Tag Archives: Adam Price

The kindergarten

Antoinette Sandbach’s recent elevation to candidate – and sure-fire next MP – for Eddisbury in Cheshire got me thinking. What is the party political make-up of politicians moving from the Senedd to the Commons or vice versa?

Many other commentators have pointed out that it’s implicit in the direction of the move what an individual politician regards as the greater prize. There are many possible motives. For starters, there’s the financial inducement – and I don’t just mean the £74,000 salary of an MP as compared to the poverty-stricken (£64,000 from 2016) AMs. Once at Westminster, there are apparently no end of ways to bend the rules so you can stuff your snout as far and as deep in the trough as Chris Bryant likes.

Presumably some people rather like the pomp and ceremony of Westminster, the feeling of glory associated with being a part of the greater legislative body. Even if you’re only a miniscule, irrelevant guest at the party.

Of course, some politicians feel that Westminster is little but dumb, cold walls against which to hit your head and hands.

So on to the list…

Conservative Members (Senedd to Commons)

  • Glyn Davies (1999-2007); (2010-present) Glyn had a 3-year break from politics following his defeat in the 2007 election
  • Alun Cairns (1999-2011); (2010-present) Alun was ‘double-jobbing’ from 2010 to 2011, without drawing the AM salary
  • David Davies (1999-2007); (2005-present) David held Monmouth as an AM and MP for two years
  • Antoinette Sandbach (2011-present); (2015 on) Antoinette will rescind her list seat in the Assembly

Conservative Members (Commons to Senedd)

 

Labour Members (Senedd to Commons)

  • Alun Michael (1999-2000); (1987-2012); Alun didn’t relinquish his Commons seat whilst First Secretary

Labour Members (Commons to Senedd)

  • Ron Davies (1983-2001); (1999-2003); Ron left Labour, joining first Forward Wales and then Plaid Cymru
  • Rhodri Morgan (1987-2001); (1999-2011)
  • John Marek (1983-2001); (1999-2007); John was deselected by Labour before the 2003 election but was elected as an independent. Since losing his seat he has joined the Conservatives.

Plaid Members (Commons to Senedd)

Other Members (Senedd to Commons)

  • Peter Law (1999-2006); (2005-2006); Peter (a former Labour AM) was both MP and AM at the time of his death

This list isn’t quite as interesting as I’d imagined it would be. Perhaps that’s because I’ve missed some names off – do let me know if that’s the case. And there are some politicians who’ve swapped European seats for the green benches (Wayne David), and a fair few who’ve been tempted from the Assembly by the smell of ermine.

But at the very least it gives us a clear indication that the Conservatives are much more likely than the other parties to view Westminster as the ‘real’ Parliament, and the Senedd as the Kindergarten. The Lib Dems don’t appear on the list at all. Labour politicians have tended to gravitate to the Senedd, although the prize for the party that puts most emphasis on the Senedd goes to Plaid. That’s because a huge proportion of Plaid MPs who have ever sat in Westminster since the inauguration of the Welsh Parliament have shifted from London back to Wales. The exceptions are Elfyn Llwyd, Jonathan Edwards and Hywel Williams, who are all current MPs, and Adam Price, who has been selected as the candidate for Carmarthen East & Dinefwr in 2016‘s Assembly elections.

Should this surprise us? Not really. When it comes to the relative priority that the parties show towards the Welsh national interest, Plaid really are a light year ahead of the Unionist/British Nationalist parties.

1 Sylw

Filed under Conservatives, Democracy, Elections, Labour, Plaid Cymru, Welsh Government, Westminster

The Plaid-Lib Dem Minority Administration

Forgive me for mining this seam to its very end. Because there is at least this one more interpretation to Adam Price’s contention that Plaid and the Lib Dems could form the next government: the Minority Administration.

It’s currently unthinkable that Labour would band together with the Conservatives to frustrate a potential Plaid-Lib Dem coalition – despite amusing reference to at least one local authority configuration as a ‘Nazi-Soviet pact’.

