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South Wales East AM Lindsay Whittle’s blog: May 21, 2015

Published in News at 13:14, Thursday May 21st, 2015.

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In his regular blog for Caerphilly Observer South Wales East AM Lindsay Whittle gives his take on recent news.

Ray Davies
I was one of the hundreds of people that were present at a remembrance service to mark the life of Ray Davies at Bedwas Workmen’s Hall.

I’ve known Ray for many decades from the days we both sat on Mid Glamorgan County and Rhymney Valley councils.

While we disagreed politically on a few issues, we also agreed on others. No one could challenge Ray’s commitment to the people he represented and, more broadly, the oppressed.

He campaigned for years on the plight of the Palestinian people, fought the apartheid regime in South Africa and also stood up strongly against nuclear weapons and more recently the bedroom tax. He was also a great supporter of the Welsh language.

Ray was a colourful character who will be missed and it was typical that he donated his body to medical science so that others might benefit.

Donations at the service were made to Ray’s Lift Fund so access to the hall could be provided for those whose who are disabled. That is desperately needed.

On July 4 a celebration of Ray Davies life and legacy will be held at the Temple of Peace in Cardiff.

Congratulations
While all the attention was on the outcome of the UK general election on May 7, there was good news for Plaid Cymru on Caerphilly Town Council.

The Party of Wales candidate, Simon Morgan, comfortably won a by-election in the Watford ward. Simon polled almost 200 votes more than the nearest challenger, Labour. He will do an excellent job on behalf of the community.

Congratulations also to my colleague, Phil Bevan, on his election as mayor of the town for the next 12 months, and to the deputy mayor, Steve Kent. I’m sure they will all do the town proud.

Trecenydd Fun Day
It was a pleasure to support with Community Councillors Carl Coombes and Michelle Britton, the Trecenydd fun day which saw plenty of football played on the park by both adults and children. Well done to those residents that organised the event. These sort of events help bring communities closer together.

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  • Christos Palmer

    Ray Davies was a giant in politics, he supported alot of our
    protests. He lay down in the road once, in a die-in, in support of
    disabled people in their fight against Atos. Yes. A political giant. Ray
    Davies, R.I.P.

  • Christos Palmer

    Ray Davies was a giant in politics, he supported alot of our
    protests. He lay down in the road once, in a die-in, in support of
    disabled people in their fight against Atos. Yes. A political giant. Ray
    Davies, R.I.P.

  • Cllr Richard Williams

    Regarding the town mayor, Phil Bevan being elected, readers may be interested in the the list of mayors over the last few years, and mayor for next year.
    2009 -2010 – Colin Elsbury
    2010 -2011 – Steve Kent – Plaid Cymru
    2011- 2012 – Jenny Hibberd -Plaid Cymru
    2012-2013 – Philip Bevan- Plaid Cymru
    2013-2014 – Coilin Elsbury- Plaid Cymru
    2014-2015- James Fussel-Plaid Cymru
    2015-2016 – Philip Bevan-Plaid Cymru
    2016-20117- Steve Kent-Plaid Cymru

    In most town and community councils in the borough members are content to put aside political differences and welcome the input of elected members of other parties and independents to chair the council. This is not the case in Caerffili, in fact for more than 30 years the mayor, or more correctly chairman, has been selected by block vote from one party. The same people are recycled, time and time again, from a party that came fourth in this constituency in the general election.

    • Trefor Bond

      Other than a demonstration of sycophantic back slapping of each other in the ruling Group, in this case a few Plaid Cymru members, with a majority of one as I understand it?. and using this Civic Role of CHAIRMAN of the Council as play thing of those who feel the need to feel `important` and punch above their civic weight, does it really matter Rich if they want to `drape` themselves in `citizens owned`, Gold Chains, and badges of office, like a Christmas Tree once a year? with tea and Welshcakes afterwards in our Community Centre for selected party members to partake, are you invited to such events?. Lets remind ourselves, YOU and your four opposition Councillor colleagues, (thats five of 12 Councill members) are an equaly elected Councillor like every one of them?. Yes?

