Political boffin, keen fisherman looking forward to retirement.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Plaid to win Swansea West and Neath?

Having spent the day canvassing Neath town I have little doubt that Plaid will tomorrow win the election day vote in the constituency. I haven’t seen anything like it in all my years. Alun Llywelyn is a very strong candidate against one of the weakest members of the Assembly in Gwenda Thomas.

The problem for Plaid in this seat is 11,000 postal voters. We all know Labour’s form on postal votes (only last Sunday the Times were exposing another scandal) – my personal view is that we should go back to the old system of voting only in polling booths. The secret ballot was a major aim of for the Chartists, and clearly allowing votes outside of a polling booth undermines that principle. The new checks do little to protect against postal fraud, the only way is to ensure that voting takes place in the sanctity of a polling booth.

I remember the 2005 General Election when Plaid won Carmarthen East by nearly 7,000 votes but got decimated in the postal vote count. When there is such a discrepancy between the postal vote count and the polling booth count you have to come to the conclusion that something isn’t quite right.

I think that both postal and booth counts should be counted separate and published as such following the election.

Swansea West is also game on for Plaid. Local boy Ian Titherington is another strong candidate against the lacklustre Andrew Davies. Vaughan Roderick in the BBC is also tipping Ian as a possible shock result. Whereas Neath is a two horsed race, Swansea West is interesting cause all four parties have presence. Plaid could win by Labour losing votes to the other two London parties.

Plaid nationally and locally has run a fantastic campaign. They have managed to rebuild a lot of the lost ground since 1999 in terms of engagement with the people of Wales. Whatever the result there is a platform there to build for the future.

6 comments:

Left Field said...

Having spent the day canvassing Neath town I have little doubt that Plaid will tomorrow win the election day vote in the constituency. I haven’t seen anything like it in all my years. Alun Llywelyn is a very strong candidate against one of the weakest members of the Assembly in Gwenda Thomas.

I hope you're right. I've voted for Alun. I have never been impressed with Gwenda Thomas since the debate on The right to be called Mrs. I felt that the assembly should be dealing with stuff that was actually relevant to the electorate. Glyn Davies disagrees with me and a few other posters hold her in high regard, so I was wondering if I had been wrong.

After the "call me Mrs" business, I remember reading in the Western Mail that she had complained about too many gogs in Pobol Y Cwm, and I wondered what about health and education, isn't that what AMs should be doing ?

In 1999 she only had a 2000 majority over Plaid but in 2003 there was a 6% swing to Labour. It's difficult to believe that Alun could achieve an 11% swing, although a far greater one was achieved in 1999 in Rhondda.

Che Grav-ara said...

I think the strong labour presence in seats like this has created a situation where they can fill the quotas of femal AM's thus lowering the standard of assembly members. However, as a result of Plaid putting forward a number of very strong candidates in people such as Ian and Alun those apparent "safe" seats have become under threat. A mixture of poor labour performers and positive and popular plaid candidate has really made for an interesting results night!

Simon said...

"I have a dream" wrote martin Luthor King. I too have a dream and that is to have a Plaid constituate AM. Fingers crossed Go Alun!

The trouble with this election is that one of the young bright stars bethan needs labour vote to hold so she can be elected.

If Plaid do well in Neath you'll hear Hain's sphincter tremble Chelsea in from Ponty. That's if he's in london he'll probably be doing his media rounds on the BBC somewhere.

Left Field said...

The trouble with this election is that one of the young bright stars bethan needs labour vote to hold so she can be elected.

I'm hoping that even if Plaid win Swansea West AND Neath, the resulting increase in the Plaid vote should be reflected on the list and help ensure Bethan gets elected. We could lose Dai Lloyd though, which would be great shame.

If you look at the 1999 regional vote, 2 plaid victories would have still produced 2 additional list AMs.

Normal Mouth said...

Ted

Has it occurred to you that the change in voting patterns that you perceive between postal and 'normal' ballots, rather than being something dodgy, might be the product of i) lifestyle differences between those vote postally and those who do not and ii) the outcome of a deliberate strategy of chasing postal votes on behalf of Labour?

It is highly likely that postal voters, rather than being some proportionate subset of normal voters, are in fact one or more distinct groups whose behaviour is different. For example, there is likely to be a greater proportion of elderly voters among postal voters, and it may be that this group are more disposed toward (in this case) Labour. Postal voters may also feature a greater concentration of full-time workers, or busy professionals. Perhaps they also favour Labour proportionately more than the non-postal voting electorate.

Secondly, it may also be be that Labour has decided to focus on these voters more than other voters, and in contrast to the strategy of your party. That's not unfair, or dodgy, it's simply an election strategy. If you think it's paying dividends for them, why not encourage your party to adopt a similar tactic?

We cannot rule our unfair or illegal practices in the casting of postal votes - just as we can't in normal voting - but instead of coming "to the conclusion that something isn’t quite right" a political boffin might also consider that postal voting preferences are different for largely legitimate reasons.

Left Field said...

why not encourage your party to adopt a similar tactic?

Strangely enough as a postal voter, I only had one targetted leaflet and it was from Alun Llewelyn.

I'd be pretty annoyed if I lost my postal vote. I can be called to the other end of the country at a moments notice. I would have missed 2 or 3 election votes including the 2005 General Election.