Friday, June 19, 2015

A comment on Nick Davies’s Suggestions for a Left Alliance with Plaid Cymru by Peter Rowlands

In a recent paper on the election in Wales, Nick suggested that a positive approach to Plaid could be to call for Labour’s regional vote, which is largely wasted, to go to Plaid to boost their chances against  the Tories and UKIP, as part of a ‘left front’ against the right.  

For those on the left the idea is superficially attractive, but in practice it would be difficult to deliver, at least in most constituencies.

The key reason is that Plaid are direct competitors, in three types of seats (figures refer to the 2011 Assembly election):

A) Seats held by Labour where Plaid is second (8)

B) Seats held by Plaid where Labour is second (3)

C) Seats held by the Tories where Labour and Plaid are about equal second.(3)

It would be difficult, to say the least, to call for a vote for a party which is the main competitor, but this is the case in 14 seats, over one third of the total. 

It is also the case that in one region, Wales Mid and West, Labour has two regional seats, so obviously would want to maximise its regional vote here, ruling out all other seats in this region not included in A to C above (5).

There are also Labour held seats where Plaid is third but are marginal and could fall on an increased Plaid vote (7).

There is also a marginal seat where Plaid is fourth and a seat where Plaid has a large vote (2).

This leaves fewer than a third of seats where Plaid poses no real threat to Labour and where it might be feasible to call for a regional vote for Plaid, but even here it would provoke strong opposition (12).

I therefore cannot see that the policy, although worthy in its motivation, is deliverable, except perhaps in such limited quantities as to render it not worth the effort in terms of the divisions it would cause.

PS If the results next year are similar to the recent election, the probable result would be Labour on 26, the Tories 17, Plaid 12 and UKIP 5, with the Lib-Dems wiped out. Let us hope that the Tory lead has declined by then.

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