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Betsan Powys | 14:42 UK time, Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Now we know.

Carwyn Jones will not be wearing tails to the royal wedding.

The Welsh Labour leader is going for a lounge suit, though Ed Miliband is wearing a morning suit, as is the Prime Minister and his deputy.

Why? He doesn't, apparently, "look good in tails" and anyway "the option is morning suit, lounge suit or uniform. I don't have a uniform, so it's a lounge suit."

If you've any ideas on what a First Ministerial uniform might look like, then you're welcome to send in your suggestions. I think.

And in case you were wondering, the Assembly's Presiding Officer, the "always impeccably dressed" Lord Elis-Thomas, will also be shunning tails in favour of a lounge suit. He doesn't, note, say which colour.

How much visible and colourful campaigning will there be on the day of the royal wedding? Very little, we're told. There'll be leaders and candidates searching out local street parties but beyond that? Not an awful lot. Bulletins and papers will be jam-packed full of the wedding. Voters are unlikely to welcome a knock on the door.

So start counting and after today, we're left with four working days of fully-fledged campaigning. Ok, so there'll be foot soldiers out all over Wales knocking on doors and candidates working their socks off, baking Bank Holidays, weddings and weekends or not but if anyone who's unhappy with the direction of travel was hoping for a game-changing moment on the road to May 5th, they're fast running out of road. Stop, start just one more time and we're pretty much there.

I spoke to a senior Conservative this morning, one who is now privately calculating that Labour will win a majority. They'll just about make it ... I think they've just about got it was the gist of the prediction, delivered not with resignation but with the realistic acceptance of a politician who knows the doorsteps very well and who now expects a narrow but clear Labour victory.

Then I heard from two psephologists - one happy to go on camera to say that Labour will get a majority, the other equally clear that there's little sign of a 'Labour surge.'

Labour continue to brief - and they'd be daft not to - that getting to 31 seats remains one heck of an ask. They're right. It would be but they have their eye on the finishing line and are clearly determined to bat off any questions about negotiations should they just fail to cross it.

A Liberal Democrat mentioned a few days ago they'd heard Labour had already lined up a negotiating team, ready to go should they need it. I asked a Labour source whether that was true and requested a pithy response. I got one. "No".

Have the Lib Dems got a team sorted? Yes, they have but they, too, are concentrating on campaigning, keeping up their numbers best they can, working streets within seats where they know they must get their vote out. You can be quite certain that there are streets in Ceredigion on that list.

Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives know where they must win - where they have their work cut out and where the early verification of postal votes is already giving them heart/sleepless nights. There are some pretty surprising early-indication stories doing the rounds, ones that point to cheeky wins and didn't-see-that-one coming losses but given they can't be checked, let's just use them to keep us on our toes.

The Greens meanwhile, who are out to win your second vote on May 5th, are convinced an awful lot of people aren't even aware they have two votes in this election. How do you get a tactical campaign going, they ask, when even fewer people are aware of the difference between their first and second vote. They've created a video explaining the system ... no, let's try again ... explaining how they'd like you to use the system.

Let's stick to a less partisan video from the people behind the glass windows of the National Assembly.


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Regarding the Greens' desire for tactical campaigning: Good luck with that, here in Brecon and Radnorshire! I think the wounds are still a little too fresh here, after last year's fiasco.
    For those of you who don't know what happened, the Liberal Democrats put out a scaremongering leaflet on Polling Day, warning us all that it was a two-horse race in this constituency, between them and the Conservatives, and ONLY a vote for them could keep out the Tory. So people voted for them, their candidate got in and what happened next?
    The Liberal Democrats handed Parliament straight over to the Tories, ensuring years of misery for people living in a constituency that is underpaid, overtaxed and reliant on public sector jobs.
    I've only just written to the local press with a reminder about this. The main reason for the letter was to urge people, who were considering abstaining this time around, to get themselves to a polling booth after all, but I couldn't resist a warning against tactical voting, after what happened last year. It was a farce, but nobody's going to be laughing about it for a long time.

  • Comment number 3.

    I think people call the rumours and counter runours at this time of elections as "The Fog of War". Conservatives playing up Labour ? A Labour majority ie 31 seats would probably mean a gain of 7 constiuencies (They may not pick up any list seats). A very tall order. Blaenau Gwent is a cert. They would then have to gain Aberconwy and Llanelli from Plaid (Helen Mary Jones has a strong personal vote) Cardiff Central from the Liberal Democrats who are defending a large majority. Clwyd West, Cardiff North and Carmarthen West from the Conservatives at a time when the Tory vote doesn't seem to be dropping in large numbers. Possible but a tall order. The bookmakers have 27 -29 Labour seats as favourite.

    As far as Caerphilly goes its true Ron Davies will do well for Plaid and is running a good campaign but to gain the seat from Labour will be difficult. I wonder if there is any confirmation on the postal vote claim that he is slightly ahead.

    Be prepared for more surprising claims.

  • Comment number 4.

    Labour may well be shy of the magic 31 seats, they'll just have to bite the bullet and go SNP and form a minority administration. That shouldn't be too difficult since there's hardly the thickness of a cigarette paper between the manifestos of the major parties. This could be Wales's own version of 'we're all in this together'.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

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  • Comment number 7.

    It has been a good day. What with all the good news on the economy with lots more to come; PMQs featuring several references to the political battleground in Wales; the joy of the Royal Wedding upcoming with the prospect of seeing Carwyn and DET peering round a pillar to see the action. And on top of that all the politicos nervously anticipating the electorate's judgement - with that Devolution-destroying realisation for Labour that the less the Election is about Wales, the more likely they are to prosper. Happy days...

  • Comment number 8.

    Hello Betsan, I don't know if any of your colleagues have pointed out the shenanigans at PMQs today, but it seemed to me that 'call me Dave' Cameron used every oppotunity to weigh into the Assembly election debate by denouncing Welsh Labour's plans to 'cut the NHS in Wales'. News to me and seemed to generate some bemusement in the House. A lot of these ejaculations appeared as inappropriate add-ons to question answers. Talking of questions, should some be asked of Welsh Tories, did they put him up to this? Did they feel that their campaign was so lackluster that it required some national live TV pep up? What is the other parties' take on this? A rather strange spectacle I thought, even for the bun fight that is PMQs.

  • Comment number 9.

    RW49 @8

    When Carwyn Jones was asked the direct question on closures and cuts in real terms on ITV last night he did not give a direct 'no' but retorted with counter accusations to Plaid and Conservatives, maybe that is where the rumour has got credence.

  • Comment number 10.

    Nothing like some Welsh sunshine to increase the mellow count.

    As for the forthcoming election, Mrs. Crossroads is fascinated by what that nice Mr. Bourne has taken to wearing on his head...and in all this hot weather as well !

    While we have heard a rumour (from a Victoria Park pie-shop) that our Carwyn is toying with the idea of removing VAT from hot pies.

    Meanwhile Ieaun insists on telling us.."You know....Now lets be honest about this" at least 5 times every time he gets in front of a camera.

    And the rather fetching Kirsty has at last brought humour into play in her attempts to overcome Gleggitis.

    Well at least it shows our politicians are human

  • Comment number 11.

    Been trying to find a comprehensive and up to date list of ALL the candidates running on May 5th right over Wales and Wikipedia provided MUCH better resources than anything I found on the BBC Website, am very disappointed but your all too pre-occupied with that wedding I presume?


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