Monday 20 June 2011

Caebrwyn Arrest - The Aftermath

I have been struggling over the past couple of days to write something about the events of last Wednesday as well as the subsequent interest and debate sparked over not only what happened, but the wider issues of local government transparency. I have been, and still am, overwhelmed by the response and support I have had, 'thank you' is the understatement of the year - Twitter has been incredible, and my thanks go to all the bloggers, journalists and writers, members of the public and all the commenters who have taken the time to follow this and give their opinion - even if it was occasionally critical, all comments have been taken on board. It makes up for the loud jeering from the Chamber, still ringing in my ears, when I was removed from the Public Gallery last week.
There have also been been various statements made by the Council and the Police which I need to address, including specific concerns directly related to their actions, that will take a little more time but my thought are definitely gathering at a pace. I also need to resume my more 'normal' blogging at some point. There is, I know, plenty to catch up on. I have been somewhat distracted as I am sure local visitors to this blog will understand. It also appears that my long running concerns about Carmarthenshire Council's libel antics have been picked up in the process.

I am very grateful to @AlexMurraySmith from the Carmarthen Journal for initially breaking this story, to Richard Wilson, @dontgetfooled for blogging and picking it up on Twitter and to another great tweeter @DavidAllenGreen top legal blogger for the New Statesman, for his swift enquiries to Dyfed Powys Police over the circumstances of my arrest. He has had a response, of sorts, from the Police and provides a wonderful analysis over on his New Statesman blog. An essential read;  Dyfed Powys Police fail to justify the council meeting arrest and detention

I am also delighted that there is now something of a debate over the transparency of our local councils, particularly here in Wales. I would like to thank the Assembly Members who brought up the question of filming and accountability at yesterday's Plenary meeting at the Senedd and to @williamgrahamam for being the first AM to sign my petition. Huge thanks also to Swansea Councillor @ReneKinzett for his support, enquiries, media responses and tweets.

There are countless others who have helped to shine a spotlight on this usually quiet corner of Wales and several Welsh bloggers have gone out of their way to try and find out what exactly happened, and who continue to promote greater accountability of our local councils. Let's hope we've gained some momentum. One post which made me smile was this from new satitical bloggers @welshnewsnot not only is it funny but surprisingly accurate; Woman accused of witchcraft after filming councillors

So what next? Do I ask the Council and the Police for an apology? What is the likelihood of that happening? Will I take legal action - yes, if I can but I will be ever mindful of the bottomless pit of your money at their disposal to protect their reputations. My 'pit' is somewhat shallower. To start with, and it's something I can do on my own, is to challenge the parking ticket I found carefully placed on my car when I eventually got back to it from Llanelli Police station, courtesy of Carmarthenshire County Council.

I will, of course, continue with my blog and campaigns, undeterred. I am also more determined than ever to stand for County Councillor next year and I hope others in Carmarthenshire will be inspired to do the same, then hopefully we may eventually see some big changes down in County Hall. If I am elected I shall, of course, be delighted to be filmed.
Thanks again to everyone for their support,
Watch this space,
Jacqui (@caebrwyn) Please have a look at the links

Update 17th June: New links;
Heather Brooke; Surveillance: The other side of the lens  #daftarrest
Anna Racoon; Won't talk to bloggers, no more, no more includes #daftarrest
Cneifiwr Blog (new to Carmarthenshire); Quoting out of context #daftarrest
Cllr Ryan Thomas blog, Carmarthenshire: Carmarthenshire County Council and their fear of the public
Welsh Icons: Shadow Minister signs Council filming petition @williamgrahamam
Radio Wales  Radio article re #daftarrest with @caebrwyn and me >at 2:45:50 into the programme;  

Courtesy @AlexMurraySmith Carmarthen Journal


Dic Deryn said...

It's been quite a week for you, Caebrwyn. You deserve all the support you have received.

The question the rest of us need to ask ourselves is, what can we do? Complaining to Carmarthenshire County Council is like banging your head against a brick wall. Apart from signing the petition, I would urge all Welsh readers to write to their AMs. It's not just Carmarthenshire that is abusing its powers and shielding itself in secrecy.

The new Labour government in Cardiff is barely a month old, and is already gaining a reputation for lethargy. Their response so far has been to sit on their hands and say it's up to the councils. As in other areas, such as planning, all that does is encourage councils like Carmarthenshire to continue to ride roughshod over local democracy and bend the rules.

Mrs Angry said...

oh dear, the witch story is one of the funniest things I've read for quite a while ... but what happened to you was not funny, it was outrageous, and that is why it has caused such a storm of interest ... good luck, and keep fighting for the apology you so deserve from Carmarthenshire County Council and Dyfed Powys police.

Anonymous said...

Well, the evidence is conclusive - you've got red hair, so it's definitely the 'ducking stool' for you, my dear...

Anonymous said...

This incident has made me thing what are councils' views on tweeting, blogging and filming. So I've sent a FOI request to 19 of Wales' 22 authorities hopefully I'll be able to collate the responses and I will publish on my blog, so all can see what the picture is.

kris said...

I'd find a solicitor and see if you have a case against the police.

And if your solicitor can find a case against the Council - so much the better.

Anonymous said...

It is so refreshing that this council, along with it's Chief Mark James have at last had the exposure desperately needed, and so rightly deserved, with the debates his conduct has generated, very welcome. I'm sure dear old Mark isn't as pleased as we all are tho, believing his neat ways of silencing his critics in this little corner of Wales could continue without being noticed. I have thoroughly enjoyed all comments, the serious and the not so serious. Having read quite extensively the posts, the comments and the pieces on the forum, perhaps this blog should be aptly re-named according to one blogger, Dodgy Dodgy Dodgy council.

Anonymous said...

no point gettign a solicitor in carmarthen against carms county council......
they will run to the council with the info, get one in london

Anonymous said...

St. Clears Town Council have come out in support of Jacqui Thompson. They suggest that CCC is looking foolish around the world. See homepage

Anonymous said...

I am moving to Jacqui's ward in 2012 just to vote for her.