Sunday, 4 August 2013
Leading from the front
The focus has rightly been on the victorious candidate, Rhun ap Iorwerth, but the professional nature of the campaign was vital to that landslide. The data collected will stand Plaid in good stead for the coming European and Westminster elections.
Political analyst Richard Wyn Jones makes some perceptive comments about the campaign, highlighting Plaid rediscovering its ability to campaign and win. He also explains that that the Ynys Môn result - together with Plaid's success in a Caerffili council by-election on the same night - was at odds with a recent opinion poll. This showed Labour's vote up significantly in Wales but, as Jones says, it's a remarkably soft vote.
Voting Labour is now a reactive position if you don't like what the Tories are doing. There are few positive reasons to vote for a lacklustre Miliband, veering wildly Blairite attacks on the unions and a desire to keep those union paymasters on board. Labour's focus is on winning back Tory voters in the south-east of England and that means tacking further to the right - not an attractive proposition for Welsh voters.
There are even fewer reasons to vote for the lazy Labour Government in Cardiff, where Carwyn Jones presides over a failing NHS and a failing education system with no vision for improving the Welsh economy. In many parts of Wales, Labour is being blamed for the current health crises by focusing on re-adjusting the bureaucracy rather than improving frontline healthcare.
To top it all, Labour-run councils across Wales are planning millions of pounds worth of cuts to services and jobs. This could include outsourcing and privatising entire council departments, bringing Labour into conflict with council workers and unions.
People in Caerffili and Ynys Môn didn't vote Labour because they could see a more dynamic vision and ambition for Wales in Plaid Cymru.
The credit for that must go to everyone who took part but in particular two people who have led from the front and inspired the grassroots from the minute these by-elections were called.
Leanne Wood is a hands-on leader who was out delivering "Good Morning" leaflets at 5.45am in Bro Aberffraw and then knocking on supporters' doors until 9pm at night. This was her first Assembly election test and she led by example, inspiring hundreds of other Plaid members to join her on the island.
The other person leading from the front was Plaid chief executive Rhuanedd Richards, who ensured the campaign was focussed and targetted as all future Plaid campaigns will be. They must be if we are to become the largest party in the Assembly in 2016.