Thursday, 13 May 2010

A "People's Manifesto" for local government in Anglesey

      
When I write a post about the iniquities of Anglesey County Council they often receive upwards of a hundred comments; when I write posts on how the Council could be improved to give better value to  residents, the comments rarely reach double figures. I hope that this time we can buck the trend.

As I have argued previously, the Druid believes that one of the main reasons why Anglesey County Council is dysfunctional is because our councillors lack a shared vision for the Island and a policy roadmap of how to get there. This is particularly so for the ruling group, the 'Original Independents', because they all stand individually in each ward as Independents without issuing to voters either individual or group manifestos - i.e. a statement of where they stand on various issues and what they should like to do if elected (this is also true of the other smaller groupings, such as 'Anglesey Forward' and 'Menai Group' etc). Such a situation is intolerable because:

  • Voters can only vote on personalities - however when you consider that the current average councillor to elector ratio is 1:1,270 it is laughable to think that each of those 1,270 voters are able to know intimately the personalities of each of the candidates. Furthermore this situation will worsen at the next council elections when, following Local Government Boundary Commissions changes, the number of councillors will be reduced from 40 to 35, and the councillor to elector ratio will increase to an average of 1:1,451.
  • As they are elected as Independents they are effectively beholden to nobody but themselves and are certainly not constrained by any kind of group manifesto or 'party discipline'. As a result they are free to behave pretty much as they please - leading to the myriad problems of ill discipline we are currently witnessing at the council
  • Without knowing in detail what you are voting for, it is impossible for residents to then evaluate their councillor's performance as a councillor when the next council elections come around.

Accordingly, as the Druid is of the opinion that our councillors will only change their ways when threatened with losing their seats, I floated the idea a while ago of forming a 'Good Governance' movement on Ynys Môn. Such a 'grassroots' movement could develop its own 'people's manifesto' and then urge local candidates to sign up to it; in exceptional cases it might even consider putting forward its own candidates to stand against particularly intransigent sitting councillors.

Anyway, prompted by a discussion on what shape such a 'peoples manifesto' might take below this post yesterday, I have decided to devote this thread to allowing commenters to post what they would like to see in a grassroots manifesto for the Island. I would suggest that commenters might like to think of policies/proposals under the following headings - which represent the major portfolios held by members of the current IOACC Executive Committee:

  • Education & Leisure
  • Social Services
  • Housing & Community Safety
  • Highways, Transportation & Maritime (including matters relating to the Port of Holyhead)
  • Legal Matters
  • Economic Development & Tourism
  • Finance and Information Technology
  • Environment, Property & Smallholdings
  • Corporate Management
  • Planning
  • Procurement
  • Wylfa

It is often said that, due to voter apathy, people get the governments they deserve. Judging by the sheer mass of comments which accumulate below Druid posts critical of the Council, I don't think it can be said that Anglesey residents particularly suffer from apathy or are disengaged from the political process. Accordingly, go ahead: comment and make your voice heard - the Druid (and anyone who wants to help) will then compile a 'People's Manifesto' from your comments.

Is this over ambitious? Maybe. Is it worth a try? Considering the current mess at the council: definitely yes!
  

99 comments:

Cllr Barrie Dutkin said...

Druid

I fully support your ambitions, however It takes more than one to tango, but you can count me in

Cllr Barrie Durkin

stats man said...

One suggestion, more to follow -

We need to enter into partnership arrangements with neighboring authorities and reduce duplication i.e share chief officers. Also closer partnership with NHS should also be an aim.

Just a few thoughts to show support, we can achieve this, we can make things better. And thank you Druid for this positive step.

G**t Sais Cochyn said...

i am sure many of us would happy to support this stance too -
Are you after suggestions for ideas on the sort of developments that locals might benefit from
Maybe some more realistic co-ordination with the local Police force may help too

stats man said...

Another thought all decisions need to be taken with the following in mind:

What affect would it have on the economy, on education or the environment.

Sospan said...

Simon Carr's assessment of the new Cabinet in today's Independent.

"Eric Pickles - Communities Secretary

Bluff Yorkshireman appointed party chairman by David Cameron in 2007. "Plain-speaking" and a rare Northerner and grammar school boy in the top Tory team.

In-tray - Cut the cost of local government. Has talked of purging "town hall fat cats" who earn more than cabinet ministers."

Maybe he needs to be appraised on IOACC!

stats man said...

To G**t Sais Cochyn

I agree closer co-ordination with the police would be beneficial, I suggest this also involves community councils, we need to consider devolving greater powers to them.

stats man said...

To Sospan - just in case you have forgotten Welsh council's budgets set by Welsh Assembly, as well as ensuring they provide best value - Eric Pickles, who is well respected, will have nothing to do with our council.

stats man said...

Seeing that there has been a breakdown of trust between the Council and some of the public, I suggest setting up a 'Good Governance Commission' led by someone from outside Ynys Môn. Any complaints not satisfactorily resolved by the Council could be referred to the commission.

We would need to develop idea of course in terms of cost, staff levels, Constitution etc...

stats man said...

To Cllr Durkin

Please can we have some ideas from you, more than

"You can stand by me to rely on you" - to quote the Goon show.

Cibwr said...

Actually I think this very much sums up the problems with independents, (even when they are genuine independents and not just hiding their party labels). The is a culture of you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours while lacking any guiding vision. What you normally get then is officer run councils. Even if its not party politics as in Westminster a slate of candidates standing on a common platform with a clear vision of what they want to do gives people real choice, and not just a local beauty contest.

G**t Sais Cochyn said...

@stats man: i was thinking of a number of much more direct issues - re the police - i dont know any details by i believe Mr Peter Rodgers has stumbled upon some of their unwarranted behaviour and would refer to simple things like the holding of a bike rally at Anglesey Show ground being stopped by them by demanding that the organisers pay exhorbitant amounts for what they decided was a necessary ploice presence. But then the show ground and its commitee is another whole tin of worms, as far as tourism is concerned many "bikers" on the island have wished for an Anglesey TT whilst i can see there are obvious difficulties the tourism benefits would be immense, and obviously these are in opposition to Mr Brunstroms' attempt to stop motorcyclists killing themselves on what he called his roads.

