Taffia Don: Welsh Nationalist Commentary

Saturday, April 02, 2011
  2011 0402 – AV’S AFFECT ON PLAID

AV and FPTP are both systems that favour a two party system. AV is not a proportional representation election system. Whether or not Plaid will retain the three seats they hold under FPTP is unknowable but they hold Carmarthen East and Dinefwr with a majority of 35.6%, Dwyfor 44.3%, and Afron 36.0%. They will need to pick up second preference votes to retain all their seats. The question is would people give Plaid them? Alternatively, would they majority of people prefer a one of the three parties.

If we consider Afron alone, PC has 36% and Labour 30%, Conservative 16.9%, Liberal Democrat 14.1%, and UKIP 2.6%. (This is conjecture now) UKIP would be eliminated, and their votes would most likely go to the Conservatives, next would be Liberal Democrats their votes would probably go to Labour predominantly (it would need EVERY Liberal Democrat voter to list their second preference for Plaid to secure the seat). After that it is the Conservatives - would conservative voters put Plaid as their second choice or Labour? Since politics in this country is measured in swings from Labour to Conservative and vice versa, you would have to guess that Labour would be the major beneficiary at that stage (Also aided by the fact that the Conservatives are a unionist party by comparison to Plaid’s nationalism).

This assertion would mean Afron would have a Labour candidate - Plaid will always suffer in UK elections from lack of media coverage, and will most likely lose out.

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr: Plaid 35.6% (incumbent), Labour 26.5%, Conservatives 22.4%, Liberal Democrats 12.1%, UKIP 3.4%. A projection of potential AV result: UKIP votes going to the fellow right wing Conservative party, followed by Liberal Democrats vote most likely being divided predominantly between Labour and Conservatives. The Conservative and Unionist Party voters will decide whether the Welsh Nationalist Plaid or British Mainstream Labour will win. I would suspect the lack of media coverage or Plaid, the perception of a Plaid as the ‘language party’ and general values, Conservatives would elect a Labour representative over Plaid.

Finally, Dwyfor Meirionnydd: Plaid 44.3%, Conservative 22.3%, Labour 13.9%, Liberal Democrat 12.2%, Independent 4.5%, and UKIP 2.7%. My projection under an AV system: UKIP votes once again go to Conservatives, Independent candidate (I am going to ignore – but the per cent age is insufficient to have a Plaid victory). Liberal Democrats second preferences split between Labour and Plaid (Plaid might win at this stage), Labour, here is the tricky part, I think that since Plaid is a left wing socialist party and many Liberal democrat voters might have Plaid as a third choice Plaid would most likely win at this stage and keep this seat at an AV election.

As I said its unknowable and this example is conjecture but it is plausible. Plaid will most likely be decimated in Parliament because of AV, in favour of the dominant British party (namely Labour). This is because UK general elections focus so intently on the three London based parties. In addition, to the way that AV is structured.

If you consider that Plaid got 11.3% of the Votes in Wales to come away with only one of 40 seats or 2.5% of the seats (by my projections) that is an absolute travesty of democracy under AV. The current FPTP system is more representative with 7.5% of the seats with their 11.3% share of the vote. However, if there was a proportional system they would have four seats – accurately representing their share of the vote.

AV is as bad a system as FPTP, perhaps it is a stepping-stone to full PR but can we take the risk of strangling political plurality in the interim? Those three Plaid MPs better represent wales than the 26 Welsh Labour MPs who fall into line so quickly with their London party, and consistency fail to stand up for Wales.

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