May 082016
 

In my previous post I told you that I was going to vote for Independent Louise Hughes as my constituency AM, and that’s what I did. She didn’t win, nobody expected her to win, but she finished fifth in a seven-horse race, above the Lib Dem and Green candidates; the second of those – and bottom of the poll – being Alice Hooker-Stroud, the recently elected leader of the Wales region of the Green Party of Englandandwales. So well done Louise for beating a party leader. (Well, a regional leader anyway.)

Dwyfor-M

CLICK TO ENLARGE

In fact, the poor showing by the Greens was for me one of the highlights of the night. Clearly their electoral appeal has been greatly over-estimated by just about everyone, especially themselves. I don’t think a single Green constituency candidate reached 4% (can’t be bothered to check them all), while on the regional lists, where they might have been expected to do better, they polled just 3%, a drop of 0.5% on 2011.

Not even that grande dame of the local Greens, Pippa Bartolotti, could break through the 3% barrier. What is wrong with the voters of Newport West; they are offered as a candidate the woman who’s led the Greens to the giddy heights they now occupy and yet the fools refused to elect her! Never mind, posterity will I’m sure be gentle on her. For her amanuensis, ex-con Martyn Shrewsbury, is hard at work right now making up excuses for the woman he adores . . . but does she reciprocate? And if so, how? And do you really want to think about it!

The Greens are so adept at self-publicity that we tend to forget what a tiny and insignificant party they really are.

You’ll see from the Dwyfor Meirionnydd constituency figures above that as elsewhere the new ingredient in the mix was UKIP, whose candidate on my patch, Frank Wykes, got 10.6% of the vote. Wykes describes himself as a Cornishman, which is rather disappointing. And this picture (below) don’t do him no favours either. Looks like it’s been taken from inside the female changing room at the local swimming pool . . . possibly with the same phone used to send the unsettling image to the gendarmerie. Leg it, Frankie!

Frank Wykes

The figures suggest that in Dwyfor Meirionnydd it was the Tories who took the hit from UKIP. (So it’s not all bad news.) Though I note with some anger that candidate Neil Fairlamb labels himself ‘Welsh Conservative’. No you are not! – you are an English bloody Conservative who happens to be in Wales; there is nothing Welsh about you apart from your location. I represent that elite and transcendental band of true Welsh Tories, a man without a port of call, a political Flying Dutchman.

On the regional list I voted Liberal Democrat in the hope of seeing William Powell, a very decent and capable man, re-elected, but again, my hopes were dashed. The four elected on the regional list were Joyce Watson and Eluned Morgan for Labour, Simon Thomas for Plaid and – wait for it! – Mr and Mrs Neil Hamilton for UKIP. I mention them both because although Hamilton N. is, technically, the elected Assembly Member, his missus Christine will be doing the thinking and the talking for him.

What really did for William Powell though was not the calibre of the opposition – couldn’t be, could it! – but the re-election of Kirsty Williams in Brecon and Radnor coupled with the general decline in the Lib Dem vote elsewhere. Sad, but that’s how this Labour-biased electoral system operates.

Mid and West Wales

CLICK TO ENLARGE

*

Of course the one result everyone is talking about is Rhondda (make that ‘Rhonnda’ if you’re in UKIP) where Plaid leader Leanne Wood beat the popular and unassuming Labour candidate, Leighton Andrews. Yes, they were dancing in the streets of Treorchy on Friday morning when the result was announced. But then, they’re always dancing in the streets of Treorchy.

Though if you want an illustration of how far the Liberal Democrats have sunk then the Rhondda result provides it. Here the Green candidate got 1.1% of the vote – but still beat the Lib Dem candidate on 0.7%.

The Rhondda result was obviously a victory for a well-respected local candidate, unfortunately Plaid Cymru was unable to repeat this victory elsewhere in the south. Though two results deserve to be mentioned.

First, Neil McEvoy giving Labour a fright in Cardiff West, the first of many frights, I’m sure. Delighted though to see Neil elected on the South Wales Central regional list. I just hope that the Plaid establishment doesn’t ‘get to’ him. Plaid Cymru needs more Neil McEvoys and fewer sons of the manse and masters of cynghanedd, and fewer entryists using the party to promote socialist, environmentalist and other agendas.

