Marginal and marginally marginal constituencies

Imagine a Senedd returned on May 3rd without Ieuan Wyn Jones, Helen Mary Jones, John Marek and Jonathan Morgan. It could happen, couldn't it?

Here's my list of marginal and marginally marginal constituencies for the next Assembly election. Have I missed anything? Or am I more than merely marginally off the mark? Do tell.

North Wales
Ynys Mon, Ieuan Wyn Jones (Plaid)
Aberconwy, Denise Idris Jones (Labour)
Clwyd West, Alun Pugh (Labour)
Wrexham, John Marek (Independent)

Mid & West Wales
Preseli, Tamsin Dunwoody (Labour)
Carmarthen West, Christine Gwyther (Labour)
Llanelli, Catherine Thomas (Labour)

South Wales Central
Cardiff North, Sue Essex - Sophie Howe (Labour)

UPDATE: Thanks to the combined wisdom of Anonymous, Mr Gasyth, Seren, Andrew Davies' charisma (separated at birth) and ianjamesjohnson in the comments, we are now adding to the list:

The Vale of Glamorgan, seat of Jane 'Pizza' Hutt (Labour)
Ceredigion, Elin Jones (Plaid). Despite the fairly big majority, the Lib Dems did manage a 17% swing last time and took the seat at Westminster.
Caerphilly, Jeff Cuthbert (Labour), in case Ron the badger miraculously lets in Plaid.

Now, do you think Leighton Andrews will be losing any sleep about the prospect of coming up against Plaid's MEP Jill Evans in the Rhondda?

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posted by Blamerbell @ 1:11 pm,


At 2:19 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vale of Glamorgan should be added to the list. New constituency boundaries include the Ewenny area from Bridgend. This area brings another 2000+ Tory voters into the Vale. With Labour now controlling the Council in coalition with Plaid this makes the task of Jane Hutt of holding the seat for Labour even harder.

At 2:42 pm, Anonymous Andrew Davies' charisma (separated at birth) said...

Great blog!!
from sources close to me i have heard that Plaids Helen Mary will be back in her old seat in May and the Tories will get Preseli, their candidate is certainly doing the work in the area. i am not really up on the 'norf'

At 3:19 pm, Blogger Mr Gasyth said...

Deffo the Vale needs to be added. I'd also add ceredigion, Plaid's majority looks big but the Libs are really going for it having won the Westminster seat in 2005. In the North, on a very bad night for Labour Delyn could fall to the Tories and on a truly tragic one so could the Vale of Clwyd.

Worth keeping an eye on Caerphilly - if there's going to be a Valleys shock this year, this is the most likely one.

Also marginal are the list seats of course, and in the south west and south east where constituencies are unlikely to change these are basically straight-forward Plaid v Tory fights for second place and second list seat across the region.

At 4:26 pm, Anonymous seren said...

There are so many factors that this is really just anorak speculation, so let me join in with:

• Low turnout could see some spectacular swings
• The effect of Iraq, Blair, peerages scandal - will Labour voters stay at home or kick the party by switching?
• Lembit - how bad is that for the Lib Dems?
• Plaid - getting its act together?
• Tories - for every constituency gain, a list seat lost
• The Scottish factor - will growing talk of independence/break up of Britain inspire people to turn out?

In terms of the seats you mention, I think Alun Pugh, Denise Idiot Jones and Catherine Thomas in Llanelli are already looking for new jobs.

In Wrexham, some Labour activists have virtually conceded to Marek already. I also think he'll win because Labour is doing so badly generally.

Can't really see Ieuan Wyn Jones losing Anglesey - the Tories did well with Peter Rogers as a candidate last time but he's no longer in favour. Likewise, Elin Jones can probably see off the Lib Dem challenge.

I'd guess the Tories will take Cardiff N, the Vale and one of the Pembroke seats, but lose correspondingly on the list.

All very bad news for Labour as the prospect of a coalition with the Fib Dems recedes with every seat lost.

