Shock news that the ENTIRE governing body of the largest independence organisation in Wales has quit amid complaints of harassment, shines the spotlight again on the fact that The Eye have been for months the only non-nationalist news outlet to report the extraordinary civil war underway.
The astonishing resignation of the complete ‘Central Committee’ of YesCymru (YC) was announced in an email last week and said that members had been subject to intolerable harassment which “went far beyond social media posts”.
It went on: “The members of the Central Committee of YesCymru have collectively resigned and stood down from their roles with immediate effect…The announcement comes with the opportunity to enable a new Central Committee to be elected at a forthcoming Extraordinary General Meeting.”
But this has not been the only controversy to have engulfed YC, when our journalists have broken the story about what has been happening. Research by The Eye has shown that most of the Welsh nationalist and independence communities appear to be engaged in a remarkable internal fight over transgenderism.
The astounding development of the mass resignations in YC has now, finally, been reported beyond the nationalist ‘family’. The story was publshed in the Newport-based South Wales Argus which stated that: “The outgoing Chair of the Central Committee, Sarah Rees, said: “This decision has been taken in the best interests of the organisation and its members. It enables a totally clean break from the past and provides a clean start for the newly-elected Central Committee in the autumn, while protecting all the good that has been created”.
However at the bottom of the piece, it declared: “This article originally appeared on our sister site The National“. The reason may lie in the fact that the two share an Editor in Gavin Thompson, yet he has himself attracted headlines which may be worthy of a story in his own newspaper. Mr Thompson described controversial comedian Huw Marshall (who is also involved in the transgenderism civil war) as the “driving force” for The National (TN).
But even though Mr Marshall presumably supports a free media, he has used a specialist company attempting, unsuccessfully, to have The Eye closed down, alleging “violent threats and harassment” when there have been no threats of violence from our journalists, and the only harassment has come from him after he used social media to dub senior Welsh politicians, “twats”, and our Editor, Phil Parry, a “liar”.
In response to the demand that The Eye should be shut, the reply was made that: “Huw Marshall has: 1. Been investigated by the police for harassment. 2. Made sick ‘jokes’ on Facebook about the murdering gunman Raoul Moat. 3. Called senior politicians Ken Skates and Peter Black ‘twats’ online. 4. Been reprimanded by Twitter. 5. Sent unwanted takeaways to people’s houses”.
Meanwhile, even before the resignation of the WHOLE YC committee, in an incendiary ‘opinion’ piece, the founder and former Editor of the website, Nation.Cimcu (NC), fellow (?) nationalist Ifan Morgan Jones, finally acknowledged the huge problems they were facing, seeming to blame the row over transgenderism for prompting the abrupt resignation of the head of YC, Sion Jobbins. It is especially bizarre as Dr Jones teaches ‘journalism’ at Bangor University (BU).
He wrote: “The resignation of YesCymru Chair, Siôn Jobbins, won’t have come as a complete surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to the increasingly hostile debate at the heart of the movement over the past few months”.
There have also been earlier challenges for YC which were only reported by us. The Twitter account of a controversial YC message has announced that at one point it had 487 ‘likes’ and 187 ‘retweets’, yet when these were counted the figures were actually just 45 and 70 respectively.
We have disclosed, too, how Mr Jobbins publicly proclaimed he wishes Germany had won World War One, ironically stated “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..?”.
A member of YC, called Kerry-Anne Mendoza of the left-wing website ‘The Canary’ (who has appeared more than once on the state-backed television channel Russia Today [RT]), 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 mainstream journalists.
Yet despite 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 (an intriguing word to use in the circumstances) on Welsh democracy have led to (its) remarkable growth”, linking the comment to an article in the Herald.Wales by the disgraced MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Jonathan 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”.
This, though, is not the first time YC has made news for the wrong reasons (and Mr Edwards’ assault WAS reported in the mainstream media). Mr Jobbins quitting, the resignation of ALL committee members, as well as the online behaviour being referred to the police, have only added to the pressure on the organisation. 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.
A disillusioned member of YC said in TN that he was watching “with increasing horror as the welsh independence movement has been embroiled in a bitter debate over the issues of transgender rights” the concerned member or ex-member, also wrote: “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.”
Another alarming announcement from a former member of YC revealed that he had left, but been “branded as a fascist” and that “Members of my family were hounded and contacted at work”.
YC was accused on Twitter of being “rancid”, and “toxic”. Another said YC ‘needs to sort it out’. It was disclosed by us that a letter had been sent to members warning of “Organisational and Accountability Failure”, that there has been “No financial oversight”, as well as a “Lack of transparency”.
Along with the resignations, these comments also highlight an earlier unbelievable statement by YC, headlined “WE WILL NOT TOLERATE INTOLERANCE”, and how for many it is now in complete disarray, with one supporter tweeting that there is “fear for the movement”.
The ‘intolerance’ statement by YC announced that: “We on the Central Committee (members of which have now quit) have been made aware of online behaviour that needed immediate action. As a result, we have reported these instances to the police and to the relevant online platforms while we investigate further”.
These remarks fall into a familiar pattern, as the astounding battle has raged within YC and the wider nationalist ‘family’, with The Eye seeing a growing chorus of furious complaints on Twitter and Facebook, apparently showing that these groups are being torn apart. One supporter has written: “…you’ve pulled an EGM and forced the committee out..”, and another declared that there had been a “lack of condemnation for bullying & harassment, etc…”.
A critic on one side of the battle wrote in Mr Mashall’s 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”. A member of YC, seemingly on the same side, said online: “Sadly, at least one of those targeted has resigned from the Central Committee. It’s possible there will be an Extraordinary General Meeting, or new elections to replace vacant positions”.
A supporter of this critic stated that YC had been “poisoned“, while another 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”.
Worries have also been expressed about the oversight in the group, with another backer of YC announcing online: “So Chair, Secretary and a portfolio position all VACANT. There is surely no way the CC (Central Committee) can be operating with the correct level of scrutiny. Oh and there’s that other one who said she’s on strike”. Mr Jobbins was one of the three founders of YC and took over as Chair in 2018. He claims he has resigned on private grounds, but many commentators refuse to believe this, and say it has left YC ‘in complete chaos’. “I’m stepping down purely for personal reasons – because of my health”, Mr Jobbins told the taxpayer-supported NC.
The Eye have reported how the conflict has blown apart the nationalist and independence factions in Wales, with numerous figures in YC taking to social media to reveal what they have suffered, as the furious row has erupted. Many are now saying they have cancelled their membership, and one has written on Twitter: “@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”.
A further critic admitted in one Tweet “we are in the middle of a culture war…” and also online wrote: “I have decided to open up about my recent experience on the YesCymru Central Committee. 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 backer of Welsh independence, who has become aggrieved by his treatment from YC supporters, 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…”.
This bitter dispute which has now exploded into daylight also puts centre stage the treatment of YC in the mainstream media.
For example an anodyne ‘interview’ with the creator of YC, Mr Jobbins, was conducted by an ITV Cymru Wales reporter. The ‘report’ by Ellie Pitt (who has been given the health brief by the broadcaster) 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.” It went on: “Siôn Jobbins, Chair of YesCymru (says): ‘Wales isn’t poor, there are poor people here, but the country itself isn’t poor’”.
Perhaps now Mr Jobbins may be confronted by tougher questions with the news that the committee members of YC have left their posts in a bizarre row over transgenderism, which The Eye have been for months the only non-nationalist media outlet to report…
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Publication of another book, however, was refused, because it was to have included names.