Friday, 13 May 2011

Reflections on the Assembly Campaign

With a week now past since the Assembly Election it has to be said that the final result was more interesting than may predicted.

A number of prominent AM's lost their seats, the Conservatives overtook Plaid and there were some differing voting trends between North and South.

The pollsters pretty much got it spot on.  The commentators and the bookies were close but failed to appreciate the strength of Conservative support.  This I am happy to say this made it a profitable night for me although I am kicking myself for missing out on Angela Burns at 4/1.  The Plaid twitter campaign clearly had a far bigger effect on me in Swansea than it did on the good voters of Carmarthen West.  A lesson to be learnt there for somebody.

On reflection there are several things coming out of the election some of which I intend to explore further in future weeks.

1. Nick Bourne becoming a victim of his own success was sad, but his legacy is a Welsh Conservative Party that is in a strong position to kick on to become the alternative government to Labour in the future.

2.  The 3 opposition parties missed a huge opportunity to govern Wales 4 years ago.  Lessons must be learnt to ensure this opportunity is not missed next time.  By the time of the next election Labour will have been running Wales for 17 years.

3.  Whilst the result was bad for the Lib Dems they only lost 1 seat meaning that they are in a decent position to rebuild.  As the economy improves and they get the credit for the role they have played in that at Westminster they could come back stronger than ever.

4.  Plaid were probably the biggest losers.  A bad night for them was made worse by the fantastic result achieved by the SNP.  They lost a number of big hitters last week and are now at risk of becoming an very minor part of Welsh politics.

5.  The Conservatives are looking for a new leader and Plaid find themselves at a crossroads.  

Plaid will undoubtedly be looking to Scotland to try and learn lessons from the SNP success.  The first problem they have is that their leader is not is the same class as Alex Salmond.  The fact he has decided not to stand down straight away is a clear sign there is no one in the background of sufficient caliber to take over.The second is that the SNP have become increasingly center-right in their policies and this helped them take votes off the both the Lib Dems and the Conservatives.  This political shift something it is hard to see Plaid doing.  

It may be that the Welsh Conservatives are the Party who can learn most from the SNP success and I look forward to hearing the different leadership candidates setting out their visions over the coming months.  

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