And then there was the somewhat overlooked result in Blaenau Gwent. A result that in some ways was more praiseworthy than Rhondda and Cardiff West. There Nigel Copner – a name new to me – came within 650 votes of the winning Labour candidate. In the process local boy Professor Copner increased the Plaid share of the vote by a staggering 31.2%.

Overall, and given the problems being experienced by their rivals (dealt with below) Plaid’s very modest increase in both constituency (+1.3%) and list votes (+3.0%) must be viewed as a failure.

*

For the Conservatives it was also a case of little real change. They must be disappointed to have lost three seats and not to have repeated their 2015 successes in Gower and Vale of Clwyd, though in both constituencies they closed the gap on Labour incumbents who saw support fall away.

And they must be wondering what might have been if local leader Andrew R T Davies had contested the Vale of Glamorgan rather than sticking with the regional list. As it was the Tory candidate came within 777 votes of Labour minister Jane Hutt . . . but the seat might have been won if local farmer Davies had stood. There might yet be repercussions from his decision.

Yet the Tories had to contend with the rise of UKIP and the fact that the party on UK and Welsh levels is split over next month’s EU referendum; then there’s the crisis in the steel industry, the Panama papers, and the fact that many in Wales believe Cameron and Osborne are planning the reintroduction of workhouses.

Putting it all together the party’s showing wasn’t too bad at all. Down just 3.9% in the constituency share of the vote and 3.7% on the regional lists could even be seen as rather good in the circumstances.

*

For the first time UKIP now has Assembly Members, and an interesting bunch they are, who will provide hours of side-splitting entertainment, to the point where many of you will actually miss them when UKIP finally implodes.

Though it might not have come to pass without a favourable alignment in the heavens that saw the Assembly elections precede the EU referendum. Had it been the other way round there might be no UKIP AMs.

Hamiltons

But already the ‘scorpion’ impulse is asserting itself and just days after the elections Christine Neil Hamilton is challenging Nathan Gill for the leadership – yet Gill was anointed by Farage himself! The entertainment has started! Though the leadership challenge can’t take place until Hamilton has taken the Oath of Allegiance (to Mrs Windsor), this is delayed as it’s proving awkward for him to get to Cardiff from his English home.

Perhaps now that he’s back among us we should start using his first given name. To help you become familiar with it, I shall henceforth refer to the new AM for Mid and West Wales as Mostyn Hamilton.

*

The real winner last Thursday was quite obviously the Labour Party. With an aggregate vote of 33.1% Labour gained 49.3% of the seats in what is supposed to be a system of proportional representation. It is nothing of the sort. It is a system designed to give the impression of being a PR system while reinforcing the position of the largest party. A system chosen by Labour to benefit Labour.

Let us hope that with the long promised reorganisation of Westminster constituencies there comes a better PR model. Or if we must stick to the same model, then there must be an increase in the number of regional list seats. In the Scottish Parliament 56 of the 129 seats are regional seats, that’s 43.4%. Here in Wales of course it’s 20 out of 60, or 33.3%. Come to that, why does Scotland have more than twice the number of MSPs for a population well short of double ours?

If, as is predicted, Wales’ representation at Westminster is reduced to 29 or 30 constituencies then this would provide the perfect opportunity to reform the system for Assembly elections. But whatever happens in the future it is now clear that the current system for electing AMs is flawed and discredited. It must be reformed.

Hello, Hello, Hello

I can’t finish without mentioning the Police and Crime Commissioner elections that also took place last Thursday, the results of which have just been announced. Labour took Gwent and South Wales while Plaid Cymru took North and Dyfed Powys.

PCC Dyfed Powys

A very good result for Plaid Cymru, and with Arfon Jones becoming PCC for GogPlod it means that I got one out of three right last Thursday. But then, with my constituency choice being a no-hoper (sorry, Louise), my list choice a long shot, Arfon was always my best chance of getting one right.

I don’t know Dafydd Llywelyn the new Dyfed Powys PCC at all, but someone has been trying to tell me there was something irregular about his selection. The allegation being that he had not been a party member for the stipulated length of time before being selected as a candidate. Surely not!

