Uncategorized

Down the Local

 

It is now slightly over two years since the last round of Welsh local elections (except for viewers in Ynys Mon…). In normal circumstances we would therefore be slightly over half-way through the term of office of the current councils. However, among the knock-on effects of the move to five-year fixed term parliaments for Westminster has been an impact on local elections; with the term of the Assembly having been extended by one year to 2016, to avoid Welsh devolved and local elections clashing, the next round of Welsh local elections is now scheduled for May 2017. Of course, with on-going debates surrounding the Williams Commission’s recommendations for local authority reform, it is not yet quite clear exactly what local authorities we will actually be voting for in 2017.

My friend Harry Hayfield (who regularly posts on the Political Betting site) has prepared a very helpful summary of the local council by-elections that have occurred since May 2012. (Please note that this list encompasses only by-elections for the twenty-two main local authorities, not for town, parish or community councils).

In the twenty-two local authorities,there have apparently been 22 by-elections in Wales since the last local elections with the vote tally, share and seats won as:

 

PARTY

VOTES

SHARE

SEATS WON

Labour

11,441

45%

16

Plaid Cymru

4,889

19%

2

Independents

3,813

15%

3

Conservatives

2,384

9%

1

LibDems

1,438

6%

0

UKIP

778

3%

0

Trade Unionists/Socialists

424

2%

0

Ratepayers

222

1%

0

Greens

164

1%

0

National Front

108

0%

0

Harry notes that “As a lot of these are multi member wards, it is impossible to make a direct comparison with 2012; however there have been by-elections in six single member wards”; the votes (and changes) in those are:

 

PARTY

VOTES

SHARE

CHANGE

Independents

1,349

36%

+20

Labour

1,268

34%

+1

Conservatives

475

13%

-1

Plaid Cymru

447

12%

-3

LibDems

167

4%

-14

Greens

16

0%

-4

Clearly we are dealing with a relatively small number of by-elections here (particularly with the latter table), many of which will have their own local idiosyncracies. I would caution people about drawing sweeping conclusions from the figures presented above. But I think they do show Labour continuing – notwithstanding its recent opinion poll slippage – to be continuing to perform strongly. The Conservatives performance looks rather weak, though we must recall that in some parts of Wales where they are relatively strong there remains a substantial independent tradition. The news remains largely bleak for the Liberal Democrats, while it is interesting that there has yet been little evidence of UKIP establishing a major presence in Welsh local government.

Many thanks to Harry Hayfield for this very useful information. I’ll be back later in the week with information on this week’s BBC/ICM poll. Some results from that have been published today; there’s more to come, much of it very interesting…

Comments

  • J.Jones

    So, according to the BBC ICM poll only 48% of people knew that the NAfW was in charge of the NHS in Wales, although, most likely, of the 48% some didn’t “know” but guessed correctly whilst 43% though that they “knew” but knew wrongly whilst 9% presumably didn’t know but knew that they didn’t know and admitted it.

    In 2013 the Silk Commission’s survey carried out by Beaufort Research found that 58% correctly stated that the NAfW was responsible for the NHS in Wales. With ignorance spreading at this rate we should have un-ravelled devolution within 5 years.

  • Roger Scully

    Nice one. At this annual rate of decline, it’ll be down to 0 within 6 more years…

    More seriously – and perhaps depressingly, because I don’t really see an upside to people not knowing who is responsible for what government does – you are right to suggest that the 48% may well be an over-estimate. The survey gave people the two options of the UK Govt and the Welsh Govt plus a Don’t Know choice. The chances are that at least some of those who offered the Welsh Govt response simply got lucky with their guessing.

    So it’s even worse than the BBC poll suggests, perhaps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *