Sunday, 5 May 2013

Are Plaid Failing to Capitlise On Anglesey Success?

Over at Click on Wales David Taylor i a former Labour election strategist and special adviser to former Welsh secretary Peter Hain. has an interesting take on the  Anglesey Elections in that he appears to be criticising Plaid  for not making more of their very god result in the Anglesey council  elections

He writes that:

There is talk now of a Plaid-Labour coalition, I hope this can happen. New leadership is in the interests of Anglesey, it’s difficult to see how real progress can be made for as long as the independents remain in control.
Plaid have doubled their number of councillors – a good result by any measure. In fact, it’s their best result anywhere in Wales for several years and is a welcome boost for the leadership of Leanne Wood, perhaps Wales’s most underestimated politician. But its baffling that some senior figures in her party seem to be passing up the opportunity to talk up their success.
Before you point out that Plaid number of Councilors went up from 8 to 12 I think David is using the nominal formula .which takes into account the reduction of seats from 40 to 30.

However does he have a point?

I would have liked to see more mention on the news reports especially from the BC extensive coverage . Which they kept telling us that thus May elections were in England and "Wales " and then totally consecrated on the elections in England  and joined in the rest of the London Media's new love affair with Ukip.

David Taylor seems to think that Plaid should ignore these elections though.

'........Instead Jonathan Edwards MP, one the party’s principal spokespeople (a member of the leadership team, no less) yesterday chose to detract from their Anglesey success with his own fanciful interpretation of UKIP’s surge in England. Edwards is a talented politician but is prone to letting his wishful thinking cloud his judgement. To dismiss UKIP as merely an English problem, “alien to [Wales's] political tradition” is not only untrue (polls show support for UKIP in Wales as strong as in many parts of England), it’s also extraordinarily bad politics as comments like this will succeed only in driving more Welsh voters to UKIP ahead of the European elections next year.
Quite frankly portraying Ukip  as Little Englanders  looks like a worth while strategy . Ukip were totally rejected in the Anglesey and I see no reason why Plaid don't try to make the connection.

But David Taylor's article looks like a case of "Damming With Faint Praise".

Claiming Plaid for the media to point out their success is ridiculous .

BBC Wales for instance keeps giving the impression that the 14 Independents are a group where in truth  as Syniadau points out .in a reply. This is far fro the truth'
In the old council  the "Original Independents" did act as a group, and the other independents described themselves as "Unaffiliated". Only 6 of the 19 "Original Independents" have been re-elected, together with 3 of the 5 "Unaffiliated" independents. There are 5 newly elected independents.
It would not  have been difficult for any competent political journalist to divide them up in  properly and give a true impression.

Unless all these Independents now get together  which giving their past seems unlikely .Plaid are the largest group on the council ( The first time for a political party?)

All the Party press releases mean nothing if they are spiked by some Editor .

If David Taylor thinks that Plaid's remarkable gains on Anglesey really need to be brought  to prominence  he should direct his criticisn at the BBC in particular.


  1. The problem is if Plaid made a lot out of this one, it's fair to say they wouldn't be able to brush aside big failures in other local authority contests elsewhere in Wales.

    It no doubt a good result for Plaid and a morale-booster, but I think they've got the balance right in terms of their response. It's only one contest and I doubt it'll have any bearing on next year's Euro elections, 2015 or 2016.

    On UKIP, you would've expected them to hoover up any "anti-politics" vote, and that should apply on Anglesey more than any other part of Wales. They did very poorly considering that.

    However, they still have an MEP, and I wouldn't be surprised if they pushed Plaid out next year if Plaid don't get their vote out. They need to be careful they don't come to eat those words.

  2. Why should Plaid go into coalition with Labour? Labour went into a coalition with right wing independents in the Vale of Glamorgan and not Plaid, surely Anglesesy needs to do what is right for Anglesey not looking towards 2016, sounds a tad bit opportunist to me.

  3. Agree with Owen. And his comment is the key to answering Anon 13:12. Plaid underperformed on Ynys Mon in the past because of independents being stronger. The independents have been weakened by scandal, so Plaid's emphasis in the campaign was on having a political party run council.

    So it is all about doing what's right for Anglesey. Plaid and Labour coalition is the only way you can have a political party run council. And I would invite the 1 Lib Dem in as well as he'd be the "safest" independent. There are 5 newly elected independents but they're not a bloc and don't all sing off the same hymn sheet.

    That means if we want the old boys network gone, Plaid-Labour is in fact the only option. I don't know about the Vale of Glam but Plaid and Labour are ideologically quite close in the north-west, and are in coalition in Gwynedd and Conwy.

    Independent councillors in rural Wales are completely over-rated. They're a bastion of conservatism, parochialism and inefficiency. Having political parties in charge gives a sense of discipline and stability. You can still be independently minded and stand under a party political banner, but the party groupings (on Ynys Mon especially) need to be consistent and predictable and not have people swapping sides every other month. A party-run council is the only way to get that and it simply has to be Green-Red.