Jacob Williams
Monday 15th May, 2017

How dairy!

How dairy!

The depths to which Jamie Adams will stoop are infamous. It would seem that nothing’s off-limits.

As leader of Pembrokeshire County Council he’s been caught telling untruths at council meetings more than once.

Nasty slurs, snide remarks and dirty tricks are routine features of Pembrokeshire council’s dairy farming bigwig.

And who can forget that, against guidance on the paperwork, he back-claimed four years’ worth of travel expense claims in one go?

Facing his first-ever challenge for Pembrokeshire County Council’s leadership, having been appointed to the post unopposed in 2012, Adams might be favourite to lose the race, but he’s going down fighting.

His opponent, Cllr. David Simpson – who served as cabinet member under Adams before resigning – revealed last week that, soon after officially launching his leadership challenge he was approached by Adams with an offer of a cabinet post.

Simpson declined, and with the momentum behind him, reasserted to an informal meeting of councillors last week that he wanted to be leader to bring about change, not just to hop aboard the gravy train.

You’ll recall last week I revealed how, as part of his bid to cling onto power, Jamie Adams extended an invitation to all newly-elected councillors of all political colours and none.

With his campaign ailing, this sales pitch was to be Jamie’s last hope of rustling up enough councillors to vote him in as leader.

It came as no surprise to this author that Cllr. Adams told the three attendees that he has been “a victim of the media and blogs.”

But I’m told the sales pitch took an unusual turn when Adams made reference to his family business – dairy farming, on the outskirts of Haverfordwest.

The trio were told how successful the enterprise was, the expanse of land it covered and a bit about the people it employs.

You might be wondering what this has to do with the topic in hand.

Earning nearly £50k per year as PCC’s leader, Adams said he was in a fortunate position. His leadership salary, he said, enables him to pay for two farmhands back home – who presumably slog as Jamie gets down to business at County Hall.

Concluding his farming workforce anecdote on a cliffhanger, Jamie suggested that if he lost the council’s leadership – the cash that comes with it – he would be forced to “revisit” current arrangements.

Desperate stuff.

And things got worse with today’s announcement that the council’s Conservative contingent will be backing Simpson, rendering Jamie’s path to the leadership all but blocked.

They said the same about Donald Trump, of course. Anything’s possible. But for Adams to reach the magic number of votes to secure the top job now requires a combination of abstentions and closeted support nobody dreams possible.

So, all things being equal, following the council’s AGM a week Thursday, Simpson’s nameplate will be screwed to the leader’s office door.

But hold on a minute!

Cunning Adams has an unlikely plan to derail Simpson’s cruise to victory.

You may also recall my last post referred to Cllr. Adams’ thoughts of challenging Cllr. Simpson to a leadership debate.

This is where Adams really would fancy his chances, having honed his oratory ‘skills’ at the Young Farmers’ Club, winning “several national public speaking events.”

My sources say that Adams has taken the idea of debating Simpson a step forward – going as far as asking outgoing council chairman, Tony Brinsden, if he would act as moderator.

Simpson is expected to decline. And who can blame him for refusing to treat seriously a damaged opponent who thinks nothing of gutter-level smears when the going gets tough.

My support for Simpson will come as no surprise.

PCC’s sixty councillors are required to elect a leader at the upcoming AGM, and two people have put themselves forward – Simpson and Adams.

It’s what I call a no-brainer!

Before the election, Old Grumpy, Grumpette, Cllr. Tessa Hodgson and I did a predictor for each of the 47 contested wards. The results were tight – find out who won when I publish my election round-up this week. It’s later than I promised, I know…

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  • Andrew Lye

    Nothing surprises me about Jamie and his discredited IPPG, doesn’t he get the message?

    Go! Go and milk your cows. Do anything, but go.

    Pembrokeshire will be horrified if Jamie and Co make a comeback.

    If Jamie didn’t have 3 opponents in his Camrose ward, he would probably have lost his council seat.

    I can’t wait for 25th May to see the end of the IPPG. Way past their sell-by date.

  • Malcolm Calver

    Jacob, surely Cllr Simpson has nothing to fear from debating with Cllr Adams who is the best person to fill the role of becoming the leader of the council.

