Representation for all

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.


  1. Actually what I said was that the electoral system (i.e. the lists) is already discredited enough without using it as an instrument of social change. Wigley of course was not just talking about Plaid Cymru but suggested that positive discrimination in favour of the disabled should apply to all parties. Oh, and what do you think I was doing if not debating Wigley's proposal?

  2. You seem to have misunderstood the Plaid Cymru system regarding the European elections. There was no gender balance mechanism in 2004. A straightforward vote between the candidates, and the candidate with the most votes won i.e. Jill Evans.

  3. Its very difficult for women to get any where in most of the parties as they are male dominated at local level and like usually votes for like.
    However I think that the first condition should be suitability for the job. Being a councillor doesn’t necessarily make u the right person to be in National politics, neither does the ability to touch heartstrings, neither does longevity of membership.
    There should be a set of core competencies that are mandatory before any one male female, able-bodied disabled etc has to demonstrate before being entered into the race. As a taxpayer I think I have the right to know that people I pay are at least literate, numerate and competent in skills that go wit the job.