Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The Anglesey Coup d'état - Day 5 News

  
It appears that not all Plaid Cymru councillors are happy with signing the new Terms of Engagement either. Without the support of all Plaid and Labour councillors, the Alliance will collapse passing control back to the rump Original Independents and Anglesey Forward. If that happens, will Plaid Cymru and/or Labour switch their support to the other side in order to retain some executive power? The whole thing is looking more and more fragile by the hour...

UPDATE 1: The local press have finally caught up with the goings on in the Llangefni council chamber. You can read the Daily Post article here. Clive McGregor's is quoted as making the following veiled threat to councillors who do not sign up: "The Assembly’s Minister for Local Government, Carl Sargeant, has already made it clear what will happen if this council cannot mend its ways". Peter Rogers, the unaffiliated councillor for Rhosyr, says he hasn't been kept informed of whats going on: "It is very worrying watching this from the sidelines. I have received nothing official". Finally Cllr Barrie Durkin confirms his intention to take legal action against the council for their "outrageous actions".
  
UPDATE 2: I'm now hearing that Plaid Cymru's party hierarchy have come out against their councillors who have signed the Terms of Agreement and told them to withdraw. Is this is true, it is surely the end of the Alliance.

UPDATE 3: Cllr Barrie Durkin has confirmed that he is taking legal action not only against the Council but also against all councillors who have either signed, supported or acquiesced in the "Terms of Engagement", in the knowledge that in doings so, they are bound by its terms to publicly 'name and shame' him.
  
UPDATE 4: A learned commenter writes:

"Actually, reading the document again, Barrie Durkin does already have a claim of defamation against the Council and all members involved in this.
Why?
Because it names Cllr. Durkin, and another, specifically. It does not say why these individuals merit naming and shaming, nor provide any evidence for the need for such draconian measures. Further, the document says that they will report the individuals to the Ombudsman. Problems are (a) they seem not yet to have reported their grievance to the Ombudsman, (b) the Ombudsman has not investigated or reached a decision, and (c) even when the Ombudsman does reach a conclusion, then that is not necessarily sufficient to make accusations against anyone.
So, I think what is shown is that a 'robust' defamation has already occurred."

UPDATE 5: I hear reports that a delegation of unnamed Councillors visited Interim MD David Bowles this afternoon to ask him to remove the names of Elwyn Schofield and Barrie Durkin from the 'Terms of Engagement'. Apparently he refused and insisted that he would be proceeding to lodge a complaint against both councillors with the Ombudsman.
  
UPDATE 6: News about the new Alliance is now up on the BBC News site here. McGregor is quoted as saying:
"I believe that forming a new alliance, made up of those committed to working together and moving this council forward, is our only real chance of sustainable political recovery," said Coun McGregor.
"Many of us have been on opposing sides of the political divide in the past, and this alliance will undoubtedly raise plenty of eyebrows.
"We are bonded, however, by the common goal of turning this authority around, not just as demanded by the Welsh Assembly Government, but because it is the right thing to do."
Labour's John Chorlton is also quoted, saying that the Alliance represents:
 "a huge leap of faith on our parts. However, the Labour members, together with the Menai group, are committed to the new alliance and working in partnership with Llais i Fôn and Plaid Cymru to ensure it succeeds"
  

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

DERWYDD
Hardly surprising is it.
Lets call on WAG to dissolve the Council and send a management team in till an election, for heaven`s sake ?
DB should agree.
BoF

The Great Councillini said...

Damned right! This is a total farce and demonstrates clearly that the elected members are unable to pull in a common direction and get their affairs in order.

It's symptomatic of the end of an era where being a councillor has been all about, in the most part, self-interest and hopeless, if any, representation of the people.

I think this blog might adopt a formal position of campaigning to bring an end to this ridiculous council that casts shame on our island and people.

You really can't change a broken system by continuing to have the same old people in place; they are the problem, and it's well past the time they realised this and gave up for the good of us all.

Don't forget to air your views at tomorrow evening's (7-9pm) question time at Llangefni's Council chamber hosted by Cllr. McGregor's and his not-so-merry men.

