Pembrokeshire County Council Elections - 3rd May 2012

Pembrokeshire County Council Elections - 3rd May 2012

First published in Blogs Western Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by

If you have read some of my other articles, you will see that I am a committed Liberal Democrat.

That said, I am not going to abuse the hospitality of the Western Telegraph and make some political rants that could be used by others to complain that the paper has breached its "independent" stance.

I was reading the list of nominations yesterday and I can see that there are 13 councillors already elected, as they have been returned unopposed. The same figure as last time. What a shame for democracy that 13 out of 60 seats are already filled!

There are just 4 nominations for the Liberal Democrats, 13 for Plaid Cymru and 18 for Labour.

There are 36 who call themselves Independent and 39 with no description at all, so its safe to assume they are independent as well.

The most obvious change from last time is the fact that there are 30 Conservative candidates. As many people invariably say that Independents are really Conservatives but afraid to show their true colours, the My 3rd elections are certainly going to be interesting.

Is it possible that the Independent Political Group could actually lose their majority this time round as its possible that the Conservatives could increase their number and thus deprive the IPG of the majority they've had alll these years.

So could there then be a ruling IPG/Conservative coalition?

Or could there be a Rainbow coalition of the other parties to deny the IPG of power.

Whatever happens over the next few weeks, could we see some surprise on May 4th, once the results are known?

I look forward to seeing what the parties have to say in their manifestos. I understand the Conservative manifesto is to be launched today.

The big question is, will the Independents actually produce a manifesto?

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Comments (10)

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6:15pm Fri 13 Apr 12

Dave Edwards says...

After 13 uncontested seats, the state of the parties is IPG 8,Lab2,Tory 1PC 2.
However as thetwo of the IPG, Wildman and Edwards are card carrying Tories the reality is IPG 6 Tory 3 Lab 2 PC 2. Typical pembrokeshire tory tactics.
On the subject of tory tactics, why has the tory fighting in Manorbier been parachuted in from Angle, when her home seat of Hundleton has no tory standing? Maybe the local squire/ council Deputy Leader is enough of a tory already!
After 13 uncontested seats, the state of the parties is IPG 8,Lab2,Tory 1PC 2. However as thetwo of the IPG, Wildman and Edwards are card carrying Tories the reality is IPG 6 Tory 3 Lab 2 PC 2. Typical pembrokeshire tory tactics. On the subject of tory tactics, why has the tory fighting in Manorbier been parachuted in from Angle, when her home seat of Hundleton has no tory standing? Maybe the local squire/ council Deputy Leader is enough of a tory already! Dave Edwards
  • Score: 0

11:07am Sat 14 Apr 12

indeview says...

Andrew raises a valid point, when does a political group become a political party?
At the moment we may assume that there are no groups of independent candidates with collective policies as they would then have to register as political parties, under non independent names, pre election.
However post election, any two councillors can declare that they wish to be regarded as a political group and others may also sign up to the join this, or any other declared groups. Independent or no-name councillors are not required to join any group and are then regarded as independent councillors unaffiliated to any group.
AS a block of independent unaffiliated councillors they would qualify to sit on committees based on the balance of numbers of seats for each group.
Thus it would be possible for the majority of unaffiliated independent members to form the controlling political group and retain their mandate of individual independence without the need to join any group.
As Dave suggests, Independent councillors are already on track to form the next majority group without any votes. What posseses independent candidates to sign up to join a group without any collective mandate from the electorate?
Would we knowingly vote for the continuation of the political group made of the same members who have presided over the previous failed council?
When senior council officers have been accused of not providing councillors with proper information to enable them to fulfil their statutory requirements, what confidence can new independent councillors have in their advice?
Who does a formal independent political group benefit? The policy less Group Members who can then share out high paying positions or officers who then only have to advise one political group of councillors?
Indeview - John Hudson.
Andrew raises a valid point, when does a political group become a political party? At the moment we may assume that there are no groups of independent candidates with collective policies as they would then have to register as political parties, under non independent names, pre election. However post election, any two councillors can declare that they wish to be regarded as a political group and others may also sign up to the join this, or any other declared groups. Independent or no-name councillors are not required to join any group and are then regarded as independent councillors unaffiliated to any group. AS a block of independent unaffiliated councillors they would qualify to sit on committees based on the balance of numbers of seats for each group. Thus it would be possible for the majority of unaffiliated independent members to form the controlling political group and retain their mandate of individual independence without the need to join any group. As Dave suggests, Independent councillors are already on track to form the next majority group without any votes. What posseses independent candidates to sign up to join a group without any collective mandate from the electorate? Would we knowingly vote for the continuation of the political group made of the same members who have presided over the previous failed council? When senior council officers have been accused of not providing councillors with proper information to enable them to fulfil their statutory requirements, what confidence can new independent councillors have in their advice? Who does a formal independent political group benefit? The policy less Group Members who can then share out high paying positions or officers who then only have to advise one political group of councillors? Indeview - John Hudson. indeview
  • Score: 0

3:00pm Sat 14 Apr 12

philipw says...

