UKIP has arrived in Welsh politics

Roger Scully gives his first impressions of the 2014 European Election results in Wales

The results are now in; the fever pitch of political excitement of the last few days can begin to subside. With it all over (bar a fair bit of shouting), what can we make of it all?

Before I get into that, though, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate our elected representatives here in Wales: Derek Vaughan, Kay Swinburne and Jill Evans on their re-election to the European Parliament, and Nathan Gill who has been elected for the first time. I’d also like to wish them well in representing Wales in the European Union.

Now, onto the results. The table below presents the overall result in Wales: the number of votes cast for each party, the share of the vote (with the change from 2009 in brackets), and the number of seats won.



Share (change from 2009)




 28.15 (+7.86)




27.55 (+14.76)




17.43 (-3.79)


Plaid Cymru


15.26 (-3.25)




4.52 (-1.04)


Liberal Democrats


3.95 (-6.73)




1.04 (-4.38)


Britain First


0.90 (n/a)


Socialist Labour


0.61 (-1.20)




0.38 (-0.87)


Socialist Party of GB


0.19 (n/a)


Turnout = 31.5% (+ 1.1%)

The final Welsh poll had indicated that the allocation of the final two of Wales’ four seats would be very tight. This turned out to be pretty close to the truth; what the poll didn’t pick up was how close the race for first place would be. The table below shows the calculations for each ‘round’, with the party winning that seat indicated in bold. (Those of you needing a refresher on the d’Hondt formula used to allocate the seats, please see here. For simplicity, here I have included only the top four parties, as these were the only ones relevant to the allocation of seats. We can see that while Labour won the first seat, and UKIP the second, there were barely more than 4,000 votes in it. The Conservatives then won the third seat, and Plaid the final one. But this final seat was also pretty close: had Plaid won 8,700 votes fewer across the whole of Wales – out of the nearly three-quarters of a million cast – then they would have lost the final seat to Labour.





Round 1





Round 2





Round 3





Round 4





So what can we make of the parties’ performances? Let’s take them in turn.

Labour will clearly be pleased to have topped the poll once more in Wales; after the upset of 2009 there may be a sense of having returned to something like ‘business as usual’. And yet, as with their result across Britain as a whole, one cannot help but feel that Labour should have done rather better. Labour’s performance in 2009 remains its worst vote share in any Welsh election since World War I. But 2014 was its second worst.

Until the final poll of the campaign, Labour had seemed clearly set to win two seats in Wales (indeed, the figures from the inaugural Welsh Political Barometer poll in December had Labour on course to gain three of the four Welsh MEPs). There are two – not necessarily wholly exclusive – obvious potential explanations for this relative Labour under-perfomance, neither of which are very comforting for the party. The first is that YouGov’s polls in Wales have been systematically over-stating Labour support. The second is that much of Labour’s support in Wales in recent years has been pretty soft in nature, and the party was either unable to get these voters to the polls or some of them jumped ship to UKIP for these elections. Overall, these European elections (and last week’s locals in England) certainly don’t suggest that a general election victory for Labour next year is impossible. But nor can we say that Labour is clearly on course for victory: for the party to be confident, rather than merely hopeful, of winning in 2015, they really ought to be doing rather better than this.

For UKIP this was a truly extraordinary performance, and one which defied both history and the polls. In the last three sets of European elections, Wales had been either the second or third worst ‘region’ in Britain for the party (behind Scotland and, in 1999 and 2009, London). Nor had the polls shown UKIP making much ground until fairly recently, while even the final poll – with fieldwork conducted approximately 8-10 days prior to the elections – showed UKIP in second but still well behind Labour. Moreover, UKIP currently has no Welsh AMs or MPs, and made very little impact at the 2012 Welsh local elections. Yet Wales saw UKIP’s second largest vote share gain from 2009 of anywhere in Britain (only the East Midlands saw a larger UKIP rise in support from five years ago). The reasons for this will need investigating further; for the moment, it looks clear that UKIP has ‘arrived’ in Welsh electoral politics. What may be particularly troubling for the other main parties in Wales is that few of them seem to have seen this UKIP surge coming.

