Each day, my admiration for Councillor Russell George grows. This is fortunate because he happens to be the Montgomeryshire Conservative candidate standing in May's National Assembly election. What a absolutely splendid AM he would make. Today I had sight of a little fire burning within the bowels of Powys County Council that Russell has started, simply pointed out a hypocrisy that has lain silent for too long.
The context is that Powys County Councillors have decided to change the structure of the Council to a Cabinet system. The Powys Independent Group (or Alliance?) and Liberal Democrats have forced through this change, ensuring that between them they can carve up for themselves all the Cabinet positions (including the salaries) and turf out Conservatives, Labour, Plaid Cymru and 'Shires' Independents to form the 'opposition'. I should add here that I, personally was rather in favour of this change.
But what we find is that the Lib Dems don't like the price they must pay for power. They do not like being held accountable for Council policy. They don't approve of Councillor Russell George publicly disagreeing with them. And even worse, informing the public how they have voted. Well boys (and girls) this is what 'accountability' means. No more will we have Lib Dem Assembly candidate, Wyn Wiilliams going around campaigning to save sixth forms and primary schools, without people asking him why his fellow Lib Dems on the Council are voting the other way. No longer can the Lib Dems vote for increasing Council charges, without Councillor Russell George pointing out what they are doing. I've just been reading emails which are a blatant attempt to get the Council's press office to send out political propaganda to counteract what Russell, entirely properly, has pointed out about increases in waste charges - which he opposes. I'll publish the emails if there is any attempt to deny. Two things worth saying. The Council is not allowed to dance to the Cabinet partners political tune - and better get used to it because this is what 'cabinet government' means.