Archive for March, 2015

Plaid Cymru launch their general election manifesto

Election Manifesto

Election Manifesto

At Plaid Cymru’s manifesto launch they demand the same powers as Scotland and the same cash as them too. But  the campaign is criticised by an ex-leader of the party.

Apart from wanting the same cash and powers as Scotland Plaid Cymru’s  other ambitions are that all Welsh workers are paid a living wage by 2020; an extra 1,000 doctors are employed in the Welsh NHS; that Trident is scrapped as also is the bedroom tax.

Having ruled out a deal with the Tories, Leanne Wood is resting her hopes on Labour delivering Plaid’s manifesto ambitions.

According to Plaid’s arithmetic if Wales has the same level of public spending per head as Scotland for devolved services it would result in an extra £1.2bn a year for the Welsh government.

Voters not convinced

But a former leader of Plaid Cymru Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas seemed to pour cold water on the party’s efforts  to win the

Ex-leader question's his party's campaign.

Ex-leader question’s his party’s campaign.

hearts and mind of Welsh voters.

He told radio listners “I have no issue with the decision of the Welsh people to vote for the Labour Party, because they clearly haven’t been convinced that we are a better alternative.”

“In Scotland the SNP have convinced them, it seems to me from the polls, and therefore that’s our responsibility, we have to have a better election than we’ve ever had before.”

What is certain is that the peer’s intervention is not helpful to the party as they launch their manifesto.

Confusion on dealings with SNP

Undoubtedly, there has been confusion in the party’s ranks in how it would negotiate in Westminster.

Leanne Wood said her party and the SNP do not share common ground on Welsh funding from Westminster.

But Plaid’s general election campaign co-ordinator Lord Wigley told the party’s conference that he was “pleased to tell the conference that we have an understanding from our friends in the SNP that they too will support giving Wales the same budget settlement as Scotland.”

Clearly contradictory messages.

In truth the interests of Scotland are in the continuation of the Barnet formula with its inbuilt advantage to them, but this is at Wales’s expense.

It’s in Wales’s interest to see a different funding formula based on need. Clearly a very different interest to that of the SNP.

Dafydd Wigley recognised this when he said that a “potentially powerful SNP” was already “calling the shots and framing the agenda.”

And that’s why he called for a “strong group of Plaid MPs” to put Wales on an equal footing with Scotland. But three or even Wigley’s six may not be enough of a tail to wag a Labour dog on their own.

Need to ask questions

Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas’s intervention may not be welcomed by the party and his timing may be unfortunate, but he’s asking the right question.

Why has Plaid Cymru singularly failed to make inroads into Labour’s hegemony in Wales  when apparently the SNP are  succeededing so spectacularly in Scotland?

An election campaign is not the time for introspection but undoubtedly it’s a question that Plaid Cymru needs  to honestly ask itself before next year’s Assembly elections.


All Wales poll shows little change in voting intention

Will the polls be right and show little change in who Wales elect?

Will the polls be right and show little change in who Wales elect?

Polls show little change in voting intention in Wales.

The latest Welsh Political Barometer  conducted by YouGov for ITV Wales and the Welsh Governance Centre show that despite the best effort of the parties since the start of the year little has changed.

Labour party are still by far the popular choice of the Welsh people and look set fair to  grab another two seats in Cardiff  giving them 28 Welsh seats.

According to Professor Roger Scully  the Conservatives will continue to return eight Members to Westminster  but not necessarily the same seats as now. He sees them losing Cardiff North to Labour but gaining Brecon and Radnor from the Liberal Democrats.

Labour 40% (+1) Seats 28
Conservatives 25% (no change) Seats 8
Ukip 14% (no change) Seats 0
Plaid Cymru 11% (+1) Seats 3
Green 5% (-1) Seats 0
Liberal Democrats 5% (no change) Seats 1
Others 1% (no change) Seats 0

The Liberal Democrats also according to the poll loose Cardiff Central, leaving them with only one MP in Wales and that’s in Ceredigion a seat that Plaid Cymru have in their list of target seats.

Plaid Cymru according to the Professor simply hold on to their existing three seats.

Because the first past the post voting system despite polling better than Plaid Cymru, Ukip will not see that reflected in seats gained.

Seats to watch

Unlike what is predicted by Professor Scully, this Almanac sees the Ukip vote influencing the results in many more seats.

On election night it might be useful to keep a weather eye on a number of other seats because of the Ukip factor.

In the North there are three seats that could change hands because of the high Ukip vote – Plaid Cymru might gain Ynys Mon and Labour could benefit in Aberconwy and Clwyd West.

In South Wales Ukip could upset Labour in Llanelli giving the seat to Plaid and the Conservatives could find Labour recapture the Vale of Glamorgan.

The campaign officially gets under way today and it will be interesting to see whether after all the frenetic activity it makes the blind bit of difference.


Cameron says he’s to give up after 5 years, and Miliband more than holds his own in TV debate

Who sits here and in which House? - the race gets underway.

