1. Mind over matter

    A Welsh teenager recovering from severe mental problems has contacted the secretary of state for Wales about reforming her controversial support service, we can reveal.

    Seventeen year old Mair Elliot from Pembrokeshire has emailed her local assembly member about the proposed changes, and copied in the Welsh secretary.

    Mair’s statement is addressed to the chief executive of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Tegryn Jones, and Paul Davies, assembly member for Preseli Pembrokeshire.

    She has also sent a copy to the Secretary of State for Wales, Stephen Crabb.

    It comes as the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in Wales undergo a major inquiry.

    Mair and her mother Tracy gave evidence to the inquiry in May.

    Tracy has spoken of how she felt excluded by CAMHS as she attempted to help her daughter.


    Mair, of Camrose, was at one point suicidal but her mother was not given basic information such as whether kitchen knives should be locked away (see  )

    Mair has now offered to work with the national park in Pembrokeshire to establish a project helping young people with mental health problems.

    "As a young person recovering from mental health problems I see a need for this type of project in Pembrokeshire as there are no other projects similar in the area,"  she wrote.
    "The evidence that exposure to the natural environment can promote recovery in young people with mental health problems is overwhelming, and therefore (it) could greatly benefit the area.
    "I would like to work with Pembrokeshire national park and other parties willing to help in establishing such a project.
    "Please could we meet to discuss further, this is something I am very passionate about.
    "Thank you, Diolch.
    Mair Elliott, age 17 (18 in January)”.
    Mental health issues are an enormous problem across Britain, and a drain on much-needed resources.
    About one in four people suffers a mental health problem at some time in their lives.
    Less than a third of these receive any treatment at all.
    The whole system is in crisis, according to some experts.
    This huge failure is also costly.
    According to the King’s Fund, a think-tank, it costs the National Health Service (NHS) between £8billion and £13 billion a year, and the price to the British economy is more than £100 billion a year.
    But the NHS spend just £11.3 billion on the problem.
    Recent cuts in health spending have fallen hardest on mental-health patients, just as doctors say demand is rising.
    The number of NHS beds for patients with mental illness has declined by over 30 per cent since 2003.
    Many facilities are now full and as a result patients are having to travel long distances for care, as Mair Elliott did when she attended the Royal Maudsley hospital in London for three and a half months.
    In London a mental-health centre has discharged patients to bed-and-breakfast hotels.
    There are also terrible tragedies associated with mental illness.
    The cases that hit the headlines are those where people with mental illness have attacked others, sometimes complete strangers.
    But the vast number of cases involve people with severe mental illness harming themselves, or taking their own lives, and these receive little attention.
    On average men with mental-health problems die 20 years earlier than those without them.

    In Wales the Conservative assembly member and deputy presiding officer, David Melding, has spoken eloquently of his battle with anxiety and depression.
    But elsewhere the picture is less encouraging and mental illness is often an ignored condition.
    It is an intriguing insight into how policy is formulated in Wales, when the actions of one teenager who has been hospitalised with mental health problems, could make a profound difference, while politicians simply hold an inquiry.
  2. On the buses 2

    A former driver on a controversial subsidised bus service to the biggest airport in Wales has told how he would use special tablets and strong coffee to stay awake, Wales Eye can disclose.

    The driver has revealed how he had to use the combination to combat fatigue and sleepiness.

    Another rota was brought in by the new operator who consulted drivers,  but they believe their wages are so low, a shift pattern was chosen to make up take-home pay.

    The new rota has been leaked to Wales Eye.


    It shows how drivers are sometimes given a day off only after a late shift and before an early start.

    The rest day is then used to recuperate from the previous late shift and prepare for the next early one.

    Drivers were offered a rota that was based on 17 drivers and 40 hours work per week.
    However they chose a rota based on only 12 drivers to support their wages.
    Even though the shift pattern is more demanding it offered them the opportunity to make up their take-home pay through regular overtime.


    The bus service is run by New Adventure Travel (NAT) who issued the rota to drivers and are now in charge of it, as first disclosed by Wales Eye.

    NAT have been operating the service for just over a week, after being awarded the new contract.

    It was launched with great fanfare last year by the Welsh government in an apparent attempt to boost the numbers flying from the beleaguered airport.

    But Wales Eye reported how the previous operators, First Cymru, paid some drivers below the living wage the Welsh government had themselves endorsed (see )

    Among the incentives for drivers was ‘free’ uniforms.