For the Conservatives this was another solid, reasonably satisfactory performance. They retained their Welsh MEP, despite a UKIP surge that some might have expected to cut particularly hard into their vote. The Tories also maintained their position, which they also had in 2004 and 2009, of being ahead of Plaid Cymru. Despite having been in government for more than four years in London, the Conservatives’ support in the polls, and in real elections, has shown an impressive resilience, and it continued to do so last night. As they face up to a general election in less than a year, the Welsh Tories have reason to do so with some optimism; there is little sign that they will gain seats next year, but they have fair prospects of holding most of what they currently have.

For Plaid Cymru, these results will surely be a major relief more than anything. Plaid had looked very likely to lose their seat in the European Parliament for most of the last year. Until the final Barometer survey, all the polls had them some way behind. Plaid’s attempts to fire up their support, and mobilise their voters, seem to have had some success – enough, at least, for them to cling on to the final seat. Coming fourth can hardly be rated as a good result for Plaid. However, we should perhaps remember that, with the singular exception of their 1999 annus mirabilis, Plaid have never performed very strongly in European elections. This year was about holding their ground, ahead of other electoral contests that may offer them better prospects. In that sense, 2014 for Plaid can be seen as ‘job done – just about’.

For the Liberal Democrats, failing to win a seat was a disappointment but not remotely a surprise. The Lib-Dems had failed to win a Welsh MEP in much happier times (1999, 2004 and 2009), so it was never very likely that they would do so in the current, more difficult, political context. What is more concerning to them, in Wales as across the rest of Britain, is the sheer scale of their failure: to win less than 4% of the vote is utterly humiliating, while their performance was abject even in places where the party holds Westminster seats. Given their party’s poor performance across the whole of Britain, and with the next general election less than 12 months away, the signs currently appear very ominous for the Liberal Democrats.

Among the other parties, the Welsh Greens performed respectably, if somewhat less well than their counterparts in both England and Scotland. The BNP lost more than four-fifths of their vote share in Wales from 2009 – something which really couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of people. And on the fringes of the left, the Judean People’s Front – sorry, I mean the Socialist Labour Party, managed to edge out the People’s Front of Judea, otherwise known as the Socialist Party of Great Britain; while Britain First scored a similar ‘triumph’ over No2EU.



Professor Roger Scully is Professor of Political Science at the Wales Governance Centre and Director of Research, Politics of Cardiff University. He blogs on his Elections in Wales site ( on elections, voting and political representation in Wales. He'll be writing further on the Euro results on his site in the coming days

36 thoughts on “UKIP has arrived in Welsh politics

  1. “The BNP lost more than four-fifths of their vote share in Wales from 2009 – something which really couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of people”

    Any guesses who this four fifths of their supporters voted for instead.

  2. There has been mention in the press of the European results as analysed by local authority boundaries. Does anyone know of where these results, and possibly a map, can be found? If my memory serves me correctly, it was largely North-East Wales, Monmouthshire and the Vale of Glamorgan where UKIP topped the poll.

  3. Our Professor sums up the state of three of the four successful parties very well…

    UKIP: “truly extraordinary” – although some of us were not surprised. Writing them off as British or English nationalists with no support in Wales – or Scotland – was always wishful thinking on the part of their opponents. Nevertheless, their vote is still soft – albeit not as soft as it was. The real question in the General Election is to what extent the Conservatives and Labour can attract that soft UKIP vote: the Conservatives may be in the stronger position to do so but would be foolish to take it for granted. It will be necessary to work for it, and not just talk about ‘listening.’

    Conservatives: “solid, reasonably satisfactory.” It could have been a lot worse but they need to do a lot better if they are to win those UKIP votes and win a majority. Remember Labour have two aces in the hole: Lib-Lab’s blocking overdue boundary changes – cynical gerrymandering – means the Conservatives need at least 5% more votes to win the same number of seats as Labour; and Liberal activists’ preference for a deal with Labour in the event of a hung Parliament. That said, David Cameron still has the ball – the question is whether he is prepared to run with it as he must do if he wants to win from behind.

