As fellow local blogger, Oggy Bloggy Ogwr has virtually invited my observations on the coming elections in Bridgend and Ogmore, I guess it would be rude not to do so.
Oggy has no declared party affiliations, but is essentially a good ecosocialist according to he his published political compass positioning, but a remarkably balanced and unbiased commentator on the local and Wales-wide political scene. I am, of course rather more partisan (although Oggy sounds like he is unaware that I quit the green Party a year ago now), making no bones of my distaste for Tories of all colours (red Tory-light, blue Tory-regular, purple Tory-ultra).
Having said this, I really cannot disagree with anything Oggy has said in terms of predicting the forthcoming polls in Bridgend and Ogmore constituencies.
It is pretty obvious to everybody that these two constituencies remain shoe-ins for Welsh Labour. It would take upsets of Leicester City proportions for any other result to happen. However, knowing a lot of the candidates as I do I would like to make a few observations.
With Conservatives and UKIP running second and third in the last election, it could indeed be plausible for a pact between them to run Carwyn close enough to give him at least mild indigestion. But that presupposes that UKip voters (if not their candidates) have more affinity with Blue Tories than Red ones. Carwyn diminished majority will be on the back of (struggling not to stick an insulting adjective in here) Labour voters switching to Ukip. It would have been nice to see a bit co-operation between the relatively left parties of the Lib Dems , PC and Greens in Bridgend working together to try and at least relegate UKIP to 4th place, but that won’t happen, and it will actually be a quite interesting scrap among the minor places to see if the Lib Dem meltdown is reflected in Bridgend or whether Plaid Cymru can get the ‘best of the rest’ tag off them. The Greens so at least have a solid local candidate this time around, but sadly the last I heard was that the local party had folded, or rather merged with NPT Green Party.
As for Ogmore, it is a similar story, but with Plaid Cymru in good shape to hld onto 2nd place with a good local candidate, Tim Thomas, who I know well, and am happy to endorse. The Greens really shouldn’t have been wasting deposits on either Bridgend or Ogmore, but their candidate in Ogmore is the wonderful Laurie Brophy. He a charming ma of advancing years, but he was arguably the fittest member of Bridgend Green Party throughout my time with it. Awkwardly, I would still rather ecosocialist-inclined voters opt for supporting Plaid Cymru, just to try and ensure Tim isn’t ambushed by a UKIp surge, should it emerge.
So there you have. Very uninspiring elections, with depressingly predictable outcomes. The real interest on Thursday will be elsewhere. I am hoping for a big surge towards Plaid Cymru. There has been some evidence of them picking up some momemntum, but we will have to see if it amounts to serious progress. It won’t manifest itself in the constituency votes in Bridgend and Ogmore, but I is especailly vital that Plaid Cymru gets your top-up list vote everywhere (bar perhaps Mid Wales, where Alice Hooker-Stroud is lead candidate and perhaps a better prospect than the Pc alternatiove there).