Saturday, 9 July 2011

Power before Priorities

There are worrying developments in the political farce known as Carmarthenshire County Council. The new Chair, Cllr Ivor Jackson (he of Private Eye fame) has now refused to allow two Motions to be debated. The first was to discuss the closure of the Day Centre in Llandeilo (can be seen on You Tube of course) which also included a request to review the Council's policy of removing quality elderly care facilities and pretending that the local charity run luncheon clubs are the same thing. The second was a Motion to discuss filming of meetings not only by the council but the public as well, also refused.

The true reason of course is less to do with the content of Motions and has everything to do with the context of a "ruling" group which is no longer sure of the support of all its members. Together with the loss of a seat to Plaid at the by-election last month they also have seen Independent and Labour Councillors voting against the coalition line on several occasions, the most celebrated being the successful vote to keep open the Llanelli care homes.

In my opinion, Cllr Gravell cannot afford to lose control of the council and the position of Leader and so will not allow any votes in full council she could lose. With party loyalist Ivor Jackson in the Chair she has doubtless given him the job of ensuring no Motions likely to split her group or the labour group are considered.

The financially lucrative position of Chair is theoretically elected but the "gentleman's" agreement in the council is that Plaid, Labour and the official Independent Party share the post on a rota. The vice chair always becomes the chair. No other candidates are ever put forward for either position as all three political parties are in support of this system. The groups select the chairs and vice chairs and the position always goes to a senior group member as a reward for political service.

Back briefly to the subject of filming, as assorted Freedom of Info responses trickle in from various parts of Wales it seems that Carmarthenshire Council are finding it all a little difficult. A request was supposed to be answered yesterday but wasn't; They should also take note of Westminster Council's recent decision to presume in favour of allowing the public to film, but it seems that the concept of transparency in local government has yet to be 'devolved' to Wales...


Cneifiwr said...

A pity the next elections can't be brought forward in the way that the council brought forward its decision on Pantycelyn school. The worrying thing is that with less than a year to go before the Independent/Labour group are sent packing, there will be a rush to ram through all sorts of nasty things.

Cneifiwr said...

I know that Caebrwyn will probably not thank me for this, but nominations have opened for the Wales Blog Awards 2011. There are all sorts of blogs in Wales, including some which are outstanding, but it is fair to say that none of the other bloggers have had to endure what Caebrwyn has this year for the sake of our democratic freedoms. Best of all, there are signs that this blog is bringing about real change.

I urge all readers to spare a few moments to make a nomination. The links can be found here: