In a few weeks the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election will take place. This is important not just because it is the first post GE test but also it will let us know how easy it is for the coalition parties to persuade their supporters to vote tactically for their coalition partner. Cameron has made it well known that he wants his supporters to tactically vote Lib Dem and the gossip on Conservative Home is that the support has not been their from Central Office for the Conservative campaign.
More than that a Tory minister has today in the Telegraph been talking about putting up joint "coalition" candidates at the next election.
So I thought it might be interesting to wonder what kind of agreements might be achieved in Wales at the Assembly election.
Firstly in Cardiff I have no doubt that any Tories in Cardiff central will head up to Cardiff north and all of the Lib efforts will be concentrated on Cardiff Central. This is just common sense.
The more interesting battle will be what happens in Powys. In terms of new seats the only possible gains for the Conservatives on current polling are Montgomeryshire and Brecon and Radnor (though the Vale of Glam might be interesting). Will Tory HQ allow the Welsh Conservatives to taget these seats? I'm certain that Glyn Davies will be doing all he can to help the Tories win in Montgomeryshire and with the antics of both Lembit and Mick there is a definite opportunity here. My guess is that the tactical Plaid and Labour votes will return home (instead of tactically voting Lib Dems) so this seat is really up for grabs.
Less obvious but more interesting is Brecon and Radnor.
Kirsty Williams (LD) 15,006 - 52.2%
Suzy Davies (Con) 9,652 - 33.6%
Neil Stone (Lab) 2,514 - 8.7%
Arwel Lloyd (PC) 1,576 - 5.5%
Despite the 20% majority I still think this seat is winnable for the Tories. The main reason for this is the fact that in 2007 the Tories won the regional vote (though I can't find the figures for this, if someone can confirm I'd appreciate it).
The truth is that the Libs in Brecon and Radnor have been very good at targeting PC and more importantly Labour voters to vote tactically for them. Traditionally this is a very strong seat for Labour, they came within 600 votes of winning the by-election in 1985, but Kirsty and Roger Williams have been able to persuade these voters to tactically switch. Places like Ystradgynlais will not be backing a "Con-Dem" candidate this time and I am very confident that the Labour candidate will get over 15% of the poll.
The question is, will Tory HQ allow a Tory candidate to unseat the Welsh Lib Dem Leader? My guess is that Clegg will ask a favour of Cameron and not a single penny will go from central office to the B&R campaign.
If anyone has any local info on how the Tories are fightin this seat it would be interesting.