One of my local newspapers, the South Wales Guardian has a short column every week titled 'Bit's and Bob's'. Often critical of Carmarthenshire Council, here is this week's column;
"I see our old friends at Carmarthenshire Council have made the pages of Private Eye after calling in the police over the woman who was recording a meeting on her mobile phone.
Well done lads. What a better advert for west Wales than to tell the world we don't beleive in democracy or freedom of speech down here.
All part of Carmarthenshire's march into the past. They've always shied away from the public, probably because so many of their decisions are so daft. Indeed, only a select few councillors are allowed inside the wall of secrecy. Most are kept at arms length.
Once the Council held a meeting in Welsh with no translation facilities. Admirable, you might argue. Except my impresson was councillors only did it because they thought I, the only journalist present, wouldn't understand.
Contrast that with the community council that always met in Welsh that turned to English in front of me because it was proud that readers would get to know it's views.
Things weren't so bad before Carmarthenshire existed. Twenty five years ago I tape recorded a meeting of one of the constituent councils as an experiment for the Talking Newspaper for the Blind. A friend who was an HTV cameraman regularly filmed in council chambers with big lights and maximum disturbance.
And what's happening with the police investigation? When can we expect charges of wasting police time against the council representatives who called them in?
In the same newspaper, thanks also goes to 'name and address supplied' from lower Brynaman for their tremendous letter of support.
From the wider world, another article has appeared about me and the #daftarrest, this time in the E-Government Bulletin - Woman Seeks Legal Advice Over Council Filming Arrest
As for news of my request for an apology from the Chairman, Cllr Jackson (on behalf of the Council) there has been a deafening silence. A little bird tells me though that there is something of a smear campaign against me going on in County Hall. This information is re-inforced by the recent correspondence I have had from the Chief Executive. His choice of words is not only personally abusive but highly unprofessional, I wonder whether he writes alone, in the confines of the Presidential Suite or whether he passes it by the legal department before popping it in the post? Judging by the tone I think the former is the only explanation.
Clearly I am going to have a fight on my hands. The Agenda for next week's full Council meeting has been published and I will be very curious to see, next Wednesday, whether any Councillors, with regards to Item7, refuse to 'sign off' as correct the Minutes for the meeting of the 8th June.
I am seriously considering taking up a suggestion left by one of my commenters, and that is to ask Dyfed Powys Police to escort me to the Public Gallery next week. Perhaps they will provide safe passage for me to exercise my democratic and human rights to attend the meeting without interference from the Council? I shall have to phone and ask.