If you tolerate this your children will not vote

I am a concerned citizen. I want to know more about the way Wales is governed. Last night, I saw the Education Minister on telly, dressed as a giant teddy bear and giving out sweets to children while announcing her latest policy. I want to know how it affects me.

So, I go online. A google search for 'Department for Education' brings up a pretty swanky website. Must be England's. I qualify the search with 'Welsh Assembly' and up pops a dry, text-heavy site. I give up.

Next day, I hear about another new policy. This time it's about social justice. I know the website will be crap, so I search for some reaction in the papers instead. A similar policy in England has the full analytical weight of the English press to contend with. In Wales, though, Martin Shipton is writing about something else, so I give up.

And we wonder why the turnout for Assembly elections is so low. The support framework, which could do so much to provide political legitimacy, is almost non-existent. Add to this list the lack of key resources to keep tabs on AMs' voting habits and official speeches, such as theyworkforyou and Hansard, and it's a pretty sorry situation.

The opening of the Senedd did, however, breathe new life into Welsh politics. But when it is shown on telly, it's invariably only half-filled with AMs who look as if they're more interested in checking their myspace pages.

At the moment, Welsh people look at the Assembly in the same way a German might look at a vegetarian sausage. And people do not turn out to vote for vegetarian sausages.

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posted by Blamerbell @ 9:35 am,


At 10:08 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is why I will be standing under the assumed name of Dai Shnitzel. vegetarians - Pah!

At 10:41 am, Anonymous Daran said...

Voter turnout is even more frightening when you examine it on a demographic basis. Help the Aged have scored a lot of media today by pointing out politicians should listen to older people - 57% of over 65s voted in the 2003 Assembly election, according to the Electoral Commission's analysis of the last Assembly poll. This compares with a Wales average of 37% and a terrifying 21% of those aged 25-34 or 19% of those aged 18-34. Evidently something is deeply wrong, not in the number of older voters using their power but in the number of younger voters who simply don't connect. The Electoral Commission's publication "The National Assembly for Wales elections 2003 - The official report and results" makes sobering reading, and offers some suggestions on how this trend amongst younger voters can be countered.

At 11:34 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

its hardly surprising younger people don't vote - after all the only thing we see from Labour are blatant gimmicks aimed at the elderly such as free bus passes, free swimming etc.

At 3:43 pm, Blogger Chanticleer said...

There are several serving Assembly Members who, if challenged by a vegetarian sausage, would certainly lose my vote.

At 7:49 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

Good point, anonymous.

Society as a whole treats young people like shit and then wonders why it gets it spat back in its face.

I looked on in sheer bewilderment last weekend as an Arriva trains worker rudely charged a fifteen year old the full fare because he wasn't 'carrying a photocopy of his passport' to prove he was a juvenile.

If he was the other side of 65 he wouldn't have been treated with such contempt. Society needs to take a good hard look at itself.

The sad fact, as Daran points out, is that more older people vote and therefore hold more sway.

As a young Welshman who went to university in England I get very little value for money from my vote.


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