Tuesday 19 November 2013

Mr Blobby and Mr Bloggy

Last week's meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council saw the Council Leader, Kevin Madge, go on the rampage in a fit of what looked very much like manufactured indignation in response to a request from Plaid leader, Peter Hughes Griffiths, that councillors should be allowed to discuss the council's plans to hive off playing fields and introduce drastically higher charges for council-owned sports facilities at the same time as throwing more money at Parc y Scarlets.

Here for your delight and delectation is a brief transcript of Kev in full flight. This is certainly a candidate for Cneifiwr's 2014 Christmas Annual of outstanding quotes from the chamber, provisionally entitled Sir Grrrr.

"The answer is no, no, no, and erm, you know, we get to the stage here now, you know, on these subjects, especially the Scarlets, and you know, and, erm, we want to play political ping pong with this one, you know............You ran away from the Ffwrnes, erm, seminar. You've used politics for the last two weeks saying that you're not part of the administration....... So, you know, your group can go on and on and on about these decisions. As I've said all along over the years, we've made those decisions and made tough decisions. And I am proud of what has been achieved here, and what has been done with the Scarlets. They've asked us for a little bit of help here, and we've supported them. Now is the opposition saying, let's pull them down and make everyone redundant then. No, you're not saying that, are you? No, but on the other hand. No, no, no. And I will take the legal advice here. 

"As a council we cannot be like political ostriches, sitting in the sand, and hoping they all go away. That's what this opposition is in this chamber - political ostriches. Any difficult decision, you walk away with it, and you get your spin doctors, Mr Bloggy and other people to, and every time they react, you jump. That's what you do, and when it comes to this council, when the tough decisions are here to be made, you all run away from them, so I would say to them, when you are elected like I am in Garnant, you've got Plaid Cymru people, Tories, Liberals and whatever, and I represent them all when they come to this chamber. You don't, you are one-sided, you just come here with your politics, so at the end of the day Chairman, I think that those two decisions needed to be done. Again, we make the tough decisions. We are answerable here now. I've asked the legal, erm, Linda, to give the, erm, run-down on that, but I think we have got the power to do what we did."

The council's acting Head of Law and Administration followed Kev's rant, dismissing Peter Hughes Griffiths's request as an attempt at micro-managing Executive Board decisions, and going on to give a short speech which sounded much more like the sort of thing you would expect from an elected councillor defending the council's budget.

A couple of minutes later the wind was somewhat taken out of Kev's sails when Peter Hughes Griffiths invited him to a meeting to discuss Plaid's own budget proposals.


It's taken a while for the penny to drop, but Cllr John Jenkins, the non-aligned councillor for Elli, asked an innocent-sounding question at last week's meeting about how many commercial lenders had tendered to take a slice of the Scarlets funding package.

The Director of Resources looked a little puzzled, before replying "None".

Cneifiwr suspects that this was an oblique reference to a claim put out by the council after the bailout that the Scarlets deal was "better than any other commercial investment" (see Numeracy Skills).

That being the case, you would have thought that the banks would have been queuing up to lend their money to the club.
Taking the Difficult Decisions


Anonymous said...

I have a transcript of a meeting we had long ago with a certain 'Manager of the Enforcement Department' and it would be difficult to set these two monologues apart. I had difficulty trying to make sense then of just what HE was attempting to say. The erms are obviously obligatory too. It must be part of their training - if you can't beat them - confuse them!

Anonymous said...

That's rich coming from Mr Madge! It would appear from observations that the CEO only has to tell him to jump and Kev's response is to ask, how high!!!!

Scores on the doors - Mr Bloggy 10, Kevin Madge 0

Lesley said...

If it wasn't so tragic that such utter nonsensical claptrap could be spoken by the leader of a council, it would be hysterically funny and you couldn't make it up. Unfortunately, I can't even raise the glimmer of a smile while reading this appallingly depressing illiterate rubbish. I despair.

Steve Jeacock said...

Y Cneifiwr,I think you have let yourself down on this post. I appreciate that you are a political blogger aligned to Plaid and have every right to express your opinions about the local Labour Party. However,you have to admit that attacking individuals on the way they speak in public is not very sophisticated and doesn't make any positive contribution to local politics.
You must be aware that there are also Plaid politicians who can get stressed when talking in public on certain occasions but in my view, this should not be an issue as politics should be about representing people not about image.
Again, I would like to stress that I respect your right to make political comments and that blogging makes an important contribution to local political debate. However, I feel you might want to look at the level of some of the personal attacks on this blogg as you could make the same political points without being so nasty.
We are all trying to make sense of it all, just in different ways.
Good luck with the blogg

Cneifiwr said...

Thanks Steve. I have thought about what I wrote and what you said, and I appreciate the feedback.

I don't think even Kevin Madge's best friends would claim that he is a good speaker - this rant was no different to any of his utterances over years, except that it went on for longer. In fact he spent the best part of 10 minutes during this part of the meeting endlessly repeating that he takes difficult decisions.

He was not under any unusual stress; in fact he joked at one point that he was "on a roll". Having watched closely, it seems obvious that this was a show of manufactured indignation to sidestep reasons for not allowing discussion of a serious matter. In most councils a major policy shift like this would have been debated.

Kevin may be a dreadful public speaker, but he is an experienced politician who knows all the tricks.

His attack on opposition councillors claiming that they do not represent their constituents was disgraceful and untrue.

If anyone was playing politics, and politics of the most shabby kind, it was Kevin.

Anonymous said...

I recall with distaste the sight of braying Tories deriding John Prescott for his slip-ups when speaking in the Commons. But 90% of what John Prescott said was intelligible. The same cannot be said of Kevin Madge's utterances. It would be wrong to criticise backbench councillors for poor public speaking skills - but Mr Madge is a professional politician, paid well for what he does. He is the person who represents the Council (other than for ceremonial roles), and it should be in the job requirement for any Leader that they can make themselves understood.

Streams of gibberish reflect poorly on the Labour Party and on the Council, almost to the point of bringing it into disrepute.