    You intimate that Cllr Adams has in the past resorted to “gutter level smears” when the going gets tough. Surely if Cllr Simpson is squeaky clean as I am sure he is, he would be capable of fending off any such tactics from Cllr Adams. Surely you would agree with this as he is receiving your backing.

    My only concern would be that ex-copper Anthony Brinsden would not be the right person to be the moderator, having watched his actions against you at council meetings.

  • Dai Trump

    Boo hoo! Jamie’s last trick is a debate which David Simpson would win hands down if he reminded people how Jamie treated him in the past, but it is a conversation he does not need to have.

    He is way above the gutter tactics of the current leader and with the backing he has now he will almost certainly become the next leader in which case the best man will have won.

  • Flashbang

    When the new regime takes charge, nothing less than a full clean out of County Hall will suffice.

    Get rid of Bryn Mk II, the legal department and all the other seat warmers who have hamstrung good governance for the taxpayers of the County.

    Push for a conclusion of the criminal investigation into the shady grants schemes administered by the council.

    Enough is enough, get the respect back for Pembrokeshire.

  • Tomos

    If he’s forced to milk his own cows his hands will have to be a heck of a lot cleaner than they were when he was Leader of the IPiGy party.

  • John Hudson

    Did anyone support or nominate or second the ex-leader’s bid to continue, or is this his own personal bid for the leadership?

    Although he was returned unopposed (both as councillor and leader) last time, I cannot recall any debate for the leadership in all the years of the IPG.

    Why does he merit special consideration?

    When the political party/groupings are announced at the AGM it will be interesting to see the names of his group supporters.

  • Barrie Smith

    I played football with Jamie at Solva and he never showed this style of behaviour. He is from a well respected family and has to understand that his time is up and do the decent thing.

    Using tactics that you mention above is the last chance saloon for his empire.

    I urge PCC to stop the tactic of offering jobs to gain support. All jobs should be advertised and the best person should get the position irrespective of political allegiance.

  • Paul Absalom

    Oh dear, Jamie’s crown is slipping, he may have to go back to Keeston to attend to his herd, what a shame.

    I also did a prediction on the Pembrokeshire political forum page, I got Milford Haven spot on, one wrong in Haverfordwest, but that’s where mine fell apart.

  • Goldingsboy

    I think, Flashbang, the Yanks call it “draining the swamp”.

    The reality is, however, that such a course of action is likely to reveal more than the “authorities” can comfortably allow.

    So, the cesspit will be covered over, even though it will continue to emit nasty smells – regularly.

  • Ivor Whistle

    Who know’s what could have been uncovered had Mr Stoddart or Jacob gained the top job.

    A missed opportunity, and I would suggest that any new councillor supporting either of those would have had most of his electorate on side to start with.

    So, it looks like it will be status quo returning for yet another comeback, and you remember Quo only knew four chords…

    It’s merely a change of scapegoat. The puppet master is still in charge.

  • Ivor, on my previous blogpost you’ve posted a similar comment saying that: “only from the top can change be effected.”

    I appreciate your support for my leadership candidacy (!) but there’s a lot more to politics than power.

    I can’t speak for Mike but I don’t hanker over the council’s leadership, nor do I agree with your assessment that a councillor can only bring about change by reaching that position.

    There are several councillors who have effected change at PCC despite having never been cabinet members, never mind leaders.

    Of those who put themselves forward this time, I support David Simpson because I believe he is the best choice.

    I will continue to act in my constituents’ best interest. During the 2012-17 council term this saw me put forward or support every constitutional change to aid openness and transparency at the authority.

    Some of these proposals were successful, others, not so.

    I hope with a new council in place, the coming term will see even more change for the better – and I’m honoured I’ve just been given the opportunity to continue playing my part in it by and on behalf of my East Williamston electorate.

  • Faux Espoir

    There is now some hope for genuine selection of candidates on ability and an understanding of needs for a better Pembrokeshire.

    It seems if elected David Simpson has a blank canvas in appointments and I hope he chooses well, with integrity.

    I would think also there will be chairmanships and cabinet positions for Labour and Plaid Cymru councillors.

    There should be cabinet places appointed from Tessa Hodgson, Viv Stoddart, Mike Evans, Michael John, Simon Hancock and David Lloyd, all of whom can and would contribute to Pembrokeshire without being influenced by the IPPG stranglehold.

