Monday 11 May 2015

Cadno considers the Guru of Garnant...

With rumours that the knives are out from within the Labour group, Kevin Madge's future as leader of Carmarthenshire council hangs in the balance (or perhaps he's asked them to put him out of his misery).
Carmarthenshire Herald columnist, Cadno, considers the scenario and possible options;

Cadno hears the head of the herd

There it is, readers: whether you voted or not, the General Election is over and, if you are reading this on Friday May 8, the business of forming a government is underway. 
Think of individual policies as parasites within the body-politic. With a level of skill otherwise required only when luring out a tapeworm from its cosy home in the lower part of the human digestive system, concessions are – even as you read this – being enticed out to sate the aspirants’ appetite for power. 
It’s a beguiling image - isn’t it readers? – all that bold talk of majorities and mandates boils down which party is prepared to swallow the unspeakable in order to get its mitts on the levers of power. 
As Cadno is writing this before the results of the election are known, he could be wrong and either David Cameron has clung on to the chain of office and is even now flushing the remains of the UK down the pan with him, or Ed Miliband is being sucked towards having to do a deal with parties he and his lieutenants in Scotland and Wales have spent the better part of six weeks deriding. 
It’s a rum do that politics malarkey, readers. You might even describe the political process as capricious; one that – from the perspective of those who lead parties – punishes success as much as it reviles failure. 
Look at poor old Kevin Adequate, for instance. 
If you believe one quarter of the things the Council come out with, Carmarthenshire leads the way in leading the way and all sorts of good stuff. There are strategies, plans, and many things done. 
The responsibility for all this good stuff is the enlightened and benign leadership of Comrade Kev and his administration made up of the great and the good. 
So, readers, how is it that rumours abound that so toxic has Carmarthenshire County Council been on the doorstep that it is said that the Guru of Garnant currently possesses the shelf-life of a rather aged pilchard? 
Like the emperor who had no clothes, the County Council has proven rather too fond of believing in its own infallibility than is healthy. The recent debate about Carmarthenshire’s future as a unitary authority betrayed self-delusion beyond measure in the ranks of County Councillors. 
In principle, Cadno believes that, given Carmarthenshire’s geographical size, it should be retained and not dismembered. However, too many on the governing coalition’s benches bobbed up and down to suggest that it was unthinkable that a Council they claimed was a beacon of hope and high ideals in Wales should be swept aside simply because of a long series of crass and venal errors of judgement and morals. 
Honestly, readers, Cadno listened disbelievingly to any number of points and speeches that suggested that Carmarthenshire’s Council was one that other councils aspired to be. 
When poor old Emlyn Dole, whose motion was hijacked by the ruling group, compared – without irony - Carmarthenshire’s free-thinking democratic process to a lack of strong governance in neighbouring Pembrokeshire, Cadno damned near carked it when overcome by a fit of laughter. 
As Robert Burns wrote:
Oh, wad some Power the giftie gie us,
To see ourselves as others see us! 
If the Council was one half as successful as its members claim, readers, Kevin Adequate’s future would be in no doubt whatsoever. 
But there are rumblings of discontent which suggest that some Labour councillors, at least, are becoming aware that the public are less content with their record of fifteen years of carve up than they are themselves. 
The abandonment of ideals, the desertion of manifesto commitments, and the appearance of being in hock to one arguably over-mighty employee has not helped Labour’s profile whether on the Council or in Carmarthenshire’s Westminster seats. 
It is no good Kevin pointing out debateable successes when they are weighed in the balance against an administrative agenda that appears to pork-barrel a favoured few and put money in the pocket of speculative property developers. Let’s look at Carmarthenshire Labour’s headline ‘achievements’ over fifteen years: 
· The county is 21st out of 22 Welsh local authorities for the provision of affordable housing; 
· Spending public money to pay its best paid employee’s legal expenses; 
· Trying to silence any critical comment in the local press by outright political thuggery and malice; 
· Llanelli town centre is ranked 499th out of 500 town centres; 
· Treating the Ombudsman with contempt; 
· Routinely curtailing democratic scrutiny; 
· Using Council officers to attack political opponents; 
· Repeatedly defending the indefensible decision to enrich the retirement of the Council’s Chief Executive by hatching a squalid pension tax avoidance scheme 
The natives are not revolting, but the Labour Party on Carmarthenshire County Council have proven in spades that they are. Perhaps they have lain together with Meryl and the WI on the ‘Independent’ benches for too long to realise it, but people want real politics and real achievements, not semantic shuffling combined with the type of breast-beating more usually associated with Tarzan, King of the Apes, than with a barrel of asthmatic monkeys. 
Of course, the Leader of the Council does not have to come from the Labour Group. Perhaps the poisoned chalice could return – could it be, readers? – to Meryl the Peril. 
With her unique brand of blinkered hauteur to the role of leader and rallying cry of ‘Boldly going forward ‘cause we can’t find reverse’, Meryl could well be the answer to Carmarthenshire Labour’s dreams, enabling it to scuttle away from the scene of the crime without too many questions. 
But the most likely head of the herd will come from the Labour ranks. The alternatives to Kevin appear to be ‘Mystic’ Jeff Edmunds, whose joie de vivre and scintillating rhetoric has set so many budget reports alight and Anthony ‘The Chair’ Jones, Head of the Planning Committee, and one who appears regularly to bear the impression of the last officer to sit on him. 
Like Comrade Kev, ‘The Chair’ hails from the area around Ammanford, whence Labour draws much strength. Mystic Jeff hails Llanelli-ward and is perhaps better placed to fight against any move to remove Llanelli from Carmarthenshire in any future reorganisation of Welsh local government. 
The prospects of any of the above replacing Kev is almost enough to inculcate a fond longing within Cadno for Kevin Adequate to stay the course. It certainly makes writing this column so much easier while he is at the helm. Bear in mind, readers, the captain of the Titanic headed straight into the iceberg without handing control over to a number two.
(SourceThe Carmarthenshire Herald)


the Guru of Garnant....


Anonymous said...

Just a quick question as it's bothering me.
Thank you for publishing Cadno's thoughts in full, but do you have permission to do this - are there copyright implications? Perhaps you don't need it? I'm only concerned as I'd like everyone to buy the new Herald and it's worth it just to read Cadno.
Also, it's sometimes not clear where Cadno's prose ends and your blog begins.

caebrwyn said...

Anon 11:43
I also want people to buy the new Herald and I have no intention of publishing every piece.
However, I think an opinion piece from the local press is sometimes worth taking to a wider audience.
I note what you say about the prose, I hope it is clear in the post above.

Anonymous said...

Llanelli town centre is ranked 499th out of 500 town centres.

The press department at County Hall would interpret this as
Llanelli town centre in top 500!