Warning: Mr Ruthless on the warpath

 

UPDATE Wed 11.30

"Will they stick together and refuse to sink out of sight this time?" was my question yesterday of Anglesey's independent councillors. The answer, by the looks of things at least, is yes. Talks are now well underway to form a council, led by independents, with support from the three Labour members.

The irony isn't lost on some of those in Welsh government circles who had hoped this election would put the council in party political hands. Labour support now looks as though it's about to put the independent group - which includes a former Conservative AM - back in power.

One senior government source smiled and threw up their hands, before muttering something that sounded a lot like 'you couldn't make it up.'

They may be cheered by this comment left on the blog last night by Hywel Meredydd Davies:

As Deputy Chairman of the Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales, ensuring responsible and fair democracy was the only motive for the Commission, which introduced the principle of a new multi-member wards to Anglesey. Today I am delighted to see so many new successful and responsible Councillors who are keen to tackle the profound current challenges facing the community on Anglesey.

Keep an eye out here for the latest.

************

There are, a colleague and old hand once told me, just two areas of Welsh politics I've never been able to crack - the politics of Welsh choirs and the politics of Anglesey. Both complex, both bloody-minded - both pretty impenetrable.

Now as an alto who turns up to choir practice most Thursdays, don't get me started on the former. The latter? He has a point.

You'll know by now that in Thursday's local election, the people of Anglesey were encouraged/pretty much guided (delete as applicable) not to put independent candidates back in charge and to vote instead for a party political leadership. They looked at the script, looked at their ballot papers and decided to do things their own way.

The independents did lose ground. Some jumped before the new broom came for them. Some had had enough. All the same they remain the largest group - except of course, they haven't operated as a single group in the past. They've operated as two or three groups. That's the point and the issue that's led to any number of the island's political woes. So let's rephrase. There are still more independent councillors than there are councillors from any one political party. That wasn't the plan. Will they stick together and refuse to sink out of sight this time?

The only party to emerge smiling was Plaid Cymru with 12 seats. They put the work in and got the vote out. If they were - and I think we can bet they were - putting to work the campaigning tactics recently picked up from the SNP in Scotland, then 12 seats says some of them worked. What didn't work was the bit that said they would then join forces with the Labour group to give them a clear majority. Labour fell short. With only three councillors elected (too few to form an official 'group') on an island they represent in Westminster and just at a time the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are on the ropes, they must have emerged scowling and with rather a lot of questions that need answering.

The sole Liberal Democrat is talking to the independents, keen - or so we're told in Cardiff - to ensure some of the policies he supported are adopted.

Plaid are in talks - pre-preliminary talks - with Labour and the independents to form a ruling coalition.

The Conservatives? No councillors, and considerably worse if you're the leader in Wales, trailing Ukip in terms of support. There were no excuses from Andrew R T Davies this morning. What, I asked him, had gone wrong? Putting up five times as many candidates as at the last election was all well and good, he said but that doesn't win you elections. You need a campaign, you need to communicate with the voters. His party had failed on both counts - and he didn't stop there. The failure of the Tory campaign in this election "will be ruthlessly - and I mean ruthlessly - sorted out!" He wouldn't elaborate.

Perhaps they'll think twice before coming out with 'Loony Leanne' jibes in future, said a Plaid source. After all, they've already realised that calling Ukip names was a bad idea.

Nigel Farage's party didn't make huge strides on Anglesey. All the same, they did better than Mr Davies' and Mr Cameron's party and if colleagues who were there on the night are right, many of those who did vote for Ukip didn't choose - having made their protest - to give their second, or even third vote, to the Conservatives.

If so, it seems it wasn't just a bit of a kick in Mr Cameron's direction. It was a decisive shift in support - and evidence of something rather more fundamental for the Conservative party both in Wales and in England to "ruthlessly - and I mean ruthlessly" - sort out.

Then again, maybe you have cracked Anglesey politics. If you have, go for it - spell out what lessons you reckon the parties should learn from Thursday's vote, Friday's count and those pre-pre-preliminary talks.

 
Betsan Powys, Political editor, Wales Article written by Betsan Powys Betsan Powys Former political editor, Wales

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 100.

    #98 I think it's Britain that isn't a nation, but a state (kingdom) - there isn't even a British language! In practice most unionists seem to be Big Englanders. The Anglesey results show that Wales is very different from England, and all the "national" predictions by the media apply only to England. I am not in favour of an independent Wales, but nor am I a unionist - roll on a federal Britain!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 99.

    I'm afraid 'Mr. Ruthless' doesn't seem to understand that the Welsh Tories are dying on the back of 10+ years of their own anti-British policies AND the policies of Cameron & Co who are looking more and more like Common Purpose and less and less like the Conservative & Unionist Party.

    UKIP will cost them at least 60 and maybe 100 seats in the 2015 general election and it's all their own fault!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 98.

    #97 To adapt Metternicht, Wales isn't a nation, it is a geographical expression.
    BTW I am not a Little Englander, I am a Unionist. I celebrate A Bevan, David L-G, Gordon Brown, James Keir Hardie as celebrated Parliamentarians at Westminster. The Welsh have always been better at governing England than themselves. The scorpion that stung the frog carrying it across the river was Welsh!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 97.

    94: I thought that was the idea when you live in a nation called Wales I assumed the title of Welsh came with the territory so to speak whatever language you're forced not to or encouraged to speak with a knot around your neck in this glorious British Democracy. How wrong you are about me and how right I am about you.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 96.

    93: I refer you to my comment I gave you a few months ago regarding my mitochondrial but speak for yourself about being a mongrel. I’m not from the South Wales valleys but I find it ironic how you and other Little Englanders want independence from European rule with your diluted antecedence. 94: PC & UKIP the same. So Farage wants a parliament for Wales. Bombastic as well as socially inept.

  • Comment number 95.

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

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 94.

    Tyranny is when a small clique impose their will on the majority. Lets be clear AGAIN. I am not English and certainly I am not Tory but PC and UKIP are faces of the same coin. I really don;t care what language you speak but Mab abd his ilk only have one policy "let's be Welsh". The end.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 93.

    "You can’t quote the horrors of holocaust whilst yourself being an abuser of Welsh culture & language." Would you like to bet on that ?
    Also, to bring racism into it, you would have to believe a lot of guff about the population of South Wales having a pure descent from the druids. The people of South Wales, at least - of the valleys, like those of England, are mongrel, or show hybrid vigour.

  • Comment number 92.

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

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 91.

    Wrong again Boxer it was the invasion of Poland GB and France went to war. But oddly enough Poland was invaded by both Germany and Russia under a secret pact. Yet it was only Germany they declared war on. Not because of any discrimination against Jews. A minority within their own countries. The camps came later. Probably thought Germany was the easiest option. How many more sympathisers I wonder.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 90.

    88: You can’t quote the horrors of holocaust whilst yourself being an abuser of Welsh culture & language. Tyranny starts with acceptable face of racism being anti Welsh nationhood & language rhetoric. Take note and learn.

  • Comment number 89.

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

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 88.

    #85 Auschwitz, Treblinka, Sobobor, Dachau, Babi Yar..
    I have only a limited number of characters, but if that doesn't convince you that those who fought were right to do so, another 200 names won't.
    I'll do it for you. Edward Windsor a.k.a. Duke of Windsor was a Nazi sympathiser. So ?? We fought for survival, but the Holocaust defined our enemy.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 87.

    Wrong Boxer the language was the natural one for Wales not a foreign one. Shame on the BBC Moderators. They should be reported for discrimination against a natural minority language in its own country. A step too far I think. You say they are biased towards the Welsh language. You can never use that argument again. They have shot themselves in the foot. I don't let others take the blame.

  • Comment number 86.

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

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 85.

    Boxer they are cowards who wage war and send others to fight and die or be maimed for life. Then when they come home they are ignored and forced to live in poverty. Did the ones who went to war in Iraq based on a lie know what they were fighting for. I believe some of the Royal family were fascist supporters.. I suppose it will be ok to mention SL but I will be banned for mentioning them.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 84.

    #72 "Hope you don't mind" Alf " there was a foreign language in it you see. Fair's fair."
    Thank you for letting me know, Alf. Otherwise I would have blamed Woodsey, who has form .

  • Comment number 83.

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

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 82.

    #75 "Who had the greater courage those that blindly went to fight for the cowards who sent them. " ?
    My uncle, RAF "no known grave" certainly id not go blindly. As Cromwell put it "that knows what he fights for, and loves what he knows". I'm not too sure about the 'cowards that sent them' either. People like Churchill and Harris had their faults.GOK, but cowards? And Saunders Lewis was a fascist.

  • Comment number 81.

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

 

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