Friday 20 July 2018

Saron: Karen Davies romps home

Warmest congratulations to Karen Davies who held Saron ward for Plaid Cymru with just over 65% (up 15.7%) of the vote in yesterday's by-election. Labour came second with 20.9% (down 15%). Despite throwing the kitchen sink at the campaign, the Tories trailed in third place with 12.7% (down 1.9%), while the LibDems took just 1.2%.

The election was held following the death of Karen's late husband, Alun Davies.

In numbers, the results were as follows:

Karen Davies, Plaid 747
Tom Fallows, Labour 239
Aled Crow, Tory 146
Caryl Tandy, LibDem 14

The haemorrhaging of support for Labour in Saron follows a disastrous performance in nearby Iscennen ward and another dire result in Burry Port, all masterminded by Rob James who ousted Jeff Edmunds as leader of the Labour group in a coup in May.

Readers will recall that Rob James launched a vitriolic and highly personal attack on Jonathan Edwards MP, the council leader Emlyn Dole and other senior Plaid figures immediately before the Iscennen by-election, with the publication of claims that a £145,000 regeneration grant in Ammanford "may" have been improperly awarded.

The Wales Audit Office has now rejected Rob James's complaints and announced that it will be taking no further action.

Instead of apologising for what looked very much like an attempt to throw an election with a smear campaign, Rob's response to finding himself in a hole is to keep digging. He is now questioning the WAO's findings and has announced that he will be contacting the Cabinet Secretary to call for a full investigation.


Monday 16 July 2018

A fox, a crow and a dead duck

Just a few days to go before the people of Saron, Penybanc and Hendre get to choose their next county councillor on 19 July, and the campaign is in full swing.

The LibDems have produced one of their usual generic "newspapers" which involves opening up a file, deleting Truro/Auchtermuchty and/orHalifax, typing in "Saron" and pressing the print button.

The Tories have pulled out all the stops and wheeled in Suzie Davies AM in support of local Tory boy Aled Crow, as they try to convince voters that they should not mistake the Conservative Party for the Conservative Party (no relation). The Maybot, Michael Gove, Andrea Loathesome, Boris, Liam Fox, Gavin "Tarantula" Williams et al are really much, much nicer people than Thatcher, John Redwood, Norman Tebbit, etc.

Labour's campaign is a rather less happy affair. After his recent bruising encounter with Jonathan Edwards' mother, Rob James is understood to be muttering darkly about his candidate's ability to walk and chew gum at the same time, even, it is said, going so far as to quote Boris Johnson's description of being asked to sell Theresa May's Chequers plan.

The Labour candidate, Tom Fallows, recently went down to a spectacular defeat when he stood for election to Ammanford Town Council where he came a very distant second, and yet despite viewers being treated to the Tories' Carry On on the Titanic every time they turn on the news, there is a distinct possibility that the Conservative could push Labour into third place this time round.

In the Amman Valley.

Things don't seem to be going much better down in the neighbouring Llanelli constituency from where Rob is directing his campaign to paint Carmarthenshire red, or to use one of the slogans Labour deployed in the recent Iscennen by-election, "to take back control", another phrase which Boris might recognise.

In a by-election to Burry Port Town Council last week, Labour was super-confident that its candidate, Lee Fox, would romp home, but instead he came a distant second to an independent candidate with the Tories and LibDems barely getting off the starting blocks:

                   Richard Stephen 
Richard Lee
Tomos Arthur
Christopher David William

Lee Fox, married to Labour county councillor Amanda Fox, made an interesting appearance on this blog once before when he was at the centre of a near-riot at a meeting of Burry Port Town Council towards the end of last year.

(Scroll down past Garry Poumista Jones, about whom more in a moment).

Mr Fox had unwisely resigned from his post as Technical Services Officer, but later changed his mind and asked for his job back when it was too late. A large rent-a-mob subsequently turned up at a council meeting demanding justice for their boy, something which the Labour leader on the council, John James (also a county councillor) claimed showed "how strongly local people felt attached" to their former TSO, even though he had been in the job for less than a year.

The election result would seem to suggest that the attachment was not all that Cllr James cracked it up to be.

Meanwhile over in Llangennech, Cllr Gary 'Poumista' Jones, has been as busy as ever on Twitter. There is yet another selfie of the councillor naked from the waist up wearing a tin hat, a bizarre interest in introducing beavers to Plymouth (strangely Plymouth features as much if not more than Llangennech does on his feed), and this when asked who he was supporting in the World Cup:

That will have gone down really well with Poumie's voters.

But at least St Gareth of Southgate's team scored a few victories against the titans of Panama and Colombia. Back in the less glamorous world of Carmarthenshire politics, Rob James's boys just seem to lurch from one helluva beating to the next.