Saturday, 27 August 2016

The Cilycwm Stakes

And they're off! A record seven runners and riders, several of whom must surely be 100-1 rank outsiders, are vying to become the next county councillor for Cilycwm.

Cilycwm is a huge and deeply rural ward to the west of Llandovery which was held since time immemorial by the late Tom Theophilus (Merylite Independent) who died recently at the age of 84.

Labour (no hope) and the LibDems (even less) have put up alongside a Tory, Steven Holmes. Holmes, who appears not to live in the ward, includes among his hobbies running and the Irish rugby team. Perhaps he's got Cilycwm mixed up with Kilkenny.

Also standing, this time as a candidate for Siân Caiach's People First group, is fellow blogger Jacqui Thompson. Delivering her nomination papers to Mark James for verification must have been one of the chilliest moments ever recorded in Carmarthen in August.

Then we have a pig-in-a-poke Independent, Thomas Davies. As usual, it is not clear whether voters are being offered a genuinely independent Independent, or someone who will reveal himself to be a new recruit to Pam and Meryl's much depleted zombie battalion.

Flying the flag for Plaid Cymru is Dafydd Tomos, a local farmer. Among Dafydd's aims is securing faster and better broadband coverage for the area, whereas Mark James would probably like to see the precise opposite as one way of putting Caebrwyn's blog out of business.

And finally, cantering up for another attempt is barrister, fox botherer and star columnist of the Carmarthenshire Herald, Matthew Paul.

Matthew has for some time led a fairly lonely existence as a champion of the Tory cause in Carmarthenshire, and regular readers of his weekly column will have noticed disillusionment slowly setting in over the last few months. It all began as he sighed sadly at the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith just before the latter joined the Brexit camp, and went inexorably downhill from then on. Perhaps the final straw came when it was revealed that his evangelical choice for the Tory leadership, Stephen Crabb, was having problems in the trouser department.

So this time Matthew is standing as an Independent, although it is hard to imagine that he would be seduced into the ample bosoms of Pam and Meryl. Surely not? At any rate, he has now presumably torn up his Conservative membership card, and there is hope for the boy yet.

Major concerns for Matthew include dog poo, judging by his piece in last week's Herald, although unusually for a prospective community champion, he is taking a stand as a libertarian pro-dog poo advocate.

Perhaps it's all that mockery and  sarcastic jeering from the foxes that has finally got to him, as he dismounts for the umpteenth time with a little black plastic bag to clear up after the hounds, in line with council regulations.



True to form in the organising a piss-up in a brewery stakes, UKIP have not managed to find a candidate.

It seems that the days when veteran Independents could sit as councillors for decades without ever having to fight an election are now a thing of the past. This could be a lively and interesting contest.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good luck to you all may the best person win , get knocking its the only way

Anonymous said...

The candidate Thomas Davies, known locally as Arwel Davies, and a well-known and long-established farmer, when I asked him if he was going to join the Independent group if elected, told me he would not.

Jennifer Brown said...

Everything I know about the CCC & how it acts against it's own local rate payers should they ever complain or whistleblow does not give me confidence that the Cllr elected to represent Cilycwm ward would withstand the goodies offered i.e. places on committees etc. to boost their monetary entitlement & sense of importance. A People First candidate is truly independent of any party loyalty or influence as the only stipulation is they follow the 7 Principles of Public Office which can be seen http://www.peoplefirstwales.org.uk/ . Jacqui Thompson has done her best to clean up this toxic LA by keeping us updated on its shenanigans through her blog as have you Cneifiwr. Trouble is whatever party is chosen to be in power with the Independents they becomes less vocal in their condemnation of the Executive, Officers & the CEO & their iffy carryings on. The CCC will carry on abusing its power all the while ordinary Cllrs refuse to speak out against what is happening. The CCC leadership pays scant notice of critical reports whether from the Ombudsman or the WAO & somehow know they'll get away with disparaging anyone who dares to criticise. How does the CCC get away with it? I think Christopher Salmon was right regarding the "Cartel" statement. The CCC appears to have unseen protectors; could that be why Dyfed Powys Police avoids any kind of action which might be classed as threatening the CCC's impunity to destroy the lives of ordinary ratepayers, employees or even bloggers who dare question its actions? There are a very few Cllrs who try to put the public interest first & maybe if they can shove party loyalty aside & condemn the actions of the bad apples, however high up the tree they are, we in Carmarthenshire might be rewarded by an honest, trustworthy, accountable CCC which supports fair treatment for all. No more cronyism, coercion or coverups! Why not give Jacqui a go she knows much more than most of the sitting Cllrs, as do you Cneifiwr, as to the dirty deeds that have taken place in their name. If Cllrs don't have access to their own internet server then they'll find very little published which is critical of the CCC. Most just want a quiet life but if you are a public servant then the public interest should come before any other interest including your own. How many go into public service with those intentions I wonder & if they do will they be able to resist the threats or blandishments to turn a blind eye when necessary? I am not in the Cilycwm ward but who you vote for could be the start of removing the poisonous elements within the CCC which are harming Carmarthenshire and it's citizens. There's another election next year should you regret (hopefully having given Jacqui Thompson a chance) your choice. I'm sure Cllr Sian Caiach for one would welcome another Cllr who'd speak up in support of what is right for Carmarthenshire as well as what is right for (her?) constituents in Cilycwm. It's going to be an interesting race!

