FELLOW citizens, attend, please!
Now is the time for the local elections, and your candidates need you.
Your enthusiasm, determination, votes, and indifference are essential elements of Council elections.
Ignore the dullards and outright twats who say, “they’re all the same, it makes no difference.”
Of course, your councillor makes a difference.
If you’re represented by one of several councillors whose names could not be dragged from Badger’s lips for a crisp fiver, the rest of Pembrokeshire certainly regards you differently.
They think: “Who the sweet, ever-loving Jesus, voted for that clown?”
In a democracy, all views deserve to be heard, even if some of them deserve to be heard only faintly, like scratching on a coffin lid, taking a random example.
People stand for the County Council for a variety of reasons.
Being a councillor is indoor work, with no heavy lifting.
Membership of the County Council helps make the pension go a bit further.
Some candidates heed the call of their communities to serve them.
Quite a few listen to the voices in their heads.
A significant minority listens to what their community tells them, hears the little voices in their head, and stands anyway.
But, generally speaking, people stand for election to become councillors – and this applies at any level – because they think they can do something for their communities. In Haverfordwest Town Council’s case, it might be because they want to do something to their community whether it wants it or not, but the point remains valid.
Being a councillor does not confer secret knowledge. The veil of reality is not swept aside to reveal the true workings of the universe behind it upon election.
There’s no gatekeeper with a flaming sword waiting to say: “Behold, the tea and coffee-making facilities and complimentary shrink-wrapped biscuits in packs of two!”
Being elected to a Council is but the beginning of a fantastic journey into rules, regulations, codes of conduct, constitutional limitations, and appointments to bodies whose work is so vital their existence barely even registers in the public consciousness.
The new county councillor can expect to make many friends very quickly. Or, rather, they’ll be approached by many people who suddenly want to be their friends – especially if they’re elected as “an independent”.
Imagine the thrill of being approached by John Cwmbetws Davies or Jamie Adams. You could join with them, be self-confessedly independent together. You might even get on a Committee thanks to the age-old principle of “Buggins’ Turn” and lack of an alternative.
Heck! Jamie will even buy you a nice checked shirt, argyle socks, and a pair of cavalry twill trousers to show you belong to his gang.
Just sign on the dotted line. There’s a sharp quill ready, and all it takes is a few drops of blood to seal the deal.
Look into his eyes. Not around the eyes. Into the eyes.
Hear the soothing voice.
It reminds you of something, doesn’t it?
It’s so soothing.
It’s Ka from The Jungle Book.
“Trust in me. Just in me….”
And you’re back in the room!
There’s no faster way to earn a mention in Badger’s Big Bumper Book of Invective than to stand as an independent and join the IPG.
Not that he’d try to influence a candidate one way or the other. It’s a question of balancing risk with reward.
You could get a place on a Committee, get an appointment to the National Park Authority, and get mercilessly and publicly pilloried for being a hypocritical no-mark devoid of personal integrity for the next five years.
Well, unless you’re one of those members of the IPG who Badger thinks is better than their group label would suggest.
Cough! Mike John. Cough!
However, fear not. It doesn’t matter to Badger whether a councillor is a member of the IPG (motto: “26 Years of Doing Bugger-All for Pembrokeshire and Still Going”), a party group, or no group at all.
If you’re a venal clod or a blowhard, Badger has a particular set of skills and will hunt you down and mock you.
And he’ll do so without personal malice or evil intent.
Badger has said before: if someone stands as an independent, the prospective voter needs to ask them whether they will remain independent once elected or whether they’ll join a party group.
It’s a reasonable question and demands a straight answer. Not one of these “I have no intention…” answers. But a firm “yes” or “no”.
For example: “Tell me, will you be a true independent, or will you join the IPG if elected?”
It’s a very fair question, although the circumstances in which one might be compelled to ask it escape Badger for the moment.
Coincidentally, Bob Kilmister is standing in the new Bro Gwaun Ward and has been a particularly competent member of the Cabinet for the last five years.
That’s just an example plucked from the top of Badger’s furry head and does not originate in Jamie Adams using his Rolodex to find members of the YFC to stand against incumbent members of the last administration.
That would be the vilest of calumnies. Badger will hear none of it.
As it happens, Badger thinks Jamie Adams is very able. He’s a good communicator, evidently bright, not very good at delegating to others, and as much a machine politician as the finely tooled, gently oiled, and carefully burnished Michael Gove.
John Cwmbetws Davies is a good Committee chair. Badger enjoyed Mr Davies’ scathing observations about the idiocies of the Welsh Government over the last few years from the Chair of what Badger will call “The Education Committee”. Plus, he has the rare gift of having a flexible principle for all occasions when it counts.
Veteran councillors Mike and Viv Stoddart are standing in Hakin and Hubberston, respectively; the Council needs more councillors like them.
Properly independent of thought, of action, and doggedly (cussedly) persistent; a bit like Shaggy and Velma from Scooby-Doo.
However, Badger would be concerned about the presence of two Jacob Williamses on the Council; it could only be so long before there was some sort of universe-ending cataclysm if the pair shook hands.
Once the nominations are all in, Badger will return to run the rule over the candidates and their chances.
That’s where Badger’s real fun starts!
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