Archive for the 'Harry Hayfield’s local election preview' Category

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Local By-Election Preview: July 2nd 2015

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Grantham, Barrowby on Lincolnshire (Con defence)
Result of council at last election (2013): Conservatives 36, United Kingdom Independence Party 16, Labour 12, Lincolnshire Independents 8, Liberal Democrats 3, Independents 2 (No Overall Control, Conservatives short by 3)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Conservatives 558 (38%), Independent 476 (32%), Labour 442 (30%)
Candidates duly nominated: Rob Shorrock (Lab), Maureen Simon (UKIP), Mark Whittington (Con)

Lincolnshire, on the face of it, looks rather boring. Since 1989 it’s only gone NOC twice (1993 as part of the Conservative post Black Wednesday disaster, 2013 as part of the UKIP surge) but underneath that boringness there have been some interesting changes particularly in Grantham (ancestral home of Lady Thatcher).

There are five county wards that make up the town (Barrowby, East, North, North West, South) and in 2005 those wards reflected the closeness of the general election with the Conservatives on 41%, Labour on 40%, the Independents on 10% and the Lib Dems on 9% with the Conservatives winning two of the seats and Labour winning three.

Then came the disaster of 2009 for Labour, as their vote collapsed to just 16% allowing the Conservatives to win all five seats on a swing of nearly 15% from Labour to Conservative and although Labour did manage to make a gain in Grantham in 2013, they only managed to poll 30% with the Conservative vote virtually unchanged as UKIP polled 11%, the Independents 10% and the Liberal Democrats on 2% which therefore poses the question “How will the electors of Barrowby see this by-election?”.

If they see it as “Well, excuse me, I’m not the person who was elected as a new county councillor in 2013 and then goes swanning off to Westminster as the new MP for Bury St. Edmunds, in Suffolk I may point out!” then UKIP (with their past track record of taking votes from Independents and Conservatives) could make yet another gain in the county. However, if they take the attitude “Jo has made a principled stand. She cannot be an MP and a county councillor at the same time” then the Conservatives should be able to hold this marginal and Labour could be the ones to suffer from UKIP.

Hampton Wick on Richmond upon Thames (Con defence)
Result of council at last election (2014): Conservatives 39, Liberal Democrats 15 (Conservative majority of 24)
Result of ward at last election (2014) : Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,870, 1,708, 1,586 (50%)
Green Party 696 (19%)
Liberal Democrats 676, 647, 593 (18%)
Labour 522, 520, 474 (14%)
Candidates: Anthony Breslin (Green), Jon Hollis (Con), Michael Lloyd (Ind), Geraldine Locke (Lib Dem), Sam Naz (UKIP), Paul Tanto (Lab)

“I must admit, it was with more than a little trepidation that I approached my destination” were the opening words to the BBC drama serial that bears this ward’s name. The serial (broadcast in 1971) was written by G. Wiley and a gentlemen. Therefore, people of a certain age will instantly recognise that this was one of the serials produced as part of the “Two Ronnies”. And why was the serial named after a ward in London? Because the lead character was having a post operation fuelled dream at Hampton Wick Cottage Hospital.

And looking at the result in 2014, I rather fear that’s the only way the Liberal Democrats will be able win this ward which poses the question if the Conservatives were to lose, who might gain? Well, we know from past experience that UKIP do have a London problem and Labour aren’t strong in the south west of the capital so how about the Greens? Well, 19% at the last elections from just a single candidate does suggest that Richmond may be turning over a Green leaf and then there’s the Independent who didn’t contest in 2014, but all in all I think that the former Conservative councillor (now a Conservative MP) will be very confident in congratulating his new Conservative successor in a few hours time.

Harry Hayfield



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Local By-Election Preview : June 30th 2015

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Pentyrch on Cardiff (Con defence)
Result of council at last election (2012): Labour 46, Liberal Democrats 16, Conservatives 7, Independents 4, Plaid Cymru 2 (Labour majority of 17)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Conservative 772 (54%), Labour 413 (29%), Plaid Cymru 171 (12%), Green 40 (3%), Liberal Democrat 22 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Cadan ap Tomos (Lib Dem), Paul Fisher (Lab), Gavin Hill (Con), Munawar Mughal (Ind), Ruth Osner (Green), Hywel Wigley (Plaid)

Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, has always had a local council and it has followed the twists and turns of Welsh politics over the years in more or less the same way as the national picture. When the council was created in 1973, during the oil crisis and the lack of confidence in Edward Heath’s administration, Labour won control of the new council, however not by the margin you might think.

