IWA Podcast: The results

The IWA Podcast looks at the results of the Welsh Assembly election 2016.

In the early hours of this morning we finally heard the full results of this year’s Assembly election.

While Labour remain by far the largest party they have fallen just short of an overall majority, but with a fragmented opposition and the rise of UKIP could avoid having to make a formal coalition agreement.

Despite going into the evening with confidence, the Welsh Conservatives failed to win any of their target seats and ended the night having lost three Assembly Members.

Plaid Cymru moved into second place in the Assembly, with a high point for the party being Leader Leanne Wood’s victory in Rhondda over Labour big beast Leighton Andrews.

The Lib Dems saw near wipeout for the party in the Senedd, with Leader Kirsty Williams being the lone representative of the party left in the Assembly. She’ll now face a difficult road in getting her voice heard, but could be a good ally for Labour in terms of one off deals and agreements.

It was a good night for UKIP in Wales with the party winning their first seats. They came away with seven in total, all on the regional lists. But the party has been marred with allegations of internal strife and there is some speculation that Leader Nathan Gill may not have the full support of his colleagues.

The latest IWA Podcast discusses these results and their implications. Jess Blair is joined by Owen Hathway of NUT, Daran Hill of Positif and Jac Larner from the Wales Governance Centre.

You can listen below:

20 thoughts on “IWA Podcast: The results

  1. I think the shouty farmer has to go. As a list member he is a plastic AM and so lacks credibility – his own community don’t want him as their representative do they ? It was a stupid move to run the ‘turncoat’ Price in Mid Wales. Just because they have got away with that stunt in SE Wales with Ashgar for a while doesn’t mean the electorate will swallow it when they have a direct say at constituency level and as you point out that regional vote was disappointing.

  2. And so the IWA will be looking for a new director. It will be hard to find someone who matches Lee’s enthusiasm and ability.

  3. Just as last year’s General Election was more about a rejection of Labour than an endorsement of the Conservatives, so the Assembly election was more about a rejection of the Conservatives than an endorsement of Labour.

    It was not simply that the Conservatives fought a bad campaign: Jayne Cowan in Cardiff North, for example, was incredibly hard working and seems to have had a lot of money behind her, but still lost.

    The Conservatives’ problem is deeper than ‘not getting their message across.’ They are increasingly out of touch with their base. That base overlooked its discontent last year out of fear of ‘Red Ed’ becoming Prime Minister, but that should not allow the Conservative hierarchy to flatter itself into thinking that they won then because of their own brilliance.

    The party is particularly out of touch with its strongly Unionist base over its policies on the Assembly itself. Its Assembly candidates had no answer to the question ‘Why should we bother voting for you when your party’s policy is to give more power to an Assembly which it is not going to win and which will almost certainly be run by Labour?’

    UKIP were the main beneficiaries of this Unionist swing away from the Conservatives. No one really cared that UKIP now accepts the Assembly. The point is that UKIP are replacing the Conservatives as the party generally perceived as being wrapped in the Union Jack.

    It will be interesting to see if his trend continues after the European referendum. If it does, the Conservatives should not be so complacent about the 2020 General Election. In particular, they need to come up with a strategy to reconnect with their base if it votes ‘Leave’ when Britain as a whole votes ‘Remain.’ The eventual consequences of a party continuing to ignore its base are currently being illustrated perfectly by the collective political suicide of the US Republican Party.

    The Conservatives cannot claim they were not warned.

  4. UKIP is the depository for the Unionist and xenophobic vote. As that is quite substantial (15-20%) they are here to stay, whether we remain in the EU or opt to be separatist.

  5. Neatly put and perceptive JWR. This was a good election for demonstrating how out of touch both Labour and the Conservative parties are with people in Wales. As you point out Conservative voters are not on the whole fans of devolution but more specifically they are not fans of the “devolution journey” or “devocreep” as I prefer to call it.
    If the Conservative party is not a Unionist party then what is it for? The naive ploy of giving the Assembly government tax varying powers, and that without a referendum, just underlines how out of touch the Tories are with their core vote. I know the thinking…it went something like this: “Tories don’t raise taxes, Labour do raise taxes. If we give the Assembly tax varying powers then people will vote Conservative to avoid the party that will raise their taxes”.
    What Conservative voters actually heard went something like this: “Labour and Plaid separately or together will be in power in Wales for the rest of my lifetime. If they have the power to fund Wales through taxation then they will do so. I am middle class and middle income; I will be worse off. I am a Unionist at heart and the Conservatives want to break up the Union by giving more powers to the Welsh Assembly.”
    If they wanted to, the Tories could have seen all this by just looking at the regular YouGov polls that asked about the devolution of income tax varying powers:-

    Gives the overall picture and:-


    Page 5 gives a breakdown of opinion by party voting intention. The message is clear; of those with an opinion on devolution of tax varying powers amongst both UKIP and Tory voters, twice as many are “against” as are “for”. What sensible party would ignore two thirds of its electorate?