    Plaid: “a major relief.” Yet a true ‘Party of Wales’ should be doing better than this. They need to look north to the SNP to see where they ought to be and ask themselves honestly why they are not in a similar position. As it is, they have retreated to become Plaid Gwynedd once again – on the basis that Ceredigion was occasionally part of the ancient Kingdom of Gwynedd.

    The good Professor is, however, far too kind to Labour. This is a disastrous result in their private fiefdom. They won only in their heartland constituencies. There is a real danger for them that if their core supporters ever get out of the habit of voting Labour automatically – and start thinking for themselves – they may never return. Note that only a minority of the swing to UKIP was the much-publicised disgruntled Conservatives. With less than a year before the most unpredictable General Election since 1992, or perhaps even 1979, Labour are not seen as the natural alternative. Indeed, thanks to the recent memory of the Blair-Brown years, and their miserable rule of the Assembly, most see them as part of the problem.

  4. Very, very important results, In Wales UKIP came within a whisker – 0.6 per cent – of topping the poll. In the European parliament there are now more than a quarter of seats which are held by parties who, to a lesser or greater extent, are opposed to the place. All politicians need to look to their laurels.

  5. ”and Nathan Gill who has been elected for the first time. I’d also like to wish them well in representing Wales in the European Union”

    Nathan Gill will not represent Wales or the Welsh people. He is a British Nationalist and will act and think as such in Brussels. UKIP treat their position with contempt as well, I hardly think he will become an active voice for the Welsh people in Europe. When will Wales learn?

  6. Boundary changes were blocked by a breakdown in the coalition. The Conservatives opposed the alternative vote so the LibDems opposed the constituency re-drawing. If they were talking to each other, the matter was outside Labour’s power to influence.

  7. @Rhobat:

    (Sorry if that link doesn’t work – you can copy and paste it if it doesn’t).

    Looking at the breakdown, the first thing which is obvious is that the Labour vote in its ‘heartlands’ simply couldn’t be bothered to come out. Perhaps feeling that they were guaranteed one MEP at the end of it meant that they felt that they weren’t needed.

    In the light of that, Plaid’s campaign (if one may use the term) must be seen as a failure. To end up with a lower share of the vote than last time when Labour is at best unconvincing does not augur too well either for Westminster 2015 or the next Assembly elections (especially if they can’t get more than 14% in Caerphilly).

    The Tories more or less stood still, and as for the LDs, well if they can’t get more than 13% in Powys they really are snookered.

    As for UKIP, yes their peak percentages do seem to be in the border areas (although their highest %age was in Merthyr) and along the north and south coasts. This might reflect the votes of – let’s be blunt about it – a certain type of English incomer prevalent in most of those areas; either retirees or ‘Good Life’ downsizing fantasists. The disproportionate media coverage given to UKIP (especially by the BBC, which seems to have found a way of supplementing the licence fee by hiring itself out as a PR company) will almost certainly have helped them, in the same way that the lack of media coverage hurt the Englandandwales Greens and to some degree Plaid as well.

    Much of this will revert back to something near the norm when the Westminster vote comes around in less than a year from now anyway. At the end of it all though, as far as Wales in the EP is concerned, it’s as you were.

  8. UKIP get approx. 30% in England, 28% in Wales, 10% in Scotland.
    Right of centre parties get approx. 58% in England, 47% in Wales and 29% in Scotland

    ENGLAND&wales send a message to Scotland.
    Will the BBC broadcast it.

  9. @NStapley
    Touching upon a very important point here; of “the ‘certain type’ of English incomer prevalent in most of those areas [who voted UKIP]; either retirees, or ‘Good Life’ downsizing fantasists”. The measly turnout means that presumably, as per what usually happens in European elections, the electorate who bother to turn out are those who feel strongest toward the EU, and this year those who feel strongest are those who feel the biggest resentment toward it. This, coupled with the prevalence of these ‘certain types’ of English incomers (older mostly well off conservatives) and the measly turnout, mostly of those who feel strongest (resentment) towards the EU has left Wales with disproportionate representation.

