As I wrote previously both Carwyn and RT Davies have identified an advantage in presenting the Welsh General Election 2016 as a two-horse race between themselves. Those building the narrative around Plaid Cymru’s campaign ought take heed.
The benefits are obvious for Labour and the Conservatives – recreating Wales as a Little England with each election becoming a binary choice for the mainstream electorate leaving the minor parties to scoop up fringe and niche voters.
In this scenario the clear losers are Plaid Cymru for whom there is not an English comparison (they would certainly baulk at being spoken of in the same breath as the Lib Dems). They risk losing mindshare as a voters and the media can easily focus in on the simple left/right paradigm this creates. The engineers behind Plaid’s campaign should consider pro-actively intervening before this pattern becomes entrenched as, with the introduction of multiple Kippers and continued dwindling of Democrats, they risk losing ground.
It has become a mantra for some unionists that “Wales is not Scotland” while others are working hard to make sure that it never is. There may be some truth in that but Wales is not England either and, politically speaking, the not inconsiderable presence of Plaid Cymru is the proof. The challenge for their strategists are to build a narrative around a Big Three in Wales – parties which can lead governments in the Assembly. In doing so, they willput clear yellow-purple water between them and the Small Three who will never lead governments in Wales.