Anonymous said...

9.04 I agree.
Only an election and an infusion of new Members can begin to solve this problem, which is terminal...it is otherwise to paper over the structural cracks.
1. Derwydd...let us call for an ELECTION ?
2. DB, press the button ?

dave said...

Get rid of these rotten apples now

stats man said...

After thinking about it overnight, and with today's latest news I have concluded that the only answer is to merge the Ynys Môn and Gwynedd councils.

Now is the time to start, firstly beginning with a consultation period as to the form of the new council. A referendum of the people could be held at the same time as the referendum on the Welsh Assembly, with the elections in July 2012 being for the new Council.

Does anyone know whether the Welsh Assembly have the powers to do this, or whether an act would need to be enacted at Parliament ?.

To all Councillors who refused to sign the new coalition agreement, this will be your legacy, not the improvement of the islands, but the collapse of the Council.

Anonymous said...

The local press have known about this since day one of the coup attempt - but don't go to print until Wednesday.

stats man said...

I see with interest, in the same internet issue of the Daily Post an article about merging planning issues in Gwynedd and Ynys Môn - We should now to follow this logic and merge the councils into one entity.

Anonymous said...

Information is coming in that Plaid Cymru hierarchy have condemned IOACC' Plaid Group for signing the "Terms of Engagement" and must withdraw???

Not to do so would leave Plaid Cymru open to legal action being taken against them.

Anonymous said...

I can see Cllr Durkin's point IF the public naming and shaming would express views or claims that could not be supported by proper evidence. If what is said is true, then it would seem that any legal action is doomed to failure.

The onus on anyone making a public claim against another that tends to defame that person (note: tends to, it doesn't actually have to), is to prove their claim as correct. If they can't, well, Cllr. Durkin will be surely claiming an appropriate level of damages through the courts.

The Great Councillini said...

Actually, reading the document again, Barrie Durkin does already have a claim of defamation against the Council and all members involved in this.

Why?

Because it names Cllr. Durkin, and another, specifically. It does not say why these individuals merit naming and shaming, nor provide any evidence for the need for such draconian measures. Further, the document says that they will report the individuals to the Ombudsman. Problems are (a) they seemnot yet to have reported their grievance to the Ombudsman, (b) the Ombudsman has not investigated or reached a decision, and (c) even when the Ombudsman does reach a conclusion, then that is not necessarily sufficient to make accusations against anyone.

So, I think what is shown is that a 'robust' defamation has already occurred.

stats man said...

Not that it matters anymore, but sending someone to 'Coventry' is hardly slander. Saying that you are going to report someone to a body for investigation is neither.

And what would a court case really achieve, to the majority of the rate payers - NOTHING!!

We shall move on, lets merge the councils and really leave the past behind. If it was possible ( most likely not) any current councillors and I mean all of them would be barred from ever standing again. Enough is enough!

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:06.

You misunderstand the law, me thinks. Slander is defamation in the spoken word. Libel is what we have here on paper.

It is not a question of what such a case would achieve, but whether the individual feels some debasing of his character has occurred without justification - in this case, truth. From what I've read, Cllr. Durkin does feel that he has been defamed, and I can only sympathise with that view.

Prometheuswrites said...