I would hate to think that Plaid Cymru is slipping into the bad practices of other parties.

~ ~ ~ END ~ ~ ~

NEXT: Why are housing associations allowed to use public funding to build properties for sale to ‘investors’? And more . . .

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66 Comments on "Assembly Elections 2016: Hopes and Ashes"

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Ian Perryman
Guest
Just a few disjointed comments. I’ve numbered them so people will find it easier to disagree with me. 1. Apparently the swing from Labour to Plaid in Blaenau Gwent was 26%, the biggest swing anywhere in the UK (or so I’m told) 2. The good news for Plaid, apart from winning in the Rhondda, is that a number of formally ‘safe’ Labour seats are now marginal constituencies. 3. I think… Read more »
Marconatrix
Guest

Thank you for an informative post. Just one question : would you still be railing against the not-altogether-PR system if whatever party it is you favour were the one benefiting (as e.g. the SNP in Scotland) ?

dafis
Guest

over 2,000 voted for that Frank ( mugshot above ) ! Looks like something out of a living dead B movie. Still a lot of the tossers who voted for him probably look like that too. That’s why they clutter up our hospitals and community care services. Makes the argument for us.

dafis
Guest

and that photo of Hamilton – he looks like he’s a patient dressed up for a day out with his carer

dafis
Guest

D Llewelyn was something called an “intelligence analyst”, or “spy” as was the common term back in your prime when shifty blokes used to turn up in pubs favoured by us good guys and try to drink their way into nuggets of info. Had a few fun sessions trotting out some ridiculous yarns confident that they would be written down somewhere and “collated” by Plod. Happy days

welshnotbritish
Guest

I’ve been crunching the numbers through my ‘list seat spread sheet’ in order to highlight some bullshit the greens have been spreading in order to trick people into voting for them. Needless to say that we’d need to have several hundred AMs in the Senedd just to have a single green AM.

Llyr
Guest

First time Plaid have gained anything nationally since 2007. First time they’ve theatened Labour in the valleys since 1999 and Cardiff, well ever.

Rural Wales seems mostly ok for Plaid, regardless of anglicisation. Plaid has improved how it campaigns in those areas.

dafis
Guest
Llyr, you are being unbelievably naive about prospects in rural Wales, I wish you were right but the steady accumulation of predominantly Anglo migrants along with other anglicised and anglo-orientated units has had and will continue to have a corrosive effect. Plaid was right to try “to get on” with these new influxes but having now learned that it is a mission with very low if any returns, for various… Read more »
Brychan
Guest
Llyr – You’re missing the elephant in the room. Nothing to do with rural or anglicisation. Stonking result in Blaenau Gwent (Copner), Rhondda (Leanne) and Cardiff West (McEvoy), and even in Pontypridd (Chad) took second place in a seat which was previously a Lab/LibDem tussle. Compare those seats with Llanelli (HelenMary) who took a spanking, which was supposed to be a target seat for Plaid. The reality is that Plaid… Read more »
Stan
Guest
I think that’s a really good point Brychan has made. There are one or two younger local Labour Councillors in NPT and they certainly seem to catch the notice of the Labour following more than the old (some very old indeed) herd. The younger ones are naturally a bit more ambitious, dynamic and want to be noticed. They are also more in tune with the new computer age, so engage… Read more »
Ian Perryman
Guest

“But a point will come in a few years when enough Welsh will see what Plaid Cymru really is, and that epiphany combined with the ongoing colonisation could see a fairly rapid collapse of the Plaid vote. ”

Once again Jac shows his devotion to the oozlum bird school of journalism.
An excellent article spoiled by his pretentious bullocks {{autocorrected}} in the comments section.

dafis
Guest
just noticed that Hamilton is leader of UKIP at the Assembly. Might lead to Gill hanging on to his EU seat for the time being. Anyway we can count on Neil/Mostyn ( a.k.a Tosspot ) reducing the whole show to the level of panto and he ‘ll present Carwyn with stacks of opportunities for dismissing him as “not well briefed” or “not acquainted with realities in Wales”. I reckon it… Read more »
The Earthshaker
Guest

Says a lot about welsh politics that today’s UKIP ruckus has made more impact than the last 17 years put together and seen as events in the Senedd are being reduced to panto, then I suggest all non UKIP AM’s wave brown envelopes at Neil Hamilton whenever he speaks in the Chamber.

