Jacob Williams
Wednesday 6th November, 2013

Councillors form new group

Councillors form new group

The long-running speculation over the formation of a new group of Pembrokeshire County Councillors looks to have finally come to something.

Murmurings have been ongoing ever since the May 2012 election. Following several failed attempts to get one off the ground, I can exclusively reveal a new group is now forming.

Expected to be called the ‘Pembrokeshire Alliance,’ or something similar to incorporate the alliance banner, the confirmed members of the new group – which has had a number of false starts – are Cllrs. Peter Stock, Bob Kilmister and Jonathan Nutting. All three currently serve as unaffiliated independents.

The new group’s allocation of committee seats will not come in to effect until the next meeting of full council, on 12th December. With such a length of time before any of its members can take up their positions, the timing of this formation might suggest that the alliance hopes to lure even more councillors into the fold between now and the Christmas meeting.

It is not known who the leader of the new alliance group is to be, or whether a decision has been made, but Cllr. Bob Kilmister is thought to be the favourite.

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  • Jacob, I think you should seek your readers’ suggestions for a name for this new group. I’ll set the ball rolling with The Triple Alliance.

  • Mike, I think you’d do well to beat ‘The Unholy Alliance!’

  • Jonathan Nutting

    Unholy Alliance

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    Unholy Alliance may refer to:

    • Unholy Alliance (geopolitical), when political antagonists temporarily join together to fight a common enemy

    • Unholy Alliance (Sierra Leone), an alliance of militia groups in the Sierra Leone Civil War

    • The Unholy Alliance (ECW), an Extreme Championship Wrestling tag team

    • The Unholy Alliance Tour, an annual heavy metal tour

    • “Unholy Alliance”, Parts One and Two, episodes of Highlander: The Series

    • The Unholy Alliance (WWF), Undertaker and The Big Show’s World Wrestling Federation tag team.

    Hmmm now which one are you referring to? 🙂 I prefer the tag ‘team,’ though it always does the ego good to be thought of as ‘The Undertaker’ even if my shape would suggest ‘Big Daddy’ (bit before your time I’m afraid Jacob. You would have only been a glint and sneaky smile when he was around).

    If it was the religious slant you are aiming at then I shall have to be shriven by Canon Roger! Which brings to mind Dürer’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (fourth required, any takers?)

    Flight of fantasy? 🙂 Time to walk the walk I think.

  • Malcolm Calver

    I wish both Mike and Jacob would show some respect for the new group/party. Should others rally to the cause there would have to be a name change and to suggest that they would be anything but “holy” is misguided at this stage.

    I am not a betting man but I would put money on it that with Cllr Peter Stock as part of the trio the removal of the word Pembrokeshire has very little chance of succeeding.

  • John Hudson

    Have they got a manifesto or at least a policy which other councillors could sign up for, and which we the long suffering electorate, who by and large seem to be forgotten, could support?

    I would welcome the emergence of a new group over the continuance of a collection of unaffiliated councillors, which in some aspects are disadvantaged by not being a recognised group.

  • Dave Edwards

    This information leads me to ask a few basic questions about the nature of groups and their ultimate purpose.

    Groups, as I understand them, bind members by a shared set of principles or strategic aims set out in a manifesto submitted for public approval. In this regard, the electorate understand the differing principles behind the Labour, Liberal, Plaid Cymru or Tory vision of governance and can vote accordingly.

    Before I welcome this latest grouping, therefore, I would like to know what policies they espouse, what priorities they see are needed and how they see themselves as different to the IPPG or the non-aligned.

    The cynic in me, well honed in Pembrokeshire, tends to see a group of three merely as a vehicle for delivering seats on committees, especially the National Park and Scrutiny, for its members.

  • Keanjo

    How about the old Ratepayers’ Association whose manifesto included getting the best value for money for ratepayers. Now that is something I would vote for.

  • John

    Once again I have to make the comment about trivialisation of things on this site, albeit this time by Cllr Stoddart with comments like thinking of a funny name for this group.

    The electorate would have more respect for politicians if they took their role more seriously. Pembrokeshire County Council is not the sixth form common room, and opposition Councillors also have a duty to show some gravitas. This is a serious development that needs proper discussion.

    Well done John Hudson for asking a serious question on this. I hope that this is not just a ploy by these Councillors in this new group just to pocket SRAs.

  • Malcolm Calver

    I am sorry John but you must remember that Mike has been monitoring local government for many years, especially the antics of many of the players in the field at County Hall. It is because of the great effort of both Mike and Jacob that we are made aware of such goings on.