They only had a 3% popular vote lead and a majority of nine in the council chamber so it should come as no suprise that in 1976, the Conservatives romped house with a popular vote lead of 24% (on a 13.5% swing) and getting an overall majority of 13.

But, as we have seen in recent elections held on general election day, Labour voters always come back and in 1979, Labour regained control (despite losing the popular vote by 3%) but it’s the council members that matter and with 41 to the Conservatives 34, Labour were back in charge but it all flipped around in 1983 when the Conservative regained control with a majority of 3 (helped by the newly found Alliance who polled 19% of the vote and causing the Labour vote to fall by 10%) but even that didn’t last long as in 1987, Cardiff became hung.

The Conservatives won 25 councillors (36% vote share), Labour won 29 councillors (35% vote share) and the Alliance won 11 councillors (27% vote share) but in 1991 it was Labour who had the smiles and the majority as they polled 44% of the vote and won an overall majority of 16 as the Conservatives plunged and Labour became confident of winning every seat in Cardiff in 1992.

Sadly for them that didn’t happen, and in 1993 John Redwood announced that Cardiff would become a unitary authority with the first elections being held in 1995. And my word, talk about a landslide. Labour polled 57% of the vote and won 56 out of 67 seats with the Liberal Democrats taking their position as the first ever non Conservative opposition on the council.

And what of the Conservatives you ask? 16% vote share and just one lowly councillor. In 1999, it was clear that the Liberal Democrats were the party making inroads. In those Assembly elections they won Cardiff Central and in the locals polled 28% of the vote (higher than in 1987) and won 17 councillors and they sensed that take off was happening, confirmed in 2004 when the unthinkable happened.

The Liberal Democrats became the largest party on the council with 32 seats and a 33% vote share and although all the parties were equal in the 2008 local elections (Con 28%, Lab 27%, Lib Dem 26%) the Lib Dems remained the largest party just three short of an overall majority. Then came 2012. Labour 40%, Conservatives 18%, Liberal Democrats 18% electing a Labour majority suggesting that Cardiff had come full circle once again and was now as perhaps it always had been a Labour heartland.

Harry Hayfield



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Local By-Election Preview : June 25th 2015

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Market and West Deeping on South Kesteven (Deferred Election: One Conservative Defence and Two Independent Defences from 2011)
Result of council at last full election (2011): Conservatives 39, Independents 12, Labour 6, Liberal Democrats 1 (Conservative majority of 20)
Result of ward at last full election (2011) : Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives: 959, 766 (40%)
Independents: 847, 844, 533 (35%)
Green Party: 622, 330, 302 (26%)
Candidates duly nominated:
Conservative: Nick Neilson
Liberal Democrats: Adam Brookes
Independents: Ashley Baxter, Bob Broughton, David Shelton
United Kingdom Independence Party: William Learoyd, Robert O’Farrell, Roger Woodbridge

South Kesteven has always had a Conservative history but like the rest of rural Lincolnshire the Independents have always been a strong force. In 2003, there were twelve of them, in 2007 they increased to fifteen before falling back to twelve again in 2011.

However, in the local elections in the other parts of the county the Indepenents had a new opposition in the form of UKIP with a total of 33 district councillors being elected compared to just 18 Independents. There is already a UKIP councillor on South Kesteven so could UKIP take those two Independent seats or as we saw last week have UKIP peaked already?

Romsey on Cambridgeshire (Liberal Democrat defence)
Result of council at last election (2013): Conservatives 32, Liberal Democrats 14, United Kingdom Independence Party 12, Labour 7, Independents 4 (No Overall Control, Conservatives short by 3)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Liberal Democrat 1,118 (48%), Labour 741 (32%), Green Party 138 (6%), Cambridge Socialists 118 (5%), United Kingdom Independence Party 118 (5%), Conservatives 103 (4%)
Candidates duly nominated: Debbie Aitchison (Green), Richard Jeffs (UKIP), Nichola Martin (Lib Dem), Zoe Moghadas (Lab), Raja Rahatul (Con)

Cambridgeshire can be a rather confusing county. Not only does it have two wards that sound the same (RAMSEY and ROMSEY) but because it’s the districts that deal with the elections not the county, you need to know what part of the county is up for election before making an assessment. For instance RAMSEY is in Huntingdonshire (Con / UKIP battleground) where as ROMSEY is in Cambridge (Lab / Lib Dem battleground) and so as a result you might think the Liberal Democrats are looking at this by-election and thinking “Oh dear, here we go again!”.