So in order to form a minority administration, the maths tells us that:

  • Total seats under consideration = 60 – Conservatives
  • And Plaid + Lib Dem = Labour +1

For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume that the Conservatives gain an identical number of seats in 2016 as in 2011: 14. That’s unlikely, and we’ll examine the implications below. But were that the case, it would leave 46 seats up for grabs. And that would mean the Plaid-Lib Dem coalition would need 24 seats between them. Perhaps we’re starting to enter the realm of possibility rather than fantasy?

I’m going to make the same assumption as in the previous post for the Lib Dems, namely that they’ll bag six seats. That means that Plaid would need 18.

So the first task is to assume that all 18 would need to come from constituencies. That feat would see them ripping seats such as Swansea West, Wrexham, Cynon Valley and, yes, Rhondda, from Labour. Perhaps Plaid could more realistically expect seats such as Islwyn and Torfaen to fall than Wrexham and Clwyd South. And if we were to delve into the detail, we’d realise that Plaid would have to take seats almost exclusively from Labour, rather than the Conservatives in Clwyd West and Preseli Pembrokeshire. That’s the result of each seat lost by Conservatives ironically making it more difficult to form a minority administration, because according to the formula, the Conservative bloc reduces the number of seats required by Plaid-Lib Dem.

On that assumption, Plaid would need the following 18 constituencies:

  1. Ynys Môn – held with 42.3% majority
  2. Arfon – held with 30.5% majority
  3. Dwyfor Meirionnydd – held with 26.1% majority
  4. Carmarthen East & Dinefwr – held with 14.9% majority
  5. Ceredigion – held with 6.1% majority
  6. Llanelli – 0.3% behind 1st place
  7. Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire – 6.2% behind
  8. Caerphilly – 19.3% behind
  9. Aberconwy – 7.7% behind
  10. Neath – 26.8% behind
  11. Clwyd South – 23.8% behind
  12. Cardiff West – 27.1% behind
  13. Rhondda – 33.7% behind
  14. Cynon Valley – 34.8% behind
  15. Swansea West – 31.4% behind
  16. Islwyn – 36.2% behind
  17. Torfaen – 34.0% behind
  18. Pontypridd – 37.3% behind

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that in this scenario Plaid are scooping two constituencies each in South Wales East and South Wales West, which at a stretch could permit a regional seat in one or both. However, Plaid have also reduced the Conservatives’ constituencies by two, which means the total needed for the minority administration will be 25, which in turn brings one seat from the following into the mix: Montgomeryshire, Cardiff Central, Vale of Glamorgan, Gower, Ogmore or Penarth & Cardiff Central. Who said this was going to be easy?!

This minority administration is the only vaguely feasible scenario in which Labour will not be forming the next government. And ‘vaguely feasible’, in this analysis, has ignored the increasing likelihood of UKIP reaping list seats (five, according to Roger Scully). Although it’s too early to be making space for UKIP in these analyses, any new formula would look like this:

  • Total seats under consideration = 60 – (Conservatives + UKIP)
  • And Plaid + Lib Dem = Labour +1

The minority report for Adam Price and his team just got harder.

Rhowch sylw

Filed under Democracy, Elections, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Welsh Government

The Plaid-Lib Dem Coalition

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?

1 Sylw

Filed under Democracy, Elections, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Welsh Government

Seizing Power in Cardiff Bay: Plaid

And so to the final post in this series. How will Plaid manage to do what their sister party did in Scotland – bearing in mind that the proportional representation element of elections in Wales provides a less fair allocation of seats than it does up north?

This list is in order of the most likely to be held/fall first (see this post for the reasoning of the target seats). I’m going to make the assumption that they’ll need to do it in the absence of any regional/list seats – and you’ll see why from the complexion of the seats they need to win. Plaid’s worst-performing electoral region is South Wales East, but they still need to pick up three seats here in order to get a majority. It’s difficult to imagine that they’ll get list seats in this or any other region under those circumstances.

