Our political writer The Rebel gives his own different take on the election results.
The big stories now are 1. Hartlepool. 2. What happens to Keir Starmer. 3. Scotland.
In Wales the only story in town is that the nationalist party Plaid Cymru (PC) has actually gone BACKWARDS despite gaining one more seat under the new leader Adam Price, who was meant to be its saviour, with the share of the constituency vote for the Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament (SC/WP) down.
For as long as I can remember the party has wanted to break out of its ‘heartland’ in West Wales and North West Wales.
The loss of the seat of former leader Leanne Wood in the Rhondda shows that it cannot.
She described the result as “disappointing” but the fact is it was a lot more than that!
Apart from 1999 (when PC won but failed to hold on to Islwyn), every election has seen PC overhype its chances, underdeliver, then spend the next electoral cycle convinced the voters got it wrong before making exactly the same mistakes again.
‘Vote for Wales‘ is a self-limiting core vote strategy that assumes identity trumps other issues, and that everyone lives their lives through a prism of Welshness.
They had the pandemic excuse, as Sir Keir did in England, and it was a great opportunity for the party after two decades of Labour rule in Cardiff.
This time the party had a whole host of areas to have a go at Labour (not least in health, leaving aside the response to the pandemic), and had just elected a new charismatic leader.
But it appears Mr Price was not the saviour after all and the party failed – it is now back to where it was 30 years ago.
There was even talk at one point that PC might form a coalition in the Welsh Government (WG) with Labour.
Counting is still underway, but it is clear that that is unlikely to happen – Labour already have exactly half the 60 seats in the SC/WP, equalling its best-ever results.
Apart from PC’s misfortune, almost nothing happened in Wales – only one ‘red wall’ seat (the Vale of Clwyd) fell to the Tories.
Wrexham, Clwyd South and Delyn, were all held despite being targeted by the Conservatives, after they were flipped from Labour in the 2019 General Election.
The whole business made a nonsense of the acres of Welsh broadcast coverage devoted to the election, and it became extremely difficult for political observers because they had precisely nothing to talk about for hours on end!
“No change in Wales. Absolutely fascinating”, as a BBC Parliament figure once summed up an interview with a BBC Cymru Wales (BBC CW) reporter.
The truth is that the governments which took broadly similar decisions in the pandemic, have been saved by the vaccine (as well as the furlough money).
As far as PC is concerned – never say there are no rewards for failure…
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