Thursday, 5 May 2016

The verdict will soon be returned

It's a nice view, but not exceptional for Wales or even the Neath valley. However, I have a soft spot for it because it is taken from a public bench overlooking Cwmgwrach. This gives respite after an hour or so's delivering leaflets in one of my favourite villages, where even strong opponents of Liberal Democracy are civil and pleasant to talk to.

Not much has changed in the view, apart from the solar panels in the village and the wind-turbines just visible on the horizon, since 2011 on the eve of the last Welsh general election. On that occasion, the villages of the witch gave an above-average vote to Welsh Liberal Democrats, and Peter Black was successful on the South Wales West list, so I felt I had to repeat the routine, rather like a sportsman wearing his lucky underpants for a key event.

2011 was a real low point for us, because in Westminster Liberal Democrats had been in coalition with the Conservatives for a year and budget cuts, including the Barnett money for Wales, had already started to bite. So there should be a bounce-back, albeit a small one. Whether that results in a restoration of the AM seat we lost five years ago is another matter.

On the other hand, voters could have taken their cue from the London media who told them that we are finished and that UKIP will push us down to fifth place. If that happens, it is also bad news for Labour who are riven in England by accusations of antisemitism and consorting with terrorists on the part of the leadership and the flood of new members from last year. It will be a sad day if that happens. Labour should be judged (albeit adversely) on the basis of their record in government in Wales, and we should be given credit for our achievements in the fields of health and housing in the last five years.

We shall know for certain in about four hours time.

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