This year's council elections in Carmarthenshire are likely to be the most interesting in many years, and the retirement of many veteran councillors will mean that whatever happens, the new council will have a very different look and feel.
Unsurprisingly, the campaign has been a story of two very different halves. Although there are some very keenly fought contests in some wards outside Llanelli, the campaign has been largely a clean and civilised affair.
In Llanelli things have been very different, with a campaign characterised in many places by bitterness, dirty tricks and mud slinging. There are those who argue that all the parties, including the Independents, are to blame, but in reality the toxic culture which has thrived within the local Labour Party is the root cause. It is not just the personal attacks, but also Llanelli Labour's prediliction for dog whistle politics that makes the town different. In the past we have seen campaigns based on stirring up resentment against Polish residents, and this year the Welsh language and fear mongering about the future of Parc Howard have dominated much of the 'debate'.
A key feature of Llanelli Labour's campaign style is the use of unofficial groups to carry out its dirty work, and this year that task fell to the anti-Welsh group in Llangennech and the guerilla troll tactics deployed by CUSC-SOPAP.
This blog has concentrated on Llanelli during the campaign, partly because it generated the most newsworthy stories, but also in order to expose the nature of Labour's campaign which has often stooped to intimidation of opponents, including repeatedly driving past rivals' homes, reversing up, cat calling and staring. Facebook has featured prominently in the intimidation which has ranged from the childish to the downright sinister.
A defeat for some of Labour's most prominent players in Llanelli is the best hope for a different kind of politics in the town, and it would give the party itself an opportunity to clean up its act, but you would not want to bet on that.
So what about the bigger picture?
Plaid was 9 seats short of an overall majority in the old council. A majority has always eluded the party and has often looked like a very tall order, but if Labour takes a hammering and the Independents continue their long-term decline, the prize may be within the party's grasp this time.
Expect Labour to lose ground in the Amman Valley and Llanelli. Independent losses in some of the rural wards could be partly offset by gains in places like Dafen.
But there are many unknowns. Many of the contests will turn on local factors, and nobody knows what impact the UK general election campaign will have on today's vote.
The next 24 hours are going to be interesting.
Labour may have fought a mud slinging campaign in Llanelli, put Plaid need to look inwardly at their own leadership. How can they expect to forge ahead with Dole in charge! It's time for those Plaid Councillors who have common decency the moral backbone and level of integrity sadly lacking in some, to make their stand against the Carmarthenshire Cabal.
I'm in Dinefwr. Ed Thomas got my vote. Plaid didn't even bother delivering a leaflet. If they can't be bothered then they won't get our votes in the GE either.
agree, I want whoever is the majority party in Count Hall to deal with Mark James first and get rid of him and change the toxic culture that is embedded in CCC on a council and administration level PRONTO
Labour have been disgusting . They have quite a few libel coming . They lied on doirs . They have told TREMENDOUS stories about strongest opposition . They are nothing but a disgrace .
I was in the ss last night and was proved right how nasty dafen dolly and her daughter are . Remarks from davies saying joking paramedic to a few people . And the remarks to Theresa bowen were just degrading . But to the few labour who actually approached theresa and said they voted for her says it all . When party members dont vote the vile ones . Happy Days are her though me thinks !
Anon 6.34 The vile two have been really nasty to TB ,who has always worked for her patch but could lose her seat to tactics .
I don't think who Plaid could have as a leader Emlyn Dole has a much better manner than Peter Hughes the previous leader and there is none in the rest of the group apart from Hazel Evans who has the leadership qualities needed. Certainly the loathsome Rhodri Glyn Thomas If he wins St Clears - another retired AM wanting more cash to his already inflated pension
I find it hard to believe that Labour have got in , in Llanelli .
They have done Nothing to help the bryn & llwynhendy wards , never seen Sharon Davis , until of course she took up residents in my area with voting around the corner.
I am worried about what will happen now , that we don't have Theressa Bowen as Councillor .
She was the people's councillor , did everything to help our community .
Labour have bullied before , lets see what happen's next .
I hope for Fosia's sake she has made the right decision in joining this party again.
They bullied her the last time , because as I see it Sharon Davis is a nasty lady who will stoop at nothing to get her own way.
So if Ms Davis read's this, please don't stay away for the next 5 year's like the past 5.
Theressa Bowen did all the work around here & really cared for us people .
God Bless you Theressa & thank you .
This is a sad day for us in this area .
I would just like to say, we are not anti-welsh in Llangennech, I tried my son in the Welsh stream and he struggled and I fortunately had the choice to switch him to English stream, but unfortunately it was too late and even now at 16 sitting g.c.s.e's he's had to have one to one help with his education due to this. My 2 other children, who attend the school luckily will be taught in English stream, but other pupils who now join the school won't have a choice, they are being forced to learn in Welsh. We personally as concerned parents would just like the school to remain as a dual stream school, so that it is fair and equal to all pupils of all languages and all learning abilities. We just want fairness and not a dictorship run by greed, self gain, image status and corrupt politics. The school USED to be a fantastic school, not so much in recent years.
Anonymous at 4 May 2017 at 08:10
You are Alan Evans and I claim by £5 prize!
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