The Socialist Unity Network

Welsh Election results

Mike Davies

Ten candidates for the Welsh Euro-election seats left the two left parties squeezed badly. Forward Wales, whose lead candidate Ron Davies surprisingly failed to gather much in the way of media attention, polled 17,000 votes (1.9%) while Respect polled a poor 0.6% - worse than any region in England. This was despite including an imam on their list and launching its Welsh campaign in a mosque - but Galloway has little pulling power in Wales and there is only a small Muslim community.
FW stood on a People Before Profits platform and Davies pledged to take the average workers' wage if elected.

It's cold comfort to note that the two extreme-right parties, the BNP (2.9%) and UKIP  (7.4%), also performed significantly worse than in England.

The other story of the Euro-election was the ability of Labour to retain its 32% share of the vote while Plaid Cymru slipped back badly to 17%.

The council election results were far more volatile, with the Liberal Democrats capitalising on Labour's unpopularity in the cities while Labour managed to claw back two councils from Plaid in the Valleys. The Tories barely feature in Welsh local politics.

Six SP candidates in Cardiff and Swansea performed creditably and long-standing SWPer and community activist Huw Pudner stood in Neath and got a creditable 20% vote as the sole Respect council candidate.

A grassroots group called People before Politics won nine seats in Merthyr Tydfil, a sign of frustration with establishment politics and with some progressive elements opposed to opencast mining in the area.

Forward Wales stood 29 candidates in north and south Wales, getting an average 23% of the vote. It won one council seat in its Wrexham stronghold - Dave Bithell, a local RMT branch secretary and the party's union organiser, won Johnstown in a straight fight with Labour. FW missed another seat by just seven votes and failed to unseat the council leader by just 14 votes. Given that most of the candidates were community activists who had never stood before, many of the votes were heartening but there is a general perception within the party of an opportunity missed.

Another FW member in Flintshire, Colin Bithell, won a seat as an independent environmentalist along with two others also involved in a long-running campaign against a toxic waste kiln near Buckley.


July 2004


For Socialist Unity ~ For Internationalism ~ For Peace ~ For Justice ~ For Unity ~ For Socialism