Sunday 7 May 2017

Local government elections 2017

As the dust settles on Thursday's vote, it's time for a few reflections.

The election saw Plaid Cymru turn in its best ever performance in Carmarthenshire, and the party came within a whisker (2 seats) of winning an overall majority. The Independents continued their long-term decline, and will now be a junior partner in a new coalition with just 3 out of the 10 seats on the Executive Board.

As always, the Independents are a mixed bag, but without Pam Palmer and Meryl the relationship will begin on a new footing under the leadership of Mair Stephens.

Outside Llanelli, Labour is now an endangered species. It has just one outlier in Carmarthen, and is down to just four in its former bastions in the Amman and Gwendraeth valleys where personal loyalties count for as least as much as politics.

Llanelli and the surrounding communities are now home to 17 of the Labour group's 22 members, and that will have some interesting consequences.

The scattered fragments of the Labour Party outside Llanelli are in no position to challenge the direction the group takes, and inside Llanelli the hardliners have strengthened their hand. The nepotism, clientelism and bullying which characterise the party in Llanelli will continue to flourish, creating all the right conditions for corruption. They will see their success in fending off the challenge from Plaid as a vindication of their tactics and policies, and the moderates in their midst will be left feeling distinctly uncomfortable.

Theresa May's decision to call a snap general election almost certainly helped Labour by diverting voters' attention from local issues and the state of Labour in Llanelli to what the mainstream media always portray as a two horse race between the Tories and Labour in the UK.

But Llanelli Labour is also well organised, and another significant factor is likely to have been the growing popularity of postal voting. Labour is understood to have done particularly well in the postal vote.

On the face of it, postal voting is a good thing. It helps increase turnout and participation in elections, and that certainly helps Labour which often struggles to get its vote out.

But the system is also open to manipulation, especially among what is sometimes termed the "donkey vote". Helping people to register for a postal vote, popping round to remind them to put a cross in the right place and offering to walk the envelope to the nearest postbox are all perfectly legal, and it can yield a healthy crop of votes for even the most dire candidates.

That Labour is not impregnable is clear from what has happened in the Carmarthen East and Dinefwr constituency. As recently as 2015 CE&D was one of Labour's top target seats, and they lost by a mile. This time they could even be pushed into third place, something that was unthinkable a few years ago.

In Llanelli, Tegwen Devichand's defeat at the hands of Rob Evans Paramedic, the Independent candidate, shows that Labour is vulnerable even in its last remaining bastion. Rob, who is a big personality, fought a very energetic one-man campaign against a well-oiled and powerful machine, and David beat Goliath.

Critics of Plaid Cymru often contrast the party's failure to break through with the success of the SNP, but Carmarthenshire shows, as it has shown before, that decline and decay under the dead hand of Labour does not have to be our fate.

The SNP swept all before it in the general election in 2015, but it was only last week that the party finally broke Labour's grip on Glasgow.

Mari Arthur is about to give Labour the fight of its life in Llanelli.


Several of those present at the count could not help noticing that Rob James, Labour's new boy from Neath, was strutting around as if he owned the place. Interestingly, he is now ranting on Twitter that Plaid and the Independents do not have a mandate to run local government in Llanelli. By complete coincidence that is exactly the same message as the one being pumped out by "Llanelli Eye", a new account brought to you by the swivel-eyed creeps behind CUSC SOPAP.

To put things into perspective, Rob James polled 33% on a 39% turnout, meaning that just 13% or a fraction over 1 in 10 voters in Lliedi expressed a preference for Rob James (Lab). As mandates go, that's not a lot to shout about is it?


Anonymous said...

Labour cettainly played a nasty dirty fight . They are the most dispicable members in Llanelli . Hengoed ? Who is Penny Edwards ? Felinfoel Bill Thomas the smirking headmaster ? (Thinks he us ) Dafen Dolly lost but still kept her rural seat God help LRC now she lost her power so it will be a last ditch attempt to try get some little power there , yet rural council is nothing really as its already decided what hapoens from high up . Then Lleidi the ex post mistress and some unknown little boy with a playing field . And Llwynhendy dollys daughter got selected in Fosias pocket through family votes . Ella Simmons whos own kids dont speak to her . Jason Hart left a pub on a hurry now steward of a club he thinks he owns or should i say his girlfriend well the tax man should look at this family . And the Mina the other of fosias clan whos a banned uninsured driver . Oh this is going to be a fun packed term .and i do feel for the staff of lrc and ccc because now they got to do ALL the work and cllrs can just stand and pose in photos again claiming they did it all .

Anonymous said...

The second Glanymor seat came within one vote of being Plaid Cymru's. That would have made the council PC 37 v. the rest 37. I saw one Labour activist bring a hapless "supporter's" postal ballot in to the polling station. Like you say, Cneifiwr, perfectly legal, but it smells of something rotten.

Stan said...

Would you know if the Llanelli MP was at the count so the ecstatic Rob James could re-enact events of the 2012 count in NPT? I have it on good authority that when he took the Bryncoch South seat he and Peter Hain exchanged warm hugs and fist pumps were the order of the day. I've often wondered who it was that has been looking out for young Rob. Could it be the Orange one?

Anonymous said...

Yes she was . Trying to look useful

Jac o' the North, said...

Seeing how Labour has hung on in Llanelli makes me think of local government reorganisation (whenever it happens). We can take it for granted that Swansea and NPT will link up but there has always been a question mark hanging over Llanelli, where it's rumoured that the Labour Party would prefer to link up with comrades in Swansea and NPT to give the party control over what would be one of the country's biggest authorities.

Anonymous said...

Spot on there Jac . Strange how so many voters are up in arms at labour winning local seats too . Apparently through pistal votes ?

Anonymous said...

Most Of rural Carmarthenshire and the Amman Valley would gift wrap Llanelli and hand it to Swansea . Then see them mona about lack of investment Rural Carms has more in common with Cardigan & Pembs

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable ... Labour got in with postal votes..Why does that not surprise me .. I think we are in for a bad 5 year's in the Llanelli area , they should not have got in .
Jason Hart is mentioned in one of the above comments , well I know he went knocking on doors & putting a Independent councillor down (slander) ? Back stabbing allowed ? Dirty tactic's .
The labour party could not win this election in a clean & respectable manner, they had to sling the mud at their strongest candidate .
My biggest shock was , Labour posted an envelope into my neighbours house (no stamp) hand posted & addressed it to my neighbours late mother ( which upset him & reduced him to tear's )the letter was begging his mum for her vote . Terrible . Please let Plaid win the General Election or even the Tories , we need Labour out of the Welsh Assembly , Then Maybe Llanelli be a better place to live & our hospital's will get help as I know Labour have done Nothing to help out Health Authority. I am a pensioner & am so worried about my latter days under this labour leadership .

Anonymous said...

If this person has proof do sign a letter and pass on to theresa

Anonymous said...

Sounds like sour grapes to me

Anonymous said...

I know Jason personally and he conducted his campaign with dignity and professionalism. I'm friends with him on social media and he never once slandered his opposition. He has many friends in Plaid which is evident on Facebook aswell as the Plaid Councillors that call at the Club where he works. He's well liked in the community so I find this post absurd.
Maybe, just maybe it was posted by an opposition candidate??

Anonymous said...

No it was not a candidate at all . Read it properly and think just where you posted a letter to a deceased woman . Then maybe just maybe you get your answer . But saying that you obviously do not know the area or the people .

Anonymous said...

"Mari Arthur is about to give Labour the fight of it's life in Llanelli"