    Ah well…this is ‘democracy’. But I bet if turnout was nearer to that expected in next years general election and if younger Welsh voters were more engaged, we may well have been left with a different picture (in terms of popular vote share at least). But, alas, with just 4 MEPs and the D’hondt system things wouldn’t probably look that different.

  10. @ Nigel Stapley

    Many thanks for the link; it’s exactly what I was looking for.

  11. The question appears to be “is ‘Wales’ dead?”, in the sense of Wales as a distinct socio-political area. Seems like visceral British nationalism, hardly surprisingly, has won the day. Goodnight collectivism and hello free market policies hidden beneath a veneer of crude xenophobia.

  12. Right so UKIP came second in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Gwynedd! Now I don’t like it either but could a deluded Welsh nationalist just confirm that fact for me so we can get away from this myth that it’s all down to English immigrants!

  13. Before we get too excited we have to consider that for whatever reasons and it can be complex and proof of complete disenchantment with the current UK democratic process that 68% of the population did not choose to vote. They chose not to vote. To think that this election is some sort of compulsory census on the state of Welsh or European politics is taking it too far. The disenchantment with what is viewed as a corrupt elite is hardly surprising is it.

  14. @ comeoffit

    The KIPpers were 2nd in all the places where they weren’t first. My point is that their 1st places were along the northern, eastern and southern margins where the types of people I referred to tend to be most numerous in percentage terms. You could, incidentally, add the category of those who live along the A55 corridor but have no attachment to where they live, seeing it merely as a lower-price property zone enabling them to live more cheaply whilst commuting to Chester, Merseyside, Manchester and Telford/Birmingham.

    @ Jack Rawls

    I think we have sleepwalked into an existential crisis. We have been too content with minimal devolution, for example, and it seems to have been enough to pacify the natives into a state of complacency. And as we have seen a higher proportion of inward migration in terms of population share than, say, Scotland, we are in danger of being assimilated out of our own country in cultural and societal terms. If you compare the vigorous debate going on in Scotland at present with the non-descript and thoroughly docile nature of political discourse here, you can see how far gone we are.

  15. Comeoffit – Indeed so, no it is not. I am a Plaid member (but deluded or not deluded, well that is for others to decide) more then willing to say this is more than an English issue. It is anti-politics, it is a something which is in the right place and the right time and an election where people are voting for something which feels, and too often is at a great remove, and so they feel free to make an angry cross on their ballot paper.

    For the big three British parties, it is pretty clear that they still do not appreciate how things like the mad parade of PMQs and so on, resonate with people who are less than happy with their lot. So they do deserve an electoral hiding.

    The great worry is that UKIP are most unlikely to help matters in any way, whatever your standpoint may be. It will be fascinating to see how their MEPs perform. Their track record is grim. Likewise, their councilors may not get their local services performing once more.

    The BNP wilted under the glare of exposure at council and EU level after 2009 and were wiped off the electoral map this year. Will this be UKIP’s moment of hubris before nemesis follows?

  16. The two people pleased with this will be Farage and Salmond. Wales looks to be well and truly sunk. The UK will leave the EU and Scotland will leave the UK. Wales will be locked away behind little England which will continue to drift rightwards. Lamentably, I can’t see the Welsh have got what it takes to get out of that bind. Hope I’m wrong.

  17. It’s quite clear that UKIP took votes off all parties including Plaid. Indeed they took 1970’s Rhondda ballot-weighing machine-loads of votes off Labour in the valleys.

    I think we can say therefore that:

    a) new support for UKIP is not really related to their right-of-centre economics (the Conservative vote was as small in the valleys as it has always been for example)
    b) new support for UKIP is not really related to their right-wing position on society and the environment(sexuality, religion, climate change, etc.) (they came second in big, largely liberal (little ‘l’), urban centres like Cardiff and the liberal-green-academic Ceredigion) (Cardiff hasn’t suddenly become homophobic overnight has it?)
    c) new support for UKIP is not really related to their British unionism (all the counties in which UKIP came 1st voted ‘yes’ in the ‘powers’ referendum in 2011 on an identical turnout – they can’t be a different 32% can they? – and came second in nationalist heartlands like Gwynedd) [and of course, UKIP are (officially at least) “very relaxed” about devolution].