Yes, Labour did indeed gain Cambridge at the general election but only on an 8% swing from Lib Dem to Lab (2% lower than the national swing) but the Liberal Democrat vote only fell from 39% to 35% (thanks in part to the Conservative vote collapsing from 26% to 16%) in other words clear tactical voting by Conservatives to keep the Liberal Democrat in. Now, I realise that in Romsey with only 4% of the vote that probably won’t happen but could another party come to the Lib Dems aid or indeed could Labour voters think that this election is not worth coming out to vote for?

Harry Hayfield



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Local By-Election Results : June 18th 2015

Friday, June 19th, 2015

North Highcliffe and Walkford on Christchurch (Deferred Election, Two Conservative Defences)
Result: Emboldened denotes elected
Labour: Donald Barr 143, Gareth Walls 132
Conservatives: Sally Derham-Wilkes 793 , Nick Geary 775
United Kingdom Independence Party: Robin Grey 315, Janet Hatton 288
Two Conservative HOLDS

Holmwoods on Mole Valley (Deferred Election, One Liberal Democrat Defence from 2011, one UKIP defence from 2014)
Result: Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives: James Baird 492, Emma Whittinger 458
United Kingdom Independence Party: Michael Foulston 201, Stephen Morgan 180
Liberal Democrats: Clare Malcolmson 804 , Clayton Wellman 768
Green Party: Michael Suggett 78, Jeff Zie 105
One Liberal Democrat HOLD, One Liberal Democrat GAIN from UKIP

Harry Hayfield



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Local By-Election Preview: June 18th 2015

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

North Highcliffe and Walkford on Christchurch (Deferred Election, Two Conservative Defences)
Result of last full election (2011): Conservatives 21, Independents 2, Liberal Democrats 1 (Conservative majority of 18)
Result of ward at last full election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,136, 1,001 (75%)
Labour: 381 (25%)
Candidates duly nominated:
Labour: Donald Barr, Gareth Walls
Conservatives: Sally Derham-Wilkes, Nick Geary
United Kingdom Independence Party: Robin Grey, Janet Hatton

It has often been said that the seaside resorts of Britain “have seen better days”. For the Liberal Democrats the same could be said for Christchurch, scene of their spectaclar 1993 by-election gain from the Conservatives, now a rock solid Conservative seat with the Liberal Democrats near the bottom of the list and it’s same for the council as well.

Back in 2003, a decade after that gain, there were just eight Liberal Democrat councillors elected, a figure that halved four years later, and then reduced by a further three quarters in 2011 and then wiped out completely in 2015.

And who has been helped by these losses? Well, yes the Conservatives have increased their tally from 14 to 21 in that timescale but that one has not gone to the Independents but UKIP so might UKIP have another chance at proving where there is a virtual one party state, protest voters vote UKIP only to desert them at the next election?

Holmwoods on Mole Valley (Deferred Election, One Liberal Democrat Defence from 2011, one UKIP defence from 2014)
Result of last full election (2014): Conservatives 23, Liberal Democrats 11, Independents 6, United Kingdom Independence Party 1 (Conservative majority of 5)
Result of ward (2011): Liberal Democrat 863 (42%), Conservative 743 (36%), UKIP 238 (12%), Labour 226 (11%)
Result of ward (2014): UKIP 608 (32%), Conservative 551 (29%), Liberal Democrat 504 (26%), Labour 133 (7%), Green 127 (7%)
Candidates duly nominated:
Conservatives: James Baird, Emma Whittinger
United Kingdom Independence Party: Michael Foulston, Stephen Morgan
Liberal Democrats: Clare Malcolmson, Clayton Wellman
Green Party: Michael Suggett, Jeff Zie

Mole Valley in Surrey has always been a rather Conservative / Liberal Democrat love / hate relationship of a council. Back in 2003, the council was hung with the Conservatives short by two of a majority and the Liberal Democrats only six short. The Conservatives gained an overall majority on the council in the 2006 elections but four years later the Independents levelled all of their guns at the Conservatives and managed to make three net gains which coupled with the Lib Dem net gain robbed the Conservatives of their overall majority.

