Gower

2015 Result:
Conservative: 15862 (37.1%)
Labour: 15835 (37%)
Lib Dem: 1552 (3.6%)
Plaid Cymru: 3051 (7.1%)
Green: 1161 (2.7%)
UKIP: 4773 (11.2%)
TUSC: 103 (0.2%)
Loony: 253 (0.6%)
Independent: 168 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 27 (0.1%)

Category: Ultra-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: Wales, West Glamorgan. Part of the Swansea council area.

Main population centres: The Mumbles, Port Eynon, Pontarddulais, Clydach, Gorseinon.

Profile: Consists of the Gower peninsula, a tourist area of beaches, campsites and caravan parks, the seaside resort and residential villages of The Mumbles and the more working class and industrial, former mining and tin making towns to the north of Swansea like Pontarddulais and Gorseinon (the birthplace of former Tory leader, Michael Howard).

Politics: Long a Labour-Conservative marginal on paper, Gower remained tantalisingly out of Conservative reach even at their high tide marks of support. The Gower peninsula itself contains much Conservative support, but more industrial towns to the north of Swansea vote Labour and more than balance this out. Gower was held by the Labour party continously for a century between 1910 and 2015 before falling to the Conservatives on the tiniest of margins, the smallest majority of the 2015 election.


Current MP
BYRON DAVIES (Conservative) Born Gower. Educated at Gowerton Boys Grammar School. Former police officer. Contested Gower 2007 Welsh assembly election, member of the Welsh Assembly for South Wales West since 2011. First elected as MP for Gower in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 13333 (32%)
Lab: 16016 (38%)
LDem: 7947 (19%)
PC: 2760 (7%)
Oth: 1615 (4%)
MAJ: 2683 (6%)
2005*
Con: 10083 (25%)
Lab: 16786 (42%)
LDem: 7291 (18%)
PC: 3089 (8%)
Oth: 2293 (6%)
MAJ: 6703 (17%)
2001
Con: 10281 (28%)
Lab: 17676 (47%)
LDem: 4507 (12%)
PC: 3865 (10%)
Oth: 1024 (3%)
MAJ: 7395 (20%)
1997
Con: 10306 (24%)
Lab: 23313 (54%)
LDem: 5624 (13%)
PC: 2226 (5%)
Oth: 1867 (4%)
MAJ: 13007 (30%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
BYRON DAVIES (Conservative) Born Gower. Educated at Gowerton Boys Grammar School. Retired police officer. Contested Gower 2007 Welsh assembly election, member of the Welsh Assembly for South Wales West since 2011.
LIZ EVANS (Labour) Born Hafod. Trade union officer, works for the Land Registry.
MIKE SHEEHAN (Liberal Democrat)
COLIN BECKETT (UKIP) Educated at Oxford Brookes University. Chiropractor and former army officer.
JULIA MARSHALL (Green)
DARREN THOMAS (Plaid)
STEVE SPARKY ROBERTS (Independent) Party organiser.
MARK EVANS (TUSC)
BARON BARNES VON CLAPTRAP (Loony) , real name David Barnes. Retired optometrist.
Links
Comments - 348 Responses on “Gower”
  1. I envy you that you haven’t had to compromise your principles in life yet….enjoy it while it lasts.

  2. “I’d like to put on record that despite my downplaying of Conservative chances I’m not even saying it wont be a walk in the park, all I ever say is that’s its too early to tell and an awful lot of actual game changers can happen”

    That sums up my view as well. A huge range of potential outcomes. I do not think an early election is likely so anything can happen by 2020. Remembering also that both the main party leaders are north of 60 and, in May’s case at least, not in the best of health.

  3. I don’t think Labour has much of a chance under Corbyn or someone of his persuasion. In my view, their best hope lies in finding another Harold Wilson figure i.e. provincial *and* on the soft left of the party with a bit of charisma.

  4. A very tough ask indeed.

  5. With a bit more polish Burnham might have come closest to that, or perhaps Balls.

  6. Tory
    “I don’t think Labour has much of a chance under Corbyn or someone of his persuasion”

    Depends what you mean by “his persuasion” The one thing that has heartened me about Corbyn’s election is that it has largely confirmed what I believed to be true, that all the “hard left” stuff that I support and supposedly cannot win elections is now (according to the moderates within the Lab party, most pundits and bizarrely even some in the Tory party) not the issue rather the issue is Corbyn himself. With that in mind Lab needs to find a charismatic and relatable leader that is willing to stand on Corbyn’s platform (minus some of the foreign policy stuff) that I believe would put Lab in with a real chance.

