Will today’s elections makes us any the wiser about anything?

Will today’s elections makes us any the wiser about anything?

Is turnout the only real issue?

It’s election day with voters throughout Wales deciding on whether the Welsh Assembly should have greater law-making powers and in Barnsley Central where they’ll be deciding on a replacement for the former Labour MP who was sentenced to a year in jail over his expenses claims.

The outcomes of both are forgone conclusions – there will be a big YES vote in Wales and Labour will romp home to a massive victory in Barnsley. There’s been almost no betting on the former and in the main by-election market Betfair has seen trades totalling just over £1000. Even a separate market on the winner without Labour has attracted matched bets totalling, as at 0600, just £2,296.

William Hill, whose site has been closed overnight for maintenance, was offering an attractive 1/2 that the by-election turnout would not exceed 44%. If I could have got money on that I would have done because it looked a sure thing.

The Tories in Barnsley will be hoping to come second and beat UKIP. If a weekend poll is correct then the LDs looks set to finish in fourth place or even lower.

The main overnight election news in the town was that one of the campaigns had to apologise after one of its team was observed peeing in the street.

A lesson there, of course, is that if activists are taken short while out campaigning they should remove their rosettes first.

For me the most interesting pointer from these elections will be the turnout in Wales. That could give a possible indication of what we could expect in the AV referendum on May 5th in places where there are not simultaneous council elections or for the devolved governments.

Mike Smithson

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