Don't know, don't care

Perhaps it's just because Cardiff City lost at home again. Or perhaps it's because I haven't been invited to any post-election parties yet... But I'm coming clean: this election is exciting nobody except those politicians and journos whose lives depend on it. There are others who are getting into the spirit, but their interest is the political equivalent of hanging around guiltily to watch a neighbour's house burn down.

Fair play to the Western Mail, they've given this election a right old bash. But their front page today - 'Election 2007: What you say'- should really have been followed by the line, 'Couldn't give a shit'.

The paper dedicated its first five pages to election coverage, headlining their exclusive poll. But time after time, the most voluminous answer came under 'Don't know/Don't care'.

And if we are really, truly and honestly talking about the 'reaction on the doorsteps', it is the same. I've had the privilege of going out with a few canvassers and watching/producing an awful lot of vox pops and debate programmes. The overwhelming reaction is that assembly members are simply not worth their £50,000 a year.

With just a few days left until the polls, I doubt very much that the mood will change. The manifestos and policy pledges are all in place. But they simply aren't exciting enough. Who knows (or cares) who their local AM is anyway? So, if turnout is up at this election (which I expect), politicians should not interpret this as a vote of confidence in the political system. A significant proportion of those who will vote will do so grudgingly.

There has been much talk recently about Martin Shipton's low ranking of female Labour AMs, with some suggesting women don't get a fair deal in the 'Western Male'. Perhaps that's an easy way of avoiding the reality that some of our politicians simply aren't engaging with the electorate in the way Wales deserves.

So it was refreshing, this afternoon, to see Plaid Cymru's Cardiff West and Cardiff South candidates leafleting outside Ninian Park. Never mind if it was a tad opportunistic (they were having a dig at Sports Minister Alun Pugh for snubbing a recent UEFA event in Cardiff). Statistically, there can't be many votes in a football crowd, but you've got to get at people however you can in these crucial closing stages. Believe it or not, this is the first time I've seen candidates campaigning in a non-media staged event.

I'm sure all you politicians will rush to contradict me - 'we've been here and there and even all the way up the hill to Pen-y-celwydd and the doorsteps have been saying the most wonderful things'. But ordinary people know that's simply not true. And depending on the result of the election, things could get even worse. When the assembly reconvenes sometime before May 11th, it may be without some of its best performers; people like Glyn Davies, Jonathan Morgan and Helen Mary Jones. And the new blood may not include those heavyweight figures - Dafydd Wigley and Ron Davies - who could give the place the boost it so desperately needs.

Whatever happens, there will be a new intake and the assembly will have new powers (if Peter Hain permits). Hopefully, there can be a renewal both in terms of political personnel and their relationship, through the media, with the public. Because if 'Don't know/Don't care' is the prevailing attitude of 2011, the third assembly term will be as much of a failure as the previous two.

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posted by Blamerbell @ 8:15 pm,

25 Comments:

At 8:22 pm, Blogger bethan said...

THere is a lot of disafection out there but this is a lot to do with how Labour have governed Wales. Yes, I hope we get an injection of excitement and hard work from the next lot of AM's.

I'm sure you'll get invivted to a post election party Ciaran. If you promise to vote Plaid, you can come to ours!

 
At 8:36 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

"THere is a lot of disafection out there but this is a lot to do with how Labour have governed Wales."

If that were the case, people would be getting terribly excited by the alternatives. They're not.

"I'm sure you'll get invivted to a post election party Ciaran. If you promise to vote Plaid, you can come to ours!"

I'm still floating.

I asked Jenny Randerson about my bins the other day and she said she'd try and sort them out. I'd hate to think that she would be denied the opportunity to follow it through:)

But of course, there are for more important reasons to vote than my rubbish... I guess, I've yet to make up my mind.

 
At 8:59 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this explains a lot Blamer about your blog of late - and its a shame i enjoy your insight

well here's hoping you'll find your passion for politics again

 
At 9:09 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

I ooze passion, anon.

I am a freak, a geek with a nerdy streak.

But Joe Public is not.

I'm all up for being part of any kind of revival. But it would be disingenuous not to use this space to reflect the overwhelming apathy and frustration which is evident in the electorate at present.

 
At 9:41 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

shame you've lost your mojo.

could tell this blog was over the hill now anyway.

never mind, there are others to fill the void.