Who sits here and in which House? – the race gets underway.

Election campaign gets under way with first debate and first launch, but polls say it’s to close to call.

Prize for being first off the mark to launch their general election campaign was Plaid Cymru. The pitch will be “elect the largest ever group of Plaid MPs would put Wales in the strongest position possible as polls point to a hung parliament.” The launch was at Ffos Las Racecourse. Hoping the voters will take a punt on them.

The launch follows Plaid Cymru’s worry that all the attention and resources could be diverted to Scotland in the event of SNP gains at the general election. The party’s campaign coordinator Lord Wigley said a “potentially powerful SNP” was already “calling the shots and framing the agenda” for after the poll. He went on to say that a “strong group of Plaid MPs” would be needed to put Wales on an equal footing with Scotland. But in his party conference he was talking of Plaid Cymru winning six seats, hardly a base for calling the shots.

Ukip held a meeting in Porthmadog which was an English only affair. See

Bye bye to the Palace of Westminster and bye , bye to the Bay likely for one AM

Some good news for Andrew RT Davies Conservative leader in the Assembly. He is likely to rid himself of a constant irritant in the form of Antoinette Sandbach. For she has been selected as the party’s Westminster candidate in the safe seat of Eddisbury, where the Tory majority was more than 13,000 in 2010. If elected she intends to stand down from the assembly if elected. Llandudno councillor Janet Haworth would take the north Wales regional seat in Cardiff Bay for the Conservatives without the need for a by-election.Two other AMs trying to escape the clutches of the Conservative group in the Bay are  Byron Davies and Mark Isherwood have already been selected as Westminster candidates to fight Gower and Delyn respectively.

The Welsh Political Archive in the National Library at Aberystwyth  will have a busy few weeks they’ll be receiving boxes and boxes of material from Welsh MPs that are retiring.  After 24 years and cabinet posts under Blair and Brown Peter Hain will have more than a few boxes. Another ex cabinet member  with plenty of paper work I’m sure is Paul Murphy.  He  entered parliament in 1987 and served as Welsh and Northern Ireland Secretary. Another long server was Plaid Cymru’s parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd the Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP and barrister. He’s highly thought of for his work on criminal justice issues; his work on stalking paved the way for a new law so those future law students in Aber will have plenty of material to trawl through if he passes his papers to the Library. Also leaving is Tory Jonathan Evans, a minister in John Major’s government but not favoured by Cameron. Others leaving voluntarily are Sian James, Martin Caton, Dai Havard and Hywel Francis. Who will join them from the rest of the 40 will be up to the voters.  Of course there’s always speculation that some of the retiree’s will remain in the Palace of Westminster wearing ermine. How does the Lords Llwyd, Hain, and Murphy sound. And what odds that a newly enobled Hain would be in a Miliband Cabinet as Leader of the Lords? Any bets?

No head to head but David Cameron and Ed Miliband appeared together in the same tv studio’s for the first of the ‘election’ debate programmes. They were put on the spot over immigration, the EU and spending plans. The winner?  Well would you be surprised to know that both parties claimed afterwards that their man did best. It was always thus. But an early ICM opinion poll for the Guardian suggested Mr Cameron narrowly.  But apparently those that mattered, the ‘undecided” put Miliband ahead. The programme – Cameron and Miliband Live: The Battle for Number 10 – was the first of a series. On 2 April the seven party leaders will be on ITV then on 16 April there will be a debate between five opposition party leaders on the BBC, moderated by David Dimbleby with a final BBC Question Time programme on the 30 April with David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, again presented by David Dimbleby.

With the Assembly closing for a fortnight for the Easter holidays the Almanac is also going into holiday mode.

Polls still point to a hung parliament

This week sees Labour ahead by 1 percentage point reversing last week when the Conservatives were ahead by 1 in the poll of polls. This makes Labour 17 short. The minor parties still have hopes of being king makers.


YouGov/Sun Con 36%  Lab 34% LibDem 7% UKIP 13%  Green 5%

Panelbase Con 34%  Lab 34% LibDem 5% UKIP 15%  Green 6%


Survation/Mirror Con 32%  Lab 33% LibDem 8% UKIP 18%  Green 4%


ComRes/Mail Con 35% Lab 35% LibDem 8% UKIP 10% Green 7%

YouGov/Sun Con 35%  Lab 35% LibDem 8% UKIP 12%  Green 6%

TNS Con 33%  Lab 32% LibDem 7% UKIP 17%  Green 4% Other 7%


Populus         Con 31% Lab 33% LibDem 9% UKIP 16% Green 5%

Ashcroft         Con 33% Lab 33% LibDem 8% UKIP 12% Green 5%


Survation/Mail Con 30% Lab 34% LibDem 10% UKIP 17%  Green 4%

Opinium/Observer Con 36% Lab 33% LibDem 7% UKIP 14% Green 6% )

YouGov/Sunday Times         Con 33% Lab 35% LibDem 8% UKIP 14% Green 5%