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

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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.

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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.

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

  68 Responses to “Assembly Elections 2016: Hopes and Ashes”

  1.  

    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 Carwyn got lucky this time round as the Assembly election was overshadowed by the EU referendum and Tata steel. He practically admitted this himself in an interview he made. Can’t be bothered to look for the link – sorry.

    4. If, as you say, UKIP supporters are ex Tory voters this may also have helped the Labour Party by splitting the Tory vote. There are a couple of places – Wrecsam for example – where the combined Tory+UKIP vote would have defeated Labour.

    5. I suppose the next big question is what happens to UKIP after the referendum vote.

    If we remain in then their argument would be discredited and they would have to accept the result of the referendum.
    I don’t see that they would have any choice, after all they say they are standing in Wales for the Assembly, which they opposed, based on the result of the last Assembly referendum – and they now accept that result.

    Alternatively if we leave Europe then surely, having achieved their aim, UKIP become redundant?

    6. The Lib-Dems are still suffering from the minor party coalition effect, in much the same way as Plaid suffered after going into coalition with Labour in the Assembly. Their problem is if they sink so far out of sight as to be invisible they will never come back.

    7. The same is true of the Green Party. I think they’re now doing so badly that Plaid see no need to be quite so friendly towards them, even advertising themselves as an alternative party of the environment.
    Perhaps they’ll all pack up their tepees and disappear into the setting sun?

    8. I’m quite pleased that Labour have decided to run a minority administration. They will have nobody else to blame when things go wrong. Having to cope with a minority administration faced with an aggressive UKIP and a buoyant Plaid is not going to be easy.
    I’m assuming, of course, that they chose to do this. Perhaps they dropped a few hints to the Lib-Dem and Plaid and were told to go forth and micturate. Who knows.

    •  

      Unusually, I find myself agreeing with you. Apart from point 4. True, many UKIP voters are ex-Tories but not all, and certainly not in Wales. Just look at the UKIP vote in the Valleys in 2014, 2015 and last week.

    •  

      I think we may underestimate the levels of recent demographic change in the Valleys. Large parts now have English born in excess of 15%.

    •  

      I have argued for some time that people should wake to the inevitable consequences of very cheap housing in the Valleys combined with English cities – especially London – clearing out their poorest, most vulnerable and dependent. And unlike the population movement of a century or more ago we are dealing now with a largely non-working, benefit dependent – but Labour-voting – influx. Desirable for the enemies of Wales like Labour.

    •  

      I’m not disagreeing with you for one moment, but I think this is a far broader phenomenon in terms of socio-economic status. With the passing of heavy industry, large parts of the Valleys are very attractive places to live (frequently advertised as semi-rural in English estate agents). Cardiff, Swansea and Bristol are easily commutable and, as the proportion of Welsh people declines, these areas become ever more attractive to those desirous of a little England. The accents, England shirts, rising UKIP vote in my area are all testament to this.

    •  

      an old acquaintance of mine, cast onto employment scrap heap at 60ish, has been buying up terraces in Gwent valleys & doing them up all for about £50k and letting them for approx £400 a month. Most of his tenants are young couples who can’t get HA accomodation because of all those other “deserving” cases ! I say he’s doing well steering clear of the types that get ahead of the queue with the HA’s as they likely to be relocated druggies, crims and other assorted bandits many from across the Wye/ Severn.

    •  

      But also IMO a good hunting ground for any truly radical party that can inspire those without much hope. Now that could be UKIP or it could be Plaid, but hardly Labour these days I think.

      So TBH I don´t think your anti-English rhetoric will do you much good in this situation. You need to convert this influx not alienate them. Make sure that at least their kids identify as Welsh. The only other identity on offer is a negative and outdated ´British´ (= Little Englander) ID being pushed by UKIP and worse.

      If Scotland proves anything it´s that a positive message will always win over negativity. Which side are you on?

