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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

In the chair

The South Wales Evening Post reports that two Baglan Councillors who switched sides to Labour within hours of the close of nominations and were subsequently elected unopposed have now been awarded Committee Chairs and a Special Responsibility Allowance of between six and ten thousand pounds a year each.

As reported on this blog the two Councillors caused controversy a few months ago when, having first been elected for the Ratepayer Neath Port Talbot group in the Baglan Ward in 2004, they switched their allegiance to Labour just as nominations were closing. Because Labour did not put up any candidates in this ward, because the other parties have traditionally given the ratepayers a clear run in this area and because the ratepayers themselves did not expect this defection and had not made any contingency for it then two Labour candidates and one ratepayer candidate were elected unopposed.

I'll repeat my comments of the 5th April 2008 in your Blog: The Baglan dilemma:

The Big question should be “What have they (Hopkins & Richards)been promised?”

This situation reminds me of the film Braveheart, the last battle scene of the film the Scottish nobles turn their backs on William Wallace, and ride off the field with their men as the English regulars battle with the Scots and Irish on the field.

General (turns to Longshanks): “Mornay, Lochlan?”

Longshanks: “I gave Mornay double his lands in Scotland and matching
estates in England. Lochlan turned for much less”

G. Lewis
Bridgend Lib Dems
Les Rees, the Baglan Labour branch secretary has written to me:

Your party and any other party were perfectly entitled to nominate candidates for the Baglan ward

Of course what actually occurred was that there was a concerted effort to prevent Labour from winning the election by refusing to put candidates in competition with one another so that Labour would only be opposed by one other party.

What he ignores is that local members of other parties would have seen no reason to stand, because right up to nomination day they would have assumed all their sitting Ratepayer councillors would continue as such, and would be opposed by Labour candidates.

The two RPs stated that their reason for changing sides was the lack of direction of the Ratepayer party. However, this was no more marked in 2008 than in 2007. Surely it would have been more honest to have expressed this dissatisfaction in public, and join Labour, well before the elections?

Frank Little, Chairman, Aberavon & Neath Liberal Democrats
The guy from Baglan Labour is right. Other parties were free to put up candidates. Leaving it free for the ratepayers is buying into the Labour's view on politics which is that you're either "labour" or "not labour"

Why are the ratepayers entitled to a free run?

Frank Little is right however, for them to have left it to the last minute is dishonest.

David Walters
This sort of seedy behaviour discourages people from coming forward and joining political parties and therefore standing for election.

Party membership for many organisations is at record lows, again falling into the Labour trap; Win - Win situation for Labour
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