Political boffin, keen fisherman looking forward to retirement.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Great Night for Plaid

I've finally got the will to blog again after the election count. What a fantastic result for Plaid, up three seats and we achieved the top of our ambitions. For the London parties it was a disaster. Labour with their worst result since the First World War, if that doesn't constitute a bad result then what does, were spared humiliation by reckless briefing up during the early stages of the count by the Tories and Lib Dems. When their expected gains didn't materialise, all the sudden it wasn't that bad for Labour.

The Tories are facing crisis, they have lost by far their biggest electoral asset in Glyn Davies - the only politician who could credibly carry off their triangulation attempts v Plaid. Instead they have some right wing nutcases like the new member for Clwyd West. I'm sure political opponents can''t wait to start debating against and getting him to open his mouth - The return of the nasty party is inevitable. Despite all the hype the Tory breakthrough failed to materialise.

The Lib Dems are in open warfare. What did they expect from an election strategy based on the ego of their leader and his wish for a ministerial car?

Plaid stopped the rot with some outstanding wins in Llanelli (Helen Mary's near 4,000 majority is testament to what Plaid can achieve in every part of Wales) and Aberconwy. Some near misses in Carms West, Clwyd West and Caerphilly.

Carms East as always produced an amazing result for Plaid - nearly 9,000 majority in a seat consisting of 2 industrial valleys. Looks like Adam Price will now have to get over the 10,000 majority mark in the next General Election - that's what I call healthy competition!

For me Neath was a great result, a 7% swing to reduce Labour's majority to less than 2,000. My prediction we won the election day voting is probably right.

12 comments:

Left Field said...

There are some worrying things in the election. Plaid's share of the vote increased by only 1%. Plaid is only just ahead of the Tories in the constituency vote and is actually behind on the region.

More directly of concern is that in 2003 the Tories were 4000 votes behind Plaid in South Wales West, and now they are only 2600 behind. The share of the vote also dropped slightly. Any further revival in Tory fortunes could cost Plaid the second list seat.

Next time please Plaid no freebies. I'm sure the laptops were a liability. I never heard a good word about it.

Ted Jones said...

fair points. the party really needs to embrace permanent campaigning if it is to move forward. in South West Wales in particular there needs to be some detailed planning. In Bethan the party has a politician able to reach out - let's hope she is utilised wisely.

hopefully by 2011 we will be fighting for the control of a proper Welsh Parliament which would obviously suit Plaid far more than the London parties.

Penddu said...

Looking at the 9 Valley seats (from Ogmore to Torfaen), Labour polled 58% against Plaid’s 20% in the 2003 election. This year the Labour vote fell to 43% but Plaid could only manage 19%.

Plaid lost 40,000 voters in the Valleys from 1999 to 2003 but did not recover these in 2007, with the electorate preferring the ‘Independents’ who collected a healthy 32,000 votes, despite only standing in half of the seats!!.

If Plaid is to become a serious contender then they have to change their strategy in the Valleys, as it clearly isn’t working.

Penddu said...

Not quite as bad in West Glamorgan, but here the Labour vote fell from 50% in 2003 to 40% in 2007, but the Plaid vote remained static at 21%, despite an excellent push in Neath.

Ted Jones said...

Again very valid points penddu. The Plaid strategy was quite clearly to consolidate in our stronger areas and get the maximum possible result. 15 was top end of that. People talk of only a 1% rise since 2003, but my gut feeling is that the work of the last year saved Plaid from electoral disaster. Last year we would have been well below the 2003 election result figure.

Conversely Labour’s strategy was all about retreating to their heartlands. The Vote Plaid Get Tory strategy was purely aimed at mobilising and motivating their core vote, and stopping any gains by us or the Lib Dems.

The independent vote shows that the Labour vote is vulnerable. The challenge for Plaid now is to tap into that and build towards 2011. The three set of regional teams the party has in South Wales has a massive task ahead of them, and clearly the party’s strategic thinking will need to reflect that.

At least in 2011 we might be able to have an election fought on policies not bloody coalitions as the Tory led coalition nonsense has been blown out of the water once and for all.

Penddu said...

Ted, I fully understand Plaid's strategy of consolidation this year, which was succesfully achieved. My biggest concern in the future would be a revitalised LD team led by Kirsty Williams, who could take over as the natural alternative in the Valleys - As you say the Labour vote is softening but we have to get out there and take it before the LDs get their barcharts out!!

Simo said...

I agree it was a great night for plaid in Neath. I 'm sure Hain will be licking his wounds and will be devising counter plans as we sit and rest on our laurels.

Pads said...

At the start of the campaign Plaid was facing the prospect of being overtaken by the Tories as the second largest party in the Assembly.

The final tally of seats has to be seen as a success.

Not all good mind. Disappointing in Rhondda and worrying in Pontypridd and Swansea West.

I've been all for the laptop thing ever since a teenager in Llanrumney asked when he'd get his laptop. A teenager (below voting age) in a large Cardiff council estate, being aware of at least 1 Plaid policy - one hell of an acheivement.

The highlight of my night was Adam Price shaking my hand and saying "Well done. You got a really good result there [in your constituency]".

Ted Jones said...

"I agree it was a great night for plaid in Neath. I 'm sure Hain will be licking his wounds and will be devising counter plans as we sit and rest on our laurels."

Plaid can't afford to rest on its laurels. The party has to debrief quickly and put together an election strategy for the next four years.

Ted Jones said...

"I've been all for the laptop thing ever since a teenager in Llanrumney asked when he'd get his laptop. A teenager (below voting age) in a large Cardiff council estate, being aware of at least 1 Plaid policy - one hell of an acheivement."

exactly it was the first of the 7 key policies announced and was a talking point throughout the campaign.

Left Field said...

"I've been all for the laptop thing ever since a teenager in Llanrumney asked when he'd get his laptop. A teenager (below voting age) in a large Cardiff council estate, being aware of at least 1 Plaid policy - one hell of an acheivement."

But as you say, he was below voting age. Were his parents that bothered, or were they more bothered that their taxes would be spent giving laptops away ?

I think it was a gimmick. A far more sensible policy would have been an IT grant, that could be spent as felt fit by headmasters. If they then had chosen laptops for their pupils, fair enough.

I have to ask myself if I had had a laptop when at school would it have been used much for school work, and I think the honest answer has to be no.

Ted Jones said...

There was a very positive message behind the lap tops. The aim was to help create the most IT literate workforce in the world. These are the sort of bold initiatives we need to take if Wales is to compete for the sort of high quality R&D jobs in the global economy we need to if we are serious about improving wealth levels. The alternative is low wage, bottom end manufacturing jobs, which seems to be the vision of the London parties.

Plaid's whole manifesto included some very interesting ideas for changing the fortunes of the Welsh economy, from a new national science Academy to a comprehensive package of fiscal measures to induce indigenous business growth and development.

The laptops for learning were an integral part of that program. You can't compete in the knowledge economy if you haven't got people able to utilise the latest technologies.

They shouldn't be dismissed merely as a gimmick, although obviously our opponents were able to label the policy as such and were to their shame quick to do so.