Despite the national disasters that were the 2011 and 2012 local elections nationally, the Liberal Democrats in Mole Valley actually managed to make gains however that all reversed in 2014 as the Conservatives came roaring back and with these two councillors still to declare the Conservatives gained control this year with a majority of 5 in an election that saw the Liberal Democrats collapse to their lowest level of councillors for over a decade.

Harry Hayfield



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By election preview 26th of March 2015

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Glenrothes West and Kinglassie on Fife (Lab defence)

Result of council at last election (2012) : Labour 35, Scottish National Party 26, Liberal Democrats 10, Independents 4, Conservatives 3 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 5)

Result of ward at last election (2012) : E denotes Elected

Scottish National Party: Brown 910 E, Walker 349, Grant 941 E (42%)
Labour: Craik 708 E, Campbell 1,424 E (41%)
Independents: Robertson 147, Taylor 192 (7%)
Scottish Pensioners Party: Dawson 271 (5%)
Conservative: Irvine 155 (3%)
Liberal Democrat: Adamson 83 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Martin Green (UKIP), Jane Liston (Lib Dem), Alan Seath (Lab), Craig Walker (SNP), John Wheatley (Con)

Buckie on Moray (Ind defence)

Result of council at last election (2012) : Independents 10, Scottish National Party 10, Conservatives 3, Labour 3 (No Overall Control, Independents and Scottish National Party short by 4)

Result of ward at last election (2012) : E denotes Elected

Independent: McKay 648 E, MacKay 557 E (48%)
Scottish National Party: McDonald 967 E, McDonald 169 (45%)
Conservative: Gambles 179 (7%)
Candidates duly nominated: Norman Calder (Ind), Tim Eagle (Con), Sonya Warren (SNP)

Beinn na Foghla agus Uibhist a Tuath on Eilean Siar (Lab defence)

Result of council at last election (2012) : Independents 21, Scottish National Party 7, Labour 3 (Independent majority of 11)

Result of ward at last election (2012) : E denotes Elected

Independents: Taylor 93, MacLean 75, Beaton 212 E, Robertson 316 E (65%)
Labour: Campbell 204 E (19%)
Scottish National Party: Walker 177 (16%)
Candidates duly nominated: Roslyn MacPherson (SNP), Andrew Walker (Ind)

Armadale and Blackridge on West Lothian (SNP defence)

Result of council at last election (2012) : Labour 16, Scottish National Party 15, Conservatives 1, Independent 1 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 1)

Result of ward at last election (2012) : E denotes Elected

Independent: Borrowman 2,541 E (57%)
Scottish National Party: Williamson 168, Hutton 861 E (23%)
Labour: Dixon 788 E (17%)
Conservative: Kerr 125 (3%)
Candidates duly nominated: Ian Burgess (Con), Jenny Johnson (Green), Sarah King (SNP), Scott MacKay (Ind), Andrew McGuire (Lab)

Llantwit Major on the Vale of Glamorgan (Llantwit First defence)

Result of council at last election (2012) : Labour 22, Conservatives 11, Plaid Cymru 6, Llantwit First 4, Independents 3, United Kingdom Independence Party 1

Result of ward at last election (2012) : E denotes Elected

Llantwit First: John 2,068 E, Hacker 1,603 E, Williams 1,490 E, Geary 1,327 E (57%)
Conservatives: Clifford 813, Austin 759, Downe 544, Grant 536 (23%)
Labour: Price 541, Beech 502, Batchelor 471, Denman 411 (17%)
Plaid Cymru: Stephens 269 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Wynford Bellin (Plaid), Tony Bennett (Con), Jack Hawkins (Lab), Mick Mason (Llantwit First)

Harry Hayfield



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Local By-Election Preview : March 5th 2015

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Kenton on Brent (Con defence)

Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 56, Conservatives 6, Liberal Democrats 1 (Labour majority of 49)

Result of ward at last election (2014) : Emboldened denotes elected

Conservatives 1,798, 1,796, 1,669 (53%)
Labour 1,139, 1,040, 946 (32%)
Liberal Democrats 221, 153, 125 (5%)
Green 348 (11%)