Sadly it seems there is going to be change in the way Pembs is run. I was hoping that the major parties would have been able to put candidates in the majority of seats, to give the 'independent' candidates a run for their money. Unfortunately this is not the case.
Sadly it seems there is going to be change in the way Pembs is run. I was hoping that the major parties would have been able to put candidates in the majority of seats, to give the 'independent' candidates a run for their money. Unfortunately this is not the case. philipw
  • Score: 0

10:41pm Mon 16 Apr 12

St Govan says...

Rumour round here says the Conservatives tried to get Ms MBateman to stand as official Tory but IPG Tories put pressure on to save their Deputy Leader from the embarassment of being beaten by a fellow traveller.
Rumour round here says the Conservatives tried to get Ms MBateman to stand as official Tory but IPG Tories put pressure on to save their Deputy Leader from the embarassment of being beaten by a fellow traveller. St Govan
  • Score: 0

1:19pm Wed 18 Apr 12

Dave Edwards says...

St Govan, youv'e been too long in the pub that bears your name.
Surely the IPG wouldn't be acting like an old fashioned valleys Labour, power mad group. All this arm twisting and double dealing.
As a lifelong Labour member I am happy that we have left such dirty tactics behind_not so IPG/Tories it seems. If you are right of course!
St Govan, youv'e been too long in the pub that bears your name. Surely the IPG wouldn't be acting like an old fashioned valleys Labour, power mad group. All this arm twisting and double dealing. As a lifelong Labour member I am happy that we have left such dirty tactics behind_not so IPG/Tories it seems. If you are right of course! Dave Edwards
  • Score: 0

5:25pm Wed 18 Apr 12

indeview says...

How can one vote for "none of the above"?
I can only think of spoiling my ballot paper as a protest.
Help.
How can one vote for "none of the above"? I can only think of spoiling my ballot paper as a protest. Help. indeview
  • Score: 0

9:24pm Wed 18 Apr 12

philipw says...

Had a look through the candidates list. I think I am right in saying there were 18 councillors who declared various political allegiances(non IPG) in last council. Given the state of play presently and the number of candidates declared for the various political parties I would not be surprised of that number increased to between 25-30 at the election. If that is the case, together with probably 3 or 4 candidates who would remain truly 'independent' it could just mean that the IPG would lose overall control as we have 60 councillors in total.
What would the point of the IPG be then?
Perhaps Dave Edwards or John Hudson might enlighten me.
Had a look through the candidates list. I think I am right in saying there were 18 councillors who declared various political allegiances(non IPG) in last council. Given the state of play presently and the number of candidates declared for the various political parties I would not be surprised of that number increased to between 25-30 at the election. If that is the case, together with probably 3 or 4 candidates who would remain truly 'independent' it could just mean that the IPG would lose overall control as we have 60 councillors in total. What would the point of the IPG be then? Perhaps Dave Edwards or John Hudson might enlighten me. philipw
  • Score: 0

10:53pm Wed 18 Apr 12

Dave Edwards says...

Philip, in the last council we had Con 5,Plaid 5,Lab4,LD 2, Non Affiliates 4,Vacant 1, IPG 39.
We need,therefore a loss of 10 seats by the IPG to see a real potential for change of leadership in PCC and unless the Tories do really well I think we will struggle to get there.Even then, the Tories must agree to work with the other parties if we are to progress.
Of course, if the 4 card carrying tory IPG members members defect then it really will be interesting. I suppose if that happens theIPG would be the official opposition
Philip, in the last council we had Con 5,Plaid 5,Lab4,LD 2, Non Affiliates 4,Vacant 1, IPG 39. We need,therefore a loss of 10 seats by the IPG to see a real potential for change of leadership in PCC and unless the Tories do really well I think we will struggle to get there.Even then, the Tories must agree to work with the other parties if we are to progress. Of course, if the 4 card carrying tory IPG members members defect then it really will be interesting. I suppose if that happens theIPG would be the official opposition Dave Edwards
  • Score: 0

8:40am Thu 19 Apr 12

indeview says...

