Monday 9 February 2015

Hengoed hotting up

There are council by-elections somewhere in Britain all the time, and very few of them attract much media attention. Quite often many voters in the wards concerned will be blissfully unaware that an election is even taking place.

Not so Hengoed near Llanelli where the Labour Party is determined to maintain its hold, partly because they are worried about the message that a loss would send out to voters in Llanelli - that Labour is vulnerable in a seat which it has held since 1922; and partly because Labour's coalition with Meryl Gravell's Independents is balanced on a knife-edge. If Labour were to have even one less councillor than Meryl's geriatric shock troops, Kevin Madge would have to get used to playing second fiddle, and we would be treated to a real-life version of that schlock horror film, Return of the Mummy.

Labour has therefore been throwing the kitchen sink at the Hengoed campaign. Nia Griffiths has been out knocking doors, as has Vaughan Gething - a long way from Cardiff South and Penarth.

The official opening of the new Ysgol Ffwrnes last week saw a whole troop of Labour worthies turn out, headed by the minister Huw Lewis, with parents and other attendees treated to political speeches stuffed with the latest lines from Labour's Spin Central.

Ukip seems to have run out of steam, but does look set to pick up protest votes from people who normally vote Labour.

The Tories have issued a cut 'n paste campaign leaflet based on election material for Selaine Saxby, the Wiltshire-based proprietor of Less Bounce, a sports bra retailer, who is standing for the Westminster seat. The Tories' candidate in Hengoed is a man (Stephen Davies) and Selaine Saxby is a woman, but thanks to some rather careless editing, the party does not seem to be entirely sure of his gender.

In what may be some more sub-Freudian marketing, Stephen's Facebook page shows him holding up what looks like an enormous cheque with a very small amount of money written on it. £149.31 to be precise. Most of us would be reluctant to parade around with something that puny, but this is how much we could have saved if we had all voted Conservative, apparently.

Either way the Tory campaign in Llanelli and Hengoed will need not less bounce, but the sort of movement that could only be achieved by Dolly Parton on a trampoline if it is to get off the ground.

More Bounce


Anonymous said...

Not sure if you are correct that UKIP will only take Labour voters. Main issue for them is immigration and so Plaid and People First are also vulnerable.
Labour do want to win the By Election, obviously but the motives are not as cynical as you suggest. Most of the activists want to 'win it for George' who was a very hard working, dedicated councillor.
In my view it is not so much about parties as personalities in an By Election so as long as the already sitting councillor has been as dedicated and hardworking as George was it is his to lose.

Anonymous said...

More likely 'win it for Penny' since she's been telling people that she's only standing 'for the money'.

Anonymous said...

That is a really cheap shot as it is most definitely not true. You really should be ashamed of yourself whoever you are.

Redhead said...

The money is a big problem. Many councillors factor it into their general income and can't imagine life without it.

We have one local councillor on 2 councils without a single educational qualification (not even an O level or whatever they were then or now) who with all his "responsibilities" is pulling in £60,000 plus expenses plus pension (now stopped gor new councillors) contributions and official car.

Needless to say, his strings are also veing pulled by the Chief Executive but in his case one suspects that if someone didn't pull them chaos would ensue.

Sweet isn't it - and all paid for by you and me.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your views. It should not be seen as a career but a vocation. There are some of each category in all political parties so reform would be good and so would a review of selection procedures to make sure they are 'not in it for the money'. There was a fair selection process for the Labour candidates to make sure that the motives were the right ones.

Anonymous said...

Redhead 19.49

There should also be some form of competency and capability test.

Redhead said...

Good heavens: we would have almost no councillors if they had to pass competency and capability tests - some of them would be hard pressed to pass Key Stage 1 maths and English and/or Welsh!

And if they had to have psychological testing, that would deplete the number even further.

A lot of councillors get into politics for the right reasons but just as many get in for the wrong reasons.

Check any Tory shire: landowners, developers, rich farmers who sell their land to developers, high level businessmen, often friends who meet in special places .....

Anonymous said...

Can't argue with that, Redhead.

Anonymous said...

Of course Redhead.You are absolutely right.
Is it any wonder that councils all over the country are making drastic cuts on essential services?

Anonymous said...

In it for money ? I agree many are there for that . But the basic cllr takes home less than most paid jobs . It is upsetting seeing many couldn't give two hoots about the job they were elected to do and take credit for officers work . I wish more down to earth people stood . It's a interesting position but party politics is stinking . They always play that when its nothing to do with the job of representation of the electorate . Hopefully a shock will be in store at upcoming elections !!