The distinguishing features of recent electoral politics in Wales have been the continued predominance of the Labour party and the failure of the nationalist party, Plaid Cymru. Since 1945 Labour has taken between twenty-one and thirty-two of the thirty-six seats at each general election and not less than 47 per cent of the vote. There has been some weakening of Labour's position since the high point of 60·6 per cent in 1966, but the party still secured 46·9 per cent of the vote in 1979, and rode out the Conservative victory in Britain as a whole with the loss of only two seats in Wales. Some variation in the Labour vote can be explained in terms of general shifts in British politics. However the enduring weight of Labour support in Wales in unpropitious times requires further explanation.