Translation of “Deg i dragwyddoldeb” by Vaughan Roderick
I've never understood why painting the Forth Bridge is such a big job. Maybe it's just one man and a single brush that's responsible for the job! Regardless of this, the story goes that once the job is done it's time to start all over again.
Election night programming is the broadcasting equivalent of the proverbial bridge. The second one comes to an end it's time to start work on the next. The most important part of the process is making sure that the mechanics of presenting the results works properly and choosing the right places to send the outside broadcast units. We don't always make the right decision. For instance we lost the 2005 result in Ceredigion.
Making the right decision for the next General Election is especially difficult. Some seats are obvious. You don't have to be a genius to know we need to be in Aberconwy, Montgomeryshire and Carmarthen West.
Beyond the obvious it's much harder. It would seem that the next General Election will be quite old fashioned. The economy will likely be the talking point with the obvious policy differences between Labour and the Conservatives. If that's the case, it will be a very different election than anything we've seen in the past quarter of a century and it's likely the smaller parties will be squeezed.
If that happens (and that's a big “if”) we'll have to add a whole load of new seats to the list of eccentric rural seats who've dominated our coverage in recent elections. We'd be back on the old battlegrounds of the 1960s and 70s – urban and semi-urban based constituencies like Cardiff North, Newport West and the Vale of Glamorgan. This creates problems for us.
Generally our resources will allow us to do about a dozen outside broadcasts. This time it's easy enough to draw up a list of 20 or more interesting elections. That's an incredible number in the context of Welsh political history. I'd guess that you'd have to go as far back as the 1920s to find as many elections worth watching. Here are my top ten – I'll be writing about each of them in detail between now and the next election.
Vale of Glamorgan
Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire
Vale of Clwyd
You're welcome to disagree. What about Brecon and Radnorshire, Llanelli and Swansea West? Is there any hope for Labour in Clwyd West? Clwyd South and Gower are marginals in the Assembly elections – is the same thing true at a General Election? There's plenty to talk about!
Translated by Dewi Tri
(just to prove I'm not completely incapacitated)