 
At 9:50 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

I thought mojo were those little chewy sweets?

In which case I'd be most upset at losing them.

However, anon, if you think I've lost anything other than a couple of pounds (I barely have time to eat these days) you are mistaken!

Surely you aren't so contemptuous of the great Welsh public as to ignore the screaming reality of every single poll we've ever had????

There are a couple of candidates who could really shake things up in the next assembly term. I anticipate great strides forward in the media too. If possible, I want to be right in the thick of it. There seems to me no greater challenge than to try and rouse Welsh politics from its collective slumber.

 
At 9:52 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cardiff consign Leeds to League one...and you're depressed? Not a real City fan then! :)

 
At 10:00 pm, Blogger Martin Eaglestone said...

I think the general criticism that we only campaign in media stunts is unfair - although acknowledging my own "famous in his own lunchtime" moment came via a stunt.

I have found the biggest preoblem of this campaign is to find people at home - so, ironically, a coffee in the local supermarket cafe can bring as as much recognition as 2 hours of foot slogging. But the foot slogging has been done. Posting to be made on this I feel in defence of hard working candidates - delicate creatures that we are.

 
At 10:01 pm, Anonymous der said...

"There seems to me no greater challenge than to try and rouse Welsh politics from its collective slumber."

No

There seems to me no greater challenge than to try and rouse the Welsh Public from its collective slumber. All else will follow....or is it the other way 'round?

 
At 10:03 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny that Plaid wre nowhere when Cardiff City needed political support.

 
At 10:09 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yawnnnnnnnn
sounds like you need to get some bounce back mate

 
At 10:15 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

"Cardiff consign Leeds to League one...and you're depressed? Not a real City fan then! :)"

I have witnessed the complete capitulation of the team I love. I couldn't give a monkey about Leeds United - I just want city to win.

"I think the general criticism that we only campaign in media stunts is unfair -"

Martin, you were responsible for the mother of all media stunts! Unfortunately, that's probably all those people who were 'out' when you called by will remember when it comes to voting (or not).

der, I don't get you.

"Funny that Plaid wre nowhere when Cardiff City needed political support."

And we've already lost one politically high-profile supporter to Swansea this season:)

 
At 10:21 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"THere is a lot of disafection out there but this is a lot to do with how Labour have governed Wales."

140,000 more jobs, the lowest levels of unemployment in a generation, the highest ever levels of employment. Good or bad, Bethan?

Record investment in schools, kids getting amazing exam results, schools being re-built. Good or bad, Bethan?

Free prescriptions, a ban on smoking in public places, virtually everyone getting treatment within the target limit. Good or bad, Bethan?

Our communities being regenerated. Money being made available for drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Good or bad, Bethan?

I could go on...but Bethan, you really need to start to up your game and start acting like a serious politician, and not a Student Union activist with a mega phone.

 
At 10:27 pm, Blogger Valleys Mam said...

There has been much talk recently about Martin Shipton's low ranking of female Labour AMs, with some suggesting women don't get a fair deal in the 'Western Male'. Perhaps that's an easy way of avoiding the reality that some of our politicians simply aren't engaging with the electorate in the way Wales deserves.


Could it be the media is not really reflecting and engaging with the wider world have you seen how small the western mails circulation is. It would have to be the Sun or Mirror to reach most of the Welsh electorate
I would say, many of our politicians once elected, don’t engage at all other than elections and then some don’t bother even then ; I haven’t seen one yet ... not list or direct elect -That goes for MPs AMs and Euro MPs
You also have to realise that to most people politics is not relevant to them What is relevant are issues that affect their lives and unlike when I marched and protested ,that opportunity is not open very often My interest stemmed from that
It’s really only the sad, or may be enlightened whatever way you wish to look at it that that engage and reflect

You have just said you don’t know how you’re going to vote yet ,and you are in the middle of this virtual world
May be we will all have a surprise next week
ps I have been invited to two parties

 
At 10:33 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You really do have a problem with equality and gender, interesting, I wonder why you are so touchy may be you should change to boxer shorts or get a real woman in your life

 
At 10:39 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

"You really do have a problem with equality and gender, interesting, I wonder why you are so touchy may be you should change to boxer shorts or get a real woman in your life"

Is that a proposition!

 
At 10:51 pm, Anonymous dave rodway said...

