It’s a rum state of affairs when you can’t even go on Insta to say what a good person you are without a pack of haters lining up to knock you down.


That, anyway, was the experience of Love Island star (get your Google ready), mental health ambassador and social media influencer Dr Alex George, when he told his two million followers about his latest purchase:


‘Today’s the day! I’m so excited to announce that I’ve bought four holiday cottages in beautiful Pembrokeshire, in Wales. I initially bought these for my passion for property and renovation, as well as wanting to create relaxing spaces for families to holiday and enjoy the Welsh countryside in!’

‘Four holiday cottages’ was overstating the case a bit. From the photos Dr Alex shared, the cottages look like bits of barn conversion dotted round a farmhouse, probably bodged together in the 80s and well overdue a makeover. They weren’t really holiday accommodation either, having previously accommodated long-term tenants in just-bearable conditions. One sitting tenant is being ousted to make way for Dr Alex’s renovations.


But not only –Dr Alex informed the metaverse– was this acquisition an invaluable service to anyone with plans to relax and enjoy the Welsh countryside; it was also a grand humanitarian gesture: ‘With all of the current devastation in Ukraine, I have decided I would love one of the cottages to be home to a Ukrainian family for as long as they need. My plan is to start the renovations and get the properties into a good state to house a family as soon as possible. If you’d like to follow me along on my renovation journey, go and follow @DrAlexRenovates.’


If Dr Alex thought this Schindleresque display of compassion would warm the hearts of his followers in West Wales, he was to be disappointed. George may hail originally from Nantgaredig, but he’s been off doctoring and influencing in the big smoke for years and may not have recognised the strength of feeling that’s been whipped up around holiday cottages in Pembrokeshire. For Welsh Nats, buying any Pembrokeshire property to let out to grockles has become the unforgiveable sin.

Whoever curates Dr Alex’s Insta feed has had a challenging game of whack-a-troll on their hands for the last couple of days. Most of the haters get their comments removed, but click to responses below the hearts and handclaps that are left up and you can mine a rich seam of Nationalist spite. For a mental health ambassador, it must be dismaying to see how many loonies and fruitcakes there are on Insta who Dr Alex just can’t help, because their pathologies are all now directed against him.


‘Jemmajaydee’, whose bio proclaims her to have an ‘insatiable travel lust’ (except in the case of people travelling to where she lives, when it’s an insatiable travel loathing) got properly stuck in to one of Dr Alex’s apologists: ‘BUT he has bought 4 properties and therefore taken 4 properties away from locals just so he can profit off them. FOUR. It’s excessive and SELFISH.’


Rachel Lewis, a campaigner from Tenby who believes that doing part-time work in the voluntary sector aged 26 should easily enable you to buy a big house, spoke more in sorrow than in anger: ‘Doctor Alex George could have bought those properties and put them up to rent at an affordable price, he would have been a hero. If he truly cared about Wales, the language, the culture, the people, then he wouldn’t put profit first.’


Others went a good bit further than just calling Dr Alex SELFISH or telling him what to do with his money. Moving away from the sanitised environment of Instagram to the open sewer of Welsh Nat Twitter, the customary torrents of racist bile came vomiting out. ‘Denying local people the right to buy a house in their area…he wants to rub their faces in it by renting it back to them and making money out of them. Jolly good old boy,’ observed someone calling himself Paul Roberts, presumably under the misapprehension that anyone buying rental property in Pembrokeshire must be of aristocratic Anglo-Saxon extraction. Worse stuff followed, including threats of vandalism and violence.


Dr Alex should hold firm against the haters. He’s entitled to spend his money as he sees fit. The barns he bought look absolutely right for holiday accommodation and poorly suited as permanent homes for local families. Pembrokeshire families left buildings like these to tumble down over the last fifty years. Why? Because they are nowhere near as good as a modern general purpose agri building for farming purposes, and because they were built for pigs to live in, not people. Unless you throw a fortune at them, which Rachel Lewis probably hasn’t got, they make lousy homes.


Nats don’t like it, but tourism is a valuable industry in Wales. And Dr Alex might be from Nantgaredig rather than South Pembs, but he has a better grasp of Pembrokeshire culture than his detractors. The Welsh language hasn’t been how people south of the Landsker communicate since the 12th Century. A 2003 study of residents’ DNA found that locals in South Pembs are genetically indistinguishable from Devonians.


He might be a bit boasty, but Dr Alex George is doing the right thing by putting up Ukrainian refugees at his own expense, and it’s not up to him to provide homes for needy families in Pembrokeshire. Pembrokeshire County Council should be building new houses for local occupation as a priority, and they and the National Park Authority can do far more to enable private developers to build new, high-quality homes (again, with some earmarked for local buyers) in Pembrokeshire’s towns and villages.


The private sector has no difficulty in turning a profit from building houses and letting them out, and there is no reason (basic incompetence aside) that councils can’t do likewise. Instead of howling him down, Pembrokeshire should congratulate Alex George, and extend a warm welcome to tourists and Ukrainian refugees alike.