    Here’s the irony; If the conservatives had stated loud and clear that they opposed any further devolution of powers; that “Silk” was in the bin, they would have decimated the UKIP vote. If UKIP had clearly stated that, as far as they are concerned, the devolution train was in a siding then THEY would have taken the ATWAP vote and a good share of the Tory vote.

    There is in Wales an unrepresented middle ground in politics. People like me see the Assembly as a barrier to enforced extreme policies from a UK parliament often dominated by Conservatives. I don’t want PPI, I don’t want the privatisation of schools into profit making academies nor do I want to see the NHS being used as a cash cow for private enterprise. I do want to see higher education tuition fees kept low so that young people do not enter the world of work with massive debt. So you can see that I am a supporter of the devolution that has already taken place…or a supporter in principle.
    I am, however, a Unionist. I do not want the ever increasing wedge that is driven between Wales and the UK (England in reality). I do not want Labour’s endless emphasis on the “Welshification” of every policy; its gradual drift into just another version of Plaid.
    So, at this election I voted Labour at constituency level and “Abolish the Welsh Assembly” in the North Wales region. In North Wales more people were inclined to vote ATWAP than LibDem. They weren’t Conservatives because Conservatives had an interest in the regional seats they weren’t Plaid voters. They may have been disgusted UKIP voters but, most likely they were Unionist Labour voters.

    Think on it.

  6. I would like to see a strong central party that will fight for Wales, the UK and the EU and an end to the one party dominance that exists in South Wales. While Labours lead governments have been good for Wales their hold on power in Wales is too strong and it’s good to see their arm lock on power being eroded. Disappointing Plaids breakthrough fell just short and the Libs have all but disappeared. Everyone deserves a second chance and Neil Hamilton is a big hitter for the UKIPs and the cash-for-questions affair was never proven. But mud sticks, in this case probably rightly, but we know of his past, it’s the ones we don’t know about that cause upsets, and hopefully Neil can work for the benefit of a better and stronger Wales and a better UK, its unfortunate the UKIP are not prepared to work for a better EU and their plans could drag all of the UK down

  7. J. Jones, your post is quite interesting, though I am unsure what exactly you are trying to say. It seems like you are trying (and failing) to convince yourself that Welsh citizens are against devolution.

    Here are some counter statements that should take half the time to read:

    The swing towards devolution between ‘79 and ‘97 was massive.

    The last two referendums on further powers have been WON (the most recent by a 2:1 margin). I could also point out the ‘no’ side could barely muster a campaign in 2011 and that it is generally harder to win referendums when changing the status-quo. (Please spare us the low turnout nonsense. Fact is, it was a democratic referendum)

    You use Roger Scully’s blog as a source and are right to do so. Here is what he said on the recent findings from March:

    “As has been the case with pretty much every survey that has asked this type of question over the last DECADE and more, the results show STRONG MAJORITY support for devolution in Wales. Public appetite for either independence or the abolition of devolution seems very limited. And among those who endorse devolution, the balance of opinion is modestly in the direction of support for some FURTHER powers”.

    Add to this that the Abolish party got 4.5% of the vote only last Thursday. The two most pro-devolution parties in the election came first and second.

    So where are the ‘silent majority’? It really is unfortunate that this majority does not show up in polls, referendums or elections.

    May I suggest that we replace the word ‘silent’ with ‘non-existent’?

    Finally, as someone in my mid-twenties, I have not been able to find a single person my age, from any political leaning (including UKIP and the Tories) who is against more powers being devolved to Wales. We grew up with Assembly, we see the devolution of tax powers, policing etc. as normal.

    With the permanence of the soon-to-be parliament enshrined in the forthcoming Wales bill, the last stand of the middle-class, middle-aged, white British men has passed.

  8. @ J.Jones
    “People like me see the Assembly as a barrier to enforced extreme policies from a UK parliament”

    And you go on to list a number of examples of policy differences between Wales and England.
    So despite deriding the “Welshification” of Wales you actually support its “Welshification” when the resultant policies suit you. However you get upset when the “Welshification” policies don’t suit you.
    I think if you accepted that Wales is our democracy and not your utopia it would lessen your angst.

  9. I love this kind of statement ” I have not been able to find a single person my age…..who is against more powers being devolved to Wales”.

    But you see that my particular viewpoint is not inconsistent either with what you say or with what CapM says. In fact there is a pretty steady small majority in favour of either the status quo (no further powers) or abolition of the Welsh Assembly. To say that those who wish to abolish the Assembly are non existent when some 44,000 people voted to do just that last Thursday is rather odd although I can’t ever remember claiming a “Majority” for that viewpoint…silent or otherwise.