I especially like the saddo Labour Anon who spends his Saturday night making a grim-faced humourless list of alleged Labour benefits when he should be getting a life.
The Wales he describes ('amazing exam results', extra jobs, rebuilt schools, hospitals on every corner) is a veritable paradise, and I must be an ungrateful sod for not waking up every day and thanking Peter and Rhodri and all the gang.
And Eaglestone - the candidate with no sense of self-irony or what? Has Adam Price still got your pen Marty?
What a yawn.
Here's hoping Blamer gets his zing back tomorrow. If only to divert us from dorky posts like those.
david rodway

 
At 11:05 pm, Anonymous Taffy Duck said...

"There is a lot of disafection out there but this is a lot to do with how Labour have governed Wales."

Give me a break, Bethan - your manifesto is as dull and safe as all the others, only slightly less-well thought through.

 
At 12:12 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I especially like the saddo Dave Rodway who spends his Saturday night attacking the so called "saddo Labour Anon", when it is in fact HE himself who should be getting a life.

 
At 7:53 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another interesting posting which reflects accurately the view of most ordinary people about this election in my opinion. It has been a really boring affair reflecting the malaise surrounding Welsh politics at the moment. Labour deserve a good kicking because of their failure to offer anything new. A negative campaign based on the idea of stopping a Tory led government deserves to fail. All four party leaders are past their sell by date. The 'clear red water' attitude of Rhodri Morgan relects a lack of ideas and a conservative approach to politics within the Welsh Labour party. There needs to be real debate in Welsh Labour about the way forward after this election. Hanging on to power in coalition with someone else is a receipe for futher disaster in 2011.Too much of the money provided by the UK government has been wasted by a failure of AMs to stand up to vested interests in the public sector and drive forward the change necessary to transform Wales in the long run. If change doesn't occur Wales could become just a series of Merthyrs living off state handouts and blaming it all on someone else.

 
At 8:50 am, Blogger Valleys Mam said...

If change doesn't occur Wales could become just a series of Merthyrs living off state handouts and blaming it all on someone else.


Thats a perception again most of merthyr people are gainfully employed, but not in merthyr possibly. The handouts -could be pay backs for years of paying NI and tax to support and prop up a UK governement.
What has caused merthyr's problems is a series of bad macro economic decisions made by the old Welsh Office and WDA compounded by lack of vision by a local authority in stasis

 
At 1:16 pm, Blogger bethan said...

I don't think that saying people are disaffected with Labour is an excuse to have a go at me and my background anon. I have worked hard throughout this campaign to try and encourage interest in the Assembly and in the election. I am a campaigner, and I won't shy away from that just because you want to put me in to a certain box.

Plaid has a great Manifesto this time. Take a read instead of criticising for the sake of criticising me and you might be pleasantly surprised.

 
At 3:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don’t expect you to shy away from anything. That’s all I’m saying is, that people on the door step are fed up of Plaid politicising everything. Let me tell you one thing, your campaign of lies in Swansea East, saying that it was only Plaid AM’s who voted against moving neurosurgery from Morriston – when in fact, all the Labour AM’s in South Wales West, including Peter Black and Alun Cairns voted against it too, has not gone down well at all with the people.

They know Edwina Hart, Andrew Davies, Val Lloyd, Gwenda Thomas, etc, all voted against the government. You have failed to acknowledge that – and as a result, have shown your true colours in this argument. You are more interested in getting Dai Lloyd back into the Assembly – and that is the sole motivation, in my and many other people’s view, for your campaign to keep the unit in Morriston. If you ask me, Dr. Lloyd will be taking far more surgeries next week – because he’ll no longer be an AM if the feedback on the doorstep is anything to go by.

 
At 5:57 pm, Blogger bethan said...

anon- at the end of the day, all the other parties were totally torn on the issue of keeping Neurosurgery in Swansea. It's been in Labour's electoral interest to play opposition and Government at the same time, and they should not be allowed to pull the wool over people's eyes all the time.

We are fighting to win on May the 3rd, not to save seats. Unlike Labour we are not on the defensive all the time, but to get out there and to try and restore people's faith in politics and democracy.

 
At 7:04 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the best Bethan. Good vibes from Swansea West. When the others start targeting you at this stage then you know you are the most popular on the doorstep!

 

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