Jacob Williams

Margot against the flow

Monday 10th July, 2017
Margot against the flow

Seven of the nineteen newly-elected Pembrokeshire county councillors in May’s poll are independent, and of those, only Margot Bateman OBE joined the formerly-ruling ‘independent’ party.

Prior to the 2017 election this power-grabbing cabal held a firm grip at County Hall, most recently under the ‘leadership’ of Cllr. Jamie Adams.

It went from a pre-election majority group status with 33 members, to 14.

Reassuringly, the rest of the newly-elected ‘independent’ candidates have so far stood by their word, continuing the trend which has seen the council’s contingent of unaffiliated independents increase every election since 2004.

The ‘independent’ party’s lure was the promise of lucrative positions, but trend-bucking Bateman made no such gains, begging the question: why?

It could have something to do with Bateman and Adams both being well-connected figures from the county’s farming fraternity.

We may never get to the bottom of it – but I know someone who’s tried to.

Longtime Pembrokeshire politico and former county councillor David Edwards got in touch with Cllr. Bateman.

Dave not only lives in Bateman’s Hundleton ward, but is happy for me to say he voted for her.

Staunchly opposed to the ‘independent’ party – and more familiar with its antics than your average voter – he put his cross against Margot’s box because he believed her claims to be truly independent.

Below I reproduce two sides of her election leaflet, sans contact details, where among other things, you’ll read the carefully-worded sentence:

“I am standing as a non-aligned candidate, which will leave me free to represent you without being tied in to party politics.”

I recently explained how ‘non-aligned’ is one of the many terms councillors not affiliated to any group are forced to use because the independent party hijacked the word ‘independent.’

Now they’re hijacking the alternatives!

Edwards emailed Cllr. Bateman to say he felt “let down,” reminding her: “your leaflet clearly stated that you were a non-aligned candidate.”

Claiming that she is truly independent,” Cllr. Bateman replied saying:

“I do not want to get into party politics be they “left” or “right”, but will be entirely issue-led. Equally I think a certain amount of continuity is no bad thing, and I am aware that things will change at PCC level in any case.”

It makes you wonder why supposedly continuity-loving councillor Margot tried and failed at the previous election to unseat her independent party predecessor, John Allen-Mirehouse!

It’s widely believed she would have beaten Johnny had it not been for a third contender splitting the vote – none other than David Edwards!

“With me, what you see is what you get,” according to the following 2017 leaflet put out by Bateman – who claims to be as “straight as a dye (sic.).”

This post-poll bed-jumping used to be called a ‘power-grab.’

I guess it’s what you’d call progress – or backing the wrong horse…

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  • Malcolm Calver

    Jacob, I note your animosity to those who have joined the Independent Party. Surely the time has come to forgive, forget and move on. Cllr Simpson the new Leader did after all serve and support the group for many years thus receiving with his erstwhile colleagues an extra allowance.

    As you are fully aware of the details perhaps you could inform the readers of your website which county councillors have been appointed to senior positions and the extra allowances they receive. It would also be interesting to be informed how many meetings they have to attend to receive the allowance.

  • Ace

    Take it there is no news then and all is hunky dory in council.

  • Mark

    I don’t know if you saw her leaflet Jacob but Daphne Bush was another who referred to herself as “truly independent”. The voters suitably rewarded her honesty.

  • Elizabeth Cook

    Surely she means as “straight as a die”? Oh the irony.

  • Preseli View

    Looks like she could end up died in the wool.

  • Flashbang

    Has there been any sackings of the incompetent and spendthrift staff at County Hall?

    The legal department and BPJ clone should have got their marching orders by now along with all the other obstructionists, yes-men and seat warmers in that sheltered workshop that Jamie built.

  • Dai Trump

    Perhaps she meant straight as a lie.

  • Grizelda Undercrutch

    The thing is, when you go around telling people that you want them to vote for you as you are going to be totally independent and not affiliated to the IPPG in any way and then when you get elected you cannot wait to jump ship, it is totally wrong and you have lied to your constituents.

    I do think that Margot Bateman got in under false pretences and should stand down.

  • Malcolm Calver

    I do believe whilst Cllr Bateman who stood as an independent candidate is criticised for joining the IPPG we must not forget that there was also those in the last council who stood as party candidates but then supported the IPPG for what was alleged by some to be financial recompense.

    Cllr Simpson seems to have avoided being accused of the same tactic by appointing councillors from various parties to a cabinet role.

  • Dai Trump

    I doubt very much that Margot Bateman will do the honourable thing and stand down, I would not be at all surprised if she is playing the long game and sees herself as a possible successor to Jamie Adams as leader of the IPPG.

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