    And so what is the new support for UKIP based on?

    Well, there’s only really a few UKIP positions left unaccounted for… anti-EU, anti-immigration and ‘anti-politics’. There may be a constituency for all of these individually, but collectively, somehow, they do seem to be the driver of mass defection.

    It seems as though whole swathes of broadly economically left-wing/centrist, socially liberal and pro-devolution Welsh people are voting UKIP because they want the UK to leave Europe, dislike immigrants and dislike politicians…

    You couldn’t make it up! Well you can… the evidence is there. Somebody’s worked very hard to contort such a strange combination of ideas haven’t they? But who? How?

  18. It is interesting how different comments here represent varying struggles to understand the result and to come to terms with it, some more successful than others.

    Ben, the nature of representative democracy is that we are ‘represented’ by those elected, even if we disagree with them. This can be very frustrating and irritating – not least to a libertarian in socialist Wales! – but can you think of a better system of collective decision-making, at least where collective decision-making is unavoidable? So the UKIP MEP represents the people of Wales no more and no less than any of the other MEPs. Indeed, it could be noted that, having a greater mandate, he has a greater claim to speak for the people of Wales than the MEP from Plaid Cymru ‘The Party of Wales.’

    Mr Tredwyn, Labour were not passive beneficiaries of the gerrymandering: they voted with the Liberals. The Liberals themselves had no right to complain: they were promised a referendum, they got it, and they lost it …badly. Their anti-democratic behaviour on boundary changes was pure pique.

    Phil, there is no point looking for a coherent ideological explanation for UKIP. There is none, beyond a visceral dislike of the increasing intrusion into our lives of an increasingly closed political Establishment. It is true that people in general tend to be socially more small-c conservative than the ruling class, but that is only part of a broader feeling of alienation from the political process that now cuts across class, ideology, and nationality. UKIP’s vote is less about UKIP than about a genuine but inarticulate wider feeling that what this country needs is actual freedom and democracy, not self-serving party politics.

    Finally, congratulations on at least one victory for socialism – thanks WelshNotBritish for posting the very useful breakdown of the vote by county that could not be found on the BBC or any other mainstream website.

  19. @ J R Tredwyn, @JRW: just on a point of fact: the Liberals withdrew support for boundary reform because of the failure to enact House of Lords reform, it was nothing to do with the AV referendum.

  20. @JWR

    “Phil, there is no point looking for a coherent ideological explanation for UKIP.”

    I do not. I think I used the words ideological “contortion”. Though the voting data does enable us to isolate a few drivers that seem more important than others, and if you wish to embellish on my “Europe/immigration/anti-politics” and focus on “a visceral dislike of the increasing intrusion into our lives of an increasingly closed political Establishment”, I’m not going to argue the toss with you, although I think you are mischievously overlooking the race question with that explanation (in what way is immigration incompatible with the “actual freedom and democracy” you say is at the heart of a UKIP voter’s motivations?)

    But in general I agree, and ‘visceral’ is a good adjective around which further discussion can proceed. The visceral is normally driven by instincts, emotions and the senses is it not? Nature’s responses to perceived danger, threats, opportunities? Fight or flight? Longing, lust, grief. The point at which instinct overrides reason?

    Critically assessing the three areas I mentioned (Europe, immigration, politics), is that anxiety justified? Does a rational assessment of the risks and opportunities facing them provide no comfort to our compatriots? Is the reality that surrounds them so terrifying? I suspect not, which leads me to question how so many of them find themselves in this emotional turmoil. In the absence of genuine danger, is visceral anxiety possible without agency?

  21. Efrogwr, you are right but the AV referendum was definitely a background factor and, either way, the word pique still applies.

    Phil, most politics is to a great extent visceral, in the literal sense that few voters have the time or the inclination to analyse rationally from first principles, so they go with their ‘gut instincts.’

    Gut instincts are not necessarily wrong. Evolution has given them to us as a way of processing information in a hurry. So even when they lead to inaccurate conclusions they may be warning us of real dangers.

