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Gwilym ab Ioan – Plaid Cymru did not want him

A controversial figure who was expelled from a mainstream political party for stating that ‘Wales is a dumping ground for misfits’ as well as another who celebrates a paramilitary group and publishes pictures on social media of automatic rifles, are key supporters of a new contentious independence party being founded by a right-wing pensioner who posted a photograph of a man with a gun on his blog, The Eye can reveal.

Simon Foster – an ex-councillor with guns

Gwilym ab Ioan, known to his critics as Gwilym the gardener, was ejected from Plaid Cymru after saying:  “Wales has become the dumping ground for oddballs, social misfits and society drop-outs from England”.  This week he has also said:  “Fifteen years later my words have passed the test of time, and have been seen to be very prophetic.  We are now, even more so, being used as a dumping ground for these types”.

Mr ab Ioan had been on the National Executive of Plaid, and was forced to resign as chairman of the Ceredigion party in 2001, but he has now been reduced to being in charge of a local allotment charity in West Wales where the Charity Commission says the accounts are long overdue.

They pretend they are ready

He is a follower of the new independence party ‘Ein Gwlad’ (One Land) being created by Royston Jones who writes a right-wing blog called ‘Jac o’ the North’ but the launch of the party has been presented with severe problems after reports on The Eye.  Mr ab Ioan had written to another critic:  “That policy of dumping has of course been mostly facilitated by third sector ‘Labour Luvvies’ (mostly unregulated housing associations). That party whom you and Parry (our Editor) worship – despite the fact that it’s the Party of Poverty”.

Another supporter is Simon Gruffydd Foster, whose internet pen-name is Glasiad ap Gruffydd, and has posted on his Facebook page a picture of semi-automatic rifles resting on a military jacket adorned with a symbol of the 1960s paramilitary organisation Free Wales Army (FWA).  Mr Foster spent five years as a Plaid Cymru councillor in Bridgend but left the party after he believed it had dropped independence as a founding aim, and he participated in the short-lived Independent Wales Party, which described itself as: “The only registered political party in Wales whose members will never swear alligiance to the English crown”.

He has celebrated his past association with the FWA amid pledges to follow in the footsteps of “the brave Irish Volunteers”.

Will this be another paramilitary group?

But ‘Ein Gwlad’ has been forced to surmount huge hurdles after it was exposed by The Eye. 

The original Aberystwyth hotel where Mr Jones was to hold the founding ‘meeting’ in November, cancelled his booking after we uncovered the details, before he found another venue, yet he seemed unhappy about our reporting of it.

He had booked a room for 50-60 people at the Belle Vue Royal Hotel, on Marine Terrace in Aberystwyth for 1pm, November 4 for his original event to establish it.

The paramilitary Free Wales Army lives on?

But the hotel sent a message notifying Mr Jones:  “With regards to … concerns, we have now cancelled your meeting room with full refund of payment”.  These concerns may have been related to the fact that Mr Jones had published a picture on his blog of the leader of the FWA, Cayo Evans, pointing a handgun at the camera while others looked on laughing, and described him as a “friend” and a “comrade”. Mr Jones had pledged to create the new party by last month.

One supporter stated publicly:  “When the day for the official launch arrives, we’ll be fully kitted and armed”.  Another in November said:  “Jac o’ the North says that following a successful first meeting the details of a new Welsh political party should be revealed in March 2018 once they are ironed out”

A Free Wales Army ‘soldier’

Mr Jones appeared to agree, and had written about the original registration:  “The party name of course can be changed, but more important is the three logos registered to this party which are – an outline of the map of Wales, the national flag, and the dragon as it appears on the flag”.

But he was apparently disconcerted by requests for information about when it was to be launched formally.  One interested observer, unconnected with The Eye, asked Mr Jones last week:  “No mention of the new political party you planned for Wales last year Jac. The AGM (Annual General Meeting) was slated for early March when officials were going to be elected.”

‘Fuck off Parry’

Mr Jones’ response was as abusive as it was incorrect: “Fuck off Parry”.

In reply to the abusive message from him, the anonymous observer stated:  “The whole launch turned in to a farce which of course was documented by Parry on his website”

Another supporter of Mr Jones’ new party also appeared to get the wrong end of the stick and incorrectly believed a different critical message was from another member of the media. He wrote: “‘xxxx’ – you are a disgrace to your profession… it is those like you who have made the mainstream press and media the lying mess that it is, with half truths, bare-faced lies, false stories, hyperbole and general lazy journalism – by has-beens like yourself, and of course your boyfriend Phil Parry.”

‘Nobody else could use it’

It appears Mr Jones may have wanted to ‘piggyback’ on a registration with the Electoral Commission of a previous party name of ‘Cymru Rydd’ (Free Wales).  Yet documents seen by The Eye reveal that the original name was de-registered over a decade ago and could not be resurrected under its new title.  It had been voluntarily de-registered on December 9 2007, and could not be brought back to life under another name.

The Wikipedia entry for ‘Cymru Rydd’ read:  “Cymru Rydd are a minor political party in Wales. Their translated English title is ‘Free Wales’. As of 2006 they have had no known electoral success”.

Royston Jones thinks this is a freak show

After our original story a new Twitter address for ‘Ein Gwlad’ has emerged.

Mr Jones’ attempt to create the party has been the subject of our satirist Edwin Phillips.
It is, though, not just the creation of it which has attracted controversy, but also the strident right-wing views on his blog. 
 
Royston Jones wins an award for being ‘full of shit’

The equal treatment of disabled people is viewed by commentators as a progressive mark of advanced countries, and it is seen as important to address debilitating illnesses, but it seems Mr Jones does not concur.  One of the lines by him which caused particular offence was:  “Am I alone in thinking there’s an element of a Victorian freak show in the Paralympics?”.  

Mr Jones also promoted a petition calling for social housing only for people from Wales.   Families from London who took homes with a Welsh housing association were heavily criticised on his blog, and they were called perverts.
 
‘They will be armed’ like the FWA was

Indeed many readers have been dismayed by what has appeared on Jac o’ the North.

One commentator on The Eye said:  “The man (Royston Jones) and the knuckle draggers that follow him are fascistic ethnic nationalists end of and don’t really deserve the air of publicity except to say that wales has an alarmingly high number (of) far right supremacists who have convinced themselves they have oppressed status so think its okay to demonise ordinary people like retirees from English cities who’ve moved within their own nation state”.  Another said:  “I feel like taking a bath after I read his stuff”.
 
Expect to read more stuff about Wales being a ‘dumping ground’ for misfits and pictures of guns if the new Welsh independence party finally gets off the ground. 
 
Check your knowledge of today’s events as revealed over the last few months on The Eye, with our brilliant interactive quiz:
 
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The Eye is edited by Phil Parry. Phil is a former BBC news and current affairs reporter. He is winner of the BT Wales award for journalist of the year, BT Wales TV reporter of the year and radio reporter of the year. His programmes have won in the current affairs category of the Royal Television Society and BAFTA Cymru. Phil has presented Panorama programmes, Newsnight films and BBC 2’s Public Eye. For 10 years he was the face of BBC Wales TV current affairs programme Week in, Week Out. He was a reporter on the evening TV news programme ‘Wales Today‘ and has presented numerous daily radio programmes. Phil has also worked on local and UK newspapers. If you have a story you wish us to investigate then get in touch. We treat your disclosures in total confidence and with the journalistic integrity you would expect from our professional team.

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