    •  

      The Scottish example is irrelevant as the Central Belt hasn’t seen large scale English immigration. English kids in Scotland assimilate because they have no choice, many people there find the English accent ugly and effete. The Scots take no shit and the English immigrants fear them.

    •  

      Spot on. But the apologists for doing nothing to combat colonisation point to Scotland as if the situation there is comparable. It’s not.

    •  

      Scotland has a different legal system that prevents ‘dumping’ and ‘entitlement’ of English undesirables by social landlords or English councils.

      Also, one of the barriers that prevent holiday cottaging in Scotland is the way in which a property purchase is completed. A property purchase contract becomes legally binding when an offer is accepted making it impossible for an ‘equity release as from the primary home in England’ or ‘gazumping’ by those seeking a holiday home in Scotland. Any purchase of a second property outside England in Scotland, tends to be a cash-only buy and there’s an incentive for the Scottish home to be either primary occupancy and residence. Any investment (holiday lets) are treated as a commercial enterprise requiring full planning consent.

      We should adopt this same system in Wales.

  2.  

    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) ?

    •  

      If you’d been paying attention you’d know – a) that I support no party and b) the Scottish system is far more representative.

      The figures say it all. Labour got around a third of the votes and 29 out of 60 seats. THAT is not proportionality.

    •  

      I don´t deny that the system in both countries was set up largely to serve Labour´s self-interest. However the point I was trying to make was that it doesn´t favour Labour as such, it favours any party that can get more than its proportional share of constituency seats. The additional members system can only add seats to even up the balance, once a party has already ´overbalanced´ in the FPTP contests, there is no way to take away its excess of seats.

      But in a sense the system is fair (for a certain meaning of ´fair´) because it applies equally to whatever party happens to be in the ascendancy. The Welsh system is more FPTP than the Scots (now how did that happen?) but it would take less of a surge in support for the [insert name to suit] Party to be in a position to benefit.

    •  

      I usually ignore you (have you noticed?) but this time I shall make an exception.

      When deciding on the electoral system to be used in the Welsh Assembly elections the Blair government in the late 1990s had a wide range of choices, but they went for a variant of something called the ‘d’Hondt’ method. Now this system might work with three or four parties – even more – having their support spread fairly evenly across the territory using the system.

      But in a country like Wales, where one party still predominates, and that party is guaranteed X number of constituency seats, the system fails and is not proportional. Further, the more fragmented the opposition to the dominant party the more the system benefits the dominant party. So, in a perverse way, UKIP, Greens, Lib Dems and countless Independents and other candidates is good news for Labour.

      But I guarantee that the system will be changed once Labour’s hegemony in Wales is seriously challenged, and Labour starts losing its grip on its ‘heartland’. The Tories will almost certainly back the change in the voting system, partly out of self-interest, and partly to ensure that Plaid Cymru is unable to emulate the SNP. (Not that there’s much chance of that.)

      So, yes, you’re right in saying this system would benefit any party in Labour’s position. Which is like saying you’d be rich if you were Bill Gates. What does that mean? I’m commenting on the system and how it plays out in the political realities of contemporary Wales.

    •  

      But “the political realities of contemporary Wales” were pretty much the realities of Scotland say 15 years ago. West central Scotland was wall-to-wall Labour, the rural areas a mix of Tory and LibDem. Back then who would have dared to imagine … Clearly people can and do change their minds.

      What worries me is whether Wales can change quickly enough before total anglicisation takes hold. But given your attitude nothing very much can change. Not every Scot Nat is a full-on fan of the SNP, but most have the sense to realise (despite a bit of recent loony lefty agitation) that it’s the only nationalist party we have.Surely the same could be said of Plaid, especially now the Kippers have raised their (literally!) ugly heads.

    •  

      But I’m not writing about “the realities of Scotland say 15 years ago”.

