Wednesday 9 May 2012

Rumour round-up and a resignation

Still no white smoke from County Hall, but there is a growing tide of rumours that Labour have done a deal with the Independents, or at least a large chunk of the Independent group, which is said to have split in two.

There are now 20 "official" Independents and 2 unaffiliated independents. If the rumours are correct, at least 15 would have to sign up to a power-sharing deal with Labour.

Also doing the rounds is a rumour that Labour and the Independents would expand the governing Executive Board, and take 5 seats each. A couple of years ago the Board was cut back to 9 members following the death of Haydn Jones in order to save money. It would seem that saving money, at least on special responsibility allowances, is now so last year. Far better to save it by picking on binmen, libraries, the elderly, the disabled, schoolchildren or anyone else who qualifies as meek and mild.

Just in case anyone has forgotten, the deal being stitched up will be what we get for the next 5 years, as opposed to the normal 4 year term for councils because, in what is laughingly called British democracy, a Labour minister in Cardiff decided to give them all an extra year in power. Were you consulted? No, neither was I.

Meanwhile Caebrwyn reports on the latest County Hall intervention to muzzle the local press. The Carmarthen Journal was told that reporting on the council's shoddy treatment of its binmen would not be appropriate in the run-up to an election, and so the story was dropped.

Of course, the chief executive did not feel obliged to apply this "rule" to himself during the campaign, when he issued several politically contentious statements, including attacks on objectors to the Stradey Park housing development and plans for a new school at Ffwrnes. He did apply it, however, when faced with awkward questions about the Towy Community Church bowling alley project.

The Journal is, of course, under no obligation whatsoever to avoid reporting politically contentious stories during election campaigns. Imagine any other newspaper deciding not to report politically contentious news during an election.

But what is even worse about this is that the binmen story was not actually politically contentious. It was critical of the council's senior management, though.

Whether any of this has anything to do with the sudden resignation and very hurried departure of Cathryn Ings as editor of the Journal is not clear, but it is hard to imagine any self-respecting editor putting up with the control which County Hall has come to exercise over the paper's editorial policy.


Emlyn Uwch Cych said...

I'm so depressed at the prospect of another 5 years of Mark, Meryl and Madge, I might be tempted to swim the Teifi or the Cych to greener pastures.

Anonymous said...

I really hope that we have a new administration, carms deserves it.

As regards the Journal surely the proffesional journalists on the paper must be embarrased about what is going on.

Whatever happened to the "publish and be damned" spirit of the British media.

It must be so dispiriting to have a story but not being able to publish it because of perceived pressure from Gaol Hill.

Anonymous said...

Cathryn Ings is buggering off? Well, I might hang fire on canceling my delivery of the Journal. I meant to cancel last week - then forgot - maybe it was fate? I don't suppose she's also sold out and joined CCC's PR dept., as well, has she? ....... Nah - not sufficiently contentious.

Welsh not British said...

"Imagine any other newspaper deciding not to report politically contentious news during an election."

The SWEP and WM always neglect to run stories that show Labour in a bad light. Or they spin them as best they can. As an example the SWEP might have a negative story of the "Welsh Government" on one page followed by a negative story about the "Lib Dem led Swansea Council" on the next.

I'd like them to pass a law that states that every story must state which party runs which. Just for fairness.

Mick Hopkins said...

Before people get so puffed and opinionated about matters they so obviously know nothing about may I suggest they get the facts?? Sounding off may make them feel important but just reveals ignorance.

Cneifiwr said...

Thank you for that last comment. Would you like to elaborate about what it was that got your goat?