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Badger and the political animal

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bearbadger1WHAT A tumultuous week it has been since Badger put paw to keyboard for his last article. That nice Mr Bryn Parry Jones has been packed off to his Llangwarren stronghold, there to lend his garden and plot hideous revenge. I am sure that you will be shocked to learn, readers, that there is little doubt that Beloved Chief Bryn’s period of absence was not the result of any sudden moral impulse on the part of the Council’s IPPG leader Jamie Adams. No, leaders: Jamie is not a man given to sudden sentiment or hi-falutin’ principle when it comes to matters political and administrative. Jamie will have made his judgement on political grounds. And that, readers, as far as Badger is concerned, is nothing for which Jamie needs to be ashamed. Badger has written before about politics being the art of the possible. And it is the persistent and disturbing series of public revelations about the CEO’s conduct that has made his “period of absence” not only possible but — to Jamie — positively desirable. “Politics” has become a dirty word. It has fallen almost as low in people’s estimation as politicians themselves. How often do you hear David Cameron or Ed Milliband deride each other for “playing politics” about one or another big issue of the day? It is as though even the leaders of political parties want to deny their own political natures and the manoeuvring and complex interrelationships that brought them to positions of power. Politics, readers, is not a game. Still less does it deserve to have any pejorative unpleasantness attached to it. Politics is, at heart, the way of behaving as a member of a group or a member of society. It is related to concepts such as politeness and the way in which we all interact with each other, whether in groups or as individuals. That

readers, is all “politics” of one sort or another. When Badger sees people complaining about there being “too much politics” or sees buffoons like Nigel Farage bounce up and decry politics as being inherently and fundamentally at odds with the interests of the people (whoever he thinks they are!), Badger cringes. The problem is not that there is too much politics but that there is not enough, readers. So when Badger sees Jamie Adams being criticised for making a political decision, it rather strikes Badger that the IPPG leader is being criticised for being a fish and swimming in the sea. That is not to say Badger in any way endorses the [PPG leader, still less the !PPG members. However, within the constraints of the County Council’s political and administrative system, it was necessary for Jamie to reach a decision that would accrue political advantage to him and to his group and he did. And advantage has flowed. Those members of the MPG prone to bitching and grumbling have been shown to be paper tigers. “Prepared to wound but not to strike”, as the saying goes. Over the last week there have been rumours of wars and unrest within the IPPO. People were said to be ringing round, expressing misgivings at the group’s closeness to Bryn and the choppiness of the waters in which they were sailing. All sorts of names were swirling around as being “concerned”. Having gazed into the future the MPG membership has, however, blinked. Recent events have concentrated their minds on the end of their journey on the gravy train. Let’s say you were an IPPO member, readers. Don’t worry, it’s only pretend. Let’s say you were getting not only your allowance but also remuneration for a committee post and a nice cosy appointment to an outside body that provided prestige, payment or both.

You have it pretty cosy where you are. Not exactly money for nothing, but an income that is not dependent on skills, training or even intelligence. Imagine being an MPG Councillor like Daphne Bush, for example. Now, imagine throwing all of that to the winds on a gamble. You do not need a penetrating intellect of the type Daphne possesses to think that you are better staying inside where it is warm and cosy, instead of venturing forth into uncertainty. And that, readers, is also a political decision. Not a very laudable one, certainly; but understandable and human. Because if the ranks of the opposition had been able to present a united and credible front and some sort of hope to potential IPPG defectors that they would not be cast out into the outer darkness or mocked for being Johnny-come-latelys to the cause of virtue, then the political decision to be made by IPPG members would have been and would continue to be that much harder. Badger has quite a lot of time for Councillor Bob Kilmister, leader of the Pembrokeshire Alliance. He at least has some vision for the future. But Bob’s difficulty is that since its launch the Alliance has not attracted a single new member on the Council. Even Stephen Joseph did not join them. The sentiment is good, the message sound, the ability to deliver remains in doubt. Labour leader Paul Miller is a polarising figure, even within his own party. He shows little sign or ability of being able to form the type of coalition necessary to oust the !PPG. Distracted, perhaps, by the prospect of fighting for Parliament within the next few months, he is possibly too tightly focused on the Paul Miller Project than leading an effective opposition. The Conservatives are a negligible force, demonstrably too close to the IPPG — which is, in reality, carrying out an agenda of semi-privatisation of services

and cost cutting which would be heartily endorsed by their own national party. The fact that the group managed to vote three separate ways on one vital issue is evidence that they are less of a party than a loose gathering. There are notable individual voices on the Council, who cling to the principle that it is the duty of an opposition to hold the executive to effective account. It is tragic for Pembrokeshire that the most able of those voices are unable to cohere around a uniting set of principles and offer a real alternative for Pembrokeshire’s electors. To some of those, but by no means all, Badger suggests that high personal principle is all very well, but some low political calculation would serve Pembrokeshire better. It is into the gap the opposition have left to him that Jamie Adams and the WPC have stepped. Jamie Adams, the man whose party ostensibly was formed as a reaction to party politics, has shown that in the jungle at PCC, and in the present circumstances, he is the most political animal of all.

