IT'S a funny old world...

ON Thursday, members of the public, representatives of the press and a couple of thousand observers watching via Carmarthenshire County Council's webcam, were treated to the grisly spectacle of Independent and Labour (yes, Labour) councillors seeking to justify a tax avoidance scheme for their £180,000-a-year chief executive against the backdrop of thousands of potential job losses, swingeing cuts to public services and steep rises in sports pitch charges.

Anyone doubting the strength of public feeling on this issue should look no further than this week's letters column – people are not just concerned about the depressingly predictable events in County Hall, they are very angry indeed.

Given the fact that councillors voted strictly on party lines what exactly was the point of Thursday's six-hour meeting anyway? Members obviously knew how they were going to vote when they filed into the council chamber so why persist in such a stage-managed charade?

We had hoped our elected representatives would vote according to their individual consciences.This, we had argued, was their big chance to stand up for their electorate - instead they well and truly blew it.

The immediate crisis enveloping Carmarthenshire County Council may have receded, but such collective cowardice will come at a high price.

The public have long memories and – come the local elections in May 2017 – councillors will find the decisions they reached last week coming back to haunt them.

If Thursday was a sad day for democracy, it was an even sadder day for Carmarthenshire.