Friday, 13 August 2010

Is Plaid Cymru withdrawing from the Alliance for the right reasons?

I will be heading dros y bont this weekend so blogging is likely to be light. However, I will leave you with two thoughts before I go:

1. Plaid Cymru's reported withdrawal from the Alliance

A knowledgeable commenter on the previous thread writes:

"I suspect that those [Plaid Cymru councillors] who have refused to sign the terms of engagement have moral reservations that are stronger than the given reason, (loss of position of whip in the Alliance).
Whileas Plaid's National Executive may have reservations about the extremely contentious 'naming, shaming and excluding' clause; they may find that objecting to procedural inconsistencies with their own policies is a politically safer path to tread."

Other commenters have written that whatever Plaid's motives, it is in the best interests of Anglesey residents that the Alliance fails. My feelings are that if Plaid have indeed withdrawn from the Alliance for higher moral reasons than the ones given, then they are behaving in a very cowardly manner in not making those reasons known and trying to sell their position to the people of Anglesey. If the Alliance does now fall (and its difficult to see how it cannot without Plaid's support) and Carl Sargeant makes good on his threat of "drastic and permanent consequences", then Plaid are plunging us all into the unknown for no good reason. During a period of severe austerity cuts, we will have Cardiff Bay-appointed commissioners without any democratic oversight deciding which Anglesey services will be cut and which saved. Furthermore, we will have no say on the "permanent consequences" to the future structure of the Council. If Plaid Cymru is doing all this for the 'right reasons' then they should try to sell that argument NOW - and not inevitably try and spin after the fact that they were really acting under the best motives all along.

2. The Council's complaint about Cllr Durkin to the Ombudsman

Whatever the rights or wrongs of making a complaint about Cllr Durkin to the Ombudsman, Glyn Pritchard-Jones makes a very good point that it is an extraordinarily poor use of £75,000 of public funds (i.e. the reported legal bill) at a time when the council is cutting various public services. As Glyn says:
"Closing the Council's tourist office at Holyhead was a faux pas as the sole employee would cost Anglesey Council perhaps at best £75,000 over a three year period ignoring the invisible fiscal benefits such an office contributes to the island."
The question I would like to ask is: why is the Council's legal department unable to prepare the complaint by themselves without the assistance of expensive external solicitors?

71 comments:

The Great Councillini said...

And I can only wholeheartedly agree with Glyn Pritchard-Jones, who seems to me to be a very well-informed and sensible contributor, admirably unconcerned about appearing under his own name.

£75,000 is a disgraceful waste of our money, and it seems it's a bit of a trend at the Council; remember the abortive case they felt they had a 'good chance' of winning against the mussel men, trying to make a living according to law? The last time I asked, the bill was edging towards £1 million, but costs to the fishermen hadn't then been decided. The sad fact is that a careful reading of the initial judgement - the kind of reading the council clearly didn't give it - clearly showed the case was flawed and should have been abandoned then. But not our little lot of councillors. Carry on and show them who's boss (with the little people's money.) Yeah, right!

Insider said...

Its emerging this morning that the expenditure for this vindictive no chance of succeeding complaint against Cllr Durkin has been sanctioned by no-one other than David Bowles himself and makes the payments to the outside lawyers illegal.
There are proper procedures for spending public money and non of those procedures have being followed.

Anonymous said...

Thank you - so it's finally confirmed this is the Cllr Durkin PR Department and blog

Your getting away with nothing. said...

Sleaford Standard 6th September 2004.

Lincolnshire County Council is ruled by bulling, malicious politicians whole lies have pervaded the authority like a cancer.... the damning final words of David Bowles who stepped down as chief Executive on Friday"

Mr Bowles left after years of fierce argument with top ranking members of the Conservative group and given just three minuets to air his views at the final full council meeting, he went down in a blaze of criticism and reproach at the end of " a period by smear, innuendo and lies"

But we all know that truth is the first victim of any grubby politicians desperate scrabble to hold onto power.

I have recently been reading about Chamberlain and his policy of appeasement with Hitler. It lasted so long because of blind loyalty and friendship within the Tory party at the time. Chamberlain relied not only upon his friendship but a system of patronage and crude bulling to stay in power."

