Monday, 16 January 2012

Council Leader calls constituents 'rabble'

(In the interest of fairness, I would like to draw your attention to the comment on this post left by Alan Andrews, the Director of ChooseLife who has offered some possible context/clarification as to Cllr Gravell's 'rabble' remark)

(23rd Jan; also, in the interests of fairness to protestors and council staff, here's a link to the Unison Carms website which features a video of Cllr Gravell's performance including her comments/views about 9000 council employees  - What does Meryl Gravell think about you? )

Stunned to learn today that our gracious Leader, Cllr Meryl Gravell has called a group of peaceful protestors 'rabble' and went on to label nine thousand frontline council employees as the cause of the Councils 'problems'. Remember, this is the Leader of one of the largest authorities in Wales and has numerous seats and responsibilities on various Boards and Committees throughout the nation.

Here's the context; Recent news that the A & E department at Prince Phillip Hospital, Llanelli will be axed has caused dismay and anguish amongst residents, understandably so. On top of that a 14 day 'consultation' was announced last week into the closure of an 20 bed acute medical ward - it appears that, unless this deliberate downgrading of essential services is stopped, and Hywel Dda Health Board forced to go back to the drawing board, Llanelli will be left without a fully functioning hospital.
As you may imagine something of a campaign has been gathering pace culminating last week in a peaceful protest. Around 300 members of the public, children, grandmothers, healthworkers, patients, local assorted politicians, etc had gathered in the cold hoping to address their concerns to Labour First Minister Carwyn Jones who, on a rare visit to Carmarthenshire, was visiting the (excellent) drug intervention centre, Choose Life, celebrating it's 15th anniversary. Incidentally, Mr Jones would not speak to the protestors.

Also attending the anniversary was our very own Council top brass and someone decided that it would be a splendid idea to give Meryl the microphone. Unfortunately the Council speech writer must have had a day off, and, after congratulating the centre and it's founder, Alan Andrews on his hard work (deservedly so) she then referred to the good folk of Llanelli outside, peacefully trying to preserve their hospital as 'rabble'. Lord preserve us.
At this point someone should have intervened, and maybe whisked her off to the getaway limo, but no, on she went, and proceeded to denigrate the nine thousand or so council staff and blame the ordinary workers for the 'problems' in the Council; "We have nine thousand employees Mark and I (sic), and if all nine thousand employees worked as hard as Alan, and were as enthusiastic as Alan is, my goodness we would not have a problem at all in the Council, but there we are, we are who we are!"

Yet again, I am lost for words, as I am sure, were the assembled constituents and employees of Carmarthenshire Council.
Anyone fancy another go at the vote of no confidence? The May election can't come soon enough.

Cllr Meryl Gravell
Later post;


Cneifiwr said...

No wonder old-fashioned hustings are avoided like the plague nowadays. The more the likes of Meryl, Pam Palmer, Gwynne Wooldridge et al can be heard by the public, the more likely it will be that they will be turfed out in May.

The "Mark and I" bit says it all. Sounds like she's talking about her domestic staff.

Anonymous said...

oh dear me... it does make you wonder how on earth they get elected in the first place. these are the kind of people that will drag down it's citizens into the abyss.

then again, carwyn jones was just the same as dismissing people's concerns as a plaid protest.

first minister by heck (anon 2)

Anonymous said...

i bet you gravell would not have the guts to call the 'concerned citizens' rabble to their faces.

easy to hide behind a microphone indoors giving themselves selfpraise..

then again, it could well be that people and politicians like this drove people to drink and drugs in the first place.
who neeeds thatcher around when gravell is here.... (anon2)

towy71 said...

Rabble sounds more like a description of the ruling clique than of us who pay for their outrageous salaries

Alan Andrews said...

Hi, i have heard your comments and i empathise with your protest. Yet in defence of Meryl Gravell using the word "rabble" concerning the protesters. She used this word because several members of our group from Chooselife were verbally abused by some of the protesters. One family member was called a druggie and also a volunteer was as well and they were really upset by some of the intimidation that they received. They had to put up with verbal put downs throughout the day. I acknowledge that in most protests they are infiltrated by people who have a different agenda and we knew this was going to happen. So when Meryl heard people talk about the verbal abuses that they had received, this obviously upset her and that is why she referred to them as “rabble” not meaning all but some of the protesters. Wish you all well with your campaign.
Alan Andrews

caebrwyn said...

Thanks for your comment and clarification. I do not condone any abuse levelled at your clients nor volunteers, and as I hope I made very clear in the blog post I fully support the excellent work you do.
I do believe though that Meryl should have chosen her words with more care including her further reference to council staff. If she was upset perhaps she should have addressed those affected personally and not insulted the entire group of protestors. We may have to differ on this one.
All the best

Anonymous said...

I agree with Caebrwyn. Two wrongs don't make a right as they say, and dear Meryl is highly paid from taxpayer funding. She should know better than come down to the level of those who were allegedly were abusive. It puts her on a par with those she's condemning. No surprise there tho!