For those who are getting confused, I thought I’d provide a helpful guide to what Carmarthenshire County Council’s public statements regarding the archives situation actually mean. Please refer to this as and when attempts are made to spin against future posts on this blog, or when the Council puts out a story in the press.
Statement – ‘We are committed to the future of the archives’.
Meaning 1 – ‘Only because it’s a statutory duty, otherwise we’d have binned all that c**p years ago and got the Chief Executive a bigger car’.
Meaning 2 – ‘Which means we don’t have to talk about the complete shambles we’ve made of the past or present state of the archives’.
Statement – ‘Carmarthenshire is proud of its heritage’.
Meaning 1 – ‘Dylan Thomas. Dylan Thomas. Dylan Thomas.’
Meaning 2 – ‘What, you mean there’s more?’
Statement – ‘We are actively seeking a location for a new record office in Carmarthenshire’.
Meaning 1 – ‘”Actively seeking” doesn’t mean we’re going to find one.’
And we all know what that means…
Meaning 2 – ‘Swansea. What d’you mean, Swansea isn’t in Carmarthenshire? If we say it is, then it is. Besides, people in Bynea, are you good with that? There, told you so.’
Statement – ‘We are working closely with the National Archives and CyMal’.
Meaning 1 – ‘This is because they’ve sent several burly men in dark suits and sunglasses who are standing over us as we type’.
Meaning 2 – ‘This is because they’re panicking that they’ll be implicated for not throwing the book at us earlier’.
Statement – ‘Look at the wonderful shiny family history outreach service that we’ve set up in local libraries!’
Meaning 1 – ‘Yes, sir, this really, really means that we’re fulfilling our statutory duties. Honest, sir.’
Meaning 2 – ‘Which we’ll shut down like a shot and conveniently forget about as and when a new record office opens. Fund enough staff to operate both? Are you having a laugh?’
Statement – ‘We resent these unfounded rumours.’
Meaning 1 – ‘In a year’s time, these will be called “the truth”’.
Meaning 2 – ‘They’re “unfounded rumours” because we’re not prepared to tell you what’s really going on, which is actually significantly worse than anything you can possibly imagine’.
Finally, a thought – if the ‘county’ record office does end up in Swansea, minus many collections that might be withdrawn by anxious depositors, and with the same pitiful number of overstretched staff as at present, then the county council will have ensured that the ‘Carmarthenshire Archives Service’ becomes the present day equivalent of Voltaire’s definition of the Holy Roman Empire: not Holy, not Roman, and not an Empire.
Jo Walton says
Well said! Good to see you’re still keeping them on their toes!