After last May's election there was some disquiet in the ranks of Plaid Cymru about the party's gender balance policy of ensuring that a woman has number one spot in every list election. The main complaint was that the list preference system enabled Janet Ryder to be elected rather than Dafydd Wigley. A secondary complaint was that after Wales' allocation of MEP's was reduced by one (the "loser" being Plaid's Eurig Wyn) that Plaid has an electoral mountain to climb before it elects a second MEP. Unless Plaid gains a huge increase in votes, its voice in Europe will be female in perpetuity.
As a result of this disquiet Plaid's last party conference agreed to review its gender balance policies. In yesterday's Western Mail Dafydd Wigley suggested that the review should look at ways of enabling balance for other under-represented groups, not just women. Given his long-standing interest in disablement equality Dafydd suggested that the lists might be used to enable people who live with a disability to get elected to the Assembly.
Like Peter Black AM, I don’t think that "using the lists" is the best way of ensuring that people who live with a disability gain a voice in the Assembly. Unlike Mr Black, I don't think that Mr Wigley's comments should be rubbished and dismissed out of hand. Dafydd Wigley raises an important topic for debate. Whether one agrees or disagree with his conclusions, I think that Wigley should be congratulated for raising the issue.
This post is already longer than I intended it to be. So I shall split it and return to the subject in further posts over the next few days.