    Take immigration as an example. It is clearly nonsense to imply we are about to be swamped by zillions of Romanians and Bulgarians, but overpopulation is still a very real practical problem. Cardiff is about to be ruined by a disastrous development plan that advocates a huge increase in the number of residents with no credible plan to increase the number of jobs in the city, and public services and infrastructure already stretched. Hardly any of these new residents will be from Romania or Bulgaria, but the damage will still be done because politicians are too frightened to talk about population.

    Race is honestly not an issue for most people, nor is the clash of ‘nationalisms’ that obsesses so many of the contributors to this website. The majority seem to be patriotic but pragmatic, whether that pragmatism takes them to a Unionist or a Welsh Nationalist conclusion.

  22. John Winterson Richards writes: “Race is honestly not an issue for most people, nor is the clash of ‘nationalisms’ that obsesses so many of the contributors to this website”. What remarkable naivety. I’d love to live in your rose-coloured world. Apart from all of the openly racist comments that I have heard in the last month or so during the elections, the other disturbing thing I encountered was the anti–Welsh sentiments that so many UKIP supporters displayed. One delightful character in Ynys Mon even told me that Cymraeg was “a filthy language”. Today, as never before in my 62 years of exisiting, are the dividing lines between Welsh and British nationalisms so evident. Startingly so, I would say.

  23. Martin, you are right in one respect: there is undoubtedly more actual racism in this country than there was, say, 20 years ago – but the blame for this lies not with UKIP or even the BNP but with the policies of the Establishment parties.

    Yet, that having been said, it is true only within the context of the previous statement, that the vast majority of British people do not see race as an issue, nor do they see their national identity, whether British or Welsh or both, as the defining factor in their political beliefs. Although sanctimonious so-called ‘political correctness’ is generally disliked, and is probably counter-productive, most of the people who dislike it also consider genuine racism as very bad form. The deeply-embedded casual racism one finds in the United States and Europe is found only in a small, if growing, minority here.

  24. In the EU Region called Wales we still have 3 EUrophile MEPs and 1 seeking BREXIT – so nothing has really changed except the numbers and one of the names on the doors. But it was nearly two all and it shows how sick of the political establishment in Wales the people are… UKIP don’t come second in places like Gwynedd unless the people are angry!

    Congratulations to Nathan Gill and UKIP Wales for running a positive and clean campaign in the face of what I can only describe as the dirtiest election campaign I can ever remember!

    The dirty tricks are not over yet as Cameron’s fixers try to lure away UKIP’s natural allies in the European Parliament to try and prevent UKIP from forming a x-border working group with the committee places and funding that goes with it. My own view is that Farage should swallow his pride and join Front National, the Dutch PVV party, and so on in a stronger anti-EU bloc. UKIP are damned if they do and damned if they don’t so they might as well be damned and in a strong anti-EU bloc with substantial funding.

  25. Fully agree with John R Walker. Let UKIP go in with Le Pen and the others. That’s their ideology after all, and they should proudly display it. The last thing we need is racists and xenophobes pretending they are anything but racists and xenophobes.

  26. Well John R Walker let us thank heaven for Fox News and objective reporting.

  27. What John R Walker objects to is scrutiny. He’s quite happy to throw mud at everyone else but cries ‘foul’ when people throw mud back. Sorry JR but we live in a democracy which includes a free press.

    UKIP were able to achieve the result they did without any substantial policies. The advantage of this is that people can project their fears, hopes and aspirations onto a blank canvas. The real test will come in September with the publication of their manifesto. Then it won’t be quite so easy to throw stones when you start living in a greenhouse.

  28. RBJ

    “What John R Walker objects to is scrutiny.”

    What absolute drivel! I quit UKIP back in 2004 over it’s lack of policy and failure to ‘do politics’ – most specifically its long-standing failure to come up with a viable, or any, BREXIT plan which underpins its reason for being. I totally agree that very little has changed and I am still highly critical of these failings. If you read through my recent comments you will find some references to this.