  1. Ynys Môn – held with 42.3% majority
  2. Arfon – held with 30.5% majority
  3. Dwyfor Meirionnydd – held with 26.1% majority
  4. Carmarthen East & Dinefwr – held with 14.9% majority
  5. Ceredigion – held with 6.1% majority
  6. Llanelli – 0.3% behind 1st place
  7. Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire – 6.2% behind
  8. Caerphilly – 19.3% behind
  9. Aberconwy – 7.7% behind
  10. Clwyd West – 20.3% behind
  11. Neath – 26.8% behind
  12. Clwyd South – 23.8% behind
  13. Cardiff West – 27.1% behind
  14. Rhondda – 33.7% behind
  15. Preseli Pembrokeshire – 26.9% behind
  16. Cynon Valley – 34.8% behind
  17. Wrexham – 30.9% behind
  18. Swansea West – 31.4% behind
  19. Islwyn – 36.2% behind
  20. Delyn – 33.5% behind
  21. Torfaen – 34.0% behind
  22. Montgomeryshire – 32.4% behind
  23. Pontypridd – 37.3% behind
  24. Cardiff Central – 30.5% behind
  25. Vale of Glamorgan – 35.3% behind
  26. Gower – 36.0% behind
  27. Penarth & Cardiff South – 38.2% behind
  28. Ogmore – 47.3% behind
  29. Aberavon – 49.3% behind
  30. Vale of Clwyd – 39.4% behind
  31. Swansea East – 46.0% behind

For the sake of argument, let’s imagine that Plaid managed to grab a list seat in South Wales East plus 30 constituency seats. That would mean they wouldn’t need to win Swansea East, for example. But they’d still need to be winning seats where they’re nearly 50% behind first place. Is the picture hopeless for Plaid?

As with the other two opposition parties, we’re looking for a seismic shift in Welsh politics. But unlike for the Lib Dems or Conservatives, Plaid can hold out a glimmer of hope.

An opinion poll conducted by ICM on behalf of the BBC found that the proportion of people in Wales inclined towards independence would increase by 5% (from 7% to 12%) if Scotland votes for independence in 10 months’ time. And perhaps even more interestingly, if you delve into the detail of that poll, you’ll find that pro-independence sentiment is substantially stronger in younger age groups. So while the former suggests that a block shift could happen in the short term, the latter indicates that in the longer term, Plaid may be looking at a generational shift in their favour.

So what would an increase of, say 5% in Plaid’s share of the vote mean? Well, the block shift isn’t seismic. On the list above, it would mean Llanelli falling into Plaid’s lap, with Carmarthen West and Aberconwy coming within reach. But gaining Llanelli would spell the end for Simon Thomas as a regional member for mid and west Wales.

Of course, that 5% of votes has to come from somewhere. So it would also reduce some of the huge majorities currently facing Plaid. Seats such as Neath and Clwyd West and South would need in the order of a further 7-10% swing to come Plaid’s way. Doable? Possibly.

Clearly independence for Scotland, while having an influence, isn’t going to be enough on its own.

So if we’re ruling out the tectonic possibility for now, how else could it happen? The simple answer is that it couldn’t. With the best candidates in Wales grafting around the clock from now until 2016, seats like Aberavon, Swansea East and our beloved Penarth & Cardiff South are going to stay exactly where they are now: safe Labour territory.

Which brings us back to coalition government as the only viable route for Plaid to exert Ministerial influence in Wales in the foreseeable future. And that in turn means one of the following:

  • Coalition with Labour – presumably unlikely after the last such experience
  • Coalition with Lib Dems alone – highly improbable given the Lib Dems’ problems – despite what Adam Price thinks
  • The rainbow coalition with Lib Dems and Conservatives – ruled out by current Plaid leader Leanne Wood on account of the Conservatives (or as Roger Scully puts it: “Leanne Wood entering a coalition with the Conservatives currently looks about as likely as one of the Rev Ian Paisley’s daughters becoming Pope”)

So where does that leave politics in Wales?

Labour government – either minority or majority – for the foreseeable future.

