Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Shades of Blue

Prior to the county elections, the Tories claimed that they were going to turn Pembrokeshire blue. They started well, by putting up a total of 25 candidates. They finished rather less well by winning only 5 seats – the same as Plaid and Labour.

That doesn’t quite tell the whole story, however. Their tactics in deciding where to fight were interesting to say the least. Many of us have suspected for some time that many of the so-called ‘Independents’ who run the county were Tories in disguise, and the Tory election tactics seem to have confirmed as much. The ‘official' Tories were dispersed around the county to fight against the other parties, often miles from their own wards, where the ‘Independents’ were given a clear run.

Take Penally, for instance, where Angela Burns’ agent stood against Plaid Councillor, Carol Cavill (and lost). Ms Clements actually lives miles away in Martletwy, where the 'Independent' member, Rob Lewis (whose picture just happened to feature on Ms Burns' election literature) was re-elected unopposed. Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

Or how about Tenby, where the candidate from Pembroke Dock left (self-avowed Tory) 'Independent' Councillor Brian Hall to fight off a Labour challenge from Christine Gwyther, whilst taking herself off to Tenby, and a somewhat humiliating defeat by long-serving Plaid Councillor Mike Williams.

With three parties on five seats each, there is now apparently something of a debate about who should form the official opposition (and claim the extra allowances, of course). Old Grumpy tips the Tories to win, by peeling off one of their members from the ‘Independent’ Group. If this happens, it could be a first for the Tories (or, as far as I am aware, any other party in Wales). Both the council leader and the leader of the opposition would be members of the same party, and the Tories would be in government and opposition at the same time. Not for nothing is County Hall fondly known as the Kremlin on the Cleddau.

I didn’t think that that was quite what they meant when they said they’d turn the county blue, but I suppose it takes all sorts.

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