So what happened in Wales on the 5th May?
The 60 assembly seats that make up the Welsh Assembly were re-elected that’s what!
40 of those were individual seats representing each of the constituencies that make up Wales. There are 8 constituencies in each of the 5 regions. Pretty much nothing changed. Well one thing. The Rhondda, previously a Labour seat was won by Plaid, Leanne Wood . Other than that the status quo remained:
Labour 27 , Plaid 6, Conservative 6 Lib Dem 1
These are won by a First Past the Post System, that is the Party individual with the most votes (not necessarily a majority) wins the seat. All other votes go unrepresented
Labour 34.7% of the vote, Plaid 20.5%, Conservative 21.1%, UKIP 12.5% LibDem 2.9% Green 2.3%
With FPTP system, if we only had constituency seats, UKIP get no representation despite 12.5% of the electorate wanting them
In Wales we attempt to even out the wishes of the electorate by having an additional 20 seats – 4 seats for each of the 5 regions. These are calculated by proportional representation… number of votes divided by 1+ number of constituency seats occupied per region. It means that parties that get substantial votes but not quite enough to win constituency seats get representation for their electorate
The main changes in the structure of the Welsh Assembly seats took place here with Conservatives losing 3 and Libdem losing 4 all to UKIP
Labour 2,Plaid 6, Conservative 5, UKIP 7, Libdem 0
These Regional seats were on the very length ballot paper and each party had a list of candidates against them… of course all those candidates can’t sit on the seat so the 1st name of the list takes the post if the seat is won.
The total representation for Welsh Assembly is now
Labour 29, Plaid 12, Conservative 11, UKIP 7, Libdem 1, much more representative of the electorate (whether we like it or not!)
The sad fact remains that the turn out averaged only 45.3% (unbelievably this is an improvement on the 2011 where the turnout was 42%)….The Constituencies that showed the best turnouts were Cardiff North and Brecon & Radnor at 57% ( I like to think that maybe, just maybe my campaigning helped a little here, that was my raison d’être)
So why the disinterest/apathy/disillusionment ?
What do we (or rather the Government) need to do to engage the 54.7% of the electorate who didn’t think it worth bothering? I think its tragic. THe only wasted vote is one not made. Change is slow. How do we engage the electorate?
What do you think?