    Details of the change-over in contract from First Cymru to NAT were revealed by Wales Eye on July 18 but only reported by mainstream media outlets 11 days later (see once the Welsh government had formally released the news.

    But deep unhappiness remains about the new operator.

    One driver said:  "We give an important service for the public, which has been publicly attacked."

    "Morale is rock bottom."

    A former driver told Wales Eye how he had to take special pills to keep his mind on the job under the previous contract-holders.

    "Drivers were already reporting fighting fatigue and sleepiness under the old rota,"  he said.

    "I had to use ProPlus tablets to try and stay alert, and drank copious amounts of strong coffee."


    But apart from reports of ways to ward off drowsiness among some drivers previously, pay rates have been criticised.

    Under First Cymru some drivers were paid just £7.50 an hour initially on the service. 

    Yet the Welsh Government had formally recognised the Living Wage which was set 15p an hour higher.

    A public transport commentator Chris Ware said:  "As drivers on a prestige, Welsh government-sponsored service like (the T9) they were asked by their employers to give a lot of added value to their customer service duties, so that a first class impression would be created with passengers to and from all parts of the world.

    "In addition, the future of the T9 service would be secured.

    "The drivers worked extremely hard to achieve this end and consistently received praise and appreciation from the passengers.

    "They acted not only as drivers, but as ambassadors for Wales, tourist guides and hotel advisers!"

    The bus service - which receives a subsidy of hundreds of thousands of pounds in public money - was launched last summer by Edwina Hart, AM, the Welsh business minister.

    She was joined by a host of dignitaries.

    Ms Hart rarely speaks to the media and Wales Eye revealed how she had not granted a live broadcast interview for more than three years (see ).

    But in a press release at the time she said:  “The Welsh Government’s vision for the development of Cardiff Airport includes making it easier for passengers to travel to and from the airport using public transport.


    When the bus service was unveiled she added:  "This service provides a modern, convenient and comfortable link to the city centre at a competitive price.”

    But the service and the airport itself have hit the headlines.

    On Friday it was announced the chief executive of the airport was stepping down.

    Jon Horne was appointed a week after the airport was bought for £52m by the Welsh government in March last year, but will leave the role in a week’s time amid concerns about passenger numbers.

    The Scottish government paid £1 for Prestwick airport which was similarly troubled.

    It has been reported that in March this year, the airport saw a nine per cent increase in the number of passengers since being taken over, although this rise has been from a very low base. 

    There are still deep worries about the numbers who use the airport with one passenger describing it as a "wasteland."

    Mr Horne said: "There is still much work to be done, but I have agreed with the chairman that a new perspective will be beneficial for the next stage of development and as such I have concluded my executive involvement."


    In February a review by the transport expert, Professor Stuart Cole, found that the subsidised bus service has averaged fewer than four passengers a journey since it was launched.

    It has been described as a ‘ghost bus’ and provision of the service will be reduced from every 20 minutes to every half hour in Winter months.

    Passenger numbers at the airport itself have collapsed in the last few years.

    They peaked at two million seven years ago, but in 2012 were just over a million, which was a drop of more than 200,000 in a year.

    Speaking after the government announced the nationalisation deal, the Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones said it was vital the number of passengers increased.

    Perhaps a choice of new rotas for drivers so they will not have to take pills to stay awake like the old days, might do the trick.  
  3. Fenced in

    Anger is growing among Cardiff traders over a huge security fence in the city centre to protect world leaders at the NATO summit, during a fleeting visit to the Welsh capital, Wales Eye can reveal.

    Schools and a hospital unit will have to be shut for the duration of the event.

    A diversion for drivers in Cardiff has been put in place and will remain for the two-day lockdown.

    The fence was built around two city centre venues - the castle and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama - as well as through Bute park.


    But the expensive metal structure is only designed for a ‘working dinner’ on the first evening of the NATO summit, when the politicians and their entourage descend on the city for a few hours.

    As well as Cardiff castle and the Royal Welsh college, another venue is believed to be the Royal Navy destroyer, HMS Duncan, which will be docked in Cardiff bay during the summit at the Celtic Manor hotel outside Newport on September 4 and 5.

    Outraged drivers in Cardiff have flooded social media sites with complaints about the security measures which caused rush-hour chaos.

    Some reported delays of up to an hour in long queues as they struggled to get through the city and reach areas just outside the centre, such as Gabalfa, Pontcanna and Canton.

