Why Plaid and the Lib Dems should stop the bickering

In the 1997 Westminster election the Conservative Party won 161 thousand votes in Wales. It was such a poor result for them that they were wiped off the Welsh political map returning no Welsh Conservative MPs.

In the recent European Election the Conservatives had the most votes of all of the parties throughout Wales and they toped the poll in a whopping 18 Welsh constituencies. But they actually gained 15,837 fewer votes in Wales in 2009 than they did in 1997.

If the Conservatives can win 18 more constituencies in Wales on a smaller vote than that which gave them no constituencies 12 years ago, then the Conservatives are not doing well in Wales. They are doing better than the others, but it is apathy that is doing well.

There was a time when the apathetic voter, the "a plague on both your houses" voter was grist to the mill for Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats, but neither party seems to be picking up votes at the moment from those who are fed up with Labour but can't stomach voting Conservative. Darren Hill noted the reason for this in an article on Wales Home last month at the moment Plaid and the Lib Dems seem to reserve their harshest phrases for one another.

A visitor from outer space landing in Wales and reading the Welsh blogs and the Welsh press would believe that the battle for World domination was a fight to the death between Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems, such is the vitriol that the parties throw at each other. The problem is that this attitude is feeding the feeling of apathy and makes Plaid and the Lib Dems look just as unsavory as the Labour and Conservative parties.

I am not suggesting that Plaid and the Lib Dems should coalesce, or work together, or form any sort of alliance, just that they should agree to differ amicably. Both parties have too much to lose from being seen as part of the Labour / Conservative problem rather than as a possible alternative to the apathy to politics created by the big two.

Whilst there is so much antipathy towards both Labour and the Conservatives, both Plaid and the Liberal Democrats have a positive alternative to offer the electorate, both parties could gain from promoting the positive and both parties will be pray to the the same voter apathy if they are just seen as junior versions of the big boys bun fight!


  1. And practically, Plaid & LDs are only in direct competition in Ceredigion. Elsewhere it should be a simple excercise to agree to let Plaid take the lead where they are strongest (eg Valleys) and LDs where they are strongest (eg M4 corridor).

  2. Spot on MoF

    I have tried to act as a bit of a peacemaker in the whole spat (match to petrol i know), because i largely think the centre left, non labour Senedd coalition would have to be between these two parties.

    Personally, I would be concerned at a coalition with the tories, even with Plaid leading it.

    The lib dems are the only UK party who are supportive of further devolution, no ifs not buts. The lib dems have been strong advocates of the environment, electoral reform and making the tax system fairer.

  3. I agree, MOF. The LDs are the least British nationalist of the three. They believe in the most devolution. They are social liberals, not neo-cons or liberal interventionists like the other two. They may even scrap Trident.

    There is just a very childish streak amongst some Plaid bloggers. Take Sain Tathan. The LDs wanted to scrap the privatised death academy. Plaid slagged them off, even repeating the Labour Lie about jobs.

    I think some Pleidwyr are too close to Labour in Cardiff Bay, personally not politically. They do not seem to realise they are being used as 'useful idiots'. Note how many of them are being 'groomed' by Labour web sites and bloggers: writing articles, favorable comments, etc. Labour has moved from the 'attack dog' mode of Damien McBride to the fluffy inclusiveness of Wales Home, etc. Clever move, I think, on their part. Seems to be working.

  4. Welsh Connection30/09/2009, 17:57

    I agree with the above, Plaid and the Lib Dems need to wake up, both seem to be fighting for the chance to be Labours junior coalition partner in the Assembly rather than looking at the big picture.

    Both parties (well the memberships) agree on Sain Tathan, and on university fees and on many other issues, but both attack the other for their stance.

    The irony is that with the exception of Ceredigion, PC and the LDs are not going head to head in any part of the country, Plaid is strongest in the west and the valleys, the Lib Dems are strongest in the south and east, but even here Plaid are attacking the Lib Dems in Montgomery, where they have no chance of winning and can only help give the seat to the Tories.

  5. kairdiff West Kid30/09/2009, 20:15

    You have to see this in the context - pace Marcus who's right to see much of the Lid Dem baiting as a waste of energy and focus – in the context of extremely nasty and often lie-filled local Lib Dem campaigning. The LDs are always the nastiest and most deceitful party on the ground.
    I accept the point that many of them are proper liberals and are wedded to liberal values,but the ones who make the political weather in Wales and elsewhere are straight out of NuLab smear school. The fact their politicians change policy every time the constituency boundary ends is an additional problem.
    But as you say - it's wasted hate, because they're a distraction from bigger projects.
    And in the case of Montgomery - do we really think that Glyn Davies , despite being a tory, is worse than Lembit, an idiot who has never done a thing to project Wales?
    I don't think it is. Certainly the attacks by Plaid on Lembit are justified, but they are distraction - the worst thing Plaid can do is look like they're bickering for 3rd place with the LDs.

  6. Welsh Connection01/10/2009, 22:15

    Glyn Davies may well make a better MP than Lembit, but by, in effect, helping the Tory campaign in Montgomery, Plaid are allowing them to release resources to campaign elswhere - for example in the Plaid/Tory marginals in Pembrokeshire.

  7. Plaid will probably poll better in Montgomeryshire than they have done in a while. And at least Heledd is actually speaking out agains the anti-Welsh IDIOT that is Lembit O'Grope-it. Glyn could take a leaf from her book. There will be a lot of tactical voting in Mont, with a fair few Plaid supporters voting Glyn in order to get rid of the dreadful Lembit Opik. At least GD is pro Wales.