Friday 18 May 2012

Council Meeting (Part 2): In which the council is cursed

The lords and ladies and other special guests departed from the chamber for light refreshments, and the Good Fairy had been installed as chair for the year. Now it was time to elect a new council leader, and Cllr Colin Evans rose to propose his old friend Kevin Madge.

As is customary at these events, the proposal was followed by a long speech extolling the virtues of the candidate. Kevin was first elected as a councillor in May 1979, and Cllr Evans mischievously noted that within 5 minutes he had made his maiden speech and had not stopped talking since.

Kevin had stuck with the Labour Party through good times and bad, and he was now so popular in his ward in Garnant, just down the road from Ammanford, that local people believed he could walk on water, we were told.

A few years ago, S4C ran an excellent and popular drama series called Tair Chwaer (Three Sisters), and in one episode one of the sisters takes up the subject of GM foods and the strange effects they were having on people. "Just look at Ammanford", she exclaimed, to prove her point.

Having received the proposal, the chair now cast around the chamber for a seconder, and the custom is for the seconder on such occasions to make a little speech praising the candidate.

Pam Palmer rose and snarled "Seconded", and then promptly sat down again. There were a few audible gasps from the chamber.

Even those who doubt Kevin Madge's ability to walk on water could probably find a few nice things to say about him. Cneifiwr, for example, suspects that he would be quite a decent bloke after a few pints, but then Pam would not know that because she does not drink.

In the absence of anything else she could have said that, to the best of her knowledge, Kevin is not a serial killer, but she could not bring herself to say even that.

Tyssul Evans then rose to propose Peter Hughes Griffiths, and Emlyn Dole seconded, each making an effort to explain why their man would be a better leader.

Someone then called for a recorded vote, and the chief executive began the roll-call of councillors. Each councillor had to reply by calling out the name of their preferred candidate, and it is a mark of the miracle of human speech how much meaning can be conveyed by simply stating someone's name.

The Labour councillors called out "Kevin Madge" or "Councillor Kevin Madge", many with some conviction in their voices. The Plaid councillors rang out an enthusiastic "Cynghorydd Peter Hughes Griffiths", while the Independents were decidedly more shifty. A good many of them appeared to have swallowed a wasp, with a strangled and pained  "Madge" being all they could manage.

John Jenkins, the independent Independent, followed up Pam's Wicked Stepmother routine with a performance as Bad Fairy, as he called out "A curse on all your houses!"

The chief executive and chair were so surprised that he had to be asked a second time.

"A curse on all your houses!" he replied.

On we went, with Labour and Plaid enthusiasm being tempered by Independent snarls of "Madge".

At length we reached T for Thomas, and the newly elected member for Llandeilo, Cllr Edward Thomas, called out "Abstain". So we really do have two true independents after all.

This, combined with the unexplained absence of two "official" Independent councillors (Shephardson and Morgan) meant that the new coalition clocked up only 41 votes (38 being the number needed for a majority of one).

The new chair showed her years of teaching experience in dealing with truculent hoody thugs when she gently asked Cllr John Jenkins if he had cursed her as well. "No, not you," he replied, sweetly.

Kevin then rose to make his acceptance speech, and he launched into an ecstatic eulogy for his dear old friend, Meryl Gravell. She had been a tremendous leader, he said, and she had left a legacy for all for future generations (i.e. bills for expensive white elephants which our grandchildren will still be picking up).

Kevin's two priorities would be education and modernising council houses, and he lavished more praise on his wife, the chief executive, council staff, the officers and the Independent Group. His door would always be open, he added.

Peter Hughes Griffiths responded by wishing the new leader well, but he pointed out that the result was a negation of democracy in the county once again.

Pam Palmer could only be moved to say that she did not having anything to say, as she resumed her seat next to the gloomy Meryl who had remained silent throughout.

Thoughts were beginning to turn to the buffet, although Pam had probably curdled the lemon tart by now.

But then, in a moment of confusion, the Independents' Wyn Evans rose to make a little speech, ostensibly to congratulate Kevin (for about 5 nanoseconds) before launching into a paean of praise for Meryl.

