Jacob Williams
Monday 30th September, 2019

Pearls before swine

Pearls before swine

Readers will recall my recent tip that Monkton councillor Pearl Llewellyn was changing her political affiliation again – this time joining PCC’s Labour group.

It all went through but, as I alluded to in that post, our Pearl is wont to change her mind!

In describing her various political affiliations over her two decades as a councillor – surely four or five, maybe more since she was first elected in 1999 – I joked: “…it could be said that Pearl used to be indecisive – but now she’s not so sure!”

And how!

Because JW learns that, after less than a month in the red column, Pearl has now had enough of the Labour benches – reasons, if any, unknown.

She’s returning to sitting as an unaffiliated independent councillor, aka one of the ‘uglies,’ like yours truly.

YOU TURN IF YOU WANT TO: Cllr. Llewellyn’s recent profile changes on Pembrokeshire County Council’s website

Amid the amusement over Pearl’s return to the ugly benches, spare a thought for Labour’s County Hall contingent – particularly one of whom, for which this latest development will come as the saddest of sad news.

By joining their ranks Pearl boosted the party’s numbers enough for them to qualify for an extra councillor seat on the national park authority.

It’s not clear who was being lined up for the gig – which attracts a near £4k basic salary.

But as every cloud has a silver lining, news of Cllr. Llewellyn’s u-turn is sure to draw sighs of relief from the council’s five unaffiliated councillors sitting on the park authority.

No longer will one of them be forcibly ejected to give way!

JW understands that the first the Labour party’s group leader, Cllr. Paul Miller, learnt of Pearl’s latest change of mind was by email on Tuesday morning.

But it wasn’t from Pearl!

It came from committee services, saying: “I write to advise you that Councillor Mrs Pearl Llewellyn has served notice that she no longer wishes to be a member of the Labour Group. The notice was signed yesterday.”


Rumour mills

The untimely passing of Hundleton councillor Margot Bateman, following her bravely-fought long illness, means a by-election is just around the corner for Angle peninsula voters.

As it hasn’t yet been called, it’s possible the poll could be held on the same day as a Westminster general election.

Such a prospect could give an advantage to the Tories, who came a somewhat distant second in this large rural ward at the 2017 election, but whose candidates won three of neighbouring Pembroke’s four seats.

One of the more credible, albeit unusual rumours in the County Hall tearoom right now is that a familiar face (name supplied) is being invited by one of the county’s weaker political forces to contest the seat.

And by no stretch could he be considered a run-of-the-mill candidate.

And he would know where more corpses are buried than any current County Hall occupant by far, I can tell you!

Whilst this person surely has credentials, JW finds it difficult to believe he’d have any interest in re-entering the fray, at any price or in any capacity.

But you never know.

If he is to return to the corridors of power as a new councillor, he’ll surely be put through the mill by the discerning Hundledon electorate – regardless of his political hue!

Sick joke

A regular reader has pointed me to an entertaining story of an ingenious excuse put forward in north Wales to block a bid to live-stream a council’s proceedings.

Penmaenmawr Town Council in Conwy has u-turned on its prior commitment to webcast its meetings – despite having bought the webcasting equipment.

A councillor quit after the vote, following a debate which heard some novel resistance put up against the bid for transparency.

Among the contributions, according to the BBC’s report, was the tinpot council’s clerk wondering aloud what ramifications there might be if “someone had a heart attack?”

He even questioned what might be in store if a subject on camera happened to “…perhaps just vomit.”

You’ve got to hand it to these people for thinking outside the box when it comes to resisting change towards openness and accountability.

It’s reminiscent of the barrel-scraping excuse put forward by PCC’s then-leader, Cllr. Jamie Adams, in opposition to a proposal I tabled in 2015.

For two years until that point, only meetings of full council were subject to webcasting. I proposed that the cabinet’s should be, too.

As part of his straw-clutching effort to resist the move, Jamie said it would tie his hands, preventing him from taking his cabinet out on the road, to convene in the halls of communities around Pembrokeshire.

This, despite the fact he had been leader for years at that point and had never shown the remotest bit of interest in, as he put it, going out to “see the people.”

Everybody saw through the contemptible ruse, which backfired and I won the day resoundingly: 41-15.

As the Western Telegraph reported: JW’s plan was “given the go-ahead despite a last-minute “back of the fag packet” proposal by Council Leader Jamie Adams.”

Cabinet meetings – where the vast majority of key decisions are made – have been held in front of the cameras ever since.

I can’t help but wonder if Jamie might have had more luck in opposing my 2015 proposal if he had shelved the ‘cabinet roadshow’ excuse and pursued this puking/heart attack line of argument.

He wouldn’t even have had to lie.

Indeed, the known side effects of watching the shameless antics captured by PCC’s web cameras since 2013 range from violent vomiting to coronary calamities.

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  • If I’m reading the runes aright, this mysterious candidate for Hundleton is likely to get a “Dusty” reception.

  • Dave Edwards

    Jacob, I can confirm that a by-election has now been called for Thursday 7th November.

    Having fought the seat three times, firstly in 1995 for Dyfed County Council, it will come as no surprise that I will be standing again.

    I trust therefore that you are not referring to me when you say that “a familiar face from one of the county’s weaker political forces” will be standing?!

    Local gossip suggests that Plaid Cymru are actively trying to get a former council employee who will indeed know where some of the bodies are buried, to stand, so maybe it’s him? But Huw knows?

  • Malcolm Calver

    David, if nothing else you are persistent and that is probably what is needed most from a worthwhile county councillor.

    I note you did not mention if you are standing as an independent or as a Labour Party candidate. Perhaps you are considering the time has come for you to consider joining the up and coming Liberal Democrats alongside Cllr Kilmister with his grand ideas.

  • Flashbang

    When I look at the goings on at PCC all I see is that every silver lining has a cloud, and has been so for years.

  • Michael Hart

    Jacob I think I understand how with only 59 councillors now Jamie Adams’ group loses one committee member and the uglies gain a committee member.

    But there appears to be no explanation as to why the Labour Party is altering its representation on the Licensing and Corporate Governance Committees.

    Having set the committee structure at the 2017 AGM can a party (Labour) reduce representation on one committee and increase it on another when there has been no material change in their membership without agreement of full council?

    The local government act appears to lay the responsibility for such provision with the relevant authority or committee not the political party.

    So can a party flip flop between committees at will provided a semblance of political balance is maintained, or is it a council decision or am I missing something here?

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