So Dafydd Iwan has beaten Elfyn Llwyd MP to retain his position as Plaid Cymru President - no shock there. I note that Plaid's official release does not contain the actual figures, possibly to save some of Elfyn's blushes (Dafydd Iwan was expected to win by a landslide).
Apart from being one of the most unremarkable and uninteresting "leadership" election in history (Plaid's President holds no leadership power these days, Ieuan Wyn Jones has all of those) what will be the effect of this election be on both men? Does the (apparently) huge victory for Dafydd Iwan mean that Elfyn Llwyd messed up in challenging him? Is this defeat going to haunt Elfyn for a while? Don't count on it.
Thing is you see, Elfyn didn't need to win the election, in fact even the amount of his defeat probably doesn't matter much to him. And Dafydd Iwan did need a contest, being reselected automatically will have done him no good.
Let me deal with Dafydd Iwan first. Before today he must have been at a very low ebb. Chucked out of his Council seat, slagged off by those who had previously been his closest supporters and after electoral defeat in Gwynedd seeing his own party ditching the school re-organisation plan he had backed so heavily. If ever there was a politician in need of a confidence boost, it was Dafydd Iwan. While he could have trundled along as unopposed President for another year, I can't see how he could have done the job with any motivation when the thought must have been in the back of his head that the party members had turned against him. An internal election victory is exactly what Dafydd Iwan needed to regain his mojo.
So did Elfyn Llwyd unselfishly sacrifice his pride to help Dafydd Iwan get back into his swing? Of course not! But neither do I think he entered this election to win. What was important to Elfyn Llwyd, most important of all, was to show the voters of Dwyfor Meirionnydd that he, Elfyn Llwyd, their MP, is not Dafydd Iwan. It was over in Dwyfor Meirionnydd that Plaid got hit hardest by Llais Gwynedd in the Council elections. It's the people of Pen Llyn that feel most betrayed by Dafydd Iwan and the old council. While there was barely a rumble in Caernarfon and Bangor, Llyn Plaid councillors were turfed out one by one. So while Hywel Williams doesn't has to worry too much about a Llais Gwynedd challenge come the next election, Elfyn Llwyd might just. So Elfyn needed to distance himself from Gwynedd Council, and Dafydd Iwan in particular. Now how might he do that? If only he could challenge Dafydd Iwan in some internal election or something. Oh, wait a sec...!
Update: Although Plaid remain shtum on the matter, the word is that Dafydd Iwan's margin of victory was 2500-1800.
Hat Tip: Betsan