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A woman's touch

Betsan Powys | 18:50 UK time, Wednesday, 6 April 2011

An interesting essayon the IWA's Click on Wales site by Mark Drakeford, who was a special adviser to First Minister Rhodri Morgan during the first three terms of the National Assembly. He's also a Labour candidate in the election on May 5th.

The second of his "Seven Requirements for One Wales Mark 2" - and he was there first time, after all, is - how do I put this - women.

"I am regularly asked by students whether the gender-balanced nature of the membership of the National Assembly makes any real difference to policy outcomes. I think it does, and the example I always cite is the creation of the One Wales agreement in June 2007. Put simply that agreement would not have happened, had the process not been driven by women politicians".

"In my experience, when the going gets really tough, male politicians have a tendency to retreat to the testosterone-fuelled mountain tops, and shout at each other across the great divide. In contrast, women search relentlessly for the common ground, for the sometimes small piece of shared territory around which a wider jigsaw of agreement can be put together".

The image that accompanies the article?

Two men in suits, of course.


  • Comment number 1.

    You have to believe that Mark D is being true to himself in that - really cannot imagine him doing all that shouting he refers to. Maybe this augurs well for Kirsty's chances of being Deputy First Minister this time round?

  • Comment number 2.

    Perhaps they sticking to their testosterone fuelled position that a future deal won't be required.

  • Comment number 3.

    Plaid are four or five points behind their 2007 position if Yougov is to be believed. But there's the rub. Yougov is correcting to redtop paper readership and for Labour that is a huge correction. (not many Mirror readers anymore)

    On the other hand they have a panel that is consistently top heavy with Welsh speakers and they don't correct for the Nationalist tendency amongst Welsh speakers.

    I do notice that a large proportion of the Plaid vote is amongst the younger voters... Those least likely to vote.

    My analysis is that Plaid's share is overstated by Yougov. This is born out when you look again at Yougov's last poll before the Assembly powers referendum;

    54% said they were certain to vote.....well did they? No. the majority for "YES" was 69% according to Yougov....Well was it? No.

    The difference between the actual 63% "Yes" and the 69% predicted by yougov is almost certainly because the younger "Yes" supporters didn't vote. They won't vote in the Assembly elections either.

    Plaid is in Trouble!

  • Comment number 4.

    What essay? Got link pls?

  • Comment number 5.

    #3 wrote:

    'My analysis is that Plaid's share is overstated by Yougov. This is born (sic) out when you look again at Yougov's last poll before the Assembly powers referendum'

    You're assuming that the referendum vote mirrors the Plaid vote, except you have no evidence for that, other than your prejudice.

  • Comment number 6.


    An interesting analysis but you miss an important point. At the same time we also have the AV referendum. This is generally a more popular cause amongst younger people and as a result there may well be a higher turnout in that group of voters.

    Personally, speaking an I may well be wrong here I don't think the polls are necessarily accurate - there may well be a swing to Labour as should be expected with the Government in power being of another party. However, I believe there is a sizable element who will say they are going to vote that way to mask their true intention. If I follow my own logic I would say that the core Conservative and probably Plaid vote is fairly static - it is what happens to the Lib Dem vote that will be interesting - Some will no doubt go to Labour but Lib Dems in Wales are more traditional Liberals than former SDP members. If they do move they are unlikely to go left.

    On another point, does anyone have an opinion on whether it is right for an MP who lost their seat in the general election to immediately stand in the assembly election in the same seat as will likely happen in Cardiff North - I know there is nothing legally wrong with it but to me it leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. Looking on the bright side, at least they won't have to claim the £4.50 for window cleaning they claimed in the last parliament - do you think she could tell me the name of the window cleaner as mine cost £8.

  • Comment number 7.

    What blatant opportunism.

    I think it is disgusting, rejected from one place to stand in another.

    Have they no shame.

    Is that what the future for the Welsh Assembly is.

    Failed and rejected MPs who did everything in their power to stop us having any powers or any say in running our affairs at all, standing for the assembly and being Agents Provocateurs on the inside.

    If that is the case we may as well get rid of it now.

    I speak as a committed devolutionist.

    Unless of course they have had a Road to Damascus conversion.

    Which I doubt very much.

    Our window cleaner charges £8 as well.

    Perhaps they had a special deal.

  • Comment number 8.

    "women search relentlessly for the common ground"...and like Betsan will buy new boots for sure.

  • Comment number 9.

    One of the pluses of devolution was a chance to build a new political set up free from the yah boo style politics at Westminster. The theatre of Prime Minister's question time is a puerile form of shadow boxing, holding no one to account. For the most part we have a more intelligent system with the National Assembly, and for the most part I think that is down to the gender balance.


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