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Plaid’s Dafydd Llywelyn re-elected as Police and Crime Commissioner

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THE NEW Police and Crime Commissioner for the Dyfed Powys Area has been announced.

Incumbent, Dafydd Llywelyn, of Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales, has been re-elected for a second term.

The election was held Thursday, 06 May 2021, at the same time as the Senedd Cymru elections.

In order to follow all coronavirus regulations, the count for this election was held on Sunday, 09 May 2021.

The announcement was made in Ceredigion, at the Ysgol Bro Teifi, Llandysul.

Dafydd Llywelyn, was first elected as one of the two new Plaid Cymru PCCs during 2016’s election and is the PCC for Dyfed-Powys Police. 

The force covers over half the land mass of Wales and during the PCC elections had the highest turnout of all PCC elections at 49%.

Mr Llywelyn is a former Principal Intelligence Analyst and worked within Police Intelligence for many years before, in 2014, moving to Aberystwyth University to lecture on Criminology. His career has provided him with considerable insight into core policing issues as well as an understanding of what the public want from the service. He has pledged to reinvest in CCTV and prevention activities and has refused to appoint a deputy.

Standing against him were three other candidates – Jon Burns (Conservative); Philippa Thompson (Labour) and Glyn Preston (Welsh Liberal Democrats).

The results for Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner’s elections were as follows:

1st Round

Jon Burns (Conservatives); 69,112

Dafydd Llywelyn (Plaid Cymru); 68208

Philippa Thompson (Labour): 48033

Glyn Preston (Welsh Liberal Democrats) 17649

2nd Round

Jon Burns: 8209

Dafydd Llywelyn: 26280

This was the third time police and crime commissioner elections have been held. The election was originally due to take place in May 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new PCC term begins on Thursday, May 13, 2021.

Under the terms of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, PCCs must:

  • secure an efficient and effective police for their area;
  • appoint the Chief Constable, hold them to account for running the force, and if necessary dismiss them;
  • set the police and crime objectives for their area through a police and crime plan;
  • set the force budget and determine the precept;
  • contribute to the national and international policing capabilities set out by the Home Secretary; and
  • bring together community safety and criminal justice partners, to make sure local priorities are joined up.

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Counting underway following police and crime commissioner vote

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COUNTING is under way to find out who will be the four police and crime commissioners (PCCs) in Wales today (Sunday, May 9).

Polls were held on Thursday for South Wales Police, Dyfed-Powys Police, North Wales Police and Gwent Police alongside the Senedd election on Thursday (May 6).

With the exception of the North Wales Commissioner, all the incumbents are running again.  

The rules of the election are that unless a candidate gets more than 50% of votes in the first round of counting, then all but the top two candidates are eliminated from the election, and secondary votes on the ballot paper are then counted.

In Pembrokeshire the count is taking place for the Preseli constituency and the West Carmarthenshire and South Pembrokeshire constituency at the County Show Ground.

When will the news Commissioner be sworn in?

The swearing of the oath will also take place today, Sunday (May 9), and the elected Police and Crime Commissioner’s new term in office will start on May 13.

“The Police and Crime Commissioner Elections (Declaration of Acceptance of Office) Order prescribes the form of words that the elected Police and Crime Commissioners will be required to declare before they take office,” said a PCC spokesperson.

“The term of a person elected as a PCC at an ordinary election begins on the seventh (calendar) day after the day of the poll, and ends with the sixth (calendar) day following the subsequent poll.

“The term for incumbent PCCs should cease on May 12, and the newly or re-elected PCC will commence in office on May 13.

What is a Police and Crime Commissioner?

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) were elected In 40 force areas across England and Wales. Every force area is represented by a PCC, except Greater Manchester and London, where PCC responsibilities lie with the Mayor.

The role of the PCCs is to be the voice of the people and hold the police to account. They are responsible for the totality of policing.

PCCs aim to cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within their force area.

PCCs have been elected by the public to hold Chief Constables and the force to account, effectively making the police answerable to the communities they serve.

PCCs ensure community needs are met as effectively as possible, and are improving local relationships through building confidence and restoring trust. They work in partnership across a range of agencies at local and national level to ensure there is a unified approach to preventing and reducing crime.

