Saturday, 1 June 2013

A bad day for County Hall's PR machine

Cneifiwr bumped into an old acquaintance yesterday who complained bitterly about the boredom he endured as he watched the first ever broadcast of a meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council. To be fair, the AGM is never going to be edge of the seat stuff, but there is a reasonable chance that viewers will get to see more lively debate and procedural hocus pocus in the autumn.

One councillor to watch, although for all the wrong reasons, is Pam Palmer, deputy leader of the council and leader of one of the three main parties, the "Independents". Although she does not speak anything like as often or at such length as Kevin Madge, the results are usually toe curling embarrassment and stunned silence.

A couple of months ago Pam popped up in Carmarthen to join a small crowd protesting about plans to close the town's post office. Someone unwisely asked her to say a few words, and she began by saying that public speaking was not her strong point before going on to prove that she was right.

Charm, charisma, a sense of humour, grace and an ability to hold an audience are not really Pam's things, but despite these handicaps, she will happily turn up to the opening of a pair of curtains for the publicity.

On Friday Pam shipped up in Ammanford along with Kevin Madge and Cllr Terry Davies for the opening of another foodbank.

A couple of months previously the organisers had asked our MP, Jonathan Edwards, to attend the ceremony and speak. He obliged with a speech that avoided political controversy and congratulated the organisers for doing something to help make the community a better place. He also donated a large box of food.

The sun shone, and the speech went down well, but Pam looked like thunder, and she mumbled something to Kev.

Sadly none of the council worthies was asked to speak, although Terry Davies got to do a count-down before cutting the ribbon.

The assembled dignitaries then moved outside for the photos. Naturally the organisers wanted the MP in the picture. Having so far failed to make an impression, Kev manoeuvred himself to the front, but Pam refused to have anything to do with it because there were "people in the picture who had nothing to do with the project" (believed to be a reference to our MP).

Three times she was asked, and three times she refused.

Unfortunately the photographer was unable to fit Kev into the shot, and so he had to be asked to go and stand at the back.

The glum trio then headed back to Carmarthen in the limo with nothing to show for their trip and no snaps for the next edition of Carmarthenshire News.

Not Pam Palmer


Anonymous said...

One would expect Councillors to behave professionally in this kind of situation even if they don't like the person they are asked to stand next too. After all they are public servants and are representing us all as constituents. Shocking and childish really!

Anonymous said...

Pam petty palmer!!! 21st century and all that.... She usually enjoys photocalls!! I believe when they are elected it is noted they must do their best for the community regardless of political persuasion! Maybe she was just worried that she may have to say something more that "no" and was busy scratching!!

Anonymous said...

Can I ask? What has 'our MP' done extra to the Councillors for the food bank?

Cneifiwr said...

Nothing is the answer I am sure he would give, and the councillors were asked to take part in the publicity shot - repeatedly in the case of Cllr Palmer.

If you were a charity seeking to publicise something, you would obviously choose an MP over county councillors for the kudos and public profile. It also happens to be the case that Jonathan Edwards has direct experience of working in this field before he became an MP.