Saturday, 5 May 2012
Labour did win big and How!
I think I am not the only one who is totally staggered by the extent of the Labour gains in Wales
For the record my predictions which were pretty generous were well of the mark
2008 Prediction Actual
Lab 353 430 -460 579
Con 172 150-190 105
Plaid 206 180-220 158
LibDem 153 70 - 90 71
Others 380 320 - 340 313
What can the Parties Take out of this (some of the gains and losses may differ from 2008 because of by-elections and defections)
Basically blew every other Party out of the water . The only party to make gains throughout Wales.Whithgains of 231 new councillors and control of 10. Now control all Welsh major cities and have regained their total dominance in the Industrial Valleys. In a year or two they may lose some By-elections but can expect to keep their dominance a least until Labour are in government in Westminster and it will be their turn to be punished.
Although they may regain Gwynedd with one seat still outstanding a bad night . The loss of 41 seats in some areas this may have was predictable to some but they lost heavily in Rhondda Cynon Taf and Caerphilly fell back in Neath Port Talbot and failed to advance in Carmarthen and Ceredegion (where they had hopes of gaining control).. Must take some comfort in retaining a foothold in Cardiff,Torfaen and Wrexham where they could have lost all their councillors. Unlike the SNP in Scotland Plaid can't pick up on the disgruntled LibDem vote Leader Leanne Wood whose election failed to create a bounce (where it may have been to early anyway). Talks of rebuilding the party . I can't see this involving going into coalition with Labour in the Assembly.
In some ways the Party despite a loss of 61 seats may take some comfort of being here before in mid term elections and the losses of the Liberal Democrats could see them emerging as the major opposition to Labour in places like Cardiff. However this may be not for over decade and the whole political spectram in Wales may have changed to one of devolving increasing powers to Wales . Ehich could see them being frozen out as they are in Scotland.
The party may have been bracing them selves for losses but loosing 66 must be a blow and finding themselves unable to claim to be the largest Party in any council in Wales and being wiped out in places like Merthyr where they had a huge swing from Labour in the 2010 General election means they really a small party in Wales..
They have enough councillors left in Cardiff and Swansea through their "Pavement politics" . to ensure a presence but out side these two are they little more than a rump and they may not be sitting at the top table for a very long time
The 64 losses listed as other saw largely the end of the Peoples Voice scenario except in Gwynedd were Llais Gwynedd have a relatively strong showing.The Independents still have a strong effect in parts of Wales . But they may it difficult to ward of the increasing encroachment of party politics where maybe in the future they will be only the largest group in Powys and Pembrokeshire .
UKIP increased their councillors to 2 in Wales.But sadly unlike Scotland and England where they did well we still have no Green Councillors.
Outside Wales the Greens and Respect were the only other parties celebrating in England and both Labour and the SNP did well in Scotland where it fast becoming a two party contest.
Local government in Wales seems to have returned to the 60's where Labour dominance sees them running virtual fiefdoms anyone remembering those days where cronyism and nepotism was the order of the day can only hope that the new intake will resist this and try to remember they serve the electorate and not themselves or the party if not they will start to lose seats in a byelection and see a revival of some of their opponents when they have stopped licking their wounds..