Well I hope everyone had a good Christmas . I have had a white one, as anyone who follows my personal Facebook page will have seen, in Utah visiting family.
Seems lots of people in North Wales and the North of England have had a pretty miserable time of it with heart-breaking pictures of people who have lost so much. Sympathies to them.
Of course political opponents have not been slow to point fingers remarking about cuts made under the last government and blaming the Lib Dems for this crisis - as well as the rest of the ills of the world if you listen to some of them.
Not been an easy year to be a Lib Dem. Lost count of the number of people who have asked why I don't leave and stand for the Assembly as an independent as they would then vote for me. Can't pretend the idea has never crossed my mind but whilst like any party we get it wrong on times then the basic values that make me a Liberal Democrat are still there. So as things stand I will be once again going into battle in May to try and break the Labour stranglehold that is so damaging to our area.
In the meantime the endless round of pot holes, traffic problems , housing issues, social care and social services problems that come as part of the package of being a Councillor carries on. As well as the fight to unearth the sneaky goings on of the Labour party. Currently looking at a consultation on an IT policy they want to impose on Councillors which amongst other things gives them the right to randomly check our email - where is the security, confidentiality and data protection in that?
They also have a consultation on the budget. Lots in the local press and on RCT Council website and twitter about this new process to encourage people to interact but when you look at it there is no difference to previous years except the way it is set out. There is still no detail at all just headline figures for departments. No chance to dig down and look at the waste. As I pointed out to the previous finance officer it is a bit like being asked to cut a household budget and only being told how much they spend in the supermarket each week and not what they spend it on. How do you know what is waste and what is essential? Not an argument he liked, said a household budget couldn't be compared to the Council one. In terms of the overall amount maybe but surely not in terms of making cuts?
Well back to the snow. Will be back in Ponty early in the new year. In the meantime as always I can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org - at least we know Council officers won't be reading that one !
Have a good 2016 everyone.
Cllr Mike Powell