Gunna come clean right now for those of you panicking there's a vote tomorrow you don't know about - we have Assembly elections in Wales tomorrow, so if you aren't Welsh you can either stop reading right now and come back to my blog tomorrow or just read on if you're interested in what we're voting on or if you didn't even realise we had our own Assembly.
So a bit of background for you, the National Assembly for Wales is devolved from the British government in Westminster with legislating powers for Wales. It is not 100% devolved which is a contentious issue between some Welsh people and they aren't calling for independence like in the Scottish referendum the other year (was it last year? Time is flying.) The Assembly is made up of 60 AMs and was created in 1998. The Assembly is housed in Cardiff Bay in the Senedd building (you might have seen it on the news sometimes, looks kinda like a wave/flag.) The Assembly is currently Labour lead by leader Carwyn Jones.
So what's happening tomorrow?
Tomorrow the people of Wales are voting on our new Assembly members; one constituency member and one regional member. Our constituency is the area in which we live in and the regional member represents one of the five regions of Wales (North, Mid & West, South West, South East and South Central.)
We will have two votes tomorrow so for example because of where I live I will be voting for my Vale of Glamorgan constituency AM and another vote for my South Wales Central regional AM.
We will also be voting for a THIRD time in the same ballot (we crazy reckless Welsh) and that will be for the Police and Crime Commissioner, for which we will have a first and second preference.
Why is it important?
If you live in Wales, you'd be mad not to vote tomorrow. In 2011 we voted to devolve more powers to the Welsh Assembly so that the people we elected can make some decisions on our welfare without consulting Westminster government; issues such as health and education and local government and how we spend our budget.
Who we elect tomorrow will be making those decisions and those decisions will be impacting us and our everyday lives so if you have someone in mind you'd like to vote for or even someone in mind you 100% DON'T want to get elected - make sure you use your vote.
FYI these are some of the things the National Assembly has certain powers and decision making over in Wales;
- Agriculture, Farming, Forestry, Plants & Rural Development.
- Ancient Monuments and Buildings.
- Arts & Culture.
- Economic Development.
- Education & Training.
- Environment and Food.
- Health & Health Services.
- Highways & Transport.
- Local Government.
- Public Administration.
- Social Welfare.
- Sport & Recreation.
- Devolved Taxes.
- Town & Country Planning.
- Water & Flood Defence.
- Welsh Language.
Why I'll be voting tomorrow!
Firstly I am unashamedly one of those people that takes the "women died so we could get the vote" stance. I know it really gets on people's tits but soz, it's just my opinion. I am also from a working class mining background so I feel even more like it's my duty to use my vote.
If this isn't how you feel that's fine too, I 100% understand why people are disengaged with politics, absolutely. However, if you don't use your vote how do we expect anything to be changed? We need to ALL use our vote because at the moment only around 50% of people go to the polls and isn't that a bit mental in a country where we pride ourselves on democracy and freedom of speech and freedom of protest?
I think it is especially prevalent for younger people to vote because it is us who are going to be largely affected by the changes the next government make. There is currently a lot of focus on student loans and each party has a different take on it and that I think is one of the biggest issues facing young people in Wales at the moment. (In case you didn't know, currently the Welsh government lets students pay 3.5K of their loan and then covers the rest of them no matter where they study. No £9000 fees for us). If you're 18 and a first time voter or in your twenties I would urge you to take an interest in what happens tomorrow.
If you want to know more about the vote tomorrow or want more information on each parties policies I'd recommend you visit 2016.wales before you go to the ballot tomorrow and get switched on to what you're deciding on.
If you liked this you might also like 'Hitting The Nail On The Head.'