Wednesday 4 June 2008

Who's the real winner?

When it came to the election of a new leader for Carmarthenshire County Council, Plaid’s group proposed Peter Hughes Griffiths against the incumbent, Meryl Gravell. It is, of course, no surprise that Mrs Gravell won, with the support of the 'Independents' and the Labour Group guaranteed in advance. Only the Plaid group supported Peter in the vote, as might be anticipated.

But the Plaid group insisted on this being a recorded vote, so that the names of all of the councillors who voted for each of the candidates would be recorded, and known to all. It seems that this has caused not a little distress to some of the 'Independent' members of the council.

According to the 'Clecs' column (sorry, not available on-line - you'll have to come to Carmarthenshire and buy a copy!) of the Carmarthen Journal, one of them approached the editor furtively, pleading with him not to publish the list (although I'm delighted that this did not diminish the editor's appetite for publishing the details!). “It would mean,” said the councillor, “that all the people who elected me would see how I voted”.

Indeed. It’s called open democracy. But why would (s)he be so worried?

Firstly, of course, because Peter is well-known and highly respected throughout the county for his work in a variety of arenas, not just his political commitment to Plaid Cymru. Whereas Mrs Gravell is, shall we simply say, not exactly the county's favourite person.

And secondly, because some of the ‘Independents’ have done their best to convince their electorates that they are really Plaid supporters at heart, and are free to vote in the best interests of their communities.

I can fully understand why they would not want people to know that they voted for Mrs Gravell rather than for Peter. But they have only themselves to blame for the inevitable electoral consequences of their actions.

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