Sunday 5 March 2017

Llanelli roundup

Opinion among regular readers of this blog will be divided at the news that, so far at least, Cneifiwr has not been arrested and locked up for writing about the tribulations of the Labour Party in Llanelli.

Perhaps Tegwen Devichand and Jeff Edmunds had someone else in mind when they said recently that they had both complained to the police; in Jeff's case the mystery remains as to which blogs published statements he had made in the belief that he was e-mailing a member of the Labour Party in good faith. It certainly wasn't this one, or indeed any other blog Cneifiwr can find which writes about Welsh politics.

Perhaps the pair were just confused when they told the press that they had gone to the police. It's easily done. Just as Tegwen said that she could not remember sharing Britain First propaganda plastered with pictures of electric chairs, even though she opposes the death penalty, she says.

Perhaps Dyfed-Powys Police told them not to waste police time, or perhaps teams of officers are trawling through blogs and social media accounts, and have not yet pounced.

Whatever the case may be, it is time for an update.


Chaff is the name given to little strips of metal fired into the sky by the military to try to deflect incoming  missiles or to fool ground-based radar systems.

Readers of this blog will have noticed Gary "Poumista" Jones, Labour's candidate for one of the seats in Llangennech and veteran of the Spanish Civil War, spraying industrial quantities of chaff in the comments section of this blog as he tries to spin a narrative that the decision to phase out the English stream in Llangennech had nothing to do with Labour.

Here he is replying to a statement made by Cllr Gwyn Hopkins:

"The choice of schools was - almost certainly- endorsed by Councillor Keith Davies" is very vague, it either was or it wasn't? Also WESP was not endorsed by full council?

The answer to both of your questions, Gary, is yes, it was.

This week's Herald contains an article which sets out in considerable detail the history of the Llangennech decision, and here in a nutshell is the sequence of events.

Remember that Labour ran Carmarthenshire County Council in coalition with the Independents until May 2015.

8 July 2014 - the Education Scrutiny Committee unanimously approves a Welsh in Education Stretgic Plan (WESP) which the council was obliged to prepare under the terms of the (Labour) government's 2013 School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act. The meeting minutes show that among those present at the meeting was the late Cllr Keith Davies, who was Executive Mamber for Education at the time.

The WESP included a provision to change all of the county's dual stream schools to Welsh-medium schools.

28 July 2014 - The WESP goes to the council's Executive Board (i.e. cabinet) and is approved unanimously. Among those voting to phase out dual stream schools are Kevin Madge, Jeff Edmunds, Tegwen Devichand and Keith Davies.

10 September 2014 - The WESP is approved by full council unanimously, with Madge, Davies, Edmunds and Devichand all in favour.

May 2015 - UK General Election. Not long afterwards Kevin Madge is ousted as Labour leader. Jeff Edmunds takes over, and the Independents end their coalition. Labour goes into opposition.

23 November 2015 - The Education Scrutiny Committee meets again and approves a proposal to establish a Welsh-medium school in Llangennech. The only Labour member present, Cllr John James, votes in favour. Cllrs Pat Jones and Ryan Bartlett are absent.

A long and convoluted consultation process gets underway. Tegwen Devichand turns up outside the school in Llangennech to protest.

Llanelli Labour throws its weight behind the objectors and works closely with them. Gary Jones takes a prominent role, and helps put up posters around the village which claim that Plaid is trying to force English speaking children out of Llangennech.

Extremist Welsh hater Jacques Protic, who lives somewhere up in the north, also becomes involved at an early stage and contributes to a web site created by the objectors. The process culminates with the group bringing in Neil Hamilton and UKIP.

18 January 2017 - The final step in the process as full council meets to approve the plan. Cllr Ryan Bartlett (Lab) votes in favour. Cllr John James votes against, along with Cllrs Madge, Devichand and Edmunds.

As lying and hypocrisy go, this is hard to beat.

There is an interesting footnote to the 18 January meeting when most Labour councillors vote against the plan, including Cllr Kim Thomas (Lab., Llannon) who described it as "apartheid" despite being governor of a Welsh medium primary school. Among those who spoke was Cllr Sharen Davies, Tegwen's daughter.

She had gone to a Welsh medium school, she said, but had switched to English medium because she felt should could not cope.

Barely a month later and she has changed her story, telling would-be voters in Llwynhendy that she was educated through the medium of Welsh:

Click on picture to enlarge

Some of those "dear residents" may be left wondering after reading the first line of her address whether they can believe anything else she says.

Meanwhile, Lee Waters is understood to have had another change of heart. After sitting on the fence for the best part of a year while the controversy raged, he eventually came down on the side of the objectors. When the brown stuff hit the fan, Lee blamed it all on Gwyn Hopkins. Cneifiwr understands that he is now telling his constituency party behind closed doors that they have to get behind the plan and the government's target of one million Welsh speakers.

