Monday, 10 May 2010

A Look @: Wales- the Post-Mortem!

So the election is finally over, although the future government still remains to be resolved. So I guess it's time to reflect on some of our prediction and find out where we went wrong, and indeed, where we were correct, against the odds. I took the task of predicting Wales, in large part due to the fact I am Welsh, although I moved when I was young. Sadly this still made me more qualified to address this than the other Britain-Votes guys. Despite the tenacity of this I did manage to predict 37 correctly, getting just three wrong. I had already flagged my three incorrect predictions as 'One's to Watch' as I felt that the outcomes were either uncertain or could surprise.

Vale of Clwyd

Chris Ruane




LAB Hold

I'll start with one I got right. As Adina pointed out in a comment on Britain-Votes, the Vale of Clywd constituency was seen by many as a real bench-mark for the Conservatives. The swing was right on the requirement for Cameron to win enough seats to govern. Obviously, as we all saw, on the night the results for the target seats around the 7% figure were actually all over the place. They failed to gain some seats which they had all but presumed theirs and yet won some well outside of the figure. To be quite honest, I never really considered this a seat for the Tories taking. Ruane seemed a perfectly decent MP for the constituency, he hadn't done anything wrong and it was essentially a contest between Labour and Conservative. I didn't expect that in the event Labour voters were dissatisfied with Ruane they would necessarily switch their vote to the Conservatives instead. What did indeed seem to happen here is that their vote share stayed the same as last time, until an extra 3,000 voters turned out, most of which were for the Tory candidate Matt Wright. Ruane suffered a decreased majority but still received 2,509 more votes than Wright. Evidently not the night that the Tories had hoped for, but at least it meant that I got this one right.

Ynys Môns

Albert Owen




PC Gain

Ynys Môns, or Anglesey, was also a case of Labour seemingly unexpectedly holding on to a seat. My prediction was in line with the odds although I had my reservations at the time. I thought that maybe Owen's work on securing the nuclear power plant was positively received; however I assumed that perhaps something as divisive as nuclear power might also have its critics. Realistically I think I overestimated this and that the creation of jobs in light of the old plant closing was widely well received. In hindsight I should have thought this since the Plaid Cymru candidate Dylan Rees hadn't highlighted this in his campaign. However I didn't base my prediction on this alone, I also thought that with the other two seats in Gwynedd being Plaid seats they would make a real effort to claim Anglesey too. When I saw Ieuan Wyn Jones on the television saying that he was expecting a poor night I thought that this seat might not go Plaid's way after all. Having looked at the results here, Owen did lose a few votes so if Plaid were to build on their previous results they would only have needed 455 more votes to win here. Instead they lost 2,007 seats meaning that Owen increased his majority! I was banking on Owen losing some but Plaid gaining enough for a small majority, alas I was wrong.

Blaenau Gwent

Dai Davies




LAB Gain

On the plus side Blaneau Gwent came in for me. This was my 'reputation' seat mainly because I'd gone against the odds and it came up when we were discussing our predictions. Some people felt that Davies' was quite popular and unlikely to lose this, especially given his majority here. I wasn't so convinced though. Dai Davies didn't win the 2006 by-election by a great stretch which suggested, to me, a decline of support for this 'People's Choice' movement. Nick Smith was running a good campaign and he had a good manifesto. I'm not sure Blaenau really truly abandoned Labour, Peter Law was popular and his success was in large part a protest against the women's only shortlist and he obviously was Labour. I just think that Blaenau had moved on from the shortlist debacle and so didn't feel the need to vote against a good candidate. In fact I feel that Davies' campaigning against Labour policies when he was Labour probably wouldn't take too well in this region.

Swansea West

Alan William




LD Gain

I knew I was sticking my neck on the line for this one. Swansea West's Alan Williams had held the seat since 1964. I felt that Peter May was a good candidate for the Liberal Democrats, he seemed to be very active in this constituency and was being well received, he had a good campaign and was getting it out there. I felt that if ever there was a time for May to win this seat now. I'm not saying that Williams didn't deserve to be MP here as such, but it was unlikely to change hands whilst he was standing, he was pretty much part of the furniture. I didn't feel that his successor, Geraint Davies, was a poor candidate, he had experience even having been MP in Croydon, but he wasn't local. Whilst I don't feel that local MP's are essential, the Welsh are quite a patriotic bunch and they had a perfectly decent local candidate. The LibDems were also quite big news when I predicted this, although I never felt that their perceived successes would transfer into actual success and so I just thought that this would provide May with a little more support, I certainly wouldn't have predicted this result purely on Cleggmania (unlike the boys!). Nonetheless Labour still won here, but not by a lot, there were only 504 seats in it (Labours majority was 4,269 last time) and so though my prediction was wrong I can't help but feel ok about it.


Mark Williams




LD Hold

This result surprised even me. It looked like a really tight seat so when it came down to it I gave it to Mark Williams on the basis that he was doing a good job, campaigning well and seemed popular. I felt that Plaids candidate seemed good and was campaigning well but didn't feel that Williams had given voters much of a reason to look elsewhere. This said Plaid have done well here in the past and so I thought that maybe they could pull a result out of the bag, especially since the odds favoured them and the swing needed was so low. In the end I gave it to Williams. On the night Plaid's majority was reduced by 2,096 whilst voter turnout increased by 2,311. In the end Williams increased his majority by 8,324, not only more than I'd envisaged, but also making my prediction right!


Lembit Öpik




LD Hold

Unlike Williams, voter turnout had a more negative effect on Lembit Opik's future. Now I'm aware that my write-up of Opik was quite over-the-top, but I was hoping for some attention as Wales has few controversial characters so I thought I'd exploit the one I had! Despite this, I still thought he'd win. I felt that he was certain to lose votes, his exploits are quite widely publicised and they were unlikely to go down well with some people. For many a serious MP wouldn't behave like this. However 7,048 is a lot of votes to lose and I felt that anyone who had voted for a very liberal Lib Dem wouldn't switch their vote to the Tories, surely it would go elsewhere. With this in mind I thought that Opik would hold this seat, however, since the Tories had selected such a strong candidate in Glyn Davies, it would be with a much reduced majority. Opik lost 2,627 votes on his previous majority, this added on to the previous Tory vote would have left them short on 10,873 and so Opik would have retained his seat. Sadly for Opik 3,716 more people voted here than in the last general election, most of whom voted against Opik and so in the end Davies won with a majority of 1,184.


  1. I wouldn't apologise for predicting Lembit O! he had a majority of 7,000 didn't he, it needed a swing of about 12%? I don't think many thought the Conservatives would have taken that one. 37/40 - did you really get that many right?? Rallings and Thrasher will be snapping you up as their Wales consigliere for their analysis next time lol

  2. Well Wales was largely less complicated than England. That said, Chris took Scotland and managed to get some wrong even though nothing changed there!

  3. I could have simply copy and pasted the 2005 results and been 100% correct...