Wednesday, October 31, 2012

ghosties and ghoulies - the horror show in RCT

Well Labour Councillors in Pontypridd seem to have gone into hiding – Halloween must have been a god-send this week, lots of masks to hide behind so they can step out of their doors safely.

If the stream of phone calls I have been getting over the paddling pool referendum is anything to go by they are in for a bit of a rough ride from those residents they are supposed to be representing.
“What idiots decided this” is amongst the milder comments.  Several people have questioned the parentage of some of the Labour Cabinet, and there are obvious questions over the ability of some to have children given they apparently lack the essential equipment “down below” - the scrotal sack having allegedly withered and died.

Rumours that certain Cabinet Members have been seen trying to avoid contact with the general public by whizzing around on their broomsticks are, I am sure, an exaggeration.  As are the tales of Council leader Tony Christopher walking the streets of Pontypridd, with his scythe at the ready, doing a first class impersonation of the grim reaper.

No doubt wearing his underpants over his trousers MP Owen Smith waded in to the argument yet again in today’s Ponty Observer.  He starts with a heart-warming little tale of how he bunked off school when he was a young lad to go to the paddling pool, and all the wonderful memories associated with it.

He then goes on to say that this emotional nonsense has no place in today’s decision making process and people should move on. Let the Council bulldoze the paddling pool, because they know best after all.  Yes the Council’s consultation process was terrible but never mind, they are all good Labour folk and so what does it matter?  Must all stick together after all.

Still at least he has come off the fence, and is now saying clearly he agrees with the Cabinet regardless of public opinion.  Mick Antoniw AM has still to voice any opinion on this or anything else in his constituency really, but then it must be difficult for him to get up there from his home in Newport all the time.

People are furious about the plans – how stupid are the Labour politicians that they can’t see it?  Or is it just that they don’t want to see it?  There are none so blind as those who will not see.

They operate with an arrogance that comes from knowing they have a massive majority in the Council Chamber. That they can do just what they want, but really is that a good enough reason for doing something – just because you can?  Only if you lack principle, and there at least they win hands down.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Mick Antoniw not so Slick

GTFM radio have today been running a news item on the paddling pool referendum.  A somewhat bland piece detailing the technicalities of the process more than anything else, they decide to invite along Mick Antoniw Labour AM for Pontypridd to comment on the referendum process, as a 'former lawyer.'  Antoniw of course previously was a Director of Thompsons solicitors – they were fined by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority for cheating miners out of some oftheir rightful compensation.

His view given on earlier bulletins was that this is a 'poorly thought out piece of legislation.' I am sure his Labour colleagues at the Assembly will be pleased to know that - they instigated it. The Local Government (Wales)Measure 2011 changed the rules Slick - perhaps you should have looked it up.

He intimated that the reason Ponty Town Council could be called upon to hold this referendum was that they had an interest as they would have been asked to comment on the plans, and so therefore they could just about to be said to have a legitimate interest. WRONG Mr A. They are the ones specified in the legislation by virtue of being the town / community Council covering the area. Maybe I should direct him towards the relevant section of the Measure?

To really cap it all in the later bulletins he said that there would be no postal or proxy votes (correct at last, hurray) and that 'there may limited opening hours at polling stations.'

Doesn't he know? Hasn't he bothered to find out? He represents the people calling for this poll, has he so little regard for them?  

He has said absolutely nothing about the paddling pool, but then he says nothing about anything affecting his constituency.  Why was his mate Owen Smith MP the one doing the talking when the Taff Vale precinct developers went bust?  Economic Development is an Assembly matter, European funding doled out by the Welsh Government.

But then of course he does live in Newport, so how can anyone expect him to know anything about his constituency.  If anyone is in any doubt then take a look at his website under the Pontypridd tab.  What you will find there is a direct lift from Wikipedia of a piece which refers only to Pontypridd town area – not a mention of anywhere else in his constituency – what about the Llantrisant and Llantwit Fardre council areas, Taff’s Well, Tonyrefail?

People do indeed get what they vote for.




