Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pet Hates

I don't know if you know but I do have a streak of Victor Meldrew concerning things on the interwebs

#1 the forward leaning stroke on a keyboard is called oblique not "slash" or "forward slash"

#2 sites that take longer than an eye-blink to load

#3 Flashplayer and all his siblings

ps I don't like to be contradicted either, but that is a whole other story ;-)

pps can I remind you of  Movember

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Shame on you Carmarthenshire

With reference to my last post I think that Carmarthenshire have had their chance to explain their position vis'a'vis excluding members of the public from their meetings. If the Chris Burns "assistant Chief Executive" and the Colin Davies "Democratic Services Manager" think that "rules is rules" is an adequate response then their grasp of reality is, at best, tenuous! Only following orders is never a reasonable defence.

I have written to all the AMs for this area and to our MP; still waiting to hear more than a postcard from Simon Hart but Angela Burns has written to me twice. The second letter enclosing a copy of the letter she got from Mark James although there seems to be neither a signature or even a typed name, funnily enough it is exactly the same letter as the acting head of the legal department sent to the Carmarthen Journal a couple of weeks ago, the only difference was that she signed her name!

I always thought that the councillors had to make the decisions about what went on in the council especially when it comes to excluding legitimate scrutiny of the council. I would like to know which Local Government Act gives officers the right to exclude me regardless of their undertaking about not filming, I have been reading through LGA1972 and all the subsequent acts until my head spins.

I sent a complaint to Carl Sargeant AM, Minister for Local Government and Communities on Sept 14th and received the reply below:

"Dick Bain dick@towy71.*******
5th October 2011
Dear Mr Bain
Public Access to Council Meetings
Thank you for your e-mail of 16th September to Carl Sargeant AM, Minister for Local Government and Communities. I am replying on his behalf.
Local authorities are obliged to allow the public entry to council meetings, unless the issues being discussed are considered to be exempt (in the main, confidential or commercial matters).
The process that a local authority follows to allow the public access to meetings is a matter for them, as they have to take into account the need for security in modern society.
I understand, however, that Carmarthenshire Council are due to vote shortly on public broadcasting of council meetings.
Yours sincerely *** *******
Scrutiny, Democracy & Participation Team"
It has got to the point were I feel there is nowhere to go; so I have now lodged an appeal to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Orwellian stuff

I just tried to get in to watch Carmarthenshire County Councillors at work but was refused entry by Mr. Colin Davies "Democratic Services Manager" who could cite no rule from the Council's constitution or standing orders.

The reason that I was refused entry was because I would not sign an undertaking "not record or film any meetings of the Council or its committees from the public gallery of the Council Chamber at County Hall, Carmarthen until and unless the policy relating to this is reviewed by the Council." The address at the top of the bit of paper states that it is "To: Chief Executive." One wonders about the story of the tail wagging the dog ;-)

I asked for my Councillor to come and explain why this was, as I had asked him on the 14th Sept to find out. He came very quickly and said he had asked for clarification but that legal services had not got back to him and that the meeting was about to start and he couldn't stay. I will copy the email, of which I sent copies to Simon Hart MP, Angela Burns AM and Carl Sargeant AM, at the bottom of the page. I redacted my email address but left Daff's because it is published on the county council website

I was very happy to meet up with Caebrwyn and Y Cneifiwr at last, who both did sign and go in. I also met Chris Segar of The Ferret being ignored by the council too!

Subject: turned away from county council meeting
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2011 12:13:18 +0100
From: Dick Bain <dick@towy71.blanketyblank.com>
To: Cllr D B Davies <DBDavies@carmarthenshire.gov.uk>


This morning I tried to get to see my county council in action but was
refused entry until I had signed some piece of paper which I refused
to do. I asked under what rule they were restricting my access to the
public gallery but they could not or would not answer; however they
said someone would come down and explain to me why I had to sign this

Chris Burns identified himself as deputy chief executive, he told me
that council rules dictated that I sign the form but he could not or
would not specify which rule, under the constitution or standing
orders, restricted access to the public gallery.

Can you clarify under what rules I was turned away?


