Monday, 14 September 2009

Onward and upward

Another year and another highly successful conference. I suppose it's natural for any party member attending his or her own party's conference to feel positive about both the experience and the outcome - and having chaired most of the formal sessions as well as taken part in one of the less formal sessions on Thursday, I'm hardly the most objective judge.

I've been going to them for long enough, though, to understand the difference between the marginal feel-good factor of being among friends during a difficult political period - probably 1979 was about the lowest point for me – and the buzz of a successful well organised conference when things are generally going well. 2009 was definitely a 'buzz' year. I can't imagine that many members of the Labour Party will be looking ahead to their conference this year in the same way that I was before ours. And I doubt even more that they'll come away with the same upbeat feel.

We may or may not fit in our Spring Conference before the next Westminster elections; but this will certainly be our last annual conference before those elections. All the polls are still saying that there will be a change of government in London before then. And the polls also suggest that we'll see a growth in support for both Plaid and our colleagues in the SNP, with both parties likely to return a record number of MPs. How much of an increase depends not simply on how well we or the other opposition parties perform, but, as much as anything, on exactly how badly the Labour party collapses.

Prediction is a difficult game, but it looks to me as though the electoral pattern in a number of constituencies is changing. We've already seen that in Aberconwy, for instance. Not so long ago, the constituency moved from being seen as a Labour-Tory fight at Westminster level to a three-way Labour-Tory-Plaid fight. Increasingly it is looking like the real fight is between Plaid and the Tories, with Labour now out of the running.

I see similar signs locally as well. Prior to the Assembly election in 2007, most people saw this constituency as a Plaid-Labour struggle. The Assembly elections saw three parties – Plaid, Labour and Tories, all finishing within 1% of each other. Until recently, most people were regarding the Westminster election as a straight fight between Labour and the Tories – but things are changing on the ground – I really think it could yet turn out that the real fight is between ourselves and the Tories.

In a very hard-hitting speech at Conference, Adam rehearsed extremely well the reasons why people faced with that sort of choice should choose Plaid. Now, how to put that message across locally...

PS - If I really deprived Ordovicius of his place in the food queue, it was both entirely unintentional, and almost entirely unrewarded in terms of the nourishment obtained. By wholly inadequate way of reparation, many thanks to Ordo for the job he did at conference as resident blogger!

1 comment:

Simon Dyda said...

No need for apologies, John. I learned a valuable lesson from the experience about the cut-and-thrust world of fringe buffets.

:D