Monthly Archives: Mai 2013

Target Seats in Wales: Conservatives

Relax, everyone. The following posts are relevant to Penarth. But even ignoring the relevance, it’s always been of interest to me: which parties will be targeting which seats with most vigour? Ok, there are some obvious contenders, but perhaps there are a few surprises along the way. I notice that Electoral Calculus has done something a little bit similar here, but on a sole Conservative-Labour axis, and using data for a UK election.

So let’s find out where the Conservatives will be swivelling their eyes in May 2015.

I’m going to use a 50:50 weighting for this analysis (based on this data), and I’m going to use the last Assembly elections as my guide because they were the most recent Welsh plebiscite (although I recognise that voting patterns are different in Assembly and Westminster elections). The first part of the weighting is what proportion of the popular vote the party received in the previous election. That’s important because it’s obviously easier to get your vote out if you’ve previously captured a reasonable proportion of the electorate. The second part of the weighting is what percentage behind the first-placed party was the party in question. That’s an indication of the competitiveness of the seat; in some seats there’s a virtually unassailable lead for any other party to challenge, while in others it’s a three-way tussle.

So based on the 2011 Assembly election, the Conservatives already hold:  Aberconwy, Carmarthenshire West & South Pembrokeshire, Clwyd West, Monmouth, Montgomeryshire and Preseli Pembrokeshire.

That leaves the following seats as the top 10 targets, in order of ‘best contender for a challenge’ (the full list is here):

  • Cardiff North
  • Vale of Glamorgan
  • Brecon & Radnorshire
  • Delyn
  • Vale of Clwyd
  • Ynys Mon
  • Newport West
  • Clwyd South
  • Gower
  • Wrexham

So much for what the stats are telling us. Let’s ground-truth it using the UK election results as an indication of the seats already held by the Conservatives. Seats held at Westminster by the Conservatives not held at the Assembly? Cardiff North and the Vale of Glamorgan.

Now I’m feeling pretty pleased with my analysis.

Probably the person with most to be concerned about is Roger Williams. On current form it’s unlikely that the Conservatives are going to make major gains in 2015 at Labour’s expense – although time may well prove me wrong. Is it possible that a collapse in Lib Dem vote could make even Brecon & Radnorshire vulnerable? I’d be very surprised. Roger’s had a firm grip on the constituency for a good while and he’s got a healthy 10% majority. The Lib Dems showed in Eastleigh that they can hang on tenaciously even when times are grim at a UK level. So if Roger’s the one who should be most concerned, and I’d be very surprised if he’s going to lose out in May 2015, that suggests that the Conservatives should give up on this list.

Digging in their heels is going to be the order of the day. And we’ll see in the following posts where the juiciest of the low-hanging Conservative fruit are.

7 Sylw

Filed under Conservatives, Democracy, Elections

Anglesey, UKIP, the RAF and Johnny English

I know better than to question the judgement of Professor Richard Wyn Jones, election and governance guru: as far as I can tell his work is based on impeccable research. So when he tells us that UKIP “is surfing a wave of existentialist angst about England’s place in the world” it’s time to sit up and listen. His research tells us that UKIP’s supporters express the strongest sense of English identity, most dissatisfaction with the constitutional status quo in the UK (for which, read ‘devolution’), and unsurprisingly, strongest support for withdrawal from the EU. And when asked “which party best stands up for English interests?”, the answer – from a random set of the English public, remember – is as follows:

  • UKIP – 21%
  • Labour – 19%
  • Conservative – 17%
  • Lib Dems – 6%
  • None of the above – 16%

So what’s this got to do with Penarth?

It turns out that you can interrogate the 2011 statistics to ward level (and beyond). And nationality is one of the variables you can probe. It’s actually not too difficult once you know which site to use. For the purposes of this post I was interested in those people who class themselves as “English only”, “English and British only” and “Other English”. And the results for Penarth wards?

  • Llandochau – 8.0%
  • Stanwell – 8.0%
  • Cornerswell – 8.1%
  • Sully – 11.3%
  • St. Augustine’s – 11.4%
  • Plymouth – 12.0%

There’s been plenty in the news quoting UKIP’s leader, Nigel Farrage, saying “we are getting over 25 per cent of the vote everywhere we stand across the country”. Now as we in Wales know, the country Nigel’s talking about is England. Because in elections on Anglesey UKIP polled just 7% of the votes (although this was more than the Conservatives (6%) and Lib Dems (5%) polled).

But it does raise some interesting questions about UKIP’s tactics in the next local authority elections in the Vale of Glamorgan (in 2017). Given that it’s viewed as the party that best stands up for English interests, perhaps Kevin Mahoney should be looking at the parts of the Vale with the highest proportion of people identifying themselves as English. That means another set of figures, this time for the remainder of the Vale (likewise in ascending order of English).

  • Illtyd – 7.0%
  • Court – 7.8%
  • Buttrills – 8.2%
  • Baruc – 8.3%
  • Cadoc – 8.4%
  • Dyfan – 8.5%
  • Gibbonsdown – 8.8%
  • Dinas Powys – 8.9%
  • Castleland – 9.6%
  • Wenvoe – 10.1%
  • Peterston-super-Ely – 10.3%
  • Llandow/Ewenny – 12.4%
  • Rhoose – 12.7%
  • St. Bride’s Major – 14.1%
  • Cowbridge – 14.2%
  • Llantwit Major – 17.9%
  • St. Athan – 26.9%

In my previous advice to UKIP I suggested that:

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.

The census would suggest that I neglected St. Athan (admittedly, single-member) from the list. If I was a betting person, I’d suggest that a UKIP candidate in St. Athan could really put the cat among the pigeons. In fact, the three wards I recommended back in October 2012 plus St. Athan are far more appealing from the perspective of winning seats than anywhere in Penarth. Does that mean that in 2017 we’ll be looking at just the one UKIP candidate in Penarth, or will results in 2014, 2015 and possibly 2016 act as recruiting sergeants for UKIP in 2017?

And a final note of general interest. It appears that there’s a background level of ‘Englishness’ in the Vale, bubbling along at 7-9%. Then there are areas of elevated Englishness of 9-13% – in the Penarth area those wards are St. Augustine’s, Plymouth and Sully, and elsewhere it’s the rural Vale. The next cluster of higher Englishness is from 14-18% in St. Brides Major (which includes the plum coastal settlements Southerndown and Ogmore-by-Sea), posh/boutique Cowbridge and – for some less easily identifiable reason – Llantwit Major. And then top of the pile, with probably one of the highest proportion of English identifiers in south Wales, we have St. Athan. No prizes for guessing which RAF base is responsible for propagating a level more than 3 times the background level.

This is the same RAF of course that used to offer forces families in Anglesey special provision:

for the education of children of Service personnel based in North Wales who would otherwise be disadvantaged, academically and socially, by the bilingual teaching policy adopted within the Gwynedd and Isle of Anglesey Local Education Authorities

Given the anti-Welsh attitude of the RAF in Valley, perhaps it’s not surprising that UKIP fared as poorly on Anglesey as they did last week.

4 Sylw

Filed under Elections, UKIP, Vale of Glamorgan Council