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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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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?”. A post on the Republic website concluded: “(Royston Jones was) awarded …that week’s Full of Shit award. It was well merited (as this was a) primitive attitude to disabled people.”
Indeed many readers have been dismayed by what has appeared on Jac o’ the North.