October 26, 2016

Enough Already

Filed under: Uncategorized — madaxeman @ 12:40 pm

I have followed the case of Jacqui Thompson closely for a number of years, not only because this blog was directly involved, but also out of general interest in what I believe to be a huge injustice.

2016 has been a very stressful year for Jacqui. Both Mr. James and the Council itself have obtained separate charges against Jacqui’s home, and Mr. James went still further and tried to have Jacqui face criminal prosecutions… Fortunately, and following many behind the scenes interventions from all manner of right thinking people, the police eventually came to the conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to proceed.

Troubling times then – but at least Jacqui can look forward to the coming festivities of Christmas – spend some quiet reflective time at home with her family.

I hope this year is particularly memorable for Jacqui, because it’s looking like this will be the last Christmas she gets to spend at home… Mr. James has, good natured Christian that he is, decided to try to sell her home from under her and make her homeless.

Happy Christmas.

Jacqui does not deserve to be treated like this. All she has ever done is to speak out about the problems with the council – and there are many. She has performed the role of armchair auditor with distinction, and has selflessly devoted herself to the cause of the community. 

The people of Carmarthenshire owe her better than this. It might well be too late to resolve the legal position, but there is a moral dimension to be considered here as well. For heaven’s sake Carmarthenshire , wake up, smell the coffee, and act! Speak out… Discuss… Don’t allow the council to treat a civic minded citizen like this in your name.

Finally,  looking beyond Jacqui, never, ever allow this shite to happen again. Start taking local democracy seriously, and elect representatives worthy of the role… Many of the current shower come up some way short of the mark…


  1. Trouble is that Carmarthenshire residents know very little.
    Our local press (excepting the Herald which is not yet in common use) are completely silent on this matter.

    Comment by Wavell — October 26, 2016 @ 5:49 pm | Reply

  2. I know the quality of the local press is somewhat lacking, and that with the exception of the Herald most of them seem to be running scared of losing their income from the council – but that’s not an excuse for them to stay quiet. Their complicity and quiet acquiescence in this matter are shaming.

    Perhaps one approach would be to try and arrange a peaceful protest with say 20 or 30 local residents, suitably bannered up, somewhere prominent in the town on a shopping day… We need to get the issue noticed – have people saying “What’s that all about over there?”. It might even give the local rag something to report on.

    Comment by madaxeman — October 27, 2016 @ 12:12 pm | Reply

  3. The original agreement of Carmarthenshire’s Executive Board to fund the CEO Mark James in a libel counter claim contains the following clause:

    (i) The Head of Paid Service has confirmed that he is not motivated by a wish to benefit financially and that accordingly should his action be successful any damages awarded to him will be paid over to the Authority and will not be kept by him.

    I have no doubt therefore that again public funds are being used to fund Jacqui’s persecution as I cannot see Mr James spending money on lawyers when the damages he will get from the sale of her home will not be retained by him.If this was not a deliberate attempt to silence a blogger critical of some aspects of local government it would be amusingly farcical. In actual fact it is tragic.

    Not only are most of the local councillors impotent to do anything but also the Welsh Government itself. It declared the funding for Mr James unlawful but did not pursue the matter. Councillors who rock the boat like myself suffer quite a lot of nasty treatment and dirty tricks from the Council Establishment. I am ashamed of many of my fellow councillors of all colours. Some who privately murmur mild discontent on how Jacqui’s case has turned out but are too fearful to allow any visible sign of dissent in case they are targeted, while others feel that either Jacqui is entirely to blame for her misfortune or play the Party Game.

    “How disgraceful that Plaid Cymru encouraged that woman when they were in opposition and now are forcing her to sell her house” said a senior Labour Councillor to me a few days ago. She fails to mention she previously sat on the Council’s executive and approved Mr James’ unlawful funding.

    You couldn’t make it up. Its like living in a nightmare. Its not only Jacqui, Many others have suffered from the inability of CCC to ever admit they were wrong and had their lives blighted.It’s hard to get across to the wider public exactly how rotten this council is.In Carmarthenshire. Many locals have found out the hard way, If there were awards for community injustice I’m sure we could win every category easily.

