Tuesday, 18 February 2014

By-Election Preview: 20 February 2014

Cardiff City Council; caused by the resignation of Labour councillor Cerys Furlong, who is concentrating on her role as head of NIACE Dysgu Cymru, a Wales-wide adult learning body.

The Canton, Cardiff
  © Copyright Jaggery and licensed for
reuse under this 
Creative Commons Licence.
Treganna in Welsh, Canton goes back to mediaeval times as the site of South Wales' largest market.  There's still a fruit market in the area, but much of the ward was developed in the nineteenth century and became an area associated with immigrants to Cardiff; from Ireland in the mid-nineteenth century, from the subcontinent in the twentieth century.  The area is also starting to gentrify thanks to its proximity to the centre of Cardiff.  On the other side of the Great Western main line is the village of Leckwith on the left bank of the Ely, known for its sports; the city's athletics stadium is here, as is the Cardiff City Stadium, home of Cardiff City football club.  The Bluebirds are having a bad time on and off the field at the moment in their first Premier League season, with the manager being acrimoniously sacked over the New Year and a recent rebranding having changed the club colours from blue to red.

It might be argued that the club owner, Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan, was only reflecting the area's political orientation in rebranding the club, Canton being a safe Labour division after the party saw off a strong Plaid challenge at the 2008 election.  At the most recent poll in 2012 Labour polled 48% to 19% for Plaid and 16% for the Greens, who had not previously fought the division.  The Lib Dem candidate who finished bottom of the poll here in 2004, Alison Goldsworthy, is one of the alleged victims in the Lord Rennard sexual harassment case.

With Labour also performing well at a by-election last December in the neighbouring Riverside division, they will start as favourites to win the by-election.  Their candidate is Susan Elsmore, whose LinkedIn profile describes her as an independent public policy professional (whatever that means).  Translator Elin Tudur is the Plaid candidate.  The Greens have reselected Jake Griffiths, leader of the Welsh branch of the party and their top candidate here in 2012.  Also standing are Pam Richards for the Tories (who stood here in 2012), Matt Hemsley for the Lib Dems and Steffan Bateman for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.

Parliamentary and Assembly constituency: Cardiff West
ONS Travel to Work Area: Cardiff
Postcode districts: CF5, CF11

Steffan Bateman (TUSC)
Susan Elsmore (Lab)
Jake Griffiths (Grn)
Matt Hemsley (LD)
Pam Richards (C)
Elin Tudur (PC)

May 2012 result Lab 2230/2130/2128 PC 910/837/824 Grn 730/564/503 C 505/468/426 LD 118/98/84 Socialist Labour 106 TUSC 90
May 2008 result Lab 1814/1580/1497 PC 1257/1170/1113 C 858/820/813 Grn 515/411/396 LD 361/331/224 Socialist Alternative 158
June 2004 result Lab 1657/1530/1404 PC 982/927/872 C 931/828/817 LD 899/702/687

Thursday, 6 February 2014

By-Election Preview: 6 February 2014

Conwy County Borough Council, North Wales; caused by the resignation of independent councillor Ahmed Jamil.  Jamil, a local doctor and poet who emigrated from Pakistan in 1967, was first elected to Conwy council in 2012 after taking more than 95% of the vote in a November 2011 by-election to Llanfair Talhaiarn community council.

Llanfair Talhaiarn
  © Copyright Dot Potter and licensed for
reuse under this 
Creative Commons Licence.
The population of the Conwy county borough tends to be concentrated on the North Wales coast; in the resorts of Llandudno and Colwyn Bay, and the more downmarket town of Abergele.  This has the effect that the interior is much more sparsely populated.  The Betws yn Rhos division covers the area immediately to the south of Colwyn Bay and Abergele; the communities of Betwn yn Rhos itself, in the hills southwest of Colwyn Bay, and Llanfair Talhaiarn, six miles south of Abergele in the steep-sided Elwy valley.

Rural Wales is the sort of place that has lots of unopposed elections, and independent councillor Ena Wynne was elected by this division without a contest in both 2004 and 2008.  Wynne's retirement in 2012 saw five candidates stand to replace her; Dr Jamil was elected with 43% of the vote, and I'd suspect that most of his votes came from the Llanfair TH end of the division.  Second place was taken by Plaid's Clwyd Roberts, with independent T Bryn Jones, from Betws yn Rhos, coming in third.

Two independents have come forward to replace Jamil: Caroline Evans and Ifor Glyn Lloyd, both of whom are from Betws yn Rhos.  Clwyd Roberts, from the village of Llangernyw outside the ward, stands again for Plaid, while T Bryn Jones stands again, this time with the Conservative nomination.

Parliamentary and Assembly constituency: Clwyd West (North Wales region)
ONS Travel to Work Area: Llandudno and Colwyn Bay
Postcode districts: LL16, LL22, LL28, LL29

Caroline Evans (Ind)
Bryn Jones (C)
Ifor Lloyd (Ind)
Clwyd Roberts (PC)

May 2012 result Ind 340 PC 219 Ind 167 Ind 40 Ind 18
May 2008 result Ind unopposed
June 2004 result Ind unopposed