It came to me during the previous post that Adam Price is much better informed about politics than myself. That means that he must consider it a possibility of some sort that Plaid will be able to lead a Plaid-Lib Dem coalition in Cardiff Bay.
Let’s look at the stats.
Many commentators expect the Lib Dems to receive a kicking in 2015, with even some Lib Dems forecasting grim news. But by 2016 – assuming they’re not in government in Westminster – it’s entirely possible that their prospects will have improved. A year is a very long time in politics.
Looking back at the Lib Dem target seats we can see that they have just three seats that are winnable on a swing of 10% or less. Unfortunately for them, those three need a swing from three different parties. And given that Plaid – in this scenario – will need to win lots of seats, I’ll discount Ceredigion. That would mean they’d gain Cardiff Central and Montgomeryshire, but at least one of these, if not both, would rip a list seat from out of their grasp. Given that they are at least 20% behind first place in every other seat, I’m going to assume that the maximum coalition contribution from the Lib Dems is their traditional high-water mark of six seats.
That leaves the simple task for Plaid to take 25 seats.
The maths isn’t great in this scenario. Firstly, both Montgomeryshire and Cardiff Central are within Plaid’s 25 top constituencies. That would push the seats needed up to numbers 26 and 27: Gower, and Penarth & Cardiff South. Secondly, there is still no chance of list seats being available for Plaid, because they’re still looking for at least three seats in South Wales East. The question to ask, therefore, is: is it likely that Plaid will win seats such as Penarth & Cardiff South while not both:
- Picking up Montgomeryshire and Cardiff Central, and
- Damaging the Lib Dem vote sufficiently to erode their list seat potential, bearing in mind that for Plaid to have this level of dominance, Labour will presumably be heavily dependent on list seats for representation
The logical conclusion is that the Lib Dems are unlikely to be in a position to be useful coalition partners. Plaid stand almost as much chance of outright victory as they do of leading a coalition with the Lib Dems.
So was Adam’s gesture a way of reaching out to disaffected Lib Dem voters, rather than a realistic, calculated scenario?