Decisions on RCT Council savage spending cuts are entirely down to the Labour Cabinet and there is in practice little that anyone outside of that particular enclave can do about it. However, people have a right to know the views of their elected representatives at all levels when it comes to these decisions.
Unfortunately it is in most cases very difficult to find that out. Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Powell has been extremely vocal in public, at Council meetings and in the press. This website endeavours to give as much opinion and information as possible on the subject.
Plaid Councillors too have attended public meetings and expressed their views in the press. The sole Conservative Councillor has been quoted in the press stating that the cuts are the responsibility of the Labour Council alone, but has given little detail of his own thoughts. The Independents have been fairly quiet overall, although Cllr Baccara of Talbot Green has posted on a Facebook site saying that he supports the cuts to nursery education.
The Labour Councillors have by and large been silent. One or two have been brave enough to venture into the public domain and actually speak to residents, and for that they should be congratulated. Others such as Cabinet Member for education Eudine Hanagan angered residents when she told them she could not speak to them as it could be a conflict of interest. Tonyrefail Councillor Bob McDonald emailed a resident to say
"I regret I will not be attending your public meeting as it is a practice I long ago ceased. My previous experiences of public meetings were extremely unpleasant occasions where a great deal of shouting and abuse takes place."
The fact that they are elected by residents and paid to represent them seems to have escaped these people.
Moving up a level to Assembly Members and Members of Parliament it will come as no surprise that the Labour party are sticking together, although looking at their websites it seems to be a case of their silence conferring consent in most cases.
Chris Bryant MP for the Rhondda was sticking strictly to the overused party line in October
"Rhondda MP Chris Bryant added: "The Tories have never done the Rhondda any favours but my fear is that the elderly, the frail and the young will lose out.
"Labour Councillors are trying to protect the Rhondda from the worst effects of these cuts, but the Tory cuts in funding are so sharp that the council is really hard-pressed to find cash for even vital services."
Pity he wasn't so worried when his party were spending public money like water at Westminster. His website seems to have little local information at all.
Owen Smith MP for Pontypridd likewise kept to the approved tale of how it is all Westminster's fault. Nothing that says how actually feels about any of the proposals. Heaven forbid he should have an opinion.
Cynon Valley MP Ann Clwyd seems to be too busy investigation health issues and slamming her colleagues at Cardiff Bay over that to have even noticed there are cuts taking place. (Labour MP slams her colleagues)
As for our Assembly Member, well we have seven of those in all covering RCT. One for each of the three constituencies, and four regional South Wales Central Members.
Welsh Liberal Democrat regional AM Eluned Parrott has written several times in the Pontypridd Observer about the cuts and submitted a response to the phase one consultation. Her contributions can be found on her website.
Plaid's Leanne Wood has been vocal in her opposition to the proposals, although some of the Plaid ideas, such as cutting hours for all employees we do not agree with. The two Conservative AMs, David Melding and Andrew RT Davies have been silent. RCT does not seem to exist as far as they are concerned.
The Labour constituency AMs have of course firmly toed the party line. Leighton Andrews who allegedly resigned his Ministerial post to stick up for the Rhondda seems to be more interested in tweeting about Cardiff City.
Pontypridd AM Mick Antoniw is similarly silent, as he is on most subjects related to his constituency - but then living in Newport it is probably difficult for him to keep up. The 'latest news' on his website is from July 2013.
As for Christine Chapman of the Cynon Valley then where is she?
They may all of course have written passionate submissions to the Council opposing the cuts and suggesting alternatives. We don't know because the Council feedback report is so flimsy, but you would think if they did then they would let people know.