Thursday 27 September 2012

Eating peeled grapes on the sofa

Updated 28 September

It has been confirmed that one of the Plaid councillors has submitted a motion calling on council leader Kevin Madge to withdraw his remarks criticising MP Jonathan Edwards and AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas over the call-in of the two Sainsbury's planning applications.


This blog recently noted that seven of the twenty council meetings planned by Carmarthenshire County Council for September were cancelled, although that still made September the busiest month since April.

In August 12 meetings were scheduled, of which 6 were cancelled. July saw 4 out of 15 meetings cancelled. In June five of the 13 scheduled meetings were scrapped, while the only meeting held in May was the fancy dress ball known as the Annual General Meeting. Strangely, travel expenses claimed in May would suggest that the month was a very busy one for some councillors.

Cllr Tom Theophilus, for example, claimed £661.50. Cllr Pat Jones clocked up £294.30 in travel, while Cllr Jane Tremlett must have been constantly on the go, with a staggering £1,170.60 in travel expenses for the month (source, the Council's own database). Kevin Madge, who had presumably wrestled the keys to the leader's Merc from Meryl, made no claims for travel.

Other councillors are habitually frugal. The Plaid leader, Peter Hughes Griffiths, and Siân Caiach, two councillors you are very unlikely to see sharing the back of a cab, claimed nothing at all.

Whenever the lack of activity is contrasted with Kevin Madge's decision to increase the size of the Executive Board and award more senior salaries to some of the lucky inhabitants of the Labour and Independent benches, someone invariably pops up in the comments box to say that "we do lots more things than sit in meetings".

That is certainly true for those councillors who take their constituents' business seriously, but in the case of those councillors in receipt of senior salaries, the only thing the world has to go on is the official record, and in some cases the official record is a complete blank.

The only conclusions that can be drawn from this are either that some senior councillors are taking generous salaries and doing nothing much in return, or that there has been a general shift towards what Blair's critics called "sofa government" away from the gaze of the public. 

The truth is probably a bit of both.

With the possibility that he may soon be facing a vote of confidence, and rumours of mutterings from the Labour camp in Llanelli, Kev's sofa may not be the most comfortable of places right now.

Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in for me!


Anonymous said...

Very good to hear of a vote of confidence for Kev and the In Me For is good to great.

Mrs Angry said...

hmm: Beulah: peel me a grape ... Mae West, I believe? But which film ...

Anonymous said...

I'm glad Peter Hughes Griffiths didn't claim for anything, he lives in walking distance from county hall.

Great spin on it all cneifwr, no mention of the distance that some councillors travel in comparison to others. I do however agree that Sian ciach should me noted for not claiming from Llanelli.

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