Who are the candidates?

Standing again: Dafydd Llywelyn

The incumbent, Dafydd Llywelyn, was elected as one of the two new Plaid Cymru PCCs during 2016’s election and is the PCC for Dyfed-Powys Police. 

The force covers over half the land mass of Wales and during the PCC elections had the highest turnout of all PCC elections at 49%.

Hoping to be re-elected, Dafydd is a former Principal Intelligence Analyst and worked within Police Intelligence for many years before, in 2014, moving to Aberystwyth University to lecture on Criminology. His career has provided him with considerable insight into core policing issues as well as an understanding of what the public want from the service. He has pledged to reinvest in CCTV and prevention activities and has refused to appoint a deputy.

Standing against him are three other candidates – Jon Burns (Conservative); Philippa Thompson (Labour) and Glyn Preston (Welsh Liberal Democrats).

Under the terms of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, PCCs must:

  • secure an efficient and effective police for their area;
  • appoint the Chief Constable, hold them to account for running the force, and if necessary dismiss them;
  • set the police and crime objectives for their area through a police and crime plan;
  • set the force budget and determine the precept;
  • contribute to the national and international policing capabilities set out by the Home Secretary; and
  • bring together community safety and criminal justice partners, to make sure local priorities are joined up.

How the voting works

If there are more than two candidates, the Police and Crime Commissioner is elected under the supplementary vote system: 

  • A voter can vote for a first and second choice candidate they want to elect.
  • If a candidate obtains more than 50% of the first choice votes, they will be declared elected.
  • If no candidate obtains more than 50% of the first choice votes, all candidates except for those in first and second place are eliminated.
  • The ballot papers showing a first preference for one of the eliminated candidates are checked for their second preference.
  • Any second preference votes for the remaining two candidates are then added to their first preference votes and the candidate with the most votes is elected.

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Multiple RNLI lifeboats launched to aid yacht in distress

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THE NEW QUAY RNLI lifeboat has rescued a stricken yacht, with the casualty evacuated by helicopter. 

On Saturday (May 8) New Quay lifeboat ‘The Frank and Lena Clifford of Stourbridge’, was paged at 9.06am by HM Coastguard to search for a yacht in difficulty 10 miles west of Aberystwyth with two persons on board. 

The Mersey class lifeboat launched at 9.20am with seven volunteer crew members on board to search for the 9m vessel, which had travelled up from Pembrokeshire, in a moderate south-westerly wind. 

The yacht, on passage from Fishguard to Aberystwyth, was experiencing mechanical and communications problems, and had failed to berth in Aberystwyth marina due to the tide. The severely fatigued crew had raised the alarm by mobile phone when they realised they were in trouble, struggling with the winds and poor visibility.  

Daniel Potter, New Quay RNLI Coxswain said, “We proceeded to the position given but on arrival another position was given 10 miles further north, and then again 5 miles north east. We searched for over an hour for the vessel as they had become lost in the deteriorating weather conditions. Barmouth lifeboat was also requested to launch but stood down as we located the vessel.  

“When we located them, we had to act quickly as we found her close to shore and in danger of going aground on the reef near Tywyn. I had one opportunity and we took it, we set up a tow and pulled her into deeper water.  

“We then requested to launch Aberdyfi’s lifeboat to assist us with getting crew on board as we had concerns over the health and wellbeing of the stricken vessel’s crew. Two volunteer crew from Aberdyfi and one from New Quay boarded the yacht. They assessed the casualty and it was decided as a matter of urgency to evacuate one of them. We requested an immediate helicopter evacuation, and HM Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 936 arrived and transferred the casualty to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. 

“It was quite an ordeal for the yacht, but it wasn’t over as we had to get the last of the crew members and the boat to safety. Aberdyfi lifeboat then transferred another one of our crew onto the yacht when they took theirs off and returned to station, and we began the tow to Aberystwyth.  

“On approach to Aberystwyth we requested assistance from Aberystwyth lifeboat who launched and met us outside the harbour to transfer the tow into the marina, and to deliver us much needed supplies, fish and chips! 

“We then headed home and returned to New Quay by 6pm, nine hours after launching. It was a very long day in difficult conditions. However, it was a fantastic effort by everyone, and we want to say a big thank you to all lifeboats and crew involved, and the helicopter. It was an amazing team effort by all.” 

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI Operations Manager added, “We would like to give our thanks to all the lifeboat stations involved. It was a great joint endeavour by Cardigan Bay lifeboat stations. The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea and our volunteer crew are on call 24/7. Remember if you find yourself or see anyone else in trouble at sea or on the coast call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.” 

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