Jacob Williams
Monday, 28th February, 2022

Grumpy’s return

Grumpy’s return

And so, we reach the last day of February. In 2022 this turns out to be a particularly notable date, but not because it’s a leap day.

Old Grumpy, the author of that other website, has finally returned to the blogosphere – publishing his first post today since October, 2019.

Kremlinologists are understandably much busier these days with other, more sombre world affairs.

But JW understands the local branch is keeping an open mind as to whether Grumpy, aka Milford Haven councillor Mike Stoddart, is on manoeuvres.

Some say the old duffer’s online return hints towards intentions of a re-election bid for his Hakin seat in Pembrokeshire County Council’s upcoming elections.

We can only hope!


  • John Hudson

    It is good to see this independent councillor back in the public arena illuminating dark recesses of the council.

    Expecting “fairness” from the majority of councillors that make up PCC is a forlorn hope. Their overriding aim is to maximise income from us. This council despite having a full cost recovery policy limit on discretionary charges for services, have allowed cremation charges to generate annual surpluses or profit.

    Officers advised that an external legal opinion had been sought and the council had the legal power to do this (where have we heard that before?)

    This advice is contrary to the conclusions of both the independent Wales audit and the Competitions Market Authority.

    The council did very well in 2019-2020 out of its above-cost cremation charges and increased numbers of cremations. Surplus income generated, subsidised non-related other council services.

    This dysfunctional council so far, has not seen fit to divulge the strict, legal powers that it is relying on to impose these profit-generating charges. We, or rather the dead, are being taxed/charged without knowing the strict legal basis.

  • Flashbang

    Why isn’t Old Grumpy in charge of finance at PCC, he seems to understand maths far beyond my grasp and I suspect a lot of others too.

  • Malcolm Calver

    Maybe Old Grumpy and the rest of the bunch could put a bit of effort into looking into council tax charges for those in Pembrokeshire who have to pay this unfair tax.

  • Keanjo

    Malcolm, your comment about council tax should be taken very seriously. For those of us who are paying £40 or £50 a week for the doubtful privilege of house ownership, council house rents look very reasonable. The WG need to look at alternative ways of raising money, why not a local income tax?

    The cost of the excessive bureaucracy needs to be reduced and the number of councillors could be cut.

    Something for our Major General to tackle, perhaps?

  • Mark

    Grumpy hasn’t lost his touch on his blog or in the council.

    Last week’s full council meeting debated the subject of his new blog entry and he persuaded a majority of councillors to support his amendment.

    Well done Mike, you won fair and square after arguing on the grounds of fairness. It also felt to me like you would have won even if an election wasn’t looming so well done those councillors who supported it too.

  • John Hudson

    We were told that the service level baseline for the 2022/2023 was fixed at 2021/2022 levels, with additions requiring specific approval.

    Can somebody please explain why discretionary services,which we use and pay for on an unproven cost recovery basis, were allowed to be increased automatically by the rate of inflation?

    Was it just because these services are provided for outside the council tax and paid for by charges levied on us for their use?

    I am sure that officers’ estimates of income generated from service use take a realistic view of usage in the light of customer’s reduced domestic income.

    If not, an overestimated level of income from charges in the budget could be regarded as a means of reducing the council tax requirement.

  • Michael Hart

    Great to see Old Grumpy dug his website out of hibernation. Looking at the member for Hakin’s contribution to committee and council debates he has attended 41 in the past two years and contributed to the debates on every occasion. Similarly I see Jacob you have contributed to 53 meetings over this time. Well done both of you.

    Compare this with the member for St Michaels Ward Pembroke who has attended 24 meetings for which I can find no contribution to the debates in this period. But then they say silence is golden.

    Well about 20 sovereigns’ worth of allowances over this period.

  • Malcolm Calver

    Keanjo, please do not fall into the trap of proposing replacing one tax with another one. What is needed is a drastic cut in the amount of staff employed (underemployed) in the so called “public services”.

    With rationing a possibility, the war in Ukraine will in the coming months bring it home how much a false world the nation and its residents have been living.

  • Keanjo

    Malcolm, agree a drastic cut in bureaucracy is needed but I think the property tax system is grossly unfair and needs to be replaced.

    I would like to see the major services such as education, social services and principal highways taken over by the WG and funded from general taxation. The remaining services could be managed by much smaller local authorities, funded by a local income tax.

  • Oliver Cromwell

    Whatever happened to the poll tax?

    Absolutely right, but oh so unpopular with those who had never paid for local services!

  • Malcolm Calver

    Keanjo, whilst I agree that the property tax (council tax) is unfair we cannot just go on replacing it with a new tax to do the same thing. The solution is a route and branch reform of the services existing taxation supports.

    On education the percentage of children entering secondary schools without basic abilities is astonishing. Many then go on to Mickey Mouse universities doing Mickey Mouse degrees with no real prospects in the world of work. I believe we have twenty two directors of education in Wales whilst Birmingham with the same number of children has one director of education.

    On social services we have lost the plot with children failing to accept that it is their duty to look after their parents and any children should they need assistance.

    On highways I would agree minor roads should be the responsibility of local government whilst the rest of roads organised nationally.

    The tax that needs sorting out first is VAT but to do that many would have to take responsibility for their own lifestyle. I remember VAT being brought in at 10% as a temporary measure, whatever happened to that idea.

    Whilst Jacob tries his very best to highlight shenanigans at County Hall it is a pity other county councilors do not have the courage to use modern communication methods to inform their electorate of their views on these important subjects.

  • Flashbang

    Malcolm Calver, if the elected members informed their voters of their views and actions the electors would soon wake up to the fact they voted in some of the densest dead wood in the forest.

    Luckily there’s a chance to shift out all the no-hopers and yes men in 6 weeks.

    My guess is none of that will happen and you’ll end up with the same cretins, spivs and expense padders as before, present company excepted.

    Michael Williams (Tenby North) did himself no favours by wanting to give away other people’s property so I’m really hoping there’s a challenger there. A prime example of letting his views out in public.

  • Malcolm Calver

    Flashbang, Cllr Michael Williams and his fellow county councillors have failed in their duty to allocate sufficient areas for development in the Local Development Plan (LDP) as well as failing to ensure areas allocated are actually developed. Having land included in the LDP and not developing it is better than money in the bank.

    As to the reason he has highlighted the second home issue, it’s because it plays on the fears of those electors in the county wishing to own their homes and secondly, he’s well aware that second home owners, whilst paying exorbitant council tax, do not have a vote in the upcoming election.

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