      I get your point of curcumventing democracy and covorting the role of Caerphilly Town council Chairman, and engulfing that role in Party Politics year on year, but what about the fact that these same people `appoint` party members, not Councillors, to the boards of school governors?, to REPRESENT THE TOWN COUNCIL?. Do these people then go to monthly council meeting to inform me what they have done to represent me, as a citizen of the area of responsibility covered by this Council on these boards of governers who`s seat they have taken of an elected Councillor?. And before these `strangers` are appointed in place of Elected Members, by the Plaid Council, do they propose Town councillors from the opposition to sit on these Boards?. Have you, as an elected member, ever been so proposed?

      • Cllr Richard Williams

        I have been proposed several times, but never by Plaid
        Cymru, who always vote for their appointee. I have also never read a report, probably because there aren’t any, from anyone appointed by Plaid Cymru to various positions, such as school governor, Town Management Group, Community Council Liaison Committee and so on.

    • Phil

      Whether Plaid came fourth in the UK election is irrelevant – it’s how many members they have on the town council surely? Also doesn’t the party with the majority on councils such as Caerphilly CBC also choose their first citizen. Nothing unusual with that.

      • Cllr Richard Williams

        Indeed it is so Phil, I was just outlining the facts. Whether this practise of picking from your own party, every single time, is healthy is another matter entirely.

        Personally I don’t think it is the right thing to do and I believe the model adopted by other town and community councils where the chairmanship is awarded on merit and length of service is the correct course of action. I would also approve of this at borough level; a Labour administration with a Plaid Mayor next year, why not?

      • Trefor Bond

        There is nothing unusual in any of this activity, i.e. re-appointing time after time the same people to chair the Town Council, (experience counts for something I suppose), and, the awarding of the Chairmans allowances that go with it, to the same set of people time after time. There is a fiscal element to this process.

        The one thing which is questionable is that entire citizens, whole communities, of wards in the town Council are disenfranchised from the process of being represented by the Towns `first citizen`, whilst other wards in the town are represented year on year by the same people. Does it matter? I dont think so, let those who want to play these political games, and pocket the Chairmans allowance for doing so get on with it, for now.

        • clive2677 .

          It’s interesting to note that all the previous Town Mayors have volunteered their own UNPAID time to help with the towns’ Christmas lighting displays and the very charitable (and time consuming) Firework displays. Perhaps the other town councillors should buck up and make an effort.

          • Trefor Bond

            I agree, such activity is something elected Councillors should give their time to, and for the record, uip to now, but this is about to change, Town Councillors do not get paid for anything, EXCEPT OF COURSE THE TOWN CHAIRMAN WHO GETS A HEALTHY BIT OF POCKET MONEY FROM THE PUBLIC PURSE,

            It maybe, just maybe, that the Fireworks display, which you refer to as` very charitable`, is no such thing, in fact as I understand it, the event actually costs more money than it raises for charitable purposes?. and, due, in my opinion, to lack of investment over the years resulting in a costly public process year on year, in respect to the towns `Christmas lighting display` being `PUT UP AND TAKEN DOWN, costing many thousands of pounds of Caerphilly ratepayers money, a cost as I understand it which is never put out to public tender in an attempt to save on these extraordinary disproportionate costs, may, just may, be some of the reasons why SOME councillors, including some Plaid Cymru Councillors on the Town Council avoid becoming invovled in the two processes you mention, and nothing to do with lack of public duty on their part.

  • Cllr Richard Williams

    Regarding the town mayor, Phil Bevan being elected, readers may be interested in the the list of mayors over the last few years, and mayor for next year.
    2009 -2010 – Colin Elsbury
    2010 -2011 – Steve Kent – Plaid Cymru
    2011- 2012 – Jenny Hibberd -Plaid Cymru
    2012-2013 – Philip Bevan- Plaid Cymru
    2013-2014 – Coilin Elsbury- Plaid Cymru
    2014-2015- James Fussel-Plaid Cymru
    2015-2016 – Philip Bevan-Plaid Cymru
    2016-20117- Steve Kent-Plaid Cymru

    In most town and community councils in the borough members are content to put aside political differences and welcome the input of elected members of other parties and independents to chair the council. This is not the case in Caerffili, in fact for more than 30 years the mayor, or more correctly chairman, has been selected by block vote from one party. The same people are recycled, time and time again, from a party that came fourth in this constituency in the general election.

