With the proliferation of political websites in the county, I have decided to do an end of the year review.
The most recent entry into the field is Cllr Simon Hancock, Cabinet member with responsibility for old folk, like me.
It begins, rather unpromisingly:
“Welcome to my new website neylandnews.org.uk to showcase my work as a Pembrokeshire County Councillor.”
I can only assume that the use of the word “showcase” is a hangover from his job as part time curator of Haverfordwest museum.
Talking of museums, I also came across the following from Cllr Hancock on the Association of Museum Administration (AMA) website:
“I did the AMA [exam presumably] because I was keen to move my practical skills on to a professional footing, benchmarking my knowledge and experience by undertaking a structured programme of goals, development plans and continuous professional development.”
His mastery of bureaucratese is certainly impressive, even if a tad clunky.
Cllr Hancock’s biggest task in his role as old people’s champion was to pilot the £23.70 charge for day centre attendance through Cabinet, though for whatever reason the former socialist tribune chose not to showcase this achievement on his website.
In addition to his duties as councillor/Cabinet member (£28,000 and supposedly a full time job in its own right) Cllr Hancock also finds time to represent us on the Hywel Dda health board (salary circa £13,000 pa) so he must take some credit for the downgrading of Withybush Hospital, though, strangely, this isn’t showcased on his website either.
In all, he receives some £40,000 directly from the public purse – which works out roughly the same as the cost of 1,700 attendances at the county’s day centres.
And on top of that, he finds the time to be the curator of Haverforwest Museum (salary unknown) and to be a member of other public bodies too numerous to mention.
Though perhaps I should mention that he has just become Mayor of Neyland for the eighth time.
And in his spare time he is doing a PhD on the impact of the First World war on Neyland.
Perhaps the clocks run slower in Neyland.
The other entrant to the blogosphere is the Leader of the Pembrokeshire Alliance Cllr Bob Kilmister.
This blog kicked off back in August 15 under the title “Bob on Friday”, but when the challenge of producing a weekly update became too onerous its name was changed to “Bob’s blog”.
It last made an appearance on 22 November (which was a Saturday) and five further Friday’s have come and gone without a word.
I expect it to be renamed Bob’s Quarterly any time soon.
Perhaps the explanation for the long hiatus is to be found in the opening paragraph on it’s last outing which read: “I thought that this week’s Blog should try and stimulate a real debate. As a result, I am putting out some ideas which could best be described as “blue sky thinking” “.
It seems all that “blue sky thinking” has left poor old Bob nursing a bad case of writers’ block.
Wondering about the origin of the term, I turned to Google which informs me: “
I prefer the explanation of one of my council colleagues who suggests it’s what you do when you wake up in a field on a fine summer morning having fallen down drunk on your way home from the pub.
You look up and it slowly dawns on you (it’s early morning. Geddit?) that what you can see is not the same colour as your bedroom ceiling.
The blue sky thinking is what you do as you make your way home trying to figure out how you are going to explain your all-night absence to the wife.
Google is right about one thing – you should have no preconceptions that whatever you say is going to be believed.
But I digress.
The Pembrokeshire Alliance website also carries Andrew’s Blog.
It first appeared on 8 November and began: “I didn’t plan on doing a regular blog, but unfortunately I cannot keep my thoughts and fingers away from the keyboard.”
Its last appearance was also on 8 November.
No staying power these Lib Dems.
And, finally, we have that other website authored by the Pentlepoir Pensmith, otherwise known as the young upstart/whippersnapper.
I know I can trust you not to tell him this, but it does occasionally, very occasionally, carry some interesting stories – scoops even.
There are people who think there is bad feeling between us based on my fear that I may be overtaken in the blogging stakes by the young pretender.
Not a bit of it – my policy has always been to encourage youth.
Whether he will ever present a serious challenge to my hegemony is an open question, but as he is fifty years younger than me he has time on his side (if nothing else).
Happy New Year and see you all in 2015.