We didn’t win in Cathays but I am happy to say that we beat the Conservatives.
I didn’t manage to get down the votes per candidate in Cathays last night but I’ve tallied up the votes per party:
1. Labour - 3345 - 3 Lab elected
2. Liberal Democrats - 3087 - 1 LD elected
3. Green Party - 2221
4. Plaid Cymru - 950
5. Conservatives - 835
6. Independent - 139
As for the national result for Plaid Cymru, there’s no escaping the fact that it’s disappointing. Plaid Cymru lost some fantastic councillors and it’s disappointing that in some places, there were hard-working local champions from Plaid Cymru barely holding onto their seats, or not getting elected. It really does make you wonder how that can be, when the people they’re up against do nothing for their communities.
There is a possible answer to be had in that Plaid Cymru was the only party that ran this local election campaign in the way that local election campaigns ought to be run. The clue’s in the title - it ought to be about LOCAL issues. Unfortunately, the British parties decided to use this LOCAL election to fight WESTMINSTER battles. Couple that with the influence of the British press and hey presto, what have you got? People up and down the country wanting to use this vote - which ought to be a vote on local issues - as a protest vote.
Perhaps Plaid Cymru was silly not to join in with the extreme coalition-bashing. Perhaps we ought to have set ourselves up as the real alternative to the Con Dems, and asked the people to vote for us in order to send a message to David Cameron and Nick Clegg.
Politically speaking, that would probably have been the right thing to do. But we can take pride in the fact that we were the only party to run this campaign properly. Even if that means that Plaid Cymru had a disappointing night, I’m glad that that’s how we did it. We were fair and honest.
I really am desperately sorry for the Plaid Cymru councillors across Wales who lost their seats, and for the candidates who didn’t get elected. I know that they won’t give up though, because despite how cheesy it may sound, in Plaid Cymru, you don’t get politicians. You get real, local champions, and one disappointing evening won’t stop those people from showing Labour up over the next five years.
On the flip side, there are some positives. I’m pleased that Plaid Cymru has retained two councillors in Cardiff, and I know that Neil McEvoy and Lisa Ford will continue to do a fantastic job in Fairwater.
And then of course, as Chair of Plaid Cymru Youth, I am over the moon that two of my members have been elected as Councillors. Mair Rowlands will do a brilliant job in Bangor, and of course my good friend and colleague Rebeca Lewis won fantastically against the Labour incumbent in Trebanos, Neath Port Talbot.
I am tremendously proud of you both and want to wish you the best of luck for your five years as councillors. I know you’ll do a brilliant job representing your constituents, and will show Labour up for who they really are.
Overall, it’s a dim picture, but having said that, there’s a silver lining to every cloud. Our task for the next five years is to hold Labour to account and show the people of Wales that Plaid Cymru is the only real party of Wales and the only party that really cares about local communities up and down our country.
In the words of a wise woman - YMLAEN!
Cerith Rhys Jones
National Chair, Plaid Cymru Youth