      What happened in Scotland cannot be repeated here, not because of “anglicisation” but because of full-on English colonisation. The village in which I live is majority English, the same applies to many other communities – thanks mainly to tourism – and the influx continues unchecked. Then we have border areas, especially in the north, which are already semi-detached.

      That’s not to say that Plaid Cymru might not appeal to some of those moving into Wales, but to appeal to a substantial number of them would almost certainly require Plaid Cymru watering down its message to the point where it offers nothing to the indigenous Welsh.

      The healthiest signs for Plaid Cymru in last week’s elections were in Rhondda, Blaenau Gwent and Cardiff West. Displace Labour in its heartland and Wales is theirs, no matter what recent retirees, good-lifers, white flighters and others in rural areas may or may not want.

      But the sad truth is, Plaid should have been opposing the colonisation strategy for the past 40 years. It didn’t, and soon it will start paying the price. That wouldn’t bother me were it not for the fact that Plaid’s hopes are diminished due to galloping anglicisation.

      The ultimate loser is Wales. And that’s what I care about.

  3.  

    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.

  4.  

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

  5.  

    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

  6.  

    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.

    •  

      I know what you mean. Quite why the Greens were able to generate such publicity, and why so many took them seriously as a political force in Wales, remains a mystery. Let us hope that these elections expose the Greens for the piss and wind party they are and that Plaid Cymru never again thinks of linking with these buggers.

    •  

      The Greens were given a ‘leaders debate slot’ on the basis of the votes they get in England (one MP) but these were Wales-only elections. If a fifth or sixth slot is to be made available to future ‘leader debates’ in Wales I would expect to see Peoples First (Caiach) and Llais Gwynedd (Louise) to be on these podiums in future. Why does the BBC think that getting votes in Sussex means you get onto a ‘leaders debate’ in Wales?

  7.  

    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.

    •  

      “Seems ok”, says he. Believe me, the demographic changes will eventually take their toll.

    •  

      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 reasons. It’s time to realise that highlighting the negative consequences of this demographic shift should be central to their mission, because if you don’t stand for your own who do you stand for ? .

    •  

      Many Welsh in the rural west still vote Plaid as a way of showing defiance to the influx, or in the hope that Plaid will do something to curb it. 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.

      The only future then for Plaid will be to re-invent itself as a party for the region of ‘Wales’, stripped of everything that might make recent arrivals feel ‘uncomfortable’.

    •  

      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 make the gains where there is a new younger forthright candidate, who stand full tilt in favour of independence, regardless of what part of the political spectrum or type of Welsh community that is voting.

      It’s time for Plaid to learn that it’s a party for INDEPENDENCE, and that those standing for election should not be ‘safe-fodder’ candidates but individuals rooted and booted in the community they seek to represent.

    •  

      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 on things like Facebook and Twitter, maybe even have a website. Not unlike Jac a bit, heh,heh! “Rooted and booted in the community” is a great description. A well known local Independent NPT Councillor contested the election last week as an Independent and commanded just short of what the Tory man did – some 8% of the vote – and got nearly 700 votes more than the Lib Dem and Green candidates combined. I hope those that make the decisions in Plaid take notice of what Brychan is saying. For Local Council elections which we’ll have next year it’s even more imperative for the right local characters to be on the ballot paper.

  8.  

    “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.

    •  

      You’re a difficult man to please, young Ian.

      The point I was making – perhaps over-egging it a wee bit – was that I live in what has become in a single generation a majority English village. Due to Plaid Cymru’s cowardice in the face of the colonisation strategy, this village is the future. The demographic changes taking place unchecked will inevitably mean that in places like Ceredigion, Aberconwy and other seats Plaid will need a majority of the Welsh vote in four- or five-cornered contests to have any hope.

      But in that situation why should Welsh people vote for a ‘national’ party that failed to defend the nation vanishing before their eyes? The ‘Fuck it! – it’s all over’ mentality will prevail.

      By the way, what’s an ‘oozlum bird’? Do tell.

