Saturday 27 August 2016

The Cilycwm Stakes

And they're off! A record seven runners and riders, several of whom must surely be 100-1 rank outsiders, are vying to become the next county councillor for Cilycwm.

Cilycwm is a huge and deeply rural ward to the west of Llandovery which was held since time immemorial by the late Tom Theophilus (Merylite Independent) who died recently at the age of 84.

Labour (no hope) and the LibDems (even less) have put up alongside a Tory, Steven Holmes. Holmes, who appears not to live in the ward, includes among his hobbies running and the Irish rugby team. Perhaps he's got Cilycwm mixed up with Kilkenny.

Also standing, this time as a candidate for Siân Caiach's People First group, is fellow blogger Jacqui Thompson. Delivering her nomination papers to Mark James for verification must have been one of the chilliest moments ever recorded in Carmarthen in August.

Then we have a pig-in-a-poke Independent, Thomas Davies. As usual, it is not clear whether voters are being offered a genuinely independent Independent, or someone who will reveal himself to be a new recruit to Pam and Meryl's much depleted zombie battalion.

Flying the flag for Plaid Cymru is Dafydd Tomos, a local farmer. Among Dafydd's aims is securing faster and better broadband coverage for the area, whereas Mark James would probably like to see the precise opposite as one way of putting Caebrwyn's blog out of business.

And finally, cantering up for another attempt is barrister, fox botherer and star columnist of the Carmarthenshire Herald, Matthew Paul.

Matthew has for some time led a fairly lonely existence as a champion of the Tory cause in Carmarthenshire, and regular readers of his weekly column will have noticed disillusionment slowly setting in over the last few months. It all began as he sighed sadly at the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith just before the latter joined the Brexit camp, and went inexorably downhill from then on. Perhaps the final straw came when it was revealed that his evangelical choice for the Tory leadership, Stephen Crabb, was having problems in the trouser department.

So this time Matthew is standing as an Independent, although it is hard to imagine that he would be seduced into the ample bosoms of Pam and Meryl. Surely not? At any rate, he has now presumably torn up his Conservative membership card, and there is hope for the boy yet.

Major concerns for Matthew include dog poo, judging by his piece in last week's Herald, although unusually for a prospective community champion, he is taking a stand as a libertarian pro-dog poo advocate.

Perhaps it's all that mockery and  sarcastic jeering from the foxes that has finally got to him, as he dismounts for the umpteenth time with a little black plastic bag to clear up after the hounds, in line with council regulations.

True to form in the organising a piss-up in a brewery stakes, UKIP have not managed to find a candidate.

It seems that the days when veteran Independents could sit as councillors for decades without ever having to fight an election are now a thing of the past. This could be a lively and interesting contest.