Saturday, 25 July 2020

Gwlad on the SNP and Plaid is just wrong use of the facts.

Gwlad one of two new parties  seeking to replace Plaid Cymru as the leading Welsh Party Have been somewhat  twisting the facts in a blog on their website.

Yet in Scotland, where Labour were once every bit as dominant as in Wales, they are now almost vanquished as a political force. When, and why, did the two countries’ paths diverge so much?

We are used to the idea of the SNP in Scotland being vastly stronger and more successful than Plaid Cymru in Wales, but this has not always been the case. In the 1979 General Election when Mrs. Thatcher swept to power, the two parties were neck and neck at two seats each – the SNP’s seats being a much smaller proportion of the total. This remained the case in the 1983 election (two seats each) and the 1987 election (three seats each). In 1992 Plaid Cymru overtook the SNP, having four seats to the latter’s three. In the 1999 first elections to the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament, Plaid Cymru’s 30.5% of the list vote comfortably exceeded the SNP’s 27.3%. Labour narrowly failed to win an overall majority in either case but were able to govern in coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

It was only after Dafydd Wigley retired and Plaid Cymru started its long march to the Left that the two parties’ fortunes began to diverge. In 2003, with Ieuan Wyn Jones as leader and the ‘Leannistas’ already making their disruptive presence felt, Plaid Cymru lost a third of its votes and its seats but still clung on as the second largest party in the Assembly. Labour, too, clung on in both Wales and Scotland, but in both cases needed the support of the Liberal Democrats to form a government.

Yes if you compared the early days of the Assembly  and Scottish Parliment you my be drawn to consider that Gwlad have a point

Welsh Assembly
YearVotes receivedSeats wonGovernment
ConstituenciesRegional listsConstituenciesRegional top-up seatsTotal
9 / 40
8 / 20
17 / 60
5 / 40
7 / 20
12 / 60
7 / 40
8 / 20
15 / 60
5 / 40
6 / 20
11 / 60
6 / 40
6 / 20
12 / 60

Scottish Parliament
36]LeaderRegional MembersConstituency MembersTotal seatsChangePositionGovernment
1999Alex Salmond
MSP for Banff and Buchan
28 / 56
7 / 73
35 / 129
SteadySteady 2ndLabourLib Dem coalition
2003John Swinney
MSP for North Tayside
18 / 56
9 / 73
27 / 129
Decrease 8Steady 2ndLabour–Lib Dem coalition
2007Alex Salmond
MSP for Gordon (2007)
MSP for Aberdeenshire East (2011)
26 / 56
21 / 73
47 / 129
Increase 20Increase 1stSNP minority
16 / 56
53 / 73
69 / 129
Increase 22Steady 1stSNP majority
2016Nicola Sturgeon
MSP for Glasgow Southside
4 / 56
59 / 73
63 / 129
Decrease 6Steady 1stSNP minority

Whilst Gwlad my argue that Plaid were somehow ahead in the early days of the Assembly compared to the SNP in the Scottish Parliament there were very different circumstances
we all know (or should) that Scottish Labour had proposed the highly popular Donald Dewar whilst in Wales Rhodri Morgan A committed supporter of Welsh devolution, Morgan contested the position of Labour's nominee for the (then titled) First Secretary for Wales. He lost to the then Secretary of State for Wales, Ron Davies. Davies was then forced to resign his position after an alleged sex scandal, whereupon Morgan again ran for the post. His opponent, Alun Michael, the new Secretary of State for Wales, was seen as a reluctant participant despite also having a long-standing commitment to Welsh devolution, and was widely regarded as being the choice of the UK leadership of the Labour Party.
Michael was duly elected to the leadership but resigned a little more than a year later, amid threats of an imminent no-confidence vote and alleged plotting against him by members of not only his own party, but also Assembly groups and Cabinet members. Morgan, who had served as Minister for Economic Development under Michael

As for the Period of the UK elections after both parties made thier break through they may have ben matched in the number of seats but the SNP were well ahead of Plaid in the percentage of votes and it was only the first past the post system which kept the SNP niumber of MPs so low whilst it actually had a neutral effect on the Plaid votr.