Anon 7 said...

One obvious improvement would be to have a committee or similar grouping of business people with good experience of starting from the bottom and making a success of it. They also need to have integrity and a drive to see Anglesey succeed.

At the moment, there are too many 'hotlines' and box-ticking, salaried people in secure, council-related jobs that are trying, largely unsuccessfully, to diversify the jobs base by promoting small businesses - the backbone of the UK economy.

There has been - and still is - too much emphasis on big jobs headlines that are seen to (at some point in time) give credit to councillors and officers alike. We can argue about Wylfa, but we need to accept that a large number of smaller employers is also a very good thing. When big employers close, all the jobs go at once. This doesn't happen with smaller, more numerous employers.

I think someone with experience should also be able to construct a measure of how successful - or not - the Council's own economic development department and its policies are. Given that cuts are on the table, we cannot afford to sustain departments that claim to deliver, but don't. I suggest this is particularly true for Econ. Dev.

The council also has a bad case of identity crisis for the island. 'Island of Tranquility', but with two RAF bases and a large motor racing circuit. Nothing wrong with that, but it's a laughable identity to pursue. Coastal footpath - great. But often poorly waymarked and maintained. Walking festivals - let down by poor organisation. 'Energy Island'. Not really sure what that means.

I support Druid's idea on this thread wholeheartedly. It is no longer acceptable for the council to treat the people of Anglesey with contempt, nor for councillors to abuse their position in the pursuit of personal gain. It's clear that both groups follow this vitally important blog, and to them I say:

WE ARE ALL FED-UP, AND IT'S TIME YOU TOOK US AND ANGLESEY'S FUTURE SERIOUSLY.

stats man said...

To G**t Sais Cochyn - I think we are talking about the council and not the police. Anglesey TT sounds good, is it feasible, I recall their was a study some years ago. Not sure what benefit having a hell angels rally on island would be.

And think what is the opposite to " in opposition to Mr Brunstroms' attempt to stop motorcyclists killing themselves on what he called his roads."

Let them kill themselves?

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Here are a few of my suggestions to throw in the mix:

Transportation

- Recognise that improved transport links to bring Anglesey closer to the business centre of the UK are absolutely crucial for encouraging businesses to set up on the Island and further economic development
- Campaign for Holyhead to be linked to proposed highspeed rail link
- Campaign for Anglesey Airport to aslo fly to London not just Cardiff (even if it is a 'triangular' flight)

Tourism

- Campaign for return of Llyn Cerrig Bach treasures from Cardiff to be housed at a suitable venue
- Promote Anglesey's unique prehistoric, Celtic and Druidic past by developing a visitor centre at Barcloddiad Y Gawres or Bryn Celli Ddu (this is especially important when you consider that the majority of tourists brought by cruiseliners to holyhead currently get on coaches for daytrips to Betws Y Coed etc off the island!)
- Anglesey's uniqueness is that it is an island - promote that uniqueness by promoting its as destination for watersports, yachting etc.

Wylfa

- Support Wylfa B, but insist that Horizon also sets up a suitable multi-million pound charitable fund on Anglesey (similar to the Shell fund) which can used by IOACC to provide support to certain activities (esp. economic developement, education & leisure)

Planning

- More transparency and consultation!

Procurement

- Again more transparency - but preference given to local firms
- Relaxation of some ridiculously over-the-top 'box ticking' which currently prevents smaller Anglesey firms from being able to bid for IAOCC contracts

Corporate Management

- Complete transparency regarding officer salaries over certain threshold, no ifs no buts.
- Requirement for candidates standing to become a councillors publish their manifesto online on the council website 2 months prior to elections
- Independent candidates should also state prior to the election which grouping they will join if elected

Property & Smallholdings

- Renovate the incredibly poor state of some of IOACC tenant farms

stats man said...

To Anon7 - can we have some positive suggestions for inclusion in a peoples manifesto, be part of the answer, as is your right, do not rely on others.

Anonymous said...

Education & Leisure:

There have already been hints that libraries should face some cutbacks. No doubt every department has to face these, but targeting libraries as a 'soft option' is both socially and legally dangerous.

In the days of industrial revolution Wales, libraries were one of the essential facilities provided by miners, quarrymen and others who recognised their own slavery to awful work, and how they could set their children free.

Anglesey is officially, by certain measures, the most deprived area of the UK. It would be absolutely criminal and woefully short-sighted to cut library services - anyway a statutory function that must be provided by law - such that those who want to take an interest can read, learn and set themselves mentally, and perhaps physically, free.

Spend more on encouraging the use of libraries, improving their facilities, and make sure that our youngsters grow-up as intelligent people with broad minds who can either improve Anglesey, or else take flight, armed with their knowledge, to make something of themselves elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Stats man said:

"be part of the answer, as is your right, do not rely on others"

I couldn't agree more, and believe me, I've never relied on anyone, least of all the Council. In fact, I would ask: why do councils do the many things they do, and are they really the best way to provide them? I suspect the answer in many cases is a definite 'no'.

There are some areas, probably more than initially spring to mind, where independence from the Council would be a positive move. But that doesn't mean I promote someone at the council saying "hey, this is too expensive, so, erm, someone else do it under the cover of 'community involvement' and we'll quietly slink away." It needs to be better planned and genuinely supported as a way into the future, not just a break with the past.

Druid is correct in his inference that we just don't do enough (anything?) with our fabulous heritage. If you've ever visited Newgrange in Ireland, then you will have seen a model of how a visitor's centre based on ancient history should be put together. Here, we seem content with just having stones in fields, and thinking no more about them. What should be a spectacular success - Melin Lynnon - is reported to make a financial loss, and the Council's trying to ditch it onto volunteers instead. I think someone should run these things as a business - it's amazing what difference relying on something for your daily bread (in two senses in this case!) makes over just 'managing' a facility, with a guaranteed salary and pension no matter what you do.

