Tag Archives: Nia Griffith

The Social Media Battle: Llanelli

Synopsis: One candidate is a jedi master. The other is an ewok.

Social media engagement is important. It helps energise people, it gets people involved, it makes people feel that they have a stake, and it enables politicians to reach sections of society that traditional media and door-knocking might not be able to reach.

Nia Griffith has 554 likes on her Facebook account, which means she’s attracting likes at a rate of 111 per year. It’s hardly surprising the recruitment rate is so poor; it’s little better than Kim Jong Un in its capacity for regurgitating state propaganda (in this case, it’s a feed from Nia’s ‘blog’). Still, she somehow manages to get 56 on Likealyzer. Nia posts less frequently than once every two days and averages 23 engagements per post – in total about 10 engagements per day.

Vaughan Williams has only 364 likes on Facebook, but his recruitment rate is 182 per year, or about 63% better than Nia’s. He’s posting a good variety of memes, videos and images, along with lots of links to articles. Likealyzer rates Vaughan at 73, which is pretty good. He’s posting 1.8 times per day with 18 interactions per post: 32 interactions per day.

Nia comes across as relatively novice using twitter. She’s got 2,638 followers despite tweeting just 640 times in the last three years. That’s an average of one tweet every other day, although she has upped her frequency to 2 per day recently (Riffle). 153 of her folllowers are in the Llanelli area, with a further 50 in the vicinity of Swansea. So she has about 200 or so followers in the constituency. Far more important to Nia is London, which provides 498 followers. Mind you, a quarter of the accounts following Nia have been inactive for at least 3 months. There’s almost no engagement going on with Nia: a very small proportion (8%) of her tweets are ‘contact’ tweets (those that begin with someone’s twitter handle (name)). Over the last month she’s had 2,127 mentions on twitter. Llanelli ranks at number 5 in the list of locations used by Nia’s followers. Numbers 1 and 2? UK and London, of course.  The median number of followers of people who follow Nia’s twitter account is 396. The most frequently mentioned accounts by Nia are @llanellyhouse, @colegsirgar and @fmwales (Riffle). Nia’s best ever tweet got 80 retweets, which is pretty impressive… until you learn that it was posted back in 2012. Her best tweet this year received 35 retweets, with 5 tweets this year getting more than 20 retweets. Nia’s Klout score is a remarkable 57; she also has a LinkedIn account but no google plus presence. As we’ve seen (above), Nia has her own website.

The Twitterati won’t be surprised at some of the stats relating to Vaughan. Vaughan’s got 2,086 followers and has a humungous 27,200 tweets to his name, with a phenomenal 89 tweets per day (Riffle). That’s 45 times as much as Nia. And it’s not just quantity. 14,347 mentions over the past month tells you that people are massively engaged with Vaughan. 118 of Vaughan’s followers are in the Llanelli area, with 33 or so in Swansea. But unlike for Nia, Llanelli is much more important to Vaughan than London (which only provides 85 followers for his account). There’s a good proportion of contact tweets with Vaughan, and given the total number of tweets, that’s a lot of contact. Median followership of Vaughan’s followers is 465, so they’re more influential than Nia’s followers. They’re more active, too, with a quarter of them having tweeted in the last hour (at the time of writing). Nia had five 20+ retweet tweets since the start of the year. Vaughan has had five over the course of 24 hours (2 May)! Vaughan’s top mentions are @plaid_cymru, @plaidllanelli and @seanllanelli. I don’t know what algorithm Riffle uses, but Vaughan’s Klout rating of 61 seems rather low. Vaughan doesn’t appear to be on LinkedIn, but my word has he got to grips with google plus, where he’s had 33,158 views! He also has his own blog here.

The scores on the doors?

