Sunday 9 November 2014

Election fever in Trelech

Forget the US mid-term elections, a by-election has been called for 11th December in Trelech, the ward represented for more than half a century by Cllr Dai Thomas, universally known as Dai Trelech.

Cllr Thomas recently celebrated his 90th birthday, and his resignation letter can be read here. Despite his declining health and advanced years, he tells us (or rather, he tells the chief executive) that the decision to step down was not an easy one, but in the end common sense prevailed, and he recognised that extending his leave of absence for another six months would not be fair on the people he was elected to represent.

For that he deserves praise, although it is probably too much to hope that his example will now be followed by other councillors who cling on to their allowances and represent their wards in name only, because as long as you turn up to one meeting every six months, you can carry on claiming. If you can't manage that, you can take six months off and then get the chief executive to extend your leave for another six months.

Outside the House of Lords, county councils are now one of the very few places where you will find people aged 75+ in public office.

"Live" in the loosest sense of the word

Expect to hear lots of reminiscences and tributes at the next meeting of the county council. Dai Trelech was a character and a link to an older, more deferential and gentler tradition of local government we will be told, although in truth the Independent benches are populated by quite a few other elderly councillors who rarely if ever speak but always vote as instructed.

This tradition can aptly be summed up by two of the otherwise very, very rare Dai Trelech quotes to be found on that new-fangled interweb.

The first concerns the merits of a maple Vancouver bedside cabinet sold by Argos:

"Good value for money", wrote Dai.


The second is from a discussion about Independent councillors on Maes-e.

"Sdim polisi 'di bod 'da fi ers hanner can mlynedd." (I haven't had a policy for the last 50 years).

But the dogs bark, and the caravan moves on.

There are already some interesting rumours about who the Independents hope will replace Dai and carry on this noble tradition. Let's wait for nominations to close before examining the runners and riders, however.

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