G**t Sais Cochyn said...

Transport: What is happening with the railway between Gaerwen and Amlwch - pushing this through to link up with Caernarfon would open up the whole of North Wales - Trainspotters are in my experience innocuous tourists, and i personally know of one enthusiast that travels most weekends from Yorkshire to work as a volunteer on the Pormadoc railway and has done for many years.
Historical Interest:
What about promoting the windmills rather than closing them down - when i was at school i distinctly remember being told how there were upto a hundred windmills on Anglesey and the island was called Mon Mam Cymru due to its flour production, i also remember the mill at Rhostrehwfa being knocked down at 6am apparently the morning a CADW notice was about to be issued to 'Save' it.
And as far as Hells Angels - not all motorcyclists are Hells Angels in fact they are proud about being the problematic 1%. i was under the impression it was the Motorcycle Action Group that was organising it as it had done a number of years previously. The rally seemed to be growing by not only bringing tourists but by gaining local support too. Isnt it the individuals choice to undertake past times that may lead to their deaths - or break bones -(look at the number of accidents in the mountains) more work for the local undertakers and hospitals, maybe the opposite to Mr Brunstroms stance is to encourage motorcyclists to come and enjoy the beautiful countryside of north wales and let them use the facilities like any other law abiding citizen - i get the feeling that the real underlying problem on the island is too much provincial, superstitious, judgemental, paranoid, self interest, and not enough concern about a consensus of feeling happy with their lot. (which is what this post is about no?) ... I am sure i saw a video recently that the local authority has a duty to ensure their wards well being? the task being allocated to DEFRA by most authorities
Druid - a London air link is a wonderful idea - which airport would be used in London and wouldn't it be greener upgrading the costal rail line - 3:15 minutes is i believe the current quickest train time between Bangor and London - but close to an hour from Bangor to Chester is abysmal. Maybe more books like the Marian Conspiracy and more information and better access to the burial tombs too

Anonymous said...

Mr. Cochyn,

You are absolutely right. The Amlwch Branch Line has been beset by the same personality politics and petty point-scoring as the Council. This comes from those involved in the negotiations, and the telling comment was "if this railway were in england, it would have been back up and running years and years ago".

I gather the line is about to be cleared-up between Gaerwen and Llangefni, with the rest for action later. It's certainly the case that progress is too slow, however. If those idiotic councillors had seen it as a crucial way to improve the island years ago whilst they were playing kids' games, then we wouldn't have to play catch-up now, would we?

Anonymous said...

"And so it begins"

Koch: Vorlon Ambassador to the Federation
'Babylon 5 - The Shadow War'

Anonymous said...

Looking to the future economic wellbeing of the Island.
We need inward migration of forward thinking wealthy entrepreneurs. It is clear that with any large new industry or construction project such as Wylfa"B" there will be inward migration. We need to keep and encourage as many of those migrants as possible.

To cater for both temporary and permanant migrants we need to establish English medium education in a number of primary schools around the island.

With English medium education coupled to a subsidised air link to Manchester, Dublin, Cardiff and London it becomes possible for wealthy business men to settle their famillys in Ynys Mon whilst commuting to businesses elsewhere. Hopefully they would bring investment and innovation with them.

Anonymous said...

Anon 16:36. So, what makes learning Welsh so difficult for anyone? Would France set-up English-medium schools? And, extending your logic, we should of course set-up Polish, German, French and maybe Ukrainian-medium schools, too.

Personally, I welcome anyone who makes a positive contribution to Wales, no matter what colour or language. Just don't try telling the natives what language to speak in their own country. Because, the English are surely not so dumb that they can't learn a new language. Are they?

Or maybe you're just a troll?

G**t Sais Cochyn said...

is it me or is that previous comment a shrouded racist remark.

What do you call someone who speaks three languages?
Tri lingual
What do you call someone who speaks two languages?
Bi lingual
What do you call someone who speaks one language?
English!

not so dumb but reticent and lazy maybe - why bother when everyone else is learning your native language - much more economic benefit from learning Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Arabic, French, German or Spanish
As a someone that considers themselves not a welsh speaker (something i do have some regrets about) i have missed out on a number of local benefits and now feel the biggest loss is the cognitive benefits of being multi lingual and the relative ease polyglots have when acquiring further languages

Anonymous said...

It's not the fact the learning to speak Welsh is difficult it's the fact that it's compulsory in some sectors, the language of Scotland is Gaelic however it is not a prerequisite for employment

Anonymous said...

Anon 17.10. Welsh is compulsory in all schools in Wales.

I don't think there was a suggestion that it shouldn't be in Anglesey only that those people who would live here and come from areas where there is an option of their children going to Non Welsh MEDIUM primary schools should have the same option in Anglesey.

It would allow the population to be re-invigorated with new people, new ideas and new money.

Old Mona said...

I think the comments posted and Druids original comments regarding IOACC are excellent except the one about Trolls and Projection bias which is completely lost on me!

I think we need a complete rethink on what Councillors, Officers and staff at the council do, how they think and what there objectives should be. The Island is in a mess thanks to a disjointed approach by the powers that be, locally, regionally and Nationally. We need to look outside the box,bring in new people to stand as councillors maybe under party banners, people with a grasp of the economic realities facing the Island, people who can stand up to officers without the threat of legal action. We need basically to get rid of all the current shower and start again. Get the staff at all levels on the council on side so that everyone has the same objectives.

We must sell Anglesey to the outside world not just for tourism but as a place to do business. The airlink must be expanded to London, Midlands and the North and Ireland and we must get the Government and Assembly on our side.

We need Wylfa badly but what if we don't get it do we just give up? We need to build multi faceted groups of industries so that there is a future for everyone.

Prometheuswrites said...