Plaid Cymru
February 197410.8%171,374
2 / 36
October 197410.8%166,321
3 / 36
2 / 36
2 / 38
3 / 38
4 / 38
4 / 40

February 1974633,18021.9
7 / 71
Increase 6Increase 3rdIncrease 4thOpposition
October 1974839,61730.4
11 / 71
Increase 4Steady 3rdSteady 4thOpposition
2 / 71
Decrease 9Decrease 4thDecrease 6thOpposition
1983Gordon Wilson
MP for Dundee East
2 / 72
SteadyDecrease 5thDecrease 7thOpposition
3 / 72
Increase 1Increase 4thIncrease 5thOpposition
1992Alex Salmond
MP for Banff and Buchan
3 / 72
SteadySteady 4thDecrease 7thOpposition
6 / 72

I don't dismiss the Gwlad argument that the SNP  have outstripped Plaid in both their legislatures and the UK Parliament  (How could I).

However there are a number of factors which  a Politics student looking for a Thesis topic should consider 

Gwlad however seem to think that the solution ids for Plaid to go into government with the  Tories

In Scotland every single opposition party decided to put the boot into Labour and keep kicking. After all, it was in all their interests to diminish Labour by keeping them out of power in the Scottish Parliament. A minority government meant that the SNP would be unlikely to put through any major policy changes without the support of either the Lib Dems, Greens or Tories. The nationalists, who had no actual experience of government, concentrated on the business of running the administration and did it well. They have dominated Scottish Politics since, their popularity currently being as much for their reputation for good governance as their Scottish nationalism.

Actually it was a tactical mistake not to support a minority Labour Governemnt  in 2007 T

The Scottish National Party emerged as the largest party with 47 seats, closely followed by the incumbent Scottish Labour Party with 46 seats. The Scottish Conservatives won 17 seats, the Scottish Liberal Democrats 16 seats, the Scottish Green Party 2 seats and one Independent (Margo MacDonald) was also elected. The SNP initially approached the Lib Dems for a coalition government, but the Lib Dems turned them down. Ultimately, the Greens agreed to provide the numbers to vote in an SNP minority government, with SNP leader Alex Salmond as First Minister.

In Wales the story was different. A “rainbow coalition” of all the opposition parties was proposed. Plaid would, as the largest party of the coalition, lead the show and Ieuan Wyn Jones, Plaid’s leader, would be First Minister. Again, there would have been a tremendous political advantage for all the other parties. There was considerable popular support for this option but the Liberal Democrat Executive meeting split 50/50 on the subject and called a special conference to decide the issue, delaying matters. When that special conference met it endorsed the Rainbow Coalition. However, in the meantime a group of Plaid assembly members and one of their MP’s, Adam Price, had formed a group to negotiate a deal between Plaid and Labour. Although we know who these people were, why they so strongly preferred Labour is not so clear publicly other than their rather underdeveloped ideological objection to working with the Conservatives and their reluctance to be nasty to Labour.

As a joint statement by the 4 AM’s issued on May 22nd 2007 put it:

“We fought this election on a platform to deliver a proper Parliament for our nation. A deal with the Conservatives would undermine the chance of delivering that goal.”
Helen Mary Jones, Leanne Wood, Bethan Jenkins, Nerys Evans

How do Conservatives make parliaments improper? Are they really more unionist than the Labour Party who, in 2014 magnificently sacrificed themselves in Scotland to keep the Union for a few more years? If any of you ladies ever read this, please expand your arguments in the comment section!

Gwlad may well look at the latest  pronouncement from the Welsh Tories and reconsider that the Tories have "gone native".

With polls as they are  no party will have the seats in Wales to form a majority government  and only a Plaid/Labour one would seem to have the sufficient support.

It is far from ideal but i can guarantee that for Plaid to even consider going into government with the Welsh Tories especially under its current UK leadership would be disastrous .

It would lead to mass resignations and you can bey your last dollar they wont be joining Gwlad.


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