    That leaves the chair/vice chair of scrutiny committee – Mike and Jacob.

    If this occurs I hope to see a review of the council’s last term with a suitable report and recommendations to finish the outstanding issues hanging over the council: the grants situation, releasing the report on Mik Smith into the public domain etc.

    Because of the Labour/Plaid Cymru possible appointments, I can see the Conservative members forming the opposition in the hope of keeping the IPPG away from the power button.

    Those former IPPG members need to settle into supporting the needs of those who voted them in. Fore-to the next 5 years a hope of a better Pembrokeshire.

  • Ivor Whistle

    Thank you, Jacob, for a comprehensive reply. I do not believe that you have to be at the top to effect change, but I do appreciate your comments. Hopefully I can be proven wrong.

    I do hope that you are correct in your assessment, but as I have, not being impolite, several more decades of ‘life experience’ to hand, I think you may well be wrong.

    But in the meantime, I look forward to you holding our esteemed leaders to task.

    And I do hope you are allocated a suitable cabinet post based on ability, not voting prowess. I would go as far as to suggest that whoever gains the leadership should utilise the skills displayed by yourself or indeed that titan Mr Stoddart.

    I look forward to the next few years with renewed vigour.

  • Malcolm Calver

    Faux Espoir hopes that members of the cabinet need to be appointed on their “ability and an understanding of needs for a better Pembrokeshire,” whatever that is.

    Surely this catch all category is “pie in the sky” as surely county councillors will be coming to the table with vastly different views of the way forward.

    The majority view will of course be a disappointment to those in the county not holding similar views.

    During the last few years we have had complaints from what has been described as “truly independent councillors” that councillors elected on a party ticket have jumped ship and propped up the group led by Cllr Adams, for alleged financial recompense.

    We are now faced with the likelihood of political party motivated councillors having overdue influence, if selected for cabinet just for supporting Cllr Simpson in his leadership bid.

    The limited number of webcasts from County Hall have shown that many councillors seem to be unwilling or unable to take part in debates, hopefully in future the so called “seminars” will be webcast as this seems to be where the decisions are made.

  • Keanjo

    I think Viv Stoddart is well worth a cabinet place and her daughter has considerable potential as well.

  • Dave Edwards

    The dark arts are alive and well at PCC.

    Jamie has, I am reliably informed, at least 11 signed up members. His two persuaders, Hall in the south and Cwmbetws in the north, are desperately trying to get their group to be bigger than the Tories so that the £8,000 opposition leader’s allowance goes to Jamie and the seat allocation favours them.

    Tearoom gossip has Hall reducing Pearl the Girl to tears with his bully boy tactics and Reg Owens signing up to keep his National Park seat with the possibility of Dai Boswell wavering in his conversion to the Tory cause.

  • Weasel

    It may be time for your good self and the old stager to sharpen your pencils with some interesting constitutional issues looming.

    Firstly it’s not a forgone conclusion that David Simpson will secure the leader role.

    With the backing of the four political parties, 12 Conservatives, 7 Labour, 6 Plaid Cymru, 1 Lib Dem and the 4 core of anti Adams unaffiliated Plus Simpson that make it 31 solid votes…BUT we know the Conservatives were not unanimous and with 3 wavering that brings it back to 28. Clearly the unknown newbies will be critical to both side’s chances.

    However if we accept, as we all hope, that David Simpson will win the day, then who is the largest opposition group that will earn their leader the extra £8,000?

    The IPPG I hear you say, but hold on. The largest “group” is the Unaffiliated (20), but surely they are not a political group, so wouldn’t that make the IPPG (14) by default the largest group and therefore Conservatives the largest “opposition” group?

    Interesting times.

  • Weasel, as you say, by our very nature, councillors like me (unaffiliateds) are not members of a group, so do not count for the purpose of opposition leader or its associated salary.

    Of the groups that do exist, their classifications (i.e. whether they are opposition or executive) hinge on whether any of their members sit in the cabinet. Non-executive and opposition mean exactly the same thing for these purposes.

    Being the leader of the largest constituted political group attracts no salary in and of itself. It just so happens that, hitherto, the largest group leader has always been the leader of the council, which does attract its own salary.

    There is no reason why the council leader has to be from the largest group, and if David Simpson wins, he wouldn’t be a member of any group.