    •  

      The said bird IIRC is believed to fly in ever-decreasing circles until in vanishes up its own fundamental cavity with a faint ´pop!´

    •  

      And he likened me unto such a creature! ME!! Never again shall I send him a crate of my best Bordeaux for Christmas.

  9.  

    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 will only be a matter of months before some real shit about 1 or more of these guys will enter the public domain. Adds new meaning to the term “stinking like an old Kipper” !

    •  

      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.

    •  

      In this very post, published Sunday evening, I wrote: “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.” But I never thought the fun would start so soon!

  10.  

    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 parties (especially Tories) when it came to electioneering stuff. My area did not see anybody doorstepping other than Labour whom made two house calls along with posting a shit load of leaflets and doing a good few phone calls.

  11.  

    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

    •  

      Plaid Cymru knows the problem with housing associations but refuses to even acknowledge that problem let alone demand a remedy.

    •  

      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 team can begin to describe how they will detoxify the Third Sector’s activities in housing and related social service provisions.

      There’s probably a few years’ work there given the extent of damage already done.

    •  

      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 beyond what most local people could afford. They were also critical of interventions to build social housing as it not only led to massive over-development, (communities with far more housing than was needed, given that massive percentages remained empty for nine months of the year) and marginalisation of local people as new build social housing (this must have been in the mid 90s as then only new build social housing was allowed by the then Welsh Office. This was before HAs were again allowed to rehab) tended to be on the fringes of villages and rural towns when they really needed to be more central to collective community services.

      About the only time that the influx of holiday home purchasers was really threatened in recent history was when Meibion Glyndŵr were engaged in their activities, when Dafydd ‘Thank the Welsh I’m a Lord’ Elis Thomas was completely hostile to what they were doing instead of, not condoning, or condemning, but pointing out why it was happening. I don’t personally think that burning houses down is actually a wonderful idea, but it was an indication that there were high levels of frustration at the level of immigration into Wales, and pressure on housing and other resources,as well as the cultural impact.

      In response to Dafis, yes, I think that Plaid have a golden opportunity now, especially now things have been placed in sharp focus regarding the issues surrounding immigration. Though the present climate, immediately post-Brexit vote is still pretty volatile, and feelings are running high, it is allowing a start to discussion of the issue of immigration in a way that doesn’t pander to either the racist, xenophobic right, or the ‘right-on’ pretentious lefties and starts to look at the issue in a rational and logical manner, fundamentally in terms of resource needs and management. Of course, there are all the other issues, cultural, economic etc, but fundamental to all that, the issues of secure place to live, a place to send kids to school and healthcare are paramount. In Wales, there is also the issue of the Welsh language, the needs of which should, in my opinion, have a much higher priority than it currently does.

      Whether Plaid is up to that challenge remains to be seen, but I think even they are aware of that challenge, and that they now only have one chance to get it right.

  12.  

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

  13.  

    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 factor like status across Britain the past 12 months there are people in England who think she runs Wales they’ve never heard of Carwyn Jones. For me this election was another failure for Plaid its not as if they’ve even breached their high watermark in the Valleys.

    Plaid is part of the problem not the solution.

    •  

      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?

    •  

      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 that other monster, the Labour party. Oddly enough, the Tories are rather partial to this approach as well despite their protestations of innocence.

      That’s why in my darker moments I suspect that Wales along with much of the U.K will vote “Remain” because despite its thousands of faults the EU is the biggest bureaucratic corporate state of them all providing some comfort ( not too much !) to many yet also supplies plenty of “bogey man” images to whine over yet do nothing about.

      So today CJ and LW boxed a 29 – 29 draw which proved that some people were willing to put LW into the leadership role yet she would have had nothing to do with them, despite that nominal support ! Strange that. Can anyone explain ?

    •  

      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?

    •  

      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 offer Kirsty the top job, ally themselves to her and boot out Labour. That could give us a coalition that might last about a month or as soon as they all realise they can’t stand the sight of each other.
      If we had our own army I’d be calling for a coup !!

