Category: Wales2016

Assembly Election 2016: Results and Reactions

Senedd 1

Well the results are in. Here’s our quick guide to election night, the results and the reactions.

Results

PARTY CANDIDATES VOTES % +/- %
Welsh Labour Julie Morgan 16,766 44.8% −2.8
Welsh Conservative Jayne Cowan 13,099 35.0% −7.4

UKIP Wales

Haydn Rushowrth 2,509 6.7% +6.7
Plaid Cymru Elin Walker Jones 2,278 6.1% +0.7
Welsh Liberal Democrat John Dixon 1,130 3.0% −1.6
Independent Fiona Burt 846 2.3% +2.3
Wales Green Party Chris von Ruhland 824 2.2% +2.2

Election Night

The polls closed at 10:00pm and, as the counting got under way, the coverage kicked off.

Reporters on the scene spoke to the lead candidates and both were underplaying their chances.

Turnout was high, as it usually is in these parts.

Without anything to really add, I spent most of the evening posting gifs.

I didn’t fancy staying up all night so I hit the sack and caught up with the progress in the morning.  The result was finally declared at 7:00am. Labour held Cardiff North.

Labour held Cardiff North.

Jayne congratulated Julie and thanked her team.

Our new AM thanked her supporters.

We also have two new regional AMs. Plaid’s Neil McEvoy and UKIP’s Gareth Bennett.

Reactions

I’m off to update the website…

Assembly Election 2016: The Final Countdown

Assembly election banner graphic

“The Final Countdown” is an appropriate title for this blog post, considering how Europe has overshadowed the 2016 Assembly election campaign.

So on the eve of the election, what are the pollsters saying? The most recent Welsh Political Barometer poll has the following constituency results:

Labour: 33% (no change)

Conservatives: 21% (+2)

Plaid Cymru: 19% (-2)

UKIP: 16% (+1)

Liberal Democrats: 8% (no change)

Others: 4% (+1)

(Source – Welsh Political Barometer poll)

These figures project a Conservative gain in Cardiff North. The important word there is “project”. These results are a projection, not a prediction.

But away from polls and analysis, you may have some questions about the big day:

  1. What are we voting for? This site answers that better than I can – www.2016.wales
  2. Who are the candidates? We have a list of who they are, articles that they’ve written and their live tweets.
  3. Where do I vote? Head over to this site and put your postcode in. wheredoivote.wales
  4. Isn’t there another election? Yes there is. We’re also voting for Police and Crime Commissioner. These are the candidates and this article explains what they do.

We’ll have the results tomorrow night with links to analysis, comments and reactions. Then we’re off on holiday…

Do you know what your government is responsible for?

The Conversation logo

Exterior of The Senedd (National Assembly building)

Roger Scully, Cardiff University

Devolution in the UK has meant that the non-English nations have divided government control over major areas of public policy. On some matters, UK government policies still affect people directly; on others it is the governments in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast that decide.

Though devolution itself has great potential in theory, the division of control creates the potential for public confusion: do people actually know which government is responsible for what?

Public knowledge matters for democratic accountability. If people don’t understand which government does what then they cannot hold the relevant politicians accountable at elections. Some may receive blame, or credit, which they do not warrant; others may escape deserved responsibility.

The evidence thus far has not been encouraging. Previous studies in Scotland and in Wales have shown plenty of confusion about which government does what. Some work has also shown an asymmetry of policy attributions: with people in both Scotland and Wales tending to blame government in London for perceived poor performance in major policy areas, but giving credit to governments in either Edinburgh or Cardiff where things are believed to have improved. This may be convenient for some politicians in Holyrood and Cardiff Bay, but it is not politically healthy in the long-term.

Recently, however, there has been a major attempt by the Conservatives to address this problem in Wales. This has not stemmed from high-minded concern for democratic proprieties, but from raw politics: with public perceptions of NHS performance in Wales being poor, the Tories have wanted the Labour Welsh government to get the blame. Labour’s management of the NHS in Wales has been attacked in vitriolic terms, and the Conservatives suggested that this is emblematic of broader Labour incompetence.

Is this having any effect? And on health, or indeed in other major policy areas, are Welsh voters approaching the forthcoming National Assembly election with a clearer idea of who is responsible for what than they did in previous elections?

