The time has come, ladies and gentlemen, to award marks out of ten for our current crop of councillors. They’re all bidding for your votes for re-election, so this post is particularly important. And once they’re in, they won’t be going anywhere for 5 years. I won’t be commenting on other candidates because there’s a consistent track record of performance that the incumbents have revealed over time that will help voters decide whether or not they deserve the blessing of re-election.
In the spirit of transparency and open-ness, I’m going to lay out in full my scoring criteria.
Initially I’ll award each councillor a score of 5/10. There you go, who said I’m not the generous type? I think it’s fair to give our councillors the benefit of the doubt, too, because most of them go into this politics lark with the genuine intention of making life better for the residents they serve. Perhaps some of them have been in the game too long or have lost track of those worthy aspirations they once had. But let’s save judgement for later.
Communication has always been important in democracy. It’s as true today as it was back then. The ability to get in touch with our elected representatives is important for the electorate – even if we don’t take our politicians up on the offer of making contact. That’s why I find it especially galling that Cllr. Clive Williams has no means of email contact. How does he think people communicate in this day and age? Carrier pigeon? Or is it some evil plot of the Vale of Glamorgan webmaster to discredit him by refusing him – and only him – a VoG email account? Compare his page with that of Cllr. Anthony Ernest who has not one but three twitter accounts for us to follow. Not that the communications officers at the council will be too pleased with him for having taken the ‘@ValeofGlamorgan‘ twitter account, but perhaps they should have been a bit quicker off the mark. And Cllr. Ernest is living proof that twitter is a valuable way of communicating with your constituents whether you’re 18 or 80.
So it’s minus one point for Cllr. Clive Williams who hasn’t moved on from the stone age. And it’s plus one mark for Cllr. Ernest and Cllr. Sophie Williams (who also has an active twitter account @CllrSJCWilliams). If any of our other esteemed representatives has an active twitter account, do let me know for that extra point (and signing up tomorrow doesn’t count!).
Well as far as I can tell, our good councillors haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory over the past while, so I’m afraid that’s it for the bonus points. It’s downhill from here on in. But who’s got furthest to fall?
I’ll subtract one point from any councillor who’s been eagerly pushing through a project to incinerate the black bags from everyone’s houses that will see us all paying increased council tax for the next 25 years, and who cut off any chance of escaping from the decision by signing us up to as much as £3,000,000 in expenses if we pull out from the agreement.
I’ll knock off a point from anyone who voted in favour of one of the most incomprehensible decisions in Vale history to change our recycling system from one that achieves the best environmental outcomes at least cost to one that is illegal under European environmental law and that will have to be reversed to our old system in a few months.
I’m definitely removing a point from those councillors who have blindly let officials pull the wool over their eyes – and opened the council up to a European legal challenge and massive fines – by consistently allowing unlawful pollution loadings for the undeserving residents of Cogan. But on this subject I’ll save my most severe opprobrium for the incumbent Cornerswell councillors. What an unconscionable dereliction of your democratic duty to defend your constituents. I suppose it’s difficult for someone living with the fresh Bristol Channel breeze on their face to empathise with people choking on car fumes. Shame on the pair of you – and the gall of seeking re-election! I hope the hundreds of people reading this blog include large numbers registered in Cornerswell ward. So it’s an additional minus point from these two.
For those of you struggling with your abacus, I’ve done the maths myself. Drumroll, please:
With a fabulous 4 points – Cllr. Sophie Williams (St. Augustine’s, Conservative)
A tortuous 2 points – Cllrs. Paul Church (St. Augustine’s, Conservative), Maureen Kelly-Owen (Plymouth, Conservative), Sarah Sharpe (Sully, Conservative), Clive Williams (Plymouth, Conservative) and Mark Wilson (Stanwell, Labour)