Posts Tagged ‘Welsh elections’

Thursday News Review

05/05/2011, 06:54:33 AM

Super Thursday

Voters across the UK are set to go to the polls in a series of national and local elections as well as a referendum to decide the way MPs are elected. Elections for the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly will be held as will polls in 279 English councils. The public will also be asked if they want to keep the first-past-the-post system for Westminster elections or switch to the alternative vote. Polls open at 0700 BST closing at 2200. In addition, local authority elections are being held in Northern Ireland while there is a UK parliamentary by-election in the constituency of Leicester South. Contests are also taking place to elect mayors in Leicester, Mansfield, Middlesbrough, Torbay and Bedford. The BBC weather forecast suggests that most of the UK will remain dry on Thursday with above average temperatures, but that there is a chance of rain in Northern Ireland. – BBC News

D-Day for AV

Today is the day we collectively say there is a better way, there is a fairer alternative to miserable ConDem austerity. Labour is the only political party with the interests of low- and middle-income families at its heart. It is the only political party which recognises the value of public services to ordinary families. We recommend a vote for Labour and, buoyed by winning hundreds of seats, we hope leader Ed Miliband will take the fight to the Conservative-led coalition. And a Yes vote in the nationwide referendum on how we elect MPs would say No to David Cameron. A Yes would shackle the Conservatives, the fairer Alternative Vote system making it less likely the Tories could ever rule alone. That is a prize well worth seizing. We understand the temptation to vote No to give turncoat Mr Clegg a deserved kicking. But this is a once-in-a-generation chance to adopt a better electoral system. Vote Labour and vote Yes for fairer votes. – Daily Mirror

The Referendum on whether Britain should switch to the fiendishly-complicated Alternative Vote electoral system has been a truly depressing affair. The campaign was slow to begin, decidedly lacklustre and — in recent weeks — poisoned by the lies, cynicism and personal insults of the desperate Yes camp. The result has been widespread public apathy. The crucial final few days have been utterly dominated by the Royal Wedding and the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Turnout is expected to be pathetically low. The Daily Mail is urging all its readers to vote tomorrow – and vote NO to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s AV proposal But make no mistake: the outcome of the referendum could not be more vital for the future of this country. That is why the Mail urges all our readers to vote tomorrow, whatever their misgivings about the campaign — and vote No. – Daily Mail

Liberals face wipe-out with Labour set to gain in England

The Liberal Democrats are bracing themselves for the loss of up to 600 seats in Thursday’s local elections in England, prompting fears that their activist base across the country could be devastated. The elections for 9,000 seats in 279 English authorities are being seen as the first electoral verdict on the coalition’s spending cuts, with Labourexpecting major gains and senior Lib Dems admitting they face punishment in some areas for the role they have played in the coalition. Richard Kemp, leader of the Lib Dems in the Local GovernmentAssociation, said: “We’re doing well against the Tories, not so well against Labour. We will make losses as any governing party does. We will clearly, undoubtedly lose seats. 300 would be a good day, 600 would be a bad day.” Labour is expected to make major gains across the country, symbolically taking control from the Lib Dems in Sheffield, where Nick Clegg has his constituency. It has also targeted Newcastle upon Tyne and Hull. Tory-held North Warwickshire, Trafford, Dudley and Walsall are believed to be vulnerable to Labour, which has also put efforts into Dover. – the Guardian

Party leader Nick Clegg’s city of Sheffield is Labour’s number one target, with a swing of only four per cent needed to capture the council. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Bristol, St Albans and Kingston-upon-Hull are all also vulnerable following the Lib Dems’ recent collapse in the polls. Overall, Liberal Democrat chiefs are preparing to lose at least 400 councillors, and privately fear that as many as 600, a third of those up for election, could be kicked out of town halls around the country. Opinion polls suggest that the Conservatives are also likely to lose hundreds of councillors, but as they start from a far higher base, with more than half of the 9,400 seats being contested, the losses will represent less of a bloodbath. More than 31 million voters are eligible to take part in today’s elections, which cover around half of all the council seats in the country, the biggest round of local elections of the cycle. The last time the same seats were up for election, in 2007, the Tories won 40 per cent, with Labour on a low of 26 per cent and the Lib Dems on 24 per cent. Labour is hoping to win back as many as 1,000 from both of the Coalition parties, with a particular emphasis on taking advantage of Mr Clegg’s current unpopularity to capture key councils. – Daily Telegraph

Mixed picture for Labour in Scotland and Wales

A YouGov poll released yesterday shows Alex Salmond’s party on course for a comfortable victory. This replicated another poll the previous day, but Labour’s deputy Scottish leader Johann Lamont claimed the survey showed almost two million voters had still to make up their minds. “With over half of all voters undecided how they will vote, this poll shows it is all to play for,” she said. “The SNP are arrogantly slapping themselves on the back before a single vote has been cast, but the only poll that matters is polling day and every hour until the polls close Labour will be fighting for every vote. Yesterday’s poll showed Labour would remain on 46 seats while the SNP would gain seven, taking them to 54. It also suggested the Liberal Democrats would drop nine seats to be left with just seven while the Conservatives would lose one seat, leaving them on 16. The poll figures suggest the Green Party would gain three seats, bringing them to five, and there would be one Independent, almost certainly Margo MacDonald – Daily Herald

Whatever chance there might have been of the National Assembly election campaign focusing on Welsh issues was blown away by the result of last year’s General Election. Even before Labour’s defeat last year, some of its senior AMs in vulnerable seats were expressing the view that the arrival of a Tory-led Government at Westminster imposing public sector spending cuts would prove to be their salvation. Things would have been so much different if Gordon Brown had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and himself been in the position of imposing cuts. As it is, the prediction of those Labour AMs last year seems likely to come to pass. Labour supporters, both core and soft, have a traditional enemy in power at Westminster to vote against. The party has been able in Wales to capitalise on the fear of cuts in a nation that has a disproportionately high number of public sector workers. Another astute factor in Labour’s campaign has been its presentation of Carwyn Jones as a national leader – almost, dare it be said, a Welsh nationalist leader. Certainly Plaid Cymru has been left at a disadvantage by Labour’s appropriation of rhetoric formerly its own. Who at a previous election would have expected any party but Plaid to use as its campaign slogan, and as the title of its manifesto, “Standing up for Wales”? – Western Mail

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