Monday, October 01, 2007

Wise move by Tories

I have always beleived that in many constituencies Tories could comfortably vote for Plaid candidates as a safe bet against Labour. I have no doubt that (Lord) Dafydd Wigley's big majorities were based on an appeal across Plaid/Tory boundaries with, I will acknowledge, some Labour supporters thrown in for good measure.

As I have argued before it is possible that this cozy relationship is more strained after the One Wales agreement. This is one element of the additional interest in the Westminster election when it arrives. Welsh Tories clearly see some potential ground to exploit. With Plaid's grip on fortress Gwynedd facing a challenge on several fronts it will be an interesting few weeks/months/years.


menaiblog said...

Ahem, your understanding of the electoral history of the old Caernarfon constituency seems to be slightly flawed.

The Tory vote was far higher in the Wigley period than it was in the post Wigley period.

Does it not strike you as being rather odd that you find yourself inventing a 'cosy Plaid / Tory' relationship at a time when your own leader is cosying himself up to Tory voters with such fervour that he goes out of his way to invite that mad Thatcher woman to tea in Downing Street?

Martin Eaglestone said...

Crikey meaning the nationalists have lost circa 9,000 voters from Wigley's peak to Hywel's more recent polling.

Its that trend which makes the new Arfon so more interesting.

menaiblog said...

Whether or not a component of the Wigley vote came from Tories is an impondrable - but as I said, the figures don't really back your argument.

What is beyond doubt is that Labour is actively pitching for natural Tories - hence all the stuff about 'Britain', the addressing of traditional Tory policy areas & the notorious association with Lady Thatcher.

Martin Eaglestone said...

Anyone of us knocking doors know the type of shifts which were taking palce and I hold to the point that Dafydd was a safe bet for many "centrist" people, as well as Plaid's leading light when fewer were around. That is why his move to the Lords will be accepted by all except the most fervent nationalists.

Interesting that you equate "Tory" with "Britishness", reflecting elements of a debate currently going on with Normal Mouth,Ceredig etc. I share the view that many people are comfortable with a British and/or Welsh/English/ Scottish identity. Indeed many people in Britain share multi cultural,complex identities.

menaiblog said...

The Britishness argument is a complex one as identity itself is is a complex concept.

The problem with Britishness is that it's an identity associated with a nation (as opposed to nation state) that is itself artificial - & is a construct of the needs of the age of Empire - an age that is receding into the past.

In addition, the term has lost it's precision because of inward migration from the New Commonwealth. Nowdays people who's roots are in the Indian sub continent or the West Indies are more likely to attatch the term British to themselves than white English folk who often prefer the word English.

Martin Eaglestone said...

Agreed it is complex, and some approaches appear somewhat jingoistic. For example it is an identity that is unlikely to raise flag poles eveywhere (at least not on home soil !). However within that very complexity are, what I will loosely describe as, non-Empire identities that I feel unite people across boundaries.

The history of any nation ebbs and flows as do its boundaries. The Wales of today is very different to the Wales of the Princes (not William and Charles - although come to think of it, it is different to theirs as well ).

I suspect many are comfortable with their British identity, and any other identity they also have. Perhaps those who see it only in a single dimension are the minority ?