Drawing battle lines

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An extraordinary internal battle ripping apart the nationalist and Welsh independence movements, which has only been reported by The Eye, has surfaced again amid accusations of ‘harassment’, ‘abuse’ and ‘misogyny’.

Numerous figures in the controversial YesCymru (YC) organisation have taken to social media to reveal what they have suffered, as the civil war over transgenderism has raged, with many now saying they have cancelled their membership.

One wrote: “@yescymru are heading into dangerous waters, many of us belong to political parties who have stood with @yescymru on the same platform for independence, and would not desire to be tarnished by association”.

The tweets show not everyone wears this as a badge of pride

Another said: “I have decided to open up about my recent experience on the YesCymru Central Committee (the group’s governing body). In Jan ‘21, I wrote & presented a document to the CC (Central Committee) on the urgent need to modernise the governance, transparency and oversight of the CC (Central Committee). It is on record & minuted. It was largely ignored”. He added:  “‘I’ve witnessed harassment aimed at high profiled YC members by an interconnected group of ID political activists within YC with links to political organisations outside of YC. “‘Transphobe! TERF! (Trans-exclusionary Radical Feminist) Fascist! These are the derogatory words used against decent and YesCymru members'”.

A supporter of this critic stated that YC had been “poisoned“, while a further detractor replied to him that he was “appalled” by the “narrow-minded and hateful” behaviour of members, and that “Once the CC (Central Committee) have got their house in order then I will subscribe again”.

These astounding comments come as a further attacker wrote in a new Welsh nationalist newspaper,The National (TN)Over the past year I have watched with increasing horror as the welsh independence movement has been embroiled in a bitter debate over the issues of transgender rights”.

But these latest outbursts which shed light on what is happening in the Welsh nationalist and independence movements, come after other, disturbing, disclosures made only by The Eye, and have not featured in the mainstream media. A backer of Welsh independence, who has become disillusioned with YC, said recently on Twitter: “Thank you for all your support but the constant hounding by Yes Cymru members and committee members has literally made me fear for my safety, my family’s safety and my mental health. If this is your vision of Wales, then I want no part of it…”.

These are not the only casualties of the astonishing fight within YC either. One senior member who has recently been suspended from the Central Committee of YC, eminent clinical psychologist Dilys Davies, suffered enormous abuse online (with her having to ‘protect’ her Twitter account) after making remarks which appeared to inflame an opposition group within YC.

The memorial wall bought by Dilys Davies

Dr Davies endured the attacks from certain supporters of Welsh independence inside YC, after quoting the famous feminist Germaine Greer, who has said publicly that even following gender re-alighnment surgery, a person is not fully a woman, because puberty, periods, childbirth, and the menopause have not been experienced.

She is a consultant psychologist who specialises in sleep difficulties, and recently bought the famous Cofiwch Dryweryn memorial wall on the A487 near Llanrhystud. 

These alarming events also focus the spotlight on an uncritical ‘interview’ with the man behind YC, Sion Jobbins, on the website of ITV Cymru Wales.

The ITV Cymru Wales ‘reporter’ Ellie Pitt who ‘interviewed’ the man behind YesCymru

A ‘report’ by the broadcaster’s Ellie Pitt began:  ‘Westminster isn’t working for Wales’. These are the five words I have been hearing all week. Over the last few days I have had numerous conversations with recent joiners to the Welsh Independence group YesCymru.”

She continued:  Anyone who follows the movement’s Twitter account will know just how fast-paced and exponential the membership growth has been, particularly over the last week. It took YesCymru almost four years to gain 2000 members, but this week they had 2000 new sign ups in just over 24 hours.”

Ms Pitt’s ‘questioning’ in the ‘interview’ was intriguing during her ‘story’:  Siôn Jobbins, Chair of YesCymru (says): ‘Wales isn’t poor, there are poor people here, but the country itself isn’t poor’. 

“He also credits Welsh exports of electricity, tidal power generation and strong a food market reputation as sources of fiscal generation. ’If the argument is you’re too poor to leave, then after 400 years of being part of this union and still being too poor to leave, that to me isn’t a very strong argument for staying in the union’, he continues”.

In one camp in the non headline-grabbing civil war, are those who support the concept of Welsh independence as a left-of-centre project; while making up the opposition are those who believe the primary aim should be that Wales becomes an independent state – with the row now over transgenderism at the heart of current problems.

Among those in the opposing group to Dr Davies’, appear to be the controversial founder of TN, Huw Marshall, along with another senior CC member of YC, Aled Gwyn Williams. Mr Marshall proclaimed that he is responsible for “Digital development”at TN in the masthead of his Twitter page, but the newspaper he works for, (TN), is at the centre of a storm of controversy over its neutrality, and there have been attacks, too, online about the nature of its financial backing. It has also been condemned by one reader as a “nationalist propaganda sheet”.

On Pawb a’i Farn Aled Gwyn Williams made his views clear

Meanwhile reports of the suspension of Dr Davies, have included details that Mr Marshall’s ally, Mr Williams, has been barred from land that she owns in Ceredigion which has replicas of the memorial wall on it.

It is clear that Mr Williams, like Mr Marshall, holds extremely trenchant views himself about Welsh independence. Speaking on the Welsh-language S4C debate programe Pawb a’i Farn last year, he said: “The new members we have, they’re not the nationalists you would expect. They don’t wave flags, they’re not members of (Welsh nationalist party) Plaid Cymru a lot of them. A lot of them are people who would feel more comfortable in the Labour Party”.

The fight against Hitler was questioned by Sion Jobbins

But ‘comfortable’ is not a word which is likely to be used about the administration of YC or events now within the wider nationalist community in Wales, after past disturbing news about the organisation was brought out by The Eye. The Twitter account of a controversial YC message has announced that at one point it had 487 ‘likes’ and 187 ‘retweets’, but when these were counted the figures were actually just 45 and 70 respectively.

“Stalin had no choice”

We have revealed how Mr Jobbins publicly declared he wishes Germany had won World War One, ironically proclaimed “Stalin had no choice”, and questioned the fight against Hitler. In another remark on Twitter, Mr Jobbins queried the Kindertransport which helped 10,000 children escape the Nazis and said: “… it wasn’t some amazing act of humanity”. A further message was: “Why was it good for UK to fight against being colonised by Hitler..?”.

Those below him in YC have also hit the headlines. We showed how a branch of the organisation asked provocatively whether “heroes” will make a stand in carrying out an attack on a UK military base on Anglesey. The goading remark came on Twitter from YC in Ruthin, and referred to a notorious incident in 1936 when an RAF bombing school was set ablaze at Penyberth on the Llyn peninsula, and founding members of PC were jailed. The event has gone down in folklore for Welsh nationalists and a video on YouTube declares:  “Penyberth.  Plaid Cymru (Welsh nationalist party) one.  RAF nil.”

The arson was celebrated on YouTube

Another branch of YC has said people in “our country” (Wales) refuse to integrate, and asked menacingly what should be ‘done’ about Unionists. This extraordinary tweet was put out by YC in the Afan Valley and stated:  “These people are in our country, yet refuse to integrate into our local community”.

YC faces a number of other serious challenges. A member of it called Kerry-Anne Mendoza shared a message saying Zionism was racist from former Labour MP Chris Williamson who had been suspended for criticising an anti-Semitism investigation, after it announced she was to be investigated herself, over allegations she held the same views.

In the same tweet Mr Williamson had said Leila Khaled was ‘eloquent’, but the Wales Against Anti-Semitism (WAAS) movement then stated online: “Why is @YesCymru’s Kerry Ann Mendoza retweeting Chris Williamson’s glorification of a convicted terrorist?”. The message was also sent to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, as well as several well known mainstrem journalists.

She tweeted, too, a message of support to former Plaid Cymru (PC) leader Leanne Wood who lost her Rhondda seat in May’s elections (which saw an incredible fall out), and was condemned as well by WAAS.

