One half of all the UKIP councillors in Wales represents Sully.
UKIP’s historical success has come in elections with an element of proportional representation – principally, European elections (the next of which is in 2014). It’s hardly surprising really. For a political party that could only rustle up 12 candidates to contest 1,223 seats (Anglesey excepted) in May’s local elections, UKIP always stands a better chance in elections where they only need one candidate to take one-quarter of the seats on offer. A much bigger question for UKIP would be how to capture a greater number of seats across Wales – but fortunately for me, my main concern is Penarth.
I previously described that UKIP:
don’t seem to have an electoral strategy other than picking up votes from disaffected Conservative voters. By which I mean right-wing Conservatives. Certainly the Conservatives themselves appeared rattled by UKIP’s performance in May and the recent polling in Wales clearly demonstrates they have most to fear from UKIP.
Given the likely main source of their polling, it would seem most fruitful for them to target Plymouth ward next. Why Plymouth? Firstly, Plymouth is the least-deprived ward in Penarth and Sully is a close second, so the demographic is likely to be relatively similar. And secondly, UKIP already provided a tremendous surprise by taking one of the seats in Sully, for which I had previously forecast:
Sully will also keep its incumbent councillors, Conservatives Anthony Ernest and Sarah Sharpe.
And my prediction for Plymouth?
Plymouth will keep its two Conservative councillors forever. Councillors Maureen Kelly Owen and Clive Williams will retain their seats until they drop.
After what happened in Sully, now I’m not so sure. An Independent and/or UKIP challenge in Plymouth could lead to a very interesting result in 2017.
In the wider Vale there are key characteristics of certain wards that UKIP could exploit. Multi-member wards with a strong Conservative showing would look most vulnerable, so they should look to target Cowbridge and Rhoose, and they could probably have a pop at Llantwit Major to test the water.
And the chances of UKIP finding enough candidates to target these four additional wards? Not good. But they’ve got just over 4 years to do it so they should be able to challenge in at least one other ward by 2017. Shouldn’t they?