The most fascinating contest this time in Wales. Here’s last time’s score:

Liberal Democrat: 13093 (36.7%)
Plaid Cymru: 12840 (36%)
Labour: 4316 (12.1%)
Conservative: 4312 (12.1%)
Other: 1107 (3.1%)
Majority: 252 (0.7%)
A seat with a fantastic psephological pedigree. A bastion of Welsh Liberalism for 70 years it was taken by nationalist defector Elystan Morgan for Labour in 1966 before returning to the Liberal fold with Geraint Howells in 1974. In 1992 Cynog Dafis of Plaid did the electoral miracle of coming from 4th to 1st with Green party backing. The Lib Dems regrouped and ditched their Welsh Liberal roots for the pavement pounding bar chart bollocks that the rest of us are used to and reclaimed the seat last time out.
A wonderfully diverse place, two university colleges, a pile of in-migrants, a fascinating religious heritage (Y Smotyn Du – a stronghold of Unitarianism), and linguistically mixed.
The seat is co-terminus with the county council, which is split:
Plaid: 20
Ind: 12
Ldem 9
Lab 1
The contest is a real scrap. Sitting MP. Mark Williams, a non-Welsh speaker, has got into trouble over the gibberish issued in his name (A leaflet has a facebook group) whilst Plaid candidate, Penri James, lost his council seat in 2008.
A very close call but as an electoral aside I think both Labour and Tories could poll less than 10% here…….unique in Britain?
Here’s the UK Polling report

  • The Celtic fringes tend to set the pace on close ones. I reckon Caithness and Sutherland in 1945 showed the true folly of FPTP:

    Con 5564
    Lab 5558
    Lib 5503
    Maj 6

    Another one that has a record of being “tight” is Brecon and Radnorshire.

    Then there was Nairn & Lochaber (now modified out of existence by boundary changes). On its last outing in 1992 it managed:

    Lib 13258
    Lab 12800
    SNP 12562
    Con 11517

    There was still room for 766 for a Green, who could therefore claim to have been decisive.

    For curiosity value I’d also nominate Anglesey (which has lost the knack since it became Ynys Môn). In ’55 the ballot paper read: Hughes, Hughes, Hughes, and Jones. In ’64 it was Hughes, Jones, Jones and Jones. That kind of thing must have been exercises in voter education before party label were allowed on the ballot slip.

    Locally, until it became Máirtín Mag Aonghusa’s feudal fief, Mid Ulster could give endless joy and entertainment to us armchair psephologists. Looks as if this time round we’ll have to settle for FST and South Antrim.

  • Greenflag

    I suspect the Lib Dems will hold the seat given the rise in Lib Dem fortunes generally . Mid Wales generally looks like becoming a Lib Dem refuge which will bode well for future efforts to change from the FPTP system.

    Ceredigion for those who are wondering is the former Cardiganshire which is just about 50 miles across the water from Wickla and Wexford 😉

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Thank you Dewi. It had been put to me by Welsh friends that in North Wales the “Anglos” tend to vote for the Party that is most likely to beat Plaid.
    In this constituency is this evidenced by the Lib Dem MPs inability to speak Welsh.
    Is there any evidence for example that new comers from Eastern Europe etc are more relunctant to vote PC.
    In short of those 26,000 plus who voted for Libs and PC last time….how does that reflect the number of actual Welsh people who voted for one or other.
    Is it an issue?
    Is it “dangerous”?
    There is a comparison with all constituencies in Britain and Ireland that changing demographics changes results.
    And for example this is most evidenced in the Irish Gaeltacht areas.

  • Dewi @ 02:19 AM (rust never sleeps) is, as always, the great diplomat.

    By focusing on Ceredigion he avoids having to remind fellow Celts of a little local historical upset. I can take only so much of this peace-and-goodwill stuff, so I shall put the boot in by equally considering ills the Welsh did to the Irish in the constituency directly to the north of Ceredigion. It’s now Dwyfor Meirionnydd: it used to exist quite happily mainly as Meirionnydd Nant Conwy. They keep changing the names on the Sellafield principle.

