It’s a shame that Leanne Wood’s historic victory in the Rhondda for the Welsh Assembly elections this week has been over shadowed by the UKIP elephants in the room but the truth is, they’ve done well. Granted they’ve started from zero (unlike the rest of the parties) but to gain nearly 1/5th of any vote is quite something. Nearly 130,000 people in Wales were happy enough to put a cross (a letter ironically imported from Greek into the Germanic languages that ironically branched off and formed the de facto language of the British Isles) on ballot papers in agreement with the policies of UKIP. Who knows, maybe the true number was higher but their papers were rejected for replacing the traditional X with a swastika? Maybe another 100,000 people tried to vote UKIP but couldn’t remember how to write an X? We just don’t know for sure.
I think I’m blatantly missing how awesome UKIP must be. How can a party manage to spell the names of two constituencies in North Wales incorrectly and still succeed in dragging in a cumulative 3,765 votes in those areas? Incredible – for more reasons than one.
With regards to the other areas of Wales who also put English parties ahead of Welsh ones this time out were (most of) the Valleys, central and eastern parts of North Wales and Pembrokeshire.
- The beautiful areas of the South West and the inspiring Northern Coastline has been a magnet for English-retirees for centuries. People who only vote Tory. Could we also put some votes down to traditional Labour voters changing sides due to their lack of trust in Corbyn?
- As for the Ukippers, across Wales it seems people are falling for Katherine Jenkins’ recent recordings (bagging her a tidy windfall – believed to be in the region of 30 pieces of silver) and grasping hold of a memory once known as ‘Great Britain.’
- The industrial areas Valleys and (my own) North East Wales have been supported throughout the 20th century by Labour – fact. Unfortunately we now live in the 21st century and Labour failings since the inception of the Assembly have done nothing to deter the voters. It’s a classic case of vote for them because your parents did – an unfortunate, yet all too common occurrence in Wales.
Less than half.
I suppose those who support progressive, socialist parties shouldn’t despair too much. A mere 45% turnout hardly creates the best snapshot of our nation’s political nature. It’s low turnouts like these upon which parties like Labour, Conservatives and UKIP prey – one reason, in my view, why nowhere near the same amount of media coverage is put on local elections as is done with the general election.
So what about the 55% who didn’t cast their vote? I believe there are two types of people who choose to not vote. There are those who do not vote on personal morals believing that change cannot happen through electing people. There are then those who do not vote because of allegiances (however dysfunctional) to ‘established’ parties. I’m of firm belief that many people who, upon reading deeply into their political compass and finding they do in fact support progressive and socialist parties (like Plaid Cymru), refuse to vote for them because they’re put off by local dominance of another party.
For example, in my local constituency of Delyn – a Labour stronghold – I know of people who will not vote Plaid because Labour are, in their view, simply too strong. They see no point in going ‘against the grain’ to forge change. Also, despite being as jacked off as the rest of us with 17 years of Labour failings, many will not vote for Labour ever again but won’t vote for anyone else either. I suppose we could liken it being a Wrecsam FC fan – there are many who won’t go to games on account of a “poor standard of football” or it being “too far to travel to watch us lose” but deep down you know for a fact they’ll never change allegiances to another club and sit in their stands for 90 minutes once a fortnight.
“Trophies aloft our foreign feathers”
It’s obvious the reasons behind Conservative seats in Wales are largely down to people living off their London-acquired retirement fortunes and/or untaxed inheritance dosh. It’s clear too that many people from outside of Wales who’ve made their home in the North East (and all across Wales) have brought with them their mass of UKIP ignorance derived from living amongst large numbers of ‘immigrants’ in the English Midlands.
Is it, therefore, acceptable and correct to assume that the Welsh don’t vote? Surely not EVERYONE in Crymych and Conwy are wealthy retirees. Surely not everyone in Bridgend and Buckley votes Labour because their parents and grandparents did. Right?
Are we, as Welsh citizens, truly more interested in watching compatriots chasing an egg around a Cardiff field a few times a year than in standing behind the only political party intent of delivering what’s best for Wales? We don’t half love Wales when we’re winning 6 Nations Championships and reaching semi finals in World Cups. “Hogiau’r bêl, nid gwŷr balot.”
I’d like to see the statistics of simply how many people who’ve moved to Wales actually cast their vote compared to how many people who’ve lived here all their lives do. My guess is our non-Welsh-born friends are more likely to take to the polls than those Welsh-born. But a guess is how that point will have to remain.
I wonder what the true support is in Wales for Plaid Cymru? Regardless of political allegiances, how many in Wales would vote for socialism if they truly considered Plaid’s progressive policies and put an X in the box?
It is for these reasons (and many more) that I would like to see Wales follow Scotland. Allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote has been on Plaid Cymru’s political agenda for quite some time. Why? Because putting trust young people shows we do not patronise and disregard our youth. It gives them a direct say. I also believe that large majorities of them would vote for Plaid Cymru – perhaps why we haven’t seen a reduction in the voting age here in Wales as yet!?!
Election over. Rant over.
I have never studied (not taken excessive amounts of interest in) politics but I’d love to forge debates on anything I’ve said here. Like I’ve done in this blog in giving my own ideas and reactions to Welsh Assembly elections, we’re all entitled to our opinions and we should all encourage that all views are shared.
I shall leave you with some quotations from two of Wales’ newest AMs and now Wales’ fourth largest party:
Mark Reckless (South Wales East): “UKIP at the ballot box, Britain First on the streets – a winning combination.”
Neil Hamilton (Mid and West Wales Region): “I have always believed that government had …. a virtually infinite capacity to do harm”
UKIP website (2106): “Scotland was an independent kingdom for centuries. There has never been a firmly established Welsh state. Edinburgh has long been the capital of Scotland. Cardiff was first recognised as capital of Wales in 1955. The Scots are a people. The Welsh – if by that we mean those British subjects who now live in the geographical unit we now call Wales – are not a people.”
What a way to show off how forward looking and forward thinking our Assembly is now becoming.
READ ALSO: The Hypocrisy of UKIP haters via @WelshNotBritish