Well, what can I say, you're all stars, every single one of you. In spite of the fact that the £8500 target was slightly higher than in recent years, we got there after only a month or so. Thank you to everyone who has donated so generously, everyone who has shared the fundraiser on social media, and everyone who has promoted it through word of mouth. I'd particularly like to thank The National for giving it a prominent mention on their 'Yes DIY' feature a few weeks ago - that really did make a very significant difference.
GoFundMe allows fundraisers to remain open for donations indefinitely, so with your forgiveness I'll continue to promote it occasionally for a little while longer, although I'll try to do so less obtrusively than before. (I know there are always one or two people who are holidaying down a cave in Albania when the fundraiser is run, and only find out about it later on.) And as has been the case for many years, there'll continue to be a permanent "Donate" link in the sidebar (desktop version of the site only).
Thank you again, and hopefully you'll find the blog to be an interesting read over the weeks and months to come.
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As you probably saw the other day, Plaid Cymru has decided to take the highly unusual step of sitting out the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election and urging its supporters to back a unionist party (the Lib Dems) instead. My initial reaction when I first heard this was being contemplated was that it might just about make sense in the current circumstances, but only as a complete one-off. However, it appears that the new Plaid leader Adam Price sees the Brecon deal as merely the first step towards a more comprehensive "Remain alliance".
I must say I have my doubts as to whether that would be a runner in a general election. My guess is that we'll end up with something that looks very much like the recent past, ie. only a few limited and localised deals between the Lib Dems and the Greens in a handful of constituencies. Possibly the Lib Dems might also hold their noses and give some or all of the remaining Change UK MPs a clear run in return for Change not making too much of a nuisance of themselves anywhere else. But I strongly suspect that the Lib Dems will conclude that they have too much to lose from entering into a full-blown electoral pact with Plaid - it would almost certainly mean giving up on their hopes of retaking Ceredigion, for example.
But just suppose for a moment that it happened. It would be bound to lead to pressure on both the Lib Dems and the SNP to agree something similar in Scotland. That would be uncomfortable territory for both parties, not least because it would be almost unprecedented in modern times for the SNP to throw their weight behind an anti-independence party in any constituency. But could there be scope for the SNP to make what David Cameron might have called "a big, open and comprehensive offer to the Liberal Democrats"? The obvious shape of any pact would be that one party would stand aside if the other party is either the incumbent in the constituency or in a clear second place to a non-Remain party. That would mean the SNP standing aside in only four constituencies, and the Lib Dems standing aside in the other fifty-five.
Let's face it: the Lib Dems would be bound to turn the offer down, not only for the above reason but also because an arrangement with the SNP would drive a coach-and-horses through their 'double down on British nationalism' strategy by costing them an untold number of Tory tactical votes in their current constituencies. But they'd walk away from a Remain alliance at the cost of the moral high ground.