I agree with Mr Gasyth on Caerphilly - Ron might sneak a few votes off Labour and let in Plaid. Oh, the sweet irony of that.

At 5:21 pm, Blogger ianjamesjohnson said...

Hmmm, I typed an exciting response, but it seems to have got lost in cyberspace *Sigh*

Here we go again - I think you're right not to include the Vale of Glamorgan as a 'marginal'.

The 2,000 Conservative voters from Llandow/Ewenny and St.Brides Major will be offset by the loss of Sully to the Cardiff South & Penarth constituency.

The Conservatives were unceremoniously booted out of office in the Vale because of their record on Social Services, while, within a few weeks of taking power, Labour have achieved a significant coup with the 5,000 St. Athan jobs.

Frankly, Labour in the Vale have played a blinder so far, and it would take a very good Conservative campaign if they are to win the constituency seat.

At 9:01 pm, Blogger Glyn Davies AM said...

Don't forget Montgomeryshire. I took the majority down from 5700 to 2300 at the last election - and there is a lot of discontent about the Lembit stuff. And Dan Munford is a first class candidate. Mind you, if Dan does win, it could easily cook my goose on the Mid and West Wales list.

At 11:12 pm, Anonymous seren said...

Glyn, you're too honest to be a Tory!

At 8:57 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with the 5000 St Athan jobs is that they not due until 2013. Many of them will not go to existing Vale residents.Their concerns will centre on the pressure the development will make on the existing infrastructure. Alun Cairns who will probably be the Tory candidte at the next UK election didn't hightlight this issue for nothing. As for the Labour/ Plaid coalition on the council everyone should reserve judgement of the electoral effect of this until they announce their budget proposals. On alow turn oput jane Hutt will do well to hold the seat.

At 5:38 pm, Blogger ianjamesjohnson said...

Anon. - I agree with you entirely on the issues, but I just don't think that there is enough time for these to peak before the Assembly election. The infrastructure question is more likely to be central in 2011 when the realisation hits of just how much work needs to be done in the area.

The same goes for the Council budget - the old pals act will ensure that there is just enough to go around without anybody being squeezed out = no bad headlines. Probably by the same coincidence that the St Athan announcement should be made only a few months before an election.

At 7:42 pm, Blogger Martin Eaglestone said...

While immediately declaring an interest as a candidate, can I suggest it would be wrong to overlook the Labour-Plaid battle in Arfon.

Labour has gained the votes in Bangor and Dyffryn Ogwen to add to a reasonable start in Caernarfon and Dyffryn Nantlle.

Its all to play for !

Martin Eaglestone
Labour candidate

Plenty of hard work going on by both these teams

At 11:41 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you win Arfon.....then I will emigrate. You are representing a government which has taken us into an illegal war where thousands have died and continue doing so. Then there's cash for honours....not to mention that here in Wales esp west and North west our you can't affortd homes while rich city dwellers from away are mopping up most of the properties. I would like to add that you should be disgusted with yourself to stand for such a party. It says a lot about you. Shamefull!

At 11:59 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...


A.F. Jones (Plaid) 11,675
M.R. Eaglestone (Lab) 5,770

Can't fault your optimism Martin:)

At 9:06 am, Anonymous seren said...

Martin Eaglestone's only claim to fame is that Geraint Lovgreen wrote a song about him... anyone who has to resort to blog comments to big up his campaign has got a credibility problem.
Perhaps he hasn't seen his own leader's over-optimistic view that 27 seats is achievable. Arfon wasn't one of them.

At 1:15 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

"anyone who has to resort to blog comments to big up his campaign has got a credibility problem."

Now now, Seren. Never underestimate the power of the blog.

In fairness to Martin, there's no point contesting a seat at an election if you don't think you've got a chance of winning.

At least his campaign is up and running and live on the internet, which is more than you can say for some of his lacklustre colleagues.

At 10:55 pm, Anonymous seren said...

Interesting news from t'north... things are so bad for Labour that activists are concentrating on shoring up Sandy Mewies' vote in Delyn. They've given up on Aberconwy (Plaid gain) and Clwyd W (Tory gain). Labour's problem is that many local activists don't really like Sandy.