    I don’t of course argue either that there are political parties in Wales (apart from ATWAP) that are against further devolution…there never was a politician who spotted a gravy train with a band wagon buffet car that could resist jumping on board and so it is in Wales.

    I don’t expect some Welsh utopia with ONLY my viewpoint represented but surely it’s not unreasonable to wish for a competent administration and at least the occasional politician with a enough moral fibre to challenge the unlovely consensus down in the Bay of Mediocrity.

  10. The type of person who supports ATWAP also tend to, en masse, be living in the past. If that is too harsh, I will soften it a bit by saying that they have not yet caught up to the future.

    I don’t blame them, they probably grew up in a post-war rule Britannia situation where all was white and rosy.

    Back to my initial point, the ATWAP do not offer a viable alternative of governance nor consider the wider devolution going on, be it in Scotland or Manchester. To simply say that we should go back to an unelected Welsh Office is once again harkening back to a time when not all was well. Do they not remember the eighties?

    As for UKIP, I would argue that they are willing to go to some pretty dark places to win votes. They declare themselves to be the “people’s voice”, willing to say what other politicians are too scared to think. And yet, their strategists decided not to go after devolution or the Welsh language. I wonder why? Could it be that that is not a vote winner in Wales?

  11. @J.Jones
    “…..moral fibre to challenge the unlovely consensus down in the Bay of Mediocrity. ”
    What exactly is this “unlovely consensus” you’d like those with “moral fibre” to challenge on your behalf?

  12. J.Jones

    The argument was “Welsh” people supporting the Assembly. From the results of the election, the extremists of Abolish Wales Party got their biggest support in the South East and North East of Wales. That is the areas of Wales with most English immigration. So no cigar for correctly guessing the nationality of Abolish Wales voters . To pretend that the Abolish Wales Party is supported by Welsh people is an absurd myth propagated by English nationalists.

  13. “As for UKIP, I would argue that they are willing to go to some pretty dark places to win votes.” Or influence it seems…surely no “darker place” for a Unionist anti EU party than standing alongside separatist, pro EU Plaid.

  14. @J.Jones
    “…surely no “darker place” for a Unionist anti EU party than standing alongside separatist, pro EU Plaid. ”
    So in your opinion does that mean you think they have that elusive “moral fibre” you were hoping for or that they don’t have it?

  15. Not so much “moral fibre” CapM, and even less moral rectitude and when it comes to collective intellect they really fall short. But here we are; Victor D’Hondt decrees and we must accept.
    One serious misapplication of logic is being put forward by Plaid however; it goes like this:-
    More voters voted for other parties in the Assembly elections than voted for Labour.
    Therefore the electorate has voted to have a collaboration of parties governing the country.

    This is not true of course; you could pick any pairing of two or more political parties and it is unlikely that that pairing would satisfy as great a proportion of the electorate as would be happy to see Labour remain in power.

  16. J. Jones I have given my evidence, areas with high English immigration have a higher vote for the Abolish Wales Party than areas with low English immigration. Plus the fact that the Abolish Wales Party was founded by an English immigrant

  17. J. Jones

    The evidence is all around. To quote one famous song “open your eyes and see”.

    I have no problem with different nationalities moving to Wales. I do have a problem with certain nationalities (not saying which one, it may or may not be the English) that have moved to Wales, and loudly complain about foreigners who have moved to their own country (not saying its England) not integrating and who want to impose their own culture and ideas on that country (again I am not saying its England), but those nationalities then set up parties such as the Abolish Wales Party or else support their sister party the Red Lions Dart team (aka the English Democrats). I don’t have a problem with a certain party, and I am not saying its the UKIP, who mistaken believe they are fighting for English freedom from foreign domination, but want to stop the Scots and Welsh having any measure of freedom. It is hypocritical to fight for English freedom from perceived foreign domination yet deny freedom to others. Or else interfere with the Welsh branch of that party, again I am not saying its the UKIP, and tell them what leader they should have.

  18. @J.Jones
    “Victor D’Hondt decrees and we must accept.”
    No Labour in Westminster decreed that the D’Hondt system be used and we in Wales had to accept.

    “One serious misapplication of logic is being put forward by Plaid however; it goes like this:-
    More voters voted for other parties in the Assembly elections than voted for Labour.”
    Therefore the electorate has voted to have a collaboration of parties governing the country.”

    If you think the First Minister vote was a step to a “rainbow alliance” in the Senedd then I imagine your finger is as far from the political pulse of Wales as it’s possible for you to put it.
    It’s your logic that is faulty as it excludes the possibility of collaborations between Labour and any other party or parties including Plaid.

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