Open Letter to Gerald Toms and Roger Lewis of the WRU re:Our Eviction from ‘The Great Tax Invasion’

Dear Gerald Toms (Millenium Stadium General Manager and  former Chief Superintendent of South Wales Police and Commander of the Cardiff Division) and Roger Lewis (WRU Group Chief Executive, ex- Managing Director of ITV Wales, ex-Managing Director at EMI Records and ex-world wide President of the Decca Record Company),

Firstly, may I thank you for making some of us homeless yesterday for the sake of maintaining power over a building that you have shockingly neglected.  The old Inland Revenue Building on Westgate St, Cardiff, which you ‘own’, was occupied with the intentions of turning it into a community and art space, as well as a much needed communal home for some of us that can no longer afford to heat our homes and barely feed ourselves.  After researching both of your histories, I think I can safely assume that neither of you have ever wanted for anything.

The government’s outrageous austerity measures are hitting those not as privileged as you extremely hard. The cuts to vital community projects and support groups mean that many of them cannot continue unless they are offered free space to do so. You have that space, yet feel it is more important to exercise power than negotiate.

Attempts were made to locate the owners of the building before we entered it, but it seemingly doesn’t exist. We didn’t break and enter. We walked through an already open window. It was obvious when looking around inside that other people had been in there. There was already graffiti on the walls and half eaten food present.

As soon as you made yourselves known as the ‘owners’, we opened negotiations with you. We asked for a 6 month rolling contract with a two month mutual notice period. We said we would pay no rent as this was a not-for-profit project, but would cover utility bills and general maintenance. You said you’d get back to us, and you did. A couple of hours later, you sent your solicitor with a court hearing date scheduled for three days’ time. Then a court bailiff came by and told us that we’d probably have until between February and April as the courts were so busy. We were evicted with immediate affect yesterday. Two well used phrases come to mind:- ‘Money talks’ and ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’ Both the law and the media have clearly been ‘on your side’ during our occupation, so I’ll add ‘We’re all in it together’ for good measure. The media have consistently lied and misquoted us. This was never intended just to be a media centre for the Occupy movement. It was just one tiny aspect of what our intentions were.

So why didn’t you negotiate? You could have added clauses etc. to a contract. You could have helped us stick it to Westminster and Cameron’s ‘Big Society’. You could have showed a side to the WRU that isn’t just about making money from rugby fans via over-inflated corporate prices, but instead is aware of its roots and gives a shit about its communities.

Welsh people have been suppressed by England’s powers forever. Now it seems that the WRU, instead of being community conscious, have joined the bully boys.

The old Inland Revenue building is beautiful, unused and falling apart from the top down (a bit like society, really). I can only hope that now we’ve highlighted this that you will put some effort into maintaining it rather than just using it as a base for the builders of your £multi-million projects in the future as it has been used in the past.

I can only hope that you consider what our intentions were, are taking time out to research how Welsh communities are affected by Westminster’s savage cuts, and that you will avoid turning the old Inland Revenue building into a luxury hotel or apartments and will put it to good, non-profit use.

Very sincerely,

Gail

(and any signatories in the comments)

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35 responses to “Open Letter to Gerald Toms and Roger Lewis of the WRU re:Our Eviction from ‘The Great Tax Invasion’

  • amyrhall

    Hi every, am writing a feature on the Occupy Cardiff movement as a whole for Take Root, would someone like to have a chat about it sometime over the next couple of days? It will be recorded and audio will be used as well as quotes from the audio. Let me know

  • Luna Pixie

    VERY well said. That eviction was the quickest I’ve ever seen for a disused abandoned building. It sure looked a case of ‘who you know’ i don’t understand why it couldn’t have been utilized for a community space. I think the government just tar everyone with the same brush, dirty drug taking squatters when that was clearly not the case. They may want to re think their decision.

  • The lovely Debbie Mcgee

    “You could have showed a side to the WRU that isn’t just about making money from rugby fans via over-inflated corporate prices, but instead is aware of its roots and gives a shit about its communities.”

    Great article chick, but as a valleys dweller I’ve seen the side of the WRU that invests in grass roots rugby and gives a shit about its communities. Honest, £10 a year for club membership AND insurance? The cheapest beer in the village? That’s quite clearly cutting their own throats etc etc etc. Other than that, fair play for everything you’ve said.

    • Ms.S-Else

      Fair enough, but what about other community projects? And in Cardiff? They weren’t even prepared to strike a deal.

      • andy

        Why should they, it’s THEIR building and you had no righT to be there! You break in, squat, then whine when your removed, GROW UP dear.

      • Ms.S-Else

        You clearly can’t read, Andy. We didn’t break in. Though if you think it’s ok to have large buildings owned by wealthy organisations standing empty while community projects suffer, then all good, eh?

  • E'liza Gedrych

    Ownership carries with it responsibilities from which, clearly, the owners have absented themselves.

    Why anyone of privilege or power wants to ensure a Vacant Britain is beyond my powers of imagination or logic.

    Why Gerald Toms & Roger Lewis court such bad press does not compute.

    Dogs in the manger? Pigs in the trough?

  • paulinewa

    Hmmm I wonder… Gerald Toms, former Chief Superintendent of South Wales Police and incredibly fast eviction process! Could there be a connection here?

  • The lovely Debbie Mcgee

    Yeah I know chick, that’s why I agree with everything else you said! xxxxxxx

  • Wales rugby fan

    As a deeply-loyal Wales rugby supporter of many years, the WRU’s actions have utterly disgusted me and I found myself unable to attend the Wales-Australia game today. The WRU should be ashamed of itself and I hope many other rugby fans express their disgust.

