Hat tip to Sanddef for mentioning the 18 Doughty Street programme about the Welsh battlegrounds in the next Westminster election. As might be expected from Doughty Street the programmes main focus is on Tory chances of winning.
Despite the Tory spin on the programme it was interesting that expert guest Robert Waller dismissed Glyn Davies' chances of winning Montgomeryshire as minimal because this seat has been Liberal for "150 years" apart from one short period. (117 years to be pedantic).
However the one exception in 1979 is interesting. Despite more than a century of Liberal representation, since the 1950's much of the Liberal vote has been a vote against the Conservatives rather than for the Liberals. There are parts of the constituency in Welshpool, Newtown and Montgomery town which should be prime Labour territory. Much of the west of the constituency is typical Plaid "heartland". One of the things that enabled the Conservatives to win in 1979 was that on the back of the Plaid successes in 1974 and expectations of an advance in Ceredigion the Plaid voters in the west of the constituency voted Plaid. When the Liberals regained the seat 4 years latter the Plaid vote collapsed.
With Glyn standing for the Conservatives, a bloke who is by no means your typical Tory ogre, but a pro Welsh Tory with a social conscience, will the constituency's Labour and Plaid supporters feel that it is "safe" for them to vote "naturally"?
If they do, that will be a much bigger threat to Opik than a general rise in the Tory vote. If this happened it would be Glyn who would win, of course. But it could allso be the seed that delivers Montgomeryshire to Plaid, or even Labour, when Glyn retires.
Another seat where there has been a traditionally large ant-Tory protest vote is Conwy. The Rev Roger Roberts for the Lib Dems, Beti Williams for Labour and (in the Assembly elections) Gareth Jones for Plaid have all benefited from this. In the new seat of Aberconwy the Tory's have another "nationalist" candidate standing in the shape of Gutto Bebb. If Plaid can persuade all of its natural supporters to stick with the party in Aberconwy and attract sufficient disaffected anti-Tory Labour voters to lend support Plaid could win this one.
In both of these seats (and in others), it is clear that Plaid will do best if it gives up its traditional Brit-Socialist anti-Tory scaremongering, and gets its own support out rather than frightening Plaid voters into voting for anything that defeats the hairy-arsed Tory Monster. If that lets the odd Tory in by default, so what?