My local weekly, the Montgomeryshire County Times has an irreverent 'Nelson's Column'. This week 'Nelson' has given us an insight into the problems faced by new councillors in trying to agree a Cabinet to run Powys County Council.
"There are several problems with forming an actual working majority to run the Council. The 48 Independents split into two groups, the 'Shires' Independents and the Powys Independents. The actual policy differences between them isn't clear, and to be frank its difficult to find anyone who can tell you otherwise. There are numerous councillors in both groups who are well known to have an allegiance to a mainstream political party but bizarrely refuse to stand on that platform. The upshot is that we now have two 'independent' groups who refuse to work with each other. The Lib Dems who refuse to work with anyone (they've probably had enough public flogging for one decade) and Labour and the Tories (like children not trusted by their parents) who are not allowed to work together".
Nelson was very well briefed on what's been happening behind the scenes. In the end what happened was that the Leader of the smaller 'Independent' group, David Jones was elected Leader of the Council by 36 votes to 34. He was backed by the Tories, Labour and his own group. The Powys Independent Leader, Michael Jones, was backed by the Lib Dems (who had previously made clear they were going to sit on their hands) and his own group (best guess - secret ballot). I'm told that the Powys Independents were shocked after ruling the roost for so long that several of thier members broke down in tears at such seismic change. To the outside word Powys is still run by an Independent named 'Jones' - but inside the Council we've just witnessed a revolution.
It seems that the new Leader intends to choose his entire Cabinet form his own group (or cllrs ship-jumping from other groups)- which has led cllr, Gareth Ratcliffe to jump the Tory ship just a week after being elected as a Tory - which should lead to some blue disgruntlement down in the South of Powys. Updates as and when.