January 1 2008


I apologise for the lateness and brevity of this week's offering.
And I have to admit that it would have been even later and briefer had it not been for the prompting, not to say bullying, of Grumpette.
With a half-drunk bottle of Chilean Merlot sitting on the kitchen table, this week's column is a triumph of duty over .
If, like me, you are suffering from the lethargy, inertia, sluggishness, listlessness, drowsiness, languor and torpor brought on by the Christmas holiday, you will already have nodded off by now.
However, for the benefit of the museli-eating teetotalers among you, I offer the following:


Shortly after I posted the account of the Western Telegraph's failure to respond to my offer to become one of its website's star bloggers, I received an email from Mr Peter John, the paper's publisher, no less (Blogger off).
Mr John's message can be summarised as telling me to have sex and travel.
Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the e-mail is headed "PRIVATE".
One of my New Year's resolutions was to show greater respect for the Western Telegraph, in particular to desist from referring to it at Wales' biggest selling weekly snooze paper.
That being the case, it would not be appropriate to divulge the contents of publisher's "PRIVATE" e-mail.
However, I must admit that my other resolution - to give up smoking - didn't make it through to lunchtime and, once you've broken one, it is tempting to go for a full house.

Wall of silence


Secrecy seems to be the watchword for the New Year because I hear, through my vast network of moles, that the report of National Park authority's Monitoring Officer into the strange goings-on at the former blockhouse at Angle (Half a tale, Inside track) has now been sent to members.
Unfortunately, my contacts' lips are sealed as to the details of the report.
Hopefully, by next week, I will have more information on what I am told is a very interesting document.
So the race is on between Old Grumpy and Wales' biggest selling weekly newspaper to see who can land the scoop.
With the massive resources at its disposal, WBSWN should be favourite, though whether it has the appetite for serious investigative reporting is another question.
More than a month ago, in an attempt to keep my nose in front, I submitted a Freedom of Information request to the NPA for certain key documents.
I must e-mail the authority and remind it that it now exceeded its statutory time limit.
Next week we will know whether "the tremendously successful and popular service the Telegraph and its website offer to the people of Pembrokeshire" (Oops, I'm no good at these New Year resolutions), stretches to telling the people of Pembrokeshire what is being done in their name.

Actor- manager


As predicted (Shifting the blame), at the pre-Christmas meeting of the county council the Leader, Cllr John Davies gave a soliloquy of Shakespearian length on the Welsh Assembly's failure to give local authorities enough money in the recently announced financial settlement for 2008-2009.
This would mean "The end of local government as we know it" and a string of other cliches that the Leader had obviously been practicing in front of the mirror, prompting Plaid Cymru leader Cllr Michael Williams to observe that he was pleased to see that the former Pobol y Cym actor was keeping up his Equity card.
Cllr Williams also wondered if the Leader's outspoken attack on the ruling Labour - Plaid coalition might be motivated by ambitions to be adopted for some winnable Tory seat.
The Plaid leader also pointed out that it was rather hypocritical of the Leader to be pleading lack of money when only last year he had been instrumental in awarding a huge pay rise to the chief executive (Nice little earner).
Cllr Williams' ability to have the Independent Political Group shifting uneasily in their seats with with few well aimed shafts is one of the few consolations of opposition.
It comes as no surprise, therefore, to hear that the the IPG (no place for politics in local government) is already trying to recruit a candidate to stand against him in May's elections.
It is to be hoped that, in the interests of democratic politics, whoever is eventually chosen goes the way of the last stooge the IPG sent into battle in Tenby North.
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