Nia 12.3/30

Vaughan 19.4/30

 

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Rhowch sylw

Filed under Democracy, Elections, Labour, Plaid Cymru, Westminster

Track Record: Nia Griffith

I’m going to preface this article by making some assumptions. I’m going to assume that the centre-left voters who make up the bulk of the support of the Labour Party in Wales have a political persuasion that would be:

  • Strongly in favour of an investigation into the Iraq war
  • Moderately opposed to foreign wars; particularly after the Iraq and Afghanistan debacles
  • Strongly opposed to wasting billions on a nuclear deterrent
  • Strongly opposed to the bedroom tax
  • Strongly opposed to the NHS providing services to private patients
  • Moderately against introducing ID cards
  • Strongly opposed to the privatisation of Royal Mail
  • Moderately or strongly in favour of increasing benefits at least in line with increasing prices
  • Strongly in favour of higher benefits for longer periods for those unable to work because of illness or disability
  • Moderately opposed to a reduction in spending on welfare benefits
  • Strongly in favour of extra support for long-term unemployed young people
  • Strongly in favour of increasing the amount of money someone earns before paying income tax
  • Strongly opposed to raising VAT
  • Strongly in favour of extra taxation on super-high earners (>£150,000)
  • Strongly in favour of a bankers’ tax
  • Strongly in favour of a mansion tax
  • Strongly in favour of reducing tax avoidance
  • Moderately in favour of an elected House of Lords
  • Moderately in favour of more powers for the National Assembly

So what does Nia Griffith’s voting record reveal about her activity over the past five years?

Well, on several of these issues, Nia is well aligned with our imaginary centre-left voter. But there are several of them where the alignment is poor. According to TheyWorkForYou, Nia:

  • Voted moderately in favour of military aggression in foreign wars, and very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war
  • Voted very strongly against increasing the threshold at which someone starts to pay income tax
  • Voted strongly against reducing tax avoidance
  • Has peculiarly voted in favour and against a wholly elected House of Lords
  • Has voted a mixture of for and against more powers for Wales

Let’s see how Nia’s voting record pans out in the real world. It means that Nia’s in favour of people being killed, maimed and psychologically traumatised for the glory of the British Empire. The people dying are predominantly poor people: poor people in poor countries or poor people recruited from some of the poorest communities in Wales. Places like Llanelli. But when it comes to holding governments to account for their illegal wars, woah! The last thing Nia wants is a report highly likely to be most damaging to her Labour Party to be published just before the voters get to hold that party to account for it. After all, if you give these things enough time, people start to forget about them. The Chilcot report finished taking evidence in 2011.

Bizarrely, she’s voted against increasing the level of income at which someone starts to pay income tax. The Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation shows that Llanelli has several wards in which income levels are extremely low.

She’s all in favour – apparently – of big business and the mega-rich avoiding paying their fair dues in tax. Companies like Google, Amazon and Starbucks, who pay a pittance, or nothing at all, in corporation tax on their multi-billion pound activities in the UK. What does that mean? More tax for me and you, of course.

She has confused opinions in relation to democratising the second chamber of Parliament, despite the fact that it’s stuffed full of party donors, super-rich hereditary landowners and people who’ve been totally, unflinchingly loyal to their parties. People, in fact, like Nia (who has never rebelled against her party since the start of the 2010 parliament). Mind you, that level of toeing the party line comes naturally to Nia. In the 2005-2010 parliamentary session, she managed to rebel against Labour in a grand total of 6 votes out of 1,133.

And she’s happy to keep Wales – and her branch secretary Carwyn Jones – on the Westminster leash. Carwyn has said that withholding powers on energy from Wales is “wrong in principle and wrong in probably every other way”. Might that be of interest to Nia Griffith? Not a bit of it. Nia voted against the transfer of powers over energy to Wales. In fact, it surprises me that Nia was present at all to bother to vote against Wales’ national interests. After all, she was absent for 7 of the 10 key votes on transferring powers to the National Assembly for Wales.

For more information about Vaughan Williams, her main (Plaid) challenger for the seat of Llanelli, you can find his blog here, his twitter feed here, his facebook account here and his google plus here.

Rhowch sylw

Filed under Democracy, Labour, Plaid Cymru, Westminster

Target Seats in Wales: Plaid

Plaid Cymru’s situation throws up a series of interesting findings. For the other parties, there was by and large a clear correlation: those seats where the party does well in share of the vote are those where it is relatively close to the incumbent party. For Plaid there are a slew of seats where they pick up a decent share of the vote (ten seats they don’t hold with 20% of the vote or more) but are way behind the victorious party. The reason is, of course, the Labour hegemony in south Wales.

