by Alexander Phillips
After seventeen years of ground-breaking government/managed decline [delete as your political persuasion demands] the National Assembly for Wales entered its fifth phase this week. Last week’s election was one which saw the governing Welsh Labour party lose just one seat; Plaid Cymru make minor inroads (+1) ; the Welsh Conservatives fall back (-3) ; and the Welsh Liberal Democrats reduced to a single member (-4). It also saw the new force of UKIP join the establishment with a total of seven seats.
All this left the Assembly finely balanced, with Welsh Labour precariously holding 29 of the 60 available seats. This means that in order to form a government, agree budgets and pass legislation, a minority Labour government will need the support of two or more opposition members on every occasion until May 2021, unless a coalition is formed.
UKIP came to the Assembly with the promise of shaking things up.