15/05/2010

Cymru na fydd - the heirs of Lloyd George?

There is an interesting post on the Liberal Democrat site Freedom Central that picks up on a comment made by Cynog Dafis the former Plaid AM and MP regarding demographic change in Ceredigion.

This is what Cynog said:

There has also been a demographic change in Ceredigion, to the point where up to half of the inhabitants are people who have either moved here themselves from England or are the children of people who have done so.
“This demographic change has reduced the number of people who have a Welsh perspective on politics.
“When the Liberal Democrat bubble was punctured towards the end of the campaign, voters elsewhere gravitated to the Tories or Labour. In Ceredigion, those parties don’t figure, so people tended to stick with the Lib Dems, whose only rivals were the Nats.


Cynog's comments are factually correct. A huge number of people have moved from England into the most rural areas of Wales and that demographic change does present an additional challenge to all political parties.

Plaid has risen to that challenge by making it clear that the party campaigns for the people who live in Wales, whatever their ancestry.

Of course the Liberal Democrats have jumped on Cynog's comments and condemned them as anti-English racism.

This comes as no surprise!

Since the advent of the National Assembly a consensus has developed between the Labour Party the Conservative Party and Plaid that being Welsh (in the widest possible sense of the word) is a positive thing, the Liberal Democrats have found a gap in the market and have attempted to exploit it by positioning themselves as the most ant-Welsh, even most racists towards the Welsh, party.

It is not a coincidence that the Lib Dems have only one Welsh speaking member in the Assembly, that it is the party that has benefited least from the Welsh lessons offered to Assembly members (0% success compared to very many successes in the other parties). It is not a coincidence that 39 out of 40 of the candidates in last week's election were not fluent enough to be interviewed on S4C and Radio Cymru, it is not a coincidence that well over half of the Lib Dem candidates were born outside Wales.

These things are not a coincidence they are the effect of where the Liberal Democrat Party has decided to position itself - as the anti Welsh Party in Wales. Lloyd George and (both) Tom Ellis' must be spinning in their graves!

Tip for pundits. Ask a sheep shagging joke in Wales, if you get a laugh you've found a Lib Dem strategist!

23 comments:

  1. Absolutely right. The LD are a very English party in Wales in terms of membership and percepctive. Certainly in Ceredigion there was a strong feeling of 'keep the Welshies out' of power and that vote went to LD. Mark Williams's inability to speak Welsh is deeply insultulting - he's saying to me, 'I can't be arsed to learn your peasant language' and it's a clear dog whistle to those who like Ceredigion's seaside and mountains but just think things would be a lot easier and less complicated if it wasn't for those bloody welsh speaking their language all the time.

    However it's also quite complicated. The LD benefit from votes of true LD, people (English usually) who do believe in PR etc that vote may be unsettled by the LibCon govt. However, a big chunk of the LD Welsh-speaking vote is an essentially unionsits and right wing vote who will be quite happy with the coalition.

    The LD should hold on to Ceredigion because they're the 'not Welshie vote' and because it's the right wing vote. They can almost lose the 'progressive' LD, Lab and student vote who may migrate to Plaid next time.

    Difficult to say.

    The councillors I know in Ceredigion hardly believe in any LD policies nor know what they are!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Not sure what this rant is on about, Plaid Cymru campaign wasn't really a success was it. If you want them only to represent a certain faction they shall always be a minority party, blaming the Lib Dems for Plaid's Cymru failure you're having a laugh ain't you. Using a legend from the past who cant speak for himself - to forward your point of view - disgraceful. And my mother was a Plaid Cymru supporter and I'm a welsh speaking lad just in case you think otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Lib Dem vote in Ceredigion is a weird one. It a mix of the anti-Welsh (especially the Welsh language which many 'incomers' believe is imposed on them), then theres the 'Old Liberal' vote, people who have voted Liberal for generations. Then the are people who have been taken in by Cleggmania, which is especially true for students (I think that the proportion of students who voted Lib Dem was similar to last time, the turnout was much higher), and not forgetting Mark Williams is the incumbent so the people he has helped them, and to be fair he has very high name recognition. Cllr Alun Williams has a very good blog post on this matter on his blog.