  7. “A huge range of potential outcomes”
    Not least how Brexit pans out, I don’t think people quite appreciate that we are all still basically clueless as to what the gov’s priorities are besides the colour of Brexit…
    Once they have to start outlining actual negotiating positions public opinion will shift significantly for better or worse.

  8. H Hemmelig- yes, Burnham was the probably the nearest thing to it of that generation.

  9. “The one thing that has heartened me about Corbyn’s election is that it has largely confirmed what I believed to be true, that all the “hard left” stuff that I support and supposedly cannot win elections is now (according to the moderates within the Lab party, most pundits and bizarrely even some in the Tory party) not the issue rather the issue is Corbyn himself. With that in mind Lab needs to find a charismatic and relatable leader that is willing to stand on Corbyn’s platform (minus some of the foreign policy stuff) that I believe would put Lab in with a real chance.”

    Even if Labour won an election on that kind of platform they would face massive roadblocks from the establishment when it came to delivering such a programme within government. With the added handicap of three quarters of Labour MPs not really supporting it. Have you seen A Very British Coup?

  10. Rivers 10- you won’t be surprised to know that I flatly disagree about the electoral purchase of Corbynism (and before you say otherwise I do not subscribe to the view that re-heated Blairism is the way forward for Labour).

  11. Tory
    “you won’t be surprised to know that I flatly disagree about the electoral purchase of Corbynism”

    But their is evidence for some of it, take the poll from just a couple of days ago on the railways. When asked whether rail privatisation had been a complete failure, a partial failure, a partial success or a complete success the most popular choice was a complete failure with over 30% selecting that, followed by a partial failure in the high 20’s a partial success took 20% and amusingly a complete success scored just 1% This would suggest that rail nationalisation has the potential to reap electoral dividends.

    Obviously not all of it has purchase but some of it most certainly does.

  12. Well as it happens, I am reasonably sympathetic to renationalisation myself but I am not going to vote Labour in a million years. It’s the whole package that counts, not isolated issues.

  13. Apart from the fact that Tory OAPs support nationalisation and they’re the least likely group to back Labour under Corbyn.

  14. HH
    “Even if Labour won an election on that kind of platform …

    Perhaps but that’s not really the issue, a left wing Lab gov might be a complete failure, the point is we have been told since the 80’s that one couldn’t even get elected which myself and many others always thought was total bull peddled to ensure there was never another left wing government.

    “With the added handicap of three quarters of Labour MPs not really supporting it”
    Well that depends on the issue, rail nationalisation for example was accepted pretty much unanimously by the PLP, apparently they always liked the idea but were scared to commit to it but given the leadership was adamant they were happy to get behind it.

    “Have you seen A Very British Coup?”
    No but I’m very familiar with what its about. Personally I’d dispute a coup would get very far, reason being it was actually attempted against Harold Wilson in the late 60’s and Atlee in the 40’s Released documents revealed that certain characters within the civil service, MI5 and the Americans all thought both PM’s were a threat, both coups failed before they got of the ground cos Lab at the time successfully allayed fears, I believe that a Corbynista Lab PM could do the same and if not cos any reform however moderate of global capital is deemed unacceptable by the powers that be then surely even you must accept we don’t live in a democracy we live in an oligarchic plutocracy.

  15. “It’s the whole package that counts, not isolated issues”

    Agree and that policy is one of many that resonate and while its true you might not vote Lab (however much you sympathise with renationalisation) you are a very engaged and informed person who votes based on an array of issues, most of the electorate are not and vote on a few very niche, personal issues. That policy would probably be picked up by a lower middle class commuter from Stevenage who then thinks “Lab will make my commute massively cheaper I’m voting Lab”
    Its simplistic but that’s how the bulk of the electorates brain works.

    Lancs
    Actually the cross breaks showed that support for nationalisation decreased with age.

  16. Most polls do not.

    It’s hardly surprising, either.

    The OAPs grew up with nationalisation so are fond and familiar with it.

    Indeed the 18-29s views on strikes, buying shares in Royal Mail, rail etc is something that must really irk Corbynistas.

    Indeed a plurality amongst most demographics blamed the unions for the recent rail and postal strikes.

    Only that the polls came out over the holiday period saved JC & JMc from further embarrassment.

    After all even McCluskey now sees a day when Jezza might have to just go.

