Monday 26 May 2014

The morning after

The results are in, and it was a pretty disastrous night for everyone in Wales except Ukip. What good news there was is that Plaid held onto its seat in the European Parliament. That was no mean achievement considering that Labour was always going to bounce back from its disastrous performance in 2009 when Gordon Brown was still entrenched in No. 10 and that Ukip had the wind in its sails.

As things turned out, Labour's bounce was more of the dead cat variety, and in Wales the party failed to pick up the second seat it had been very confident of taking.

In Carmarthenshire Plaid Cymru topped the poll, with Labour falling back into third place:

Plaid 15,281
UKIP 12,495
Lab 11,793
Tories 6,686

It is worth remembering that these votes were for Carmarthenshire as a whole, which includes the whole of the constituency of Carmarthen East and Dinefwr and part of Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire.

In Carmarthen East and Dinefwr Plaid won in every single ward.

How the parties react as they lick their wounds over the next few days and weeks remains to be seen, but Owen Smith MP, Labour's shadow Secretary of State for Wales in Westminster, was happily tweeting last night, oblivious of the large elephant standing next to him in the room and tapping him on the shoulder:


KLS said...

More realistic assessment of events from Syniadau -

High time this blog regained its former objectivity.

Anonymous said...

Get a grip Cneifiwr...look at the rise of UKIP in Carmarthenshire. This is an ultra Unionist, anti-devolutionist party and it has polled just 3000 behind Plaid in the Fro Cymraeg. Be afraid, be VERY afraid.

When Plaid were a shoo in and Labour were pants Plaid polled 127,000 in 2009. With Plaid desperate for support and whipping all its voters they got 112,000 and had two right wing, strongly Unionist parties ahead of them.

Cneifiwr said...

Perhaps we have read different pieces on Syniadau, but the one I read seems to be saying pretty much the same thing except that the author of Syniadau has a long standing bee in his bonnet that Leanne Wood was wrong to attack Ukip.

That may not have been a popular thing to do, but she was right to do it.

Labour's weird strategy was to ignore Ukip and concentrate on bashing the LibDems.

Alun Lenny said...

Just watched Hague and Cameron on TV. They both missed the point, or rather chose not to see it, by attributing UKIP’s success to public disquiet with the EU. Obviously, that’s a major factor. But this wasn’t just (or even primarily) an anti-Euro vote, it was an anti-establishment vote by people who have no confidence in the Tories and Labour – or even politicians in general. There’s obviously a strong element of protest voting, which previously benefited the LibDems – hence their collapse when it switched to UKIP, whose vote was bulked up by anti-EU Tory voters and considerable working class support in places like Torfaen by people who may see Farage as representing their aspirations. One may well ask how much of UKIP’s success is down to Farage being a media creation of the celebrity age. How else can a millionaire stockbroker attract working class voters? At best, UKIP is a single-issue party, at worse a vehicle for the baser instincts in society: a party of prejudice, not policies. The European vote should also be seen in the context of the county council results in England. Although UKIP did well, throughout the whole of that country they hardly won enough seats to fill Carmarthenshire council chamber twice over. These are interesting, but also very dangerous, times. We really should be careful what we wish for. By the way, it was heart warming to see that great green swathe all the way down Wales from Llangefni to Llanelli on the BBC's electoral map in the early hours of this morning.

Anonymous said...

The results also include the constituency of Llanelli where Labour is undoubtedly strong having an MP, an AM and several County Councillors.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if Carmarthen East and Dinefwr delivered the bulk of the votes for Plaid Cymru.

Nevertheless a good result for the party and a disastrous result for Labour. It looks like Jonathan Edwards can pre-book his train tickets to Westminster until 2020 at least.

Anonymous said...

It's a big high water mark for UKIP driven by massive media coverage. Everyone at work is talking about them. They come up at every family gathering. They take votes off everyone. But this is the high water mark and now they will recede.

The Plaid result is mediocre. Not a disaster, and better than they were polling a couple of months ago (pointing to a good campaign), but nowhere near making a big impact in Wales.

Anonymous said...

