Thursday, October 09, 2008

Baglan: ex-Ratepayers respond

A recent leaflet issued by the two Labour councillors in Baglan concluded:

We want you to know what really went on.

Opposition parties have been implying that Baglan has been disenfranchised, up until now we haven't put anything in writing about what happened prior to the closing nominations on the 4"" of April 2008.

When we first joined the Ratepayers the focus of the group was, 'People Come First, your local needs and issues. We have never professed to be political animals, we go about the job from day to day because we care and are passionate about our children, environment and community. We have worked extremely hard and attended all meetings in order to gain an all-round knowledge of our duties as councillors and to gain more insight into the function of the council. We have made strong representation on issues affecting the community of Baglan along with issues of concern throughout the County Borough; and will continue to do so but subsequently we suffered lack of support and commitment from the Ratepayers on too many occasions.

After Cllr Paul Evans passed away the Ratepayers changed and after three years of trying to work with the new regime, we couldn't continue to do so because of the constant bullying from within the party which was solely directed at Juliet. Also, a member of the Conservative party attended Ratepayers meetings and dictated a pact between the Ratepayers/Tories/Plaid and Liberal Democrats so they could create safe seats for themselves and deny the voters a right to democracy. If we had stayed with the Ratepayers we would have been unopposed, therefore, you must ask the question, would the opposition parties have then stated in their leaflet that we were unwanted? Surely if the other parties were so worried about Baglan and how it was being represented, why then, didn't they submit candidates in the last election?

Yes, we did change to Labour just before the end of the nominations and it was a massive personal decision to make. But with very little time to make this decision we feel that it would have had greater consequences had it been made after the elections. We are still 100% committed to Baglan, 'our community, regardless of our status, and, as far as we are concerned, the People of Baglan still come first.

Our reply:.

We didn't imply that Baglan was disenfranchised. In our Baglan leaflet we boldly stated it right out.

We have never been dictated to by Conservatives or by any outside body.

If the then-Ratepayers in Baglan were unhappy about the way the party was run, why didn't they move to change it? Clearly it was in need of fresh leadership, something we had pointed out in our comments on council attendance before the election.

Frank Little says: “As leader of a small party, I make no apologies for placing our select group of candidates where they stood most chance of winning. I was entitled to assume that Ratepayers, who had once formed a minority group on the council along with independents and ourselves, had more similar views to Liberal Democrats than to Labour. I was therefore not going to undermine them by running candidates of our own. I have been involved in county council elections in the Neath Port Talbot area since the early 1990s. Every time, I have been fed information from various sources on the council about where opposition candidates would be standing and 2008 was the first year in which the information was genuine. There was no talk of Conservative plots in the years when we turned out to have been deceived."

Yes, we did change to Labour just before the end of the nominations
It would have been more honest to change earlier than 15 minutes before the close.
we feel that it would have had greater consequences had it been made after the elections
After the elections, the Baglan 2 would have formed 40% of the Ratepayer representation on the council and would hardly need to change allegiance. They would surely have been able to influence the way the party was run.
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