Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Lib Dems: Wales is only a "Region"

Whilst glancing at Liberal Democrat Voice I saw the post Welsh Lib Dems choose Alan Butt Philip as lead Euro candidate, leading to the announcement on their website "We can win" - says Welsh Lib Dem Euro candidate and the following caught my eye:

Based on the 2007 Regional Assembly Election,
(My emphasis)

So according to the Liberal Democrats, the party full of more pedants than any other, Wales is a "Region" and the title of its devolved body is "the Regional Assembly".

Anyone want to place bets on how the Liberal Democrat list will do in the "Region of Wales"?


Anonymous said...

Oh Tim,

You clearly do not know much about Wales and Welsh politics.

The National Assembly Elections are divided into two, a constituency vote for the forty constituencies and a REGIONAL vote to eleect four extra AMs in each REGION of Wales.

The Press release is referring to the REGIONAL Assembly vote, Ie the vote for the AMs in the REGIONS of Wales. Because this is a party list vote it is the most comparable to the Euro electoral system which is why it has been used.

We will of course expect an apology after you've scraped the egg off your face.

Tim Roll-Pickering said...

Nice piece of spin from an anon but it doesn't wash. (And yes, I'm perfectly aware that Wales uses this shitty electoral system - see my past comments on it, most obviously on the Petermander.) It's clear that the word "Regional" is referring to the Assembly not to the specific list vote and as I said the Lib Dems are full of enough pedants to know the difference. Had the press release meant the list it would have said "based on the 2007 National Assembly Election list vote".

Anonymous said...

Tim, just fess-up, you got it wrong. The press release you are referring to reads:

"Based on the 2007 Regional Assembly Election, an election that resembles the European Elections in its proportionality, the Welsh Liberal Democrat’s only need a 2.45% swing from Labour to take the fourth seat."

I could understand your confusion if the next line didn't say:

"Taking the constituency vote, the swing required drops to less than 1%."

The first line is clearly referring to the regional vote, else why would the very next line refer to the constituency vote. The Assembly election as a whole does not resemble the Euro electoral system. Go and look up the figures, the swing needed is 2.45% on the regional vote and 0.9% on the constituency vote.

If we were referring to the Assembly election result as a whole (as you are claiming), the required swing would be around 1.8% so why would we say it is a bigger swing than we actually need.

Go-on, accept that you are wrong! Dare you.

Tim Roll-Pickering said...

Stop digging (and get a login to put a name to a comment). The capitalisation is also clear and for most parties under an AMS system the list vote is the primary one in the election with the constituency an add-on. Yes it's clear the figures referred to are the list ones but "Regional Assembly" is clearly referring to the National Assembly no matter how one spins it.

But carry on in denial. Next you'll be claiming it was a total coincidence that "straight choice" and "I've been kissed by Peter Tatchell" were used in the Bermondsey by-election.

Anonymous said...


Do you accept that the Assembly electoral system as a whole is nothing like the euro system?

So why would we say it was.

As you know so much about Wales, you will know that the regional system is commonly known as the Regional vote or the regional list vote.

Could I also ask why you think that the Welsh Lib Dem press office who probably put out 20-30press releases a week, mostly based around work in the Assembly, would suddenly, just once, refer to it as a regional assembly, despite always referring to it as the National Assembly previously?

That would be wierd wouldn't it, or could there be a simpler explanation, namely that you are wrong and now refuse to admit it.

By the way, for all parties in Wales, I can assure you the constituency elections are the primary ones!

Anonymous said...

By the way, re the point about Southwark and Bermondsey, I don't know, I was only just born. But its a wee bit rich from a Tory after some of the disgraceful behaviour in by elections in the last few years.

Tim Roll-Pickering said...

If parties that are unlikely to get an overhang are treating the constituency vote as the primary one then they're fools. Except for the overhang cases it is the list vote that determines how many National Assembly members they will win, with the constituency contests just determining which individual personalities who get in and which do not. Hence the list is the primary component in the election in determining the overall size of at least the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Plaid benches.

(Of course since the Liberal Democrats do badly at PR elections and presuming this isn't a conspiracy to make it more palatable by removing the prospect of them forever deciding the government, maybe you're just crap at electioneering. See PR - not the Holy Grail of Lib Dem electoral success?)

My knowledge of Welsh politics comes from many sources but the main one of late was living with one of the rarest of all creatures - a Conservative from Blaenau Gwent. If the Lib Dem press office is making a slip-up then it's highly telling.

And I am not a Tory, no more than you are a Whig. As for by-elections the last people who can take the high ground are members of the Liberal Democrats with their "Act wickedly, stir shamelessly" campaign guide and routine negative campaigning.

Anonymous said...

Tim, apologies for getting it wrong about you being a Tory. Mea Culpa! See,I can admit when I am wrong. Can you?

Again, can I ask you please do just admit you were wrong.

if not, can you answer three simple questions?

1. Do you accept that the list vote in the Assembly is based on regions?

2. Do you believe that despite referring to the National Assembly as the National Assembly for nearly ten years, the Welsh party press office, on this one occassion, slipped up and referred to it as a regional assembly?

3. Do you accept that it is more likely that they were referring to the regional list election result? And if not, why would they choose a figure that makes it seem more unlikely that they can win an MEP than the actual full National Assembly vote in 2007?

Tim Roll-Pickering said...

A "we can win here" message chooses the most favourable figures (see any Liberal Democrat bar chart) but when you're trying to reinforce the point then two sets of figures help even more to "prove" it's not a fluke (even if they are from votes cast at the same time). And it's natural to start outwards - 2.45% swing - and work inwards as a means of generating momentum in the message.

Yes the Assembly list vote is based on regions but at the end of the day you are the one trying to spin away a press release using the phrase "Regional Assembly" - clearly you think it's a turn of phrase you'd rather not have thrown back at you, whatever reasoning can be given for it.


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