Dick Bain

Friday, October 28, 2011

The joys of IRC

I'm normally logged in to an IRC channel 24/7 and there is very little traffic but there are the occasional gems

mawi; evening
towy71; shhshhh don't wake the bears
mawi; Wah? bears?
* mawi hides
towy71; it's worse when they get close, bad breath ;-)
mawi; and itchy fur
towy71; oops how did you know that? are you a bear?
mawi; why, yes, yes I am
mawit; Grrr
* towy71 hides

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

#pambot 2, and sundry other things

Pam Palmer had a very busy day tweeting as part of Carmarthenshire's democracy week, apart from voting for a change to the constitution that means one has to find 7 councillors to propose a debate. She answered no questions again, quelle surprise!
One wonders what will have to happen to overthrow this tinpot regime??

PamPalmerCCC Wedi bod mewn cyfarfodydd trwy'r dydd. Cyfarfod diddorol o’r Gyngor Sir y bore yma.

PamPalmerCCC Been in meetings all day. Quite an interesting meeting of County Council this morning.

It was also interesting how the council seem to be late and incomplete with answers to FIO requests. Tickets for the match anyone, no not you plebs :P

The Council of Despair Part I

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pambot on twitter

We plebs on Twitter were graced by a visit from Councillor Pam Palmer, Several people asked her questions but she didn't deign to reply to any of them; all her alleged tweets are listed below in full and they seem more like announcements than dialogue.

Caebrwyn asked: about filming meetings and entry restrictions to public gallery - and about changes to CCC constitution and publishing spending details, I await her replies
Towy71 asked I wonder if you can tell me which rule excludes members of public from "public meetings" and did you vote for that?
mjmilan asked: How does Chief Exec get to decide that no confidence vote in the leader won't be considered? Is this democratic? Also, how much discretion does Chief Exec have to make up and enforce rules that aren't in the standing orders?

"PamPalmerCCC Cefais fy mhlesio’n fawr iawn gyda safon y gofal a gynigir i gleifion yn Ysbyty Dyffryn Aman - hon oedd fy ymweliad cyntaf a’r ysbyty.

PamPalmerCCC I was really impressed with the level of care offered to patients at Amman Valley Hospital - this was my first visit.

PamPalmerCCC Oeddech chi'n gwybod – y plentyn cyntaf i gael ei geni o dan y GIG oedd Aneira Rees yn Ysbyty Dyffryn Aman ar 5 Gorffennaf 1948 am 12:01am

PamPalmerCCC Did you know that the first person to be born under the NHS was Aneira Rees at Amman Valley Hospital on July 5th 1948 at 12:01 am.

PamPalmerCCC Bron a llwgu. Mynd i lawr i'r bwyty yn Neuadd y Sir am frechdan gyflym cyn teithio i Ysbyty Dyffryn Aman ar gyfer cyfarfod.
5 hours ago

PamPalmerCCC Starving. Going down to the restaurant in County Hall for a sandwich efore travelling to Amman Valley Hospital for a meeting.

PamPalmerCCC Jyst wedi dod nôl o gyfarfod am effeithlonrwydd ynni. Rydym yn edrych ar bob math o ddewisiadau ar gyfer arbed ynni ar draws y cyngor.
6 hours ago

PamPalmerCCC Just come back from as meeting about energy efficiency. We're looking at all sorts of options for saving energy throughout the council.

PamPalmerCCC Wedi treulio peth amser bore ‘ma yn mynd drwy'r papurau ar gyfer cyfarfod y Cyngor Sir yfory. Dylai fod yn gyfarfod diddorol!

PamPalmerCCC Spent some time this morning going through the papers for tomorrow's meeting of County Council. It should be an interesting meeting!

PamPalmerCCC Cymru’n rhagorol ar y penwythnos. Er fy mod yn dod o Loegr rwy'n falch o fy nghenedl fabwysiedig. Gall y Saeson ddysgu gwersi wrth y Cymry.

PamPalmerCCC Wales impressive on weekend. Though English by birth I’m proud of my adopted nation. English team could learn lessons from Welsh squad.

PamPalmerCCC Wedi bod yn ymweld â dynes o’r ardal yn ystod yr awr ginio. Problem anodd ei datrys, ond byddaf yn gwneud fy ngorau.

PamPalmerCCC Visited constituent lunch time - lovely lady. Difficult problem to resolve though.

PamPalmerCCC Wedi bod mewn cyfarfod trwy'r bore, delio gyda chydraddoldeb a materion yn ymwneud a'r iaith Gymraeg.

PamPalmerCCC Been in a meeting all morning, equalities and Welsh language issues."

