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

4 responses to “Anglesey, UKIP, the RAF and Johnny English

  1. Kevin Mahoney

    I see that you’ve very cleverly neglected to mention that Anglesey was comprised of mainly 3 member wards with a couple of 2 member wards thrown in.

    And that UKIP only stood 1 candidate in each ward so that their average 7% vote share is gleaned from the 1 candidate in each ward rather than say Plaid Cymru’s aggregate % from 3 and 2 candidates in each ward.

    What is it they say, that there are statistics and ………..

    I have to say that I consider the basis of this article regarding vote share based on some sort of English population demographic is sheer unmitigated tosh.

    I guess that only time and the voters will tell what will happen in the future as the Welsh public including myself cast our votes.

  2. Fair point on the multi-member wards Kevin. You’ll see exactly what I think of that process of undemocratisation here: https://penartharbyd.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/the-anti-democratic-local-government-boundary-review/
    However, it doesn’t necessarily follow that multiplying the candidates of any party will multiply the vote. I don’t think that if UKIP had triple the number of candidates they’d have reached 21% of the vote. Double figures, maybe.
    On unmitigated tosh, it’s Prof Richard Wyn Jones you should take issue with. I realise that it’s going to be a tricky horse to ride for supporters in Wales and Scotland, but for UKIP there will clearly be major electoral advantage if it – as the Prof puts it – “wraps itself in the St. George cross”. His final comment on that point? That once UKIP do it, Labour, the Conservatives and possibly the Lib Dems will have to follow.
    So from the perspective of Welsh politics, UKIP’s success (in England) could very well lead to a deepening of party differences between Wales and England.

  3. Hysbysiad Cyfeirio: Target Seats in Wales: Labour | penartharbyd

  4. Hysbysiad Cyfeirio: A Surprising Dichotomy | penartharbyd

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