Friday, 7 May 2010

Don't be fooled

Posted on This is My Truth on 7 May 2010

"Labour is the luckiest party in Wales. End of" Darren Hill concluded this morning.

It was a complex result no doubt. Labour held the notionally Conservative Vale of Clwyd and very nearly hung onto Cardiff North. It lost other Conservative targets in Carmarthen West and the Vale of Glamorgan as expected, but held on to Gower, Delyn, Bridgend and Cardiff West which could have been reasonably expected to have fallen into Tory hands.

Why? I'm wary of instant analysis so I'll reserve my judgement. But Labour should not be fooled into thinking that this was a good result. Across the UK they achieved less than 30% of the popular vote - lower even than in 1983.

This is clearly not a strong platform to enter the Assembly elections. Depending on the colour of the Government that is formed Labour looks out onto perilous territory. The Liberal Democrats are in strong positions in Swansea West, Pontypridd, Newport East and Merthyr to steal away Labour's strongholds in 2011. It is not inconceivable that the party will be left with a rump of seats.

After the last Assembly elections Labour did not heed the lessons of their near catastrophe. Entering into coalition allowed them to avoid confronting the fragility of their position. There's a danger that the same will happen at Westminster.

It is time for Labour to lie down in a dark room and think through its future strategic direction under fresh leadership

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