Creating a Manifesto for Good Governance
I’m not a great admirer of management jargon, however as it’s made its way into everyday use, I make no excuses for the following. (I didn’t want to sound imperative but couldn’t think of another word instead of ‘need’)
We need to:
have some stated collective idea of what we are going to achieve (objective [Manifesto]), why we want to achieve it (purpose) and what we want it to lead to (consequences).
know who our audience is (IOACC/Local People/WAG/Media-Channels)?
to know the current state of affairs: what is working and what isn’t working.
to identify what we want to stop, what we don’t want to be happening and how to avoid these.
A basic set of ground-rules for contributions would help keep the tread focused and avoid abuse. (I’m not opposed to ‘flamers’ and a bit of argy-bargee, I’d just prefer it to happen in other threads.
There’s a fair bit of suggestions and comments on earlier blogs and I’m happy for Druid to collect and compile a ‘sketch-map’ structure for a Manifesto that we can review and amend (and review and amend), till satisfied.
I’ve read the IOACC Economic Development Plan, The Coastal Development Plan and various other development plans over the years and I think they’re good in theory. They’re certainly excellent as far the PR and presentation side of it goes, but sadly lacking in detail about HOW to achieve the stated goals; a point also made in many of the critical audit reports on IOACC.
One of my preferences for a manifesto is that it accounts for/addresses this ‘how to’ aspect.

Anonymous said...

No Councillor should stand un-opposed. Where no other candidate comes forward there should still be a ballot- For or Against.

Too many councillors just need to keep a handful of people sweet and stand against any change in their area.

Development in Ynys mon stagnates as a result. To be elected oppose everything.

Anonymous said...

I think that all ideas are interesting but we should have our own voice in our own Country and we should be telling IOACC what we want and not what we are getting.

Manifesto for change.

The present system is not working, at all, there is too much dialogue and no action, jobs are disappearing, our culture is being raped, our future is on the abyss, we need the Welsh Assembly in to clean the place out, sack the Councillors, close the council, demolish the offices and move everything to Caernarfon, we are too small to be on our own, we have learnt it doesn't work, we have to be Gwynedd again.

Real Welsh Nationalists Army
( Amlwch Brigade)

Anonymous said...

It takes a blunt message like above for people to realise what a mess we are in. Trust and Respect, two words which are not in the vocabulary of IOACC, these are two simple words we do NOT trust them, because they do not RESPECT us.

Anonymous said...

The Labour Party were warned of a new generation of people who were totally disillusioned by the political system, they feel BETRAYED, we all do. This is why we are all trying to gain points for writing a manifesto for change, how can there be change, when the people we voted still IGNORE us?

Take last weeks, fiasco, Bowles and Barrie Durkin, who is right? I know who I believe, and it isn't Bowles, but nor is it the Council either, no one listens to anyone anymore, we are all in this together, except that some of us, have more power, the power to lie, cheat and destroy.

My manifesto would include, the immediate election of a Commissioner, to investigate the Conduct and performance of Bowles and McGregor and their commitment to denying the people of Anglesey to a fair and honourable Council.

Anonymous said...

The rants are endless on this blog...it gets very monotonous, almost to the point of making you sleep !
Yes, we can all agree that we are not properly governed, that the IACC is a failed and impotent authority, that most members are self-interested morons there for the £££money, that DB is an arrogant temporary dictator, that BD is a self-styled champion of perceived and perhaps real abuse, that CMcG whilst a decent bloke is in the wrong place at the wrong time, that fatcat senior officers are lazy and ineffectual etc etc.
I have to agree with the Druid`s draft manifesto....but how to bring it about ????????
Blin o Fon.

Anonymous said...

Just one word of caution. IOACC already shares documents and therefore personnel with Gwynedd.

The Western Mail had Gwynedd as the most secretive council in Wales because of thelevel of FOI requests that they refused.

Hard to say where Anglesey was though, they failed to answer the request about information on FOI requests!

I agree that the Council has had it, but rule should come from Cardiff.

Mr. Bowles never had to succeed to be honest, he only had to SAY that he had succeeded.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

I apologise but have deleted a few comments about trolls and projection because I'm not sure of their purpose and they didn't really add anything to this discussion.

Regarding schools - I personally would support the Tory proposal for 'free schools' whereby interested parties are allowed to set up schools as they wish. Therefore, residents would be free to set up their own English language schools if that is what they want. And why not?

Anonymous said...

Shell Fund.

The Shell Fund that was donated by Shell for the people of Amlwch, not ANGLESeY, ahould be made public and not hidden away, where did it go?

SUBME

Anonymous said...

The manifesto for change, should encourage and protect the right for the people of Anglesey to be treated like equals. And not like the current system where they treat the people like subhumans.

Anonymous said...

Subme...interesting comment...for the people of Amlwch...why exactly...and is it true, I don`t know.
Incidentally, the Chair of the Anglesey Charitable Trust (the Shell fund)is now no other than the disgraced and ostrecised Councillor from Marianglas....!
Blin o Fon

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Sorry but I have deleted a few posts because they were leading off topic and I would like to keep this thread focused on the manifesto discussion.

P.S. Blin o Fon - nice to see you back after a short hiatus!

LMS for ever. said...

Not sure about the High-speed rail link idea. As already stated, the excellent rail service to London is the best we have ever had, but like the A55, it is for the Dublin traffic not the 65K population of Ynys Mon. There was a time not so long ago (early 70's) that there were rumours that the line to Chester was to be singled - fortunately, that never came to pass. High speed rail is only viable when serving populations many times bigger than ours, as evidenced by the latest plans to link places such as London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow. Increasing the speed of trains to Chester would involve expensive upgrading of a line which has problems because of its proximity to the sea and the short distance between stations would limit the benefit of expensive upgrading.
I travelled on the Amlwch branch the day it was closed in 1964, but I can't see a viable service running again from Llangefni unless the cost of motoring rises astronomically. It could only handle short local trains, and again, I just don't see that the population would sustain it. It's not as if the present bus service can't cope. Whenever I have joined a train at Llanfairpwll during the rush
hour, I have done so with only 1 or 2 others at the most so people are obviously happier stuck in the bridge queue than bypassing it by rail.

Anonymous said...

Facebook should be banned in the council offices

And Ebay

You Know Who I Am. said...

"Shell Fund.

