October 9, 2014

Carmarthenshire County Council – Are you £ucking kidding me?

Filed under: Uncategorized — madaxeman @ 1:07 am

Following the events of #DaftArrest I continue, to the annoyance of many at Carmarthenshire County Council no doubt, to keep abreast of the latest happenings over in the People’s Democratic Republic of Carmarthenshire – and this month’s full council meeting contained a bit of a doozie!

Last month, we started seeing Councillors ask questions in the full council meeting. The format is very simple – a member asks a pre-prepared question, and the leader responds with an equally pre-prepared answer.

Now, in most public forums, having asked a question, the questioner is afforded the right to ask a supplementary question – usually used to respond to information provided in the initial answer. There are a lot of good reasons for this, and somewhere near the top of the list is that it “gets things done” – you don’t have to wait until the next meeting to be able to respond to the information provided. This prevents many items of business from being discussed over the course of several meetings, which of course brings benefits in terms of the speed of decision making. Decisions taken early can mean cost savings through a lack of uncertainty…  It also, from a transparency point of view, puts whoever is proving the answer in the position not being able to have an evasive response pre-prepared. Many people would consider this practice therefore to be a good thing.

Sadly, the ruling junta at the Council appear to take a somewhat different view – that being that since the standing orders don’t state that supplementary questions are allowed, they therefore are not allowed. Now, to be clear, the standing orders make no pronouncement either way – they are simply being interpretted, in common with many dictatorial regimes around the world, as meaning that “something is only ever allowed if we say it is.”. Followers of the #DaftArrest case might find this eerily familiar, as the whole case started with powers that be deciding that filming Council meetings was prohibited on the same grounds.

As I pointed out in the comments of one of the local blogs, there is nothing in the standing orders that entitle the Chief Executive to attend the meeting if he has failed to strip off first and paint his body blue like a smurf – though somewhat mercifully it seems that common sense can be applied in this case. Why not in others then?

But I’ve saved the best until last – because at this month’s meeting of the council, the councillors themselves took a vote on whether or not they should be able to ask supplementary questions – and voted NO! This wasn’t about such questions being mandatory – merely “should we have the right to ask them?”.

The Council is ran by a coalition of the Labour Party and the “Independents” – effectively a party themselves. Someone needs to be asking the Labour Party, a party which after all would like us to seriously consider the prospect of offering them the opportunity to form the next government, just what the holy fuck they are doing here – because their councillors supported this vote not to allow supplementary questions. On what grounds? When, as a councillor representing your electorate, is it a bad thing to be able to ask a question? The answer seems to be when the ruling cabal might find said questioning and the scrutiny it brings inconvenient.

Is this not, as a councillor, precisely when you damn well SHOULD be asking questions?



  1. A Very Local Dictatorship

    All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

    Once there were some ordinary people from ordinary backgrounds with ordinary brains. Slowly but surely these people started some public posturing and boasting. Some people began to believe the posturing and boasting and this led to these ordinary people accumulating minor dictatorial powers.

    After a number of years these ordinary people, mainly men began to establish political beliefs and to pursue an agenda of self-servitude. But the dictatorship contained a mixture of men with different political beliefs and some defended the community.

    The new dictators started buying support from both the working class and the business community. The ‘yes men’ were promised a share of an abundant amount of money.

    The steadily growing cash rich dictators benefited and lots went to family members instead of the community. To get support from the Church a few bob was thrown their way. These policies could be seen as an attempt to ‘buy’ support. Prominent business and community leaders were hardly going to say no to money.

    Anything, which provided for and protected the community, was slowly eroded away. Any protests over this were banned as a result of the new policies made up to protect the dictators. Newspapers were bought off and they even formed their own radio and TV staion.