Wednesday, October 24, 2012

If you say it often enough it must be true

That seems to be the attitude of the Labour administration in RCT.  Or the attitude of the press department – mind the two are interchangeable, as you would expect when you employ as Head of Department the son of a Cabinet ember, who has been a Labour candidate and who spent the night of the election count firmly ensconced in their camp.

Take two stories which appeared in the Pontypridd Observer today.  The front page carries an article on the closure of a Pontypridd business.

 AN ENTREPRENEUR who was forced into shutting his Pontypridd business has slated the “dire” state of the town.

Adrian Dumphey, who set up Cafe Zone on Bridge Street two years ago, said the regeneration work in Pontypridd – coupled with the introduction of the new Sainsbury’s supermarket – led to his business’ untimely demise

He said: “The renovation of the high street has been the real death knell of Pontypridd.”

Coun Paul Cannon has argued in the recent past that the town still has much to champion.

He said: “During this period of austerity which is affecting all town centres, it is easy to focus on the negatives.

“Pontypridd’s incredible transformation is now reaching its final phase, creating a vibrant, attractive and welcoming town centre fit for the 21st century. The council’s £10.5m investment has widespread positive implications.  New shops and businesses have opened their doors on Taff Street, High Street, Bridge Street and Gelliwastad Road and many jobs have been created."

Then there is a piece on the dis-satisfaction being felt by traders in the town over the lack of communication with RCT Council
MEMBERS of a town centre business forum have criticized the local authority for failing to liaise with them, despite months of repeated requests.

Salon owner Peter Lovegrove formed Pontypridd Business Forum with a number of fellow business owners in January, but says numerous attempts to “encourage true dialogue” with representatives of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council have failed to materialize.

The forum was established to allow the town’s business-owners to meet to discuss concerns and ideas, and its members were hopeful the council would play an important part in its functioning

This is a common complaint, but every time we raise it we are accused by the Labour lot of ‘making political capital’ or ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ or the old favourite that we are running down Pontypridd.
The Council of course refutes the claims by Mr Lovegrove and say that “Representatives of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council actually attend the Business Forum Meetings chaired by Mr Lovegrove, as part of the wider commitment to Pontypridd town centre and we strive to do our utmost to support the business community of Pontypridd.”

There is no mention of who these representatives are.  After all as we saw at the paddling pool referendum meeting, the Labour Cllrs don’t like to engage with the general public too closely.  Maybe the traders would actually like to see some of the elected representatives who supposedly make the decisions.

What there is yet again is the trotting out of the same well-worn lines

“The council has been proactively engaging with the business community of Pontypridd as it delivers the far-reaching £10.5m regeneration project in the town centre. Our scheme focuses very much on boosting the Pontypridd economy for local businesses, and we do all in our power to accommodate the needs and concerns of the town’s traders.

“We have invested hundreds of thousands of pounds to help new businesses open their doors and existing businesses to expand and employ more staff through the Townscape Enhancement Programme."

Still we needn’t worry.  All the problems are about to be solved – with an App.

This week RCT Council announced they are embracing technology and introducing an App for Pontypridd town.

That ever popular utopia dweller Cllr Paul Cannon was yet again delivering the great news.  ““The introduction of this specialist and innovative service for visitors to Pontypridd is incredible and will undoubtedly appeal to anyone who wants to discover more about the town and all it has to offer.”

Then of course the inevitable must include lines followed  “With the investment of £10.5million in Pontypridd town centre (yawn, yawn, yawn) which is not only transforming the street scene but also enhancing the local buildings, residents and visitors are being drawn back to the town centre.”

If you say it often enough it must be true – isn’t it?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Welsh Labour NHS a total shambles.

How much worse does our shambolic health service have to get before Labour get their**e in gear and do something.  It is a disgrace and I hope all those people who voted Labour to ‘send a message to Cameron and Clegg’ are happy with what they’ve got.

My twenty year old son developed a pain in one side of his head yesterday, worse behind his ear, but spreading.  Being a Sunday there was no GP available, and he said it wasn’t bad enough to go to the hospital, so he took advice from his pharmacist brother who diagnosed a probable ear infection.