The Shell Fund that was donated by Shell for the people of Amlwch, not ANGLESeY, ahould be made public and not hidden away, where did it go?"

Well, it's still there, but if you dare ask a question about it, you'll soon find yourself on the wrong side of the various people who 'manage' the Trust. It's now worth about £11 million, but it is fair to say that the Trust (which is not strictly the Council, even though it's all run by council staff and all councillors), are NOT able, by law, to spend the capital - the amount they were given - by Shell. What they do is invest it and use some of the money thus gained to give to 'good causes'. Some of us don't like what the money's invested in - oil, weapons, anti-union companies, etc.

The types of good causes? Well, almost exactly half - about £300,000 a year - goes to Oriel Ynys Mon (the gallery in Llangefni). But the people of Anglesey have no input into whether supporting a Council-owned facility is fair, reasonable, required, or, given the council links, legal or moral. Several thousands then go to football clubs, church hall restorations and the like.

The main problems with the Shell money are: you need to dig very deep to get information about anything, particularly applying for money - this should be easily available from the IOACC website, but isn't; you shouldn't have to apply via your councillor etc. Meetings minutes are often out of date or contain very little information. There need to be some representatives of the public on the trust, beyond the councillors who claim to represent us, but fail. Even the Council officers have managed to sit back whilst tens of thousands of pounds' worth of material was stolen from the Shell Rhosgoch site, which continued in the form of stolen railway steel and sleepers until very recently. Even the legally-required financial reports are almost always seriously late being filed, see:

http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/SHOWCHARITY/RegisterOfCharities/CharityWithoutPartB.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1000818&SubsidiaryNumber=0

So, Manifesto idea? Insist that there are members of the public sitting on the Shell Trust. Oh, and that the Treasurer of the Trust files his reports on time; not doing so smacks of contempt for those whose money it is.

Anonymous said...

The Elephant in the room is the inter-relationship of people on the island, familial links and quid pro quo dealings that stretch back generations.

I have lived in Africa, and one of the reasons I like Anglesey is that it is the closest to living in the 3rd world you can get without leaving the UK. I have said this many times.

The way things work on the island would not be tolerated anywhere else in the UK.

I wonder if the answer is to only employ people from off the island, which is no answer.

I can only assume the people who could stop it are benefitting themselves.

The problem is directly a result of geography and history, which can't be changed.

There are said to be 6 degrees of separation between people in the world; on Anglesey there are 3.

Bringing this issue up might not be popular, but I think it is the single most relevant one and anything else will fail because of it.

Maybe Anglesey's unique social makeup should be seen as an asset, like the geology no-one will come to look at, interpol could set up a college here to study fraud and society, sociologists could be invited from all over the world to marvel at the tightknit machinery of helping your own, economists could study how it is possible to spend £100 million without having anything to show from it (make that one into a film), a university of corruption would draw in big dictators and their entourage.

There is money to be made.

Anonymous said...

Counc. Durkin. 11.33, 13th.
What is required to command the attention of IACC, its officers and Members, the Press, WAG, and the world at large is an organised peaceful mass rally in front of the Council Offices...or Llangefni town hall...widely publicised in advance....led by an articulate people`s champion.
Who may that be ? and would the rally command substantial support ? or are the vociferous commentators on this blog content to vent their anger merely in cyberspace.
Druid...come out and lead this rally...you have the support !
Blin o Fon

Anonymous said...

"Bringing this issue up might not be popular, but I think it is the single most relevant one and anything else will fail because of it."

A very eloquently-stated point, and one I entirely agree with. In one word, Anglesey's problems are cultural. That doesn't mean all Anglesey people suffer from the disease - I'm a native of the island, for one! But it's the reason why the Council cannot, themselves, sort their problems out.

I suspect that, a bit like our new government, all the various peoples, cultures and languages of Anglesey should come together and put the common good of Anglesey first. This blog is the first important step towards some sort of better democracy here, which is thankfully incapable of being shut-down or censored like some locally-based forums.

Anonymous said...

A shrewd if somewhat flippant observation Anon 08.09.

The essentially parochial nature of society in Ynys Mon lends itself to bias and "Favours" being done at every level.

I think it is fundamental to all reform that we look outside Anglesey and Gwynedd and actively promote, facilitate and welcome inward migration.

It is easy for a place to stagnate when there are barriers placed in the way of fresh ideas and fresh personalities.

I have noticed that whenever this aspect of Anglesey society or Governance is touched on there arrives a spate of vitriolic near racist posts on the site which are usually deleted by the Druid. If we don't confront and explore the limitations and shortcomings of Anglesey society then how do we come up with a reasoned manifesto?

It's a shame that we are entering a period of austerity but we should look at what has been done so far and what is proposed by the council as cost savings. Is it what we want?

Did we want to cancel all night classes for people with learning disabilities?

Did we want to close the Llanerchymedd respite care home for people with learning disabilities?

Did we intend that day centre costs to carers of people with learning disabilities should go from zero contribution to £25 per week?

I just instance these things because it is clear that when IOACC decided to bring in cost saving measures they picked first on the poorest and least able to defend themselves. Is this an indication of a moral Council willing to take hard decisions in the best interest of the most vulnerable in society?

We all (it seems) accept that we have a Council (including senior officers apparently) which is dedicated to ensuring that friends, family and business associates benefit first and foremost from the councils funds and powers. The first step for the Island to regenerate itself has to be the removal of the self serving coterie presently helping themselves in Llangefni.

The Druid should not only initiate this worthwhile exercise in looking at a manifesto for good governance, he should draft a petition to the National Assembly asking for a period of direct government from Cardiff so that we can cleanse ourselves of the disease in IOACC. If the petition is well drafted it can be signed online by any interested party.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Anon 08:22.

I suspect that there are some ideas that are widely supported but cannot be floated anywhere but in Cyberspace and under a cloak of anonimity.

That sadly remains a barrier. It's a bit like "High Noon" where we all sit back and watch Councillor Durkin or Peter Rogers being ripped to shreds by the establishment while we stand on the side lines shouting encouragement from behind our hands.