Anonymous said...

Agree entirely Jennifer...trouble is Jacqui is totally bonkers

Cneifiwr said...

Anon @19.09 - Having met Jacqui on several occasions, I would never describe her as 'totally bonkers'. In my experience she has both feet firmly on the ground.

Anonymous said...

Whoever said Jacqui is 'bonkers' clearly knows absolutely nothing about her apart from probably believing the council's propaganda, and you would have to be bonkers to believe that.
She is quite the opposite of that for sure. She would make an excellent councillor.

Anonymous said...

"Totally Bonkers" Well that will be at least an improvement on what we have now.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10.10 really a good councillor - she is so fixed on her own problems and her own issues centred on her planning issues. would she help the others in her community . would she take time to work with the council officers to get things done for her own constituents - I don't think she will want the opportunity to voice her problems not those of her constituents f

Anonymous said...

I suppose we have to accept that there are some people who just seem unable to see through the fog of dishonesty that emanates from our council, and want to blame it's victims. This sadly perpetuates the problem we have here in Carmarthenshire, and it is a huge problem, and the damage inflicted on those who suffer from unethical conduct of officers passes by those individuals who find it more palatable, for whatever reason, to bury their heads in the sand and choose not to recognise the facts.

Anonymous said...

The dirty tricks campaign has started then - "totally bonkers", "fixed on her own problems and her own issues"....... I think not! This is a brave, persistent and principled woman, ie the sort of person (apart from Sian Caiach) sadly missing in the current line-up at County Hall.

Jennifer Brown said...

Jacqui is already a Community Councillor but of course being a County Councillor is another kettle of fish. From her personal experiences with this council she will understand the frustrations her constituents might have in their dealings with it. Her own problems have made her more aware of how maladministration impacts on us the public and why it's important the officers & members follow the very good policies & procedures this council have in place but apparently rarely follow. I don't believe the executive will be able to pull the wool over her eyes as it seems to with so many others. Pembrokeshire have a couple of County Councillor bloggers so if she does represent Cilycwm I hope she'll continue to keep us informed as we are powerless to make our voices heard when kept in the dark. Those of us who prefer to only accept the official spin from the council as the truth and nothing but the truth are the total bonkers ones for burying their heads in the sand. For Jacqui to be still standing after what this awful council has thrown at her and not to have lost her fighting spirit shows she'll not be easily frightened off when fighting for her constituents rights. Good luck to her I say!

Martin Milan said...

Jacqui Thompson would be a fine councillor, and I am convinced she would pursue the interests of her constituents with vigour. The deluded muppet above feels that Jacqui would be fixated on her own issues, and going on about her planning issues? Why - she operates her own blog, and hasn't entered into her planning issues on it in years.

As for bringing some focus to her own issues, GOOD! The appalling conduct of this council should be exposed and addressed, and she'll be doing each and every one of you a huge favour if she gets it addressed somehow. It is simply not acceptable that you can apparently be persecuted by the local authority because they do not approve of your views...

More power to her not inconsiderable elbow...

Anonymous said...

An interesting blog and comments. Thought I'd look up the results from 2012 on the council website to see if that would throw any light on the contest. At the 2012 election a fraction under 60% of the electorate voted. One of the best turnout figures in that election. As you mentioned Matthew Paul stood as a Conservative & Unionist and polled 136 votes (19%), Jaqui Thompson stood as an Independent and polled 264 votes (37%) with Tom Theophilus winning the election on a vote of 307 (43%). Both Matthew and Jaqui are standing under different colours this time.But I would think that Jaqui must be in a strong position as she was about 40 votes behind Tom. One of your commentators mentioned Jaqui was a community councillor,but there is no record of a community council election in 2012 so I assume she was co-opted onto the council or elected unopposed. It is interesting to notice that the community results on the CCC webite no longer have party affiliations, so for people like me that are a bit of an anorak about elections that is a pain in the neck.
The thought crossed my mind about Jaqui's new party affiliation. Would that be a help or hinderence? So back to CCC democracy and elections web page to look at recent County by elections with a People First candidate.
HENGOED 2012: 337 votes By election: 80 votes
CYDWELI 2012: 300 votes By election: 58 votes

Then I remembered a recent Community Council by election in Hendy, but the result is no longer on the CC web page but I think the result again was poor for PF.

So it could be that it is the person and not the party that will make the difference.