Not-A-Donkey-Voter
Guest
Neil Hamilton deserves the title (is there one?) ‘the-most-English-Welshman’ in history! I wonder if the fantastic weather and steel industry concerns of constituents helped Labour especially in SW Wales? I thought there would have been a piss-poor turnout that would be way down on the last one. Labour made a very strong effort to retake Gower and tbh I was rather surprised by the lack of effort from the other… Read more »
Carnabwth
Guest

Interesting programme on Radio Cymru where St Ives decision to restrict new houses to being full time residences. Mici Beechy from Llangrannog describes his village 80% holiday homes. How he spoke to Leanne Wood on radio a few weeks ago when she said that building affordable homes was the answer. But he says that non-locals are moved into these places; Llanarth being a well known example http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0790jm6#play

dafis
Guest
When the euphoria of Leanne’s excellent victory over the odious Andrews clears away she and her team needs to get down to some serious planning around the subjects of second homes, affordable homes for natives/locals, issues arising from in migration, encouragement of use of Welsh, core/basic skills …… the list can go on for a while. As an aside to articulating clear action plans for these subject areas Plaid’s leadership… Read more »
sibrydionmawr
Guest
There has, since mewnfudwyr started to move to Wales in great numbers in the late 70s/early 80s been this issue. Some 20 years ago Cymdeithas yr Iaith highlighted the issue in one of their campaigns, making a huge amount of sense when they claimed that there wasn’t actually a shortage of housing in rural Wales, but that most of the housing was either second homes, holiday lets or priced way… Read more »
Carnabwth
Guest

Sorry….from just after 16 minutes in on the programme.

GY Powell
Guest
Mcevoy and Wood cultivated their patched admirably but its only papered over the cracks. When Leanne was elected leader she said “a Wales that can be free” but in a recent tweet she said only the enemies of Plaid would use the word “Cymru Rydd” Welsh speaking Wales will always vote Plaid nationalist or not, SE Wales will only vote Plaid if its detoxified of nationalism. Leanne has enjoyed X… Read more »
Marconatrix
Guest

But if Plaid is ¨detoxified of nationalism¨ what have you left? Dim blydi byd, am wn i! But please enlighten an ignorant foreigner.

Of course there´s a possible conflict between SNP-style ´civic nationalism´ and UKIP-style ´blood and soil´ (gwaed a gweryd??) nationalism. Is that the issue here?

dafis
Guest
UKIP – Blood and soil ? Maybe in England, though more likely greed and chancers ! Here in Wales we don’t even have civic nationalism, instead it’s a form of interventionist, nannying coated with schoolboy/girl idealised socialism, you know the sort. It builds a bureaucracy then finds things for it to do, then grows it some more like a giant job creation machine that creates nothing but dependency, bit like… Read more »
Marconatrix
Guest

Now I am confused. You see Plaid as simply an amateurism imitation of Labour? What sort of Wales would your like to see and who or what might bring it about?

dafis
Guest
you confused ? you should try living in amongst this f***in’ lot pal ! Tactical and strategic nous is non existent, even the Plaid spokesman’s account of what led to the challenge was disingenuous. The entire spectrum is now a mess, but Labour can at least claim some kind of “lead” by virtue of having 29 seats plus Kirsty, for now, holding the balance. The other lot might as well… Read more »
GY Powell
Guest

All nationalism is ‘blood and soil’ don’t kid yourself

The valleys is unique, they’re just as likely to vote UKIP next time although my betting is it will be back to Labour

sibrydionmawr
Guest

I don’t think Plaid’s nationalism is a big issue in South East Wales. That has been Plaid’s own fear about itself. A far bigger issue in South East Wales has been Plaid’s prevarication over independence.

