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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Counting the votes

It is not often that I agree with Dr Denis Balsom but his comments today on Dafydd Wigley's chances of getting back to the Assembly are spot on:

Dr Balsom said, "As far as the North Wales regional result in 2003 was concerned, Plaid Cymru were awarded the fourth seat out of four on the PR calculations, so were nowhere near being allocated another seat.

"In terms of 2007, a number of other issues need to be borne in mind:

Under the boundary revisions Plaid Cymru will undoubtedly lose more supporters from Caernarfon to Dwyfor Meirionnydd, than from Meirionnydd Nant Conwy to Aberconwy;
Gareth Jones (the ex-AM) may win the new Aberconwy seat, which may threaten Plaid even winning a single regional seat;

The Tories may take Clwyd West, but this won't have any real effect on the Plaid vote. Labour may capture back Wrexham, or John Marek might stand on the list alone. If he were to stand on the list, I suspect he might get elected. If he fights the seat he might well lose. Neither of these scenarios does much for Plaid, as I suspect John has always taken some Plaid supporters for his anti-Labour stance.

Plaid's best chance of winning two list seats is if Ieuan loses Ynys Mon, but Dafydd can hardly campaign on this basis!

"More generally there is little evidence that the Plaid position today, or even in 2007, will be better than in 2003. Adding Dafydd to the campaign team may have a key part to play in raising the Plaid vote across the whole of Wales, but ironically this will have least impact in North Wales, for the Plaid vote is already well established and thus has less capacity for growth.

Plaid are awarding Wigley the status of Messiah and seem confident that his very presence will be enough to get the extra 10,000 North Wales list votes that they need. As this is rapidly becoming an discussion for anoraks then maybe it is best left there, however if Wigley could not do it for them in 1999 then there is no reason to suppose he will do any better in 2007.
Quite right Peter.

It's never a good sign when a party turns to an old man who has already done his bit putting it where it is.


Hang on.
Its not so long ago that all the unionist parties were saying "oh you should bring back Wigley " assuming of course that he would not return. Now they are frantically grabbing at straws saying "oh he wont get in" or "He will let the Tories in " etc its great spectator sport. Given the variety of internal changes that Plaid has undertaken to improve its campaigning on the ground....and there was huge room for improvement...and the presence of Wigley on the list and Lembit running the Lib dem campaign as "welsh leader" the extra 10,000 votes are attainable.
Now it is you who are grasping at straws
Surely the most likely outcome on the north Wales list is that the Lib Dems make an extra gain, considering their increased support in urban areas combined with the fact they are highly unlikely to win a constituency seat outright.

If Wigley gets elected I will eat my Hammers season ticket and Banksy can carry the picture in his column. It will be a rather anti-climactic end to a mixed political career.
Nick Bennett only missed out by a thousand odd votes last time, so Hammers is probably correct. If the Tories win Clwyd West they will lose the second list seat. The only realistic hope for Wigley would be that the Tories win Clwyd West (creating the vacancy) and Labour win Aberconwy and either Arfon or Ynys Mon to lower Plaid's required quota.
No, the runner up in North Wales last time was a Tory, not Nick Bennett. If the Tories win Clwyd West they may well retain two list seats. If they gain Aberconwy as well then they may hand a list seat to Labour. Plaid need to get another 10,000 list votes or lose either Ynys Mon or Arfon to get Wigley elected. Labour already have Aberconwy for the purposes of this calculation though I know there are now different boundaries.
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