During the mid eighties, house prices in some of the metropolitan and more affluent areas of the UK soared, whilst prices in the rural areas remained relatively low. One result of this was that a person could sell a house in London, say, move to rural Wales, buy a new house and have a substantial amount of change from the London house sale to invest in a business. Many local people in those rural areas were subsequently priced out of the market and unable to compete on a level playing field with the incomers.
Rather than just complain about the situation 70 or so established business owners in Gwynedd decided to do something practical, they started a not or profit company – Arianrhod. Arianrhod bought shops and other buildings which they then rented to local people. The rents and equity on the properties bought were then reinvested in further properties. This scheme has allowed a number of people in Gwynedd, restaurateurs, jewellers, butchers etc. to start up businesses which they wouldn't have had a hope in hell of starting otherwise.
One would have thought that this sort of scheme would be supported by the Labour Party. It shows a commitment to the community. It has the spirit of the co-operative movement. It enables skilled people from poorer backgrounds to start up their own small enterprises. It has everything that one would expect Labour to hold up as an example of what can be done to help other deprived areas.
But no! Unfortunately the people who set up and run Arianrhod belong to the wrong party, they include Dafydd Iwan Plaid Cymru's president and his brother Alun Ffred the Plaid AM. And a good idea from Plaid people has to be opposed at all costs.
Martin Eaglestone, Labour's serial candidate in Arfon, has done his best to undermine Arianrhod's good works by smear and innuendo in the local press and on his blog over recent months. Some of his friends in Llais Gwynedd have gone even further by making statements about the venture that border on libellous.
Regular readers of this blog know that I am neither Dafydd Iwan or Plaid Cymru's biggest fan in the world, but undermining an organisation dedicated to improving the local economy in Gwynedd for petty part political reasons is just sick.