Friday, 27 February 2015

Should Plaid completly rule out any deal with the Tories?

Over at Borthlas  John Dixon raises the question of if there is a hung Parliament  after next may whether Plaid should not completely rule out doing a deal with the Tories if it resulted in a good deal for Wales.

As John points
Given the position in Scotland, ruling out a deal with the Tories may well be an electorally sound strategy.  The SNP is now in a commanding position, with the Labour Party’s support apparently in freefall, and the party’s leaders looking increasingly panicky.  Reassuring Labour voters that the journey from their past voting habits to voting SNP is a very short and easy one makes a great deal of sense in terms of delivering the coup de grace.  And there is no longer a single constituency in Scotland where it is credible to argue that the SNP can't win.
But the same is not true for the Greens in England or for Plaid in Wales.  Outside a handful of seats, it is not credible to argue that those parties are in with a serious chance of winning.  Can anyone seriously see those two parties having more than around 6 seats between them come May?  Whilst it makes sense to tie the post-election narrative for those two parties to the strength of the SNP, does it make sense to tie their electoral narrative into that of the SNP in the same way? 
 The potential effect of knowing in advance that those parties favour a Labour government – and that’s what they’ve effectively said – could all too easily backfire.  For those of their supporters who would prefer to see a Conservative Government than a Labour one (and there are more of those than many would care to admit) it could encourage them to vote for one rather than against one.  And if people do prefer a Labour government, why not simply vote for one directly?

Its a provocative yet insightful argument  typical of John

The SNP have managed to turn into a two party contest between them and Labour and surprisingly there appears to be little analysis of where the voters have come from.

Clearly many are former LibDems but there also could be a fair number of disgruntled Labour supporters .

But of more interest might be how many former Tory voters are voting SNP, having formerly voted Conservative,  simply out of dislike of the Labour Party and a simple desire to break their hegemony.

When campaigning here in the 70 and 80's, particularly in Local Authority Elections there was much talk of "The Anti-Labour " vote .

However I know that at  least of one case in a Ward with a Plaid Councillor  where the Tories stood on a regular basis when they failed to put up a candidate voters arrived at the polling station and finding there was no Tory simply walk out without voting.

Indeed it would be interesting to see whether in 1997 and 2010 when there was a change of Government  whether that was more due  Tory voters in 1997 and Labour  in 2010 not voting rather than switching parties.

But as far as GE2010 goes Plaid, probably should rule out a deal with the Tories in the 2015 -2020 Parliament simply that it would be odd to run on an Anti-Austerity ticket and envisage doing a deal with the ideological fans of it.

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