Archive for Riverside by-election

Lawful Assembly

Posted in Bute Park, Politics with tags , , on March 4, 2011 by telescoper

So there we have it. Yesterday’s votes are all counted and we have the results. Here’s a quick Friday afternoon round-up before I go to the Pub.

The biggest issue of the day involved Referendum on extending the law-making powers of the Welsh Assembly, in which the “yes” vote won by 517,132 votes to 297,380.  This means that the Welsh Assembly will henceforth be able to make laws directly concerning those matters already devolved to it (including Health and Education). Contrary to popular myth, it does not broaden the Assembly’s power to cover new policy areas neither does it allow the Assembly to raise taxes. What it does is eliminate a bureaucratic bottleneck that previously required the Welsh Assembly to ask Parliament in Westminster every time it wanted to enact a law.

I think the “Yes” vote is a good thing, and the majority (63.5%) is healthy enough that there should be no griping about the outcome. In fact all but one region – Monmouthshire – voted in favour of the new powers, and Monmouthshire voted “no” by a mere 320 votes…

The only really disappointing thing was that the turnout was dismally low – only about 35%. Those that didn’t vote, however, have even less justification for complaining about the outcome.

On a smaller scale, the by-election for my local Council ward resulted in a gain for Labour from Plaid Cymru:

Steve Garrett (Plaid Cymru): 1,099
Iona Gordon (Labour): 1,700
Gwilym Owen (Liberal Democrat): 187
James Roach (Conservative) 369
Yvan Maurel (Green party): 277

Turnout was about 40%.

Pontcanna has been a Plaid Cymru (Welsh nationalist party) stronghold for quite a while, so I was moderately surprised at the result. I was personally quite pleased that Plaid Cymru lost this seat because of their support for the over-development of Bute Park, but I’ve no idea whether that issue contributed significantly to the result. I voted for the Green Party, incidentally, and was glad at least to see them beat the Liberal Democrats into 5th place. The new Labour councillor Iona Gordon is however a prominent campaigner on environmental issues and I wish her well.

The other major electoral result in the UK was a Parliamentary by-election in Barnsley, which saw the Liberal Democrats ending in a humiliating sixth place and losing their deposit. The only real question in my mind is why anyone would find that surprising given their track-record as part of the coalition government?

In a  couple of months we’ll be voting again, this time for the Welsh Assembly. A great deal will depend on the eventual composition of the Senedd, especially for Welsh universities…