    Major changes in bus timetables will last until after the Summit.

    The council said the fence is due to the "unique security requirements" of the summit and not determined by them.

    A spokesman said: "We will continue to work with our partners to minimise disruption to businesses, residents and transport providers".

    The fence has been dubbed a ‘ring of steel’ by media commentators. 


    Yellow metal barriers have also been erected on some of Cardiff’s main shopping streets.

    A South Wales police spokesman said: "The yellow steel barriers have been installed in Queen street as part of the security measures for the NATO 2014 summit.

    "They are now in their final position in preparation for the event, which is taking place between September 4 and 5."

    Around 40 schools in Cardiff are likely to be hit by early finishes, closures or other changes.

    Some 55 schools will be open as usual, but as significant traffic disruption and delays are expected many of them have decided to close earlier. 

    At least five schools in Cardiff will be shut to pupils, with some telling council officials they will be holding inset days.


    But children and their families will also face severe disruption in more than 30 other schools as opening hours will alter over the duration of the event - and some are even closing early on the Wednesday before.

    Others will be closed to certain groups of pupils, or will not be holding after-school clubs.

    Meanwhile it has been confirmed the two-day event will also affect hospital services in Wales.

    The minor injuries unit in Barry is to close for the duration of the summit.

    Alice Casey, the chief operating Officer for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said: "The team has looked at a number of options to try and keep the minor injuries unit (MIU) at Barry hospital open over these few days but unfortunately it has not been possible.

    "The health board would like to apologise to anyone affected by these steps but would reassure them that the staff will be back in the unit on September 8."

    The news comes as traders in Cardiff issue strong complaints the fence has badly affected them.


    For Danny Rees of a pleasure boat operation on the river Taff which brings passengers to and from Cardiff bay, a gap in the fence for his customers was put in the wrong place, preventing them reaching the boat at a key entrance.

    "Our takings are definitely down on what they should be at this time of year," Mr Rees of the Princess Katherine told Wales Eye.

    "The fence is quite intimidating for our customers.

    "95 per cent come down the steps by our sign but they had only put a gap in the fence for the level path, so I asked them to remove another panel for customers where they normally come to us".

    The overall security operation will cost more than £50 million from the public purse.

    Officials refuse to breakdown the price of security for the NATO summit, but it will cost traders in Cardiff many millions of pounds.

    That is a lot of money to ‘put Wales on the map’.

  4. Keeping it in the family

    A political commentator has attacked the waste of public money in Wales’ biggest council when top of the list is a department run for much of the time by his own daughter, Wales Eye can reveal.
    Ramon Corria took to social media to condemn "snouts in the trough” when thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money has been used to pay temporary staff in Cardiff council.
    17 out of 24 positions were in the children’s services department where eight people earned more than £400 a day, and one received up to £750.
    Among the roles was three service managers and seven team managers.
    But for part of the period they were employed, the department was run by his daughter, the Labour councillor for Llandaff North, Siobhan Corria.
    She was a council cabinet member with responsibility for children’s sevices from July last year until February.
    Ms Corria joined Action for Children in controversial circumstances after just seven months and spoke of taking an "exciting new role".
    The charity has received a contract from the council worth £770,000.
    Ms Corria was told to step down from the cabinet because of a potential conflict of interest.

    Her father Ramon’s condemnation on Twitter of the waste of public money by Cardiff council has been criticised as ‘hypocrisy’ by political opponents.
    Meanwhile the Labour-run council themselves have hit the headlines.

    Last year they created a senior management team made up of seven directors who were each paid £120,000 a year.

    The new management tier added £1.1m to the wage bill but the council said it would be cost-neutral as spending on management consultants could now be slashed.

    Yet consultant costs have continued, with just over £700,000 paid out during the same period, though the council said a large amount of this was shared with other councils for joint projects.

    £100,680 was spent on an incinerator project in the Splott area of Cardiff, which is a shared project between the city and four neighbouring authorities, as well as an aerobic digestion facility with the Vale of Glamorgan.

    But the list of figures for consultancy work also cites five references to "A N Other" who is classed as an individual rather than an organisation.

    This includes one payment for almost £20,000 while altogether they total £28,496.25.

    As Mr Corria, a Communist, told Cardiff trades council:  "We need to change the whole bloody system."

  5. Broadcast news

    With confirmation that another former BBC Wales employee is trying to become a senior nationalist politician, Plaid Cymru have decided to unveil a new logo.