  17. Lancs
    I’m unfamiliar with any polls showing such facts (except about OAP’s often being more supportive of nationalisation I have seen that in polls from time to time)
    do you have any links to the others? Some of those claims sound highly dubious particularly the one on buying shares in Royal Mail, seeing as that’s my demographic I really struggle to see anybody in that age being able to scrape up the cash for the minimum purchase amount the gov put in place for buying shares in Royal Mail.

  18. Whilst the headline is silly, the poll findings stood out:

    48% of the public didn’t support the strikes
    26% did

    http://news.sky.com/story/current-spate-of-strike-action-has-echoes-of-winter-of-discontent-10707398

    Indeed, 40% blamed the Unions
    just 20% blamed the Govt.

    However Jezza & JMc read that it doesn’t bode well.

    Even Kinnock said in his conversation on BBC Parliament: Labour need to be careful to distance themselves from being seen as on the side of the union leaders calling strikes, as he did with Scargill. He admired the miners but realised their leader was living in another world from the British people politically.

  19. Yes, they exist (but I’m not paid to do your research for you – just read more widely as I’ve suggested in a kind way even if it might sound patronising).

    I imagine the average 28-year-old professional is far removed from the average 21-year-old student [I’m not being personal, I just mean financially, work environment, ideologically and so on]

    It was £750 from memory (minimum subscription which in Royal Mail turned out to be what 98% received). They are worth £1,300 now IIRC.

    It’s hardly surprising – the unions tell every member at each privatisation not to buy the shares and guess what, most did. [I don’t just mean accept the free shares either, I mean purchase more]

    As for Junior doctors, the public were evenly split, but in the last 2 polls, those against were 3% more than those who supported the action [polls previously listed on here]. Which is presumably why the BMA told their Junior division not to strike for 7 days as they’d threatened to.

    In part it came down to class too though, ie when I saw a passing van driver (adorned with self-employed livery) shouting abuse at the posh gals who thought it was jolly good fun to stand outside with a placard wearing Hollister tops, bobble hats and scarves I realised they were never going to carry the majority when they already earned more than most people who were passing by.

  20. The issue of strikes is not surprising its one of the areas that tends to irk the public more, I’m more interested in this supposed polling that shows people (particularly young peoples) supported Royal Mail privatisation when I distinctly remember polling showing the exact opposite.

    Redgardless when you say
    “40% blamed the Unions
    just 20% blamed the Govt”

    That’s a bit misleading since while the headline figures are true (well 21% said they blame the gov but I’ll assume that was just a typo on your part) a further 18% blame the companies showing a majority blame other factors than the unions.

  21. As for junior docs you’re being a bit misleading again, the most recent polls showed a narrow majority against full walkouts but the majority of the public still supported “some” industrial action.

    Seriously Lancs you don’t need to spin these things I don’t think anybody on this site is going to have their opinion swayed.

  22. Rivers10 – 21% + 18% = 39% (and not a majority)

    40% blamed the Unions.

    and you say I’m trying to spin (!)

  23. The problem trade unions have is that they only get news exposure when they are at their most unpopular – ie during industrial action. People’s opinions of them would be much more positive if coverage were given to them the other 99% of the time.

    In the interest of balance, one could say the same about the police, the pharmaceutical industry or a hundred other professions.

  24. we should definitely do an election night

  25. we should also watch a very british coup together

  26. Yes

    If only UKPR existed in the 80s

  27. “If only UKPR existed in the 80s”

    If only Conservative Estimate had existed in the 80s!

  28. Lancs
    LOL major brain fart on my behalf there, for some reason I read 18 as 28?!?!? Jeez I’m losing it…

  29. Con Estimate
    “I’d probably have died from a seizure had I been around for the ’97 election”

    Ah you’d have been fine, even then most people knew Lab had toned it back. Now you might have had a seizure in 66 and I’m pretty sure 45 would have killed both of us though for totally opposite reasons…

  30. Polltroll – I honestly don’t that that’d be true of unions though.

    Even their members moan about them on a daily basis – and they’re meant to be the ones they act on behalf of, never mind the rest of the population.

  31. Lancs
    “Even their members moan about them on a daily basis – and they’re meant to be the ones they act on behalf of, never mind the rest of the population”

    Come on dude that’s really clutching at straws, I come from a family that was very heavily involved with the unions and both my parents (ex workplace reps) said that the members (rightly) have a lot of gripes and they often level that at the union for not dealing with it. My mum said she loved her time as a rep but my dad said its a thankless task and he wouldn’t wish it on anybody.

    Throw in the British peoples innate tendency to moan about everything (are you seriously saying they all have great love for their employers?) and the offhand comments can’t be taken as a scientific view on members views. People moan about the NHS all the time but polling shows overwhelming support for it (the national religion remember) Indeed if they all hated the union so much why would they even bother being a member.

