Saturday 5 May 2012

Madge and Meryl - no change

Five more years of Meryl and Madge it almost certainly is, then, although now that Labour has a one seat advantage over its Independent chums, it may be Madge and Meryl. Given the love affair that both of them have for the chief executive, it is highly unlikely that anything will change in the way Carmarthenshire is run.

Yesterday's results were deeply disappointing for anyone who wanted change in the way local government is run in this part of the world, although Yr Hen Rech Flin has some words of wisdom for us all.

Hen Rech has a bit of a love-hate relationship with Plaid, and for those of you who don't read Welsh, what he says is that with such a strong tide flowing for Labour after their disastrous performance in 2008, Plaid's results yesterday were disappointing in places, certainly, but hardly a disaster.

In Carmarthenshire, Jonathan Edwards calculates that Plaid received just a fraction under 30,000 votes, compared with 19,600 for Labour. That puts things into a rather different perspective.

Others will no doubt carry out detailed analyses of the election results, but a few things stand out.

Labour did particularly well in Llanelli, and in some places you could have pinned a red rosette on a dead sheep, and it would have won. Labour's haul of councillors includes one student studying in Cardiff and veteran councillor Keri Thomas who has not been to a council meeting since April 2011 because of illness. He was apparently not well enough to campaign, and as this blog reported recently, he appears to be too unwell even to sign a letter.

In common with Labour in other parts of Wales, Kevin Madge said that the election was all about sending a message to Cameron and Clegg, rather than local issues. Bearing in mind that the Tories had no seats to lose, and the LibDems lost their one and only council seat in Llanelli, it is a safe bet that neither of them will have given a second's thought to the results in Carmarthenshire. But the tactic worked for Labour.

One of the main issues in Llanelli was the future of the Prince Philip Hospital, which the Welsh Government (Labour, let us remember) intends to downgrade, meaning long journey times for many patients who will have to go to Glangwili, Withybush or Morriston for treatment. In the last week of campaigning Labour launched a PR offensive to claim that the hospital was safe in their hands and that it would not be closed. Of course, closing the hospital was never an issue - the concerns were all about downgrading its services.

The likelihood is, then, that people who voted Labour in Llanelli are in for a shock before long.

One result of the election was to double the size of the Labour group in County Hall, and it will be interesting to see if the new intake will be as willing to allow Kevin Madge to roll over and play second fiddle to the outsourcing, service-cutting agenda of Meryl and the chief executive.

In Carmarthen, Plaid achieved a clean sweep of all six seats. Issues there included the Local Development Plan and plans for huge new housing developments to the west of the town. Plaid will not be able to prevent these going through now, but at least the party has a very strong mandate to oppose the plans.

Results in the Aman Valley were in general good for Plaid, with the party capturing Ammanford and taking a seat from the Independents in Gorslas. Rupert Moon, the former rugby international and now commercial director of the Scarlets, was rejected by voters in one of the rare moments of sunshine yesterday.

As this blog, Caebrwyn and others have pointed out, the relationship between the council hierarchy and the top brass of the rugby world has long been a matter for concern. Scarlets is to all intents and purposes a subsidiary of the council, and to have the club's management represented on the council would have been a very unhealthy development. More on the Scarlets to come.

Across the rest of the county not a great deal changed. Most of the old Independent dinosaurs will be heading back to County Hall for another five years of claiming expenses. Dai Trelech will be 93 come the next election, by all accounts, and Tom Theophilus and Wyn Evans will not be all that far behind.

There will be one or two younger faces in the council chamber, at least if Calum Higgins takes time off from his studies, but the number of women councillors will remain pitifully low.

The last word goes to Carwyn Jones who yesterday said that his Labour councillors would be concentrating on the important things, which were health, social care and education. It will be interesting to see if the new Labour councillors in Carmarthenshire put this into practice and insist on a cull of the council's hugely expensive prestige white elephants as well as holy cows like the Carmarthenshire News.


Welsh not British said...

Yr Hendy now has a Plaid councillor. I'm quite sure that your blog (and JTs also) helped persuade one or two voters to defect.

Diolch yn fawr Cneifiwr.

Anonymous said...

It seems quite anti-democratic to think that the status quo could remain despite the indies clearly losing the election.

It is my view that Nia Grifiths should now encourage the Labour Party to join a coalition with Plaid to develop a proper programme for delivery. She must suspect that the Indies are conservatives in disguise.

Kevin M must grow a pair and depose Meryl - it will be hard for him but it will be perverse for her to remain. We need a totally fresh start in Carms.

