There are times when you have to pinch yourself to remember that Carmarthenshire County Council is a branch of government responsible for the education and welfare of the people of this county, public health and the environment. You certainly have to wonder what sort of outfit this is whenever the press office goes on the rampage.
Caebrwyn reports on the latest spat between the council and Unison, which has raised concerns about the council's plans for the Pembrey Country Park and the Llanelli coastline.
There are two aspects to this story which are disturbing.
The first is what the council has in mind for this part of the county and how transparent any deals will be. Bearing in mind what happened with Beach Break Live which effectively did a bunk and left small local businesses seriously out of pocket, Unison is right to be worried. This is something the blogs will be watching closely in the coming months.
The second is the reaction of the council's press office to the Unison statement:
Unison's claims are complete and utter tosh and scaremongering. This
is same old same old rumour and fabricated diatribe that is resurrected
every few years that has absolutely no foundation at all. It is a
downright and cheap-shot lie that the park is for sale, designed to
These words were attributed to an unnamed spokesman. An extremely opinionated and aggressive spokesman.
Who was the spokesman? Who authorised this hysterical attack on a union? Was the council leader, Kevin Madge, consulted before this message was broadcast to the world? There is certainly no love lost between Unison and the Carmarthenshire Labour Party, and the spokesman has strayed onto political ground here. Who these days says "utter tosh"?
Whatever the answers to these questions, we either have a dangerously out of control and politicised press office, or yet another misuse of public resources by the ruling Labour group hiding behind an anonymous spokesman.
The council's press and PR operations fall within the chief executive's own department, and Unison may want to ask him to explain the actions of staff who answer to him, perhaps coupled with a freedom of information request.
Cllr Darren Price (Plaid) noted at the most recent meeting of the full council that the communications budget is around £1 million a year. The council has been cutting back on its services, and it is warning of much worse to come. So far the holy cow of communications has been protected.
Cllr Price said that the people of Gorslas would not lose any sleep if it was put under the knife, and we can be sure that the people of other towns and villages across the county would agree with him.