Jacob Williams
Sunday 22nd April, 2018

Knight in shining armour

Knight in shining armour

Readers of the Tenby Observer or Western Telegraph may have noticed the same letter recently sent in to both by Tory grandee Sir Eric Howells.

Both newspapers’ letter columns published his missive and, the following week, my reply.

A frequent letter-writer, our Eric’s never one to miss an opportunity to slate the Welsh Assembly – and who can blame him?

But when it comes to the trunked route’s silky smooth surface he might just have to concede that this shady body by the bay is more worthy of thanks than the local MP, community councillors or the contractor.

However it wasn’t Sir Eric’s omission of due thanks that stirred me to reply to his unusual letter.

It was another more interesting fact he withholds from both papers’ readerships.

Strangely enough, Pembrokeshire’s got some history when it comes to the facts surrounding road resurfacing responsibility.

Regular readers will know Mr. Howells’ paternalistic penmanship isn’t the first time the attribution of credit for tarmac has come in for scrutiny.

I’m of course talking about the video of now legendary status put out by councillor Huw George as part of his 2012 re-election effort.

In it he drives around his rural Maenclochog ward filming the miles and miles of new tarmac and footways laid in his patch during his time as a councillor, which he puts down to “positive politics.”

The inescapable implication being that these lashings of runway-grade black stuff had more to do with Huw – then a ruling group cabinet member – than the principles of need and the equitable distribution of scarce public resources.

Huw gives viewers a running commentary during the shaky video – which YouTube has archived for the ages.

Careful observers will note it has all the hallmarks of being filmed from a handheld device by someone at the steering wheel.

Either that or Huw’s the front seat passenger of a left hand drive car driven by a mute.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions…

Pearl’s the girl!

Nominations to become PCC’s 2018/19 vice-chairman close in a few days.

Elected annually, the vice-chair automatically upgrades to chairman after a year’s service.

JW understands Monkton councillor Pearl Llewellyn’s name is being put forward at next month’s AGM.

Nominations won’t officially be declared until the agenda’s published about a week before the May 11th meeting.

The notable lack of tearoom discussion over potential contenders – no others have made it obvious they’re standing – could see a repeat of last year’s process where Aden Brinn was installed unopposed.

An emphasis is expected to be made that it’s high time a female became the county’s first citizen.

With only eight women elected in 2017 to the council of sixty – two of which serve in the cabinet – there are few possibilities.

Not since Anne Hughes in 2009/10 has the authority had a female chair – with Rosemary Hayes the only other, in 2001/2.

Nearly twenty years a councillor, Pearl suffered defeat at the first hurdle when her name last went forward for the civic role.

That was 2015’s unprecedented four-way race featuring another female contender, Lyn Jenkins.

Ken Rowlands was second to be wiped off the ballot which was won by Tony Brinsden in the third round of voting.

At a time of centenary celebrations for women’s suffrage, it’ll take a brave man to say the male domination should continue!

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  • Martin Lewis

    It seems to me that, in these days of supposed equitability between the sexes, the female of the species are proportionately over-represented in Cabinet.

    And why not have the person most suited as chairman rather than a woman just because it’s been a while.

    Let’s keep this feminist positive discrimination out of Pembrokeshire politics. Pearl Llewellyn has shown herself to be not the sharpest knife in the drawer and I envisage meetings dragging on and on with her eventually chairing meetings.

    Why don’t you stand yourself Jacob, I’m sure the whole of Pembrokeshire would be delighted to see you in chains!

  • Flashbang

    How much extra is paid to whoever gets the vice chairmanship?

    Can the cash-strapped PCC continue throwing money at people for titular roles which are for the most part meaningless?

    What about councillors leading by example and taking pay cuts to show solidarity with the mug taxpayers instead of fleecing them.

    I see there is still no action on getting rid of the dead wood among the staff either.

  • Malcolm Calver

    Surely Mr Howells is not suggesting that his daughter secured this work because her dad was a “Sir” and a member of some non-existing “Empire”.

    It was obviously paid for in a small way by all taxpayers and if it is such a good job the rest of Pembrokeshire can expect the same.

    You have to be very careful when mentioning/promoting businesses which could have connections with your close family but I am sure Mr Howells would be aware of these ethical requirements, with his experience as a community councillor.

  • Alltalk

    I seem to recall Sir Eric writing to the Observer a few years ago putting forward the idea of a 60 miles long bridge spanning the Irish Sea between Pembrokeshire and County Wexford.

    This, of course, was notwithstanding the fact that this major shipping route is prone to fog patches and the infamous Pembrokeshire Dangler.

    It would, nevertheless, require a lot of tarmac.

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