    The dictators never intended to share power with any of the liberals who were in the group. They introduced more and more committees, which would decide policy for the people without consulting the people first

    The committees introduced new rules to change election results. Now they were always guaranteed a majority in the dictatorship. The gallery in the hall in which the dictators voted was filled with thugs who had a good view of anybody who spoke out against them. The threat was clear and real. If you voted for their plans you would be fine. If you did not, then you were certainly in danger from the thugs. After all his or her motto was “a good beating doesn’t hurt anyone.”

    The dictators liked to be seen in uniform. Other dictators throughout history used very similar tactics when voting was to take place. Again, the threat was clear to anyone who was brave enough to protest against the law.

    In one election 75% of the places were a done deal establishing a clear majority. The dictators still faced open criticism. Thugs did threaten dissenters from publicly condemning them. Newspapers, websites and wall posters condemned the dictators and there was a real possibility that some of the dictators would have to resign.

    A number of honourable people walked out in protest but this gesture only served to play into the dictator’s hands as it got rid of more opposition.

    With support, the dictators felt strong enough to take on their opponents. Any critics of the dictators were beaten up and newspapers and websites or blogs that were not supportive of them were shut down. Legal experts bent the law in favour of the dictators sure that they too would benefit financially. No one dared challenge any more because they could not afford to take on the legal experts.

    Head honcho of the dictators made a public statement in his or her own magazine paid for out of the people’s taxes “I declare….in front of the my people……that I alone assume the political, moral and historic responsibility for everything that has happened. My county wants peace and quiet, work and calm. I will give these things with love if possible and with force if necessary.”

    After surviving the blogfest affair, the dictators slowly introduced the classic features of a dictatorship. But this was now nearly three years after the extravaganza for the people.

    Plans were made to stop all rival political parties and opposition newspapers and websites were banned. A secret police force was set up. New penalties were introduced for “serious political offences” such as making fun of the idiotic behaviour of the dictators. Some were thrown in jail for daring to photograph, film or record the dictators at work. Enforcement officers were given uniforms and made into walking CCTV cameras to report the people and take their money in any way they could.

    The head dictator also changed the constitution. He or she introduced a diarchy. This is a system whereby a county has two political heads. In our case, it was insert name …………. and insert name ………….. This system put insert name ………….. in charge of the county. The second in command was not the strongest of people and rarely felt able to assert himself or herself. Though he or she disliked the head honcho bypassing him or her at every opportunity, he or she did little to challenge this.

    The head honcho appointed members to the new executive board and from then on he or she had to be consulted on all constitutional issues. As he or she appointed people onto the Council, logic would dictate that those people would do what he or she wished them to do.

    The electoral system was changed again and following the change the head honcho said, “Any possibility of choice is eliminated…..I never dreamed of a chamber like yours.”

    Communities were entitled to draw up the names of people they wanted considered to serve them. The head honcho selected some of these people i.e. peoples he or she would approve of. The list was presented to the electorate for approval. They could only vote for or against the whole list – not the individual candidates. All those on approved were no more than ‘lap dogs’ for the head honcho with any real political power.

    So what can be done? The majority has to shift. Brave people need to be put forward and convince the jaded people that they will serve the people and quickly get rid of the head honcho in favour of a community based leadership, which acts in the best interests of the people.

    One or a few people from each town to stand at the elections. A manifesto to reduce the payment of the servants in line with the reduction of payment of the employees. To take away the top tear in favour of a bottom up approach thus upturning the corrupt pyramid structure so commonly used to dominate and in symbolism representing power. The truth is THEY HAVE NONE unless we allow it.

    Comment by sanclertimes — October 9, 2014 @ 4:36 pm | Reply

  2. Quite so…

    This is why the treatment of Jacqui Thompson alarms me – you finally have someone who is prepared to kick arse, peer in murky corners and generally unearth whatever lies behind any foul stenches, and she is immediately crushed.

    Well – they tried anyway.

    I don’t see Jacqui taking her medecine!

    Comment by madaxeman — October 10, 2014 @ 12:15 pm | Reply

  3. get the top click here available

    Comment by clock face inserts — July 5, 2015 @ 5:10 am | Reply

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