However wasn't it Tacitus who said that all gossip is not necessarily false? Perhaps the link for this site should be forwarded to the Assembly Minister responsible for Local Government. He might not take it all seriously but some one in his staff might start to read it and get a different slant on matters that that coming in official reports from Mr Bowles.

Anonymous said...

Petitions to the Assembly:

http://www.assemblywales.org/gethome/e-petitions.htm

Anonymous said...

"He might not take it all seriously but some one in his staff might start to read it and get a different slant on matters that that coming in official reports from Mr Bowles. "

Yes, and whilst he may not have any grounds to act on much of the stuff on here, he certainly should be concerned that the Council is held in such low regard.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9.15
This is already well known at WAG !

Anonymous said...

Economic/community:

We should stop trying to pretend that industrial agriculture represents 'unspoilt' natural landscape and that this justifies stopping people building their own homes.

Proposal: develop a scheme whereby people can build traditional cottages in vernacular styles using local materials. Don't allow paved or tarmaced drives, but promote walking to a house. Promote renewable energy. This would create affordable homes, a whole industry to support it, revive traditional building skills, give hope to local people and keep them here, and demonstrate meaningful sustainable living, not just tick-box style schemes currently in-vogue.

Think different. Think for ourselves (and kick-out the desk fliers on guaranteed salaries in Llangefni).

The Druid of Anglesey said...

A petition to the Welsh Assembly might be a very good idea indeed... anybody want to propose what it should say?

Anonymous said...

Anon. 9.25
Unrealistic I`m afraid.
We are up against national, and local, planning policy which is deeply entrenched...so the idea is a non-starter.
Incidentally, you will find its not (generally) planning officers who are difficult, they are no different in mindset to planning officers elsewhere in north Wales...they merely interpret and apply adopted policies, and national guidance.
Yes there are lazy, ineffectual officers at every level in the Coucnil, and some are past their sell-by date, and should be put out to grass (golf ?).
No, its the parochial culture and narrow, vengeful mindset of our elected Members that is the poison here.
The Council should be dissolved and a local election held for new members...wishful ??

Anonymous said...

How about: Brief outline of the problems we face with this Council, based on a proper investigation such as that of the 2009 Auditor General's report. Then say we are being let down, unable to move forward to improve Anglesey because of the problems identified.

We could make reference to the cuts required, and that this, together with the problems, makes a case for looking again at what the Council provides, how it provides them, how succesfully (or not), and how things might be done differently. We can also suggest more community involvement on committees and so on (being able to attend without opening mouth is no way forward).

We might even ask for a meeting with the Minister to discuss in more detail ways forward. It's our tax money that is being wasted. Therefore it's our right to have a say about what needs improving.

Anonymous said...

Create schemes to reduce living costs at every level.

People are poor here, make living cheaper.

And have more cash available to spend locally.

Use EU funding to promote gas instead of petrol. Give £1000 grants to convert cars. Build lots of gas stations. Families with will save £500 a year or more. £2.5 million would convert maybe 5000 cars for bulk orders, affecting maybe 20,000 people.

I have already suggested a reduction in electricity bills for everyone on the island should Wylfa B get built. A 30% reduction would save households several hundred more £ a year.

Energy-saving should be investigated and promoted much more vigorously.

Local transport. There needs to be incentives for car-sharing shemes, maybe pool cars made available for booking. Ways to move around without owning a car should be investigated.

I think people should stop thnking how to be richer and start thinking how to live better on less money.

Anonymous said...

How about:

On behalf of the People Of Ynys Mon/ Isle of Anglesey.

We believe that our Local Authority has lost the confidence of the people irrevocably. We petition that the elected councillors are removed. That Mr Bowles and Mr McGregor are stood down from their posts and that the day to day affairs of the Council are administered from the Welsh Assembly Government.

We further request that the Assembly forms an investigative body, Independent of Ynys Mon, to pursue, investigate and punish all wrongdoing by Councillors and Officers of Ynys Mon County Council or any associated business or body.

Only when all wrongdoing has been identified and dealt with should the Council be handed back to newly elected Members on a probationary basis.

Anonymous said...

If we were in France, we'd spray the Britannia bridge with 1000 tons of cowshit, drive a flock of sheep in the middle and barricade both ends with every tractor on the island until action was agreed.

How about next Friday?

Anonymous said...

Anon 09:13

Good point, but Tacitus is a bit persona non grata around Druid's grove, if you know what I mean. Bad history between them.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Anon 10:45 - Tacitus was just a hack. The Druid reserves his ire for Caius Suetonius Paulinus!

Anonymous said...

Please do something about these enormous executive style houses right in the countryside - they are unbelievably tacky. Have you driven through Capel Mawr recently?

Anonymous said...

Get some world attention by demanding the Romans apologise for invading us and destroying our culture.

Send Peter Rogers to Rome to deal with it.

That will get some airtime.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:53 You mean "Council Houses?"

Anonymous said...

Turning BLUE DRUIDS red was surely an act for which Suetonius should be congratulated.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Anon 10:56 I think we're getting dangerously off-topic but following your comment I'm finding it hard to repress an image in my mind of a laurel-crown bedecked Peter Rogers on a chariot parading through the streets of Rome with various council officers pulled behind the chariot in chains.

Anonymous said...

You only have to look at him - there in no way he is pre-Roman, if you get my drift.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Anon 10:58 - despite myself I laughed. Quality.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Welsh/English debate, I have thought about it over the years and have come to the conclusion the only fair thing is to make everyone learn Esperanto in addition to Welsh and English.

Think about it; Welsh and English moaning together about having to learn that foriegn language. What a unifying thing to do. It is fair because everyone will have to learn the same way.

Then we could attract visitors from South America.

stats man said...

To Druid returning to the post at hand, here are some suggestions:

Education.

To consider the formation of a new college to cater for:

Sixth form education
Training for adults
Provide training for areas of need i.e construction.

To commission a fundamental review of all Ynys Môn primary and secondary education needs in the short and long term, so that the tough decisions to be taken are made on a rational basis.

