WELSH Labour’s long rule continues in Wales after what turned out to be a single issue Senedd election.
Covid proved to be the party’s saving grace at this election, helping them to win 30 seats.
Their 22 years of failure in government and lack of any compelling vision for Wales’s future didn’t register at all with the voters.
Rather, ‘safetyism’ proved to be the order of the day, and Labour rewarded for a public perception that they had been kept safe by Drakeford and Co over the past year.
Helped no doubt by the constant television presence of the First Minister during his regular Covid briefings.
It proved a disappointing night for Plaid still stuck on around 20% of the vote and 13 seats.
The party had adopted a Presidential approach at the election with Adam Price dominating their election broadcasts and general coverage – but this one man show failed to cut through with the voters.
When one considers their dire results in places like Y Rhondda and target seats of Llanelli and Blaenau Gwent, perhaps another factor came into play as well.
It’s an old truism in politics that the electors never, ever forget. And it might well be the case that Plaid were punished in leave areas for having actively campaigned to overturn the Brexit Referendum result of 2016.
It’s ironic in one sense that voters in these areas backed Labour so heavily – who also wanted to overturn the referendum result.
But perhaps voters there did actually hold Plaid to a higher standard, being the self-styled ‘Party of Wales’, and felt more outraged by their refusal to accept the decision of the people of Wales in 2016.
As far as Gwlad are concerned, the party’s main election target was achieved in amassing well over 10,000 votes throughout Wales (constituencies, regions and Police Commissioner).
With its biggest single Senedd Regional haul of almost 2,000 votes in South East Wales – hardly a traditional hot spot for the national cause.
‘We are very pleased with this figure, bearing in mind that this was our first Welsh election and that we were shut-out entirely by the mainstream media’ said a spokesperson for the party.
‘We are also greatly encouraged by the number of new members who have come on board since Thursday, and a general realisation that the national movement in Wales does need to take a different tack now’.
The clear high point of a disappointing and lacklustre election – where only 47% voted – was the fact that both Abolish and UKIP failed to gain a single seat.
It’s another ironic election twist that the low turn-out actually favoured Welsh democracy here, since it’s clear that Abolish in particular failed to get their potential vote out.
But, then, when your main premise is telling people how crap the Senedd is, it’s perhaps no wonder that this was the case.
Nevertheless, seeing the back of freeloaders Mark Reckless and Neil Hamilton gives one hope that all is not lost for Wales after all.
At least now, we’ll have a Senedd lacking any people who actively want to get rid of it.
This could be a crucial factor in the upcoming battles with Westminster over the next few years.