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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Whose agenda?

I know that the media has an agenda to talk the Tories up in these local elections and for once the results may justify that tactic, but I really do wish that journalists could maintain their perspective.

Daisy McAndrew on ITV News last night stood astride a huge computerised graphic illustrating Tory gains. When she moved to Wales she launched into a flurry of hyperbole about how we used to weigh Labour votes here but no longer. It then transpired she was talking about the Vale of Glamorgan where, despite one or two significant majorities for local Labour MP, John Smith, the weighing of Labour votes has never even been talked about in that context.

As if to compound her mistake, Ms. McAndrew then suggested that the five seats the Tories gained in this area was unprecedented, a political earthquake in fact. She hinted that never before had the Conservatives performed so well in this area.

Now that may well be true of the new Unitary Vale of Glamorgan County Borough Council but it certainly is not true of its predecessor. The Vale was a Tory stronghold for decades. Yesterday just saw a large part of it return to type. In fact, it is possible to conclude that for all their hopes for the Parliamentary seat the Conseratives actually under-performed here. Many of the gains were in fact in Penarth, which is in the Cardiff South and Penarth seat held by Alun Michael for Labour.
Peter - not very magnanimous of you at all.

Whilst the Lib Dems have done well in certain areas, you must admit that the Conservatives in Wales have had a very good night

- 56 per cent increase in the number of councillors since 2004
- 62 new councillors, more than the Lib Dems and Plaid combined
- Retained control of Monmouthshire with five additional seats
- Won control of the Vale of Glamorgan
- Largest party in Conwy (+8 seats)
- Largest party in Denbighshire (+9 seats)
- Second largest party in Cardiff
- Largest increase in seats of any party in Cardiff, Torfaen, Powys, Pembrokeshire and Flintshire
- One seat won in RCT!
- Sixteen seats won in Newport

C'mon, in the spirit of new politics, can't you just admit that we didn't have a bad night....
>The Vale was a Tory stronghold for
>decades. Yesterday just saw a large
>part of it return to type
Yes, one dimly recalls a knight of the shires representing it for ages. Later, there was Walter Sweeney, who was so Thatcherite that he named one of his homes "Hayek Cottage".
Good analysis. Sadly, there are political journalists in London who simply don't even try to understand how the regions and nations work. Wales is Labour, the South West is Lib Dem etc, etc. The idea of long standing marginal areas in Wales (such as the VoG) is too much for them to be bothered to learn.
Dylan, why do you Tories always think it is about you. I did acknowledge your results but if you want to spin them do so on your own blog. This post was about media coverage not the Tories.
Gosh, these Tories even have to attention-seek on a Lib Dem blogsite! :o)

As it happens, the results in the Vale were more or less as expected, albeit that they arrived at least 4 years later than they should have, given the terrain, but remember that the Tories here (campaign slogan "It's time for change!" actually ran the Council for 7 of the last 8 years! Penarth still bears the signs of the neglect during that time, and all eyes will be on them to deliver, and quickly. So they can celebrate, but there'll be no honeymoon.

And this time, as they have a slender majority now, there'll be no scope to blame their little helpers when things go wrong.
Hello Peter. Interesting blog. I don't always post but this time I couldn't resist - leave lovely Daisy alone. :-)

In a way I am looking forward to the Conservatives.

That should put the brakes on the nationalist madness.
I don't understand - how is Dylan's list 'spinning' anything? He's stated a long series of facts about the other night, unless you think he's made some up. Surely all LibDems should offer our congratulations to Dylan and his colleagues. Of course, we should simultaneously be planning the best way to replace all those Tory gains with our own next time - but isn't that the best tradition of British politics? The media IS responsible where it misrepresents the local picture; and all party activists are responsible when the whole thing falls to sniping.
Russ is right - these are facts not spin and I would expect nothing less from DJE.

You shouldn't worry too much about how ITN got it wrong about the VoG. Plaid are still tamping over the attention given to Gwynedd which has overshadowed their gains in other councils.
I think that ITN have gone a bit odd.

Their report last night on the mayoral election was so virulently anti Tory, (and no I'm not a Tory), that I have made a complaint. Their website helpfully makes you go right around the houses to find their public service broadcaster requirements and the links that you can eventually find are broken. As a result I do not know if they should be reporting the news in an unbiased way as a condition of their licence but I hope to find out why they have been behaving so wierdly soon.
> leave lovely Daisy alone.
She is big enough - well, broad enough - to look after herself. Besides, she now has the power of commercial TV behind her.

Some of us will not forget the way she put the knife into Charles Kennedy.
"Some of us will not forget the way she put the knife into Charles Kennedy."

That is a very fair point, Frank.

To be honest I rather admired Charles Kennedy myself, but whenever I see him now, I can't help but feel that Daisy did him, and those Liberal Democrats, a favour.
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