Disparate minority groups can, numerically, collectively form the majority and "control" the council and its committees with united bums on seats voting power, but only if they come together in coalition as a united majority political group.
They would have to agree policy and then direct highly paid paid officers to carry out such agreed policies.
If they stand alone and remain as minority groups, a coalesced group of Independent/no-name councillors with no policy, could still form the majority and enjoy the higher rate salaries of Leader/Cabinet positions.
Such a Group has allowed our Council to fail. In the absence of any political policy where , or who, provides the policies?
The first job of the new Council is to get the Council working properly and ensure that all Councillors are properly and fully informed.
From attending relevant meetings as a member of the public, it is clear to me the previous opposition parties and unaffiliated independent members have made the running in seeking reform of the Council's procedures, There has been sustained opposition for any change for years and only with external scrutiiny and spotlight have the gates been opened.
From a recent letter issued by Ministers it seems that while (complacent?) leading Councillors are content that officers are now open to transparency and reform, independent external inspectors are not so convinced.
Where in all of this are the future strategic policies and direction for our council?
If we are not given any information, how on earth can we be expected to vote?
Indeview - John Hudson
Disparate minority groups can, numerically, collectively form the majority and "control" the council and its committees with united bums on seats voting power, but only if they come together in coalition as a united majority political group. They would have to agree policy and then direct highly paid paid officers to carry out such agreed policies. If they stand alone and remain as minority groups, a coalesced group of Independent/no-name councillors with no policy, could still form the majority and enjoy the higher rate salaries of Leader/Cabinet positions. Such a Group has allowed our Council to fail. In the absence of any political policy where , or who, provides the policies? The first job of the new Council is to get the Council working properly and ensure that all Councillors are properly and fully informed. From attending relevant meetings as a member of the public, it is clear to me the previous opposition parties and unaffiliated independent members have made the running in seeking reform of the Council's procedures, There has been sustained opposition for any change for years and only with external scrutiiny and spotlight have the gates been opened. From a recent letter issued by Ministers it seems that while (complacent?) leading Councillors are content that officers are now open to transparency and reform, independent external inspectors are not so convinced. Where in all of this are the future strategic policies and direction for our council? If we are not given any information, how on earth can we be expected to vote? Indeview - John Hudson indeview
  • Score: 0

3:23pm Thu 19 Apr 12

philipw says...

Dave Edwards wrote:
Philip, in the last council we had Con 5,Plaid 5,Lab4,LD 2, Non Affiliates 4,Vacant 1, IPG 39. We need,therefore a loss of 10 seats by the IPG to see a real potential for change of leadership in PCC and unless the Tories do really well I think we will struggle to get there.Even then, the Tories must agree to work with the other parties if we are to progress. Of course, if the 4 card carrying tory IPG members members defect then it really will be interesting. I suppose if that happens theIPG would be the official opposition
Thanks for the comments Dave (and John).
I am perhaps more optimistic than you that labour will pick up perhaps 4/5 seats(I suspect not including yours Dave, but I wish you best of luck v the Squire), Plaid a couple and the Tories sometjing similar.If that is the case we might just see a long needed shake up in the way PCC is run.
As I mentioned earlier in this thread it is a shame that labour, Plaid and Liberals could not have put up more candidates, as there are other seats in which the IPG are vulnerable. Anyway, one can live in hope!
[quote][p][bold]Dave Edwards[/bold] wrote: Philip, in the last council we had Con 5,Plaid 5,Lab4,LD 2, Non Affiliates 4,Vacant 1, IPG 39. We need,therefore a loss of 10 seats by the IPG to see a real potential for change of leadership in PCC and unless the Tories do really well I think we will struggle to get there.Even then, the Tories must agree to work with the other parties if we are to progress. Of course, if the 4 card carrying tory IPG members members defect then it really will be interesting. I suppose if that happens theIPG would be the official opposition[/p][/quote]Thanks for the comments Dave (and John). I am perhaps more optimistic than you that labour will pick up perhaps 4/5 seats(I suspect not including yours Dave, but I wish you best of luck v the Squire), Plaid a couple and the Tories sometjing similar.If that is the case we might just see a long needed shake up in the way PCC is run. As I mentioned earlier in this thread it is a shame that labour, Plaid and Liberals could not have put up more candidates, as there are other seats in which the IPG are vulnerable. Anyway, one can live in hope! philipw
  • Score: 0

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