doc

IT seems those foretelling doom for Labour in Wales may have spoken a bit too soon.

All polls and predictions released during the campaign so far have suggested the party will suffer massive losses in Wales on June 8 and be overtaken by the Conservatives as the largest party in the country for the first time in almost a century.

Even bookies have been offering very good odds on Tory victories in constituencies across Gwent.

But that was all upended earlier this week when a new poll carried out by the usually-reliable YouGov and released by Cardiff University’s credible Wales Governance Centre and ITV Wales instead showed the party could now stand to increase its majority in Wales to the tunes of one seat.

This is a dramatic reversal of fortunes for the party which just a few weeks ago seemed to be dead and buried in Wales, and potentially devastating for the Tories, who would stand to lose the Gower, which they took by a margin of just 27 votes in 2015 in what was seen by many as a historic victory for the Conservatives.

If that’s to be believed we could actually see very little change in Wales after June 8.

Maybe Labour supporters have rallied at the thought of a Conservative-controlled Wales, or maybe voters have become sick of Theresa May and her gang staring back at them from the TV screens, newspaper front pages and leaflets as the election campaign drags on.

Or maybe, as the Wales Governance Centre’s professor Roger Scully suggested, the death of Rhodri Morgan had resulted in something of a sympathy boost for Labour.

But is that really that unexpected?

Before the Local Government Election earlier this month there were a lot of predictions the Conservatives could make some significant gains in Newport, with the newly-formed Newport Independents Party also adding an extra element which could turf out the Labour majority.

But when all the ballots were in and counted Labour found itself just two seats lighter and still in overall control of the council.

Maybe this shows Labour supporters in Wales can always be relied upon to turn up at the ballot box.

Or maybe there’s still a core of anti-Conservative feeling left over from the miners’ strike which will never really be forgotten.

But one thing’s for certain – a lot can happen in two weeks.

l There’s always going to be some political sniping during an election campaign, with candidates and campaigners taking pot shots at their opponents for anything and everything which could be perceived in a negative light.

But this year this seems to have got out of hand, with the vast majority of candidates seeming to base their entire campaigns on having a go at their opponents.

Meanwhile anyone wondering why exactly they should vote for these candidates is left largely in the dark.

True, the surprise announcement of the election gave parties very little time to put campaigns together, but that’s no excuse for the frankly childish and cringeworthy behaviour we’ve seen from various camps.

People I know as normally intelligent and reasonable people have morphed into hysterical banshees shrieking over and over again about just how terribly evil the other side is.

The amount of meaningless rubbish I’ve been sent by some candidates and their teams in an attempt to spread dirt on their opponents, much of which leaves me asking what exactly they hope to achieve with it, in the past few weeks has gone far beyond tiresome and just become silly.

This is exactly what turns people off from politics and is hardly the mood we want to go into a new Parliament with.

l It would be remiss of me to let this week’s column go by without reflecting on the death of Rhodri Morgan.

His tenure as first minister was before my time in the politics game so I never had the pleasure of meeting him personally and had very little cause to even give him much thought.

But what’s clear is he was adored by those who worked alongside him and respected by those outside his party, even if they didn’t agree with him.

A headline writer’s dream, he was deft with a turn of phrase, famously saying “I wasn’t late, the Queen was early” after turning up late to a Royal visit in 2004.

If more politicians in Wales and across the world were like him politics across the world would be far more interesting.

He will be missed.