Monday, 5 July 2010

WalesHome brings Anglesey to Wales

The excellent has this morning picked up on my last post (and its comments) and in so doing brought the problems besetting us at Anglesey County Council to a much wider Welsh audience. The Druid has long believed that the single best remedy to the shenanigans going on in the Council Chamber in Llangefni is to simply throw some light onto the situation - which is what I have tried to do through this blog. Hopefully through regular reports and posting of the original unedited documents I've helped residents to see what is actually happening at first hand and not through the often opaque and brief reports we get in the local press. All publicity helps and accordingly I want to thank WalesHome for helping to bring our problems to a wider audience - and to remind Anglesey Councillors that all of Wales is now watching you...

On a completely shameless tangent, WalesHome was also kind enough to mention in its article that your humble Druid is "probably the best blogger on Welsh local government". High praise indeed and excellent timing seeing how nominations for this year's Total Politics Best Blogs Poll have just openend. So if you enjoy the Druid (or even if you don't, but find it informative at least) why not click on the button below and vote...

Click here to vote in the Total Politics Best Blogs Poll 2010


Anonymous said...

Excellent commendation for your Blog and very well deserved.
You are rendering good service to Anglesey and its people, as indeed is your raison detre`...keep it up.
Are you about to enter open politics we wonder !!

B said...

Your top of the Class, first rate.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Druid, persistence pays off!

Anglesey Islander

Anonymous said...

Voted..and told them your a festering thorn in the side of an incapable authority..Human Rights please. for all of us.

Huw Terry

Head of Communications and Voting.

Real Welsh Nationalists Army.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Huw Terry - I apologise but I'm afraid I had to delete one of your postings. The Druid does not allow comments wishing the demise of others.

Anonymous said...

19.53 Can't make out who you are getting at there

Anonymous said...

are you referring to the comment about eating shit and dying? Hot potato.

Puck said...

I voted too. However I has to place you in 2nd place Druid, as Cynical Dragon's "Lorem Ipsum" entry has to take first place in any possible commentary that exists regarding politics.

Anonymous said...

PUCK. It is all part of an 'attract the ferry passengers stunt'. The nonoliths are being trained to play leap frog on the shiny bridge. It is no use for anything else.

And it was not Stanley Kubrick, it was Lord Stanley after whom you have an hospital, lucky lot.

It is use counting thecost....there will be lots more wasted later.

Anglesey Islander

Anonymous said...

The waste of money you refer to is £15,000 each I believe.

£60,000 for the four. The Locals just wanted their benches back.

Anonymous said...

A good blog requires a bad council, so IOACC should be given some of the credit.

The Great Councillini said...

07:48, That's a bit desperate!

"your humble Druid is "probably the best blogger on Welsh local government".

I'd say they slipped-up and should have used 'definitely the best...'

Well-deserved and I think someone should nominate you for a civil honour for services to true democracy. Hang on, we don't know who you are! Oh, well, you'll just have to have some gold star stickers on your jumper instead!

Napoleon said...

I'd vote, except it's looking like a run for some fame and fortune.

I dunno, but recently, the 'People's Manifesto' has disappeared as one of the Seven Commandments of the revolution. Some say the Druid has moved into the farmhouse and started using the beds. Crates of whiskey are somehow being bought. There's talk of building windmills, and working for a better, Council-free future.

"Council bad. Public Good. Council bad. Public good." bleat the sheep of rural Anglesey...

Prometheuswrites said...

The Great Councillini:
(This comes in two parts due to size restriction on comments)
You are correct in highlighting the public meetings and the public’s scepticism.
A good example of breakdown in trust between public bodies and the public is the experience of members of the Niwbwrch Forest Liaison Partnership, (NFLP).
This partnership came into being when the Forestry Commission presented plans to cut down a large proportion of Niwbwrch Forest. The initial meetings in Niwbwrch were so well attended that the crowd could not fit into Niwbwrch School or the Pritchard Jones Institute. Coaches were arranged to carry protestors to the school in Llangefni in order to accommodate everybody, such was the strength of feeling.
A European directive came to light which stated that a full public consultation MUST be held when large scale environmental changes were proposed and it was under this auspice that the NFLP was formed. The partnership was made up of the Forestry Commission (FC), The Countryside Commission for Wales (CCW), interested and involved members of the community (both those local to Niwbwrch and those from further afield who use the forest, including the community council, horse-riders, beach users, dog walkers and ecological and naturalist groups (such as the Anglesey Red Squirrel Project).
The consultation was facilitated by a capable independent consultant. Because of the wide scope of interests several interest groups were set up (leisure and recreation, ecology, local economics, public engagement, etc) and initially good progress was made, with groups debating their areas of interest and reporting back their recommendations to the main group. Initially it had appeared that the FC and the CCW were reluctant to fully engage with the consultation and did so mainly due to the EU directive, though as time went by it seemed that they were committed to the consultation.
It was a therefore a surprise to the NFLP when the CCW and the FC suddenly announced that they had come up with final plan for tree felling (20-40% of the forest?), based on ecological and hydrological reports about the water table levels and the effects of the forest on these levels. The CCW report was robustly challenged by several members of the NFLP who are well versed and experienced in scientific studies. Objections were made and appeals were presented to the Welsh Assembly.
The current position is that the FC and CCW have not responded properly to these objections and NFLP’s criticisms of the use of selective scientific data to support CCW’s case. Members of NFLP do not currently know where they stand or what is happening either in the consultation or with the forest.
I don’t know what happened to the facilitator – I was told (hearsay) that she resigned in frustration.
(If I have any of this wrong then please do correct me).

