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Betsan Powys | 08:41 UK time, Friday, 29 April 2011

The two candidates were talking tactics - two candidates who are fighting for their political lives - and I couldn't help but eavesdrop.

What do you do when you're desperate to reach those last, possibly crucial voters but it's royal wedding day and those voters have - most of them - become viewers. Do you push leaflets through their doors then make a sharp exit? Do you dare knock on the door, hope to be invited in for a glass of something and win them over while you're at it? Or do you give up, stay at home and watch telly?

They came to the conclusion that they'd probably stuff some leaflets through doors and leave it at that. It wasn't quite the sort of pairing arrangement agreed by MPs in the House of Commons but still, rather a nice, informal moment of tactic-swapsies.

I've not mentioned Karl for a while. Karl was a bookie and still is at heart. He certainly retains the title of "Bookie most interested in Welsh politics". As he points out himself, it's a pretty small field. Two national bookies are giving odds on Thursday's election and Karl's already spotted that they know less than he does about the Aberconwys and Preseli Pembrokeshires of this world - and made the most of it. The drinks will be on him come Friday evening, whoever wins.

For what it's worth the latest odds being offered on the final number of Labour seats are these:

27-29 11-10 favourite
30-32 11-8
33-35 5-2
24-26 9-2
36 or over 14-1
23 or lower 16-1

Let's be clear about this: it would be no mean feat for Labour to win 29 seats but you can well imagine them cringing if the headline come Friday afternoon turns out to be this: "Labour kept out of power by SNP in Scotland .. and fail to win a majority in Wales."

Karl has had a go at giving odds on the turnout. He reckons it'll be good - more than good:

49%-50% 3-1
47%-48% 2-1 favourite Record Turnout
45%-46% 5-2
43%-44% 7-2
41%-42% 5-1

I'll leave you with that happy thought and start listening out for tip-toeing party workers at the door.


  • Comment number 1.

    I'd wish the bin men round here would do a bit more tiptoeing. They were round at half six this morning (thank you Cardiff CC for introducing the split shift) to empty the green one, thus reminding everybody that despite being a bank holiday (it is isn't it?) it was bin day, and they won't be back for the black one until nearly evening, and sometime in-between they might collect the green bags, if this the right week that is. Talking of green bags that's were the election leaflets end up, and I'm still getting more take-away menus than I am those, just as well probably.

  • Comment number 2.

    Bin collection on a bank holiday? - I'm amazed, thought bank holidays were sacred in the Local Authority calendar

    With regard to above prediction:

    "...47%-48% 2-1 favourite Record Turnout"

    ...does that mean that 47%-48% would be a record turnout? I haven't seen any polls on predicted turnout, but snatches of the subject that I have picked up in the media seemed to point to a lower turnout (can't recall the figures, but record hasn't been mentioned).

    Also - is there an article on the BBC website (or other website for that matter) which focusses on what are the key battleground constituencies please? I heard Ceredigion mentioned, and Llanelli I think as well?


  • Comment number 3.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    I am so glad to hear that Karl still dabbles in bookmaking. I helped him define the odds for the 2005 election and was one of only a few people who knew that Peter Law would win Blaenau Gwent. My own personal feelings are: Lab to win 31+ seats with a turnout of between 40 and 42%

  • Comment number 5.

    Interesting debate. My question is this: Does this mean the 2011 Assembly election campaign is more about which party is most able to get its vote out than which party has the best policies - and what does that say about democracy in this country?

  • Comment number 6.

    3??? A mystery! why do you need to further consider that post? It didn't criticise the BBC, wasn't risque abusive or contentious in any way. Was it because I included a link to "Britain Votes"? OK; Google it to see battleground seats in the assembly plus seat predictions.

  • Comment number 7.

    Thanks for that Sedwat, will go and look at it.

  • Comment number 8.

    Fascinated by all this stuff about rubbish collection. I am no longer in the UK so am bewildered by it. Here in Budapest, we stick our garden rubbish in separate bags but put everything else in bags of our choosing and stick them in the wheelie which is emptied three times a week (yes -THREE TIMES A WEEK). We can take our glass, plastic bottles, paper and cardboard to numerous recycling facilities throughout the city. The streets are swept regularly, the roads washed frequently and ashtrays are attached to most waste bins - which may be offensive to the politically correct - but at least means that we do not have to wade through dog ends on the street.

