Friday, 9 June 2017

Even crossing my toes would not have worked

03:20 I lost my deposit and finished behind UKIP again. However, as I watch BBC-Wales coverage it seems I am not alone, and even such a great campaign as Rory Daniels' in Llanelli achieved only a 3% return. Plaid slipped from second to third place in spite of an excellent campaign by an Alltwen-based candidate. The Conservatives benefited from fielding a candidate who, for once, lived in the constituency instead of being parachuted in, but even more from the media (including the BBC, sad to say) presenting the general election as simply a clash between the personalities of Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May. But of course congratulations must go to Christina Rees who with her team has returned Neath to the heady days for Labour of 2001 with an absolute majority over all other parties, in spite of some ill-informed personal criticism on social media and even from within her own party locally.

03:50 Kate Hoey has won and Nick Clegg has lost. So there is a two-seat swing towards a hard Brexit. It also seems that the anti-gay campaign in Vauxhall came off.

08:00 Woke to find Andrew Neil on BBC-1 and Piers Morgan on ITV-1. Luckily, BBC-Parliament was relaying BBC Scotland's more intelligent coverage. There was some great analysis of the situation not only in Scotland but also in the UK as a whole.

Scottish LDs missed out on a fourth gain by only two votes in North-East Fife after the returning officer refused a fourth recount. However, Jo Swinson will be back at Westminster. The estimable Angus Robertson, leader of the SNP in the last Commons, and Alex Salmond both lost their seats to Conservatives. There will be a constitutional issue as so many Conservatives from a Scottish parliament regional list were successful that, saving one being allowed a dual mandate, the party will be one short in Holyrood until 2021.

I was struck by the amount of poetry quoted. Alex Salmond said au revoir rather than adieu with a couplet from Sir Walter Scott: "And tremble, false Whigs, in the midst of your glee, You have not seen the last of my bonnet and me!". The chair of the panel responded with a line from Browning's "The Lost Leader": "Never glad confident morning again! ", only to be topped by veteran political editor Brian Taylor who recalled Shelley's memorial to the Peterloo massacre which closes:

Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you-
Ye are many - they are few

There were so many near misses by Liberal Democrats in England and a desperate loss by Mark Williams in Ceredigion which means that there will be no Liberal or Liberal Democrat MP in Wales probably since the 1890s. I take comfort from the fact that the party still has its largest membership ever and that the last time we had a surge in membership it took a few years for that to be reflected in parliament. We should take inspiration from that Shelley verse.

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