"UKIP is a single-issue party, at worse a vehicle for the baser instincts in society: a party of prejudice, not policies."

Wonderfull! Meanwhile Plaid supporters attribute the success of UKIP to the large number of hated English in Wales...they come here, they steal our houses, they dilute our Welsh speaking communities....

They vote UKIP.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon 11:09 that Plaid isn't making a big enough impact throughout Wales. But what the European election results show is Plaid topping the poll in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Gwynedd and Anglesey. There are 5 winnable constituencies here which are surely prime targets for the party at next year's Westminster election. Not a bad result, I'd say.

Crucially, Plaid achieved its objective in the campaign - to hold onto its seat.
Labour's objective was to win two seats - they failed.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Alun Lenny, this was a vote to show that the majority of the public are disillusioned with all parties in general and that the public are fed up with what they have and want change.
I believe a protest vote, rather than a vote in support of UKIP policies.

Cneifiwr said...

Anon @12.24 - I'd be very interested to see you come up with evidence to back up those claims.

The Plaid candidate for Ceredigion in the Westminster election is Mike Parker who comes from Kidderminster. Yes, he has learned Welsh and made an effort to integrate into his community, and there are lots more like him. That rather puts the kybosh on your theory because ordinary Plaid members voted to make him their candidate.

Anonymous said...

I'd be very interested to see the evidence for plaid's claim of 'winning every ward' in Carmarthen East. With ballots counted upside down it's very easy to make up figures that nobody can verify. Coincidentally they don't offer any data on Llanelli? Sounds like a set of figures to fit a narrative if you ask me. I wouldn't mind betting that Llanelli town was UKIP (Tyshia, Glanymor, Bigyn wards) and in fact plaid's lead was even between Carms East and Llanelli.
Its hard to compare the votes to 2009 as They were counted in Consituencies last time, and this time as local authorities, this means Carms West and South Pembrokeshire has to be split to make the comparison with this year's result. However in 2009 Plaid were ahead of Labour in Llanelli by 2,000 votes, and in Carmarthen East by 3,000: making a total of 5,000 before you factor in Carmarthen West. Carmarthen West is a three way marginal seat with Carmarthen town included (almost entirely plaid on the Council). So this time, Paid have a lead of 5,000 over labour- the same as last time in Carmarthen East and Dinefwr and llanelli combined, but this includes plaid held Carmarthen Town! To me, this suggests that plaid were ahead by around 1500 in each constituency and don't have the lead they think in Carmarthen East. if they insist that the lead is a huge lead in Carmarthen East, then they practically lost Carmarthen town and Llanelli to Labour and UKIP. I'm sure no self respecting a plaid will admit to loosing Carmarthen town!

If you break it down, their claim of a huge lead in Carmarthen East doesn't make sense! There is practically no difference between the 2009 and 2014 results in Carmarthenshire, other than Carmarthen town now being counted in Carmarthenshire's figures.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry! When I hear that 'Plaid achieved its objective of holding its seat you can't deny that it's a sorry estate of affairs! How can plaid be pleased to cling on to its seat in such an embarrassing fashion: 1% away from losing it! If that is the height of ambition in Plaid, then we are going nowhere fast. It's a sad fact that Leanne has not made the impact expected and plaid have slipped from the 3rd party in Wales to the 4th.

MH said...

Just to be clear, I've never criticized anyone for attacking UKIP on Syniadau, Cneifiwr. I criticized Plaid's tactic of singling-out UKIP for attack. UKIP deserve to be attacked (although it should be because of their policies rather than because voting for them is somehow intrinsically anti-Welsh) but Labour and the Tories deserved to be attacked too.

In principle it was wrong to call a vote for UKIP a "vote against Wales", because the same could also be said of other parties. And, even if we forget about principle, in purely pragmatic terms it was misguided because UKIP were bound to hold their seat in Wales, and a higher UKIP vote would in fact take away votes from other parties, making it more likely that Jill would hold on to her seat.

Even with UKIP taking votes from the Tories, the Tories still beat us. That's an incredibly poor performance following the way they have acted in Westminster for the last four years. They are an unpopular party that we could and should have picked off if only we'd directed more of our fire against them.

