Monday, 29 December 2014

Are votes at 16 the limit of Welsh Devolution?



I really despair of some of our Welsh politician

Take former LibDem AM Jenny Randerson now Baroness Randerson and coalition Welsh Minister who writes on Subordinate Central in a post entitled "Let’s get on with using Wales’ powers."

Who would have guessed at the start of 2014 that it would turn out to be the year when devolution and constitutional change were suddenly topics for discussion in pubs and living rooms across Britain and no longer the preserve of the political classes.
Well anyone who paid attention to the fact that there was going to be a Scottish Independence referendum for a start.  

But how does this senior member of the LibDems who claim to be a Federal Party thinks this affects Wales?
As a Liberal Democrat I am an enthusiast for devolution and I have found the last three months invigorating because I am now knocking at an open door on many issues which have previously been off the agenda for Wales.
I am working as part of the Wales Office Ministerial Team to ensure we have a firm set of plans to announce on St David’s Day: plans on which there is a consensus to build a framework for a stronger model of devolution.
However, beyond St David’s Day there is the General Election and all parties in Wales will surely include their vision for the future of the Assembly in their manifestos.
It is time to move on from the shopping list approach to devolution and for parties to start to explain what they want to do with the new powers they demand. It is not enough to say “we want powers over policing” for example.
Electors need to know why those powers are needed and what each party would do with them if they are devolved. Only then will voters be able to judge the contrasting vision of Wales offered by politicians.
So what is on my wish list for 2015? Above all we need to reinvigorate our democracy and I believe one important step to that would be to give sixteen year olds the vote in Assembly elections.
I was delighted to introduce a Government amendment to the Wales Bill giving the Assembly the power to decide on the voting age for the income tax referendum they can now hold.
That is a useful start but the Scottish Referendum showed us that young people can be inspired by politics and are just as able to make reasoned decisions on how to vote as their older relatives.
I have campaigned for votes at sixteen over many decades and I have always been worried by the lack of self-confidence some young people show on the issue. Many are fearful of making a mistake – as if older people always get it right. Or they think the actual voting process is complex. All these fears can be easily overcome with a modicum of political education.
So is that what we can expect from the LibDems reducing the voting Age to 16 something I agree with but if we are to do so lets give the 16+ electors something to vote for.Note that she doesn't seem to think any idea of parity with Scotland should be given to Wales.


"It is time to move on from the shopping list approach to devolution and for parties to start to explain what they want to do with the new powers they demand. It is not enough to say “we want powers over policing” for example."

You could still ask the question "What does Westminster want the powers for ? 

If support for lowering the voting age is all we can expect from the "Federal" Liberal Democrats and the  refrain "Let’s get on with using Wales’ powers." then I can see no reason for anyone who wants to see the Assembly making a difference. supporting them.

Or are we so pathetic a nation that believes devolution is about raising our own Taxes but still have to turn to our older and wiser masters in London who believe we can't be trusted to have the same powers as Scotland?


No comments:

Post a Comment