Senedd election dissection

My reaction to the election outcome is a massive sense of relief, almost (but not quite) bordering on joy. First and foremost, the seven seats captured in 2016 by UKIP’s virulently anti-Welsh far-right entryists were all lost. The toxic, talentless, parasitic bigots have been resoundingly wiped out and banished to the cess-pit of history where they belong. Their mission was to destroy from within, as they did in the EU, but in the end their sole achievement was to oblige an already emaciated Senedd to function for five years with just 53 active, constructive members instead of 60 – a period in which they pocketed a total of £3.5 million plus expenses from scarce Welsh resources. The dark cloud that has humiliated, shamed and handicapped Wales has lifted, and now the hideous slime-balls can take their personality disorders with them and crawl back under their stones.

Almost as gratifying was the loud and clear statement that Wales ain’t England – a statement that always needs to be made. Labour’s success in Wales with 40% of the vote stands in stark contrast to the party’s simultaneous failures in England, in local elections and the Hartlepool by-election. Despite the fact we are bombarded with exactly the same pro-Tory corporate media as the English, we remain as overwhelmingly non-Tory as we have been at every single election since the introduction of universal suffrage and the only country in Europe that has never given the rightwing a majority – while reliably Tory England has the ignominious record of not voting Tory a mere twice (Attlee and Blair). The two countries could not be more different in politics, culture, history, mentality and character.

This glaring truth is there for all to see and leads to the unavoidable and irrefutable conclusion that Wales must break free of the UK and follow its own path. Since to all intents and purposes England is the UK, comprising as it does nearly 90% of the population, the very notion of the ‘union’ is of course a mathematical nonsense. In any case this bogus union was never intended to be a partnership of equals, just a mechanism for embedding English dominance and control and crushing Welsh (and Scottish and Irish) political aspirations. So long as we are imprisoned in the yukky UK, Wales will be doomed to perpetual subjugation to an ideology we have never voted for, the Tory-dominated ideology of England. Only those who despise Wales and have contempt for the fundamental tenets of democracy could defend this totally unacceptable state of affairs.

More and more in the Welsh Labour party are facing up to this reality and realising, hey, the notion of independence is not so terrible after all – in fact it’s rather attractive. Few in the party now cling to the insulting belief that Wales, uniquely in the world, is incapable of running its own affairs, especially in the context of the latest specimen of appalling British governance: Boris Johnson and his cabal of under-qualified and over-entitled public schoolboys. And when the callous, greedy, blundering crooks and liars of Westminster are set against the well-meaning, cautious, grown-up, competent and mildly progressive Welsh government, the case for Welsh freedom from English shackles becomes unanswerable. Who the hell, given a choice, would prefer subjection to Johnson’s corrupt, cruel, colonial viceroys, jingoists, reactionaries, clowns and cronies? Compared to Johnson, Mark Drakeford looks like a statesman with the gravitas of Lincoln, the humility of Gandhi, the wisdom of Pericles, the moral compass of King and the courage of Mandela – when he’s only a routine, pussy-footing, soft-left functionary. That’s how debased and rotten the British body politic has become. The new Senedd gives the First Minister, who is showing encouraging signs of growing into the job, the chance to begin grappling with the issue of Wales’ place in the UK – the only issue that matters, the overarching issue that is the root cause of all Wales’ many problems.

Now to the reasons I’m not ecstatic. From my perspective as a Plaid Cymru voter, the election was disappointing in that Plaid remain stuck on 20% of the vote, Labour regained Rhondda from Leanne Wood and the Adam Price bounce remains stubbornly unforthcoming. However, even that grief is slightly mitigated as the party now has 13 SMs, up from 12 at the last election. This amounts to an increase of three because Dafydd Elis-Thomas in 2016 and Neil McEvoy in 2018 had become ‘independent’ since the 2016 election, the former voluntarily, the latter involuntarily, making the Plaid SM total 10 in practice. Seven of Plaid’s 13 are brand new Senedd Members with lots of potential; they might help inject the drive, passion and idealism Plaid needs to fully mobilise the support of the 40% of Wales that supports independence, he said optimistically. The main reason for Plaid’s stasis is easy to finger. Try this imaginative exercise: the mass media in Wales is awash with rabid pro-Plaid and pro-independence propaganda while Toryism/unionism is treated with outright hostility when it isn’t ignored altogether – the polar opposite of today’s reality. What would be the election outcome then? Answer: Plaid would win by a landslide. The total absence of an indigenous Welsh media is another key issue Wales must tackle. With zero resources, I and some others tried to fill this vacuum a few years ago. But, just as it was beginning to grow and have an impact, our Daily Wales online newspaper was hacked out of existence by unknown forces (see blogs passim). Where oh where are the vaunted entrepreneurs with the Welsh patriotism and the financial clout to pick up the baton?

Coming to the Tories, with 26% of the vote they gained five SMs bringing their total to 16. Considering the Conservatives are currently at a high-water mark in the UK (they beat Labour by 36% to 29% in England last week with the LibDems on 17%), this is actually a bad result for their Welsh sub-branch. Andrew RT Davies and his rag-bag of Last Days of The Raj martinets, suburban inadequates and execrable young fogeys have reached the Tories’ usual ceiling in Wales. They will never progress further because 75% of us despise them deep in our bone-marrow. They will never control the Senedd because 75% of us won’t ever let them. No wonder they want it abolished! To reach that 26% all that happened was the former UKIP vote collapsed and returned to its spiritual home. Well, why vote for an amateurish gang of crypto-fascist brutes when you can have the professionals? UKIP were only ever Tory outriders, there to do the dirty, destructive work in Europe and shift the party further to the right. Their job is done. The symbiosis between Tory and UKIP support was well illustrated by the vote of the Abolish the Welsh Assembly (sic) party, the filthiest remnants in the multi-splintered UKIP rump. Despite the kind assistance given to them by BBC Wales, treating them as a perfectly reasonable equivalent to all the other parties and giving them a platform in ‘election debates’ on TV when they are an openly Cymruphobic and anti-democratic handful of borderline genocidal psychopaths whose manifesto amounted to the abolition of any and every manifestation of Wales itself, they only managed a pathetic 1.5% in the constituency ballot. This rose to a still miserable but nevertheless very nasty 3.7% in the regional list, due to Tories voting tactically as thanks for not standing candidates in Tory seats and targets. They were acting as Tory outriders again, testing the waters of their ever-increasing Cymruphobia to see how abolishing Wales would go down with the locals – and they have got their answer. You could say Abolish the Welsh Assembly (sic) has been abolished. However, be sure of this, they will not go away. They will come back in another guise unless they are stopped now. Here’s another priority for the Drakeford government: introduce electoral laws that make the advocacy of the eradication of Wales illegal – you know, the sort of laws that apply in every other democracy. As for the BBC, accelerating ever further to the far-right to appease the Tory onslaught to the point where fascism and anti-fascism are treated as equivalent, they have become one more reprehensible arm of the British government. Idea: let’s have a mass licence-fee boycott in Wales.

So, totting up the numbers, including all the smaller parties, 70% voted left/centre-left/pro-Wales and 30% otherwise. The bastards were trounced. Conclusion: we live to fight another day. Ydy wir! Wi’n falch!