Trench warfare backfires for Lib Dems

Who'd have thought Lib Dem sympathisers could be so sly? I had them down as socially awkward, largely ineloquent and perhaps even moderately intelligent - but not devious.

Yesterday's Western Mail reported how Ioan Richard, the independent councillor in line to become Swansea's next Lord Mayor, planned to create mischief in council committees to earn himself pots of tax payers cash.

The council had been Lib Dem-led since 2004, but when the Tory group broke ranks recently Lib Dem allies lost their positions as committee chairs and the accompanying salary bonuses.

Councillor Richard planned to exploit the absence of opposition members through "ill health" and "family funerals" to continually call elections for the position of Chair and Vice Chair on committees and thus 'claw back some of his allowance'.

Here is that leaked email in full (author's emphasis preserved):

From: Richard, Ioan (Councillor)
Sent: 25 January 2007 22:58
To: Councillors - Cabinet Members; Councillors - Independent Group; Councillors - Swansea Administration; Councillors - Liberal Democrat Group
Subject: TRENCH WARFARE - are you up for it? I am !!!!!!

TRENCH WARFARE - are you up for it? I am seriously in favour of it !!!! A couple of our colleagues have come up with an idea and I am pursuing it. They suggested that we print out dozens of Forms as below - see example Form below. They then suggest that at EVERY Committee one of our members completes the appropriate blanks and hands it to the Minute Clerk directly at the end of the meeting to be passed on to Georgie Thomas. See the Form below - it is self explanatory.

This will mean that at the very next Committee - and if we continue the process EVERY COMMITTEE THEREAFTER INTO THE FUTURE - will have on its AGENDA for the start of every meeting the "Election of Chairman and Vice Chairman". This has enormous implications of inconvenience to Labour and Tories and Plaid Cymru. It means they will have to muster up a MAJORITY at EVERY COMMITTEE. If not we take the Chair and Vice Chair back for a 3 or 4 weeks cycle.

If we succeed only once in five goes we will get 20% of their Special Responsibility Allowance eg 20% of a Chair's £9,000 is £1,800 - an amount not to be scoffed at, and it will really inconvenience the other lot and annoy them enormously.

They have:- several members in serious ill health; one Globetrotter on Local Government business; one the Ombudsman may soon suspend; several who cannot get time off work for every meeting; some who are just lazy; others who may be on holiday; some who may need to go on private business e.g. a family funeral; others may just be late in a traffic jam or just temporarily sick with nasty Flu bout etc... It really would cause them very serious havoc problems and give us back a couple of thousand £ pounds a year.

I know I am going to seriously miss my Chairman's Allowance as my pension is very small. I have discussed this briefly with David Daycock and he says he will have to check out the legality of it, BUT he said off the top of his head he saw nothing to prevent us doing it. I have already discussed it with several colleagues. Most think it's a brilliant idea, but a few thought it childish or not worth it.

Well I'm going to do it for the Licensing Committee - so let's all do it all the time until something big changes. Your opinions are needed urgently. We need David Daycock to give a serious legal opinion if this is a contitutional action we can take. I'm not interested in any boring comments from any "fuddy duddys" who say it would be childish. If I can inconvenience the new "cabal" and get paid for it that's OK by me. Your urgent opinions-please.

If I don't do this I'm going to go back part time Casual Supply teaching for £140 per day for a 5hour day - I am still fully Registered with the Teaching Council (Wales) as a Chemistry & Maths & Physics teacher - I could get plenty of work for those subjects and stay away from Council to do it - not that I want to do that - but if I cannot claw back some of my allowance I will have to get some extra money from somewhere. OK

I think that teaching job beckons (if they'll still have him)...

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posted by Blamerbell @ 9:43 am,


At 10:57 am, Anonymous chris doidge said...

Unbelievable... one for Private Eye?

At 12:47 pm, Anonymous seren said...

Ioan Richard could write a whole bloody book on "How to make friends and influence people".

Unfortunately for him he's been caught saying what most councillors think.

I'm in favour of having paid councillors - just not *these* paid councillors.

At 1:50 pm, Blogger Peter Black said...

Ioan Richard is of course not a Liberal Democrat nor are we responsible for him.

At 2:57 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

Of course not. He's merely an ally. Or rather an ex-ally by now, I presume.

At 5:32 pm, Blogger bethan said...

'Ioan Richard is of course not a Liberal Democrat nor are we responsible for him'.

But you are in coalition with him at Swansea Council, and his email was directed towards his lib dem allies on the Council, is that not correct Peter Black?

At 7:52 pm, Anonymous seren said...

Have the Lib Dems made a comment on this - have they disowned him? Will he be the next Lord Mayor? I think we should be told.

At 9:35 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Bethan Jenkins (the Nationalist who will become an AM after being given a pass to the Assembly by a Mere 14 Plaid members) - dont you realise that Cllr. Ioan ap Trefor Richard (as he likes to be called) is a former member of Plaid Cymru?

At 10:44 pm, Blogger bethan said...

is a former member of Plaid Cymru?

yes, a former member.

At 9:56 am, Blogger Peter Black said...

No, his e-mail was directed at all the Administration Bethan, including Independents. Without exception we have all discounted it and Ioan has been asked to calm down. The whole point of a coalition is that you work with people of different persuasions, that means that you cannot take responsibility for every mistake they make. Ioan's view is not that of the Liberal Democrats. As for Lord Mayor, that is a matter for the whole Council.

At 11:43 am, Blogger ianjamesjohnson said...

I guess I'm a bit behind the times with what's going at Swansea Council. Could someone explain (briefly!) what's been happening behind the scenes?

Peter used to link to a nice little blog about the coalition running the place, but it seems to have disappeared from his blogroll. Surprising to see no mention of the Ioan Richards story as well, given that it's on his patch, so to speak....


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