    With all this and the Lib Dems big spending advantage (They sent a lot of material out just mentioning Clegg on central party funds, not impacting on the constituency spend limit). My guess is that this is a safe seat at least until Mark Williams retires (Unless of course this seat is scrapped like the LibCon Government want). Plaids best hope is to try to get the majority down quite a bit, pick a candidate early, and campaign hard.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have had some odd comments on this blog over the years, but yours Stats Man wins the award for the oddest ever. I am "disgraceful" for referring to the recorded views of deceased politicians, because they can't speak for themselves!

    No, I am not blaming the Lib Dems for Plaid's failures - I am pointing out that the Lib Dems have positioned themselves as the anti Welsh party, not just in this election but for the past 15 years. If you think that Lloyd George and Tom Ellis ever supported such a position during their lifetimes it is you who is having a laugh.

    ReplyDelete
  5. But Alwyn Bach, I may have comments you find odd, but are you really saying that a change in the population of Ceredigion of 9.3% between 1996 and 2006 or less than 1% a year is huge (source National Assembly for Wales). Population density of Ceredigion still low in comparison with average for Wales.

    To quote you in brief "Liberal Democrats the anti welsh party in wales", as voted by 50% of those who voted in Ceredigion or 19,139 votes and a 64.8% turn out. In a constituency with 58.6% born in Wales.

    Not sure Lloyd George would agree with you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. For a self proclaimed stats man you have a poor understanding of statistics. A change in the demographics of a population is not the same as a rise or drop in the overall numbers of a population.

    50% of the vote on a 65% turnout represents only 26% of the total population (remember that only 80% of the total population is old enough to vote), so it would be statistically possible for a party to win Ceredigion without the support of a single voter born within the constituency. However I didn't claim that every Lib Dem voter in Ceredigion was born outside the constituency, but that the party (there is a difference between a party and those who vote for it) has positioned itself as an anti-Welsh party and that the demographic change in Ceredigion has made it easier for the Lib Dems to push its anti-Welsh message in some parts of the constituency.

    ReplyDelete
  7. So that's some welsh could have voted for the Lib Dems in Ceredigion, and the Lib Dems found out which areas had the higher proportion of non welsh to push their anti welsh message, assuming that those not born in Wales would be anti-welsh in the first place. Did they have a pro welsh message in welsh areas ?

    I may not know statistics, but I must admit I enjoy a good laugh.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You don't know much about the way the Liberal Democrats work either, with different messages for different voters on almost every issue. If you really want a laugh tell the first LD campaigner you meet that you are opposed to issue X and tell the second that you are in favour of issue X and you will find that both agree with you.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "It is not a coincidence that 39 out of 40 of the candidates in last week's election were not fluent enough to be interviewed on S4C and Radio Cymru"

    That's unfair. There were two. Sarah Green in Arfon and Myrddin Edwards in Llanelli.

    ReplyDelete
  10. silly stats man15/05/2010 23:57

    Sorry I'm an idiot me ,don't know much do I, and theirs me gone and voted for Dylan Rees, maybe I was mistaken to do that also. I'll think I better go now, and let the grown ups play.

    To quote Lloyd George "You cannot feed the hungry on statistics"

    ReplyDelete
  11. I apologise profusely to Sarah Green, I did hear her as a Lib Dem spokesperson (who needs to learn the rules of mutation) but hadn't realised that she was a candidate.

    I was quite impressed with Myrddin Edwards; he is a lad that the Lib Dems desperately need to get into the Assembly in 2011 in order to tone down their anti-Welsh image.

    Silly Stats Man, I couldn't give a damn if you voted early and voted often for the Plaid candidate on Ynys Môn, only you can judge whether voting for the candidate you cast your vote for was a mistake or not. If you think that you will get some kudos from me for voting the way that you claim to have done, you have commented on the wrong blog. I am not a member of Plaid and when I think that Plaid is wrong (as I often do) I am never backward in coming forward to say so!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm surprised that stats man doesn't find a Welsh born population of 58.6% is very low? So every 2 people out of 5 I come across in Ceredigion isn't even local?

