And it is a very good morning for Labour
- 4 May 2012
- From the section Wales politics
Phew what a scorching night of Welsh politics.
In the early hours of last year's Assembly election night Kirsty Williams led the attack against those who'd predicted a Liberal Democrat near wipeout. They'd got it wrong, she said. Things weren't half as bad as predicted for the Welsh Lib Dems.
This time there was no proportional element to the vote, no swings to make up for the roundabouts - and this time the Liberal Democrats took the full brunt of what they can only accept is the electorate's anger.
"Is this down to national issues?" the ousted leader of Wrexham council was asked this morning. "Yes, obviously" came the terse response. It was down to bad decisions taken in Westminster that had been sold badly, he said.
Kirsty Williams has accepted this time that "the price of power in Westminster is a particularly high one at the moment ... What we've seen tonight is a very bad night for any political party that doesn't have Labour in its title"
And it wasn't just the Lib Dems who suffered. The Welsh Conservatives - note that, Welsh Conservatives - suffered this time too. Early on I saw a text from a party official saying Monmouthshire was "tight as a ..." well a certain part of a nun's attire.
It wasn't a rout but it turned out to be the wrong side of tight for the party.
I bumped into Andrew RT Davies this morning. This was no belting, he said. It was more a setback but he accepted it hadn't been a good night for David Cameron's party in Wales. They had set a distinct Welsh agenda he said but the message from Westminster must be "clearer and crisper." People have to understand that "you can't make these sorts of cuts in the bat of an eyelid."
Were there big surprises for Plaid? Probably not. They'd expected a tough night and they got it. Losing Caerphilly will have hurt. Ron Davies, the former Secretary of State, the man who once celebrated that 'very good morning for Wales', had a bad night. Missing out on a majority in Ceredigion on a night the Lib Dems collapsed can't be easy to stomach either. Yes, Leanne Wood has only been leading the party for some 6, 7 weeks. Yes, it's fair enough to argue that is nowhere near long enough to turn around the party's fortunes.
But it's also fair enough to say that a bounce, when it happens, happens pretty quickly and Leanne Wood herself will know that an awful lot of people voted for her because they had faith she'd be the one to take on Labour in the valleys - and there was no sign at all of that last night.
"It's time to rebuild" she tweeted this morning, on her way to Cardiff.
Where is she - asked one tired and shell-shocked Lib Dem, this morning. We've heard from Peter Hain for Labour, Andrew RT Davies for the Tories, Kirsty Williams for the Lib Dems and doing the rounds for Plaid on the early morning programmes? One of those who didn't win the leadership, Simon Thomas.
But they must all hand it to Labour. They've turned a "belting" defeat in 2008 into a thumping victory in 2012.
Was the victory down to that call on Welsh voters to give the UK coalition a kicking, rather than a fight based on Labour delivery and local issues? "We were saying what the voters were saying" said Peter Hain this morning. "We're back in touch with people."
There were many in the party who felt that two successive bad local elections were just too much to turn round in one night, that the repair job would have to be done in stages.
It was the sort of night where everything went Labour's way. A dead heat in Torfaen was decided by drawing lots. Who won? The Labour candidate.
No. It's a job done for Labour, with Cardiff the jewel in the crown.