I plead guilty to being uncooperative in the eyes of those who would seek to abuse their office and misuse power and treat the Council as a personal fiefdom.

This is 2004. You may not have noticed but politicians are on par with Estate Agents when it comes to respect. Respect has to be earned. Please forgive me if I concentrate upon the Conservative group at this stage, you have much better staff than you deserve.

I LEAVE HERE WITH MY REPUTATION ENHANCED. SOME OF YOU WILL LEAVE HERE WITH YOUR IN TATTERS.

Mr David Bowles, ex Chief Executive, Lincolnshire County Council.

Does this remind you of anything currently on going?

Shambo said...

The leader of Lincolnhire county council was subsequently convicted over planning irregularities. It was claimed at the trial - and never countered by the prosecution - that the former chief executive had "countenanced" many of the wrongdoings of councillors for the sake of expediency.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 11:01 is from Anglesey County Council.

The Great Councillini said...

"It was claimed at the trial - and never countered by the prosecution - that the former chief executive had "countenanced" many of the wrongdoings of councillors for the sake of expediency."

That's very interesting. Of course, you can say anything in Court, within the protocols laid down. I wonder if there is a transcript of the case online? Bailii, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

From the Guardian, August 2004:

"Mr Bowles, a well respected figure amongst council officers and backbenchers, agreed to leave with a £400,000 pay-off after the Tory council leader Ian Croft made clear his desire for Mr Bowles to go."

With dead-cert 'goodbye' payments like that, it's a lucrative, care-free life, jumping from one disaster to another...

Anonymous said...

In answer to your question, why is the legal department unable to prepare the complaint by themselves without the assistance of expensive external solicitors.

It's a simple answer, the legal department are unfit for purpose and will be unable to do that task, even though they work for this Council, they have NO legal expertice.

The external solicitors will cherry pick files and select all the good things then destroy or hide, or even refuse to disclose all the evidence, especially evidence that will cast the Council in a poor light.

These scum will come in and take away what they want, to destroy the complainant, they are nothing but ruthless criminals in suits, it will be taken out of the legal departments hands, and no mercy will be shown by these outsiders, to rid the Council of complainers and trouble causers.

Thus the Council will come out smelling of roses, but the smell of shit will still linger in the legal department long after these outside solicitors have left.

They normally leave a trail of blood from the office they use in the council to the car, a trail of blood of Welsh victims, be warned, these are professional slaughterers.

Legal said...

Someone robbing a bank may escape, as a criminal, with £10K.
A lawyer with a briefcase will leave Court lawfully with £100K.

Anonymous said...

A quick simple and cheap solution is not in the interests of the legal profession - neither is law and justice. Win or lose they get paid and the longer it drags on the more they earn.

And there's nothing they like more than a series of Appeals. Icing on the cake.

Anonymous said...

Balloon industry in crisis on news what a coincidence especially since the bodafon affair!

Prometheuswrites said...

I would have thought that the reason that the legal department cannot be involved is that there is a 'conflict of interest'.

I believe (from earlier posts on the blog) that Mr Durkin's complaints have included officers in the legal department and for the 'complained of' to be involved in making a legal case against the complainant would indeed compromise the 'impartiality' of the council.

If this is the case then I trust that the legal department have not in any way been involved nor have influenced the external solicitors involved.

In these times of fiscal austerity I would certainly be interested in how much money this whole affair (including advice on drafting of the terms of engagement, legal department costs, FOI enquiry
costs, external bodies, MD and recovery board costs), has run to in total, and who is footing the bill. (IOACC, WAG, or both - although either way it's ultimately us; the tax and rate payers).

I too would like to know by what means these expenditures are authorised. Having read about this ridiculous situation (below), I wonder, will the IOACC authority make clear specifically what protocols and procedures they are following?

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-10958726)

"A Carmarthenshire primary school is being told it must stay open at the cost of up to £110,000 - despite not having a single pupil.
The assembly government says the local authority must go through the correct procedures before it can be shut."

