Welsh Labour showing us how NOT to do it
The Ynys Môn by-election is now less than two weeks away. It’s immensely important for Welsh Labour to win this. If they take this seat from Plaid, they will have an overall majority in the National Assembly. If they don’t, they’ll remain having exactly half of the seats and the Welsh Labour Government will continue to have to make compromises over things such as their annual budget.
Yet, looking at the way they are going about things, it would appear that Welsh Labour are trying their very best to show people exactly how NOT to run a successful by-election. Their tactics during the Ynys Môn by-election, to put it frankly, have been bizarre.
First things first, let’s look at their candidate – Mr Tal Michael. Now where would people in North Wales have heard that name before? Oh yes, that’s right, only last November he spectacularly lost in the election to become North Wales’ Police and Crime Commissioner. This was an election that Labour were a shoo in to win, yet still he managed to lose. I mean no disrespect to Mr Michael, for all I know he is a very worthy candidate, but at the moment he’s known for losing. However, their problems run deeper than their candidate.
From the very moment that Ieuan Wyn Jones announced he was stepping down, Welsh Labour have gone into overdrive in raising the profile of their opposing party’s leader – Leanne Wood. A slightly strange ploy I must say. Welsh Labour clearly see Ms Wood as being Plaid’s main weakness, no doubt due to her views on nuclear. Yet that really is no reason to talk about her more than their own candidate. That is a weakness in itself. Are they trying to make up for something? For a while, the rather amusing twitter feed @Labour4ynysmon was kind enough to give us all updates on her exact whereabouts. It was all a bit stalkerish.
They’ve clearly been criticised for their Leanne-watch approach, as they seemed to have slowed it down a little – maybe someone pointed out that it was somewhat idiotic?
Anyway, things have moved on since then. Now unknown sources in the media are criticising Plaid’s candidate for having a name that was too Welsh. Yes, you read that correctly.
The article in question can be read here. Whoever this Welsh Labour source is, he (or she) is clearly a political strategy mastermind. The source said:
“Most people in Wales won’t even be able to pronounce his name, and it’s difficult to imagine someone called Rhun ap Iorwerth going down well in Islwyn, or that the party will be able to make advances in the Valleys.”
Genius. But in some ways, it gets better. He also confesses that Welsh Labour are likely to lose:
“Rhun is likely to win the by-election, but talk of him as a future leader is very premature.”
… Oh, well that’s OK then.
Saying you’re likely to lose an election that you desperately want to win is certainly an interesting approach. But, then the source also accuses Rhun of being a nice guy and not playing nasty politics in the way that only Welsh Labour really know how:
“At the moment he is going round Ynys Môn being nice to everyone and not saying anything nasty about the Labour candidate.”
Cracking stuff. Since then, numerous Welsh Labour people have come out of the woodwork to condemn what the source said. They, not surprisingly, are trying to play down the status of this source. I guess we’ll never know who said it, but personally, I reckon it’s someone a lot higher up than Welsh Labour would have us believe.
Plaid Cymru have clearly run a better campaign. Of course, at the same time they have their own comedy routine to go through. No-one knows how to oversell their own candidate in the way that Plaid do. In the same article, journalist Martin Shipton states: “For some, Mr ap Iorwerth is the new party saviour they have already dubbed Kennedy Cymru”. “Kennedy Cymru”… No pressure then Rhun!
Anyway, that’s all for now. If you’re up for a laugh, make sure you follow @Labour4ynysmon – you’ll note their most recent tactic is to criticise the Welsh Lib Dem candidate (clearly they’re aiming high as he’s likely to come a strong 4th) for calling the National Assembly a ‘Parliament’. Way to go Welsh Labour, sure to get some votes from Anglesey’s cymuned Gymraeg with that!