Thursday, 10 March 2011

Welsh Assembly Elections 2011: The Independents

2007 was clearly the year of the Independent in the National Assembly. Fielding a total of 19 constituency candidates and five regional candidates they managed to poll a very respectable 57,591 constituency votes (5.88%) and 9,350 regional votes (0.95%) and had some very startling results. Although John Marek (Ind, Wrexham) failed to hold on to his constituency, Peter Rogers (Ind, Ynys Môn) polled 23% (to come second to Ieuan Wyn Jones), Kevin Etheridge (Ind, Islwyn) came within 2,218 votes of defeating the Labour AM (Irene James), in Merthyr Tydfil five Independent candidates polled a total of 6,352 votes (which if they had been single candidate would have reduced Huw Lewis’ majority to just 1,424 (6.78%) instead of the 4,581 (21.82%) majority he had over the Lib Dems, and in Caerphilly a certain Ron Davies (former Lab MP for the constituency) polled 22% making the constituency a three way marginal between Lab, Plaid and Independent. But the real star of the night was Trish Law (Blaenau Gwent People’s Voice) who having held her husband’s seat in the by-election caused by his death less than a year previously, held it again with a massive 5,357 majority (22.78%) against Labour.

However, times have changed in Wales. Trish Law has announced that she will not contest the seat at the next elections, Ron Davies will now stand for Plaid in Caerphilly and John Marek has joined the Conservatives and will stand in his old seat. So what hope is there for the Independents in May? Well, their best bet would in the council areas that are dominated by the Independents (Powys, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire). Powys’ Independents however are concentrated mostly in the Montgomeryshire constituency and seem to have swung firmly behind the United Kingdom Independence Party (6% in 2003, 10% in 2007), Ceredigion’s council leader stood in the first elections in 1999 (polling 13% and taking most of that vote from the Liberal Democrats) and the 2007 Independent was a person convinced that the council was taking part in a massive international fraud, whilst the Independent in Carmarthen West was a disability rights activist and would be unlikely to have another go. All which does suggest that the Independents might be a spent force. Well not quite, Jayne Cowan has taken up the Independent mantle in Blaenau Gwent (standing as an Independent Conservative according to Wikipedia, a party label the Electoral Commission may well have problems with). In case the name is not familiar to you, she was the woman who in 2006 squatted inside the old Assembly building saying “Unless the Assembly Government allows Herceptin (a drug for cancer patients) to be given to patients in Wales, I am not moving!”. In the end the Assembly Government agreed and clearly she is hoping that her direct action will enable people who voted for Trish in 2007 (12,722) to vote for her as well, but given the recent polling trends in Wales (suggesting Labour massively up on 2007), I have to think that Labour may well regain Blaenau Gwent.

Top 10 Independent scores at Assembly Elections 2007

Ranking and Constituency
Name of Candiate
% Vote Polled
Candidate in 2011?
1) Blaenau Gwent
Trish Law AM
2) Islwyn
Kevin Etheridge
3) Ynys Môn
Peter Rodgers
4) Wrexham
John Marek
Con (Wrexham)
5) Caerphilly
Ron Davies
Plaid (Caerphilly)
6) Alyn and Deeside
Dennis Hutchinson
7) Merthyr Tydfil
Clive Tovey
8) Torfaen
Ian Williams
Independent (Torfaen)
9) Ogmore
Norma Lloyd-Nesling
10) Ogmore
Steve Smith


  1. Norma Lloyd-Nesling was Conservative in Ogmore, surely

  2. There is a new poll out re: the Welsh Assembly Elections. Nice infographic to boot

  3. The Independent candidate for Blaenau Gwent is called Jayne Sullivan and does not refer to herself as an "Independent Conservative", as the candidates list from the local council shows:

  4. Jayne O Connal conservative isn`t she?? inquiring about joining them,when attending function in cardiff [summer 2010],Wikipedia don`t get things wrong its on there.