2 Sylw

Filed under Democracy, Elections, Plaid Cymru, Welsh Government

Seizing Power in Cardiff Bay: Labour

For the other parties, this is a theoretical exercise. For Labour, it should be reality.

To get a better view on the Labour party’s grip on power in Wales, Roger Scully’s analysis is second to none. Just for the record, Labour has achieved the following number of seats in National Assembly elections:

  • 1999 – 28 seats
  • 2003 – 30 seats
  • 2007 – 26 seats
  • 2011 – 30 seats

Having half the seats isn’t enough in the power game. To truly wield power you need 50% +1 seat, or 31 seats. In 2003 and 2011 alike Labour’s failure to grab the critical additional seat meant governing in a minority administration, and therefore needing to secure a vote from at least one opposition Member in order to win crucial votes (such as approving the annual budget and votes of no confidence).

So how does Labour go about getting 31 seats? Read on.

The most straightforward way is to win 31 constituency seats. In 2003 Labour won 30 constituencies, but in 2011 they took 28 constituency seats, receiving 2 compensatory seats in mid and west Wales courtesy of d’Hondt. The missing constituencies this time around are Preseli Pembrokeshire and Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire. Given that they also hold Ynys Môn at Westminster, perhaps these three seats are the targets?

Almost.

In order to win absolute power, Labour must take Preseli Pembrokeshire, Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire, and a seat that has eluded them thus far: Carmarthen East & Dinefwr. Ok – so that’s what the stats say. What does reality think?

Angela Burns has a reasonable (5.4%) majority in Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire. Not unassailable by any stretch, although much less marginal than her 0.3% majority in 2007. Labour will certainly be eyeing up this seat for 2016. Paul Davies meanwhile has quite a grip on Preseli Pembrokeshire for the Conservatives (8.0%). It will be a tough task for Labour to regain. Labour’s additional problem is that both these seats are in mid and west Wales electoral region. Winning either of them will deny Rebecca Evans or Joyce Watson their seats in the Senedd.

Carmarthen East & Dinefwr would be more of a challenge under normal circumstances. Plaid have a 14.9% majority. And the circumstances are anything but normal, with the prodigal son returning in the high probability of becoming a professional politician again.

So let’s look to greener pastures. A seat in an electoral region where Labour don’t stand to lose any seats through winning a new constituency. There can only be one electoral region to target. South Wales West and Central are clean sweeps for Labour, so it’s simply a case of holding the line (no-one mention Rhondda at this point). And Monmouth is the only non-Labour seat in South Wales East. Nick Ramsay will be difficult to dislodge. The pickings are definitely richer in the north.

There are two obvious contenders here, and one less so because Clwyd West is wholly unlikely to fall to Labour. Darren Millar has made this seat his own, following Alun Pugh’s losing performance in 2007. Aberconwy, meanwhile, is the most promising seat for Labour. They’re 8.3% off the pace in a three-way tussle for supremacy. But there’s real potential here, not least because a reasonable proportion of the 14.2% share of the vote garnered by the Lib Dems in 2011 could be up for grabs with the right overtures. Put a decent UKIP performance into the mix, wresting votes from Janet Finch-Saunders, and this seat suddenly looks like a decent bet.

And the other obvious contender? Ynys Môn. How a party can hold a seat at Westminster, with a majority that has increased in each of the last 2 elections to 7.1% now, and yet be 42.3% off the pace in Cardiff Bay is beyond me. Labour should have thrown everything at the August by-election for the prize of an outright majority. They have 30 full-time politicians at the National Assembly, alongside their 28 MPs from Wales. But a glance at the twitter feed of Labour4YnysMon reveals the absence of a swathe of even local (north Wales) Labour politicians from the fray: Sandy Mewies, Carl Sargeant, David Hanson, Susan Elan Jones, Chris Ruane, Mark Tami, Lesley Griffiths…

Could it have been the Michael effect? And if so, does that have implications for Aberconwy in 2015?

Or does it reflect a lack of hunger by the party of government?

2 Sylw

Filed under Democracy, Elections, Labour, Welsh Government