Sunday, May 16, 2010


There seems to be a lot of soul searching by supporters of the “Party of Wales” at the moment, with some trying to spin the fact that the party made "significant gains" across Wales.

However, the reality is somewhat different to the political spin and it is worth examining what actually happened to Plaid Cymru when the country voted last week.

On May 6th, Plaid won three seats with only Arfon increasing its percentage share of the vote.

In Dwyfor Meirionydd, Elfyn Llwyd’s share of the vote went down by 6.4 per cent whilst Jonathan Edwards polled 10.2 per cent less than Adam Price in 2005.

However, it is outside of their three seats that they had the biggest disappointments of the night, failing in its key target seats of Ceredigion and Ynys Mon, and coming fourth in Aberconwy.

To be fair, Llanelli, with a fairer wind, could have been won on the night, but that was an outside shot given that resources had been poured into the other three target seats.

More embarrassingly for a party that now claims to be able to win a seat anywhere in Wales, Plaid Cymru were in 4th position in 24 seats, 5th position in two seats and 6th in Newport West behind UKIP and the BNP.

Deposits were lost by Plaid Cymru candidates in ten seats across Wales, including Alun and Deeside, Brecon and Radnorshire, Cardiff Central, Cardiff North, Cardiff South and Penarth, Monmouth, Swansea West, Blaenau Gwent, Newport East and Newport West.

Therefore, for some to claim that Plaid's poor showing was down to Ieuan Wyn Jones not appearing on the three Prime Ministerial debates is slightly far fetched, given the performance across individual constituencies.

If Plaid really believes that to be the only reason for its failure to make any advances on the night of the election, then the party is in deeper trouble than some of its supporters think.

It is worth noting that Plaid has some seriously impressive candidates for the future, including Heledd Fychan and Myfanwy Davies. Politics aside, one can only hope, for the future of a stronger legislature in Cardiff Bay that they both will be given a fair crack of the whip when it comes to allocating seats for the next Assembly election.

With less than twelve months to go before the next Assembly elections, the question is whether Plaid Cymru will recover sufficiently before May 2011.

More relevantly, as their main challenges in seats such as the Rhondda and Cynon Valley seem to be in seats where Labour currently hold the seat, will voters switch from one coalition partner to another?