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Friday, May 04, 2007


Just three hours sleep and an hour and a half to go before the Regional count resumes in South Wales West. I don't yet know whether I am back or not.

It looks like the Welsh Liberal Democrats will be unchanged from the six seats they have held since 1999. This is not healthy and it is clear that we now need a fresh approach and a radical re-think as to where we are going and how we sell ourselves, our policies and our philosophy to the Welsh electorate. More on this later.

In the meantime here are some photos from the campaign to keep you occupied. This one was taken in Beddau, Pontypridd by our very forthright candidate, Mike Powell. It expresses the disillusionment felt with Labour by a number of voters, which most probably contributed to Mike's excellent second place there.

Meanwhile, a very funny thing happened to me outside one of the Swansea polling stations. I parked up for a few minutes after having dropped off an elderly voter and due to the rather stifling heat left my car doors open. When I turned around the car had been occupied. Fortunately, it was not an attempt to steal the vehicle, just a cat who was wondering what all the fuss was about. I believe that the aforesaid animal made the most of the attention it got in the sun from a stream of visitors to the local community centre all day.

The BBC now want to talk to me at 6pm. Do you think they want to ask about coalitions?

N.B. I think I should use this opportunity to express my commiserations to fellow blogger Glyn Davies on losing his seat. There but for the grace of God go all regional candidates. He will be missed from the Assembly as will a number of others.
Yes, it was a disappointing result for the LibDems! It was sad that in Cardiff West we did not finish 2nd! But 4th !!!!

Yet again as I have said I predicted it. They just have not broken out of Cardiff Central ghetto.

I don't think it bodes well for the council elections in 2008.

I also think they need to find good local candidates and not rely on "party hacks"


(in the process of moving back!!)
Good luck Peter. I just hope there's no recount. Why is there such a delay in South Wales West declaration? At least it's not a Scottish style fiasco.
You really have to be mad to go into a coalition with Labour after last night. It is clear that throughout Wales Labour was rejected by the electorate and only survived because of the electoral system and the fact the anti Labour vote was divided. It might suit Mike German and one other Lib Dem who will become a minister but at what long term cost to the Lib Dem party. Labour will continue to be unpopular even with Gordon Brown as PM. You risk being hammered in next year's council elections if you get into bed with a party in terminal decline in Wales.
Good to have you back Peter. Who can understand the mind set of the Welsh public? Surely there can't be so many of them that are actually content to be treated the way Labour have treated them?
The only people talking about a coalition with Labour are the media. We have genuinely not discussed our options yet.
A question for you Peter, as Mike Cridland has posted above in Cardiff West the Lib Dems finished fourth not second...and Mike said that that was predicted.
That's despite endless and spurious "two horse race" bar-charts and leaflets. As you have pointed out other parties are guilty of this as well. Do you think it's time for the Electoral commision or the political parties to frame some sort of "code of conduct" on this issue? It seems to me it devalues politics if voters feel they have been misled into casting a tactical vote by irrelevent or spurrious misinformation.
Voters are intelligent people, they are quite capable of finding out the facts for themselves and making their own minds up as they did in Swansea West with the similarly spurious claims of Plaid Cymru.
Voters are indeed intelligent people capable of making their minds up, Peter. However, that only makes the reasons behind using such clearly false claims less understandable - as they were obviously seen through by the voters of Cardiff North (LD 3rd), Cardiff South and Penarth (LD 3rd) and Cardiff West (LD 4th).
I have not seen the leaflets but it was not the claims that were a problem but the outcome.
I guess that depends on your political perspective. However, as the Lib Dems finished in 3rd in those three Cardiff constituencies in 2003, it was surely a little disingenous to use a graph showing the number of Cardiff councillors (especially in a leaflet intended for Vale of Glamorgan based Penarth!) to claim that it was a '2 horse race'.

At least in Swansea West, Ian Titherington could factually claim that his party was second at the previous election. I'm sure he would agree with you that it was the outcome that was the problem, not the claims! ;)
Actually, although I refrained from saying so at the time Ian Titherington was being very disingenuous in his claims. Although PLaid came second in 2003, in each of the two subsequent elections and in the number of Councillors elected the Welsh Lib Dems were clearly in second place.

Whatever the outcome the claims in terms of Councillors in Cardiff were perfectly legitimate.
Good to see you back in the Assembly Peter, well done.

Plaid used the "two horse race" arguement here in Pontypridd based on their 2003 result and not their 2005 one, though we did point out our/their 2005 result as way of clarification. Now they can't use their second place arguement in Pontypridd, they can use a "we are in 3rd/4th" though!

As for a partnership in the Bay. As a democratic party our members will decide at a special conference if we are to enter into another one. Peter has succinctly posted his views and those of others in our party. I, and many others, will be looking forward to having a healthy and open debate on this subject if the need arises.
My comments above had more to do with the party building a organisation outside of Cardiff Central. Rather than on leaflets that were distributed. I recall that in the last local election Labour put out leaflets the night before that the race relations board described as racist. I find that far more object able than bar charts etc.. That certainly went beyond the pail. I also recall Peter Hain refusing to apologize for them, saying that other parties did the same thing. I guess it must be aright! :(.
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