poetry after a ten-year break, because of Rhys Parry’s request in his compilation of a book of poems on Glyndwr. I had come to think of it as a senseless, pointless occupation, but was then commissioned to write poems on the Sword of State for Wales, on Glyndwr causing a Rebirth of nationalism, and one on ‘the dagger’ .
I did not suffer from any kind of writer’s block – I have written 26 books in the last 10 years – but needed some stimulus. Just as much comedic talent comes from broken individuals, it seems that often one has to have some sort of depression to attempt writing poems. I think that the stimulus of a younger person’s interest, plus my pessimism about the situation of Wales in the modern world, have helped me to start again. Another reason for stopping was that poetry is not seen as necessary in today’s world. But without poetry Wales would have nothing – we have been a nation of poets for over 1500 years. Oral poetry has given us our history, culture and heritage, as records have been destroyed by successive waves of invaders. Without our oral culture we would not be a nation today.
Our bards have always been prized by us, and killed by the invaders – you kill the history, you kill the nation. So modern poets can tell a story of Wales that does not accord with what the English textbooks tell us – remember that history is always written by the conquerors, and always to their favour. Our last mab darogan, son of prophecy, the great continental warrior Owain LLawgoch, was assassinated on the orders of the English crown – but no one knows of him – a warrior once famed all over Europe. Our last prince, LLywelyn II was murdered in a trap set by the Mortimers, not killed almost by accident as according to current textbooks. Owain Glyndwr was voted the 7th most influential person in the Millennium by a panel of distinguished political leaders, scientists and eminent people across the world – placed above Churchill, Bill Gates, Einstein – but only recently has anyone thought to celebrate him. It has been a long, hard road for patriots like Gethin ap Gruffudd and Sian Ifans to stimulate interest across Wales in our national hero.
Poetry can give us pride. We can put the bare acts down, and then surround them with our feelings. It takes nerve to be a poet – and Wales needs every one of its people to take up the old craft and keep it going. Poetry can give us strength as a nation – we must not lose it…
This poem was commissioned by Rhys Parry for A Song for Owain - Poems in Praise of Owain Glyndwr and first read during the launch of the book at MOMA, Machynlleth, June 19th 2004.
Driven from unnatural duty By the evil shade of grey From moated mansion at Sycharth And plas at Glyndyfrdwy Owain regained the nationhood – Our candle of battle In spring the blood-poured lions of Gwynedd roared In summer the men of Cymru unsheathed their swords In Autumn the invasions became stronger And winter fell upon the nation 6 centuries of loss 20 generations of despair 60 decades of Trywerin 600 years of Aberfan The invisible immortal The defender of our nation Never betrayed - Still shelters his blasted people Ever present but unseen Born in Spring Gave our Summer Died in Autumn Without Winter As yet There is no Spring
ON THE DEDICATION OF THE SWORD OF STATE OF CYMRU
This poem was first read at Cardiff Castle upon May 6th 2004 when the Sword was unveiled for the first time. It was next read at Machynlleth upon June 20th 2004, as part of the Glyndwr celebrations of 18th-21st June. The poem was also inscribed upon a shield and given to the Mayor of Machynlleth after he had received the sword.
The Royal Standard of England bears: St George’s Flag of England, St Andrew’s Flag of Scotland, And St Patrick’s Flag of Ireland. St David’s Flag of Wales Has never been included. Our Welsh Flag, The Flag of Cadwaladr, Y Ddraig Goch Is the oldest national flag in the world. A Nation has its own flag. The Royal Coat of Arms bears: The three lions of England, The lion of Scotland, And the harp of Ireland Glyndwr’s Coat of Arms Is the four lions rampant Of the House of Gwynedd – The oldest royal house in Britain. A Nation has its own Coat of Arms. The Royal Coat of Arms Bears the symbols of: The rose of England The thistle of Scotland, And the shamrock of Ireland. The British have their older symbols: St Peter’s leek, the daffodil of spring, St David’s leek of victory over the Saxon, And the dragon of Cadwaladr. A Nation has its own symbols. The Great Sword of State Carries the motifs of: The portcullis of Westminster, The rose of England, The fleur de lys of France, The thistle of Scotland And the harp of Ireland. There is no symbol Of Power Or Authority Over Wales, The British precursor of England. The First Nation wants The symbol of authority Of its Great Sword of State. A Nation needs its own sword. The trinity of sword, flag and coat of arms Is now complete. A Nation, not a principality. Cymru, not Wales. Comrades not foreigners. Cymraeg not Welsh. The British People, The First Nation, Is moving… Again.
THE DAGGER INTO CYMRU
The poem was commissioned for the Corwen Glyndwr Festival of September 18th-19th 2004, read upon the 18th, and inscribed upon a wooden shield presented to Gerallt Tudor, Chair of Corwen Council.