Yet despite all this YC labelled Ms Mendoza a “rock star” in a tweet which was ‘liked’ numerous times by several vocal and high-profile activists. Meanwhile, the organisation she joined declared in a tweet which has now been deleted that “Open assaults on Welsh democracy have led to (its) remarkable growth”, linking the comment to an article in the Herald.Wales by the MP for Carmarthen East andDinefwrJonathan Edwards, who accepted a police caution after attacking his wife.

But critics were unamused. One stated online:  “It’s infuriating. Yes Cymru are doing so much very well, then they just undermine all the good stuff with unnecessary stupidity/lack of sensitivity. They have the money to hire people now to do a better job”. Another announced: “I’ve got very mixed feelings about the MP in question but the timing of YC is absolutely mad. Are they thick? Why do they keep making mistakes like these? They need to start having people who know what they’re doing.”

A further comment was: “In (sic) going to say it AGAIN because it is DOING MY HEAD IN, why does Jonathan Edwards, who admitted he was GUILTY OF ASSAULTING HIS WIFE, still have influence in Plaid Cymru and @YesCymru? And why has the latter PLATFORMED HIM TODAY AFTER THE WEEK WE HAVE ALL JUST HAD?”

This, though, is not the first time YC has hit the headlines, and perhaps recently releasing a sexist video in support of its cause (which was again deleted) is one of the ‘mistakes’ being referred to in the online complaint. In January the organisation released the video promoting Welsh independence which featured a pair of cartoon women’s legs in stockings, and one critic on social media said: “fire the pig that designed it”. It displayed the cartoon of a woman wearing stockings and red arms, with a map of Wales for her body and screaming “YEEEEEEEEEEES”in the caption below.

What’s happening inside YesCymru is nothing to smile about Sion Jobbins

But it was slammed on Twitter, with one critic saying:  “I find it astonishing – and cowardly – that @YesCymru have merely deleted that sexist, appalling video from last night and not acknowledged the disgust felt by their membership and apologised for the offence caused, not to mention the damage sustained to the campaign”. Another said in reply to YC: “Never mind the booklet, burn that fucking sexist animation and fire the pig that designed it”.

David Davies is sick of YecCymru stickers

There is also mounting hostility to the appearance (illegally) of YC stickers on lamp posts and road signs.

The Monmouth MP and  Welsh office minister David TC Davies said: “I’m frankly sick of YesCymru stickers being placed all over signs and buildings in Wales”.

Mr Davies, has been an MP continuously since May 2005, and currently holds the UK Government posts of Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office), as well as Assistant Whip.

Meanwhile, apart from watching “with increasing horror as the welsh independence movement has been embroiled in a bitter debate over the issues of transgender rights” the critic also wrote in TN: “As a non-binary person, logging onto social media everyday, to witness my rights be debated with such bitterness and contempt, to questions of whether transgender people should be welcomed, embraced and supported by the independence movement has been draining and dehumanising.

“I have been harassed, doxxed (publishing private information about an individual on the internet with malicious intent), and been sent death threats – all because I have refused to remain silent over the treatment of transgender individuals within the movement.”

Our journalists have not remained silent either, but have been the only ones to report the internal battle now ripping apart the Welsh nationalist and independence movements over transgenderism, amid accusations of ‘harassment’, ‘misogyny’ and ‘abuse’…

 

 

Tomorrow – after 23 years with BBC Cymru Wales (BBC CW), our Editor Phil Parry looks with incredulity at how Wales’ biggest broadcaster celebrates its supposed success, when a television news presenter conducted a misguided affair with a senior executive, despite the fact she fronted one of his programmes, tweets about her clothes as well as going to the beach even though the public are governed by lockdown rules, and presented an item which mistook Brighton Pavilion for a mosque. 

Book posterThe memories of his remarkable decades long award-winning career in journalism (when abuse and harassment often followed his disclosures) as he was gripped by the rare disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order the book now!