Arthur Davies's thirteen years experience as a county councillor without alliance to any group has given him special insight into the workings of Carmarthenshire County Council. His thoughts are set out here:
DEMOCRACY OR DICTATORSHIP?
Why are the public losing faith in politics and politicians? Why is more and more money being extracted from council taxpayers while vital services are cut? The reason is simple. Our current system is unrepresentative and has led to a council that is run and controlled by officers rather than by elected representatives.
The 'backbone' of this council is the Independent Group that always forms an alliance with one of the other political parties in order to maintain the status quo. But the definition of independent is thinking or acting for oneself and not affiliated or merged with a larger organisation. Why then, do so-called independent councillors join together to act as a group? This certainly doesn't seem like people who are thinking or acting independently. These alliances, with their superior numbers, inevitably out-vote any opposition - and democracy is the victim - resulting in officers' recommendations always being given the stamp of approval by full council. People First group tried to re-establish real debate but was prevented by a change of council rules which stopped them raising important issues for discussion in full council.
What is urgently required is real change and real independent candidates not 'closet Tories'. There is a desperate need to re-introduce proper accountability for using taxpayers' money wisely.
People First is different in that they are a group of individuals without whips, rules or regulations; driven only by principles. Their candidates will always put people and local communities first and will abide by the Seven Principles of Public Life set out by Lord Nolan in 1995: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. They recently campaigned unsuccessfully for the recording of council meetings to demonstrate transparency; for the electorate to see exactly how their representatives are performing.
Voting for an "Independent" or Political Party candidate will inevitably re-elect an officer-led council prioritising self or party interest above that of the public. People First councillors, however, will listen to people's views, their concerns, their needs, their complaints and their suggestions. They will fight to represent the people honestly without alliance to any particular party or group.
Your vote is important and can make a difference for change. MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT by voting for councillors who will represent you - and only you. Vote for a new future that will return democracy and integrity to Carmarthenshire County Council.