In the end we were saved by the luck of UKIP also taking enough votes from Labour to stop them getting twice as many votes as us; a swing that only happened in the last week of the campaign. Thank goodness for luck.

Anonymous said...

Anon 18:26 sounds like a Labour staffer trying to pour a 2.5ltr tub of gloss on what was a disastrous result for them for a second European election in a row.

As a Plaid member I can say that Carmarthen East had a massive campaign compared to the West and Llanelli. If anything Llanelli Plaid did very little until the last couple of weeks. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Labour received more votes than Plaid in Llanelli just because of the sheer inactivity of Plaid there.

Additionally there is the extra turnout. Carmarthen East always has a substantially higher turnout than Llanelli. My polling station in Llanddarog had a turnout of almost 50 per cent. That's how the Plaid votes stack up in comparison to Labour.

Anon 18:26 says there is practically no difference between the 2009 and 2014 results but this ignores the huge 18% vote increase for UKIP - roughly 8,000 more votes across the county! UKIP took votes from all parties, but there is no doubt Labour and Tories haemorrhaged votes to them. I don't have any evidence, but with the Lib Dems not getting a thousand votes in the whole county, their votes seem to be bypassing Labour and going straight to Plaid - or they may have just stayed at home...

It's not in any party's interest to play about with sampling figures or they're setting themselves up for a huge fall and a pasting at the next election. From what I know of Jonathan Edwards and Rhodri Glyn Thomas it is unlikely they and their team get things that wrong, or they wouldn't be elected members today.

Jail Hill said...

I have to agree with the earlier comments, I like this blog and I check back quite often, but I'm not so keen with the author's overly-partisan politics. Yes he can hold those views, but really, it's over the top for a wide-ranging blog that covers everything and anything!

Nobody could ever accuse this blog of being objective, and to do so would be unfair because I don't think it sets out to be. Blogs can be political but there are ways of doing it.

Political blogs can be written with more sophistication, more subtlety. This blog is a bit too focussed on promoting the idea that "Plaid Cymru is whiter than white and can do nothing wrong" and in doing so, the articles nearly always attack Labour at any given opportunity. No doubt the target of this blog's ire would be the Conservatives if they were the nearest threat to Plaid Cymru in Carmarthenshire.

Some of the politicising and point-scoring is really petty, Jackie's blog rises above all of that. It is really off putting and unnecessary in my opinion and does little to add to the debates.

Such a narrow-minded political focus also reduces the otherwise good quality of articles on this blog - and no, I'm not political and I didn't vote Plaid Cymru or Labour, but isn't it strange that this article glosses over Plaid Cymru's close call, coming so close to losing its seat?!

Cneifiwr, can you try and be a bit less party-political? Or put a Plaid Cymru logo prominently in the header and add the words "a Plaid Cymru blog" in the description?!

Some readers will be as mad about Plaid Cymru as you are, and some readers will hate Labour as much as you do, but not all of them.

I'm sure Plaid Cymru councillors have made plonkers of themselves since your blog has been active but I don't recall ever reading about it in any of your posts.

Cneifiwr said...

Wow! Anon @2.02 - this blog is not an "official" Plaid blog, although I am a member. Perhaps I'll do something on why I joined a political party and why I chose Plaid another time.

I don't hate Labour, by the way. Rather I like a lot of Labour people but feel deeply frustrated and disappointed about what Labour has become.

Some of the blogs on the blog list to the right support Labour, or are at best lukewarm about Plaid.

As for Syniadau and Michael, its author, we'll have to agree to disagree. Ukip is against the interest of Wales and its people, and the values it espouses are the opposite of what makes Wales Wales.

Redhead said...

Why do people expect and demand that bloggers are not pro certain parties.

It would be a poor (and unread) blog that was neutral and anyone disagreeing can always start a blog of their own!

Anonymous said...

