It takes a bit to shock me - but the story I've been involved in today is one of the most shocking I've known in my 30 years of public life. Its bigger than the proposal to close our community hospitals a few years ago. Its bigger than the plans to cover our landscapes with wind turbines. What it does is threaten the entire social infrastructure of Montgomeryshire (and Brecon and Radnorshire as well).
The story was leaked to me last Friday. I was thinking of blogging it as a Mrs Mopbucket 'leak' story, but decided it would be wrong to lace it with humour. It involves a 'document for consultation' prepared within the Powys County Council, outlining options for the reorganisation (or modernisation in 'councilspeak') of secondary education in Powys. Initially I didn't realise it was in any way confidential, so forwarded to several others for comment, before posting on the issue. It was only when I read it again in detail, and discussed it with others that I realised just how incendiary it was. After much discussion over the weekend and today, we decided that so many people now knew about the proposals that I should issue a press release. Unfortunately, I'll not be available for any interviews myself tomorrow - because at 9.40 am, Mrs D and I are heading South for three nights, leaving our house in the capable hands of little Darragh and his parents.
Despite considering options in the document as totally unacceptable, I have no criticism of the County Council. Powys has been forced into an impossible situation. The Council is faced with falling rolls at secondary level, and Assembly Government educational requirements that cannot be met within the current budget, and without dramatic change. But what we are faced with is shocking. There will now be a heated public debate about this - I'm told that the document that was given to me last week is being made available to all tomorrow. We are about to embark on a debate the like of which Powys has never seen before.