To achieve the above to work closely with other providers private or public in Gwynedd and elsewhere

Leisure.

To carry a full review of all leisure facilities on the island, both in the public and private sector.

Recognise:

1.The good work already being carried out by many on the island in developing young peoples talents in sport, and provide support,

2.the need to provide swimming lessons for young children, and that swimming is also beneficial to adults.

Work in partnership with private companies, charities and others, in order to ensure suitable facilities

Social Services.

Working in partnership with adjacent local authorities, the NHS and private providers - identify and eliminate duplication of services and encourage and support good working practice.

Provide full support and training to social service workers.

Highways.

Consider putting the service out to competitive tender.

Holyhead Port

The key to the development of the island, work closely with Stena and others to develop port commercially to encourage trade as a gateway to Wales and North England (building on the good work already achieved.)

stats man said...

Continuing on from my previous comments:

Legal Matters.

Separate the functions between the running of the Council, and policing of the Council, by the appointment of Good Governance Commissioner to deal with complaints against the council not resolved by the council including:

Freedom of information requests
Compliance with Data Protection Act.

Economic Development

Seek funding to support training for employees of companies on the island, existing or potential.

Ensure that any policy is not an impediment to economic development, unless it damages a matter of national importance or a local environmental importance.

Where possible reduce the costs of running small business, and provide support to encourage growth of existing small businesses and establishment of new ventures.

Working with the Post Office, other local providers and community council’s establish where possible one stop shops in the provision of council services. Provide funding to develop training for non council staff in provision of such services.

Anonymous said...

No more committees, reviews, policy statements, meetings, initiatives, programmes, partnerships and all of the other friction activities that do not ignite the fire.

Anyone uttering the words 'sustainable', 'vision' and 'deliver' in one sentence to be tied to the clock tower and horsewhipped. eg 'We have the visison to deliver sustainable projects'.

Instead, for example, leisure facilities. Employ one intelligent person and tell them to sort it out. You don't need to spend on a review, they can drive around and see for themselves in a day ot two. Then let them work out what needs to be done and let them get on with it.

Same with most of it. It could be sorted out by 10 good people.

Anonymous said...

The iosland does not have raw materials (in the current world rankings) so the greatest asset is the absolute beauty of ourland. If there was a proper co-ordinated plan Anglesey could the greatest tourist puller in the UK which would benefit hotels, holiday parks and local business. There would worthwhile jobs for many islanders in service inductry and management. OK we knowthat some of the elected would also clean-up financially but that will always be the case. I am not singling any individual out but that last lot of CC elections have clearly shown men who had 'old bangers' now buy new suits and upmarket vehicles, indeed look at the persolised plate brigade on the left side of the car park.

However, if the 'I want to get rich' brigade do so from business, at least those business are employing people.

How about some positive suggestions to ehance and develop our island. Everything we eat comes from the land and the water round it.


Mr Happy

Anonymous said...

Well Mr Happy take a look at Bodmin in Cornwall.

Bodmin has atown hall very like Llangefni. It is a thriving visitor centre with many facilities, not a permenant subject of a council trying to get rid of it.

I suppose if Cornwall had a bloggers who despised the non-celtic masses, they would not be getting so many millions a year from the non-celtic visitors.

Pasty Man

Anonymous said...

Tomorrow night all will be revealed - watch this space - as this blogger has back-traced (we have the technology) the Druid's web addess and will be revealing the Druid's true identity. Any guesses before all is revealed? This surprise is well worth waiting for!!! You have been rumbled Druid.

nooka said...

Personally I have no problem with not knowing the Druid's "real" name. I'm just happy to see a forum for sensible, grass roots discussion about Anglesey.

Nooka

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Anon 00:24 - Great news, I've been wondering who I really am for a while.

Anonymous said...

My guess is Lemmy Kilmister - he doesn't like what's happened to Benllech.

stats man said...

The definition of irony willing to disclose someone identity whilst hiding one's own.

It's the IP address you need by the way.
The IP address of druidsrevenge.blogspot.com (web address) is 209.85.135.191 and is assigned to United States, via Google's proxy server.

Anonymous said...

Tourism and Leisure

A big attraction in the centre of the island, something like Greenwood Centre crossed with Eden Project crossed with Center Parc, including walking, riding and cycling paths. Boating etc. 3 swimming pools with slides, waves etc. Discounted entry and season tickets for residents.

Somewhere to go on a rainy day after you have been to the covered market in Llangefni.

Not a shopping centre.

Anonymous said...

add to above. The site could be council owned. They would plan the layout, build infrastructure like roads, carparks, paths, WCs and some buildings. then have say 20 or 30 plots scattered around for rent.

Like a business park.

It would be low-impact development. No high buildings. Spread out over a wide area.

Anonymous said...

Parc Druid

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Anon 11:35 - now you're talking!

stats man said...

And you could have a job, each morning at a replica cave entrance, you the Druid could chant magic old Druid sayings and open the attraction, wow the Americans would love it, (start growing your beard now).

Nooka said...

Slightly off topic here but in reply to a post above re Shell - Thanks to You Know Who I Am (14th May 6.55) for the very interesting link to the Anglesey Charitable Trust fund accounts on the Charities Commission website.

Reading the accounts it seems they have been investing the money in stocks and shares.
Quote from pg 3 of latest accounts (2008 - signed off in Feb of this year)
"A sum of £:1.6m has been earmarked towards regeneration schemes from the past
capital growth of the fund, although following stock market falls affecting the value
of the Trust's investments it had not been possible to allocate this amount in full."

Quote pg 4 "The Trust has wide investment powers including purchase of stocks, shares,
securities and property of all types whether or not they produce income and
irrespective of the risk involved."

But don't worry about the risk because on pg3 "The major risks, to which the Trust is exposed, as identified by the Trustee, have
been reviewed and systems or procedures have been established to manage the
risk."

