- 2017年10月10日09:50 来源：互联网
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Welsh Politics——Independents' day
Why party man and women are losing out to free agents?
A beaming Tanya Skinner still can't quite believe it.
In local elections on May 4th she scooped enough votes in her ward to topple the head of the Labour council in Merthyr Tydfil in south Wales.
She has become an instant local celebrity.
The result was embarrassing for Labour.
Merthyr is virtually synonymous with the party; Keir Hardie, Labour's founder, was the local MP.
Ms Skinner's victory contributed to Labour's losing control of the council.
Her result also showed that independent politics continues to flourish in Wales, in contrast to most of Britain, where parties dominate.
Ms Skinner and 15 other successful independent candidates will run Merthyr council, barring an upset in three more seats that are due to be contested in June.
Independents also gained control of the nearby council of Blaenau Gwent, another former Labour stronghold, once represented in Parliament by Aneurin Bevan, the architect of the National Health Service, and Michael Foot, a former Labour leader.
无党派们也控制了另一个邻近的工党要塞---布莱诺格温特，该区的议会代表曾经是英国国民健康服务体系的创造者Aneurin Bevan和前工党领导人Michael Foot。
In all, independents won 322 of the 1,159 seats that were contested in Wales, second only to Labour and well ahead of a resurgent Conservative Party, which won 184.
In England, where 2370 seats were contested, independence won just 162.
Independents have historically done well at a local level in Wales, especially in rural and western areas such as Pembrokeshire, where independents retained control of the council on May 4th.
They campaign squarely on local issues, and although they rarely combine to form durable political blocs, they do vote as coalitions on some policies.
Independents have been given a recent boost by Labour's unpopularity.
Such is the loyalty to Labour in large swathes of Wales that even if people want to give it a bloody nose, they are “never quite desperate enough to fall in love with another party,” says Roger Scully, a political scientist at Cardiff University.
Instead, they vote for candidates who belong to no party.
Ms Skinner, who describes herself as a socialist, joined Labour to support its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, but was turned off the Merthyr branch by what she calls the “old boys' club” that runs it.
Lisa Mytton, an independent who is now vying to lead the Merthyr council, also testifies to her strong Labour background.
About half of Merthyr's independents are ex-Labour supporters who were put off at one time or another by its local machine.
The profusion of independents also owes something to the animosity towards the Tories in Wales.
The loss of jobs in the local coalmining and steelmaking industries in the 1980s is intimately associated with Margaret Thatcher.
Thus, as one Tory official concedes, the party has an image problem.
Some independents in rural Powys, for instance, are conservative by inclination but won't use the party label.
The official Tory party put up a record 628 candidates in Wales on May 4th.
But still, logistically the party barely operates in many parts.
Even this time, with the party buoyant in the national polls, it did not compete much in places like Merthyr.
In some places the lack of competition is unhealthy.
Almost 100 candidates, 7% of the total, were returned unopposed.
The first-past-the-post voting system makes it especially hard for challengers to break through (Scotland, by contrast, uses a form of proportional representation, which helps small parties).
Wales's many independents enliven its democracy, but they are also a symptom of its sickliness.