FINAL SCORE: Winners and losers
Friday, May 04, 2007
Bugger. You just knew it was going to happen, didn't you? After all that hype about it being the most closely fought election ever, it was inevitable that the result itself would conspire to be as clear as mud (mixed up with a bit of boot polish for good measure).
Lib Dems: The big losers of the night. Sure, they consolidated in certain areas and have a few second-placed platforms to build on for next time. But for this strategy to work, it had to be accompanied by list gains. It wasn't. To win no additional seats has to be seen as a failure. South Wales West AM Peter Black has already written on his blog that "it is clear we now need a fresh approach and a radical re-think as to where we are going and how we sell ourselves, our policies and our philosophy to the Welsh electorate."
Sounds to me like the prelude to a leadership contest. In which case, Brecon AM Kirsty Williams would surely be favourite. Crucially, a change of hands at the top would make a Lab-Lib coalition easier to stomach for Lib Dem activists. Alternatively, Kirsty might sever the ties with what she's consistently called a 'failing Labour administration' and shake things up by entering a rainbow coalition. Either way, if they need a "fresh approach", they know they've got one ready and waiting.
1830 UPDATE: I've just spoken on Radio Wales about this very issue. Next up for interview was Peter Black. It was notable, I think, that he sounded distinctly unimpressed by the prospect of a Lab-Lib coalition and he fell way short of giving his leader, Mike German, a vote of confidence.
Labour: People keep saying this has been a bitter sweet night for Labour. Would Rhodri have resigned on 24 seats? We'll never know. What's certain is that a return of 26 seats and a loss of five consituency seats is a significant erosion of Labour's power base. Depending on the shape of our politics for the next four years, this election may have laid down the ground for further missions into Labour territory in places like Vale of Clwyd, Newport East & West, Delyn, Vale of Glamorgan, Neath and even Caerphilly.
The overall picture is more complicated than the final tally of seats will probably suggest. It's impossible to spin this as any kind of victory. For Labour to be on the ropes like this in so many parts of Wales is a wake up call. If this result it to be 'spun', perhaps it can be done in such a way that the people of Wales are under the impression that its government has learned a few lessons.
Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives: I know you're going to have a go at me for clumping these two together.
OK. I'll say it. Just this once. You've only got to look at the final figures to see that Plaid were the biggest winners in this election. They ran the most professional campaign and they had the most memorable policies (whether you agree with them or not, especially on student fee repayment apartheid:). We'll have to wait and see if Ieuan Wyn Jones will seize on this momentum to take Plaid into government in Wales for the first time in its history.
*Just spoken to a source at the count. It looks like Plaid have hung on to the second list seat putting them on 15 (+3) to the Tories' 12 (+1).
1647 UPDATE: Plaid take two seat in South West Wales, Tories 1, Lib Dems 1.
1830 UPDATE: I'm told Ieuan Wyn Jones is backtracking on what constitutes 'propping up a failed Labour administration'. In fact, I was told live on Good Evening Wales and was somewhat stumped by it. IWJ is now saying he wouldn't want a day-to-day agreement - so he's hinting at something more permanent. A coalition, then? After the campaign Plaid have fought, I'm shocked that they appear to be considering such an option so soon after the result. They need time to reflect, and time to work out what 'propping up' really means.
THE FINAL RESULT IS AS FOLLOWS:
LAB 26 (-3)
PC 15 (+3)
CON 12 (+1)
LD 6 (=)
IND 1 (-1)
posted by Blamerbell @ 3:13 pm,
- At 4:09 pm, hedd said...
Would this source be a certain Bethan Jenkins? ;-)
- At 4:15 pm, david h jones said...
Blamer - what's the chance of the 3 opposition parties ruling out any coalition with Labour as individual parties and with each another too i.e. no Lib-Lab, no Lab-Plaid, no Plaid-Tory and no Rainbow?
Would this push Labour to form a minority government which will be totally dependant on the good-will and consensus-building (remember that word?) with the opposition parties? Would this would give the opposition parties more strength and freedom?
What's the consitutional reaction to such a scenario?
- At 4:20 pm, cymrumark said...
I think its close between the Tories and liberals for who is the biggest loser. After all if the Tories cannot overtake Plaid in the current circumstances when will they. Incidently if the UKip had put a candidate in vale of clwyd and not Delyn Dafydd Wigley would be in the assembly.
- At 4:34 pm, Blamerbell said...
"What's the consitutional reaction to such a scenario?"
Ambivalent! You're talking here about the New Zeland-style politics that was much mooted last week. This would probably involve an 'agreement' between Plaid and Labour (I can't see the rainbow option working this way - it would be too unstable) as I imagine the the Lib Dems would demand a full-blown coalition.
