As the shape of post Brexit politics starts to manifest itself, the Conservative Party in Wales is in a fascinating place. Setting aside the challenges related to individual politicians, with the Ramsay conundrum being the sharpest case in point, Conservative strategists are focused on trying to replicate their General Election performance when May 2021 comes.
Nevertheless, even with a strong electoral performance, absolutely nobody believes the Conservatives could win an outright majority in an Assembly election. The best they might hope for based on recent polling is a very strong second to Labour, having picked up enough seats to stop Labour getting anywhere near a majority government. In such circumstances the issue would also be quite how many seats Plaid Cymru has and whether in such circumstances the Conservatives and Plaid could come to an accommodation.
This is where it would get very tricky though since Plaid would almost certainly want to occupy the First Minister’s office in any coalition agreement and would presumably want a series of plum jobs along with further devolution and maybe a better funding settlement for Wales. And even with such a bumper package as that, there’s no guarantee Plaid would comfortably enter a coalition with the Conservatives, since key members like Leanne Wood AM and Helen Mary Jones AM would take a lot of persuading to sign up to that.
All of which means the Conservatives won’t be leaving anything to chance. As well as focusing on the mechanics of an election over the next twelve months, they will also be focused on trying to pull together a policy package that is welcome to Plaid Cymru. To get there the Tories will need to go the extra creative mile, and employ some genuine blue sky thinking.