Tag Archives: Andrew RT Davies

Carwyn Jones – Mr Anonymous

There was a time when Carwyn Jones was regarded as an asset to the Labour Party in Wales. Regard the party political broadcast for the 2011 election which was basically the Carwyn show. And who could overlook the analyses by Roger Scully, which for some reason use polling data, rather than the revolutionary new method we’re about to reveal. Roger noted in December 2014 that:

Carwyn Jones remains by some way the most popular party leader in Wales

Let’s consider that Carwyn has been First Minister since December 2009, a full six years. That would be a decent length of time for someone to make their mark. But I get the feeling that Carwyn’s star has fallen a long way since its ascendency in 2011. Perhaps he’s taken everything (and everyone) for granted for so long that people just don’t care about him – or his opinion – any more. I’d be astonished if Carwyn gets the airtime in this election that he enjoyed in party political broadcasts last election. What leads to this radical conclusion?

It’s the New Year Twitter test.

As First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones’ new year message of good will was retweeted a grand total of 4 times (up to the end of 4 January), one of whom is a candidate in the coming election, and another Wayne David, MP for Caerffili. To be fair, his Welsh language version was retweeted 5 times. But two of these had already retweeted the English language version. Grand total? 7 retweets.

How did other First and Prime Ministers do?  Nicola Sturgeon only managed 419 retweets. Pathetic really for someone who’s been in post a shade over one year. David Cameron managed 1,300 for the cheesy ‘Happy New Year’ tweet, with a more modest 363 for his actual message.

How about the other party leaders in Wales? Kirsty Williams didn’t get a single retweet for her message, Andrew RT Davies netted 12 retweets, Alice Hooker Stroud got 7 (not bad for a month’s tenure!) and Leanne Wood achieved 34.

But we’re not really comparing like with like. It’s hardly a fair contest to pit opposition leaders – of varying tenure – against the profile of someone who until recently was Wales’ most popular party leader. Nor is it fair to pit the leaders of England and Scotland – both much bigger countries – against that of Wales. So here goes, with a quick look at some equivalent leaders.

  • Panama – population 3.8 million – President Juan Carlos Varela 158 retweets
  • Jamaica – population 2.7 million – Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller 11 retweets (great message, by the way… “May 2016 see your dreams come true. May you shine as never before, believe as never before and soar as never before”)
  • Macedonia – population 2.1 million – Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski 19 retweets

To be fair, there are plenty of mid-size countries whose leaders aren’t on twitter or didn’t bother with a new year’s greeting. My personal favourite is the Prime Minister of Lebanon, who clearly hasn’t managed his settings to avoid every post he makes on Facebook appearing in his twitter feed.

But there’s a bit more of a serious point here. If the First Minister of Wales can’t get a single elected politician in Wales other than Wayne David to retweet his new year message, maybe it’s not just the plebs who are losing faith in Carwyn. Perhaps the rot has set in within his own party.

By the time 2016’s out, there’s going to be another leader of the Labour Party in Wales, which of course means a new First Minister.

3 Sylw

Filed under Conservatives, Democracy, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Welsh Government

Seizing Power in Cardiff Bay: Conservatives

It’s the holy grail of political parties to enjoy power. If you can do it alone, so much the better; the unpalatable compromise is to enter a coalition. In this series of posts I’ll be examining the scale of the challenge for each of the main political parties in seizing power in Wales.

Not just any old power. Full, complete majority power in the National Assembly for Wales. Easier for some than for others.

First let’s just recoup. The proportional element of our National Assembly elections was incorporated partially to make the electoral system more reflective of people’s voting patterns. But it was also there to make it impossible for any one party to wield majority control in Wales. But we’ve already seen from Scotland’s experience that the best-laid plans can fall apart.

What do the Conservatives have to do to win 31 seats in Cardiff Bay? 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. The Conservatives’ worst-performing electoral region is South Wales West, but they still need to pick up three seats here in order to get a majority. It’s inconceivable that they’ll get list seats in this or any other region under those circumstances.

  1. Monmouth – held with 20.4% majority
  2. Clwyd West – held with 16.9% majority
  3. Montgomeryshire – held with 10.1% majority
  4. Preseli Pembrokeshire – held with 8.0% majority
  5. Aberconwy – held with 7.7% majority
  6. Carmarthenshire West & South Pembrokeshire – held with 5.3% majority
  7. Cardiff North – 5.2% behind 1st place
  8. Vale of Glamorgan – 11.4% behind
  9. Brecon & Radnorshire – 9.7% behind
  10. Delyn – 12.4% behind
  11. Vale of Clwyd – 17.4% behind
  12. Ynys Mon – 12.2% behind
  13. Newport West – 18.3% behind
  14. Clwyd South – 13.2% behind
  15. Gower – 18.2% behind
  16. Wrexham – 17.9% behind
  17. Cardiff West – 21.3% behind
  18. Penarth & Cardiff South – 22.8% behind
  19. Alyn & Deeside – 24.5% behind
  20. Swansea West – 21.3% behind
  21. Bridgend – 28.2% behind
  22. Carmarthen East & Dinefwr – 22.7% behind
  23. Dwyfor Meirionnydd – 26.2% behind
  24. Newport East – 27.7% behind
  25. Cardiff Central – 22.8% behind
  26. Torfaen – 31.4% behind
  27. Pontypridd – 35.1% behind
  28. Arfon – 44.2% behind
  29. Islwyn – 46.0% behind
  30. Swansea East – 43.8% behind
  31. Llanelli – 28.7% behind

So to get a full, working majority in the National Assembly the Conservatives will need to make a clean sweep of all constituency seats in the north Wales electoral region, along with capturing the seats of Labour former First Secretary Alun Michael (Penarth & Cardiff South), First Minister Rhodri Morgan (Cardiff West), current First Minister Carwyn Jones (Bridgend), and valleys seats such as Pontypridd, Torfaen and Islwyn, along with seats where they are as much as 44% behind the incumbent in terms of share of the vote.