  32. I don’t think it would have killed me cos I would have felt vindicated, no good ever comes from allying with the Tories and Lab need to learn that, it was true then and its true now!!!

  33. “You may not have guessed but I’m hoping for my 1983 in 2020”

    The sickening irony is if you receive it your life will probably be infinitely worse yet if I receive my 1945 moment your life will probably be infinitely better…yet you support who you do and I can’t change that

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  34. “1983 would’ve been so good to be alive.”

    Bloody hell, I really hope you don’t seriously measure how well you enjoy your life by how well the Tory party performs in elections that year. Otherwise the next time the Tory party are out of power for 10-20 years you’ll have a decade of severe uninterrupted depression!

    I was alive in 1983 though only 7….nevertheless old enough to remember it was far from the utopia you seem to be imagining. Though there were many great things about being a kid in the 80s I actually think the mid/late 90s were much better.

  35. “I suspect it could be changed”
    You saying you might not always support the Tories??? Where might you drift if so?

  36. ”probably be infinitely worse yet if I receive my 1945 moment your life will probably be infinitely better”

    A matter of opinion Rivers as you full well know. In my opinion if someone as extreme as Jeremy Corbyn ever got into power the whole country and the lives of it’s people would be in a far worse state. Unlike his supporters in momentum the vast majority people don’t think a world where the prime minister is a terrorist supporting extremist who would likely massively weaken private enterprise, remilitarise the unions, drive investment out of the country, trash the economy and waste money on expensive left wing pet projects as being infinitely better. But hey vote Jezza make Britain the sick man of Europe again!

  37. Pepps
    In all seriousness putting the stereotypes aside what have the Tories ever actually done that’s made your life better?

  38. Tax allowance.

  39. What do you believe the role of government is then?

  40. So you should have had to pay to go to school?

  41. Also I believe you mentioned you receive counselling? Who provides that?

  42. No I’m talking about primary and secondary education not higher, should you have had to pay for that? Also I reiterate my point on the counselling you receive.

  43. ”In all seriousness putting the stereotypes aside what have the Tories ever actually done that’s made your life better?”

    Rivers I don’t fundamentally believe that it is the governments job to make people’s lives better instead it is the government’s job to make the conditions right in which you can hope to make your own life better and for people to be able to personally succeed. This makes a far more successful, productive society than when you have an authoritarian leftist government meddling unnecessarily in people’s daily lives of which they don’t foggiest clue about (cough, cough Corbyn). The Tories for all their faults have act as stewards of the of the principle a successful capitalist, innovative country in which industries I hope to go into in the future can thrive which modern Labour wants destroy (or will accidently destroy in the process of implementing their programme).

    The argument between socialism and capitalism is better understood I always think between government imposed forced equality and personal liberty. Throwing free stuff at people, primarily paid for by the middle class the backbone of the economy, I don’t believe is a constructive way to run a society. In the end the only equality ever achieved is making everyone equally miserable as everyone is dragged down to the lowest common denominator.

    I accept you will agree with little to none of this which is why we sit on different sides of the political spectrum.

  44. Pepps
    I had a response to the first part of your post but ultimately I accept we’ll never agree on the first point but I take serious exception to your other point (a point you’ve made before) that Corbyn and the left are authoritarian. I’m not even going to dispute it, lets say for the sake of argument we are but compared to the Tories? I mean look at their record…
    They have imposed multiple strangleholds on unions, co-ops, housing associations and non profits, I thought the state should keep its nose out of private organisations?
    The charity gagging law designed to stifle criticism
    The Snoopers charter which is officially the most intrusive piece of legislation in the Western world.
    Anti prison reform including repeated vetoes of things like parole and conjugal visits, instead they insist on truly spiteful punishments.
    They want to scrap the human rights act
    The tomfoolery over the appointment of people to gov bodies including reforms that gives them the right to appoint their allies rather than having to appoint truly independent people.
    Vetoes over media reform that would break up what is essentially the distribution of propaganda
    Forced assimilation via language tests/ British culture tests and now flirtations with banning religious clothing like the burqa
    Your own form of social engineering including forced imposition of religious requirements in school
    The defence of a wholly undemocratic and theocratic government structure which includes unelected Lords and members of the effing clergy (something we share with no other state than Saudi Arabia)
    Multiple retrospective modification of state contracts including pensions and student loan repayments
    The imposition of employment tribunal fees
    Orwellian welfare sanctions that literally amount to forced starvation of people that have resulted in hundreds of deaths
    And I could go on…

    Point is when you say Corbyn and the left are authoritarian cos we want to tax the rich a bit more its borderline comical. Your own side are getting dangerously close to genuine fascism now.

