Local elections: why Labour bucked the trend in Wales

Notes from a Broken Society

Anyone listening to the Today Programme on Radio 4 this morning would have heard John McDonnell denying vigorously that yesterday’s local election results were a disaster.  His argument: Labour had held Cardiff, Swansea, Newport, Neath and Port Talbot.  They had stemmed the tide in Wales.  Diane Abbott was saying much the same thing this afternoon.

Image result for carwyn jones

All of which is undoubtedly true.  However, it’s important to understand the reasons why, notwithstanding disappointing results in places like Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil, Labour did significantly better in Wales than in England.  Without that understanding, Labour’s claims in London are bound to be seen as complacent and ill-founded.

Many people outside Wales take the view that it votes tribally.  But those days are gone – the days when you could stick a red rosette on a pot-plant and get it elected have completely passed.  Labour, often seen as the political establishment in…

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