    • Trefor Bond

      Other than a demonstration of sycophantic back slapping of each other in the ruling Group, in this case a few Plaid Cymru members, with a majority of one as I understand it?. and using this Civic Role of CHAIRMAN of the Council as play thing of those who feel the need to feel `important` and punch above their civic weight, does it really matter Rich if they want to `drape` themselves in `citizens owned`, Gold Chains, and badges of office, like a Christmas Tree once a year? with tea and Welshcakes afterwards in our Community Centre for selected party members to partake, are you invited to such events?. Lets remind ourselves, YOU and your four opposition Councillor colleagues, (thats five of 12 Councill members) are an equaly elected Councillor like every one of them?. Yes?

      I get your point of curcumventing democracy and covorting the role of Caerphilly Town council Chairman, and engulfing that role in Party Politics year on year, but what about the fact that these same people `appoint` party members, not Councillors, to the boards of school governors?, to REPRESENT THE TOWN COUNCIL?. Do these people then go to monthly council meeting to inform me what they have done to represent me, as a citizen of the area of responsibility covered by this Council on these boards of governers who`s seat they have taken of an elected Councillor?. And before these `strangers` are appointed in place of Elected Members, by the Plaid Council, do they propose Town councillors from the opposition to sit on these Boards?. Have you, as an elected member, ever been so proposed?

      • Cllr Richard Williams

        I have been proposed several times, but never by Plaid
        Cymru, who always vote for their appointee. I have also never read a report, probably because there aren’t any, from anyone appointed by Plaid Cymru to various positions, such as school governor, Town Management Group, Community Council Liaison Committee and so on.

    • Phil

      Whether Plaid came fourth in the UK election is irrelevant – it’s how many members they have on the town council surely? Also doesn’t the party with the majority on councils such as Caerphilly CBC also choose their first citizen. Nothing unusual with that.

      • Cllr Richard Williams

        Indeed it is so Phil, I was just outlining the facts. Whether this practise of picking from your own party, every single time, is healthy is another matter entirely.

        Personally I don’t think it is the right thing to do and I believe the model adopted by other town and community councils where the chairmanship is awarded on merit and length of service is the correct course of action. I would also approve of this at borough level; a Labour administration with a Plaid Mayor next year, why not?

      • Trefor Bond

        There is nothing unusual in any of this activity, i.e. re-appointing time after time the same people to chair the Town Council, (experience counts for something I suppose), and, the awarding of the Chairmans allowances that go with it, to the same set of people time after time. There is a fiscal element to this process.

        The one thing which is questionable is that entire citizens, whole communities, of wards in the town Council are disenfranchised from the process of being represented by the Towns `first citizen`, whilst other wards in the town are represented year on year by the same people. Does it matter? I dont think so, let those who want to play these political games, and pocket the Chairmans allowance for doing so get on with it, for now.

        • clive2677 .

          It’s interesting to note that all the previous Town Mayors have volunteered their own UNPAID time to help with the towns’ Christmas lighting displays and the very charitable (and time consuming) Firework displays. Perhaps the other town councillors should buck up and make an effort.

          • Trefor Bond

            I agree, and your comment of course refers also to Plaid Cymru Town Councillors who should also give up their time, but dont, not just opposition Councillors, on such activity is something elected Councillors should give their time to, and for the record, up to now, but this is about to change, Town Councillors do not get paid for anything, EXCEPT OF COURSE THE TOWN CHAIRMAN WHO GETS A HEALTHY BIT OF POCKET MONEY FROM THE PUBLIC PURSE,

            It maybe, just maybe, that the Fireworks display, which you refer to as` very charitable`, is no such thing, in fact as I understand it, the event actually costs more money than it raises for charitable purposes?. and, due, in my opinion, to lack of investment over the years resulting in a costly public process year on year, in respect to the towns `Christmas lighting display` being `PUT UP AND TAKEN DOWN, costing many thousands of pounds of Caerphilly ratepayers money, a cost as I understand it which is never put out to public tender in an attempt to save on these extraordinary disproportionate costs, the same experienced contractor getting the gig every year, I have, for the moment forgotten who that is?. these may, just may, be some of the reasons why SOME councillors, including some Plaid Cymru Councillors on the Town Council avoid becoming invovled in the two processes you mention, and nothing to do with lack of public duty on their part.