      On a more serious note I started scribbling the “shopping list ” in my note at 7.30 ish this morning ( see above under reply to Point12 ). As has been pointed out at length by Jac and other contributors this little country of ours will need to undergo serious rebuilding to wean it away from the overdose of dependency culture manifested by corrupt lazy local authorities, bloated (and growing) third sector and the sham economy of pseudo enterprise fed on a diet of grants and other handouts. In parallel those issues that undermine communities, rather than change them, need sustained attention rather than passing faddish initiatives. Matters such as – second homes, affordable homes for natives/locals, issues arising from in migration, encouragement of use of Welsh, education and training et al – just for starters. As I said before plenty there to keep the Cynulliad busy for years, if they can be bothered to look at any of it.

    •  

      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

    •  

      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.

  14.  

    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 camp although he’s probably well back in the queue as he doesn’t “do camp” very well and there are plenty of camp blokes working for Plaid already ! Let the circus begin !

    •  

      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? You wouldn’t catch me within a country mile of those ‘f**k wits’ that call themselves Y Werin, or rather the worst of what’s left of it. That’s something else that I blame the education system for – the brain drain from what used to be a well balanced ‘werin’ mixture of very bright culturally intelligent ones and the knuckle scraping oafs. All the brightest ones went off to college and most have never made it back, leaving a concentrated gene pool of ‘f**k’ wits’ at home to do the cowshed chores and support Plaid in the Senedd. Mix that with the sons of the manse, y crachach and the socialist (brought up Labour) mob from the south Wales Valleys and you have the mess you see before your eyes today. I’m as impressed as I am camp!

      I can’t decide whether to slit my wrists or emigrate to Canada in embarrassment and despair! Fed up

    •  

      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 tent. That will be a serious stress test of their loyalty and commitment !

    •  

      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.

  15.  

    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 of the Lib Dems and Labour will win big in 2021, the only upside is that there may be space for a new Welsh nationalist party.

    If Wales votes for Brexit I’m seriously thinking of emigrating – what a horrible start to the new Assembly term.

    •  

      Leanne cosying up to Neil Hamilton? Whatever next?

    •  

      Shows how unpopular Labour is.

    •  

      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 yatching daps.

    •  

      I wonder if Hamilton and Jools have met yet?

    •  

      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.

    •  

      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 other valleys too.

    •  

      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. And I may not understand these things too well but I thought this was a free vote on who should be First Minister, not some Macchiavellian plot by everyone else to force another election. Labour’s paranoia and aggression because the mouse has roared should be obvious to all but their blinkered followers.
      I’m also interested to see the figures published by WelshnotBritish, who sometimes comments here, about how the votes panned out across Wales. Many of those Labour supporters currently screaming for Leanne’s head to be on a pole should consider this: nationally Labour got 673,062 votes in constituency and regions across Wales. Tories and UKIP combined got 665,619. It may be unpalatable to many but that’s one small difference across a nation. Labour have barely more of a popular mandate than a deeply unpopular Tory Party – plus Neil Hamilton and his unlikely band. In a perfectly fair world of full proportional representation they’d be virtually neck and neck in terms of seats. Plaid Cymru got 420,924 votes.

    •  

      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?

    •  

      “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 any time because such is their nature.
      How’s about Kirsty as First Minister, with all other parties contributing to government of national unity – should tie us over for a few weeks !

    •  

      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 their favour during the election.

      The reality is that the only ‘deals with Ukip’ that has previously been consummated was between Ukip and the British Labour Party. Mr Reckless was involved and it related to issues ranging from the bombing of Libya to privatisation of the NHS in England. Deals consummated, prior to Mr Reckless tourist jaunt to Wales, on the floor of the Westminster House in his role as MP for Rochester and Strood. The British Labour Party whips acted in their role as ‘Her Majesty’s loyal opposition’.

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