Saturday 11 May 2013

Lights, Camera and ....Action!

Next week will mark the start of a pilot to film meetings of the full council in Carmarthenshire as the pageant of the Annual General Meeting gets underway. Prepare for a display of posh frocks and lots of glinting municipal bling.

Democracy is not one of the first words to spring to mind when we think of Carmarthenshire County Council, and in a neat piece of symbolism we can expect the abused and half-starved spirit of Welsh democracy to be temporarily kicked out of the chamber to make way for a sword carrying representative of the Queen of England and a couple of other Establishment worthies dolled up in lace and fancy dress. We may even be treated to glimpses of various absurd "British Empire" insignia that have been heaped on some of the senior officers and a few councillors for their services in keeping democracy at bay in our county.

Once that is over, the second act of the annual pantomime will get underway as various committee chairs and other recipients of generous special responsibility allowances are elected. There will be no surprises as favours are repaid for toeing the line, the only unknown being whether Cllr John Jenkins will repeat his performance from last year when he shouted out "A Curse on All Your Houses".

There is some logic in having the arrival of the cameras coincide with the beginning of the new term, although it is sadly likely to be the case that many curious viewers getting their first glimpse of local government Carmarthenshire-style will be put off for ever by this empty and predictable charade.

If you are tempted to tune in, much better to wait until normal business resumes, which with any luck will be before the long summer break. If last year is anything to go by, we will have several opportunities to marvel at the inventiveness and sheer energy which goes in to preventing open debate and awkward questions.

But let's end on a positive note.

If it had not been for the tireless campaigning at enormous personal cost of Jacqui Thompson to try to bring a little more transparency into council proceedings, there would be no cameras in the chamber. No amount of press office spin can disguise that fact.

The pilot is due to run for 12 meetings of the full council only. Committee meetings, including those of the planning committee, will continue to take place free from the glare of the lights.

It is nevertheless a small victory for all those who want to see better and more transparent local government.

Well done Jacqui.


Anonymous said...

A small but nevertheless an important victory. That's one small step for a man (or lady in this case)and a giant leap for mankind. Well done Jacqui!!!!

Anonymous said...

Is there going to be new scenery this year. I was told that there will a background of bubble gum trees a little stream with a red river running through and a meadow bursting full of Daffodils.

Plus i hear many have had new wands on order to cast Merlins magic all over Carmarthenshire and beyond. I do hope lines are learned this year it will look so bad on T.V if somebody said the wrong motto.

Anonymous said...

Don't hold your breath !!
They agreed to "filming" but is "sound" included ?