I am sure there are recipients of Housing Grants, who post on this blog, who wish that such rigid adherence to the 'correct procedures' had been enforced when they received their grants.

Anonymous said...

The conflict of interest is to stop justice by any means possible, even to ignore the Human Rights Act.

Anonymous said...

The Legal Department only PROTECTS the HUMAN RIGHTS of their own people, the rest of us have to put up with the abuse.

Anonymous said...

Schools teach, Councils Dictate.

Anonymous said...

"Mr Durkin's complaints have included officers in the legal department"

And form the over-reactive response I received from one of them by e-mail recently, I'd say I can guess at least one of the officers accused!

Anonymous said...

Anon 15:37And form the over-reactive response I received from one of them by e-mail recently, I'd say I can guess at least one of the officers accused!

Nahh. They are all a bit 'highly strung'.

You should try the rubbish people for example. Christ on a crutch do they take it personal.

I reckon it's just a sign of paranoia manifesting itself top to bottom at the Llangefni Kremlin.

Legal said...

16.05
Defensive bunker mentality, old boy. Always been the case. Got a lot worse since Durkin came prowling !

Anonymous said...

16.18
What is your evidence ?

Anonymous said...

16.18 & 18.53
This is bullsh.t propoganda.
Not true.

Anonymous said...

19:03.
WHERE'S YOUR EVIDENCE.

Corporal stuff it said...

Tonights news from the Kremlin.

Bowles and McGregor away on holiday till end of month.
Council given time to recover from reign of tyranny.
Nappy changing Conference to recommence in the Autumn along with new program of innovative Planning Scams.

The Highwayman said...

Lots of fantasizing going on here...in overdrive.....over-active imaginations !

Anonymous said...

The truth hurts, it's the way it's always been on Anglesey, the haves take and we are left with havenots who have been ripped off.

Highway ploys the secret of taking planning away, then don't disclose to anyone... ask any victim of highway planning refusal...

Anonymous said...

You people do nothing but moan...stand up for yourself and appeal against the f...ers !
There is a way........open your eyes, you are almost comatose ?

Anonymous said...

Protest or force, we can protest till the cows come come or we can use force.

Anonymous said...

Highwayman, at 20:31.
He is, they are already defeated Watch this space. Keep smiling.

He who laughs last, Laughs the longest.
BOE BOE THE CLOWN, 1896.

Anon at 20:41.
The pen is mightier than the sword.
Ask Barrie Durkin 2010.

Anonymous said...

The pen is mightier than the sword, indeed it's true when they write that you have an enforcement notice, even the law believe that written statement, yet under pressure they admitted it didn't exist, surly their pen was mightier than mine?

Anonymous said...

They wrote that they I had highway problems, under pressure it was found to be a lie, their pen was believed, mine wasn't.

Anonymous said...

Barry Durkin, remember these facts, don't let me die and you have ignored me,

Anonymous said...

And as the last laugh laughs on the way to the mad house, we shall as always open the gate for Cllr Durkin

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't think Cllr Durkin needs anyone to open the door for him , he seems to have the knack of walking straight through them.

Anonymous said...

do you know what I am sick of this rubbish and embarrassed to have this shower of independent idiots representing me. It surely is now time to get shot of this pile of dung of a council and absorb it into Gwenedd and Conway plus half of Denbighshire and save us all some cash, because they are clearly not up to the job.

Anonymous said...

Just in from the pub we see 01:02.

Insider said...

HOW DID ANGLESEY COUNTY COUNCIL GET IN ITS CURRENT SITUATION?

WHAT IS THE REAL REASON WHY THE ASSEMBLE SENT IN BOWLES AND THE INTERVENTION BOARD, PARTICULARLY AFTER A NEW ADMINISTRATION HAD TAKEN OVER AND THE AUDITORS REPORT WAS BASED ON PASS ISSUES?

WHY DID BOWLES, ON COMING TO ANGLESEY GO TO STAY AT JAJ's?

THESE ARE THE QUESTIONS NOW BEING ASKED AND WHY THAT WHOLE ISSUE IS NOW UNDER INDEPTH SCRUTINY.

