Political boffin, keen fisherman looking forward to retirement.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More Labour Strife over Red - Green deal

If you want an indication of how Peter Hain is thinking look no further than the comments attributed to one of his dogs of war, Kevin Madge of the Amman Valley.

“I’m very unhappy with what’s going on at the Assembly. It reminds me of that old film Dance of the Vampires when anybody going to this castle who is bitten by a vampire ends up turning into one themselves."

In other words, innocent Labour members who get elected to the Assembly are being turned into rabid nats.

Madge of course is a senior figure in Hain's deputy leadership team. His claim to fame as Cabinet Member for Social Services in Carmarthenshire has been to privatise Home Care services. Perhaps he is so opposed to a Red - Green deal as it is likely to include (according to the Western Mail) a commitment to stop creeping privatisation!!

Cllr Madge got hammered in the recent Assembly elections as Labour candidate for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr. A once rock solid Labour seat, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr is now the second safest seat in Wales - under Plaid's Rhodri Glyn Thomas.

With electoral masterminds like that running his campaign, no wonder Hain is 50/1 to become Deputy Leader.


Che Grav-ara said...

It just goes to show how far Labour have come when a once proud Labour seat would put up a pro privitisation candidate.

As much as it is interesting to read the comments of Labour Councillors on a possible coalition you have to question why anyone would take seriously the views of a man that only around 6 weeks ago lost the election by the biggest vote in the history of the seat. As you said it does not bode well for Hain!

Geraint said...

Should really just ingore the comments of a mere councilor who is a failed cannidate and clearly has no real grip on the reality in the Welsh Assembly.

Normal Mouth said...

"A once rock solid Labour seat, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr is now the second safest seat in Wales - under Plaid's Rhodri Glyn Thomas."

I must say I'm impressed how a self-proclaimed "political boffin" can manage to get every claim in this statement wrong.

Carm E has never been "rock solid". It was only created in 1997, where Labour held it with a 3,450 majority, or 43% of the vote compared to Plaid's 36%. Prior to that, as the Carmarthen constituency (which I assume as a PC sympathiser holds some significance for you) Labour's majority never rose above 4,300, not that dissimilar to Gwynfor Evans's 3,600 majority in 1974.

Secondly, Carm E isn't the second safest seat, it's the fifth.

Finally, Labour have never held it at the Assembly level, so PC has overturned nothing.

Apart from that, you're spot on. I'll let you get back to your boffin stuff now.

sulf said...

Carmarthen has never been a rock solid Labour seat. It's been Liberal, Labour, Plaid, Labour, and Plaid again. The Carmarthen voters always do everything different to the rest of the country.

Che Grav-ara said...

I think you'll find your statement is a tad bit misleading normal mouth. The Carmarthen East seat, as it was formally known was won in 1966 by Gwynfor Evans for Plaid Cymru. It was then lost in 1970 but regained in 1974. Labour then took the seat back in 1979 and held it for 20 years until Rhodri Glyn Thomas victory in the first Assembly elections 1999. Call it what you want but I'm sure even Labour supporters would see a twenty year reign as a solid seat. We are not talking about Carmarthenshire but the Carmarthen East seat and its predecessor before boundary changes.

As for being the fifth safest seat you are again misleading.

The safest seat in the Assembly is that of Dafydd Ellis Thomas with a majority of 8868, the Carmarthen east seat, joint with the Monmouth seat, has the second largest with 8469.

Ted Jones said...

Take it easy comrade normal mouth. I read from your blog today that you've converted to support a red - green deal. Shame about your MPs whose confused positioning plays into the hands of the All Wales Accord.

Ted Jones said...

Carmarthen East consists of two industrial valleys the Amman and Gwendraeth which have traditionally been rock solid Labour. No more, Labour only competed in one ward in the whole constituency (Garnant) this year. Just shows that Plaid has the potential to beat Labour anywhere once it gets its act together at local level.

Normal Mouth said...

Che - Gwynfor Evans represented Carmarthen. Carmarthen East and Dinefwr did not exist until 1997.

You may regard 5 Labour wins all with majorities often far less than 4,000 as "rock solid", but it isn't. It was always regarded as a marginal seat. "Rock solid" for Labour (at least in them days) meant a 25,000 plus majority and held since the 1930s.

And according to the House of Commons Library Research Paper 07/45 Carm E is the fifth safest seat, behind Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Ogmore, Aberavon and Cardiff Central. It's the percentage of majority that matters more than number of extra votes.

So no, I'm not misleading anyone.

Ted - your description of the seat is highly partial, and you know it. It's been an area with considerable PC support since the 1960s. That's why it used to be held by them.

Che Grav-ara said...

Normal mouth.

The Carmarthen Seat that Gwynfor represented is the political predecessor of the Carmarthen East seat. It may not have existed in name until 1997 as you suggest but there is a clear history of the seat dating back to Gwynfor. Have a look at the history according to the sitting AM, I am sure he has a better understanding of the seat than you. With all due respect of course.


As for the Assembly paper you refer to I would consider actual votes, in which the Cams East seat is the second safest, a greater indicator than a percentage. Percentage is subject to turnout. Overturning hard cold votes is an entirely different thing. Frankly you can not argue that Carmarthen East is the second safest seat based on votes.

Normal Mouth said...

Gwynfor's seat was called Carmarthen, not Carmarthen East. As Carmarthen it was a Labour marginal from 1979 to 2001 when it was lost (well) to PC. It was not a rock solid Labour seat, however you look at it.

"As for the Assembly paper you refer to I would consider actual votes, in which the Cams East seat is the second safest, a greater indicator than a percentage. Percentage is subject to turnout."

When we talk of the election results we talk in terms of share of the vote (ie. percentages). That's why Labour's 32% has been so widely quoted.

We don't talk in terms of the number of votes each party got in total, because it doesn't express what as well the preferences of the electorate and how those who voted divided up their preferences.

It's the same with majorities. Percentage majorities show us how far ahead the leading party is from its next challenger, i.e how safe it is. The actual majority is much less meaningful; Winner A might have a 40% majority but only be 2,000 ahead of the runner-up, while Winner B might have a 15% majority and a majority of 4,000.

Decisions are made by those who turn up, so we measure their preferences in percentage terms. That's how it's done.