Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Leanne to bet all in 2016

In one of the boldest moves by any Welsh practician in years Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has announced  that she will will gamble her safe seat in the Welsh assembly at the next election  by giving up her  regional AM seat  to stand for  a constituency seat in 2016.

Plaid insiders say it is part of a strategy of "going for broke" to get into government.

She has not named the seat she wants to contest, saying it will depend on decisions taken by grassroots members.

Ms Wood told BBC Wales: 

"I'm putting forward myself for a constituency seat because I really believe that Plaid Cymru can win these elections and do very well.
"If we are going to become the biggest party in the assembly - and I've already said that's what we need to do as a party to develop ourselves - then two-thirds of the seats that are constituency seats need to be fought and won by this party.
"If we are going to do that and we are going to do that seriously then we need to take bold steps in order to do that and by standing for a constituency seat today I'm making the bold move that we need to see in Wales."
BBC 12 November 2012

Her home seat of the Rhondda must be first choice   

At the last election it was however it was a safe win for  Labours Leighton Andrews, who won more a majority of .6,739 (33.6)%

But of course Plaid did win  the seat in 1999
Assembly Election 1999: Rhondda
Plaid CymruGeraint Davies13,55848.7N/A
LabourWayne David11,27340.5N/A
Liberal DemocratsMeurig Williams1,3034.7N/A
IndependentGlyndwr Summers9133.3N/A
ConservativePeter Hobbins7742.8N/A
Plaid Cymru win (new seat)C

A considerations could be  Cynon Valley where Christine Chapman enjoys a 6,515 (34.7)% majority  for Labour but who is a low profile AM despite being there since 1997 and might be more vulnerable.

Caerphilly, in the neighbouring region, has been a Plaid target for years . But winning it will mean overturning a smaller Labour majority of 4,924 (19.3% ) still a considerable task 
There's  always Llanelli which must be Plaid's top target in 2016 but this may be too far from Leanne s base.
In some ways it reflects Alex Salmond decision to fight the Gordon seat in 1197 rather than ensure his return to the Scottish Parliament in the 2007 election 
The SNP had finished third in the previous election  with 6,501 (22.6%) of the vote.So it was a big gamble
Scottish Parliament election, 2007: Gordon
SNPAlex Salmond14,65041.4+18.8
Liberal DemocratsNora Radcliffe12,58835.6-2.5
ConservativeNanette Milne5,34815.1-8.8
LabourNeil Cardwell2,2766.4-3.9
IndependentDonald Marr1990.6N/A
IndependentDave Mathers1850.5N/A
Scottish EnterpriseBob Ingram1170.3N/A
SNP gain from Liberal DemocratsSwing
 The argument may be that Leanne Wood is no Alex Salmond  but the decision may well hugely raise her profile to come close enough.
Of course it is probably to early to speculate to deeply as it is still possible the Assembly boundaries may change to a 30 -30 constituency rather than the 40-20 we have now and if the former is adopted and we have 6 regional members per the 5 regions Leanne may just reconsider.
Nevertheless this a Bold announcement an a very big gamble; But if it comes of then there will be a major change in the welsh political scene . 
At least it will make the 2016 elections interesting.

1 comment:

Luke James said...

A nice historical comparison there, Glyn. I've no doubt the move the is somewhat inspired by Salmond's leap of faith.