The Great Councillini said...

"WHY DID BOWLES, ON COMING TO ANGLESEY GO TO STAY AT JAJ's?"

I have a FoIA response to that question. I'll scan and get it on Scribd as soon as the Druid is back on the island.

Insider said...

TGC,
Thank you, that way we will see if the response you have received is the same as the information I have.

Not obtained under the freedom FOIA.

Anonymous said...

AN ANGLESEY TRUE STORY !
Anyone who needs convincing about the credibility of this sad tale...see the Post of 20.20 13/08/10....this is the abused couple.........!!

Anonymous said...

Anon at 18:07
Sorry, don't get your drift.
Can you be a little more specific.

Anonymous said...

An Anglesey true story. 18.07
tell us more.

Anonymous said...

AN ANGLESEY TRUE STORY WAS POSTED ON 20 JULY.....READ IT !!
The abused couple have broken their silence, at last.
They need support.

Anonymous said...

An Anglesey True Story.
The abused couple have broken their silence, at last.

Well lets hear the FULL story, without that, how can anyone help?

Anonymous said...

Does the Couple wish to be helped...its not known, yet ?

Anonymous said...

"PLAID YET TO APPROVE ANGLESEY'S ALLIANCE"?

It is understood that some political groups remain unhappy with some of the terms and want them redrafted.
The 19 strong alliance of Labour, Plaid Cymru and smaller groups still have hurdles to mount from collapsing with threats of action by local government minister Carl Sargeant and court action by Cllr Durkin.

A Plaid spokesman has confirmed that the agreement document was being subjected to revision to meet party objections.

He said"All the parties involved weren't particularly happy with certain elements and have had input into changes in the operational document".

Anonymous said...

Not before time, You'd think they wouldn't need to be told.

Lack of moral fibre that is. Lack of moral fibre. Are you listening Bowles. Are you bloody well listening.

Anonymous said...

The terms of the alliance may be redrafted to overcome Plaid's reluctance to signing them in their current form and thus allow the Alliance to be formed/continue.

However the political and fractional damage has been done and cannot be undone or redrafted.

Don't these people look ahead to see what the consequences of their decisions and actions will be?

All this was predictable weeks ago, as plenty of commentators on this blog pointed out.

Anonymous said...

Biggest mistake Bowles and McGregor did was to try and draw a line and forget past conduct.
I am sure there are plenty of criminals who wish they could draw a line and start afresh rather than be punished for their crimes.

Wrouting out the wrongdoers should have gone hand in hand with recovery in the first instance.

Recovery would have been succesful. The new Alliance would not have even been formed. Big, mistake.

Anonymous said...

Nike have a lot to answer for.....

No metaphore will be left un-mangled!

People of Anglesey UNITE you have nothing to lose but fear itself.

Puck said...

@ 11.56

I awlyas esu vcioe renctiogin sotawfre to ckceh my spllineg boefre pintosg no hte glob!

Glyn Pritchard-Jones said...

Barrie

A gentle reminder Barrie, I suggest you refrain from commenting if you have lawyers acting for you against IoACC otherwise you might weaken your own case. Besides, there are enough people here prepared to support you as well as continue a campaign against the wrongdoings of senior management at IoACC.

Regards

Glyn

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Just deleted several comments for the normal reasons.

Anonymous said...

TGC at 11:25 on the 14th.
It seems Druid is back, can you now put up you FOIA response? all intrigued and waiting.

Legal said...

Lots of sciolism on this post....pretentious superficial knowledge ?

Anonymous said...

I've learnt a new word today :)

Anonymous said...

"Lots of sciolism on this post....pretentious superficial knowledge ?

16 August 2010 13:37"

One man's superficial is another man;s profound.

Anonymous said...

Has the Terms of Engagement being changed yet, if not Why not.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the delay, but here is the response to a FoIA request for information on the circumstances of Mr. Bowles' initial accommodation arrangements.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/35945777/Merged-Accomm

If there are any problems in accessing this, please let me know and I'll see what can be done.

Anonymous said...