Challenge the cuts that affect the poorest. Get rid of the CCC propaganda sheet. Encourage recording/ filming of meetings. Trial some evening meetings. Reconsider the church project. Withdraw support for offensive libel actions by CE.

Labour Party - please do your duty to the people of Carmarthenshire - act like a political party. Join with people who are closer to your political socialist principles than seemingly pseudo conservatives. Be true, be bold - take your time and make sure that we can move forward with principle.

Anonymous said...

Kevin's days are numbered. llanelli labour will want one of their own as leader. Meryl will be ousted as leader in 6 months. If Labour and Independents do a deal there will be a Labour leader, since they are the larger party

Welsh not British said...

Anon 11:57

Nia Griffiths is a Labour drone and traitor to the people of Wales. Why would she or Labour want to do anything positive?

Emlyn Uwch Cych said...

Dai Trelech was looking all of his 88 years yesterday. I should snap my rubber band for saying it, but Plaid have now got an excellent platform for when the by-election comes.

Will Cneifiwr keep us updated on when the white smoke rises from Carmarthen Gaol? Is it to be Plaid led with honest Independent support, or will Meryl manage to prop up a Labour administration?

Far too few women, far too many Freemasons, far too few younger councillors. But it the class of 2012 to be the last to be elected before a wholesale local government reorganisation? Tybed?

Anonymous said...

Anon No. 2 is close to the knuckle. Must be an insider. Word on the street is that Meryl has called Kevin and said that she's willing for Kevin to have a go at being Leader as long as she gets a job in his Cabinet so she can drive the Carmarthenshire car from the back seat for 5 years despite crashing the Independent Group bus into a brick wall at Thursday's elections, fatally wounding many of her Official Independent Group passengers. Sadly, Meryl and Pam Palmer crawled out of the wreckage in one piece to call the A.A. who despatched Kevin Madge to repair the wreckage.

So it's 5 years of Kevin as Official Leader, Meryl as Unofficial Leader, Mark really running the show and Pam whipping them in. The voters have spoken. Shame nobody in the Kremlin-on-the-Tywy heard.

Emlyn Uwch Cych said...

My more thoughful take on each ward is on my blog:

Anonymous said...

eh. ' haven't said anything lol. the next full council is due on the 17th. barring any accidents or crashes involving a labour taxi driver chauffeuring to and fro trimsaran, no news from a brief meeting unless people are staying tight lipped. the condundrum is fascinating. hopefully the councillor will pass on the message sharpish or they will be in the schtuck if indies do a double deal that will cold shouler labour, as they should have the first choice if plaid fail to invite. at the end of the day, labour or indies can go with plaid, or labour/indies form.. as an indie who will want to stay in power, don't be suprised if they stab labour in the back...ouch.. it'll be a hard job to get rid of the indies whichever way it's looked at. i doubt if plaid are daft...or could they be? they know exactly what the score was previously and it will just be as likely they aren't going to change, and i doubt if plaid will want that sort on board. plaid don't have to work with the usual suspects and give a commitee placing to a more 'neutral' indie which would appeal to them more to leave the circle... it'll all end in tears one way or the other as it is likely that someone is going to stab someone along the line whatever the outcome. going back to 2004, plaid were the minority when indies had 31 seats with labour holding 27. 2008 plaid were the majority with 30, 32 indies, 11 labour, 1 libdem.. so the favour was returned in 2008.. indies aren't in a postion to call the shot this time and for them to survive they are either going to have to sever the link with labour, and if ten of them had any sense left, this stranglehold can be loosened. but labour will want to push through their own agenda. labour going to plaid will be common sense. plaid accepting labour's proposal will be common sense.. plaid accepting meryl's proposals based on the indie shenanigans will give the electorate a bad taste in the mouth and backfire. i would not be happy voting for plaid if they are are going to be shacking up with meryl. that wouldn't make sense - would it? unless evrybody is happy of accepting no overall control again. it seems to be the norm now, how many people have never seen a majority in carms? i'm struggling to remember the last time, even though some strange things were occuring in 1997, it must have been 1998 the first NOC.. if anyone's got the result from 1998 and 1994, can you insert it in here? alum michael and the blair's poodle syndrome didn't occur until late 1998 so that can't have been a factor in independents 'home rule'. it was in 2002, so i'm trying to work out what was going on with the NOC in 98.. or was the election in 1999? if that is the case, then the blair poodle factor comes in hence the indies (anon2)

Anonymous said...

Elwyn Williams Plaid is in Llanguunor, i hope it does not happen but i dont think it will be long before the local school goes all welsh and the local children will all then have to go to school in Carmarthen ,children from all over the county go to Llangunnor school now and the local children have started going to schools in Carmarthen watch this space