    When Magnus Maximus declared himself Roman Emperor in AD383 (it seems like only yesterday), he removed the legion from North Wales. The Leinstermen saw an opportunity and occupied the Llyn peninsula (notice the cognate names). This was, therefore, another example of Irish imperialism bringing culture and enlightenment to the wider world. As in Kilburn, Boston, New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, and Cheltenham racecourse.

    Wledig or Cunedda has a name that varies according to which version of British Celtic one likes, — it doesn’t really matter, it amounts to a title like “good leader” of “commander”, and gives us the modern Kenneth. He was Coel Hen’s son-in-law, and decided to sort this Llyn business out.

    With me so far? Oh, you’ve never heard of Coel Hen? Well, he was the last Roman Dux Britannorum, but you know him better as “Old King Cole”.

    So, back to Wledig/Cunedda/Kenneth.

    His little patch of Celtic heaven was SE Scotland/north Northumbria or Yr Hen Ogledd (as Dewi might tell us). Cunedda brought his cavalry down the old Roman road and promptly sent the Leinstermen packing. Now tell me the Celts of Old Britain couldn’t organise a booze-up in a mead factory. Some say it was the only successful ejection of barbarians from the Roman empire (but those who dare to describe Leinstermen as “barabarians” are probably recalling bruising games against Old Belvedere 4ths).

    And now Dewi is trying diverting attention from past crimes against the Irish people, and distracting us with Ceredigion rather than Gwynedd! Shame!

  • Dewi

    Wonderful Malcolm! Old Macsen married a Caernarfon girl – Helen IIRC…when I have a fortnight I’ll write up how Roman civilisation finished in Dyrham in 577….

  • Dewi

    On a technical point “Gwledig” which means “country wide” has Roman connotations – we only had three, Macsen, Cunedda and Emrys – the later with Arthurian connections…but that’a another great story…

  • Greenflag

    ‘and promptly sent the Leinstermen packing. ‘

    Not all of them . In recent time the Welsh Rugby team has had some Fir Laigheain (the spear men) singing Land of our Fathers at the Millenium stadium -a Delaney and a Moriarty and the present Welsh team has a Byrne as full back . The Byrne’s are as common in Wickla as the Jones and Hughes in the valley’s ;).

    So Ole King Cole was a Roman Ducks and a Cool Hen 😉 Presumably he could have been Eider ;)?

    The fact that Cunedda was Ogleing Hens in Northumbr merely reflects the bestiality peoples in ancient times.;)

  • Cardi

    LibDems are mopping up the anti-Welshie vote i.e. there’s an ethnic English vote who will vote for the party which is least Welsh so that they don’t feel they have to make any linguistic or cultural concessions. Of course, it’s not quite as simple nor as blunt as this, and some Welsh-speakers wil vote LibDem, but it’s all there underneath.

    The English migration into Ceredigion over the last 30 years is huge so much that the Welsh language is now a miniroty language in the County for the first time in its history. The English will listen to UK/English tv, radio, blogs etc and are totally unaware, and unwilling in some respecte to interact with a Welsh narrative because that would question their pregiduces.

    Ceredigion is becoming an English county and the LibDems are glad of that because it strengthens their vote.

    Canvassing in the area I realy do feel like the Irish peasant daring to intrude on the Planter mentality. There’s that slightly condesending look you get, ‘what vote for a Welshie party’ you get.

    Of course some will say that Plaid is ‘too Welsh for them’ … it’s never that they are ‘too English/British’.

    LibDems will discuss ‘proper politics’ schools, hospitals, ecnomy etc but of course will never say, ‘oh, and we’re in favour of the anglicisation of the counry.’ It’s so assumed and obvious that it’s not even discussed. It’s not that there’s a deliberate policy to turn Ceredigion into an English county (although their councillors prefere the mroe English ‘Cardiganshire’ to the original Ceredigion), it’s just that they won’t do anything to promote the Welsh language and can sit back and allow British capitalism and movement of English people to do it for them.

    The LibDem’s are ‘centre’ enough to be able to pick up votes from normally Tory and Labour people. They’ll win because of migration of English to county and they can harvest the anti-Welshie vote.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Thank you Cardi……Pob Iwc

  • Dewi

    diolch cardi – Mae yna ddigon o Gymry Cymraeg i ennill y sedd eleni?

  • FitzjamesHorse

    You took the words right of my mouth Dewi 🙂