Pg 5 Quote "This year the financial performance suffered due to falls in the stock market in the
first quarter of 2008, with a total net loss on investments of £0.6m for the year."

and yet the "Anticipated gross income for the year was £394,000. As it turned out, investment
income was £451,549."
Does that mean that less money was lost than had been anticipated?

pg 6 "POST BALANCE SHEET EVENTS
Reflecting changes in the wider economy, the market value of the Trust's
investments has fallen further since 31 March 2008. As a result, the intention to
make further allocations of regeneration funding has been frozen in order to
comply w th the Charitable Trust's long term target for the value of investments."

No wonder the accounts are late.

Perhaps the Trust is run by a bunch of bankers?

Anonymous said...

Nooka; you mis-spelled wankers.

Nooka said...

I was being polite

Anonymous said...

Why isn't there any one here who cares about Anglesey and the people? No wonder the Council are laughing, they know that no one cares.... Barrie Durkin, Peter Rogers all windbags, the Councillors have all let us down, no wonder we are getting ANGRY.

Real Welsh Nationalists Army.

Anonymous said...

RWNA 21.34

I think you are correct.

Do you remember the old Chineese joke "Virginity like bubble, one prick all gone". Maybe thats it, (now I am not for one minute suggesting thewy have never had any but) Anglesey Councillors and many officers make up the 'bubble' and Barrie Durking makes up the other part. Still once it has burst we can stary again with a clean? sheet.

Nooka said...

I got the impression that there was a lot of caring here, about Anglesey and its people.

People's lives are affected every day by the actions of the Council. Evidently people need to vent their frustration and anger. Yes there are some puerile and facile comments - and the odd incomprhensible comment - but humour breaks through now and then. Most importantly some seeds of hope.

To return to the thread, perhaps trust between the people and the elected members and the officers has broken down so far that some sort of reconciliation process needs to take place before we can begin to move on.

Anonymous said...

DRUID

24 HOURS A DAY COMPUTERS ASSIST IN SECURING WORLDWIDE SAFETY AND LAWFULNESS. THOSE COMPUTERS RECOGNISE THREE/FOUR LETTER DESIGNATORS, KEY WORDS AND CERTAIN PHRASES.
EXAMPLES OF ALL HAVE APPEARED ON THESE PAGES.
CONTRIBUOTORS, WHILST ADDING TO AND ENJOYING YOUR BLOGSPOT SHOULD BE AWARE THAT FOOLISHLY ENTERED MATTER COULD LEAD TO EXAMINATION, IDENTIFICATION AND CLOSURE WHICH WOULD BE SHAME.


Little Brother

Anonymous said...

Little brother, no offence, but did you cut and paste this from a Nigerian 419?

Anonymous said...

The best way forward would be to set a date..say 1st of June 2010 then the following happens.. every single Councillor hands in his or her resignation... chaos will start..then the Welsh Assembly may just wake up..that would be our first request in our manifesto.

Real Welsh Nationalists Army.
Amlwch Brigade Commander.

Y g**t sais cochyn said...

I would like to suggest that Promethius writes post seems to be coherent regarding getting some sort of manifesto
and my own suggestions especially regarding the railway line were as long term tourist attractions
Lets be honest the local populus is hardly going to expand and suddenly provide hundreds of well paid jobs that draw the youth back but there are the natural assets that cold be capitalised on, not for great bucks but for sustainable long term benefit. Soft technology - Oh and as for speeding the coastal line up - it would help Dublin and the island making Anglesey easier to commute from ( though is seems that as a group we are even more disjointed than the council we are all happy to run down) Manifesto??? - what is it the council are actually supposed to do???

Anonymous said...

To all angry Bloggers here....If you want direct public access to CMcG and his cronies, and DB, outside their Council ramparts, for a real demonstration of protest..look no further than the IACC tent at the imminent Anglesey Show ??
They will be there in public, and the press will be around !

Anonymous said...

Good maybe someone needs to punch their lights out, get arrested, then when charged plead not guilty, get taken to court, plead not guilty, then tell the world how these toothless gutless chinless wonders have destroyed people's lives. I'm up for that, my target is the chinless wonder who is in charge of issuing licences to the immigrants yet refuses to give a licence to my Welsh Brothers.

I know who you are....

Anonymous said...

DRUID,
I wonder how many of the vociferous ranting-angry bloggers here are prepared to shed their convenient protective anonimity and come to a public platform to air their many grievances in an articulate, persuasive and intelligent way...with EVIDENCE....not many I guess, if any ??
This blog has great potential for the improvement of Anglesey, and IACC, but it is being spoilt by too many ranters with idle time on their hands.
Blin o Fon

Anonymous said...

Regarding IT and FOI, I propose ALL documents, emails, minutes and accounts are automatically indexed and made available online in one form or another.

Exemptions will have to to applied for through an independent body and copies lodged with them. This would also be indexed but some control may be needed to release contents. This will be decided by the independent organisation, not the CC.

ALL paperwork to be located at one place or the other.

No need for FOI requests.

Prometheuswrites said...

I've seen the information posted previously stating that Ynys Mon has the lowest average income (is this right) of around 1/2 the UK average. Can anyone shed light on what the relative cost of living is on Ynys Moncompared to other areas of the UK?

Anonymous said...

Promethuswrites - The Welsh Assembly publish key statistics (Google key statistics anglesey) i.e below from report April 2008 for Ynys Môn:

At £396, the median(i) weekly pay for full-time workers in Isle of Anglesey is around £19 less than the Welsh median.

and

The Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation 2005 ranks specific small areas in Wales in terms of deprivation: 2% of Isle of Anglesey’s areas fall in the 10% most deprived areas in Wales, but the majority of its areas are more deprived than the Wales average.

Anonymous said...

Belated thanks to Anon who replied to my question above.

I've been to the web-site and checked but couldn't find what I wanted which was a 'average cost of living of Ynys mon residents'

unfortunately the data that: 2% of land area of 10% of most deprived area's doesn't give me a great deal of useable information - there are several statistical spins I could give to this data, but none tell me how much it cost to live up here.

regards

Prometheuswrites

Anonymous said...

YouTube is here at last.