dafis
Guest
Jac, Alert Big Gee – he’s going to have to buy a few rounds over in Ceredigion to celebrate Elin’s elevation to the Presidency. Those Cardis always liked a bit of ceremony – manifested in how they dress up for Eisteddfodau and Agricultural shows ! It will be interesting to see what sort of tent she’ll wear for her initiation ceremony. Big Gee could end up as her aide de… Read more »
Big Gee
Admin
So SO true! By the way you left out funerals Dafis – we’re big on those as well in Ceredigion – we have three ‘going out’ wardrobes, the Royal Welsh one, the eisteddfod one and the one that brings a whiff of mothballs into the chapel. The tent will make a change from that black cardigan her mother must have knitted and forces her to wear for public appearances! Me?… Read more »
dafis
Guest
I posted something here earlier but it flew off into the ether, probably hovering over Korea by now ! Anyway, Gee, stick around. I fancy we’ll see some more sparks flying over next few weeks with increasing shifts away from those “non negotiable positions” people adopt when trotting out fibs before elections. As a distraction you could organise a whipround among Cardi farmers to buy our favourite girl a ceremonial… Read more »
Big Gee
Admin

Oh yes! Loyalty and commitment pulls up abruptly when you venture near a Cardi’s deep pockets and short arms. It’s like an attempted raid by the gentiles on the inner sanctum of the holy of holies in the temple synagogue! A REAL stress test.

The Earthshaker
Guest
Less than a week since I was being positive about Leanne Wood when her and Plaid Cymru’s political naivety comes back with a vengeance, allowing themselves to be tied to the Tory/UKIP mast over trying to send a message to Carwyn Jones and Labour Party has backfired spectacularly. The new Assembly term’s less than a week old and Leanne’s ensured she lost the Rhondda, Plaid Cymru will go the way… Read more »
Bill Chapman
Guest

Leanne cosying up to Neil Hamilton? Whatever next?

Brychan
Guest
I think it’s the other way round. Neil Hamilton is a kind of lounge lizard, the sort who drools over powerful women and is looking for a slot on celebrity dancing on ice in a jungle. The Senedd will suffice. After June, he’ll be as useful as a wet echo and disappear to flog books for Ruck in Hay-on-Wye or presenting ‘Escape to the Country’ wearing a b-list blazer and… Read more »
dafis
Guest

Brychan You are being very hard on lounge lizards. They too have their pride and will resent any association with Mostyn the brown envelop man.

Brychan
Guest
Actually, Leanne has just made Labour obsolete in Rhondda. Masterstroke. Well dome Leanne. We are not Labour’s poodle. It’s quite simple. Wales should be an independent country, and if any other elected person is going to support it then, join the back of the queue. Tories and Labour are just BritNat parties and Ukip just put that title in their name. Ymlaen Leanne. Rhondda is buzzing, and it’s spreading to… Read more »
Stan
Guest
I’ve never seen the local Labour twitter accounts down here so dripping with bile. Every donkey and his ass have got something scathing to say. Boy, do they hate being challenged. Just to help them with their apparent incapacity to understand the difference between a minority administration and a coalition, it is the former situation they are in – not a coalition as tweeted by Baron Hain earlier this evening.… Read more »
Marconatrix
Guest

Any chance of one or two Labour members breaking ranks? For that matter, how many Labour rebels would it take for Leanne to rule the roost and stick it CJ and the Tories/UKIP? I mean, seeing as we´ve now entered some kind of farcical alternative reality who knows what could happen next?

dafis
Guest
“farcical alternative reality” sums up that possibility. There again Carwyn’s emotional response suggests that it might not take too many bangs to the head to get him back on his stool, permanently. Then the real infighting could begin. Also Darren Miller’s cameo last night on BBC, 10.40ish, suggests that ARTD might need to take stock of his own group despite the assurances of unity from that corner. UKIP could fracture… Read more »
Brychan
Guest
I see Alun Davies AM is spitting feathers as well as fibs accusing Plaid Cymru of doing a ‘deal with Ukip’. Nonsense of course. Voting in a FM by AMs is done in alphabetical order and requires a majority from all those elected in the Senedd. Perhaps Alun, is still the quivering AM for Blaenau Gwent is still reeling from the shock of Plaid Cymru gaining a 30% swing in… Read more »
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