Wales is its own country, though you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s not. If it weren’t for all the signs in Welsh, you’d probably think that Cardiff was in England. The Welsh language has been revived (it was never really quite dead), but it’s strongest in the north and the west. There is of course a nationalist party, Plaid Cymru (literally ‘The Party of Wales’), but it’s much less successful than the SNP. The Labour party arguably began here, and they continue to be strong, especially in the populous region of Southeastern Wales. The current party totals stand at Labour 25/40, Conservatives 11/40, Plaid Cymru 3/40, and Liberal Democrats 1/40.
Here is where the parties stood after 2015:
#1 Wrexham – 2.8% swing required, 57.6% Leave
Labour lost a lot of ground here in local the elections, but it was mostly to Independents. This actually used to be something of a three-way marginal among Tories, Labour, and the LibDems. Any LibDem recovery would help, but the biggest news is that UKIP (15.5%) is not running a candidate. Read up on the history of this seat in the 1980s. It’s fascinating.
#2 Clwyd South – 3.4% swing from Labour required, 59.9% Leave
UKIP is running a candidate here, but the Tories should still be able to pick up a big chunk of their 15.6% from 2015. Team Thatcher actually did manage to win this seat in a shocker in ’83 (back when it was Clwyd South West), but the addition of eastern territory near the border lost it for them in ’87.
#3 Delyn – 3.9% swing from Labour required, 54.4% Leave
I should mention, by the way, that all three of these seats so far are on the West Marches. The Marches are a border area that generations of Dukes of Cheshire (and other lords) would periodically raid and pillage in an attempt to get the local Celts to stop being tribesmen (or just wipe them out). This didn’t work very well. What did work well was settling non-Celts in Wales, which is how the cities of Southern Wales came to be. Anyway, UKIP is standing down and they got 16.4%, so there’s a good chance that this one is going blue even if the overall numbers in Wales don’t move too much.
#4 Alyn and Deeside – 4.1% swing from Labour required, 58.1% Leave
We complete our West Marches quartet with this little industrial seat. This seat hasn’t had a Tory MP since 1945, after which Flintshire was divided into two seats. UKIP (17.6%) is standing again, but will still get the Conservatives close in all likelihood.
#5 Bridgend – 2.4% swing from Labour required, 50.3% Leave
The Tories made some progress here in local elections. UKIP is running a candidate, but the Conservatives should take a big share of their 15.2% from 2015. The swing is small, so I think the Tories will take it, but it won’t be as easy as the Northern Wales seats.
#6 Cardiff West – 7.8% swing from Labour required, 43.8% Leave
I’m putting this one a bit higher than I otherwise would because the Team Blue did very well here in the local elections. UKIP only got 11.2% and they’re running someone. However, Plaid Cymru also did well in the locals and may grab some votes from Team Red. I’m taking a risk here, but the local results were just that good.
#7 Newport West – 4.4% swing from Labour required, 53.7% Leave
Labour held up well here in the local elections, better than expected, in fact. Still the Tories have a decent chance. UKIP is running a candidate, but they got 15.2%, so that’s still helpful. I’m fairly bearish on Southern Wales seats, though.
#8 Newport East – 6.7% swing from Labour required, 59.3% Leave
As I said above, Labour did well in the local elections in Newport. Still, the Leave number is good. UKIP is standing someone, but their 18.4% will likely mostly go to the Conservatives. Early polls had the Tories going for a few seats beyond this one, but now I just can’t see it.
#1 Cardiff Central – 6.4% swing from Labour required, 32% Leave
This, like many of the Liberals’ other targets, is a seat that they lost in 2015. It’s actually a decent shot for them, though. It’s full of urban, upscale lefties who are rabidly Pro-Remain even now. They aren’t running their old MP, though.
Scotland will be out in a bit, but it may take a few more days because I need to find Independence Referendum numbers.