    The new publicity drive by the party comes as Marc Jones is selected as their candidate to fight Clwyd West at the next general election.

    He is up against another politician who has been re-branded - former Welsh secretary now back-bencher, David Jones.

    Marc Jones treads an illustrious path.

    He follows in the footsteps of one-time BBC Wales broadcaster Rhun ap Iorwerth, now Plaid Cymru AM for Ynys Mon, along with a former member of the corporation’s Welsh political unit, the party’s chief executive Rhuanedd Richards.

    The new logo is described by Plaid Cymru as working for them on many levels…



  6. Fracked off

    Most people in Wales could be affected by fracking in years to come, according to research by Wales Eye.

    The controversial method of extracting oil and gas could be licensed in areas where 60 per cent of the Welsh population live.

    Sections of Britain where fracking licences are now available, have been earmarked by the UK government.

    But close examination of these areas, reveal that the heavily populated south, and parts of north east Wales, could now be at risk.


    A map of Wales by the environmental pressure group Friends of the Earth, clearly shows where fracking may now take place - with areas in pink already licensed and those in yellow having licences made available.

    Until today it was believed Wales might escape almost unscathed in the rush by companies to begin fracking.

    It is now obvious this will not be the case.

    Two weeks ago the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government in Westminster gave details of where exploration for oil and gas in shale using fracking, may now take place, including in national parks.

    Ministers have said they will go "all out for shale" saying development of the gas and oil resources is needed to improve energy security, boost jobs, the economy, and bring down prices.

    But critics say fracking will cause huge environmental damage, prompt minor earth tremors and affect water courses.

    Opponents also believe oil and gas exploration using the method is not compatible with tackling climate change.


    Energy extraction through fracking has been opposed by conservation bodies across the board.

    The National Trust have demanded shale gas extraction is banned from vast swathes of Wales including in Snowdonia, the Brecon Beacons and Pembrokeshire National Parks.

    But UK government ministers are expected to unveil new guidance which means applications for developments in National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, World Heritage Sites and the Norfolk broads should be allowed in "exceptional circumstances and in the public interest".

    The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said where an application in these areas is refused and the developer launches an appeal, UK communities secretary Eric Pickles will consider making the final decision himself to ensure the policy is being properly applied.

    UK business and energy minister Matthew Hancock said: "Unlocking shale gas in Britain has the potential to provide us with greater energy security, jobs and growth."

    But Greenpeace remain deeply opposed to the entire policy.

    Louise Hutchins, Greenpeace UK energy campaigner, said: "The government has fired the starting gun on a reckless race for shale that could see fracking rigs go up across the British countryside, including in sensitive areas such as those covering major aquifers.

    "Eric Pickles’ supposed veto power over drilling in National Parks will do nothing to quell the disquiet of fracking opponents across Britain.

    "Ministers waited until the parliamentary recess to make their move, no doubt aware of the political headache this will cause to MPs whose constituencies will be affected."


    The possible dangers from fracking for ordinary families are being highlighted.

    Friends of the Earth’s energy campaigner, Tony Bosworth, said: "The risk of fracking has spread.

    "This threat to the environment and public health could now affect millions more people.

    "Those who thought that fracking would only happen in other places will now worry about it happening on their doorstep."

    FoE Cymru director Gareth Clubb said:  "At least 60 per cent of the population of Wales are now living in areas either already licensed, or for which licences are to be auctioned for fracking.

    "Cardiff, Swansea, Newport, Wrexham and the valleys are all included.

    "Fracking is terrible news for climate change and the environment, and it’s not welcomed by communities.

    "Even fracking companies admit it won’t lower fuel bills, and concentrating on renewable energy and energy efficiency will bring many, many more jobs to Wales”

    The licences which can be applied for, provide the first step in starting to drill but do not give an absolute agreement.

    Planning permission permits from the UK Environment Agency and agreement from the Health and Safety Executive, will be required for further drilling.

    The Labour government in Wales have faced criticism for their planning laws, and their actions here too may be controversial.

    The Welsh government have also been attacked over their ‘neutral’ stance on nuclear waste, when Wales Eye revealed how the country could become a site for dumping nuclear waste (see ).

    It is now clear Wales may also be severely affected by fracking.

    'Keeping the lights on' is a key aim of policy-makers but ways of doing it are fraught with problems.

  7. 07:35 11th Aug 2014

    Notes: 1

    Fair game

    A group of shopkeepers in Wales have begun a campaign against Fair Trade goods, it has emerged.

