I'm not sure how much difference media coverage makes, but I do try to make sure that I'm not completely ignored. I'm also keen that the efforts of Montgomeryshire Conservatives are appropriately recognised. At the very least, it lifts the morale - both mine and the new team we have in Montgomeryshire. This is the reason I've tried to generate some media coverage about the spectacular election results in Montgomeryshire last Thursday.
When reporting on an election, I've long thought that the national media report as 'news' that which the media decided was going to be the 'news' several days before. Entirely understandable. Requires a lot of preparation to ensure cameras and reporters are on hand. The unusual isn't given much coverage. This can be frustrating, as it was when I know just how significant our result in Montgomeryshire was, but to see it largely ignored. But not in the blogosphere, where Sanddef and Dylan Jones-Evans saw its significance. At least Carl Yapp did a good piece on the Mid Wales page of the BBC's Internet news site after I rang him.
Now why do I think it such a significant result? If we had persuaded some of the Conservatives who serve as Independent Councillors to stand for us, the results might have been expected. But we didn't. We did not ask any of these 'Condependents' to stand for us. We just worked with a few interested local people who agreed to give it a go. There has not been any Conservative Councillors on Powys County Council before, and there was no expectation that this would change - except in our office. And there is almost no Labour presence in Montgomeryshire to 'cash in' on the Gordon Brown factor. We put up nine candidates, and six of them won, each with a majority of over 100.
There are two significant aspects of all this. Firstly, we won the three seats where the Welsh Language is most significant. I've long argued that the Conservative Party should be the champion of the Welsh Language, and should lead the way in creating a strong effective National Assembly in Cardiff. This is now the generally perceived view of us in Montgomeryshire. 10 years ago, we would not have had a prayer of winning any one of these three seats. It is stunning that the 'Welsh' North of Montgomeryshire has all gone blue. The second significant aspect is Newtown - the biggest town in Powys, and long thought to be the heart of the Liberal Democrat dominance in Montgomeryshire. We only fought three of the five seats, and we won the three, all with majorities over 100, two of the councillors we defeated being Board Members.
The big Conservative news in Wales was taking the Vale of Glamorgan -a great result. But it would have been a real shock if we hadn't. There was some great results elsewhere in Wales as well. But I'm not sure there was a visible transfer of the baton of political confidence quite like that which occurred in Welshpool Town Hall. I can only tell you it was dramatic. Perhaps you had to be there.