Saturday 31 October 2015

The corporate video...more comment

This week, the Carmarthenshire Herald's Cadno takes a wry look at the Council's new corporate video, I mentioned this riveting creation a couple of week's ago after discovering that it had replaced most of the links to the council webcasts and spotting myself in the distant murky gloom of the council chamber.

Cadno observes that many of the services, such as libraries and leisure, featured in this video will not only be subject to massive budget cuts but are well on their way to the great outsourcing cloud in the sky. (For the full article, the newspaper is available throughout the county for a mere 50p).

The video also features several shots of merry elderly folk in what appears to be a residential setting. Readers may recall that despite fierce opposition, the council run care homes are now being closed and replaced with 'Extra Care Schemes' in Ammanford, Carmarthen and Llanelli, in partnership with Family Housing Association.

Worryingly, the latest report from the Care Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) states that these privately run apartment style settings "do not currently fall under the same regulatory framework as registered care homes, and therefore, do not afford people with the same level of safeguards." and, alongside an increase in demand for residential care, the council will not only have to consider if can now meet that demand but "will need to think about how it will monitor the quality of these services". Oh dear.

But back to the video and Cadno remarks on the rather grim appearance of council leader Emlyn Dole who's performance is 'as solid, grey, and uninspiring as – well, readers – a block built barn plonked incongruously in open countryside'.

Cadno wonders whether Cllr Dole was forced in front of the camera at gunpoint, and continues with the Western theme in observing the performance of Mr James;

"Star billing goes to Carmarthenshire’s top gunslinger, Milky Bar Mark James – aka ‘The Man with no Shame’.
Mark is frightfully jolly: full of the sort of grotesque bonhomie that has Cadno’s right paw reaching for the twelve bore. Mark’s message seems to be: “Carmarthenshire – we’re not that crap, really”. He is keen to tell you just what the Council does. In order to help him achieve that end, disembodied statistics float across the frames of the film."

One of those disembodied statistics claims that "nearly 1.3 million being Active". Apart from being grammatically dodgy, that's pretty impressive for a county with only just over 180,000 residents.

Criticism is not, of course, directed at the small supporting cast of staff who appear in this promotional video but questions the purpose and point of this unadulterated spin. As Cadno, and the rest of us must wonder, isn't council time and money better spent on essential services rather than this pointless shallow exercise?

How different it all was only a few short month's ago when Plaid, in opposition, were bemoaning the fact that in recent years, the wages bill for technical services (bins, roads etc) had dropped by 9.6%, yet the wages bill for the council press office had risen by 12.8%.

As regular readers will know, this council has unique priorities when it comes to spending your money, such as 'God's own bowling alley', paying off loans for it's favourite company, or illegally bumping up the chief executive's pay packet. To devote resources to self-image and deflecting uncomfortable scrutiny should come as no surprise, this was the council after all which prioritised cash to sue anyone who challenged the Divine Truth according to Mr James.


Sian Caiach said...

I like the bits near the end where the nice young man tests the water in the swimming pool and then we move on to Llanelli Beach where the 2 nice tourist ladies are sitting down for a friendly chat {do we really have 3 million + tourists or are we counting the ones en route to Pembrokeshire and Ireland both ways?}. I've spent years trying to get the water tested on that beach. In 2009, after persistent and worryingly large E Coli counts Carmarthenshire County Council's exec member for the Environment decided to deal with the situation by not ever testing the beach again.
Dog pooh must be eradicated from all public places but human excrement is probably alive and well just offshore as untreated sewage frequently flows by. Its probably the joke the two ladies are sharing.The CCC version of Schrodinger's Cat. If you never test it, how do you know those pesky bacteria are still there or not ?

Anonymous said...

It's CCCs mantra with anything that's uncomfortable, 'don't want to know, so don't have to think about, it, so don't have to deal with it'. Add to that recipe 'if someone attempts to enlighten us' 'shut them up for God's Sake'.

Anonymous said...

What do Plaid think they are doing? What they are doing in Carmarthenshire will not inspire confidence in Plaid voters in all counties in Wales.All fingers are pointing in the direction of the Plaid leader so somehow he should be trying to redeem himself-or is it too late?

Anonymous said...

I think this 'barn' fiasco has done immense damage to Plaid and unless the spineless Plaid group on the council finds a bit of backbone and acts in future with some integrity, the damage will certainly manifest itself in Carmarthenshire in the May elections and maybe further afield.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous 10.48 - Plaid need to buck up, are they actually changing anything? Are they helping the National party? They came fourth in Carmarthen West, is their shoddy behaviour designed to appeal to UKIP supporters?

Anonymous said...

In answer to 13.02, the answer is certainly YES! I have voted Plaid in local election for years now, believing them to be a party of honesty and integrity, but no longer! The "barn" fiasco, among other things, has given me cause to think again. Come future local (and regional/assembly elections) I'll be deserting them.
I could never bring myself to vote labour - they caused financial and economic mayhem nationally (thanks to one G Brown!) one only has to remember the damage they have done to this oounty, by allowing democracy to ebb away until all power is accumulated in one person - M James. Esq. to whom no one in their right mind raises their hat! In this, they were ably aided by the fascists (sorry, "independents"!). Me? I'll either abstain or, more probably, vote UKIP!

Anonymous said...

The message couldn't be clearer could it? Plaid has a great deal of work to do if they want to stay in power at the next election.Get rid of Mark James for a start.

Tessa said...

Swimming at Llanelli beach would be a case of going through the motions.