This morning at a couple of minutes after 8.30 I took him to the surgery, where he was told that the lady in front of him had taken the last appointment for today and he would have to come back on Wednesday  (oh yes).  Again he said it wasn’t bad enough to bother the hospital A&E, and of course our Minor Injuries Unit is not functioning. I went off to work, and had a phone call from him a bit later saying he had rung the MIU and NHS Direct and they had got an appointment for him with his GP. 
Now you may ask why it needs such lengths to get an appointment - I certainly did.  A severe pin in the head and you are told to wait two days before you can see anyone. 

Anyway, he saw the locum GP – can’t expect to have anyone permanent around here after all, and was given some antibiotics, and migraine tablets, with little explanation as to what she thought the problem was, but made mutterings about an ear infection.

He took the prescribed pills but by 9 o’clock tonight it was worse – so much so that he asked me to take him to the hospital. 

We arrived to find a sign telling people they may be redirected to somewhere more appropriate (such as where?  A vet?) and the approximate waiting time was 5 hours.

Whilst waiting a poor old dear was brought in, in a wheelchair, by paramedics.  She was plonked in the corridor, although the para did get her a blanket.  She was on her own and very frail looking.  She asked for something to rest her foot on as it was hurting too much dangling as it was, only to be told they didn’t have stools, but somebody would see her soon.

My son was called to see the triage nurse, a somewhat stroppy individual who more or less accused him of wasting her time, as it was only earache and a matter for the GP.  And anyway she was just about to change the waiting time to 7 hours.  Just how a patient is supposed to tell that a severe pain which suddenly increased in severity is ‘just earache’ without a medical opinion?

I wonder if the poor old dear with the injured foot is still waiting.  And will anyone bother to check that she is ok, doesn’t need a drink or to go to the loo, or will she just sit there on her own for 5 – or 7 – hours.

So glad Labour are protecting our services.   They will be so much better I am sure when they close one of the A&E departments – then patients can have the pleasure of travelling further as well.  Great stuff.  Well done the Labour party.

Friday, October 19, 2012

RCT Labour lacking communication skills

The Labour party in RCT really haven’t got the hang of this communicating with the public lark.  I mean take their websites.

There is a Tonyrefail Labour one which really needs updating – I know it must have been hard for them to lose their leader but it was a few months ago now and they should acknowledge the fact.

There are only two pieces of news, the last poster in April.  Some things appear to have disappeared – the piece about how Russell had saved the Police Station for instance, maybe they decided such a blatant piece of misinformation was just a step too far,

 Rhondda Labour is well worth a look, of you want the refuse collection dates for last Christmas.

 Whoever was running the RCT Labour site seems to have given up, the last piece of ‘news’ being from June.  The lie about the paddling pool is still there though, haven’t bothered to remove that..

So glad they are doing their utmost to connect with residents

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ponty traffic eased - must be true the Council say so.

The traffic flow in Pontypridd has been greatly improved allegedly.  According to the Council website people are raving about how great the new system is an how much more easily traffic is moving around.

Presumably they were told this by some of the same people they claim told them they loved their regeneration plans including the one about taking the paddling pool away.  Probably during some major consultation exercise under cover of darkness on Christmas Eve.

One thing that puzzles me is when they took the photo that accompanies the press release, because the road is empty. I mean, come on, they could have waited for a bus to come past even for the sake of the story which brags about the new bus lanes.  How much are we shelling out for the PR department again?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Labour Councillors too afraid to face the music

I daresay it is too much to hope for that the Labour Councillors in RCT will now actually start to wake up a bit and smell the coffee.  For the past few weeks they have been going around accusing RCT Lib Dems of spreading misinformation about the paddling pool.  They have been telling people of the huge cost associated with a referendum (£10,500) and how it will affect the services the Town council can provide.
They have said often enough that they probably believed it that it was just “the Lib Dems stirring”  And of course at all times they have maintained the consultation has been “far reaching and robust.”

