The Tories ahead in Wales

YouGov/ITV's poll.

It’s clear that this is going to be a historic election in Wales. A YouGov poll just released by Roger Scully shows the Tories on 40% to Labour’s 30% - in Wales!

He deserved a bardic robe for maintaining the embargo, and a poker face, on this one over the weekend. According to this poll, the Tories will win 21 seats to Labour’s 15.

The real hammer blow for Labour are the UKIP votes turning from purple to blue. Nigel Farage’s party seems to have become a gateway through which Brexit supporting Welshmen and women have passed from Labour to the Tories.

This changes the dynamic in some seats, like Ynys Môn, completely. It now looks like a Plaid vs Tory race rather than a Plaid v Labour one.

It’s not necessarily good news for Plaid Cymru, however, who could fall to 3rd place in some previously competitive seats surrounding the valleys.

I'm not convinced that this represents a new political order in Wales. Labour have a historically bad leader. Theresa May is on her honeymoon as a new PM. The Brexit sh**t hasn't hit the fan yet.

This could well be the Tories' high water mark in Wales for the next few decades.

What could this political volcano mean for nationalism in Wales more broadly?

It makes the argument that Wales’ political will isn’t represented at Westminster more difficult. Wales and England have become much closer aligned politically.

It could mean that Welsh Labour are more likely to support more autonomy for Wales, as it’s unlikely to be a stepping stone to Westminster anytime soon. Remember that the difference between the ’79 referendum and ’97 was more than a decade of Tory government.

UKIP as a political force in Wales seems to be in permanent decline. This can only be a good thing. At least the Tories are competent!

Progressive Alliance

What's notable about this poll is that Welsh Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats still make up a relatively comfortable majority.

What the Tories have managed to do, which the SNP did in Scotland post-Indyref, is to make the election a second referendum and then monopolise one-half of the vote.

This goes to show that FPTP doesn't really work in multi-party systems and should ideally be replaced by PR, or better yet STV, as soon as possible.

But since we're stuck with FPTP for the moment, is there a case for some kind of Progressive Alliance in Wales?

It's clear that the Tories are making hay while the sun shines. But once Brexit loses its potency as an issue Labour are likely to gain ground again in Wales. It's notable that a local election poll by YouGov has Labour in the lead, 28% to the Tories' 26%.

Brain drain

Is has to be asked, however, to what extent Labour's chronic mismanagement of the Welsh economy is finally coming back to bite them on the derrière?

Until the Welsh economy improves (it's the weakest in western Europe at the moment) the brain drain to young people will continue, to be replaced only by older retirees.

Older people tend to vote for the Conservatives, while younger voters are more likely to plump for Labour.


  1. My personal hope is that Labour will terminate to be as a UK centralised Party and that we can form an alliance with Plaid Cymru and Liberals for an independence movement in Wales. Not sure what the odds are, but I get the feeling that they will shorten in the coming years.


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