    As I type, the largest group on the council is Jamie Adams’ IPG, with 14 members.

    If it remains a non-executive group (i.e. David Simpson becomes leader and appoints no IPG member to his cabinet) then, as the largest non-executive/opposition group, Jamie Adams will receive the opposition leader’s salary.

  • Martin Lewis

    Can we please start referring to Adams’ bunch of deadbeats as the IPG again?

    Because Jamie is highly unlikely to be leader, Hancock will now have his nose up David Simpson’s arse hoping to keep his cabinet seat, so the IPPG should now revert to being called the IPG or IPPG-H.

  • You’ll see from my previous comment that I’m already calling them IPG!

  • Dai Trump

    It would seem that congratulations are due to Margot Bateman for being the first “non aligned independent” hypocrite to join the Jamie bandwagon, hopefully on the same journey to the sidelines where they all belong.

    Another observation is Brian Hall’s new picture on the PCC website, worthy of a caption competition, my offering is ‘o s**t, the gravy train has left without me’.

  • Barrie Smith

    I hope that the new leader will start to investigate the goings on in the last 5 years:

    BPJ pay off
    Grants Fiasco in Pembroke Dock
    How many councillors belong to the Masons or similar group.
    Mik Smith child abuse.
    The child abuse whistleblower who wassacked.
    The illegal pension payments to the directors.
    Getting these things sorted and actioned will start to restore faith in PCC.
    I urge all councillors to vote for the new revolution.

  • Dave Edwards

    Abbreviations such as IPPG or IPG are fine but acronyms are much more memorable. So how about PIG (Pembrokeshire Independent Group).

  • Ivor Whistle

    So, if I understand this correctly, acceptance of a cabinet post is akin to accepting the 30 pieces of silver?

    So, in order to negate this, how about accepting the post in cabinet, but foregoing the additional remuneration?

    I would suggest that this would set a precedent that the ‘truly independents’ would be wise to follow.

    That is, of course, if the new leader will consider Jacob or Mr Stoddart of having the attributes to serve the people of Pembrokeshire.

    But Jacob, you must appreciate that the only way you can change the behaviour is from a position of power. If you are uncomfortable with being in the cabinet, I would suggest that you accept the appointment, and forego the pieces of silver. That way your integrity would not be called into question. And you would be able to influence policy, rather than react to it.

    Interesting times.

  • Barrie Smith

    I hope my comments earlier made Jamie withdraw from the leadership election!

    He must be a very relieved person and a huge weight lifted off his shoulders. How long will he represent Camrose?

    I hope he conducts a professional handover to David Simpson. I wish David best wishes in his new role and do us all a favour by investigating all the wrongdoings in the last 5 years.

  • Kendl

    Poor Margot Bateman. Just jumped on the bandwagon in time to see the conductor jump off.

  • Malcolm Calver

    Well, Jacob, it looks like Cllr Simpson has the leader’s job and it will be very interesting to see if things change for the better.

    His supporters at County Hall have all indicated he is a decent man and Pembrokeshire ratepayers can only hope this is the case, and that there are no skeletons in the cupboard.

    I do believe he has a major task in front of him trying to turn the ship around, especially with the various political parties/supporters pulling him in different directions.

    I suppose he will have the newly employed head of transformation to assist him.

  • Larry T. Lamb

    Wait until after June 8 and see what the Conservatives do then, would be my advice.

  • Keanjo

    Any chance of the new leader and his cabinet accepting a third reduction in their SRAs? Now that would give a good indication that they mean business.

  • Martin Lewis

    You took the words out of my mouth, Larry.

    I smell a rat and I don’t trust the Tories not to pull the rug from under Simpson’s feet if they stand to benefit and our Jamie would be the catalyst of any future ambush.

    I predict shenanigans in council by Christmas. The Tories are NOT to be trusted.

  • Malcolm Calver

    Keanjo whilst it would perhaps indicate that they are trying to consider Pembrokeshire residents, there are a lot more cuts that could and will have to be made on the salaries and jobs of the fat cats at County Hall.

    To Martin Lewis I would suggest that the Tories can be trusted as much as Labour and Plaid Cymru.

  • Tony Pasternak

    Why are many County Councillors in the UK affiliated with political parties? Has that always been the case or was there a time past when no Councillors had political affiliations?

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