Must have come as a bit of a shock to them to see a packed Muni last night and have 209 residents vote in favour of calling a community poll / referendum.  There were a few of them there, huddled together for comfort, most of them Town Councillors.  None of the Cabinet Members who made the real decisions of course.  They are spineless, gutless buffoons who are too scared to face the public who instead just choose to pick up their handsome salaries and hide away. Salaries which, by the way, amount annually to more than three times the cost of the referendum.

Facing the music in the red corner, on behalf of the Council was an Officer – the Director of Regeneration and Planning.  Sent to face the music – and boy did she get an earful.

She was booed and heckled and at one stage even called a liar, a bit harsh by anyone’s standards, but then this was the strength of feeling evident.

This was no set up Lib Dem crowd – would that we had that number of members to call upon!  These were genuine residents who are furious at the Council’s plans to take away their paddling pool and not even offer them a roof on the new Lido.

They were furious that this had been going on and because of the appalling level of so called consultation by this Council there will now be a referendum where they can state their case clearly.

It shouldn’t have come to this.  No Council should be so arrogant and out of touch with what is happening that they get to this stage.  But that is the case with Labour in RCT.  Arrogant and self- serving, and as a mate of mine once said, hypocritical parasites!

Friday, October 05, 2012

Pontypridd AM stifling democracy - it's the Labour way

I make no apologies for reproducing the following post from the blog of Peter Black AM, hitting the nail on the head as he so often does.  This time it concerns Mick Antoniw, Assembly Member for Pontypridd, who it seems has one thing in common with his Council colleagues - a dislike of the democratic process.

I particuarly like the response of the Presiding Officer - herself a Labour AM - which seems to express the exasperation many of his colleagues appear to feel with Mr Antoniw.

Labour Assembly Member seeks to stifle debate   (by Peter Black AM)

On Wednesday the Assembly Plenary was scheduled to debate a Conservative motion on neo-natal services. This had been prompted by the health service reconfiguration that is underway across Wales. However, one Labour member at least thought that we should not be discussing the issue at all, whilst the Government side took umbrage and refused to vote on it. There was a clear attempt to stifle debate as is evident from this point of order:

Mick Antoniw: I wish to raise a point of order on a matter of principle regarding an item of business on today‘s agenda, namely item 6, which is the Conservative motion, which deals with matters relating to NHS configuration. It is a matter on which it is important that there is a ruling and some clarity from you, Presiding Officer.

The point is that the Welsh Government has initiated a consultation and engagement process that is, effectively, a quasi-judicial process. Recommendations will come back to Government, which will again be acting in a quasi-judicial role. It seems to me that there is a serious issue that, when we have that process under way, we have motions that are, in effect, prejudging that process. Paragraph 3.12 of the Assembly‘s principles and practice for the tabling and laying of Assembly business states that the Presiding Officer has an overriding discretion to refuse to accept a motion if it brings into question the proper conduct of Assembly business. It seems to me that this motion raises the question of whether interfering with a quasi-judicial process brings into question the proper conduct of Assembly business. Under those circumstances, will you consider using your overriding discretion, or, alternatively, give a ruling on the matter?

The Presiding Officer: Thank you for the point of order, and for giving me prior notice of your intention to raise it. We had a conversation earlier, but you obviously needed further clarification.

The Welsh Government is accountable to the National Assembly, and Members can table motions relating to any aspect of the Government‘s work. To prevent them from doing so would be contrary to the basic principle of parliamentary accountability. The motion, if passed, will not be binding on Ministers when it comes to them taking the decision in question, and I see no grounds on which to constrain the right of Members to express their views on the matter in question.

My ruling therefore is that the motion does not bring into question the proper conduct of business, and there are no grounds whatsoever to rule it out of order. In doing so, I am acting entirely in accordance with our Standing Orders and with established parliamentary practice here and elsewhere.

As Mick Antoniw sat down an e-mail arrived from his office inviting all Assembly Members to a meeting to discuss civil liberties, freedom of expression and the right to protest.

Clearly, the concept of irony is not fully understood on the Labour benches.