It’ll need a seismic shift in the politics of Wales for this to happen. There are two possible scenarios which could see it happen.

First off, public opinion and politics in Wales could shift dramatically to the right of where it is in England. I don’t see that as being likely any time in the coming decades.

The other possible scenario is for the Conservative party in Wales to move much further to the left. The Conservative’s placement on the political spectrum (some way to the left of their friends in England) is partially responsible for the comparative electoral success they’ve enjoyed in Wales in recent elections. But to continue to move left the Conservatives would have to do several things:

  • Find an Assembly group leader other than Andrew RT Davies
  • Probably split from the UK party – or find some other means of reconciling the political ideologies
  • Play a very careful wicket in holding on to existing right-wing supporters in the light of new right-wing vote absorber UKIP

I find this a distinctly more plausible scenario than the political make-up of Wales veering wildly to the right. But to say that a split from the UK Conservatives is ‘more plausible’ than any other scenario indicates just how implausible an absolute majority is for the Conservatives.

Unless they become unlikely coalition partners, the Conservatives’ fate in Wales is permanent opposition.

Rhowch sylw

Filed under Conservatives, Democracy, Elections

Seizing Power in Cardiff Bay: Conservatives

It’s the holy grail of political parties to enjoy power. If you can do it alone, so much the better; the unpalatable compromise is to enter a coalition. In this series of posts I’ll be examining the scale of the challenge for each of the main political parties in seizing power in Wales.

Not just any old power. Full, complete majority power in the National Assembly for Wales. Easier for some than for others.

First let’s just recoup. The proportional element of our National Assembly elections was incorporated partially to make the electoral system more reflective of people’s voting patterns. But it was also there to make it impossible for any one party to wield majority control in Wales. But we’ve already seen from Scotland’s experience that the best-laid plans can fall apart.

What do the Conservatives have to do to win 31 seats in Cardiff Bay? 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. The Conservatives’ worst-performing electoral region is South Wales West, but they still need to pick up three seats here in order to get a majority. It’s inconceivable that they’ll get list seats in this or any other region under those circumstances.

  1. Monmouth – held with 20.4% majority
  2. Clwyd West – held with 16.9% majority
  3. Montgomeryshire – held with 10.1% majority
  4. Preseli Pembrokeshire – held with 8.0% majority
  5. Aberconwy – held with 7.7% majority
  6. Carmarthenshire West & South Pembrokeshire – held with 5.3% majority
  7. Cardiff North – 5.2% behind 1st place
  8. Vale of Glamorgan – 11.4% behind
  9. Brecon & Radnorshire – 9.7% behind
  10. Delyn – 12.4% behind
  11. Vale of Clwyd – 17.4% behind
  12. Ynys Mon – 12.2% behind
  13. Newport West – 18.3% behind
  14. Clwyd South – 13.2% behind
  15. Gower – 18.2% behind
  16. Wrexham – 17.9% behind
  17. Cardiff West – 21.3% behind
  18. Penarth & Cardiff South – 22.8% behind
  19. Alyn & Deeside – 24.5% behind
  20. Swansea West – 21.3% behind
  21. Bridgend – 28.2% behind
  22. Carmarthen East & Dinefwr – 22.7% behind
  23. Dwyfor Meirionnydd – 26.2% behind
  24. Newport East – 27.7% behind
  25. Cardiff Central – 22.8% behind
  26. Torfaen – 31.4% behind
  27. Pontypridd – 35.1% behind
  28. Arfon – 44.2% behind
  29. Islwyn – 46.0% behind
  30. Swansea East – 43.8% behind
  31. Llanelli – 28.7% behind

So to get a full, working majority in the National Assembly the Conservatives will need to make a clean sweep of all constituency seats in the north Wales electoral region, along with capturing the seats of Labour former First Secretary Alun Michael (Penarth & Cardiff South), First Minister Rhodri Morgan (Cardiff West), current First Minister Carwyn Jones (Bridgend), and valleys seats such as Pontypridd, Torfaen and Islwyn, along with seats where they are as much as 44% behind the incumbent in terms of share of the vote.

It’ll need a seismic shift in the politics of Wales for this to happen. There are two possible scenarios which could see it happen.

First off, public opinion and politics in Wales could shift dramatically to the right of where it is in England. I don’t see that as being likely any time in the coming decades.

The other possible scenario is for the Conservative party in Wales to move much further to the left. The Conservative’s placement on the political spectrum (some way to the left of their friends in England) is partially responsible for the comparative electoral success they’ve enjoyed in Wales in recent elections. But to continue to move left the Conservatives would have to do several things:

  • Find an Assembly group leader other than Andrew RT Davies
  • Probably split from the UK party – or find some other means of reconciling the political ideologies
  • Play a very careful wicket in holding on to existing right-wing supporters in the light of new right-wing vote absorber UKIP

I find this a distinctly more plausible scenario than the political make-up of Wales veering wildly to the right. But to say that a split from the UK Conservatives is ‘more plausible’ than any other scenario indicates just how implausible an absolute majority is for the Conservatives.

Unless they become unlikely coalition partners, the Conservatives’ fate in Wales is permanent opposition.

Rhowch sylw

Filed under Conservatives, Democracy, Elections