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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Pact or coalition

This article on the possibility of a pre-election pact between the parties of the centre left at the next Assembly elections is actually quite confusing. That is because the journalist seems to treat election pacts and coalitions as interchangeable terms. They are, of course, completely different animals.

Lembit Opik is quite right to rule out an election pact in 2007. The Welsh Liberal Democrats have a distinctive message and growing support across the Country and it is only right that we continue to build on that and allow people the opportunity to vote for us. There is no dishonesty either in taking an inconclusive result and turning it into a coalition as long as people are aware that this is a possibility if they do not give one party an overall majority. That is the reality of PR and even, in increasing frequency, first past the post nowadays.

The question I have about Adam Price's contention that a pact between Welsh Liberal Democrats, Greens and Plaid Cymru could win 32 seats, is how did he arrive at that figure? There is no evidence whatsoever that such an alliance could generate that much support other than that engendered by the instincts of Mr. Price. As the instincts of Plaid Cymru politicians vis-a-vis Ceredigion and Ynys Mon, have proved distinctly shaky as of late then I do not think we will be trusting them this time either.
A bit cheeky I know, but are either the Lib Dems or Plaid Cymru actually 'parties of the centre-left'?
Good question Matt.

The Lib Dems want to abolish the new deal & baby bonds and opposed the latest raise in the minimum wage to £5.05 an hour.

Plaid Cymru are also a chameleon party attempting to portray itself as left wing in one constituecy and right-wing in another. Plaid also want to balkanise britain and impoverish all of us in exchange for the supposed cudos of a seat in between Cuba & Cyprus in the UN.

Plaid & the Lib Dems are now in direct & bitter confrontation in Ceredigion, whereas they can have no really credible expectation of winning further Assembly constituency seats off Labour. If the Lib Dems can useat Elin Jones in 2007 it will bring them up to 7 AMs (other things being equal). Winning another constituency seat in Mid & West Wales would not result in losing a list seat since they don't have one to begin with, Brecon & Radnorshire and Montgomerieshire being more or less fortresses by now.

The chances of any truce beteen the Lib Dems & Nationalists is objectively remote indeed. The Nats regard Ceredigion as their intellectual home & heartland. The Lib Dems view it as their only realistic chance of winning an additional seat in two years time.

This does not of course rule out the Lib Dems occasiobally combining together with Nationalists & Tories to try and torpedo the Labour Assembly Government's (now without a working majority) key policies such as free prescriptions & free school breakfasts, turning the cash instead over to the benefit of the student vote to which they owe their victory in Cardiff Central and a lot of their increase in Swansea West.

By the way Peter, will you be standing as a regional list candidate (& secretly praying that none of your constituency colleagues pull off a shock win), or in a constituency? If so, which one? Swansea East? Or West? Remember, the Government of Wales Reform Bill, announced this week, will stop you standing in a constituency & on the list!

Nice to see the Jacks going up don't you think? Strange to see no mention of it on the site (not like some blogging politicians who genuinely care about their side's fortunes http://www.tom-watson.co.uk/cgi-bin/wt-040100.cgi/109 )!!!!


Dave Collins
An interesting political diatribe David. Shame most of it is misplaced.

Firstly, the Liberal Democrats manifesto did not propose abolishing the New Deal but reforming it. Yes, we were opposed to baby bonds. We wanted to see the money invested in early years education where it would have the most impact instead. As for raising the minimum wage we supported the recommendation of the Low Pay Commission, which questioned the two year deal to increase the minimum wage at a time of economic uncertainty. We were most probably wrong on that one.

You forget of course that Ceredigion has always been a Liberal heartland. We have been in direct conflict with Plaid here since they won it in 1992. Whether PLaid and the Liberal Democrats work together in a future Assembly will have nothing to do with Ceredigion but whether agreement could be reached on a joint policy platform.

If the General Election result were repeated in 2007 we would win a significant number of additional Assembly seats including two in South Wales West, most probably Swansea West plus a list seat. We realistically expect to win more than one extra Assembly seat in two years time.

It is nice to see the Swans going up and the Ospreys winning too. It is also nice to see Wales win the Grand Slam. Although I did comment on all of Wales' Grand Slam matches, essentially this is a political blog not a sporting one. I say what I feel like on the day not what you expect me to put on here.
The sporting comments were made tounge in cheek, though please do view them as an indication that your readers would not be averse to more discussion of the Swans or Osprey's. I suspect your readership has a more local base than that of many blogging pols.

Interested by your clarification on the new deal. I'm sceptical but will have to go back to my original source material (the draft manifesto that you thoughtfully emailed to all Labour Assembly Members last year), plus check out the final document.

"If the General Election result were repeated in 2007 we would win a significant number of additional Assembly seats including two in South Wales West, most probably Swansea West plus a list seat."

Hey! If the GE result were repeated in 2007 you would win Swansea West! I'm bemused by your projections to say the least.

My 'back of an envelope' calculations suggest that if the GE result were translated to an Assembly election Labour would win another majority with 31 seats. That however doesn't take account of differing turnout, local peculiarities in for example Ynys Mon, or split ticket voting in respect of the seperate list vote. I'm tempted under FoI to request that you publish your claculations that lie behind your assertion that the Lib Dems will pick-up 2 seats in South Wales West, but perhaps you will publish them voluntarilly.

So if you expect to win Swansea West, is that where you are planning to stand next time around?

On Ceredigion, there is some truth to your point, but Labour came second there in 1997, though slumping back to 4th in the exceptionally difficult circumstances of the 2000 by-election, which is where the Liberal revival over recent years can be traced as stemming from.


Not sure what the draft manifesto said but the actual manifesto is the authorative document on policy matters.

If the GE result from 2008 were repeated exactly then we would just miss out on Swansea West. However, as there is a different dynamic as a result of that election then we are in a position to win it in 2007.

Assuming that the GE vote is replicated in the Assembly elections then the Welsh Liberal Democrats would win 2 seats, either two list or, if we succeeded in improving on our performance Swansea West plus a list seat. Labour would not gain a list seat if it lost Swansea West on the 2005 vote share. My calculations are as follows:

Labour 119,693 7 seats 17,099 7
Lib Dem 44,830 1 seat 22,415 1 seat 14,943.5 2
Tory 39,801 1 seat 19,900.5 1
Plaid 21,700 1 seat 10,850 1
Green 4,023 0
UKIP 2,429 0
Bet it doesnt format properly!
So I still don't understand how you are extapolating this GE result in Swansea West to have the Liberals win it, not Labour.

Have you yet told Rene Kinzett (who if the Labour candidate in Mayals had polled what I did in 1999 would not even be a councillor) that you are muscling in to go head to head with Andrew Davies, death or glory?
I am not extrapolating any result and certainly not for the Liberals, who are a different party to mine. If you re-read what I said then you will see that I am arguing that the result puts us in a position to win Swansea West in 2007.
And if the Lib Dems win Swansea West in 2007 I think you should examine your fate in that light, Peter I think the ancient Greeks would have called it Tyche.
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