What now for the assembly election

Another election is probably the last thing the public want to hear about after what we've just gone through but that's exactly what the parties at the assembly are gearing up for next year.

The Conservatives have been given a huge confidence boost and will feel in a position to challenge in more constituencies next year, rather than just on the list.

At the party's weekly press briefing, I asked the Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies, who was elected on the list, whether he'd stand as a constituency candidate in his home turf of the Vale of Glamorgan but he said he hadn't thought about it.

Presumably those are the kind of decisions they will now feel more confident contemplating.

The party will also have a huge amount of new data on voters which it'll be able to call upon and the belief that campaigning hard on the NHS helped the Tories cross the line in places like the Vale of Clwyd and Gower.


The Conservatives feel it's them, rather than any of the other opposition parties, who have become the repository of votes from those who are disaffected by the state of the NHS.

Welsh Labour are going to hold a "short sharp" analysis into what went wrong.

Carwyn Jones was in line with most of the criticism of Ed Miliband when he told AMs that the party needed to appeal to small business owners who are not millionaires but who work hard.

What will be more difficult is countering the argument on the NHS, which the former minister Alun Davies believes is already lost.

Another potential difficulty for Welsh Labour will be dealing with unhappiness within the party over council re-organisation.


Bernie Attridge, the deputy leader of Flintshire Council, has tweeted saying the party needs to be careful on local government reform if it wants to retain the support of grassroots councillors.

It also seems to have been the case that Labour lost more votes to UKIP than the Conservatives, which is another challenge to overcome.

But Labour will at least have the advantage that it will be David Cameron, and not Ed Miliband, carrying out the latest round of public sector cuts that are likely to take effect sooner rather than later.

The question is whether Carwyn Jones is going to be able to turn that to his advantage when his own record in government will be under scrutiny.

Plaid Cymru's education spokesman, Simon Thomas, also in the party's weekly press briefing, said he believed Leanne Wood could portray herself as an alternative first minister because of the way she emotionally connected with people in the campaign.


The party now has a year to make that a credible proposition after it failed to gain any new seats and came fourth, behind UKIP, in the overall share of the vote, despite her unprecedented profile.

He also said that on the campaign trail people wanted to know what Plaid was going to do about the NHS and that people "did not see the strengths" of its arguments.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are still licking their wounds but in a "je ne regrette rien" moment, the leader Kirsty Williams said she had no regrets over the coalition.

She has admitted the party failed to communicate what they were standing for. It will now hold a series of meetings across Wales as it tries to rally members for an election that it'll be able to fight unshackled of being in coalition government which was clearly a burden to many of them.