Defining the Alternatives

As the Senedd drew to a close this week, we saw the three main opposition parties each put a sharper focus on their offering to the Welsh electorate in the next election. First off the blocks was the Brexit Party last Sunday when they became the third small party represented in the Senedd (after UKIP and Abolish the Assembly) to advocate the actual abolition of the institution. Their version does, however, pledge to keep a directly elected First Minister for Wales but, quite frankly, that suggestion doesn’t seem to have a lot of appeal. Voters who want abolition tend to simply want that, nothing else, so it will be a… Read More

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Opposing demands

The Covid period can roughly be divided in two in terms of the ways in which political parties have worked together. The point of divergence was the middle of May, characterised by the first indications that the ending of lockdown would not only be slower but different in Wales, with different easings promoted or prioritised. This also coincided with the Dominic Cummings episode and the trip to Barnard Castle. No other aspect has impacted more on public attitude to the lockdown restrictions. As the last two months have played out, the Welsh Labour Government has made a virtue of caution even where they have not had the science to back… Read More

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Safety first, economy second

The decisions made by governments in the UK over the past few months have been made on more than just science. They have been set out on the basis of political priorities too. Thus with different governments of different political complexions in all four parts of the UK, the decisions taken have inevitably been different and this is an entirely natural course of action. Yet with the ability to decide there is of course the right of others to scrutinise and sometimes criticise. No government has been wholly right in its actions, and no government has been wholly wrong. If you drew a Venn diagram of the administrations, then the… Read More

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The glass mentality

The biggest surprise in the defection of Gareth Bennett MS (Abolish, South Wales Central) from wherever he was to the Abolish the Assembly Party is that it had taken so long for that way of thinking to get an elected member in the Senedd. Putting aside the whys and wherefores of whether regional list members should be able to cross the floor when they are elected on party tickets – and MSs had plenty of opportunity to include this in the recent legislation that seemed more preoccupied with changing the sign on the door than anything else – there are issues of representation at stake here. Some people argue that… Read More

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Senedd Election 2021: The Positif Election Package

Guiding you into the 2021 Senedd Election In May 2021, Wales will go to the polls for the Senedd election and will choose the next Welsh Government. With five years since the last opportunity to elect members to the Welsh Parliament, and all that has happened in between, it will certainly be an interesting election. Over the coming year, Positif is here to help you answer and explore the key questions going into the election with our Senedd Election 2021 package. What’s included in the package? What’s at stake for each political party? Who are the key players and the candidates to watch? How can you influence party policies? Why… Read More

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Remembering Mohammad Asghar

The sudden death of Oscar this week has left people reeling. When the Senedd met on Wednesday to hear tributes, they were poignant, heartfelt, and very personal. Clearly there was a sense of shock and sadness, but there was also a sense of profound bewilderment. In a podcast which I did later that afternoon, Angela Burns MS said that, in his thirteen years in the Senedd, Oscar had been the only member she had never heard criticise any other member personally. For us in the public affairs community, the Oscar we knew was similar. Always a smile, always a glint in the eye, always a creative suggestion from him as… Read More

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Polls Apart

The Survation poll for the new think tank the Centre for Welsh Studies unveiled this week makes very interesting reading. It showed in constituency polling for the first Welsh Parliament election that Labour would get 40%, the Conservatives 26%, Plaid Cymru 18%, the Brexit Party 8% and the Liberal Democrats 7%. On the regional list Labour was on 36%, the Conservatives on 23%, Plaid Cymru on 22% (notice their rise here), while the Brexit Party polled 10% and in doing so is projected to win 5 Welsh Parliament seats May. This data sits as a bit of a contrast to the Welsh Barometer Poll of a week ago which gave… Read More

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One Crisis, Two Approaches

The contrast between two governments and two parliaments is something Welsh Labour is keen to emphasise and, if the Welsh Barometer Poll is correct, this is something the electorate in Wales are in agreement with.  The data showed for the UK Government, the rating for handling the crisis well is down to 34% from a peak of 59%. The same sample showed the number of people who believe the Welsh Government is handling the crisis well has steadily climbed from 29% in March to 62% today. Undoubtedly the Dominic Cummings effect will have been the major factor in dipping the ratings of the UK Government in such a catastrophic way.… Read More

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The Name Game

Politics is all about priorities. To some changing the name of the Assembly to Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru was always a crucially important issue. To others, it was a distraction from more important things that should be legislated upon. Then it became the fight over whether a single mono-lingual word “Senedd” should be applied in both English and Welsh. After heated debate it was decided that it should not, though of course all of the elected members are now known as Members of the Senedd (in English). Confusing? Oh yes. It was the best tray of Welsh fudge made this century. At Positif we’re getting used to the new system and… Read More

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The F-bomb

“OMFG!!!” was the reaction of one of the Positif team in our overused WhatsApp group. It spoke to us all who were watching and, two hours later when everyone at Positif had finally watched the clip, that was the collective view. Ever the political historian, I couldn’t help think back to when Peter Rogers had said “Bollocks, First Minister” and Rhodri Morgan had replied from the lectern “It’s not bollocks.” Or the time that Glyn Davies had meant to say “twin track” and it had come out as “twin twat.” What both those occasions have in common is that they have ended up in the Record of Proceedings. F-gate wasn’t… Read More

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