Thursday 4 July 2013

A Message from the Leader

Readers of the Carmarthen Journal are this week treated to yet another two-page spread featuring the thoughts of council chief executive Mark James, who warns us of very tough times to come.

Local government in Wales is having to brace itself for what he repeatedly describes as "English-style" cuts, and Carmarthenshire may have to find further savings of up to £18 million.

The figure of £18 million features in the headline, "Council directors told to find £18m of savings", although Mr James says some way in to the article that his best guess is £12m.

The result will be cuts, privatisations, redundancies and further rises in council tax.

Mr James has been warning of cuts for some time now, although anyone who reads a serious newspaper or has watched a news bulletin since 2010 could have worked it out for themselves that this was coming.

Despite that, it has been business as usual at County Hall with wasteful spending on pet projects, vanity law suits, expensive cars, the Carmarthenshire News and a hugely over-staffed PR machine.

Mr James cannot be held responsible for the state of the UK economy, but he could have taken action a lot sooner to protect services which will now have to be cut.

How many other chief executives of Welsh councils will be appearing in the local press at such length to deliver a state of the nation address? Come to think of it, how many other local newspapers in Wales regularly give over so much space to allow unelected officials to make one-way broadcasts without challenge or questions?

Completely absent from this gloomy picture is the council's political leadership. Where is Kevin Madge in all this?

A quick check on the council's website shows that the most recent media outing of the Council Leader was in Llandovery where he was meeting and greeting Charles Windsor. The royal guest even obliged with a quote praising the council.

Prior to that Kev popped up in Newcastle Emlyn with his Executive Board roadshow. The main item on the agenda was the council's decision to contribute to a Welsh National Mining Memorial, an announcement which would have been rather more relevant to the county's former mining areas.

Kev seems to have decided that his role in life is to be a figurehead who goes round smiling and shaking hands, leaving all of the important decisions to the real boss.

: HRH the Prince of Wales shakes hands with Carmarthenshire County Council Leader Cllr Kevin Madge, watched by county executive
"I've brought the Queen along to meet you too, Sir."


Emlyn Uwch Cych said...

But there was me thinking that the Council's figurehead was Terry-the-Chair? After all, he's the one in chains meeting Crown Prince Charlie.

We should nail something like this to the castle doors in Carmarthen: Civics 101: Chair = figurehead, Leader = decision maker, Chief Exec = skivvy.

Anonymous said...

Terry is the best camera man in the world too!! He managed to switch them off just in time !! Figure head??? Don't you mean big round bald head??

Isn't it nice to see Meryl again, smiling as always!!!

Does anyone have a caption for the photo???

Anonymous said...

Kev chuckles

" yes your highness, I am the mumbling moose that leads the county of Carmarthenshire. I would just like to say Cllr Gravel on my right suffers with dementia and isn't sure quite who you are!! "

Prince Charles quietly replies,

" oh, i see she has also lost the ability to smile too!! Are they your real teeth Kevin?

You really must let my hand go now as I am far more interested in the bowling session you have booked for me in Carmarthen! "

Anonymous said...

Shame Kevin Madge Shame on you

Call yourself a socialist?