There are 3 options for recovery.
1) Reform the current elected body
2) Pass control to Gwynedd
3) WAG assumes control
Let’s examine these in a little more detail:
1. Reform: This is what David Bowles was appointed to do and we are witnessing the struggles to stabilise a situation that has been condemned by the National Auditor. The central problem politically being, as Druid has identified, too many independent’s with no Manifesto and thus a political body with no centres of consensus or cohesion. The solution is to unite and rule, but it is as someone observed earlier, akin to herding cats.
2. Pass control to Gwynedd: Not a satisfactory solution for the public as there are the same allegations of corruption/incompetence in their planning and grants departments as those that have created so much frisson on Ynys Mon. This solution does not address the problem that the same councillors and senior officers will be present in the IOA&GCC chamber; after all each council seat on Ynys Mon will need political representation and council staff will need to be kept in employment as you can’t just make them redundant without severance packages or consequential legal action. Furthermore if there are going to be new ward boundaries for local and regional (WAG) governance then it would make sense in terms of cost to change all the boundaries at once and not to have bear the costs of two lots of re-organisation.
3. The best WAG can do is to send in a team of trouble-shooters to carry out a holding action till the boundaries are re-drawn. Don’t expect good local governance from WAG, they are hardly an exemplar of political cohesion and management (witness the preparations of a referendum timetable). My own experience of involvement in local projects instigated by WAG was to be ostracised for my highlighting of policy failures and not saying what they wanted to hear (when constructive feedback is taken as personal criticism); not the sort of thing to endear me to career minded public servants, and it will, most likely, be people like this who would make up a trouble-shooting team. (And WAG do like to have ‘Targets’).
Of these options, 2 & 3 are temporary at best and don’t really address the core problem, which to my mind is a lack of trust and respect, which while easy to lose is extremely difficult to regain.
So it’s back to option 1. Remember the motto of Robert the Bruce. “ Try, Try and .....”
Today it was announced that the coalition government (of the UK) is saying that they are going to “consult with the people” (hopefully they are using the traditional meaning of the word consult and not the debased meaning that has been the vogue under the ‘new’ labour administration).
So maybe now is indeed the time to present the Manifesto to our politicians and locally elected representatives. Then we can make judgements of their worth and commitment to the public good based on their actions and not their words.

Prometheuswrites said...

http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/2010/06/08/north-wales-councils-to-merge-planning-to-save-cash-55578-26607613/

Here's the link to the report of IOACC and GCC planning portfolio's to be combined.

Maybe option 2 has started.

Anonymous said...

Morris Jones: “It is essential the new Local Development Plan meets the unique challenges posed by the sheer scale of Wylfa and the renewable energy projects in the Irish Sea.”

Ha ha! Is his needle stuck on the same old record? The Local Development plan covers a vast range of subjects, and he brings up the 'energy island' thing again. It makes you wonder whether he's simply promoting Horizon Nuclear plc. Soul sold to the highest bidder, again.

stats man said...

To Anon 12:21 - Well pardon me for not knowing the law - normally when you send someone to 'Coventry' you refuse to speak to them (is that slander not speaking to someone or is it libel?).

Anonymous said...

Stats Man,

Erm, the document under discussion is a written matter, not a spoken one. Coventry doesn't feature in the substantive issue.

So, whilst I'll pardon you for not understanding the law, I'm not so sure a judge will pardon those who have strayed onto very dangerous legal waters.

A Solicitor said...

Apart from the Civil Court actions. This is not just about sending someone to Coventry. It's a lot more serious than that. It's a deliberate attempt to harass, threaten and abuse Clr Durkin and his family. This is a criminal offence and I for one, hope he and his family are making the appropriate complaints to the Police

Anonymous said...

If that's the case 13:12 and I was Clive McGregor and his little cohorts of nasty good for nothings, I'd be out of there like a shot from a gun, before I got myself in any more trouble and then we would see how that Tin Pot Tyrant Bowles, like's being on his own and isolated.

stats man said...

To A solicitor said, - please explain how the statement:

8. Publicly and robustly condemn Cllr Schofiend and Cllr Durkin in a clear statement supporting the Council's position in reporting these individuals to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales for breaches of the Members' Code of Conduct.

is a criminal offense?

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Prometheus - an excellent summary. Like you I do not particularly want outcomes 2 or 3, and prefer to see some kind of sustainable renewal of IoACC. Sadly I don't believe that is possible with a large portion of current councillors. Its getting closer to the time for a formal Good Governance movement.

A Solicitor said...

13:23
The first 9 words say's it all.

stats man said...

To A solicitor said:

Explain, are you sure?

stats man said...

To A solicitor

From SRA - Bogus solicitors

If an unqualified person calls him or herself a solicitor or acts as a solicitor, they are committing a criminal offence. We call these people "bogus solicitors", and we prosecute them.

If you think you are dealing with a bogus solicitor, contact us immediately (by emailing or writing to our Fraud and Confidential Intelligence Bureau).

Sorry, I've just done so

Anonymous said...