Prometheuswrites said...

The reason I write all this is to illustrate reasons why people are so suspicious and wary about promises of public engagement and consultation. The experience of many members of NFLP, who believed that they were engaging in a proper legally mandated consultation, is that no matter how well supported they may have been in law, that the end result was that their own considerable expertise and efforts were effectively being ignored and decisions made years before were being enacted, regardless of any external contributions.
Because the forest is important to a wide band of the public the NFLP was made up of (dare I say it) a fair share of middle class, bourgeoisie worthies who expected the democratic process to run as intended and who have now had their eyes opened to the real-politic of institutionalised interests and they are not impressed. And of course the cynics that said it would never work in the first place will claim to have been vindicated.
Personally, I’m not saying that FC and CCW are wrong in their decisions or management of the forest, (what do I know)? I am saying that they don’t understand how to consult and listen to the public when so required.
As I have said before it is TRUST that is the central issue in maintaining a democratic society. One of the key tasks of the new alliance, if it is to work, is to restore trust in the governance of IOACC. This is done best by showing not telling. So maybe, please, could we have some ‘showing’.
A good place to start would be by addressing some of the concerns aired with regularity on this blog, regarding ‘THINGS THAT HAVE GONE WRONG’, where real people have suffered from bad decisions and unacceptable practices. At the very least let us know you are listening to our concerns and are not using the ‘terms of alliance’ to avoid debating the very issues that matter to us, the public.

Proetheuswrites said...

I posted my two part saga into the wrong thread. Is it possible for you to transfer these two potings to the previous thread and delete this comment?
many thanks

Pine Cone said...

That is a very interesting and all-too-typical tale of 'consultation'. I had been following the forest group's activities, and often use the forest, man-made though it is. So it's good to get this full updated account.

One thing I certainly had picked-up on was the fact that CCW and FC had been caught off-guard and had to engage in consultation much later than they should have done, and that they were doing so reluctantly and out of necessity rather than sincerity.

There are, I think, a couple of main problems for organisations like this: first is the organisation's existence in the first place. Create an office, desks and committees and hierarchies, and soon, the people outside who nevertheless pay your salary are all but forgotten. Given time, this develops into contempt. When the public start to ask questions, they are treated as though they have no right to know. When the law is used, they get defensive. I had a recent case with the Council where a footpath had been blocked for years, they had been told about it for years, and for years had done absolutely nothing other than 'inspect' the path. I served notice on the Council under Section 130 A-D of the Highways Act, which, in essentially all cases, means they have to serve notice on the landowners to remove the obstructions, or do so themeselves. The law was on my side. The Council's reaction? Well, they did do what they ought eventually, and the path should now be open, but not before trying every trick they could to evade the notice being served on them. 'E-mail won't do' they said. Yet the Act says nothing about this, so it can't be true that it is, as they claimed 'not allowed'. Was the path blocked or not? They knew it was, so why be difficult?

It's a sad rule that, when you start to use your intelligence, get into a group and start using the rights we are all given by the European and national government, there will be people in these public organisations who won't be told and start to do things the way they think they should be done.

Ultimately, if CCW and FC - or IoACC are doing things contrary to the law or to other rules, then it is often left to us to actually enforce the rights we have. It is often only the fear of costs that stops very valid cases being brought, which is where the strength in numbers argument holds so much power. Sure, we may not always win, but if we simply give-in to these clowns and don't try to use reason and good argument, then we are our own worst enemy. Principles do, always, cost either your sanity or your money - or both!

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Prometheus - I regret that due to the vagaries of the Blogger service even a Druid cannot move a comment from one post to another. They best thing may be to simply copy and paste your comments into the right location and the let me know and I'll then delete them here.

stats man said...

To the Druid

Someone has already asked but what has happened to the 'Peoples Manifesto' things have gone quiet?

I appreciate you have a busy life and holidays to take but talking of the peoples manifesto can I suggest a late inclusion:

"To be eligible to stand as a local councillor the candidate must live; or at least have a property (be it owned or rented), within the constituency they wish to represent".

Anonymous said...

hello how are you

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Statsman - don't worry its in the pipeline. Have been over busy lately and not able to complete it... watch this space.

Prometheuswrites said...

Druid: A good solution. However I think I shall leave it here as Pine-Cone has replied and moving it would interupt the flow.
I'm sure The Great Councillino will figure out that I've replied to his comment made on the previous thread.

Prometheus said...

Hmmm ... Druid - my posts aren't coming up though the blogger says they have been saved ... and time has passed.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Prometheus - yes I apologise, there appears to be something wrong with blogger these past few days.

Anonymous said...


I live from the proceeds of exporting. I was told by a WAG official that the "plug has been pulled" on all exporter support from Cardiff at the behest of one IWJ, bad enough he is Dep Minister, worse that he is OUR AM.
Do you have any info on this?

Puck said...

Druid's Occupation Revealed!!

So this is where you go 'dros y bont'

Nooka said...

And they thought Brunstrum was over the top - maybe IOACC have secretly employed the same techniques and that the real reason why road deaths have gone down in N Wales.

Anonymous said...

S O C R A has your c:/.

Anyway, don't go to Euro's house for Sunday Lunch.


Anonymous said...

Hello LUG good to see you back in circulation after a lengthy absence.
Had they got you locked up somewhere? Probably well deserved!
Caught with the other rebels in Paradise / Holyhead.

For the Druid:
Out of the 40 (Jesus managed with 12 but then one of them was a rat) who are the most popualer IOACC Councillors and why?

Anonymous said...

Good to read you again Lug. What's it like, back in "The Big Bed"?