Mrs Angry said...

Was amused to see someone with a CCC Ip visiting my blog from yours, at 4 am this morning, Cneifiwr: are you keeping some of your elected representatives awake at night?

Good.

Cneifiwr said...

I very much hope so, Mrs A. Of course, it can't have been the chief executive as he never reads scurrilous nonsense on blogs. Perhaps it was just someone having a dark night of the soul.

Jennifer Brown said...

Anon 14:41 People First is not a party in the usual sense where their Cllrs are expected to put party interest before the public interest. It's more a tool to give unaffiliated members of the public an opportunity to become candidates. Basically they will be people who want to help the community and follow the 7 principles of public office. In other words they are lose cannons who cannot be silenced in the interest of the leadership who may wish to act/is acting or has acted against the public interest. So much unchallenged power in so few hands aided by the lack of scrutiny is selling the Carmarthenshire people down the river. Worth reading those principles as few, if any,in power whether officers or executive seem to follow them. Protecting reputation,cover up, coercion & cronyism seems to be the rule in Carmarthenshire.

Anonymous said...

1 September 18:48
So if PF were to win a majority of seats at the next election how would they determin long term policy, run the council and deliver services?

Jennifer Brown said...

There is no way PF will win the majority of seats as they don't have the resources of the other parties. The importance to my mind is that we have a few truly independent Cllrs who will speak up on our behalf and not be silenced. There are a few from the main parties who do try to speak up and at times when they do so in the public interest I would hope PF Cllrs would come to their aid and vice versa. This I think is the only way our Toxic Council will be forced to change it's ways. Then we may start to have those who have, with impunity, acted against the interests of the Carmarthenshire people held accountable for their misconduct & maladministration whether officers or Cllrs. I look forward to the day! When a change of party running a Council takes place the officer run departments involved in providing our services do not come to a sudden stop awaiting orders from new masters they just carry on as normal hopefully following policies and procedures in place.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the voters in this ward will continue to elect a person who will try their best to represent the general interests of those in the community rather someone who enters into personal individual crusades as a result of an unfavourable decision. The working of governments at all levels can cause frustration re some of the rules/regulations and affect individuals unfavourable. However they are there to protect the interests of the general public and the ward need to continue to elect someone who can see and appreciates the wider picture.

Jennifer Brown said...

One thing that needs to be understood is that though rules & regulations/policies & procedures are there ,as Anon18:14 explains, to protect the general public this Council do not follow them. For instance the Whistleblowing Policy this is an anathema to our Council and they refuse to follow it. The Whistleblowing Policy is, along with the Statutory Social Services Complaints Policy, Corporate Complaints policy and the Protection of Vulnerable Adults from Abuse essential in protecting vulnerable service users and the rights of the general public yet officers do not feel they need to actually follow them! As a whistleblower I have seen at first hand how they behave when they want to avoid protecting the vulnerable from abuse because to do so would be admitting there is a problem and as reputation is everything they allow suffering to continue. There has been plenty of evidence where they have disregarded Complaints Policies and been found out yet they have the face to deny they did anything wrong. These policies signed off by Cllrs are robust but protect no one except the wrongdoers when they are not followed. People who have felt the wrath and vindictiveness of our Council when they try to complain and obtain justice understand first hand what needs to be looked into, scrutinised and insist that is done. Evidence can be found if you want to find it as to the Councils self serving double dealing methods. Time certain public servants started to be held to account. Jacqui has been reporting on this Council's misdeeds in her BLOG and most of them have not involved her personally. "There are none so blind as those that will not see". Cneifiwr has done his share of reporting the CCC's misdeeds too and we now have the Herald that does the same plus giving all the parties a platform to speak to it's readers from. The race is on; please let the person who wins care more for the public interest than protecting the CCC's reputation or their own self interest.

Anonymous said...

2nd September 2016 @16:20

It is relatively easy to be critical from the sidelines. But it is important to remember that a lot of the services that are provided by CCC are essential to people that live in this county. Departments such as education require consistent inputs so that outcomes such as improved examination grades,improved attendance and reductions in surplace places can be delivered. It is often said that our young people only have one chance to gain the experiences and grades that will be vital for their futures. We have seen recently what happened in Llangennech where strategies that have been put in place, agreed by all the three major groups on the council are undermined for political gain by small groups. It appears to me that because PF will allow its members to vote in favour, against and abstain on nearly every issue that consistency and long term planning will be impossible if a number of PF councillors are elected.

Anonymous said...

Anon @16:20 said
“Departments such as education require consistent inputs so that outcomes such as improved examination grades, improved attendance and reductions in surplace places can be delivered.”

For CCC “consistent inputs” means cutting £18.28 million from the education budget over the next three years - half of the £36.23 million total savings which the council is seeking over the period. This is consistent with the low aspiration/low wage economy that that CCC wishes to maintain.