The Lib Dems will be thanking their lucky stars the election was held a year ago. Following their abject performance in Ynys Môn, not to mention by-elections in England, this is a party for which any by-election is now a potential disaster area.
I’d predicted the Lib Dems would slip to fourth place with 9% of the vote. In the event, they retained third place with 10.8% of the vote, a reduction in share of the vote of 11.5%. Only in 1992 and 1997 have the Liberal Democrats fared worse.
So where does Penarth and Cardiff South sit in the Lib Dem ranking of target seats? By strange coincidence, it’s their 12th-most likely seat to win (the coincidence being that it’s also the 12th-most likely to fall to the Conservatives). That means that there are a whopping 27 seats that are less fruitful for the Lib Dems in Wales than this one. That sentence will probably make grim reading for all my Lib Dem readers. Because while winning this seat is a theoretical possibility for the Conservatives (being just 5.4% away from victory at one point in history), it doesn’t seem at all likely for the Lib Dems.
It’s a particular set-back for the party that used to control Cardiff Council with a hefty majority as recently as 2012, including holding the Butetown ward (beating a certain Vaughan Gething into second place), all three councillors in Grangetown, and one each of the three seats in Splott and in Trowbridge.
And what of the Lib Dem candidate, Bablin Molik? Well, I’m intrigued to read that she’s
the Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate in the up and coming Cardiff South & Penarth by-election.
Either the Lib Dems know something about Stephen Doughty that the rest of us don’t, or it’s taken them 10 months and counting to update their website. Mind you, this is a party for whom having an updated website is the least of their concerns…