Well, well. What a tremendous victory for Labour in Caerphilly.
Friday morning was certainly a ‘very good morning in Caerphilly and in all Wales’. Jeff Cuthbert didn’t just beat Ron Davies; he thrashed him and over doubled Labour’s majority.
And in Wales as a whole, Labour emerged as the night’s victor. Although one short of an absolute majority, Labour has clearly won the election and has a strong mandate to form the next Government of Wales.
Unfortunately, the latter part of Ron’s campaign in Caerphilly did the Nationalists no credit. Having lost the political argument, Ron resorted to making spurious accusations to the Police. But my congratulations to Plaid’s Lindsay Whittle, who was elected to the Assembly on the South-East Wales Regional List.
Lindsay, it has to be said, is a long-standing Plaid member who does his best for the area and although I disagree profoundly with his politics, I do respect him.
The big question now however is who will lead the Plaid Cymru controlled Caerphilly County Borough Council? It has been strongly rumoured that a deal was struck between Lindsay and Ron. The suggestion is that Ron didn’t really expect to be elected to Cardiff Bay but as he thought that Lindsay would get elected on the List, the deal was that Ron would take over the reins of the council.
But, some have questioned this. The counter view is that Ron genuinely expected to win Caerphilly and when both he and Lindsay were in the Assembly, one of the long serving Plaid Councillors would take over on the council.
Whatever happens during the next few weeks, what is certain is that next year’s local elections will be fascinating. Having got the taste of ‘blood’, you can be sure that Labour will be going all out to defeat Plaid Cymru Councillors. The number one target will be Councillor Ron Davies, whether he stands as a Nationalist or as a so-called Independent.
Finally, my warmest congratulations to Jeff Cuthbert AM. Jeff rose above the personal abuse which his main opponent directed at him and I hope that everyone in the Caerphilly Constituency – including those who did not support him – will wish him well.
Labour MP for Caerphilly