Candidates duly nominated: Michaela Lichten (Green), Vincent Lo (Lab), Michael Maurice (Con), Bob Wharton (Lib Dem)

Brent (for the most part) has been a Conservative / Labour battleground. In fact the only time that the Liberal Democrats came to prominence in the area was in the 2006 local elections when they managed to win 27 seats (forcing the council into a state of No Overall Control) and becoming the largest party on the council and even that was on an unfair vote share. Labour won 34% of the vote (and won 21 out of 63 seats), the Conservatives won 28% of the vote (and won 15 out of 63 seats) and the Liberal Democrats Labour busting score came on a 27% vote share.

That’s right, the Liberal Democrats became the largest party on the lowest vote share of the parties contesting the election. Needless to say that was put back to rights in 2010 when Labour regained control and won the election with the most votes again. That’s not to say that Labour couldn’t win here (in the heart of Brent North constituency) but when a by-election was held here at almost the same time in the electoral cycle, Labour’s vote only went up by 3%.

St. Pancras and Somers Town on Camden (Lab defence)

Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 40, Conservatives 12, Liberal Democrats 1, Green 1 (Labour majority of 26)

Result of ward at last election (2014): Emboldened denotes elected

Labour 2,511, 2,488, 2,423 (70%)
Green 562, 526, 440 (14%)
Conservatives 368, 351, 295 (10%)
Liberal Democrats 245, 192, 178 (6%)
Candidates duly nominated: Shahin Ahmed (Con), Zach Polanski (Lib Dem), Tina Swasey (Green), Paul Tomlinson (Lab)

Camden and Brent have a lot in common, politically speaking. The Lib Dems surged here in 2006 (creating another wrong party winner, this time they did manage to come in second in terms of share of the vote) but have since faded away to just a single seat in Fortune Green ward (despite winning 0.8% more votes than Labour) which has allowed the Greens to stand up to the plate as the main non Conservative / non Labour force in the council.

However as the Lib Dems discovered during the 80’s and 90’s you can poll very well indeed and still end up with a ridiculously low number of seats (as demonstrated in 2002 when they polled 23% of the vote and on managed to win 8 seats out of 54) so whilst Labour are confident of a win, they will be concerned if the Greens take more of their support having established themselves as the alternative to Labour (especially in a rock solid constituency like Holborn and St. Pancras)

Selhurst on Croydon (Lab defence)

Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 40, Conservatives 30 (Labour majority of 10)

Result of ward at last election (2014): Emboldened denotes elected

Labour 2,086, 2,079, 1,996 (54%)
Conservatives 546, 515, 471 (13%)
United Kingdom Independence Party 504, 396 (12%)
Green 341, 269, 267 (8%)
Liberal Democrats 240 (6%)
Independent 128 (3%)
Trade Unionist and Socialist 88 (2%)
Communist 77 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Tirena Gunter (Con), Tracey Hague (Green), Geoff Morley (Lib Dem), Annette Reid (UKIP), David Wood (Lab)

Whilst the Liberal Democrats were surging and then collapsing in various other parts of London between 2006 and 2014, Croydon stuck up it’s nose and said “Sorry, old boy, we don’t play that way”. The best Liberal Democrat performance in Croydon was not in 2006 or indeed 2010 but way back in 1986, when the Alliance polled 24% of the vote and yet didn’t get a single councillor elected.

So as a result Croydon has always been a Conservative / Labour battleground that no other party has managed to make an impact on since the 1960’s when six Ratepayers, six Conservative Ratepayers and three Independents managed to hold the balance between twenty one Conservatives and twenty one Labour and although UKIP managed to poll 15% across the borough, that was still not enough to get a councillor elected.

Bocking on Essex (UKIP defence)

Result of council at last election (2013): Conservatives 42, Labour 9, Liberal Democrats 9, United Kingdom Independence Party 9, Greens 2, Canvey Island Independent 1, Independent 1, Ratespayers 1, Tendring First 1 (Conservative majority of 9)

Result of ward at last election (2013): UKIP 1,340 (33%), Conservative 1,320 (32%), Labour 1,226 (30%), Green 126 (3%), Liberal Democrat 91 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Stephen Canning (Con), Michael Ford (UKIP), John Malam (Green), Peter Sale (Ind), Lynn Watson (Lab)

UKIP need to come to terms with a very big problem and they need to come to terms with it fast. This problem is holding onto seats. In the local by-elections of 2014, UKIP made a net gain of five seats (which on the face of it sounds very good indeed), however drill a little bit down and things aren’t quite so rosy for UKIP.

