Friday, 14 September 2012

Carmarthenshire Council - Not fit for purpose...

Returned to the computer after a couple of hours this afternoon to find yet another storm brewing. I am beginning to wonder whether this council is finally going into meltdown. Once again the press section of the council website was hijacked by the ruling administration to take a pot shot at the opposition. The row concerns the decision by the Welsh Government to take the Llandeilo/Cross Hands Sainsburys planning decision out of the hands of the council. Not something that is done without good reason and not without extensive consultation with over thirty ministerial and government parties. The decision was made at the beginning of August maybe the penny has only just dropped in Carmarthen.

Kevin Madge, the Leader launches a full scale attack on Plaid's MP and AM, Jonathan Edwards and Rhodri Glyn Thomas, accusing them of 'inexcusable behaviour" and "deliberate sabotage" by asking for the call-in of Sainsburys plans. For greater effect he even accuses them of jeopardizing a new primary school - fancy that! I didn't know Sainsburys were building schools, is this some new bizarre PFI deal? The BBC reports on the row here and I think Rhodri Glyn Thomas is spot on when he says " This type of response is characteristic of Carmarthenshire County Council....the council doesn't want any scrutiny of its decision"  Mr Thomas also says he may make a complaint about the content of the council press release, Can I suggest Rhodri that you make a complaint about the council, not just the press release?

Whether the stores go ahead or not is not the issue here, it is the total lack of understanding that there is a democratic process, and anyone is entitled to use it. The council press office is regularly used to make political statements and smear campaigners using taxpayers money, you may remember the rapidly pulled article earlier this year.

The relationship between Kevin Madge and Rhodri Glyn Thomas has been a rocky one, back in 2009 Mr Thomas reported Mr Madge to the ombudsman for making defamatory comments after Mr Madge accused him of inaction over securing EU grants. A few months later the Labour leader was again rowing with Plaid over their criticism of the Council propaganda sheet. On the same topic, this July, Jonathan Edwards called Carmarthenshire Council a dictatorship.

Come on Messrs Edwards and Thomas, its time to ratchet up the challenge, are you going to let this council repeatedly walk all over you and the residents of this county? Have you any powers at all to insist on some accountability? So far there have been many words but precious little action, it's no wonder people take to the streets in protest. 

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