Saturday, 30 April 2011

You are only as good as your weakest seat...

No doubt many will hardly feel any sympathy, but political campaigners have had a pretty tough year. Tough in terms of the General election, referendum, Welsh Election being a huge drain on resources of every kind.

Like any organisation such as businesses, it is difficult to assess things strategically in the medium and long term when the short term is so hectic and challenging.

The one thing that struck me from last year's Westminster general election was that Plaid were losing deposits, particularly the two lost in Newport. In my own seat in Torfaen we didn't but we wasn't far off. This is not a criticism to say that as a party of Wales we should not be losing any deposits in national elections.

To return to the strategic planning point, we have as a party been all hands to the pump on 'election' footing for pretty much 18 months. With a week to go and with one massive push ahead, I can safely say I am looking forward to a rest (and bear in mind many more people have done far more than me!). Given this, it is difficult to plan for things, notice things and develop things outside of that electioneering.

Plaid are a very professional party it must be said so planning is carried out well. But I hope we as a party with no national elections until the Euro ones in 2014, focus on things outside of target seats*. To be perfectly frank, we can look at raising the vote by 1000 in our third city of Newport an provide resources to do so.

In the longer term, small gains in places that are not our target seats is massively important to the list vote and given I fully expect 80 AMs in the future (with 40 being regional/proportionally elected), then it's vital.

Don't get it twisted, in places like Torfaen and Newport we work our butt off with limited resources. Some of that work will bear fruit this year and certainly next year, but the next few years, out of the necessary election war footing, we need to firm up and develop Plaid support in new areas. This will take hard work and strategic support - some Plaid possess in abundance.

*Before anyone pipes up - I am a candidate in 2012, it's going to be the most important one ever for me, but you catch my drift. In fact, winning council seats is an absolute necessity to grow the Plaid vote (it's pretty true that my personal vote is bigger than the Plaid vote - but I am starting to get the Plaid vote to solidify and then catch up). This is the template for growth surely.

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