Jacob Williams

Party planners: The party files, Pt. 3

Sunday 28th October, 2012
Party planners: The party files, Pt. 3

The press and other bloggers have picked up on Partygate since last Sunday’s update, starting with an article in the Western Telegraph on Wednesday. In it, the leader of the council, Cllr. Jamie Adams, refers to the IPG/IPPG as a “…group of likeminded individuals who do not wish to see decisions affecting Pembrokeshire and its citizens unduly influenced by political views emanating from outside the county.”

Given that the membership of the IPG is made up of a mixture of political-party devotees (including Conservative and Labour party members) it is unlikely that their like-mindedness stretches as far as political ideology. This makes it hard for an ‘idiot’ like me to grasp the need for independent councillors to form a group, unless it is set up with the intention of its members voting en masse.

The following day, the Western Mail picked up the story. When Cllr. Adams was asked by the newspaper about his knowledge of his colleagues using council computers to make election literature, he swerved away from any association with it by stating that, as he was last voted for in 2004 and unopposed in 2008 and 2012: “I’m not the best person to ask about this.” It turns out that this candid restraint – holding back his opinions on something he knows nothing about – was only a fleeting lapse. In the same article, Cllr. Adams went on to express “concerns” to the reporter that: “…Councillor Jacob Williams may have broken the Data Protection Act in publishing on his website extracts from documents which name candidates who were not successful in the elections.”

I should point out that the Western Mail’s report states that I was told that I wouldn’t get anything done in my ward if I didn’t join the IPG. This isn’t exactly what I said to the reporter, so I am mindful that Cllr. Adams’ quotes could have been taken out of context also. However, can he honestly believe that an election address, an item that a candidate for public office puts into the public domain by campaigning to the electorate, putting through their letterboxes unsolicited, is a private document constituting sensitive personal data? Does his suggestion that this only applies to the election leaflets of the unsuccessful candidates insinuate that the leaflets of the winning candidates are treated differently? As a friend said to me: “the words ‘at,’ ‘straws’ and ‘clutching’ come to mind.”

This week I’ve also noticed a rather large spike in emails, article comments and messages received from members of the Pembrokeshire public with their own thoughts, observations and insights relating to Partygate. Some of the new accusations I’m hearing are deeply concerning and the stuff of novels, though in context, are not totally surprising, but difficult to prove.

This third dispatch of the Party files concludes the 2008 election series, with a look at what went on after all the votes had been cast.

Poll count and post-election antics 2008

Names for passes.doc

Polling day in 2008 was on Thursday 1st May. Rather than counting the votes through the night, this was the first election where the count started at 9am the following day – I think the idea was to cut the election costs down to a minimum, for a surprising reason that I might cover another time.

Assuming 2008 was the same as 2012, the count had police security on the door, and each candidate was allowed to take up to three guests, all of which were given a wristband and certificate to authorise their entry. Inside the 2008 election folder is a file called ‘Names for passes.doc.’ Each of the ten councillors on the list were unopposed at the elections. As the unopposed Plaid Cymru candidate’s name is not on this list, I assume he wasn’t afforded the same perk as the unopposed members of the ruling group.

‘allocations on count day.doc’

The aim of the IPG after the votes were in, was to minimise the damage caused by sitting IPG councillors losing their seats, by getting the ‘independent’ candidates who had beaten them, to join up instead. The successful candidates, or ‘slayers,’ might never have heard of the IPG and would have probably been first-time councillors, so would have needed an introduction to the fraternity. I believe this document sets out who was ‘allocated’ to do the introductions, with the approximate time in the middle column that the result for each ward would be declared.

As you may have read over on OldGrumpy.co.uk, it’s quite revealing that Ken Rowlands was set aside to sign up the winner of Merlins Bridge. His version of the 2008 election holds that he only decided to join the IPG himself post-election. This document was created early in the morning of election day.

‘1st group meeting.doc’

And this document shows what the ‘allocated’ ones above, were handing over to the successful ‘independent’ candidates – an invitation:

‘election_prediction sheet-08.doc’

Despite the name, this lengthy document, at first glance, can cause come confusion. I think it started life as the master prediction document, with the names of the predicted winners in the right column – the column, however, is titled ‘elected,’ whilst the middle column lists the numbers of actual votes cast for each candidate. On careful inspection you’ll notice that the candidate in the ‘elected’ column does not always correspond to the candidate who received the most votes, which is why I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a hybrid document, and adding further weight to this theory is that the document was created on 29th April, and updated on 2nd May, which was results day.