At that, the meeting was adjourned for a week, when the Executive Board appointments will be announced and the chairs and deputy chairs of the various committees will be elected.

Whatever else we learned yesterday, it is clear that the Labour-Independent marriage will not be a happy one.


Anonymous said...

I believe we have here the makings of a television show. Fantastic!

A fly on the wall, political, docu-soap. With the right agent onboard, perhaps even a means for funding some regeneration projects in Carmarthenshire?

I have missed that other great political drama - 'The West Wing' for some time now, no longer though, I think I just found some succour.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff Mr Cneifiwr.

Keep up the good work!!

Anonymous said...

Indeed i have found some solace in comparing Ammanford and GM Crops. This brought to mind a website called . The website gives all subsidies for the uk . Carmarthenshires amount is for Euros and comes in at 257,087.073 Recipients 10,683 Average par recipient irrespective of GDP 24,065.
Now that information is unuff to curdle many a lemon tart.

Anonymous said...

Da iawn a doniol iawn, falle bydde diddordeb gyda ti wybod bod cyn a diweddar gynhorydd oedd yn bresennol yn y cyfarfod cyngor cyntaf a fynychwyd gan Kev ar ol iddo gael ei ethol am y tro cyntaf wedi deud "Fair play he's done well, he was in the same remedial class as me".

Cai Larsen said...

Sut wnaeth Ms Caiach bleidleisio?

Cneifiwr said...

Roedd yn absennol.

Mrs Angry said...

Mmm:shouldn't it be a plague on both your houses, rather than a curse? More specific, and more biblical in scope.

Anonymous said...

to get an insight into kevin madge, someone would have had to have personal experience with him.
it is true that some people will say 'oh but kevin madge has helped me in the past'.. but that is the duty of any councillor.

as for walking on water, that is a myth.

it is clear that he either picks and chooses who he wants to help, or what he can do to help. he has turned away from previous attempts to contact him when bad things were happening and he was off like a shot. he did not want to know and problems unresolved from years ago. if he could not help, he should have said sorry, i cannot help. but of course they cannot say this as it would make themselves look like idiots. and the easiest and quickest route out of a situation is to ignore it, avoid it and hope for the best that it would disappear.

july 2002 - AN AMMAN Valley councillor wants Carmarthenshire Council to reveal how they spent £184,000 saved when they closed the day centre kitchens two years ago.

Garnant councillor Kevin Madge said that since the day centre kitchens had been closed, pensioners have been receiving chilled meals from outside caterers.

Cllr Madge: "Pensioners are receiving meals from other caterers, these meals arrive chilled or frozen and have to be reheated at the day centres. On more than one occasion they have complained that the food is not consistent and sometimes not cooked properly."

He would like the council to prove to the public how the extra £92,000a year has been spent.

Mr Collins said: "Money saved through the closure of the kitchens has been used as agreed by council in 2000, that is to assist us with the reshaping of services for older people. An example of this will be the new day facility attached to the extra care sheltered accommodation scheme currently being built in Burry Port." (a2)

Anonymous said...

jan 2005 - Take off your rose tinted specs, Kev
I would like to reply to Councillor Kevin Madge's naive view on how our area is thriving in so many different ways.

I shall do this by posing two questions. How could he have been so ready to defend the current housing market in Carmar-thenshire?

Mortgage rates may be at their lowest for 50 years, but I can guarantee Mr Madge that the mumber of young people unable to plan a future in our communities because they cannot afford to buy their own home is reaching ridiculous levels.

Homelessness in Wales has reached record levels, as shown in a recent report published by Shelter Cymru. How can Mr Madge boast about the most unsustainable housing market ever to exist in Carmarthenshire?

A market where the young people of our area are suffering and a market which is subsequently killing our communities.

While Mr Madge tried to portray Wales under New Labour as a place fit for kings I would ask him to refrain from empty rhetoric, to take off his rose tinted spectacles and to take a good look at the dire state of our NHS waiting lists.

