3 years ago, Wales voted to leave the European Union, yet here we are in the build-up to another set of European elections. Despite Theresa May promising as recently as March that there would be no Euro elections, yesterday the UK Government admitted that it would now be impossible to cancel them. So what will be the likely outcome?
Euro 2014 Results
At the last elections held in 2014, Labour topped the poll with 28% narrowly beating UKIP on 27%. The Conservatives at 17% and Plaid on 15% were some way behind, but all 4 parties won 1 seat each due to the proportional list system used.
It is probably fair to say that this election will be dominated by Brexit – or rather the lack of Brexit – and normal voting patterns will not apply, and there will be two new parties standing who might have a significant impact.
Firstly, I expect Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party to top the poll – in 2014 the combined Conservative and UKIP vote was 44% and I expect that the combined Conservative/UKIP/Brexit vote this time to be similar or slightly higher but with Brexit Party taking most (but not all) of previous UKIP vote and another large piece of the Conservative vote – and I predict that Brexit Party will get around 35% of the vote in Wales.
I dont think that many people in Wales will knowingly vote for the new ‘knuckle-dragger’ version of UKIP – but I expect that some people will be confused and think that it is still the party of Farage that they voted for last time – and UKIP could get a few %.
The Conservatives will be the largest losers as their remaining pro-Brexit supporters punish them in favour of the Brexit Party – and I expect the Conservative vote to fall to around 12%.
Meanwhile Labour will continue to slide – Neither Jeremy Corbyn nor Mark Drakeford have done much to inspire Welsh Voters and the party’s ambivalent position on a second Brexit referendum will drive away some of their ‘remain’ voters – and I expect they could fall to as low as 20%.
Plaid should increase their vote in line with all recent opinion polls and I expect them to achieve around 20% this time – respectable but still a long way off the record 29% they achieved in 1999.
The big gainers in the English local elections last week were the Liberal Democrats and Greens, who clearly benefitted from switching pro-remain Labour and Conservative voters. I expect both parties to increase their vote in Wales but can not see either party getting above 7-8%.
The other new party this time is the Remain-supporting Change UK. They should have been able to capitalise on the large and disillusioned pro-remain vote but poor organisation, poor communication and elitist image means they will struggle to make any significant impact, and again not more than 7-8%
In terms of seats, Brexit Party should easily win the first seat, while Labour and Plaid should comfortably win a seat apiece. But the fourth seat will be a straight fight between Brexit Party and Conservatives – If Brexit win more than twice the Conservative vote they will win the fourth seat – and that is my prediction. 2 seats for Brexit Party, 1 for Plaid, 1 for Labour.
But so what?
In a normal year our MEPs have very little real power – and in this election we will simply be electing 4 ‘dead men walking‘.
They will all enjoy their lucrative salaries, expenses and pension rights but will be kept far away from the levers of power in Brussels, in the knowledge that their stay will be temporary…..or maybe not??!!
Mike is a 57 year old Construction Quality Manager, from Cardiff. He has spent most of his working life travelling the world – seeing first hand how different countries run their affairs – and learning lessons which can be transferred back to an independent Wales.
Mike is also one of the contributing editors of Ein Gwlad’s News Portal.