    Two week rubbish collection is a lame excuse to put good honest people out of work and create a new generation of forensic investigators who do nothing of discernible value save to deprive those people of work. It is time to grow up and dump this culture of political correctness.

  • Comment number 9.

    A friend of mine who got involved in that sort of thing once told me that a favourite question of public appointment panels was "what would success look like for the [insert body]?" I have not heard Party Leaders asked that one this time around, but the answers would be interesting. I suspect it might be hardest for Carwyn to answer because geography and the Assembly's electoral system make a majority so hard to achieve. For him, success must be a return as First Minister without a horrible coalition deal, but expectations seem to go beyond that and I guess he feels under more pressure than is obvious. It is going to be an interesting week - probably a good thing the results will come in instalments...

  • Comment number 10.

    SEDWOT - big cheers for that, an excellent info resource (sorry you had to 'take the hit' with the mods to share the info)

  • Comment number 11.

    You know, I'm beginning not to care, which is bad news because I very much want to care. Even for recent elections this campaign is poor by comparison, I suppose budgetory constraints are stymieing any grandiloquent promises in any manfesto. The blame game is a bore and brings to mind images of the monkey criticising the organ grinder as he plays the same old tune. Anybody who is partial to the words 'ring fencing' should note that inflation close to 5% will render that an impossible dream. And turncoats? Who likes those? Fair weather friends I suppose. Perhaps tonights' bout of mud wrestling will be a bit more illuminating.
    The AV referendum likewise fails to inspire, although it should, this opportunity will not happen again. It looks very much like Murdoch will have his way and remain 'kingmaker' as long he cares to entertaint political 'guests' in the run up to elections. So will it still be 'the Sun wot won it' after this? Maybe it won't make any difference anyway whatever we finish up with. See what I mean? This is what happens if I stop caring about politics and I've got plenty of other things I do care about.

  • Comment number 12.

    9. caradog_minchin

    As a Labour supporter who's been out on the doorstep talking to people about our policies and what might change with a Labour-only administration, I think you're right that immediate success for Carwyn would be a return as First Minister at the head of such a government - but I think he knows that any real success will be measured in terms of the success of his policies. Hopefully we won't have to wait too long to see that happening but when you consider the realities of politics, we might.

  • Comment number 13.

    Devolution is a sham. The payroll devolutionist's are desperate to pump up the turnout to 60%. What a waste of money from start to finish. Follow the advice of the new anti-devolution, Common Representation Campaign - abstain -

  • Comment number 14.

    13. CONNELL

    Abstain? What, you're asking people to give up their one chance to have any kind of influence at all on the politics of the Welsh Assembly - AND to give up their vote in the AV referendum? This seems a bit fishy to me. Which party has the most to gain from people not voting in the Assembly elections? And which party has the most to gain from people not voting in the referendum?
    ... Are you a Tory, Connell?

  • Comment number 15.

    1. I am not a member of any political party.
    2. Devolution is disintegrating the UK, it is in-equitable (an elector in Newcastle has less power in their vote than an elector in Newport) and it is expensive AMs/MLA's/MSP's salaries, buildings etc). Astention is the one action/non-action that all the devolutionist's fear as it exposes the sham for what it is.
    3. The referendum device is anti-parliamentary - it let's politicians off the hook. advise abstention on this too.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    RE: the website is laughably bad, something that a child might have put together in his or her bedroom. There is no mention of what they mean by a "common vote"? Not PR as this is seen as a terrifying "FORIEGN MECHANISM"!!!!!!! These anti-devolutionists don't like that one little bit.

    I also note that there are no names attributed to the author's of the website. But if we go on past practice it is probably extreme-right, anti-immigrant, anti-EU British nationalist members of UKIP and the BNP.

  • Comment number 18.

    15. CONNELL

    "A[b]stention is the one action/non-action that all the devolutionists fear as it exposes the sham for what it is."

    Rubbish. Abstention divests the abstainer of what little political power they have, and puts more power in the hands of those who do use their vote.

    Let's all be clear on this. They only way any single voter can exert any influence on politics at all is by using their vote, in whichever way they choose. Abstention will not bother those in power in the slightest way. Even mass abstention by more than a few individuals will not bother them because there will always be people who will vote, and therefore every poll will always have a winner. In the eyes of the political classes, abstainers are to be mocked and derided because they choose to be powerless.

