FIRSTLY, one must congratulate Labour for arguably their greatest electoral win in Wales to date.
Despite being in power for 22 years here (a time where 5 different PM’s have been in 10 Downing Street), it seems that Labour is still a vote winning machine in Wales, even if the non-voter still holds the majority vote.
I use the word ‘arguably’ as they have avoided several potential banana skins to win this time around – Covid lockdowns, Brexit referendum fall-out and a surge in support for Welsh Independence despite being open about their unionist position (through advocacy of federalism).
How they did this so successfully is anybody’s guess, as I just can’t work it out. Any ideas?
Curiously, the Brexit vote (52.5% in Wales) and the UKIP vote (worth 7 seats in 2016) seems to have evaporated completely since the last Senedd Election. One can only assume that the absolute supremacy of Covid and Westminster (and even American!) politics have fully consigned Brexit to the history books once and for all.
The once strongly held views of people on Brexit must have been more superficial than I thought, given the way the Labour Party had dismissed the democratic wishes of Brexit voters.
I for one was very disappointed to see Labour rewarded with another controlling share of seats at the Senedd. And not mainly on the basis of their personnel or policies. My biggest grievance with them is the way they fail to deliver repeatedly on their manifesto pledges and other promises, and keep winning elections anyway.
There is no incentive for them to actually deliver any projects, such as the infamous M4 relief road and the Circuit of Wales, as voters in Wales keep voting them back in anyway.
Why bother working if you are rewarded for not working? And if that sound a lot like socialism, then it probably is!
Additionally, Labour had absolutely no democratic mandate to deliver some of the more nonsensical policies they came up with during the Covid era. There were too many of these to list but my least favourite were: stopping mothers buying baby clothes at Tesco, cutting communities in Cwm Tawe in two along county Council lines, closing essential services like gyms and swimming pools, and a series of eloquently worded but unenforceable rules such as ‘firebreak’, ‘Bubble’ and ‘radius’ in which the Welsh public were left to interpret as they wanted.
Worryingly, they now have the democratic mandate to do what they want!
On the other side of the coin, things couldn’t have gone worse for Plaid Cymru, the party of Wales. With a significant cohort of the Indy movement seemingly voting for unionist parties over Plaid, and the unexpected electoral defeat of their most recognisable politician in Leanne Wood.
Plaid’s leadership and ideology seems to be in tatters. This is evidently clear in the way that two new pro-Indy parties have been created in recent years due to Plaid’s recalcitrance towards providing a broad consensus of support for Indy, a problem that has a long history within the party.
Perhaps a less dogmatic and ideological approach could have united these parties and given the unionists a better run for their money.
Nearly 31,000 (about 1 in every 100 Welsh people) have signed a YES Cymru pledge in support of Independence, yet Plaid’s share in seats only went up one (12 to 13, now reverting back to 12 with Elin Jones securing a further term as Llywydd).
For me, there seems to be a unionist menace within the Indy movement at present, which uses a vocal anti-Tory pitch to sway people to vote for the Labour Party. It is entirely self-defeating if the true goal is Independence!
I am not a betting man, but If I was, I would have money on Adam Price not being leader at the time of the next Senedd Election. Where can Plaid go from here?
Gwlad, competing in its first ever Senedd Election exceeded the expectations of many in winning over 10,000 votes. Getting Gwlad’s measured yet ambitious message out was very difficult, given the mainstream Media’s insistence on only providing coverage for those parties holding a Westminster seat.
And the state media’s apparatus also seemed to have doubled down on its efforts this time to silence the voices of Welsh and Scottish voices for Independence.
A Gwlad Spokesperson added: ‘Considering we did not stand in 2016 and did not have the resources nor coverage of the other parties, we are enthused by the result, and we are not going away’.
‘A pro-Indy alternative to Plaid and the SNP was long overdue and now they are here in the form of Gwlad and Alba.’
‘Next Stop: Independence with a multi-party democracy already in place.’