    I reported in my comment on the “Assumed liability” article on this website about the rumour that the powers that be at County Hall were considering appointing an “Ambassador for Pembrokeshire”. I can only assume, as it came from a reliable source, that the rumour was correct and if so Cllr Adams and the chief executive I presume would have had to be consulted over such a position or perhaps even proposed such a post.

    I notice that Cllr Stock is part of the new party/group and would suggest that Cllr Adams has missed a golden opportunity if he did not consider Cllr Stock as a candidate for such a senior position.

  • Peter Stock

    Thank you John, you are quite right it is a very serious situation to get it right when forming a new group, especially when your ultra aim is to make Pembrokeshire the best place in Wales and to make sure that we never lose our special County.

    Also, if it is only a ploy to pocket SRAs then wouldn’t there be a much better chance of this by joining the ruling group? Which I was actually a member of, and with an SRA (Police and Crime Panel) at the time I left it.

  • John Hudson

    Just how do the 3 propose to achieve this “ultra aim”?

    I am sure most of us share this objective, as would most councillors of all political persuasions and groups.

    It clearly appears to be too much for us to expect focused, specific policies. I really am disappointed.

    WE the Pembrokeshire electorate do not get much democracy at present. Most of the policies put in place seem to come via officers implementing policies from W.G. as the current majority group do not have any.

    Where oh where is the manifesto of this new group? Does it formally exist? We should be told. Perhaps Peter Stock could be prevailed upon to let us know now that he has joined the comments on this site.

  • Keanjo

    As a matter of interest what is the manifesto of the IPIGs?

  • Peter Stock

    I am sorry Mr John Hudson that you are disappointed, especially that as yet no new group has officially been formed to make any statements, I would have thought you of all people with all your experience would know this.

  • Bob Kilmister

    Jacob has jumped the gun a bit as no group has yet been formed. He was at a meeting in October where this was discussed very fully, as was Mike Stoddart among others, and the three people he mentions did agree in principle to consider forming a group. As yet this process has not been completed.

    I wish to clarify the issue of SRAs. I am presently in receipt of one, as I am a member of PCNPA. Around 80% of my ward is in the PCNPA and last year I had a 100% attendance record. The idea that I might be joining a group for financial reasons is frankly absurd. Peter Stock has explained his position very clearly too.

    There are other very good reasons why current non affiliated Councillors might want to form a group but some people seem to have difficulty believing this.

    If I am a member of this group it will have clearly stated aims and objectives. Its aim will be to offer the electorate a real alternative to the IPPG, one with a manifesto.

    It has become clear to me that Pembrokeshire people are very unlikely to give any political party a mandate and so it is time we faced up to this reality and came up with a different option. I strongly believe that otherwise the IPPG will continue to command a majority.

    The alternative it seems to me is to let the IPPG continue to operate in the manner that they have become accustomed. I do not want to see that happen and I am prepared to work with other like minded Councillors in an attempt to change things.

    Being totally Independent and completely non affiliated does not prevent you from being an excellent Councillor as Jacob, Old Grumpy and the others including I hope myself have proved very effectively.

    It does not however offer the residents an alternative administration in waiting, nor does it offer disgruntled IPPG members an opportunity to leave the Titanic before it sinks.

  • Malcolm Calver

    The major task for councillors is the reduction in the cost of services presently provided by Pembrokeshire County Council to the taxpayers/ratepayers of Pembrokeshire. The present administration is not reducing the cost of the service they provide, only pushing that cost on to other bodies i.e. community councils or directly to the public.

    We have been made aware of the method the present IPPG members, through the cabinet, intend to make savings/cuts at County Hall. I would suggest that both Cllr Stock and Cllr Kilmister provide us with alternatives and if they would seek to reverse what has already been proposed.

  • John Hudson

    Thank you all for clarifying the situation. WE on the outside would not know anything until a Political Group recalculation of numbers was formally announced at the rather rare Council meetings, or the group itself announced the news.

    Might I suggest a few banner heads:-

    A review of Financial Delegations with a view to councillors having a measure of control over the finances of the council. (Councillors/O&S Committees have yet to formally be presented with the 2012/13 accounts/out-turn).

    Ensuring that councillors have a role in the formulation of Capital asset management including the assessment of Budget priorities (this is currently undertaken by an officer’s Asset Management Group, the Cabinet having decided that it didn’t want to be bothered).

    The full control of capital and revenue reserves. The allocation of these sums is entirely at the discretion of officers.

    As most of the unaffiliated councillors have demonstrated, they are up for the uphill challenge of holding decision makers to account, both unelected officers and their Cabinet public front, against the voting might of the complacent IPG. I appreciate their efforts and lend them my support, whether as individuals or as a collective against the status quo.

    It should be remembered that Pembrokeshire folk did not vote for the IPG.

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