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Why Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru should work together to defeat UKIP

Welsh UKIPTo the extent that the British media’s political coverage ever veers far from Westminster, all eyes are currently on Scotland. In the wake of the Neverendum on Scottish independence and its leadership election, the potential  meltdown of Scottish Labour in the general election is massive not only in Scotland: it is the biggest factor in the outcome of the 2015 general election.

UKIP may yet change the face of UK politics, but in the two-party contest for government next year, UKIP still looks like helping not hindering Labour in England — though it may not feel like that in up to a couple of dozen constituencies where they could prevent a local Labour victory. But Wales is different. Yesterday, UK Elect predicted that UKIP could become the second biggest party in Wales at the Welsh Assembly elections in 2016. edging ahead of both Plaid and the Tories.

One can quibble with the detailed assumptions of their model (using uniform swings) and the shares used in their prediction — constituency votes: Lab 36% Con 21%, Plaid Cymru 18%, UKIP 12%,Lib Dem 7%, Green 4%; regional vote for top up seats (20 out of 60): Lab 32%, Con 21%, Plaid Cymru 16%, UKIP 16%, Lib Dem 5%, Green 5% — but their conclusion seems fair enough:

Party Seats Change
Labour 29 -1
UKIP 11 +11
Conservative 10 -4
Plaid Cymru 9 -2
Liberal Democrat 1 -3

UKIP edges ahead of the Tories and Plaid because of the regional distribution of their votes. Welsh assembly 2011 regional voteAll the UKIP seats are predicted to come as regional top up seats, with the Lib Dems losing all of theirs and the Tories half. Labour currently has no seats in south Wales where it holds so many constituency seats, nor even in North Wales and that is unlikely to change. And that is why there is an attractive possibility of a win-win deal between Welsh Labour should and Plaid Cymru to defeat UKIP. Here are five reasons why

  1. UKIP is a new pernicious far-right political force in Wales which could continue to grow at Labour’s expense in a country which would never elect a Tory government. It’s rise demands a response which involves co-operation beyond the Labour Party, as it does in England.
  2. The electoral arithmetic means Labour has nothing to lose. from a pre-election pact in the run-up to the assembly elections. In the three South Wales regions and possibly North Wales too, a Labour vote is essentially a wasted vote in the regional ballot. But a deal with Plaid could help them take a few seats that would otherwise go to UKIP (which would enable them to gain rather than lose seats but not at Labour’s expense).
  3. If Labour struggles to form a majority administration in Cardiff in 2016 as this prediction reasonably claims, Plaid are the only credible coalition partner. The Lib Dems are predicted to lose all but one of theirs, not that I would advocate a coalition with them anyway. Coalition worked well from Labour’s point of view with Plaid prior to 2011, and new leader Leanne Wood is a better socialist than her predecessor — indeed judging by the way she snubbed the SNP during the Scottish referendum, she is far more of a socialist than a nationalist.
  4. Independence is not an issue with the public in Wales as it would be in Scotland – a poll carried out after the Scottish referendum put support as low as 4%. Relations between Welsh Labour and Plaid involve nothing like the hostility between Scottish Labour and the SNP (though Labour may still be forced — or even best advised — to seek any post-general election arrangement with the SNP).
  5. The consideration of a pre-election pact for 2016 could be a helpful factor in any cooperation discussions which take place between parties after the general election if UK Labour was seeking any cooperation from nationalist and other parties  in establishing a government or even blocking action by a Tory-led government.

 

3 Comments

  1. James Martin says:

    No.

  2. swatantra says:

    Plaid probably see UKIP as a sister Party of an Independent England, just like the Scots SNP. On that premise, they won’t be supporting Labour, because they reason ‘Labour Down, Plaid Up’.

    1. Robert says:

      Here is the voice of a bloke who once stood as an MP but thank god the people saw him for what he is useless .

      If Plaid did not back labour in Wales the labour government in Wales would have folded it’s in a minority and although plaid would not go into a coalition it backs labour to ensure labour can get it’s polices through.

      Sadly labour these days is a different animal then it was in my youth and when Plaid tried to end the exploitive Zero hour contracts Labour did a deal with the Tories.

      I suppose when you running a country on a shoe string the Tories are a better ally then a left leaning party like the SNP and Plaid.

      The problem is the people, the working class have difficulty to day telling whether the Tories end and labour start.

      But you carry on Swat in your dream world of politics.

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