If the terms of Engagement are as unlawful or ultra vires as is made out, and it was drafted by DB, and doubtless his army of in-house lawyers (I cannot conceive it was all his own work, not being a lawyer), why was it allowed to see the light of day ?
If it is ultra vires, what a collosal further mess they have got themselves into ?
Its the 11th hour, I fear !

Anonymous said...

"If an unqualified person calls him or herself a solicitor or acts as a solicitor..."

Ha ha. Threats, and all based on hogwash and all typical of desperate people. Nobody asked or paid for advice, it's merely personal views. Are you part of the Amlwch.net shut-down brigade?

Anonymous said...

14.17 "Solicitor" is a word protected by law..."Lawyer" is not, old boy.
We seem to have lots of barrack-room lawyers on the blog ?

stats man said...

No seriously to the person who has called himself 'A solicitor' I really have reported this to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Anonymous said...

Get a Grip boys your loosing the plot.

Anonymous said...

If you are (with respect) so clever stats man, I would be grateful, in precise terms,if you can tell us all. What has Cllr Durkin done wrong to warrant being Publicly and Robustly condemn by anyone to anyone.

Please give details and your show evidence.

Anonymous said...

Derwydd,
What we wonder does the esteemed Recovery Board think of this shaky state of affairs....call me a pessimist, but I can`t see this as recovery, its more akin to a state of comatose ?

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Comment made at 16.19 deleted for making allegations against named persons. You know the rules!

Anonymous said...

You've had over an hour & half now STATS MAN, and I'm still waiting for an answer. I'm now broadening the same question out to everyone.

WHAT HAS COUNCILLOR DURKIN DONE THAT NEEDS ANY OTHER COUNCILLOR TO PUBLICLY AND ROBUSTLY CONDEMN HIM FOR?

Answers with evidence please.

Anonymous said...

Bowles knew what the problems were - Councillors and Officers breaking rules. He disguised this as petty squabbles between Councillors and accused those trying to report the issues as obstructives. He should have tackled the issue head on, he did not and now this. Its a disgrace, the rotten apples should have been dealt with one by one. They have dogged and destroyed this Council with immunity for too long.

Bowles ignored the facts. Is he worth his money ? No


Another Angry Islander

Anonymous said...

Bowles is up the river without a paddle and he's going to cost our Council and the tax payers a lot of money.

Anonymous said...

There's a question answer time in the chamber at Llangefni tonight. If you need any answers go there and ask.

Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting stats man or any one else.

The question is at 17:19.

Anonymous said...

After today`s tumultuous events at IACC with a new Executive appointed, containing some intelligent new blood for certain portfolios, lets hope it can and will work together for the duration of the Council.
It has potential to do so.
Lets hope for no tactics of sabotage from the known OBSTRUCTIVES, who we trust are well and truly expelled from mischief power.
This is the very LAST chance for IACC to work.
Let the public support the new Executive....and DB`s valiant efforts....an effective troubleshooter !

Anonymous said...

STATS MAN,
I THOUGHT NOT.
NOT ONE OF YOU CAN THINK, WITH ANY EVIDENCE, OF ONE THING CLLR DURKIN HAS DONE WRONG TO DESERVE BEING PUBLICLY AND ROBUSTLY CONDEMN BY ANYONE.

THAT'S WHY, WHEN ALL THIS AND THOSE RESPONSIBLE GO TO COURT THEY AND THE COUNCIL WILL BE FINANCIALLY SLAUGHTERED.

Anonymous said...

19.51 Lets hope BD has deep enough pockets to risk his hand at serious litigation....?

Prometheuswrites said...

Current headline on the daily post web-site.

http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/2010/06/08/new-rainbow-coalition-takes-control-of-anglesey-council-board-55578-26610966/


It sounds like the alliance has been formed.

Anonymous said...

Don,t worry about that 19:53 He has, and more.

Anonymous said...

20.49 Thanks old boy.
I`m reminded of a cartoon I saw years ago in a Solicitors office, of a Cow.
The Claimant was pulling it by the nose, the defendant was pulling it by the tail....and the lawyer was sitting on a stool, with a smile on his face....merrily milking away !

