South Wales Guardian Opinion

First published in News

GERALD Kaufman famously described Labour’s manifesto ahead of the 1983 General Election as “the longest suicide note in history”.

The statement put out by Carmarthenshire County Council on Thursday may one day be viewed in the same light.

Connoisseurs of County Hall’s press releases will be familiar with the combative prose, yet even they must have been startled by its tone which seemed to imply that the auditor who has deemed two transactions unlawful should keep his nose out of the council’s affairs.

Then this week the council took a swipe at MP Jonathan Edwards for having the temerity to call for a police investigation – a reasonable request under the circumstances, many would think.

What the auditor’s report has again highlighted is how this local authority is so officer-led.

Chief executive Mark James is a civil servant who enjoys a public platform quite unlike his counterparts in, say, Pembrokeshire or Ceredigion. In fact, his overall profile is that of an elected representative – and some would say he acts like one as well.

One senior council figure claimed this week that the current crisis would – like the current storms – soon blow over.

We believe that the next few weeks will be even more turbulent.

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