IT MIGHT not always be terribly exciting, but ensuring that as much of a local authority’s work and decision-making is open to the public as possible, is absolutely key for democracy.

So it was more than a little bit worrying to see a meeting of Newport City Council’s full council, scheduled for 5pm yesterday, cancelled, following an agreement between council leader Debbie Wilcox and deputy mayor councillor David Fouweather.

Full council meetings are where some of the biggest decisions affecting the city are usually taken.

Further, members of all political colours get the chance to grill those in charge.

But with the most recent full council meeting being on September 27 and the next one scheduled for January 31, this leaves a whopping four months between meetings.

Yes, committee and cabinet meetings are still taking place and it is true to say that cancelling one meeting certainly doesn’t mean all the lights are off at the Civic Centre.

But this sets a bit of a worrying precedent in the city which is known by many as the birthplace of democracy.

And what is apparent is that we cannot point the finger at those in charge for this meeting cancellation.

Rather it appears that not one councillor tabled an issue for debate or submitted a question to a cabinet member to be asked during the meeting.

When I asked about the cancellation on Monday, I was told there were no decisions due to be made which the authority was required to throw open to the entire council.

This, I suppose, is fair enough, although I’m sure our readers would much prefer the council to be seen to be doing something proactive.

But I was also told no council members tabled an issue for debate neither did they submit a question to a cabinet member to be asked during the meeting.

And that is what I feel may come as a surprise to readers who tell us on a regular basis of the things which they feel could be done to improve lives of people in the city.

Just off the top of my head, a discussion around fly tipping in Pill, graffiti in Maesglas or the number of empty shops in the city would have prompted debate.

With council elections less than six months away, I would have thought all elected councillors would want to take every opportunity they can to be seen to be doing a good job.

And it’s a bit of a surprise to see the opposition missing the chance to have a poke at those in charge.

Nothing in politics is certain, 2016 has been proof of that, and seats are no longer guaranteed.

So I would think more councillors from all parties would be wanting to shout as loud as possible.

I sincerely hope this is a temporary blip and not the start of a worrying trend.

If it is, the so-called self-styled city of democracy will have to rebrand itself as the city of apathy.

Do you think Newport council was right to call of the full council meeting last night? Leave a comment below.

South Wales Argus: Kirsty Williams AM.

The appointment of the sole remaining Liberal Democrat AM Kirsty Williams as Wales’ education secretary following May’s Assembly Election has long struck me as something of an oddity.

It seemed odd the only member of the party to hold office in the Senedd would be handed such a powerful role.

Of course, as a cabinet member she’s bound by collective responsibility, so is required to vote in line with the government, giving Labour that all-important extra vote to push its morecontentious policies over the edge.

But maybe something else is afoot.

Yesterday, the international Programme for International Student Assessment, or PISA, rankings were released, painting a fairly mediocre picture of Wales’ progress in improving teenagers’ education over the past decade.

And, as education secretary, it was former Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Ms Williams who had to stand up in front of the Senedd and explain why we’re in the situation we’re in.

Not only one of the most thankless jobs imaginable, Ms Williams would be fully justified to point the finger at the Labour regime which has run Wales’ education system since 1999.

But as a government minister she has to keep schtum.

What price power?