Since the reformation of the Welsh Assembly, the Senedd has been on an uncertain footing with the rise and fall of the Welsh Liberal Alliance and the Welsh Labour Party dominating the goings-on of the Parliament. However, as recent elections have shown, partnered with the increased activity of other parties in Wales, the appetite for Liberalism and the Left seems to be drying up. Recent polling has shown a clear majority for right-wing parties, as follows:
- Welsh Conservatives: 35.02%
- Welsh Labour: 27.30%
- Plaid Cymru: 20.98%
- Libertarian Party Cymru: 12.75%
- Welsh Liberal Democrats: 2.39%
- People’s Unionist Party: 0.97%
With Wales having been dominated by the Liberals and Left for so long, the signs were already there that the Welsh love of the left-wing was over when the Conservative Party unseated Welsh Labour leader, Countess of Llansamlet, in South Wales West (an industrial hub) in what was previously seen as a Labour safe seat. Indeed, the key message in recent months from the Libertarian Party, seems to be that this seat will be a key target of theirs, with the LPC (the Libertarian Party in Wales) set to issue more information about their campaign which LPC leader, /u/Cthuluiscool says will focus on the core message of “ensuring that Wales stays on the right track, with the LPC preventing a tory controlled, or labour controlled Government rolling back the historic progress Wales has experienced in recent terms thanks to the efforts of the LPC.”.
It seems almost guaranteed that the Conservative Party in Wales will launch an offensive on the ‘Unity-Government’, yet with a shocking lack of active and key campaigners in Wales, such as they enjoyed the last election, pollsters may find the Conservatives polling level is let down by a lacklustre campaign. Whilst there is an appetite for a right-wing revival in Wales, the Conservatives have shown apathy in seeing such a revival through and will almost certainly need to rely on a coalition should they wish to secure the First Minister’s office post-election.
Labour, on the other hand, appears to be launching something of a fightback, after taking a bruising in Wales the last election, Welsh Labour AM /u/mariogog is under pressure to win back lost seats and shore up bleeding support bases in the South. Having proven they can work well with the LPC, the options for Welsh Labour to emerge as the ‘natural party of Government’ could well supersede the Conservatives spin that such a title belongs to them.
However, the good news for the Welsh Labour party comes to its end there. With the head office of Labour already sending its heavyweights to Scotland and Northern Ireland, setting the tone for a head-office dominated campaign in those areas, some are speculating that the London party may muscle in on the Welsh Campaign to ensure a unified campaign message across the Devolved Parliaments. Struggling to make solid gains in the polls, Labour finds itself trailing the Tories once more.
So, as the Welsh Parliament is set for another shake-up, it seems to be all to play for, with Plaid likely to struggle to balance its individualism at local level with the hegemony imposed on it from its new central party, the DRF, a d the Tories looking to struggle with a lack of active candidates, could the next Welsh election change the makeup of the Senedd completely?
Plaid Leader, /u/ViktorHR agrees that the forthcoming election could change the Senedd significantly, stating its a ‘three-horse race’ between the Tories, Labour and Plaid, and is doubtful that Tory polling is entirely accurate – the merger with the Welsh Liberal Alliance perhaps having created a flash majority.
“Well the Tories have a lot of problems, I think what will be the deciding factor this election is where those Liberal Alliance voters go, those who do not approve of the anti-devolution stance of the Tories. And there are a lot of them considering the Tories had maybe 10% in the polls before the merger.”
/u/ViktorHR, who presently serves as First Minister in a Unity Government with Labour and the LPC, is optimistic about the election, stating that the record of their party is one voters can get behind.
A three-horse race, with a keen observer in the LPC set to increase their negotiating position and strength with a view to reign in a future Welsh Government in the event of a coalition, the Senedd could be about to become very interesting indeed.
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