  • Huw Silk

    Have I got this right? You’re annoyed the owners of a property have evicted you from that property?

    And you want the WRU to be “aware of its roots and give a shit about its communities.” You expect the WRU to take a political stance? Keep politics and sport seperate and all that. Plus, since when have you protestors been the roots of Welsh rugby?

    • Ms.S-Else

      Have I got this right? You think leaving empty buildings to rot is ok?

    • The lovely Debbie Mcgee

      Before I was injured I played for a local club and my regional team. I’d consider that welsh rugby roots. Yet I’m still well in support of occupying wasted spaces for ‘the greater good’.

      • Huw Silk

        Come on, I’m obviously not trying to claim none of you have ever played rugby. I’m just saying you don’t represent grassroots rugby when you’re occupying other people’s property, so don’t try and use that argument. It is preposterous and misleading.

      • The lovely Debbie Mcgee

        Point is, it’s currently a waste of space, had previously been vandalised and probably just been used for junkies to shoot up in. Would have been better looked after and a safer space and not been left to waste and ruin in the hands of the occupiers!

      • Huw Silk

        Your argument is valid in terms of what is perhaps desirable. But the point really is, it’s THEIR property and Occupy had NO RIGHT to do what they tried to.

      • Ms.S-Else

        Walk into an open, neglected building? The WRU have no right to let such a grand space fall into the disgusting state it’s in and leave it empty!

      • Huw Silk

        OK, I’ll bite just one more time. The WRU perhaps shouldn’t have left it in that state, but they have the RIGHT because they own it. You do not!!

      • Ms.S-Else

        Haha! Do you really believe that it’s ok to leave these sites empty when there’s other needs for them? Do you really believe we need more luxury hotels and exclusive apartment blocks are necessary and justified? No doubt that’s the eventual destiny of this building.

      • Huw Silk

        Repeating what I’ve already said, and answering your questions just so you can work out what I’ve said:

        “Do you really believe that it’s ok to leave these sites empty when there’s other needs for them?”

        No.

        “Do you really believe we need more luxury hotels and exclusive apartment blocks are necessary and justified?”

        No.

        But it is not my decision. It is not your decision. It is the WRU’s decision, even if you don’t like it or agree with them. We differ because I respect that right, you do not.

      • Ms.S-Else

        Ok. I cannot respect that decision. Some folks were made homeless by their decision. Nobody has the right to deprive through greed and that is exactly what the WRU have done. I don’t believe in residential squatting unless it is in abandoned, and I mean properly abandoned buildings. However, I will fight the greed and power of corporations without justification until the end. Your choice to not take that stance is, indeed, your choice. I respect that. I will assume that that respect is returned.

  • Gary Stacey

    Property is theft!

    • C

      “Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is, in reality, instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have property against those who have none at all.”

      Adam Smith

  • The lovely Debbie Mcgee

    Bloody idealists eh? How very dare they attempt to set an example :-p

  • Paul

    Yes. I know this one well. Living in a rented accomadation when the landlord defaulted on his mortgage the bank took possession and we moved out. The building sat empty. So we moved back in. Told the bank we had done this. Offered to pay rent, sign contracts, move out if a buyer was found etc and in the meantime heat it and look after it in the middle of winter. Also offered to run it as a co-op. was told discussions would happen. Then came home one day to find all our personal possessions skipped and gone and house boarded up. must make sense to somebody.?

  • daniel McGinty

    Why does it always have to happen in Cardiff? Why dont you go and “occupy” a boarded up chapel up the Valleys (A far greater example of grassroots communities being neglegted) Cardiff already has Arty F*rty centres n community spaces coming out of its ears where as the heads of the vallys gets nac!

    • Ms.S-Else

      Well, for starters, it’s Occupy Cardiff? Feel free to go for it in the Valleys though, Dan. We’ll offer help and support. 🙂

  • eris

    i think it’s been a bit of a wake up call for people to realise that WRU and the stadium and the courts and the police and the welsh media are all on the same side. they are just interested in protecting their capital interests in pursuit of profit. and what they can achieve in a short space of time. the court was next door to the inland revenue building and the stadium and media wales around the corner they are all pretty much the same company.

  • val

    The speed with which the court hearing / eviction was carried out was remarkable, and I think unprecedented. A court hearing and possession order within three days. An eviction warrant from the high court within an hour. Large numbers of police and bailiffs on site ready for the eviction before a possession order had even been granted.

    When my neighbour, who on his last birthday had reached his hundredth year, was stuck inside his house, on his own, confused and distressed, the police were too busy to bother turning up. Yet tactical support units, armed with tasers, plus at least four police vehicles and vans, were available at the drop of a hat for an eviction which at the time of their deployment did not even have legal sanction.

    South Wales is one of the most corrupt areas of the country. Not for nothing are our incestuous mix of local government, police, civil judiciary, media and, of course, the WRU called the Taffia.

  • Dewi

    I wouldn’t bother appealing to their Welshness Gail. There is no entity in Wales that loves licking British arse more than the WRU. Royal Family, British Lions, Knighthoods, Foreign symbols, Patrons who support other countries, you name it, they’re into it.

  • Occupy Cardiff: The story so far « Take Root

    […] Open Letter to Gerald Toms and Roger Lewis of the WRU re:Our Eviction from ‘The Great Tax&#160… Dear Gerald Toms (Millenium Stadium General Manager and former Chief Superintendent of South Wales Police and Commander of the Cardiff Di… WordPress […]

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