Apologies in advance if this post is badly written and meandering, but that's because I'm trying to express an idea that is half formed in my head.
One of the things that has always struck me about Scottish and Welsh politics is that despite the respective nationalist parties being firmly on the left of the political spectrum and in the case of Plaid Cymru usually well to the left of Labour, they seem to pick up seats in the rural and suburban constituencies rather than in Labour's core inner city and post industrial heartlands. In other words voting is more tribal than ideological.
This can't simply be party loyalism because minor non-Nationalist parties have done well in Wales in the past, with the Communist party even picking up a couple of seats in the immediate post war era and rebel Labour candidate Peter Law defeating the official Labour choice back in 2005. It is as though voting choice reflects something beyond straightforward political positioning. I'm struggling to articulate precisely what I mean but it is as though the parties have a cultural heartland that no amount of positioning can allow them to transcend.
Maybe it's just the pecularities of Scotalnd & Wales. Karl Rove supposedly viewed the US electoral groups as a series of magnets which either repel or attract other groups, perhaps the Welsh speaking heartlands of Plaid repel the votes of English speaking former mining communities of South Wales. Maybe the sectarian legacy of urban Scotland means that working class protestants identify too strongly with the UK to be attracted to a Nationalist party and working class catholics don't fancy living in a country dominated by a Presbyterian majority.
However it looks to me as though there are always matters of identity that transcend ideology when it comes to political allegiance and therefore parties can only make a certain amount of headway by realigning their policies.
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