Saturday, 21 April 2012

Ed the Martyr.

Ed Milliband was in Methyr Tydfil yesterday, campaining for Labour in the 2012 Local Government elections.

Why Merhyr Tydfil?

After all it's Wale's smallest county council and you could be forgiven for expecting Miliband to be campaigning for Labour to win big Cardiff or Swansea or gain overall control in Caerphilly from Plaid.

But he (or rather his advisers) chose Methyr.

Some explanation could be from Milliband's statement that.....
We lost the general election badly across the UK in 2010," he said.
"We've understood some of the things that we got wrong. We are changing as a party.
"We are a party in touch with people on the ground and we are a party that wants to make a difference to people's lives.
"It's by being back as the people's party that I think we can make a difference to them."

If you were looking to see that Labour had lost touch then the 2010 general election in the safe Labour seat Merhyr Tydfil and Rhymney certainly  showed that.

General Election 2010: Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney [3][4]
LabourDai Havard14,00743.7-16.8
Liberal DemocratAmy Kitcher9,95131.0+17.0
ConservativeMaria Hill2,4127.5-1.4
IndependentClive Tovey1,8455.8N/A
Plaid CymruGlyndwr Jones1,6215.1-4.9
BNPRichard Barnes1,1733.7N/A
UKIPAdam Brown8722.7+0.4
Socialist LabourAlan Cowdell1950.6-0.3
Labour holdSwing-16.9

There was a massive 16.9 swing to the Liberal Democrats;But only a year later the same candidate Amy Kitcher only managed third place. in the Assembly elections.

Welsh Assembly Election 2011: Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney
Labour Co-opHuw Lewis10,48354.3+17.2
IndependentTony Rogers3,43217.8+17.8
Liberal DemocratsAmy Kitcher2,48012.8-2.4
Plaid CymruNoel Turner1,7018.8-3.2
ConservativeChris O'Brien1,2246.3+0.9
Labour Co-op holdSwing

So Labour it appears to have already won back voters in Merthyr or rather the LibDems had lost it. So this doesn't really fully explain Millibands trip

However this was about the local Government Elections 

In 2008 despite raising its percentage vote Labour lost 9 seats from 17 (now on 10) whilst the Liberal Democrats  won 6 seats from zero and they percentage share went up from 1% to  21%. (since then have been  reduced to 4 seats ) and together with the 2010 it seemed possible that the once Labour stronghold was being to crumble

The rest of those elected of the 33 "strong" council" was made up of a mismatch of  19 Independents one of whom now represents UKIP

Looking at the nominations for the election in Merthyr labour are well ahead and the Libdem  and most of the Independent challenge has fizzled out. Not that Plaid seem to be putting up much of a challenge there seem more Welsh Communists standing that them and Plaid must really ask how it can rebuild in Merthyr.

However this still may well explain why Miliband chose (or had Chosen) Merthyr for his visit.

Could it be that Labour the word on the street is that they will win back control of Merthyr easily.Thus giving them the chance to claim a "Ed" effect.

However does this also mean Labour are slightly concerned that it is not going to make spectacular gains in the rest of the Welsh Councils?

Milliband visit may well have been about going back to Labour roots . But winning back control of a council with a population of only 55,700 with only 33 councillors whilst not making the gains in nearby Caerphilly which has a population more than 3 times larger than Merthyr  and 73 County councillors may not be a reason for opening the champagne bottles on te night of  May the 3rd.


  1. After Methyr, he went to Caerphilly

  2. But all the media report concentrated on Merthyr and from that I assume the Labour Party spin and press handouts were on this.

  3. winning by default in Merthyr against disorganized Independents, toxic Lib Dems and non existent Plaid Cymru and Tory Parties shows the strengths and weaknesses Labour has, a loyal base but not able to reach much beyond that.

    Unfortunately for Wales it will a fantastic night for Labour on May 3rd, the more things change the more they stay the same.