After re-reading his own account of Farage’s foray in to Welsh politics, has Dai Lingual has finally got off the electoral fence…or just trying to cause offence?

I feel compelled to write about tactical voting to keep the United Kingdom Independence Party out of the National Assembly for a number of reasons:

  • Tactical voting is a crucial consideration for any nominal floating voter like myself, and until the recent announcement from pro-Labour academics that their 2nd vote would be Plaid Cymru-bound, there has been little or no coverage about it – and even then not enough about what the rise of UKIP brings to the electoral table.
  • UKippers are anti-Europe, and as substantial swathes of Wales have long been dependent on Brussels to make sure that a fair proportion of the UK Government’s money reaches here, UKIP wouldn’t seem to be as relevant in Wales at least.  An electoral irrelevance therefore, or is there more to come for Farage’s trench & henchmen?
  • For Wales, there has to be a bigger, more public debate about Welsh independence at some point soon in order to keep up with our Celtic cousins in Edinburgh [as well as Glasgow!], so the prominence of the so-called UK independence party is standing in the way of me writing that particular article at the moment…Actually, maybe they’re not all bad then!
  • Wales has deep roots in the story of Europe that includes young men from the Valleys travelling to Spain voluntarily to fight fascism…We’re still Europeans, are we not?
  • Plus, did anybody else notice that clickbait is an actual thing now in Welsh political journalism? ; )

And anyhow, since when has reason entered the argument as far as UKippers are concerned?

There is little point pretending that UKip are part of mainstream party politics in Wales as yet: they don’t have enough local credible candidates to make it to the several hustings I’ve been to over the years, and yet they expect to be taken seriously – should this be the case if they’re importing their candidates from England? This is a party then that still rates England above Wales in terms of political ability; which harks back to the era of the philosopher and nominal liberal John Stuart Mill; who had no trouble declaring that the Welsh should consider themselves fortunate, “…to be brought into the current of the ideas and feelings of a highly civilized and cultivated people…” ! Mill was in fact missionary for England then, albeit one who wanted Wales done like the proverbial UKipper.

I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some committed campaigners during my time at the Alliance of Welsh Communities, and on the coalface itself there are still uncertainties around how to deal with the UKIP question – should they be viewed as dangerous quasi-fascists and kept out in the cold; or in fact should they be welcomed to hustings and other political activity on the basis that the platform might give them a chance to make fools of themselves? Although apparently that was not the case last week, according to Daran Hill of Positif Politics, who thought that Nathan Gill performed well above expectations in the BBC Wales Leaders’ Debate; and it is of course the former coalfields where Labour voters seem to be deciding whether to jump ship to Plaid or UKIP.  In the main, I noticed Andrew ‘RT’ Davies’ lack of mathematical perception… [see also Debatable #maths #Cymru2016 … a fraction of a mathematician #bbcwalesdebate RT ]

A video posted by Dai Lingual (@dailingual) on Apr 28, 2016 at 4:03am PDT

 

On reflection, the first piece I wrote on UKIP was trying to be ultra-objective, that meant that I was possibly too sympathetic to party – to the point where it could have been considered pro-Farage. I’m by no means blind to the considerable charisma of Nigel, just that it’s equally important that his charisma shouldn’t blind the population of Wales to his plans – subsequently I do feel I need to be more balanced in my output…

I don’t actually consider myself to be the expert on Welsh politics, so on I’ve spoken to a gentleman who’s been involved in Welsh politics for nearly 50 years ; Yr Arglwydd Elystan Morgan – a cross-bench Lord in the Houses of Parliament and former Labour MP for Ceredigion; as well as previously being an active member of Plaid Cymru, a party he still holds in high esteem…and those are his words, not mine [although as they were originally in Welsh, so in a #dailingual way they’re actually my words; his notions! ].

Broadly speaking, one major factor in the background to the rise of UKIP is that in 1945 after the Second World War, 95% of the British electorate voted either Conservative or Labour, whereas these days that figure has almost halved at 51%; which has obviously created a vacuum for the other parties to move into.  The Liberals could have been more influential…if only they weren’t so wishy-washy!  Plaid Cymru continue to  make a substantial contribution, and UKIP…well that vacuum is the reason why they exist at all and it’s worth remembering that it also existed in Europe in the 1930s’.

The second thing to consider is this: I’ve heard very little from the BNP or the National Front since UKIP came to centre stage, presumably because their supporters feel that UKIP are representing their views.  It is likely that we can also add people that don’t usually vote – people that as a general rule don’t feel part of the political process .  They might usually stay at home as they don’t perceive that the two main parties are standing up for them. UKIP seem to be able to get that vote out.

The third point is, that during the European elections 18 months ago when Labour didn’t have a bad showing – they received what I’d call a middling vote- I was genuinely surprised that UKIP were within 5,000 votes of the total of Labour votes in Wales, that’s astonishing and a warning for the future of Welsh politics.

There is the possibility that the European elections were a chance taken by people to register a protest vote to show their concerns about Europe – that have now been met with a referendum; so does this mean we can ignore UKIP again?  Radical activists in Wales are clear that unless you’re white, middle class and heterosexual then The UK Independence Party spells real trouble as well as UKIP.  As it happens I’m all of those things, so – in order to play the devil’s advocate a moment – why, hypothetically, should I care?

Lord Elystan Morgan again:

Things will unfortunately get worse and worse, the vacuum I’ve spoken about will continue to grow and all the hot air that’s been spouted will become more and more potent…Although we can’t really call UKIP fascists in the traditional historical sense of the word, the supposed absence of the far right in UK politics tells its own story.

It does make for rather grim reading, with grim times ahead; I will be voting with my head as well as my heart this week.

The model used for the Welsh Assembly elections is part Proportional Representation, a model that gave the National Socialist Party a foothold in the German Parliament in the 1930s and could be continued to be seen as a dangerous piece of legislation that should only be held by countries with a fair, well-read and analytical national media.  Sadly, despite being the world’s first industrialised nation in the 19th Century I don’t know that Wales fits that particular bill in the 21st century.

On Welsh election day, every voter in Wales will be able to vote for their preferred local politician/party as well as affect who makes it to the six regional ‘lists’.  It’s complicated, so here’s a print-out-and-keep guide to take with you to the polling stations this week!  Also, importantly, if you’re voting with the Welsh arts in mind, Plaid Cymru’s manifesto has been given the thumbs up by Trac Cymru for its support of traditional Welsh folk, whilst Labour are taking a more holistic, novel approach.

Further reading: the forthcoming edition on Welsh philosophical thought to be published by the University of Wales Press: ‘Credoau’r Cymry’ by Dr. Huw Lloyd Williams of the Coleg Cymraeg.

The @dailingual guide to tactical voting to keep UKIP out of the Senedd –

 

North West Wales: North East Wales:
1st vote: Plaid Cymru 1st vote: The Labour Party
2nd vote: Welsh Labour 2nd vote: Guto Bebb’s Conservatives / Plaid Cymru

 

Canolbarth a’r Gorllewin [The Bit in the Middle]
1st vote: Liberal or Plaid Cymru
2nd vote: Conservatives [or the other way around if you live east of Llandrindod Wells]

 

South West Wales: South East Wales:
1st vote: Labour 1st vote: Green
2nd vote: Plaid Cymru  

2nd vote: Plaid

 

          South Mid Wales: I think it’s only Labour standing there, actually.
N.B. Presumably, you c/should vote [Welsh?] UKIP [Wales?] if you agree with everything in their Welsh manifesto for Wales.