Devolution in practice

To explore these questions, I’ve examined evidence from two major academic surveys: the pre-election wave of the 2016 Welsh Election Study, conducted in early-mid March this year; and the first wave of the 2011 Welsh Referendum Study, conducted at almost the same time before the 2011 National Assembly election.

A near-identical set of questions was run in the two surveys. These asked, first, whether people perceived improvements or declines in key areas of public policy since the previous National Assembly election; and, second, whether people attributed any improvements or declines mainly to the UK government, the Welsh government, or both equally.

Four topics were asked about: health, and education, high-profile areas where policy responsibility has been largely devolved, and “standard of living”, and “law and order”, areas where power and responsibility largely remains with the UK government.

The figure below shows the balance of opinion (the net percentage of those perceiving improvements minus those perceiving declines) in each of the four policy areas in both 2011 (blue) and 2016 (red).

Roger Scully, Author provided

 

A few things are noticeable here: first, the balance of opinion on all issues is negative. In both 2011 and 2016, across all issues, more people perceived decline rather than improvement.

Second, and perhaps most strikingly, there has been a huge decline in public perceptions in the area of health between 2011 and 2016. Even if they haven’t caused such perceptions, attacks by the Conservatives and others on the Welsh NHS will likely have chimed with many voters’ views.

Finally, in the two areas under Welsh government control, the balance of opinion has become more negative since 2011, while in the two areas of UK government responsibility, public perceptions have become less negative.

But were perceived improvements or declines actually attributed to the “appropriate” level of government in any of these policy areas? Investigating this requires some careful unpicking of the data. Below are two tables, one for 2011 and one for 2016. They chart which level of government was assigned primary responsibility for perceived improvements or declines in each policy area.

Roger Scully, Author provided

 

We see that in 2011, those perceiving improvements in health and education in Wales tended to view the Welsh government as responsible. This is encouraging; much less so is that many people also credited the Welsh government for improvements in those areas where it had much less power. We also see that people who perceived declines were substantially more likely to blame the UK government than those perceiving improvements, and that this was true both of devolved and non-devolved policy areas.

Have things changed? Our new evidence suggests that they have, to some extent, in the field of health. Compared to 2011, Welsh people in 2016 are more likely to assign responsibility to the Welsh government for policy outcomes in health, whether it is for improvement or decline overall. But in the other policy areas there is now a clear general pattern, and there remains a tendency for people to be disproportionately likely to give credit to government in Wales, but assign blame to government in London.

The long-term health of a system of devolved governance surely requires clarity of policy responsibility. In Wales, the latest evidence indicates that the strong political attacks that have been made on the Welsh government’s management of the NHS may have induced greater clarity for many Welsh voters on this issue. However, health appears to be more the exception than the rule. In general, any clear division of government responsibility in the minds of voters, and accountability for what each level of government does, seems to remain elusive.

The 2011 Welsh Referendum Study was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (Grant RES-000-22-4496). The pre-referendum wave interviewed 3,029 respondents between 3 February-2 March 2011; fieldwork was conducted via the internet by YouGov.

The 2016 Welsh Election Study is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (Grant ES/M011127/1). The pre-election wave interviewed 3,272 respondents between 7-18 March 2016; fieldwork was conducted via the internet, by YouGov.

The Conversation

Roger Scully, Professor of Political Science, Cardiff University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Image credit – Marc

Cardiff North Debate on Radio Cardiff

Radio Cardiff debate

Jane Morris hosted a debate on Radio Cardiff with four constituency candidates. David Melding stood in for Jayne Cowan, who couldn’t make it. David has been an AM since 1999 and is second on the Conservative regional list. John Dixon and Elin Walker Jones were invited but couldn’t attend.

You listen to the debate in the widget below.

The debate covered housing and the NHS with a brief discussion about independence before wrapping up.

 

Don’t forget to visit our candidate page to see full profiles and candidate comments.

Candidate Comments: Haydn Rushworth – UKIP

Guest post by Haydn Rushworth

Haydn Rushworth is the UKIP constituency candidate for Cardiff North.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.

Haydn Rushworth

In times of war, when national crisis demands that every citizen unifies behind a single goal and great, personal sacrifices for the greater good are common, young people have always been at the front and centre coming to the rescue of the entire nation.

Following the Battle of Britain, when Churchill said “Never in the field of human conflict, has so much been owed by so many to so few”, it emerged that the average age of the brave pilots who defended Britain was just 20 years old.

