Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Vote of no confidence in Kev? So soon?

The recent row over the Sainsbury's call-in continues. The council press article which has caused the rumpus has been found to be factually incorrect, the accusations against the Plaid Cymru MP and AM are false and politically charged. Ultimately, the press office is part of the Chief Executive's department and the initial publication and continuing presence of the article suggests the compliance of senior management.

Unfortunately for Messrs Madge and co, the Labour/Independent ruling executive, the crisis doesn't appear to be blowing over any time soon.

Jonathan Edwards MP has indicated on Twitter that the key to this is the "lack of integrity of the ruling executive" and that the Plaid group on Carmarthenshire Council will be considering the option of a Vote of No Confidence at their next meeting.

This afternoon, Labour's Carl Sargeant, the Minister for Local Government announced the gradual withdrawal of Commissioners from Anglesey Council. It's a long story, so to be brief, they were sent in due to a drawn out, lengthy breakdown in the functioning of the democratic process, in this case squabbling councillors, to the extent to which it was deemed to be impeding the delivery of services. In other words, the councillors were out of control.

So what can he do in Carmarthenshire? We have a very different crisis here. It's almost a reverse situation. We have a situation where the democratic process is being gradually eroded by unelected senior officers, where there are now mechanisms in place to silence critics, where the local press is effectively gagged through threats to advertising revenue, where unlawful restrictions prevent free access to the public gallery. Where the council press office is used to smear opponents of council-led projects or for political purposes. We have a situation where councillors are punished for asking too many questions or silenced for bringing up 'ward issues'. I could go on.
All this is rubber stamped by the current, and previous, hand picked Executive Board.

It would appear, to all intent and purpose, that no one can breathe without it being passed by the Chief Executive's office first.

Is this any healthier than the Anglesey crisis? No, and as Carl Sargeant hopes to see the restoration of balanced democratic control there, perhaps he'd now consider making a start in Carmarthenshire.


caebrwyn said...

A vote of no confidence would be interesting - if the group decide on that option, and if it's 'allowed', Plaid should request a secret ballot, I reckon there's a few Labour rebels in the ranks.

Anna Mosity said...

The problem for “poor Kev” is that he probably didn’t even write one word of the press release. What is more likely is that this will have been done by the Chief Exec’s expensive PR department to put CCCs (ie the Chief Exec’s) view. They would have then stuck it in front of “poor Kev” for his signature as Council Leader.

You don’t get to suck a salary of £200,000 a year out of the public purse by putting your own name to controversial things!

Anybody else noticed that bad news/admissions of guilt are always delivered by one of the Assistant Chief Exec’s?!

caebrwyn said...

@Anna Mosity

Thanks for your comment. Whilst we can't attribute the article to any one individual, it is certainly a corporate view. In a newspaper report yesterday, Cllr Madge confirmed that the comments reflected the views of the Local Authority.

Anonymous said...

Oh I get so frustrated and so cross at the rabble we have in the council today, actually. I cannot believe that these people, live in the real world. If all our Councillors worked as hard as Sian Ciach and were as enthusiastic as Sian is, my goodness we wouldn't have a problem, AT ALL in the Council. Now who was it that said words to that effect??? Hm, Argh, sorry it's no good, I have no confidence in my memory. Oh well, like my mum used to say .... if you can't remember the name, then the person couldn't have been that important.