The Labour group on Carmarthenshire County Council, propped up in power by the closet Tory Independents, has several colourful characters on its benches, but probably none more so than Cllr Keri Thomas, who represents Tyisha in Llanelli, the town formerly famous for its saucepans, pots and kettles.
Cllr Thomas has got himself into hot water by blaming an "influx" of Polish people into Llanelli for a rise in outdoor drinking in the town. You can read the story here.
This very negative picture of the Polish community will certainly come as a surprise to most of us whose experience of Polish people in Wales is entirely different.
Earlier this year a Labour candidate in the Amman Valley got himself into trouble for a string of highly offensive messages on Twitter. Despite that, he remained the Labour Party's official candidate and received the backing of Kevin Madge, who put most of the blame on Twitter.
Cllr Thomas made his comments in a public forum, and so cannot blame it on the evils of social networking.
Regular readers of this blog may recall that Cllr Thomas was absent on long-term sick leave through most of 2011 and half of this year. It came as some surprise when despite this prolonged absence he gained the backing of the Labour Party to stand again in the council elections in May, although he was apparently not well enough to campaign.
It is good to see that he made a full recovery, although his comments about the town's Polish residents are an utter disgrace.
But what if there is a problem in the town and that problem is caused by Polish residents?
There's no doubt that there is a problem with drinking, but to blame the Polish community for it is the worst kind of gutter politics. How much do you trust his ability to correctly identify someone as Polish?
To begin with, they will usually be speaking Polish. Secondly, the females won't be carrying as much fat as the natives but I doubt there will be many females there. I don't see many problems with Polish people but where I live which is NCE, there aren't many there. The couple that I do know are hard working. However, I do disagree with people who are jumping on this councillor for highlighting a problem which is apparent in Llanelli. Maybe he shouldn't have singled the Polish out. I am not sure. But having done so, they too will have been made aware that their drinking in public places is not acceptable and may make them reconsider. They probably cannot believe how much they're being ripped off drinking in the Llanelli pubs. There is a little political correctness coming into this issue.
One thing for sure if it had been a Plaid Councillor (or any other Party)
The Media would be full of Labour MPs and AMs shouting racism and calling for said Councillor to be disciplined.
Anon @ 11.14 - Can you tell the difference between Polish, Lithuanian and Czech? I can't. And in the case of Cllr Thomas, I would not put it past him to mix up Brummies and Poles.
Llanelli has more than its fair share of social problems, but I'm willing to bet that it's not the Polish community that is the problem.
I have been thinking about it Cneifiwr, and I'm probably wrong on this one and indeed, I hardly ever visit Llanelli. I am 11:14. I have met scores of Poles over the last few years and I've found most of them to be great.
This is disgusting. Llanelli has always been a town with a problem associated with mis use of alcohol. It is scandalous for an elected representative to blame one section of society. Does he have the benefit of access to official date relating to arrests/prosecutions for alcohol related crime. I doubt it.
in any other universe this would be a resigning issue.
Post a Comment