Pontypridd

2015 Result:
Conservative: 6969 (18.2%)
Labour: 15554 (40.7%)
Lib Dem: 4904 (12.8%)
Plaid Cymru: 4348 (11.4%)
Green: 992 (2.6%)
UKIP: 5085 (13.3%)
TUSC: 48 (0.1%)
Others: 332 (0.9%)
MAJORITY: 8585 (22.5%)

Category: Very safe Labour seat

Geography: Wales, Mid Glamorgan. Part of the Rhondda Cynon Taf council area.

Main population centres: Pontypridd, Treforest, Rhydyfelin, Beddau, Llantwit Fardre, Llantrisant, Pontyclun, Tonyrefail.

Profile: Covers the lower Taf and Ely valleys. This seat is very much the transition point between the traditional, struggling, post-industrial towns of the Welsh valleys and those commuter villages and new build developments that lie in the orbit of Cardiff to the south. The Royal Mint, the government owned company that produces all UK coinage, is based here in Llantrisant. Two of the University of Glamorgan`s campuses are also here, based in Pontypridd.

Politics: Pontypridd has been held by Labour since the 1920s, but is less monolithically Labour than those seats deeper into the Welsh valleys. In 2010 the Liberal Democrats cut the Labour majority to under ten percent, but they slumped to fourth place in 2015.


Current MP
OWEN SMITH (Labour) Born 1970, Morecambe. Educated at Sussex University. Former radio producer and special adviser. Contested Blaenau Gwent 2006 by-election. First elected as MP for Pontypridd in 2010. Shadow Welsh Secretary 2012-2015. Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary since 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 5932 (16%)
Lab: 14220 (39%)
LDem: 11435 (31%)
PC: 2673 (7%)
Oth: 2411 (7%)
MAJ: 2785 (8%)
2005*
Con: 5321 (13%)
Lab: 20919 (53%)
LDem: 7728 (19%)
PC: 4420 (11%)
Oth: 1246 (3%)
MAJ: 13191 (33%)
2001
Con: 5096 (13%)
Lab: 22963 (60%)
LDem: 4152 (11%)
PC: 5279 (14%)
Oth: 819 (2%)
MAJ: 17684 (46%)
1997
Con: 5910 (13%)
Lab: 29290 (64%)
LDem: 6161 (13%)
PC: 2977 (6%)
Oth: 1517 (3%)
MAJ: 23129 (50%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
ANN-MARIE MASON (Conservative)
OWEN SMITH (Labour) See above.
MIKE POWELL (Liberal Democrat) Contested Pontypridd 2010.
ANDREW TOMKINSON (UKIP)
KATY CLAY (Green)
OSIAN LEWIS (Plaid)
DAMIEN BIGGS (Socialist Labour Party)
ESTHER PEARSON (TUSC)
Links
Comments - 146 Responses on “Pontypridd”
  1. I’ve heard of broad churches before, but it really does seem from the above two comments that there are two completely separate parties within Labour, that have somehow stuck together up to now but are in fact utterly irreconciliable.

    One is 100% ideological, is pacifist, usually anti-American and has no workable solutions. Very similar to Socialist Workers’ party standpoints.

    The other is very pragmatic and not ideological that I can see (does this mean it is less principled? I’m not sure); believes to some extent in social justice but recognises what it needs to be mixed with to actually happen; and gets accused by the first lot of selling out the soul of its party and being unprincipled if it changes its ground on absolutely anything, or if it happens to agree with the Conservative party on anything.

  2. Like all large parties Labour represents a spectrum of political opinion rather than the two extremes outlined above (“Trots vs. Everybody Else” rather plays down the differences between Blairites and Brownites, for instance, or the soft left and Blue Labour).

  3. BT
    I take offence to the line “One is 100% ideological, is pacifist, usually anti-American and has no workable solutions”

    Frankly I sometimes feel its the left that are the ONLY ones offering solutions while everyone else hums along like everything is dandy.

  4. Rivers10: I would say that the left has ideas rather than solutions. Yanis Varoufakis, for example, floated the idea of a citizen’s income to be introduced at some point in the future – and despite being very far from the political left I do see the merit in a citizen’s income in, perhaps, thirty years, when today’s blue- and white-collar workers will largely have been supplanted with machines. However, he hasn’t said how or when such a policy would be implemented, or where the money would come from in an environment where fewer people are paying income tax.

  5. Polltroll
    I would agree that the left can occasionally come up with lofty and idealistic concepts without drilling into the nitty gritty of how they would work but such cases are the exception not the rule. I could quote a vast array of policy issues (not even specific to economics) where the left propose ideas that not only “might” work but most definitely “will” work evidenced by countries that have already implemented such policies yet the right stubbornly refuse to budge for ideological reasons.