Anonymous said...

That,s Life 20:53.

Anonymous said...

So Bowles still hasn't complained to the Ombudsman about Cllr Schofield & Durkin yet.

I think he's all shit with nothing to complain about.

Anonymous said...

The way he's going on along with Clive McGregor, they might both get arrested for incitement to harass yet.

Anonymous said...

Druid & 21: 37.
I'd go further than that.
As a member of staff I was summoned to a meeting today where David Bowles was telling us all about the new Alliance, he also launched into an attack on Cllr Durkin & Cllr Schofield telling us all, that they were both corrupt, and we should have nothing to do with them. I and many others found to be very upsetting as we know them both to be nothing of the sort.

We just wish he'd go away. As far as I'm concerned David Bowles was going out of his way to insight hatred

Anonymous said...

To all the Councillors who did not sign the Terms of Engagement - at least we the public know that you have nothing to hide.

Anonymous said...

20.53 The original is a plaster relief on the wall of the old Beaumaris Court House, still there I hope.


Beagle

Anonymous said...

Shh Shh Shh, quiet boys, lets put a big outboard engine on Menai Bridge pier and move the island further away from Aber, shh

The Great Councillini said...

"Lets hope BD has deep enough pockets to risk his hand at serious litigation....?"

Yes, going to court can be risky, but the risk depends to a large degree on the circumstances. This appears to be a clear cut case of defamation and, with the more detailed evidence that the identified councillors concerned will possess, I suspect it will be quite easy to defeat the council.

If I were Councillor B. Durkin (Herefordshire Council), I could with some reasonable hope of success, bring a case against IoACC for defaming him, because they do not take sufficient care to uniquely identify (our) Cllr. Durkin. It would have been better and safer to say 'Cllr. Barrie Durkin of this council or of Benllech, etc.' Sounds ridiculous, until you calm down and learn that these sorts of cases have been brought and won in the past.

I would respectfully suggest to the Council that they steer well clear of even a hint of defamatory comment, because UK law is notoriously strict on the integrity of the individual's character.

Anonymous said...

8.51
Who wins often depends on who has the best lawyer, old boy ?
BD if he embarks on serious litigation will be tied up for months, perhaps years, in expensive conferences with lawyers...now, would that not be a good thing for peace on Anglesey ?

I Counted Them All Out And I Counted Them All Back said...

09:22. Ah, but remember that the primary duty of a barrister is to the court; he/she will of course argue the points to the best of ability, but ultimately, all other things being equal, it will be the evidence that determines the outcome.

If I publicly wrote 'Cllr. X is to be shunned and we shall report him to a regulatory body', and I do not include evidence - which must be demonstrably true and not merely opinion - then the public will think 'oh, there must be something to this stuff and Cllr. X must be up to some sort of no good'. Ergo, we have a case of libel.

If I instead wrote 'Cllr. X is corrupt and should be shunned because here is the absolute evidence that shows it to be true', then that is probably OK. Probably, because what appears to one person to be good evidence that supports his/her view won't necessarily stand up to legal scrutiny.

It's, as always, a case of stepping outside what people think they can prove, and looking long and hard at what they can really prove to a high standard in court.

Anonymous said...

08.51 & 09.22 As lawyers in cases such as suggested ask for stage paymenta up-front and as this would develop into a protracted event probably over several years the ongoing costs even leading up to the hearing would be massive.

I doubt that an individual would have the personaly means to withstand such costs.

If such an individual was looking for the 'Greayter Good' ie. that of the People of Anglesey and the County Council as a whole then there would be no moral reason to persue this matter.

If the intent is driven by a personal individual desire to pull down the finances of the people of Anglesey and a rabid need for self satisfaction, if it came, seems a little over the top.

In court I heard a judge say "You have the choice to take on the fight or to leave it" this was a warning that the costs mught be huge.

Is the individual concerned so determined to seek self satisfaction as to neglect the effects on the people of the island. The individual could, just as easily sue the person or persons for what they are alleged to have said.


Beagle

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Several postings deleted for naming names etc.