CONGRATULATIONS to our 19 new old county councillors.

Yes, readers, faced with the prospect of a democratic choice, around thirty percent of Pembrokeshire’s registered electors decided they’d do without one.

Pembrokeshire County Council has sixty members. A fraction under one-third of them will return to County Hall without a single vote cast in their favour.

And that’s thanks to you, the voters of Pembrokeshire.

Stand up and take a bow.

In fairness, some of those who’ve come back without facing the voters are decent county councillors who do a good job for their constituents.

Among those returned unopposed is Hubberston’s Viv Stoddart.

Badger is glad of that. Earlier this year, he relied on tearoom gossip to report Viv Stoddart would stand down. Great was Viv’s wrath.

Good job she didn’t retire, readers; otherwise, Hubberston would have no representation on the County Council.

Also back is Simon Hancock. Having flirted with an extra P in Jamie Adams’ Officers’ Club between 2012 and 2017, he remained unaligned during the last Council term. Cllr Hancock now returns to the Labour fold – one of four of the old group returned unopposed.
Not that standing in Pennar against Tony Wilcox has many attractions: they weigh his vote instead of counting it.

Having declared his intention to stand down in dramatic terms, Josh Beynon will stand for Labour in the redrawn Pembroke Dock Central Ward.

His dear friend Paul Dowson stands in the adjacent Pembroke Dock Bush Ward, facing Labour’s Maureen Bowen and Sarah Harvey, the wife of Cabinet Member for Planning John Harvey.

We can all look forward to a campaign conducted on civilised terms, without abusive Facebook posts, and without hangers-on sticking their oars in with inflammatory statements and venomous commentary.

Badger got to the end of that sentence without laughing out loud.

If Badger had to pick one reason for a paucity of candidates standing this time around, he knows precisely where the blame lies: the abuse of Facebook.

It occurs to your resident furry grump that many enjoy abusing others on social media because they find it more fulfilling than their habit of endless self-abuse.

However, candidates for election must remember that their boosters and henchmen living in other wards will not cast a single vote where they’re standing for election.

Badger guesses that many of Paul Dowson’s steadfast social media followers find it too demeaning to turn up and vote. After all, it’d be time spent away from watching videos of Tommy Robinson shouting, “Heute Bush! Morgen die Welt!”

Candidate Dowson will distance himself from such trolls and discourage his more headbanging camp followers from attacking candidates on social media,

On the other side of that particularly grubby coin, others will not vote because using pens and paper is bad for the planet. Voting is an act of patriarchal violence, and polling stations are on streets named after nineteenth-century soldiers and sailors. Never mind doing anything practical; the empty gesture of desperately seeking approval counts.

Achieving nothing but saying you mean well is more fulfilling than achieving something and being a prat.

The Begelly and Kilgetty ward has a crowded field through which Badger expects incumbent IPG councillor David Pugh to canter.

However, that’s not the real story there.

Say “hello” to Plaid’s candidate Peter Adams. B

Badger has often thought that rural Plaid has more in common with the Conservatives than its leadership cares to admit.

Peter Adams is proof of Badger’s dictum.

Until shortly before the deadline for nominations, die-hard Plaid loyalist Peter was die-hard member Peter of Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire’s Conservative Party local executive.

His dramatic – nay, damascene! – conversion came as a massive surprise.
It surprised other local Plaid candidates who will, of course, embrace him as a man of high political principle and not someone parachuted in on the orders of Plaid Central in Cardiff as a cheap stunt.

As recently as last week, he was a keen unionist. That makes Candidate Adams’s remarkable switch to support Welsh Independence truly remarkable.

He must have been blinded by the light from Adam Price’s pine end to make the change.
Peter Adams will enjoy all the electoral success he so richly deserves.

Badger certainly wishes it upon him.

If you look at Plaid’s candidates, it’s remarkable they haven’t fielded a single candidate in Fishguard. Badger does not know what is going on in north Pembrokeshire, but something isn’t going right if Plaid can’t stand a single candidate in one of the County’s largest towns in which it once had electoral pretensions.

Jonathan Nutting will hope to improve the single vote cast in his favour in the Hundleton by-election in the new dual member ward of Pembroke St Mary South.
Badger thinks of it this way, if Jonathan Nutting achieves net-zero, he’ll lead the way for Wales.

In the new ward of Pembroke Dock Bufferland, Badger notes that former Pembroke Dock Mayor Gordie Goff is a candidate. Badger knows Gordie. He was a bloody good mayor, dogged and determined. In a new ward, almost anything could happen.

Also pounding the pavements will be Labour’s candidate in Johnston, Daniel Metcalfe. His reliance on pedestrian methods has a more prosaic explanation. One which the candidate will be keen to share.

Labour hope to win Maenclochog, where the – putting it mildly – spiky and opinionated Hefin Wyn is Plaid’s candidate.

Hefin edits papur bro Clebran and has long been a leading voice in local campaigns. Badger would be surprised if he didn’t make the Chamber a “livelier” place after May 5.

You might want to bear this in mind, too. Four members of the IPG have been returned unopposed. Only five IPG members from the last Council are standing for re-election.

For the IPG to get to double figures in the next Council chamber, some candidates must be lying about their independence. If things go to form, the IPG will be tapping up likely winners to hop aboard Jamie’s Fun Bus.

Never mind the quality; feel the extra allowances!

When you cast their vote, as most of you will, for an independent candidate, Badger asks his readers to consider whether that candidate is a spineless weasel or genuinely independent.
Remember to ask the candidates yourselves, readers.

It would be remiss of Badger not to mention the candidacy of The Pembrokeshire Herald’s editor in Milford Central.

And that’s all Badger has to say about that.