    Admittedly though this isn’t the place really to discuss it. All I would say is that I made the point a while ago that many have observed that ideologies fall out of fashion when they cease to be pragmatic and instead become ideological (as happened in Britain in the 70’s the right had bold and fresh ideas while the left ploughed on with purely ideological decisions) In the 21’st century though the tables have largely turned, it is for the most part the left that are offering bold and radical ideas while the right plough on with failed orthodoxies of which there have been a truly endless list of examples from this Tory government alone.

    I’d say give it a decade or two and I’d bet BT will be eating an almighty helping of humble pie.

  6. Rivers10

    Who said I was talking about ‘the left’ as you call it? Whatever made you think that?!

  7. POLLTROLL

    The citizen’s income would be paid from business taxes. Companies would have to pay up or have no market for their products.

    If work became fully mechanised and new technology drastically reduced manufacturing costs, then the cost of buying those products could also reduce, making it less necessary to have a high income.

    The economic implications of new technology I do not think has been fully understood yet. Despite his cluelessness about short term political tactics, at Paul Mason has thought this through to an extent.

  8. BT
    Oh come on you were obviously talking about the left, you quoted two factions within Labour, largely described Corbyn’s position (bar offering no workable solutions which is just an opinion) If not the left what were you referring to?

  9. Hawthorn
    The issue of technological advancement on economics/politics is fascinating. I read the work of one economist on the issue (name escapes me don’t believe he/she was anyone particularly famous though) and they come to a startling but quite obvious conclusion on the issue.

    If technology (mechanisation and robotics in particular) advances at its current trajectory most jobs (even very high skilled jobs like surgeons) will be rendered obsolete by 2050. In such a scenario there is a stark choice for humanity. Either blindly try to carry on with some from of capitalism which almost certainly wouldn’t work since Capitalism depends on consumer spending of which there wouldn’t be much if 90% or more of population were unemployed (part of the reason why many on the right support basic income, it actually enables Capitalism to survive in such a scenario) and even if it did survive it would be a world of inequality that makes the current world look egalitarian.

    The other option is essentially some variant of communism, with the very concept of “work” being rethought with all of the necessities and luxuries of life being produced cheaply by a near totally mechanised workforce leaving people to essentially wallow in their free time with an economic bureaucracy providing everything they could ever want for little to no cost. Essentially a egalitarian utopian paradise.

    The fact that the simple advent of private ownership of the means of production and the profit motive can lead to two hugely diverging scenario’s is actually quite frightening. It doesn’t take a genius to realise what scenario is best for all of humanity but it also doesn’t take a genius to realise which route the current elite would rather we went down…

  10. RIVERS10

    If (for the sake of argument) you accept the labour theory of value, the first scenario with a citizen’s wage would not involve surplus value. It would not be capitalist exploitation.

  11. I might make the further argument that these changes will occur no matter who is in power.

    Therefore, rather than follow a Corbyn to push for something that is going to happen anyway, follow a more moderate figure who can win power and alleviate the negative parts of the change.

  12. Hawthorn
    It would not be capitalist exploitation in the traditional sense of exploiting a worker but rather consumers would be exploited (or at least duped). Most if not all of the benefits of mechanisation would be enjoyed by those who own the means of production and you can bet they would pass little if any of those benefits onto consumers, allowing the Capitalist to grow vastly wealthier from a technological revolution that should benefit all of mankind equally.

    I support basic income as a interim measure but I don’t feel its a long term solution, it just facilitates the preservation of the status quo.

    Re Corbyn its a sound point (and FWIW I’m mainly only supporting him since I think the PLP are taking the utter p**s) but the changes re mechanisation and such are long term, there is a lot that needs changing now that the Blairites seem either unwilling or unable to challenge.

  13. RIVERS10

    Such a system would collapse due to underconsumption.

    I am not sure that damaging the Labour Party’s chances in 2020 to settle a point with annoying MPs is very wise. Mrs May is going to have a rough ride and Labour do have a chance if they get their act together.

  14. Rivers10

    Rats, you saw through my heavily disguised descriptions then . . .

  15. ” the left propose ideas that not only “might” work but most definitely “will” work evidenced by countries that have already implemented such policies”

    Cuba, North Korea, The Soviet Union

    Fair enough the hard left wins.

  16. Robberbutton
    I was thinking more Norway, Sweden, Germany or the Netherlands.

  17. Well Scandinavian countries run healthcare systems which are much more mixed between public and private than the NHS (and also run far better), hardly a left wing dream…

  18. Pepperminntea
    All Scandinavian countries have single payer publically funded systems just like the NHS, they are admittedly vastly more decentralised (which I’m in favour of) but the basic model is pretty much the same.

