Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Press Briefings 9/6/2009

Myself and Dewi Dau popped down to the Senedd this morning to see first hand the reactions to Sunday's earthquake. This week will no doubt be full of retrospective analysis coupled with a lot of pontificating about the future of Welsh politics.

Firstly we had Rhodri Morgan’s lobby briefing. The room was packed (compared to usual), the two Dewis slotted into our usual back row seats (that’s where all the cool kids sit) eager to hear what Mr Morgan had to say.

Labour was “out-organised and outfought”- Rhodri’s opening salvo. Mr Morgan was clear in his belief that Labour voters had simply stayed at home, however he also believes that now the Conservatives have shown an ability to win in Wales the Labour core will once again take up arms against their blue enemy.

Mr Morgan conceded that centre left parties had done badly across Europe leading to a result that placed Labour “in the pits”. So the task of recovering from this low ebb? Similar to climbing mount Snowdon according to the First Minister. Labour activists will hope that Mr Morgan is right when he says that the Labour core is not as loyal as their Conservative equivalents when it comes to by-elections (Europe being essentially a by-election), so the great hope for Welsh Labour is that they show up at the next ballot and vote Labour.

When asked about his future Rhodri Morgan said once again what he’s always said – he plans to stand down on his 70th birthday unless something (like a general election) gets in the way. Asked about whether Eluned Morgan would be an asset to the Assembly, Mr Morgan refused to answer.

Next up Nick Bourne in jubilant mood, despite a lot of scrutiny from the assembled press his spirit would not be dampened. According to the Welsh Conservative leader they are the only party that can beat Labour in Wales. Challenged on his position as leader Nick Bourne said that the Tories here were a “secure and united group”.

1859 was the last time the Conservatives won in Wales and according to Mr Bourne not even UKIPs rise will stop them from repeating this result in the general and Assembly elections to come.

And finally it was time for Kirsty Williams and the Liberal Democrats. Despite being disappointed to not get the 4th seat they were pleased at the progress made in some target areas. Kirsty pointed at Swansea West and Newport East where the Lib Dems were within hundreds of votes from beating Labour into first place. And just like Basil Fawlty not mentioning the war – don’t mention Ceredigion(!) - a result that has been painted as a disappointment by the press was actually pleasing for Kirsty Williams.

That’s about it form today’s press conferences – more to come over the coming weeks!

Dewi Un


1 comment:

Penri James said...

The standard text of journalistic spin will in future include the Lib Dem Press Release on the Ceredigion Euro Result as a sample case study (its worth a look on the Tivyside Advertiser web site). I thought for one moment that the Lib Dems had actually won and that the count in Aberaeron was all a dream! How can you talk about an election result without once giving your own result but rather concentrate on the Plaid Cymru result. Believing your own spin is a fatal disease for politicians and parties with Kirsty and Peter catching a particularly virulent strain. I will give you some actual comparisons:-

The Plaid Cymru share of the vote in Ceredigion (35.1%) is the 5th largest in Wales with only Caernarfon (49.3%), Meirionydd Nant Conwy (44.3%); Carmarthen East and Dinefwr (38.5%) and Monmouth (38.0%) recording higher proportions. Note that the first 3 seats listed are Plaid Cymru Seats in the Assembly and Parliament and Monmouth is Conservative. The % majority over the party that came second is the 9th largest in Wales at 16.1%. The absolute majority (3082) is the 6th largest in Wales.

The Liberal Democrats were 9.4% behind the Conservative victors in Montgomeryshire and 1.5% behind UKIP; they were 6.3% behind the Conservative victors in Brecon and Radnor and 16.1% behind Plaid Cymru in Ceredigion. Conclusion - te Lib Dem defeat in Ceredigion is a far more substantial affair than any of the other Mid Wales seats. Its so nice to hear Kirsty say she was 'pleased' with the result.