It has to be said that the predictions turned out to be pretty good. With the 2012 Presidential Election at fever pitch in America right now, I’m sure that a standard of electoral forecasting with this sort of accuracy could demand big bucks from major media outlets likes CNN, ABC, NBC or FOX:

Some of the predictions of interest include: 

In Dinas Cross, John Griffiths of the IPG was expected to retain his seat but was beaten by Bob Kilmister of the Liberal Democrats.

In Haverfordwest Castle, Conservative candidate Sarah Llewellyn was expected to displace the sitting Labour councillor Tom Tudor.

In Manorbier, Ray Hughes was expected to oust the incumbent ‘dictionary’ independent, Malcolm Calver, but finished third behind the Labour candidate.

In Pembroke St. Mary North, Nicky Anderson was expected to win, but Arwyn Williams did and went on to join the IPG.

In Pembroke Dock Pennar Martin Cavaney was projected to defeat Labour’s Tony Wilcox. Wilcox retained his seat with a very large margin – 62% of the vote, a slight dent to the 72% share he was defending from 2004.

The IPG suffered a triple blow when Islwyn Howells was defeated in Rudbaxton, Rosemary Hayes was defeated in Saundersfoot, and Alwyn Luke was pipped in Scleddau. None of their vacant seats in the IPG benches were filled by their successors, as Phil Baker of Saundersfoot kept his independence, whilst Rudbaxton and Scleddau were won by Tory candidates. The IPG candidate in Wiston was also beaten by a Tory despite being predicted to win, but as she was not a sitting councillor, there was nothing lost and nothing gained.

Some of the names in the right column are in italics, some bold and some underlined. I can’t see any strong correlation between italicised and underlined names, but apart from one instance (Haverfordwest Castle) the 12 names in the right column written in bold were all elected unopposed. This document contains the first reference to the council’s unaffiliated independent councillors as ‘idiots.’

‘Independent SIGNED 08.doc’

This document, created on the morning of 6th May, shows a list of 39 councillors, 36 with a cross next to their name meaning that they had ‘signed up’ to join the IPG ranks by this time.

Independent SIGNED 08

‘oppersition08.doc’

Finally, as the name suggests, this file contains a list of all of the non-IPG councillors. The list of two ‘idiots’ actually contains three councillors, which was to rise to four after the post-election horse-trading had concluded. Presumably as this document was drawn up on results day, hopes were still being held out for Baker to sign up.

oppersition 08

←The party files, Pt. 2

Plotting the 2008 election campaign

The party files, Pt. 4→

Plotting the 2012 election campaign


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4 Comments...

  • Steve Heyward

    Shows the utter contempt that the IPG or IPPG have for true independence and principled individuals by naming them in such childish fashion.

    To obtain respect for any group or individual it firstly has to be earned, in this case by deed. What is obvious in this case is that the members of the IPPG have little or no respect for the people who voted them into power, and seem hell bent on bringing Pembrokeshire into the mire.

  • Keanjo

    Jacob, just after you were elected I asked your opinion on the cabinet system in the PCC and understandably at that stage you were non committal. What are your views now?

  • Keanjo

    Careful Steve. You mustn’t mention the mire.

  • Hello Keanjo, I don’t think my views have changed, but having now looked back on your comment in July on this article, that read:

    As a newcomer to Toady Hall, do you think the cabinet system which disenfranchises 3/4 of councillors from the management of the Council, to the detriment of their constituents and creates a insular power group of cronies, should be abolished and the system should return to the former more democratic system?

    I think I can say with more confidence now that a number councillors do feel disenfranchised. It is clear to me that councillors can be denied basic information and kept out of the loop even when they try to find out certain basic things. There are a number of examples of this in my own experience, and there has certainly been no ‘wind of change’ in that regard, if anything, it’s got worse.

    As for the ‘insular power group of cronies,’ I think you’ve summed up certain elements of the cabinet bang on.

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