Nominations for the by-election in Trelech have now closed, and there are three candidates:
Jean Lewis (Plaid Cymru)
Hugh Phillips (Independent)
Selwyn Runnett (Liberal Democrat)
It had been rumoured that Ukip would be throwing its hat into the ring, but it would seem that they couldn't find a candidate. Labour would have faced the same minor difficulty.
Trelech is one of the largest and most rural wards in Carmarthenshire, comprising the village of Trelech itself, a handful of other settlements and numerous farms.
Jean Lewis is a well-known and respected figure locally. She has a long track record of voluntary work in the community and is described as honest and hard working.
Selwyn Runnett is one of those veteran LibDems who can't see an election without wanting to stand. He has something of a mountain to climb, and his prospects won't be helped by memories of Ken Rees who was the last LibDem to be elected to the county council in 2008. No sooner had he been elected under the LibDem banner than Ken got into bed with Meryl Gravell's "Independents". He is understood to have been flirting with Ukip more recently.
The Independents are at least in theory not a political party, and the charade that is usually played out is that someone will sign up to join Pam Palmer's gang only when they have been elected. This means that voters can never be sure whether a candidate is really independent.
In the case of Trelech the Indies made strenuous efforts to find a candidate before alighting on Hugh Phillips, also known as Hugh Gilfach.
Mr Phillips comes with a very colourful history for what is a very quiet and deeply rural area, and the timing of the election is very fortunate because a 10-year undertaking by him not to serve as a director of any company came to an end earlier this year.
The background is a long and highly complex series of court battles over an innovative scheme designed to bypass some of the more onerous aspects of the old milk quota regime. Mr Phillips saw himself as a victim of a campaign by the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce and subsequently by the Welsh Government to "stop Hugh Phillips".
The dispute had been long-running when companies owned by Mr Phillips went bust owing around £10.6 million at the end of the 1990s. Court cases continued until 2004 when Mr Phillips finally gave his undertaking not to hold any more company directorships or take part in the management of any companies.
For its part, the Government issued a lengthy statement in February 2004 summarising the case and the findings. Among the many findings was:
5. That he caused the production of a forged letter
to Clydesdale, the company's bankers, giving an explanation purporting
to come from Barclays Bank Plc for the fact that a cheque was not met on
presentation which was misleading and untrue. Also, he caused a further
letter to be sent to Clydesdale giving a misleading and untrue
explanation as to the circumstances in which the forged letter had been
provided to them.
In a world of so much change, it is comforting to see that the traditions and standards of the Independent group shine out like a beacon in the gloom.