So here are the stats for those keenest amongst us.

Plaid already hold: Arfon, Carmarthenshire East & Dinefwr, Ceredigion, Dwyfor Meirionnydd and Ynys Môn.

And here’s the top 10, in order, of seats that Plaid will be eyeing up in 2015:

  • Llanelli
  • Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire
  • Caerphilly
  • Aberconwy
  • Clwyd West
  • Neath
  • Clwyd South
  • Cardiff West
  • Rhondda
  • Preseli Pembrokeshire

This gives us an indication of the scale of the challenge facing Leanne Wood in her decision to contest Rhondda in 2016. The reason it’s only the 9th-best prospect is because Plaid were a massive 34% behind the first-placed party in the last poll, despite recording nearly 30% of the vote themselves. It’s a mountain to climb. People talk in awe about Alex Salmond’s astounding capture of Gordon in 2007. That required an increase in the share of the vote of merely 19%. Leanne needs an increase of 35%. Such a result would be spectacular and – excepting Brent East (itself a special case) – unprecedented.

Should Labour be complacent? The stats tell us a bit more of the story. Leighton Andrews’ 12,650 votes were only 1,400 more than Wayne David’s in 1999 – and would not have been enough to deny Geraint Davies from taking Rhondda in 1999. In that first Assembly election turnout was 50.2%; turnout in the last Assembly election was just 38%. It seems to suggest that when there’s an interesting political contest, turnout is boosted. And history suggests that the boost in turnout benefits one party more than any other.

Enough of Rhondda. Because we need to take account of the fact that Plaid don’t hold the same constituencies in both Parliaments, Ceredigion and Ynys Môn arrive at the top of the list, pushing Rhondda to 11th spot. Our list now looks like:

  • Ynys Môn
  • Ceredigion
  • Llanelli
  • Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire
  • Caerphilly
  • Aberconwy
  • Clwyd West
  • Neath
  • Clwyd South
  • Cardiff West

It’s no surprise to see Ynys Môn at the top of the list. Following Plaid’s recent success in the local elections, and with Ieuan Wyn Jones announcing his resignation today, Plaid would be in pretty poor shape to lose the seat at the upcoming by-election. Expect lots of visits to the island from Peter Hain and other Labour big guns, and a non-stop discussion of Plaid’s uncomfortable position on nuclear. Following by-election success, Ynys Môn is clearly a major target for Plaid in 2015, with Albert Owen’s majority of under 2,500. Ieuan Wyn as the candidate, perhaps?!

Ceredigion has become a much more interesting contest with the selection of Mike Parker as candidate for Plaid. Mike is one of the most interesting candidates Plaid could have picked for this constituency. Erudite, English and engaging. Someone who can fire people’s imagination.

I said previously that Mark Williams would be “firmly in control of the seat for 2015”. Suddenly I’m not so sure. Let’s remember that Cynog Dafis pulled in an additional 8,200 votes to take Ceredigion for Plaid in 1992. And Mark’s majority? 8,300. Hold onto your hats!

Llanelli looks distinctly less achievable for Plaid in the UK election than at the Welsh election. Nia Griffith commands a 4,500 majority, and although that was reduced at the 2010 election, it was a poor election for Labour in general. And given that the totemic Ron Davies couldn’t take Caerphilly in an Assembly election that is always more benign for the Party of Wales, it’s not likely to fall in 2015. 

In the face of a Labour party expected to improve on its 2010 performance – although not spectacularly, given Ed Miliband’s struggling leadership – most of the rest of the top 10 look challenging. Add in the UK context under which UK elections are (unsurprisingly) fought, alongside the London-centric bias of the broadcast and print media, and the picture looks tough for gains of more than one seat. Holding onto Arfon will be enough to keep the troops busy between now and 2015.

10 Sylw

Filed under Democracy, Elections, Labour, Plaid Cymru, Westminster