‘There is no pain greater than this, not the cut of a jagged-edged dagger nor the fire of a dagger’s breath. Nothing burns in your heart like the emptiness of losing something, someone, before you have truly learned of its value.’
R.A. Salvatore, ‘Homeland’
Carnwennan was the dagger of Arthur; And the scabbard of his sword Caledfwlch Could prevent the blood of the wounds Of this haemorrhaging country. How do we now want our death? Through the eye and into the mind? We understand but do not want to see. How do we now want our death? Through the ribs and into the heart? Where is the heart of Wales? How do we now want our death? Through the throat and into the windpipe? Shall we lose the language? The dagger casts the shadow of extinction And when the language goes The nation will follow. We Welsh use daggers to make lovespoons But this is not the twca cam With long handle and crooked blade But a straight, savage, mortal device. Defy the drawn dagger Daggers do not deal death in the rain They do not sweep/slice the air Daggers take you through the brain Slip into heart and throat Through the armoured coat A dagger moves slowly through the mind Dead voices, daggers of desire Stop us every day And their points seek The weakest vital. It slides-slithers-clanks Through the interstitial crevices Of the iron-cocooned Worm of authority and power Poking easily through the armour of state Emerging slimy-hot with blood. Is it mercy to kill A nation on all fours Via the misericorde Leaving a carcass for chewing historians? Does the heart pity A country’s despoil - This core of misery, And pierce a tongue For the sake of orthodoxy? Are we mortally wounded? Should we welcome the knife? The design of a dagger Is to assassinate Not to fight. What do we fear? Who do you warn? How do you defend Against the unseen? After the murder of LLywelyn the Last, LLawgoch suffered the dawn-drawn dagger - Red throat from assassin’s red hand. Glyndwr was our next son of prophecy But escaped the traitorous arrow of Hywel Sele And the cloaked intent of Dafydd Gam. Did Glyndwr then feel the horrors of guilt? His heart was pierced to the hilt His family was lost. Wales was wasted. Owain regained the murdered nationhood By virtue of warm blood. But our earls have flown. Wales is wasted. Did you put your heart into the dagger? Did it end almost like this? Do you lie under blades of bright grass In Corwen churchyard? And is your dagger in its church door, Hurled from Cadair Glyndwr? Or does Monnington hold your heart? You were never backstabbed No one wants to find your grave Bones represent our failure. Nothing is united in death And you never died. Carnwennan was the dagger of Arthur; And the scabbard of his sword Caledfwlch Could prevent the blood of the wounds Of this haemorrhaging country.
THE SHIELD OF STATE OF CYMRU
The English fight for power; the Welsh for liberty; the one to procure gain, the other to avoid loss. The English hirelings for money; the Welsh patriots for their country – Giraldus Cambrensis
We have had our shields of legend – The shield of Joseph of Arimathea With its blooded cross; The shield of Afalach, Galahad’s shield and Wynebgwrthucher The Honour of the Evening - The enchanted shield of Arthur Which accompanied Caledfwlch The Hard Notch hated by the Saxon. We had our shield of history - Tarian Glyndwr united the arms of Gwynedd - The passant lions On scarlet and gold - With the arms of Powys The rampant lion On silver and scarlet. He transmuted silver to gold, And the passive lion Into the four roaring lions Of Hywel Gwynedd Rhys Gethin Rhys Ddu And Rhys Tudor He held Tarian Glyndwr above As shield-bearer to Richard II (1) - Sir Owen de Glendore - And owed nothing to the traitorous Bolingbroke He had his English shields at his side The shields of love The border Scudamores (2) Who married his daughters He had his shield of Marged His wife the best of wives! Happy am I in her wine and mead. Eminent dame of knightly lineage, Honourable, beneficent, noble! Her children came in pairs, A beautiful nest of chieftains! (3) Why go to war? 'The Welsh habit of revolt against the English is a long-standing madness . . . and this is the reason. The Welsh, formerly called the Britons, were once noble, crowned with the whole realm of England; but they were expelled by the Saxons and lost both name and a kingdom ... But from the sayings of the prophet Merlin they still hope to recover England. Hence it is they frequently rebel.' (4) Six invasions of mercenaries led by the English kings Destroying our abbeys and churches. (5) What care we for barefoot Welsh peasants? (6) Reaping grim fortune and reward Slashing, turning, burning, torturing and retreating Before the mounted war bands of Glyndwr "My nation has been trodden underfoot by the fury of the barbarous Saxons." (7) not for you defeat and the disgrace of the upturned shield and not for you death and the shield to carry your body off the field Owain had the shield of faith The armour of God As the Elect of Sain Derfel Gadarn. We are losing our shield of language Now our sole protection is Tarian Glyndwr Thrown into a cauldron of rebirth Ceridwen’s cauldron of inspiration Becoming our last shield of legend And fact
- 1 ‘His name in Welsh was Owain ap Gruffydd ap Fychan, which is simply Owen son of Griffith son of Vaughan. He turned courtier in the train of the Earl of Arundel. For his valour, or his genial parts, he became a favourite with Richard II, and was made that unhappy monarch’s shield-bearer. He was with Richard in many battles, in France, in Ireland, and in the Wars of the Roses. The king knighted him, and he was called Sir Owen de Glendore. In 1399 Richard II was deposed, Henry Bolingbroke usurped the English throne, and Owen Glendower went into retirement in Wales. He now became noted for a magnificent and lavish hospitality. His place, called Sycharth, was in the vale of the Dee, where he had some forty miles square of Vendotia’s most picturesque and fertile soil. Here he literally kept open house, there being neither locks nor bolts on his’… (from Wirt Sykes)
- 2 Scudamore in Old French literally means ‘shield of love’
- 3 From Iolo Goch, Glyndwr’s court poet.