    The sales of produce across the UK, with a Fair Trade label have soared over the past decade.

    Sales were estimated at £500 million in 2004 and were almost £4 billion three years ago.

    But it has been condemned as a marketing success by some Welsh store owners and a drive has begun to reveal what they believe is the truth.

    Most of the organisations that are certified as Fair Trade come from richer developing countries such as Mexico and South Africa, not poorer nations which are dependent on exporting one or two crops.


    Some believe giving products a Fair Trade label allows shopkeepers to charge more.  

    "We know our customers only buy this stuff to salve their consciences," one leading Welsh retailer told Wales Eye.

    "But the truth is there is a huge mark-up on goods which brings no benefit at all to producers."

    There are today more than 600 Fair Trade labels in Britain alone, with more planned.

    Now policy-makers in the Welsh government could be contacted about developing a new law forcing Fair Trade goods to be properly monitored in Wales before the label is attached.

    As the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau might have said:  "Fair’s fair".

  8. 01:01

    Tags: comment

    Sticks and stones

    A senior Welsh councillor who resigned after saying ‘nigger’ in a meeting has been referred to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Wales Eye can reveal.

    Myfanwy Alexander former deputy leader of Powys council used the offensive word in a council debate and was severely reprimanded by the authority’s leader.

    Councillor Alexander - who is the sister of the prominent former assembly member Helen Mary Jones - said she was quoting from a poem, and initially refused to resign.

    She quit the council’s cabinet, not after relentless media pressure, but following reports that opposition parties were preparing to mount a vote of no confidence in her.

    The original details of her comment surfaced first in The Shropshire Star several days ago but were not given wide coverage.


    The councillor was severely reprimanded and told not to do it again.

    Yet the controversy grew, along with the relative lack of coverage by the media.

    "This was an appalling way to behave in any context," one politician told Wales Eye.

    "You can’t help feeling if this had been on a south east of England council, from someone who was the sister of a famous former MP,  it would have been reported very differently”.

    During a debate on cross border healthcare Councillor Alexander said:  "We are treated like niggers over the border.

    "Our language and culture is (sic) trampled on and it’s a very sensitive issue.

    "It’s not our fault that we don’t have a district general hospital to go to".

    Afterwards John Morris, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrat group on the council, said she should be "relieved of her duties".

    After her resignation he added:  "Her position was untenable from the moment she uttered her words."


    The  former assembly member Helen Mary Jones is unlikely to be impressed by her sister’s explanation of why she used the word - that it is a quote from the African-American poet and author Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

    The two have a problematic relationship.

    Definitely unimpressed was the authority’s leader Barry Thomas who carpeted the councillor.

    Councillor Alexander, an independent, has apologised and is to be sent for equalities training.

    "I didn’t label it as a quote.

    "It was an unacceptable word to use even if you are quoting," she said.

    "It’s not a word I have used before in public or will ever use again," she said.

    But the councillor’s apology may not end the controversy.


    A spokesperson for the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:  "We have received inquiries and could be issuing a statement shortly."

    Relations between Councillor Alexander and her sister Helen Mary Jones have been strained in the past.

    Three years ago Ms Jones furiously denied a claim on Councillor Alexander’s Facebook page, that she had tried to secure unemployment benefit before becoming Plaid Cymru chair, despite owning three houses.

    Councillor Alexander, who is a writer, said it was a disgrace that her sister had signed on.

    Ms Jones said she registered for jobseeker’s allowance after losing her Llanelli assembly seat three years ago, but had not received any benefit and did not expect to.

    She denied she owned three properties.


    Councillor Alexander’s eventual decision to step down, follows earlier controversies for Powys council.

    In January Wales Eye revealed how the leader had resigned in a bizarre swirl of name-changes (see http://waleseye.com/post/72869260205/its-all-in-a-name).

    But the controversy over Councillor Alexander’s use of a word may be  longer-lasting than The Shire Independent group apparently were.

    As the famous song popular among male voice choirs, Myfanwy, puts it:  "Where is the sound of your sweet words?"

  9. 00:31 8th Aug 2014

    Notes: 2

    Beyond the bard

    Serious questions have been raised about the veneration of a bard who died during the first world war, when another Welsh-speaking soldier received the highest British honour for bravery on the same day but has been virtually forgotten.

    The Eisteddfod near Llanelli closes tomorrow amid fierce controversy.