    But also who said I’m talking about healthcare? I’m talking across a range of issues from the justice system to education to welfare provision to workplace rights.

  19. Yes but they use the private sector far more the NHS does which would be completely unacceptable to those on the left and to the majority of the population.

    On justice I agree the system needs reform especially as far as drugs go but there does need to be a balance between rehabilitation and punishement not just one or the other.

    As for welfare it is socially unacceptable in Scandanavian countries and a source of immence shame to spend your life dependant on welfare in a way that it is not in Britain. The public are willing to pay higher taxes on the provision that people who claim it do something productive with their lives. The Scandanavian attidute on this stems from the fact that they were traditionally small homogeneous, rather insular societies where people wanted to ‘look after their own’ but due to things like the migrant crisis, terrorism and everything else I would expect this tadition towards welfare to begin to break down in the coming years.

    As to education I would prefer to take inspiration from countries like China particularly for the brightest children who currently done a severe disservice by our education system which fails to properly harness their poitential. But for children who aren’t gifted I believe German style tech colleges are the way to go instead of wheeling children off to university who are completely unsuited for it (a pet project of New Labour).

    I don’t see what is so bad about Britain’s labour laws though, this coming from someone who has worked in several low paid jobs. Are you one of these people who wants stupidly restrictive French style labour laws, return to flying pickets and abolition of secret ballots?

  20. Pepperminttea
    NHS=True but most studies find that the NHS is the most cost effective system, simply put outsourcing healthcare doesn’t lead to anything other than higher costs for the consumer or government.

    Justice=I respect your view since it is vastly more reasonable than most of the public or indeed the political establishment but there has been a huge amount of studies on this and while the nuanced approach would be a “balance between rehabilitation and punishment” all the real life evidence shows that the more emphasis you place on rehabilitation the better the outcomes.

    Welfare=A complex issue but I was primarily talking about the methods of getting people off welfare. our approach has always been demonization or cuts while other countries engage in genuine enquiries to see why so many people are stuck on the system. Also (and I know you will disagree with this) they have a much more pragmatic approach, we all know there will be those who abuse the system but whereas we get hysterical over a few thousand genuine scroungers and fraudsters who cost the taxpayer a tiny sum in the grand scheme of things other nations just face reality, acknowledge there is no real stopping it and don’t exaggerate the extent of the situation labelling everyone who claims a scrounger. As I always say we lose more in corporate tax evasion than we spend on non pensioner welfare, its a matter of priorities. Gain 100 million tackling benefit abuse or gain 50 billion tackling tax avoidance?

    Education= I prefer the Finnish model, the proof is in the pudding in that it consistently ranks amongst the highest in education. I am strongly opposed to the Asian style schooling seen in China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore, sure it gets results (It would be embarrassing if they didn’t they’re just exam factories) but it turns kids into drones and that’s assuming they survive, the suicide rate amongst children in these countries is staggering thanks to the pressure they are put under. Thankfully the gov’s attempt to emulate the system over here is destined to fail, rightly or wrongly British kids are just not disciplined enough for such a system to work. Actually totally agree re German tech Colleges.

    Finally Labour Laws=I actually strongly support secret ballots FWIW. I could talk about zero hours contracts or the horror stories we’re hearing from JJB but I’ll instead appeal less to your heart and more to your head. Look at what they have in Germany and the Netherlands, vastly stronger unions but far less Labour disputes, that’s because German and Dutch business acknowledge the role unions play (its enshrined in law) and rather than see them as a nuisance to crush see them as a force for good and a useful ally in the workforce, union reps get seats on company boards, are consulted on all decisions and there is a LOT of give and take on both sides. This leads to sensible and productive workplaces rather than the situation we have in Britain (and France for that matter) where unions and bosses see themselves as enemies and are constantly at each others throats so nobody wins.

  21. Not sure Owen Smith immigration comments will help him with the membership. The mugs were one of the reasons Corbyn won last year. Already his has been compared to farrage for saying the perfectly truthful fact in parts of the country they are two many immgrgrants,

  22. “two many immigrants” – which two would that be!? lol

  23. 500 Labour councillors are backing Owen Smith for leader. Looking down the list there seems to be a couple of town/parish councillors included though. That smacks of desperation imho

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/the-500-labour-councillors-who-are-backing-owen-smith-over-jeremy-corbyn-for-labour-leader_uk_57972269e4b06d7c426d7977?