At 12:15 am, Blogger Blamerbell said...

Seren, source?

At 1:36 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that Aberconwy will go Tory, the Plaid candidate lost his seat in 2003 and as I remember and many people who I speak to also remember he wasn't that great a member and his greatest campaign was against the relocation of Ysgol John Bright, which most people supported. Also his blatant jumping on the band wagon of the Llandudno hospital issue is starting to be seen now as a blatant political stunt. I think the Liberals will continue to decline in Aberconwy and this will probably help the Tories as many of their spectacular rise in the 80's was due to many Tories who couldn't stomach the worst excesses of Maggie but who are probably more Cameroons these days. Labour, whatever happens are in big trouble here and Clwyd West

At 4:10 pm, Anonymous seren said...

A good journalist never reveals his sources ;-) but in this case I'll make an exception... a prominent Labour councillor on Flintshire council.

Delyn shouldn't really be a surprise given that Keith Raffan held it for the Tories during the 80s.

Who's the Labour candidate on top of the N Wales regional list - they might be in with a shout.

At 7:22 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seren, yes, Delyn was held by Keith Raffan, but the Delyn he knew also contained Prestatyn, which is now in the Vale of Clwyd and really benefited the Tories when it was in Delyn. The Delyn today has, IMHO, little chance of a Tory gain. Flint is pretty gritty and so is much of the rest, notable exceptions being the more inland areas i.e. Cilcain. But they don't have the substantial votes needed for a Tory to prosper here.

At 10:07 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

seren, Labour's no.1 regional candidate in North Wales is Ken Skates, the PA of Mark Tami. He definitely thinks he's in with a shout for taking a seat (but, with the AMS system, any regional candidate could say that) and he's pounding across most of North Wales at the mo (last seen at Penyfford at a council by-election). His blog (his is quite up to date and, from personal experience, would make a great AM. Maybe low turnout in the North Wales could make the difference!

At 10:03 am, Anonymous seren said...

Ken Skates the ex-Leader journalist - wouldn't that be ironic? Ex-Leader journo Sandy Mewies loses Delyn to allow in... ex-Leader journalist.

Re Delyn being safe for Labour. The demographics have changed. The influx of people into Delyn (and other parts of N E Wales) in the past 10 years could make a difference if they bother to vote. Most are commuters to Chester, Lpool and beyond so probably don't feel much affinity with the Assembly - a lot will be affluent and therefore more likely to vote Tory (simplistic I know).

At 8:32 am, Anonymous Daran said...

Delyn now is now that same seat won by Keith Raffan for the Conservatives, though. The seat was substantially altered in 1997, losing Prestatyn to the Vale of Clwyd. Quite whether this makes it more or less vulnerable to the Conservatives to the old Delyn, I'm not sure, but with a Labour majority of under 2000 this seat must surely be on the Conservative hit list by now.

At 3:18 pm, Blogger Tortoiseshell said...

Am i the only one flagging up Clwyd South as a potential banana skin? Vulnerable to either CON or PC on a low LAB turnout.

PS. Ynys Mon and Ceredigion will be reasonably safe for Plaid, as NAfW elections simply don't register with the "British identifying" voters who sent Albie Fox (LAB) / Mark Williams (LDEM) into Westminster.

At 4:41 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

"Am i the only one flagging up Clwyd South as a potential banana skin?"

No. If you click on the 'Roderick predicts Labour capitulation' link below, you'll find you are in good company.

At 1:06 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

in the next few months people will see that what their local members have done in the past 4 years.

I believe that Catherine Thomas is safe, with the work she has done locally and both in the town and the countryside.

Cardiff North is going to be very close, again depends on what happens in the nexts few weeks and how the campaiging goes.

I agree that Ynys Mon is up for grabs for any party to take it.

Delyn is safe, so is Caerphilly, Ron Davies will not make that big an impact if it does it will be to the plaid vote.

