Tuesday, May 08, 2007

What Kind Of Day Has It Been?

So what have we learnt of the state of Welsh politics over the last month or so?

  • AMS is neat enough as an academic exercise, but as a practical electoral system it doesn’t hold water. It’s bad enough that the results themselves are a ridiculous reflection of the national vote, but in an era where democratic participation is patchy, election night itself needs to be something other than deathly dull; five hours of Huw Edwards filling isn’t going to float anyone’s boat…
  • Defeating the national expectations game is a difficult business. Certainly in Cardiff West the swing went the way people were being told it would, to Plaid in the city and to the Tories in the suburbs. In terms of work put in, the Lib Dem team won by a mile, but in a nationally-led race that failed to translate into votes.
  • “This is a Welsh election, for Welsh people” is still a significant attitude. It’s by no means a fair reflection of the Assembly, or indeed of Plaid Cymru itself, but they play on it at a local level and with some success.
  • Speaking of Plaid’s campaigning techniques, they really have done a job of apeing what we do, but executing it really, really badly…

The postgame analysis has focused on the failures and the tensions about future coalitions, and perhaps rightly. But we should not forget that there is much to be optimistic about as well; we’re set up well for the next general election (in which we should hold Ceredigion easily and take Newport East and Swansea West) and our Assembly standing hasn’t fallen back at all; we’ve been waiting for the breakout for a while, it is true, but we’re still on the cusp of it, which is something.

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