Working the doorsteps is a joyless task, even in a safe seat. The endless mantra of *knock knock*… “hello, I’m calling on behalf of [insert candidate name]…” is a process that tires quickly.
None more so will this be true than for those Labour supporters seeking to garner support in Wales during this election. While all polling must now be taken with a health warning, the latest Welsh Westminster voting intentions must be utterly disheartening. Trust me, canvassing can be disheartening even when you’re relatively confident of a positive result, but the latest YouGov figures for Wales really do spin out a tale of woe for Labour.
Conservatives 40% (+12)
Labour: 30% (-3)
Plaid Cymru: 13% (-)
Lib Dem: 8% (-1)
UKIP: 6% (-7)
While on paper much of the flow to the Conservatives is at UKIP’s expense, on these numbers the Conservatives would take 10 seats from Labour in Wales as constituencies such as Ynys Mon, Alyn and Deeside, and Bridgend change hands. As others have noted, this wouldn’t just knock Labour into second place, it would place the Conservatives as the largest party in Wales for the first time in over 100 years. In fact, it could be the Conservative’s first Welsh majority since the dawn of universal suffrage and the Parliamentary Reform Act.
If you recall, 2015 saw the best Tory election result in Wales for 30 years. The party won 11 of the 40 seats, with MPs like Craig Williams taking Cardiff North and the party finally capturing Gower by 27 votes.
But for the Tories to be the largest party… let’s just reflect on the significance of this. Wales, the heart of mining, of trade unionism, of industry. These are the seats that should look back on the likes of Aneurin Bevan, the father of the NHS, and not even think twice.
But it’s clearly not that simple anymore. They are thinking twice, and the polls are suggesting that for the most Labour of Labour heartlands, life has changed.
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies may have got tongue-tied at last year’s Party Conference when he expounded that “Brexit means breakfast”; but if these results do materialise he’ll most likely go bananas.