"There go my people. I must find out where they are going so that I can lead them." (Alexandre Ledru-Rollin)
Earlier this week Carmarthenshire's county councillors met in a budget cuts seminar in Llanelli. As in previous years, the list of proposals was a long one and included a number of favourites which come up every year, including the closure of one of two respite care homes for disabled children to save £200,000.
The proposal has been the subject of an online petition which attracted nearly 2,000 signatures.
Cllr Siân Caiach intervened in the discussion and proposed a vote to remove the proposal from the list - permanently - and a majority of those present agreed with her.
The vote was not a binding one as the seminar is not a formally constituted council meeting, but Kevin Madge, the Labour leader of the council, has now sensed that he is on a losing wicket and has engaged the services of the press office to try to spin the defeat into an example of how he and the rest of the Executive Board listen to people.
The press office has duly obliged with a piece explaining how Kev will now ask the officers ever so nicely to remove the proposal. He added that his colleagues on the Executive Board had told him they could not support the measure either.
Unfortunately several things are missing from this piece of taxpayer funded "news" reporting:
1. There is no mention of Cllr Caiach's role in getting the proposal taken off the table.
2. Kev forgot to mention that he and the rest of the Executive Board approved the list of cuts handed to them by officers at their meeting on 17 November.
3. There is no mention of the petition.
A run-down of yesterday's meeting of the full council will follow later, but anyone who saw it will have been struck by how much of the meeting was taken up by personal tributes of one kind or another. The budget cuts seminar was not filmed or broadcast, but the uncomfortable truth for councillors is that the public is much more interested in matters such as the closure of respite centres than it is in watching lengthy speeches in praise of council officers and award ceremonies.