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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 May 2005, 15:47 GMT 16:47 UK
Wales voters' panel: John Thorne on the result

MEET THE PANEL
John Thorne
Name: John Thorne
Age: 58
Lives: Neath
Works: Administration officer
Original voting intention: Plaid Cymru
Final voting intention: Plaid Cymru
In 10 words or less:
"Left-leaning, pro-European"
On the face of it a disappointing result for Plaid Cymru.

On reflection, however, only 1,000 votes separated "disappointment" from "triumph".

In defiance of a London-centric media and a constant diet of London party coverage from which they were more or less entirely excluded, Plaid have been remarkably resilient.

The Plaid vote dipped just one and a half percentage points in a campaign that stripped away any suggestion of their vote being of a "soft" or "protest" nature.

That kind of vote went to the Lib Dems.

JOHN'S PREVIOUS THOUGHTS
CPS:FACT>
CPS:FACT>

Although disappointment will be their first reaction, I would suggest that the performance came within a whisker of the realistic target.

Strength at local level, and a solid defence under considerable pressure during this campaign, bodes well for the assembly elections, when London promises will (once again) have been unfulfilled.

The Lib Dems have gained seats, but I sympathise in that the flawed electoral system in Britain has again failed to reflect anything like fair representation of percentage support.

There is no excuse and Messrs Blair and Howard know this full well.

I'm depressed that the real and pseudo-conservative parties have managed to gain 32 seats out of 40 in Wales, but am consoled that while there is Plaid Cymru, Wales will have a principled egalitarian heart.

I think everyone will have been disgusted by one TV presenter waffling about nothing all through the speech by Reg Keys in Sedgefield, effectively drowning out his eagerly-awaited comments.

I offer my best wishes to Mr Keys and am proud that he is an adopted countryman.





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