  45. Improving ones conditions is to improve their lives imo. The local council is closing homeless shelters which will inevitably reduce one’s quality of life.

  46. @Rivers. You miss the point of the second paragraph. It’s not about Labour or the Tories (neither of them were mentioned once) it’s about socialism and capitalism more generally.

    As for the Tories, I wish they were less authoritarian, mores the pity. If the Lib Dems were lead by an Orange Booker Jeremy Brown type I would probably support them. Some of the points you make I agree with like the snoopers charter. However others you’ve just included on the list because you don’t like them and not because they are actually authoritarian, in fact a number are actually libertarian for example:

    ‘Vetoes over media reform that would break up what is essentially the distribution of propaganda’
    That is your own opinion passed off as fact. The left are the authoritarians in this issue given their determination to curtail freedom of speech in the media (Shami Chakribarti agrees).

    ‘They want to scrap the human rights act’
    You may not like this but it doesn’t make it authoritarian. For something to be authoritarian the government would be have to be issuing rules e.g. all workers must work 8 hours a day. Repealing a law i.e. weakening regulation (although they would replace anyway) is not authoritarianism which is more government interference.

    ‘The imposition of employment tribunal fees’
    Again you might not like this but it is not authoritarian. The government is simply refusing to pay some people’s tribunal fees, this is a libertarian belief (wrong end of the spectrum).

    ‘Orwellian welfare sanctions that literally amount to forced starvation of people that have resulted in hundreds of deaths’
    Oh the hyperbole… But ignoring that, the action of withdrawing taxpayers money from people claiming welfare, which is less government not more (whether you agree with it or not) is not authoritarian.

    ‘Multiple retrospective modification of state contracts including pensions’
    The right to sell your annuity for a lump sum is a blatantly libertarian belief.

    I think you misunderstand what authoritarian government means (its opposite is libertarian government if that gives you clues) it means a government that seeks to expand and tighten its influence into more and more spheres of public and private life. So yes whilst I don’t deny that the Tories have a nasty authoritarian streak particularly in the area regarding privacy at present the left is more predisposed to it because their whole ideology revolves around government control and the further left you go the more authoritarian you have to be. For example the Liz Kendall’s of the left are the least authoritarian because they are broadly pro-free market and socially liberal. As you go further to the left you get increased support for things like nationalisation (even nationalisation without compensation in the Corbyn wing of the party), much stricter curtailing on the freedoms of private enterprise, harsher taxes to increase government revenue,forced equality through racial and gender quotas and the like, putting tighter restrictions on freedom of speech, government controls (censorship) of media output etc. So yes the hard left are authoritarian, in fact their ideology dictates they have to be as too much liberty contradicts the ideology.

  47. ”Your own side are getting dangerously close to genuine fascism now.”

    Oh and don’t be ridiculous while I would agree the Tories are certainly on the authoritarian side of things they are nowhere even vaguely near fascism. Even UKIP is nowhere close.

    Fascism as an ideology is far closer to communism and socialism (communism and fascism behave very similarly in practice) than it is to capitalism which is probably it’s antitheist. Very right wing (capitalist) authoritarian ideologies are contradictory just like very left wing (socialist) libertarian ones are.

  48. Fascism has little to do with capitalism or communism. Capitalism and communism are economic doctorines. Whereas Facism is about power and control.

  49. Pepps
    As for your definition of what authoritarian is you miss the main point, a world of infinite freedoms for the private sector results in a plutocracy, that is a form of authoritarianism, plain and simple. Some in the civil service even said that the Cameron gov had “a concerning authoritarian tendency” not my words.

    Fascism by definition is the power of the state merged with private capital with militaristic and racial tendency more often than not thrown in.

    A Plutocracy is a society dominated by the wealthy and powerful who operate under their own rules and the system is designed to ensure they retain their wealth and influence (sound familiar) its a natural precursor to fascism.

  50. ‘How can I take you seriously when you tar this government with “genuine fascism” brush’

    May’s no fascist – she’s just a mediocre PM surrounded by equally mediocre cabinet ministers and even more mediocre advisers who it seems have her in the cusp of their hand

    You don’t need to resort to apocalyptic exaggerations and scare stories to make a case against the incompetence of the current government – it’s all there for everyone to see

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