    Remember this is Welsh born, not Welsh ancestry. I find figures where 41.4% are from outside very high and likely to have significant effects upon the already established communities in Ceredigion, and it's likely to change the character quickly, causing tensions.

    ReplyDelete
  13. EmlynUwchCych16/05/2010 20:54

    & remember, Anon 02:03, that 58,6% figure is the 2001 one. Goodness only knows what it will be like in the 2011 census.

    I thought the LibDems were anti-imperialists, but this Ceredigion nonsense sadly confirms them as klein Englanders.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Ceredigion:
    Number of 20 year olds and over not able to speak Welsh 1991 = 21561
    Number of 20 year olds and over not able to speak Welsh 2001 = 30265

    Source: Census

    Also, in 2001 the percentage of adults (20+) able to speak Welsh in Ceredigion was 48%.

    With the percentage of 75+ able to speak Welsh 56%, expect a further decline in the next Census.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Since Cymru (and Scotland for that matter) is one of England's earliest colonies this has been happening for a very, very long time(probably earlier than the Edwardian conquests or more).

    It is a way of taking over a country by stealth, by the back-door (it doesn't require any blood spilled). And you can bet that it will continue for the foreseeable future. Expect plenty more English moving to Cymru, before long there will be more English here than Cymry.

    ReplyDelete
  16. It is fair to compare the situation with that of Israel establishing settlements in the West Bank.

    A far-fetched example? Maybe, but it's still a fair comparison since the outcomes are the same.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Just look at what has happened in Cornwall. The same thing has happened there. There are now more English people living Cornwall than there are native Cornish people. The Cornish language is hardly ever spoken there because of this.

    ReplyDelete
  18. One thing I notice in rural West Wales nowadays is that the sound of the village street is either Welsh or English spoken with a non-Welsh accent.The everyday Welsh accented English of the industrial south is almost totally absent and so the area has two very diverse communities.Perhaps an unfortunate and unintended consequence of the Welsh language movement is that monoglot English-speaking Welsh are reluctant(wrongly in my view)to see their future there.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I was in Cardigan last weekend and I was standing outside a pub speaking in Welsh to a fellow yokel. This bloke with an English....kind of London working class accent asked me....."Are you speaking Polish?" "Welsh" I replied and I asked him if he was on holiday. His answer...."No I live here". Things have changed a lot in Cardigan. LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I suspect that people like Ceredig Davies and John Davies, Myrddin Edwards, Eleanor Burnham, Roger Roberts and all the other highly patriotic Welshmen in the Welsh Lib Dems might disagree with your analysis of the parties stance. You've still got the same problem with Welsh Speakers as you do with Women or minorities, if they aren't going to put themselves forwards for election, then they can't get elected and as Roger Roberts shows, they don't always get elected anyway!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anon 15:35,

    Perhaps you should see the outrageous attacks on the Welsh from another Lib Dem vwebsite:

    http://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-thinking-too-hard-about-plaid-19299.html

    ReplyDelete
  22. Roger married me, baptised my children, buried my mother in law and has been my minister, faithful friend and spiritual advisor for over 30 years. I have a great deal of respect for Roger and I know that his Liberalism is born out of the Welsh nonconformist tradition of radical Liberalism, which I respect.

    But the sad truth is that the "old Welsh Liberal Party" which created Roger's politics no longer exists.

    The new Liberal Democrats are not the party of the tenant farmer, the Ag Lab and the chapel goer. It is now the party of Middle England exiled in Wales.

    That is where the once great patriotic Welsh party has now positioned itself!

    It saddens me to say so, but people like Roger and Eleanor base their support for the Liberal Democrats on what the party was in the good old days, not on what it is in today's Wales.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Have you spoken to Roger about this Alwyn?

    ReplyDelete