Haydn Rushworth profile imageToday, Wales is facing a national catastrophe of crisis proportions. It affects absolutely every aspect of life in Wales, and it is the central threat to the hope-filled future that today’s young people SHOULD be looking forward to.

I’m talking about the Welsh share of the National Deficit. This is the amount of money that government must borrow each year to make up the difference between taxes raised (money in) and public spending (money out). The University of Cardiff recently published a report that calculated that the Welsh share for last year was an eye-watering, crippling, UN.BE.LIEVABLE… £14.7 billion… for JUST ONE YEAR!!!!!!!

Now, you may hear big numbers thrown about a lot and not think much of it, but lets put this into some context. We are on the verge of a National Referendum on whether the UK should leave the EU. Part of the reason for raising this question is that it costs the UK £8 billion each year just to remain members. So what if we leave? We’ll save £8 billion per year. What if, somebody takes a little peak at the near-£15 billion (almost double) that Wales costs the national economy every year and asks the awkward question “so, errr… should we now hold a referendum on whether the UK should leave Wales?”

Of course that’s not going to happen, but even so, if we don’t act now, the next generation will pay a heavy price, and that’s what UKIP wants to avoid.

So what’s the answer?

  1. Unlike other political parties who will try to convince you they THEY are the answer to all your problems, UKIP believes that no single government can solve this problem. It’s too big, and it involves all of us. UKIP Believes that people power, not government power, is the most critical element.
  2. Fundamental reforms to the education system are necessary so that every young person is trained and empowered in the art and craft of wealth-creation. As individuals become wealthy, the entire Welsh nation becomes wealthy.
  3. Young People MUST lead this revolution, then the rest of Wales will follow.
  4. The deficit crisis needs to be the Number 1 priority for the Welsh Assembly, and if enough people demand this, they will have to listen and start to act. Vote UKIP to let your voices be heard.

For more information on my personal proposals for tackling the Deficit Crisis, go to haydnrushworth.com.

By Haydn Rushworth

twitter.com/UkipHaydn

Candidate Comments: Jayne Cowan – Conservatives

Guest post by Jayne Cowan

Jayne Cowan is the Conservative Party’s constituency candidate for Cardiff North.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.

Jayne Cowan

In this election campaign, my team and I have delivered hundreds of thousands of leaflets across Cardiff North – from Rhiwbina, to Llandaff North, Thornhill, Llanishen, Lisvane, Pontprennau, Old St Mellons, Heath, Tongwynlais and Whitchurch.

With Labour only one seat from losing power, Cardiff North will be critical to deciding who is in government in Wales in only a few days’ time. Hopefully, all this literature has given a flavour as to the work I’ve been doing for the constituency I’ve lived in my whole life, and what I plan to do if elected as the Assembly Member for Cardiff North on May 5th.

Of all those pieces of paper, the leaflet I was proudest to deliver was one which contained a series of endorsements from local small businesses and shops. From an award-winning Whitchurch butcher – Martin Player, to Caerphilly Road’s Younger’s Fish Bar, Elizabeth of SP1 Hairdressers, or the owners of the Gateway of India, these local enterprises help make our community tick.

Cardiff North has some stunning high streets, which I will always passionately support. They are places to shop, socialise and share, and act as local hubs we must treasure. As such, we need to do more to support our bustling community spaces and help them thrive. Sadly, under Labour, high street vacancy rates in Wales are the highest in the UK – and, after 17 years with them at the helm, enough is enough.

Jayne CowanCardiff is reaping many benefits from the UK Government’s record of economic delivery – but Labour has failed to utilise the devolved levers at its disposal to build on that. Indeed, if every small business in Wales could employ just one extra member of staff, unemployment could be eliminated at a stroke. That’s why a Welsh Conservative administration would ensure any business with a rateable value of under £12,000 pay no rates whatsoever, with tapered support provided up to £15,000. Furthermore, by splitting the business rates multiplier, we can give all smaller businesses a fairer deal.

Keeping people on our local High Streets not only fuels local economies, but fosters a greater sense of community spirit. High streets, indeed, are about more than just shops. As part of a dedicated plan to back the Welsh high street, our manifesto contained a commitment to encourage the development of responsible night time economies. In Whitchurch, and elsewhere, we’ve seen the benefits this can have.