Of note in the letter is the immediate attack on those who have expressed concerns about Bowles shacking-up with John Arthur. But, no matter who the councillor was, and no matter how squeaky-clean or otherwise, it is not unreasonable for councillors - or the public - to express concern about such an arrangement; indeed, there is a need for everyone to avoid - yes - that infamous line - the appearance of wrongdoing.

If Bowles really was so outraged by the claimed attacks on his professionalism, why did he move out pretty quickly from John Arthur's property? The planning aspects he refers to are matters not for Bowles, but for John Arthur and the Authority.

Once again, it shows Bowles has a hard-line approach to anyone who wants to raise a concern, valid or not. 'Criticise and be sued' has been his message from the outset.

Anonymous said...

Loved the penultimate sentence - "I did consider making this letter Private & Confidential but decided against it on the basis that it would get leaked anyway."

Good lad, at least he realised the score. The fact he considered it though over something so trivail shows an over-inflaterd opinion of his own importance.

So if you are reading this Mr Bowles just get one thing through your head. You work for us and we pay you. Everything you do in your day-to-day employnment is our business just as much as it is yours. If you don't like that feel free to leave. You can be easily replaced, there certainly isn't anything remarkable about you.

Legal said...

10.34 I`m not so sure that Mr Bowles can be that easily replaced...look at the bloody history of sacked MD`s in Anglesey...Gibson, Edwards, Jones..so which aspiring local government big-wig would want to accept this hopeless poisoned chalice....we have a problem !!

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Comments made at 11:33 * 11:35 deleted for making allegations against named persons.

Anonymous said...

@ 12:32 Legal said...
10.34 I`m not so sure that Mr Bowles can be that easily replaced...look at the bloody history of sacked MD`s in Anglesey...Gibson, Edwards, Jones..

Which actually proves the point. All deservedly disposed of, all replaced. Bowles will be no different.

Legal said...

15.18 "Deservedly" is a big word !
We can argue its merits all day.
Lets not !

The Great Councillini said...

"so which aspiring local government big-wig would want to accept this hopeless poisoned chalice?"

Yes, but they've all left with huge wads of taxpayers' money to go quietly. It seems there's no end of candidates for that kind of arrangement! The current incumbent must comfortably be a millionaire if you look at how many pay-offs he's had already.

Anonymous said...

He wont get a pay off from our Council. He'll be lucky to have a pot to piss in along with John Chorlton by the time this lot is finished.

Holistic said...

There is something very wrong in the Council's Legal department.

For blog editors, this account is fully documented and true.

I am an ordinary member of the public. As part of a longer enquiry, I made the following request, on the basis that the ICO and others have asked for translations from Welsh, which clearly adds to the workload when there may be dozens of documents and e-mail copes in pursing complaints about the Council:

[I wanted] "your response in the english language, please, as it may
well be that the communications will subsequently need to be referred to the ICO or other third party, and I have no intention to waste valuable time on translation."

Lynn Ball manages to twist this into the following astonishing rubbish:

"3. that [complainant]implied that [Council] had previously wasted [complainant's] time through corresponding with him in Welsh, as he felt compelled to translate this into English for the purposes of complaining to the ICO.

So, asking for an English response for very clear, stated and practical reasons gets turned into a claim of wasting my time. The Council also claim that they have a policy of responding in the language in which letters are sent, but this has not been adhered to by their own legal department. But that's OK, because they can do what they want, can't they?

There have been other allegations made by Lynn Ball now. I've asked for these to be substantiated.

I wonder what else the Council have been distorting?

What is interesting and revealing is that the kinds of stories we've been hearing from other people on this blog are reflected in what I am now receiving. It seems that the distinction between a complainant within the Council and a member of the public has become blurred.

No doubt Rebecca will give us a better picture in the next edition...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

As Plaid have been told to have nothing to do with the Alliance until the "Terms of Engagement" have been changed to their satisfaction. Have they been changed yet? or is it more of their backsliding?

John Holyhead said...

The complaint against Cllr Durkin is already on the rocks.
With allegations of it being nothing more than a vindictive attack, the legal departments influence totally destroying any impartiality the Ombudsman's may have had and the rate payers picking up the bill.