- 4 An unknown English scribe -Vita Edwardi Secundi, c. l330
- 5 It was said that animals grazed for years in Llanrwst churchyard, because of the English sacking of the churches. Sir John Wynn in his ‘History of the Gwydir Family’ describes these years - ‘beginning in Anno 1400, continued fifteen years which brought such a desolation, that green grass grew on the market place in Llanrwst………and the deer fled in the churchyard’
- 6 King Richard’s abduction and murder ruined Glyndwr’s idyllic existence after just one year of retirement. His income from his estates was around two hundred pounds a year, but in 1399 Reginald Grey, Lord of Ruthin, stole some of his Glyndyfwrdwy lands. Glyndwr was legally trained, and decided to fight Grey with a lawsuit in the English Parliament. A proud and loyal man, of royal blood, extremely tall for his times, he wore his hair down to his shoulders against the prevailing fashion of cropped hair in London. His case was dismissed with the comment ‘What care we for barefoot Welsh dogs!’
- 7 In a letter from Glyndwr to Charles VI of France - naturally he called the oppressors Saxons, rather than the French/Normans that they really were. The Saxons took over England as far as the Welsh Borders and there were halted.
Coron Glyndwr was commissioned for the presentation of the crown of Glyndwr, donated by Tony Lewis via Gethin Grifiths and Sian Ifans of Embassy Glyndwr, to Elfyn Rowlands of Cefn Caer, Pennal. The poem was read after the ceremony on the Senedd Green outside the Parliament House in Machynlleth, upon June 21st, 2007. Cefn Caer is a 13th-century Hall House, where Glyndwr drafted and signed the Pennal Letter, probably the document that has most defined Wales as a nation, The Pennal Policy and its accompanying letter were sent to Charles VI of France and Pope Benedict XIII upon Mardch 31st, 1406, delivered by Glyndwr’s envoys Maurice Kerry and Hugh Eddouyer. The crown with be held in perpetuity for the people of Wales at Cefn Caer, an important centre of bardic patronage for centuries.
Dedicated to the late Anthony Lewis, silversmith and patriot Our leaders fear symbols in Cymru Our leaders fear their leaders Their leaders fear knowledge And consequent loss of power Because symbols represent A higher kind of power Than that of economics Or coercion A power over people A force from history… The nationalism That derives from culture Not aggression Our symbols were destroyed Burnt, broken and sold Along with our minerals And our manuscripts And our land. Nothing survived A millennium of invasion Nothing is left… Except the language And an imposed mask Over our past And a dissolving memory Of what is lost But symbols restore history They restore our glory Symbols reinforce The nation And the language Symbols give us fortitude And foresight And force And recognition Our symbols were destroyed Our nation’s history traduced And obliterated by the wars Of the Saxons, Danes and Normans So what of our Owains? Their story was altered The new version of history is silent But what should WE know? Owain I, Owain ap Gruffudd ap Cynan, Owain Gwynedd Undefeated in his long reign Against invasion after invasion The victor at Crug Mawr and Coleshill and Crogen in Dyffryn Ceiriog Who led the alliance of all the princes of Wales The Lord Rhys of Deheubarth, Owain Cyfeiliog of Powys, And the men of Gwent To turn back Henry II at Corwen From the brow of Caerdrewyn. Two of his sons, Rhys and Cadwaladr hostages, Were blinded personally by Henry II in his rage, Along with Cynwrig and Maredudd, the sons of the Lord Rhys But they did not seek vengeance As vengeance would have hurt Cymru Owain II, Owain ap Gruffudd ap Llywelyn Fawr His father killed escaping from the Tower His brother Llywelyn lured by Mortimer promises Trapped, betrayed and beheaded His surrendered army of 3000 And his cavalry All slaughtered English losses from the massacre at Aberedw? Not one man… His lieutenants Almafan, lord of Lampadevar And Llywelyn Fychan of Bromfield were murdered Along with his seneschal, Rhys ap Gruffudd. And Llywelyn’s brother Dafydd? Dragged through the streets of Shrewsbury – Edward I gloriously invented this four-fold death The first time in history the world witnessed Hanging, drawing, quartering and displaying the remnants North, South, East and West At York, Winchester, Northampton and Bristol… His head went alongside his brother’s at the Tower Where their father had died And