Why did people vote UKIP in Carmarthenshire?
Protest vote against the traditional parties because they are not listening.Some are against windfarms and see
our countryside being wrecked and paying for it through
their bills.Some are thinking why are they still poor,after
years of government money coming to the county via the
EU and thinking where has it gone.Some are against
people coming here from Easter Europe for whatever
reason.Some have had enough of the underhand dealings
around the county,the greed the slyness.Some have
personal stories of injustices done to them,and so fed up they'll vote for anyone.Will UKIP make a difference
who knows we will see.

Anonymous said...

@anon 21:39, very little of what you've said has any evidence. I'm not a labour staffer (I'm a polling geek) the same could be said about your comment being a plaid staffer trying to rubbish labour! I'm trying to make sense of the figures, which this time include Carmarthen town. Going back to what I said (and you offered no explanation)... How come the plaid lead in Carmarthen East and Dinefwr is the same EVEN when you now include Carmarthen town. Your answer is to write off plaid in Llanelli! Where have the Carmarthen West Plaid votes gone, because their not in Pembrokeshire are they?

On labour and Troy votes haemorrhaging to UKIP, and UKIP getting an 18% rise in support: compare the results to 2009 and labour''s carmarthenshire European votes have stayed static, which means much of ukip's 18% have come from elsewhere: either non voters, or Tory. It looks like Labour's voters just stayed at home, and plaid's core vote across all three constituencies came out. UKIP took from the Tories, leaving the overall turnout figure 1% above what it was before. The objective interpretation of these results would be: no change other than non voters and Tory go UKIP. Labour's vote remained static, Plaid's vote remained static.

On the Plaid sampling: this is a private poll, unweighted, on a low turnout election, with no independent scrutiny. Anybody who knows anything about polls would reply on the 'sample' at their peril. Samples should be taken with at least 100- 150 votes from every box in every ward, some wards have 2-4 boxes. Based on plaid figures: they needs to sample at least 13x100 (1 box per ward) to get an accurate sample: 1300. That's without taking any second boxes into account. There are at least 20 wards in Carmarthen East which means a worthwhile as sample of Carmarthen East would need 20x 100 votes= 2,000 (double plaids sample) and would need to be weighted in terms of population ( bigger wards would need bigger samples). If the 13 wards sampled by plaid were mainly in the north of the county and were not weighted in terms of population (more weight given to Ammanford, Glanamman, Garnant) then Plaid should rely on it at their peril. This is why political parties don't produce polls: it's just spin.

Cneifiwr said...

Anon @ 11.28 - A factor which I'm sure played a part in Carmarthenshire was public anger at what has been happening in the county council.

I was surprised when I was out canvassing how many people raised this (without any prompting from me!), and how well informed many people were.

I suspect that those who took Labour's "doorstep" campaign would have gone home with a flea or two in their ears.

Anonymous said...

We saw NO ONE in our area out canvassing, and some have told me if candidates wanting us to vote for them couldn't be bothered to canvass, then why should we support them and vote for them. You can't really argue with that although I did vote.

Anonymous said...

You are correct about the anger people have about the
County Council?Thanks to the bloggers such as yourself,
and The South Wales Guardian more people are aware
of what's going on these days.
How I wish everything was ok,it is not a bad place to live

Cllr Sian Caiach said...

At least I hope the new UKIP MEP will actually do some work for Wales. The previous one never even acknowledged my correspondence and I imagined him hiding under a table somewhere. Possibly having been very surprised at winning a seat and obviously not keen on taking up a new day job.
Before you ask, no, I'm not a UKIP supporter but do believe that all paid to democratically represent us should do just that. The other 3 do acknowledge correspondence and Jill Evans is a local hero here in Llanelli, having facilitated the complaint to the E.U. Commission which finally has led to the infringement proceedings against the UK government for the pollution of the Burry Inlet by sewage [EU Urban waste water directive].
since 1997 the sewage in the Llanelli area has not been fully treated as a new system put in then was inadequate as it failed to deal with surface water from rain, assuming that the sewage pipe take sewage only.
We still put up with raw sewage in the estuary but now even the County Council admit that the "water quality" is not good. They have recently put up 2 rather obscure signs on Llanelli Beach warning people to wash their hands before eating. Its a start but actually treating all the sewage is my aim!