    Our former Dyfed Powys Police Commissioner, Christopher Salmon, whose patch covered 4 Council areas, following his election defeat in May had a special parting word for one of them:

    “Carmarthenshire County Council. Wales’ answer to a Sicilian cartel. It’s everywhere you look (thankfully only in Carmarthenshire – so far as I can tell). It extracts vast amounts of money from residents which it showers on favourites, hoards property, bullies opponents, co-opts friends and answers to no one, least of all local councillors.”

    I can’t fault that.

    Cllr Sian Caiach
    County Councillor for Hengoed Ward, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire

    Comment by sian caiach — November 1, 2016 @ 1:55 pm | Reply

    • Well for my part, I clearly feel there are major problems in your council, otherwise I would hardly still be taking an interest now some six years since I originally got involved, considering that I live in the North of England, thankfully far, far away from the influence of the dark lord…

      There is a definite problem with the quality of councillor on the council – one I’m delighted to acknowledge you yourself are not afflicted with – in that none of them seem to have the balls to act. People serving in that role need the fortitude, the moral certitude, and the basic integrity to do what is right, regardless of what the officers might say. Your current councillors have allowed a situation to develop where the tail very much wags to the dog, in that the authority has become officer led, as opposed to led by its members. You say that people are afraid of losing their allowances etc – these people need to realise that being a councillor was never intended to become a job – and that threats over allowances should not be allowed to direct their thinking. If you’re genuinely on the council for the right reasons – to serve the public good – then there shouldn’t be much of a contest between your allowance and justice.

      Whilst I think on Sian, didn’t you once remark that the council presented having Mark James sue as being a device to allow to the council to act? If you have any evidence of that then it might be something that the ombudsman should see… I personally don’t think there is much doubt that the action taken against Jacqui has been illegally funded, but if they really set out to use Mr. James to deliberately get around the law preventing them from acting against a member of the public themselves, then this needs to be brought out into the open as an issue.

      Keep fighting the good fight – the officers might not respect what you do but the people do.

      Comment by madaxeman — November 2, 2016 @ 6:16 am | Reply

  4. The remark was made verbally by a Labour Executive Board Member to CCC full council when the executive board minutes were presented for information
    only. Unfortunately long before meetings were webcast. You are right that the culture of the council is the problem and the general quality of councillors poor.
    Another natural consequence is that few capable,good people want to become councillors at all in Carmarthenshire in these circumstances. As you say, people must have quality and motivation to counter years of bad habits,

    However, in Pembrokeshire County Council the departure of the controlling chief executive there has resulted in reports of improved quality in their local politics. How much is just relief that a bully has gone and a consequent new freedom to speak out, I don’t know. My experience of a similarly dysfunctional local NHS body suggests that changing the head does not necessarily improve the organisation and the appointment of new but equally poor management can fail to turn things around spectacularly..

    Comment by sian caiach — November 5, 2016 @ 9:40 pm | Reply

  5. Your treatment at the hand of the NHS was appalling – the thought that we lose the investment involved in training a highly skilled professional such as yourself simply because you blew the whistle is appalling.

    One problem that the NHS sector suffers from is the practice of “gagging orders” in deals when people are let go. They trouble me, as it seems to me that this is effectively the tax payer paying to suppress information as to how to tax payer is being conned / poorly served. To my mind, it should not be legal for a public body to offer a gagging clause, and in the case of private companies we’ll settle on it being downright unethical.

    People are motivated by money, which is a sad state of affairs when it comes to politics… We need people prepared to fight for the public good, even when that might not necessarily be to there own personal betterment, even it it works directly against it. You’re a public servant, or you’re not.

    James can behave however he likes because the councillors on the authority lack both the capability and the will to oppose him. He desperately needs taking down a peg or two, but who is going to do it?

    Remember I got pulled up in Court about my Gadaffi joke? He’s fitting the bill nicely….

    Comment by madaxeman — November 6, 2016 @ 12:56 am | Reply

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