  24. You’d have thought they’d have learned from the EU ref that campaigning by open letter doesn’t really work.

  25. “I could talk about zero hours contracts or the horror stories we’re hearing from JJB but I’ll instead appeal less to your heart and more to your head. Look at what they have in Germany and the Netherlands, vastly stronger unions but far less Labour disputes, that’s because German and Dutch business acknowledge the role unions play (its enshrined in law) and rather than see them as a nuisance to crush see them as a force for good and a useful ally in the workforce, union reps get seats on company boards, are consulted on all decisions and there is a LOT of give and take on both sides. This leads to sensible and productive workplaces rather than the situation we have in Britain (and France for that matter) where unions and bosses see themselves as enemies and are constantly at each others throats so nobody wins.”

    I would take a guess that your experience working in/with British industry is somewhat small. The rotten apples like Sports Direct do NOT represent how the majority of big British companies operate. Co-operation between management and unions in the way you suggest is routine at many workplaces, especially in heavy industry.

    To give you an example, I went to visit Scunthorpe steelworks last week. Tata have just finished the sale of the plant to a new company calling itself “British Steel”. I can tell you that the management cannot praise the unions highly enough for their flexibility and can-do attitude through this very difficult period. Len McClusky, supposedly the far left bogeyman in the media, has in reality been extremely flexible with respect to enabling the new plant to have a fighting chance of remaining viable. It is a similar story at the various car plants in the UK.

  26. HH
    I agree its not all like that and the steel works in Scunthorpe you mentioned is an excellent example of what could be. You’re right that in the traditionally unionised heavy industries things are much more cordial (I’d argue that’s because the unions still have quite a bit of influence) but even there we see bad disputes like that Chemical Plant in Grangemouth a few years back where the management wouldn’t even meet with the unions.

    But I would focus on your point that in heavy industries things are more cordial, that is most definitely true but most British people work in non unionised sectors and the outcomes are telling. The few bad apples you speak off seem all to common these days (JJB, Amazon, McDonalds, ASDA to name but a few) hell I’ve already been sacked from a job just for talking about unionising…

  27. So then, these twenty pledges Owen Smith made today. They seem to me to have the whiff of focus groups about them. Of the twenty, only the first two are in any way interesting. Numbers 3,6 & 7 are pretty similar to a suggestion made by Theresa May of all people, to give employees roles on executive committees, as she stood on the steps of number ten. And then I think his team gave up after that point and just said, “Right, pledge to spend more money on public services (except defence of course, the members don’t like that sort of talk), and sling a load of taxes on rich people. Oh, and be really vague about everything. Right, lunchtime.”

  28. I actually fund it reassuring, not that I’m disagreeing with you I’m actually mostly agreeing with you, I’ve been worried he’d say and do anything to win the leadership then either renege on all of it or step down and let a more moderate character in. If such a scenario were likely I’d have expected him to pander totally to the membership and pledge to increase the top rate of tax to 1 million percent, treble benefits expenditure, use Trident for a big fireworks display, nationalise BHS and put the Queen on trial for war crimes….all about appealing to the membership remember.

    As is though he gave a fairly typical wishy washy, non committal politicians pledge albeit one draped in Socialism and that leads me to believe he’s probably broadly genuine.

    What a weird world we live in….

  29. “Ed Miliband backs Owen Smith”

    If there was any doubt that Corbyn would be re-elected there surely isn’t now

  30. He actually backed him several weeks ago. He’s just released a video today and tried to get some media attention. Not sure his view is likely to sway many, to be honest.

  31. I’m sure all those MPs who said Ed was too left wing and are now backing Owen Smith are extra pleased to hear this.

  32. If Smith really is as Corbynite as his policy platform . . . and he truly is a better leader and more pragmatic. . . and might over time even be ‘electable’ . . ..

    . . . then shouldn’t those of us who don’t agree with this ‘hard left’ platform be wishing Corbyn DOES win the leadership election again?

    (I wonder, too, if Corbyn’s followers have thought of that, or whether they are befuddled by blind allegiance.)

  33. I can tell that’s a joke, because you missed out

    Majority: 56

  34. Pathetic Prat Promotes Patriotic Posturing

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0RjZOrjTig

    Always good to see the old Eurosceptic Hague in action before the foreign office captured him

  35. Pontypridd is being merged with Cynon Valley. Would this spell trouble for Smith?

  36. Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley) was bound to retire in 2015 and stayed on only after the CLP kicked up a big fuss regarding the AWS imposed.
    So I would expect her to retire this time leaving the new seat to Smith.

  37. If the boundary changes are voted through, there’s going to be something of a missing generation in Parliament. Well over half of the MPs who retire their seats are going to be replaced by MPs from abolished seats, rather than new MPs.

  38. Owen Smith looks likely to be appointed Shadow Home Secretary:

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/2015guide/pontypridd/

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