Well the elections are all over and despite People First candidates polling well in most of the wards that we put candidates up in, the stark reality is that we got squeezed between a strong Plaid Cymru showing and a mini Labour revival.
Out of our existing councillors Sian Caiach retained her Carmarthenshire County Council and Llanelli Rural Council seats for Hengoed, but co-founder Arthur Davies lost his county council seat in Carmarthen West.
While Sian returns to county hall soon, Arthur is now going to devote himself to building up the People First movement as well as undertaking community projects.
Elsewhere there were some strong first time performances, particularly in the community council ballots, with Huw Gilasbey being elected as a People First councillor on Kidwelly Town Council.
Over all not the success we were hoping for, but some very good first time election performances by People First candidates.
The full county council results can be found here and the community council results can be found here.
So what for the next 5 years?
It is pretty clear that either Labour or Plaid will have to form a coalition with the “Independents” to form an administration. (Strangely neither has been in touch with us at People First!).
If it is Plaid then Peter Hughes Griffiths will have the chance to prove that the manifesto pledges of restoring democracy to Carmarthenshire County Council and cutting the waste of things like Carmarthenshire News were not just hollow promises. Will he be stronger in power than he was in opposition and stand up to the Chief Executive?
If it is Labour then they will need to change their leader or the Chief Executive will continue to run the show and nothing will improve. There are some strong characters within the labour ranks that could really swing the balance back in favour of the elected representatives, but will Labour be brave enough to appoint them?
Of course the so-called “Independents” will demand Executive Board positions as part of any deal and that is where the danger really lies. Many have shown that they are career politicians desperate for the “rewards” that membership of the Executive Board brings. Who will they represent once they are there?
Whoever merges with the “Independents” it is unlikely that Plaid or Labour will allow them to retain Meryl Gravell as their leader, as the credibility of the new administration would be destroyed before it began. It’s going to be a long 5 years for those that have been used to getting their own way.
If there are any councillors out there who are already feeling frustrated with party politics, you are welcome to join us in People First!