Sunday, 5 September 2010

Carving Up Anglesey - the Final Recommendations

The Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales has now issued its final proposals for reducing the numbers of councillors on Anglesey. In a change to the Boundary Commission's draft proposals which recommended reducing the number of councillors from 40 down to 35, the final recommendation is to only reduce their number to 36 councillors. The current 40 electoral divisions will be reduced down to 31 electoral divisions - 4 of which will be multi-member divisions:

  • The Maeshyfryd, Morawelon, Kingsland, and London Road wards in Holyhead will be amalgamated into a new multi-member division, named Maeshyfryd. It will return 3 councillors.
  • The Holyhead Town,  Porthyfelin, and Parc a'r Mynydd wards in Holyhead will be amalgamated into a  new multi-member division, named Porthyfelin. It will return 2 councillors.
  • The community of Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll will amalgamated into a single division, returning 2 councillors.
  • The community of Menai Bridge will also be alamgamated into a single division, returning 2 councillors.

As I have written previously, I fully support the Boundary Commission in reducing the number of councillors on the Island, and had hoped they would reduce the numbers even further. The Minister for Local Government had in fact instructed the Commission that their aim throughout Wales should be to achieve councillor to electorate ratios of no less than 1:1,750 - this would have meant reducing the total number of councillors on Anglesey down to around just 30. The final recommendations achieve a councillor to electorate ratio of 1:1,411 compared to the current ratio of 1:1,270.

Why do I think that the number of councillors should be reduced? Because the sad fact is that in the last local elections on Anglesey a total of seven councillors (i.e. 20% of the total) were returned unopposed:

  • Gareth Winston Roberts (Amlwch Rural / Anglesey Forward)
  • Clifford Everett (Holyhead Town / Labour)
  • Gwilym O. Jones (Llanfair yn Neubwll / Original Independent)
  • John Williams (Llanbadrig / Independent) - although in the subsequent 2009 byelection in Llanbadrig there were two candidates
  • Bob Parry (Bryngwran / Plaid Cymru)
  • Derlwyn Rees Hughes (Moelfre / Anglesey Forward)
  • Peter Rogers (Rhosyr / Independent)

There are in fact some excellent, hard working councillors in the above list - but it does the cause of local democracy no favours if they are not tested at elections. Furthermore, can it be right that fully two thirds of the members of the 'Anglesey Forward' grouping are essentially unelected? Anglesey Forward incidentally is also now the only council grouping to have not responded in any way to my requests for them to reveal their 'Statement of Aims and Values' which all non-Party groupings were required by the Recovery Board to complete by May this year.

You can see the Boundary Commission's full final report below:
Boundary Commission Anglesey Final Proposals

10 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Druid of Anglesey said...

Comment made at 19:11 deleted for making derogatory remarks about named persons.

Puck said...

40 reduced to 36.

...and the band played on.

Smacks of rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

meet the new boss .. same as the old boss .. damn it ... fooled again.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting comment on ynysmon.com.

Groundhog Day said...

Personally I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry at how this affects my area. Under current arrangements we in Llaneilian are represented by the suspended numpty Cllr Aled Morris Jones but following the new boundary changes we poor sods are going to be at the mercy of Cllr Teflon, (aka Gareth Winston Roberts), same old deckchairs, same old vessel. I can only hope that at least we can find someone here in Llaneilian prepared to oppose GWR and to test the water to see if he cannot be finally unseated instead of being returned unopposed at every election by the sycophants who appear to be blind to this man's dubious dealings such as the famous wallpaper incident.

The Great Councillini said...

"a total of seven councillors (i.e. 20% of the total) were returned unopposed"

Which gives us a clear way forward: we need to put candidates up to oppose!

I empathise fully with Groundhog Day. It's hardly surprising that, with unopposed members, they have long ago allowed themselves to think they are unaccountable. Indeed, they may well be unaccountable in practice! That's why GWR hasn't replied - what has he to gain when he gets plonked back straight where he came from?

The problem we have is in persuading intelligent, hardworking people with a high degree of integrity to stand against those who, in the main, have shown themselves to have none of these qualifications. It's not an easy thing to do, and from the numbers, it's clear people have given up on local government on Anglesey. The reaasons for this are clear enough. How to bring an end to it is much more complex.

A Parti Druid Party has been one idea bandied about. We already have a good profile, and wonder if it's worth pushing the idea further?

Groundhog Day said...

I probably won't see it in my lifetime but a good idea would be to pass legislation whereby politicians be they MPs or councillors be only allowed to stand for a maximum of two terms particularly where, as in the case of many Anglesey cllrs, they have been repeatedly returned unopposed. There is much apathy on this island regarding local elections where the electorate keep returning the same lame ducks into power. Perhaps forcing these to stand down after two terms would force people to concentrate their minds on change for the good rather than a status quo that stinks to high heaven.

The Great Councillini said...

GHD, that's actually a very good idea. With integrity or not, people will tend to creep towards less than ideal behaviour over the longer term. Your idea would get rid of this.

I very much worry about the unbelievably few people who made representations - just '7 residents and others', which presumably means less than 7 individual, normal residents. That's appalling. What happened? One of the residents who did write in asks how effective the Commission's consultation was. I have to ask the same question...

So, why did the bisection of Penysarn suddenly become a point of major objection when it is already bisected? Mysteries of the Anglesey Mysterons...

The Druid of Anglesey said...

GHD - a good suggestion and one that is already in our People's Manifesto for Ynys Môn.

Anonymous said...

Don't blame them, blame yourself, you vote them in, why don't you fight back and camapign against them, instead of doing nothing, do something.