Thursday 5 April 2012

Those County Council elections - Y Cneifiwr looks at the form

There are likely to be some moments of high drama in a few of the wards this year, with some very tight contests in store. Elsewhere, low comedy is likely to be the order of the day.

As the first ward alphabetically is Abergwili, that is where we'll start. Readers of a nervous disposition who may be put off by a relentless trawl through every ward need not worry. It just so happens that some of the bigger beasties come at the beginning of the alphabet. Today, then, it's A and B.


This seat, just to the east of Carmarthen, is currently held by Pam Palmer for the "official" Independents (as opposed to those councillors who are really independent). Pam was also a member of the ruling Executive Board, with a rag-bag of responsibilities ranging from public health to "modernising local government", a portfolio which in true Carmarthenshire style was probably given to her as a joke as the person least likely  to modernise anything.

She also plays a leading role in the shadowy Business Management Group, an unofficial body which holds its meetings in private and without records. There she has been busy pushing through changes to the council's constitution which have undermined democratic accountability and transparency.

Pam played a key part in the arrest of Jacqui Thompson by objecting loudly to the filming of a public meeting. She stated at the time that if children could be protected from being photographed and filmed, so should county councillors.

Pam is also a leading supporter of the Towy Community Church bowling alley and "auditorium" (aka new church) which taxpayers are funding, and one of her most recent exploits was a ridiculous PR exercise in which she "saved" the county's two museums from herself.

Given the choice between Pam Palmer and botulism, botulism would be most people's first choice. Fortunately they have a very good candidate in the shape of Dewi Evans (Plaid Cymru).


Both seats in this ward are currently held by Plaid. Labour is fielding two candidates who oppose the downgrading of Llanelli's Prince Philip Hospital, plans which they don't seem to have noticed are being pushed through by their own party in government.

People First is also contesting one seat.

Burry Port

Another two seat ward, this time held by the unlikely duo of Stephen James (Independent) and Pat Jones (Labour).

Stephen James says in his declaration of interests that he is a serving officer in Llanelli's Conservative Club, as well as a "part-time" publican. His political views are whatever the Daily Mail is ranting about that day, delivered in a terrifically pompous style. His memorable quotes include a prediction that Burry Port could become the Saint Tropez of South Wales. We just hope he doesn't go topless.

Pat Jones has been a member of the Executive Board responsible for Health and Social Care. She combines that role, generally considered to be a full-time job, with being a county councillor, community councillor, school governor, member of various committees, and, according to her register of interests, a full-time carer.
Yes, Pat is Wonderwoman!

Contesting the election are an out-of-the-closet Tory (as opposed to Stephen James who likes to pretend he is an Independent), a Labour candidate and a Plaid candidate.


This ward is currently home to Gwynne Wooldridge (Independent), yet another member of the Executive Board, this time responsible for Education and Children's Services. Like Pam, he was probably given this portfolio by someone with a sense of humour, and just in case people didn't get it, they made the old boy "Younger Persons Champion" as well.

Britain still had an empire when Gwynne was a youngster, and he is a firm believer in old fashion values. Not long ago he told a council meeting that the only book worth reading was the Bible. Fortunately, he is not in charge of the school syllabus.

Labour is fielding a very strong candidate in Derek Cundy, although Labour's website doesn't actually tell us his name (perhaps the spellchecker wouldn't allow it). Derek has campaigned hard to stop the closure of care homes, and he is also campaigning against plans for a massive new housing development locally.

People First is also fighting this seat.

If you can stand any more of this, further installments will follow.


towy71 said...

Thanks for this wonderful start cneifiwr keep clipping away ;-)

Looking forward to more :D

Tessa said...

This makes for good reading! Keep 'em coming!

Anonymous said...

"Labour is fielding two candidates who oppose the downgrading of Llanelli's Prince Philip Hospital, plans which they don't seem to have noticed are being pushed through by their own party in government."

it infuriates me how little is being made of Liebour hoodwinking the unwitting electorate into believing that it is not Labour who run health in Wales.
If I were campaigning in Carms, I would have it splashed across billboards all over the county

Anonymous said...

Gwych, fel arfer!! Bynea nid Brynea yw enw'r Ward

Cneifiwr said...

Wps! Diolch am ddweud.

Anonymous said...

People first also have a candidate in Bigyn.