  • Comment number 19.

    13. At 11:52am 2nd May 2011, CONNELL wrote:

    “Follow the advice of the new anti-devolution, Common Representation Campaign - abstain -”

    Only 129 visitors to the site, 21 of which recorded their agreement with its aims. The Welsh Assembly had better start worrying, right now.

  • Comment number 20.

    15. At 12:57pm 2nd May 2011, CONNELL wrote:

    “Devolution ........ it is in-equitable (an elector in Newcastle has less power in their vote than an elector in Newport)”

    Not actually true; because powers are split, the Westminster vote in Newcastle covers everything whilst the Westminster vote in Newport only covers some things.
    Therefore a second, different, vote is required in Newport to cover the items which are devolved.

    So the Newcastle vote has more power than the Newport vote at Westminster and this is compensated for by the second, different, vote in Newport. Not difficult is it?

  • Comment number 21.

    The Common Representation Campaign at

    The domain is registered by Stewart Connell who could not possibly be related to anybody posting on this thread of this blog under the username "CONNELL" - no, that would be too much of a coincidence...

    Having said that, I totally agree with the basic concept that we should have one country, one legislative system, one executive, common taxation, and common standards of public service delivery. I have never believed anything else!

    Divisive devolution sucks - whether it is applied under the guise of 'home countries' or EU Regions.

    Where I totally disagree is that abstaining in an election serves any purpose whatsoever and morally it denies you the right to complain. That is lose-lose!

    A better policy would be to turn out and deliberately spoil your paper with a relevant message to state why none of the candidates can possibly represent you. Spoilt papers are counted, categorised, and they get noted. Abstentions do not. Should it be the case that thousands upon thousands of papers were to be spoiled, all carrying an identical message, then that would very definitely get noticed.

    This comes at a time when I am actually thinking of spoiling my Assembly Constituency ballot paper for the first time ever precisely because none of the 4 Parties listed thereon represent me in any material way. I can vote on the List for a disruptive party with a clear conscience but in the Constituency I feel I should either abstain or spoil my paper. Which means it is almost certainly going to get spoilt this time - that is the only way I can protest against the way the political class has totally rejected my views...

  • Comment number 22.

    Whilst some might laugh at the website, common......etc., I recognise a particular gem that seems to have been cast on the stony and sterile ground hereabouts, it is ...

    “…Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests, which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, not local prejudices ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You chose a member indeed; when you have chosen him, he is not a member of Bristol, but he is member of parliament…”

    I think Edmund Burke had the rights of it and as the philosophical founder of modern conservatism and proponent of classical liberalism, he held certain sentiments that are held by many to this day; so laugh, but the people that seem to be attracted to the "... commonrepresentation ..." website supported the proposition "Do you support the repeal of legislative devolution and the introduction of a Common Representation Act", I suspect it is "one person one vote for a single legislature". I wonder how many of the British voting public might support such a proposition, how many might say to the Scots "cheerio", to us in Wales "thanks but no thanks" .......

  • Comment number 23.

    Why should we have one legislature, one executive and one set of policies, the UK is made up of different nations, almost every country above 15 million people have some form of regional/federal system - why not the UK? It comes down to whether you think that the UK is a collection of nations or one single nation. We had one of the most centralised systems in the world, where all wealth and power concentrates in one small corner of it. Well the power is a bit more defuse now, but the wealth is still concentrated in a small corner of it. Centralisation will do nothing to reverse that concentration of wealth, indeed its likely to accelerate it.

    Come on admit it, the anti devolution people lost, a month after a positive devolution vote - perhaps its time to call it a day?

  • Comment number 24.

    21. At 15:54pm 2nd May 2011, dispozest wrote:

    “....... that is the only way I can protest against the way the political class has totally rejected my views...”

    The four main Parties cover a pretty broad spectrum, if you can’t chose one which represents your views, said views must be quite extreme.

    Also – “I can vote on the List for a disruptive party with a clear conscience.”

    What an illuminating statement.

  • Comment number 25.

    Well, you believe enough in your politics and care about the lives of the people you represent, or you don't?

    If you have worked hard all year for your constituents, which is your job, for a good salary and expenses - then you may get re-elected. What's the problem?


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