- by Nick Powell
Welsh Labour are portraying their better than expected result as a triumph for their election tactics and organisation. Party sources are pointing to a series of decisions about how they campaigned in Wales.
- A campaign led by Carwyn Jones "connecting positively" with voters.
- A "very Labour, very Welsh" manifesto
- Local campaigns supplemented by social media and print advertising
- Targeting young voters, where the Welsh party credits Jeremy Corbyn with energising 18 to 24 year olds.
What sometimes seemed like rival Welsh and UK campaigns are now presented as a carefully crafted division of responsibility. So was there a Welsh bonus for Labour, compared to the party's performance in England?
Labour increased its support by about a third in both Wales and England. (Up from 36.8% to 48.1% in Wales, up from 31.6% to 41.3% in England). It was actually the Welsh Conservatives who outperformed their English colleagues, increasing their share of the vote by roughly a fifth in Wales but only by a tenth in England. (Up from 27.3% to 33.6% in Wales, up from 41% to 45.6% in England).
Yet Welsh Labour talk of the Tories' "imploding" campaign "riven with infighting". Their point is that what counts is having the discipline and organisation to maximise rising support where it's needed to win seats -and not lose any either (six Labour seats were lost in England, though 26 were gained, with a recount offering hope of one more).
So Welsh Labour feel fully justified in their self-congratulation, with their vote share higher than at any time since the first Blair landslide in 1997. Back then though, they converted that support into 34 seats. Indeed, they won 34 seats again in 2001 on a lower vote share than what was needed to secure 28 seats last night.