Anyone who has observed meetings of Carmarthenshire County Council over the last couple of years will have noticed that declarations of interest have become a prominent and often baffling feature of council business. Last year the leader Kevin Madge (Lab) rose to declare an interest in a memorial to miners because one or more of his grandparents had worked in the mines.
It is unclear to what extent these rules apply outside the council chamber, as we can see from a recent press release dealing with the Dylan Thomas centenary celebrations in Laugharne which quotes the proprietor of Corran's book shop, Mr George Tremlett, who says that the council's marketing activities have led to an increase in sales for his business.
Mrs Tremlett is the Independent councillor for Laugharne and a member of the council's governing Executive Board, although there is no mention of this connection in the press release which continues with a rather peculiar analysis of visitor numbers to the town.
Apparently repeat visitors spent £28 on meals per party, compared with £47 per party spent by first time visitors. We don't know what constitutes a party, but the repeat visitors would seem to be very tight fisted, lashing out not much than a fiver a head.
Coachloads of Cardis perhaps? It would seem not, because only 5% of visitors came from mid- and north Wales. 5% of what we are not told, because although the press release is liberally sprinkled with percentages and amounts allegedly spent on food, there is no indication of how many people actually went to Laugharne because of the centenary.
Dylan Thomas spent only part of the last five years of his life in Laugharne, and while it is true that some of his best known works were published during this period, the Ministry of Spin says that "he composed most of his greatest works in his Laugharne shed", thereby consigning the bulk of his poetry to the literary rubbish bin.
The "bespoke replica" of Dylan's writing shed was last seen trundling along behind a white van on its way to Ireland.
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