Alarming news that plans have been approved to destroy 122 trees to make way for a new Cardiff cancer centre, underlines the message from campaigners claiming “the whole area will be bulldozed” after they were attacked by a controversial rugby commentator who has been condemned for talking “shit” and being “so so thick”.
The new cancer hospital is planned for the northern meadows in Whitchurch and the destruction is to offer better access, but the scheme has been enormously contentious.
One campaigner declared on social media about the project to re-develop Velindre Hospital: “The whole area will be bulldozed, £27 million of public money just to access this unsuitable site…”.
Yet the headline-grabbing former Welsh rugby international and commentator Jonathan Davies has been highly critical of the campaign.
Mr Davies (one of whose Twitter accounts is @JiffyRugby and includes ‘OBE’ after his name) is President of Velindre Fundraising, and demanded of one of the campaigners over the internet: “Have you or anyone close to you ever been unfortunate enough to have cancer?”. But the advocate for a green space in that part of the city hit back, and said: “Absolutely yes, many of those opposing the site are current patients at Velindre”. Another cautioned: “Let’s talk Jonathan, not rant.”
But he has long been a troubling figure and makes news for all the wrong reasons.
Apart from being accused of talking “shit” and being “so so thick”, Mr Davies’ commentary style has also been described recently as “annoying” and “irritating”, and pleas have, too, been made by angry BBC TV audience members during coverage of the Challenge Cup rugby league game, to dispense with his services.
One critic wrote: “Please BBC get rid of Jonathan Davies”, another said: “Why the hell do we have to listen to Jonathan Davies”. It was also stated by a separate fan watching the match, about executives: “…they ruin it with Jonathan Davies”.
On social media Mr Davies has recently sent a picture of himself with no clothes on to TV and radio star Carol Vorderman. He has faced huge criticism following statements which have included calling the Rhondda MP Chris Bryant a “knob” on Twitter, for asking about childcare during a House of Commons debate. The fury of Mr Davies, who works a lot for The BBC, has also been directed at journalist Marcus Stead on social media after he had criticised what he views as the Welsh establishment.
He engaged in an extraordinary spat with him on Twitter, in which he branded Mr Stead, an “attention seeking nobody”, a “sad pathetic waste of time” and ‘hashtagged’ the words “absolute bell end”.
Warnings were repeated as well about the hazards involved in the misuse of fire extinguishers after experts were shown shocking pictures from a video of Mr Davies using one to spray into the face of former international referee, Nigel Owens, as he sat in his car while another person filming the dangerous stunt laughed.
The escapade with a fire extinguisher was in the car park of an independent TV facilities house near BBC Cymru Wales (BBC CW) in Llandaff, Cardiff, in 2014 and was condemned as “incredibly dangerous”. It prompted a series of outraged comments at the time on a sports Facebook (FB) site.
One critic said: “…did he give any thought to what injuries he may have caused?…We all like a good laugh sadly this isn’t it”. Another declared that Mr Davies was a “fucking prick”, a further detractor stated that he didn’t think “people realise how dangerous CO2 extinguishers are”.
In the clip now on YouTube, Mr Owens escapes from the car running, but Mr Davies uses the fire extinguisher again, as the person filming it exclaims in Welsh “OH, NO!”, and Mr Owens then shouts “IDIOT!” at him pointing.
After stills were displayed from the film shot six years ago, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service issued a stern warning about the misuse of fire extinguishers.
A spokesperson told The Eye: “CO2 extinguishers can prove hazardous as they rapidly remove the oxygen from the atmosphere, therefore increasing the risk of asphyxiation when used in confined space.
Mr Davies also posted on social media a fake picture of one critic, a well-known Welsh rugby fan, wearing a Pontypridd RFC shirt but he was then slammed for “essentially fat shaming someone because they disagree with them”, and the observer linked the comment to @BBCSport @BBCNews 5liveSport and @BBCWalesNews, saying they should be “embarrassed”, and that it was a “Dick move”. But Mr Davies has said on social media that The Eye’s reporting of all this was “negative journalism”.
A supporter of Mr Davies’ said on Twitter about our Editor Phil Parry: “I’ll whack him”.
The apparent threat was made by a Marc Winchester of Swansea, who has regularly claimed in the past that he was a multi-millionaire but has also been behind several collapsed businesses.
The definition of the verb ‘to whack’ in the Urban Dictionary is: “to murder someone”.
Mr Winchester’s contact details were immediately passed to the police officer who investigated the incident, but he claimed it was just a joke.
Meanwhile it is obvious that a fierce row has developed on social media between Mr Davies and the campaigners fighting to stop the new Velindre Hospital.
Mr Davies was accused of being ‘misleading’, publishing ‘rubbish’ and ‘ranting’, after stating on social media that the plans would leave 60 per cent of a meadow available to walkers when the protesters say surveys have indicated all will be destroyed.
There’s a big difference between these two ‘facts’.
But perhaps Mr Davies will not want this too to be added to the list of headlines about him, after he was accused of being “thick” “shit” and “annoying”.
Mr Parry’s memories of his astonishing 37-year award-winning career in journalism (which has provoked numerous threats) as he was gripped by the rare neurological disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order the book now!