So we now know pretty much who the runners and riders are not only in the Labour leadership race, but in the race for selection in Carmarthenshire East and Dinefwr. What is seen by many as a safe Plaid seat (I’ll come on to this later) sounds like an ideal place for a Plaid candidate to stand.
The big guns to watch out for: Angharad Mair and Jonathan Edwards, I expect the race to effectively come down to these two, and I expect the winner to be pretty pleased. How often does a safe seat come up for grabs months before an election? Or is it a safe seat?
The facts are that Adam Price managed to take the traditionally Labour seat in 2001 and extended his majority from 2,590 to 6,718 in 2005. Adam Price is a local boy who went to school locally and whose parents live locally. Given the boundary changes in 1997 this local link becomes far more important. Why’s that then? Well now Ammanford and Llandeilo are the two biggest towns / population centres in the constituency and both are fairly intimate places – where mostly everyone knows pretty much everyone else, so local links and empathy for local issues become very important here. An absence of this cost the Labour campaign dearly in 2005 where the candidate was seen to have been parachuted in from London.
The constituency has a strong Labour tradition, Plaid managed to win the seat in 2001 because of a combination of a message that was more left wing than the Labour Party and a candidate with strong local roots who was brought up in the area (plus aforementioned boundary changes).
Coming from Glanamman myself I’ve spent some time talking to locals gathering their opinions. My findings are: There is not necessarily a loyalty to Plaid Cymru here, there is however a loyalty to Adam Price.
My point is - this is not Meirionnydd. There is no definite / concrete affiliation with Plaid Cymru here.
All of which means that Carmarthen East and Dinefwr could be up for grabs - making the selection of a candidate for Plaid Cymru all the more important. Angharad Mair, I am told, may well alienate the voters who feel, just as they did with Ross Hendry in 2005, that she has been parachuted in.
However with Labour’s inner party workings in Wales a mess, and their election coffers bare, it may be that they just don’t have the cash to support a push out West – which makes this entire article rather academic – so I suppose in classic Politics Cymru style, we shall have to wait and see....