While he carries on smiling, a shocking ten per cent of the population of Wales, more than 300,000 people, are on NHS waiting lists.

The figures for six month outpatients' waiting lists are even more shocking. From 21,828 in 1999 and 45,756 in 2001 to a horrific 75,546 in 2004.

What Wales certainly does not need is a Labour lap dog MP who would accept without question, these appalling figures. Figures which are betraying the people of Wales and the communities of Carmarthenshire.

Anonymous said...

aug 2007 -
AN AMMAN Valley day kitchen, which closed amid a flurry of objections five years ago, has re-opened.

County councillor Kevin Madge has claimed a victory after fighting to re-open the Cwmaman Day Kitchen, which provides freshly-cooked meals for pensioners throughout the Amman Valley.

Carmarthenshire Council closed the kitchen in 2002, claiming that it was not cost effective.

But last week the authority bowed to public pressure and stumped up £6,500 to re-commission the kitchen.

Carmarthenshire Council's executive board member for social care, health and housing, Cllr Kevin Madge, said: "I was against the closure five years ago and vowed that if I was elected to office I would fight to resume the service.

"Re-opening the kitchen is all about getting quality for our service users and value for money for taxpayers.

"Through re-opening the kitchen at Cwmaman, we are able to provide fresh meals, not only for the day centre itself but also for other luncheon clubs and Meals on Wheels services in the area."

Some of the cash went towards buying equipment for the cooking of fresh vegetables, which had not been available at the kitchen before.

A new team of staff has been appointed and trained to work at the kitchen.

The day centre's clients were keen to sample the new fare ahead of their first meal on Monday.

Tess Stevenson, who has been attending the centre since before the closure five years ago, said: "It's going to be much better to have the food cooked at the centre.

"I'm looking forward to seeing what we get each day."

Cwmaman Day Centre's kitchen will now cater for Ystradowen Day Club, Garnant, Glanaman and Brynaman Meals on Wheels and the Bro Ryan Lunch Club.

A total of four staff have been appointed to run the kitchen, which is open for business five days a week.

Anonymous said...

dec 2005 - Parking hike signals death of town centres
THE increase in parking charges in Ammanford, Llandeilo and Llandovery will signal the death of the towns, councillors and traders have said.

Despite mass objections from traders and shoppers Carmarthenshire Council rubber-stamped the proposal to increase the levy from 20p to 50p for four hours and from 40p to 70p for a full day's parking.

At a solemn meeting last Wednesday several Labour rebels took the unprecedented decision of voting with Plaid Cymru.

However, anti-parking charge campaigner in 2003 councillor Kevin Madge voted in favour of the increase.

march 2007 - But his comments drew a sharp response from Labour candidate Kevin Madge, who accused Mr Thomas of failing to address the issues which matter.

"Rhodri Glyn doesn't want to concentrate on his own eight years in office so he's trying to turn this election into a referendum on the Iraq War," he said.

"He's just like Old Mother Hubbard - with nothing at all to show in his cupboard."

Anonymous said...

may 2008 - Notable Labour casualties included: The long-serving Colin Evans, who lost out by 61 votes to Plaid's David Jenkins in Glanaman; John Dorian Evans, beaten into third place in Betws; And Lyn Llewellyn, squeezed out by just 14 votes by Plaid's Marie Binney in Pontaman. Even Garnant's Kevin Madge, who enjoyed the largest majority of any Labour councillor four years ago, saw that slashed in half by Plaid's Emyr Williams.

In his victory speech, an emotional Cllr Madge said: "A year ago, Labour received a kicking here at the Welsh Assembly elections and it looks like we've received another kicking today.

"This Labour Government has lost touch with the people just as the Tories did in 1997 - we all know what happened to them."

Cneifiwr said...

Mrs A - I am but a humble scribe who reports on what was actually said, even if it was not, biblically speaking, strictly accurate.

I don't think I will be pursuing a career as a fashion journalist either. But those bums did look very big. My suspicion is that large floral prints don't help.

Cneifiwr said...

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