    But that does not warrant the blanket smearing of UKIP candidates and voters as bigots, racists, and xenophobes based on the actions of a tiny minority. And there is very little difference between UKIP not having what you call “substantial polices” and other parties which have policies which are either proven to have failed or may reasonably be expected to fail. Does Plaid have a detailed roadmap to independence? No! So, using your logic, why should anybody vote for it? A week is a long time in politics so there isn’t that much point in producing detailed manifestos when there isn’t much chance of being in power to enact them. To me UKIP is simply the least bad option on the ballot paper these days – but it is clearly ‘fixable’ which is more than I can say for the Tory party I grew up with! All I expect is a fair fight with a sense of perspective and fair play. UKIP have not had this during this election campaign. The upside is that it has clearly back-fired.

    I want more objective scrutiny both of UKIP and by UKIP. If you want some scrutiny then take a long hard look at Plaid controlled Gwynedd Council’s record on employment:

    They’re pretty good at talking the talk on equality and diversity but when it comes down to it their own figure for employing BEM staff was 23 out of 7,417 or 0.31% (page 44) which is about 10% of what would be expected from the local population ethnic breakdown and a lot less than if the best candidates were being recruited from across the UK. 0.31% makes UKIP’s current BEM MEP percentage of 8.33% look pretty good – especially for a bunch of alleged racists…

  29. The UKIP vote reminds the Welsh political class that British issues matter for a very large porportion of the elctorate in Wales – even usually Labour voters who appear to have voted for UKIP in considerable numbers. Without UKIP Labour would surely have gone over 35% in this election. if memory serves, the Tories got 38% in Wales in th 83 Westminster election setting off the same kind of hysteria when Welsh voters were basically reflecting UK trends and the view then that Labour wasn’t electable.

    The result suggests also that there is a big consttuency in Wales for that other British political reflex – euro-sceptcism. The combined UKIP/Tory vote is indicative of that reflex and came to a rather big 45% in this election, with no doubt some Tory voters not being anti-european but also many Labour voters deciding to vote Labour despite being themselves euro-sceptic.

    Another thing often forgotten is how English parts of Wales are becoming , especially in the former Welsh-speaking heartlands and along the border. In some parts of Wales now the Welsh-born are indeed a minority.This has political as well as cultural consequence. In some parts this has boosted the Green vote but also clearly helps the Tories do well in some previously unexpected areas – and now UKIP.

    As to the rot about ‘clear red water’ between Wales and England, there is little evidence of that in a result lioke this. It also suggests that Labour is not picking up anti-coalition government votes as a protest. Indeed, it is in government in Cardiff and part of this vote – even though in a Euro-election – must be seen as a judgement on its performance .

    A sobering result for the Welsh political class – not that reality affects their views very much

  30. I wasn’t arguing that only UKIP should be scrutinised. All parties have to face scrutiny by the media and the judgment of the voters. The point is that all the other parties have a manifesto record on which they can be judged. UKIP’s last manifesto was completely torn up by one man, hardly a characteristic of a democratic party. So there is the difference between the main parties and UKIP.

    Regards your point on Gwynedd County Council and employment policies, I think that there is an issue of Cymreictod as an exclusive culture. It simply doesn’t acknowledge any other culture than its own as having a legitimate place and perspective within the Welsh language. The consequence of that is what you describe above. However, I don’r remember any Plaid or Labour or Conservative members telling Lenny Henry that he should go back to his own country.

  31. I overheard an interesting conversation between three shop assistants in West Wales today. All of them in their early twenties or younger. The youngest was being berated by the other two for voting for UKip.

    From what I could gather she knew absolutely nothing about UKip’s politics but had voted for them because everyone was talking about UKip and they were always on TV. It seemed she voted for them so she would be part of this wave of enthusiasm for UKip and mass inclusion in would bright as she might experience perhaps by buying a must have phone app or becoming a member of a must join social network.

  32. CapM, the gross ignorance of people voting on the basis of fashion or tribalism is always with us and is part of the price we pay for universal suffrage. The greatest beneficiary in our time of voting mainly on the basis of fashion was “Call Me Tony” in 1997 and 2001. Fashion was also on the side of the “Yes” Campaign in the 1997 Referendum, and was probably worth at least 7,000 votes.

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