They made three gains from the Conservatives, two from the Independents, three from Labour, one from the Lib Dems and one from the Social Democrats for a total of 10 which means that UKIP managed to lose five seats (two to the Conservatives and three to Labour) and both the Conservative gains were in seats that UKIP managed to win in 2013 (on Cornwall and Essex).

So it does all rather suggest that UKIP do have a problem with staying power once elected, a problem that has affected parties who have had breakthroughs in the past and unless UKIP do something about it, they could be in for trouble come the general election in Clacton and Rochester.

Harry Hayfield



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Marf for tonight + Harry Hayfield’s local by-election preview

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Tonight’s local by- elections from Harry Hayfield

Hengoed on Carmarthenshire (Lab Defence)
Result of council at last election (2012): Plaid Cymru 28, Labour 23, Independents 22, People First 1 (No Overall Control, Plaid Cymru short by 10)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
People First 337, 261 (33%)
Labour 338, 253 (28%)
Plaid Cymru 315, 271 (28%)
Independent 213 (10%)
Non Party Independent 89 (4%)
Candidates duly nominated: Martin Davies (Plaid), Stephen Davies (Con), Penny Edwards (Lab), Bramwell Richards (UKIP), Wynford Samuel (People First), Edward Skinner (Ind)

Since Plaid’s triumph in the 1999 Assembly elections, Plaid have suffered from the same sort of problems as Labour have been experiencing in areas where the local party are deemed to be out of touch only with Plaid, it’s not being out of touch that is the problem, it’s not looking after their traditional roots. The first rumblings started in 2004 when Llais Ceredigion (The Voice of Ceredigion) started the process to hold a referendum on the concept of a directly elected mayor when the county’s planning department called for a massive increase in the number of homes in the county which Llais Ceredigion said would lead to the Welsh language becoming a minority language in less than two decades and that a directly elected mayor would have the power to stop such a plan. The referendum was called for a month before the local elections and so Llais Ceredigion fielded candidates in the local elections hoping to captialise on the referendum result. Sadly for them, the concept of a mayor was rejected by a margin of two to one and no Llais candidates were elected, although that they did manage to poll 22% of the vote in the six wards they contested and in Beulah managed to attract 31% of the vote in direct opposition to the sitting Plaid Cymru councillor.

In 2008, a Llais came back to haunt Plaid in the biggest way possible. This time it was Llais Gwynedd and their gripe with Plaid Cymru was the fact that Gwynedd (controlled by Plaid since the council was formed in 1995) was closing Welsh medium primary schools. This time, however, unlike Llais Ceredigion, Llais Gwynedd was out in force and stood in 28 seats in the elections in 2008 and for the first time Plaid faced the real threat of losing overall control and when the votes were tallied Llais proved that they meant business. In the 28 seats they stood in they polled 7,119 votes (39%) to Plaid’s 7,091 (38%) and managed to win 12 seats (nine of which came from Plaid) including the ward of Bontnewydd represented in the 2004 council chamber by Dafydd Iwan, the Welsh folk singer and Plaid Cymru leader at the time. In fact, Llais Gwynedd were so impressed with their performance that they stood in the new Dwyfor, Meirionnydd constituency in 2011 in direct opposition to the Presiding Officer, Lord Elis Thomas and managed to poll 16% (13% of which came from Plaid Cymru)

In the same elections, more trouble was on the horizon for Plaid as Sian Caiach (the Plaid Cymru councillor for Hengoed) stood as a “People First” candidate in the Plaid battleground seat of Llanelli and managed to poll 8% of the vote which contributed to Labour gaining the seat but that didn’t stop her as he stood in 2012 as a People First candiate in the local elections and managed to hold on to her seat with her running partner a mere 76 votes behind the second seat, so as you can see this by-election will be a real test for People First, can they take a seat from Labour or prevent Plaid winning a seat? If they can, expect to see Sian standing in the general election for Llanelli and potentially making Plaid’s life even more difficult than it is already (with both Arfon and Carmarthen East as Labour targets and their Westminster leader standing down in Dwyfor)