the House of Gwynedd was systematically exterminated Men, women and all the children, All except Rhodri Owain III, Owain ap Thomas ap Rhodri, Owain Llawgoch, Yvain de Galles Our son of prophecy, our Mab Darogan The flower of French chivalry, the greatest of warlords Feared from Switzerland to Spain… Unarmed, assassinated from behind, at Mortagne-sur-Mer On the direct orders of John of Gaunt, the son of Edward III The single survivor of the House of Gwynedd He had to die Witness the terrible extinction Of the line of Cunedda After a millennium of glory Owain IV, Lord of Deeside and Sycharth, Owain ap Gruffudd Fychan ap Gruffudd, Another son of prophecy – Glyndwr! A loyal, cultured gentle man Forced by Grey’s lies to face the pretender Henry IV, The traitorous Bolingbroke, the son of John of Gaunt In 1400 Glyndwr took his lion rampant of Powys And displaced the four passant lions of Gwynedd And on Dydd Glyndwr, September 16th 1400 He raised our new Royal Standard Four rampant lions, gold and scarlet No longer supine And in the 4th year of 1400 The Iron Ring was broken The mighty bastions of Aberystwyth, Harlech, Cricieth, and Beaumaris fell And in the South – Caerffili, Cardiff and all the castles of the Bro were taken; The Bishops of Bangor and Saint Asaf joined the Liberation Army Shropshire, Hereford and Cheshire bent their heads Ambassadors went to the court of Charles VI of France Our first Parliament at Machynlleth had ambassadors from Castile, Scotland and France The Treaty of Alliance was ratified with France And Owain’s Great Seal was struck Showing his orb, sceptre, sword and crown His four-pointed gold crown represents Cymru It shines with the symbols that support our language What does it sing? It rings the four oldest bishoprics in the Isles of the Britons Bangor of the Ordovices and the House of Gwynedd Saint Asaf of the Deceangli and the House of Powys Llanddewi of the Demetae and the House of Deheubarth Llandaf of the Silures and the House of Glywyssing Our crown sings the four quarters of the body of Wales Four tribes Four cathedrals Four princedoms Four lions It completes our quartet of symbols Cleddyf, Tarian, Dagr a Choron Sword, Shield, Dagger and Crown The unity of four princedoms Under one king Anointed with this crown on Dydd y Senedd Midsummer Day, 1404 And a force has at last broken through four seasons To now return to spring Our symbols of Glyndwr’s sword And his golden crown Return us foresight And force And recognition Of our nation – Cymru am Byth!
Notes on Coron Glyndwr:
- To remember the sacrifice of Glyndwr, he lost his brother and five of his six sons in the war. His wife and his daughter Catrin were taken into captivity where they died. Catrin’s husband Edmund Mortimer had been killed at Harlech. Glyndwr’s infant grandson, Catrin’s child also was killed, as having a better claim to the throne than Bolingbroke.
- Gruffudd, his eldest son was captured at Usk and taken to then Tower where he died. Madog, Dafydd, Thomas and Sion died. Only one of his six sons, Maredudd survived the war. Of his five other daughters: Isabel ‘Ddwn’ married Adam ap Iorwerth; Joan married Sir John Croft; Alice married Sir John Skidmore; Ann married Sir Richard Monnington; and the possibly illegitimate Margaret married Philip ap Rhys of Cenarth.
- We should also know that the House of Gwynedd had been systematically exterminated – every single descendant, and Glyndwr changed their flag. His personal clan flag was the red lion rampant on silver and black stripes. He took the four lions passant of the extinct House of Gwynedd, kept the scarlet and gold colours, but made them rampant like his lion, standing up, not passive, and symbolic of what he was trying to do for Wales.
- You can see in the poem the unending treachery of a line of Franco-Norman kings of England towards the Welsh, from Henry II through Edward I, to John of Gaunt and his son, the pretender to the crown, Henry IV.
- Please also remember that any history written by the conqueror is effectively propaganda – you read and hear what the conqueror wants.
- This crown completes the set of sword, dagger, shield and crown that the people of Glyndwr have commissioned for the people of Wales.
- ‘Lampadevar’ is in Montgomeryshire, and Llywelyn Fychan’s brother Madog had married Llywelyn’s sister, Margaret. There was a Rhys ap Gruffudd of the commote of Endeligion, which included Caerleon in Gwent, who was born in 1238.