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I'm going away for a little bit, our younger son is getting married so taking the opportunity to have a little jaunt, will post more on my little rotten borough when I get back :D

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Open governance

This morning I tried to get to see my county council in action but was refused entry until I had signed some piece of paper which I refused to do. I asked under what rule they were restricting my access to the public gallery but they could not or would not answer; however they said someone would come down and explain to me why I had to sign this undertaking.

Chris Burns identified himself as deputy chief executive, he told me that council rules dictated that I sign the form but he could not or would not specify which rule, under the constitution or standing orders, restricted access to the public gallery.

It is the first time I have ever been turned away from a council meeting and I have to say that I am not best pleased. I shall be writing to my MP, AM and I will be talking to my local councillor.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

An education!

Given that I have a natural antipathy to Carmarthenshire County Council and their chief executive, the ridiculous decision to put a new school in Ffairfach takes the biscuit.

Llandovery is just too far away, Llangadog would be a fantastic idea, there must be a fair amount of space around the town above the flood plain, and it is equidistant between Llandielo and Llandovery.

There has to be an opportunity here for Carmarthenshire councillors to hold the chief executive and the executive committee to account for clear wrongheadedness.

My thanks go to Alexander Smith and Jacqui Thompson for keeping us posted!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Blogger 2 Dafyddp 0 and a demerit

I have been following the #daftarrest thing on twitter all I can say is that Dyfed Powys Police have done themselves and us a disservice with their badly written and inept explanation

The lady in question pays council tax and is therefore one of the many joint owners of County Hall and had every right to be there in the public gallery and, as far as I understand it, there was no legitimate reason to exclude her.

Perhaps all councillors need reminding that they are supposedly looking after our interests and the officers are ultimately paid by us, some of them get more than the Prime Minister, to advice the councillors how to act in a legal and proper manner in accordance with the council's constitution, code of conduct and standing orders; the footage on youtube isn't quite clear under which standing order, and who invoked it, the meeting was suspended or the lady removed?

I had always understood that if your were independent that you did not necessarily following the tup about, hard to believe that on the evidence ;-)

Monday, June 13, 2011

My glorious council

I have lived here in Carmarthenshire since 1973 and suffered under Dyfed and the new unitary authority; the latter has inherited the worst parts of both Dyfed and Carmarthen District Council.
CDC is the council that had the wizard wheeze of building a chairman's parlour on top of an emergency planning bunker that they had neglected to get planning permission for (some things never change). The original project costs were allegedly around £60,000 but escalated to more than £250,000, the hole in the ground still exists under the car park in Spliman Street, I understand it is not waterproof.
Carmarthenshire County Council pay the chief executive more than £160,000 a year and the chairman approximately £50,000 and yet they don't seem to understand the concept of openness and accountability. See http://www.carmarthenplanning.blogspot.com/ for more details, an excellent blog by Jacqui Thopmson of Llanwrda.
http://www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/ posted: Ms Gravell struck back at criticism of the high salaries saying: "If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys." Who are the monkeys now?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What a wastrel I!

It is Sunday afternoon and I have been reading the Observer and eating and drinking while the delightful Victoria Coren has spent the morning reading all the papers and still find time to write a thoughtful rebuttal of one of the "Dirty Digger's" "journalists" http://www.victoriacoren.com/main/blog/archive/bashing_the_bishop
I'm sure she doesn't need the help of an old idiot from west Wales but I just think that as many people as possible should be alerted to some reasonable opinions!

I'd also like to point you to look at  http://carmarthenplanning.blogspot.com someone who is willing to stand up to the bullies in CarmarthenshireCC.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Winter and vegetables

Why is it that Brussels sprouts and parsnips don't taste right until there has been a frost? Mind you after the winter we have so far I am amazed that SWMBO can still go out in the garden and get leeks, Brussels and parsnips and that they haven't been blown to pieces by the excessive frosts.

Today has been glorious so far, bright sunshine and not too cold a wind, but the ground is still in permafrost so how she has managed to hack parsnips out is beyond me. So looking forward to a roast dinner this evening; beef with all the trimmings yum yum, or should that be nom nom?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rip off Britain

ffs SWMBO noticed that the AA deducted £149 for our membership, their website quotes £103 for the same cover; we have been members of the AA for 30 years and have very occasionally used them, shouldn't we get a better discount than new customers?

I also find it completely stupid that my local electricity supplier cannot quote me a cheaper price than some bloody French company, similarly gas is the same.

While I'm on stupid things why is it so expensive to phone a mobile phone now that most of the infrastructure is now in place and why so much more expensive when calling from a landline? GRRRRRR!