We haven't seen leadership like this since a nineteenth century French politician, Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin is said to have exclaimed, "There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader".

Re-arranging the deckchairs

With only two months to go to May's council elections, the clock is also ticking on Jeff Edmunds' leadership of the Labour group on the county council.

According to the local gossip, Jeff took quite a lot of persuading to stand again as a councillor and even more arm twisting to carry on as leader. Expect a small coup as the dust settles in early summer.

That could be quite an interesting contest, with the Tegwen-ites drawn up against the rest. Rob James, who has parachuted in from Neath, is ambitious and has friends in Cardiff. He will be able to count on the support of Lee Waters, but that may not help his cause, with some shrewd observers commenting that Lee is not very good at connecting with his grass roots and lacks "emotional intelligence".

Whatever happens, Rob James is unlikely to want to put in five years of hard graft as a backbench county councillor, if elected, and there is even talk of him being groomed to take over from Nia Griffith in time for the 2020 UK general election.

Justice for the Llangennech One!

Many years ago Cneifiwr attended a training course on employment law. One of the cases we were presented with involved a postman who had stabbed another postman. He was given a written warning.

Some time later another postman stabbed a colleague (posties clearly had to worry about more than unfriendly dogs back then) and was sacked. He successfully sued for unfair dismissal, citing the previous case.

Employment law may well have changed since then, but Cneifiwr was reminded of this case as he pondered the differing fates of Michaela Beddows and Tegwen Devichand in the Labour Party.

According to reports a couple of weeks ago, the reason for Michaela's suspension was that she had shared material produced by the English Defence League on her Facebook page. Suspended pending an investigation.

Tegwen Devichand shared material from the no less extreme Britain First, but although we have been told that an investigation is ongoing, she has not been suspended.

On the face of it, there seem to be grounds for launching a campaign to secure justice for Llangennech's most famous mum and get her reinstated.


Anonymous said...

Strange Sharon Davies puts "chair of rural" on this leaflet . Wasn't that in 2010/11 ? I believe it was 3 or 4 straight years the dafen lot had chair of rural ?

Anonymous said...

Educated ? How does she not spell collAges ? I was not educated in uni but im sure it is spelt collEge ?

Cneifiwr said...

Anon@8.34 Well spotted. It's strange how many of those who oppose Welsh medium in favour of a supposedly superior English education like what they had are afflicted with very poor written English, despite the availability of spell checkers.

Anonymous said...

Clearly her election address is a 'piece of art', just like her education!

Anonymous said...

Her grasp of English grammar and punctuation is extremely weak as well! Has this woman actually got a degree in something? Knitting perhaps?

Stan said...

"Whatever happens, Rob James is unlikely to want to put in five years of hard graft as a backbench county councillor"

I can see you've aleady got him sussed then, Cyneifiwr. He certainly hasn't here in NPT so why change a winning hand?

Jac o' the North, said...

I never cease to be amazed at the problems facts present to Labour politicians, Gary 'Poumista' Jones being yet another troubled or confused by that which can be verified and proven.

Surely something can be done for these poor dabs?

Anonymous said...

what a toe rag is Rob James to speak about Neil Mcevoy.Neil Mcevoy defended his constuient as Nocturne states above,and is a wonderful councillor,attends mostly every meetings, the councillor that should be suspended is Rob James for treating every person from Bryncoch South with contempt what a horrible Person he is and good riddins to him
Posted by Bryncoch Resident and council Tax Payer on 06 March 2017

Anonymous said...

It appears that anyone who will lusten is being told "they" have gone to police . About what exactly ? All here is backed up with evidence and proof . Do they have proof ? As for tegwyns facebook being hacked or soneone else doing it for her ? Well i find that very hard to believe as she seems to be updating regularly and has conversations with "friends" updates on Dafen area . Then she has a twitter account/s . Surely noone is that green !

Ken Haylock said...

Interestingly, Britain First is not less extreme than the EDL, quite the reverse in fact - the people behind Britain First make Tommy Robinson look like an equality officer. However, they do have a much, much better social media strategy, posting only anodyne memes designed to attract broad sympathy that they can claim is support for their real agenda. The EDL are much more 'stream of consciousness', which means their toxicity is plain to see, but you could argue that their relative honesty & transparency puts them several steps ahead of Britain First... although it does mean that people retweeting Britain First may have a defence of ignorance. Once. Not that that's a good look for a politician even if true...


Anonymous said...

I am not computer literate or facebook twitter . But i know EXACTLY what britain first is .

Anonymous said...

The annoying thing here . Sharen Davies and Fozia Akhtar have put on their leaflet posted through every house in Llwynhendy that there us £1m "secured" lotto money . Can i just state this money was ALLOCATED to Llwynhendy not secured by anyone . Assumptions on campaign leaflets again . Why the hell cant they speak the truth to the voters instead of leading us to assume . I much prefer honesty