    Ivor ‘Wil’ Rees was awarded the Victoria Cross for his courage on July 31 1917, the day the poet Hedd Wyn died in fighting during the first world war.

    Yet the differences subsequently have been stark.

    Hedd Wyn (a bardic name which is Welsh for ‘blessed peace’) was widely recognised, although his poetry has been criticised as "mediocre"

    But few have heard of the name Ivor Rees.


    Yet he successfully stormed a machine gun emplacement single-handedly, which had been causing carnage among his fellow soldiers during a battle in the first world war, killing the enemy soldiers.

    Mr Rees, who was just 26, also bombed a concrete gun shelter, killed five more Germans and took 30 prisoners.

    His deeds during the third battle of Ypres, known as Paschendale, were written about in The London Gazette.

    The citation reads:  "When he was about 20 yards from the machine gun he rushed forward towards the team, shot one and bayoneted another.

    "He then bombed the large concrete emplacement killing five and capturing 30 prisoners… in addition to an undamaged gun."

    Mr Rees came from near this year’s Eisteddfod site in Felinfoel, Carmarthenshire, and was a sergeant in the south Wales borderers.

    But his life fell into obscurity once the first world war ended.

    He died in 1967 

    His was one of very few VC’s awarded to Welsh soldiers.


    The birthplace of Hedd Wyn, whose real name was Ellis Humphrey Evans, has become a shrine to readers of Welsh language literature, and he has been honoured for his poetry.

    He died at the battle of Paschendale where Mr Rees won his VC.

    Hedd Wyn’s poems have romantic themes and he was posthumously awarded the chair at the 1917 Eisteddfod for one of them.

    "I have read Hedd Wyn’s work and it is pretty mediocre stuff,” said Rod Richards who grew up opposite Mr Rees.

    "But Wil Rees is a forgotten hero.

    "I wonder if Hedd Wyn would have been remembered in the way he has been if he had not died in tragic circumstances.

    "Wil Rees got the highest award for bravery on the same day that Hedd Wyn was killed, but almost nobody has heard of him".

    This year’s Eisteddfod has been viewed as a great success.

    Perhaps their honours system is less so.

    The new Wales Eye logo on mobile platforms has been designed by Mumph.

  10. Beauty in the eye of the beholder

    Clearly for the Vale of Clwyd MP, pictures of kite-surfing in Rhyl and wind turbines have more attraction than photographs of scantily-clad young women.

    But his decision to praise a scene by a photographer from ‘Beautiful Boudoir Photography’ may prove interesting amunition for his political opponents.

    Chris Ruane extolled the talents of Ray Worsnop whose profile picture on his Twitter page is a pair of red, frilly knickers.


    Perhaps Mr Ruane did not do his homework on Mr Worsnop when he publicly complimented his photography of kite-surfing.

    Yet Mr Worsnop openly displays a link to his Facebook page, which promotes something else entirely.

    It specialises in pictures of alluring, half-naked women in stockings and suspender belts.

    In the pictures the women are in attractive poses and stare at the camera winsomely.

    They have names like ‘Missy Lee’ along with comments such as "I feel so good about myself".


    The women respond to men who make ‘requests’ on the site, and one says "I want to get this done for you as soon as possible."

    Yet the MP and the photographer have a relationship which stretches back some years.

    Three years ago Mr Ruane arranged for Mr Worsnop to appear in a BBC TV Panorama programme about a scheme to move people living on welfare benefits into work.

    Mr Ruane, who was raised in Rhyl, was involved in local back-to-work initiatives.

    He organised for Mr Worsnop, who had worked in markets most of his life, to set up a new area for open-air stalls in the town centre, where he ran a course to turn people on benefits into traders.

    "I was brought up when there were lots of jobs and I was brought up with work ethic," Mr Worsnop said.

    "And now that we have two or three generations of unemployed, I’m really worried that the work ethic isn’t there."


    Mr Worsnop is an interesting character and well-known in Rhyl.

    He developed a community market as a social enterprise when he was appointed chair of the town’s regeneration committee four years ago.

    But the law dictated that a permanent street market could not proceed without planning permission.

    Denbighshire council said he could apply for an annual street trader permit to pilot the idea, only after proving it had the backing of local businesses.

    The idea stemmed from Mr Ruane.

    Mr Worsnop has said he hoped teaching others the life of a market trader might make a difference and encourage them not to give up on finding work.

    Work as a photographer perhaps.