Plaid would (a) struggle to convince assembly members, activists and anyone else that this doesn't amount to 'propping up' Labour (b) be entering into an 'agreement' they could not control (therefore, why take the risk?).
This is fertile ground for discussion over the next few days, methinks.
"I think its close between the Tories and liberals for who is the biggest loser."
No. For a party which was supposedly finished in Wales to have made the most constituency gains is a pretty fab result. The system made sure it didn't look brilliant, but they are in a far better position now than they were this time yesterday.
- At 4:39 pm, david h jones said...
but wouldn't the 3 opposition parties (3OPs) gain more by not agreeing to anyhting with Labour? That way, their membership needn't fret that Plaid/Ld/Cons are 'propping up' Labour. The ball would be entirely in Labour's court.
One guesses after 4 years of this Labour would be much weaker and more divided and so richer pickings for the 3OPs - all of which could claim quite legitimately not to have 'propped up' Labour.
- At 4:40 pm, said...
Lib Dems made a huge mistake in taking minority control of both Swansea and Bridgend in coalition with the Tories. The real winners are the Tories who have escaped from any criticism of the difficult decisions all councils have to take. Most voters believe that the councils are controlled by the Lib Dems and that the Tories are not involved in any decisions. The Lib Dems would be mad to prop up a Labour led coalition. It might give German and Randerson ministerial cars but what would the Lib Dems gain in the long run.How could they build on their success in Newport East when they will now be seen to be supporting the party of John Griffiths? They would be hammered in 2011 as Plaid and the Tories attack them as Labour's stodges. They will also lose seats in next year's council elections as they have done in England.The sensible tactic is to allow Labour to run a minority government and then use the opposition majority in the assembly to push through real change such as PR in local govt and a solution to the mess of local govt finance. Despite all the brave talk of Labour AMs that they won the election the truth is that they would have lost seats such as the Gower if UKIP hadn't taken votes off the Tories.
- At 5:26 pm, Peter Black said...
"Lib Dems made a huge mistake in taking minority control of both Swansea and Bridgend in coalition with the Tories."
And yet some of our best results were in Swansea and Bridgend - increased votes in Swansea West, Bridgend and Ormore, second place in Swansea West and Swansea East. The evidence is that minority control of these councils were not factors.
- At 5:36 pm, Rod said...
SNP WIN THE MOST SEATS IN THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT!!!!!!!!!
- At 5:48 pm, said...
oh god black you are such a boring speccy twat
- At 5:52 pm, ianjamesjohnson said...
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- At 6:09 pm, ianjamesjohnson said...
Plaid won the election = it says so on the tin marked election results. The Conservatives and, to a lesser extent, the Liberal Democrats, both improved their hands, but, and this is the crucial matter - they haven't won the seats.
See you on the hustings in four years....
- At 6:32 pm, diapers1927 said...
a) This was the big chance for the main opposition parties and yet none of them increased their share of the vote by as much as two per cent. The damage to the Labour share of the vote was caused by the strong showing of the Independents - especially the Labour-in-all-but-name Independents like Trish Law, Ron Davies and John Marek. These voters have not changed their political orientation and there is every chance that they would return to the Labour fold if they feared letting a Tory in.
b) There's been very little comment on the BBC Wales poll that showed a majority of voters in favour of a Labour/Plaid deal. The people of Wales appear to want a grand left-of-centre coalition. Much as the blessed cottage-burners drive me bonkers at times, there's no denying that they are closer to the traditions of Welsh Labour than the Lib Dems and their history of grubby deals with the Tories at council level.
- At 6:40 pm, Mike Wood said...
Judging by Dafyudd Elis-Thomas' remarks at the count, I don't think he would be very impressed if Plaid went into coalition with Labour
- At 6:46 pm, Blamerbell said...
Yes, diapers1927. But as the politicians are so fond of telling us, there's only one poll that really matters. And Plaid fought that poll by telling people they would not prop up a failing Labour administration, and by telling people it was time for change. They were also heard to tell people it was down to a clear choice between a Plaid-led government and a Labour-led government.
If Plaid want to lead the change (and keep their word) they won't go into a formal coalition with Labour.
- At 8:31 pm, Lyndon said...
Has anybody got any numbers for percentage share of the vote nationally? I reckon it's about 29% Labour and 21% each Plaid and Tories on the regional ballot.
- At 8:53 pm, Guto said...
Tories 22.4 (lower in no of votes)
- At 9:03 pm, Lyndon said...
- At 9:54 pm, dowlais twp said...
if the turnout is so low is is not time look at the reasons why (not just boring politicians)but do people understand the voting system?
if not how to we improve this?
What was the turn out in Scotland?
- At 10:14 pm, ianjamesjohnson said...
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- At 10:19 pm, ianjamesjohnson said...
I'm sure they'll change it eventually, but it's worrying to see the BBC website with the wrong +/- signs for parties, half a day after the results were concluded.