Underpinned by a focus on inclusive, community-led regeneration, and the development of a Welsh High Street Charter, encouraging the sharing of best practice, a renewed focus on High Street support must be a key focus for the next Welsh Government, and would have huge benefits across Cardiff North. I’m proud of our plan to do just that.

Welsh Conservatives want to lead a Welsh Government which is the most small-business friendly ever. The proposal to establish a ‘Small Business Hub’, scrutinising all Welsh Government policy for its impact on small firms, is testimony to that focus.  In Cardiff North, this approach could play a pivotal role in boosting employment, supporting our proud High Streets and nurturing our local area’s proud entrepreneurial spirit – and is something I’ll continue to shout from the rooftops as polling day approaches.

By Jayne Cowan

twitter.com/JayneCowan

Candidate Comments: Chris von Ruhland – Green Party

Guest post by Chris von Ruhland

Chris von Ruhland is the Green Party’s constituency candidate for Cardiff North and regional list candidate for South Wales Central.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.

The Earth

Will our grandchildren inherit our IKEA furniture?

Probably not.

While it is of moderately good quality, it is unlikely to last that long due to wear and tear or, more likely, being discarded in favour of something newer.

We are constantly bombarded by advertisements that show happy smiling people dancing around their latest acquisition, often in living rooms the size of the ground floor of most people’s houses. The adverts are designed to make us feel inadequate and intimate that our lives will be so much better if we buy the latest sofa, flat screen, or car. It is, of course, a fantasy. But is clearly works, otherwise companies wouldn’t do it.

The pleasure we derive from our latest purchase is transitory, however. The novelty wears off and we find ourselves hankering after something else, because what we have purchased will soon be deemed outdated. But fear not; there is always something else that we can be persuaded to buy.

And so we carry on, working longer hours than we would like, to earn money to buy stuff that doesn’t last, that we don’t really want and certainly don’t need, in the hope that it will satisfy us (it won’t). This is consumerism.

Fun, isn’t it.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to do this?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could spend more time with our friends and families, enjoying ourselves and just being human. We could have more time to cultivate our creativity. We could be a lot happier.

Wishful thinking?

Actually no.

Chris von RuhlandWhat if we designed things to last and be easily repairable? We wouldn’t need to keep replacing them. If we lived healthier lifestyles, we wouldn’t need such a huge and expensive health service. If we were encouraged to use local businesses rather than chain stores and multinationals, money would be more likely to stay in the area rather than being squirreled away in tax havens. If we built houses to be energy positive, like Cardiff University’s Solcer house, we wouldn’t need to spend so much on bills, and people wouldn’t have to choose between eating and heating. If we had a decent public transport system, our roads would be less congested and it would be much safer to cycle, so we wouldn’t need cars so much; many of us might even be able to do without them altogether.

So we wouldn’t need so much money. So we wouldn’t need to work so much. So we’d have more time to spend on things that actually mattered.

And we’d reduce our consumption of the earth’s finite resources.

Because our current lifestyle is wrecking the planet. If everybody on earth lived as we do in Wales, we’d need 2.5 planets. Which we don’t have. So we can’t carry on as we are. Or we can, and leave the consequences for our children and our grandchildren to sort out. And the very poorest people will suffer the consequences of our inaction the most. Not to mention the countless species that will go extinct. The future is very much in our hands.

It’s unreasonable to expect everybody to suddenly change to a more sustainable lifestyle by themselves, even though some do. What is needed is leadership, and there is precious little of this at the moment.

All too often, politicians have to balance the demands of the electorate with limited budgets, all within one term of office. Perhaps it is not surprising that they have little time to give thought to long terms plans. Or perhaps it is. After all, their long term political survival, their desire to see their particular political philosophies realised depend upon them.

But that is what we need; a vision of Wales that goes far beyond the four years to the next election. A vision of Wales in 50 years’ time and beyond. For these are the timescales that we need to think in terms of. Which is why we need Greens in the Senedd. A central theme of green philosophy is to live in such a way that does not compromise future generations; to leave the planet in at least as good a state, if not better than we received it. We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our descendants.

So when you come to vote in the elections on the 5th of May, I’d like you to ask yourselves the following question: what sort of world do you want your children and grandchildren to inherit?

By Chris von Ruhland

twitter.com/chrisvonruhland