Vale of Glamorgan is safe as houses.

Rhodri Glyn Thomas in Carmarthen East and Dinefwr is in for a close hard fight. With Labour selecting a local councillor.

I think Labour will have 28 Seats Plaid 12 Tories 13 Trish Law 1 Lib Dems 6

Political Junkie

At 4:46 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can parties only stand in Regional seats ?

At 12:12 am, Anonymous seren said...

Can parties only stand in Regional seats ?

Yes - all but the big four parties will now concentrate on the lists, meaning that the list ballot paper will probably have 13-15 options on it.

The famously fractured left could have SLP, SP, CPB, Forward Wales and Respect contesting the same lists in some parts of Wales. Dire.

At 6:37 pm, Anonymous Listening Post said...

The Vale of Glamorgan is increasingly interesting as a "Marginal" Constituency. With a "Rainbow Alliance" now in control of the Vale Council, consisting of 6 Labour, 3 Plaid and 1 Independent (from Llantwit Major), the new Cabinet has just announced a 5% Council Tax increase, one of the highest in the country. With a reduction of 1% across all departmental budgets, the laying off of staff working in the frontline, and a deficit of £5.5 million to recover, the Alliance is going to have its work cut out to pull back popular confidence.

Surely the public will now link Labour, Plaid and even Independents councillors, with big increases in Council tax bills, which drop through letterboxes later this month.

What this will do for Jane Hutt in Barry is debatable, but it doesn't look good for her, whilst Lorraine Barrett who faces a newly acquired Sully electorate, with around 3,000 votes at its disposal, which is less than receptive to Labour in general, is facing possible wipe out in Cardiff South & Penarth.

It must not be forgotten that Cardiff Bay has grown dramatically over the past 4 years, and the voting intentions of the hundreds (or thousands)of new homeowners in the highly priced apartments lining the waterfronts of the Bay, are both unpredictable and unknown.

Labour may be on safer ground in the rest of Cardiff South, but their abysmal treatment of the former ASW workers from the city over their pensions fiasco, could well have an additional unexpected impact, whilst in the rest of the Vale of Glamorgan outside Barry, the Tory vote is riding high amongst the agricultural community, and "Captains of Industry" who make up much of the rest of the Vale Constituency.

At 3:54 pm, Blogger Sion said...

"Ynys Mon and Ceredigion will be reasonably safe for Plaid, as NAfW elections simply don't register with the "British identifying" voters who sent Albie Fox (LAB) / Mark Williams (LDEM) into Westminster."

It was Albert Owen for Labour on Ynys Môn in '01, Albie Fox was the Tory candidate.

Otherwise I agree that Ynys Môn will be fairly safe for IWJ - I hear the Labour candidate is a bit of a nobody and the Tories or Lib Dems haven't really been in it recently, and I believe that Peter Rogers (Independent and generally not very nice) isn't standing.

At 4:14 pm, Blogger Sion said...

I correct myself; it seems that Peter Rogers will be standing after all, again as an independent. It should make for a very interesting campaign here on Ynys Môn!

At 11:20 am, Blogger said...

Aberconwy is a marginal constituency? Someone should tell the folk here. I've been around and up and down and seen barely any election campaigning beyond a couple of bystanders at Colwyn Bay and some leafleting.

At 11:21 am, Blogger Blamerbell said...

Aberconwy is a marginal with bells on.

If there's nothing going on there then there's little hope for the rest of us in safe South Wales seats.

At 11:25 am, Blogger said...

How is Aberconwy a marginal with bells on? Can someone point me to a handy article?

So far I've only seen Lib Dems and UKIP stood at Colwyn Bay town centre on a Saturday. And they were mostly gossiping to each other. There's been a couple of posts erected in various gardens for Lib Dem, Labour and Plaid Cymru. And that's it.

no-one talks about it here either...

At 11:33 am, Blogger Blamerbell said...

Because of boundary changes it is now a notional Plaid seat, even though Labour nabbed it from them in 2003. The Tories are also in with a shout.

Read this for more.


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