Earlier it was showing Labour down 3 and no gain for the Conservatives or Independent loss. Now, it's claiming that Labour have lost a fourth seat with still no change for the Independents.
Maybe they're all still tired and bleary-eyed after last night.
- At 6:54 am, said...
But Peter you would have achieved much more if you had allowed minority Labour administrations to run the councils. Your result in Ogmore was awful. In 1979 the Lib candidate polled over 9000. You were beaten by an independent who did no canvassing. In Bridgend the Tories were way in front of you with another weak candidate. There was even a Plaid revival because voters do not know that Plaid supports the Lib Dem coalition. You know that you expected Jackie Radford to join you. You had no chance once you decided to take control of the councils. It was a tactical error. You will commit the same error if you prop up a Labour party which has clearly been rejected by the voters. Read Matthew Parris comment on Ming's crazy suggestion that the Lib Dems should join Labour in Scotland to stop the SNP.
- At 9:01 am, Daran said...
"if the turnout is so low is is not time look at the reasons why (not just boring politicians)but do people understand the voting system?"
1. I'm not sure expalining the voting system is the key. I think it's more about explaining the impact of the voting system and how your vote really counts.
2. Jonathan Morgan is the first candidate to have simultaneously won two seats in the National Assembly. His vote in Cardiff North was undoubtdely the factor which enabled his party to take a second list seat in South Wales Central (just as the UKIP kept the Conservatives out in the Vale of Glamorgan with their 2000 votes).
- At 9:02 am, ianjamesjohnson said...
But then the Liberal Democrats wouldn't have been in charge of those councils....
What's the point of being in politics if you don't want to get into power and put your policies into practice? Or should you just hang around and hope that the next election will give you a better result?
- At 9:07 am, ianjamesjohnson said...
I don't see how you can put the Tory second regional seat in SW Central down to Jonathan Evans in Cardiff North - I would have thought that the 11,000 otherwise unrepresented Tory voters in the Vale would have had something to do with them winning it!
- At 9:36 am, said...
But the problem with the Lib Dems is that they often have different policies in different parts of the country. Everyone knows where Peter Black stands on issues and that is why he is respected by a number of his political opponents. The same unfortunately cannot be said for others who have stood as Lib Dems. They are often motivated by what they are against rather than what they are for. It is also clear from the English Lib dems council losses that in many areas they have been punished because they now run the local council which is a lot harder than producing Liberal Focus and merely complaining about the state of local services. It will be interesting to watch the debate in the next few days between principled Lib Dems such as Black and others such as Mike German who would sell his grandmother for the chance to ride in a government car again.
- At 11:17 am, Daran said...
"I don't see how you can put the Tory second regional seat in SW Central down to Jonathan Evans in Cardiff North - I would have thought that the 11,000 otherwise unrepresented Tory voters in the Vale would have had something to do with them winning it! "
Fair point. It was probably a combination of the two really. But the list seat wouldn't have happened without both.
Therefore, as the Vale candidate wasn't elected, I'm sure I can get away with saying that Jonathan Morgan's vote elected two AMs.
Also JM kept the UKIP vote in Cardiff North at the same level which cost him the seat in 2003. The same cannot be said of the Conservative campaign in the Vale.
- At 11:44 am, said...
having been a polling officer in previous elections, I was asked
1) What do I do? (how do I mark the paper, how many votes)
2) How's the labour candidiate?
Thuis shows that people do not a) understand the voting process and b) the politicians don't make an impact on the voters.
- At 11:53 am, dowlais twp said...
Save the Gibbon
Anyone any thoughts on likley cabinet ministers next week?
- At 1:31 pm, ianjamesjohnson said...
Sorry, Daran, I'm still not buying the Jonathan Evans winning 2 seats line ;)
What was remarkable was that the Conservatives in the Vale achieved an almost unrepeated level of transfer from one ballot paper to the other, a little over 11,000 in each (compare with, for example, Jon Evans' loss of more than 2,000 between constituency and list, or Jenny Randerson's 3,000 drop).
The reason, of course, is that the Conservative candidate in the Vale was largely anonymous and therefore gained very little personal vote, having run a relatively low profile campaign (as the man held responsible for the Conservative loss of control of the VoG Council, this might have been a deliberate choice!). A more high profile candidate would have surely won the constituency seat.
But in the final analysis, that's a red herring, isn't it? The Conservatives would have won the Vale and then had no chance of a second list seat, leaving them still with 3 at the end of the day, but having allowed the Lib Dems in on the list.
- At 11:31 am, ianjamesjohnson said...
I think my contributions would have made far more sense if I'd got Jonathan Morgan's right, wouldn't it?!
I'll blame it on lack of sleep. At least South Wales West candidates got to go home between counts! ;)